Check the weather. It is going to be gorgeous, people, absolutely gorgeous. That means… you know what it means: bicycles. This is the First Friday with the MOST bicycles ever! I predict! But hey, all this stuff is going to be great to see on a bike, ‘cause, you know, it’s easier to find a parking space. Plus, with all this FREE stuff going on AND no gas money going out, you can party like a rock star!
So, first off, not exactly First Friday, but the Day of the Dead at Indianapolis Art Center is always one of THE best visual arts events of the year. The IAC has been celebrating the traditional Mexican holiday of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) since 2000, and this year’s extravaganza promises to be the best one yet. The full slate of programming, which begins this weekend and continues into November, includes exhibitions of altars and shrines, presentations of Latino artists’ work, and activities and workshops as well as a preview party (Oct. 20) and a celebration (Oct. 29). If you want to get an early start on the festivities, head over to the IAC’s Churchman Fehsenfeld and Frank M. Basile Galleries, where an altar exhibition opens to the public on Oct. 7.
Some months ago, I saw this show — or a version of it — at my neighbors’ house: Emily Budd: Microcosmic at Nancy Lee Designs Gallery. Budd’s chimerical sculptures will blow your mind and not just because Budd is winner of the 2009 Robert D. Beckmann, Jr. Emerging Artist Fellow. Viewers are encouraged to immerse themselves in the works, picking the bronze statues up, moving them in the light of the gallery and deciding what the pieces represent. The forms can represent anything from a single, tiny cell to an entire universe—all in the palms of your hands, somewhere in the middle. Opening reception, Oct. 7. 6 — 9 p.m. Free.
Make sure you put this on your First Friday list: Funk Soul Brother at the Harrison Center, presenting the art of William Denton Ray, with a collection reflecting the artist’s whimsical and unconventional approach to his work. In Funk Soul Brother, Ray’s first solo show, central characters come to life within multi-layered vignettes and cut-out shapes. Be sure to visit the Harrison Center’s Gallery No. 2 as well, where you’ll experience Death Becomes Her, a fiber and mixed-media show by artists Elyce Elder and Gabrielle Duggan. 5-10 p.m. Free.
The Glass Art Exhibition at Gallery 924 is going to be amazing; check out the cool looking toaster in the slideshow! Gallery 924 presents the annual juried show of the Indiana Glass Art Alliance — a must-attend event for First Friday art revelers. The exhibition highlights the absolute best work of Indiana’s glass artists, with entries from across the stating representing wide-ranging styles, from traditional vessels to contemporary sculptures. To learn more about the IGAA, check out their website at indyglassart.ning.com. Juried exhibition from 6-9 p.m. on Oct. 7. Glass art remains on display through Oct. 28. Free
So that’s it for the picks, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a shitload more of the usual suspects open for First Friday business, but here’s a NEW usual suspect, Fletcher Place Arts & Books with their Grand Opening at their exhibit, Reflections on Guatemala, work by Emily Janowiak and Jeff Litsey. Reflections features pieces inspired by the artists’ recent two-week trip to Guatemala. The exhibit runs from Oct. 7-29. FPA&B boasts a bounty of creative experiences, with a gallery displaying the work of local artists, a lounge area for reading and writing, and a library of books focused on theology, art and literature. On Oct. 7, the gallery will be open from 4:30-10 p.m., with an artist reception from 6-9 p.m. Free.
In terms of theater and dance, you’ve got it all this weekend:
Dance Kaleidoscope at IRT: Indiana’s dazzling dance company performs The Four Elements (Redux), a celebration of water, earth, air and fire. Now in its 40th season, Dance Kaleidoscope introduced this show to great acclaim in 2005. DK’s artistic director, David Hochoy, has a reputation for producing powerful and imaginative pieces; this show furthers his reputation for brilliance, with creative and wow-worthy dance interpretations of each of the elements. New York-based Spencer Myer, a pianist and APA Fellow, adds musical accompaniment to the Water section of the performance with selections from Chopin. 7 p.m. Oct. 6; 8 p.m. Oct. 7-8; 2:30 p.m. Oct. 9. Ticket prices vary.
My Gypsy Soul at The Tarkington: You can journey from India to Spain thanks to Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre. Enjoy the remarkable artistry and colorful costumes of GHDT, as the Carmel-based dance company performs for its home crowd at The Center for the Performing Arts. Travel with the gypsy dancers, taking in their fluid and inspired movements, while being treated to music from around the world. The performance features music from such far-flung places as Romania, Serbia, Greece, Portugal and Ireland. 8 p.m. Oct. 7-8. Tickets: $36 for adults; $31 for students and seniors.
