My father, John Sherman, and I, both writers, have a running joke about the places where we are famous. The tongue-in-cheek approach to literary renown comes from headlining poetry readings in smaller cities, like Tipton, as well as atypical venues for spoken word, like Starbucks, as though we can now check off one more locale our way to world dominance.
(I have an active imagination.)
In pursuit of eventual, need-a-bodyguard celebrity, I checked out the Famous Writers Club last Friday. The group and a rotating roster of participants generally meet on a biweekly basis at the Writers' Center of Indiana (812 E. 67th Street) and welcome anyone who wants to share and discuss their prose and/or poetry, and engage in writing exercises. I met with two other women — Beth Mink, a poet, and Judy Miller, a freelance journalist — who shared information about networking opportunities for creative types, such as Linking Indy Women. Linking meets on a monthly basis. Though the next meeting is not yet scheduled, it should take place near the end of September.
In addition to professional leads, I was happy to have plenty of time to talk with the other writers, who meet from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Despite arriving almost an hour late (with permission to do so), the remaining hours offered the chance to hear everyone’s work, offer feedback, and then flip through a book of writing prompts for some freewriting exercises. The first, a look at how we learned to drive, brought back fun memories of sloooowly driving my family’s Aspen station wagon across the spare parking lot at Glendale Mall, my prized yellow learner’s permit in the glove compartment. The second prompt had us examining how we truly saw ourselves, a subject that demanded more time than 10 minutes of fumbling offered. I’m glad for the jumpstart, though. Any day spent writing, even a little bit, is a good one.
Email Beth Mink at email@example.com for more information about the group’s next meeting on September 10.
The Indianapolis Art Center (820 East 67th Street) has long been one of my favorite places to visit. The blonde wood entrance, high ceilings, and expansive galleries with oft-fascinating art that I long to purchase are always welcoming. My afternoon visit took me through a doorway still decorated with gauzy scarves from ArtSparkle, a Moroccan-themed end-of-summer party. Once I passed the gift shop that beckoned to me (and my credit card), I took a quick left and saw that the Annual Faculty Exhibition was decorating the Church-Fesenfeld Gallery, as well as the Frank M. Basile Exhibition Corridor. I fell in instant “Oooh!” with a vase by instructor Derryl Craddock, a ceramics instructor who has taught at the center for more than 10 years. The picture I took (and probably wasn’t supposed to take) doesn’t do the vase justice. Luckily, the works, which include digital photography and watercolors, are on display until October 3. Hasten thee to Broad Ripple, art lover! Well... in the next six weeks or so.
The Sarah M. Hurt Gallery contained numerous works by Best of Student Show winner Martin Friedman, who asserts in his artist statement that he “grew up without any training or interest in the visual arts.” Friedman is clearly a natural; I would’ve guessed he had, at the very least, an advanced arts degree under his belt. He’s been taking classes for about 12 years, six of them at the art center. I liked his work, especially his raku pieces, a style I typically don’t have much interest in. The burnished, coppery sheen that is raku takes away the flat, smooth coolness I like about pottery, but it worked on Friedman’s Luster Series. His work is also on display until October 3.
Visit www.indplsartcenter.org or call 317-255-2464 for information about the exhibits and special events like their open house on September 10.
A previous engagement — and my ongoing inability to clone myself — kept me from Walk in the Park at Ellenberger Park (5301 E. St. Clair Street) on Saturday, August 21. The event, which just celebrated its eighth year, brought together more than 40 artists, musicians, Irvington community organizations, and, apparently, a lawn-eating turtle. I’ll definitely have to hoof it to the east side next year.
The event, sponsored by the Irvington Guild of Artists, welcomed a number of groups, including The Feast of Lanterns, the Irvington Photography Club, and Q-Artistry, who will be presenting the awesome-sounding “Cabaret Poe” in October. The photography club exhibits work at Lazy Daze Coffeehouse (10 Johnson Avenue), welcomes people of all skills, and meets the second Monday of each month at the Irvington Public Library (5625 E. Washington Street) from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The next meeting will be September 13. The coffeehouse is currently displaying nature photography from three of its members.
