Carmel Monthly-March 2023

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4 CARMEL MONTHLY MARCH 2023 22 COVER STORY Celebrating 25 Years of the Carmel Farmers Market
Story Writer // Janelle Morrison MONTHLY
6 Campaign Spotlight: Sue Finkam for Carmel Mayor: A Bright Future for All 10 Actors Theatre of Indiana Presents: Mr. Confidential 12 Spyro Gyra Will Highlight the Inaugural Carmel Jazz Fest Weekend at the Palladium 14 Civic Theatre: The Sound of Music 16 Center Presents: Kevin Nealon 18 The City of Carmel: An Overview of a Decade of Growth and Prosperity 1996–2006
TICKETS ON SALE NOW! Call the Center’s Fifth Third Bank Box Office 317.843.3800 Scan for Tickets MASTERWORKS 5 Sat., April 22, 2023 | 7:30 pm Sterling Elliott, cello CSO POPS Sat., May 6, 2023 | 7:30 pm Respect: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin Media Partner Hear ‘In Rowan Oak’ by UIndy’s Dr. John Berners on April 22! Media Partner Concert Sponsor Concert Sponsor

Sue Finkam for Carmel Mayor:

A Bright Future for All

Sue Finkam is a proven executive business leader with a diverse professional background that includes marketing, healthcare operations and human resources leadership. Finkam became active in leadership roles at the state and national levels. This taught Finkam valuable listening and advocacy skills that she puts to use right here in Carmel. Finkam is also a devoted wife to Joe and mom to Drew.

FA SMART, SAFE AND SPECIAL COMMUNITY inkam spoke about why she decided to run for City of Carmel Mayor, and she shared more about her plan to include the community’s input as stakeholders as well as the steps she will take to meet the needs of the diverse and remarkable Midwestern city.

“This election will define Carmel for decades to come because of the direction [the election] is going to take us in going forward,” Finkam stated. “I’m passionate about Carmel and have worked in the community since 2005 and for 12 years as a city councilor. I love this community and its commitment to excellence across the board. I want to be the driver that keeps this community smart, safe and special.”

Finkam defined her priorities should she be elected to a higher office and named Carmel’s next mayor.

“I want to be the leader that residents and businesses count on to take this fine community to the next level, focusing on public safety, collaboration and fiscal responsibility,” Finkam expressed. “I was

an EMT at one point, so I’m committed to public safety. Additionally, I want to make sure that we have smart development and that we don’t just have run-ofthe-mill commercial districts. We want to keep Carmel special and a community that stands out from other communities. We can do it in a way that keeps our community special and inclusive — inviting everybody to the party.”

Finkam added, “It is personal to me, and I recognize that it’s personal to most people. I want to make sure that we’re the best run city in America that provides the most value possible to its residents, and I want to take us there.”


Carmel experienced exponential growth over the last two decades, and Finkam is focused on making sure that the community maintains its positive reputation as a business-friendly city that boasts high-achieving schools, green spaces, world-class entertainment venues and infrastructure while also being inclusive to the 102 languages from 78 countries that make up Carmel’s diverse population.


“Culture is very important to me,” Finkam said. “I’d like to explore how we are engaging our families to make sure that they are successful. Their kids have several services provided to them through the schools, but what about services for their parents who are trying to work and make a life here in the community? If elected mayor, I would love to create an international center that is focused on arts, food, culture and — more importantly — economic development.”

Finkam continued, “We need to be very smart about future developments throughout Carmel. We need more ‘for sale’ products; we need a 7th fire station, and we need a master facility plan. There’s a lot of expensive needs coming up that are necessary to delivering the best essential services possible. We need to take care of our needs, and then we can create opportunities to fulfill our wants as well.”

Finkam explained that one of her first acts as Mayor of Carmel would be

to conduct a community-wide comprehensive survey as well as one for the city employees.

“We need to listen to our community,” Finkam stated. “For 28 years, it’s been Jim’s vision. It needs to be our vision moving forward — yours, mine and the entire community’s.”

Finkam discussed that if elected mayor, she would also focus on “working smarter” as it pertains to city departments and available technology.

“I want to be an agile leader and create agile programs that can quickly move with the market,” Finkam shared. “I have a plan for a ‘Communiversity’ that would offer certificate programs that would be responsive to the workforce changes. I also want to make sure that we invest more in our IT infrastructure, so that we can have data at our fingertips to make more informed decisions when it comes to using data.”

When asked why Carmel residents should vote for Finkam on May 2, she

replied, “Together, we will ensure our taxpayer dollars are used effectively and efficiently to make Carmel the best place in the country to live, work, raise a family and retire. And together, we can keep Carmel special.”

For more information about Sue Finkam for Carmel Mayor, visit







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Actors Theatre of Indiana Presents

Mr. Confidential

The Studio Theater // Apr 28 – May 14

Book and Lyrics by Samuel Garza-Bernstein, Music by David Snyder

The sizzle starts here … A story of family, dreams, innocence, love and scandal. When Bob Harrison created Confidential Magazine in 1952, he gave the public gossip, humor and sex. But he also offered something totally unexpected — the truth about the rich and famous. It quickly became the #1 selling magazine in America.

