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SEPT. 28 - OCT. 5, 2011

VOL. 22 ISSUE 38 ISSUE #1024

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CRIMES IN SOUTHERN INDIANA Frank Bill is a Corydon-based author whose first book, the short story collection Crimes in Southern Indiana, was just released this month by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. You’ll get to see him in person on Thursday, at the Irving Theatre, as he reads from his work. B Y S C OT T S H OGE R COVER PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN DOELLNER




Even though the Newport black-soil prairie, a.k.a. tallgrass prairie, isn’t virgin grassland, conservationists couldn’t emphasize its significance enough. BY STEVEN HIGGS




Twin brothers Rob and Ryan Koharchik are well-known in the theater world in Indianapolis as both are prolific and talented designers — scene and lighting. BY KATELYN COYNE



in this issue 19 45 14 29 47 06 07 05 32 31 10 44



Owner Neal Brown has taken a bit of a gamble moving here, but not too much of a gamble, I believe, because Libertine provides precisely the kind of liquid shot in the arm that downtown south of the Circle has been sorely lacking for years. BY NEIL CHARLES




This Bloomington-based band recently signed a two-album deal with Temporary Residence Limited out of Brooklyn; their debut full-length, Enemy/Lover, is due from the label Oct. 4. BY MICAH LING /ARTICLES


Q&A with banned book author Sarah Ockler by Matt McClure Go&Do: your arts weekend by Jim Poyser Recap of Tattoo City Underground by Micah Ling Contenders: C-Span show about presidential losers by Marc Allan Interview with Ken Burns by Marc Allan Food Truck Friday: Scratch by David Hoppe Carmel Apple Festival by Paul Pogue

Open Bra Pageant by Paul Pogue Carmel Apple Festival by Paul Pogue Indy Scream Park by Paul Pogue IUPUI Regatta 2011 by River Middaugh

EDITORIAL POLICY: N UVO N ewsweekly covers news, public issues, arts and entertainment. We publish views from across the political and social spectra. They do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. MANUSCRIPTS: NUVO welcomes manuscripts. We assume no responsibility for returning manuscripts not accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. DISTRIBUTION: The current issue of NUVO is free. Past issues are at the NUVO office for $3 if you come in, $4.50 mailed. N UVO is available every Wednesday at over 1,000 locations in the metropolitan area. Limit one copy per customer. SUBSCRIPTIONS: N UVO N ewsweekly


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is published weekly by NUVO Inc., 3951 N. Meridian St., suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46208. Subscriptions are available at $99.99/year and may be obtained by contacting Kathy Flahavin at kflahavin@ POSTMASTER: Send address changes to NUVO, inc., 3951 N. Meridian St., suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46208. Copyright ©2011 by N UVO, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without written permission, by any method whatsoever, is prohibited. ISSN #1086-461X

/VIDEO Lotus in the Park by Chris Pennell

MAILING ADDRESS: 3951 N. Meridian St., Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46208 TELEPHONE: Main Switchboard (317)254-2400 FAX: (317)254-2405 WEB:


Land of the (disrespected) Indians The behavior of certain members of the commission is no reflection on the commission’s purpose or need for it anymore than Andrew Weiner was a bad reflection on Congress. Nuf said on that subject. (“Land of the (disrespected) Indians,” Cover, Sept. 21-28) I have great respect for my fellow Indian activists Debra Haza and Sally Tuttle. I know they, along with other authentic Indian people living in Indiana could make a good showing for this benighted commission. As a casual observer of the state of Indian affairs in Indiana, it was apparent to me and many others that part and perhaps the largest part of the problem with the commission was the appointment of fake Indians known in Indian Country as wannabes. And no, I’m not speaking of the Miami, they are authentic, just not federally or state recognized. My first cousin, a 7/8 degree of blood Cherokee Indian, lived in Evansville. When the local wannabes found out about her they drew her into their clubs and lauded her as a mentor for their sponge-like need to soak up Indian culture. My cousin tolerated their neediness for a while. But she got to the end of her rope when she asked all of the Hoosiers claiming to be Cherokees how they connected to the Cherokee tribe and their claims fell apart like a cheap suit. Though she was the only Indian in the group, the rest were whites falsely claiming Indian heritage, she was ostracized and called a racist for not recognizing their often outlandish and easily proven false claims. She was harassed and threatened, eventually dropping out of the groups totally. She has since moved back home to Cherokee country in

Oklahoma and I’m glad she’s out of the snakes den. So long as the commission allows wannabes, who tend toward the side of craziness anyway, to join, the commission will never be able to fulfill its intended mission because it will never be serving real Indians. Fix the foundational problem of wannabe participation and the commission will be able to function.

— David Cornsilk, citizen


I noted the quote attributed to Argentina Hayes in today’s NUVO, that she feels that Indians “...are the lowest on the totem pole; like we’re underneath the totem pole.” That is interesting to hear the adoption of that phrase by a Native American when in reality the order of images on poles can just as frequently call for the most important image to be on the bottom.

— Elaine Harrison

Thanks to Mr. Finnell Mr. Finnell (Jazz Notes, Music, Sept. 21-28) was a great influence on myself and countless other high school musicians in IPS All City Band. He and many other Masters are the reason that we still hold on to the love of playing there is not a day that goes by that when we all talk to each other we never fail to mention Mr. Finnel, White, Ligget, Coe, Alee, “Bear” Taylor, Duvall. There so many fond memories that I cannot write them all but I do know one thing that each and every one of us … will be eternally grateful for the guidance and father figure that Mr. Finnell was to all of us. I will always strive to make an impact on other young musicians in IPS. We love you, Mr. Finnell. If you want to make any comment we have a Facebook page “Indianapolis All City

Jazz Band.” It would be an honor to have you continue to teach and help others.

— Malcolm D. King ALL CITY MEMBER 1982-1985

Start your own blog

There is not much in this article (“Human scale: So long to the big city,” Hoppe, Sept. 21-28) that reveals the author’s politics, but to the extent he does hint at any political stance, I would not under any circumstances deem it “center right,” unless your idea of the center is Noam Chomsky. As for NUVO’s stated editorial perspective as an “alternative paper,” I believe the alternative choice it offers is to reading a mainstream corporate chain paper, such as the Star. It would seem some readers have confused “alternative” with “liberal” or “progressive,” and NUVO has never promoted itself as such. Here is a suggestion, if you are unhappy with NUVO’s political slant or overall reporting, then read something else. Or better yet, start your own (online) weekly. These days, anyone with a computer and a little free time can publish their own blog.

— Chris


Letters to the editor should be sent c/o NUVO Mail. They should be typed and not exceed 300 words. Editors reserve the right to edit for length, etc. Please include a daytime phone number for verification. Send e-mail letters to: or leave a comment on

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HAMMER Hard truths worth examining

A dictator’s provocative words BY STEVE HAMMER SHAM M ER@ N UVO.NET


obody will ever give Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad any awards for being a humanitarian. His leadership in Iran has been marred by vote fraud, allegations of human rights violations and a constant desire to build a nuclear weapons program. The list of his policy mistakes is lengthy and includes denial of the Holocaust, a belligerent attitude towards Israel and a propensity to spread 9/11 conspiracy theories. Once a year, he travels to New York City and addresses the General Assembly of the United Nations, prompting mass walkouts of delegations. This year’s speech, delivered on Thursday, was no exception. Almost all of the nations he accused of wrongdoing left the hall while he was speaking. The media coverage was scathing in its condemnation. But just as good ideas can come from bad people, tyrants can also speak the truth. What much of Ahmadinejad said was worthy of much more attention than the coverage it received in the American press. After thanking his hosts, he began to speak some hard truths: “Approximately three billion people of the world live on less than 2.5 dollars a day, and over a billion people live without having even one sufficient meal on a daily basis. Forty percent of the poorest world populations only share five percent of the global income, while 20 percent of the richest people share 75 percent of the total global income. “More than 20,000 innocent and destitute children die every day in the world because of poverty. In the United States, 80 percent of financial resources are controlled by 10 percent of its population, while only 20 percent of these resources belong to the 90 percent of the population.” He then went on to ask a series of rhetorical questions that left no doubt whom he felt was to blame for these injustices. “Who abducted forcefully tens of millions of people from their homes in Africa and other regions of the world during the dark period of slavery, making them a victim of their materialistic greed? Who imposed colonialism for over four centuries upon this world? “Who occupied lands and massively plundered resources of other nations, destroyed talents, and alienated languages, cultures and identities of nations?

“Who used nuclear bombs against defenseless people, and stockpiled thousands of warheads in their arsenals? Whose economies rely on waging wars and selling arms?” No surprise that he blames the United States, given his history, but these points are indisputably true. Our history has been bloody and our self-image of an always righteous, peace-loving nation must be reconciled with the hard truths of our past. He’s correct in that it was America that abandoned the gold standard and began printing trillions of dollars, destabilizing the world economy. And it’s been America’s military adventurism around the world that has cost us in prestige, human lives and money that might have been better spent elsewhere. He asked, “If only half of military expenditures of the United States and its allies in NATO was shifted to help solve the economic problems in their own countries, would they be witnessing any symptom of the economic crisis? What would happen if the same amount was allocated to poor nations?” He raised the point that instead of fully determining the facts behind 9/11 and bringing those responsible to trial, we killed Osama bin Laden and dumped his body in the ocean. Is it possible that a trial would have been more beneficial in the long run? His resolution for these problems is a restructured United Nations, one that gives non-aligned and emerging nations a more equitable role in forming and shaping international policy. Despite his eccentricities, are his demands that unreasonable? Is it fair that certain nations have veto power in the Security Council and can defeat the aims of the majority of countries with a single vote? Would the Palestinian issue have been settled by now if the UN had been allowed a more active role without the United States vetoing every policy with which it disagreed? The Iranian president has raised some very provocative and inconvenient questions that have gone almost completely unreported in the American media. The answers to these questions, however, could be key in achieving lasting peace and prosperity. As stated above, I hold alleged terrorists and megalomaniacs in no high regard. Ahmadinejad is not without blood on his own hands. He is a most imperfect messenger for world peace. But can we continue to deny the existence of the problems he outlined? By dismissing him as a lunatic, do we improve our own lives even one bit? International issues are key for resolving our external political problems, building a foundation for economic growth and development and creating a future of prosperity and peace instead of war and misery. In those senses, the Iranian president’s words bear closer examination and reflection instead of reflexive condemnation and dismissal. „

No surprise that he blames the United States.


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HOPPE Tar sands oil in Indiana

The protests include us



f you get most of your news from mainstream sources, you may not be aware that over 1,000 people were arrested outside the White House between August 20 and September 3. These folks were sending a message to President Obama, imploring him to cancel construction of the Keystone XL pipeline intended to carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada across the length of the United States to Port Arthur, Texas. Indiana isn’t usually mentioned in reporting about Keystone XL. But Hoosiers will be affected by whether the pipeline is built. The largest inland oil refinery in the United States is located in Whiting, Indiana, on the coast of Lake Michigan. BP, of Gusher in the Gulf fame, owns this refinery and is currently in the midst of a $3.8 billion expansion in order to process the tar sands oil that the Keystone XL pipeline would bring to the United States. This expansion is due to be completed in 2013. Canadian tar sands oil is estimated to represent the second largest source of crude oil reserves in the world. It has the potential to make Canada the next Saudi Arabia. They call this oil “tar sands,” because, over eons, it turned into a thick, tarlike substance enmeshed in quartz sand that was, in turn, embedded in layers of water and clay. Refining this stuff is a harder, dirtier process than that required with conventional crude oil. Tar sands are heavier and more sulfurous; they have to be diluted with naphtha, a highly volatile natural gas, in order to be liquid enough to flow through a pipeline. The form of naphtha used in this process contains benzene, which is highly carcinogenic. Drilling for a special 3,400-foot pipeline to carry naphtha under the Indiana Harbor Ship Canal to the BP refinery was announced last June in the Northwest Indiana Times. Construction, by the Oklahoma-based Explorer Pipeline Co., was scheduled to begin in August and last about eight weeks. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed off on the project. A spokesman for the contractor responsible for building the pipeline said it represented a “common construction technique for crossing a waterway.” Let’s backtrack a moment. In 2007 and 2008, Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources issued permits that would have allowed BP to increase dumping of toxic sludge into Lake Michigan and emissions of such dire stuff as sulfur dioxide, benzene and lead into the air as part of its tar sands

expansion project. Protests in both cases led the federal Environmental Protection Agency to overrule Indiana’s attempts to let BP have its way. A new round of negotiations are reportedly in progress to actually reduce BP’s emissions, thanks to the installation of new technologies. But while BP’s willingness to try and contain the mess it makes may be reassuring to some, this does nothing to address the larger risk that shipping tar sands oil to Indiana poses to the sustainable health and well-being of our Lake Michigan coast and the Hoosiers who live there. Given the wretched state of our economy, it’s tempting to brush off environmental concerns as a necessary trade-off for prosperity. The BP expansion is touted for creating 5,000 construction jobs and up to 100 permanent positions. What’s more, if you travel to Whiting, you’ll see how BP has invested in this blue collar town’s civic core, helping to make it a disconcertingly pleasant destination, given its immediate proximity to the refinery’s vast, air-devouring mass. Added to that is the prospect of a new, abundant source of oil. Canada’s tar sands play like music to a gas junkie’s ears, a melody that whispers there’s no need to change our ways. Fill ‘er up! But shipping tar sands oil to Indiana is a recipe for a massive overdose. If the already high incidence of cancers found among the people in industrial Northwest Indiana isn’t enough to give you pause, the environmental risks inherent in piping this stuff into our state should stop you in your tracks. “Pipelines leak like crazy,” environmentalist Bill McKibben recently told Wired magazine. “The pipeline industry is supposed to be regulating itself, and in the last year that’s claimed the Kalamazoo River and a stretch of the Yellowstone River.” The Pipeline Safety Trust, a federally funded nonprofit watchdog group that studied spills between 2002 and 2010, reported that pipelines carrying tar sands oil are more likely to spill because tar sands are grittier, more corrosive, shipped at higher temperatures and under greater pressure than conventional crude. We live in an era of unintended consequences and public apologies. By now we should be wise to the fact that just because we can do something, like build a supposedly “safe” pipeline to carry an extraordinarily dangerous substance from one place to another, doesn’t mean we should. Remember those images of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico? Imagine that happening in Lake Michigan. Indiana is about to take that chance in Whiting. More tar sands protests are planned around the country, with the hope of compelling President Obama to stop construction of Keystone XL. Major events are planned for October 7 and November 6. Go to to learn more. „

Remember those images of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico? Imagine that happening in Lake Michigan.

