Saturday, July 30, 2011

17 Reasons to Turn on the TV

Posted By on Sat, Jul 30, 2011 at 8:00 AM

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Get the DVR ready. Cable TV networks spent Wednesday through Friday revealng their plans for the rest of the year. Here, in my estimation, are the best of their offerings.

1. Enlightened (Oct. 10, HBO). Stunning work by Laura Dern as a woman who has an awakening and decides to devote her life to doing good. A series like we haven't seen before.
2. Vietnam in HD (fall, History). If the clips and narration in the full version are as good as the clips they showed us, this will be magnificent television. Now, if we could only win the war this time ...
3. Beavis and Butthead (fall, MTV). The idiots are back to comment on Jersey Shore, music videos and more. If you liked them before, you'll like them again. If not ... forget it. For what it's worth, I love them.
4. I Just Want My Pants Back (January, MTV). Based on David Rosen's novel, the stories of young adults trying to find their way in the world. Or maybe just their pants. Looks smart and funny.
5. Moby Dick (Aug. 1-2, Encore). William Hurt as Ahab. I'm convinced. Intrigued, anyway.
6. Weed Wars (fall, Discovery Channel). The operators of Oakland's Harborside Health Center, the nation's largest medical marijuana distributors, let cameras in to watch them work. These guys are incredible characters; one of them wears dresses and goes by the name David Weddingdress.
7. Curiosity (Aug. 7, Discovery Channel). A series that tries to answer the Big Questions. Up first: Stephen Hawking on "Did God Create the Universe?" Other shows include Morgan Spurlock trying to figure out whether it would be healthier to live like a caveman and Maggie Gyllenhaal exploring why sex is fun.
8. The Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis (fall, Encore). A documentary that examines the career and influence of Jerry Lewis. Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy and Steven Spielberg are some of the celebrities who profess their admiration for Lewis, who's now 85. And you thought only the French like him.
9. The Rosie Show (fall, OWN). Rosie O'Donnell's new talk show. Her presentation for critics was hysterically funny. If she's that entertaining every night, this will be a show worth watching.
10. All-American Muslim (November, TLC). Five Muslim-American families in Dearborn, Mich., show that they're just as American as anyone else. Could help quell the anger and distrust against Muslims.
11. Gloria: In Her Own Words (Aug. 15, HBO). A documentary about women's movement leader Gloria Steinem, who, at 77, is still outspoken, smart and inspirational.
12. Hell on Wheels (no date specified, AMC). The network of Mad Men and Breaking Bad goes back in time to tell the dramatized story of the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Looks like a sprawling soap opera, but given AMC's track record, I'm anxious to see how they handle this piece of history and how the show compares with Deadwood.
13. Boss (October, Starz). Kelsey Grammer as the ruthless mayor of Chicago. I think he's channeling Sideshow Bob; he thinks he's Iago. More on this below. Either way, I want to see what he can do as a dramatic actor.
14. Sing Your Song (Oct. 17, HBO). A documentary about the life, work and art of Harry Belafonte, a man who's devoted his career to fighting for social justice.
15. The Hour (Aug. 17, BBC America). A political thriller set in the BBC's newsrooms in the mid-1950s. The show has the look of Mad Men. Will it be as compelling? We'll see.
16. ESPN's Fall Film Series (September through November). Building on last year's successful 30 for 30 film series, ESPN will offer another slate of movies. They'll start with "Catching Hell," about athletes such as Bill Buckner and fans like Steve Bartman and how one mistake defines them.
17. Big Law: Deputy Butterbean (Aug. 9, Investigation Discovery). Eric "Butterbean" Esch, the 400-pound former boxer, becomes a reserve deputy for an Alabama sheriff's department. Normally, I wouldn't recommend this, but there's a scene of Butterbean getting Tased that is just Hangover-style hilarious.

A little more:
—ME (to KELSEY GRAMMER): "There seems to be a little Sideshow Bob and a little Caligula in your character on Boss."
GRAMMER: "That'll be up to you guys (the critics). I didn't borrow from any other thing when I did this role. It is completely straight, completely honest, as stripped away as I've ever been in my life.... If some child or young person wishes to always think of me as Sideshow Bob, then that's their right."
ME: "Or some guy 52 years old."
GRAMMER: "That's OK. That's a great characterization. But honestly — and most people don't know this — that character (of Sideshow Bob) is my impression of Ellis Rabb, who was a famous theater actor."

