Friday, September 30, 2011

Go & Do: Your arts weekend, Sept. 30-Oct. 2

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 7:30 AM

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Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, Sept. 30-Oct. 2
Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, Sept. 30-Oct. 2 Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, Sept. 30-Oct. 2 Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, Sept. 30-Oct. 2 Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, Sept. 30-Oct. 2 Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, Sept. 30-Oct. 2 Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, Sept. 30-Oct. 2 Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, Sept. 30-Oct. 2 Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, Sept. 30-Oct. 2

Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, Sept. 30-Oct. 2

Art vs. Art and Circle City Classic highlight a weekend of diverse events.

By Jim Poyser

Click to View 11 slides

My trip to Bloomington last weekend for Lotus was a delight of course, but I missed some great fun here. AND, my bike was stolen in B-town, which has NEVER happened in Indy. So, I say, Indy you rock! ‘Cause there is shitloads of stuff to do, the people are nice and bikes don’t get stolen (at least mine doesn’t get stolen).

So let’s start with Friday:

Art vs. Art at The Vogue combines the high and low of visual arts in a winner-take-all competition. For those not-in-the-know, Art vs. Art is actually a three-step event. The first step took place Sept. 10, with artists/competitors having four hours to create a painting using materials provided by event organizers. The second step, occurring Sept.16-29, involves people voting online for their favorite paintings. Step three, on Sept. 30 at The Vogue, represents the culmination of the competition, with a night of live music, the awarding of a $4,000 cash prize to the winner and, yes, the killing of some art. The Leisure Kings provide the music, and my bud Mike Wiltrout emcees the event (and heads up Leisure Kings). 8 p.m. Tickets: $12 in advance; $15 the day of the show.

Indianapolis Wine Festival will transform Military Park into a mini Napa Valley, minus the rolling vineyards, with a celebration of wine, food and music. Sample from a selection of 270 wines from around the world. Indulge in fresh dishes from such local eateries as Osteria Pronto, 14 West and Iozzo’s. Enjoy live music from the Maryland-based band Lloyd Dobler Effect (I guess you can give them your keys for safekeeping). Ticket prices include a souvenir wine glass, 10 wine tastings, cooking demos, and food and wine seminars. Must be 21 or older to attend. 4-10 p.m. Friday; 2-8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets: $27 in advance; $35 at the door.

The 28th annual Circle City Classic celebrates all things African-American in Indianapolis. The 2-day festival brings sports, music and comedy to downtown, drawing over 100,000 attendants annually. Start off your Friday night with Chris Tucker's Comedy Jam at Old National Centre. If music's your thing, catch Classic Cabaret at the ICC or Gospel Music Explosion at the Madame Walker Theatre. On Saturday, bring the kids downtown to the parade; it'll leave from Vermont St. at 10 a.m. Later, hip-hop favorites Bow Wow and Monica will kick off the annual football game at Lucas Oil, where Albany State will take on Kentucky State at 2:30 p.m. Some stuff is free; some costs.

The Bloomington Playwrights Project explores the theme of war and peace through eight 10-minute plays. The BPP commissioned such luminaries as Jessie Eisenberg (Academy Award nominee), Jeff Daniels (two-time Tony winner) and Paris Barclay (two-time Emmy winner), among five other talented scribes, to write the plays. The end result: a night of alternately thought-provoking and laugh-out-loud hilarious entertainment for you, the theatergoer. The event is part of Indiana University’s Fall 2011 Themester: Making War, Making Peace. 8 p.m. Sept. 30 and Oct. 1; Oct. 6-8; Oct. 13-15. Tickets: $18 general admission; $15 for students and seniors.

Stuffed and Unstrung: Leave the kids at home and head over to Clowes for a night of foul-mouthed puppetry. Stuffed and Unstrung is an outlandish, adults-only variety show featuring the puppets — and puppeteers — of The Jim Henson Company. You won’t see Kermit or Miss Piggy at this event; instead, you’ll get a rough-and-tumble gang of uninhibited puppets singing bawdy songs and riffing through blush-worthy sketches. Come prepared to interact with the performers; the puppeteers plan to solicit audience suggestions and improvise on the fly. Must be 18 or older to attend. 8 p.m. Tickets: $35.