100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 09.28.11-10.05.11 // news



by Wayne Bertsch

HAIKU NEWS by Jim Poyser

sixteen buck muffins? ten buck cookies? Where’s my three hundred buck hammer! kindergartener brings bag of crystal meth and pipe to smoke and tell Congress needs to own up that it’s a disaster in need of relief world economy is now one giant global village idiot worldwide, obese now outnumber hungry; should we try cannibalism? Russian citizens to vote for Putin because what’s the point in not? Saudi king to give women right to vote but it’s still a manarchy BP oil spill not degrading as hoped; Gulf is still gummed up with goo bed bug pesticides make some people sick — maybe those folks ARE bed bugs Lars von Trier says he’s sorry for saying he’s sorry for saying…


Follow @jimpoyser on Twitter for more Haiku News.


In April, the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter took hair samples from 38 people in Indianapolis, most of whom were local residents, and guess what? All 38 samples showed traces of mercury; three samples were above the Environmental Protection Agency’s health guideline for mercury. Mercury is a neurotoxin that can harm the brain, spinal cord, kidneys and liver. It is especially dangerous to fetuses and young children. Mercury is released into the environment by local power plants. It is then deposited in the ground and gets into White River sediments, where fish pick it up. “The only real answer to the problem,” said Chrystal Ratcliffe, of the local NAACP chapter, “is to have better pollution controls to reduce the mercury that comes out of power plant stacks.” Ratcliffe said fish contamination is a threat to people who live in the inner city and catch and eat fish from the White River.


Downtown planners need to lay off plans to rename the remodeled Georgia St. in time for next February’s Super Bowl. The Metropolitan Development Commission has said it will make a name-change recommendation to the mayor on Oct. 19. Even more arbitrary then the date is the exercise of trying to name a new civic amenity that doesn’t even exist yet, and that no one has actually experienced. It would be far better to let the thing be built, develop a little history and, perhaps, earn itself a nickname. At the moment, “Back Hoe Row” comes to mind...


For years, Richard Lugar has kept one of Indiana’s seats in the U.S. Senate securely in the Republican column. But thanks to a coalition of 55 Indiana Tea Party groups, this may be about to change. Last Saturday, Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate endorsed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in his Republican primary challenge for Lugar’s seat. Monica Boyer, a co-founder of the Tea Party group, was quoted in the Indianapolis Star saying Tea Partiers “were tired of Senator Lugar constantly moving the conservative goal posts to the liberal end of the playing field.” This would be a surprise to liberals, who had just as much reason to complain about Lugar’s seemingly knee-jerk support for conservative causes during the last Bush administration, but never mind. The point is that a successful challenge to Lugar’s Senate sinecure could actually make for a race in November of 2012, between, ahem, Mourdock and Democrat Joe Donnelly.

THOUGHT BITE By Andy Jacobs Jr. If you’re innocent, stay out of Georgia. Convict Troy Davis nearly certainly innocent. Supreme justices yawn at justice. Cracker state gives Davis the shot that makes him not.


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news Newport restoration Indiana prairie’s last best chance



hen Phil Cox introduced himself to a gathering of citizens outside the Newport Chemical Depot gate on Aug. 12, a female voice in the crowd embellished his resume – “He knows every blade of grass in there.” Bird-watchers, soil and water conservation officials, academics, 4-H leaders, hunters, hikers and friends of the nearby Turkey Run and Shades state parks comprised the group of 28. For most, the upcoming tour was their first opportunity to venture inside the 7,100-acre U.S. Army facility – located about 30 miles north of Terre Haute on the Indiana-Illinois border – and to glimpse a rare, black-soil prairie that occupies 336 acres in its southwest corner. The notion that Cox was intimately familiar with the depot’s ecosystem was anything but hyperbole. The naturalresource-administrator-turned-prairieactivist has become a revered figure among environmental advocates around the state and beyond. For 27 years he worked for a private contractor that managed the westcentral Indiana installation’s acreage for the Army. Only a small part of the property was involved in the production and storage of deadly VX nerve agent. More than 5,000 acres were farm fields, woods, wetlands and prairie. Indeed, Cox was largely responsible for the Newport prairie’s existence. After a 1994 report from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Nature Preserves on the base’s endangered species and natural areas, he oversaw the former cropland’s conversion to prairie

1940s 1941 Wabash Ordnance authorized

1942 Fifty homes and farms taken for base, which begins producing explosives for World War II and heavy water for the Manhattan Project

from 1994 to 2005. The Army has historically leased about 2,900 acres of depot land to farmers, mostly for corn and soybeans. In the report, the state’s natural resource experts concluded, “A restoration this large (1,900+/- acres) in this part of the Midwest is an exciting opportunity. There are no remnants in Indiana of the size of this potential restoration.” In pre-settlement America, the Great Plains that stretched to the Mississippi River began in the Wabash River Valley. Today, fewer than 2,000 acres of remnant prairie remain, according to Tom Swinford, DNR’s regional ecologist for Central Indiana. A remnant, he explained in a Sept. 14 email, is a “natural community that has serendipitously survived the storm of civilization and was not converted to some other use such as agriculture or other development.” Even though the Newport black-soil prairie, a.k.a. tallgrass prairie, isn’t virgin grassland, the collection of conservationists whose small convoy followed Cox onto the depot that August morning couldn’t emphasize its significance enough.

Prairie … or corn

Clara Walters, a Clinton resident and an Izaak Walton League of America national director, noted the prairie is a globally threatened ecosystem. The league is an advocacy group for sportsmen and sportswomen. Taylor University Professor Paul Rothrock explained the prairie’s ecology and history. Surrounded by some grasses that stood taller than he, Rothrock said they had been planted by retired Knox College Professor Peter Schramm, who had pioneered prairie restoration techniques over a 40-year career. As the Rothrock spoke, Ross Brittain, the National Audubon Society’s Indiana director, explored the shorter grass prairie across the road. Brittain was drawn by the call of a Henslow’s Sparrow, one of several of the state’s endangered species that inhabit the Newport prairie. Others include the peregrine falcon, northern harrier, sedge wren and Virginia rail, he said.

1960s 1961 Production of deadly VX nerve agent begins


In the southwest corner of the 7,100-acre U.S. Army facility is a 336 acre black-soil prairie.

The Newport prairie restoration contributed to the depot receiving the U.S. Army Environmental Security Award for Natural Resources Preservation in 1996 and 2003. The restoration abruptly ended in 2005 when a congressional commission on military bases recommended that the Newport depot be closed. More than $157,000 had been invested in the restoration to that point, Cox said. “After that, we just kind of stopped doing anything that would impact anything in the future or cost money.” As federal, state and local officials planned the Newport depot’s future, Cox, who is a vice president for both the Wabash Valley Audubon Society and Ouabache Land Conservancy, tirelessly campaigned for the prairie’s future. But he quickly found the power structure cast jaundiced eyes upon him and his supporters. After the prairie tour, Cox illustrated the point when he met with a dozen or so preservationists at an Izaak Walton League retreat outside Clinton.

1970s Briefly produced TNT

1968 VX production ends 1969 Last shipment of VX


Stressing that the prairie equals less than 5 percent of the Newport property, he paraphrased comments made at a public meeting by the vice president of the Newport Chemical Depot Reuse Authority, a quasi-governmental five-member board appointed by the Vermillion County commissioners. Said Cox: “He pointed, and he said, ‘If the prairie is so important to all of you, come up with a hundred thousand dollars a year, because that’s what we can get if we lease this out for corn production.’ ”

Investments and jobs

At a ceremony in Washington on Sept. 15, the Army officially transferred the bulk of the Newport base and its prairie to the local reuse authority. Four days before, Board President Jack Fenoglio said in a telephone interview that some small areas that had been “impacted 40 years ago” would be transferred at a later date. By accepting the property, Fenoglio’s board assumed control of a former

1990s 1992 UN Chemical Weapons Convention bans production, stockpiling, use of chemical weapons 1994 Army announces VX incineration plans DNR Nature Preserves completes Inventory of natural areas and rare plant species at Newport and identifies special interest natural area of approximately 1,900 acres of presettlement mesic silt loam prairie Newport prairie restoration begins


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1996 Newport facility receives U.S. Army Environmental Security for Natural Conservation Award, in part due to the prairie 1998 Army begins dismantling production facility

Three years later, the reuse authority’s military installation whose origins date Fenoglio dismissed the prairie’s environto 1942, when the 22,000-acre Wabash mental significance. River Ordnance Works was established “It’s not virgin prairie grass,” he said. to produce explosives for World War II. “This has been planted by man. ... It’s not Through the years, the facility has had something that’s been there for a thouvarious names and served a number of sand years or something. This is somebody military purposes, including the producthat got a project funded by the governtion of “heavy water” for the Manhattan ment, and they planted prairie grass there, Project, which developed the first atomic taking some of the best agricultural land bombs in the 1940s, and the explosive out of production.” TNT in the 1970s. Doing so was shortsighted, Fenoglio, a In the 1960s, Newport was downsized retired metallurgical engineer, implied. The and began producing and storing VX nerve board is not inclined to repeat the mistake agent. Some of the 1,269 tons produced in tough economic times. there between 1961 and 1968 was shipped “We don’t want to say, ‘We’re going out, but the bulk remained onsite in oneto save this prairie grass here forever,’ ton containers, stored since 9/11 in underground bunkers. Between 1998 and 2006, the because somebody may want to put a huge plant to hire a thousand people there. It Army dismantled the VX production plant doesn’t make much sense to throw away a and neutralized what nerve agent remained. thousand jobs to keep some wildlife alive.” As the Army and reuse authority negotiated the Newport property’s transfer, the local officials made their priorities clear. The prairie is a gift In a July 2008 Terre The Army officially Haute Tribune-Star began the public process article, Ed Cole, direcfor the transfer of the tor of the Economic Newport property by askDevelopment Council ing if any organizations of Vermillion County were interested in it. Four and point person for said yes, including the the reuse authority DNR, which in March said: “Our number one 2009 officially asked for goal is to get invest5,747 acres for fish and ment and jobs. We wildlife purposes. really want to work to “At one time 14 percent replace those jobs as of Indiana was covered with quickly as possible, and prairie grasses,” the DNR’s ... we really hope to notice of interest said. market that property.” “Today, in the 21st century, The newspaper prairies and the grassland story said the depot animals dependent upon had been Vermillion — Jack Fenoglio them are considered globCounty’s largest ally threatened.” employer since it On Sept. 17, 2009, reuse opened. Employment authority members made had hovered around 1,000 “in recent public a reuse plan that would allow the years.” The population of Newport, the prairie to be planted or developed, at the county seat, is less than 1,000. discretion of the reuse authority board. In From an environmental standpoint, a little more than a month, the plan drew there was little to stand in the way of an more than 400 comments from the public. aggressive redevelopment plan, Cole said. “No comments were received in favor Nearly 5,000 acres were agricultural and of destroying the prairie,” Cox wrote in a forest, with another 500 acres wetlands timeline of Newport events. “Comments and restored prairie. Of the rest, about 500 supporting saving the prairie were acres had only varying degrees of environreceived from: Indiana Wildlife Federation, mental concern. Pheasants Forever, Indiana Division of “We’re very lucky in that regard, because Fish & Wildlife, Hoosier Environmental environmentally it has been maintained Council, Vermillion County Soil & Water very well,” he said.

“It doesn’t make much sense to throw away a thousand jobs to keep some wildlife alive.”

2000s 2003 Facility receives U.S. Army Environmental Security for Natural Conservation Award, in part due to the prairie

Sept. 16 Newport Chemical Depot Reuse Authority holds public meeting for preferred reuse plan

2005 May VX destruction begins neutralizing nerve agent

Sept. 17 Reuse authority votes to make reuse plan basis for written reuse plan

Base Realignment and Closure identifies Newport for closure Prairie restoration process ends 2006 Army finishes dismantling production facility 2008 Army finishes neutralizing VX 2009 March DNR requests 5,747 acres for prairie, ecosystem protection, hunting, fishing and public use

Sept. 24 Draft of reuse plan posted on reuse authority website with no prairie protection Oct-Nov More than 400 public comments submitted in favor of prairie protection Oct. 20 Revised draft reuse plan posted on reuse authority website, still with no prairie protection

Nov. 5 Gov. Mitch Daniels, reuse authority, Telic Corp. announce 500 new jobs will be created. Project never comes to fruition. Nov. 11 Final reuse plan posted on reuse authority website Nov. 19 Public hearing on reuse plan. Board approves draft reuse plan unanimously Dec. 16 Final reuse plan submitted to Army


Twenty-eight citizen advocates attended the Aug. 12 tour of the Newport Chemical Depot, including, from left, David Erickson, Wabash Valley Audubon Society; Mike Siddens, Quail Forever; Joe Staub, Sycamore Trails RC&D; Joan Samuels; Peggy Foster, Friends of Turkey Run & Shades State Parks; Marjorie Hays, Covered Bridge Gateway Trail Assoc.; Margie Fultz, Purdue Cooperative Extension - Vermillion County; Nancy Swaim, Friends of Turkey Run & Shades State Parks; and David Burns, Ouabache Land Conservancy.

Conservation District, National Audubon Society, White Violet Center for Eco-Justice and hundreds more.” The board presented a slightly modified plan at a public hearing on Nov. 19, 2009, again with no protection for the prairie, Cox said. Twenty-three of the 54 citizens attending spoke. Two didn’t mention the prairie. The rest favored preserving it. Among those speaking was Sister Maureen Freeman from the White Violet Center for Eco-Justice at St. Mary-ofthe-Woods College. The center had been unsuccessful in its efforts to restore prairie land to Indiana, she said. “It is not easy. This has been given to us, and I think it is a gift that we need to preserve for the future.” Bill McKnight, from the Indiana Academy of Science, likewise called the prairie a gift. “They are not overgrown meadows,” he said. “They are very, very special places.” Terre Haute resident and IU School of Medicine faculty member Mike Lannoo

2010s 2010 June 5 The Indiana Wildlife Federation passes resolution favoring prairie protection.

June 8 Sen. Richard Lugar forwards to the Army letters supporting prairie preservation from five groups: Indiana Division of Izaak Walton League of America, the Indiana Director of the National Audubon Society, the Indiana Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts, the Indiana Sportsmen’s Roundtable and the Indiana Wildlife Federation July 7 Army responds to letters, says plan “balanced

cast the pro-prairie benefits in terms of combat veterans with wounds that aren’t always physical. “Where do they go to get healthy?” he asked. “They don’t go to businesses or gas stations. They don’t go to ag fields, unless they are pheasant hunters. They go to nature. Tallgrass prairie would be a great gift to them, a place where they could go to heal.” That night, the reuse authority unanimously approved the plan that had no protection for the prairie.

