THIS WEEK in this issue
JUNE 13 - 20, 2012 VOL. 23 ISSUE 13 ISSUE #1157
SUMMER READING ISSUE
From the imminent opening of Indy Reads Books to the recent arrival of a bilingual arts magazine, Indy’s literary scene continues to flourish. Read more about its protagonists, including Indy Reads’ Travis DiNicola and Alex Mattingly, and Engine Books’ Victoria Barrett. COVER PHOTO BY STEPHEN SIMONETTO ON THE COVER (LEFT TO RIGHT): ALEX MATTINGLY, KARLA D. ROMERO, TRAVIS DINICOLA, BELMA HERNÁNDEZ-FRANCÉS LEÓN AND VICTORIA BARRETT
THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON ... IDEOLOGY
Author Chris Mooney’s new book, The Republican Brain, finds dramatic differences in the brain function of Republicans and Democrats.
18 37 11 25 39 05 06 24 27 08 36
A&E CLASSIFIEDS COVER STORY FOOD FREE WILL ASTROLOGY HAMMER HOPPE MOVIES MUSIC NEWS WEIRD NEWS
BY JIM POYSER
from the readers Off the fence
I’m sorry to read about this experience (“Bicycle theft: Scandal at the Indianapolis Athletic Club?”, Katelyn Coyne, June 8). As a resident of the Athletic Club, I have to say that our maintenance man is a good and honest person, and it’s unfortunate how he’s characterized here. He was doing what he thought was right, according to the condo’s policy, which aims to honor the fact that the parking lot and its fence are for those who are paying residents of the building. I’m sure our condo association, which itself consists of bikers, will find a way for visitors to safely stow their bikes near the building, perhaps pointing to nearby publicly owned racks as a first step. An amicable resolution can surely be found.
Posted by Pete L. on NUVO.net
Editor’s Note: See the Bicycle Diaries of a Big Girl blog for more comments.
No cheer for local beer
As a long-time reader of NUVO and a former craft-beer enthusiast struggling with alcohol abuse, I’m alarmed at the amount of advertising from local bars and pubs pushing drink specials. I find it troubling that there is a “Beer Buzz” section which highlights breweries’ latest offerings in a community newsweekly. Think again when you want to support local microbreweries by “drinking local.” These breweries import their specialty hops from Europe or the West Coast. The only ingredient local is water. The recent popular interest in craft beer pubs is a relatively new phenomenon culturally, and substance-abuse awareness needs to be addressed now more than ever as many craft beers are high in alcohol content. Politically progressive ideas shouldn’t have to be hidden in between ads for alcohol and massage parlors. Perhaps ads for bail bondsmen and DUI attorneys would provide a decent balance.
Posted by Doug Smiley
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HAMMER Nixon revisited One of our most liberal presidents
BY STEVE HAMMER SHAMMER@NUVO.NET
ob Woodward and Carl Bernstein reunited in print last weekend for the first time in 36 years to write an article commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in, the scandal that eventually destroyed the presidency of Richard Nixon and landed some 40 of his aides and henchmen in jail. It also made both Woodward and Bernstein celebrities, millionaires and, later, bitter enemies. But they got back together to restate their belief that Watergate was the worst political scandal ever and that Nixon’s presidency was dangerous, corrupt and a cancer on the national scene that had to be removed. They base this on the Watergate break-in itself, when several ex-CIA employees were caught burglarizing the headquarters of the Democratic Party; Nixon’s hatred of the news media; his anti-Semitic comments and his zeal to destroy his enemies. Now that four decades have passed, historians are reassessing the Watergate scandal and the president it ruined. The
truth about Watergate and Nixon the president is quite a bit more complicated than the open-and-shut case perpetuated by Woodward and Bernstein. First of all, Watergate is not an isolated case of below-the-belt politics. Nixon’s two predecessors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, both used illegal wiretapping and surveillance of perceived political enemies. Ronald Reagan would later profit from a stolen debate briefing book to undermine his opponent, President Jimmy Carter. Even if one were to stipulate Woodward and Bernstein’s theories as 100 percent accurate, how does Nixon’s morality compare with George W. Bush’s, who stole at least one election and lied the U.S. into a decade-long war. How does Nixon’s political sabotage compare with the establishment of secret CIA torture prisons, which Bush also did? For that matter, what about Kennedy authorizing wiretaps against Martin Luther King and assassination plots against Fidel Castro? Or Reagan’s approval of trading arms to the Iranians in exchange for the release of hostages? In his recently published book The Age of Nixon, Carl Freedman, an English professor at Louisiana State University, examines Nixon from a Marxist viewpoint and reaches the conclusion that, yes, Nixon could be nasty. For example, Nixon deliberately ran a campaign designed to appeal to racist tendencies, helping usher in 50 years of a Republican Party comprised of rich people
and poor Southern bigots. He also extended the Vietnam War. And, yes, despite relying on Jewish people in key advisory positions, he made many anti-Semitic remarks in private. Still, according to Freedman, Nixon was the most liberal of all modern presidents with the exception of FDR, Johnson and possibly Barack Obama. As evidence, Freedman noted that federal spending on domestic social programs under Nixon exceeded military spending for the first time, jumping from 28 percent of the budget under Johnson to 40 percent. Other justifications of his position include Nixon’s signing of the Clean Air Act of 1970, creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and support of billions allocated toward the war on cancer. Despite his quasi-racist posturing during his campaign, Nixon’s administration oversaw substantial improvements in school desegregation. When he took office, according to U.S. Department of Education statistics, 68 percent of black children in the South were attending all-black schools. By 1974 that number was 8 percent. He mandated that certain percentages of government contracts go to minority-owned businesses. Such actions today would have Nixon impeached, this time by Republicans. Nixon never claimed credit for addressing
racial issues; to do so would have alienated his white Southern base. Liberals, consumed with hatred for the man, would have given him no credit for those things either. History will forever revere Nixon for his trip to China and opening the door of diplomatic relations with a country that had been for decades considered an enemy of America. In today’s environment, only a trip by a President Romney to Iran or to Cuba to hug Fidel Castro would be as surprising. Nixon was a complicated man and possibly even an unpleasant person. He maybe even committed felonies while in office. But so did presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Reagan and G.W. Bush. His crimes outweighed Bill Clinton’s, who was impeached for his. Woodward and Bernstein are like Simon and Garfunkel, who get back together to feed at the cash trough based on their former glory. They would be well advised to remember Clinton’s eulogy after Nixon died in 1994: “May the day of judging President Nixon on anything less than his entire life and career come to a close. May we heed his call to maintain the will and the wisdom to build on America’s greatest gift, its freedom, and to lead a world full of difficulty to the just and lasting peace he dreamed of.”
Watergate is not an isolated case of below-thebelt politics.
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HOPPE Total recall
The Wisconsin debacle
BY DAVID HOPPE DHOPPE@NUVO.NET
hange ain’t what it used to be. That’s the take-away from last week’s recall election in Wisconsin, where a sizeable majority of voters decided to retain the services of Gov. Scott Walker for another two-and-a-half years. Walker was first elected governor in 2010, narrowly beating Democrat Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee. Although the election was close, Walker chose to regard his win as a mandate to restructure his state’s government. He and his allies in the legislature quickly passed Act 10, a bill designed to cut the state’s budget deficit by limiting the scope of governmental activities and compensation. Act 10 provoked outrage among public employees by taking away their collective bargaining rights. Workers streamed into the capitol building in Madison to protest. Soon they were joined by throngs of other Wisconsinites who saw what Walker was doing as an attempt to dismantle a longstanding social contract between Wisconsin’s government and its citizens in the name of a balanced budget. The situation in Madison gave full-throated expression to national anxieties about the country’s seeming inability to fully recover from the Great Recession of 2008. Corporate profits were breaking records, but these profits were neither creating new jobs nor better incomes for average workers. The financial industry on Wall Street was being bailed out with taxpayer money at the same time that families across the country were losing their homes in record numbers to foreclosure. The people gathering in the rotunda of Madison’s statehouse sent a message that resonated with many more of us across the country. They were sick of being told that they were the ones to blame for the poor economy. They wanted a government that could take their side in tough times and bargain on their behalf. Gov. Walker, it seemed, was telling them something else: Their government was there to encourage business. After that, everybody was on their own. National media jumped on this story. And when the protesters turned their anger into action, gathering more than 900,000 signatures calling for Walker’s recall, it looked as if Wisconsin might be proof that people didn’t necessarily want less government, as right-wingers and tea partiers claimed, but better government. Well, so much for that. Walker beat back the recall challenge with 53 percent of the vote. His lieutenant governor, Rebecca Kleefisch, was also victorious. “Years from now,” she proclaimed, “they will say the campaign to save
America began tonight in Wisconsin.” Democrats did manage to win one contested senate seat, giving them a one-vote majority in the state senate. This puts a theoretical bump in Walker’s legislative road. But the legislature doesn’t meet until after this November’s election, where that seat will once again be in play. Progressives have nevertheless grasped at this lonely glimmer of good news. They have also cried foul over the stupendous amount of outside cash that right-wingers used to virtually wallpaper their state with pro-Walker advertising. Barrett was outspent by a ratio of 7-1. In the end, though, there is no getting around the fact of Walker’s victory. Wisconsin is a state with a long progressive history. That Walker won in the first place was a signal that progressive politics were losing traction with local voters. This second victory shows the extent to which progressives risk becoming irrelevant. Events appear to have overtaken the left’s ability to rally people around a common cause. People are working harder, making less, and feeling more insecure about the future. But the left — or, for that matter, the Democratic Party — has failed to convey a vision of how we, as a whole, can make things better. Meanwhile, right-wingers like Walker (and his prototype, Mitch Daniels) have distilled their message down to a simple formula — business is good and government bad. They use government inefficiency to make their case and give it an added twist by claiming their hatred for taxation and debt gives them moral superiority. In Wisconsin, the attempt to recall Walker tripped over itself. Rather than being about a vision for the future, it became about preserving the status quo as defined by union workers — in this case Wisconsin state employees. The union movement has played a vital part in progressive politics for generations. It has been used to share power between labor and management, making it possible for workers to earn more money and make a bigger contribution to the overall economy. But that economy has changed. We don’t make things like we used to. Unions have lost membership and the clout that comes with it. In Wisconsin, The Wall Street Journal reported that membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees fell from 62,818 in March 2011 to 28,745 in February 2012. Like the economy, the nature of power and how we share it is changing. Right now, too many people feel powerless. Politicians like Walker have provided them with something progressives have not — a chance to vote against things as they are. The trouble is, the only thing these votes affect is government. The less there is of that, the more we’ll see who really is in control. They won’t be subject to recall elections, either.
In Wisconsin, the attempt to recall Walker tripped over itself.
news // 06.13.12-06.20.12 // NUVO // 100% RECYCLED PAPER
by Wayne Bertsch
HAIKU NEWS by Jim Poyser
United States spring the hottest on record — You go, Apocalypse! those White House leaks make Barack Obama seem like a pugnacious hawk governor recall vote in Wisconsin failed to send Scott Walkering who really won was the Koch bros, the Supreme Court, and corporate greed tourists are not free to visit Tibet because China is cheapskate Hoosier workers are surprised by cargo holding stowaway monkeys no chance for texting from prison for teen driver who killed with his car report: digital ad sales stalled; newspapers throw a printy party Lauryn Hill is charged with federal tax return miseducation something wondrous this way came: the chronicles of Ray Bradbury
GOT ME ALL TWITTERED!
Follow @jimpoyser on Twitter for more Haiku News.
THUMBSUP THUMBSDOWN HOOSIERS SMOKING MORE THAN MOST AMERICANS
A new Ball State University study shows that more than 21 percent of Hoosiers claim to be smokers. According to the Center for Disease Control, that puts Indiana at 42nd worst in the nation as far as percentage of population that smoke. According to Global Health Institute Director Kerry Anne McGeary, 9,700 deaths occur each year in Indiana related to smoking. Despite these numbers, McGeary says things are getting better for Indiana. The number of smokers in the state dropped by 8 percent between 1996 and 2010. The Indiana General Assembly voted to enact a statewide smoking ban inside businesses. The ban takes affect July 1 and exempts bars and casinos.
EPA AWARDS LOCAL CLEANUP GRANTS
The Environmental Protection Agency awarded a portion of $69.3 million in national grants this year for organizations to fund cleanup and redevelopment projects locally according to the Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development. The Smart Growth District, which focuses on the Monon Trail between 16th and 25th Streets, was awarded two $200,000 assessment grants for hazardous substances and petroleum contamination. A third $200,000 cleanup grant was awarded to the City of Indianapolis to deal with hazardous materials at the National Malleable Castings Company Works site at 2732 W. Michigan St. The company used the site as an iron works foundry until closing it in 1962. The grant program will provide funds to 245 grantees in 39 states across the U.S.
