Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hard times for the ISO

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 3:16 PM

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The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has long bragged that it's one of less than 20 year-round orchestras in the country — since 1987, in fact, when the organization made the move to a full-year schedule under Maestro Raymond Leppard.

But contraction of all sorts is in the ISO's future if management has its way in ongoing negotiations with the musician's union.

According to Rick Graef, the union leader who took the ISO's plans public earlier this week, management proposes to reduce the orchestra's schedule from 52 to 36 weeks per year, reduce the number of full-time musicians from 87 to 63, cut musicians' salaries by 45 percent and reduce pension benefits.

Graef says that the union's negotiating committee has offered, in turn, $3.2 million in concessions over a five-year contract.

Reached for comment, ISO spokeswoman Jessica DiSanto said that "negotiations are ongoing up to the deadline," which is midnight Sunday. "We hope an agreement will be reached and will respect the negotiation process."

Graef told The Indianapolis Star that the proposals "will ruin the ISO," noting that musicians would leave for better employment opportunities.

We'll have more on the story as it develops. Graef told the Indianapolis Business Journal that he hopes to avoid either a lockout or a strike, both of which are options if union or management can't come to a resolution by Saturday. The two sides also have the option of continuing to work under the present contract beyond its expiration.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Slideshow: Naptown Roller Girls at the Indiana State Fair

Posted By on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 at 12:18 PM

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Naptown Roller Girls at the Indiana State Fair (Slideshow)
Naptown Roller Girls at the Indiana State Fair (Slideshow) Naptown Roller Girls at the Indiana State Fair (Slideshow) Naptown Roller Girls at the Indiana State Fair (Slideshow) Naptown Roller Girls at the Indiana State Fair (Slideshow) Naptown Roller Girls at the Indiana State Fair (Slideshow) Naptown Roller Girls at the Indiana State Fair (Slideshow) Naptown Roller Girls at the Indiana State Fair (Slideshow) Naptown Roller Girls at the Indiana State Fair (Slideshow)

Naptown Roller Girls at the Indiana State Fair (Slideshow)

The Corndogs vs the Deep Fried Twinkies at the Indiana State Fair.

By Stacy Kagiwada

Click to View 13 slides

The Naptown Roller Girls Tornado Sirens traveled to Kansas City, the Warning Belles and Third Alarm took on an intraleague bout at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The Corndogs (in white) beat the Twinkies (in black) 145-99.
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gen Con: Step Aside, Boys

Posted By on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 12:35 PM

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Gaming is often thought of the exclusive territory of guys, but more and more women are taking their place at the table.

In the seven years Jondi Soper has attended Gen Con, she’s seen a marked increase in the number of women attending.

“Before, it was guys dragging their girlfriends around the convention,” she said. “Now you see a lot of women dragging their boyfriends around.”

Jen Corbett said her Dungeons and Dragons-playing father got her gaming nearly 20 years ago. It’s a family affair — her brothers, sisters and several cousins also play.

“If you don’t dress like your typical gamer geek, like in jeans and a T-shirt with your hair pulled back in a ponytail, some guys (who don’t know you) might think, 'Oh crap, we’re going to have to teach her to play,’” Corbett said.

Corbett’s younger sisters are more casual gamers, and she feels they may be concerned about the potential negative, geeky stigma attached to gaming. She said that’s perhaps the largest obstacle most women need to get around. However, the emergence of role models such as The Guild star Felicia Day has made women freer to enter the male-dominated community, and that’s led to a backlash, said Soper.

“You always have to prove yourself,” Soper said. “Some guys will ask you all these specific or obscure questions, and if you can’t answer them, they won’t think you belong. Guys don’t ask other guys those same types of questions, but we have to? If you like games, you’re a gamer.

“We just want to sit at the table and play. We don’t want you to treat us differently or watch your language or anything. We’re gamers, just like everybody else.”

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Gen Con: Careful of the Claws

Posted By on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 12:30 PM

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Gen Con attendees can spend thousands of dollars on a costume, but with some Styrofoam, fishing wire and an old trenchcoat, Brock Morgan was able to create a costume that has made him one of the most photographed convention-goers this year.