ISO: Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 at Hilbert Circle Theatre: The ISO breathes fresh life into Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, a work that critics questioned more than 100 years ago for its unorthodox techniques but that today is roundly lauded for its innovative stylings. Mahler’s symphony — perhaps better known by its alternate title, “Titan” — carries listeners on a journey from inferno to paradise. The evening also features a performance by internationally acclaimed violinist Leila Josefowicz. A 2008 MacArthur Fellow with a reputation for championing new compositions, Josefowicz offers her take on Thomas Ades’ Concentric Paths, a violin concerto that premiered in 2005. 8 p.m. Friday; 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Ticket prices vary.

Here are some choice Saturday events.

Pilobolus will perform at The Center for the Performing Arts. Founded 40 years ago at Dartmouth College and named after a fungus, Pilobolus has redefined the boundaries and potential of dance, staging gymnastic-like movements that involve close physical interactions between performers. The troupe delivered their most high-profile performance at the 2007 Academy Awards ceremony. Not that I was watching, ‘cause I hate that celebrity crap. But Pilobolus is cool, mind-blowing even. I’ll be there. 8 p.m. Saturday. Ticket prices vary.

Experimental filmmaker Brent Green employs live-action stop-motion techniques to tell the true story of Leonard Wood, a Kentucky man who reconstructs his home into a “healing machine” in a desperate attempt to save his cancer-stricken wife. Green shot the film in his backyard, where he rebuilt the ramshackle home to scale. The film’s folk-punk score will be performed live during the screening by Brendan Canty (from Fugazi), Drew Henkels, John Swartz and Donna K. (who plays Mary in the film). Enjoy the film under the stars in the IMA Amphitheater. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $15 for the general public; $10 for IMA members and students.

Second Helpings Harvest: Come down to the Second Helpings Community Kitchen for an evening of food and fun at the 8th annual Harvest. This year, graduates of the organization's culinary training program will serve up grub alongside some of Indy's most notorious chefs. The evening will feature chefs from BARcelona Tapas, El Sol, R Bistro, 120 West and Duos, to name a few. Local craft beers Sun King, Flat 12 and Oaken Barrel will be available. Second Helpings has long worked to fight hunger through the power of food in Indianapolis, so come support this venerable cause. $60 adv/$70 door. 6 - 10 p.m.

Things don’t slow down on Sunday.

Butler’s 65-piece wind ensemble collaborates with 100-plus singers from across the nation in the Midwest premiere of Ask the Sky and the Earth: A Canata for the Sent-Down Youth. The performance couples the music of Dongling Heo with a libretto by Wei Su to tell the story of the millions of Chinese children who were forced from their families and sent to the countryside during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Wei Su, a Tiananmen Square protestor, will give a pre-concert talk at 2 p.m. The concert begins at 3 p.m. and is free, but you still need a ticket. Pick up yours at the Clowes Hall box office.

Shanghai native Weiwen Ma, winner of the 2009 Cleveland Institute of Music Concerto Piano Competition, performs a solo recital with pieces from such legendary composers as Mozart, Chopin and Liszt. She recently earned first place at the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition in Manhattan, a triumph that resulted in what every young musician dreams of: a performance at Carnegie Hall. This event marks the first in a series of piano recitals hosted by the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church. 2 p.m. Free.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Indy Underground unearths fresh voices

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Victoria Barrett
  • Victoria Barrett
Corydon-based crime writer Frank Bill will make his first local appearance this week as part of Indy Underground, an occasional series of readings presented by the Writers’ Center of Indiana and devoted to presenting new work in a relaxed, informal setting. He’ll be joined by Victoria Barrett, who is coordinating the event and will read her own work. Barrett, who teaches writing at Ball State and the Writers’ Center, recently launched a boutique press, Engine Books, devoted to new works of fiction. A mission statement lays out plans for the press to publish four titles per year, two by female writers. Barrett spoke about the series and fiction being produced in Indiana.

NUVO: What’s the idea behind the Indy Underground series? What kind of authors do you try to bring in?

Barrett: Indy Underground was started by the author Will Allison when he lived in Indianapolis and served on the Board of the Writers' Center in order to provide a less academic, more celebratory reading series to complement the excellent university readings we have at Butler, IUPUI and University of Indianapolis. The series has always featured lively writers, beer or wine, and great venues. We feature a local writer alongside our visitor. Last summer we brought in Donald Ray Pollock. He read from the then-unfinished novel The Devil All the Time, which has now had a fabulous debut. Earlier this year, Alan Heathcock read from his story collection Volt — along with Allison Lynn, who we’re really privileged to have living in Indy and teaching at Butler, reading from her next novel. All of those readers and books are terrific, but I’m particularly excited to feature Frank Bill, an Indiana writer just now making it big. We love writers whose work is fresh and energetic and new.

