My favorite month is here: August. Indiana State Fair and IndyFringe Festival, all in one discrete period of time. Those are monsters of fun, but then add in the normal craziness of Indy’s arts and entertainment scene, and you’ll be needing to make a lot of choices this month.
First off, when it comes to the State Fair, I know where I’ll be. Check out my story on the rooster crowing contest, one of my favorite annual ISF events.
When it comes to First Friday, remember, it’s all free and all fun. Lots of wine and beer are flowing, and I don’t care how hot it is, get on your bicycle — it’s the easiest way to get around. So here you: I recommend the following:
The Harrison Center for the Arts is sporting a new gallery, City Gallery, AKA Indy's urban living center, from 6 to 9 p.m. City Gallery aims to connect people with housing opportunities fit for you. The gallery plans on linking residents with culture, community and to strengthen Indy's urban neighborhoods. City Gallery's focus areas are King Park, Mapleton-Fall Creek, St. Clair Place, Englewood and Fountain Square. The opening will exhibit paintings by Kyle Ragsdale that were inspired by City Gallery's focus areas. See nuvo.net for a story on City Gallery by Dan Grossman.
While you’re at the Harrison, check out Bound, the fourth annual book arts exhibit presented by The Harrison Center and Herron Art Library. Featuring work from over 14 artists, you will see a myriad of artistic book formats from flipbooks to decks of cards to accordion-fold books. Don't forget to bring along books to donate for reuse or recycling.
Earth House Collective features Kathryn Dart as she showcases her first solo exhibition, Renovation, all about the connectedness individuals and families share as city dwellers. Images of a house symbolize this message through both painting and sculpture. Dart uses materials such as wax, dirt and paper to create these pieces of artwork. Each viewer will grasp a sense of community and connection when visiting Earth House Collective on August's First Friday.
Primary Colours’ still new-ish gallery in the Murphy has an all-star exhibit, Circle of Champions, from 6 - 11 p.m. Highlighting work in various media from past winners of Art vs. Art, the exhibit will feature artists Amory Abbott, Ryan Alvis, Mab Graves, Emma Overman, Dane Sauer and Chris Sickles. Circle of Champions runs through August and can be seen by appointment.
Animalcules at iMOCA looks rockin’ cool. Artist Brian James Priest graduated from Herron School of Art and Design. Centering on human beings as both collectors and collections, the exhibit will feature large-scale prints, sound and floor installations and live performance art. Priest dominantly uses grains of sand as an artistic material in this show.
Upstairs from iMOCA is Big Car, always your must-destination on First Friday. Check out Nathan Monk’s Get Bent! as he uses and abuses technology. His multimedia installation at Big Car utilizes audio, video and prints that have been digitally manipulated in ways the editing software wasn’t intended to be used. Even more impressive is Monk’s utilization of discarded objects in his work — Eco-friendly art!
Moving on to performance art that you can see Friday, and beyond…
This is amazing: A local story that has national implications, brought to the stage. Theatre Non Nobis is staging Trouble Shoot at the Theater Within in Fountain Square, starting this weekend. Trouble Shoot is a play that tells the true tragic story of an Indianapolis soldier’s suicide in Iraq. In the process, it brings to light a recently rescinded federal (and unwritten) policy that families of soldiers who die by suicide do not receive a Presidential Letter of Condolence. Theatre Non Nobis commissioned this play by a Chicago playwright and you can read all about it in this week’s NUVO, in a feature written by Josefa Beyer. Performances are August 5 -20 at 8 p.m. Tickets: $15 adult; $13 student/senior.
Who doesn’t love Cirque? And in the commodious environs of Conseco, no less! Running through Sunday, Cirque du Soleil presents Dralion, a critically-acclaimed touring production. Dralion is the fusion of ancient Chinese circus traditions and the avant-garde style of Cirque du Soleil. The international cast features 52 world-class acrobats, gymnasts, musicians, singers and comedic characters. Shows are once a day Wednesday and Thursday, twice a day Friday-Sunday. Tickets on sale now ranging from $28 - $80.
Gen Con is one of the city’s most popular conventions, and a great excuse to just hang out downtown to see what weird costumes people are wearing. Hordes of gamers in all their geeky glory will descend upon the Convention Center and Downtown Indy. Armed to the teeth with their trusty D-12’s and rulebooks, the best spectacle of gaming (tabletop, card and otherwise) will put on the usual show. With record setting attendance last year and numerous exhibitors, there is no shortage of things to do. Prices for tickets vary. Runs through 8/7. See Sam Watermeier’s story about a Gen Con filmmaker.
Our Best of Indy party at Sun King Brewery is a great way on Saturday to celebrate everything you love about Indianapolis. We take your votes and turn them into a party just for you. There will be plenty of tasty Sun King beer, delicious food provided by Best of Indy winners, and you can't beat the music line-up selected by your votes. Featured artists this year are Max Allen Band, DJ Slater Hogan, Stereo Deluxe, Devil to Pay and Cara Jean Wahlers. Tickets are $7 at the door; $6 in advance. If you haven't seen the entire Best Of winner list, go here.
After all this partying you need to get out there and exercise with a Trail Marathon at Eagle Creek! Enjoy a scenic 6.55-mile long route while running a marathon in mid-August! "Planet Adventure" organizes events to get people engaged with the planet like the Eagle Creek Half/Full Trail Marathon. Half marathoners run the loop once, full marathoners run it twice. Top three overall male and female runners win gear and cash prizes. Race begins at 9 a.m. Ages 18 and up are allowed to participate. Registration prices begin at $23.
It’s red carpet time at the Tarkington Theater's Grand Opening Celebration. Be among the first to experience the newly renovated Tarkington Theater at the grand opening celebration on August 6. Enjoy the American Ballet Theatre dancers and professional singer Julia Bonnett as part of the lineup. All attendees will be provided with a cocktail reception and a variety of food stations throughout the performances. Tickets are $150 and $500. Seating is limited so purchase quickly!
After burning all these carbons (unless you rode your bike), you can learn how to keep bees and help our deteriorating habitat with a program called Beekeeping Basics at Garfield Park Conservatory and Gardens. If you are 18 and older, can learn about the importance of bees to our ecosystem and the prickly process of harvesting bees' honey. So whether you see yourself as a queen, a worker, or a drone bee, there is surely something to learn. Best of all, the event is FREE.
Finally, on Wednesday, you can check out a Burmese Refugee Photo Exhibit at the Indianapolis City Market. North Central and Southport High School have a large population of Burmese refugee students. After fleeing the political violence of their home of Burma/Myanmar, the photographs taken by these students will be on display for those shopping at the farmer’s market. The works illustrate the uncertainty of life in an unfamiliar country, and is the result of a two year initiative known as Project Einstein, funded by Digital Democracy. 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; free.
See you out there!