Ed Wenck here, leading off this retro-peek at something we concocted 12 months ago.
Last year, for the big 2014 Year In Review/New Year’s Eve Double Issue, NUVO’s editors went around the table and each kicked in some thoughts about what we hoped to see in 2015. Before we look ahead to 2016, we decided to take a look BACK at how reality lined up with our vision for the future.
If you can get past the two opening entries without hiding under your blankets for four or five days, you’re a better person than I.
(NOTE: Our wishes from last year are in italics.)
Managing/Sports Editor Ed Wenck's wishes for 2015
Here’s what I asked for, Santa:
I’m hopeful that events in Ferguson and NYC propel us toward a more open discussion on race, poverty and the continued militarization of local police departments. Maybe we’ll find a way to begin to repair the strained relations between cops and the communities they police.
Or fuck that, let’s just sink deeper into an utter denial of white privilege and make Donald Trump a GOP frontrunner! Awesome! We’ll take wildly racist, fictionalized Tweets from The Donald — some even generated by Neo-Nazis — and promote ‘em as truth! Then we’ll raise that bar of intolerance even higher by suggesting that Muslims be disallowed from entering the country.
I’m hopeful we can begin to have a measured and rational conversation about the stupidity of marijuana prohibition in Indiana.
Yeah, the police presence for the opening services of Bill Levin’s First Church of Cannabis proved we still vilify this plant as some kind of demonic force on a par with smack. Two strikes.
I’m praying that the state legislature’s super-majority doesn’t roll environmental regulations and advancements back into the 19th century.
Oh, crap, I forgot Mike Pence was still Governor.
And as far as the sports desk is concerned, I’m really hoping Paul George heals up right.
Awesome. The Pacers are looking better. One out of four.
I need a tumbler of gin.
News Editor Amber Stearns' wishes for 2015
Apparently my wish list was delivered to the Three Witches in Shakespeare’s MacBeth, rather than jolly ol’ St. Nick.
I hope the education discussion in our city and state moves in a positive direction with focus returning to our most important asset: the children.
Hmmmm. Education politics reached a fever pitch this year both locally and statewide. Between the legislature’s campaign to strip State Superintendent Glenda Ritz of her power, increased emphasis on charter schools and the hot potato known as ISTEP, state government focused on everything except children. In Indianapolis, the charter school discussion bled into the administration of IPS, regardless of public questions and protest. That’s a strike in my book.
I’m hopeful real conversations will continue to evolve so that systemic racism can be identified and eradicated.
Well, real conversations about systemic racism did occur this year, but not in a positive way. Microagressions and protests on college campuses added to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. More incidents of excessive violence against Blacks and Latinos (and in more instances involving minority women) were captured in video and shared on social media.
The conversations are out there, but they are reactive instead of proactive.
I guess I should have been more specific.
I pray our right wing legislators, both state and national, learn to value the lives of those from other countries who seek refuge and opportunity within our borders as much as they value the lives of the unborn.
Governors, including Mike Pence, want to refuse Syrian refugees from starting a new life in their states in an effort to “protect” Americans from terrorists. Meanwhile, our very own homegrown terrorists are shooting up Planned Parenthood locations. (What is it with crazies in Colorado?)
Yep, this one counts as an epic fail in the wish department.
I’m hopeful that Indy residents will pay attention to the words and actions of our municipal candidates and not let the apathy found in the 2014 election follow them into the new year.
Locally, there wasn’t much controversy in the Indianapolis race for mayor. However, that wasn’t the case in every community.
The official voter turnout result for the 2015 municipal elections was 20.5 percent across the state and 22.8 percent for Marion County. IN 2014 voter turnout was 30 percent statewide and 25 percent in Marion County. Thus, another epic wish fail is recorded for my book.
And finally, I’m cautiously optimistic that no one from Indiana will do or say something so stupid that it attracts national attention and warrants harsh ridicule from the likes of The Daily Show.
Gov. Mike Pence and RFRA. “George...Aww, George… Come on George!” Nuff said.
It must have been opposite day when I made my wishes last year and apparently I didn’t get the memo. I think I’ll just drown all of this in a barrel full of corn whiskey.
Former Arts Editor Scott Shoger's hopes and present Arts Editor Emily Taylor's disappointments (and some fruitions)
Scott Shoger: I can’t wait to see what Big Car Collective has cooked up for a year’s worth of public arts programming on Monument Circle. They’re, of course, our “city’s camp counselor,” to quote Hoppe, devoted to making art both fun and useful. But therein lies the rub: While Big Car has struck black, philanthropic gold by pitching a social practice approach that’s explicitly tied in to urban revitalization, that support would seem to have dried up when it comes to our less quantifiable fine arts.
Emily: Shoger, you called it; Big Car’s creative placemaking, Spark on Monument Circle, was definitely a hit. While some days were busier than others in terms of programing, as a city we absorbed the lesson — if you build it they will come. Pop-up parks and art installations will hopefully become the rule instead of this one-time exception.
Scott: Glad to hear it, Em! I skipped town in May to go to library school in Chicago, so I didn't see Big Car's efforts first-hand, though I did read about them in the international edition of NUVO – the NUVO Herald Tribune, I think. And, hey, speaking of libraries and pop-up art: The Public Collection looked pretty cool from afar, especially Brian McCutcheon's appropriately classical Monument Circle installation.
Scott: Or why else would the IMA have abandoned a decades-long free admission policy for a $18 ticket ($3 more than The Louvre, as many have pointed out)? Not to mention that the Indy Opera can’t seem to get through a season.