NUVO: What do you think of Frank Bill’s work? Is it rare for an Indiana author to score a two-book deal with a major publishing house?

Barrett: Frank’s book is going to be — is becoming already — that rare book that transcends its genre without betraying it, that walks the line between crime and literary. It’s living in the best of both worlds, with the sales potential of crime fiction but the credentials of literary writing.

Indiana has produced a ton of great writers, many of whom have done well in big publishing, whether they’ve stayed or gone: Patricia Henley, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, Christopher Coake. Now, a strong crop of young writers (30-something is young for a writer) is coming up in the city, writing terrific books, just making their ways into the publishing world. Within a few years, books are going to be pouring out of this area; two- book deals will be no surprise whatsoever.

Indiana resists a concrete literary identity in the way that it resists an easy identity generally. And geography matters less and less to the business of writing. I don't think that, right now, it’s any more surprising to see an Indiana writer than a writer anywhere get a great contract. But the question is going to become moot in the fairly near future.

Indy Underground Reading Series featuring Frank Bill and Victoria Barrett
The Irving Theater, 5505 E. Washington St.
Thursday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m., free, all-ages; beer and wine available

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A Nation of Drunkards: Q&A with Ken Burns

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 12:00 PM

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Ken Burns' new film tells the story of a single-issue political movement, the demonization of a particular ethnic group and people who felt they had lost control of the country and wanted to take it back.

No, it’s not about the tea party. The film is called Prohibition, and it runs on WFYI (Channel 20) at 8 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, with repeats immediately following the initial airing.

For about five and a half hours over three nights, the film documents how the United States came to outlaw alcohol from 1920-1933.

The film is filled with fascinating facts — like how in 1830, the average American older than 15 drank 88 bottles of whiskey a year. And how in the 1800s and early 1900s, alcohol taxes funded one-third to around one-half of the federal budget. And how the income tax was created to eliminate the government’s dependence on tax revenues from alcohol sales.

I’ve enjoyed some of Burns’ other films more, but I felt like I learned an extraordinary amount from this one.

“I think that’s the best review,” Burns said when I told him that.

Here’s the rest of our conversation:

NUVO: The amount people drank was just staggering.

Burns: We’ve got a nearly six-hour series divided into three parts. The first is called "A Nation of Drunkards," and that was really no lie. John Adams began his day with an alcoholic beverage. People drank way, way more than they drink now. Drunkenness — it wasn’t called alcoholism — was a severe social problem, and it prompted a very legitimate attempt by what we felt was a new utopian society to try to come to terms with it. The idea of temperance — drinking less, which was an incredibly smart thing to do — just metastasized into this single-issue campaign.

NUVO: Then there’s the amount of money the taxes on alcohol brought in. That’s what really funded the government.

Burns: More than half of all the internal revenues — remember, we had a lot of import-export, on which there were excise taxes — generated for the federal government came from taxing beer, wine and distilled spirits. So one of the comfortable feelings those industries had was, “We’re the fifth-largest industry. Nothing’s going to interrupt this. There may be local laws that could interfere, but that’s all right, we can get around them.”

But what happened was, this single-issue lobbying campaign — the organization the Anti-Saloon League — led by the shrewdest of them all, a man who could have senators shake in their boots, Wayne B. Wheeler, rather cynically — that’s my opinion — allied himself with the progressives, who were looking for the redistribution of wealth. This was in the Gilded Age, where there was such disparity of wealth, and they hoped to pass an income tax. When they supported it, when the conservatives supported it, then you had a real movement toward Prohibition. Coupled with World War I, where the Germans were suddenly the enemies, beer equals treasons, it was ripe for the dominos to fall and we ended up with an amendment to the constitution and then a draconian law on top of that that even the supporters were shocked at. They thought they might have Near Beer or 3.2 (percent alcohol) beer or something.

NUVO: Going in, did you know that’s why the income tax passed?