CRICKET SWEEPING ACROSS INDIANA
Indiana schools are taking an interest in Cricket. According to Indiana Youth Cricket, eight Indiana schools, including Avon Middle School, Carmel’s Prairie Trace Elementary and Franklin Township Middle School East have started cricket programs for kids. The organization says many other Indiana schools have shown interest in the sport, which it says is the fastest growing in the state. INYC says it can provide free cricket equipment and instruction and encourages anyone interested in learning about the sport to send an email to email@example.com.
PARTICIPANTS WITH HEALTHY EYES NEEDED FOR VISION RESEARCH STUDY Participants are needed for a research study to determine whether there are differences in visual function (central and side vision) and ocular blood flow (how blood flows to and within the eye) between Blacks and Whites. To be eligible, you must be at least 40 years old and have healthy eyes (wearing glasses and contact lenses is allowed). The study involves three visits lasting approximately two hours each. You will be compensated for your time. If you are interested, please call our research coordinators at (317) 274-7414.
THOUGHT BITE By Andy Jacobs Jr. Afghanistan: What’s to be thought of a Western country that sends its young men across the world to be killed for a so-called democracy whose “president” lives in a palace? 100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 06.13.12-06.20.12 // news
news This is your brain on … ideology
ity of the attention, because, well, because they are just so fascinating, especially to a self-acknowledged liberal like Mooney.
Exploring the psychology of politics
BY JI M PO Y S E R JP O YS E R@N U V O . N E T
hen writer Chris Mooney visited Indianapolis in 2011 to speak at the Center for Inquiry, he was on a roll. He was already the author of a popular book, The Republican War on Science, a contributor to various national magazines, and his article in Mother Jones, “The Science Behind Why We Deny Science,” was exploding on the web. So much so, he’d just gotten a book deal out of it — to expand that article into a much larger manuscript. In April of this year, that book was released, with a title that was a bit, um, partisan: The Republican Brain. The title was a bit of a surprise because one refreshing thing about Mooney’s presentation to CFI was how doggedly neutral he seemed to be. In fact, he annoyed some in the crowd for his lack of condemnation of conservatives. He wasn’t budging when one by one they lined up to ask a question or hurl an invective at conservatives, hoping to get a liberal rise from Mooney. But Mooney, while an avowed liberal, is more interested in how brains function than taking partisan sides. So, ergo my disappointment he — or his publisher — would resort to such a polemical title. Hey, I’m just as fascinated by Republicans as the next guy. How can they ignore science, evolution, history, facts? What makes ’em tick? But doesn’t naming the book The Republican Brain just end up preaching to the choir? After reading Mooney’s book, that is precisely the point I — personally — take away: You might as well preach to your choir, because there doesn’t seem to be much common ground to be had in this politicized, dichotomized culture we live in. As Mooney puts it, “education and factbased arguments often don’t work to persuade us; education often doesn’t protect us from lies and misinformation; more information and more knowledge sometimes just give us more opportunities to twist and distort — and worst of all, the two groups we’ll broadly call ‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’ have an array of divergent traits that sometimes make them unable to perceive or agree upon the same reality.” Ah, divergent traits! So Mooney does criticize liberals in his easy-to-read book, but it is conservatives who get the major-
A key to understanding the divergent traits is the psychological concept of motivated reasoning. It goes like this, says Mooney: “Thinking and reasoning are actually suffused with emotion. … And not just that: Many of our reactions to stimuli and information are neither reflective nor dispassionate, but rather emotional and automatic, and set in motion prior to (and often in the absence of) conscious thought.” That most of the brain’s work occurs subconsciously should come as no surprise, especially if you — on some level — already “knew” that. But Mooney makes the point again and again: With a combination of nature (genetic predisposition) and nurture (your upbringing), a foundation for a neural/chemical belief system is laid, one that forms your (pre-) reactions to the world. You shape the stimuli that come to you so that it largely fits your belief system. If it doesn’t fit the system, well, there’s another divergent trait. If you’re a liberal, you will likely reject the tidbit of info that doesn’t fit your worldview, but you might think about it tomorrow. You might even let it slip into your thinking, and eventually, possibly, alter your perspective on something. If you’re a conservative, you will reject the tidbit. Period. Mooney cites study after study to support this difference in brains, raising repeatedly the chicken/egg question as well: Does brain structure lead to political ideology, or does political ideology change brain structure? In terms of the brain, it’s the difference between the amygdala (seat of emotion) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC — a “higher” order of thinking). Researchers have placed people into MRI machines and watched selfavowed conservatives light up their amygdala maps while self-identified liberals show increased activity in the ACC. As Mooney succinctly puts it, “Beliefs are physical.”
SUBMITTED PHOTO TO
Author Chris Mooney finds Republicans think differently.
believe “we are all responsible for our own fates in life and people should be rewarded for their choices and punished for their faults and that government should not step in to prevent this.” A communitarian believes the opposite. Broadly speaking, says Mooney, hierarchical-individuals = conservatives; egalitarian communitarians = liberals. But as much as Mooney tries to spread the criticism out, he fails. After all, increasingly over the past few decades, hierarchical-individualistic conservatives don’t trust science. And, even more disturbing, the more educated the conservative, the more sure they are that science is untrustworthy. Tea Party members are the worst offenders. When it comes to a study out of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, Tea Partiers were not only “the most factually incorrect, but they were also the most overconfident and — Chris Mooney close-minded, and least likely to want to inquire further.” You liberals? Beware of the “enlightenment syndrome.” As Mooney points out numerous times, liberals fail on many levels — they’re wishy-washy, over-intellectual, too nuanced — but their biggest gaff is believing that reason will win out.
“Liberals have the impulse to shout back what’s true. Instead, they need to shout back what matters.”
Breaking it down
Mooney explores the overall issue of politics, ideology and human behavior by describing a series of characteristics: A hierarchical outlook believes “society should be highly structured and ordered, including based on gender, class, and racial differences.” An egalitarian person would believe the opposite. Those with an individualist outlook
Stand Up, Speak Out, Fight Hate by Josh Watson & Mark Lee Indy Gay Pride Parade by Mark Lee
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Climate change looming
So what to do? Read this book. Study the science. Make
Funding the 10-Point Coalition by Abdul-Hakim Shabazz Indiana Girl Scouts join record sing along by NUVO Editors Indiana among top ten smoking states by Jack Meyer
up your own mind. If you’d like, admire — as does Mooney — conservatives for “being decisive, sticking to a course, being unwavering.” Conservatives also are team-oriented, supportive of each other. In fact, Mooney’s advice to liberals is to be more conservative—not in a policy sense but in a psychological one. As Mooney puts it, “Liberals have the impulse to shout back what’s true. Instead, they need to shout back what matters.” Mooney muses that when it comes to genetics and anthropology, liberals and conservative attributes make for a creative tension—and ultimate harmony—within the same brain. Both sets of characteristics are beneficial to a functional person and thus to a functioning society. But instead of recognizing the value of both, we’ve “put these two sides of ourselves in opposition.” And boy, are they in opposition. Here’s hoping a polemically titled book can contribute to breaking the logjam of our current political landscape. With climate change looming, along with so many other challenges, we need it now more than ever before. And that’s both truth and something that matters. Keep up with Mooney at desmogblog. com and the Point of Inquiry podcast at centerforinquiry.net. His most recent work on the subject of brains and Republicans can be found on alternet.org.
THE REPUBLICAN BRAIN Chris Mooney; Wiley; $25.95
Protesters oppose birth control rules by The Statehouse File Planned Parenthood muddies governor’s race by Lesley Weidenbener Hunger faces about 1 in 4 Indiana kids by The Statehouse File Outside cash soaks Indiana’s senate race by Lesley Weidenbener
Readin’ on the Cultural Trail (from left to right): Humanize’s Karla D. Romero, Indy Reads’ Travis DiNicola, Engine Books’ Victoria Barrett, Indy Reads’ Alex Mattingly, Humanize’s Belma Hernández-Francés León and a skateboarder named Crispy who happened by and joined our photo shoot.
Bookin’ on Mass Ave
INDY READS BOOKS TO FILL DOWNTOWN VOID BY DAVID HO P P E DHOPPE@NUVO.N E T
’ve always wanted to have a bookstore,” says Travis DiNicola, head of Indy Reads, as he looks around the open space that, by July, will be Indy Reads Books. Indy Reads is a long-standing nonprofit organization dedicated to helping adults learn to read. The lack of literacy skills among adults is a massive problem in central Indiana. This means that they are unemployable for most jobs, since you have to be able to read at an eighth grade level to qualify for a GED, the equivalent of a high school diploma. “Illiteracy is a spectrum in terms of skills,” DiNicola says. “The best information that we have is that approximately 6 to 7 percent of adults 18 and older within central Indiana have no literacy skills whatsoever.” Indy Reads trains volunteers to tutor adults who come forward to improve
PHOTOS BY STEPHEN SIMONETTO
their literacy skills. Over the years, Indy Reads has produced a number of programs, from spelling bees to scavenger hunts (see calendar, pg. 12), in an effort to help people better understand the dimensions of adult illiteracy and to raise the funds needed to address the issue. Indy Reads Books is the organization’s latest — and most ambitious — venture, one that literally places Indy Reads on the city’s map. It promises to be a fullfledged used bookstore, a shop with a large inventory of books in all categories. DiNicola believes Indy Reads Books has the potential to accomplish several overlapping goals. The store will not only provide Indy Reads with a visible presence in a desirable location — on Mass Ave, hard by the Cultural Trail — but it will also offer a range of adult and children’s programs, as well as tutoring for adult learners. DiNicola foresees the shop making a significant contribution to Indy Reads’ revenue stream: “We want to make sure people understand that they’re not just buying a great book at a good price, they’re actually helping to support this organization. We want to use this as an outreach tool.” But the potential for Indy Reads Books doesn’t stop there. When Borders Books closed its Washington Street store last year, downtown Indianapolis lost its only destination book retailer. DiNicola and Indy Reads Books’s manager, Alex Mattingly, hope the new store will begin to fill this void.
Raising money — and awareness
“A bookstore can be the heart of a community,” DiNicola says. He speaks from experience. When he was in college, and then a grad student, at Penn State University, DiNicola worked at Svoboda’s, an independent bookstore operated by its namesake, Michael Svoboda. “It was the intellectual core of Penn State when I was there,” DiNicola recalls. Svoboda’s hosted readings, book clubs and a wide range of arts and cultural events. “He used it as a way to bring people together,” DiNicola says. “That store was a big part of my education and growing up.” DiNicola was accustomed to seeking out bookstores wherever he traveled. He believes that one measure of a city is the quality of its places to buy books. So, 15 years ago, when he moved to Indianapolis, DiNicola was dismayed to find his new home had the fewest number of bookstores for a city its size in America. DiNicola says he started percolating the idea of incorporating a bookstore into Indy Reads’ mission almost three years ago. His thinking accelerated when he attended a literacy conference in Chicago and witnessed a presentation by an adult literacy group from Medina, Ohio, who saved their organization by starting a bookstore when their other sources of funding dried up. “They now have three bookstores and pretty much their entire budget comes
from the bookstores,” DiNicola says. “I was really inspired by them.” Then, in 2010, DiNicola ran into Margot Lacy Eccles at the annual Start With Art luncheon. He shared his idea, which she liked, particularly as it might relate to the new Cultural Trail. Eccles championed the bookstore concept with the Indy Reads board, backing up her enthusiasm with $25,000 in seed money. Her gift was eventually joined by grants from the Efroymson Family Fund, the Glick Fund and Giving Sum, enabling Indy Reads Books to open with backing totaling $150,000. “The plan,” he says, “has always been to have a bookstore with an inventory that was mainly used and donated books, mainly volunteers (with some paid staff) to keep expenses low, and tie it to a cause: Indy Reads. It’s a way to not just raise money, but raise awareness.”
Like DiNicola, Mattingly, the manager of Indy Reads Books, has the bookseller’s gene in his DNA. A longtime veteran of Half Price Books, Mattingly says, “I immediately lit up,” when he learned Indy Reads was looking for someone to help bring its new store into existence. “All my interests lie around books and reading and writing,” Mattingly says. “The fact [Indy Reads is] doing this project and that so many people have lined up behind it makes me feel really good about getting involved.”
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The opening for Indy Reads Books is set for Friday, July 13, but with construction still in progress, we’d advocate verifying that date (check indyreads.org) before visiting next month. In the meantime, volunteer and event opportunities abound. Here are a few:
SCAVENGE THE AVE
Wednesday, June 13, 6-9 p.m. @ The Athenaeum The promotional materials are clear: Scavenge the Ave is “NOT A RACE.” Participants are encouraged to take their time as they complete a sixblock urban scavenger hunt, to buy something in the shops, to grab a coffee or sandwich. The registration fee is $15 per person, with proceeds heading to Indy Reads. Bring walking shoes for the rain or shine event. Those who complete the hunt are eligible for an array of prizes. DiNicola and Mattingly on the Cultural Trail, joined by faux dog from City Dogs, right across the street.