Soon, Bob wasn’t just telling the story, he was the story, with headlines, scandals and a wild ride of his own. A giddy, vibrant tale set in New York and Hollywood at their most glamourous and dangerous. This is a fable, but almost all of it really happened! Don’t miss this World Premiere!

Purchase tickets at

I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing playwright and director Samuel Garza-Bernstein about the upcoming world premiere of this fascinating production. Having discussed the Confidential Magazine empire and the people who ran it, along with Garza-Bernstein’s take on its rise and fall, this upcoming world premiere has my endorsement for being the “Must See” production of the season!

Janelle Morrison: We can’t wait to welcome you back to Carmel, Indiana, and are excited for the world premiere of “Mr. Confidential”! You published the book “Mr. Confidential” in 2006 and have been working on the musical since 2009, and that included a reading with ATI last year. How did that help the progression of this project?

Samuel Garza-Bernstein: You know, when you do a reading like we did last year [at ATI], that was pretty full out — we did all the songs, and it was rehearsed very full on — it gave us a chance to get to know one another. I don’t think I had any trepidation or anything, but certainly after working with the [ATI] company, I felt like the luckiest person ever. It’s been a real collaboration.

JM: As a student of journalism, I remember learning about Mr. Harrison’s publica-

tions. Before there was TMZ or the National Enquirer, there was Confidential Magazine. It’s human nature to be curious about celebrities and about the well-to-do, don’t you think?

SGB: It’s very tribal. It’s a way of protecting the “tribe,” because we enforce ideas about what is proper behavior. So, looking out to find who isn’t behaving is kind of, from an evolutionary standpoint, is part of how we enforce norms of behavior. I don’t think that over the centuries, it had the internet, entertainment journalism, and show business quite in mind, but I take how we respond to gossip and see it’s very much hardwired.

JM: Not much has changed since the days of Confidential. The celebrities are still playing off of the press, for good or for bad.

SGB: Our choreographer Willem [de Vries] worked with TMZ when it was launched and was in charge of the NYC office. He’ll tell you how Kim Kardashian’s people would call him and say, “Hey, we’re gonna be over here,” so he would show up with the photographers, and then the Kardashians would angrily say, “They [press] won’t leave us alone. We don’t have our privacy.” That was hand in hand — the stars themselves or their representatives would give the stories, and then it would be this “scandal” but a fun scandal mostly. There were all these headlines swirling around, they’d threaten to sue, and everybody got attention. It was kind of a win-win most of the time.

JM: What about Harrison’s life and the Confidential Magazine “story” made you want to take it on and not only write a book about it but a musical as well?

SGB: I had been in the Confidential [Magazine] world for 20 years and knew some of the people that the book and the musical are about. When I set out to write the book about this, it was almost happenstance. I found out that I knew a woman at the center of the magazine in another life. She had been the flame-haired femme fatale, the “Duchess of Dirt” — Marjorie Meade — who was on trial in 1957 and also Bob Harrison’s niece. She and I were on a charitable foundation together.

I portray [Marjorie] in a way in the show that at the heart is true to the spirit of who she was. However, I have not particularly highlighted the part of her [personality] that answered one my questions in the way that she did. I asked her, “Do you ever look back and kind of regret a story or think maybe the story went too far and we shouldn’t

Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of ATI

have done that?” And she just looked me square in the face and said, “No. The people we wrote about … the Ava Gardners and Lana Turners were trashy people in how they behaved. What did they expect?” Not a lot of self-reflection in that answer, but who am I to judge? When you think about the standards of that day, and you think about what was written about the stars and what they were getting into, and they got into an awful lot … I mean, Lana Turner wasn’t sitting around being a housewife. [Laughing] She wrote in her autobiography, “I planned on having one husband and seven children, but it turned out the other way around.”

JM: Do you think Harrison was intentionally pushing societal boundaries for the betterment of society, or was it just all about selling magazines? And what would he think about social media?

SGB: He wasn’t exactly a deep thinker

accidental. He had a mission to sell magazines. I would say he would harness social media and relish it. He would not really think about the consequences, because he wasn’t a guy who thought about those. We show [in the musical] how he created the monster and how the monster then kicked him in the ass. “Mr. Confidential” is your classic morality tale.

JM: I am beyond stoked to see how you and the entire cast and crew are going to bring Harrison, his people and the magazine to life on stage here in Carmel, Indiana!

SGB: We will have three projection screens that will bring 700 images to life in animated form! Marlene Dietrich was featured in one of the early [Confidential] stories, and we do a thing with her on the cover of the magazine, and she turns and winks at the audience. We will see the stories coming together with giant pictures, and there are

including scenes where they will have quick changes on stage! “Mr. Confidential” is a musical and a visual feast! It’s got a great story to tell, and we are out to entertain!



Don Farrell as Bob Harrison

Diana O’Halloran as Jeannie Douglas

Shelbi Berry as Marjorie Meade

Tim Fullerton as Howard Rushmore

Cynthia Collins as Edith Tobias

Judy Fitzgerald as Frances Rushmore

Jacob Butler as Michael Tobias

ENSEMBLE (playing multiple roles but identified by their most important character):

Jaddy Ciucci as Francesca de la Peña

John B. Vessels, Jr. as Walter Winchell

Jason Frierson as Preston Wright

Kieran Danaan as Fred Meade

Matthew Conwell as Alex Coveny

Emily Bohannon as Gail Forrester

Megan Arrington as Betty Zeidler

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Center’s Fifth Third Bank Box Office at the Palladium, call 317.843.3800 or visit

Spyro Gyra Will Highlight the Inaugural Carmel Jazz Fest Weekend at the Palladium

The Center for the Performing Arts is pleased to announce that long-running jazz fusion band Spyro Gyra will highlight the inaugural Carmel Jazz Fest weekend with an Aug. 12 performance at the Palladium.