Burns: Not at all. To us, we know what it’s like to be taught a lesson. And quite often, it’s homework. What we like to do with you is share a process of discovery. So we realized that we were in possession of the conventional wisdoms about Prohibition — the images of a Model-T careening around rain-slicked Chicago streets , Tommy guns ablaze, mini-skirted flappers with their hair bobbed and braless, part of a new sexual revolution, the wonderfully propulsive jazz that seemed to fuel the orgy, the speakeasy culture. And we’ve got all that. And it is sexy, it is exciting, it is violent.

But we have a much deeper dive into what happened, and we find that stunningly unfamiliar to us. So we just hope to share our process of discovery rather than assign it as homework.

NUVO: This film is really a confluence of a lot of other films you’ve made.

Burns: I’m in the middle of three films that are dealing significantly with the Depression: this; the Dust Bowl, which is finished and we’re now sound editing (for release in 2012); and a major series on the Roosevelts. And we’ve already dealt with the Depression in Jazz and in Baseball and in other films we’ve done. The cross-meshing of these things gives you infinitely more perspective to see them and understand American history. And the biggest thing is that people are so much like today. We always try to impose this arrogance that we in the present have over the past. It just isn’t there. Human nature has never changed.

NUVO: You’re going to hear the comparisons to HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, so …

Burns: I think it’s terrific. Once again, we’re part of the Zeitgeist. We always feel like we’ve chosen something and then all of a sudden, everyone else seems to be. They started that long after we began ours, but because of our PBS construction, it took a little longer. But how wonderful that there’s a drama out that speaks directly, in a dramatic way, to the things we’re doing in documentary.

NUVO: Have you watched it?

Burns: I think I’ve missed one episode. They did great casting — Capone, Rothstein, everybody’s really great. And once again, I think they’ve struck gold in The Sopranos model. Everybody wishes they could kill the people who piss them off, and gangsters get to do that. And the women — and they’re always attractive women — take their clothes off a lot. This is a winning formula.

NUVO: An interesting part of “Prohibition” is that you don’t have star commentators like you do in so many of your films. You have good ones, but no one emerges.

Burns: I think Danny Okrent does. He’s so wonderfully smart, and has written this book (Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition). It’s not a companion; it’s a parallel effort and we just drew on his expertise and some of his research and went in our own directions. I think a real surprise sleeper is Pete Hamill, who has a gravitas.

NUVO: You have that great Pete Hamill quote, “If you want to get people to brush their teeth, make toothpaste illegal.”

Burns: Mark Twain once said the difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. That opening phrase, “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits,” we could have almost quit there. Mark Twain. Prohibition. Boom. Done.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Slideshow: Lotus Festival 2011

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 1:30 PM

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Lotus Festival 2011 (Slideshow)
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Lotus Festival 2011 (Slideshow)

The 18th-annual Lotus Festival in Bloomington brought musicians and performers from 20 different countries to one festival to celebrate art and music.

By Lora Olive

Click to View 15 slides

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Contenders: A look at presidential losers

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 8:30 AM

Richard Smith of C-SPAN looks into the lives of past presidential hopefuls in the new series 'Contenders.'
  • Richard Smith of C-SPAN looks into the lives of past presidential hopefuls in the new series 'Contenders.'


You’ve probably forgotten about Eugene V. Debs and Wendell Willkie (if you ever knew of them), but C-SPAN hasn’t. So the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network will be in Indiana two of the next four Fridays — this week in Terre Haute to discuss Debs, then on Oct. 21 in Rushville to remember Willkie.


The visits are part of a series called “The Contenders” (8 p.m. Fridays), which examines the life and times of 14 men, from Henry Clay to Ross Perot, who have run for president and lost but changed political history.


The show is the brainchild of presidential historian Richard Norton Smith, a professor at George Mason University and former head of six presidential libraries. Smith is among several historians who share their insights, take calls and show us why these men deserve to be remembered.


Debs was a five-time socialist candidate for president, union leader and peace activist who was jailed twice for his activities. Willkie, a liberal Republican, ran against Franklin Roosevelt in 1940 and went on to back FDR in many ways.


“My hunch is, very few people, if you stop them on the street, could name either man,” Smith said in a telephone interview.


Here’s more of what he said.


NUVO: Before we get into the show, a question about current presidential politics. I think the 2012 election is shaping up like the 1980 election, where you had an ineffectual president running against someone I would describe as scary. The scary candidate was able to convince the public he wasn’t so scary, and he won. What do you think?


