Wednesday, April 29, 2009

(Promo) Sarah Out & About: Silver in the City is Golden

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 4:00 AM

When people come to visit me who are new to the city, I seem to hear a similar comment out of them-- "Everyone is so nice here."

When working at events and working at NUVO, sometimes, well, you don't always see this. There are the people that come to the NUVO table at an event saying our paper is full of a bunch of dumb liberals. I've also had people call my work phone yelling that we don't support local music because we won't give them free advertising (seriously, one guy had me on the phone for a half hour).

However, there are many days when I realize why my visitors find this city so friendly.

One of those days happened last week. I had a couple meetings in the afternoon and was running all over the place. On my way out the door of NUVO, one of my favorite bracelets broke in two and fell off my wrist. My best friend made it for me for my birthday, and I absolutely love it. But it broke. I had no time to worry about it, so I shoved it in my pocket and drove downtown.

I had a small break in between meetings and was down on Mass Ave. I saw Silver in the City down the street and figured I could spend the fifteen minute break I had possibly looking for a way to fix my bracelet.

Now, I'm the kind of girl who will pretty much refuse to admit that I need help because I think I can fix most things myself (I'm working on this). And in the store, I could not find anything to help me with my bracelet. So, I broke down and asked the cashier for help.

"I'm looking for something to link my bracelet. It pretty much broke in half."

He looked at it, and simply replied, "I'll fix it for you."

After five minutes of looking at Jesus Christ dolls and bacon flavored toothpicks (I love the stuff they have there!), my bracelet was given back to me, fixed, and as good as new.

Ok, so I don't know if this is normal protocol at any store, but I was pretty blown away that he would just put a new link on it for me for no charge. Of course, being me and feeling bad that he did it for free, I bought one of their awesome shop local bags (visit here! just carrying it around gets you discounts at certain stores http://shopsilverinthecity.com/massavetote.aspx).

I was off to my next appointment, but that random act of kindness really made my day---and really made Silver in the City look like gold.

Sarah Myer is NUVO's Marketing and Promotions Manager; contact her directly at smyer@nuvo.net.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

(Sports) Mike Beas: the Colts NFL draft choices

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 4:00 AM

It's common knowledge Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis is carrying around enough cobwebs in the old attic to make a sweater. Make that a bedspread based on the questionable selections made by senility's poster boy during the recent NFL Draft.

Now the part that frightens me: Could Bill Polian possibly be gaining ground on Davis in the oft-discussed category known as "What was he thinking"?

During his 11-year stay in Indianapolis, most of what the Colts team president touches has in time turned to gold. This isn't New York, where Jets fans would throw a fit even if their club drafted Jim Brown in his prime. It's not Philly, where spectators boo Santa Claus and have for years second-guessed every Eagles pick not named Bednarik.

Chicago is tough. Green Bay and Cleveland brutal. By NFL standards, Indianapolis is soft. Your favorite pillow in a bed-of-nails industry comparable to, say, the Houston Texans or Seattle Seahawks. Therefore, Polian isn't being sautéed, grilled and just plain raked over the coals the way he would be in a larger, more-demanding market after plucking a running back with the 27th overall selection.

Nothing against Donald Brown out of Connecticut, but if there is a UConn athlete being sent to Indianapolis to make a difference, why couldn't it have been 7-3 interior menace Hasheem Thabeet suiting up for the Pacers?

The Colts needed a defensive tackle. Best one on the board. And because they are the Status Quolts, historically mobile as a park statue on draft days, moving up in the Round 1 selection rotation probably wasn't a viable option. So Polian nabbed Brown and waited until the team's next pick, No. 56, to take Fili Moala, the 6-4, 305-pound space-eater from USC. Later, Moala inherited some serious preseason competition when Indianapolis drafted the equally mammoth Terrance Taylor out of Michigan.

Separating the Colts' opening two selections were 28 other picks, two being defensive tackles in Ziggy Hood (No. 32, Pittsburgh Steelers) and Ron Brace (No. 40, New England Patriots). This begs the question of whether Polian did the right thing by not drafting Hood at No. 27 and then addressing the tailback situation in the second round.

Such discussion is irrelevant if Brown goes on to be a star. Polian will be right once more and some of us will owe him an apology.

