STAGES: January (& More)

■ by Ryan Dawes

◗ Father John Misty with Magic Trick
Friday, January 10 / The Bluebird / 9pm / $15
A former member of the Seattle-based Fleet Foxes, Father John Misty performs a warmly oaken folk-rock with swaggered bits of C&W.  Like so many beloved artists from the Northwestern US, Misty was guided by “immobilizing” depression in creating his first solo album Fear Fun.  However, rather than licking his wounds through song, Father John emerged with a new narrative, more mischievous, independent, horny, and weird.  Warming up the stage will be the pet project of Tim Cohen, Magic Trick, which combines 60’s psychedelic rock and 70’s folk.

Father John Misty

◗ Jeff Mangum (of Neutral Milk Hotel) with Tall Firs, The Briars
Tuesday, January 15 / The Buskirk-Chumley Theater / 7:00 pm / $33.50
While Neutral Milk Hotel released only two full-length albums, the band’s success and influence was expansive throughout the late 90’s and continues to be heard in bands like Arcade Fire and the Decemberists.  Mangum himself has largely avoided fame and only very sporadically tours, making this appearance in Bloomington a rare treat.  The evening will also include sets by cousins Jeremy Thal and Gideon Crevoshay of The Briars of North America and the Brooklyn-based Tall Firs, who plays mellow, guitar-centric indie rock.

Jeff Mangum

◗ Percussive Dance Extravaganza
Thursday, January 17 / Rhino’s / 7:30 pm / $15
This particular extravaganza features the fiery feet of local dancers specializing in flatfooting, clogging, tap, French Canadian and English wooden shoe, and Long sword dancing, which originates in early 20th century England and uses “rapper swords.”  Traditional folk/old-time dance music will be supplied by a makeshift band of all-stars, led by fiddle master Brad Leftwich.  Featured dancers include Annie Bartlett, Suzannah Edgar, Mary Beth Roska, Allana Radecki, and Tamara Loewenthal (that lady from the farmer’s market). Tickets are available at Bloomingfoods, who will also supply the evening with refreshments.

◗ Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Friday, January 25; Saturday, January 26; Wednesday, February 6 & Thursday, February 7 / Ivy Tech Waldon Arts Center / 7:30 / $15-$25
Set within a high-brow university after-party, this US American play by Edward Albee was first performed in 1962 and won several Tonys, including Best Play in 1963.  Considered Albee’s best production, this emotional work confronts and exposes domestic abuse, alcoholism, and embarrassment within two relationships.  This particular production is cast by, among others, Bill Simmons and Diane Kondrat, who have acted together in several productions and have both worked under local acting teacher Martha Jacobs.  This will be Kondrat’s final performance in south central Indiana before moving to Portland, OR.

◗ Old Blue Eyes: Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack
Saturday, January 26 / Brown County Playhouse / 7:30 pm / $22.50
Summoning the showmanship of Frank, Sam, and Dino, this performance will feature many hits by the Rat Pack, with choreography by Cynthia Pratt and David Hochoy.  The evening will also serve as a memorial to the late Brown County-based philanthropist and entrepreneur, Howard Hughes, who passed away just over a year ago.  The services supported by Hughes includes a venerable list of who’s who in the NPO realm of south central Indiana, including Dance Kaleidoscope, who is co-producing Old Blue Eyes with the BCPH.  Tickets are available online.

◗ Dark Star Orchestra
Wednesday, February 6 / The Buskirk-Chumley Theater / 8 pm / $27.50
Come all ye Wookiees, Wharf Rats, and Spinners to behold the transformation of Kirkwood Avenue into Shakedown Street, albeit a more wholesome version. This Grateful Dead cover band places as much focus on precise historic accuracy as it does on jamming out.  Each DSO set is based on a particular concert from the Dead’s extensive touring history.  During each concert, they announce the venue and date of the Dead show to be replicated and strictly abide by that night’s set list and stage setup.  Tickets to this living rock-history lesson are available one door east of the Buskirk, at the Sunrise Box Office during normal business hours.

Dark Star Orchestra

Thursday, February 14 / The Bishop / 8:30 / $12-14
Incorporating sax, brass, piano, synth, and abundantly intricate percussion, this Portland, OR-based experimental pop group might remind you of outfits like Islands or tUnE-yArDs.  Recently reshaped into a duo, Menomena’s latest and fifth album ‘Moms’ contains five songs by each member, one whose mother passed away and the other raised by a single mother.  This diversely orchestrated set will be preceded by the New York City band Guards, whose most recent album included contributions from members of Cults and MGMT.


The Ryder, January 2013