Tuesday, August 30, 2011

IndyFringe a 'resounding success'

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Jared Sherlock's "Illusions" Fringe show was one of many successes this year.
  • Jared Sherlock's "Illusions" Fringe show was one of many successes this year.

The shows continued late into the night on Sunday, but alas the curtain eventually closed on IndyFringe 2011. Judging by the attendance numbers, as well as NUVO’s reviews of the shows, it was another thoroughly entertaining celebration of theater.

Pauline Moffat, IndyFringe’s executive director, described the festival as a “resounding success,” reporting that $94,400 was returned to the performers directly from box office sales.

Overall attendance rose 9 percent year over year, with a total audience of 12,800. An additional estimated 4,000 attended free events connected with IndyFringe, such as shows at ClubFringe and an opening night preview performance.

Celebrating its seventh year, IndyFringe featured 56 acts and 336 shows over a 10-day stretch. Performances were held in seven different venues on or near Massachusetts Avenue.

Attendees were asked to complete a questionnaire, the results of which indicated that 38 percent had never before attended an IndyFringe show. Moreover, 11 percent were first-time visitors to the Mass Ave Cultural District.

Moffat lauded the efforts of the many volunteers who helped pull the festival together. “Volunteers are the backbone of the festival, and over 300 volunteers worked tirelessly at five venues throughout the 10 days,” she said.

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Slideshow: IndyFringe's final weekend
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Slideshow: IndyFringe's final weekend

With record-setting attendance, IndyFringe enjoyed a great festival. Here are some images from its final weekend.

By Brittney-Elizabeth Jackson

Click to View 12 slides

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Slideshow: Feast of Lanterns

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 1:30 PM

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Slideshow: Feast of Lanterns
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Slideshow: Feast of Lanterns

The free "Feastival" highlighted artisan booths, activities for children, a lineup of bands from around the Midwest, and the ceremonial lighting of lanterns after sunset Saturday on the near-Northeast side at Spades Park.

By Ted Somerville

Click to View 11 slides

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Slideshow: IndyFringe's final weekend

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 10:03 AM

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Slideshow: IndyFringe's final weekend
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Slideshow: IndyFringe's final weekend

With record-setting attendance, IndyFringe enjoyed a great festival. Here are some images from its final weekend.

By Brittney-Elizabeth Jackson

Click to View 12 slides

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9/11 from another angle

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Nathim_al-jaboori.jpg
Mullah Nathim Al-Jaboori, former Iraqi insurgent leader and Al Qaeda leader, now in exile in Jordan, as interviewed in Al Jazeera's "The 9/11 Decade" TV Series

By Marc D. Allan
We’re about to be bombarded with reminders of 9/11 and its aftermath. On Saturday, President Obama paid tribute to the victims. There have been, and will continue to be, TV specials and newspaper special sections recalling and commemorating the 10-year anniversary. We will be reliving planes flying into the towers and Pentagon. Bin Laden. The smoking gun that becomes a mushroom cloud. Mission Accomplished. And more.

It will be in your face and impossible to avoid.

I imagine I speak for many people when I say 9/11 is a day I’ll never forget but would prefer not to remember. But since 9/11 recollections are inevitable, I had hoped to find a different point of view. And perhaps I have: “The 9/11 Decade,” from Al Jazeera, the Arabic news channel, and directed by Dominic Streatfeild, author of “A History of the World Since 9/11.”

This three-hour, three-part series, which premieres the next three Thursdays (watch it on Al Jazeera's site), looks at the past 10 years from the intelligence, images and clash of civilizations angles.

I’ve seen part one, “The Intelligence War,” and it’s a good, thorough and, yes, even-handed recap of what happened and continues to happen in the so-called War on Terror. It also documents the efforts and the errors of both sides — the United States for taking its eye off the ball in Afghanistan in 2003 and thus allowing al Qaeda leaders to escape to Pakistan; al Qaeda for terrorizing not only the United States but Iraqis.

