I spent a significant part of the 80s playing five-gallon bucket in a band called the Dilettantes, so I wasn’t paying attention to pop music. But if you were paying attention, or if you’re one of those cool kids who was born in the 90s and now listens to the decade prior to your existence, then you’ll be thrilled that Rock of Ages is here this week, with multiple shows Friday through Sunday.
On Friday night, you can marvel at the the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra when they perform Bach's Mass in B Minor, regarded as one of Western culture's greatest achievements — along with The Brothers Karamazov and the films of Paulie Shore. Seriously, Symphonic director Eric Stark has been waiting to perform the piece since 1988 until he felt that he was completely ready, however, so we expect only great things.
Saturday is predictably replete with events, including the first ever Indiana Artisan Marketplace extravaganza at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. This one had me drooling from the get-go: you can expect chocolatiers of perfection, specialty cheese makers, popcorn makers and, generally, craftspeople considered the best of the best. Showcasing approximately 150 artisans from Indiana, along with a handful of Kentuckians, the Indiana Artisan Marketplace runs Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17. Oh, and check out Anne Laker’s delicious story about the food.
Love Kurt Vonnegut? Sure you do! So you can spend a night of NPR, Vonnegut and raising money for the arts and Shortridge school district with the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library's Night of Vonnegut fundraiser. Home-grown Steve Inskeep of NPR's Morning Edition will be the keynote speaker — and expect to see Kurt's own bloodline walking around as well. Dramatic readings will be performed of his work, and scholarships for the kiddos at Shortridge will be announced. Check it out Saturday night at the Marott.
Roller girls bouts continue to be one of the biggest, most dependable draws in town, and on Saturday night, you can experience the final contests in the Naptown Roller Girls fifth season. Back—to-back competitions feature NRG’s The Warning Belles v. The Demolition City's Destruction Dames from Evansville and NRG’s Tornado Sirens v. The Demolition City Dynamite Dolls. Even better? NRG is partnering with the Hoosier Environmental Council and Papa Roux. The more you bring to recycle, the more stamps you can collect on your Papa Roux card.
Also on Saturday night, you get to show your love for Kate Lamont, in an event sure to make you feel glad you live in this wondrous little town called Indianapolis. Many great folks are coming together to make this benefit a truly memorable experience, all in the good cause of helping Lamont, who was hit by a car at SXSW, pay her medical bills. A packed lineup will show their love, including Bashiri Asad, TJ Reynolds, Sarah Grain, Mars or the Moon, Montauk Monster, the 2:30 Trio, Maple Trio, El Foundero Dub Club, Josh Kaufman and Julie Mauro. A long list of local businesses have donated goods and services for a silent auction being coordinated by our own Sarah Myer.
Finally, on Saturday night, if you want it quiet and sweet, you can see my good friends Sharlee Davis and Will Devitt, who are coming to Indy to promote and perform their new album, body of water. Davis and Devitt are recommended for Norah Jones and Diana Krall fans with their folksy sound that has developed through several albums, combining original songs as well as covers such as “House of the Rising Sun.” They’ve traveled all over the Midwest to share a unique combination of folk rock, blues, country and acoustic pop/jazz that fits well with their strong combination vocals. Performance lasts from 7 to 9 p.m.
Things don’t slow down on Sunday, and if you wanted to get into the John Mellencamp show at the new Old Centrum, AKA the Indiana Landmarks Center, and can’t get it in ‘cause it’s friggin’ sold out, you can console yourself by visiting the building on Sunday for some free stuff — an open house — and some stuff that costs, a classical bash featuring Sylvia McNair and The Landmark Trio. This building is one of Indy’s great treasures, so we’re thrilled it’s up and running again!
Another greatly-anticipated event on Sunday is the beloved Kronos Quartet. Truly, is there a more adventurous group? I quote Music Editor Scott Shoger: “The members of Kronos Quartet have always stuck with the core instrumentation of the string quartet — two violins, viola, cello — but they’ve drawn from just about everywhere for their repertoire, from 20th-century classical (Bartok, Shostakovich) to the not-yet-canon’ed (the John Adamses, Harry Partch), from jazz to pop, from soup to nuts, expanding their sound through collaborations with musicians the world over, most recently with Finnish accordion-sampler duo Kimmo Pohjonen and Samuli Kosminen on the new album UNIKO. The group will present a typically eclectic set Sunday at the Palladium, including work by drone king Terry Riley (“Good Medicine” from Salome Dances for Peace), radical Jewish dude John Zorn (selections from The Dead Man), Icelandic dreamers Sigur Ros (“Flugufrelsariin (The Fly Freer)”) and Rock en Espanol outfit Café Tacuba (“12/12”).”
Sunday is a great day to consider religion for the magical-thinking phenomenon that it is — not that there’s anything wrong with that. So, join Indiana’s Center for Inquiry for their second in a series of discussions concerning Chris Rodda’s book Liars for Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of History. Discussion will focus on what the Founding Fathers really thought about religion, secular government and the separation of church and state. Sean O’Brien will preside as the discussion leader for this free talk.
Finally, what would a bunch of recommendations for stuff-to-do be without including an event that honors marijuana activists. On Tuesday, the Indiana Cannabis Awards, hosted by Relegalize Indiana, will recognize individuals and companies that have made great strides in bringing marijuana reform to the public eye. Recipients range from Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage), whose bill supporting marijuana reform research passed with a 28-21 vote this March, to The Magic Bus, your one-stop destination for psychedelic paraphernalia. With rockabilly band MC & The Gas City Three providing music and various vendors selling hemp clothing and products. Plus, it’s 4/20 Eve!
See you out there!