Mattingly is undeterred by doomsayers who claim literary culture has passed its sell-by date. “I think there are a lot of people out there who still respect the book as an object, something they enjoy holding.” These folks, Mattingly says, are bound to find plenty to interest them at a used bookstore. “You’re going to find things you never knew existed. Sometimes they’ll be funny or bizarre. Other times you’ll start reading the first page and think: ‘I’ve got to buy this.’ That moment of discovery in a used bookstore is so much sharper because you can’t order it. It’s flavored by the community. So much of what we have in stock reflects not just what we think is interesting, it reflects what the collective community of Indianapolis is reading — or has read — going back generations.” Mattingly sees himself as a kind of curator. “Even if a book isn’t in the greatest shape, if it’s something unusual, or an older book I haven’t seen before, I want to make sure it gets a chance on the shelf.” Over the past six months, Indy Reads Books has been picking up donations of thousands of used books from an array of sources. One contributor brought in a massive collection of books about Kennedy family lore. The shop will also offer a choice selection of new titles — “pretty much what you would expect to find at a newsstand at an airport,” according to DiNicola. The store, which is being designed by Nikki Sutton, will also feature a stage for intimate public programs, with seating for up to 35, and a children’s area. “We want people with families and kids to feel this is a place they can come on a Saturday afternoon and spend time,” Mattingly says. Children’s books will be priced at $1. “We want to make it as easy as possible to get books into the hands of kids,” he says.
$20,000 per year
In addition to functioning as a shop and a community destination, Indy Reads Books will also support and make visible the literacy organization’s mis-
sion to provide tutoring for adults who read at or below a sixth grade level. DiNicola says the new store, “is promoting literacy, not just on Mass Ave, but throughout the city. This is going to give Indy Reads a presence to reach people who may not know about us otherwise.” Spreading the word requires some urgency. Indy Reads is expanding its services into Boone County and has a surplus of students who are anxious to qualify for GED classes. The organization anticipates that it will need 250 new volunteers by the end of the summer and as many as 500 by the end of the year. “The bookstore is going to be one of our recruiting tools,” DiNicola says. Adults who are unable to read effectively are far more likely to be candidates for public assistance programs. They are a predominant group in the criminal justice system. And they tend to have a greater need for health care than their functionally literate fellow citizens. In all, DiNicola estimates that every illiterate adult costs taxpayers about $20,000 per year. “One of the easiest ways to improve health care costs in this country would be to improve literacy rates,” he says. “We hear stories all the time of students calling because they have a prescription they can’t read.” DiNicola urges people who take their reading skills for granted to try and imagine what life would be like without them. “Not being able to read a newspaper. Not able to fill out a job application. We see a lot of students who have dropped out of high school.” Because they’re unable to decipher written clues on their own, those without functional literacy often have to wait for someone else to tell them what to do. When the frustration builds to a certain point, Indy Reads needs volunteers to step in with instruction that can make a difference. “We see students in their 20s and 30s that, whether because of the GED or because they lost a job when their boss found out they couldn’t read, some trigger happens,” DiNicola says. “Maybe they were relying on a friend or neighbor to do their banking for them and they got ripped
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off — we hear about that quite frequently.” “What’s really important to remember,” he says, “is these adults have made the really hard decision to admit they have a problem with reading. They want help, and they come to us. They’re looking for the same tools the rest of us already have.” DiNicola says he has occasionally eavesdropped on adults and tutors working together on reading a passage. “You hear how much struggle and effort goes into it but then, when you hear success, it can be really moving.”
It’s got to be cool
Located in an 1800’s-era building at the east end of Mass Ave, across from the Black Market restaurant, Indy Reads Books is about to take its place in a burgeoning neighborhood that is being fueled by the Cultural Trail and will soon see the completion of a major new residential development. “There’s a ton of traffic down here now that didn’t exist even six months ago,” DiNicola says. The store is also on the edge of the 46201 zip code, one of three zips where most of Indy Reads’s students typically reside. DiNicola points to the store’s access to bus lines, the township trustees’ office and its relatively close proximity to the jail — geographic factors that might not fit into a typical bookstore’s business plan, but that speak to Indy Reads Books’s larger mission. “This is a really important area for us to be connected to.” In time, the store hopes to serve as a place where students can gain the retail training necessary to enable them to find the gainful employment their lack of literacy skills has so far denied them. In the meantime, DiNicola wants to make sure Indy Reads Books succeeds as the kind of shopping destination that has always been close to his heart: a good place to browse among and buy books. “Bookstores can be a place where people get together to accidentally discover each other, discover knowledge,” he says. “We don’t rely on people’s pity to shop here. It’s got to be cool.”
Wednesday, June 27, 6-8 p.m. @ IndyReads, 2450 N. Meridian St. Indy Reads needs 250 new volunteers by the end of summer for a variety of programs: individual tutoring, GED and adult high school classroom assistants, jail and re-entry programs, family literacy workshops and Indy Reads Books. Required two-hour volunteer orientations are held several times a month; the next is scheduled for June 27. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 275-4040 to register.
BOOK DONATION Those with overstocked libraries are encouraged to donate gently used books of all kinds and subjects to Indy Reads Books, which has established eight convenient dropoff locations throughout downtown and the Northside. Here’s the list: • Indy Reads Office, 2450 N. Meridian St. (Noon-5 p.m. weekdays) • WFYI, 1630 N. Meridian St. (9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays) • The Best Chocolate in Town, 880 Mass Ave (11 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday through Saturday) • The YMCA at The Athenaeum, 401 E. Michigan St. (5 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends) • The JCC, 6701 Hoover Road (7 a.m.-7 p.m.) • Upland Brewing, 4842 N. College Ave. (4-10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; noon-midnight, Friday and Saturday) • Honeysuckle Home, 948 N. Alabama St. (10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Wednesday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday)
Llocal(-ish) reading picks THE SOMETIMES DAUGHTER Sherri Wood Evans Kensington Press
Set in Irvington and with strong Oprah’s Book Club vibes, The Sometimes Daughter, Evans’s second novel, is a pleasant, touching read, centering on the struggles of a daughter who grows up with a wayward flower child for a mother. Evans knows how to write women, capturing the nuances of ordinary life in such a way that her characters become people that you want to know. The main character, Sweet Judy Blue Eyes, receives her name due to the circumstances of her birth. She was born in a tent at Woodstock and put to her “blissfully stoned” mother’s breast for the first time as Crosby, Stills and Nash opened their set with “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” Her mother, Cassie Skylark — a charming character, and actually the most interesting in the book — is a free spirit who undergoes several rebirths as she tries, mostly unsuccessfully, to find herself. She joins communes and religious groups. She leaves the state, and then the country, leaving her daughter to grapple with the process of making friends and fitting into a world that Cassie herself rejects. Emmons uses negative space nicely; Cassie’s absences are just as important to the plot and Judy’s development as any direct interactions. Kirk, her father, has a steady but subtle energy throughout the pages. He remains largely unchanged from beginning to end, and his sometimes tearful emotional attachment to Cassie is believable, if only because he first appears in the book wearing a “ridiculous dashiki and sporting a scraggly beard.” As he sheepishly explains to Judy’s kindergarten teacher upon enrolling a child named after an instrumental hippie anthem, “it was the sixties, you know.” —Emma Faesi
GIRLS IN TROUBLE: STORIES Douglas Light University of Massachusetts Press
The Indianapolis-born Douglas Light’s Paley Prize-winning collection of short stories, Girls in Trouble, is grounded in the author’s powerful characterizations, which evince a near mastery of the process of finding and describing idiosyncratic parts of a life. In these thirteen stories we find a number of girls that are, quite literally, in trouble. Often tragic, they deal with the difficult subjects of abuse, abandonment, and sometimes death. Though they occasionally cross the line into a type of melodrama, they always pack an emotional punch. This punch arises primarily out of Light’s direct and economic approach to characterization. Even the longer stories have very little in the way of background detail, instead concentrating almost exclusively on characterization in the present. While this works in shorter stories like “Gatlinburg” and “Prenuptial,” in lengthier pieces like “Echo Sounder” the characters sometimes begin to feel unmoored without more detail about their lives. —Taylor Peters
Humanize Magazine: Karla D. Romero and Belma Hernández-Francés León.
While the latest issue still resembles the first in concept and content, with the majority of space given over to interviews with artists and musicians, Humanize has expanded to accommodate a recipe section (featuring contributions THE MADRID-INDY CONNECTION from chefs from New York and Madrid), as well as poetry and short fiction. Romero translates 95 percent of copy B Y S C OT T S H OGE R submitted by freelancers, translating from either English to S S H OGE R @ NU V O. NE T Spanish, or vice versa, depending on the writer. It’s a chore for her, largely because of her day job as a technical writer: Think the economic situation in Indianapolis is less than “The only reason why I hate translating is I do it all day, writideal? Try living in Madrid as the bell tolls for the euro. Karla ing things like, ‘How to reset your HP if it’s on fire.’” D. Romero did for a while, but the lure of far more reasonRecent issues have begun to feature more domestic artists able living expenses has brought her back to Indy, “maybe and musicians, with The Bonesetters, then based in Muncie, forever,” with the arts publication she co-founded, Humanize being the first Indiana-based group profiled. The Accordions Magazine, in tow. Her partner in print, graphic designer Belma were next up, leading off issue seven:“Their stories made Hernández-Francés León, is in town for the summer as well, me wish I felt that way about anything.” An interview with though she doesn’t plan to stay permanently. Bloomington-based band Hot Fox, with whose members Not many magazines — or people, for that matter — could Romero and León spent time at this year’s South by Southwest make the transition from one nation to another, one language festival, is slated for issue 17. to another, as easily as Humanize. But such international diaRomero says the toughest part about the transition from logue is at the heart of the fully bilingual publication, printed Madrid to Indianapolis is getting used to the way we get in Spanish and English since the first issue was published to around: “I’m traumatized by all the driving here!” But she’s web in December 2009. That concept reflects Romero’s own hoping to enmesh herself in parts of the community where background; born in Madrid in 1986, she came to the United b bikes might be more widely used. Visions of a Humanize States as a military kid, first to Washington state, then to S office space, along the lines of those recently opened by Mooresville, Ind. After studying journalism M My Old Kentucky Blog and Joyful Noise, and philology at Indiana University, Romero have been bandied about, consistent with headed back to Madrid, where she met León, Humanize’s community-minded mission. a Tenerife native who’s not quite as comfortSpeaking of community-mindedness, part able in English as her native tongue. of Romero and León’s goal for Humanize is The two — enamored by glossy, high-conthat it reach the uninitiated, say, Romero’s cept magazines like Candy (the world’s first old buddies in Mooresville who never left fashion magazine dedicated to transsexual town after high school, or a bored kid in an culture) — resolved to launch their own IPS school. It’s why Romero aims to avoid glossy, devoted to art, music and anything pretense in the way she presents artists, getelse striking their fancy at the moment. ting out of the way to allow artists to tell their Romero, in an essay in the first issue, notes stories via interviews whenever possible. that it had been a long-time dream: “Three “We’re trying to give a very small peek into months ago, as I sat in my apartment in La — K A R LA D . R O M ER O the world of arts and culture,” she sums up. Latina, Madrid’s historic neighborhood, And the bilingual structure of Humanize is I thought about my days as a journalism borne out of that desire to reach new audiundergrad at Indiana University. Back then, ences, according to Romero: “A lot of great artists in Indiana are I would fantasize about working as a writer at some fancy bi-national, including some who are of Mexican heritage, so to newspaper or magazine.” be able to have this publication to give their parents, who don’t Three months of interviewing, design and other hurried activity speak any English at all, to read is a really great thing. If we spoke followed Romero’s resolution, with ideas of a print run quashed more languages, I’m sure there would be more languages!” early on: “When we got the numbers, we said, ‘So, this whole digital Romero and León admit that they’re not “businessthing is pretty awesome,’” Romero jokes. The first issue featured minded.” So while there’s not a lucrative profit model for interviews with musicians Andrew Bird (a little difficult, accordHumanize, the two say they’re fortunate to have consistent ing to Romero) and Mayer Hawthorne, reports from film festivals day jobs (both work via computer from wherever they hapheld in Madrid and Barcelona, and work by several Madrid-based pen to be). They’ve made use of social media and word of artists. Fifteen more followed, first on a monthly, then bi-monthly mouth to promote the magazine, with any media coverage, basis; the seventeenth is due this month. All are available for free notably an online profile by El Pais, Spain’s largest newspavia humanizemag.com or an Apple app, and those so inclined can per, being the icing on the cake. order a print-on-demand version ($30 plus shipping). o
“We’re trying to give a very small peek into the world of arts and culture.”
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Victoria Barrett HOOKED ON EDITING, IN THE BEST WAY BY EMMA FAESI E DI T OR S @ NU V O. NE T
Victoria Barrett with her reading list thus far.