Smith: It’s an interesting thesis, and I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand. I think a couple of things I would at least factor into the equation: Ronald Reagan went into the 1980 election, although he certainly scared some people, with a long relationship, a non-threatening relationship, that went back to a movie career and television. I remember growing up, every New Year’s Day, he hosted the Tournament of Roses Parade. People were less inclined to fear him than a Barry Goldwater or Rick Perry. That pre-existing relationship is a significant factor.


The other thing is, Jimmy Carter, by 1980, whatever one thought of his performance, he didn’t have a base you could point to. That had always been a potential weakness. You can argue Carter was ahead of his time in some ways — recognizing the way political trends were developing that the Democratic Party had to become a post-New Deal party in some ways. You could look at Carter and see a preview of Bill Clinton.


But there is an attachment to Obama. There is a base that’s not going to desert him whatever happens. I understand the tenor of the coverage, but the story isn’t that he’s got 42, 43, 44, 45 percent approval ratings. Given the circumstances and the duration and the prospects, I think those are pretty impressive numbers.


You’re absolutely right that he’s a weakened candidate. You can certainly make out a scenario where it’s almost the Republicans’ to lose. But that and a buck and a half will get you a cup of coffee.


NUVO: OK, on to “The Contenders.” What made you want to do this?


Smith: I’m surprised no one had done this before. It seems like such an obvious idea. On the other hand, there’s nobody who would do it in today’s media climate other than C-SPAN. As a biographer, these people are fascinating in their own right. I’m particularly drawn to corners of the American experience that have not had a lot of attention. These individuals, many of them are unknown today. But many of them are a window on a period or a movement or an impulse in the American political character that might not be appreciated otherwise.


The two Hoosiers have relevance to today. It’s amazing, if you stop of the 1912 election and contrast it with the 2012 election. None of us knows what’s going to happen, but we certainly do know what the prevailing political mood is, and it’s certainly very different from a century ago, which was Gene Debs’ strongest performance. And indeed, you could argue if TR (Theodore Roosevelt) had not been in the field, Debs would have gotten considerably more than 900,000 votes. In some ways, TR and even (Woodrow) Wilson stole the left, which is one of the functions third parties often perform. But beyond that, it’s also highly timely that Debs is reintroduced to Americans not only as the face of a significant socialist movement, but as a major figure in the history of organized labor.


With Willkie, of course, there’s this debate that goes on, this wishful thinking about: Can someone get into the field at this late date? What they’re really asking is: Can someone be drafted? Do we still have dark horses in American politics? Given the nature of the media and the primary process, is that possible? Could a Willkie happen today? He is arguably the most improbable major party nominee for president in the 20th century. Maybe Horace Greeley in the 19th century. With Willkie, it’s tough to imagine anyone coming from a more unlikely set of circumstances.


What makes Willkie even more relevant is after 1940, when he was in some ways a man without a party. He was actively courted by FDR for what seems to have been a sincere desire on Roosevelt’s part to bring about a reconfiguration of American politics. At the end of his life, Roosevelt wanted to have a liberal party and a conservative party. Of course, more immediately, he wanted to have Willkie’s support in 1944. But I also think in classically Roosevelt fashion, he was able to simultaneously pursue his self-interest with a larger, more visionary goal. They both coalesced in the person of Wendell Willkie.


Sixty-plus years later, you could argue that FDR’s goal has been realized. I leave it to voters and to viewers to decide for themselves whether a more purely ideological politics is better than parties that had, to varying degrees, left and right wings. Those are just a couple of examples of how these people deserve to be better known than they are and have some contemporary significance.


NUVO: Will you go to Terre Haute for the Debs show?


Smith: I’m not involved with the details of that particular program, but it is certainly true that a significant part of these broadcasts are the locations. It’s an opportunity to develop the biographical story against the physical backdrop of a place that is indelibly associated with this person.


NUVO: A guy like Debs coming from Indiana almost seems improbable today.


Smith: There are people who will scratch their head in wonderment at the thought of Mr. Socialist being from Indiana, but Indiana was the ultimate swing state in the post-Civil War era and into the early part of the 20th century. There was nothing automatically conservative or Republican about Indiana. You knew it was always going to be in play.