Known for original instrumental pieces spiced with R&B, Latin and world music elements, Spyro Gyra emerged during the 1970s fusion wave and never let up, releasing 35 albums, playing more than 10,000 shows and earning 13 Grammy nominations over the past five decades.

Spyro Gyra last performed at the Center in January 2012. On the current tour,

saxophonist and founding bandleader Jay Beckenstein is joined by longtime members Julio Fernandez on guitar and Scott Ambush on bass, along with more recent arrivals Lionel Cordew on drums and Chris Fischer on keyboards.

The band’s most recent album, “Vinyl Tap,” was an intriguing departure, a cover collection of songs by The Beatles, Cream, Blind Faith and other classic rockers.

Tickets starting at $25 will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at the Palladium’s Fifth Third Bank Box Office, online at and by phone at (317) 843-3800. Separate passes are required for Carmel Jazz Fest, which will take place on the Center’s campus and at other venues around the city Aug. 11–12. More information is available at www.

I had the pleasure of speaking with The Center for the Performing Arts President/ CEO Jeff McDermott as well as Spyro Gyra’s founding bandleader and saxophonist Jay Beckenstein about the upcoming concert presented by The Center for the Performing Arts.

Janelle Morrison: I am excited about Spyro Gyra’s return to the Palladium!

Jeff McDermott: We’re excited about this idea of the [jazz] festival and that they plan to use the Center’s venues, which are right here in the heart of Carmel. We’re proud to present Spyro Gyra on the same weekend as the Carmel Jazz Festival.

JM: The Center has a history of advocating Indiana’s — the nation’s — rich jazz history through its Jazz series offerings each season.

JMcD: This fiscal year alone, we’ve had Herb Alpert and Lani Hall in concert and Madeleine Peyroux as part of our jazz genre and Chris Botti — obviously, a great jazz artist. We recently welcomed Jonathan Butler, and year in and year out, we have great jazz offerings that we bring to the community. So, bringing Spyro Gyra here for a Center Presents performance the same weekend as the [Carmel] Jazz Festival seems like a perfect fit for us.

JM: Jay, I am thrilled that you’re returning to the Palladium. Moreover that you’ll be here to highlight the inaugural Carmel Jazz Fest!

Jay Beckenstein: We are honored to be part of the beginning of something, and hopefully, it’s the beginning of something that lasts for a long time because people will love the music.

JM: Speaking of loving music, it’s a blessing that you keep coming back to Indiana and sharing your talents. I want to talk about your most recent album,

• Photography // David White Photography

“Vinyl Tap,” and the process of putting it together, which you and your bandmates dubbed a “warping” process. What does that mean exactly?

JB: We got together as a group for most of the arranging of these songs. This was the first record where we were encouraged to play other people’s music. We’ve always written our own, so after 30-some-odd records, the idea of doing other people’s material was a complete novelty to us. But we went into it not wanting to be “wedding band” and sound like somebody doing covers. It was really important to us that we changed the materials substantially from the original and gave them our own treatments — hence, warping. We stretched and pulled all this music like taffy. It was a ton of fun and very much a group creativity session.

JM: The band itself has experienced evolution over the decades. Share with me who is touring along with you that is from the early days and who’s new to

the scene that will be debuting at the Palladium?

JB: I’m the one that goes back to the 70s. Our bass player, Scott Ambush, and our guitar player, Julio Fernandez, came into the band in the ’80s. Our drummer, Lionel Cordew, has been with us for 7–8 years, and we have one member that people will be seeing for the first time: our keyboardist, Chris Fischer.

Our previous keyboardist, Tom Schuman, had been with us for many, many years but has decided to embark on other life experiences. He’s actually moving to Barcelona, Spain, and is changing his life totally. But I had heard this production that Chris was making, a record he was making with Scott. And he was the perfect guy to come in. He’s done a bang-up job bringing his own personality to the band, and it’s kind of fun having something new to react to.

JM: On behalf of all of your fans, we are thrilled that even after all this time,

you are sharing your talent and continue to tour. What do you hope people will experience when you come back to the Palladium and help launch the inaugural Carmel Jazz Fest?

JB: This [performing] is what I’m built for. We’ve been on the road for a few weeks, and one of things that we are experiencing is how the audiences are coming back. We’ve had nothing but sellout shows, and there’s so much enthusiasm from the people! We feel that big time from the audiences. And that becomes a reciprocal thing where the audience brings joy to us and we bring joy to them and vice versa. I really expect a great time and a great launch to the festival. I ask the community to support this venture, because it’s the passionate people that love music that make it happen!