Two to read from f Engine g Books ECHOLOCATION Myfanwy Collins February 2012
A gothic tale of sisterhood set in a New York town during a chilly winter, Echolocation, the debut novel by the Massachusetts-based Collins, is a haunting read. We’re introduced first to Geneva, who left a lackluster marriage shortly after she lost her left arm, wedding ring and all, while felling a tree. Then Cheri, her rebellious sister, returns home, only to say goodbye to the dying aunt who raised her. Finally comes Cheri’s mother, rushing home with an infant that she didn’t bear and the naïve hope that she can find personal salvation by saving the child. Collins’s prose is lovely, relying on image and action to characterize her leading ladies. Her strength lies in her ability to paint believable, three-dimensional portraits of her characters — vibrant, salt-of-the-earth types who are both familiar and surprising.
OTHER HEARTBREAKS Patricia Henley October 2011
Henley, a longtime instructor in Purdue’s MFA program, got a bump when O, The Oprah Magazine, placed her short story collection Other Heartbreaks on its spring break reading list for 2012. The Big O got it right: Henley’s stories are poignant without melancholy, honest as a Sunday-night sigh, filled with loss, longing and the gentle acceptance that marks well-worn relationships. Protagonists are of the type you might run into at the grocery store, the ones who struggle quietly and go on with their day-to-day existence without making much of a fuss. Henley shows us the interior of such characters, the lusts and cravings that are otherwise buried. We watch as relationships begin, strengthen, crumble, and end — or continue. We see secret shames flare up, obsessions acted out, and desires fed and squelched. And we glimpse the soul-sucking plainness of the mundane: “Out the sliding glass door, beyond the balcony, was the reality of river and night, husbands, children, emergency rooms, weedy gardens, cats with pinkeye, dog fights, trash cans raccoons had upturned, broken appliances, science projects that failed, nightmares, stretch marks ...”
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With her close-cropped blonde hair and nose ring, Victoria Barrett doesn’t fit the typical professorial stereotype. A Renaissance woman in the realm of letters, she’s a professor at Ball State; the founder of Engine Books, a local publishing company; and co-editor at Freight Stories, an online literary magazine. Her own work has appeared in numerous literary magazines and journals and she has two novels in the works. Always busy, Barrett has been especially swamped during the past two years running Engine Books, through which she plans to issue eight titles by seven authors by summer 2013. Six of those seven authors are women, in line with the imprint’s mission to devote 50 percent of annual publishing output to women authors. A prejudice against woman authors begins to develop during a reader’s early years according to Barrett: “If more boys were taught that stories of family life, written by women, were of just as much value as stories of going on safari or whatever, this disparity would go away.” According to an ongoing study handled by VIDA, an organization devoted to the cause of women in the literary arts, female-authored work is grossly underrepresented in major literary magazines and book reviews. For example, only 23 percent of Harper’s 183 pieces published in 2011 were written by women. “Engine Books role in this, I hope, will be to get more work by women into the world, and let readers decide what has value and what doesn’t,” Barrett says. “The idea isn’t to privilege writing by women, which seems to be the accusation a lot of men level, but to do what very little I can to help even the odds.” Not that Barrett accepts less than ideal titles just to meet a quota: “I only seriously consider accepting books that I think I can help make better, and only by writers I want to work with. I need to see what the author can’t see after working through multiple drafts. The job, once you dig in, then, is to make every line sing the song that the best lines sing. Barrett has been “astounded” by the trajectory of Engine Books; reviews of titles have featured in O: The Oprah Magazine and Publisher’s Weekly, with a few titles making it to the shelves of Barnes and Noble and other major retailers. While some success can be attributed to the quality of her editing and her endless efforts on behalf of good books, her commitment to highquality design has also played a part. In the age of the e-reader, when book covers can be browsed by flicking a finger across a screen, a book’s looks matter. “Reading and writing are acts of translation,” Barrett says. “The visual representation of a literary work can, when it’s done well, help that translation process along, can color the experience of those words in the brain.” Editing, publishing, teaching, and writing are correlated for Barrett. She believes that editing and publishing make her a better professor, but “the opposite relationship is more complicated. It often takes several weeks after the spring semester ends for me to have full access to my capacity for language, which functions just like a body: you get out what you put in. Editing kind of saves me: It provides a different kind of nutrition to the word-body.” Barrett graduated from Purdue, then went on to earn her MFA at New Mexico State, where she was awarded a graduate assistantship and cut her editing teeth at the institution’s celebrated literary journal, Puerto del Sol. She became “the most significant managing editor” in its history, according
to editor Kevin McIlvoy, and she developed a taste for editing: “When I left grad school I didn’t miss workshop or academia, but I missed editing terribly,” Barrett says. “I never stopped wanting to edit from the moment I started.” A job offer from the late Ballet Internationale brought her Indianapolis, which proved a perfect fit: “I feel like I probably belong here ... I love Indianapolis and I always have and something in me is essentially Midwestern.” She’s taught freshman composition and creative writing at Ball State since 2004. In 2008, she and her husband, Andrew Scott, launched Freight Stories, a collaborative project they’d been planning since 2003. Freight Stories is available for free, but the layout and typeset provide a “real book” feel — and further, the site offers the kind of longer reads more often associated with print journals, following on Barrett and Scott’s idea that web-publishable work need not necessarily be short and experimental. A team player, so to speak, Barrett is excited about other local efforts: the relatively-new break away books imprint from IU Press; recently published and forthcoming works by local writers Andrew Scott, Bryan Furuness, Sarah Layden and Barb Shoup. “There’s an energy around books that’s growing in this area, and it’s really wonderful to see everyone living and working here, instead of running away to New York at the first opportunity,” she says. However, Barrett also believes that “we are failing at making books widely appealing in our city.” She doesn’t have a solution yet, but she thinks that “those of us in Indianapolis who care about the written word and want to live in a truly literate city probably ought to get to work figuring it out.”
Thanks to City Dogs’ Susan K. Smith for providing this book-lovin’ dog.
Lucky in Love-
How this success couple is helping others ﬁnd love Fresh out of college with her psychology degree, Tracey was looking for a job that would help pay the bills until she could start her career. She started with Great Expectations in 1996 in the Marketing Department under Andre. Andre had already been with Great Expectations for about eight years when he hired Tracey. Now married with a little girl, the pair’s working together as the Director and Assistant Director of Great Expectations in Indianapolis. Their passion- Helping Indianapolis singles ﬁnd love and happiness. “The feeling of helping someone meet that right person, whose path they would have never crossed is amazing!” said Tracey.
So what is Great Expectations? Great Expectations is a professional, personalized dating and matchmaking service that allows single men and women to meet other quality singles in their area. In business for more than 35 years, it’s the nation’s oldest and largest private membership club for singles. Members work with personal relationship specialists who are there to guide them on every step of their journey to ﬁnding that special someone. Taking the time to meet with all potential members in-person, everyone must ﬁrst be screened for emotional stability and have a background check run. “When clients come in and meet with one of our relationship experts, they’ll receive a full consultation. All are told up front that not everyone can qualify for our program. If we feel that for any reason they are not ready to be in a serious, committed relationship, we offer advice on how to prepare for a serious relationship. Great Expectations isn’t for the casual dater.” said Andre. If the potential member qualiﬁes for Great Expectations, and they feel Great Expectations is a good ﬁt for them as well, they’ll schedule a time for their professional photo and video shoot. After a new member has their proﬁle complete with bio, photos and videos, they are ready to meet and mingle with other members. Members are given access to a password protected, secure website to search proﬁles from home. “Remember, we aren’t an online dating company, we’re a matchmaking service. We like to offer the convenience of searching proﬁles online to our members, but our Member Service Department, with help from our relationship experts, will also select and send proﬁles to our members whom they believe would be a good ﬁt together.” said Andre.
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The Member Service Department also plays host to member events every month allowing the opportunity to meet other members in person. Events include everything from wine tastings and bar crawls to concerts and professional sporting events. This is just another way Great Expectations sets themselves apart from the online community which can be a breeding ground for misrepresentation. “What you see is what you get when it comes to Great Expectations members, real people looking for the same thing as you, love.” said Tracey. Throughout their tenure together, the duo has seen countless success couples come through Great Expectations. Not only do Tracey and Andre owe their successful marriage to Great Expectations, but Ryan and Christina do as well. Married this past March, Ryan was a member for almost a year when he selected to meet Christina, who had just recently joined. The two dated for several months before Ryan got down on one knee. Great Expectations also brought David and Lisa together. After only two months of dating, David proposed to Lisa and she accepted. Both said from the get-go they just knew they were meant to be together. “This was supposed to just be a fun summer job, and now, even after 16 years, I still love encouraging people to be more selective and proactive when it comes to dating and ﬁnding relationships,” said Tracey.
Ready to start on your journey toward happily ever after? Then contact Great Expectations at 317-471-0580 or log onto their website, www.geindianapolis.com, to set up your in-person interview. Regardless of your situation, Andre, Tracey and the entire Indianapolis team, is ready to help put you on the right track to ﬁnding love. In words of success couple David and Lisa, “It worked of us!”
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I don’t say that to aggrandize what I do. I think comedies have gotten smarter and more daring. Television is expanding, and more and more people I know — really good writers — want to work there, from Aaron Sorkin on.” Leonard has created three television series — Close to Home, a legal drama set in Indianapolis that aired on CBS for two seasons; Skin, a Bruckheimer-produced tale of sex, drugs and the rest that Fox killed off before it found an audience; and Thieves, which involved John Stamos. More recently, he’s been helping James Duff to wind up his series The Closer and create a Closer spinoff starring Mary McDonald; they were working on an episode of the spinoff when I phoned Saturday. PHOTO BY ANTHONY MASTERS
NUVO: Why do you think The Diviners continues to be produced?
STARTS 14 THURSDAY
JIM LEONARD: Well, it’s got a big, bold story and characters that people can identify with. And the fact that it’s set at an iconic time makes it something that translates across years; people can continue to identify with it.
Jim Leonard’s The Diviners @ Carmel Community Playhouse Everything in moderation, says the sage; and for Jim Leonard — a Hanover grad and once-Bloomington resident — that means finding a balance between film, TV and theater, developing his own stuff and working on other’s projects, developing a show for Jerry Bruckheimer and staging a new play with his buddies at Los Angeles’s Circle X Theatre Co. And he’s not alone in his quest for harmony. “We have this group of writers who go back and forth between film and television and the stage,” Leonard recently said of his Circle X cohorts. “We’re trying to emulate the Brits in that, all trying to do a little bit of all of it.” Leonard started his career in theater: His second play, The Diviners (on stage this week at Carmel Community Playhouse), has been a go-to script for community theater companies since shortly after it was published in the early 80s. He cofounded the still-flourishing Bloomington Playwrights Project in 1979, before heading east to New York City to join the Circle Repertory Company, then west to teach playwriting at Arizona State University — and then further west, to Los Angeles, where he remains today. Leonard more actively embraced television in the 90s, giving in to the fact that it’s the way to communicate with the largest possible audience, via the medium they find most important. Not that it’s all about exposure, according to Leonard: “Now I’ve come to believe that some of the best writing of the world is on television, and
NUVO: You mentioned you were in New Harmony recently. [Leonard has been involved with The New Harmony Project, a playwriting workshop based out of the titular Indiana city, since the ‘80s, first as a participant, now as a board member.]
NUVO: You’re working on a pilot. LEONARD: It’s sort of a throwback. Paul Newman did a movie years ago called Harper, which I loved, where he played a private investigator created by Ross McDonald, who wrote the Lew Archer series and did hard-boiled detective novels set in the 60s and 70s in Southern California. I’ve secured the rights to that series of books, and I’m recreating that series for television, and we’ll see if it flies. NUVO: You’re cobbling together storylines from all of these novels? LEONARD: Yes, I’m stealing liberally and, hopefully, wisely. And his stuff is fun; he was considered the father of psychological detective fiction. It was less about clues and the mystery and more about why. He also wrote an awful lot about the disparity between the uber-wealthy and the not-sowealthy. NUVO: What’s your theater company up to? LEONARD: We’re producing a new play of mine that’s a musical in October. It’s called Bad Apples, and it’s about the love triangle at Abu Ghraib between Lynndie England — you remember her? thumbs up? — a man named Charles Graner and a woman named Megan Ambuhl.
LEONARD: Yeah, right now it’s more about giving back to the project than me particularly working on my own stuff. The first time I went was with The Diviners, which had been produced as a play in New York. Robert Altman was supposed to direct it as a film starring William Hurt. And at that time they were developing screenplays as well as plays.
NUVO: I would think it would be difficult to sympathize with those characters.
NUVO: Can you describe the process? How is it helpful for someone developing a screenplay or play?
LEONARD: I’m stunned. Like any theater that survives — whether it’s the IRT or the Phoenix in Indianapolis, or the Steppenwolf in Chicago — there’s a core group of people who commit themselves to it. That was myself and Tom Moseman for the first three or four years, and after that it became other people who found an outlet for expression and great meaning through working there. It’s also a very rare thing in that it is, basically, a community theater dedicated to new work, and I don’t know of another place like that; and the community it happens to be in is a very creative community.
