Your A&E best bets, Feb. 18-20 ... and beyond 

So ya like the arts, eh? You wouldn’t be looking at my widdle blog if you didn’t. So get active, kemo sabe, and I don’t mean simply supporting the arts by attending them. No, these days, ya gotta do more and this is the week to do it.

First off, on the local level, the Indiana Arts Coalition is having their annual Arts Day at the Statehouse on Monday, Feb. 21, starting at 1:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Storm the Floor,” to, according to the IAC press release, “to directly express our support of public funding for the arts to our state Senators, Representatives and their staff.” Scared? Why? It’s your right as a citizen to advocate for what you believe. Still scared? No worries. At 1:30, Emily Heimann, an attorney from Barnes & Thornburg, will be giving helpful hints about talking to legislators. The “stormin’” takes place till 3, and then other fun transpires, from the CALA (Community Arts Leadership Awards) Awards at 3:30 to a reception that follows immediately and runs until 6 p.m.

We have to start this week’s go and do travelogue by hawking the Meet the Artists event. This celebration has been going on for 23 years — thanks to founder Anthony Radford — and we honored this event with a Cultural Vision Award some ten years ago. The gala reception, hosted by Central Library is Saturday, Feb. 19, showcasing the current exhibit of prominent, local, African American artists. With everyone from magician Walter King the Spellbinder to the Griot Drum Ensemble to the Nu Soul Theory band, you don’t want to miss it.

IndyFringe had to turn people away last week from their Young Hamlet production, and they’re hoping for more of the same with the opening of 3 Arab Plays. These plays, incubated and presented first at Hanover College, are written by Middle Eastern authors, and this is a particularly interesting time to pay attention to all-things-Middle East. Hanover College has an excellent tradition of theater, so it’s sure to be an excellent production.

On the home grown front, you can’t get more exciting local theater than No Exit. No Exit grew out of the great tradition of John Green’s theater department at Butler. These kids were well-schooled in the chimerical arts of staging, and No Exit has kept that aesthetic on course. They’re opening a play by Sarah Kane, 4.48 Psychosis, Kane’s last play, in fact. She committed suicide after writing the play — I don’t know the causal relationship between those two things, but it's pretty compelling isn't it. I’ll be seeing 4.48 Psychosis on Saturday. For more on No Exit, see our stories on Michael Bachman and Georgeanna Smith.

In Bloomington, the Cardinal Stage Company is opening Romeo & Juliet, which I hope to catch this weekend as well. I’ll let you know what that’s like.

Do you like stories? We do. And our resident company, Storytelling Arts of Indiana regularly features all storytellers, great and small, from the local to the national. This Saturday, they’ll feature storyteller-songwriter Minton Sparks will share tales of small-town Southern life as she weaves together music, poetry and storytelling. A Tennessee native, Sparks draws heavily on her Southern roots to create her work, a practice that gave birth to her reputation as the love child of Flannery O’Connor and Hank Williams.

I spoke of pandemics earlier, and I wasn’t kidding… Nathan Wolfe, a Stanford professor, as well as the founder and director of the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative has dedicated his life to studying epidemic viruses, and will be speaking at Butler as part of the J. James Woods Lecture Series on Tuesday. He’s discovered a clue to catching viruses early by focusing on how HIV, SARS and West Nile all stem from contact with infected animals. Others have noticed his ground-breaking work: Wolfe is one of Rolling Stone's "100 Agents of Change" for 2009.

What would a go and do arts blog be without a freak show to catch? On Tuesday, the Squidling Brothers Circus Sideshow arrives at White Rabbit Cabaret, complete with the Slideshow Doll of Darkness, the Impenetrable Music Man and the World's Strangest Strongman. It will be a night of sword swallowing (get your mind out of the gutter), see-saws, hooks in flesh and men bending steel. Sounds ideal.

If you still have some gas left from all your go&do doings, then you’ll want to check out the Indianapolis Immigrant Experience discussion on Tuesday, that explores how the cultural influences circulating around Indianapolis is shaping our city.

Finally, husband and wife team David Finckel and Wu Han are teaming up with fellow musician Philip Setzer to regale audiences with two piano trios Franz Schubert wrote towards the end of his life. The two pieces are rife with Schubert’s romantic expression, and when the works are played by three of the world’s top chamber music artists, the show is guaranteed to please.

See you out there!

(Slideshow) Your A&E weekend, Feb. 18-20... and beyond
(Slideshow) Your A&E weekend, Feb. 18-20... and beyond (Slideshow) Your A&E weekend, Feb. 18-20... and beyond (Slideshow) Your A&E weekend, Feb. 18-20... and beyond (Slideshow) Your A&E weekend, Feb. 18-20... and beyond (Slideshow) Your A&E weekend, Feb. 18-20... and beyond (Slideshow) Your A&E weekend, Feb. 18-20... and beyond (Slideshow) Your A&E weekend, Feb. 18-20... and beyond

(Slideshow) Your A&E weekend, Feb. 18-20... and beyond

By Jim Poyser

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Jim Poyser

Jim Poyser

Jim Poyser is Executive Director of Earth Charter Indiana, a statewide organization that was one of over two dozen nonprofit partners in Greening the Statehouse. A former managing editor of NUVO, he won HEC’s Environmentalist of the Year Award in 2013.

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