“Did you know that Indianapolis has a larger Burmese population than any city in the United States?”
It's a question human rights photographer Katie Basbagill ends up asking just about every time she talks about her latest work.
The answer is usually, “No,” sometimes followed by, “You mean those families that are in here all the time?”
Yes, those families, and as part of the INDYrefugee project, which will occupy Gallery 2 of the Harrison Center this Friday, Basbagill has been photographing and interviewing one Burmese family that landed in Indianapolis in April.
The family — a husband, wife; and three daughters, all shy of 10 years of age — arrived in Indianapolis after a years-long struggle to escape Burma. The thumbnail sketch: Dad was arrested and detained by Burmese police, from whom he managed to escape (they were drunk). He headed into the jungle, and, after hitching a ride to Thailand (21 people in a 14 passenger van), he took a fishing boat to Malaysia (communing with the fish under a tarp), eventually to arrive in Kuala Lumpur. Three years later (during which he didn't see his family), his wife and two daughters made the same journey he did.
They made it to the U.S. in April with the help of the local non-sectarian refugee resettlement agency Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc., which brought more than 650 displaced refugees to Indianapolis in 2010. That's when Basbagill first met the family: She had pitched Exodus an idea of telling the story of Indy's Burmese refugee population through art, and they gave her a call one morning at 7 a.m. (far too early, if you ask Basbagill or her friends) to announce that a family perfect for her project had arrived.
Months of interviews and photography sessions followed from there, and Basbagill will show some of the fruits of her labors during INDYrefugee night at the Harrison.
Basbagill and illustrator Joel Rockey have collaborated on several pieces for the project, with Rockey's thought balloons and text layering over Basbagill's candid, vibrant shots. Photos sometime play against text in a playful fashion; for instance, a photography of a pious woman holding a Bible is layered with a quote from an interview in which she admits to talking back and beating up the boys when she was younger.
Basbagill's goals — and those of INDYrefugee — are twofold: to educate the American people about the current political climate in Burma and why it's leading to such an exodus of refugees; and to connect Indianapolis residents in a very practical way with Burmese refugees.
Friday's show will be, according to Basbagill, “an opportunity to invite Burmese people and as many people from the community as possible to engage in a facilitated evening of communication.” Those wishing to get involved with the Burmese community will have the chance to talk with representatives from Exodus.
The culminating event of the INDYrefugee project will take place this summer, when INDYrefugee plans to present a much larger art installation, including a replica of a refugee hut and extremely large installations featuring photos with illustrations. Basbagill recently received a small grant to defer the printing costs for the show, which she hopes will coincide with World Refugee Day, which falls on June 12, 2012.
There’s too much going in the downtown Indy galleries this First Friday for you to see everything that’s going on in one night. Wouldn’t it be easier if some of the downtown galleries opened earlier in the week?
That's exactly what's happening at the Circle City Industrial Complex (CCIC) Wednesday night, which will be the debut evening for a group of artists who have recently opened studio space in the complex.
“We’ve got the new section, the South Studios of the complex, where artists are moving in,” says Wug Laku, who has had gallery space in the CCIC since 2007. His mission is to fill the sprawling 13½ acre complex with art studios and galleries.
That Knopp has chosen the CCIC to house her gallery is a major coup for Wug Laku and his fellow CCIC artists and gallery owners. Knopp, in addition to having solo shows of her work at the Harrison Gallery and the 4 Star Gallery, recently had her work featured in the prestigious journal New American Paintings.
“This first show [at Dewclaw] features paintings from my ongoing Lane Markers series,” says Knopp. “And this will be the first time I have shown them as a group. These works are painted on a metallic ground which has an unusual optical and subjective effect.”
Other highlights on Wednesday night will include a solo show by Joseph Crone in Wug Laku’s Studio & Garage. Crone’s hyper-real pencil drawings on two-sided frosted acetate might remind you of film noir motion-picture stills.
Crone isn’t the only artist in the CCIC with a penchant for the hyper-real. Matthew Davey, who recently had a sculpture as well as a painting featured in the Unclothed: Exposing the Art Nude show at StutzArtSpace, will be on hand in his studio.