Here comes “clean coal”

Given the reuse authority’s attitude, Cox saw the military as the best chance for long-term prairie protection, based on the Army’s role in the restoration and the recognition it received for the project. But rather than agreeing to a legal stipulation that would have protected the restored prairie in perpetuity, the Army snubbed the prairie restoration’s supporters. Rothrock, who is chair of Taylor’s earth and environmental science department,

both the community needs by maximizing local job creation and investment while insuring the conservation of natural resources” Sept. 15 Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman announces plan for 1,500-acre coal liquefaction plant at Newport October Army completes environmental assessment draft finding of no significant impact Nov. 8 The notice of intent for finding of suitability to transfer 6,500 acres published in The Daily Clintonian


Nov. 13 Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club passes resolution favoring prairie preservation. Nov. 18 The environmental assessment for the reuse of the Newport Chemical Depot is available for public comment. 2011 May DNR representative explains proposal Sept. 13 Army transfers Newport property to reuse authority during ceremony in Washington, D.C.

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Ross Brittain, the National Audubon Society’s Indiana director CONTINUED FROM PG. 11

said the Army historically opened the base for hunters. Yet it denied a request from one of his graduate students to spend two hours studying the prairie. As negotiations with the reuse authority dragged on, the Army denied requests for access from a number of groups, Cox said. It wasn’t until the Aug. 12, 2011, tour – after the reuse negotiations were finished – that the Army finally allowed the public in. A request he submitted in December 2010 for a copy of public comments on the Army’s Environmental Assessment (EA) of the Newport depot wasn’t fulfilled until Sept. 16, 2011, after the property transferred. The Army released its 350-page assessment in October 2010. “The EA identifies, evaluates, and documents the environmental and socioeconomic effects of property disposal and future uses of Newport Chemical Depot,” it said. The EA evaluated the plan for “intensitybased levels of redevelopment,” from low to high, and included as an appendix the reuse authority’s plan, in which they identified a preferred option that echoed the priorities on development detailed by Cole two years earlier. “Among other things, the Preferred Reuse Plan focuses on employment, commerce, economic development, and the public welfare to promote the economic use of NECD’s facilities,” the EA said. “It also preserves existing agricultural uses and seeks to protect natural and cultural resources at NECD.” The restored prairie, however, was not among those protected natural resources. “Prairie restoration areas are designated under the reuse plan to be partly in business and technology areas, so eventually (as business development occurs) some loss of the restored prairie areas would be expected,” the EA said. The plan assumed redevelopment would occur over a 20-year period and that the property’s uses would be multifaceted. Natural conservation areas would account for approximately 51 percent of the property, including 2,548 acres of natural areas and open space, including woods, tallgrass prairie and natural drainage areas; 1,075 acres of agricultural and forestland, which could be used for

tree plantations and forestry; and 90 acres of parkland. Developed areas would account for the other 49 percent, including 3,307 acres for business and technology, including offices, office/industrial flex buildings, research and development facilities, manufacturing, warehousing, energy production, educational uses, institutional uses, training facilities and distribution centers. Another 80 acres were designated for highwayoriented and commercial uses, including a hotel, auto/truck service plaza, restaurant and convenience stores. The plan envisioned three industrial “mega-sites” of 1,000 or more acres. A month before the Army issued the EA, Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman announced an agreement for one of the mega-sites that she said laid the foundation for the depot’s reuse. “Clean Coal Refining Corporation (CCRC) and the Newport Chemical Depot Reuse Authority of Clinton, Ind., have agreed on a road map that allows CCRC to perform a feasibility study for the construction of a Direct Coal Liquefaction plant on a 1,500-acre section of the site’s 7,000 plus acres,” according to a Sept. 15, 2010, news release from her office. The state’s No. 2 elected official called the plant a “clean-coal project” and said about 2.5 million tons of Indiana coal would be refined annually to produce about 8 million barrels of jet fuel, heating oil, diesel and utility fuel. “This project deserves our support, “Skillman said in the release. “If built, the project would mean a $3 billion investment and jobs for 500 highly skilled Hoosiers.” Despite the reuse plan’s conversion of more than 2,000 undeveloped acres to industrial uses, its failure to protect the prairie and acceptance of such high-intensity uses, the Army’s EA found the plan fit the medium-low intensity use category and did not require the more comprehensive analysis of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). A two-page draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FNSI) accompanying the EA stated the Newport reuse plan was environmentally benign. “It has been determined that implementing the proposed action would have no significant

adverse effects on the quality of the human or natural environment,” it said.

Fenoglio says no

The Army’s determination that a coal plant would produce no adverse environmental impact was one of several issues the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) said rendered it “inadequate” under federal law. “This would be a major industrial facility, with potential impacts to air quality, water quality, disturbance or destruction of forest, wetlands, and prairie, and dramatic change in the nature of the property,” HEC’s Senior Policy Advisor Tim Maloney wrote in comments on the EA on Dec. 18, 2010. The Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club, which also submitted comments, passed a resolution on Nov. 13, 2010, that outlined the Newport property’s natural treasures. “There is documentation of over 150 species of birds, 35 species of mammals, 15 species of reptiles, 15 species of amphibians and 32 species of fish, and more than 400 species of plants (including five State watch-list species).” On behalf the Audubon Society, Brittain wrote in his comments that the EA should “not be validated.” “The National Audubon Society is greatly concerned that the EA does not address the impacts of the loss of the tallgrass prairie on this suite of grassland birds,” he wrote. “Additionally, the Reuse Plan allows the conversion of the tallgrass prairie into either Business and Technology or Agricultural Production, either of which would drive the grassland birds out of the prairie.” But just four days before assuming control of the Newport property, reuse board president Fenoglio rejected the value of the public comments and those who submitted them. “Of the 400 written comments, roughly 350 of them were almost word for word same as the other 350,” he said. “They may have changed the letterhead or a few words here or there, but most of those 400 comments were almost identical to the last one you read.” A longtime member of the Izaak Walton League, Fenoglio didn’t support Cox and the organizations that aligned with him. “The prairie issue really started with one man who kind of led the project when he was working for Mason and Hanger,” Fenoglio said, referring to Cox, who was the Newport property’s contract manager. “And he has got everybody else on the bandwagon to one degree more or less. But I think a lot of the rank and file members of all these organizations that he has brought to the table probably wouldn’t recognize prairie grass if they saw it.” Of the coal liquefaction plan, he said: “That’s looking good, up in the 90 percent success column right now.”

A 1994 decision

The reuse authority agreed to only a fraction of the 5,000-plus acres the DNR had asked for in 2009. It granted the state agency a 15-year conveyance of 1,093 acres of forest and 612 acres of cropland for a one-time payment of $10. The Aug. 25, 2011, agreement stipulates the forestland must be used for “conservation purposes” and the farm fields “exclusively for agricultural purposes or conservation purposes, including prairie grass restoration and wetlands banking.”

In a telephone interview on Sept. 14, DNR Deputy Director John Davis promised good things for the state’s newest natural areas and acknowledged his agency’s shifting stance on the Newport prairie. “We did say back in the ’90s that this would be a good place to do a prairie restoration,” he said. “… I know we encouraged and worked with Phil (Cox) and the base to plant the prairie.” But DNR never asked that the prairie be saved, he added. “We treated it more like, ‘We would like that 5,000 acres, and if not 5,000, then dial it back.’ ” Stressing that he’s not a biologist or a botanist, Davis said he isn’t sure how complex the Newport prairie is. “I do know that it’s an older restoration,” he said. “I know it doesn’t have everything we might like to put into a prairie restoration today, that we have put into prairie restorations today.” But that is not to deny its value, he added. “There’s not a thing wrong with that prairie there now. I think it’s valuable because it has captured people’s imagination and is representative of what can happen there. But it is in an unfortunate place, also.” It is prime agricultural land that also has value for development, Davis said. And times and priorities have changed. “I don’t think you can say that circumstances today are exactly the same, and we made a decision in 1994, and now it’s 17 years later, we should just stay with that, no matter what the circumstances are,” he said.

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Long-term viability

Nearly two decades after being presented with the “exciting opportunity” to restore a black-soil prairie, the DNR uses similar language to describe the Newport acreage it’s getting today. “DNR Conservation Area integrates the property’s highest quality forest blocks and stream corridors into a landscape scale prairie-forest transitional complex of 1,705 acres, an incredibly exciting prospect,” Swinford, the regional ecologist, wrote in his recent email. “The fragmented habitats of highest conservation value will be buffered and connected by a large state-of-the-science prairie and wetland restoration.” The area will provide long-term viability of the depot’s rarest flora and fauna, including the endangered Indiana bat, he continued, while meeting the habitat requirements for many others. “There are no other opportunities on the property, or few anywhere, for a project of this type.” The new restoration will benefit from years of experience in the field of prairie restoration that were lacking when the earlier planting occurred, Swinford wrote. “We will be taking advantage of many more types of Indiana native seed genotypes being available in the restoration nursery trade. The planned prairie will more closely emulate the beautiful broken forest and prairie landscape of Vermillion County.” He said the department has not established a specific timeline, “but there is some urgency to demonstrate progress.” And several funding sources are being explored for a phased implementation. “For a prairie restoration project of this scale, it is anticipated that there will be strong interest and support,” he said. „ Steven Higgs is a freelance writer and editor of The Bloomington Alternative. 100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 9.28.11-10.05.11 // news




hat is it about crime fiction that inspires reviews and interviews written in a pulpy, purple prose more clichéd than that found in the work being reviewed? I don’t know, but I’m not doing it. I’m not going to tell you that Frank Bill — the Corydon-based author whose first book, the short story collection Crimes in Southern Indiana, was released this month by Farrar, Straus and Giroux — is a compact, muscular sparkplug of a man, trained to kill with a chop and a kick by the finest dojo master in the tri-state area. That he was rendered mad as a rabid, class-conscious dog by years working in a paint additive factory. That he was further un-centered by a near-deadly explosion in that factory that sent him into a deep, dark depression. And that he’s obsessed with serial killers, crime families and coon hunting as both sport and profession. No, Publisher’s Weekly, you really won’t need to have “brass knuckles handy when reading” Crimes in Southern Indiana, the first book released as part of Bill’s twobook contract with FSG. The Fight-Clubin-the-wilderness novel Donnybrook is on the way next year. Derek Nikitas, author of Pyres, will I really need “a neck brace after whipping through these wild, wonderful, whacked-out stories”? Only if I read them while careening through the woods on a three-day bender, nar-


rowly skidding by monstrously-shadowed trees and rickety, long-abandoned stills, heading God knows where, chased by God knows what, body wracked by mixed drinks, misery and meth. Oh, crap; I’ve done it too, and poorly. It’s just so addictive, isn’t it? You can see how someone like Bill, a natural-born storyteller who hasn’t had a day of college, got into something like this. Why he wakes up every day at 3 a.m. to pound out another few pages of his new novel. Why he finds the same pleasure in writing as he does in reading: the feel of being swept away by a story. Crimes in Southern Indiana is as it sounds: a collection of homicides (mercy killings and cold-blooded murders, matricides and parricides; by pistol, shotgun, knife, drowning and neglect), rapes, dismemberments, drug deals gone bad d (usually involving methamphetamine), ) dog fights, war crimes and garden-variety inequity. It’s written in a hard-boiled style with descriptions drawn from blue-collar rural life: a rape (and incest) victim has a “goat-milk complexion” and “unwashed shoulder-length hair the hue of burned tires”; the man she murders collapses on her “like warm molasses”; “corn leaves like miniature razors” cut her face as she runs from the scene of the crime. His characters are downtrodden but determined, possessed by a perverse sur-

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vival instinct. An Afghan war veteran – who snapped after witnessing wartime raping and pillaging and spent two years attacking his fellow soldiers – just keeps on running once he gets stateside, driven by bloodlust, outrunning the cops and the cops’ dogs. Most of the pieces start with a bang, with the feel of flash fiction, even when Bill fills a story out by crafting connective material to bridge between the flashes. Here’s how the story about that Afghan vet, “The Need,” starts out: “Speeding into the gravel curve, Wayne lost control of the Ford Courier, stomped the gas instead of the brake. Gunned the engine and met the wilderness of elms head-on. His head split the windshield, creating warm beads down his forehead …”

The iinterview Th t i

I’m not entirely sure what it is about Bill’s media photos, but they make him look far more imposing — or at least rugged — than he does in real life. Maybe it’s the Carhartt jacket he’s wearing in the photos, or the low angle shots that don’t prompt you to consider his height. But to look at him, Bill, 37, is rather a short guy, un-prepossessing, soft-spoken with a far-Southern Indiana accent. He’s more than passionate about

the writers who have inspired him — Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club got him started — but he talks with a cadence and patois that’s not at all informed by, say, the academy. He’s self-taught and proud of it, but he’s not putting on airs. I meet with Bill on the afternoon of a book launch party in his hometown. The old capitol building still stands in Corydon, which is about 120 miles south of Indianapolis. But just off the highway, in the low-slung neighborhood where Bill lives with his wife, Jennifer, the town looks like any other in the region: strip malls and trailer homes, well-maintained two-bedroom houses and farms. Bill lives in a small white house on a former apple orchard, a major highway within sight and earshot. He bought it from his parents; his nephew lives next door, and that’s his eyesore of a broken-down truck occupying space between two yards. I’m the second guy to trudge out to interview him, following on the heels of a Louisville reporter. He’s still happy to meet with interlopers like myself at his house (or at the Wendy’s just off the highway, but I opted for the house as the setting). He’s also fielding phone interviews these days, including one from a Bloomington writer freelancing for Interview. Bill’s hometown newspaper has also written about him, though they’ve taken some shortcuts, crafting a profile from an interview conducted by Bill’s PR guy and distributed with his media materials. Not that that would have been a big deal, but Bill says he was quoted out of context saying things about Corydon’s police department (“corrupt”) and lawyers (the same). It’s not characteristic of his hometown’s reaction to his work; either people don’t know about him, or they’re supportive, particularly since three short stories from Crimes in Southern uthern Indiana were published d by Playboy.

