If you’re like me, it seems like February is always full of gray, wet days and spring is never going to arrive. It’s also when my winter cabin fever really sets in. So let’s stay busy and maybe it’ll go a little faster! Bloomington is full of February events — including several Black History Month events, multiple film festivals (PRIDE and Wild & Scenic, for example), and exhibits such as Tri Kappa Comes Home, which highlights exquisite and rare paintings from the Brown County Art Guild’s celebrated member artists of the 20th century, and photographer Adam Reynold’s projects No Lone Zone and Architecture of an Existential Threat at Pictura Gallery (“both examine expressions of military might and nuclear power, and our responses to those powers,” journeying “underground, through bomb shelters, missile silos, and hidden rooms in Israel and the United States”).
Indiana University always has a lot going on, with a variety of concerts (such as the IU Latin Jazz Ensemble or New Music Ensemble), sports (check out an IU Women’s Basketball game), and lectures (such as one by Cameron Silver on the history of 20th century fashion or a talk by Dorianne Green on stereotype threat, a “phenomenon that can lead to lower academic or intellectual performance [and] is experienced by racial/ethnic minorities, women, and others, and can negatively impact mental and physical well-being”).
There are also a bunch of recurring events that can take you well into the months ahead! Maybe it’s a Game Preserve game night or crafting while talking about podcasts at Cup & Kettle, weekly trivia with Skip Dailey at Conner’s Taproom, mini rejuvenation retreats at the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, Cookies and Craft at Artisan Alley’s Dimensions Gallery, or Gather :handmade shoppe & Co.:’s Crafternoons at Switchyard Brewery.
This is just a smattering. Here are some details on a variety of events in the coming month that will help you fight, or even cure, cabin fever.
Poetry Slam and Open Mic Night, February 1, The Bishop, 8:30 p.m.
Kick off February and honor Black History Month by supporting local Black talent at The Bishop’s Poetry Slam. The evening begins with an open mic, featuring artists (including conceptual artist A. Bowden), musicians, and writers, leading into a poetry slam with a special guest host, Joseph Harris. Whether you participate or are there to watch, you’re sure to get the month started on a good note.
Making Spaces, Ruth N. Halls Theatre, February 8, 7:30 p.m. and February 9-10, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
For the first time ever, IU’s elite dance programs — contemporary dance in the Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance, the Jacobs School of Music Department of Ballet, and the African American Dance Company — are partnering up to bring us a collaborative winter dance concert, “featuring new and established works exploring community, identity, diversity, and empathy.” Pieces will feature a variety of styles of dance, from ballet to the music of The Beach Boys to the queer underground style of “vogueing,” and inspirations including the isolation and community that surround those living with HIV and gender discrimination.
Queer Valentine’s Type-In, February 8, Soma East, 6-8:30 p.m.
Sycamore Type Shop invites folks who are “tired of the relentlessly hetero-Hallmark Valentine’s Day” to “come queer it up and type and craft your own Valentines, contribute to a queer love zine, and enter to win a typewriter or some art from your local trans typeshop!” The event will be at Soma East, with typewriters and paper provided so you can make a Valentine your special someone will remember (or make a Valentine for yourself — you deserve it!).
Bloomington Music Expo, February 9, Monroe Convention Center, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Bloomington Music Expo — taking place at the Monroe Convention Center and hosted by Visit Bloomington, Bloomington Brewing Company, Downtown Bloomington, Inc., Graduate Bloomington, Landlocked Music, Secretly Canadian, & WFHB — is an all-day celebration of the area’s diverse music scene, with music and performances, games and prizes, 20 vinyl vendors, 5 record labels, and 25 other music-related organizations. And a friendly reminder: “Vinyl’s not just for hipsters, you know.”
Winter Palooza, February 9, Bryan Park, 2-5 p.m.
Now, maybe you do want to be outside and embrace winter. The City of Bloomington Parks and Rec is hosting a winter celebration at Bryan Park. They promise there will be snow — even if they have to make it themselves. The event is full of family-friendly games and activities, such as the “Snowman Village,” snowshoe and human dogsled courses, a “safe version” of a snowball fight, a Snowball Slingshot, and winter-related crafts. Get your winter on!
‘Wasted! The Story of Food Waste,’ February 16, Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 4 p.m.
Interested in what you can do in your daily life to help protect the planet and reduce food waste but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you already compost but want to do even more? This free showing of the documentary Wasted! The Story of Food Waste, sponsored by the City of Bloomington and the Bloomington Food Policy Council in support of the 2018 Sustainability Action Plan, “aims to change the way people buy, cook, recycle, and eat food.” There is also a post-screening talk about what you can do locally.
Salt Creek Valley History Open House, February 17, Paynetown SRA, Activity Center, 1-4 p.m.
Maybe you know that making Lake Monroe required a small town or two to be flooded and lost forever. But what about the rest of the area, called Salt Creek Valley? It has a history too. Jill Vance, the interpretive naturalist at Lake Monroe, is working on a long-term project to document and map the history of the Salt Creek Valley area. She’s bringing in what she has so far, including a slideshow of historic photos, and is inviting people to come in with their own research and stories to add to the project.
Lotus Firebay Open House, February 23, Lotus Education & Arts Foundation, 2-4 p.m.
Check out one of Bloomington’s new event spaces! Lotus Education & Arts Foundation is hosting an open house for the public to enjoy their event space in the newly renovated fire station on South Rogers. There will be performances from Fairview student groups as well as interactive art and hands-on crafts. You can also learn more about Lotus’s year-round events.