Harrison Center for the Arts, Friday, Dec. 3
Radio Radio, Saturday, Dec. 4 Art and music fans can have an early Christmas present this weekend for two nights of the Blue Christmas, an art and music extravaganza to benefit the Harrison Center and Joy's House. The event is hosted by local hip-hop group Blacksoil project.
"Ray Mills of the Harrison Center asked me, and I said sure," says MC Rahlo of Blacksoil Project. "Stuff like this is real cool. I'm really excited. Joy's House is a real cool thing. A big part of our society that we forget about is the elderly people - they become discarded. Joy's House really helps them live out their remaining years in dignity. We're really privileged to be part of this event."
This weekend marks the third year of the Harrison Center's Christmas benefits, the first two themed in red and green, respectively.
"This year's art theme is blue, with velvet jumpsuits and '70s pop culture," says Harrison Center director Joanna Taft. She also tells patrons to be on the lookout this Friday for "Elvis on ice." The center will host an open viewing of all three galleries and the other 15 studios in the building. This includes more than what was seen at this summer's IMAF. "It's really fun to get lost in the catacombs during open studio night, because a lot of artists' works are off the beaten path," Taft continues. The showing features works from over 60 artists.
Blue Christmas also marks the first year that Joy's House will receive proceeds from the event. "We're just excited to be able to partner with Joy's House," Taft says. "They do such a great job in the community, and we would love to expose our patrons to what they're doing."
Joy's House is not a nursing home - it operates as a non-profit social day center for challenged and aging adults Mondays through Fridays. "We provide a social environment for them while their caretakers are at work or out running errands," says Amy Hennegar, the Joy's House event coordinator.
While Joy's House always welcomes monetary donations, patrons are encouraged to bring one or more of the following for a dollar off admission: Kleenex, toilet paper, Hoover size-K vacuum bags, canned food, liquid hand soap, 13-gallon trash bags and books of stamps.
The art show is free and all-ages, and runs from 6-9:30 p.m. on Friday. The concert begins afterward, $7 at the Underground door. Friday night's "Blue Christmas" present includes Battle of the Bands winners Seven Degrees from Center and last year's winners, Loretta. Piano-driven trio Wolfy and the electro-folk group Emory Salem are also performing, as well as one of the best blues acts in town, Rev. Payton's Big Damn Band. The show will also feature its host, Blacksoil Project, one of the city's best MCs, with an equally talented live band to match. Indy's hip-hop scene doesn't feature too many live acts, but when it does, the organic variation from the same static loops on a CD or record make for a night well-spent.
The "Blue Christmas" concert also features a show at 9 p.m. the following night at Radio Radio, with a slightly different stockingful of ear candy. In addition to Wolfy, Emory Salem and Blacksoil Project, Saturday night also features Battle of the Bands finalists The Common, a rock band known for energetic live shows. There will be Bloomington sounds from Swell, a reggae and soul-infused rock trio that brings energy. In addition to these treats, fans can hear a rare set from Undefeatable Beats. Seeing this 15-member Afrobeat-folk-hip-hop fusion and dance orchestra perform in full is something of a spiritual experience. Come for drums, stay for the reggae and breakdancing. They're choosy with booking, and haven't played a local club in months.