Writing from real life

No more than a few minutes mi into our interview, conducted on his back porch with a friendly tail less cat wending its way between everyone’s legs, we’re already talking about one of the more emotionally charged stories in his book, a tale of spousal and child abuse called “The Old Mechanic.” It starts off with two sisters listening to the beating of their mother by their father (the Old Mechanic) while watching cartoon violence. They score a small victory by spitting into a bowl of cinnamon candies from which Dad grabs a handful after he’s through. Here’s an excerpt: “Their spit went unnoticed, and he’d return to the bedroom while they sat defenseless. Internally they laughed at the Mechanic’s ingesting, his savoring and swallowing of their spit. But exteran nally, nothing could drown out or stop the soundtrack of their mother’s abuse, which sometimes kept them up until sunrise.” The piece goes on to concern itself with a meeting between the abusive father and one of his grandsons. His identity had been concealed from the grandson, Frank, until he was a teenager, but his mother accedes to a request for the two — grandson and grandfather — to meet. Frank neurotically (or realistically?) fears for the worst before his grandfather picks him up for an outing to a gun and knife show: “Frank imagines

the Old Mechanic taking him to some compound guarded by brick walls, razor wire, and booby traps. Inside he’ll chain Frank to a wall in his bomb-shelter basement next to his punching bag that’s stuffed with the men and women he has disposed of …” Not surprisingly — given the name of the grandson, the accumulation of detail and the narrator’s sympathy for both Frank and The Old Mechanic — the story is largely autobiographical. “When my grandmother was first married, she had my mother and, of course, her sister, and for six years, she said he basically beat my grandmother to death every day,” Bill tells me. “And I asked, ‘Why didn’t she try to leave him or get away,’ and she said, ‘At the time’ — and this was back in the ’40s and ’50s — it just wasn’t like that; you were married, and you stayed with your husband. You didn’t have social services and things like that.” And like the character in “The Old Mechanic,” Bill was kept away from his grandfather through his youth, until an outing when Bill was a teen that provided the raw material for the story. “It was actually me and my cousin Denny who had been asked to go to the gun and knife show. He took us out to eat at a Ponderosa steakhouse. You know how they used to have the all-you-can-eat steak and shrimp. He complained the whole damn time we were there. He was very observant and knowledgeable about weapons and knives, but at the same time, he was one of the guys who, when he’s talking, he doesn’t want to be interrupted by somebody omebody else.” else.”

Neither reader nor writer

Bill wasn’t a writer during his youth. He He regrets regrets that that he he didn’t take down stories from his now-deceased deceased grandpargrandparents in a more systematic way, though he he talks talks frequently frequently these days with his dad, a Vietnam vet who who still still hasn’t hasn’t received a Purple Heart medal that Bill thinks thinks he he deserves. deserves. Bill was more of a ne’er-do-well, someone one who who ran ran around around with, as he puts it, “shady characters” during during high high school. school. They included a self-styled clan that provided ovided support support but but also encouraged him to get into more than han aa little littletrouble, trouble, and a stripper from a neighboring town, n whom whom Bill Bill says sayshe he dated when he was 18 and she was 21. “I’m probably lucky to be alive, with some of the shit that I was around: skipping school, my buddies wrecking cars, drinking, smoking cigarettes, pot and everything else,” he says, noting that, between the violence he heard about from his mother and father and that which he saw during his early years, it makes sense that he gravitated toward writing about crime. He was something of a reader, but not of literary fiction – or any fiction. He sought out non-fiction on topics that interested him: Chinese Buddhism and Taoism; Muhammad Ali and Oscar de la Hoya (“I was always big into boxing; did martial arts from when I was kid on up to about 30 years old”); serial killers like Ted Bundy and Ed Gein (“anything that was horrible, basically); even Mein Kampf (“I’m sure the guys I was at work with were like, “Why the hell are you reading that thing?”) He didn’t get into fiction until age 29, when he saw Fight Club, the David Fincher film based on Palahniuk’s novel. Impressed by the film’s attack on society and having identified with a character’s speech about a generation of men not knowing their fathers (his was usually working), Bill picked up the book. It hit him right in the solar plexus. “When he writes a sentence, every word counts,” Billll style. “There’s nothing slow there, or says of Palahniuk’s P or it’s slow, it’s philosophical. There’s something about when it’ bout his style of writing that gets the endorphins going, that makes you y think.”

If yyou like Chuck, you’ll you u love Bret

Often taking leads from recommendations from online shopping sites, Bill began reading A.M. Homes, Irvine Welsh, shoppin Easton Ellis. Later discoveries were Jason Starr and Jim Bret Eas Thompson. Pretty soon, he figured he could do it himself. Thomps “When Chuck wrote Fight Club or Invisible Monsters, there was wa always something that you said or your friend

said, but he was the motherfucker who got to write it down and publish it,” Bill says. “A lot of the things he’d come up with were things that I’d hung out with my buddies and we’d done or talked about doing. When I read it, that’s what I thought: I can do this. Of course, I didn’t know it would take me eight to 10 years to get there. It’s a lot of work.” He had to leave behind martial arts in the process: “Finally, I got to where I was writing more and more, getting more comfortable with my voice, and I said, ‘I’m picking one over the other; I can’t do both anymore.’ I put the same type of effort into it; I stayed dedicated to it. But I couldn’t do both.” Early on, Bill found himself emulating Palahniuk: “I would take four or five of my favorite books, read them through four times, and I drew my own style from that. One of the first things I wrote was called “The Accident,” and I actually turned it into a novel called Acting Out. It sounded a lot like Chuck Palahniuk, but I actually had to write it to get it out of my system. I wanted to know I could write a novel from beginning to end. I wrote it in first and second person, pretty much in homage to Chuck.” After plenty of false starts – and getting “The Accident” published in an online zine – Bill started to find his voice, essentially by paring away much of what he thought was essential to a good story. He gave himself license to finally break the rules when writing a piece included in Crimes in Southern Indiana, “Trespassing between Heaven and Hell,” which concerned the true-life murder of a young girl. “The hardest part for me in teaching myself how to write was that I would always open a story with setting. Setting the scene. What I didn’t understand was that it was boring as hell, because I was setting the scene for probably four or five pages, and then all the action, the good stuff, was at the end. That was the first story where I was fed up: I was tired of writing these things that everybody wants, because everybody else was writing the same damn thing. So I started getting more into crime, and I was more comfortable with myself as a writer.” Through it all, Bill has worked at Southern Clay Products, a paint additive factory where he nearly lost his life in an explosion. That was followed by a bout with depression and post-traumatic stress that inspired “The Accident.” He would quit in “a heartbeat,” but his mainstream success has been recent, and opportunities for full-time employment elsewhere haven’t presented themselves. That’s why his writing time is restricted to early-morning hours before work and weekend mornings. He regrets not having as much time to edit as he would like. He has learned the importance of constant revision, holding on to stories until they’re the best he can make them.

Thug lit

Before he scored his two-book deal, Bill’s work was primarily published in online pulps with colorful names: Thuglit, Plot with Guns, Darkest Before the Dawn, Needle and Beat to a Pulp. He also received stacks of rejection letters from traditional literary journals: Missouri Review, The Georgia Review and North American Review. A crime fiction site,, published a couple of Bill’s acceptance letters as part of an interview. They provide insight into the supportiveness of the crime fiction scene, as well as a lack of ego demonstrated by most writers and editors involved, including Bill. Here’s a sample, from a letter to Bill from Lady Detroit, an editor at the influential crime lit site Thuglit: g

Frank, I just read your story “Old Testament Wisdom” for the third time and I have to tell you that it’s as powerful a story as any I’ve read anywhere. The cadence in the narrative, it’s damn lyrical, and at times point-perfect. I think your storytelling is striking and am surprised that you are still a “struggling writer.”

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That said, I think it would be a shame to publish this story just now. Honestly, it needs a good edit. Some of the sentences are so heavy with description, they drive the reader to a halt, especially in the action scenes. Even on a third reading, I found myself retracing steps through sentences to find out what’s actually happening. While you set the atmosphere with your descriptions, there are definitely some that are distracting. There are also a few similes bordering on the cliché and they stick out (not in a good way) amongst your other specifically crafted words. Basically you are a fucking explosion, and it’s pretty damn exciting, but I really feel it could be BRILLIANT if it was tamed a bit. Reading crime lit at Applebee’s

On the list of places most likely to host a literary reading, the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in Corydon would likely place near the bottom, somewhere in the vicinity of truck stop and funeral home. But the Applebee’s-styled chain outlet is a community hub. When Bill’s high-school buddy, a co-owner of the restaurant, offered to host the book launch party just after Bill inked the deal with FSG, Bill took him up on it. The reading takes place in a modest patio stationed directly behind the restaurant. It’s essentially a makeshift party zone roped off from the parking lot. The dumpsters of a White Castle, a fireworks store and a Long John Silver’s are within a few paces. Remember the closing scene from John Waters’ Pecker, when the cognoscenti who had discovered the titular photographer’s work descend on a scruffy Baltimore suburb, charmed as all get-out to attend an art show at a pizzeria? Well, the scene at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is a bit like that, though not everyone fits their stereotypes so easily. Most of the Corydon contingent is here for support. More than one exchange between Bill’s family members and friends goes like this: “You ever been to one of these readings?” “Nope; I’m just here for Bill.” But no one flinches as one reader, Indiana State prof Aaron Morales, works through a story concerned with incest and child abuse. Well, no one but Morales, who stops towards to end the note that Bill asked him to read this specific story and no other. While not everyone is into crime fiction, they are good friends, in-laws and parents. So they stay until the end, until Morales has finished talking of a grandfather who had nicknamed his granddaughter “Pomegranate.” It’s also one of the few socially acceptable occasions when a box of Playboy magazines might be handed out in polite company; it’s obvious some of the guys are getting a kick out of taking home a copy. Two guys say they’ll have to share one, but who’ll get the centerfold? Bill hasn’t made this event all about him. He has invited several key figures from the Midwest crime writing scene to speak, and it’s a measure of what people think of Bill that they’ve made the drive to a spot not exactly on the literary map. Several in attendance are involved in an ongoing reading series, Noir at the Bar, at which Bill made his first public reading. Matthew McBride stands out from the group — with a tiny, slightly insane voice, he reads an excerpt from an upcoming work which strikes a perfect chord between senseless violence and flippant observational humor. Bill’s agent, Stacia Decker, in for the reading, says she wasn’t surprised Bill scored a book deal so quickly, especially since a


Bill reads at his book launch party.

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new editor at FSG, Sean McDonald, was looking for, as Decker puts it, “strong, male voices.” McDonald had recently moved from the perennially hip, young Penguin imprint Riverhead to FSG when Bill’s manuscript hit his desk. He has edited the work of a long list of young-to-middle-aged males with more than a little talent: Junot Diaz, Aleksander Hemon, John Hodgman, George Saunders, the RZA. McDonald is editor of a new paperback imprint, FSG Originals. It is devoted to, according to marketing materials, work “driven by voices that insist on being heard, stories that demand to be told, writers who are compelled to show us something new.” Bill’s Crimes in Southern Indiana is one of three books that are launching the imprint, including a second effort by John Jeremiah Sullivan, a Kentucky writer with “erudite Southern charm” (again from the FSG catalog). Decker says she thinks a paperback release is perfect for Bill’s work, an ideal format for any new writer unless they have produced a hefty work of literary fiction. She initially sent his completed novel, Donnybrook, but FSG decided to publish the short story collection, another tried-and-true tried and true approach for introducing newcomers. ne

Bill and Donald Ray Pollock at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in Corydon.

From Knockemstiff to Corydon

I’ve left out one star at the party: Donald Ray Pollock, the Ohio-based writer who once, like Bill, made his living working in a factory. He’s sitting in the far back, a bit aloof from the crowd of younger writers from the Noir at the Bar camp, equidistant from the stage and a White Castle dumpster. Bill hadn’t met Pollock before the reading, though they’ve conversed frequently by email and Facebook. Pollock is now on his second published book and his first novel, The Devil All the Time. His short story collection, Knockemstiff, put him on the scene a few years back. Before he reads a flash fiction piece called “Life,” Pollock delivers a somewhat stern directive to the crowd: You ought to support talent like this from your own hometown, because this is a real talent. He said via phone after the reading that the support of his community — rural and Midwestern, like Bill’s — made a difference during his early years as a writer, when he was making the transition from full-time factory worker to full-time writer and Master of Fine Arts program student. “It was very important to me,” Pollock said. “Of course, I never had the other reaction. If it was like everyone ignored me or ignored the work, or didn’t show up for a reading or book signing, I guess I would have taken that more personally, than if people across the United States didn’t care for my work. You just have to ignore that, because not everybody’s going to like what you like. You can’t please everybody. But the people around here have supported me, all along.

When you’ve got a little town the size of Corydon in Southern Indiana, and you’ve got a guy who’s got a New York publisher and his book is out there nationwide, that’s a fairly big deal. Of course, I’m talking to you as a writer. There are a lot of people in Chillicothe — and probably a lot of people in Corydon — who think, ‘Ah, what the fuck. Who cares?’” Pollock has never advised Bill directly on his work. But he agreed to blurb it after reading Donnybrook, which he thinks “could easily be made into a movie,” because it’s “to a degree, crime fiction, but it goes a lot further than that.” He said he felt a little detached from the crime writing scene in which Bill is more directly involved. “I’m pretty much isolated where I am,” Pollock said. “But these guys, you can tell, support each other a lot. They go to each other’s readings, they push each other’s work, and that’s a thing that seems to be happening with Midwest writers in general.” An MFA program was Pollock’s ticket out of the factory. He received a stipend that made it financially feasible, and it gave him a chance to work on his fiction in a professional setting. But working at a factory afforded its own advantages, some of which Bill has talked about in interviews concerning his own gig at the paint additives plant. “One thing about working in a factory is guys are always telling stories — or telling lies, or whatever,” he said. “There were a lot of snatches of dialogue that I probably have picked up, at least sub-consciously, over the years. And then, once I started to determine that I wanted to learn how to write, I started to pay a lot more attention to that. And just the different voices, their manner of speaking, just listening to them talk, was good as far as learning how to write dialogue. “Another thing about being in a factory and then coming home and writing is I had been working in a factory for so long, doing the same job for so long, it was pretty much mindless. I didn’t have to think about it. … So when you got home, you felt like writing. Now, as for someone, especially a professor, who’s teaching and working with words all day — and student’s stories or essays — and he’s doing this all day long and it’s all mental work, I don’t see how in the hell you can come home and write after that. So I think working in a factory is maybe better for a writer.”

