You-review-it Monday

March 22, 2009
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For me, the weekend included Heartland Actors Reperory Theatre's production of Neil LaBute's "In a Dark Dark House," a sneak look at the very disappointing Dreamworks 3-D animated film "Monsters vs. Aliens" (Who decided that the core emotional conflict in a kids' flick should be whether or not the Bratz-doll-lookalike heroine should follow her news anchor boyfriend to another market? Seriously.), and a multi-gallery journey through the Children's Museum--including a look at its production of "Sleeping Beauty." More on some of those in the print edition of IBJ. (Check out past reviews at www.ibj.com.)

So what did your weekend include? Finish off a good book? Catch a comedian on stage? Attend one or more of the Music for All events?

Details, please.
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  • Thanks to the generosity of a friend, I was fortunate enough to attend the Eagles concert at Conseco Fieldhouse on Sunday night. It was a delightful trip down memory lane - and a treat to attend a concert with middle age folks who came of age during the Eagles' heyday! I loved it when Glenn Frey, always quick with a joke, welcomed us to the Assisted Living Tour.

    The first set (one hour) was pleasant enough, 'tho the vocals and band chemistry seemed strained at times. I don't know what happened in the halftime locker room, but the second set (nearly two hours!) was like a different show. Greater emphasis on the band's trademark harmony, Henley's vocals, Frey's humor, and Walsh's guitar (and charm) - coupled with better staging and a more convincing sense that these guys were enjoying each other and the gig - proved to be a winning formula and fueled audience and band energy. A three-song encore - ending with the crowd-pleasing Desperado - was a fitting end to their generous and impressive performance.

    Hats off to these 60-something guys for inspiring us with their amazing energy - and for enabling many of us to escape for an evening to a happier time!
  • Ellie Siskind has introduced the historically traditional artists salon. The third salon was held in her comfortable Broad Ripple studio Saturday afternoon. It's a great couple of hours to meet with peers for general conversation and share our artwork. Ellie has gently moderated the events with a prompt that each artist is not to introduce their artwork with any kind of descprition, but instead let the others interpret and discuss their thoughts and feelings first. This last Saturday we were also asked to bring an art related quote. Artists who have attended so far include Sofiya Inger, Pat Mack, Kris Mobley, Brian Phillips, Troy Riser, and myself. If you're interested in reading more and seeing some photos go to http://CooperFineArt.com/blog.htm.
  • Fri night saw Howie Day at Radio Radio. Perfect venue for a more intimate performance. Show was very minimalist - just him on the guitar and his exceptional vocals. Interesting feedback technology that allowed him to sample his own music - both vocals and instrumental where he played them back to accompany himself live - made for a very lush, full sound. Very enjoyable show at an underrated spot.
  • I've wanted to see the Eagles for a while, so figuring I wouldn't get many more chances, I got tickets to last nights show. I agree with the previous poster that the first set and the second set were contrasts. It's hard to do a concert in a venue that isn't built acoustically for concerts though and my $60 (cheap seats) in Row 18 of the balcony weren't that great for sound. The lead vocals sounded washed out. It's hard to fault the Eagles for this, I think they're worth $60 but it seems to be a grave injustice to their music that everyone has to get theirs including that unnamed Ticket monopolistic Master. I only criticize the Eagles for limiting continuity (by having the stage go dark after every song) and not interacting with the audience enough. That's what I look for in a good concert - I can hear your CD or watch your concert DVD at home, but they sounded great as a group, no regrets on that front.
  • I had the good fortune to experience The Indiana Ballet Company's From Shakespeare with Love presentation at the Antheneum on Saturday night. This young company features wonderful dancers -- some left over from the Ballet Internationale corp. Alyona Yakovleva is the Artistic Director and staged this program. Basing the concert on Shakespeare sonnets read by actor Daniel Fenten with some sections featuring live music from The Dragon Scale Consort - the dancers provided a superb and moving programs. The seven dancers were gorgeous to watch presenting wonderful acting and tight ensemble work. I do encourage others to pay attention to this company as they are trying hard to create a product upon which professional ballet can be built for our community again. They also have a school called the Russian Ballet Academy of Indiana. Mayor Ballard and his wife were there in support and many of the company's students were presented as well due to their award winning ways in some recent dance competitions. All in all, From Shakespeare with Love was a great happening over this past weekend.
  • I also antended the Eagles (my first for them). Having told myself I would never go back to Conseco for a concert after many unpleasent concert experiences - I was glad I changed my mind. Maybe we were in a pretty good spot but the sound was awesome and not to loud. My wife and I took our kids to their first real artist concert and they liked it. Of course they are forced to listen to our music at home and in the car so they knew the songs. My son now wants a drum set.

    The guys did a great job and played a nice mix of new and old. Great show with never a time where it felt like they were rushing thru stuff just to say they had done the song. To many artists montage old hits into 40 second pips all run together. They not only played the hits but played them with the extras you extpect in a concert. They are definately an American icon. Would recommend this tour to anyone if it is near you.
  • I attended the third annual Going Deep: Long Traditional Stories Retreat for four days in Bethlehem, Indiana. I will post more about the stories and storytellers I heard there on my own blog soon.

    Lou, I was near Louisville but I could not get to the Humana Festival, so I doubly appreciate your writing about the three new plays you saw there in your most recent Saturday review. The Opera sounds fun, too.

    I also read two nonfiction books:

    THE WAR OF ART: BREAK THROUGH THE BLOCKS AND WIN YOUR CREATIVE BATTLES, by Steven Pressfield. (Warner Books, Inc. 2003). A friend who earns her living as a storyteller recommended this fast, pithy read to me. It gave me some good food for thought about my own patterns of resistance and how to overcome them.

    NO ANGEL: MY HARROWING UNDERCOVER JOURNEY TO THE INNER CIRCLE OF HELLS ANGELS, by Jay Dobyns and Nils Johnson-Shelton (Crown Publishers, 2009). This is a very compelling read! Jay Dobyns was an undercover agent for two years in Arizona, working to infiltrate the Hells Angels organization there. His double life threatens to destroy him. If you liked the movie Donnie Brasco, I bet you would enjoy this book, too.

    All this talk today of the Eagles' concert is making me want to go listen to a recording of Hotel California and One of These Nights and Peaceful, Easy Feeling and more. Thanks, everyone who wrote about the concert!

    Hope Baugh
    Indy Theatre Habit
  • My weekend included a visit to the Civic Theatre's West Side Story. WSS is an all-time favorite of my mom's, so we were both very disappointed with the sound quality problems on Thursday night. Many of the songs were overshadowed by intermittent microphone disruptions and distortions. You could tell the voices were terrific in the moments where the microphones worked properly, but overall, the sound quality detracted too much from the show.

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