Al Davis? There is only one Al Davis. Thankfully, his office is located 2,300 miles west of Indianapolis.

PARTING SHOT: I don't know whether to admire or be disgusted by the fact that Ohio State's spring football game drew a crowd of . . . are you sitting down? . . . 95,722.

Yes, the Buckeyes are big in Ohio. Huge, actually. Everything from how high sophomore quarterback Terrelle Pryor pulls up his game socks to the condition of the field turf at the venerable Horseshoe qualifies as news.

But, people. Is there nothing else to do in Columbus? It's as if yellow crime tape was wrapped around every one of the city's other entertainment options. Malls. Museums. Movie theatres. Parks. Oh, but not the Horseshoe.

Tickets to the spring game were $5 per, but even for free 95-plus would have been a major accomplishment. Great job, Buckeyes fans . . . I think.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

(Sports) Roberts: Victory Field Blues

Posted By on Sun, Apr 26, 2009 at 4:00 AM

A wet and chilly opening weekend for the Indianapolis Indians featured more belly-itchin' than pitchin', but the offense is heating up with the weather.

There have been six days of baseball at Victory Field this year, and 36 visiting runners have already jogged, skipped, and lindy-hopped their way past home plate at the expense of the woeful Indians pitchers. By my math, that's a club ERA of about 86 billion.

I have a reoccurring nightmare from an actual event in my childhood, when I was pitching on a wet, windy morning, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not throw a pitch within two feet of the plate. After three hit batsmen, two walks, about eight wild pitches, and five runs the coach - bless his soul - finally pulled me out of the game. In fairness, it was a no-hitter.

Second-year southpaw Corey Hamman should be so lucky. After two relief appearances over the weekend he's averaging a cool 61 runs per 9 innings (not making that one up). He might have better luck pitching a beach ball, or perhaps lofting small animals at the plate. As long as he's on the roster, there will be plenty of souvenir baseballs to be had in the outfield picnic area.

The relatively "good" news is that the Victory Field Massacre of 2009 was perpetrated by the intra-divisional rival Toledo Mud Hens, who have owned the league for the last half decade, and have a gratuitous back-stock of talent at the AAA level, behind the high-dollar Detroit Tigers. There's no shame in getting humiliated in front of your own fans by giving up 16 runs in your home opener to the best, as they say.

With the departure of hometown favorite Bryan Bullington (Ball State grad, Indianapolis native) and John Van Benschoten from the starting rotation, The Tribe will need to average five or six runs a game in order to compete. Baseball begins and ends with pitching, but in Indianapolis this year, it will mostly just end with pitching.

Offensively - as long as their former teammates in Pittsburgh continue to over-achieve - the Indians could stay afloat longer than usual. The last few years Indy has burst off the block, sprinted out to a six-length lead, then gripped its chest in paralytic fear, falling over like a sack of potatoes a third of the way into the season, as the hottest hitters vanish overnight to the big leagues. But this season's top prospect - Andrew McCutchen - could spend serious time in Indianapolis if former Tribesman Nyjer Morgan can keep on pace with his newly acquired eagle-eye for Major League pitching, thereby relieving The Pirates of their anxious desire to greedily snatch up McCutchen.

There will be loads of loud lumber this year at the intersection of Marlyand and Capitol, so make sure to bring a mitt; because not only will there be buckets worth of home runs, lead changes, and late-inning rallies - new Manager Frank Kremblas might need you to come in and pitch.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

(Arts) Art Center's Joyce Sommers steps down

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Joyce Sommers is a local treasure. She's made the Indianapolis center what it is today. And she is retiring in June.

Here's press release that announces her successor, Carter Wolf. I will blog about Joyce and her contributions to the IAC and, by extension, the city, in the near future.

National Search for Arts Administrator Leads Home: Indianapolis Art Center finds winning candidate for top spot in its own backyard

After a national search to find a CEO for one of the Midwest's truly unique cultural institutions, the Indianapolis Art Center chose Carter Wolf, currently the executive director of Horizon House, the largest multi-service center for the homeless in the Greater Indianapolis area.