—Wayne Knight (Newman on Seinfeld) is in an upcoming TV Land show call The Ex's, about three divorced men trying to share an apartment without driving each other crazy. I asked him: Where was the strangest place someone said, "Hello, Newman."
"At the Vatican," he said. "I went to Rome recently — my wife is an editor on a film that was opening at the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily — and we went to the Vatican. I mistakenly went up the stairs that go around the cupola to the top of St. Peter's Basilica. I'm at the top of St. Peter's Basilica, drenched in sweat, breathing deeply, and this person goes, 'Hello, Newman.' I thought: You know, I'm close to God. I might go right now."

—The funniest moment of press tour so far came during a Hallmark Channel presentation of an upcoming holiday movie called Debbie Macomber's Trading Christmas. A critic asked the actors for their favorite holiday memory. When it was Tom Cavanagh's turn, this was the exchange:
CAVANAGH: "I spent part of my childhood in Africa, and I wondered if — as a young fellah, I wondered if Santa knew where Winneba on the coast of Africa was. And so I had a lot of, I wouldn’t say tension, but I was worried that he was going to be able (to find it)."
CRITIC: How old were you?
CAVANAGH: 16.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

The City Gallery: Indy's urban living center

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 12:00 PM

The City Gallery will open August 5.
  • The City Gallery will open August 5.

There's a new gallery in Indy called the City Gallery. Its grand opening, featuring paintings by Kyle Ragsdale, will take place on Friday, August 5, From 6 to 9 p.m.

The City Gallery will have art shows, just like the other galleries at the Harrison Center for the Arts where it's located. But it will serve a wider purpose; using art as a kind of mortar to help build up the neighborhoods that surround Indy's downtown.

"It's the only urban living center that's using art and culture as a core strategy," says Joanna Taft, the Executive Director of the Harrison Center for the Arts. This particular strategy is geared towards encouraging people to consider living in the "doughnut" neighborhoods between the downtown and the suburbs.

These areas are often ignored by realtors who often prefer to sell homes in the suburbs. Partly as a result of this, the supply of redeveloped homes in these neighborhoods has often outstripped demand. Without an inflow of new residents, there's little chance for economic diversity, stability, and a strong tax base--things that the "doughnut" neighborhoods require for their vitality.

The City Gallery will set prospective home buyers and leasers on the path to finding all the information that they would need to make a purchasing decision--including information about how to obtain a suitable mortgage and how to obtain assistance in financial planning. The gallery will have events to attract potential home buyers, and will partner in this endeavor with organizations such as the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership as well as the City of Indianapolis. (As if to highlight the importance of this project, Taft and the Harrison Center staff had just recently relocated their office space so it now sits adjacent to the gallery.)

"So there will be a particular emphasis on neighborhoods and the unique claims of urban Indianapolis," says Taft. "The art is going to be about celebrating the urban neighborhoods of our city. And for our opening--we have five partner neighborhoods right now--and we're going to have a piece of art representing each of those partner neighborhoods that have been commissioned."

"We actually commissioned Kyle Ragsdale to do these pieces," she says. "And the goal is that we create a movement of people celebrating place and this amazing city that we live in."

But the City Gallery is also designed to answer the question that a prospective homebuyer might ask; "Why would I want to live in urban Indianapolis?"

The Harrison Center is, according to Taft, in an ideal place--both in terms of its actual location and in terms of its strong bonds with the city it serves--to answer that question.

"The City Gallery is Indy's urban living center that connects people to culture, community and place," said Taft. "The Harrison Center's really good at connecting people to culture and community and this gallery has a particular emphasis on place."

For more info call 317-396-3886 or visit the City Gallery page on Facebook

The Harrison Center is located at 1505 N. Delaware Street, Indianapolis, IN. 46240

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Go & Do: Your arts weekend, July 29-31

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Bicycle couriers, circa 1908.
  • Bicycle couriers, circa 1908.

