Thoughts after looking back on the year of IBJ arts and entertainment coverage:
--If, two years ago, someone had told me that the near future would bring a three-stage performing arts center to the region, I'd have been thrilled. And if they added that the facility would be run by world-famous pianist/musicologist Michael Feinstein in conjunction with the former managing director of La Jolla Playhouse, I'd have tried to wake them up. Putting aside the huge risk, high costs, and big, big question marks about the project, I'm thrilled, as an audience member and someone trying to encourage excellence on our stages, that the Regional Performing Arts Center is happening.
--One of the stories I dodged this year was the death of Michael Jackson. I didn't do it deliberately, but I realize in hindsight that his was a case where I couldn't put aside his alleged off-stage actions in order to focus on his talent.
--I'm thankful that, in spite of tough economic times where every ticket matters, there's been no pressure to soften my arts and entertainment reviews. One of the signs of a maturing arts scene is that it understands the value of criticism and comment.
--The just-announced closing of Morty's Comedy Joint reminds me that, in the face of the aforementioned tough times, just about all of Indy's arts groups have managed to hold on and stay open. Here's hoping for a brighter 2010.
--In case you missed it, you can find a rundown of my favorite A&E events of 2009 here.