Part of the guild’s mission is to assist artists in their development; the group’s blog includes a call for artists’ work. The next deadline, on August 27, is for the 64th Annual Irvington Halloween Festival Poster Design Contest. The blog is a good place for artists to get information about events taking place in the city. Past events include April’s panel discussion with gallery owners, a musical performance in May to kick off Ellenberger Park’s Free Summer Concert Series, and June’s Irvington Art Walk. Stick close to the blog for information about future events. Summer may be ending but the collaborative spirit that makes the arts thrive is not.
There are few things in this world I love more than Mystery Science Theater 3000, the cult 90s TV show that featured Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy (aka Mike and his robots Crow and Tom Servo) mocking crappy old movies. That love is extended to Rifftrax, the online commentaries of newer movies (including the Transformers series and the Star Wars Prequels) by Nelson, Corbett and Murphy.
Last week, the comedic trio went back to their roots as they riffed Reefer Madness, one of the worst movies ever made, live to theaters nationwide.
Reefer Madness tells the unintentionally funny story of three teenagers in the 30s who get caught up in the vicious world of marijuana use. This low-production cautionary tale is ludicrous by itself, but the Rifftrax team made it downright hilarious.
Along with the feature film, Mike and the gang also riffed three terribly funny shorts. The first was a 30s short warning housewives against washing their clothes in gasoline (I have no clue why someone would think that’s a good idea, but I digress).
The second short taught bored children of the 70s how to make boring art out of grass (real grass, not pot grass).
The third was a disturbingly cheerful cartoon from the 30s that ended with the main characters being mauled by a bear. While all funny on their own, the shorts were brought to a whole new level by Mike, Kevin and Bill.
What made the night a real treat was seeing these three men doing what they do best. You can tell they enjoy working with each other and making us all laugh. Even though we weren’t actually in the theater where they were performing, it felt like they were performing just for us. I can’t wait for their upcoming Halloween show (they’ll be taking on Vincent Price’s “House of Haunted Hill”).
If you didn’t make it to the show, fear not! They’ll be showing a taped encore in theaters all over Indianapolis this Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m. For ticket information, visit www.rifftrax.com. Make sure to get there early; there is some entertaining “trivia” before the show.
Greenwood’s Clark Park (near Greenwood Community High School at 615 West Smith Valley Road) hosted Saturday’s second-annual WAMM Fest. $10 bought admission to the event that featured wine, art, music, and microbrews, as well as a nice-sized crowd and plenty of sunshine. A spattering of sprinkles taunted at least one craftsperson who leaned out from under his awning and said, “It’s not raining… right?”
My day began with a small glass of a dry red from Chateau Thomas Winery (6291 Cambridge Way) and scads of people-watching in the food vendor area while The Woomblies played original tunes and covers from INXS to AC/DC. Several sample foods were available for sale from the many vendors, including Moe’s Southwest Grill (7853 U.S. 31 South) and Carrabba’s Italian Grill (4690 Southport Crossing Drive). While the music played, I checked out the arts vendors, immediately noticing that photographer Robert Clark had a booth set up. I bought a small vase (pictured) from a potter named Judy DeGan and browsed by a booth with metal flowers whose petals were made from faucet knobs. My friends delighted in found-art sculptures made from teakettles, old phones, buckets, toy trains, and probably enough other stuff to win a decent prize on "Let’s Make a Deal."
Shortly after 3:00 p.m., NUVO readers’ favorite Jennie DeVoe took the east stage and performed a 90-minute set. Years ago, when DeVoe could be found performing between the stacks at a bookstore or at small clubs, I was quite the groupie and was happy yesterday to hear her sing songs I hadn’t heard in years. Even though it’s a cover, I always liked her version of Ani DiFranco’s "Little Plastic Castle" and found myself swaying in the heat while sipping a second glass of cabernet. Next year? More money for crafts and a camp chair so I don’t have to chase people away from seats that appear to be but are not available.
In the style of NUVO's calendar categories, here are some arts-and-entertainment events coming up at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA; 4000 N. Michigan Road) in September. Some are weeks away but they sound so darn cool that I just can't help myself:
Dude. Penrod. That is all.
On September 22, Leaf Collective: An Autumn Equinox Concert, billed as "a kinetic performance in the woods," will take place in the Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion at 7:00 p.m. The free event is presented by Pharm Accident, Big Car Gallery’s performance group. You can't get much more poetic than a symphony based on falling leaves.