The Art Center, celebrating its 75th anniversary, is one of the few facilities in the country that offers fine art classes to the public in a variety of mediums including glass blowing. Wolf has a background in fine arts education, business and community development.

Bob Anker, chair of the Art Center board, said Wolf will assume leadership of the Art Center July 1, 2009 upon the retirement of Joyce Sommers. "This is the first time in the organization's history the board has addressed succession. After an exhaustive national search, we were pleased to find a candidate who has the exact combination of skills and experience we were looking for right in our own backyard," he said.

Joyce Sommers, the Art Center's current President and CEO, has led the organization the past 33 years. "I've been impressed with Carter's background and commitment not only to art education, but to community service," Sommers said. "I believe the coming together of his avocation and vocation will lead to the passion needed to raise this organization to the next level."

"The Art Center has been the key player in supporting local and regional artists, providing art classes to adults and children and being the action place for making the creative process come alive," Wolf said. "The creative process is vital to not only the arts, but to innovation and growth in our economic environment.

"I am impressed that the Art Center opened during the Great Depression and still has a strong community outreach component to supplement arts to children who may not otherwise get the experience.

"I look forward to working with Joyce as we begin the leadership transition. She's been an inspiration, not just to those associated with Indianapolis and the Art Center, but for the region's arts community."

About Carter Wolf

After receiving a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Ball State University, Carter Wolf continued with graduate studies in art education before beginning his career as a secondary school art teacher in South Bend. For the past six years, he has been executive director at Horizon House in Indianapolis where he focused on management and program enhancements that resulted in an increased demand for service even amid federal grant cutbacks. He first came to Indianapolis in 1997 as first chief policy advisor to Governor Frank O'Bannon for Community Service. In that role, he also oversaw the Indiana Arts Commission, a statewide organization to promote, fund and expand the arts. He also served on the Governor's Council on Heritage and Culture in 1999.

Prior to coming to Indianapolis, Wolf operated a successful retail business focused on quality contemporary designed home furnishings. He then headed the movement to revitalize downtown South Bend in the 1990s as part of the nationally-recognized Main Street Program. In 1999, Governor O'Bannon appointed Wolf to be state director for the Indiana AmeriCorps Program.

Wolf lives near the Art Center with his wife, Kim Gattle, the director of development at the Center of Philanthropy. They have three adult children.

About Joyce Sommers

In 1971, Joyce Sommers started as a student at the Indianapolis Art League, as the Art Center was then known. She increased her involvement to volunteer to board member to president of the board. In 1976, she became the organization's first CEO, a position she has held for 33 years.

Over her tenure, the Art Center grew from a $20,000 club-like group to a $3.5 million community-focused cultural organization in Indianapolis. Sommers has achieved distinction as the longest-serving leader of a major cultural organization in Indianapolis. She raised the profile of the Art Center to national stature when in the 1990s, she mobilized board leadership to secure internationally-acclaimed architect and Indianapolis native Michael Graves to design a new facility with 13 state-of-the-art studio classrooms. She led a campaign to complement the facility design in 2005 with ARTSPARK, a Graves-designed sculpture and creativity park completed by Rundell Ernstberger & Associates.

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(Sports) Mike Beas on selecting the Indiana All-Stars

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Happens every year around this time. The roster for the Indiana boys All-Star Basketball Team is made public and all you know what breaks loose.

Granted, today's you-know-what can't hold a candle to the old you-know-what, if you know what I mean. Prior to 1997-98, the days the single-class music died in this state, the volume of crying and whining over this player not being made an All-Star was much, much louder.

Currently it's more of a whisper, yet it's there just the same.

Glancing at the Indiana All-Star roster, which numbers 13 and reaches from Fort Wayne to Evansville in terms of player representation, the most glaring omissions (of players I've watched play more than once) are 6-5 Winchester swingman Tyler Koch and Anderson's Troy Taylor, a 6-1 guard.

All Koch, a Wright State signee, did was lead the Golden Falcons to Class 2A championship game berths in 2007 and 2008 and a spot in the semistate last month. No biggie, right? Don't most players go 66-13 in their final three seasons of varsity ball? Or 53-20 the case was with Taylor, a future Evansville Ace who has been the steady focal point of the Indians, who compete in the brutal North Central Conference?