The final collaboration between Rod gers & Hammerstein was destined to become the world’s most beloved musical. Featuring a trove of cher ished songs, including “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “My Favorite Things,” “Do Re Mi,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” and the title number, The Sound of Music won the hearts of audiences worldwide, earning five Tony Awards and five Oscars. The inspirational story, based on the memoir of Maria Augusta Trapp, follows an ebullient postulate who serves as governess to the seven children of the imperious Captain von Trapp, bringing music and joy to the household. But as the forces of Nazism take hold of Austria, Maria and the entire von Trapp family must make a moral decision.

(Concord Theatricals)

Note: The May 7 performance at 2pm is designated as an inclusive performance, designed to create a welcoming experience that is intended for patrons who have social, cognitive, or physical challenges that create sensory sensitivities. An ASL interpreter will also be available. Largeprint programs are also available for the visually impaired, upon request.

Tickets are on sale now at



The Sound of Music is what got me into loving musical theater and really connected me to what I am so passionate about. I was probably 2-years-old when I first saw it and remember having to replace the VHS tape after burning out the first [tape]. Then buying it on DVD and Blu-ray because I would watch it multiple times a year. Sound of Music is a timeless story that focuses on love, family and staying true to your own voice. It also focuses on not being afraid to follow what you believe is right and to your passion.

I know this story well and am hoping to interpret [Maria] in a way where I find a little bit of myself in this role while staying true to what the story is telling. I hope to look at the story through my own lens as well as a historical [lens] with the guidance of Anne [Beck] and the production team to make it a unique. Every story needs to be told in a fresh new way and this company can do that will of the individual voices that make up the cast.


- Max


I am actually debuting for Civic Theatre after many years of knowing all these people for so long and was previously a union actor before running into Michael Lasley and he mentioned that they needed someone to play this role. The people are on the ball here at Civic. You can tell they love what they do and vocally, this is an amazing cast just listening to them rehears the big vocals. It’s really great!

My character [Max] is based on another person who was originally the priest/father of the church that helped these kids and actually escaped with them to America. My character is not based on the real person so I get to kind of make it my own while following the guideline. Max is in for himself, but he loves Georg and has a relationship with him and Elsa Schrader. He is hopeful that he’ll have two millionaires he can live off of for the rest of his life. It’s fun to play with that and create something that you wouldn’t normally see in the movie. There is more storyline and more to develop and that has been fun to discover.

Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of Civic

APRIL 28MAY 13, 2023

Showtimes: Thursdays, Fridays, & Saturdays* @ 7:00pm Sundays @ 2:00pm

*Saturday, May 13 @ 2:00pm & 7:00pm*

The Sound of Music is a love story but it’s not just a romantic love story. It’s a love for family and for where your roots lie. They [roots] can change and your whole world can change, yet it still feels like home. I love the stage version and I really love where the songs fall in this. For many people, the songs are in the “wrong” places. For being a big song and dance person, it’s been completely enriching and enlightening to just dive into the storytelling. You’re going to leave the theater with the warmest hearts. During rehearsals, we’re finding all that beautiful writing and the little nuances as well as how much color there is in all the characters. I think the cast is doing a great job at bringing uniqueness while keeping the tradition of the story. There are really distinct and clever ways in which the cast is bringing these characters to lie.

I also really love that our audiences will be seeing the staples of Civic Theatre in addition to over half the cast being completely new to Civic. It’s a whole new family coming together to collaborate, create and to tell a story. To me that is really exciting that the Civic family is always growing especially with a story that is about family.


MARIA RAINER - Renée La Schiazza


LIESL - Emma Hornbecker

FRIEDRICH - Andrew Horras

LOUISA - Keegan Connor

KURT - Jack McNally

BRIGITTA - Adeline Giesting

MARTA - Katherine LeFan

GRETL - Greta Schaefer

MAX DETWEILER - David Maxwell

ELSA SCHRADER - Nina Stilabower

MOTHER ABBESS - Kirsten Gunlogson

SISTER BERTHE - Lauren Walawender

SISTER MARGARET - Heather Hansen

SISTER SOPHIA - Sydnie Blair

FRANZ - Dick Davis

FRAU SCHMIDT - Jennifer Sutton

ROLF GRUBER - Nolan Daugherty

URSULA - Karen Hurt

HERR ZELLER - Luke Robinson

FRAU ZELLER - Katie Stark





Arnold, Sadie Cohen, Melina DeGolyer, Karen

Hurt, Chad Leitschuh, Nicolette Mantica, Lee

Russell, Katie Stark, Jennifer Sutton, Anastasia Yiannoutsos

15 | 317.843.3800
4/28 - 5/13
THE SOUND OF MUSIC is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization. Music by RICHARD RODGERS Lyrics by OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II Book by HOWARD LINDSAY and RUSSEL CROUSE
SOM Carmel Monthly Ad.indd 1 3/20/2023 11:23:25 AM
Suggested by “The Trapp Family Singers” by Maria Augusta Trapp Anne Beck - Director/Choreographer



Emmy and SAG-nominated actor, comedian and author Kevin Nealon is best known for his nine-year stint on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” where he anchored the “Weekend Update” segment and helped cement its popularity. He has received critical acclaim for his work on the Showtime series “Weeds,” and he more recently co-starred on the CBS comedy series “Man with a Plan.” Nealon’s film appearances have included “Anger Management,” “Eight Crazy Nights,” “The Wedding Singer” and “Happy Gilmore,” and he produces and hosts the YouTube series “Hiking with Kevin,” interviewing his celebrity friends on hikes throughout the country.

