Obviously, expenditures exceeded income for the 2011-12 season, so what happened this year to break Virgin's 15-year run of balancing lean budgets? Virgin describes a perfect deficit storm swirling around unprecedented increases in line items including insurance, renting studio, storage and performance spaces and touring. Add all that to DK's largest expenditure - the costs associated with mounting each production.
Meanwhile DK received less contributions this year than expected. Individual giving and special projects came in under 33 percent of what was anticipated; corporate and sponsorships were 28 percent less; the annual gala brought in 15 percent less; and foundation grants were down 12 percent.
"In spite of multiple successes, including the highest attended production in DK's 40 years [Cole!], largest ticket revenue for one production [two weekends of Super Soul] and largest number of students reached in our educational programs [15,000, representing an increase of 6000 over 2010-2011] and "Conversations With David" programs drawing capacity audiences, DK still recognizes a shortfall," Virgin says. "So much is out of our control - interest rates and personal income are down, some of our past biggest individual donors have moved elsewhere, in-kind giving is harder to come by. Everyone else has to meet their expenses so we can't ask for special breaks. It's a domino effect."
Virgin explains everyone connected with DK is "addressing every aspect of the budget while not harming the artistic product. We are small and we are close to each other. We all are doing this together to reach more supporters and gain more audience while making our usual lean operation even leaner."
Yet there are realities - a dance company can't be too small. A season has to introduce challenging new work to stretch audiences beyond name recognition pieces. Touring, which at best breaks even and most often causes a deficit, is a necessary for maintaining a professional year-round company.
"Touring keeps dancers dancing beyond the four-production season; with every performance, every new community, every new audience dancers learn and grow," she explains. "They renew energy, gain increasing synergy through different partnerships."
While going public was painful, Virgin says it has shown her "the worst of times can be the best. It's heartbreaking and heartwarming. Trimming is a reality - 10% across the board: no new hires, stay with what we have for production elements, be even more inventive with marketing."
She reports individuals are responding, making their own sacrifices to ensure DK remains viable. Directors of other non-profits are offering ideas and possible collaborations to widen DK's audience base. "It's a combination of people being a family sharing a feeling of empowerment through love and support."
Donate via the web, by calling 317-940-6555 or by the post (Dance Kaleidoscope, 4603 Clarendon Rd, Suite 32, Indianapolis, IN, 46208).
Indian Market at Military Park (Slideshow)
Scenes from the Eiteljorg's Indian Festival and Market, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last weekend at Military Park.
Run For Your Lives 2012 [Slideshow]
More than 4,000 runners participated in the Run For Your Lives event in Knightstown, in which they braved water, the elements, electricity and the walking dead for fun and fitness.
As a combination of haze, smoke and kicked-up gravel settled over Boondocks Farms, it wasn't hard to imagine it as the site of the zombie apocalypse. More than 4,000 runners spent their Saturday there, dodging hundreds of made-up zombies and some surprisingly difficult obstacles as they negotiated the Run For Your Lives 5K obstacle course.
"I am not surviving this zombie apocalypse!" someone cries out early in their race. No kidding. Every racer starts with three red flags on a belt, representing life, and the zombies make a grab for them every chance they get.
People go nuts at the choke points. It only takes one zombie standing menacingly at a creek crossing to create complete chaos as people stumble over and around each other. It's a literal feeding frenzy; the crossing points frequently boast dozens of flags sitting on the ground, prize trophies for the well-fed zombies.
They don't make it easy on you. A LOT of obstacles involve crawling on your belly or maneuvering under creek branches. And even the wide-open prairies often hide hordes of the dead waiting to spring.
"Operation Human Shield!" someone remarks as they skirt alongside an incoming crowd, using the mass of bodies to protect them from the zombies. Can't trust anyone in Armageddon. Possibly the most accurate component of this game is how completely it encourages you to throw your friends to the undead in an effort to save yourself. It's like the midway point of every zombie film ever where everyone turns on each other.
Some of the obstacles are easily skipped but that usually leads to a much more heavily infested route.
At the bridge, Staff Sergeant Fish, the active-duty Army guy serving as emcee, yells "Watch out, it slopes!" You'd think people would listen, but no, again and again they go tumbling.
The nastiest is a long fence just 18 inches off the ground near the end where you have to crawl on your belly just to make it under and for added laughs, it's electrified to the touch. A friend of mine nearly bit through her lip when she got a jolt. I hear they turned it off midway through.
At one desolate point of the prairie, a schoolgirl zombie waits, arrayed in plaid skirt, hairbows and bloody lips. Someone yells out "I'll trade you a flag for your phone number!" No such luck. She's not that innocent. It's the end of the world. None of us are.