This first hour begins, more or less, with the voice of an al Qaeda operative saying they celebrated 9/11 because they were able to disrupt the U.S. economy.

Then it goes backward in time to 1996, as the United States traces Osama bin Laden’s satellite phone, then lost that ability when someone leaked that information to the media.

I don’t think there’s anything particularly new in “The Intelligence War,” but the segment on how al Qaeda leaders escaped from Tora Bora mountains into Pakistan is worth revisiting to see both the devastating bombing and remind us that by choosing to take the fight to Iraq, we gave al Qaeda the opportunity to regroup.

“Faith triumphed over all the materialistic forces of the people of evil,” an al Qaeda member boasts.

At that point, al Qaeda appeared to have, if not the upper hand, at least momentum. But by killing Iraqis, the terrorists angered the very people who might have been sympathetic to its cause. The producers of this documentary suggest that al Qaeda is directly responsible for the current wave of democracy movements in the Middle East known as the Arab Spring.

“The Intelligence War” ends with an al Qaeda voice saying what happened to America on 9/11 “will all happen again.” But the message you’re really left with is that this is a war nobody wins.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Go & Do: Your arts weekend, Aug. 26-28

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 4:00 PM

"ONEymoon (A Honeymoon For One)" plays several more times at IndyFringe. Read our review and get showtimes.

I've had a great Fringe. How about you? I saw a bunch of shows over the weekend, but hope to catch more this final weekend. Plus the parties really kick into gear on the second weekend. See a show, make a friend; that’s what is fun about Fringe! I chose a photo from “fricative” to go on my slideshow for Fringe (scroll down to check it out), because it’s a real treat. I’ve see great stuff, but “fricative” is the most fringe-y of the bunch, for me. To help you with your decisions, check out our comprehensive Fringe guide, wherein we reviewed every single Fringe show.

But. There are plenty of other A&E events you can work in and around Fringe to attend. One of my very favorite events of the year is Feast of Lanterns, and this year promises to be bigger and better than ever. I know people say that all the time, but it’s totally true in this case, because Feast organizers have greatly expanded their festival. This Saturday free event, held in Spades Park, features something for the whole family, from local art, a lantern auction and local vendors to crafts and games for kids. Once the sun goes down, the historical park is celebrated by the lighting of hundreds of paper lanterns that are hung from the century-old Oak trees that give this location so much character. Plus there’s a lantern parade! Don’t miss this one; see Dan Grossman’s feature on Feast.

For you sports fans:

MotoGP at IMS: The battle for the title continues as riders prepare for Round 12 of 18 of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix in the Red Bull Indianapolis GP. Casey Stoner recently, extended his points lead over competitor and reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, but you can’t ever count out 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden — AKA The Kentucky Kid — or seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi. Catch all the actions this weekend, starting Friday with practice, Saturday qualifying and the big race itself on Sunday.

XDL Championships at the Indiana War Memorial: The stage is set for the upcoming XDL Championship Series Finals to become one of the best events in sportbike freestyle history with athletes from the United States, Asia and Europe squaring off for a shot at the win, which includes over $10,000 in prize money. With six unique competitions around the War Memorial, it should be an exciting sight. Gates will open at 5 p.m. Ticket prices vary, but kids 12 and under are admitted for free.

Here’s a fun one: the Center for Inquiry is holding an Indy Skeptics on the Fringe. In seminars led by spokespersons for rationally led lives, guests will explore alleged modern quack medicines such as homeopathic and chiropractic practices, the presence (or absence) or ghosts and spirits downtown and the “true” power of tarot cards. Also available are performances portraying Einstein and featuring real quotes and dialogue from the scientist, as well as group visits to the Red Lion Grogg House. $5 per session, pub visits free. Friday-Sunday. Times vary.

At the swanky and sweet Cabaret at the Columbia Club, you can see Tony nominee and Emmy Award winner Liz Callaway will bring her voice to The Cabaret at the Columbia Club. Liz Callaway has performed on shows on Broadway ranging from Cats, The Look of Love and The Three Musketeers; she is also the voice in animated films such as Anastasia and Aladdin and the King of Thieves. She will be performing on Aug. 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $55 with a $12 food or beverage minimum.