But as we all know, getting these two players on the All-Star Team would have meant leaving two of those who made the team off.

There is no criticism-proof formula when selecting the Indiana All-Stars, an unfortunate byproduct of there being so many outstanding senior players in this state year after year, generation after generation.

Every April a single phone call rockets kids to Cloud Nine. Countless others are heartbroken by the silence of their phone's refusal to ring. Controversy ensues, but, hey, that's Indiana.

Maybe when the whining ceases is when we should become worried.

PARTING SHOT: If Lewis Jackson is still a Purdue Boilermaker at the start of men's basketball practice sessions in the fall, there will be days he wished he wasn't.

Coach Matt Painter is fair, but no-nonsense to the core. The Purdue program is powered by one voice — Painter's. Forget the highway. It's his way. That said, the 5-9 Jackson, recently pulled over for speeding and facing charges of illegal possession and consumption of alcohol, possession of drug paraphernalia and marijuana, might be running wind-sprints until he's in his 30s.

Jackson better hope that's as bad as it get. If the talented point guard, Purdue's assist leader at 3.3 per game, isn't kicked off the team altogether, he surely will be suspended for several of the 2009-2010 season's non-conference contests if not more.

Why do so many high-profile college athletes continue to sign up for Bad Judgment 101? Why do they jeopardize their future while embarrassing themselves, their loved ones and the university they represent? Puzzling, to say the least. Heck, world peace might be an easier Rubik's Cube to solve.

Purdue needs Lewis Jackson, but at the same time Lewis Jackson needs Purdue. If he is allowed back, just make sure one of the Mackey Arena trash receptacles is close by at all times during practice sessions.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

(Film) National Road Doc Screens

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2009 at 4:00 AM

This just in from Ball State about a new documentary dealing with the National Road -- the highway that runs through Indianapolis...

MUNCIE, Ind. — A Ball State University documentary about the Indiana segment of the National Road will be featured across the state with five free screenings.

"Movers and Stakers: Stories along the Indiana National Road" will debut April 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Indianapolis Irving Theater. The documentary will also be shown in Greenfield, Terre Haute, Richmond and Muncie.

The documentary focuses on the Indiana segment of the nation's first federally funded highway, which was commissioned in 1806 by President Thomas Jefferson and runs from Cumberland, Md., to Vandalia, Ill.

Nancy Carlson, associate professor of telecommunications, led a team of immersive learning students in the production of the full-length documentary. The team focused on telling stories about people who have lived near the Indiana segment, which stretches 156 miles from Richmond to Terre Haute.

"Many travel guides have written about the National Road, but no one has told the many human stories of building the road, living along it or traveling across it," Carlson said. "You can read the information, but to hear from the families and workers who have lived on the National Road — it makes the stories come alive."

"Movers and Stakers: Stories along the Indiana National Road" will not only air on public television, but will also be used in visitor centers, touch screen kiosks, museums and schools. To watch the trailer and learn more about the documentary, visit www.nationalroadfilm.com.

The project is funded through a National Scenic Byways Grant from the Federal Highway Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Hoppe on the Arts: Circle rally

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Our local police estimate that 2,000 people showed up for the arts rally on the Circle today -- not a bad turnout, given the raw weather.

Frank Basile, one of this city's most dedicated arts patrons, served as master-of-ceremonies. Several people from outside the arts community spoke, including Eugene White, Superintendent of IPS, Mark Miles, the man who led the effort to bring the Super Bowl here, and Mayor Greg Ballard.

Everyone who spoke had friendly things to say about the arts and the role they play in the city. But, being good Hoosiers, everyone was also too shy to bring up the subject of money. Wouldn't have been polite.

I happened to be standing near Darlene Delbecq, the photographer and Deborah Delbecq, the painter. Darlene said that next time we need to come prepared with some cheers. I thought the one she came up with was perfect, a call-and-response number guaranteed to set someone back on their heels:

Call: You took it away!

Response: Give it back!

Call: You took it away!

Response: Give it back!

And so on...

This refers, of course, to the funding that's been systematically stripped from public arts funds over the past few months. At the risk of being tiresome, it needs to be repeated: while arts funding is being cut, state and local politicians are twisting themselves in knots to find tens of millions of dollars to bail out our pro sports facilities.

