More January happenings: Music at the Riley Home; book signing at Indy Reads; art openings at Big Car

AT THE JAMES Whitcomb Riley Museum Home: Step back in time and into the historic Lockerbie Square home’s parlor to hear Christopher Pitts play stylistic influences of ragtime and stride piano on the home’s original 1908 Apollo player piano. Part of the Music from the Parlor series, the event will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12, in the Visitor Center, where guests can get their cocktail and some light refreshments before walking over to the parlor for the evening’s entertainment. The performance will last over an hour and include one intermission. Cocktails and beverages will be available before the event and during intermission, with two drinks tickets included with each ticket. The themed cocktails will be provided by Four Finger Distillery, served in a special, souvenir cup that audiences can enjoy while listening inside the parlor and keep the souvenir cup after the event.

Sponsors and partners include Brittany A. Faulkner of the Rob Measel Team, Talk to Tucker; State Farm on Mass Ave/The Whitfield Agency; Four Finger Distillery; and District Dental Spa.

Christopher Pitts is focused on connecting the listener to our shared musical history extending from the rhythmic innovations of Black American music. His musical taste and sensibilities stem from and eclectic mixture of influences from traditional west African music, electronic music, hip hop, classical music and the jazz piano tradition.

For tickets, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/music-from-parlor-presents-christopher-pitts-tickets-751661799677?aff=ebdssbdestsearch.

AT INDY READS: J. Brent Bill will offer readings from his latest book, Amity: Stories from the Heartland, at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28.

Among his many books are Hope and Witness in Dangerous Times, Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love: Four Essentials for the Abundant Life, and Life Lessons from a Bad Quaker: A Humble Stumble Toward Simplicity and Grace. He has also authored more than 100 short stories and non-fiction articles.

He was graduated from Wilmington College and the Earlham School of Religion and has worked as a local church pastor, denominational executive, seminary faculty member, and go-cart track operator. He resides on Ploughshares Farm, which is fifty acres of Indiana farmland near Mooresville that is being reclaimed for native hardwood forests and warm season prairie grasses.

Amity: Stories from the Heartland is a collection of short stories set in the Midwest, a region known for its honest, hardworking, plain-speaking, religious people who are as complex and thoughtful as the most urbane city dwellers. These stories are about 1930s housewives, modern day priests, 1960s kids, and more – as well as the varieties and vagaries of their lives’ trials, triumphs, failings, joys, sorrows, and surviving — and the beauty and mystery of it all.

At THE TUBE FACTORY: abstract textiles and works on paper by Julian Jamaal Jones will comprise Take Me Back, an exhibit gleaning fragments from the songs, poetry, sounds and his feelings for the Black church experience of the 1990s. The exhibit will open on Friday, Jan. 5, and run through March  24 in the Main Gallery.

Growing up in the outskirts of Indianapolis during that decade, Jones navigated predominantly White spaces, making the church a sanctuary for him to engage with and celebrate both his religion and his Blackness. The church of Jones’s youth provided an atmosphere for creative inspiration and self-determination rooted in community, spirituality, and strong sensory experiences. In his first hometown exhibition, Jones channels his personal memories and nostalgic pangs into a new body of work that honors “the old Black church.”

Said curator Shauta Marsh, “His works are reverent. And, although Jones is tapping into a personal experience to create the works, the understanding and appeal of the works is universal. The desire for belonging and finding it through shared myth. The works speak to us all.”

Jones is a multidisciplinary artist and educator born and raised in Indianapolis. He received his bachelor’s degree in photography in 2020 from the Herron School of Art + Design and a master’s in photography in 2022 from Cranbrook Academy of Art at Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Also at the Tube Factory, Meggan Gould is presenting Sorry, No Pictures in the

Jeremy Efroymson Gallery through Jan. 15 in partnership with Aurora Photocenter. 

Gould’s exhibit examines photographic tools and technologies and their constant teeter on the edge of obsolescence. Gould takes apart and re-contextualizes the smallest aspects of the medium, including the iconography of camera dials, the design of viewfinder patterns, and the ubiquitous Epson inkjet printer test pattern.

Gould is a photographer living and working outside of Albuquerque, N.M., where she is an associate professor of Art at the University of New Mexico. Her multifaceted practice uses photography, drawing, sculpture, and installation in an open ended dissection of vision and photographic tools.

PHOTO ABOVE: The James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home will host another Music in the Parlor event on Friday, Jan. 12.