Because of his technical skill, you might feel like you’ve been transported back to the Italian Renaissance when you step into Davey’s space, But Davey’s art also seems contemporary in both its subject matter and in tone. To quote Baudelaire, great art at once is eternal and reflects its time and place.
After seeing all this work, you might decide you want to come back and see it again. In which case you can — on First Friday. The CCIC galleries and studios will also be open on that night for the IDADA Artwalk.
“On Friday we’ve got a vanful of people coming in from Kokomo, from the Economic Council, to tour the place,” says Laku.
The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is capping off its debut year with the announcement that it has received more than $75,000 in grants from community partners, including a $33,404 contribution from Ball State University. The grant money will support new projects intended to meet the library's core mission of championing Vonnegut's work and fostering an arts network on a local and national level.
As part of the Ball State Provost Initiative Immersive Learning Grant, the university will donate to support the library's mission of "championing the literary, artistic and cultural contribution of the late writer, artist and Indianapolis native Kurt Vonnegut."
Twelve students interning from the university and community partners will work in conjunction with the library in five projects to maintain the library's mission.
A donation of $43,306 was contributed by community partners, including WFYI, The Indianapolis Museum of Art, Floyd and Stanich, Creative Street, Hamilton Exhibits, Eye on Art-Jerry Points, Seven Stories Press, Indiana University and the Indianapolis Historical Society.
The library offers programs and outreach activities with local arts organizations to support a strong arts network for the community. The library holds poetry readings, film viewings and benefit events year-round.
"This is the most comprehensive community project the Vonnegut Library has undertaken to date," said Julia Whitehead, executive director of the Vonnegut Library. "Ball State and our other community partners are giving us many important gifts that will make our presence known throughout the state and the world."
Ball State associate professor of English Rai Peterson, who has shepherded the project, anticipates that money will be used to fund research, interviews, a marketing plan and the design of gift shop products and a traveling museum.
"My students and I are looking forward to this project as a great learning experience and a chance to make a difference in our larger community," Peterson said in a press release. "I think what really excites me about our work with [the library] is the opportunity to engage in so many different projects."
Last November, the library received a $100,000 grant from the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation to develop a museum, art gallery and reading room devoted to the writer.
The building serves not only as a library featuring the author's works, but also as a cultural and educational resource facility, museum, art gallery and reading room.
Next year may seem far off, but IndyFringe is now accepting applications for its annual Diva Fest and IndyFringe Festival showcases.
DivaFest, which will celebrate its third year at the IndyFringe Theatre from March 15-24, 2012, will once again provide hands-on production experience to lesser-known female playwrights from the area. Unlike other IndyFringe productions, DivaFest provides entrants with marketing assistance, constructive criticism and production team instruction. Each entrant will present an hour-long work, with acts ranging from comedy and cabaret to traditional drama.
DivaFest seeks to educate audience members as well. Between each performance, IndyFringe workers will provide performance appreciation tips for theatre newcomers and mediate several discussions on the community-wide importance of DivaFest.
On August 17, 2012, the IndyFringe Festival kicks off its 10-year celebration, bringing every imaginable flavor of theater back to the Mass Ave. Arts District. Conceived of in 2001 by a panel of Indy citizens and theater experts, the Festival was created to invigorate the Indianapolis arts community. For independent playwrights and artists, it's an affordable chance to showcase their work at a major venue.
This year's locations include most of the old favorites: the Phoenix, ComedySportz, Theatre on the Square, the Cook, and, of course, the IndyFringe Theatre.
Pur burlesque at Blu (slideshow)
The ladies of the Pur Company warmed up a cold pre-Thankssgiving night with a mini-performance of burlesque at Blu downtown.
One of the best things about the neo-burlesque scene that has swept through Indy in recent times is that the form offers seemingly limitless variation. Consider for instance “Pur | The Company,” a prolific group with regular events throughout the city that hit Blu Lounge downtown with a three-member mini-show the night before Thanksgiving.
