Recent Blog Posts

Hating contemporary art

November 13, 2008
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A whirlwind of a day started with my earlier-than-usual weekly Fox 59 segment (if you missed it, you can catch it here later today) and will end with the IBJ Night at the Movies midnight screening of "Quantum of Solace"...
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Review: "Whirl of the Divine"

November 12, 2008
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It was encouraging to a see a packed house at the Central Library for the Nov. 9 performance of "Powered by Poetry-- Whirl of the Divine." It was even better to see that the production itself--a collaboration between Butler University Departments...
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Conservative theater-an oxymoron?

November 11, 2008
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An interesting Wall Street Journal piece (read it here) asks why we don't see conservative political theater. Apart from Tom Stoppard and David Mamet, the writer of the piece "can't think of a single well-known American or British playwright...
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You-review-it Monday

November 9, 2008
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So, did you go Spirit-and-Place-ing this weekend? (I got to the "Madness and Creativity" conversation at Butler University and the remarkable "Whirl of the Divine" performance at the Central Library.) Do some First Friday gallery hopping? (Maybe we crossed paths at IMOCA or the...
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Review: B.J. Novak at Clowes

November 7, 2008
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At his strongest when addressing the largely student audience on generationally-specific subjects, stand-up B.J. Novak--best known from his role as Ryan on NBC's "The Office"--riffed smartly on OnStar, iTunes, Bill Nye, Wikipedia and GoogleMaps during his Thursday night set at...
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IBJ movie nights: Bond, etc.

November 5, 2008
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In the past, I've hosted a wide range of IBJ Night at the Movies screenings. The next two, however, are a little different. The tickets I'm giving away are, to be accurate, for IBJ LATE Nights at the Movies. Midnight, to be specific.  First...
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Cultural two-fers

November 5, 2008
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One of the more convenient excuses given for not going to cultural events is the cost. Well, with the 25th anniversary Zoobook now in release, that excuse has once again been mitigated. Yes, I know that there are those of you...
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Fictional Presidential match-ups

November 3, 2008
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Here, for your entertainment, some fictional election match-ups (ignoring party affiliations). Who gets your vote? Peter Sellers in "Dr. Strangelove" vs. Michael Douglas in "The American President" vs. Morgan Freeman in "Deep Impact"? Next round: Martin Sheen on "The West Wing" vs. Donald...
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You-review-it Monday

November 2, 2008
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For me, the weekend included catching up with shows at the Phoenix and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It also involved stealing moments to read, flipping between David Wild's goofy new "He Is...I Say: How I Learned to Stop Worrying...
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Random tricks/random treats

October 31, 2008
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Some random thoughts on cultural horrors.  --Boris Karloff may be Hollywood's most underrated golden-era star. Watch him in "Son of Frankenstein" if you get a chance (although the film itself isn't as good as the perversely fun "Bride of Frankenstein"). --When we...
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Bookstore booze to be tested

October 30, 2008
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According to the Western Michigan Business Review, Schuler Books and Music in Grand Rapids (an outstanding locally owned chain) is looking to go beyond the cafe-and-sweet-treats ammenities that have become stapes in bookshops. The downtown store has applied for a...
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Film: Can 'best' = 'most popular'?

October 28, 2008
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Interesting stat in today's New York Times: The last four winners of the Academy Award for Best Picture ("No Country for Old Men," "The Departed," "Crash," and "Million Dollar Baby") combined didn't bring in the box office money of 2003's...
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On celebrity interviews

October 28, 2008
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Peter Bart, one of the smarter guys in Hollywood, has an interesting blog over at Variety. His topic: Celebrity interviews. (Find it here.) In the piece, Bart elequently points out something I've felt for a long time now: That most...
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You-review-it Monday

October 26, 2008
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There was a lot to choose from this weekend. Did you pick Hubbard Street Dance or David Byrne at Clowes? Or Gregory Hancock's "Oh My Goth"? Stop in at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, or the...
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Emptying the arts notebook

October 24, 2008
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Today, some random notes from around the arts world: --Chris Jones at the Chicago Tribune has an interesting item today about customer service in theaters. See it here. Have you had any overwhelming negative or positive experiences from the front-of-the-house...
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Haunt-ing for real reporting

October 23, 2008
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This is the time of year that otherwise respectable news outlets begin publishing or broadcasting stories about haunted houses--not just the "guy jumps out at you with a chainsaw" haunted houses but also the allegedly real ones.  Problem is, many of...
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Were 'Great Books' a great idea?

October 22, 2008
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The 54-volume Great Books of the Western World series, a set of books that sold more than a million copies in the 1950s and '60s, was:  a. an empowering, groundbreaking effort to bring brilliant writing to the masses. b. a sales stunt perpetrated by Encyclopedia...
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High school musical memories

October 20, 2008
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Between the upcoming release of Disney's "High School Musical 3" in theaters--as both an arts journalist and the father of teenage girls, I know a lot about HSM--and my kid's own real life high school musical (Pike High School's production...
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You-review-it Monday

October 19, 2008
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Truly moved by anything at the Heartland Film Festival? Catch Dance Kaleidoscope's season opener? Visit a haunted house or, like me, were you part of the jury at the trial at the Benjamin Harrison Home? So what did you get to...
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Review: 'Striped Pajamas'

October 16, 2008
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The Heartland Film Festival kicks off tonight with the North American premiere (which I incorrectly stated was a World Premiere in my weekly e-mail) of "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas." Landing a major studio premiere is a coup for Heartland...
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Review: "Avenue Q"

October 15, 2008
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A few month's back, I travelled to Louisville to catch the national tour of "Avenue Q." Not only was I anxious to see the Tony-winning show, but I also wanted to catch it before it came to Indy, the better to...
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More ISO 'Guys and Dolls' thoughts

October 14, 2008
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At some point, I will write about something besides the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's presentation of "Guys and Dolls in Concert" last weekend. But that point isn't here yet. I blogged on one aspect of the show on Saturday. (Find it here, along...
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You-review-it Monday

October 13, 2008
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What a weekend. For me, it included the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's once-in-a-lifetime production of "Guys and Dolls" (Okay, so I saw it twice), Butler University Theatre's "Phedre," Theatre on the Square's "Evil Dead: The Musical" and reading through most of Walter...
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Casting magic for "Guys and Dolls"

October 10, 2008
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An open letter to Des McAnuff, director of the upcoming Broadway revival of "Guys and Dolls." Mr McAnuff, You don't know me, but having seen your productions of "The Who's Tommy," "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," and "Jersey Boys,"...
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Rodgers & Hammerstein thoughts

October 10, 2008
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The well-sung but nondescript production of "The Sound of Music" currently running at Beef & Boards got me thinking about the musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein. Some random thoughts:  --The R&H reputation pretty much rests on "Oklahoma!," "Carousel," "South Pacific," "The King...
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