Friday, November 16, 2012

Things to do on bikes: Cranksgiving edition

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Cranksgiving.jpg
  • This is a turkey on a bike.
Sunday: Cranksgiving

Proving far more successful and long-lived than such holiday spinoffs as Crunks-giving or Rama-Drunk, the bike ride/food drive known as Cranksgiving has been collecting canned goods and foodstuffs for food banks and the like since 1997, first in New York City and now in over 28 cities across these United States.

Here's the drill: You bring the bike, along with about $20, some manner of bag, a bike lock and a camera (if you want to participate in the photo scavenger hunt), and show up to the Rathskeller's biergarten by 11 a.m. (enter from the alley off of Cleveland Street). From there, you'll be given a list of places around downtown Indy where you can buy food items. There's no pre-set route, but the rider who doesn't get lost should end up racking up 15 miles' worth of pedaling by the time she returns to the biergarten, where the awards ceremony and after-party starts from 2 p.m.

The food will head to Second Helpings, the food rescue/culinary training program that's also the guest/beneficiary of honor at Tonic Ball, the fundraiser/concert/art show taking place Friday night in Fountain Square. Nathan Smurdon, chief exploration officer at ActiveIndy Tours, notes that "we are NOT promoting this as a race," but rather as a ride that will encourage participants to explore downtown while using new bike lanes and the Cultural Trail. He says this may not quite be the first Cranksgiving in Indy - other, less widely-promoted "alleycat"-style races have taken place around this time locally - but it is the first one that's open to all with a bike.


Saturday: Cyclocross at Marian

Tomorrow's (Nov. 17) IndyCycloplex Cross, open to all racing levels and sanctioned by USA Cycling, is the seventh and penultimate race of the 2012 Indiana Cyclocross Cup. It'll take place at Marian University, which has reinvigorated the Major Taylor Velodrome since taking over its operation and that of the Lake Sullivan Sport Complex last May. The first race of the Indy Cycloplex starts at 10 a.m. and the final at 2 p.m. Race fees depend on the category and range from $10-35 for single events to $45-50 dollars for multiple race registration.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Artist William Denton Ray's close call

Posted By on Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 2:25 PM

William Denton Ray
  • William Denton Ray
When an explosion shook the Richmond Hill subdivision in Greenwood just after 11 p.m. Saturday night, William Denton Ray was in his house about two blocks southwest from the explosion's epicenter. Ray, 38, an artist with a studio in the Harrison Center for the Arts, was relaxing in his bedroom.

"My wife had gone into my daughter's room because she had woken up so she was rocking her," says Ray. "And my son was back in his bedroom upstairs. We were all upstairs. I was watching TV and all the sudden this huge concussion - like a bomb - went off. It was so loud. I don't know how else to describe it.

"The curtains were blowing like the windows were open but they were closed. I could have sworn that the walls flexed too. Everything ran through my head, like a car or truck had crashed. I jumped out of bed, I ran to my daughter's room. I asked if they [his wife and daughter] were okay. They were fine."

After he had accounted for his wife Helene and their son Jazper, 6, and their daughter Tayven, 2, he looked out the window to see a scene of complete pandemonium. "People were coming out of their houses," he says. "They were everywhere."

A number of rumors started circulating almost immediately. Someone within Ray's hearing range said something about a plane crash. Another rumor, which turned out to be true, was that the neighborhood would be evacuated. (The cause for the explosion is still unknown but, according to Public Safety Director Troy Riggs, natural gas is a suspected culprit).

"We went outside to see and we saw the smoke and the flames and the fire just getting bigger and bigger and bigger," says Ray. "We could see it from our front yard. It was getting scary. It was getting bigger and bigger and we knew that we had to get out of there. We started grabbing things that we needed.

"I packed the kids in the car. We drove down the driveway and stayed there for a little bit because it was hard to get out. And we kept thinking of things that we needed. I ran back to the house really quickly to get the pets. And eventually we left. We knew that they were going to shut off the power."

Ray and his family returned to the house late Sunday. Over the interim he made contact with friends and neighbors on Facebook.

"We got power back on yesterday [Sunday] evening and I had the gas company come by and make sure everything was fine today," he said. "I just wanted to make sure because of the safety issue."
Five homes were destroyed by the explosion, and eighty homes were damaged.