LEONARD: First of all, the town is fantastic; it’s easy to walk around and think, which puts you in a creative mindset from the get-go. The late Jane Owen did a marvelous job, not just restoring the town, but developing multiple places to walk and sit and think — and, she would probably say, pray and contemplate. And I like to walk around when I write; it helps clear my head, and I get a stronger sense of what the story is rather than just staring at words on the page. The thing that’s helpful about the process is that there are 50 or 60 actors, plus a group of students, usually, from the University of Evansville. It’s easy to grab an actor or group of actors at any time and have them read a scene for you, in order to hear things aloud.
Reviews: Michael Cavanaugh, Asante Childrens Theater’s Michael, Beef and
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LEONARD: I kinda like them! It’s sort of Brechtian, fun and a little crazy. NUVO: With the Bloomington Playwrights Project you built a sort of hardy beast that survived the years.
The Diviners opens June 14, 8 p.m., and runs through June 24 at Carmel Community Playhouse, 14299 Clay Terrace Blvd., Ste. 14, Carmel. Tickets are $15 adult, $12 senior and student; more information at carmelplayers.org.
Boards’s The Wizard of Oz, Eclectic Pond’s Eloisa and Abelard, Indy Performance Project, 2nd Saturday at Evan Lurie.
“No... wire... hangers.”
STARTS 15 FRIDAY
Dearest: The Mommie Musical @ Theatre on the Square For legal purposes, this is not a musical based on Mommie Dearest, the insane, campy bio-pic about Joan Crawford. But for all artistic purposes, this is a translation of the film — and the vindictive biography by which it was inspired — to musical form, featuring songs like “I’m Mad at the Dirt” and “Bring Me the Axe.” Rita Kohn gave Mommie 3.5 stars when it premiered at last year’s Indy Fringe; here’s an excerpt from her review: “Perfection, alcoholism, feminist allure and steely ambition collide in Crawford as she seeks to control the lives of others in lieu of controlling her own. A versatile cast of seven zips through Spencer’s edgy dialogue and songs as a journey into the interior of voyeurism.” Opens July 15, 8 p.m.; through July 13 @ 627 Mass Ave., $20-25, tots.org
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Installation Nation @ Big Car Service Station Sometimes a blank page (or an empty space) is just too overwhelming; restraints can help encourage creation, particularly with others along for the ride to encourage and hold one accountable. Something to keep in mind with the return of Installation Nation, a juried installation art exhibition featuring nine pieces, each installed in its own 640 square foot metal shipping container. This will mark the third time Primary Colours has hosted the event and the first that will take place at Big Car Service Center; previous incarnations took advantage of empty lots in the Mass Ave area. Food trucks and the like will be on hand, with adult beverages available. June 15, 6-11 p.m.; June 16, 4-11 p.m. @ 3819 Lafayette Road; $5, kids under 12 free; primarycolours.org
Circle City IN Pride parade and festival by Mark Lee and Stacy Kagiwada
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Circle City IN Pride 2012
PHOTOS BY STACY KAGIWADA
Scenes from the main stage at Circle City IN Pride 2012
NUVO’s Cultural Vision Awards on WFYI Maybe you missed our Cultural Vision Awards ceremony, held earlier this month at the Athenaeum Theatre. Your beloved cocker spaniel, Musty, fell down a well. Or your beloved grandma, Misty, stole your Gremlin for a joyride. We won’t ask for an explanation, but we will tell you that you’ll have a chance to see (or relive) part of the ceremony for yourself. Video segments about all seven winners produced by Michael Husain and Good Vibes Media will air Friday, June 15 at 10:30 p.m. on WFYI-1, with Sharon Gamble and Travis DiNicola of The Art of the Matter anchoring. (The first person to spot DiNicola elsewhere in this issue gets a special prize.) This year’s winners are the Arts Council of Indianapolis, for their 46 for XLVI mural project; the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library; The Project School; RecycleForce; Tamara Zahn; and John Mutz, for lifetime achievement.
City Market Pajama Hunt @ Indianapolis City Market Historic Indianapolis was once just a website running stories and videos about Indy points of interest both well- and little-known. But it’s expanding into the real world in just about the least likely of ways — with a pajama party. It all makes sense, actually; Saturday night/Sunday morning’s Pajama Game will challenge PJ-clad history buffs (or novices) to scavenge the grounds of the City Market — including the market’s slightly spooky basement, or catacombs — into the wee hours of the morn. The Tomlinson Tap Room will stay open for the history party, serving brew; a few eateries will also work extended hours; and many fabulous prizes will be awarded, including a first prize of boudoir (or dudeoir) photography by Molly Connor. 11 p.m.-12:15 a.m. registration, 12:30 a.m. Pajama Game @ 222 E. Market St., $10 per person, 18+, historicindianapolis.com
Encore Celebration Gala @ The Palladium Tickets remain available as of press time for Saturday’s gala performance honoring the first-ever inductees to the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame, though they’ll be out of reach for those not budgeting for a night on the town, running $200 for a concert-only seat and $500 for those wishing to stay the whole evening. The VIP package includes a cocktail reception, post-performance dinner and an after party featuring DJ Tony Okungbowa (The Ellen DeGeneres Show). The inductees are Barry Manilow (who will perform during the ceremony), Cole Porter and songwriting duo Alan and Marilyn Bergman (frequent collaborators with Barbara Streisand, including on Yentl and The Way We Were). American Idol Clay Aiken, country singer Lari White, former Annie Andrea McArdle and Palladium artistic director Michael Feinstein are also on the bill. The Center for the Performing Arts will have a new CEO in place by the time of the gala; center leadership plans to officially announce the appointment Friday afternoon.
5:30 p.m.-1 a.m. @ 355 City Center Drive, Carmel; $200-500; thecenterfortheperformingarts.org
His name was Rico. He wore a diamond.
Hat required, moustache optional.
El Dia de la Familia @ Military Park Think of El Dia de la Familia, a celebration of Hispanic culture appropriate for all ages, as a sort of not-dead counterpoint to Dia de los Muertos. The free, all-day festival, sponsored by Radio Latina (107.1 FM), will feature plenty of food and crafts, a beer garden and a kid’s area. And as one would expect from a festival thrown by a radio station, the music lineup is none too shabby. Headlining are los Cardenales de Nuevo Leon (or, as we like to call them, Cardenales of Leon), a Latin Grammy award-winning group from Monterrey, Mexico, that plays a repertoire drawn from traditional Mexican styles (cumbia, ranchero, corrido). Also on the bill are Los Humildes, who picked up a Grammy for Best Mexican Performance in 1986; norteno singer Adolfo Urias, joined by his Lobos Nortenos; and Colombian cumbia band La Sonora Dinamita. 1-11 p.m. @ 601 W. New York St., free, wedjfm.com
Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue @ Symphony on the Prairie The Symphony on the Prairie season openeth this Saturday with an old favorite (Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, featuring pianist Stephen Beus, an American Pianists Association fellowship winner) and a deep cut (Elgar’s Enigma Variations). This is the only one-night show on this summer’s schedule; programs devoted to the music of Queen (June 29-30), the Bee Gees (July 6-7) and the Beatles (Aug. 17-18) are all two-night affairs, as are performances by Don McLean (Aug. 3-4), Jon McLaughlin (Sept. 1-2) and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (Sept. 7-8). Those approaching Conner Prairie from the south should keep in mind that the bridge over I-465 at Allisonville Road is closed for the summer. 6 p.m. gates, 8 p.m. show @ Conner Prairie, 13400 Allisonville Road; adult: $22 advance, $27 gate; child (2-12): $11 advance, $13 gate; indianapolissymphony.org
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BOOKS stories with similar themes, where there’s no real ending or goal to the story. I wanted there to be a clear objective, and with the first issue leave enough of a mystery to keep my audience coming back for future issues. NUVO: When is the story set? In many ways, it appears to be set in current times, but I notice they are able to use teleportation to send blood samples. SMITH: It’s definitely set in current times. I wanted to play with the superhero archetypes in current comics, and create all this unrealistic futuristic technology that happens to exist within modern culture, like teleportation or a superhero headquarters that floats above New York City.
Page one of Smith’s Human City.
Baby survives Apocalypse
And other tales by comic artist Gavin Smith BY CHARLES FOX EDITORS@NUVO.NET Comic artists tend not to be a part of Indy’s gallery scene. But there are a few exceptions, notably Gavin Smith, a freelance illustrator and comic artist originally from Peru, Ind. Smith, who moved to Indianapolis after his 2011 graduation from Dover, N.J.’s Kubert School for Cartoon and Graphic Art, presented framed panels from the first issue of his comic Human City at the Murphy Art Center’s AKA Room during May 2012’s First Friday. Smith jumped into the Fountain Square scene upon his arrival, providing artwork and designs for the recently opened Fountain Square Brewery, His other work has included a poster for the independent super-hero movie VS, artwork for The Kemps latest 7-inch on Glory Hole Records, a cover for The Sound magazine in NYC and a cover for the webcomic Gutters. More info can be found at gavinpatricksmith.blogspot.com.
NUVO: First Friday attendees last month were treated to something they do not usually see on the local art circuit when you presented an exhibition of framed original art from Human City. SMITH: Usually at a convention I have my own table and am surrounded by other great artists, and fans will come up at their leisure and check out my work. This time it was kind of a trip to have so many people in a small room and know they were all exclusively checking out my work. After the show I stopped by the Brass Ring and still heard people that I didn’t know that were talking about it. It was great to know that there was still a positive buzz going on after the show. NUVO: Do you feel like Indianapolis provides a climate that is hospitable to a young working artist and, more specifically, someone who does your type of work? SMITH: Initially that was why I was skeptical of moving to Indy, because I was leaving the East Coast where a lot of work for my type of art exists. I feel like I was lucky knowing the people that I know moving here, and being integrated into the Fountain Square music and art scene. The support for my work and book have all been positive, so all of that proved my initial instincts wrong.
NUVO: How did you come up with Human City? GAVIN SMITH: While I was still in school, we had an assignment in Joe Kubert’s class to come up with our own characters for a fivepage story. I came up with the first part really quickly, and I wrote and drew the cover and the first part of Human City. After moving back to Indianapolis, I began working on it in between my paying projects. The premise for the story is that in a world populated with mutants the last remaining superhero has to get a baby who may or may not be mankind’s last hope for survival across the country. I wanted to remove myself from
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Smith attends one of many conventions to which he’s invited.