That's what's called a bottom line.

The Mayor described himself as low-key. He wore an Indy Culture Matters t-shirt. He reminded everyone that there were a lot of people in Indianapolis who didn't know as much as they should about local arts -- and he told the assembled crowd that they should do more to get the word out.

Huh?

This is what the arts community's been told for 20 years or more. Yes, yes, it's our fault that our leaders continue to miss the point that a strong arts scene, an arts scene that makes news, is a community driver. That it's up to us to persuade people who could care less about the arts that the arts matter.

As if anybody asked me -- or you, for that matter, whether or not we wanted to pay higher taxes for a new football stadium. Or whether or not we wanted a new basketball stadium.

I guess the intrinsic value of these buildings speaks for itself. In this, you might say they're rather like great works of art -- a Rembrandt, say, and a Da Vinci.

In any event, it was heartening to see such an enthusiastic turn-out. Tim Harmon made like Abby Hoffman and came with a prop -- a picture frame that he used to turn himself into a walking masterpiece. This drew the local TV new crews like catnip.

What happens next is the question. Let's hope it's not another funding cut. And if it is, to cop a line (with apologies to Sharon and Travis), what'll we do?

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(Sports) Mike Beas ponders the Colts' draft choices

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2009 at 4:00 AM

"Mr. Goodell. MR. GOODELL! Please wake up, sir. The Indianapolis Colts have made their selection and you need to need to go announce it to the world. Here's the card."

Groggy following 26 trips to and from the podium and his vision blurred after hours looking at the blinding shine coming off Mel Kiper Jr.'s hair, the NFL commissioner sleepwalks to center stage at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

"With the 27th pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select Curtis Painter . . . quarterback . . . Purdue University."

OK, so that's a reach. Admit it, though, it got your attention. Maybe even tempted you to post your season tickets on eBay. Now let's set aside the ridiculous and attempt to figure out the player(s) currently in Bill Polian's wheelhouse for the draft, which takes place Saturday and Sunday.

Indianapolis needs, in order of importance, a starting defensive tackle and a wide receiver to fill the void left by the departure of future Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison. Best-case scenario would be if the Colts could nab 6-3, 295-pound Mississippi standout Peria Jerry at 27 and then turn around and pluck Florida Gators fleet phenom Percy Harvin at No. 61.

Probably won't happen. Harvin in all likelihood will be off the board by then, which leaves Indy looking at the likes of receivers Kenny Britt (Rutgers), Brian Robiskie (Ohio State), Derrick Williams (Penn State) and Patrick Turner (USC). Polian historically has leaned toward players from the Big Ten Conference, so don't be surprised to see Robiskie or Williams a Colt in a matter of days.

First things first. Indianapolis needs a defensive stopper and pronto.

PARTING SHOT: If cats have nine lives, Isiah Thomas is a walking kennel. No matter the distance involved in the drop, the guy always lands on his feet, another supposed feline trait.

Last week introduced as the new men's basketball coach at Miami-based Florida International University, Thomas, 48 (his age and the number of disastrous business decisions he's made), has once again surfaced as a hoops savior, though his list of employers takes on the appearance of an inverted pyramid.

At this rate, in five years the former Indiana University star will be selling pecan logs to truckers at a Stuckey's somewhere in Georgia.

"Hey, aren't you . . ."

"Yes, would you like to try a box of pralines?"

No doubt Thomas was one of the best point guards ever to no-look a bounce pass, but that doesn't necessarily qualify him as coaching material. Fortunately, FIU's standards are so dismally low following two straight 20-loss seasons that anything looks good.

However, I'm going against the grain on this one and predicting Thomas samples enough success to become attractive to larger, more-established programs. Then the kid from the tough streets of Chicago will return home and attempt to return the DePaul Blue Demons to prominence.

Stuckey's can wait.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

(Arts) 'Wolf Totem' book review by Jim Poyser

Posted By on Sun, Apr 19, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Wolf Totem

Jiang Rong

Translated by Howard Goldblatt

Penguin Books (2009); $15

I get tired of non-fiction - especially given the nature of the non-fiction I read. Here's a recent list of reads: Paul and Anne Ehrlich's The Dominant Animal, Eric Roston's The Carbon Age, and Scott Russell Sanders' brand new book of essays The Conservationist's Manifesto.

