You-review-it Monday

May 9, 2011
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I'll assume that the Moms in your life were the focus of the weekend. But surely there was some time for A&E activity as well?

For me, that meant seeing the Phoenix Theatre's redo of "The Zippers of Zoomerville" (more on that soon) and continuing my recent reading tangent of books about acting, focusing this time on Alan Arkin's "An Improvised Life" and a volume of interviews with Al Pacino. Plus there was "The Other Guys" and "Ball of Fire" on the DVR--two very different comedies.

And you? What did you get to this weekend?

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  • Big Arts Weekend
    Friday I went to see Thorton Dial's exhibit at IMA. Extradordinary. I think this would appeal to even those who rarely go see art. There is just so much to look at. And while the pieces are very serious subject matter, the found objects he uses makes it fun. The contemporary pieces were especially striking given the relevance to last weeks news.

    Then I hit up White Rabbit Cabaret for March 4th Marching Band. So glad this amazing group from Portland had a venue. Imagine a marching band gone punk rock with burlesque and stilt dancers. A very fun, high energy night for all involved in a wonderful intimate venue.

    Saturday I saw the Lives of Cut Flowers at IndyFringe Theatre by Paperstrangers performance group. I have seen a few shows written by Jessica Strauss now and it is exciting to see her work continue to evolve. This show was a collaborative experience incorporating dance into the drama. Some parts worked better then others, but overall it was an intriguing and well performed piece. And I am glad this group exists in Indy to do this kind of work.

    The best of all, I experienced all three of these art events for under $40.
    • Win Win
      Great Mother's Day. Served Soup's On at Robert's Park UMC with my daughter, then took both kids to see Win Win. Really charming movie. Glad I got into the dark before it left town.
    • Marching Band
      The March Fourth Marching Band was amazing. Haven't danced that much in years. Too bad they are not coming back for a while!!
    • 39 Steps
      39 Steps at the Indiana Repertory Theatre is one of their finest, most entertaining, plays is many years. It is well written and very well performed, and especially fun for Hitchcock fans.

      A very welcome relief after Diary of Anne Frank and The Gospel According to James.
    • Great Weather
      Saturday was all about some youth kulture for me and the wife: saw Thor in 3-D up north in Noblesville (fewer winey kids than downtown) and was there to have some fun - and it was fun! Nothing deep, visually fun, and loud = summer movie fun!
      Later on Saturday we ventured out to the Earth House Collective to see seminal indy hardcore band In the Face of War's last show. It was my first time in the sancuary for a show and aside from some careless mixing during We Are Hex's opening set the show sounded good by 9pm. We ventured a block south to Maxine's in the rain only to find out they close at 8:30 on Saturdays = WEAK! Finished the night off at the good ole Red Key for PBRs and cheesey sandwiches.

    • Great concerts
      I attended the ISO concert at the Palladium on Thursday night. Joshua Bell was fantastic as soloist in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. The concert finale was the exciting Symphony #4 of the same composer. Opener was a new work that had some good moments but was forgettable - I can't recall the title. I must say that I have never heard the brass of the ISO sound so clear and well articulated - it was terrific playing by all and the horns were downright heroic in the Symphony. Also crystal clear was the articulation of the woodwinds, and the hall's acoustics really showed in the soft harmonics of the solo violin - I don't ever recall hearing them that clearly before.

      Friday night was spent at Carmel HS seeing Hello Dolly. I'm not exactly impartial, as my wife is a choir director at CHS, but they really do musicals well. There was a large student pit orchestra that sounded terrific, and the vocal talent was impressive. Jessamyn Anderson sang the title role and has a presence on stage that is indeed surprising for such a young singer. I imagine we will be seeing her on stage for many years to come, as she is headed to the IU Jacobs School of Music next year in vocal performance.

      Saturday night was back at the Palladium for a concert with the Carmel Symphony Orchestra. Katie Hamilton was an audience favorite as soprano soloist throughout the first half. Her voice was bright and clear on selections from Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. After intermission the CSO played Dvorak's immensely popular New World Symphony. Conductor David Bowden did a nice job with introductory remarks on the American cultural impact on Dvorak and the inspiration behind some of the themes. I have been listening to the CSO since their first concert back in 1977, and while there has generally been steady improvement, they have sounded like a different orchestra this season. The lush string sound was really in evidence in the Dvorak, and this does not sound at all like a volunteer string section. They show depth of sound and solid intonation, and it is obvious that they have really worked hard and made great strides recently. Woodwind solos were well played as well. The audience gave them a long standing ovation, and they are well suited to their home stage.

      Congratulations are in order to several local high school ensembles that participated in the ISSMA State Finals of concert organizations on Saturday. North Central won concert band and concert choir and finished second in orchestra. Carmel was the state champion in orchestra and the CHS second orchestra (the first time a high school has ever placed 2 orchestras in state finals) placed fourth. The CHS Wind Symphony was the runnerup to NCHS. Hamilton Southeastern placed third in concert band and Avon was fifth. Bravo to these great local ensembles and their conductors.

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