Cosplaying as Spider-Man villain Doctor Octopus, Morgan says he’s been stopped hundreds of times during the convention. When I saw him at one of the vendor tables and asked for a photo, a brief flash of weariness crossed his face, but he quickly got into character.

The Swayze, Ind., native says he likes the attention, but the massive crowds at Gen Con were doing damage to his tentacles — in the span of a few hours, his mechanical claws (actually Styrofoam) had broken off from several of his arms because of people bumping into him. (If that had been a problem with the real Doctor Octopus, he likely would never have become one of Peter Parker’s most deadly villains, but he still would have been a cooler member of the Sinister Six than the Vulture.)

This isn’t the first time he’s dressed up in costume for the Con. Last year he and his friends came as the X-Men, with him as Havok. They’ve also dressed as various video-game characters for previous Gen Cons.

The highlight of the 2012 convention so far? Posing with Spider-Man's paramour, the Black Cat.

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Slideshow: Darkrave Gen Con Afterparty

Posted By on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 10:30 AM

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Darkrave Gen Con Afterparty 8/18 [Slideshow]
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Darkrave Gen Con Afterparty 8/18 [Slideshow]

Gen Con attendees filled the old Ugly Monkey bar in costume for a wild night of final revelry before the event's wrapup, complete with a lightsaber fight and music from Xiting the System.

By Paul F. P. Pogue

Click to View 18 slides

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Slideshow: Indy Fringe Festival Opening Night

Posted By on Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM

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Indy Fringe Festival Opening Night (slideshow)
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Indy Fringe Festival Opening Night (slideshow)

The Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival opened on Thursday, August 16 at the IndyFringe Basile theatre. The rain drove festivities inside, but did not dampen the spirits of IndyFringe supporters. Performers presented two-minute teasers to kick off the 2012 IndyFringe Festival.

By Stacy Kagiwada

Click to View 28 slides

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Slideshow: Feast of Lanterns

Posted By on Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 11:44 AM

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Feast of Lanterns (Slideshow)
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Feast of Lanterns (Slideshow)

One the best festivals -- make that a Feastival -- Indianapolis has to offer. An annual community gathering with free shows and Japanese paper lantern lighting ceremony in Spades Park.

By Ted Somerville

Click to View 14 slides

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Gen Con: No Touching Wil Wheaton

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 12:58 PM

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If you’re getting Wil Wheaton’s autograph today or Saturday, don’t go in for a hug.

According to his blog, Wheaton is not doing local press for Gen Con. The Stand By Me star and Internet icon will not hug, kiss, shake hands or otherwise touch any of the fans seeking his autograph.

To be fair, Wheaton says he contracted the swine flu at an earlier convention and doesn’t want a repeat performance.

“I have Epstein-Barr, so my immune system isn't as robust as a normal person's,” Wheaton wrote on his website. “It is very easy for me to catch viruses and other nasty things. I'm not going to apologize for not wanting to get sick, especially after two weeks of swine flu. If you can't understand that, it's your problem, not mine.”

With his series Eureka cancelled (SyFy, you are dead to me forever), Wheaton no longer has access to top-secret cures for most modern medical maladies.

If you want to give Wheaton some multi-sided dice for his collection, he’s still game, but please don’t blow on them first.

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Gen Con: Balloon Sculpture

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Robert Annis
  • Robert Annis

It takes a lot to make people’s heads turn at Gen Con. A 13-foot-tall latex dragon — not a euphemism — is one of them.

Tim Thurmond, aka The Balloon Sculptor, was about halfway finished with the massive creation Friday afternoon. He said he’d been bombarded with comments from admiring passers-by since he’d started work at 7:30 that morning. As Thurmond and I talked, two men dressed in medieval garb stopped by to chat; one identified himself as a sculptor and expressed his admiration. Thurmond beamed.

“It’s great when a fellow artist sees value in what I’m doing,” Thurmond said. “He gets what I’m trying to do here. It’s not a toy, it’s actually art.”

Thurmond has been doing balloon sculptures for 22 years, and like most great artists, he started because of a woman.

“I had a crush on a girl,” Thurmond said. “Her church had a clown school, so I did that. That’s where I fell into the balloons.”