Led by former Las Vegas showgirl Evie LaRoux, the trio warmed up the chilly November night with an electric, jazzy routine that draws as much from modern popular entertainment as it did from the familiar burlesque elements of the past. The tack-sharp choreography, hair-tossing charm and rhinestone dazzle was an excellent match for the laser lights and glitter balls of Blu’s pre-holiday party. They entered the room with confident superstar cool and walked out like rock stars.
Anyway, the photos tell the story better than I could, so click through up above, and look for future issues of NUVO for more in-depth coverage of Pur. And if you want to see more, check out their next show, a full performance Wednesday night at Room 929.
Parallel Fashion (Slideshow)
Area artists, DJs and fashion designers converged to present a unique show at the Old National Centre's Amber Room.
Naptown Roller Girls debut (slideshow)
Body-checks and fishnets fly as the Roller Girls tear into their season 6 home opener with relentless fury.
The Naptown Roller Girls' varsity team, the Tornado Sirens, beat the Ohio Roller Girls by 100 points the last time they met before Saturday's bout at the Pepsi Coliseum. As it turns out, the Sirens were probably being generous during that previous matchup. By the time I had figured where to sit Saturday, the score was 59-9. When it was over, the Sirens had racked up a 191-41 victory.
I took most of my photos from the area known as the Suicide Seats, and no wonder — you’re just a few feet away from the action, where you run the teeny chance of having a scrum of roller girls go careening into you. Incidentally, I can attest from experience that this is officially scarier than photographing the Indy 500.
I spent a good chunk of the second half shooting from the nosebleed seats, and if you're ever at a bout, it's worth trying both the high seats and Suicide Row. Up close, you can virtually feel the collisions as they happen; up above, it's a bit more detached, but you can really sort out the kind of high-speed chess game being played with the strategy.
As for the game — well, the score says it all. Seriously, it was the kind of massively unbalanced rout that one normally associates with the Harlem Globetrotters versus the Washington Generals, or possibly anyone in the world versus the 2011 Colts. I think Curtis Painter sent a condolence card. Whatever the case, it certainly sets a pace for a exciting season, though we can only hope future opponents will prove slightly more competitive. In the meantime, make with the clicky above and check out all our photos of last weekend’s game action!
You can see the Naptown Roller Girls during a charity appearance at the Indy Choruses “Tailgate Skate” fundraiser on Glen Arm Road at noon Nov. 27. Their next home bout is December 17.
Tough Mudder Indiana 2011 (slideshow)
On a rather chilly mid-November weekend, ordinary Americans united in Attica to run a nine-mile adventure course designed for the British Special Forces.
An estimated 15,000 warriors braved a relentless course of cruelly conceived obstacles at Tough Mudder Indiana this weekend, and we brought back the pictures to prove it. Among the obstacles pictured in the slideshow are Kiss of Mud (a belly crawl through muck with barbed wire inches overhead), Fire Walker (a scamper across an inferno of kerosene-soaked straw) and Electroshock Therapy (a final dash to the finish line while being subjected to repeated electrical shocks of up to 10,000 volts). Those who completed the challenge earned an orange headband, a cold beer and big-time bragging rights at the water cooler on Monday.
If you're feeling inspired to become a Mudder, start training now. Tough Mudder Indiana 2012, slated for March 17 and 18, is less than four months away. That event, like the one this past weekend, will be hosted by Badlands Off-Road Park in Attica.
It's all because I want to bring you the most acccccurate representation of what Tough Mudder participants will go through this weekend in Attica. ATTICA! Matt McClure has the whole scoop this week, but, essentially, they're required to run through live wires, flaming bales of hay — and, probably worst of all, to jump into freezing cold water at several points. Inspired by Tough Mudder, here are the five most painful events in Indiana this week.
1) Tough Mudder. Not only does the name have maternal vibes — tough mother? — but it's a nine-mile course designed for British Special Forces being run by weekend warriors who probably don't swim through icy lakes as a habit.