As in recent years, the Indianapolis Museum of Art will host the majority of screenings for the 2012 Indy Film Fest, which runs July 19-29. But the Earth House, the new home of the IFF and host to Wednesday's season announcement party, has its fair share of films as well - particularly late-ish night screenings (10 p.m.) on the festival's closing weekend.
110 features and shorts are on the bill, organized into the categories of World Cinema, American Spectrum, Matter of Fact (or documentary) and Hoosier Lens. The complete list of features is below, as well as a teaser for the festival that pulls together clips from several films.
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, Terence Nance
Caroline and Jackie, Adam Christian Clark
Cinema Six, Mark Potts
Crazy Eyes, Adam Sherman
Gayby, Jonathan Lisecki
General Education, Thomas Morris
Kings of Yorktown, Darren Marshall
Rubberneck, Alex Karpovsky
Searching for Sonny, Andrew Disney
See Girl Run, Nate Meyer
Somebody Up There Likes Me, Robert Byington
Without, Mark Jackson
MATTER OF FACT
311: In the Moment, Kyoko Gasha
American Man, Jon Frankel
Andrew Bird: Fever Year, Xan Aranda
Brothers on the Line, Sasha Reuther
Detropia, Heidi Ewing
Ecstasy of Order, Adam Cornelius (sponsored by Horrible Night)
Girl Model, David Redmon, Ashley Sabin
Show Must Go On, Paula Froehle
Side by Side, Christopher Kenneally
WONDER WOMEN! The Untold Story of American Superheroines, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan (sponsored by O'Ryan Law Firm)
Aficionados, Arturo Dueňas
Bisperas (Trespassers), Jeffrey Jeturian
The Day I Saw Your Heart, Jennifer Devoldere
Dollhouse, Kirsten Sheridan
Found Memories, Julia Murat
Lotus Eaters, Alexandra McGuiness
Madonna's Pig, Frank Van Passel
Man Without a Cell Phone¸Sameh Zoabi
Patang, Prashant Bhargava
Teddy Bear, Mads Matthiesen
Tilt, Viktor Chouchkov
The Woman in the Septic Tank, Marlon Rivera
Billi & Theodore, Ronald Short
Late Summer, Ernie Park
Video Stop, Adam Newell
Slideshow: Tough Mudder Indiana 2012
Over the weekend, thousands of weekend warriors converged on Badlands Off-Road Park in Attica for Tough Mudder Indiana.
Installation Nation 2012 (Slideshow)
Scenes from Installation Nation 2012, which featured eight installation art pieces, each housed in an identical metal shipping container.
I went to Installation Nation - held last weekend for the first time at Big Car's Service Center, and for the third time overall - hoping to see some great installation art. I wasn't disappointed. Sponsored by the nonprofit Primary Colours, the event invited eight artists - or groups of artists - to create an installation inside a metal shipping container.
The installation art bar was raised with the success of the IDADA Art Pavilion this January. The best of the IDADA installations were clever, showed some degree of artistic skill and engaged visitors all at once. Installation Nation had some pieces that rose - or even surpassed - that level of engagement, as well as a few clunkers.
Installation #2 - dubbed "Mission 457X" by its creators, Matt and Holly Sommers, and by no means a clunker - featured dozens of alien objects supposedly found at an undisclosed "Unidentified Fallen Vessel" crash site. Said items were catalogued, assigned serial numbers and put on display. According to the sign on the trailer, visitors were "invited to observe the artifacts and contribute to the civilian conjecture database to help explain this phenomenon and its components."
Accordingly, each visitor was handed a slip of paper on which to write down their hypotheses of the purposes for which these objects were created. Visitors, including many kids, seemed as absorbed as I was in diligently trying to come up with ideas for the funky items on display. I ended up holding what seemed to be an antique telephone receiver combined with some sort of pneumatic device.
My conclusion, after some pondering, was that this was a device that powered a telephone receiver with (alien) intestinal gas. The home planet of this alien Alexander Graham Bell - I'm hazarding a guess - is Planet Goodwill. And I do have inside information that many Central Indiana area artists, including Holly and Matt Sommers, frequent Goodwill stores. Then again, I might have just seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers - the 1978 version with Donald Sutherland - one too many times.
In any case, "Mission 457X" was the clear standout among the eight installation; it was worth the five dollar admission just to see it. The amount of time and care they took in presenting their installation to the public was commendable, as well as their sense of humor. Both the creators were on-hand, along with their daughter - all dressed in orange jumpsuits - to explain their installation to visitors and act as scientific curators/guides.