There’s lots to look forward to this week, but I’ve got my main bead on Indy Indie’s “Wild in the Streets” event, featuring bicycle couriers, the same bicycle couriers we are featuring in our Mass Ave Criterium story on Aug. 10. It’s not just bicycles, though, but in the gallery there will be photographs, alley cat flyers and bicycles that have been hit by cars. Plus, you can compete in the Alley Cat race beginning at 3 p.m. Awards ceremony begins at 6 p.m. Event is free, starts at noon and goes to 9 p.m.

Other events this week to get excited about:

The National Art Museum of Sport is celebrating the 125 consecutive years of professional baseball in Indianapolis, the National Art Museum of Sport is exhibiting over 45 works of baseball art from its collection. Founded in 1959, NAMOS is one of the nation's largest collections of art depicting sport. The exhibit runs through October 10, Mondays-Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Indianapolis Indians have played since 1887 and are considered Indianapolis' first professional sports team. Free.

Mike Baldwin, considered by many to be one of the smartest and most likable comics working today, brings his clever writing style delivery to Morty’s. After winning the Trial By Laughter in Indianapolis, becoming a finalist in the San Francisco Comedy Competition, twice being named Funniest Comic in Kansas City and having his debut album go to #8 on the iTunes US comedy charts, Mike Baldwin has proven that he just might become the next big thing. Friday and Saturday showtimes and ticket prices vary.

Bella Latina at The Cabaret at the Columbia Club: Whether you like (or possibly never heard of) salsa, merengue, baiao, tango, basso nova or cha cha, Bella Latina will have something for you. Under the direction of the talented Monika Herzig and Heather Ramsey, the show features vocalists Stacie Sandoval and Elizabeth Souza and the world-renowned dancer Ana Lucia Cavalcante exploring different styles of Latin-American music. The Friday night event starts at 8 p.m., with tickets ranging from $15 to $35 and a $12 food or beverage minimum.

On Saturday, you can get a leg up on your memoir project with “Every Story Tells a Picture” at Marian University. Jim McGarrah, author of two memoirs and winner of the Eric Hoffer Award for Legacy Nonfiction, reaches out to all those wishing to learn how to translate your memoirs into words. Workshop lasts from 9 a.m — 4 p.m. costing $84 for members, $70 for students and teachers and $126 for nonmembers.

Sunday is Animation Day at the IMA, which is an awful lot of rhyming going on. Ever wonder how Disney and Pixar manage to make fish, cars and action figures seem so lifelike and filled with personality? Following an exhibition of 9 animated shorts, local animator John Ludwick will highlight the character creation process. Pixar animator John Capobianco’s new work, “Leonardo,” will be part of the line-up of shorts, and he’ll make an appearance via Skype and give attendees a glimpse of his latest project, “Galileo.” Interactive activities follow. Ages 4 and up welcome; 1-4:30 p.m. $2.

Probably the biggest event of the week is the 2011 Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A new points system, first-time hopefuls and July heat — this is an event sure to keep your on your feet with excitement. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway adds an autograph session, performances by country music stars and a vintage stock car show to the line-up this year, too! Ticket prices vary. Gates open at 6 a.m., race starts at 1 p.m. Check out Lori Lovely’s feature.

Also on Sunday you can see our Indiana Fever play the Los Angeles Sparks at Conseco Fieldhouse. After two games on the road against rivals Connecticut Sun (ranked 2nd in the East) and Minnesota Lynx (ranked 2nd in the West), the Fever are sure to be hyped up playing on their home-court this week. End the weekend with some excitement; don’t miss this opportunity to get in on the fun of Fever games. Ticket prices vary; 6 p.m.

Don’t miss the Bon Odori Japanese Summer Festival in the parking lot of Ocean World if you’re looking for a chance to experience Japanese culture through traditional dance and by dressing up in a yukatas (summer kimonos)? The 17th annual Bon Odori festival has it all including a multitude of games and prizes and traditional Japanese cuisine such as sushi, yakisoba and yakitori. Festival lasts from 5:30 — 9 p.m. and is free.

On Tuesday there’s ANOTHER great program at the Center for Inquiry, one of my newest, most favorite places. Dr. Christopher DiCarlo will lecture on how he believes critical thinking recognizes the faulty reasoning of people with authority. DiCarlo's is author of the book How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Asking the Right Question and is an advisory fellow for the Center of Inquiry, Canada. The event begins at 7 p.m., with a $10 expected donation.

See you out there!