A Hoosier osier Mike Ham Hammer er

Once upon a time – back in the ’50s ’50s––there the was one writer guys could uld read without feeling feeling embarrassed: emb Mickey Spillane. Well, too, W ll maybe b Ernest E t Hemingway H i but let’s limit this for the sake of argument. Spillane’s main character, the sexist, racist, brutal detective Mike Hammer, who was to Sherlock Holmes as Dog the Bounty Hunter is to, say, Matlock, got himself involved in an intense amount of sex and violence in every novel. Most of it was gratuitous, all of it was written in a blunt, direct style with no garden-variety literary affectation. Like Spillane, Bill would like to be the guy who guys read. He’s doing it with many of the same tools Spillane used: sex, drugs, violence, morally questionable characters, a style of writing that scorns excessive description or psychoanalyzing. Bill hopes he has already converted a few guys with his first book. “A lot of guys I went to school with — who I’ve reconnected with — have all been really supportive of the book,” he says. “I hope they’re being sincere. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if they didn’t like it. I’d understand. It’s like you’ve hit that mark, though. You’re setting out to write something that you think guys will enjoy, and these guys probably didn’t read a lot while they were in school, but they read my book and they like it.” Given his intended audience, does he see a time when he will write books that aren’t somehow about crime? Not really, he says. “You’ve got to have bad people to make the good people look good. Nobody wants to pick up a book and read about a bad marriage. We’ve got plenty of those books and stories like that in The New Yorker. That’s why they write what they write, and I write what I write.” „

Indy Underground unearths fresh, energetic voices

Frank Bill will make his first local appearance this week as part of Indy Underground, an occasional series of readings presented by the Writers’ Center of Indiana and devoted to presenting new work in a relaxed, informal setting. He’ll be joined by Victoria Barrett, who is coordinating the event and will read her own work. Barrett, who teaches writing at Ball State and the Writers’ Center, recently launched a boutique press, Engine Books, devoted to new works of fiction. A mission statement lays out plans for the press to publish four titles per year, two by female writers. Barrett spoke about the series and fiction being produced in Indiana. NUVO: What’s the idea behind the Indy Underground series? What kind of authors do you try to bring in? BARRETT: Indy Underground was started by the author Will

Allison when he lived in Indianapolis and served on the Board of the Writers’ Center in order to provide a less academic, more celebratory reading series to complement the excellent university readings we have at Butler, IUPUI and University of Indianapolis. The series has always featured lively writers, beer or wine, and great venues. We feature a local writer alongside our visitor. Last summer we brought in Donald Ray Pollock. He read from the then-unfinished novel The Devil All the Time, which has now had a fabulous debut. Earlier this year, Alan Heathcock read from his story collection Volt -- along with Allison Lynn, who we’re really privileged to have living in Indy and teaching at Butler, reading from her next novel. All of those readers and books are terrific, but I’m particularly excited to feature Frank Bill, an Indiana writer just now making it big. We love writers whose work is fresh and energetic and new.

NUVO: What

do you think of Frank Bill’s work? Is it rare for an Indiana author to score a two-book deal with a major publishing house?

BARRETT: Frank’s book is going to be — is becoming already — that rare book that transcends its genre without betraying it, that walks the line between crime and literary. It’s living in the best of both worlds, with the sales potential of crime fiction but the credentials of literary writing.

Indiana has produced a ton of great writers, many of whom have done well in big publishing, whether they’ve stayed or gone: Patricia Henley, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, Christopher Coake. Now, a strong crop of young writers (30-something is young for a writer) is coming up in the city, writing terrific books, just making their ways into the publishing world. Within a few years, books are going to be pouring out of this area; two-book deals will be no surprise whatsoever. Indiana resists a concrete literary identity in the way that it resists an easy identity generally. And geography matters less and less to the business of writing. I don’t think that, right now, it’s any more surprising to see an Indiana writer than a writer anywhere get a great contract. But the question is going to become moot in the fairly near future.

Indy Underground Reading Series featuring Frank Bill and Victoria Barrett The Irving Theater, 5505 E. Washington St. Thursday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m., free, all-ages; beer and wine available 100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 09.28.11-10.05.11 // cover story



For comprehensive event listings, go to

do or die

Only have time to do one thing all week? This is it.


This year’s game is Albany State vs. Kentucky State.


Prepare to see puppets like you rarely see puppets.




Mike Wiltrout will once again emcee Indy’s most raucous and fun event.




Art vs. Art @ The Vogue

Event organizers promise that some art will die in this winner-take-all competition. Art vs. Art is actually a three-step event. The first step took place Sept. 10, with artists/competitors having four hours to create a painting using materials




provided by event organizers. The still-inprogress second step, occurring Sept.1629, involves people voting online for their favorite paintings. Step three, on Sept. 30 at The Vogue, represents the culmination of the competition, with a night of live music, the awarding of a $4,000 cash prize to the winner and, yes, the killing of some art. The Leisure Kings provide the music, and Mike Wiltrout emcees the event. 8 p.m. Tickets: $12 in advance; $15 the day of the show. 6259 N. College Ave., 259-7029, „

Leave the kids at home and head over to

Clowes for a night of foul-mouthed puppetry. Stuffed and Unstrung is an out-

landish, adults-only variety show featuring the puppets -- and puppeteers -- of The Jim Henson Company. You won’t see Kermit or Miss Piggy at this event; instead, you’ll get a rough-and-tumble gang of uninhibited puppets singing bawdy songs and riffing through blush-worthy sketches. Come prepared to interact with the performers; the puppeteers plan to solicit audience suggestions and improvise on the fly. Must be 18 or older to attend. 8 p.m. Tickets: $35. 4602 Sunset Ave., 940-6444, „




Circle City Classic @ Various locations The 28th annual Circle City Classic is a 2-day festival that

brings sports, music and comedy to downtown, drawing over 100,000 attendants annually. Start off your Friday night with Chris Tucker’s Comedy Jam at Old National Centre. If music’s your thing, catch Classic Cabaret at the ICC or Gospel Music Explosion at the Madame Walker Theatre. On Saturday, bring the kids downtown to the parade; it’ll leave from Vermont St. at 10 a.m. Later, hip-hop favorites Bow Wow and Monica will kick off the annual football game at Lucas Oil, where Albany State will take on Kentucky State at 2:30 p.m. „



Pink Flamingos @ Herron School of Art and Design

Bomb|Shell: Plays About War & Peace @ The BPP

Take in a cult classic and get prepped for John Waters’ appearance at this year’s Spirit & Place Festival . Pink Flamingos stars drag-queen extraordinaire Divine, following her travails as she competes for the title of “Filthiest Person Alive” while sharing a trailer in the woods with her mother, Eddie, and hippie son, Crackers. The screening takes place in the Basile Auditorium at the Herron School. Kevin Kelly of the LGBT Film Festival will be on hand to discuss Pink Flamingos,

Henson Alternative: Stuffed and Unstrung @ Clowes



Part of all-things-John-Waters this season, a showing of ‘Pink Flamingos.’

which was written, produced, directed, shot and edited by Waters, the incomparable filmmaking genius who’s scheduled to appear at the Madame Walker Theatre on Nov. 12. 7 p.m. Free. 735 W. New York St., 278-9400, „


„ Q&A with banned book author Sarah Ockler by Matt McClure „ Go&Do: your arts weekend by Jim Poyser

The Bloomington Playwrights Project explores the theme of war and peace through eight 10-minute plays. The BPP commissioned such luminaries as Jessie Eisenberg (Academy Award nominee), Jeff Daniels (two-time Tony winner) and Paris Barclay (two-time Emmy winner), among five other talented scribes, to write the plays. The end result: a night of alternately thought-provoking and laugh-outloud hilarious entertainment for you, the theatergoer. The event is part of Indiana „ Recap of Tattoo City Underground by Micah Ling „ Contenders: C-Span show about presidential losers by Marc Allan


Jesse Eisenberg is one of eight playwrights featured at the BPP.

University’s Fall 2011 Themester: Making War, Making Peace. 8 p.m. Sept. 30 and Oct. 1; Oct. 6-8; Oct. 13-15. Tickets: $18 general admission; $15 for students and seniors. 107 W. 9th St., Bloomington, 821323-3020, „ „ Interview with Ken Burns by Marc Allan „ Food Truck Friday: Scratch by David Hoppe „ Carmel Apple Festival by Paul Pogue

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GO&DO 30&1


ISO: Mahler’s Titan @ Hilbert Circle Theatre The ISO breathes fresh life into Gustav Mahler ’s Symphony No. 1, a

work that critics questioned more than 100 years ago for its unorthodox techniques but that today is roundly lauded for its innovative stylings. Mahler’s symphony -- perhaps better known by its alternate title, “Titan” -- carries listeners on a journey from inferno to paradise. The evening also features a performance by internationally acclaimed violinist Leila Josefowicz. A 2008 MacArthur Fellow with a reputa-


Leila Josefowicz

tion for championing new compositions, Josefowicz offers her take on Thomas Ades’ Concentric Paths, a violin concerto that premiered in 2005. 8 p.m. Friday; 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Ticket prices vary. 45 Monument Circle, 262-4908, „




Pilobolus @ The Center for the Performing Arts




Even those who don’t fancy dancing are likely to be thoroughly entranced by the inventive artistry of Pilobolus. The sensual, athletic and symbiotic movements of the dance company’s performers captivate and entertain. Founded 40 years ago at Dartmouth College and named after a fungus, Pilobolus has redefined the boundaries and potential of dance. The troupe delivered their most high-profile performance at the 2007 Academy Awards ceremony. 8 p.m. Saturday. Ticket prices vary. 335 City Center Dr., Carmel, 660-3373, „



Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then @ IMA Experimental filmmaker Brent Green employs live-action stop-motion techniques to tell the true story of Leonard Wood, a Kentucky man who reconstructs his home into a “healing machine” in a desperate attempt to save his cancerstricken wife. Green shot the film in his backyard, where he rebuilt the ramshackle home to scale. The film’s folkpunk score will be performed live during


go&do // 09.28.11-10.05.11 // NUVO // 100% RECYCLED PAPER


A still from Brent Green’s film.

the screening by Brendan Canty (from Fugazi), Drew Henkels, John Swartz and Donna K. (who plays Mary in the film). Enjoy the film under the stars in the IMA Amphitheater. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $15 for the general public; $10 for IMA members and students. 4000 Michigan Rd., 9202660, „




Second Helpings Harvest @ Second Helpings Come down to the Second Helpings Community Kitchen for an evening of food and fun at the 8th annual Harvest. This year, graduates of the organization’s culinary training program will serve up grub alongside some of Indy’s most notorious chefs. The evening will feature chefs from BARcelona Tapas, El Sol, R Bistro, 120 West and Duos, to name a few. Local craft beers Sun King, Flat 12 and Oaken Barrel will be



Enjoy delicious fare at Second Helpings.

available. Second Helpings has long worked to fight hunger through the power of food in Indianapolis, so come support this venerable cause. $60 adv/$70 door. 6 - 10 p.m. 1121 Southeastern Ave., 632-2664, www. „


Music Director Robert Crechesky leads the proceedings on Sunday.

Weiwen Ma is featured in this brand new piano recital series.






Ask the Sky and the Earth @ Clowes



Butler’s 65-piece wind ensemble collaborates with 100-plus singers from across the nation in the Midwest premiere of Ask the Sky and the Earth: A Canata for the Sent-Down Youth . The performance couples the music of Dongling Heo with a libretto by Wei Su to tell the story of the millions of Chinese children who were forced from their families and sent to the countryside during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Wei Su, a Tiananmen Square protestor, will give a pre-concert talk at 2 p.m. The concert begins at 3 p.m. and is free, but you still need a ticket. Pick up yours at the Clowes Hall box office. 4602 Sunset Ave., 9406444, „


Weiwen Ma @ Tabernacle Presbyterian Church Shanghai native Weiwen Ma, winner of the 2009 Cleveland Institute of Music Concerto Piano Competition, performs a solo recital with pieces from such legendary composers as Mozart, Chopin and Liszt. She recently earned first place at the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition in Manhattan, a triumph that resulted in what every young musician dreams of: a performance at Carnegie Hall. This event marks the first in a series of piano recitals hosted by the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church. Ivory tinklers Yuka Nakayama and Zsolt Bognar are scheduled to perform at the church in November and December, respectively. 2 p.m. Free. 418 E. 34th St., 923-5458, „ 100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 09.28.11-10.05.11 // go&do




October 1, 2011 Eugene & Marilyn Glick Center 1121 Southeastern Avenue


Reserve your spot today at R Bistro Best Chocolate in Town Santorini Greek Kitchen 120 West Market Fresh Grill

Osteria Pronto Calvin Fletcher Coffee Co. BARcelona Tapas Circle City Sweets

El Sol de Tala Ivy Tech Culinary Program Second Helpings Duos Mobile Kitchen

Sun King Brewing Flemings Prime Steakhouse Avec Moi Flat 12 Bierworks

A&E FEATURE A tale of twin brothers Rob and Ryan Koharchik design Indy theater BY K A T E L YN C O Y N E E DI T O RS @N U V O . N E T Audiences at the Indiana Repertory Theatre’s Going Solo festival may not know it, but they’re seeing two of Indianapolis’ most successful artists at work. Rob and Ryan Koharchik, designers and twin brothers, have the theater market in Indy cornered, at least in terms of sets and lights. Their combined resumes include virtually every major performance company here: the IRT, Civic Theatre, Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre, Beef and Boards, Butler University, just to name a few. The Koharchik brothers currently showcase their visual talents in three overlapping one-actor shows at the IRT: I Love to Eat, Nobody Don’t Like Yogi and Lost. Each show is staged in the same space, necessitating flexibility in the designs, which serves a different purpose for each show. Rob must create a set that can be transformed into virtually any location by Ryan’s lights. The brothers have tackled this Going Solo challenge together for three years running. “I try to sum up the three plays with one image,” Rob says, “and put that image on stage. This year we are concentrating on the individual details of the three plays. These three shows are a lot more specific in their place.” Meanwhile, Ryan creates specificity and flexibility in his light plot with a singular focus. “The lighting is actually based on a common element: home.” Ryan explains. “Whether they are reconnecting with home, trying to find home or coming back home, there is that home environment.”

A shared vocabulary

As the two combine forces to create a range of atmospheres for three very different stories, they fall into a natural shorthand. “There is a shared vocabulary,” Ryan admits, “because we’ve worked together so long. I already know what he is planning on doing when we get into the shows.” Rob adds, “More so than [with] any other designers I try to back off so I don’t cross that line. We try to keep it entirely professional. Even though I can be a little more blunt about what’s happening, I try not to get to that sibling rivalry.” Both brothers point to the danger of letting that professionalism break down during the collaborative process. “There are a bunch of other people around us as well, who are all collaborat-

ing,” Ryan notes. Adds Rob, “I want to make sure that shorthand doesn’t become so short that everyone else is not included.” Though Rob specializes in scenic design and Ryan focuses on lighting design, each is adept in both fields and each has a residency that involves exercising the two skills: Rob as a professor at Butler University and Ryan as Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre’s resident designer. But as Rob explains, “I won’t take work away from another lighting designer. When I’m working on the outside, I only take on work as a set designer. I think it’d be too confusing: two Koharchiks designing.” Their older sister, Christine, gave the twins a first taste of life behind the scenes, finding them work in their high school scene shop. After high school, the twins left their hometown of Hammond, Indiana, for Muncie and the Ball State University theatre program. “As undergraduates you establish yourself as the twins,” Rob jokes, “because that’s who you are.” After earning their undergraduate degrees, the twins applied to the University/Resident Theatre Association interviews. The URTAs put young theater professionals in front of several grad school programs at once. “When it came down to it,” says Ryan, “we had a number of offers from similar schools. We just decided to land on the same one because we thought it was good. We never sat down and said ‘Oh let’s go to the same place.’ We just happened to get accepted to the same places. We were never conscious of it.” Rob received his MFA in scenic design and Ryan got his MFA in lighting design from Boston University.


