Now that the race is over, arts and culture reasserts itself after a weekend of staying out of the way. Of course, lots of art openings, this being First Friday, but there’s a boatload of theater as well.
Let’s begin, though, with our own event, the 13th annual Cultural Vision Awards ceremony, held at the Athenaeum. It’s free and and open to the public and honors eight individuals and entities for their contributions to making Indianapolis the great city that we love. Come by and honor the honorees, then depart for your First Friday fun.
Right there at the Athenaeum is an art exhibit that sounds fascinating: I AM Exhibit, an exhibition of art and poetry celebrating the idea that all of life is connected. Organized by Broadway United Methodist Church, the exhibition features local artists and writers such as Michael Jordan, Hope Carter, Mari Evans — and Lobyn Hamilton, whom we featured on our cover in February.
My first stop after the Athenaeum will be Erin Polley’s Afghan Mural Exhibit, a collaboration of more than 20 artists from around the world, memorials to Afghan civilian causalities will be displayed at the Earth House Café. The exhibit’s entitled Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan, and is sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization dedicated to nonviolence. The contributing artists include American students as well as Afghan high school students. Erin always puts on a great event, don’t miss it!
A few blocks west of Earth House, ARTBOX Stutz II presents Shine, featuring works in resin and metallic sculpture. The pieces share qualities of a glossy, reflective nature, but the individual artist’s approach either accentuates the reflectivity of the work — or at other times destroys it. Shine features paintings and sculpture from ARTBOX veteran Thomas Ramey along with newly represented artists Jorge Enrique, Ronald Westerhuis, Bilhenry Walker, Bruce Riley and others.
Eventually, you’ll get Fountain Square and once there you won’t want to miss iMOCA’s new show, Ryan Mulligan’s My Son the Future Time Traveler, an exhibit that explores what it means to be the protector of a future time traveler, via a 30-foot wall mural, TV drawings and a time machine Mulligan constructed for his 5-month old son, Hobbs. Mulligan’s work is also inspired by his father, who was badly injured by a drunk driver.
Upstairs from iMOCA is Big Car Gallery, always a destination, but come on, could it get any cooler than this? Brandon Schaaf, member of local performance troupe Know No Stranger, transforms Big Car Gallery into an imaginary town in an exhibit/installation called Welcome to the Town of Tuccenen. Not only are imagined characters of the town displayed, you’ll also get to experience its food and music as well. If you’ve ever seen Schaaf perform with KNS, you don’t need us to convince you to see this show. His performance art piece set to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the one of the Eight Wonders of Indy’s performing scene.
As far as theater and performance there are some exciting shows opening this week, including:
Five Women Wearing the Same Dress at Theatre on the Square. This is a new theater company, Betty Rage Productions, and great folks are involved, so the quality will be high. This script, by True Blood and Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball, pits a diverse set of bridesmaids against one other, and will be directed by the multi-talented Karen Irwin, her directorial debut in fact!
You’ve always wanted to see Avenue Q, right? Well now here’s your chance to see a local production by the excellent folks at the Phoenix Theatre. In case you’re not familiar with the concept of the show, it involves puppets, and song titles from this show include “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” and “The Internet is for Porn.” Avenue Q, the winner of the 2004 Tony for Best Musical, will be running from June 2 to July 10 on the Mainstage at the Phoenix Theatre.
The fine folks at Buck Creek Players are presenting Frankenstein: A New Musical an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s horror classic as a stage musical. With 15 cast members, this is going to be a big show; what we don’t know is if the Creature will dance or not. The always dependable Scott Robinson directs.
Finally, a couple of fun, outdoorsy things to do:
The annual Woodruff Place Flea Market celebrates its 36th year this weekend, promising two days of treasure hunting, along with food, fun, and some seriously fascinating people-watching. The annual flea market provides a perfect opportunity to enjoy summer weather while admiring one of the city’s oldest, most beautiful neighborhoods. Proceeds from the sale help maintain the historic neighborhood. Event runs Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
And, the Asian Fest at Garfield Park. Asian American Alliance, Inc. and Indy Parks present the fourth annual Asian Fest on June 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Festivities include cultural performances, art exhibits, anime and a plethora of other activities, plus merchandise vendors and delicious food from local Asian restaurants.