That’s one reason why, just as Ohio has been called “The Mother of Presidents,” Indiana’s been called “The Mother of Vice Presidents.” If you look at the number of times a Hoosier was on a ticket, almost invariably in second place, it’s because Indiana was a key swing state and both parties would do whatever it took to win it over. Benjamin Harrison carried Indiana by 2,400 votes in 1888. That gives you some idea of how hotly contested it was.


NUVO: Brian Lamb, who founded C-SPAN, is from Indiana. Did he require you to put two Hoosiers in the show?


Smith: I have to say, I was not under pressure from anyone. I submitted this list of 14 names. We toyed with expanding it and cutting it. But only C-SPAN would say you could have 90 minutes every Friday night for 14 weeks. There’s no one else on the broadcast spectrum that would think of such a thing. We knew it couldn’t go any longer because we’re up against a campaign. At the same time, it’s a bit of a counterpoint to the campaign. It’s designed to shed a light on whatever perspective comes with the passage of time. Brian is a Hoosier and a great champion of all things Indiana, but there was no pressure. I have no pressure defending those choices.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Review: Indy Scream Park

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 3:00 PM

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Indy Scream Park (Slideshow)
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Indy Scream Park (Slideshow)

The haunts come out at Indy Scream Park this Halloween.

By Paul F. P. Pogue

Click to View 11 slides

Indy Scream Park
5 stars

I don't give five-star ratings to haunts very often, but Indy Scream Park more than earns it with a massive undertaking that is well worth both the price and the drive to Anderson. This is the adults-only, summer blockbuster movie thrill ride of the season, with buckets of blood and gore, high intensity and plenty of imagination.

Indy Scream aims to bring major bang for the buck, with five haunts that seem to go on FOREVER. Their backwoods, hillbilly-flesh-hunters haunt alone is a borderline classic, the neon house is some of the best use of 3D I've yet seen, and their zombie-themed corn maze is an imaginative delight. It's not precisely a maze, as the twists and turns are actually linear and you won't get lost, but it brings you into one diabolical scene after another, punctuated by a menacing billowing fireball lighting the way every so often.

Highly recommended.

P.S.: Wear good shoes. You don't want flip-flops on as you're running for your life down a dark gravel path with a madman on your tail.

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Slideshow: IUPUI Regatta 2011

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 1:00 PM

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IUPUI Regatta 2011 (Slideshow)
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IUPUI Regatta 2011 (Slideshow)

In its third year, the IUPUI Regatta attracted over 100 teams to compete in a half-mile canoe race. Despite cool weather, spirits were high as teams participated in this good-natured race.

By River Middaugh

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Video: Lotus in the Park

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 9:45 AM

NUVO enjoyed some time in Bloomington last weekend for the annual Lotus Festival. At Saturday's free Lotus in the Park event, we caught The Hudsucker Posse dancing their hula magic, Eilen Jewell playing some roots rock, Bulgarika performing Bulgarian folk music, and a parrot being, well, a parrot.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Go & Do: Your arts weekend, Sept. 23-25

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 7:45 AM

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Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, Sept. 23-25
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Slideshow: Your Go & Do weekend, Sept. 23-25

Here's your delightful line up of this event-full weekend.

By Jim Poyser

Click to View 9 slides

Let’s start off with events that are either just Friday, or start their run on Friday:

B Movie Celebration at Artcraft Theatre: Spend a weekend enjoying low-budget screen wonders with like-minded B movie lovers in downtown Franklin. The historic Artcraft Theatre brings old-school charm to the occasion, as film buffs and filmmakers gather to take in such offbeat, underappreciated flicks as 7 Brothers Meet Dracula, Dino Wolf and Beach Blanket Bingo. The celebration’s guests include, among others, the Chiodo Brothers, makers of the cult fave Killer Klowns from Outer Space. The film festival starts Friday and finishes up late Sunday. Screen times vary. $85 for admission to all events; $35 for Friday pass; $45 for Saturday pass; $40 for Sunday pass.

Spring Awakening at Phoenix Theatre: A combustible mix of sex, youth and rock & roll, this musical adaptation of a late-19th century German play took Broadway by storm in 2006, earning eight Tony Awards. The story tracks the tumultuous lives of a group of teenagers as they confront adolescent angst and charge passionately toward adulthood. The original play was banned in Germany for its controversial content. Duncan Sheik wrote the music for the adaptation, adding vibrance and a here-and-now feel to the production. The show runs at the Phoenix from Sept. 22 - Oct. 23. Performance times and ticket prices vary.