Roadtrip in your horoscope? Check out Exploration Acres, south of Lafayette. With over eight miles of paths and 18 acres of corn maze, Exploration Acres will keep you entertained and lost for hours on end. The maze starts on Aug. 26 and ends on Oct. 30. Northwest Indiana's Largest Corn Maze has been shaped into to spooky Halloween figures like a house, tombstone, cat and many others. Open on Friday-Sunday; admission varies from $6 to $9.

On Saturday, you’ll want to catch Jasper T. Colbaire at the White Rabbit Cabaret. Imagine a six-year-old, redneck boy. Now, add a beard and twenty years, then subtract about 40 IQ points, and you have Jasper T. Colbaire. Texas’s Jasper T. Colbaire is bringing you the best late night talk show/variety show you ever done did see. The Jasper T. Colbaire Show returns with a dynamic line-up of guests including comedic characters Vinnie from Jersey and Jonathan Peepers, sideshow act Freakshow Foley, and musician Dan Schepper. Doors open at 8 p.m. and show beings at 10 p.m. $5 general admission. 21 and up.

My old friend, the multi-talented Sonny Bates, is opening a new play, The Girl In the Poem, at the Athenaeum. He wrote it and stars in, and it’s piece that digs deeper into the typical love triangle story, exploring the three characters and their unique stories. Integrating poetry, music, video, dance and drama, this is a must see. Order tickets at the Athenaeum box office for $10 general admission, $25 for VIP/reception.

I picked this this week so I could put the cute animal into my slideshow and newsletter: Wildfest: A Critters Chance Annual Fundraiser. Learn how to protect Indiana’s animals and visit the annual Critters Chance fundraiser. The local band The Mundie’s will be there to entertain you. There will also be raffles, children’s games, a hot dog stand, adoptable animals … must we continue? Oh yeah, it’s at the beautiful Southeastway Nature Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

On Sunday, you’ll be hungry, and you’ll want to Dig-In at White River State Park. This is a locavore’s dream come true, whether it’s local food, local beer, local wine, local… you name it, it’s local! The state’s top locavore-inspired restaurants will be paired with small farmers and artisan producers to turn out a single signature dish. Foodies will have the opportunity to taste dishes from such luminaries as Aaron Butts of Joseph Decuis and David Tallent of Restaurant Tallent in Bloomington, as well as local culinary stars Tony Hanslits, Neal Brown and Greg Hardesty, amongst others. Sunday, noon-5 p.m.; tickets $20.

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Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, Aug. 26-28
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Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, Aug. 26-28

Fringe swings into its final weekend, but there's plenty else to enjoy.

By Jim Poyser

Click to View 11 slides

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Punchnel’s: a new online literary magazine

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Neon Love Life was the subject of a recent Punchnels feature.
  • Neon Love Life was the subject of a recent Punchnel's feature.

What do writers do for fun? Well, they write, sometimes. Well Done Marketing — an Indianapolis based marketing and interactive firm — prides itself on employing talented writers: creative people. About a week ago, they launched an online literary magazine, Punchnel’s. It’s not necessarily modeled after another publication, but many of the people involved love Slate and Salon: places where pop culture and politics can mingle with creativity.

Creative director at Well Done, and editor-in-chief for Punchnel’s, Ken Honeywell, says, “There are tons of outlets for fiction and poetry, but we wanted to do something that was actually edited and that paid writers.”

He and Scott Woolgar (who has an English degree from Butler), president of Well Done Marketing, had been talking for over a decade about starting a magazine. “We initially talked about a print magazine, but now, because the web makes it possible to do all of the design stuff and distribution for free, it makes it more feasible to start something, and to pay writers.”

