I love the city of Indianapolis with all of my heart. I love everything about it. It's everything I want in a city. I've seen it at its best and its worst. It's been a friend, a lover and a bitter enemy to me at various times.
It was like a mass consciousness experiment where thousands of people simultaneously meditate in order to effect a desired change.
Now I look at it as being no more or no less than My Town. I'm not saying it's not your town, too, my friend; I have no way of knowing about you. But whatever else it is, Indianapolis is the place I've been fated to be. My Town Indy, to borrow a phrase.
And I've never loved my town more than I have in the past week. I finally started to feel better and I spent the better part of three days enjoying the beautiful weather and enjoyed three days of the Midwest Music Summit. I write about my impressions of the music in our music section, but suffice to say a lot of it was great.
Beyond just the music, it was amazing to me to see thousands of people with the same interests and goals getting together and doing something constructive for the arts. It was like a mass consciousness experiment where thousands of people simultaneously meditate in order to effect a desired change.
I don't know anything about the business side of it, whether it was fabulously successful financially or not. What I do know is that the summit created a hugely positive vibe that I hope emanated out of Glendale and Broad Ripple and into the city at large. I could literally feel the creativity in the air. People were walking around excited, trying to get from one club to another, arguing with each other about the band they'd just seen somewhere else.
I'm pretty sure most of the businesses in Broad Ripple appreciated the uptick in business, too. And there are still some really good local people running great businesses in Broad Ripple. Although I love our new offices, it was still sad when NUVO moved to 39th and Meridian from its original Broad Ripple address (it's Bazbeaux Pizza now, mmm) for the fact that I couldn't walk from work and patronize great places like the India Garden, Shalimar and many other great restaurants, shops such as The Magic Bus and Thrifty Threads, places I love and treasure. Locally owned, locally operated. I like being able to talk to the owner. Call me crazy. I like knowing they spend most of their money in town, just like me.
Now, I love every music venue in the city, because each has something unique, but the Patio was the first place I saw a band in Indianapolis after I turned 21. Damn. That means I've been seeing bands there for 18 years, and I still love it. I like the location, I like the people who own and run it, and they have, in my opinion, the best soundman in the Midwest in Jonee Quest.
Another of my favorite bars that I hadn't visited in a while was the Alley Cat. It's all famous and stuff now, but I remember going there in the '80s and early '90s, when Rupert Boneham of Survivor fame worked there. When I met Rupe a few months ago, I asked him about those days and he laughed and said they were some wild times.
What makes the Alley Cat one of the greatest bars is this: It always feels like 2:45 a.m. at the Alley Cat, no matter what the actual time. The whole place has that late-night, smoky, rugged wonderful ambiance that makes you feel like it's the end of a long night of carousing, even if you haven't touched a drop of booze.
Walking out of the Alley Cat and encountering the sun is a very disconcerting experience. It's about 10 times more off-putting than coming out of an afternoon movie into sunlight. The Alley Cat has managed to find a way to suspend all clocks and keep time at a quarter to three permanently, and good for them.
So it was a blast to spend lots of time there and elsewhere, catching bands both known and previously unknown to me. It was especially fun this year because everyone seemed to be in such a good mood. I encountered a record low number of shit-talkers during MMS this year.
However, there was this one guy I met who started to challenge me on my views about Indianapolis. He started to badmouth the city as a hellhole. I asked him where he was from and he told me Muncie.
"Dude, if you're from Muncie, you have no room to say shit about any other city in this state," I said. "Everyone I meet from there is 'formerly of Muncie,' not current residents of Muncie."
He started laughing and things were cool after that.
Yep, what a wonderful weekend, a welcome respite. Now it's back to the real world and the last 90 days before the election. If you're not registered to vote, Google "Indiana voter registration" or get registered at the State Fair. Please.
You can expect to probably get hassled at the polling places this year and you'll probably encounter some messed-up voting machines. They're doing that so people like us don't vote.
Someone needs to launch a counteroffensive against the Religious Right by telling the truth: A vote for the ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards is a vote for true Christian values.
I'm not explicitly saying that a vote for Bush is a vote for Satan and the rise of the apocalypse; I'll let you make up your own mind after seeing the evidence. God doesn't belong to a party and especially not today's Republican Party.
God does, however, love Indiana and the people who live here; I saw it with my own eyes this weekend.