Great books, all, and they more or less explore the following idea. Our planet as a habitat for humans and other species is collapsing, because of human behavior, and if we don't do something — a lot of things — really fast, it's all but over for Life As We Know It.

Pretty heavy stuff, so I knew I could use a break. A novel could provide that relief.

Lots of books come into the office for review, but Wolf Totem called to me. Winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize, the book has a simple and lovely cover - and a lot of heft at over 500 pages.

Guess what it's about: the idea that our planet as a habitat for humans and other species is collapsing, because of human behavior, and if we don't do something — a lot of things — really fast, it's all but over for Life As We Know It.

Set in the late nineteen sixties in Inner Mongolia, the book's narrator is Chen Zhen, a Beijing student who, as part of Mao's Cultural Revolution initiative, moves to the grasslands to study the habits of the nomadic Mongolian herdsman culture.

There, over the years, he witnesses what happens when herdsman culture is overtaken by agrarian society, and how the habitat is devastated in the process.

He meets and befriends Old Man Bilgee, a Mongolian elder who becomes his mentor, the man who teaches him about the essential importance - environmentally and spiritually - of wolves.

Early in the book, Bilgee teases Chen Zhen: "You're like a sheep. A fear of wolves is in your Chinese bones."

Chen Zhen becomes obsessed with wolves, reading everything he can about wolves in Mongolian mythology, but moreover by studying them in their natural habitat.

He learns about the delicate balance of the grassland ecosystem. While many do fear wolves — especially outsiders such as himself — wolves are the keystone species on the grassland. And as the outsiders begin to invade the grassland, Chinese attitudes toward wolves and nomadic culture begin to create friction.

The Chinese want to eradicate the wolves, because the wolves attack and kill their horses, eat their sheep and make their lives miserable.

But as Bilgee — and later Chen Zhen — tries to explain to the outsiders, if the wolves die, then the marmots and the mice take over, and before long, the grassland will become a wasteland.

Bilgee delivers this impassioned plea in the third chapter: "Out here, the grass and the grassland are the life, the big life. All else is little life that depends on the big life for survival. Even wolves and humans are little life... Grass is the big life, yet it is the most fragile, the most miserable lift. Its roots are shallow, the soil is thin, and though it lives on the ground, it cannot run away... When you kill off the big life of the grassland, all the little lives are doomed."

Substitute "grassland" with "planet" and you can see why I can't seem to get away from the subject of habitat collapse.

And why should I? Is there anything more important in this moment of human history, then realizing our existence IS fragile?

And that are our own worst enemy.

But to belabor this is to diminish the point that Wolf Totem is simply a great yarn. While the prose is occasionally wooden in the dialogue, the action passages where the wolves are attacking will raise the hair on the back of your neck. It's bloody and violent and sometimes heartbreaking to read.

You understand Chen Zhen's motivations when he decides to steal a wolf cub from its den. He wants to raise it, study it, master his fear, and understand on a deeper level the idea of Bilgee's "big life" - the roll wolves play in it.

But you also know in your bones - Chinese bones, American bones, all bones - that it's not going to work, because the larger truth we can't turn away from is that humans always mess things up.

The grassland will turn to desert. The nomadic herdsmen will settle down, get TVs, learn to ride motorcycles instead of horses, emit carbons and participate, in large and small ways, to the end of a tradition and the beginning of the great unraveling.

Where all the little lives are doomed.

But you can read this book any way you want. It's a insightful — and sometimes excoriating — look at China; its character, attitudes and flaws. It's a book of history about a pivotal moment in time about a country now poised to lead the world. Or, it's simply a spiritual book about wolves. How intelligent; how fierce; how resilient.

Author Jiang Rong lived this life. He was Chen Zhen. And he returned to Chinese city life with the teachings of the wolf totem intact. Eventually, he wrote about his experiences, and Wolf Totem sold millions in China, and now reaches us, to tell its story, teach its lessons, but mostly to honor the wolves so that we can understand more fully, the big life.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hoppe on the Arts: Adios, Greg Charleston

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Greg Charleston is about to learn that arts administration pays a lot better than making art. Charleston announced yesterday that he is leaving his $150,000-plus post as CEO of the Arts Council of Indianapolis. A statement released by the ACI says that Charleston is moving to the Florida Keys, where he will be an adjunct faculty member at Florida Keys College and attempt to launch a new career for himself as a writer and playwright.