Every Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., the museum offers meditation hikes (both silent and voiced) that travel through the grounds and gardens. I went to the IMA a few times with writing classes and I can say sitting on the benches, all protected by the greenery, is a luscious way to spend time. Moving through those spaces while working to better understand the self sounds pretty great. Everyone gathers at the Efroymson Entrance Pavilion.
Um... all of it. Among the museum's myriad choices of things to do, there are ongoing exhibitions on display until after the first of the year. Selections include "Shots in the Dark: Photos by Weegee the Famous," "Drawings to Prints," and "The Viewing Project: The Pleasures of Uncertainty." There's also "The Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji," which I wrote about here.
Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues, the gentlemen behind Los Angeles-based designer/architecture firm Ball-Nogue Studio, will talk about their installation, Gravity’s Loom, on September 2 at 7:00 p.m. Any talk discussing art, design, architecture, and multicolored string has GOT to be interesting. At least enough to go out to one of the gardens and start meditating. Ball and Nogue will speak in The Toby. The event is free, but a ticket is required.
So there you go. This is but a taste of what the IMA has to offer. Visit www.imamuseum.org or call 317-923-1331 for more information.
This is it, folks, Thursday, the opening night for IndyFringe. The free fun begins at 6 p.m. with "fast & furious" two-minute previews of Fringe shows, followed by interactive performance carnival. Food and drinks are available (bring some dough for that, dude), and if your early evening is already booked, come at 9 p.m. for another round of previews. Hell, the actors won't be tired since they only performed for two friggin' minutes! Artists!
This craziness takes place at ClubFringe, the outdoor tent that will house all sorts of free entertainment over the course of the festival. ClubFringe is at the intersection of College Ave. and Mass Ave. It'll be the only tent filled with creative types. You can't miss it.
IndyFringe itself — 48 plays over 10 days — begins in earnest tomorrow night in multiple venues along Mas Ave. Tickets are $10 per show, or a Fringe pass gets you five tickets for $40. C'mon, you know you want to see at least five shows.
Speaking of a show WE want to see:
We are deeply bummed we got one of the performer's showtimes wrong in our current cover story. Here are the correct times for Deborah Asante, whose show "Deep In Love" performs at the Phoenix:
* Friday August 20, 2010 9:00 PM
* Sunday August 22, 2010 4:30 PM
* Wednesday August 25, 2010 7:30 PM
* Thursday August 26, 2010 9:00 PM
* Saturday August 28, 2010 10:30 PM
* Sunday August 29, 2010 10:30 PM
So. Mea Culpas out of the way, we just want to remind you to get your Fringe-y butt to the free ClubFringe tent and usher in this opening night... in style.
The annual El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Altar Exhibition is a traditional Mexican family holiday wherein altars to the dead are created in an effort to lure those deceased loved ones back for the day. Sound creepy? Hardly. It's a way to remember those who have passed, through the artful, reverent arrangement of objects associated with those loved ones.
The Indianapolis Arts Center is announcing a call for 20 such Day of the Dead altars, and everyone is invited — schools, artists, community centers — to submit proposals for creating these altars, which are customarily comprised of the loved one’s favorite items, food, toys and photos.
Submission are due by Sept. 3, and forms, guidelines for creating altars, and information about El Dia de los Muertos can be found at www.IndplsArtCenter.org.
The 11th Annual El Dia de los Muertos Altar Exhibition will be held at the IAC in Broad Ripple, Oct. 8 through Nov. 28.
Contact Patrick Flaherty, Exhibitions Associate, with questions (317) 255-2464 ext. 238 or PFlaherty@IndplsArtCenter.org.
A small but friendly group of people greeted me at the Garfield Poetry Circle at Garfield Park Arts Center (2432 Conservatory Drive) when I stopped at the gathering last Saturday. I thought I was headed into a stand-at-the-podium, full-on poetry reading; instead, the group offered the chance, as I now understand it does every month, to read poetry and get feedback from other attendees. The other folks — a retired architect, a grandmother, and a man who quoted Churchill twice — listened intently to the work I found and shared on the fly. We listened to a poem about lake mud squishing between the toes, short fiction about a man who encounters a ghost, and a poem about the places where loneliness can be found, including in being the only person to carry in the groceries.
