You-review-it Monday: First Friday and more

November 8, 2010
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This weekend kicked off the Ann Katz Festival of Books at the JCC and the Spirit & Place Festival. Did you catch any of those events?

As for me, I attended a workshop-ish read of Actors Theatre of Indiana's developing Hoagy Carmichael musical (Rule of thumb in life: Take any opportunity to hear "Skylark") and opening night of "Mary's Wedding" at the Indiana Repertory Theatre.

On the way to the IRT, I did some First Friday gallery hopping with a stop at the Arts Council of Indianapolis' Gallery 924, featuring the 6th Annual IDADA Members Exhibition. Question: What do you think of the Arts Council housing a gallery of its own?

There was also time for a visit to the Harrison Center for the Arts where the work (lots of it) of Kyle Ragsdale is featured through the end of the month (Yes, you can go to galleries other times besides the first Friday of the month).

In one of the three Ragsdale-devoted spaces, his paintings are presented in conjunction with photographs by Paul Baumgarten and text by John Beeler, Tyler Henderson and Cindy Ragsdale. All are featured in "Share, Half-Share," a booklet created for the Indiana Humanities Council's Food for Thought program.

My own thoughts on some of the above in later blogs and columns.

In the meantime, what did you see, hear or otherwise experience this weekend?

  • Powerful.
    Saw "Waiting for Superman," and felt extremely blessed to have access to Carmel Clay schools. Very engaging documentary with a strong point of view. I was very disappointed to learn that Michelle Rhee had resigned her position in the DC school district. She was one of the heroes in the film. Decompessed after the movie with a great dinner at Grille 39 in the Renaissance hotel up north. What a hidden gem that is! While the sea bass was delicious, the highlights of the meal were the parmesean risotto and the breadbasket!
  • three shows and a coming-soon novel
    My arts weekend started on Saturday night with performances of the 2010 winners of the Frank and Katrina Basile Emerging Stories Fellowships, hosted by Storytelling Arts of Indiana. I will write more about the world premieres of Jennie Kiffmeyer's and Celestine Bloomfields new storytelling pieces on my own blog soon, but the short version is: they were both very enjoyable! I left the Indiana History Center feeling relaxed and optimistic about life.

    On Sunday afternoon I saw and LOVED "The Belle of Amherst" starring Carrie Schlatter as American poet Emily Dickinson at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre. My detailed thoughts on this one-woman show are up on my blog now. The show has only a two-weekend run, so next weekend is your last chance to see it.

    On Sunday night I lucked out and was able to scoot in to see the final Indianapolis performance of "Dreamgirls" at the Murat Theatre. I was sick earlier in the run, when I first planned to see it. I am very glad I got to see this show. I will write more about it on my own blog soon.

    Of the books and ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) I've read recently, my favorite is a novel called The Radleys, by Matt Haig. It will be published by Free Press, a division of Simon&Schuster, on December 28, 2010.

    It is a vampire novel unlike any other. A seemingly ordinary family living in a small town in modern-day England is actually a family of "abstaining" vampires - i.e., the parents do not drink either human or vampire blood. Their teen daughter and son do not know about their heritage until one night a boy attempts to rape the daughter and her fangs appear to help her defend herself.

    This is definitely an adult book in that it is about the parents' marriage and thoughts of infidelity, but it is also about the teens' coming of age. I think both teens and adults will enjoy the adroit juxtaposition of the sharp "practicing" vampire culture with the bland "abstaining" vampire culture within one British family.

    Hope Baugh
    Indy Theatre Habit
  • Holes
    I went with families who took their Cub Scouts to IRT for Holes. Kudos to the whole production, but especially the boys in the play. They did a wonderful job of playing out the story and kept five 8 year olds completely engaged for two hours. My son said at least a dozen times that he can't wait to go back for the next show.

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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.