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The Indiana Daily Student

arts community events

Granfalloon 2024 returns May 20-June 7

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Granfalloon, an arts and music festival inspired by famed Hoosier author Kurt Vonnegut, begins May 20 in Bloomington. This year the festival is themed around Vonnegut’s novel “Jailbird,” which examines the labor movement, the turn of the century and the Watergate scandal through a memoirist style. A complete schedule of the festival’s events can be found online. 

The term “Granfalloon” comes from Vonnegut’s book “Cat’s Cradle,” which he defines as “a proud and meaningless association of human beings.” The festival celebrates Vonnegut’s “hopeful cynicism” and his fascination with Hoosier identity and contributions. 

The festival’s literary events begin with Books on Tap, a book club-style evening with drinks and discussion on Vonnegut’s book “Jailbird” at 6:30 p.m. at Morgenstern’s Books. The festival also coincides with the 84th IU Writers’ Conference, which will have intersecting events with the Granfalloon theme.  

There will be Writers’ Conference readings at 7 p.m. on June 7-9 at The Gayle Karch Cook Center. The events will be free, and the authors will be announced soon. More about the Writers’ Conference can be found on the website. 

The festival will also feature musical performances from local artists as well as headlining national acts. Bloomington’s Cosmic Songwriter organization hosts a showcase of local songwriters at 7 p.m. June 5 at The Orbit Room. This free event is 21+ and you can reserve a table online. 

At 9 p.m. June 5 and 7, IU Musical Theatre presents a cabaret performance of music from Stephen Sondheim’s “Assassins” at The Bishop Bar. The free event is 18+ but the bar will be open for those who are 21+. 

At 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. June 7, accomplished IU alumni Anna Butterss and Ben Lumsdaine will perform two jazz sets at The Orbit room. The 21+ event is free and table reservations can be made online. 

Celebrating 42 years, the octogenarian rock ‘n’ roll chorus with over 50 international tours’ worth of experience Young@Heart will be in concert at 7 p.m. at The Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Tickets are available on the Buskirk’s website. 

Enjoy live music by local community artists during the Bloomington Handmade Market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 8 at the southeast corner of the Monroe County Courthouse. After the market, Girls Rock Bloomington will present The Sera-Tones, a band formed in a Girls Rock camp, as well as a performance from director and founder Amy O.  

The day of music will conclude with the Main Stage Concert at 5 p.m. on East Kirkwood Avenue with the acclaimed riot grrrl band Sleater-Kinney, with guest acts The Linda Lindas, and My Son the Hurricane. 

The festival will also consist of thematic talks to further explorethe central ideas of Vonnegut’s work. At 6 p.m. May 22 there will be a reception to meet and mingle with local artists and hear from the recipients of the inaugural Granfalloon Art Project Grant Program at Hopscotch Coffee.  

Granfalloon is partnering with WonderLab for WonderLab After Hours to hear from guest speakers about the central themes of “Jailbird” and how they intersect with the scientific world. The event will begin at 7 p.m. June 1 at WonderLab and there will be refreshments. 

The Cook Center will feature thematic talks from educator and journalist Pat LaMarche at 5 p.m. June 5, and painter and Vonnegut’s daughter Nanette Vonnegut at 5 p.m. June 6. There will also be a memorial event at 5 p.m. June 7 honoring Dan Wakefield and Vonnegut with readings, film clips and tributes at the Cook Center’s Kurt Vonnegut Altar. 

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Carl Bernstein who uncovered the Watergate scandal will give a talk at 7 p.m. June 6 at The Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Tickets are available online. 

In addition to literary events and talks, there will also be a slate of film screenings curated around the festival’s central themes and inspired by “Jailbird.”  

There will be a screening at 9 p.m. of the movie “Holes” May 25 and “Secret Honor” will screen at 7 p.m. May 29 in Bryan Parl. 

IU Cinema will screen “V for Vendetta” 7 p.m. May 30, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” 4 p.m. June 1 and “Brazil” at 7 p.m. June 5. Tickets are available online. 

Wim Wender’s latest film “Perfect Days” will screen at 9 p.m. June 6 in Butler Park, and to finalize, at the end of the week there will be a family-friendly triple feature of Chicken, Muppets Most Wanted and Paddington 2 beginning at 10 a.m. June 8 at the Buskirk-Chumley theater. The event is free and unticketed, and guests are encouraged to stop by or stay all day. 

Granfalloon celebrates Hoosier art and Kurt Vonnegut’s legacy in the heart of Bloomington. 

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