The best day of the month is here — in the form of First Friday — where the city comes alive. This month’s First Friday is enhanced by the influx of folks for the NCAA Women’s Final Four, and of course we’re all stoked for the Men’s Final Four as well because the Butler Bulldogs are battling it out in Houston. So. If you didn’t go off to Houston, then you are going to have one whale of a good time here.
On to First Friday, and if I haven’t said enough, I’ll say it again: This is a great event to bicycle around. From ARTBOX on the east side to Wug’s on the west side, Harrison Center on the north and Fountain Square to the south, it’s all bike-doable — no more than ten minutes at the most, unless you are a tai chi bicycler or something. If you are, more power to ya.
Here’s what we’re looking forward to, but you can always check the whole line up of First Friday openings here.
Your must-stop destination for First Friday is Malcolm Mobutu Smith's new exhibit, Inner City Inspirations: An Artist's Evolution in Clay. Why? Read Dan Grossman’s feature story and you’ll see. Smith intends to showcase his clay works as well as a 32 feet long and 8 feet high graffiti mural. Expect to also see his work with racial stereotypes and how they have—or haven't—changed with our first African-American president. The exhibit runs from April 1 to May 14 at iMOCA.
Using hi-pop images, deaf artist Warren Miller is out to show society just what kinds of consequences deafness has for both the deaf and hearing in his exhibit Interpreter. Described as powerful and reminiscent of art done during the Bauhaus and Russian Constructivist movements, the exhibit is sure to give you plenty to think about. The opening reception starts at 6 p.m. on April 1 at wUG LAKU'S STUDIO & gARAGE. Other exhibits from Back Alley Studios, Nikki Blaine Couture and Matt Davey will also be at the Complex that night.
What would a Friday night in Indy be without the Cultural Cannibals? This one is going to special. Celebrate that big old melting pot (and give back to your community) by heading to Culture Shock, presented by Spitting Llama Productions in conjunction with the Latino Youth Collective (LYC) and the Cultural Cannibals. Show your support for an event that hopes to demonstrate how important the "cultural, religious and spiritual diversity" is that the immigrant community brings to Indiana. No better way to show that than with the kickin' bands set to perform, including DJ Kyle Long, La Republica, Beaner Threat and even a local Ethiopian dance group, Growing as a Second Generation. The event will be held April 1 at 7 p.m. at the Athenaeum. Tickets are $7 in advance, $10 at the door, with all funds going to a scholarship for an immigrant student picked by LYC. Be sure to pop by the "Art Full of Hope - Orphan Art Exhibit" also held in the Athenaeum that night, held by Saving Orphans through Healthcare Outreach (SOHO), and also featuring the DJ skills of Long. Admission is free and the event is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Dean Johnson Gallery and christopher west presents will host a show called 7 Artists Pick 7 Artists. The name suggests the process by which the pieces were chosen, seven artists picked work by artists who have had work exhibited before and provide a diverse, eclectic mix of works in a wide variety of mediums. Artists chosen are: Jeff Beekman, Jared Cru Smith, Benjamin Sunderlin, Phil Tennant, Jill Marie Mason, Scott Grow and Chris Stewart. To find out who chose them, go to the opening ceremony April 1 from 6-9 p.m. at the Dean Johnson Gallery, 646 Massachusetts Ave. Admission is free.
ARTBOX features the work of Indy native Jason Myers and Sacramento's Rogelio Manzo in a show called Visceral Discourse. Myers' work varies in use of color, from bold and violent to soft and muted. His use of texture and overlapping support themes that are typically stoic while some are quite violent. Manzo's physical portraits do more than represent people, they visually imply emotions in an attempt to "unearth the story below the surface.” His work is an ongoing attempt to expose viewers to realities. Show will be held from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. on April 1. Admission is free.
Of course, there’s more than visual arts in this city. In theater, the Phoenix is presenting This, a melancholy comedy about a group of close friends entering middle age. Confused about life in general and specifically about the fun stuff — relationships, sex, friendships, and more — they find themselves tangled when a party game uncovers some uncomfortable feelings. Melissa James Gibson's drama about how we experience and cope with love, hurt and loss premieres at the Phoenix Theatre, March 31 through through April 24. Tickets range from $15 to $25.
Like giant bunnies? Then you won’t to miss Q Artistry’s Bunny Spectacular. Their past shows include a musical of Edgar Allan Poe and a parody of Harry Potter called Perry Haughter. Now, they're putting on The Bunny Spectacular because founder of Q Artistry Ben Asaykwee found a good deal on a bunny costume and got inspired. The Bunny Spectacular is an attempt to de-commercialize Easter and give a more affordable and artistic option for kids and families for the big holiday.
The Amazing Acro-Cats return to IndyFringe. I caught ‘em last time (well you can’t really catch them—they’re cats!), and I enjoyed just as much as my six year old cousin. Ticket sales for this traveling troupe of acrobatic cats benefit Cats Haven Cat Shelter, and is meant to bring awareness to homeless felines as well as those who are unwanted because of special needs like illness. But you don’t need a cause to go have a good time. Traveling along with Acro-Cats is the band "The Rock-Cats" who have had major success and growth in numbers as the only all-feline band in the world. Performances are on April 2 at 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and April 3 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the IndyFringe Theatre.
Finally, a little something way out of the ordinary: Braco. Some 200,000 individuals visit him a year and he can cure with a gaze. Strange events such as this rarely hit the Midwest, but Indy native Ashley Shapiro is bringing the European phenomenon Braco (from Croatia) to our city for a combined total of eighteen "gazing sessions" which have resulted in numerous reported healings. Even individuals who have watched DVDs or streamed web sessions of Braco have reported healings as well. Nine sessions will be held April 1 and nine more will be held April 2 at the Indiana Freemasons' Hall, 525 N. Illinois St., which seats 500. Tickets may only be purchased now at the door if they still remain. Each session is scheduled for 40 minutes and costs $8. Attendees must be 18, and women past their first trimester of pregnancy may not attend — due to the potential intensity of the experience. I shit you not.
I’d say “see you out there!” but I will see you out there only if you are in Portland, OR, this weekend, ‘cause that’s where I’ll be. Enjoy!