Punchnel’s publishes all kinds of creative writing: poetry, nonfiction, short fiction, photo essays, humor and reviews. New content is posted every weekday. Honeywell suggests that people check the site out often, “Keep coming back; we’re trying a lot of new things. And if you’ve got a great idea, let us know.” So far, the fiction has gotten a lot of traffic, and so they’re hoping to continue to get good short fiction up.

Because Well Done Marketing is based in Indianapolis, most of the people working on the site are local, but Punchnel’s has already gotten web traffic from all over the country. “We’re not trying to grow from Indianapolis out,” says Honeywell, “We’re just trying to publish the best work out there.”

Right now they’re advertising via Facebook and Twitter and constantly publishing new things on the site. Word travels fast and wide on the web; even after just a week Honeywell and others were happily surprised at how much traffic they had gotten. Although many of the writers at Well Done are contributing to the site, submissions are open to all.

Honeywell says, “We’re hoping, of course, to be wildly successful, so that we can keep paying writers to do what they do.” Seems like a good plan.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Slideshow: Fringe Fest 2011

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 8:58 AM

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Fringe Fest 2011 (Slideshow)
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Fringe Fest 2011 (Slideshow)

Fringe Fest took over Mass Ave past weekend with a slew of shows in various theaters featuring everything from dramas to comedy acts, fire dancers and busking magicians.

By Daniel Axler

Click to View 16 slides

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Slideshow: ORANJE Peel Party

Posted By on Mon, Aug 22, 2011 at 8:00 AM

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ORANJE Peel Party at the Monkey's Tail (Slideshow)
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ORANJE Peel Party at the Monkey's Tail (Slideshow)

The 3rd in the series of ORANJE Peel Parties leading up to ORANJE 2011.

By Matt Market

Click to View 15 slides

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Melissa Villasenor's Got Talent

Posted By on Mon, Aug 22, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Melissa Villasenor
  • Melissa Villasenor

Google the words “female impressionist” and the first names that come up are the artists Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt.

Looks like that could change.

If you haven’t been watching “America’s Got Talent” (8 p.m. Monday, 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, WTHR-13), turn it on this week. You’ll see Melissa Villasenor, a 23-year-old former Forever 21 clerk who does dead-on impressions of celebrities such as Drew Barrymore, Owen Wilson, Michael Jackson, Judy Garland, Zooey Deschanel and many others.

Villasenor’s now in the semi-finals and, no matter what happens from here, she’s on her way up.

“I would love to win,” she said in a phone interview. “But I don’t put that pressure on myself. I just want to take each performance and do a good job.” About her comedy, she added: “My standup is clean and it’s silly and it’s me.”

The California native first impressed her friends with her Britney Spears impression when she was 12. Soon, she was singing as Christina Aguilera and Scott Stapp of Creed.

“Once I got laughs from people, I realized that was what I wanted to do,” she said.

A successful performance at a high school talent show led her to the Laugh Factory Comedy Camp, where she began to take standup seriously.

Female standup comics who do impressions are exceedingly rare (Tracey Ullman and who else?), and impressionists of either gender who do as wide a range of voices as Villasenor are rarer still.

In auditioning for “America’s Got Talent,” she wowed the judges and the audience by going from Barbara Walters to Natalie Portman to Miley Cyrus to Kathy Griffin to Christina Aguilera in 90 seconds.

“I felt very free when I was walking out there,” Villasenor said. “I didn’t feel scared. I was just like, we’ll see how it goes. I was excited, but I wasn’t too excited. I don’t get ahead of myself. I don’t like to be too confident.”

To develop her impressions, she starts by watching interviews on YouTube with the celebrities she wants to imitate. She’ll study their mannerisms and write down a few phrases they say. “Then I’ll listen for a while and pause it and try it out with my recorder and then just go back and forth and back and forth,” she said.

Whoopi Goldberg didn’t work, but almost everyone else has. And celebrities have noticed. Villasenor’s Sarah Silverman impression earned her kudos from the comic, and Kathy Griffin gave her a shout-out on Twitter.