Jeff Martin's trailer next door - which was similarly kid-friendly - featured a seesaw that acted as an air pump that inflated two balloons. The objective was to walk along the length of the seesaw without causing the balloons to burst - as they did, often enough.
Aside from visiting the installations, patrons were encouraged to create art inside the Service Center, as well as check out the compelling Square Share project, a collection of stories by Westside residents documented in photos, text, and video.
And Installation Nation wasn't just about art. Having a good time and unwinding with good conversation, a food truck and Sun King beer were also on the docket for the night, with a DJ providing an upbeat selection of grooves.
Still, some things weren't exactly a blast. It was awfully hot on Friday, so it might have been partly the heat that set me off, but I found installation #5 - Chad Sines's "Understanding Why We Chose the Bomb" - objectionable for a lot of reasons.
First of all, I don't think dumping a bunch of what looked like loose insulation material in a trailer makes for a very compelling artistic statement. But beyond that, Sines' text, written in jargon-ese, didn't do much to further any understanding of the piece ("the modern evolution-resultant hominid ... is left to histrionics from the monstrosity of nature"). Prophets have been predicting the end of civilization since the time of Isaiah. And, occasionally, over time, these prophets have been proven right. But what's the point of taking up the mantle of prophet-as-artist, without a compelling piece of art (or vision) to put forward?
I longed for just a sliver of hope after engaging with Sines's piece - which ended up being supplied, in a sense, by Brandy Graham's Installation #4. Graham's trailer was lined with honeycomb-like pods composed of biodegradable materials. The exhibit was, according to the text accompanying the work, "inspired by bees and how they make and store honey." At the end of her installation, patrons were asked to take these pods home along with the seedling of a non-invasive plant, then fill the pod with soil and bury it, and then plant the seedling in the pod. "The end result of the piece is to become a thriving plant that attracts honeybees."
There's a vision for the future; what a great thing it would be if a hundred native trees are planted as a result of this year's Installation Nation.
More than 150 seekers of all ages gathered June 13 for the fourth annual Scavenge the Ave, a scavenger hunt through businesses and other points of interest along Mass Ave. NUVO was stoked to be a headline sponsor of the event, which acted as a fundraiser for Indy Reads, promoting literacy awareness while encouraging participants to shop local and get in touch with the community.
Seekers began their quest at the Athenaeum, where they received their instructions, a special bookmark and a list of riddles. Looking at the list, a participant might have found something to the tune of: "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer true: where can I go to buy a cycle with one wheel or two?" And after a few minutes of humming "Daisy Bell," they'd then stumble across Bikes on Mass Ave.
One of the event's only issues was that too many businesses were interested in participating this year - "Not that that's a problem!" said Katie Lindahl Smith, board member of Indy Reads and the chair of the Literary Advocacy Committee.
Because so many businesses took part, they had to be divided among several different lists in order for all of them to be represented. Joining the festivities provided many of these businesses some great exposure.
"It's a win/win," organizer Lindahl Smith said. "It costs businesses nothing, people get to enjoy Mass Ave and they support a good cause."
Inside Bikes on Mass Ave, intrepid adventurers found a pair of volunteers waiting for them, marker in hand, ready to sign them off as having found one of their destinations. But first our participant had to answer another question: "What percentage of adults can't read at or above a sixth grade reading level?"
Among those who didn't already know, the answer shocked them: a whopping 20 percent. Each destination had its volunteers who asked a different literacy related trivia question. According to Lindahl Smith, the trivia "creates one long mission moment - participants are constantly reminded what they're supporting."
And that thing they were supporting was Indy Reads, which provides free tutoring to adults who are struggling with illiteracy. The $12-$15 registration fee went to help fund the organization, which receives no direct government funding. All of Indy Reads' bills are paid by grants and donations, and consequently the overwhelming majority of its services are provided by volunteers. More than 40 of those volunteers donated their time and energy to Scavenge the Ave, where the majority of them acted as 'site-sitters' at the 26 participating locations.
As the night drew to a close, the valiant scavenger hunters returned to the Athenaeum, where they received raffle tickets in exchange for the signatures they'd collected around Mass Ave, as well as receipts for purchases they'd made over the course of the hunt. Those tickets were entered into a raffle drawing for more than 36 separate prizes, featuring everything from T-shirts to prize packs to gift certificates for local stores. But Indy Reads itself brought home the biggest prize by raising awareness of the adult illiteracy problem.