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When I’m at Kings Island on a hot summer day, I happily go to one of their airconditioned theaters to relax and watch a 20-30 minute cavalcade of ‘80s arena rock, hair metal and power ballads performed by meticulously groomed young people trained to smile constantly and be unfailingly peppy. Imagine that show, done Hollywood style (and based on a Broadway musical — credibility!), with a few big names sprinkled in alongside the chronically perky kids, and you’ve got an idea of what to expect from Rock of Ages, directed by Adam Shankman (Hairspray). Imagine a series of inconsequential plot lines, too flimsy even by Broadway
musical standards, and full-tilt celebrity karaoke versions of classic rock staples by Def Leppard, Joan Jett, Journey and others. Imagine watching this for two hours and three minutes. Feeling excited yet? Supporting player Tom Cruise is the film’s biggest asset. Cruise ferociously throws himself into the role of an Axl Rose-style rock star. From his indulgent, borderline psychotic encounters with others to his stage performances, he is as close to real as the movie gets. And he can sing — who knew? As with everything in the production, Cruise is overused — I suggest when you get tired of his musical numbers, you entertain yourself by studying his frequently bare torso. Cruise will soon turn 50 and his blocky, muscular physique is impressive. Alec Baldwin has a few amusing moments, but frequently appears lost, while Russell Brand is unusually subdued most of the time. He gets to be cheeky in the film’s big squares vs. rockers face-off, which combines “We Built This City” with “We’re Not Gonna Take it.” How edgy. Baldwin and Brand get one riotous song together — you’ll know it when you see it. The flick sags noticeably whenever romantic leads Stephen Hough and Diego Boneta appear — back to Kings Island with the both of you (Hough appears in an agreeable number on a bus, but it only gets good when the driver and other passengers join in the tune). — ED JOHNSON-OTT
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Self-satisfied comedy about the invention of the vibrator, starring Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jonathan Pryce, Felicity Jones and Rupert Everett. The story of an earnest young doctor in Old London who ends up using one hand to treat women diagnosed with hysteria, until his roommate accidentally invents the vibrator, is a great concept, but the film is insouciant. Here’s a million-dollar idea: turn the story into a Broadway musical. Add some catchy songs to the overly cute screenplay and you’d have a real crowd-pleaser. This version is for forgiving audiences only. 95 minutes. —Ed Johnson-Ott
PARADISE RECOVERED (2010)
Remember this one? We talked with its Bedford-based writer, Andie Redwine, before the film’s Indiana premiere at the 2010 Heartland Film Festival; she drew on her own upbringing in a cult-ish church for the film’s tale of a young woman fleeing an emotionally and spiritually abusive home, then falling in the arms of her heathen-ish boss at a health food store. Shot on an ultra low budget (but with a top-of-the-line RED camera), there are a few missteps in terms of performances and script, and the film’s ultimate message of finding one’s true faith might be less than compelling to those secular humanists out there. But Paradise Recovered found widespread distribution for good reason (it’s available on Netflix, Amazon, etc.), and if nothing else, it’s fun to see Bloomington-area locations so sensibly used, not to mention the film’s Indiana-sourced soundtrack, which features original contributions by Cara Jean Marcy and Grover Parido. June 14, 7 p.m. @ Fountain Square Theater, $5
FATHER OF THE BRIDE (1950)
Before Steve Martin filled his shoes in the ’90s (playing a shoe factory owner; oh, the symbolism), Spencer Tracy starred — in an Oscar-nominated performance — as the befuddled father reluctant to lose his daughter to marriage. This film crackles with every bit as much pre-altar tension as its remake; plus, there’s a trippy Dali-designed dream sequence, and Martin Short wasn’t born yet. Directed by the ever-assured Vincente Minnelli. June 15, 9:30 p.m. @ Indianapolis Museum of Art amphitheater; $6 member, $10 public
THE ROOM (2003)
Let’s talk spoons. When Tommy Wiseau — the vaguely Eastern European (he won’t reveal his country of origin), ingeniously hapless, lovably oblivious director of The Room — needed some Motel 8-quality prints to dress his apartment sets, he somehow managed to buy only paintings of spoons. No forks, no knives; no clever riffs on modern art where Dali’s clocks become Dali’s pizzas. Just spoons. As such, the real Room lover will bring his own stash of plastic spoons, ready to hurl them at the screen whenever a spoon painting appears. This is only one of the film’s many absurd thrills; also notable are Wiseau’s Hulk move in hefting a TV out of the window; his habit of saying, “Oh, hi,” to lead off any encounter, as if you’ve snuck up on him in the pleasantest of ways; and the film’s Cinemaxquality sex scenes, which take up a good deal of its running time. One of the great bad movies. June 15 and 16, midnight @ Keystone Art Cinema
BEHIND THE SASH
Alan Berry was last in NUVO when he faced felony charges, later downgraded to a single misdemeanor, for selling mix CDs in record stores owned by him and his brother. Ah, what the government won’t do to ensure copyright law isn’t compromised. Berry has since moved on to documentary filmmaking; his Beyond the Sash, a day-in-the-life documentary about Mayor Ballard, opens Tuesday at Keystone Art Cinema. The day — Valentine’s Day 2012 — begins at WZPL at 6:30 a.m., closes at 9:30 p.m. after a party at a Mexican restaurant, and includes stops at the gym, Kroger’s headquarters, Steak & Shake and a Pacers game. Berry tells NUVO that he came out of the doc “amazed at how much of the Mayor’s job is just ‘baby kissing’ and public relations,” and convinced that Mayor Ballard is “really a good person” who happens to be “fooling himself with his horrific diet.” June 19, 7 p.m. @ Keystone Art Cinema, free
FOOD Food and sustainability New book by the Prince of Wales BY JI M PO Y S E R JP O YS E R@N U V O . N E T With a forward by Wendell Berry and an afterward by Will Allen and Eric Schlosser, you hardly even need a middle (or, I guess, ‘ward), but by golly, Prince Charles’ speech, printed in a small-book format, is a powerhouse argument for clarity, sanity and massive change about all things agriculture. The prince made this keynote speech to the Future of Food Conference at Georgetown University on May 4, 2011. In it, he says — and these stats are well known — one billion people on the planet are hungry. At the same time, another billion don’t get essential vitamins and nutrients in their diets. Meanwhile, over a billion people are considered obese. Prince Charles calls this “an increasingly insane picture. In one way or another, half the world finds itself on the
BEER BUZZ BY RITA KOHN
ON THE ROAD
wrong side of the food equation.” The prince advocates for a sustainable food system, one that relies on the small farmer, along with a reassessment of how we calibrate and operate the entire system. At present, damage to the environment by agri-giant farming is not factored into the system. Moreover, the prince says we need “to include in the bottom line the true costs of food production — the true financial costs and the true costs to the Earth.” There is no more common sense — yet more radical idea — than this. And it’s one the prince believes can upend our current system in lieu of something more sustainable; one that, he says, puts “Nature back at the heart of the equation.” It turns out that Prince Charles has been a sustainability advocate for decades. In 2004, he established the Accounting for Sustainability Project; learn more at princeofwales.gov.uk. As for the supplementary material, Berry, our resident gentleman farmer, who lives and farms and writes in Kentucky, focuses in his introduction on the limitations of what he calls the “industrial mind,” which is defined by a strategy of solving problems “one at a time by single solution.” Which, of course, is a ruinous prospect when one must think holistically about feeding the planet. Of the two collaborators on the afterword, the Milwaukee-based Allen, a
Thr3e Wise Men: Customers favor the new soft, slightly sweet pretzels, which use Golden Zoe IPA as an ingredient in the dough, the glaze wash and the beer mustard sauce. They taste fine with Omar’s seasonal Children of the Corn, a sunny, kicked-up cream ale with up front citrus cleansing, smooth finish and layers of esters and hops flavors in between. Equally refreshing is Two Lucy’s Blackberry Wheat.
Fishers on Tap: Celebrating Indiana’s Craft Breweries @ Forum Conference and Convention Center, 11313 USA Parkway, Fishers; 6:30-9:30 p.m., sponsored by Fishers Rotary Club; information and tickets at fishersontap.com.
MORE NEWS Welcome to Iechyd Da Brewing Company, Indiana’s newest, which opened at the end of May as a brewpub at 317 N. Main St., Elkhart. It’s run by northern Indiana homebrewers Chip and Summer Lewis. More at echyddabrewingcompany.com.
HRH the Prince of Wales Rodale Books
THE DAILY BUZZ JUNE 14
Rock Bottom: Expect a whole new menu clustered around brewer Jerry Sutherlin’s Honey Blonde, which features an elixir from Hunter’s Honey Farm in Martinsville. Perfect for summer are the hazy Hefeweizen’s layers of clove, citrus and malt sweetness.
On the Future of Food
Tom Wallbank was winner of The Ram’s 2012 Homebrew “Every Day IPA” Competition; his Cannabaceae will be brewed sometime this fall. Keith Stambro took second and Eric Bucy third out of 31 entries.
Beer Buzz enjoyed pairings of food and beer this week at familiar spots close to home.
The Ram: Look for the Ram symbol, which denotes food made with beer, including in the beer and cheese dip and daily soup (made with Buttface Amber Ale); baby-back ribs (Big Red Ale); fish and chips (Big Horn Hefe in the beer batter); and brownie skillet sundae (Total Disorder Porter hot fudge). All match well with brewer Andrew Castner’s three seasonals: Ghost King IPA, flavored with a sweet grass aroma, with lemon leading to an array of esters and a dry finish; Bayside Steam, which exudes fruity esters from the lager yeast; and the hazy, spicy full-bodied Barefoot Wit.
nationally known leader in the urban farming movement, has the biggest local connection, having anchored a Public Conversation at the 2010 Spirit & Place celebration, and been the guest of honor/keynote speaker at this year’s opening of Linda Proffitts’ Peaceful Grounds Café and Farm Market in Southport. Schlosser, of course, is author of Fast Food Nation, Reefer Madness and Chew on This. Allen and Schlosser maintain that Prince Charles has “been one of the few world leaders brave enough to say — publicly, not just privately — that the current system is unsustainable.” These three esteemed food activists make, as it were, a Prince Charles sandwich, and that’s where the, ahem, meat of the matter resides. This affordable, tidy tome fits in your pocket, and is easy to pull out and share with others at a party and over a meal. Read, learn, converse and join the food fight.
92.3 WTTS Spring Music Sampler and tapping @ The RAM downtown, 6 p.m.; tapping Endgame Russian Imperial Stout, the second beer in the Ram’s RAMAGEDDON 2012 series.
Tapping Kiwi Kiwi Hefeweizen @ Flat 12, 4 p.m.
Indy’s Wine & Brew Fest @ United Package Liquors in Broad Ripple; call 205-1200.
Tapping of Honey Wheat @ Rock Bottom Downtown; call 681-8180. New on tap Oaken Barrel: Schwartz bier, a traditional German Black Lager dark in color with a light malty taste and a crisp finish Triton: Fieldhouse Wheat, Four Barrel Brown, Magnificent Amber, Deadeye Stout, Railsplitter IPA, Sin Bin Belgian Pale and O’Rye-n Galaxy Pale (Seasonal) Bier: Persephone, Farmgal, Cream Ale, Happy Pils, John’ Porter, PDG Ale Fountain Square Brewery: Black Lager
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music SHOTS FROM PRIDE AND BONNAROO
PHOTO BY TED SOMERVILLE
Santigold at Bonnaroo
PHOTO BY BRYAN MOORE
Bag Ladies at Pride
PHOTO BY TED SOMERVILLE
Crowd at Delta Spirit at Bonnaroo
PHOTO BY TED SOMERVILLE
Khaira Arby at Bonnaroo
Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon at Bonnaroo
PHOTO BY TED SOMERVILLE
Delta Spirit at Bonnaroo
Glen Campbell at Old National Centre
Santigold at Old National Centre Miranda Lambert at Klipsch
Real Talk, Pride Parade, Glen Campbell, Flogging Molly, Bonnaroo
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A CULTURAL MANIFESTO
WITH KYLE LONG
Kyle Long’s music, which features off-the-radar rhythms from around the world, has brought an international flavor to the local dance music scene.
Kyle Long creates a custom podcast for each column. See this week’s online at NUVO.net.
More than just food! Meet your neighbors at the Fish Fry for friendship, fellowship and fun!
PHOTO BY ARTUR SILVA
B-boy battle at Boner Center
B-boy badasses In my brief career as a DJ, I’ve had the privilege to spin records at a wide assortment of locations — from the Super Bowl Village to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Along this journey, the most open-minded audiences I’ve encountered have been found at b-boy battles. For the uninitiated, a b-boy battle is an organized tournament style competition among breakdancers (a.k.a. b-boys). The DJ plays a crucial role at these events, establishing the tone of the dance through careful song selection. No matter what style of music I throw at the b-boys, they devour it ravenously. Whether it’s Bollywood funk, Nigerian afrobeat or Cuban son, if the rhythm is pounding, the dancers are game. The open-minded and accepting nature of b-boy culture extends far beyond musical taste. When first witnessing a battle, one is struck by the complete diversity of the competitors. Gender, age, ethnicity and skill level are irrelevant. In this forum, anyone with a passion for the culture is welcome to participate. The openness of the art form has allowed it to spread rapidly across the globe. From Germany to Brazil, from Zambia to South Korea, b-boy culture has a worldwide appeal. Recently, while spinning a battle at the Boner Community Center on Indy’s Eastside, I decided to investigate what makes b-boy culture so universally accepting. Looking to the dancers for answers, I spoke with fellow DJ and b-boy Sutiweyu “K. Sabroso” Sandoval and event organizers Nick “SkyShaker” Pitts and Erica “Peprika” Culp. “Latinos, blacks, East Asians or Indians — the groups of people you see at a battle are as eclectic as the music,” Sandoval said.”Strangely, it’s harmonic when you get everyone together — the aggressive types, the playful ones. For Sandoval the roots of b-boy’s universal appeal are embedded in its musical foundation. “Funk music is the most direct core influence on breakers. In the ’70s, funk took over the world and it was influencing musicians from India to Italy. We draw on these influences today through
remixes and reworking of this material.” “The diversity was born into how creatively the originators were seeking inspiration,” Sandoval continued. “They would go look at kung fu movies and bring those styles into the dance. They were looking at other cultures for influence. “People see how pliable the core dance is. You can bring your own style and background in. Every time b-boy culture has evolved in the past, it was because a new group of people brought in a new cultural influence. When people started taking more influence from capoeira, dancers started going upside down more often.” In the case of Nick Pitts, capoeira provided an introduction to b-boy dance. “I got into b-boy culture by happenstance,” Pitts said. “I started out doing martial arts, particularly capoeira. My capoeira instructor took our class to a b-boy tournament. For Pitts, the link between b-boy dance and martial arts was an attraction. “I don’t think many people understand the connection between martial arts and dancing. Bruce Lee is not someone you think of as a dancer, but he was a champion ballroom dancer,” Pitts said. The open minded attitude of b-boy culture was a major draw for Erica Culp. “I’ve always loved music and dance, but I gravitated toward b-boy culture because it is so accepting,” Culp said. Like Sandoval, Culp was also impressed with the malleability of the b-boy dance form. “Everybody brings their own style and people integrate whatever their foundation is into the dance. I have a cheerleading background, so I do flips and acrobatics,” Culp said. I felt there must be a deeper explanation beyond all the talk of stylistic concerns. As I considered this, I was reminded of something Sandoval told me. “One thing that united everyone in the early hip-hop movement was low incomes. Hip-hop was formed by kids who grew up in a place with busted public education and inactive community centers. The people who pioneered the dance were young kids with no resources.” This column is dedicated to Brandon “Edge” Haines. A b-boy and major supporter of the local dance scene, Haines recently announced that he’ll be leaving Indianapolis to serve in the United States military in Afghanistan.