Purchase your tickets at

It was a bucket list interview for me. I’ve enjoyed the comedic talent of Kevin Nealon since his days on SNL. His timing and his energy are always on point, and his other artistic talent as a caricature artist is equally as impressive. If you haven’t already picked up a copy of Nealon’s book, “I Exaggerate: My Brushes with Fame,” I highly recommend that you do! This gorgeously illustrated project is a collection of full-color caricatures and funny, endearing personal essays about Nealon’s famous friends.

Janelle Morrison: Let’s talk about your book. I don’t think a lot of people realize how gifted you are. I’d like to learn more about when you realized you had this drawing talent and how you’ve been nurturing it all these years.

Kevin Nealon: I started drawing when I was just a kid. I love just doodling mostly, and throughout high school I would doodle and draw, but I never took a course. As I got older and was on SNL, as a matter of fact, I would sketch people sitting across the table reading over the [SNL] sketches. And if I wasn’t in the sketch, I would sketch whoever it was … [Chris] Farley, Dana Carvey, the host or whoever it was. I never really finished these caricatures of people — they were just quick pencil sketches. Then, a year or so before the pandemic, I was following different [caricature] artists on Instagram. I started emulating those people, and during the pandemic, I immersed myself in it.

JM: Your caricatures are really good! You capture the essence of your subject, and it’s really cool!

KN: Thank you. I used to love watching caricature artists at carnivals and fairs or wherever. The people I was with would get bored and go off to ride the rides, and I’d continue to watch these artists sketch people. As a kid, we lived in Germany for four years, and we would go to a lot of different places on vacation like Paris and Greece. My parents had their caricatures drawn by some Parisian artist. It was different from anything that I had seen. Those pastels hung on my wall in bedroom, side by side, and every night I’d go to bed and just kind of study them. That was like a 15-year study right there.

JM: I encourage people to go buy this book and to follow you on Instagram because it’s really cool stuff. And speaking of cool stuff, you — like many creatives post2020 — are utilizing different

Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of The Center for the Performing Arts

mediums and technologies to produce unique and fun material outside of your known wheelhouses. For instance, your YouTube series, “Hiking with Kevin,” is a stitch! You’re actually doing my job, interviewing your friends and colleagues while hiking and enjoying fresh air. I love your “hikes” with all these various talented people, and because it’s not over produced, it’s so much more relatable. Tell me more about this project.

KN: Thank you. I’m glad you like that too. Well, my interviewing techniques are not as good as yours … all I can do is ask random and silly questions most of the time, but this started because I like to be outside to walk and hike. There’s a lot of canyons around L.A. to do that. I was hiking one day with friend and actor Matthew Modine. We’ve been buddies for a long time, and I called him and asked if he wanted to go for a hike. The hike was pretty steep, and we were both kind of out of breath. It was really kind of funny, and I thought we should be recording this and make it like a talk show. I posted that on Twitter and then started doing these little two-minute segments from different people. After a year or so, I expanded it and started a YouTube channel and made it like 15–19 minutes each segment.

JM: I was thinking about this the other night during the Oscars and would love your take on comedians nowadays and the future of stand-up comedy. I feel like the environment has changed dramatically since I first became familiar with you and your work.

I grew up in the ’80s when some of the world’s finest comedians walked the earth. Currently, I feel like most comedians are either playing it too safe or they’re trying too hard to get noticed, streamed, shared, whatever. Since your currently touring, what have your experiences been like, and what are your thoughts?

KN: Well, it’s very important for people to laugh. It’s interesting, when I started doing [stand-up] in the ’80s, there weren’t a lot of comics. It was more of a novelty, and a lot of people had never been to a comedy club. Now, it’s very commonplace, and there’s a lot more comedians. Comedy is so subjective. I see a lot of comics out there, and I shake my head, thinking, “Wow, how are they able to keep doing this?” And they’re making a living and people are laughing, so it’s funny to those people but maybe not to you or me. I do think the outlook is good for the future of comedy. There’s a lot of

clever comedians out there, and it’s evolving all the time. When I started out, it was about setting up the punchline, and now it’s more about “attitude” and not so much about crafting jokes.

JM: What do you think has changed the most in stand-up routines?

KN: I don’t know if it’s a younger [generation] thing, but a lot of [stand-up] is so crass and vulgar. I don’t know if they’re going for the shock value, but there isn’t any [shock] value anymore because there’s so many people doing it. I like a good dirty joke as much as anyone, but it’s hard when I’m performing somewhere and they have an opener that’s really crass and it sets the tone for the rest of the night, you know what I mean?

JM: I, along with many others, are going to enjoy you when you come out to Carmel, Indiana. And I don’t want to give anything away that you’re going to say, but what can people expect from you?

KN: My comedy is always evolving, and it’s very conversational. I think a lot of people have told me that I’m very sensible. And I will say that even though I question the profane comics, my comedy has gotten a little dark in areas because it’s the things that I’m thinking about now and what’s in my head. I think the audience will have a good time … I know they’ll have a good time.