As she’s moved up in the “AGT” ranks, Villasenor has also been working on her standup act. She now has 30 minutes of material she’s happy with — enough to headline in Phoenix not long ago — and expects to have an hour ready in a couple of months. “There’s so much work to be done,” she said.

She’d also like to be a road comic, develop a sitcom about herself, write a movie about her life, do a Comedy Central hour special, release an album of singing impressions and be a cast member on “Saturday Night Live.”

“It’s been one of my dreams all my life to be on that show,” said Villasenor, who was inspired by Dana Carvey, Gilda Radner and Chris Farley, among others. “I can just envision myself there. I did audition two years ago, but it just wasn’t my time.”

Her time appears to be closer.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Go & Do: Your arts weekend, Aug. 19-21

Posted By on Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 9:00 PM

Zan Aufderheide, performing Fringe this year.
  • Zan Aufderheide, performing Fringe this year.

As if IndyFringe wasn’t already one of my favorite events of the year, my favorite street theater group, No Know Stranger, is performing guerrilla theater, and to top it off, Flat 12 is the official beer of this year’s festival. LOVE their IPA! And their Amber Ale… and their… Hey, you get my point: theater, weirdness, good beer, everything you need to enjoy summer in Indianapolis. We have a lot of great stories about this; a general intro, a preview one of the compelling pieces in the festival and a profile of Phil van Hest. Guaranteed: You’ll want to read this.

Okay, so I said “move over pretty much everything cultural,” but that was mostly hyperbolic. OF COURSE there’s shitloads of great stuff happening, as always, so let’s run through the fun:

Jake Johannsen brings his eccentric, cerebral musings to Indianapolis for a three-night run this week. The veteran funnyman has long been a staple on late night television, notching his 40th Letterman appearance earlier this year. His humorous takes on modern life touch on a scattershot of topics, from married life to politics to the latest social media trends, all examined from his unique and often exasperated point of view. Read Marc Allan’s great interview with Jake.

The Indianapolis Art Center’s annual fundraiser, ArtSparkle, will take on the theme of a classic circus for a one-time exhibition, featuring Blue Monkey Sideshow, among others. Guests will be able to view vintage hand-painted circus and sideshow posters from the 1930s to 1960s, enjoy food and drinks catered by Indianapolis restaurants, dance to music by the Fabulous Imports, all included with admission. Proceeds benefit seven outreach programs. 6 p.m. for VIP ticketholders, 7 p.m. general admission.

At the Hoosier Farm and Garden Dinner you can get in on the local food movement at the always green-thinking Epworth United Methodist Church. Celebrate the goodness of fresh, locally grown food at the third annual Hoosier Farm and Garden Dinner this Saturday at 5:30 p.m. The Epworth Green Team will provide small farm, Hoosier-raised Pulled Pork BBQ sandwiches, homemade apple dumplings, and other desserts. They ask that each family attending bring a large salad or vegetable side dish to share, using at least one ingredient from an Indy farm, garden, orchard, field or waterway. Guest speakers will be Rick Dawson and Shannon Cagle former WISH-TV reporters and current owners of their own flock of egg-laying hens.

This one will be extra special, the Shop Local Shop Fair at Earth House Collective: Want to learn more about the local food movement and buying fair trade? Earth House Collective, along with other businesses and organizations, have provided an opportunity to do just that! Head out to Earth House Collective on August 20 to be a part of workshops and panels focusing on being a conscious consumer. There will be food vendors, artists and artisans vending their goods and service, as well. Bring the kids along for a day full of fun activities.

Cumberland Arts Goes to Market celebrates caring for the earth and sustainable living practices so that’s why we picked it. The Cumberland Arts Goes to Market starts at 9 a.m. on the 20th lasting until 4 p.m. Festival includes over 70 art and craft booths, jazz, cloggers, thai food, a farmers market and a Pennsy Trail Group Cycle Ride and 5 K walk/run. Don't miss the Pennsy Trail and Town of Cumberland Sustainable Bike Ride either! Festival admission and parking are free.