The Good Body at Theatre Non Nobis: Experience a journey toward self-acceptance with Theatre Non Nobis’ production of Eve Ensler’s latest play. In The Good Body, Ensler, best known for penning and performing The Vagina Monologues, focuses her razor-sharp insights and wit on America’s obsession with body image. Ensler says about TGB, “Do the most radical thing you can possibly do — love your body and get on with it.” Local theater veteran Jenni White directs the show on the stage at Theatre Non Nobis, which is located at The Church Within. 8 p.m. Oct. 7-8, 14-15, 21-22. Tickets: $15 general; $13 for seniors and students.
Here’s some fun stuff for Friday as well: Mass Ave will be style central on Saturday, with the fresh and edgy designs of Canadian-American artist Sheila Ferguson featured at a fashion and costume show. Ferguson started up JealousyJane Couture following her studies in studio art at Indiana University. At this weekend’s event, she shows off inspired designs from her fall/winter collection, along with a sampling of one-of-a-kind costumes — just in time for Halloween! Enjoy live music as well as wine and appetizers. Ferguson’s designs have been featured in Bloomington’s annual Trashion Refashion Show, an event celebrating garments composed of recycled materials. Saturday’s fashion soiree will be held in Century 21 Scheetz’s office on Massachusetts Ave. 5-8 p.m. Free.
Join local publisher John Clark as he reflects on his experiences with Kurt Vonnegut, whom he met in 1991 and whom, through a series of plot twists, contributed a felt-tip drawing to Clark’s literary magazine pLopLop. Clark will present a slideshow illustrating Vonnegut’s belief that locally focused, independent publishing should concentrate not on making money but on “making one’s soul grow.” Post-slideshow, Clark plans to discuss DIY publishing and the current arts scene in Indianapolis, connecting it all to Vonnegut’s convictions and teachings. If the proceedings make you feel inspired and ready to share your own creative musings, you’re in luck — the event concludes with an open mic poetry session. 6 p.m. Free.
On Saturday, you can attend German Fest at The Athenaeum: Do yourself a favor and skip breakfast on Saturday, as you’ll want to arrive at this year’s German Fest with a schnitzel-size hole in your stomach ready to be filled up. The Athenaeum Theatre, formerly known as Das Deutsche Haus, hosts the third annual celebration of all things German. Grab a freshly poured Hefeweizen and take in wiener-dog races, a Bavarian stone-lift competition and the harmonies of the Alpine Express yodelers. If you’re feeling ambitious, participate in the Lederhosenlauf 5K Run/Walk. Kid activities include such games as Zwergenwurf (a gnome ring toss) and Bretzelketten-Essen (a pretzel-eating contest). Noon-6 p.m. Free admission.
On Sunday: Violinist Augustin Hadelich joins forces with pianist Chih-Yi Chen and the Indiana University String Academy Chamber Orchestra in the season-opening performance of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis. Hadelich took home the gold medal in the 2006 competition. The evening’s program features Haydn’s Concerto in C Major for Violin and Orchestra, Ravel’s Tzigane and Beethoven’s Sonata No. 6 in A Major for Violin and Piano. The supreme acoustics at the IHC’s Frank and Katrina Basile Theater serve as the perfect venue for a night of orchestral wonderment. 3 p.m. Tickets: $25 general admission; $20 for seniors; $10 for students.
Also on Sunday, Halloween fun really kicks in with Cabaret Poe at Irvington Lodge: October’s arrival brings a welcome influx of dark and gothic entertainment offerings, including this Broadway-style musical based on the works of macabre literary master Edgar Allen Poe. Cabaret Poe comes thanks to local nonprofit Q Artistry, its third annual iteration of this Indianapolis original production. Poe stories reimagined for the musical include such classics as “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “Annabelle Lee” and, of course, “The Raven.” The show is not over-the-top spooky; event organizers encourage those ages 11 and up to attend. 3 p.m. Oct. 9, 16 and 23. Tickets: $15-$20.
Finally, on Tuesday, explore Chaos Theory at Butler University: Steven Strogatz somehow manages to pull of the impossible: he makes complex math not only understandable but engaging and relevant. Stogatz, who teaches applied mathematics at Cornell University, travels to Indy to discuss chaos theory as part of Butler’s J. James Woods Lecture Series. The professor earned acclaim and a wider audience with his 15-part blog on mathematics for The New York Times. In 2009 he published The Calculus of Friendship, reflecting on his 30-year correspondence with his high school calculus teacher. Stogatz previously taught at MIT, where he earned the school’s prestigious E.M. Baker Award, an honor bestowed on him by the student body. 7:30 p.m. Free.