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The City of Carmel: An Overview of a Decade of Growth and Prosperity 1996–2006

For nearly three decades, the city of Carmel, under the leadership of Mayor Jim Brainard, has grown from a rather typical north suburban car-centric city to a world-renowned city known for its infrastructure, development and redevelopment, arts and entertainment, diverse culture and, of course, roundabouts. Brainard is Carmel’s first seven-term mayor and is one of the longest serving mayors in the United States. Most cities would take a few centuries to achieve the milestones that Carmel has in 20-plus years.

Under his tenure, Carmel has experienced tremendous growth and prosperity. It is considered one of the fastest growing cities in the United States and is recognized as a model of modern urban planning around the world.

Carmel Monthly will be highlighting some of the city’s more notable accomplishments and substantial developments over the last couple of decades, each quarter in our publication, to reminisce along with longtime residents of Carmel and to share with folks who are new to the community what came before the development of the

According to the Carmel Central City Core Redevelopment Study completed by Indiana University Public Policy Institute, the city has more than tripled its population from 1990 to 2010 and was estimated at 86,946 in 2017.

Redeveloping the Inner Core of Carmel

Since Mayor Brainard took office in 1996, several improvements to the city’s infrastructure, the development of the outlier areas and redevelopment of the inner core have been started and completed, and new major projects are in process as the city continues to grow and evolve.

Many came to Carmel to enjoy the lifestyle in the growing city that was being transformed through the redevelopment efforts of Mayor Brainard, who was first elected in 1995. He has transformed a deteriorating Main Street into the Arts & Design District and built a new downtown called City Center from an abandoned strip mall.

Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of City of Carmel
0 20,000 40,000 60,000 80,000 1996 2006 Population First Year/Term End of First Decade in Office Carmel’s Population Carmel’s Size Increase Due to Annexations of Township Land 1996 2000 2004 2005 0 10 20 30 40 Square Miles 1996 2000 2004 2005 0 10 20 30 40 Square Miles
Mayor Jim Brainard

He reinvigorated investment in the area and has created a vibrant, walkable central core that allows residential areas and businesses to thrive. This brought many new offices and corporate headquarters to Carmel, which spurred a second boost in population that included more people moving to Carmel to live, work and enjoy life. In the year 2023, that trend continues.

A Look Back at the Redevelopment with Mayor Brainard

“When we started, we knew that the Arts & Design District [formerly Old Town] wasn’t big enough for a ‘downtown’ and for what would eventually be 50 square miles of city — double the size of Manhattan,” Brainard said. “We campaigned on wanting to invest in the infrastructure. There was tremendously bad flooding in that area, so we had to get the infrastructure fixed first. We put up [the Gateway] arches and promoted the district to businesses, letting them know that if they located here, they would be supported by the city, infrastructure improvements and by the community events and festivals.”

In the summer of 1997, public discussion of City Center began during a time when Indiana suburbs were developing strip centers, regional malls and market-driven subdivisions with minimal entry points that prohibit expedient entry and exit for the various public safety agencies. The mayor had another vision, and the city took steps toward creating a downtown redevelopment and “urban place-making” initiative. The significant construction in the redevelopment areas has earned national and international accolades.

vividly. I was getting off of an airplane. And this was pre–cell phone days. I had to find a payphone to call the redevelopment lawyer to see if it had closed. We put in City Center Drive to get people to and from our City Center.”

and was living in the motel but wanted to start a garden. The shovel that he borrowed was really used to bury his wife on the property.”

The agencies who responded to yet another death at the Carmel Motel, discovered the horrendous health conditions had just joined the mayor’s staff heading up communications, coordinated the press to walk through the motel, along with the mayor and the agencies, as additional witnesses to the myriad of violations. Hamilton County Superior Court Judge Steve Nation [Retired] would be the one to support Brainard’s request to permanently close the Carmel Motel following an emergency hearing. The land that once housed the motel was redeveloped and is now the southern entrance of the Clay Terrace development.

a destination location in north Carmel. But by the time that Brainard had taken office, it was a blight on the city and a dangerous place to its inhabitants. Brainard and an entire team of state and local public safety departments congregated in front of the motel with one mission that Friday night: to shut it down permanently.

“It was August 8, 1998,” Brainard recalled. “The Carmel Motel was … a problem. Two murders occurred there, both within a fairly short period of time. A man who was occupying the motel had murdered his wife and had borrowed a shovel from the garden and hobby store next door. Testimony later came out that the man had told the manager that he was short on money

To the west of downtown Carmel, Brenwick Development and a group of selected, high-end custom homebuilders began building an architectural marvel known as the Village of WestClay. The developers broke ground on the then 686-acre Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) in 1999 and introduced a whole new concept of neighborhood planning and living to Indiana with its Broad Street Home Show in July 2000.

City Center before In 2002, the former Kroger grocery store was demolished, and the Ryland Townhomes along City Center Drive and former Shapiro’s Deli complex construction began along Range Line Road.
Village of WestClay today 19 CARMEL MONTHLY MARCH 2023 CITY
Clay Terrace today

Carmel adopted the City Center Redevelopment Area Plan in 1998. The plan was for City Center to become a focal point and gathering place for residents and tourists. In February 2000, the Redevelopment Commission entered into a project agreement with AMLI Residential Properties for what was the first CRC mixed-use development project in the City Center (312 market rate apartments). In June 2001, the construction of the first commercial building (Kestner Building) in City Center commenced, and the construction of the Monon Greenway was completed.