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Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, July 27-29
Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, July 27-29 Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, July 27-29 Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, July 27-29 Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, July 27-29 Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, July 27-29 Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, July 27-29 Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, July 27-29 Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, July 27-29

Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, July 27-29

Despite the heat, the bicycle race season is getting into full swing, or full spoke, or whatever you’d call it, with Indy Indie’s “Wild in the Streets” event on Saturday.

By Jim Poyser

Click to View 10 slides

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Simon Says: It's Funny

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 9:00 AM

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British actor Simon Bird has already starred in one of TV's great sitcoms — The Inbetweeners — and he thinks he may have found another in Friday Night Dinner. The story of two brothers who go home every Friday to break bread with their parents debuts at 11:30 p.m. Saturday on BBC America.

"Like any family, you get to know them as the show goes on," Bird said. "And they have their own in-jokes and vocabulary, like any family does. I think it's nice that by the end, you feel like you're part of that family."

Bird, 26, plays Adam, a jingle writer who torments, and is tormented by, his brother Jonny (Tom Rosenthal) and their parents, Jackie (Tamsin Greig) and Martin (Paul Ritter). Mom and dad are forever concerned about Adam's non-existent love life.

Bird said the show's creator, Robert Popper, told him Friday Night Dinner is based on two ideas. One is that whatever age you are, whenever you go home to your parents, you revert to being a child. The second is that dads, when they hit the age of 50-55, "just start becoming a bit weird."

Martin, the dad, is exceedingly odd. He eats from the trash can and the floor, rarely wears a shirt and doesn't hear well. Popper said he modeled the characters after his own family. Bird's character is based on Popper himself.

"Simon's got a nice take on things, he's got good timing and he's got a good comic brain," Popper said. "He knows timing. It's a very specific show, because I want people to speak in a certain way — very fast. It's quite musical. That's the way I hear it."

Popper and Bird had worked together on The Inbetweeners — Popper was a script editor for the comedy about four British teens awkwardly navigating adolescence — and asked him to be part of Friday Night Dinner. Bird has just finished a movie version of The Inbetweeners (in which the boys go to Crete after finishing their exams), and agreed to play Adam. The movie is scheduled for Aug. 19 release in England, where the show ran for three six-episode season and was an enormous hit.

So far, Friday Night Dinner has just filmed the one six-episode series. Popper is writing the second, which is scheduled to begin filming in March.

"Things take a lot longer in England because we don't have 20 writers writing a series, we just have one," Bird said. "It takes eight or nine months to write a series and then it takes a year all around to get a series from start to finish."

Bird grew up mostly in England but spent a year in Massachusetts as a teenager when his parents taught at Tufts University. (They're now teaching at Claremont McKenna College in California.) He grew up wanting to be a comic but began to consider acting after he did some theater as a university student.

He said he's been fortunate to be part of two shows where he's had great chemistry. On Friday Night Dinner, he and his "brother," Rosenthal, bicker like real siblings. And on The Inbetweeners, Bird and his three buddies were four of the most real teenage boys you'll ever see.

"You can't really fake that kind of camaraderie," he said. "I mean, a good actor probably could."

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Playboy Mansion? I Only Go for the Articles

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 11:00 AM

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Years from now, when I'm recounting the story of the time I visited the Playboy mansion, I'm going to describe the astonishingly beautiful women, non-stop offers of sex and hanging around with Hef.

But you people — you're going to get the truth: Visiting the Playboy mansion was a lot like going to the Bat Cave, taking the White House tour and the time Jerry Seinfeld had sex with the Romanian gymnast.

Let me try to describe the evening.

Bat Cave, because our bus took such a circuitous route, around a winding street and up a steep hill, that I thought we were going to be knocked out so we would never know exactly where the mansion is. They didn't drug us, but there is zero chance I could ever find the place again without a couple of condoms. I mean a map.

When we arrived, Playboy Channel personnel were there to offer us the opportunity to have our picture taken with two bunnies. I declined — not because I've been happily, happily married for 27 years but because, well, I don't like having my picture taken under the best of circumstances. A picture of me flanked by two bunnies would approximate a turd sandwich. (And the bread on that sandwich didn't do a lot for me, anyway.)

