Go & Do: Arts Weekend Feb. 4-5

MaryAnne T. Nguyen's "Glazed Donuts" are just some of the delicious art awaiting you at Indy Indie Artist Colony. Come hungry!

If it’s the first Friday of the month, which this is, then you already know you’re booked. As always, galleries open their doors by end of afternoon, and you can wander from place to place throughout the downtown area, feasting on free food, drinking free wine and making free friends.

This First Friday is marked by the return of Christos Koutsouras, an accomplished, internationally-respected artist who’s spent the past few years on the West Coast. On First Friday, and running throughout the month, we get to see what Christos has been up to; he’s been so prolific in fact he’s pretty much taking over the entire Murphy Arts building in Fountain Square with his work, at least iMOCA and Big Car.

Read Dan Grossman’s excellent profile of Christos.

Our other big visual arts story this week is a profile — again by Dan — on Lobyn Hamilton, who’s the featured visual artist for Art and Soul, an annual celebration organized by the Arts Council. His work will be on display at the Artsgarden, so your First Friday itinerary must include a stop at the hovering spaceship at the intersection of Capital and Washington.

Those are the highlights, but jeez louise, the First Friday line-up is mind-boggling. Last month, the temps were around 20, so I biked the event, but this Friday… well, I can’t promise that if it’s in the single digits. Isn’t that weather bitter and vicious and remorseful and monstrous and horrific and apocalyptic and fair game to describe with anthropomorphic terminology? March, though, let’s ALL be out on our bicycles, promise?

(Don't miss the Slideshow previewing many First Friday artists at the bottom of this post!)

I’d say check out:

Indy Indie Artist Colony’s “Just Desserts” show, entirely composed of works showcasing desserts and candy. Phil Campbell’s gallery is still in its infancy, and his IDADA party last Wednesday made it clear that his new space is really catching on. Don’t miss it!

“Horizons” features the work of Jennifer Kaye Laughner, whom many of you may also now as a FOOD artist, as well as an ART artist. The marvelous space, wUG LAKU’S STUDIO & garage, is exhibiting her work, and if you haven’t been to Wug’s gallery, you’re missing one of the more surreal experiences First Friday has to offer.

If you’ve been reading my weekly arts blog, then you know how much I love the Harrison Center. Hell, they could hang the work of someone, say, the Star’s Gary Varvel, and I’d still show up! Oh wait! They DID show the work of Gary Varvel! Anywho, the Harrison is great fun, no matter what’s on the walls, because it’s just a massive party, complete with kids running around everywhere. This month they’re featuring the work of Carolyn Springer whose show “Elemental” explores her interpretations of the connections between Japan and the United States — by using the elements as her guide. Also presented that night are exhibits by Tim Lisko, Eric Wallentine and panda(ology).

As of last year, Gallery 924 has become an essential stop along the First Friday tour, and this month, they’ve got Doug Calisch’s work to draw you in. If you don’t tend to watch the slideshows I post with these blogs then you are missing it, because one look at Doug’s work and you’ll want to be there.

There’s plenty more to hawk, but we’re running out of “space” even though the internet is theoretically infinite. I’d be remiss, though, in not suggesting you go to SpaceCamp in the Murphy Building on Friday. I learned about SpaceCamp at Phil’s IDADA party (mentioned above) and was immediately smitten. It’s going to be the kind of happenin’ art exhibit where YOU get to be the art, and by that I mean that one piece, by Igor Toshevski, declares that whatever happens in a marked-off area in front of the gallery is art. I’m so there, I’m so art.

There are plenty of other great arts events this weekend, an indication that we are really kicking into the Go & Do season. I’ll highlight just a few.

The talk of the town this weekend will be the double fun associated with the great African musician, Fela Kuti. The Cultural Cannibals, DJ Kyle Long and Artur Silva, known for the beatific dance parties, presenting an HD broadcast of the National Theatre of London's FELA!, a stage celebration of the Nigerian musician’s life, on screen at the IMA’s Toby Theater. A Club Hyde dance party follows, downtown, 20 W. Louisiana St. (connected to Blu). DJ Kyle will be spinning with Phil Money from NYC; Money was a resident DJ at Basement Bhangra with DJ Rekha for many years and plays multiple genres of international music. Also expect a performance by Nigerian MC Akil who will do a short tribute to Fela — some of you might remember him performing live at Urban Element last summer. I sure do, he was friggin’ spellbinding.

We know you all love to rock out to the Naptown Roller Girls, and if their bout with the St. Louis' Arch Rival Roller Girls ain’t enough, their male counterparts, the Race City Rebels, will be battling the St. Louis Gate Keepers the same night, same place. Doors open at 6 p.m. at the Convention Center, instead of the Girls' old home at the Pepsi Coliseum.

As if that wasn’t enough, the theater season is ratcheting up with the opening of Goldie, Max and Milk at the Phoenix, a play that follows Max, a single mother facing serious threats to the custody of her four-day-old daughter. Help then comes from the unlikeliest of sources — Max’s lactation consultant! This comedy opens on Thursday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. and runs until Feb. 27.

Plus, you’ve got IndyFringe presenting a play called Young Hamlet, which is based on Shakespeare's earliest script of the play (written while in his 20s). If you’ve going to theater regularly over the years, with the great mainstays like the Phoenix, TOTS, Butler and the IRT, then by now you know that IndyFringe has regular performances now, sometimes Fringe-related shows, sometimes not. This one is presented by Hoosier Bard Productions and the IUPUI New Oxford Shakespeare.

Whew, if I write more I won’t have the energy to do any of this great stuff!

See you out there.


Kyle Long pens A Cultural Manifesto for NUVO Newsweekly and in 2014 began broadcasting a version of his column on WFYI.

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