Above: Rob (left) and Ryan Koharchik; below, a set designed by Rob Koharchik ( American Buffalo).

Stay and build something

After graduation, Rob and Ryan set off to find careers. “I did a summer theater gig in Tennessee; then I ended up in Hammond for a little while,” Rob recalls. “I was driving through Indianapolis, and I had some friends who could get me some work. I’ve somehow developed a career here. It’s not a natural path for a designer to move to the middle of the country, in a small theater market. Especially then, downtown was kind of like a ghost town. I remember being able to drive downtown and park anywhere.” After spending some time as an assistant to a designer in Chicago, Ryan, too, made his way to the Circle City. “I would drive down every now and then for design work,” Ryan says, “and found work freelancing as an electrician. Then Civic offered me full time back in ‘95. I was going to pay off my student loans and head back to Chicago. But I ended up staying here. I have family here; I have jobs here. So why would I move?” Both Rob and Ryan opted to help create the burgeoning Indy theater community. “When — Rob Koharchik we saw all of the neighborhoods being rejuvenated downtown and theater being sparked,” Rob says, “we didn’t want to leave that. We felt like we were part of that growth. We can stay and build something.”

“I try not to get to that sibling rivalry.”


Ryan adds, “You establish a career and find out you have a lot of relationships. You become part of developing that city… It’s no longer about my career and finding work. It’s about building that community. “I’m not going to do Broadway sitting from this seat,” Ryan adds. “But if your goal is to create a career in the field, that’s what I’ve done here. But more than that, because I

In addition to cofounding ShadowApe Theatre with other local theater professionals, Rob and Ryan Koharchik have found a home at many of Indianapolis’ artistic institutions. Here’s what they’re currently working on: RYAN KOHARCHIK @ BOOTH TARKINGTON CIVIC THEATRE

My Gypsy Soul, Oct. 7-8 Amadeus, Oct. 28 - Nov. 12 Willy Wonka, Dec. 16 - Jan. 7 Lend Me a Tenor, Feb. 10-25

have the option to explore within that field.” “I think the quality of life is better. I have a life,” Rob says. “I assisted a designer in New York [during] my last semester of grad school, and that really did affect me. Do I really want to move to New York, live in a small apartment and battle for work day in, day out? Or can I make a living doing what I really want somewhere else?” „


The Nutcracker, Dec. 9-11


The Priest and the Prostitute, Nov. 2-13 Tartuffe, Feb. 15-16 The Love of Don Perlimplin for Belisa in the Garden, April 11-22 @ INDIANA REPERTORY THEATRE

The Miracle Worker, April 17 - May 20

100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 09.28.11-10.05.11 // a&e feature


A&E REVIEWS BOOKS THE COUGAR’S PREY e Larry D. Sweazy’s fourth book (Berkley Western Novel, $6.99) in his award winning Western series thrusts Josiah Wolfe into yet another cauldron of intrigues where friends and foes are interchangeable and the fate of the Texas Rangers seems to hang on the threads of his personal actions. In his third year of service, Ranger Wolfe is caught in events swirling around the financial crisis of 1873 and the lingering aftermath of the War Between the States [Civil War to northerners]. He’s also at the cusp of facing up to his own need to provide a stable home for his young son and balancing new love against haunting memories of his deceased wife and daughters. Josiah Wolfe is a flawed hero, which is what makes us embrace him all the more fiercely. He’s any one of us across time and place trying to do the right thing against odds. And that’s Sweazy’s gift as a storyteller — Texas circa 1870s is immediate, with officials entrusted to serve the greater good actually acting in their self-interest and motivated by personal greed. Josiah is basically a simple, decent person most often out of his element in a world of intrigue. How he balances his integrity against political machinations set to destroy the fabric of a good life for the “little people” is the stuff of Sweazy’s page turner series. The Cougar’s Prey is a worthy companion to The Rattlesnake Season, The Scorpion’s Trail and The Badger’s Revenge. — RITA KOHN

DANCE FALL WATER INDIANAPOLIS MUSEUM OF ART; FRIDAY, SEPT. 23. q What can I say about Fall Water? Held at dusk on the Fall Equinox, the site-specific dance piece used live music and live atmosphere to play in the boundary between light and darkness. The piece artfully moved the audience through a small portion of the 100 Acres Park at the IMA — a visual feast filled with cinematic images that felt, to


Larry Sweazy BOOK SIGNINGS: Oct. 4, 6-8 p.m., Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 17090 Mercantile Blvd., Noblesville; Oct. 15, 1-3 p.m., Mudsock Books, 11850 Allisonville Rd., Fishers; Oct. 22, 2-5 p.m., Black Dog Books, 115 S. Main St., Zionsville.

me, voyeuristic at times. Choreographer and performer Oguri is entrancing as he brings a taste of Butoh, the highly conceptual form of Japanese dance, to Indianapolis. Just as this site-specific performance is seen from as many different angles as there are audience members moving through and with the piece, so too does it offer as many different interpretations from each person viewing it. It was the kind of performance that provokes meditation on whatever subject has been batting around in the back of your head. Fall Water was simply beautiful. Do not miss the next time this L.A. based group comes to town. — KATELYN COYNE


Krzysztof Urbanski


a&e reviews // 09.28.11-10.05.11 // NUVO // 100% RECYCLED PAPER


A scene from IU’s ‘Cosi fan tutte’ (see next page for review).

MUSIC CARMINA BURANA ISO SYMPHONIC HITS PROGRAM NO. 2; HILBERT CIRCLE THEATRE; SEPT. 23-24. e Carmina Burana (1936) is surely-enough an aural display vehicle. But it is also a visual display: its stage virtually packed to the brim with performers, a huge Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra with two pianos and a large percussion battery, the full Indianapolis Symphonic Choir under Eric Stark, plus the Indianapolis Children’s Choir under Henry Leck, plus three vocal soloists—all conducted by ISO music director Krzysztof Urbanski. The Circle was, in any case, well filled on Saturday. Burana earns its popularity not from the suggested bawdiness of the verses, which in fact are quite mild by any standard blend of voices and instrumentation, underwritten by a driving, pulsating, accelerating, seemingly “primitive” rhythm which pulls the listener into his sphere. Urbanski, the orchestra, both choirs and vocal soloists Hugh Russell, Erin Morley and Christopher Pfund deserve much commendation for completely enveloping the Circle audience into Orff’s orbit. Being rather well executed, Burana produced deafening, standing applause at the end. Two near-contemporary, minimalist Polish pieces for string orchestra began the program. For more review details and sidelights, visit — TOM ALDRIDGE MERIDIAN SONG PROJECT RESIDENT ARTIST STEVEN STOLEN WITH GARY WALTER AT THE PIANO, TRINITY EPISCOPAL CHURCH, SEPT. 25. r Steven Stolen opened the Meridian Song Project’s15th season with a roster of songsI’ve-been-meaning-to-get-to. Some seemed too intimate until now, some a bit out of style range, some simply were stories waiting to get wrapped into the amazingly symbiotic way Gary Walters and Stolen bring a song into being — always allowing the lyrics to intertwine with the music’s subtext as a sculpted 3-D work of art. Stolen’s introductions personalize and broaden,


Steven Stolen placing each song within the context of his own life and its genesis in the world of music. Arriving to hear the last part of the concert, this reviewer gained sufficient connections to comment on why this is a turning point in Stolen’s career as a soloist and member of ensembles. One has to grow into an understanding of self that allows for vulnerability yet avoids sentimentalism. When Stolen spotlights Ira Gershwin’s lyrics apart from his collaboration with brother George, he reminds us to appreciate an artist as an individual within many contexts. The same goes for Kurt Weill’s music with a range of lyricists, which allows Stolen to savor an insider moment — “September Song” is “perhaps Weill’s greatest standard with lyrics by Maxwell Anderson. Yep, IMA’s Max’s grandfather.” Stolen is confessional with Sondheim — sharing a desire to remain childlike in delighting life while wanting to be seen as a responsible adult building a family that some people consider out of the mainstream. Check out Meridian Song Project’s season on Facebook and for “Stolen Moments,” a weekly WFYI Radio show. —RITA KOHN



Ghost Town S i x B u i l d i n g s o f Te r r o r

Oct. 1-31

259 S. Center St. (Greenfield-next to Monon Trail) Thursday: Noon-11pm • Friday: Noon-Midnight Saturday: Noon-Midnight • Sunday: Noon-10pm 100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 09.28.11-10.05.11 // a&e reviews



Friday, October 14, 2011 Frid

7:30 PM

9500 E. 16th Street Indianapolis, IN 46229 • 317.532.6280

Expectations are high and met for the new production of Cosi fan tutte at Jacobs School of Music. Mozart’s early19th century seemingly flip commentary on “Women are like that” when it comes to love and fickleness poses problems for us in the 20th century. We now prefer to share blame across genders. So why produce the opera? The music, which makes us listen to the way we say something — not merely what is being said. Amidst the silliness there is depth — it’s about comprehending why we profess love by confronting what it is that attracts and holds us to that love. It’s equally about recognizing why someone else can sway us to go against our principles. Mozart is having fun at the expense of youthful follies, and it hurts. But we’re learning a lot about ourselves as the events of a day unfold. IU’s production is believable and enjoyable because the four lovers are young and a bit over the top in their self-assurance, the perpetrator of the action is smugly cynical and his accomplice is adroitly manipulative. There’s reality — in the end it’s not unequivocally happily ever after; there are doubts. Is it possible to gain wisdom in 24-hours? Is it possible to have your own life exposed in two acts? Yes, when it’s Mozart and his librettist Lorenzo da Ponte who are masters of human nature, and yes, when it’s IU Opera partnering fine singing with outstanding acting on stage and an excellent orchestra in the pit. This production plumbs the souls of the six main characters to allow them to reveal what truly motivates their choices within proscribed options. Make the trip. — RITA KOHN MADAMA BUTTERFLY INDIANAPOLIS OPERA, CLOWES MEMORIAL HALL, SEPT. 23 AND 25. r Korean soprano Jee Hyun Lim, a hit in the title role of Indianapolis Opera’s 2004

production of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (1904), returned last weekend to reprise her role with the same gusto she gave us then. Though Friday-evening’s Clowes Hall was not quite filled (a sign of our times), those attending were enraptured enough to confirm the point in IO’s fifth Butterfly. With Lim singing the title role— something she has done seemingly countless times since her 2004 IO debut — we had a true Asian Butterfly, excellent both as a singer and characterizer — and with a rich, vibrant, yet well controlled delivery. And once again she sang her Act 2 “Un bel di” (“One Beautiful Day”) — perhaps the most familiar aria in the world to non-opera lovers — about as well as anyone I can recall. Tenor Garrett Sorenson delivered a well projected Lt. Pinkerton but with less vocal ease. He was outflanked by baritone Jeffrey Mattsey as Sharpless, Nagasaki’s American consul, who added an opulent gravitas to his role. Mezzo-soprano Sarah Heltzel made her IO debut as Suzuki, Butterfly’s servant. Between Joseph Hu as Goro, the Japanese marriage broker and Darren K. Stokes as the Bonze, Butterfly’s uncle who places an ominous curse on her when she chooses to marry outside her faith, Stokes’ well honed delivery stood out. IO conductor James Caraher continues to demonstrate that the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra provides a polished a pit ensemble — especially given this opera’s challenging scoring. Stage director Bill Fabris handled his relatively small cast with full, professional aplomb. The single set of Butterfly’s home from outside, complete with walkway and a “Japanese bridge,” was the effective work of designer Carey Wong, who also designed IO’s 2004-production set. For a brief plot synopsis and more review details, visit — TOM ALDRIDGE LOST INDIANA REPERTORY THEATRE, THROUGH OCT. 15. e This autobiographical script began as a series of poems by Cathy Ostlere and grew into creative non-fiction essays. It now reaches the next phase of its journey as the IRT produces the American premiere of this dramatic adventure play. In Lost, audiences travel around the world with Cathy


Jee Hyun Lim and Garrett Sorenson starred in ‘Madama Butterfly.’


a&e reviews // 09.28.11-10.05.11 // NUVO // 100% RECYCLED PAPER

Roadworthy Guitars proudly presents The 18th Annual

Indiana Guitar Show &

Stringed Instrument Swap Meet One Day Only! BUY • SELL • TRADE • NEW • USED • VINTAGE

Saturday, October 1st Indiana State Fairgrounds

1202 E. 38th St., Indianapolis, IN. 46205

10:30AM - 5:30PM • Admission $8 Kids 12 and under free with adult

For more info visit 812-824-1280 SUBMITTED PHOTO

David Terry and Carly Kincannon in ‘Spring Awakening.’ (Constance Macy) as she endeavors to discover the truth of her brother’s disappearance at sea. A favorite at the IRT, Macy struts her acting chops in this solo show, manifesting each moment with sensitivity and heart. She captivates the audiences, carrying us through a course carefully charted to illicit laughter and disbelief. The construction of the play presents an acting challenge as Macy performs different characters that illuminate the various perspectives that lead Cathy on her journey. But Macy is a woman-ofa-thousand-voices, metamorphosing both vocally and physically into each character without adding commentary. While some of the play’s heightened emotional moments feel belabored, perhaps because of the constant shifting, Macy delivers honesty on stage that is refreshing. 140 W. Washington St., 317-635-5252, www.irtlive. com — KATELYN COYNE


Work by Tara Donovan.