Just what the world needs: another ink-stained wretch.

One can only wish Charleston the best of luck with whatever he'll be attempting. The Arts Council he inherited from Ramona Baker in 2004 was a dysfunctional mess, lacking focus and more concerned with feathering its own nest than in nurturing the local arts scene. With Charleston in charge, the ACI, for the first time in its history, became a genuinely professional office that, on balance, has served the city well and, when times were good, functioned effectively as an advocate for the local arts community.

But times are tough now and, sadly, the strategies and tactics that the ACI used to advantage during the Peterson administration no longer apply. That Charleston has chosen this time to find a new life path away from Indianapolis speaks for itself. There is no longer so much as the pretense that the arts here are a growth industry. And the ride ahead promises to be bumpy for the foreseeable future.

A great deal now depends on the ACI's board of directors. They will conduct a search for Charleston's replacement. If they want to sentence their organization to institutional irrelevance, they can seek a candidate who will promise to continue the approach and mission that Charleston established.

But if the ACI is to make it through these times, the board should see Charleston's tenure here as a transitional period in its institutional history and use his leaving as an opportunity to reimagine their mission and operating procedures.

Public arts funding is in free fall, but isn't likely to be eliminated entirely. Meanwhile, the city's larger fiscal situation is dire and not likely to see great improvement for some time to come. At the moment, the ACI is conducting a holding action, not accepting grants from new applicants.

The ACI needs to assess what the purpose of public arts funding in pinched circumstances should be. I would submit that it should place its emphasis on providing what limited grants it has to new creative ventures and the next generation of local talent. In other words, it should seek to grow the local scene from the bottom up, rather than the other way around.

This would represent a radical shift in emphasis for the ACI, which was initially formed to help support the city's landmark arts institutions and that still grants around 50 percent of its dollars to the largest budgeted organizations in town.

It's time for the ACI board to declare victory and say that the city's largest institutions have outgrown the need for ACI's funding and that the focus for its limited funds now needs to be on attracting and retaining the next generation of the city's creative class. This will give the ACI a new reason for being -- and provide a new rationale for the use of public funds: venture capital for new ideas.

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(Hoppe on the Arts) Greg Charleston steps down

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2009 at 4:00 AM

I have just received the following press release from the Arts Council of Indianapolis. The IAC's president, Greg Charleston, has announced that he is leaving for Florida. I will be blogging about this development tomorrow.

INDIANAPOLIS — After 15 years of leadership of one of the most successful arts councils in the nation, Gregory Charleston has decided to step down as president and CEO of the Arts Council of Indianapolis to begin a new career as a writer and playwright, and adjunct professor at Florida Keys College. Charleston will leave the Arts Council effective July 1, 2009.

The Arts Council of Indianapolis board of directors has begun the process of appointing a transition task force to find a successor.

Charleston said, "It's been very rewarding to help grow the Arts Council into such a tremendous success. We've been able to substantially increase visibility for the arts with a number of nationally acclaimed public art exhibits; expand arts partnerships and collaborations with organizations throughout central Indiana, including our work with the Cultural Development Commission; annually adjudicate and award more than $3 million in city and state grants to nearly 75 arts organizations; and significantly expand services to individual artists, including the creation of an artist database with over 600 local artists, series of workshops, guides, and artist promotions. And we've done all that while reducing our operating budget by 25 percent over the past five years."

"While it is difficult to leave such a great organization and wonderful city," Charleston said, "this is a personal decision. There's never a perfect time to make this transition, but I'm at a point in my life where I need a new challenge, and I can't think of anything more rewarding than teaching college students and beginning the process of writing seriously."

Shawn Mulholland, chairman of the board, said, "Greg's departure from the Arts Council and the City of Indianapolis is a huge loss. His leadership has been instrumental in the expansion of arts and culture in central Indiana. Indeed, Greg is Indianapolis' chief arts advocate for public funding and created the Arts Council's role as the Indiana Arts Commission's regional arts partner for central Indiana. We appreciate Greg's leadership and the very talented Arts Council staff he will leave behind. The board will work quickly to begin the transition process."