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Steve Smith and Vital Information BY JEF F R EED M USIC@ N UVO.NET Steve Smith, one of the planet’s best, most versatile drummers, will perform with his renowned jazz-fusion band, Vital Information, Wednesday, June 20, at the Jazz Kitchen as part of the band’s anniversary tour, which celebrates 30 consecutive years of progressive music-making. Smith, who gained international recognition through his seven-year stint with rock band Journey (1978-85), formed the band in 1982 to provide a vehicle for his jazz explorations. Although often considered a drummer’s drummer, Smith, whose background encompasses virtually all of American music, as well as, more recently, the rhythms of India, is an engaging, communicative performer able to reach musicians and non-musicians alike. Smith began drumming in Massachusetts in 1963, at age 9. By high school he was playing in both a professional concert band and a local college jazz band. In 1972, he attended Berklee College of Music, remaining there until joining the Lin Biviano Big Band in 1974. Teaming up with Jean-Luc Ponty in 1976, he performed on the fusion violinist’s hugely popular album Enigmatic Oceans (Atlantic, 1977). A brief tour with rocker Ronnie Montrose a year later led to his gig with Journey. Vital Information has recorded on average one album every two years, using the song-writing method of “jam, rehearse and fine-tune the ideas into songs.” This, Smith said, in an interview with Rhythm, a UK drum magazine, enables all members to contribute and “feel a part of the music and the direction.” The latest album, LIVE! One Great Night, released in May to lead off
by Wayne Bertsch
the current tour, testifies to the method’s effectiveness. LIVE opens with “Seven and a Half,” which is the song’s bold time signature. While most musicians are at home in 4/4 and 3/4 time, and perhaps even 5/4 or 7/4, 7.5/4 is a separate beast. The song’s easygliding funk-fusion groove, overlaid by Valentino’s alluring strum pattern, creates an illusion of straight-four, which is only shattered when finger snapping lands the listener abruptly on the off beats. Two cuts titled “Interwoven Rhythms,” one a brighter Latin groove, the other a more relaxed funk, set up solid 4/4 foundations “interwoven” by waves of exotic chanting. These quick, articulate chants splinter the beat in every conceivable way, creating a mesmeric blending of East and West time concepts. Besides being an award-winning performer, Smith is also one of music’s most dedicated and articulate educators. His desire to “pass the torch to the younger generation” has engendered countless clinics and jazz drum camps, as well as several instructional DVDs, including the award winning 2003 “History of the U.S. Beat. ” This beat, the “swing pulse,” Smith said, is America’s contribution to music, underlying all its musical genres. Early blues, gospel, country, R&B, funk, and rock ’n’ roll, were all developed by “drummers who first recorded in those genres, [which] were all jazz drummers doing studio work.” A jazz background thus “allows one to see the common rhythmic thread that connects all those different genres.” It also enables one to create, to improvise, to make it up as one goes, which is what Vital Information is all about. “Our music allows for individual expression and re-invention. We thrive on swing, groove and creativity,” Smith said. “We want to surprise each other every night on the bandstand.”
STEVE SMITH AND VITAL INFORMATION
Jazz Kitchen, 5377 N. College Ave. Wednesday, June 20, 7 p.m., $22-$30; 9:30 p.m., $17-$30, 21+
ELECTRONIC FLUX PAVILLION
Egyptian Room at Old National Centre , 502 N. New Jersey St. 8 p.m., $35, all-ages
Daddy Real’s The Place, 3855 E. 96th St. 7 p.m., $15, all-ages
An evening showcasing the talents of vocalist Carol Harris. She will be backed by The Boys featuring Manny De La Rosa on the keys, Jared Thompson on saxophone, Thomas Brinkley on bass, and Brian Yarde on drums. The show is billed as an evening of “songs about love and other ‘natural disasters,’ break-ups, make-ups and things that make you cry the blues, or lift your spirits to the sky!” Expect to hear straightahead jazz: familiar tunes for the jazz vocal repertoire in an evening that’ll leave you with a warm feeling and a deeper appreciation of a bygone era of music.
HIP-HOP CHILDISH GAMBINO, DANNY BROWN Egyptian Room at Old National Centre, 502 N. New Jersey St. 8 p.m., $33.50, all-ages
Drown your sorrows over the loss of Dan Harmon as Community showrunner with the music of Community star, Donald Glover. Glover (a.k.a. Childish Gambino) released his debut album, Camp, last year. The album was generally well received, though not without its detractors. Pitchfork gave it a 1.6 as well as a scathing review. While the album might not have disappointed some fans, more recent tracks have shown some of the fire and energy of Glover’s earlier efforts. Opening for Glover is rapper Danny Brown, whose 2011 debut, XXX, was named by Spin as the No.1 hip-hop album of the year. HIP-HOP TJ REYNOLDS AND THE FREEHAND ORCHESTRA: FAREWELL SHOW White Rabbit Cabaret, 1116 E. Prospect St. 9 p.m., $10, 21+
Saying goodbye is never easy, especially as a musician. It’s better to burn out than to fade away, after all. Hip-hop music maker, Super Bowl performer and music educator TJ Reynolds will be performing his final show in Indianapolis this Friday before relocating to Boston with his family. We’ve written quite a bit about TJ here at NUVO through the year, highlighting his work in the Indianapolis music community, which has had too many permutations to list here. Read more about TJ’s impact in Indianapolis in the NUVO archives and see his last show in town at the White Rabbit this Friday. Also performing: Blackberry Jam and DMA.
Lucas Oil Stadium
ROCK FOXY SHAZAM
Interstate 70 255 W Morris St
Deluxe at Old National Centre, 502 N. New Jersey St. 8 p.m., $19, all-ages
Rambunctious rock and roll sextet Foxy Shazam are touring in support of their album, The Church Of Rock & Roll. There has been a fair amount of hyperbole surrounding the group. Joey Spatafora, lead singer of The Squids, called Foxy Shazam the second greatest rock and roll band after The Beatles and predicted the group would be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame their first year of eligibility. Check them out to see if they live up to hype or for the chance to see them crash and burn. Either way, you’ll have plenty of fodder for that blog of yours.
S Meridian St
JAZZ JUST ME AND THE BOYS
Bankers Life Fieldhouse
S West St
Circus Records co-founder and dubstep producer Joshua Steele (a.k.a. Flux Pavillion) will drop the bass Thursday at the Egyptian Room along with three other dubstep artists hailing from the UK. Steele is probably best known for his 2011 single, “Bass Cannon.” His song, “I Can’t Stop” was sampled on Watch The Throne. You might also recognize its video for the Kony 2012 viral campaign that was cause célèbre in March of this year. Joining Flux Pavillion are Cookie Monsta and Brown & Gammon. Perhaps this style of dubstep from the genre’s country of origin will be a refreshing palate cleanser for all the Skrillex and other bro-step you heard at the frat parties your pals dragged you to all semester long.
The Vogue, 6259 N. College Ave. 9 p.m., $20, +21
DJ Z-Trip is one of the pioneers of the mash-up movement and was voted best American DJ by magazine, DJ Times. Z-Trip will be joined by a bevy of local wax spinners including A-Squared Industries, Rudy Kizer and DJ Indiana Jones for a night of merriment at The Vogue. Free your mind and your ass will follow.
ROCK I-EXIST, NOCTURA
Earth House Collective, 237 N. East St. 7 p.m. $10 advance, $12 at the door, all-ages
Indianapolis based quartet, I-Exist are celebrating the release of their album, Humanity Vol. II. I-Exist has had their music featured on the soundtrack for the motion picture Saw:3D. Humanity Vol. II is the second installment of an ambitious, four-part album. Joining them will be fellow Indianapolis-based band, Noctura. X103 listeners are likely familiar with the bands as both acts have been in heavy rotation on the radio station.
POP NORAH JONES
Murat Theatre at Old National Centre, 502 N. New Jersey St. 8:00 p.m., $62 - $76.75, all-ages
Norah Jones is touring in support of her new album, Little Broken Hearts. The Danger Mouse produced LP is Jones’s first album since 2009’s The Fall. Little Broken Hearts is a bit of a departure point for Jones, who made her mark with more jazz inflected music. Like many great albums of yore, Little Broken Hearts was inspired by emotional turmoil. Last summer, Jones broke up with her boyfriend and the fallout of that informs the musical and lyrical departure from Jones’s earlier albums. Emotional upheaval can lead to some pretty stellar music and shows, so this will be one not to miss. —Andrew Crowley
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NEWS OF THE WEIRD
The (cockroach) social network Plus, the Hangover Heaven bus fleet
No insect is in greater need of a public relations boost than the cockroach, and Dr. Mathieu Lihoreau of Rennes, France, provided it in a recent issue of the journal Insectes Sociaux. Roaches are highly social, suffer when isolated, recognize members of their own families, and appear to make “collective decisions for the greater good” of their community, according to a review of the research in May by BBC Nature. They act in “emergent forms of cooperation” -- “swarm intelligence.” Functioning mostly through chemical cues, they advise their homeboys where to find food and water, where the good crawl-into cracks are for sleeping, and how to stay attached to their social networks.
Challenging Business Models
• Dr. Jason Burke rolled out his “Hangover Heaven” medical bus fleet in Las Vegas in April, offering revelers a faster, clinically proper recovery from their night of excess drinking for a $90 to $150 fee. After giving their medical history, “patients” receive intravenous saline, with B and C vitamins and whatever prescription or over-the-counter drugs are appropriate, says Burke (a licensed anesthesiologist). No drunks are served; the patient must be in the “hangover” stage. One M.D., who hosts a radio show, told CBS News, “I think many doctors are kicking themselves because they didn’t think of this first.” • No Trademark for You: (1) A restaurant set to open in April in West Palm Beach, Fla., named with a Japanese word suggesting “good fortune, wealth and prosperity,” was denied a trademark by the Florida Division of Corporations. The name in question: the Fuku. (2) In April, Alabama’s alcoholic beverage control agency rejected Founders Brewing Co.’s request to sell its Dirty Bastard beer in the state, even though Founders pointed out that the state already permits another company to sell Fat Bastard wine. The agency acknowledged the similarity, but said Fat Bastard was approved years ago and that no one at the agency now recalls why. • In April, the Taiwan tabloid Apple Daily profiled a 27-year-old man who said he has tripled his previous salary by becoming a public snitch, turning in videos of litterers and spitters violating Taipei laws that reward informants a fee of one-fourth the amount of any fines. In the last two years, the man (“Chou”) said he has had 5,000 cases result in fines, for which he has been paid the equivalent of $50,000. He said he now teaches classes in snitching.
Science on the Cutting Edge
• Researchers Need to Believe: Surely the world’s longest-running science experiment is the 85-year-old continuing project to visu-
news of the weird // 06.13.12-06.20.12 // NUVO // 100% RECYCLED PAPER
ally ascertain whether “pitch” (a tar) is liquid. Begun at England’s Cambridge University, the project is now housed at the University of Queensland in Australia, where the custodian believes the next drop (the ninth ever) will fall in 2013. The previous teardrop-shaped bead descended in 2000. • Dung beetles are known to researchers to roll perfectly made balls with their back legs and to periodically mount the balls, pirouette and climb down to be on their way. Emily Baird of Lund University in Sweden explained why in a January issue of the journal PLoS One: The beetles are gathering celestial readings to help shepherd their balls home, away from predators. Baird’s specialty is learning how animals with tiny brains perform complex tasks, and to test the dung beetle, she patiently watched 22 of them guide their balls through an obstacle course her team created. • People with the condition Alternating Gender Incongruity (AGI) say they periodically, but repeatedly, sense themselves as of the opposite gender, sometimes imagining to have “phantom genitalia” of that gender. Professor Vilayanur Ramachandran, of the University of California, San Diego’s Center for Brain and Cognition, tested 32 previously undiagnosed AGI sufferers and found mild correlations with multiple-personality disorder, bipolar disorder and, oddly, ambidexterity. His research appeared in April in the journal Medical Hypotheses and was reviewed by Scientific American.
