January is traditionally a quiet month in the Circle City, and a First Friday that follows quickly on the heels of Christmas and New Years' celebrations could expectably be a sleepy one. But, instead of resting on its collective laurels after a great 2013, Indianapolis' arts scene has a rich lineup of intriguing opportunities to fill your Jan. 3rd evening hours.
For the very first Friday of 2014:
Lovers of matinee idols and classic comedies have a couple options to celebrate cinematic history. The Indianapolis Museum of Art launches its Winter Nights film series in the Toby with The Thin Man. This classic whodunit starring William Powell and Myrna Loy offers endless cocktails, one-liners and perhaps the best pair of romantic crime solvers this side of Moonlighting. On Mass Ave, visitors to the Art Bank can check out "Frozen Frames," a group show exploring Hollywood's influence on culture in a variety of media.
The Harrison Center for the Arts fills even the secret, hidden spots of its building with work that tackles serious topics, sound and storytelling. The NEW! Exhibition features drawings and paintings by David Hicks, a visiting lecturer at Herron whose work explores spirituality, identity, pain and healing. While Hicks considers masculinity and many other topics in a heavy way, Polina Osherov's "Beyond the Beard" series, on display in Harrison's Gallery No. 2, takes a less weighty turn, featuring not only bearded men but the contents of their wallets.
In addition to these 2-D experiences, two 48-hour visiting residents from Chattanooga literally hole up in the center's hidden studio space, AKA the Sound Cave. The pair plan to learn about Indianapolis from Harrison visitors and react to the information they gather. And in the Gym, Brooklyn-based Start the Car has local storytellers using multimedia presentations to consider the theme of Comebacks.
The storytelling continues at Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, where poet and memoirist Jade Sylvan speaks. The Indiana University graduate recently published "Kissing Oscar Wilde," described by DigBoston as "a pansexual bildungsroman crafted with unabashed eloquence." In other words, it sounds like a pretty interesting story.
Finally, at Upland Brewing Company's Propaganda Room in the Murphy Building, Mike Altman plans to beat the previous most-art-in-the-space count with more than 200 pieces. The Cincinnati-based artist, who has worked for AT&T and Nickelodeon, works in simple lines and bold colors to create distinctive illustrations and art. As a heartwarming bonus, beer proceeds at the event will go to BLOC, an Ohio-based organization that works with at-risk kids.