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(Arts) "Dreamtime" in Indianapolis

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2009 at 4:00 AM

For Immediate Release

www.dreamtimetv.org

WFYI - PBS Groundbreaking Television Program DREAMTIME: Universal Archetypes Announces Art Exhibit

WFYI — PBS produced DREAMTIME: Universal Archetypes combines expert commentary, dream stories and re-enactments, as well as striking artwork by artists who are inspired and work from their dreams.

International and nationally recognized experts in the fields of sleep and dream science, psychology, metaphysics and spirituality inform, entertain and introduce us to one of the most significant types of symbols or patterns in our dreams: the Archetype.

DREAMTIME: The Art Exhibit is a compilation of creative work including 2D, 3D, photography and video art by artists whose dream inspired work was used to illustrate the concept of archetypes in DREAMTIME: Universal Archetypes.

The exhibit opens May 1 (opening reception 5pm- 9pm) and runs through June 18th at the gallery of Dean Johnson Design, 646 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204 (http://www.deanjohnson.com/gallery/about) A list of participating artists follows.

DREAMTIME: Universal Archetypes will be presented at the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) 2009 "Earth Dreaming" Conference in Chicago. (June 26 - 30) Many of the artists will be submitting their works showcased in the television program to the juried IASD Dream Art Exhibition. The exhibit and conference are open to the public, for more information go to www.asdreams.org.

DREAMTIME is a WFYI production with the support of Journey's Fire. (www.wfyi.org / www.journeysfire.org) DREAMTIME: Universal Archetypes will be shown on Channel 20 on Monday April 27th at 7:30 p.m. The program will also be available for viewing at the art exhibit.

Additional envisioned DREAMTIME television programs include: Dream Symbols: How To Work With Them, Nightmares, Extraordinary Dreams, Children's Dreams, and Dreams of Sex, Sensuality and Relationships. Visit www.dreamtimetv.org for more information. Please e-mail vikianderson@mac.com if you are an artist and are interested in your work being shown in these additional programs.

Why are Dreams important?

Dreams can provide us with unique creative ideas and solutions, insight into our personal health and well-being, and can point the way to an expanded conception of our own great potential.

Dreams are a natural self-healing process that influence our waking life. They tend to reflect the issues we're dealing with in the waking life — particularly the emotional issues and our unfinished business of the day. Dreams reveal concerns going on within inside yourself that you might not have been willing to look at, feel or sense during the day. Therefore, by working with your dreams and understanding them, you will get a greater sense of what's going on inside and how better to deal with the daily situations.

Medical science has proven that individual self-esteem and self-worth can be nurtured by the knowledge that comes from working with our dreams. As we learn to love and respect ourselves and understand our role within our families, our communities and our society, then we can begin to view the world differently, and in a positive perspective.

Dreams are a form of unique intelligence and "knowing" that is not accessible by our waking life, mind, or consciousness. They are one of our greatest resources because they are a "built in" problem-solving device. If we learn how to remember them and work with them, we may receive guidance, forewarnings, inspiration and insight.

Dreams are also experiences that we share with all humanity, they are part of a biological heritage that we all have. Dreams have no borders and no boundaries! If we can understand what we have in common in the dream world with other people, we will be able to help everyone advance their understanding of themselves.

Participating Artists:

Lance Allen - Indianapolis

Cathe Burris - Columbus

Lydia Burris - Indianapolis

D. DelReverda - Indianapolis

Margaret Dolinsky - Bloomington

Sofiya Inger - Carmel

Justin Chase Lane - Indianapolis

Michael Lipe - Indianapolis

Jaber Lutfi - Montreal, Quebec, CA

Andrew MaGaha - Indianapolis

Shannon McClane - Carmel

Suzanne Merrell - Indianapolis

Phil (Charlie) Spear - Peru

Carol Spicuzza - Indianapolis

Erin Swanson - Indianapolis

Carol Tabac-Shank - Indianapolis

Andrew Todd Winship - Indianapolis

Dana Zier - Kouts

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