“When I first came into office, we had no staff departments as we have them today,” Brainard shared. “And the redevelopment commission was on the books, but it had never been constituted. My predecessor [Ted

had never appointed anybody to that position. And we were contracting fire services to the entire township.”












Mike Fogarty

Doug Callahan

Jim Kinder

Kate (Boyle) Weese

Dave Klingensmith

Steve Engelking

John Duffy

Debra Grisham, soon replaced by Doug Haney

Nancy Heck

Terry Crockett

Barb Lamb

Nancy Heck Steve Engelking Dave Klingensmith Mike Fogarty Construction on the Lurie building began in the Arts & Design District. In the same year, Mayor Brainard won the primary election with 59 percent of the vote. The changes within and around the city were causing buzz all over the county and throughout central Indiana. In the fall of 2004, Pedcor was awarded the bid for City Center and broke ground in 2006. The construction of the Palladium, The Tarkington and The Studio Theater began in 2007. In 2002, the former Kroger grocery store was demolished, and the Ryland Townhomes along City Center Drive and former Shapiro’s Deli complex construction began along Range Line Road. In 2003, Pedcor headquarters in City Center began construction and was completed in 2004. 2004, the groundbreaking for the Carmel Clay Veterans Memorial Plaza was held. Construction of Pedcor’s part of City Center began on the south west corner of Range Line Road and City Center Dr. Johnson]

Carmel’s Monon Greenway: Transforming an Abandoned Railroad Line to the Lifeline of Carmel

In 2021, the city of Carmel celebrated the 20th anniversary of the hugely successful transformation of the former CSX (formerly Monon) Railroad line that connected Chicago and Indianapolis for more than 100 years to what is now known as the Monon Greenway. However, in the late 1990s, as the city of Carmel and surrounding towns and cities looked to redevelop the abandoned rail line, there was significant opposition from some residents and years of protracted litigation. Today, the Monon Greenway is a 42acre linear park.

Brainard had a vision for the Monon Railroad line that had it morphing into a multi-county linear trail that would eventually become a main feed for intersecting trails throughout Central Indiana and the epicenter of an economic boom for Carmel and its fellow communities who share the railroad corridor.

Wastewater Treatment and Sewer Collection

During the Mayor’s first term, 1996 to 1999, the Water Utility replaced aging water mains in Old Town and expanded Water Treatment capacity by 2,000,000 gallons per day. The Wastewater Utility won an award from the Environmental Protection Agency for excellence in Wastewater Treatment and Sewer Collection System Operation.

The Mayor’s leadership was the spark for the water/wastewater projects started and completed during this time period. It set the stage for continued growth to meet the city’s needs.

On the Road to Becoming the RAB Capital of the World

“I had campaigned on the idea that we wanted parks and trails,” Brainard stated. “My predecessor [Johnson] said [Carmel] could not acquire the Monon land, and I said, ‘Yes, we can, and we’re going to use eminent domain.’ So, we filed against both claimants. It was a huge project. They were reversionary deeds, and there was a class action suit against the train company involving the property owners along the trail. We had several people working on this full time, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of the Carmel Rotary Club and the Monon Greenway Committee that started campaigning in 1995. I did have the backing from the city council for the Monon Greenway project.”


Dooley O’Tooles

Muldoon’s On Main

The Glass Chimney

Steak & Ale

Clay Terrace

Established 1985

Established 1981

Established 1976


Opened in 2004

Mandarin House Opened 1997

Max and Erma’s Carmel Opened 2000

Sunrise Cafe Carmel Opened 1985

Carmel Community Pool at the former Carmel Junior High (Now Carmel Middle) – Closed Keystone Square Mall (now Merchants Square)

Woodland Theatre (where Mellow Mushroom and Baskin-Robbins is now)


Closed in 2003; popular restaurant with magicians

Greek Tony’s Opened 1984

First completed RAB – Built in 1997; located at the intersection of Main Street and River Road. Monon Before Mayor faces Monon project protestors

Celebrating 25 years

of the Carmel Farmers Market

We sat down with CFM President Ron Carter to reminisce on the early days of the market, highlight its growth and showcase its journey to becoming the area’s best farmers market. Carter attributes much of the market’s success to the exceptional CFM volunteer corps and vendors, whose dedication and passion for providing safe, fresh and local food to the community remains unwavering.


Carter ran for city council back in 1995 on the desire to develop the Monon rail trail in Carmel amid strong opposition. It was during one fateful city council meeting that Carter shared with the fellow council members, press and attendees his vision for the future of the rail trail. Having lived in the South for a period of time, Carter regularly read Southern Living Magazine. The publication had spotlighted a town in Georgia in a four-color spread that featured a rail trail and farmers market. He shared the highlights of that article at the council meeting and said that he could foresee the day when Carmel would have amenities such as these.

“I got a phone call about six months after that meeting from an IndyStar reporter who lived in Carmel and had an interest in Carmel as

a resident in addition to having a journalist interest. She said, ‘I understand that you’re going to start a farmers market.’ I replied, ‘I am?’”

That reporter had been in the audience during that council meeting when Carter had shared his vision, and she suggested that Carter start a farmers market in Carmel. According to Carter, this reporter also expressed an interest in supporting the idea and that it would be well received by the community. Carter then charged her to find interested individuals to attend a meeting to discuss the possibility of organizing a farmers market.