Once inside the grounds, we were pointed to the famous grotto, where, legend has it, there's a nightly orgy. The grotto is a sauna underneath a rock waterfall and pool. Inside, nothing. It was empty and steamy hot. Outside, the grounds were well equipped with women poured into short, tight dresses. Cleavage, as far as the eye could see. Or, as Tony Roberts said in "Annie Hall," it was "like Playboy magazine, except the women can move their arms and legs." Actually, I didn't see anyone hot enough to be in Playboy. Because you can't airbrush reality.

Penelope, Miss March 2003, showed us around the grounds. In the back yard, peacocks strutted. Along a curvy pathway, we saw cages of rabbits and monkeys. We walked past the front of the house (no, pasty TV critics, you may not enter), a stately stone mansion with a slate roof. At times like these, I wish I knew more about architecture. But I can tell you, courtesy of Penelope, that inside is "grand," with 14 bedrooms.

She walked us through the aviary room, a sanctuary for 199 kinds of birds, assorted fish and reptiles. Through the game room, where I played Space Invaders pinball (the Playboy pinball machines weren't on) and Pac-man, and she told us about the three bedrooms, one of which has a spring floor. The bedrooms are equipped, she said, with lube, condoms and other amenities. To the lighted tennis court, which also has a basketball hoop. And to the outside of the guest house, where Playmates stay when they're filming, testing or "just broke up with our boyfriends."

All genuinely impressive. And yet, just like the White House tour: You get to see some things, just not the stuff you'd like (want?) to see. Hugh Hefner was nowhere to be found. We didn't get inside the house. And there was no, well, you know.

Like Seinfeld when he had sex with the Romanian gymnast, I thought I was entering a magical world of sensual delights. And years from now, that'll be exactly what it was.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Next Time on 'The Simpsons'

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 6:30 AM

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Coming up on the 23rd season of The Simpsons: Kiefer Sutherland playing a burned out ex-spy who moves to Springfield because it's quiet; a Treehouse of Horrors parody of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, in which Homer can only communicate by farting; the 500th episode (scheduled to air Feb. 19, 2012), in which Homer, Marge and the kids find out they weren't invited to a Springfield town meeting where they were the topic of discussion; and guest stars including Jane Lynch, Andy Garcia and Jeremy Irons (as the voice of Moe's bar rag, which started as a medieval tapestry).

That's the word from executive producer Al Jean who, along with director Mark Kirkland and producer David Silverman, took North America's TV critics on a tour of Film Roman studio, where the main animation for The Simpsons takes place.

In the course of an hour, they tossed out some staggering numbers:

—Each episode requires 20,000 to 30,000 separate drawings. The main artwork — about 5,000 drawings — is done here; the rest of the work is finished in Korea.

—About 120 people in each location have a hand in the artwork. (The drawing below was a work in progress by one of the animators, Yelena Geodakyan.)

—A typical episode takes nine months to complete.

—The process requires more than a dozen steps, starting with the script, table read and recording, and ending with music scoring and sound effects.

They said the design of the show has gone through three major turning points. The initial one came between the first and second seasons, when they instituted a more uniform design. After season 13, they went to digital coloring. Then, about four years ago, they switched to high definition.

The show is still hand-drawn. It's just that sometimes the drawing takes place on computer rather than paper.

When they talk about the show, they do so with an air of amazement that it's lasted this long. Kirkland said none of the networks initially expressed any interested in a prime-time animated series because prior to The Simpsons, the last successful one was The Flintstones — which ended in 1966.

"We all know The Jetsons," Kirkland said. "There were 17 episodes of The Jetsons. You just saw them over and over again."

Jean, who joined The Simpsons in 1989 when the show was being spun off from The Tracey Ullman Show, had worked on It's Garry Shandling's Show, Alf, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Not Necessarily the News.

"I was always doing not-very-normal things," he said. "The Simpsons was one nobody I knew wanted to work on because it was a cartoon, but I figured, hey, it's Jim Brooks."

Oh, and The Simpsons being The Simpsons, they will not shy away from the Rupert Murdoch phone hacking scandal, even though Murdoch owns Fox. In Springfield, Mr. Burns and Smithers will be the ones involved.

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Also Tuesday, Anderson Cooper met the TV critics to talk about his new daytime talk show, which debuts Sept. 12. (It will air locally on WNDY Channel 23 at 5 p.m. weekdays.) Cooper said it will feature him talking to "real people" as well as celebrities. From the clips we saw, Anderson looked, well, exactly like a daytime talk show.