"We have a couple of nail pops," says Ray. "The biggest thing that I noticed was that our sliding glass door had popped out of its frame about six inches. I didn't notice it at first. The siding busted out a little bit too. The side of our house that's facing north, the top of our bedroom window looked like it was bent in a little bit."

Richmond Hill residents Jennifer Longworth and her husband John "Dion" Longworth, 34 and 36 respectively, were killed as a result of the explosion. A candlelight vigil was held for them at Southwest Elementary, where Jennifer Longworth worked as a second grade teacher, on Sunday night.

It will probably take a while for some semblance of normal to return to the Richmond Hill subdivision, according to Ray.

"It's still blocked off," says Ray. "They've color coded certain houses. Certain houses are uninhabitable. They've scheduled certain times for people to come in and get their belongings and get out. Every person has an hour to grab their things. There's a huge police presence. There's mobile police campers and the media's everywhere. There's porta potties. It's a spectacle."

"I feel like everything is susceptible to blowing up," says Ray, in whose colorful futuristic paintings whimsy - more often than not - trumps foreboding. "Just because witnessing that kind of concussion, that kind of explosion, it puts you on edge because you never know. It just kind of replays in my head."

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Spirit & Place: Picks for Nov. 8-11

Posted By on Thu, Nov 8, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Dan Axler
  • Dan Axler
  • Pierre Bastien and his musical machinery last week at the Central Library, where he performed during the kickoff weekend to Spirit & Place.
Starts Thursday, Nov. 8
Ashes to Ashes @ IndyFringe Theatre

“What happens when a career-locked man visits his aging hippy father to help spread the ashes of his deceased mother?” we asked in a 4.5-star review of Ashes to Ashes, when it was first staged, by Twilight Productions, at the 2010 IndyFringe Festival. “In this case, really solid drama ... Some of the play’s best moments arise when the two men are simply sitting and remi- niscing, borne on waves of remembrance into the past.” Nov. 8, 7 p.m.; Nov. 9 and 10, 8 p.m.; Nov. 11, 2 p.m.; $10

Continues Friday, Nov. 9
Insert Coin to Play @ Stutz art Space

Insert Coin to Play, a show of video game-inspired art, has been open since First Friday at Stutz Art Space, but the opening reception proper is this Friday, when four interested parties will gather to discuss the relationship between gaming and visual art. On the panel are Greg Phillips, partner at Plow Games, a developer of computer, console, mobile and online games for the consumer and educational markets; Barry Geipel, founder of Mantid Creative Studios and a creator of iPhone and iPad games; and Joseph Crone, an artist and Stutz Artists Association Resident. Andy Chen, the show’s curator, will moderate. Nov. 9, 6-9:30 p.m. (open Thu and Fri through Nov. 30), free

Continues Friday, Nov. 9
Bali Dream @ Butler University Theatre

This year’s Christel DeHaan Visiting International Theatre Artist, Ida Nyoman Sedana, hails from Bali and is an expert on his country’s performance traditions, including the warrior dance and shadow puppetry. He concludes his residency with a version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream incorporating Balinese performance elements and presented by a student cast. Last year’s VITA program (featuring Indian classical drama) proved consciousness-expanding for both students and audiences. Nov. 9 and 10, 8 p.m.; Nov. 10 and 11, 2 p.m. @ Butler Studio Theatre, Lilly Hall 168, Butler University;
$15 general, $10 seniors, $5 students

Saturday, Nov. 10
Laughter: The Universal Language @ congregation Beth-el Zedeck

One wonders what’s the tougher crowd for a rabbi-comedian: A full synagogue during a lovely summer morning when to stay inside seems something of a sin, or a comedy club in, oh, say, Atheistsville. Rabbi Bob Alper began performing comedy in 1986, and is now up to 100 shows per year. He’ll be joined on a cross-cultural bill by a Muslim comic, Mohammad Amer, who’s been compared to Sinbad and Lee Evans (the British comic, not the wide receiver). 7:30 p.m., $15 (253-3441 for tickets)

Sunday, Nov. 11
The Great Pumpkin Fling @ Garfield park arts center

We dare you to resist the lure of the Great Pumpkin Fling. There will be trebuchets. And catapults. And many pumpkins, intricately carved by Ivy Tech culinary students before being ruthlessly hefted, jettisoned and smashed. Little ones will have a chance to create their own miniature catapults and trebuchets. 11 a.m.-2 p.m., free

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