Leading Economic Indicators
• Only about 16 percent of stock market transactions consist of what most people think of as buying or selling of company or mutual fund shares (“real” investors, interacting with actual brokers). The rest, according to analysis by Morgan Stanley’s Quantitative and Derivative Strategies group and covering October to December 2011, were performed by computers acting automatically, at staggeringly high frequency, using software algorithms, buying or selling mindlessly, based on what trading firms needed to fill out their portfolios’ profitably on a second-by-second basis. • Two homeless, penniless men in Fresno, Calif., are setting a high bar for frequency, and expense, of ambulance trips to the hospital. A 41-year-old who says he has “a major problem with my liver” and a 51-year-old allegedly seizure-prone man called for a combined 1,363 trips in 2011, which at the market rate would have cost them $545,000 (apart from evaluations by the hospital, which would have additionally cost more than $500,000), according to a February investigation by the Fresno Bee. Taxpayers and the insured foot the bills (reduced somewhat because the ambulance company and the hospital take lower fees). Neither the ambulance company nor the hospital can refuse to serve the men, and attempts to talk the men out of the trips are either futile or too laborious for the emergency technicians to attempt.
• The expense of caring for a pet, at least among the affluent, appears to be recessionresistant, amounting to about $50 billion in the U.S. for 2011, according to a trade
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RENTALS DOWNTOWN FLETCHER PLACE - SKYLINE VIEW 1 Bedroom, Very Nice, Appliances Included. Utilities Paid. $700/mo. 317-660-1326 HISTORIC DOWNTOWN Small Studio. 212 E. 10th St. Clean. A/C. Free parking. $400/mo. Call after 10am 443-5554 LOVE DOWNTOWN? Roomy 1920’s Studio near IUPUI & Canal. Dining area with builtins, huge W/I closet. Heat paid. Shows Nicely! Last one left! Hurry! $435/mo and up. Leave message 722-7115. MUST SEE! Unfurnished 1BR or 2BR. All Utilities Paid, Secure, Very Clean. $125-$200/weekly or $450-$650/ monthly. 317-281-1573 NEAR WOODRUFF PLACE 2 miles from Circle. Very Nice 2BR! All Updated, W/D Hookup. $500/mo. $500 damage deposit. 317-660-1326
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FALL CREEK VILLAGE 1 3515 N. Pennsylvania, 46205, Equal Housing Opportunity. Income based (Section 8) for those 62 or older. 1BRs & 2BRs available. Call 925-5558 for information. THE GRANVILLE & THE WINDEMERE Ask about Move-In Winter Specials! 1BR & 2BR/1BA Apartments in the heart of BR Village. Great Dining, Entertainment & Shopping at your doorstep. On-site laundries & free storage. Rents range from $550-$595 WTR-SWR & HEAT PAID. Call 317-257-5770
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3951 NORTH MERIDIAN STREET Indianapolis IN 46208 Property Highlights: •1,500 SF available on 2nd ﬂoor •Creative interior ﬁnishes •Excellent location, across from Tarkington Park •Meridian Street signage available •Free covered parking
• Modern style 2 bedroom, 2 bath • 1450 square feet • 50 feet from the beach • Panoramic views of sunsets on Banderas Bay and Marina Riviera Nayarit • Swimming pool, gym, laundry room, 24 hour security• Located a few blocks from the Marina Riviera Nayarit (best Marina in Mexico!)
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association. Much of that spending is on advanced medical services such as bone marrow transplants at North Carolina State University (65 already performed) and stent procedures to open clogged bladders or kidneys (630 last year) at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. Said one man, who had paid about $25,000 to treat his 10-yearold dog’s lymphoma, “I wondered if I was doing this for selfish reasons. I asked myself, ‘If I were a 10-year-old dog, would I want to go through this?’” (Unfortunately, considering dogs’ short life spans, cancer remissions are almost always short-lived.) • But sometimes, the weird news is heartwarming. KTUL-TV, reporting in April on the Sooner Golden Retriever Rescue in Tulsa, Okla., profiled Tanner (a Golden
Phone: (951) 637-1238 Email: email@example.com www.bigbridgetravel.com/portal/ listings/P25321
Retriever blind from epilepsy and suffering seizures, incontinence and biting frenzies), who took a shine to the arrival of Blair (a homeless black Labrador with a gunshot wound). Almost immediately, noted Rescue personnel, Tanner became playful, as Blair led him around the grounds in much the way that assistance dogs guide blind humans. Both dogs have thus staved off being euthanized and are being considered for joint adoption.
Least Competent Criminals
• Bad Strategies: (1) James Cruz, 58, was arrested in May in West Palm Beach, Fla., after allegedly pulling out a gun at a McDonald’s drive-thru lane in order to squeeze his car in ahead of another. The
•Monthly discounts on telephone and Internet •Common conference area available •Open/private ﬂoor plans available •Lease Rate: $13.00 psf Full Service Gross
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other driver backed off, but of course got a full view of Cruz’s license plate. (2) Two weeks earlier, in Wilmer, Texas, Keithan Manuel, 18, was arrested after he allegedly walked into the Wilmer police station with a white towel covering his hands, and told the dispatcher, “(G)ive me all your money.”
• Though several cases have been reported in medical literature (and twice in News of the Weird), credulity is still strained by
reports that people might accidentally swallow (whole!) a typical toothbrush (usually 7 to 8 inches long). In the most recent episode, Ms. Bat-El Panker, 24, of Kiryat Yam, Israel, had trouble with disbelieving doctors at her local hospital and had to go to Carmel Hospital in Haifa, where a gastroenterologist, using ordinary tools of the trade, manipulated the brush until it was at an angle that made it removable without damaging her digestive tract, according to a report on Ynet News.
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RESTAURANT/ BAR Restaurant | Healthcare Salon/Spa | General To advertise in Employment, Call Adam @ 808-4609 Get Paid to Drive Where You Want! Walker AutoWrap Inc. seek people - regular citizens, NOT professional drivers - to go about their normal routine as they usually do, only with a big advert plastered on their car. If interested,Contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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FREE WILL ASTROLOGY
© 2012 BY ROB BRESZNY Services | Misc. for Sale Musicians B-Board | Pets To advertise in Marketplace, Call Adam @ 808-4609
Certified Massage Therapists Yoga | Chiropractors | Counseling To advertise in Body/Mind/Spirit, Call Nathan @ 808-4612 Advertisers running in the CERTIFIED MASSAGE THERAPY section have graduated from a massage therapy school associated with one of four organizations: American Massage Therapy Association (amtamassage.org) Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals (abmp.com)
International Massage Association (imagroup.com) International Myomassethics Federation (888-IMF-4454)
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LEGAL NOTICES Marion County, Indiana, is accepting applications for FEDERAL FUNDS UNDER THE EMERGENCY FOOD AND SHELTER NATIONAL BOARD PROGRAM. Marion County funding is neither currently available, nor guaranteed. When, and if, funding becomes available, the Marion County Local Board cannot guarantee any particular level of funding. Funds, if approved, will be available between January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2012, through the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board. Public or private voluntary agencies interested in applying for Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds must contact Joseph Phillips, Director, Agency Evaluations, at United Way of Central Indiana, 3901 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 462080409, 317.921.1256, or email@example.com, for an application. The deadline for receipt of applications is June 19, 2012.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): It’s time for your right hand to find out what your left hand has been doing lately, and vice versa. They’ve been attending to their separate agendas for a while, and now it would be wise to have them work together more closely. As they get reacquainted, a bit of friction would be understandable. You may have to serve as a mediator. Try to get them to play nicely with each other for a while before jumping in to the negotiations about how best they can cooperate in the future. And be very firm with them: no slapping or fighting allowed. TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Some relationships that you call “friendships” may be little more than useful connections or status boosters or affiliations that enhance your power and influence. There’s no shame in that. But it’s also a smart idea to make sure that at least some of your alliances are rooted primarily in pure affection. You need to exchange energy with people who don’t serve your ambitions so much as they feed your soul. The coming weeks will be an excellent time to cultivate friendships like that. Take good care of those you have, and be alert for the possibility of starting a new one. GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Do you remem-
PATIENT TEACHER ber what you were doing between July 2000 Piano, Voice, Guitar, Songwriting. Butler Grad. Experienced! and June 2001? Think back. Did anything Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. happen then that felt like a wild jumpstart, or a “NUVO” in subject.
series of epiphanies, or a benevolent form of shock therapy? Were you forcibly dislodged from a rut by an adversary who eventually became an ally? Did you wake up from a sleepy trance you didn’t even know you had been in? I’m guessing that at least some of those experiences will be returning in the coming months, but on a higher octave this time.
DROWNING IN DEBT? CANCER (June 21-July 22): Author Steven Ask us how we can help. Covey describes your “circle of concern” Geiger Conrad & Head LLP Attorneys at Law as everything you’re concerned with or 317.608.0798 www.gch-law.com As a debt relief agency, we help worried about. Your “circle of influence,” on the other hand, is anything that’s within your ability people file for bankruptcy. 1 N. Pennsylvania St. Suite 500 to change right now. For example, you may have Indianapolis, IN 46204
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general long-term questions or anxieties about the future of your health. That’s your circle of concern. But your circle of influence contains specific actions you can take to affect your health today, like eating good food, getting enough sleep, and doing exercise. What I’m seeing for you, Cancerian, is that the coming weeks will be an excellent time to spend less time in your circle of concern and more in your circle of influence. Stop fantasizing about what may or may not happen, and simply take charge of the details that will make a difference.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): There’s a wild zoo about two hours northwest of Seattle. After paying your fee, you can drive your car through acres of land where large animals are allowed to roam free. When I took the tour, I stopped my rented Dodge Stratus by the side of the road to get a better look at a humongous buffalo with a humped back and a long woolly beard. It lumbered over to where I was parked and for the next five minutes thoroughly licked my windshield with its enormous purple tongue. My head was just inches away from its primal power, and yet I was safe and relaxed and perfectly amused. I wouldn’t be surprised if you had a comparable experience sometime soon, Leo. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In the Biblical book of Genesis, Jacob had a dream of angels ascending and descending a ladder that went up to heaven. I recommend that you try to incubate a similar dream, or else do some meditations in which you visualize that scene. It would help prime your psyche for one of this week’s top assignments, which is to be adaptable as you go back and forth between very high places and very low places. Heaven and earth need to be better connected. So do the faraway and the close-athand, as well as the ideal and the practical. And you’re the right person for the job.
pushing to make your life better, you must not have very high standards or passionate goals. While I can see the large grains of truth in that theory, I don’t think it applies in all cases -- like for you right now, for instance. During the upcoming grace period, it will make sense for you to be perfectly content with the state of your life just as it is. To do so won’t make you lazy and complacent. Just the opposite, in fact: It will charge your psychic batteries and create a reservoir of motivational energy for the second half of 2012. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Twenty-fouryear-old actress Annalynne McCord has risen up in rebellion against what she calls “Hollywood’s perfection requirement.” Lately she has been brazenly appearing in public without any make-up on. She has even encouraged paparazzi to snap photos of her in her natural state. “I’m no t perfect,” she says, “and that’s okay with me.” I nominate her to be your role model in the coming weeks, Scorpio. You will be able to stir up useful blessings for yourself by being loyal to the raw truth. You can gain power by not hiding anything. (And yes, I realize that last statement is in conflict with the core Scorpionic philosophy.) Here’s my guarantee: It’ll be fun to be free of unrealistic images and showy deceptions. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Nineteenth-century Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev once called his fellow novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky a “pimple on the face of literature.” But more than a hundred years after that crude dismissal, Dostoyevsky is a much more highly regarded and influential writer than Turgenev. Us e this as inspiration, Sagittarius, if you have to deal with anyone’s judgmental appraisals of you in the coming days. Their opinions will say more about them than about you. Refresh your understanding of the phenomenon of “projection,” in which people superimpose their fantasies and delusions on realities they don’t see clearly. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Take a few deep breaths. It’s important not to get overly worked up about your recent diversion from the Truth and the Way. I mean it’s not like you sold heroin to high school students or dumped toxic waste into a mountain stream, right? It’s true that you’ve incurred a minor karmic debt that will ultimately have to be repaid. And yes, you’ve been reminded that you can’t allow yourself to lower your standards even slightly. But I doubt any of it will matter in five years -- especially if you atone now. So please go ahead and give yourself a spanking, make a definitive plan to correct your error, and start cruising in the direction of the next chapter of your life story. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Have you ever tried to drink from a fire hose? The sheer amount and force of the water shooting out the end makes it hard to actually get any moisture in your mouth, let alone enjoy the process. On the other hand, it is kind of entertaining, and it does provide a lot of material to tell funny stories about later on. But are those good enough reasons to go ahead and do it? I say no. That’s why I advise you, metaphorically speaking, to draw your sustenance from a more contained flow in the coming week. Cultivate a relationship with a resource that gives you what you really need. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): The coming week will be an excellent time to declare your independence from anything that depresses you, obsesses you, or oppresses you. You will attract help from unexpected sources if you take that brave action. At the same time, it’ll be a perfect moment to declare your interdependence with anything that fires up your imagination, stirs up smart hope, or fills you with a desire to create masterpieces. Be adventurous as you dream about blending your energies with the very best influences.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Thomas Edison said something to the effect that a person who is thoroughly satisfied is probably a failure. I guess he meant that if you’re not always Homework: What do you know or do that no one else in the world has a clue about? Tell all! Go to FreeWillAstrology.com and click on “Email Rob.”
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