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Monday, July 25, 2011

Slideshow: IndyFilmFest Closing Night 2011

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 3:15 PM

IFFs Closing Night festivities included handing out awards.
  • Stacy Kagiwada
  • IFF's Closing Night festivities included handing out awards.

The closing night of the 2011 Indianapolis International Film Festival was held at the IMA. After remarks from IFF President Craig Mince, Mayor Greg Ballard, and Festival Managing Director Lisa Trifone, there was a screening of the Closing Night Feature These Amazing Shadows, a documentary about the National Film Registry.

This year the IFF had their largest group of participants yet. Offering various workshops, as well as the opportunity to sit in on Skype interviews with a few of the directors drew a wide audience. The crowd was eager to celebrate the work from the entire festival with the presentation of a few awards, including the much anticipated $1,000 Grand Jury prize. The evening concluded with a Skype interview of Kurt Norton, co-director of These Amazing Shadows.

Slideshow
Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Night
Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Night Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Night Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Night Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Night Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Night Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Night Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Night Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Night

Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Night

Indy Film Festival came to a close Saturday night with These Amazing Shadows as the featured film. Check out our highlights of the awards and closing festivities.

By Hannah Fehrman

Click to View 15 slides

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Slideshow: IndyFilmFest Agio After-Party

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 3:05 PM

The 2011 Indianapolis International Film Festival has officially come to a close, after a 10-day festival. There were screenings of movies from across the world, with a plethora of films and workshops to attend. But the party didn't end there, Agio, along with Sun King Brewery hosted the Closing Night After Party. Filmmakers, directors, friends, and film enthusiasts alike gathered to share in conversation, debate, and to celebrate the success of the 2011 Indy Film Fest.

Slideshow
Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Party at Agio
Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Party at Agio Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Party at Agio Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Party at Agio Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Party at Agio Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Party at Agio Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Party at Agio Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Party at Agio Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Party at Agio

Slideshow: 2011 IFF Closing Party at Agio

After the last film was shown and the last award was given the crowd headed over to Agio where the fun continued at the 2011 IFF Closing Party.

By Stacy Kagiwada

Click to View 10 slides

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Go & Do: Your arts weekend, July 12-24

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 12:00 PM

John-Dillinger_Mugshot.jpg

Indy Film Fest has swung into its apotheosis of activities, including the closing night event on Saturday (7:30 p.m.) includes a screening of These Amazing Shadows, a documentary look at the National Film Registry, followed by an after-party that will include the announcement of the Grand Jury winner and $1,000 prize purse. Note also that the Audience Award-winning film will be announced on Sunday, along with other awards and screenings. Don’t miss it!

Speaking of film, you can do-it-yourself with this year’s 48 Hour Film Project. Register now through July 29 for this wild and sleepless weekend. You and a crew (friends, family, whomever) write, shoot, edit and score a movie, in just 48 hours. Think you can do it? Register: http://www.48hourfilm.com/indianapolis/. Once registered, the 48-hour kickoff is July 29, 6 p.m. at iMOCA in the Murphy Art Center. All participants receive a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre, all to include in their movie. Forty eight hours later, the film must be submitted back at iMOCA. Screenings of the films, announcements of winners, a final screening of winners and awards will be announced in early August. Entry fee is $155.

Also happening this weekend:

ComedySportz’s World Comedy League Championship features over 200 improvisers from across the globe will take part in the competition for the Meaningless Trophy, awarded to the champion on Saturday. There will be matches every night with ComedySportz teams from across the US, as well as Manchester, England, and the newest team from Berlin, Germany. Ticket prices and showtimes vary. Don’t miss our feature on this event on nuvo.net.

Dance Kaleidoscope is not avoiding the heat, they’re working with it: The Summer Sizzle Concert features hot choreography at a cool price: $10 per ticket to see a variety of pieces, from David Hochoy's dramatic piece complete with his favorite musical theater songs to Cynthia Pratt's Elvis Presley-related choreography, there's something to keep everyone's interest in this show. Evening performances begin at 7 p.m. and Sunday's matinee begins at 2:30 p.m. Ticket prices vary.

