INDIANAPOLIS — The opening weekend of the annual Spirit & Place Festival is kicking off with five events reflecting on this year's theme of "play."
The weekend will feature French musician and composer Pierre Bastien, singer-songwriters Carrie Newcomer and Krista Detor, Emmy Award-winner and Danville native Philip Gulley, and Scott Russell Sanders, accomplished author and national winner of the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award. The city's largest 10-day collaborative festival takes place Nov. 2 through 11.
Now celebrating its 17th year, the Spirit & Place Festival is an extensive civic celebration engaging upwards of 20,000 people throughout central Indiana in dozens of programs presented by more than 100 organizations. A project of The Polis Center at the IU School of Liberal Arts-IUPUI, its mission is to stimulate conversation, community building, and civic action through creative collaborations among arts, religion, and humanities.
Playing in the Streets
6-9 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Harrison Center for the Arts, 1505 N. Delaware St.
Celebrate playful place-making on First Friday with artists, musicians, performance artists, and students from Butler University as they express the particularity and creativity of Indy's urban neighborhoods with original creations. See exhibits, including featured work by Harrison Center Curator Kyle Ragsdale; hear local singer-songwriters; celebrate the 20th anniversary of LISC (Local Initiatives Service Corporation); and visit dozens of booths showcasing upcoming Spirit & Place Festival programs.
Musical Machinery Workshop with Pierre Bastien
10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Nov. 3 at Big Car Service Center, 3819 Lafayette Road
Learn how to create your own mechanical instruments and orchestral contraptions in a hands-on workshop with French composer and sound installation artist Pierre Bastien. In 1986, Bastien built a mechanical orchestra activated by electro-motors that play on acoustic instruments from all over the world. Today, he and his musical machines collaborate with dance companies, circuses, video artists, fashion designers, and musicians globally. Bastien will be showcased in an afternoon performance.
Our Lives as Sacred Story with Carrie Newcomer
Noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 3 at Christian Theological Seminary (Room 166), 1000 W. 42nd St.
Free; on-line pre-registration encouraged
Conversation, exploratory writing, and individual and group experiences surround the playful beauty and sacred meaning of life in a hands-on workshop led by Indiana singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer. Newcomer has been described as "a soaring songstress" by Billboard, a "prairie mystic" by the Boston Globe, and Rolling Stone has said that she "asks all the right questions." Writers, songwriters, and "creatives" of all types and skill levels are welcome.
Musical Machinery Performance with Pierre Bastien
3-5 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Indianapolis Public Library, Central Library Ñ 40 E. Saint. Clair St.
Music and mechanics collide when experimental instrument builder and sound installation artist Pierre Bastien presents a unique performance that blends live trumpet sounds with screen projections of on-site, mechanical sound sculptures he has constructed. His work is described as "a timeless sounding orchestra, conjuring ancient traditions in its surprisingly sensuous music." Bastien will also lead a morning workshop on building mechanical instruments.
Miracles, Myths, Lyrics & Lies
6:30 to 8 p.m. Nov. 3 at Christian Theological Seminary, 1000 W. 42nd St.
$20 adults; $15 students/seniors (cts.edu/events or at the door)
Singer-songwriters Carrie Newcomer and Krista Detor and writers Phil Gulley and Scott Russell Sanders will weave story and song together in a harmony that explores the playful side of spirituality. These four award-winning Hoosier artists will share humorous essays, tall tales, and tender songs that blend whimsy and wonder with mystery and merriment in a performance that is by turns romantic, spiritual, and hilarious. Call 317-931-4224 for more information.
For details on all Spirit & Place programs and events, visit the website www.spiritandplace.org.