As for baseball, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs will storm Victory Field for a four-game series from Aug. 20-23. Managed by Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, the IronPigs lead the Indians by a few games in the wildcard standings. This ten-game home stretch is bookended by games against the Louisville Bats (Aug. 16-19) and the Columbus Clippers (Aug. 24 and 25). Be sure to cheer on the Indians during this vital stretch for their playoff hopes.

You know who you are if you want to see the crowning of the 2011 State Fair Queen Pageant at the Pepsi Coliseum. This year marks the 53rd Annual Queen Pageant. Beautiful, poised, confident and well-spoken county fair queens from across the state will compete for the Miss Indiana State Fair title. Contestants are judged on three categories, interview, evening gown and professional wear. Judges are looking for the best representative of the State Fair with her personality, poise and presence. The new Miss Indiana State Fair will receive a $1,000 cash prize, a $1,000 wardrobe, tiara, trophy and various other gifts. Only $6 to be a part of this timeless tradition. Noon.

And you know who you are if you want to attend the Demolition Derby at the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand. A great event to celebrate America’s love affair with the automobile — the Lucas Oil Demolition Derby. Stop by the show at 4:30 p.m. to see the grown-up version of bumper cars. Winner of the event not only wins the coveted title of "Indiana State Fair Champion" but also prize money. Following the demolition derby, stick around for fireworks to conclude your State Fair 2011 experience.

Finally, the Fever look to continue their undefeated streak against the Washington Mystics at Conseco following two games on the road in California. To continue their 5-0 record against Washington, look for more high scores from Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas, who have averaged 14.3 and 13.6 points per game respectively, as of 8/12.

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(Slideshow) Your Go & Do weekend, Aug. 19-21
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(Slideshow) Your Go & Do weekend, Aug. 19-21

Move over, pretty much everything cultural in Indianapolis, here comes IndyFringe Festival: 10 days, over 300 shows at seven venues, plus guerrilla street theater and parties.

By Jim Poyser

Click to View 10 slides

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Slideshow: IndyFringe Preview Party

Posted By on Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 12:38 PM

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2011 IndyFringe Preview Party (Slideshow)
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2011 IndyFringe Preview Party (Slideshow)

This annual event features many Fringe performers in a two-minute format — to give audiences a taste of the Fringe. This year, Mayor Ballard shook the stage with a big announcement.

By Daniel Axler

Click to View 15 slides

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$82,000 boost for IndyFringe

Posted By on Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Pauline Moffat, Winnie Ballard, Mayor Greg Ballard
  • Daniel Axler
  • Pauline Moffat, Winnie Ballard, Mayor Greg Ballard

Mayor Ballard was the unexpected star of the show at last night’s IndyFringe preview party. The mayor announced that the city of Indianapolis is kicking in $82,000 toward the renovation of IndyFringe’s theater building at 719 E. Saint Clair St. The news earned Ballard a spontaneous kiss on the cheek from IndyFringe’s executive director, Pauline Moffat.

The $82,000 contribution comes from the city’s parking meter fund and will be used to repair sidewalks, curbs and an alley around the theater. IndyFringe pegs the total budget for the project at $800,000, which includes the cost of purchasing the building.

The party featured more than 40 two-minute preview performances. IndyFringe kicks off this weekend in the Mass Ave Cultural District and runs until Aug. 28.

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2011 IndyFringe Preview Party (Slideshow)
2011 IndyFringe Preview Party (Slideshow) 2011 IndyFringe Preview Party (Slideshow) 2011 IndyFringe Preview Party (Slideshow) 2011 IndyFringe Preview Party (Slideshow) 2011 IndyFringe Preview Party (Slideshow) 2011 IndyFringe Preview Party (Slideshow) 2011 IndyFringe Preview Party (Slideshow) 2011 IndyFringe Preview Party (Slideshow)

2011 IndyFringe Preview Party (Slideshow)

This annual event features many Fringe performers in a two-minute format — to give audiences a taste of the Fringe. This year, Mayor Ballard shook the stage with a big announcement.

By Daniel Axler

Click to View 15 slides

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