All weekend long, Marion County Fair at the Marion County Fairgrounds will feature racing pigeons, chain saw woodwork, gospel music, llama demonstrations, a dog show, a cheerleading contest, demolition derby, and even a meatless chili contest. The midway will feature multiple rides such as the bouncing, rotating Panda Bear, the swinging Alpine Bobs, the Mega Drop, the Cyclops and the Hammer. Events and times vary; $5 general admission. Runs through July 30.

For you baseball enthusiasts, we have a host of events this weekend to honor Indianapolis’ rich baseball history including Washington Park, the Negro National League, the Indianapolis A.B.Cs, and the Indianapolis Indians. The four-part celebration includes the 125th anniversary of professional baseball in Indianapolis. This celebration also marks the location of Washington Baseball Park — Indianapolis’ first major league stadium and recognizing Washington Park as the site of the first Negro National League game, played on May 2, 1920, with the Indianapolis ABCs defeating the Chicago Giants in a doubleheader. 4:30 p.m. Open to public. See nuvo.net for a feature story by Rita Kohn to get all the information.

On Saturday, warm up for the Mass Ave Crit with the Indy Criterium Cycling Race & Festival at University Park. Interested in bicycle racing for both adults and children, food truck vendors and the opportunity to support local nonprofit Freewheelin' Community Bikes? Head out to the 2nd annual Indy Criterium Cycling Race & Festival kicks off at 9 a.m. with a free bike ride through Crown Hill Cemetery. That's only the beginning of a day filled with a unique figure-8 race course, prizes, a beer garden and a live DJ. For all those interested in participating in a race, the registration fee is $40 first race, $15 additional races.

On Saturday, you can see dead people. Voted by travel writer Danny Lee as his favorite tour in Midwest Living Magazine’s “Terrific Tours” article (July/August issue), Dillinger & Eastside Notables explores famous gravesites of Crown Hill Cemetery. Crown Hill is the 3rd largest cemetery in the country and is the burial site of numerous famous people such as President Benjamin Harrison, poet James Whitcomb Riley, Colonel Eli Lilly and three U.S. Vice Presidents. This tour covers sections not included in other tours including a stop at bank robber John Dillinger’s grave. A stop at the top of “The Crown” will give participants a view of the sunset with a stunning 360-degree panorama of the city. $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for students under 18. 7:30-9:30 p.m.

After baseball history and dead people, get your Oranje Peel on at Sensu! which means ORANJE season has officially begun. It will be a night of art, music and fun with DJ performances by Rusty, John Larner and Helicon, a live art exhibit and enter-to-win contests. This year marks the 10th anniversary of this must-experience contemporary art and music event. ORANJE 2011 will take place Saturday, Sept. 17; Doors open at 10 p.m.; it’s free!

On Sunday, you can ponder this event: Christianity is Wildly Improbable at the Center for Inquiry. Former Christian minister and founder of the blog "Debunking Christianity" John W. Loftus will discuss his claim that Christianity is wildly improbable. Loftus is the author of Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity and edited books such as The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails. Loftus will explore what he sees as the troubling aspects of Christianity, including the many beliefs it must defend in order for it to function.

Finally, on Tuesday, you can check out one of the premier poets of Indianapolis, the great Richard Pflum as he gives a reading of his poetry at Bookmamas. Pflum has published two collections of his poetry: A Dream of Salt and A Strange Juxtaposition of Parts. Following the reading there will be an open mic for ambitious audience members. The reading is part of the ongoing Irvington Poetry Series.

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(Slideshow) Your Go & Do weekend, July 22-24
(Slideshow) Your Go & Do weekend, July 22-24 (Slideshow) Your Go & Do weekend, July 22-24 (Slideshow) Your Go & Do weekend, July 22-24 (Slideshow) Your Go & Do weekend, July 22-24 (Slideshow) Your Go & Do weekend, July 22-24 (Slideshow) Your Go & Do weekend, July 22-24 (Slideshow) Your Go & Do weekend, July 22-24 (Slideshow) Your Go & Do weekend, July 22-24

(Slideshow) Your Go & Do weekend, July 22-24

We’re in between Black Expo and the State Fair and IndyFringe, so you have no excuse to miss the final weekend of Indy Film Fest, along with a boatload of other events.

By Jim Poyser

Click to View 11 slides

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Indy Film Fest's secret screening

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 7:30 AM

Folk rock musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Submitted photo.
  • Folk rock musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Submitted photo.