Based on Frank Wedekind’s 19th century drama, Spring Awakening pits sexually ignorant teens against over-protective adults, who suppress the truth about puberty at all costs. This Tony Award-winning musical melds period costumes and manners with modern music in a rock-opera format imitative of Hair or Rent. The Phoenix presents a polished production with sleek scenic and lighting designs that incorporate the rock-n-roll aspects of the show. Jolene Moffat and Kurt Owens are chilling as members of the oppressive society of adults surrounding these naïve, rebellious teens. However, the cast of young actors falls short in bringing this story to life. While their voices shone in a melodious blend backed by energetic choreography, they failed to connect their emotional circumstances to the songs they sang. The fresh-faced actors had a strong handle on the melodramatics of teenagerdom, but the lack of emotionally-alive singing undercut the story arc. However, if you, like myself, have never seen Spring Awakening, this is a wonderful (and probably rare) opportunity to see the show in Indy without the high ticket price of a traveling Broadway show. 749 N. Park, 317-635-7529, — KATELYN COYNE

Brooklyn-based Tara Donovan is known for her site-specific installations that fill vast museum spaces with accumulations of everyday objects. Some of her cube-shaped sculptures, for example, are accumulations of thousands of straight pins. Donovan’s complete set of seven relief prints in this show also employ pins — but as part of a printing process. She starts out a particular relief print by sticking thousands of pins through foam core in a particular pattern that pleases her. She then inks the pin heads. The pattern is then recorded on paper, utilizing a hydraulic press. The resulting swarms of black dots on paper might suggest to you organic processes at the molecular level. You might also think, when looking at certain prints, of cloudscapes. Other prints, printed with repeating circular patterns, might make you think of rock-clinging crustaceans along a stretch of beach shore. These are the same kind of associations that might also come to mind in approaching her 3D work in a museum setting. (You might also sense a certain irony in seeing organic processes being mimicked by accumulations of manufactured materials.) But, regardless of whether you’re approaching Donovan’s work in this particular gallery show or in a museum space, all you really need to appreciate it is a sense of wonder. 27 E. Main St, Carmel; 317-8447278, — DAN GROSSMAN 100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 09.28.11-10.05.11 // a&e reviews



6281 N. College Ave. Wednesday, Sept. 28-Saturday, Oct. 1

Named by Entertainment Weekly as one of 12 comics to watch in 2009, Roy has been featured on the new season of CBS’ The Late Show w/ David Letterman, HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, CBS’ Late Late Show w/ Craig Ferguson, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, and is a regular guest on the E! Network’s ‘Chelsea Lately’.

FOR RESERVATIONS, CALL 255-4211 Tickets: $8-$18

Upcoming: Wed., Oct. 12-Sat., Oct. 15 Ryan Dalton

*special events not included

All shows are non-smoking


247 S. Meridian Wednesday, Sept. 28-Saturday, Oct. 1

Cavanagh’s stand-up routines have been featured on television networks such as ABC, Showtime Network and Comedy Central. Since 1997, he has had a regular segment on ‘The Bob and Tom Show’. Tim is also featured in the book ‘The Complete Idiots Guide To Jokes’.



Every Wednesday with reservation

Upcoming: Wed., Oct. 5-Sat., Oct. 8 Brad Williams Wed., Oct. 12-Sat., Oct. 15 Ron Shock

Best Hummus & Falafel In Town! Gyros with Pita Bread Made Fresh Daliy!

Authentic Mediterranean Restaurant 1045 Broad Ripple Ave. 317-252-5911 Hours: Mon. - Thurs. 11am - 10pm Fri. & Sat. 11am - 11pm, Sun: 11am - 9pm

11321 Village Sq. Lane Fishers 317-578-2457 Hours: Mon. - Sat. 11am - 10pm Sun: 11am - 7pm


1.00 $ 99 7 Off COMBO

Any Sandwich


2.00 Off


4.00 OFF

Gyro Sandwich, Fries & Drink

Any Dinner Entree

Buy one Dinner, Get $4.00 OFF SECOND!!

Please present Money Mailer coupon. Cannot be combined with any other offers.

Please present Money Mailer coupon. Cannot be combined with any other offers.

Please present Money Mailer coupon. Cannot be combined with any other offers.

Please present Money Mailer coupon. Cannot be combined with any other offers.

EXPIRES 10/12/11.

EXPIRES 10/12/11.

EXPIRES 10/12/11.

EXPIRES 10/12/11.

FOOD A timeless elegance

The Libertine is second to none BY N E I L CH AR L E S N CH A RL E S @N U V O . N E T An elegant brick building from the 1820s, the façade painted a muted dove grey. The long and narrow interior, subtly lit, decked out in greys and earth tones, full of angles and edges, the back wall dominated by an array of department store display nooks. We could be in Barcelona or San Francisco, but instead we’re on a historically crummy stretch of Washington Street. For a genuine taste of old Indy before entering the ultramodern environs of Libertine, try parking across the street, but make sure you bring $5 in quarters to stuff into tiny slots in the old metal cash box. Owner Neal Brown has taken a bit of a gamble moving here, but not too much of a gamble, I believe, because Libertine provides precisely the kind of liquid shot in the arm that downtown south of the Circle has been sorely lacking for years.

This is not your father’s cocktail bar, and it’s not the kind of place you come to drink eight ounce Cosmopolitans and dance on the bar in four-inch heels. Everything here is measured, from the agreeable volume of the music to the meticulous proportions of the drinks prepared by stylishly-clad mixologists. The attention to detail is a source of satisfaction in itself: I spent almost as much time admiring the serving dishes and glassware as I spent enjoying what was in them. There’s an unforced elegance here that seems timeless. First off, the drinks. These are second to none, and easily as imaginative as almost any to be found in major cities. The ingredients are exclusively from small producers: Cocchi and Dolin Vermouth, Blue Coat gin, Death’s Door vodka, Willett’s whiskey, Luxardo maraschino; the list goes on. The people at the big corporate wholesale companies must be kicking their own butts that they can’t get a lookin here. But of course they’re the same people who for decades have been trying to eradicate artisan distillers and family producers. So tough luck, guys. Cocktail prices may seem a little high, but bear in mind you’re drinking hand-crafted products and house-made tinctures: in short, works of art in a glass. Similarly the wine list is expertly thought out, and contains a number of thrilling bottlings from lesser-known regions of Europe, with a strong emphasis on Spain. Prices are reasonable, and well below downtown’s customary three hundred percent markup.




SEPT. 29 – OCT. 1

You don’t need electricity to eat well! On Friday, the Harrison Center will close out the 2011 FoodCon with a class on how to cook food without heat. Local chefs, home cooks and academic experts will teach visitors about the best ways to eat well without wasting energy. Attendants will learn methods for fermenting, pickling and dehydrating, and explore creative ways to enjoy raw food. Plenty of sample dishes will be available for tasting. The class will be hosted by Butler University’s Earth Project, an intellectual and creative movement aimed at bettering our planet. 5 - 7 p.m. 505 N Delaware St # 6, 3963886,


Indianapolis Wine Festival @ Military Park Vino! Vino! Vino! Military Park transforms into a mini Napa Valley, minus the rolling vineyards, with a celebration of wine, food and music. Sample from a selection of 270 wines from around the world. Indulge in fresh dishes from such local eateries as Osteria Pronto, 14 West and Iozzo’s. Enjoy live music from the Marylandbased band Lloyd Dobler Effect. Ticket prices include a souvenir wine glass, 10 wine tastings, cooking demos, and food and wine seminars. Must be 21 or older to attend. 4-10 p.m. Friday; 2-8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets: $27 in advance; $35 at the door. 801 W. Washington St., 233-2434,

If you have an item for the Culinary Picks, send an e-mail at least two weeks in advance to


The heirloom tomato terrine ($8.00), topped with a sweetly savory tomato aspic.

The food menu is short and expertly executed, but bear in mind that these are small plates, not nose in the feedbag-sized servings. Try the succulent lamb neck rillettes ($9), meltingly tender, very lamby and slightly fatty, served with spicy mustard and pickled shallots. Or the wonderful deviled eggs ($8), six halves to a serving, with savory, intense preparations such as smoked whitefish with paddlefish caviar, or the egg pickled with a horseradish filling. Escoffier himself would have been proud of this last dish. Libertine is exactly the kind of place that deserves support from anyone who puts value on independence, local produce and creativity. Visit soon, and visit often. „

The Libertine

38 E Washington St, Indpls, IN 46204 (317) 631-3333


TUESDAY-WEDNESDAY: 4 p.m.-12 a.m. THURSDAY: 11 a.m.-12 a.m. FRIDAY: 11 a.m.-1:30 a.m. SATURDAY: 4 p.m.-1:30 a.m.



Great American Beer Festival in Denver. Watch for Indiana winning beers.

OCT. 1

The Rathskeller, Taste of Germany includes samples from Flat 12. New Albanian Brewing Company releasing ThunderFoot Cherry Imperial Stout 22-oz bomber bottles for carry-out purchase by the general public at both NABC locations as part of Harvest Homecoming Parade day in New Albany. What’s left will be distributed by Cavalier. Upland Brew Pub in Bloomington, annual Oktoberfest featuring an ALL German menu and live music all day.

OCT. 6

Rock Bottom, 86th St. Indy. 6 p.m. tapping of Rocktoberfest.

OCT. 8

Brew Bracket, Indiana State Fairgrounds, taste 16 different Indiana Stouts and vote for your favorites in a blind, head-to-head comparison. Tickets: $35 participant; $7 for


Triton Brewing tapped its first beers, Fieldhouse Wheat, Magnificent Amber and Four Barrel Brown. “Bring in your growler or buy one for $3. Fills are $10. Open Sundays 11a.m.-5 p.m. (10 a.m. on Colts 1 p.m. kicks).” Grand opening set for Oct. 15. If you have an item for Beer Buzz, send an email to Deadline for Beer Buzz is Thursday noon before the Wednesday of publication. 100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 09.28.11-10.05.11 // a&e


Now t h e la rg e st b u f f e t s e l e c t i o n i n t ow n!



Daily Lunch Buffet: 11am-2:30 pm Dinner: Mon-Thurs. 5-10 pm, Fri. 5:00-10 pm Sat. 2:30-10 pm, Sun. 2:30-9:30 pm

10% OFF Carry out or Dine In One Coupon Per Table. Not Valid With Any Other Offer. Only valid on menu order. Expires 10/12/11

$1.00 OFF Daily lunch buffet

One Coupon Per Table. Dine In Only. Not Valid With Any Other Offer Expires 10/12/11


Sunday & Daily Lunch Buffet: 11:30am-2:30 pm Dinner: Mon-Fri. 5-10 pm, Sat. 2:30-10 pm Sun. 2:30-9:30 pm Buy one dinner entree & get the 2nd entree

1/2 OFF

Up to $10.00. Dine In Only. Not Valid With Any Other Offer Expires 10/12/11

Catering for private parties! Call for carryout! | THE SPOT for vegan and vegetable dishes! (non-veggie too!) Come in for our Sunday dinner buffet! | Up to 250 people banquet hall for parties or conferences

MOVIES 50/50 BY E D JO H N S O N - O T T EJO H N S O N O T T @N U V O . N E T

r (R) In 2005, writer Will Reiser learned he had cancer. His close friend Seth Rogen had no idea how to deal with the situation, other than to hang in there with his pal. Eventually, they decided that the experience would make a good movie. All of which brings us to 50/50, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing Adam, a 27-year-old NPR staff person and Rogen playing Kyle, his best buddy. 50/50 mixes a rude buddy comedy with a harrowing cancer drama. It has heart, but steers away from sentiment. Reiser’s screenplay includes subplots involving Adam’s girlfriend, mother, therapist and fellow patients. Some parts work better than others, and everything works better than the clunky scenes between Adam and his wildly unprofessional therapist, portrayed annoyingly by Anna Kendrick. What works best is the buddy comedy, because the friendship between Adam and Kyle rings true. Kyle starts off as the kind of character you would expect Seth Rogen to play — smart, but juvenile and prone to

blurting out funny, vulgar remarks. Over the course of the film, we see more substance from Kyle — he’s still an arrested adolescent, mind you, but he’s an arrested adolescent who sticks with his friend through the hard times. Kyle’s all right. Adam is a bright, self-effacing guy, the type Joseph Gordon-Levitt has played so well in previous films. He’s not a saint, though — we see his anger and impatience with those in his inner circle. The film is a lot like Seth Rogen’s character — predictable and overly broad at first, with more depth revealed as the story proceeds. Did the diagnosing doctor need to be that insensitive? No, but from what friends have told me, there really are professionals whose bedside manner is as bad as his. Did Adam’s girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard), overwhelmed by her boyfriend’s illness, need to do ... er, what she does? No, but it leads to a swell discovery scene by Kyle. Adam’s mother (Angelica Huston) comes across as a walking cliché at first, but you know she’s going to become more nuanced because, hey, it’s Angelica Huston. Matt Frewer and Philip Baker Hall are fine as fellow cancer patients who become friends with Adam. Their introduction made me nervous — I feared they would be too cute, noble, wise and generally adorable for words — but the veteran actors manage to make them feel genuine and relatable. I don’t have similarly positive words for Katherine, the inexperienced counselor/


Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogan star in ‘50/50.’

therapist played by Kendrick. She starts off acting like an idiot and gradually evolves into a slightly less fidgety idiot. Adam’s diagnosing doctor is cold and clueless. His therapist Katherine is a cluck. Good Lord, what medical facility from hell did this man select for his treatment? Thankfully, no matter what missteps the screenplay takes, the relationship between best friends Adam and Kyle gets the pro-

ceedings back on track. 50/50 deals with one man’s hell, made more bearable by his friendship with a loyal, loving doofus. It’s inspirational without getting sappy, it’s funny enough to make the painful parts bearable and it’s credible when it counts. „




The following are reviews of films currently playing in Indianapolis area theaters. Reviews are written by Ed Johnson-Ott (EJO) unless otherwise noted. BREAKING AWAY (PG)

Cycling, film and nostalgia converge for Bloomington’s Breaking Away, a daylong festival celebrating the bicycle drama that put Bloomington on the map. The day will begin with a 10-mile bike tour (3-5 p.m.) led by Breaking Away expert Jim Schroeder. Riders will explore the original shooting locations used in the film. Next, head to the Buskirk-Chumley Theater (114 E. Kirkwood Ave.), where local filmmakers will present their own creations for the Video Shootout Competition. The evening will culminate with a 7 p.m. screening of the 1979 classic itself. $15 tour & screening, $5 screening only.


Christian drama. Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. The four law enforcement officers are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge none of them are prepared to tackle: fatherhood. Following a tragedy, the men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God and to their children?


Mystery/thriller. Successful publisher Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) quit a job in New York City to relocate his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz), and two girls to a quaint New England town. They soon learn that their perfect home was the scene of the murder of a mother and her children and the entire town believes it was at the hands of the husband who survived. Yikes. Also starring Naomi Watts, Elias Koteas, Marton Csokas and Taylor Geare. 92 minutes.


Vera Farmiga’s directorial debut depicts the landscape of a tight-knit spiritual community thrown off-kilter when one of their own begins to question her faith. Inspired by screenwriter Carolyn S. Briggs’ memoir, This Dark World, the film tells the story of a thoughtful woman’s struggles with belief, love and trust in human relationships as well as in God. Starring Farmiga, Joshua Leonard, Dagmara Dominczyk and John Hawkes. 109 minutes. At Landmark’s Keystone Art Cinema.


Comedy. After reading a magazine article that leads her to believe she’s going to be forever alone, Ally Darling (Anna Faris) begins a wild search for the best “ex” of her life. Costarring Chris Evans, Ari Graynor, Blythe Danner, Ed Begley Jr. and Oliver Jackson-Cohen. 106 minutes.


