IBJOpinion

LOU'S VIEWS: Myth-busting the Indy arts scene

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Lou Harry

In a meeting recently, the subject of Beef & Boards Dinner Theater came up and a co-worker commented that the food there was “terrible.”

“Myth,” I responded, and as I launched into a defense, I realized this was just one of many myths circling around the Indy arts and entertainment world. Time, I thought, to do some myth-busting:

Myth: The food is lousy at Beef & Boards.

No, it’s not gourmet. But I’ve never gone hungry or unsatisfied before a show at Beef & Boards, one of the few remaining professional dinner theaters in the country. Chef Odell Ward’s buffet could certainly use some more veggies on the salad bar (some cucumber, perhaps?), but the breads have gotten an upgrade, the meat is still freshly carved, and the multiple entrée options have always added up to a meal as good as that served at your average family dining restaurant.

My co-worker also thought B&B was expensive. That’s a relative thing, of course, but consider that last season the cheapest adult ticket to a Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre show was $26 and at Actors Theatre of Indiana, it was $40. For a B&B evening—with dinner—the cheapest was $37. Plus tip, of course.

Myth: There is nothing worthwhile culturally on the south side.

I heard this one almost as soon as I set foot in Indianapolis for the first time. But those who say this ignore the fact that there’s a steady stream of musicians (jazz, classical and more), and visual artists showcased—many for free—at the University of Indianapolis. UIndy has the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra as its ensemble-in-residence, has an impressive faculty artist series, and is home to the Kellogg Writers Series.

And that’s all before we get to the activities at Garfield Park Arts Center or venues southwest, such as Tibbs Drive-in.

Myth: All movies based on Kurt Vonnegut books are awful.

Granted, it’s difficult to sit through the film versions of “Slapstick” or “Breakfast of Champions.” But that doesn’t mean our brightest literary son’s appearance as himself in Rodney Dangerfield’s “Back to School” is the only worthwhile bit of Vonnegut on celluloid. Two of the best are 1972’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” and the 1982 Christopher Walken/Susan Sarandon short based on Vonnegut’s “Who Am I This Time?”

Myth: In the summer, all movie theaters here show the same thing.

Yes, come summer, even the Keystone Art Cinema leans toward the latest Hollywood blockbusters—or Hollywood would-be blockbusters. But you can find more creative programming at the wonderfully retro Artcraft Theatre in Franklin (including, in July, “On the Town” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark”) and at relative newcomer IU Cinema in Bloomington. Which brings us to ...

Myth: Bloomington, West Lafayette and Muncie are far, far away.

You have yourself to blame if you don’t have IU, Purdue and Ball State on your cultural radar. And you won’t be in the car for much more than an hour, depending on your departure point. All three offer programming in dance, theater, music and more that are great supplements to your arts diet here. Not only is there student and faculty work and a steady flow of touring activity at the universities’ respective auditoriums, but home-grown productions abound, including professional local theater from Cardinal Stage in Bloomington. That’s why I regularly include these nearby choices on my weekly A&E priority list and annual season preview.

Myth: Jenny De Voe plays at every festival in Indianapolis.

No, not all of them. But any festival is upgraded by her musical presence.

Myth: The Carmel Symphony Orchestra consists of amateur musicians.

Say that to the face of Larry Shapiro, the CSO’s concertmaster and a professor of music at Butler University, who toured as a soloist with the American Ballet Theatre and with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Or bass trombonist Jason Sulliman, who teaches workshops and clinics around the country. Or any of many other accomplished musicians who play for the Palladium’s resident orchestra.

Myth: All the best theater in the area happens in the professional theaters.

As a rule, I don’t go to many community theater productions. There’s just too much else to see and, honestly, the odds of quality are usually better with the pros. But that doesn’t mean civic or professionally managed theaters in the area don’t sometimes produce a show that holds its own with the big boys. Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre’s “Drowsy Chaperone” and Theatre on the Square’s “A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant” are two that come happily to mind.

Myth: Everything in the Broadway series comes from Broadway

Not always. The Broadway in Indianapolis series is usually anchored by the national tours of Broadway productions, but sometimes we get non-union follow-up tours (see last season’s “Beauty and the Beast” and “Fiddler on the Roof”). These productions aren’t automatically of lesser quality—and sometimes these lower-budget productions are the only version of a Broadway show on the road—but the talent usually doesn’t have the credentials of those in the Equity companies and often the design cutbacks show. For the record, the upcoming Broadway in Indianapolis season offers a more-than-usual lineup of first-run Broadway fare, including “Billy Elliot” and “Sister Act.” But by the time we get “West Side Story” in June 2013, it will be a non-Equity tour.