Just a couple weeks back I grumbled about the lack of contemporary opera on Indianapolis Opera's calendar, so let's just say that I'm pleased with this turn of events. Two 20th-century operas will be presented during the opera's 2012-13 season - Philip Glass's 1984 Akhnaten and Gian Carlo Menotti's 1951 Amahl and the Night Visitors - with Wagner's The Flying Dutchman closing things out in May 2013.
Amahl, the first opera written for television, has remained a Christmas favorite since its premiere; its story of a physically handicapped boy who encounters the Magi gestures toward both Biblical parables and Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Joachim Schamberger, who created the green screen-centric sets for this year's production of Faust and was recently appointed an Affiliate Artist of the Indianapolis Opera for the upcoming season, will return to direct. The opera runs under an hour, making it a viable alternative to The Nutcracker for those looking for a tolerable holiday experience.
Akhnaten - Glass's opera about the titular pharaoh whose elevation of the sun god, Aten, above all others anticipated later monotheistic religions that gained more traction - will be presented in collaboration with IU Opera, with students cast in all performing roles. That's a money-saving measure, to be sure, but also an opportunity to shine some light on one of the best college opera programs in the world. This is the first time the Indianapolis Opera has presented work by Glass, and one of the first contemporary operas ever staged by the company (Menotti was performed several times during the late '70s, but this also marks his return after a long absence from the schedule).
Using set designs similar to those employed for Faust, Schamberger will likewise direct The Flying Dutchman, presented upon the 200th anniversary of Wagner's birth. It's among the more user-friendly of Wagner's works, but full of his characteristic tricks (leitmotifs, etc.) in nascent form.
Amahl and the Night Visitors @ Basile Opera Center, 4011 N. Pennsylvania St.
December 5, 7-9, 12, 14-16, 2012
Akhnaten @ Clowes Memorial Hall, 4602 Sunset Ave.
March 8 and 9, 2013
The Flying Dutchman @ Clowes Memorial Hall, 4602 Sunset Ave.
May 10 and 12, 2013
Sometimes a blank page (or an empty space) is just too overwhelming; restraints can help encourage creation, particularly with others along for the ride to encourage and hold one accountable. Something to keep in mind with the return of Installation Nation, a juried installation art exhibition featuring nine pieces, each installed in its own 640 square foot metal shipping container.
This will mark the third time Primary Colours has hosted the event and the first time it will take place at Big Car Service Center; previous incarnations took advantage of empty lots in the Mass Ave area. Food trucks and the like will be on hand, with adult beverages available. The show runs from 6-11 p.m. tonight (June 15) and 4-11 p.m. on June 16. Admission is $5, or free for 12 and under.
This year's lineup - drawn from applications collected on an international scale - includes plenty of Indy-area talent. The list: Aaron Nemec and Jordan Cleland, Nathan Gorgen, Brandy Graham, Jeffrey S. Martin, Jessica Dunn and Justin Shimp, Chad Sines, Jacob Stanley, Matt and Holly Sommers, and David Yosha.
Let's take a look at previous Installation Nation reviews, starting with Susan Watt Grade's take on 2009's inaugural effort: "Can evocative environments be constructed within the confines of a shipping container? Absolutely. Some artists attempted to provide conceptual and sensory contrast, such as the smell of a pine forest in work by Brent Aldrich and Julie Cifuentes. Jeff Martin's "Conditioning p2" successfully coaxed viewers, one at a time, to lie on a motorized, Styrofoam bed that transported them behind a black curtain into a confusing, claustrophobic MRI-like construction. Michele Bosak's installation questioned past/present consumerism and design through transforming the shipping container into a retro living room lined with watercolors that documented her acquisition of specific vintage furniture items. Will today's mass-produced, imported goods be collected and recorded with such care?"
And Dan Grossman visited the 2010 edition (Installation Nation took 2011 off): "One of the most engaging installations was the cannon-sized kaleidoscope created by Andrew Ball with Todd Bracik and Matt Warren. They attached two 55-gallon oil barrels together lengthwise to construct the torso of said kaleidoscope; they lined the barrel interiors with acrylic mirrors. While this contraption had to be turned with a hand-crank, Sala Wong's "To Tell a Secret" brought you back into the 21st century with the latest technology and projected the images of words spoken by visitors into four microphones onto the shipping container's inner walls; you could have taken the title of said installation to heart by absorbing others' very intimate sentences strung together in cool blue-lit lettering and/or by telling your own. Xiaoou Sun's confused paper moths (confused by artificial light, that is) were also conceptually intriguing."
INDIEana Handicraft Exchange/IAMF [Slideshow]
Nothing quite shows just how many options are out there in the handcrafted world like putting a bunch of them in the same place, as happened over the weekend at the Harrison Center for the Arts when the Independent Music + Art Festival shared space with the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange.