The group generally has between two and five writers in attendance. We sat around an oblong table (which made me want to change the group’s name to the Poetry Oval), and chatted about mixed metaphors, and looked over articles that the group’s founder had brought along. The first, from Writer’s Digest, reminded readers about “The 10 Essential Rules of Poetry.” They were all about giving oneself more of a chance as a writer; “Experiment” (taking chances with poetic rules) and “Submit” (which I need to do far more often) have special significance for me. The second article, from WriterMag, discussed the best practices for dealing with autobiographical subjects in one’s work. I found the article to be kismet — I had shared a poem about a breakup and wasn’t sure if it was done (as done as poems get, of course). Now I can follow — and then fracture — some rules while I find out.
The next meeting will be September 19 at 3:00 p.m. Call the group’s coordinator, Michael Rogers, at 317-784-2958 or the Garfield Arts Center at 317-327-7275 for more information. Rogers also edits a semiannual collection of poetry called Poetry Garden and is currently accepting submissions for the next volume.
image courtesy of www.wordle.net.
The Bona Thompson Memorial Center (5350 E. University Avenue) is home until October 2 to “INprint,” a group showing of original prints whose mediums include linocuts, silkscreen, and etchings. The artwork is working with the theme “IN Irvington.” Some I liked immediately were Sandra Tipton’s photo etching of a group of children on a playground, laughing and jumping on each other’s backs like kids are wont to do, and Anders Sandstrom’s “Bather,” a pen-and-ink piece that was made up primarily of a series of dots and hash marks. I like that getting close to the various prints revealed a layer of intricate patterns which made it clear that diligent hours had been spent creating the work.
Pieces by Keith Dull were anything but: The first I saw was a black-and-white linocut with spiders scuttling beside an array of prisms, some of them just slivers of black on the white background. Another favorite were the brains attached at the medulla, and "Binary Spirits,” in which multi-patterned figures that looked a bit like menacing kachina dolls faced off in a duality of non-color.
I liked best Amy Tull’s “Light,” whose red background was home to equally-hued blobs that looked like red blood cells. They seemed to float within a black square from which white strips dangled like a collection of wind chimes. Also nice was Laurie Kemp’s “Song Sparrow II,” the first piece in which I noticed the extreme number of patterns some of the artwork contained. Kemp used tiny squares that were almost like a grid, a series of rich black spirals, something that first appeared to be dots but was actually a number of almost-leaf shapes, and a tree whose greenery looked like crumpled paper, a perfect resting place for a bird made of its own series of patterns.
Display hours vary. Call 317-353-2662 to make an appointment.
One of those not-so-politically-correct pieces of culture I miss from the 20th Century is the sideshow, which had pretty much disappeared from carnivals by the time I was old enough to see one. Sure, the circus still had jugglers and the occasional fire-eater, but I always felt there was something special about that one tent at the carnival where mystery, mysticism and danger thrived.
I’m happy to say that this sense of adventure still lives on in the Midwest, thanks to the Blue Monkey Sideshow at the Indiana State Fair.
We were welcomed with great fanfare by emcee Krembo, who pumped us up for the show and introduced the first act.
Zja’Dega, aka “The Rubberman,” first wowed audiences by twisting his wrist 360 degrees, then 720 degrees, then a whopping 1080 degrees!
Next, El Goucho (who looked suspiciously like Krembo in a sombrero) flirted with all the ladies in the audience while showing off his expert skills with a whip. I was sitting close to the stage and I have to admit, it was pretty thrilling.
At this point, Krembo told the audience about the Sideshow’s deep roots in Indiana. Tongue-in-cheek, the emcee warned parents, “This is what will happen if your children don’t pass ISTEP.”
Finally, we were introduced to Swami B’Mon, mystic of the East who walked on glass just for our amusement (“Don’t try these things at home… go to a friend’s house!”). He also did a handstand on the shards and used the pile of glass as a pillow while a lovely, but slightly intimidated young lady from the audience stood on his head.
The Sideshow is playing 5 shows a day (3, 4:30, 6, 7:30 and 9 p.m.) until the end of the Fair and we were assured by the performers that every show throughout the day has a different act. Knife throwing, juggling and sword swallowing are also on the menu. The show is free with Fair admission and it was the most fun I had all day. You can go to www.indianastatefair.com or www.bluemonkeysideshow.com for more details.
[A+E] Visual Arts + Museums
[A+E] Sports + Recreation