You-review-it Monday

November 17, 2008
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Before I get to the regular portion of the Monday blog, I'd like to take a moment to note with sadness the death of Matthew Oskay, director of the Warren Performing Arts Center. Matt, 30, was one of our town's four arts presenters featured on the cover of IBJ Arts & Entertainment Preview this year and was a vital force not just for the Warren's visiting artist program, but also for students at Warren Central High School. Peace to his family, students, and friends.


This weekend, I took an early-in-the-season look at the Indiana Repertory Theatre's annual "A Christmas Carol" (with the pre-play frustration of finding that seemingly half of the parking meters downtown were covered on Saturday afternoon). I'll be reviewing it in the upcoming IBJ.

I also finished reading Larry McMurtry's book "Books," about his (who knew?) life as an antiquarian bookseller. It felt more like a notebook then a complete work, but containing fascinating insight into the non-writing life of a successful novelist. Confession: the only McMurtry fiction I've read is "The Last Picture Show." Any McMurtry fans out there?

Anyway catch James Bond this weekend? Visit a Spirit & Place event? Experience the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra? Check out the art at the aiport?


And visit for more reviews, previews and blogs.
  • Brett Terrell and two of his guitar majors from Butler University played a splendid, wide-ranging program of music from Vivaldi to Chick Corea Sunday at Circle Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Having heard Brett and his students many times, I'd say this was the best-played and most interesting performance yet.

    Joseph Kilbourn and Zane Merritt joined the maestro (who also operates Renaissance Studios in Broad Ripple), and each played a solo (Merritt added an original composition for good measure.) Overall, the playing was at quite a high level. Simultaneous attacks are a bugaboo for guitar ensembles, but the JCFA Guitar Ensemble showed cool technique and careful preparation.

    Highlights included Merritt's deft rendering of a knuckle-busting study by Julio Sagreras, Terrell's color-rich arrangement of two pieces by jazz pianist Chick Corea, and his flamenco solo Granadinas. The latter ended with Terrell's trademark high-octane rasgueado-style strumming, but was memorable for its more nuanced introspection earlier on.

    The performance, which was the heart of Circle Fellowship's Sunday morning service, was followed in the afternoon by a recital of Terrell's students from Renaissance studios. No doubt, that program offered harbingers of future artistry.

    Circle Fellowship ( is a lay-led congregation that is as diverse in its artistic programming as it is in its theology.
  • I was sorry to hear about Matthew Oskay's death, too.

    This weekend I judged two Encore shows (which I can't write about) and read one literary classic. A group of co-workers from my day job reads books from selected topics to discuss once a month. Our topic this month was accessible classics to suggest to gifted middle schoolers who have to read one for school. (We all work with teens at our day jobs.)

    I chose CALL OF THE WILD, by Jack London because, just like many students, I had left the assignment for the last minute and this book is barely 100 pages. Also, I had never read it before.

    This story about a pampered dog who gets sold into virtual slavery as a sled dog in the arctic is very readable, but oh, my goodness, is it sad! And very romantic, in a he-man sort of way.

    I think that fans of Gary Paulsen's adventure novels (e.g. HATCHET) might also enjoy CALL OF THE WILD.

    Funnily enough, it also reminded me of Chuck Pahlniuk's FIGHT CLUB, with its brilliant writing and macho angst.

    This weekend I also served as an adult chaperone at a bonding/get-to-know-each-other event for the teen advisory board at my local public library. It was so much fun! One of the activities was a Design-a-Drink contest a la The Iron Chef. Teams of 3 or 4 teens could choose from a variety of non-alcoholic materials provided by the Friends of the Library group - things like soda pop, Koolaid mix, fruit juice, and citrus slices. One teen from each team then joined the team of judges to rate the finished concoctions according to taste, appearance, and name. I admired all of the teens' creativity!

    Hope Baugh
  • PS - This morning at my day job I learned the term guerilla marketing.

    Hey! I said, after hearing the definition, _I_ have been a guerilla marketer for the arts and for public libraries for almost a year now on Lou Harry's IBJ blog!

    Who knew?

    I guess I was also, at that moment, being a guerilla marketer for Lou's blog. (hee hee)

    I am not getting paid for any of this marketing work, and maybe that is dumb of me. However, the fact that I am NOT getting paid for any of it means that I am free to market only the things I care about.

    It's all good.

    Hope Baugh
  • I really enjoyed Lonesome Dove and Streets of Laredo, but some of McMurtry's other books left me wondering who let the dogs out. John Irving does a better job with kooky characters.
  • I saw Quantum of Solace thanks to the IBJ A&E contest. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks Lou!
  • Oh, Lou. How could you have missed him. With Lonesome Dove (the novel, not the TV seeries) Larry McMurtry wrote the Great American Western Novel, if not the Great American Novel. His list of books rates three pages on Not all are equal. Most of what he's written lately has been stuff off the top of his head, after a long and really glorious career as a novelist. His first novel, Horseman, Pass By, was made into the movie, Hud. In addition to The Last Picture Show, he wrote Terms of Endearment (the novel is better than the movie), Streets of Laredo, The Desert Rose. Some biographies of great Western figures. A native of Wichita Falls, Texas, he lived in Washington, DC, for half a century at least, running an antiquarian bookstore. Then he moved back to Texas, his family's old farm, I think, and began traveling the highways and byways of the state and writing down his thoughts. It's as though he cannot live without writing. He may live in Arizona now, since some of his books include a co-writer (female) who appeared with him when he accepted the Oscar for the best screenplay for Brokeback Mountain. They showed a video of him at home and that seemed to be outside Phoenix. Oh, well. Try Lovesome Dove. It is a true tragedy. You'll love it.

    Marion Garmel
  • I have to agree with Marion about Lonesome Dove. I hadn't read any Westerns since my long-ago Louis L'Amour days, but Lonesome Dove is masterful. I've heard his Telegraph Days on audiobook, and while it's entertaining, its heavy reliance on historic characters makes it feel a little cheesy.

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