Madama Butterfly at Clowes Memorial Hall: This Puccini classic, performed by Indianapolis Opera, is sure to please opera enthusiasts and newbies alike. Cio-Cio San, better known as Butterfly, betrays her religion by marrying a winsome U.S. naval officer, Lieutenant Pinkerton, whose intentions may be less than pure. Pinkerton sets sail for distant ports, and Butterfly is left in Nagasaki to await his return. Will he ever return to her? Acclaimed for her portrayal of Puccini operatic heroines, Jee Hyun Lim takes to the stage in the title role. The story is told in three acts with two 20-minute intermissions. Italian with English super-titles. 8 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Ticket prices vary.

Carmina Burana at Hilbert Circle Theatre: The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra joins forces with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir in a performance of Carl Orff’s emotionally stirring, much loved masterwork. Inspired by 24 medieval poems, Carmina embraces Orff’s “total theater” concept in which music, words and movement unite, giving rise to a powerful sensorial experience. The evening of music also includes a performance of Orawa, a 1988 piece by one of Conductor Krzysztof Urbanski’s favorite composers, Wojciech Kilar, whose work has been featured on screen in Bram Stroker’s Dracula and The Pianist. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Ticket prices vary.

Going Solo Festival at IRT: This festival proves that good theater requires neither a big budget nor a large cast, with a trio of intimate and engaging one-actor plays appearing on the IRT stage. In Lost: A Memoir (Sept. 20 - Oct. 15), a woman named Cathy, played by Constance Macy, sets out to search for her brother, who’s been incommunicado for months. Mark Goetzinger assumes the role of Yogi Berra, the Yankees backstop famous for his malapropisms, in Nobody Don’t Like Yogi (Sept. 23 - Oct. 23). Rounding out the theatrical trifecta is James Still’s take on gregarious chef and Francophile James Beard in I Love to Eat. Performance times and ticket prices vary.

Here are some Saturday suggestions!

FLOW: Can You See the River? @ IMA: In this Family Day experience, art, science, and nature come together for this fun and educational afternoon of activities. Join FLOW artist Mary Miss at 100 Acres to learn about the importance of waterways and our natural environment. Create handmade paper from materials found in the park, and enjoy the interpretive dance of the Susurrus Dance Company as they capture the movement of water. Hop on board the BioBus to learn about local water-dwelling organisms. The Indianapolis Zoo will be on hand with their Conservation Station, teaching kids how to appreciate and protect our furry friends. Free. 12 — 5 p.m. Part of a ten-day festival.

East Africa: Fundraiser for Famine Relief @ The Village Experience: As you read this, the worst famine in over 60 years is happening in East Africa. On Saturday, a collaboration of Indianapolis organizations will join forces to raise money for the cause. Fair-trade vendors will post up on the grounds outside the Village Experience, and DJ Iron Lion will provide global beats. Some great food truck choices will be present, so grab some grub from NY Slice, Scout's or Duo's Indy. Proceeds will be hand-delivered to the Global Enrichment Fund in Nairobi by a group of Indianapolis volunteers, who will aid refugees in Northern Kenya and Somalia during their journey. 4 — 8 p.m.; free entry.

Dracula: A One-Woman Show @ Indiana History Center: Fully indulge in the gothic thrill of Bram Stoker’s literary masterpiece with a riveting 90-minute performance by master storyteller Megan Wells. Currently the resident storyteller for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s “Once Upon a Symphony” program, Wells pieces together a riveting tale using the journals of Jonathan and Mina Harker, two of the main protagonists in Stoker’s novel. The recounting takes place in the 290-seat Frank & Katrina Basile Theater, a suitably intimate environment for a night of spine-tingling storytelling. 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets: $20 advance; $25 door.