Emily: While I can’t say that the Indy Opera season was exponentially more robust than last year, they’re now renting space to Motus Dance — which helps both organizations financially. As for a season, things haven’t changed much. The showing of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat was, however, a strong addition. The "stars of opera" program is set for early next year, and should close the gap a bit.
Scott: I was impressed with Indy Opera's new CEO — who does not have an easy job in trying to resurrect a opera company that had pretty much flat-lined — and I certainly would've seen The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat if I had been in town.
Scott: No doubt that mismanagement has played a role in these financial crises (and only a crisis should’ve motivated such a drastic policy change at the IMA). But here’s hoping our more storied institutions can weather the storm and find some of that grassroots energy that powers outfits like Big Car.
Emily: The backlash against the charge at the IMA has hardly settled. When it was clear that the gardens were included in that paywall, it also became clear how valuable people like Scott Stulen and new curators would be to the institution. Indianapolis is quickly rising to a place where we demand innovation in arts programing. The past year has proven that: the ISO bringing in performance art in addition to classical music, the Historical Society opening the largest LGBT history exhibit in the state, and the State Museum bringing in accessible installations like Rad Science.
Scott: What I didn't anticipate was how the move to paid admission would involve walling up parts of the IMA campus to keep the unmoneyed rabble out of the lovely gardens. I think they got away with it because it only impeded the traffic of cyclists and walkers (and not all-important motorists) who used it as an on- or off-ramp to the canal. Of course, any realist is sensitive to the interplay between money and art, but one can tend too much toward viewing a museum as a business – and take too much satisfaction in implementing retail techniques at said museum.
Scott: As for film, I’d love to see Indy Film Fest and Heartland continue to expand their year-round programming (and how about a retrospective or two to put new work in context?) and the IMA move forward with a hinted-at expansion of film programming (no reason The Toby couldn’t become a full-scale cinema like those found at art museums in Detroit and Cleveland).
Emily: Heartland Film’s biggest change came down the pipe just this month when president Stuart Lowry stepped down. They have also bolstered the festival with a new category to highlight Indiana filmmakers.
Scott: And there was another sort-of stepping down: IU Cinema founding director Jon Vickers began a year-long sabbatical July 1, right around the time he on behalf of accepted a Cultural Vision Award for the repertory and art-house theater. I hope both Heartland and IU Cinema continue growing under their temporary leaders; Frank Basile, interim CEO at Heartland, certainly has a knack for guiding troubled institutions through rough waters.
You can find Jolene Ketzenberger's recap of food in Indy for 2015 here.
Music/Senior Editor Katherine Coplen’s hopes for 2015
No offense to my fellow editors in the news and social justice departments but thank God/Spaghetti Monster that I don't have to depend on Pence & Company acting like reasonably ethical and moral humans for my 2015 wishes to have come true. Because they're truly a disappointment and embarrassment to Indiana. Okay, on to the tunes!
I’m hopeful that our local record stores will continue selling more and more vinyl — and in the process keep their doors open.
If the preponderance of bonkers-amazing events for Record Store Day, Black Friday and Cassette Store Day at our local shops says anything it's that the thirst for vinyl has not been quenched in any way, shape or form. And the massive manufacturing delays for local vinyl releases should tip you off too that 2015 was huge. Hats off to LUNA, Indy CD and Vinyl, Karma Records, Landlocked Music, TDs CDs and LPs, Tracks, Village Green, Von's and Irvington Vinyl for another year of record store bliss.
I’m wishing for more all-ages/DIY spaces, and continued booking of super-diverse local shows that bring together all sorts of genres and styles.
In all-ages spaces news: We lost Westgate on the Westside, but celebrated 10 years of the Hoosier Dome/Piradical Productions at the Cultural Vision Awards. GPC continued to kill it, Joyful Noise expanded in a huge way all through the Murphy and house venues — always in transition — flip-flopped around but didn't shrink. And you’ve only to look at Soundcheck this week to see that the local music scene is embracing the collision of form and genre at local shows all over the city.
I hope for the continued success of venues run by Indy’s immigrant community, like the Westside’s vibrant Spanish music clubs and Midtown’s Caribbean Village.
Yes! Get to one of these venues.
I hope 2015 brings another real, true breakout artist or band from Indianapolis, like 2014 did with Lily and Madeleine.
Well, Lily and Madeleine are still absolutely slaying it, praise be. I think last week's premiere of S.M. Wolf's new video on the Nerdist network indicates that Adam Gross' blissed out fuzz pop project is poised to make major noise in 2016 after shaking things up in 2015. And don't forget: bands that ALREADY made it big came back with new releases and shows (Mysteries of Life, Gizmos, Vulgar Boatmen) and our DJs are killing it nationally all the time.
I wish for a locally released cassette in every stocking and a 7-inch under every Hanukkah Bush.
You can shop for plenty at those local record shops that are (hip-hip-hooray) still kickin' it. On my radar: Oreo Jones’ long-awaited Cash for Gold out on vinyl in early 2016.
And I’ve got my fingers crossed that Bey and Jay can keep it together.
....Annnd, now I realize I entirely forgot the Beyonce / Jay-Z divorce rumors post-Elevator Gate. Now what I wish for is another Beyonce album in 2016 (likely) and that Queen Bey will impart some kind of surprise release knowledge on Frank Ocean and Rihanna so we can finally get a listen to their long-delayed albums.