Myth: ComedySportz does only “family friendly” shows.

Yes, the bread and butter at the Mass Ave comedy haven are shows for all ages where audience members get a brown-bag foul if they so much as utter a suggestive word. But on select weekends, after-hours shows, including the current “Oz—Unscripted,” are available for those who don’t mind more colorful language and topics.

On the other hand, there’s the myth that …

Myth: Everything at the Phoenix Theatre and Theatre on the Square is “edgy.”

Let’s hope the Phoenix and TOTS never shy away from boundary expansion or from presenting work that other theaters might shy away from. That’s a core part of their strengths. But last season’s “Forever Sung” at the Phoenix and “Working” at TOTS show clearly that envelopes aren’t always pushed at these two Mass-Ave-area mainstays.

Myth: It’s all cheese and crackers at the First Friday gallery openings.

If you think that, you’ve never sampled the spread at a Harrison Center opening.•

__________

Have another myth you’d like busted? Add a comment after the online version of this story at www.ibj.com/arts.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Yay for Comedy Sportz
    Great article...and nice nod to Comedy Sportz!
  • Thank you!
    Thank you, Lou, for "busting" some of these old myths! Someone definitely needed to! Loved your piece...and your opinions!

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Hello Dear Are you tired of Seeking Loans and Mortgages,have you Been Turned down constantly By your banks and Other Financial Institutions or Micro Finance scheme. This is let you know with 100% guarantee that we Offer loans ranging from $1,000 Minimum to $1,000,000.00 Maximum at 3% interest rate per Month. We give out LOANS for developing business. a competitive edge/business expansion. email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com We offer the following kinds of loans and many more; * Personal Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Business Loans ( Unsecured Loan) * Consolidation Loan * Combination Loan * Home Improvement * Xmas Loans for contact to seek for loan email this email address: michealscottloan124@gmail.com Thanks

  2. My name is Mr Henry Josh and i live in the USA California and life is worth living right now for me and my family and all this is because of one man sent by GOD to help me and my family, i once had a life filled with sorrow because my first SON needed a kidney transplant and all our savings were going towards his medications and this normally leaves us with no money to pay our bills or even put enough food on our table and our rent was due and no funds to pay these bills and life felt so unfair to me and every night my wife will cry herself to sleep every night until one day, i was browsing through yahoo answers and i saw a striking advert of a man that gives out personal loans and that the offer is opened to all and i have heard so many things about internet scams but at this point of my life, i was very desperate and ready to take any risk and at the end of the day, i applied for this loan and from one step to another, i got my loan within 12 hours through bank transfer and you know, it was all like a dream and i called Mr Daniel Jones A Man who is the GOD sent lender i found and said, i have received my loan and he smiled stating that to GOD be the glory and i was so shocked as i have never ever seen anyone with such a GOD fearing and kind heart and today, i am the happiest man on earth because by GOD’S grace, my SON kidney transplant was successful and today he is healthy, i and my family are living very comfortable and happy and if you are in my former situation or in serious and legitimate need of a loan, you can reach this GOD sent lender via fidelityloanfirm@outlook.com

  3. Greetings to everyone reading this comment!!! I am Greg William by name. I am out here to recommend the effort of Mark Oscar,I was in need of a consolidation loan amount of 50,000 and as soon as I got in contact with Mark Oscar Loan Firm on Wednesday last week and on Friday last week as well I receive an alert from my bank(Royal Bank of Scotland Group) that the fund was transferred,I want everybody on this site to contact Mark Oscar now via email on how to get a loan because I got my loan from them and I am very happy,so contact them now. Oscarloanfinance@hotmail.com Thanks!!!!!!

  4. Elected officials, like Mourdock, get vested in 8 years. It takes 10 years for all other public employees, most of whom make a lot less money. So much for the promise to finish out his term.

  5. Great state treasurer and a good man!! Just curious if the folks who didn't quite understand his quote would like to tell my daughter-in-law that God didn't intend her! Mourdock's comment was correct but twisted and the article didn't mention that his opponent and the press let the impression stand that Mourdock meant that the rape was intended. Stupid people!!

ADVERTISEMENT