The secret is out! This Friday, July 22 at 9:30 p.m., the Indy Film Fest and the IMA will present an advanced screening of The Swell Season, which won't be released nationally until the fall.

The documentary follows folk rock musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova of the indie film hit Once, which snuck up and floored audiences in 2007 and earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song the following year.

In a case of life imitating art, Hansard and Irglova became romantically involved after the romance drama was released. The Swell Season traces their return to post-Oscar reality and the arduous concert tour that put their relationship on the line.

The contrast between the film's simple black-and-white cinematography and its complex love story should make for a memorable movie-going experience.

The film was going to be screened outdoors as part of the IMA's Summer Nights Film Series, but due to the extreme heat predicted, it will be shown in the air-conditioned comfort of the Toby Theatre. Seating will begin at 9:15. Tickets are $10 for the public and $5 for museum members.

For more information about the film, click here.

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Borders to end final chapter — Chapter 11

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2011 at 7:01 AM

Bye-bye, Borders. Perhaps books like these will be greatly discounted.
  • Bye-bye, Borders. Perhaps books like these will be greatly discounted.

The story of Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Borders Group, which at its climax operated seven Borders bookstores in the Indianapolis area, has reached the last page of its final chapter — Chapter 11 bankruptcy, that is.

After failing to find a buyer, the chain obtained court approval yesterday to liquidate. Borders stores in Carmel, downtown Indianapolis and at River Crossing Boulevard closed earlier this year, following the bankruptcy filing in February.

Going-out-of-business discount sales at the Castleton Square Mall, 7565 U.S. 31 South, Indianapolis International Airport and Noblesville locations could begin as early as today, running through September. Although The New York Times reported last Monday that Borders’ competitors have considered taking over a few stores, it is unclear if any are in Indiana.

In a statement, Borders Group President Mike Edwards blamed the liquidation on ”headwinds” such as “the rapidly changing book industry, eReader revolution, and turbulent economy.” The Times article expressed publishers’ fears that the loss of a major chain like Borders, with its unique opportunities for customer browsing, could decrease impulse buying and book sales generally.

Borders’ local legacy is mixed. Although its stores hosted book signings and other events, they never fully realized their potential as social hubs for Indianapolis’ literary community. Independents such as Big Hat Books and Bookmamas have been more successful at that.

It’s hard to prove, but Borders’ stores (and Barnes & Noble’s) may have had a “Wal-Mart effect” that contributed to the extinction of newsstands and smaller-sized chain bookstores in Indianapolis, especially downtown.

On the other hand, Borders’ Marion County locations were all accessible via public transit, no mean feat in these parts.

Borders is survived locally — for the moment — by several Barnes & Noble locations, one Books-A-Million, a few indies and assorted used bookstores. And, of course, by the Internet, which may one day have to shoulder the entire burden of the globe’s written works by itself, Atlas-style. Then, should Atlas ever shrug, we’ll be screwed.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Slideshow: Opening night at IndyFilmFest

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2011 at 12:32 PM

The opening night of the Indianapolis International Film Festival was held at the Toby Theatre at the IMA. After remarks from IFF President and COO Craig Mince, Festival Managing Director Lisa Trifone and the IMA's Anne Laker, we were treated to a screening of Mark Cahill's Another Earth, a compelling film about loss and love, told through a fascinating science-fiction-y point of view.

It was a great start to a great festival, with numerous films showing every day. Make sure you read our cover story from last week for our main recommendations.

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2011 Indy Film Fest (Slideshow)
2011 Indy Film Fest (Slideshow) 2011 Indy Film Fest (Slideshow) 2011 Indy Film Fest (Slideshow) 2011 Indy Film Fest (Slideshow) 2011 Indy Film Fest (Slideshow) 2011 Indy Film Fest (Slideshow) 2011 Indy Film Fest (Slideshow) 2011 Indy Film Fest (Slideshow)

2011 Indy Film Fest (Slideshow)

This years Indy Film Fest opened Friday with a screening of "Another Earth." The 10-day festival hosts films from acclaimed SXSW and Sundance, as well as many other independent films. Check out this slideshow for a look at opening night.

By Stacy Kagiwada

Click to View 11 slides

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