The solicitations said to expect 100 vendors, but I'm convinced there were many more. The craft options go on and on and ON. If you're the sort of person who's into handcrafted stuff, this is a little bit of heaven. If your interest is passing at best, it's an extremely educational insight into what's going on. Every time I thought I had seen it all, it got a little deeper. The event spirals inside, outside, up, down, a labyrinthine serpent that feels a bit like traveling through a Dr. Seuss contraption, not the least of which reason is because it changes every ten feet. The event was HUGE, particularly for the relatively small space. Every time I thought I had seen it all I turned another corner into another room stuffed full to bursting with art and people. The whole thing looks big on the outside; it's even bigger on the inside.
Just for a start: Paper crafts, wood, handmade soaps, toys, superhero capes for the kids. Sadly, none in my size. Indoors, several resident artists worked throughout the show. It's a surreal feeling to wander in and through an artist's studio as they work, art in real time as they create something wall-ready right there in front of the audience. As the line between artist and audience fades, the line between artist and art becomes nearly nonexistent.
It's always interesting to get a look at the state of art as well; the current trend involves lots of repurposing, whether it's a literal repurposing of materials by painting records, or repurposing ideas with postmodern interpretations of classic movie posters. (In other news, Pulp Fiction is now considered a classic movie, and today's college freshmen were being born right around the time it came out. You're welcome.)
The Indy Performance Project is theater's answer to the 48 Hour Film Project. Organized by Michael Burke, co-artistic director of PaperStrangers, it asks local troupes to create original material in only five days that meets five requirements: the use of a character name (Reginald Hammersmith III), of a yoga pose (eagle), of a certain prop (toilet paper), of a particular song and of the line, "Should your face look like that?" Performed at the IndyFringe Theater last weekend, the show featured four local performance groups in short sketches. It runs through June 16.
PaperStrangers: Nobody Puts Bebe in a Corner: The Bebe Neuwirth Boxing Story
Starring Daniel Barnes as Bebe Neuwirth, Rachel Elsts as "her" abused assistant and a volunteer audience member as her "lover," The Bebe Neuwirth Boxing Story featured an over-the-top version of Neuwirth, who grew somewhat famous for her role as Lilith on the hit NBC sitcoms Frasier and Cheers. Barnes plays Neuwirth as an alcoholic, self-involved, washed-up dancer/actress reduced to participating in celebrity boxing matches. After a big loss to Justin Bieber, Bebe waits with her entourage at an airport, tornadoes around the lounge and swills tequila hidden in a toilet paper role. Ridiculous in the best sense of the word.
Motus Dance Theatre: Should Your Face Look Like That?
Starring Tommy Lewey and Leslie Dodge, this sweet dance piece begins with two masked figures meeting on stage. Ripping masks off each other, the pair do a celebratory dance piece. They gracefully move together on stage, their gaiety climaxing as Dodge writhes on the floor showered in cash by Lewey, which he pulls from a nearby duffle bag. Simple, sweet and engaging.
Jsquared: Freeline: A Manifesto for Cat Justice
Starring Annalee Wallace, Alexa Glaser and Michael Burke, Freeline chronicles the quest of two cats: Catnip (dressed suspiciously like the fictional revolutionary pop culture character Katniss) and her partner and crime Mr. Tinkles (who struggles with an unfortunate bladder problem). The show was written by past DivaFest participants: Julie Mauro and Jessica Strauss.
After kidnapping a human man, the pair demand equal lavatory opportunity for cats. As they make their appeal for toilet paper, their misguided reasoning and reactionary interrogation culminates in a YouTube worthy scene of kittens rolling around in sheets of bathroom tissue.
NoExit Performance: Mystery Show Time of Sparkles and Treats For You
Starring Ryan Mullins and Georgeanna Smith. NoExit's favorite buffoon, Drosselmeyer, returns to the stage with an anti-magic show. This time, Drosselmeyer, who first gained recognition in NoExit's Nutcracker, appears on stage with a friend (and not-so-sexy magicians assistant) from the old country. While the show is packed full of tricks, the attempts at misdirection are the real magic behind this zany presentation. The blunt, often audience-berating clown just can't seem to get his delightfully bad magic act together, as one trick after another meets raucous laughter from the crowd. The real trick, Drosselmeyer is also laughing, not with but at us.
[A+E] Theater + Dance
[A+E] Theater + Dance, Jazz + Blues + R&B
[A+E] Theater + Dance
[A+E] Visual Arts + Museums
[A+E] Visual Arts + Museums