And on Monday:

Open Bra Pageant: Ta-Ta’s & Tiaras @ Crackers Comedy Club: Been hankerin’ to shake what your momma gave ya? Well, anybody can be a star at Open Bra Night - it’s just like an open mic night, but naughtier! Ladies of all shapes and sizes are invited to come try their hand at the classic art form of burlesque. Sing a song, do a dance, or just do your thing. Angel Burlesque has finally brought the excitement of burlesque to Indy, with shows that are both professional and theatrically-based. Crackers Comedy Club will host this open event, and all proceeds from the evening will benefit the Indiana AIDS Fund. $8, 8:30 p.m.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Slideshow: Irish Fest vol. 2

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Slideshow
Irish Fest 2011 Vol. 2 (Slideshow)
Irish Fest 2011 Vol. 2 (Slideshow) Irish Fest 2011 Vol. 2 (Slideshow) Irish Fest 2011 Vol. 2 (Slideshow) Saturday provided perfect weather for one of Indy's favorite festivals. Irish Fest 2011 Vol. 2 (Slideshow) Irish Fest 2011 Vol. 2 (Slideshow) Irish Markets covered the park, filled with authentic clothes, instruments, and accessories. Irish Fest 2011 Vol. 2 (Slideshow)

Irish Fest 2011 Vol. 2 (Slideshow)

Indy's Military Park became home to a mass of green t-shirts, tartan kilts and bagpipes last weekend at Indy's Irish Fest.

By River Middaugh

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Slideshow: Irish Fest vol. 1

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Slideshow
Irish Fest 2011 (Slideshow)
Irish Fest 2011 (Slideshow) Irish Fest 2011 (Slideshow) Irish Fest 2011 (Slideshow) Irish Fest 2011 (Slideshow) Irish Fest 2011 (Slideshow) Irish Fest 2011 (Slideshow) Irish Fest 2011 (Slideshow) Irish Fest 2011 (Slideshow)

Irish Fest 2011 (Slideshow)

Indy's Irish Fest is a three-day celebration of Indy's Irish heritage.

By Kate Peterson

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Experiencing the Hoosier Outdoors

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 7:45 AM

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Hoosier Outdoor Experience (Slideshow)
Hoosier Outdoor Experience (Slideshow) Hoosier Outdoor Experience (Slideshow) Hoosier Outdoor Experience (Slideshow) Hoosier Outdoor Experience (Slideshow) Hoosier Outdoor Experience (Slideshow) Hoosier Outdoor Experience (Slideshow) Hoosier Outdoor Experience (Slideshow) Hoosier Outdoor Experience (Slideshow)

Hoosier Outdoor Experience (Slideshow)

The Indiana DNR hosted its annual Hoosier Outdoor Experience at Fort Harrison State Park this past weekend, providing heaps of free fun for the whole family.

By Paul F. P. Pogue

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The Hoosier Outdoor Experience, held last weekend at Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park, is the kind of thing that makes me ask, not for the first time, where the heck was all this when I was a kid? Bow hunting! Firearms! Horseback riding! Off-road vehicles! Rock wall climbing! (Even if my son seemed more interested in bouncing up and down on the safety rope than actually climbing.) I don’t hold anything against my parents, but I bear a certain grudge against the world for not having earlier generated a horse/riflery/archery/motorcyle/wall-climbing/smores-cooking fest half an hour from home and doing it free of charge.

Fort Ben, by the by, is a great experience in and of itself. Seemingly endless hiking trails and a truly prodigious playground with a slide carved into the side of a hill. These things matter when you’re eight, I assure you.

The big flashy stuff I already mentioned, but a good chunk of the event was dedicated to somewhat more low-key outdoor activities, from flint-knapping to cooking s’mores in solar stoves. Even if the volunteer who informed me the stove could melt chocolate in a minute was being recklessly optimistic. The event also features enough hands-on stuff to keep the just-barely-walking toddler set entertained, which I certainly appreciated.

Incidentally, if you should happen to think such things are not spectator sports, clearly you have seen the reaction of a bunch of born-and-bred city kids who suddenly learn the horse has a mind of its own. It is quite frankly a testament to the skill and dedication of the Indiana DNR that this event has been carried off for several years without casualties.

All sarcasm aside, this was a Swiss watch of a fine-tuned event. Shepherding 15,000 people through everything from horseback riding to firearms, all for free, is no small thing, and from my point of view they neatly handled everything from the parking lots' buses to the complicated pas de deux of signing waiver forms, keeping everything orderly in line, and squeezing a four-year-old into a motorcycle before packing him off to the course.

And if you weren’t there this time around, haul yourself out next year. Don’t forget your kids; it’s a better excuse to climb the rock wall if your son or daughter is with you. Plausible deniability, you know. Anyway, enough from me; scroll on up, make with the clicky and check out the Pogue children and friends enjoying themselves at the event.

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