“An article was written and published that called out for volunteers, and six people showed up,” Carter recalled. “None of us knew anything about starting a farmers market but were interested in the concept and in helping the community. This was before the benefits of the internet, so we started looking around for some source materials that would tell us how to get a farmers market started. We got 10 copies of a published three-ring binder titled, ‘How to Start a Farmers Market’ for $15 a copy. It was written by a Michigan State [University] professor. And the six of us who were at the first meeting read through the binders, came back together a month later and decided we could do this. And that’s really how it [the market] got started.”


Carter shared many memories of the early days of the farmers market and of the people who made it what it is today.

“At one of our [early] meetings, we needed a president, and there was a gentleman whose background was in the banking business with AFNB,” Carter shared. “The gentleman had started out as a teller and retired as executive vice president of what was then Bank One. He turned out to be godsend, as far as being president of our market board [1999–2001]. We would not have the market that we have today had it not been for the expertise and organizational ability of Jim Keckley. He would also bring donuts for the [market] committee every Saturday morning, which is why we have ‘Jim Keckley Donut Day’ at the opening of every [CFM summer] season — in memory of Jim.”

While CFM was building its volunteer committee, it was also out amongst the community seeking support in the way of sponsorships. Brenwick Development got on board as an early CFM sponsor.

“George Sweet [Brenwick] stepped forward with $500 to help start the market,” Carter said. “George had such a great vision for the city and contributed so much to the [Carmel] community. And Mayor Brainard suggested that we have the market in the parking lot at City Hall. So, we had a little bit of seed money, a committee, and a place to hold the [market]. We then went to Ogle Design [Carmel], and Jim [Ogle] created our first CFM logo for us that went on our banners that we used to put up on the rails at the major intersections throughout Carmel. Those and the posters we put in some stores’ windows were how we advertised the market.”

Carter added, “The folks at IU Health have provided us with season sponsorship for well over a decade, and Pedcor has been one of the top sponsors for us as well. We’ve enjoyed really good relationships with people and sponsors who care about the community.”


At the start of the market, Carter had invited eight vendors from the downtown Indianapolis market to join the market in Carmel. Some of the original vendors, such as the Phelps family, are still with CFM. The following season, the vendor count doubled to 16 and doubled again the following season to 32.

Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Jennifer Hershberger and submitted
This month, Carmel Monthly is pleased to feature the Carmel Farmers Market on the cover, and as a longtime media sponsor, we are thrilled to celebrate CFM’s 25th anniversary that will kick off this upcoming summer season.

“When we got to 48 vendors the 4th season of the market, we were at our max, as far as space is concerned,” Carter said. “The city worked with us, as they always have.”

On May 7, 2011, the market moved to what is now the well-manicured and centrally located Carter Green [formerly Center Green], located on the campus of the Center For the Performing Arts and is immediately accessible to the Monon Greenway. The market continued to grow and currently boasts 70plus vendors. CFM is the only farmers market in the area that provides electricity for each vendor as well as water to all four quadrants of the green. The market also provides ATM service on-site as well as seating for marketgoers to enjoy coffee, breakfast and an array of treats sold by the market vendors.

Additionally, the market hosts live entertainment and special events that have become beloved traditions for countless families and guests of the market. And many of the annual events that take place at the market engage local organizations and community partners such as the Carmel Fire Department with the annual Carmel Firehouse Cook-Off.

Throughout the decades, the Carmel Farmers Market has become more than just a “farmers market.” It is an experience. And as many discovered throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, CFM is an essential source for fresh, local and safe food. It is the only

farmers market that remained open every Saturday for the duration of its season and was uninterrupted by supply line issues that drastically impacted supermarkets and big box stores. It is also a place for the community to come together and enjoy their Saturday mornings together, making memories and creating traditions while enjoying the firstclass amenities, vendors, and hospitality of the CFM volunteers.

Carter added, “We look at our farmers market as being a ‘third place’ for Carmel. It is a place [for residents] to make memories every Saturday with their kids and grandchildren.”

CFM has also evolved into an incubator of sorts for many of its vendors, who have grown as a result of their exposure and sales at this market, and some have opened storefronts and bakeries as proof of their success.

Gearing Up For the 25th Opening Day

Although the CFM committee actively planning for its monumental opening day, Carter expressed that this is not only a year of celebration and reflection but also a time to plan for the next 25 years.

“It’s a time when we are needing volunteers, not because we don’t have a plethora of them but because if you’ve been with the group for 25 years, frankly, you might need a little break,” Carter stated. “We need people to bring ideas to the market that we as founders might not be thinking about or could be doing better. I hope

that we’ll see this 25th anniversary as a year of volunteering at the market.”

The market broke its attendance record with an astounding 112,000 guests last year and is looking forward to another robust year to help commemorate its 25th anniversary.

There is going to be an abundance of things to see, taste and do at the Carmel Farmers Market this season. Don’t miss out on any of the events, entertainment and 70-plus vendors that help make this market the BEST summer farmers market in the state!

Be sure to join us for opening day on Saturday, May 6, at Carter Green! For more information about the Carmel Farmers Market, days/hours of operation, vendor list, entertainment lineup, and how you can get involved, visit

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