I didn’t ask if he ever won the girl, but he did earn a Guinness Book world record in 2006, for creating 6,176 balloon sculptures in 24 hours.

Thurmond expects to finish most of the dragon Friday night, adding embellishments Saturday before the charity auction. He hopes a group of cosplayers will pony up a couple hundred dollars for his creation to use — and potentially destroy — in a YouTube video.

You can check out other examples of Thurmond’s work at http://theballoonsculptor.com.

Kids play with some large Legos. - ROBERT ANNIS
Board games are among the attractions at Gen Con. - ROBERT ANNIS
  • Robert Annis
  • Board games are among the attractions at Gen Con.
Live action role-playing. - ROBERT ANNIS
Some attendees - ROBERT ANNIS
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Monday, August 13, 2012

Mass Ave Crit Results

Posted By on Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 3:35 PM

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Slideshow: Mass Ave Criterium: The Crowd
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Slideshow: Mass Ave Criterium: The Crowd

For those who came to watch, not ride, Mass Ave was full of entertainment, diversion and nourishment. Spectators cheered riders, drank beer, and shopped along the avenue.

Click to View 15 slides

By all accounts, Saturday was a great day for racing — and for the celebration of bicycle racing all 'round.

In last week’s issue, we made a number of prognostications, now here find our results — and see how we did!

Zipp Pro 1/2 Elite State Championships
Whom did we predict to win?
Weston Luzadder, Chad Burdzilauskis, Chris Uberti or Adam Liebovitz.

Who won?
Aaron Hubbell (Bissell-ABG-NUVO)
Chad Burdzilauskis (Texas Roadhouse) came in second.
John Grant (Texas Roadhouse) came in third.

BGI Women Cat 1/2/3 USAC IN State Championship
Whom did we predict to win?
Bri Clark, Katie Arnold, Sierra Siebenlist, Sydney Hatten or Rebecca Zink.

Who won?
Sierra Siebenlist (Indiebike.com P/B Angie’s List)
Sydney Hatten (Team Nebo Ridge) came in second.
Stephanie Breslin de Sosa (Team Ghisallo) came in third.

National Moto & Cycle Men Masters 40+
Whom did we predict to win?
Ben Weaver, with Court Maple, Chris Kroll and John Kelly at the front of the pace.

Who won?
Thomas Cox (Racing for Rily P/B Aldefer Bergen)
Chris Kroll (Joes Cycle/Cardinal Bicycle) came in second.
Steven Hughes (McDonald’s Cycling Team) came in third.

National Moto & Cycle Men Masters 50+
Whom did we predict to win?
Jim Creamer, John Schmitz or Bob Brooks.

Who won?
Bryan Boggs (Zipp Factory Team)
Jim Creamer (Team Nebo Ridge) came in second.
Thomas Gates (MOAB Masters Racing) came in third.

For all race results, see truesport.com.


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Slideshow: Mass Ave Criterium: The Race
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Slideshow: Mass Ave Criterium: The Race

On Saturday, August 11, Indiana's best cyclers came to Mass Ave to race past awed spectators, zipping through curves and down Indianapolis streets all day long, wining prizes from money to new racing wheels. Races included men's and women's events. Winners of the various races popped champagne and stood victorious on the NUVO podium after many a close finish. All pictures by Mark Lee.

By Mark A. Lee

Click to View 15 slides

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Slideshow: Mass Ave Criterium: The Crowd

Posted By on Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 4:00 AM

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Slideshow: Mass Ave Criterium: The Crowd
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Slideshow: Mass Ave Criterium: The Crowd

For those who came to watch, not ride, Mass Ave was full of entertainment, diversion and nourishment. Spectators cheered riders, drank beer, and shopped along the avenue.

Click to View 15 slides

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Slideshow: Placementality @ Big Car

Posted By on Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 12:40 PM

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Placementality @ Big Car Service Center (Slideshow)
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Placementality @ Big Car Service Center (Slideshow)

A free skate and sk8 competition complimented by some of the best musical acts in Indy Saturday at the Big Car Service Center on 38th & Lafayette. Highlights were tight psych rockers Crys, a vagabond grindcore violinist & stomp percussionist, and local favorite hip hop champion Oreo Jones.

By Ted Somerville

Click to View 13 slides

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