2) Naptown Roller Girls season opener. Sure, you're probably not going to get hurt in the audience — unless one of the roller girls flies into the crowd, the victim of an agressive body check — but roller derby remains one of those sports that just looks like it hurts in the best of ways.
3) Cat Fanciers' Association National Championship. Don't get me wrong; I fancy myself a bit of a cat fancier. But between the potential for Best in Show-style hysterics and the allergens floating through the air, this could really be hell on earth for a lot of people. Or heaven.
4) 911 Slugfest: Police v. Fire. There's just a lot of pain at the Fairgrounds this week. The Pepsi Coliseum will open up Tuesday night for boxing matches between Indiana police and firefighters for the benefit of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
5) 23rd annual Warren Holiday Treefest. We all know what trees are capable of...
Applications will be accepted from March until May 2012 at the intuitively titled site callforentry.org. Artists will receive an honorarium, production budget, studio space and organizational support; the project is expected to cost $45,000 in total, according to the Indianapolis Art Center, and is funded by one of 863 grants totaling over $22 million awarded today by the NEA.
An earlier version of this blog noted that applications are now being accepted for this residency. However, the application process actually begins in March 2012.
And now comes your chance — yes, you; given that you care about stuff — to spend six weeks in the Indianapolis Island space. The IMA is currently accepting proposals for the 2012 residency; according to a press release, "Graduate and undergraduate students and emerging professionals in the fields of art, design, architecture and performing arts are encouraged to apply to customize and reside on Indianapolis Island."
Residents will collaborate with Zittel to realize their plans, which need not pertain to environmental concerns, though both Ball and 2010 residents Jessica Dunn and Michael Runge (then-students at Herron School of Art and Design) were certainly concerned with issues of social justice and community; so your proposal, Hermit 2012: This Man Is an Island and Isn't Going To Talk To You Filthy People, may not go over well.
More details from the press release: "The 2012 Indianapolis Island resident will be awarded a $3,000 materials stipend to customize the structure. Additionally, materials from the two previous residencies on Indianapolis Island—such as furniture, bedding, and utilitarian objects—will be made available to the summer 2012 resident. Individuals, collaboratives, and groups are encouraged to apply. The selected application also will be awarded a personal stipend of $1,500 and roundtrip transportation for one to Indianapolis."
Head on over to imamuseum.org/islandresidency for more information.
A web project launched last September by columnist and author Dan Savage, It Gets Better now hosts more than 25,000 user-created videos which have received more than 40 million views. It's all in the interest of giving hope to young people facing harassment and bullying, including but not limited to LGBTQ teens.
Now the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus will do their part for the site by recording a performance of Aaron Copland's "The Promise of Living" tonight at 8 p.m. at the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center on the University of Indianapolis campus.
Indianapolis Men's Chorus interim artistic director Greg Sanders took on the project and organized the group’s performance.
“I wanted to do something to really give back to those who have supported us,” Sanders said. “This seemed like a good outlet for that.”
Copland’s six-minute “The Promise of Living,” from The Tender Land, is a fitting piece for the performance since the lyrics inspire unity for a common purpose, Sanders said.
“It’s really about growing up,” Sanders said. “We’ve all been there, so it’s a piece anyone can relate to.”
Sanders recalls a time when the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus was harassed. In 1991, the choir faced a crowd of religious protestors at Indiana Pride Day, where the group led off festivities on Monument Circle with a performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Twenty years later, Sanders said the environment has changed.
“It’s still not the norm to be gay, but it’s not as taboo anymore, so there is a lot less hostility,” Sanders said. “But obviously bullying is still a problem and there are issues that need to be addressed.”
Gay-straight alliances from Butler University, University of Indianapolis and IUPUI are planning to attend the event.
“This is a new kind of project for the chorus,” Sanders said. “It’s something the public can really get behind.”
The video, which will be filmed and edited by WFYI, is expected to be up by the end of the January.
[A+E] Film + TV
[A+E] Classical Music
[A+E] Classical Music
[A+E] Classical Music
[A+E] Classical Music, Theater + Dance