Moneyball looks like an underdog sports movie, but it veers far away from the path usually followed by films of the genre. Based on the 2003 book by Michael Lewis, with an engaging screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, it tells the story of how Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and his young assistant Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) revolutionized baseball by focusing on statistics rather than star power. What makes Moneyball a pleasure isn’t the new-approachto-baseball business. The appeal of the film comes from its quirky rhythms, interestingly neurotic characters, and fine cast.

100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 09.28.01-10.05.11 // a&e


music Dreamers of the Ghetto

Bloomington family band marries XX and early U2



ero, possibly the kindest pit bull on the planet, shyly welcomes me to a large, old house in Bloomington that, for the purposes of this story, we’ll call the Dreamers of the Ghetto manse. Hero sticks by Dreamers bassist Luke Jones’s side like a curious child. He even shares a chair with Luke when we sit and chat over cold drinks. Guitarist Jonathan Jones sits close by, even quieter than Luke and Hero. Keyboardist Lauren Jones ushered me in with the most genuine hug a person can imagine. Luke Jones and his wife, Lauren, live with Luke’s brother, Jonathan, and Jonathan’s wife, Holly at the manse. Luke, Lauren, Jonathan, and the fourth member of Dreamers of the Ghetto, drummer Marty Sprowles, make up a family band, of sorts. Hero (the dog) is a pretty good metaphor for this family, and this band. They’re all tough — they can rock — but in the end, they’re humble, happy to be where they are, doing what they’re doing. It feels rare to be in such a house and around people living out what they love. It smells good here, like incense and food. The lighting soothes. According to Luke, “We all decided to move in together so we could work out this dream.” He and Lauren lived in Nashville, Tenn., for ten years before joining Jonathan in Bloomington — that’ll give anyone armor. The couple loved Nashville, and still do — Lauren grew up in southern Tennessee — but it was time to get out. Jonathan had started school at IU in 2004, with a focus on creative writing. There had always been collaborations — between the Jones brothers, then Luke and Lauren, etc. But when they brought their friend Marty into the mix, they had their magic. Maybe you’ve already seen this band — they’ve played Radio Radio, The White Rabbit, Locals Only and Bloomington’s The Bishop — but you’re about to see a whole lot more of them. Dreamers of the Ghetto recently signed a two-album deal with Temporary Residence Limited out of Brooklyn; their debut fulllength, Enemy/Lover, is due from the label Oct. 4. Local label Roaring Colonel Records is also on board: The My Old Kentucky Blogaffiliated outfit is issuing a 7-inch containing two exclusive tracks: on the A-side, a radio edit of “Tether,” a different version of which appears as the closing track on the 32

PERFORMING: Tuesday, Oct. 4, 7 p.m. at LUNA Music (free in-store and release party for Enemy/Lover) Saturday, Oct. 22 at Russian Recording, Bloomington (Halloween-themed show) PHOTO BY GREG SHAPPELL

Dreamers of the Ghetto — from left, Lauren Jones, Luke Jones, Jonathan Jones, Marty Sprowles — connect with their animal selves .

full-length; and “Heavy Love” on the B-side. Even labels that aren’t releasing work by Dreamers of the Ghetto have helped out the band. Ben Swanson, co-founder of the Bloomington-based label, Secretly Canadian, selected Dreamers of the Ghetto to take part in Shaking Through, a Philadelphia-based web series that gives up-and-coming bands the chance to record new work in highend facilities and with expert assistance. Swanson, a guest curator for the series, discovered Dreamers of the Ghetto at a Bloomington basement show and knew right away that the band was onto something. “A lot of new bands are doing really interesting things, but they’re still fairly scrappy — still working things out,” Swanson says. “I was really impressed with just how evolved their sound was. They’re a band that’s weird to compare to others. My brother [Chris Swanson] says they’re a marriage between xx and early U2.” Swanson considered some East coast bands for the series, but after thinking it over for a week, he decided that it would be great to get a local Indiana band in there. The series, which has featured Sharon van Etten, Ben+Vesper, Springs and Family Band, is produced by Philadelphia station WXPN and the non-profit music incubator Weathervane Music.


„ Concert reviews: Foster the People, Arctic Monkeys, Yuck, The

music // 09.28.11-10.05.11 // NUVO // 100% RECYCLED PAPER

Working it Marty Sprowles plays drums for Dreamers of the Ghetto; he also plays for EDM (formerly Early Day Miners) and works at a group home for the mentally ill. Even though he’s the only member of the band not literally in the Jones family, he might as well be a brother. He carries the same attitude as the entire band — they all make it look easy, because they’re genuinely in love with it. Luke, Lauren and Jonathan also have jobs around town: at cafes, bars, and restaurants. They don’t mind — if, eventually, they’re not working other jobs, that would also be great. If, eventually, they’re touring with The National or Explosions In the Sky, well, that might be something of a dream come true; when you hear them, jamming in a basement lit with orange Christmas lights, it doesn’t seem so far off. The band sees Bloomington and Indianapolis as places to play around a bit, safe zones to try out new work. When they’re away from home, they stick to their standards, playing more traditional shows. Regardless, everything they do seems to be organic: sometimes they write songs starting with a beat, sometimes a chord or a lyric;

Avett Brothers, Elvis Costello, Shellac, Lotus Fest, They Might Be Giants „ Features: Big D and the Kids Table, Beat Jab album reviews

almost they end up somewhere interesting. Members of Dreamers of the Ghetto all seem able to explain what they love about other musicians — but that’s the job of any artist: to mimic others until they know enough and are inspired enough to do their own thing. For instance, some band members recently attended the Twilight Singers’ show at the Metro in Chicago. Luke says “the energy at that show is what we’re trying to achieve — the show really mimicked everything that’s great about the Twilight Singers’ new album.” Plus, at the Chicago show, the Twilight Singers played a unique, remix version of Prince’s “When Doves Cry”; that automatically endeared them to the band. Everyone in the band agrees it’s an exciting time to be in Indiana, with so many bands being signed and doing interesting things. They seem earnestly proud to be in on that. And so, they’re sticking around, at least for a while. They like Bloomington as a central location to tour from. Lauren mentions that “it’s close to so many great music cities: Chicago, Louisville, Cincinnati, even Nashville.” „

Stephen Malkmus:

Ich bin ein Berliner, says former Pavement frontman B Y W A D E CO G G E S H A LL M U S I C@N U V O . N E T Life has changed for Stephen Malkmus since becoming an indie rock hero in the 1990s as frontman for the influential lo-fi band Pavement. Now 45, Malkmus is married with two children. This year he moved from his longtime home in Portland, Ore., to Berlin, “a place where Indianapolis Colts fans would probably like to be this year because they couldn’t see any football,” he jokes during a recent phone interview. In sum, he’s no longer the single twentysomething living out of a backpack. PHOTO BY LEAH NICKS “That changes some things,” Malkmus Malkmus and Joanna Bolme of the Jicks says. “But I still like to shred. Rock and roll is king to me. A really good jam, I’m as excited about that as I ever was.” and band co-founder Scott Kannberg’s His fifth record with his current band major contribution was telling Malkmus the Jicks, Mirror Traffic, is something of a whether he liked certain songs. Bassist departure from the disheveled, fragmented Mark Ibold was rather shy when he joined sound that became Pavement’s trademark. the fold. Malkmus admits to being domiProduced by Beck, it’s more of a condensed neering to the point where and well-adjusted affair. Ibold didn’t even play Not that Malkmus necmuch on the early albums. essarily set out to keep “(The Jicks) are more of things under control. All a standard group operahe knew was he wanted tion where everyone does something that sounded his or her part,” Malkmus “lively” and “life-like.” says. “You might point “We kept it sort of something out that you medium-sounding,” want to hear more of. But Malkmus says. “It’s not the rest everyone’s doing trying to jump out and —Stephen Malkmus their own stuff.” say ‘I’m alive.’ The takes The struggle now is still have a looseness coming to terms with the and improvisational feel fact the Jicks aren’t of the within the focus. Not same stature that Pavement enjoyed. But having it sound unfresh is kind of all I Malkmus still gets as much joy in recording can really hope for now. That’s kind of and performing as he always has. what I gravitate towards now in music.” “It’s the in-between stuff that gets a Nor does he expect to incorporate much little harder as you get older – waiting and improvisation into the new material when organizing,” he says. the Jicks come to town Oct. 5 at the Earth Pavement’s acrimonious split in 2000 House, at least not initially. prompted many observers to believe their “We stretched (the songs out) on our contribution to the musical zeitgeist was last record, and stretched them out even over. But 10 years later, they buried the more live,” Malkmus says. “So we have hatchet deep enough to successfully comthat potential with some of the old songs. plete a nearly year-long tour. Once we tour and get a little tired of the “I can’t really say what’s perfect, but songs, I’m sure they’ll take other directhat was pretty great,” Malkmus says. tions. But starting off we want to just bash “In retrospect it seems kind of short, but them out with some energy and keep the while we were doing it, it seemed long.” momentum going.” Without naming names Malkmus wonUnlike the autocratic system of songwritders how some acts can remain in a pering in Pavement, Malkmus says the Jicks petual reunion mode. Pavement, he feels, contribute a lot to the creative process. found a balance where people were inter“It’s not a song until I play it for them ested and it didn’t fully wear off. and it sounds like a song with everyone “That’s kind of what it would end up playing,” he says. being because we were playing old music,” Malkmus still writes by himself, occaMalkmus says of the latter. “Ultimately I’d sionally adding remedial overdubs and rather be stuck in the present than the past.” „ drums. But it always sounds incomplete. “My chosen way of finishing is to come to the band,” he says. “By then there are STEPHEN MALKMUS & some arrangements and feedback from THE JICKS, HOLY SONS them. Also I know if it doesn’t work with Earth House, 237 N. East St. them it’s not a Jicks song. It just goes Wednesday, Oct. 5, 7 p.m., $20 back into the pile.” advance (, all-ages Contrast that with Pavement. Guitarist

“I still like to shred. Rock and roll is king to me.”

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Dynamite: New dance night brings back vinyl

BY K YL E LO N G M U S I C@N UV O . N E T Dynamite, a new weekly Sunday night dance party featuring prime selections of vintage funk and soul music, is looking to save an endangered species in the club world: vinyl. As the digital music revolution brought the record industry to its knees, it also wreaked havoc in another sector of the music business. The arrival of digital-based mixing software turned the DJ world upside down. Some rushed to embrace the new technology, praising its convenience and versatility — who wants to lug 10 crates of records to a gig when you can cram 200,000 songs on a tiny 1-TB hard drive? But old-school purists questioned the inferior sound quality of digital music files and expressed concerns that the software, with features like automatic beat matching and pre-set loops, would make things far too easy for newcomers.

Digital eventually won over most of the major players in the art form, including turntablists like DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist, and Indy’s own hip-hop legend DJ Topspeed. I recently spoke with Dynamite’s founders Eric Salazar and Alan “Topspeed” Roberts to find out why they decided to create the only local all-vinyl dance night. “I was fighting it all the way to the end,” Topspeed told me. “It didn’t help that the record companies were helping me resist.” Labels finally stopped putting out promotional vinyl singles around 2007, a watershed year for Topspeed. “When I couldn’t play the latest top 10 hit songs, I knew it was time for me to make the move to digital. And truth be told digital is a much more powerful medium.” So why return to spinning vinyl? “I love vinyl, and I want to show people it’s still a viable means of listening to music. When you’re spinning records, you really have to think about what you’re going to play; you have to stick to your guns.” After all, the abundance of options that a —Eric Salazar huge digital music library provides isn’t always a good thing: “You can confuse yourself sometimes, you just have too much to choose from.” For Salazar, spinning vinyl is a matter of preserving tradition, staying authentic and presenting the music in its purest form.

“... You really have to think about what you’re going to play; you have to stick to your guns.”


music // 09.28.11-10.05.11 // NUVO // 100% RECYCLED PAPER


Stills from an ad for Dynamite featuring Eric Salazar and (Gil Scott-Heron).

“I love funk and soul,” he said. “I come from a hip-hop background, and I’m playing a lot of original versions of songs that have been sampled by hip-hop artists. There were no CDs or MP3s back in the ‘60s and ‘70s when these songs were originally released, and when hip-hop artists started sampling this music, they did it direct from the original vinyl.” Putting aside the vinyl versus digital debate, Dynamite is also a lot of fun. Salazar spins a mix of familiar funk favorites, throwing in some twists here and there, like the Esso Steel Band’s

Caribbean take on the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” or Ray Barretto’s stomping Latin version of Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise.” Topspeed plays an impressive collection of classic funk and break 45s, from the Incredible Bongo Band to the Osmonds.„ DYNAMITE Mass Ave Pub, 745 Massachusetts Ave. Sunday nights, 11:30 p.m., no cover, 21+



TUNE-YARDS, PAT JORDA-CHE, SLEEPING BAG Rhino’s, 331 S. Walnut St., Bloomington Wednesday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m., $12 (, all-ages


THUR. 09/29


SUN 10/09

FRI. 09/30




Merrill Garbus and Nate Brenner of tUnE-yArDs.

Nate Brenner of tUnE-yArDs Bloomington-born bassist key element of band’s sound BY D A N I E L BR O W N M U S I C@N U V O . N E T Merrill Garbus is the face, the voice and the spirit of tUnE-yArDs. BiRd-BrAiNs, the Connecticut-based band’s critically acclaimed first album, was a Garbus-only production. On stage and on record, Garbus masterfully conducts the band’s every sound. With one critically important loop pedal, Garbus builds her empowered vocals, her eerily toned ukulele, and her floor tom and snare into the inspiring, polyrhythmic melodies that define tUnE-yArDs. But standing behind Garbus is an oftenoverlooked piece to the band’s puzzle — bassist Nate Brenner, a Bloomington native. Before embarking on her first major U.S. tour with Dirty Projectors in 2009, Garbus called upon her long-time friend, Brenner, to fill out the low end of her Africaninspired indie folk. What started out as a solo project soon turned into a duo. According to interviews with Garbus, Brenner’s contributions both to their live performance and their second LP, W H O K I L L , have been significant. Garbus and Brenner co-wrote some of the albums standout tunes, including the single, “Bizness,” as well as “Gangsta,” “Killa” and “You Yes You.” NUVO: Tell me a little bit about your music background and growing up in Bloomington’s vibrant music scene? NATE BRENNER: I was introduced to music at a very young age by my dad, Craig Brenner, a Bloomington-based piano player. When I was growing up, playing music was just a part of the daily routine like going out to the movies or playing sports. And Bloomington was actually a great place to grow up. There were many ways for kids to get involved in music, and the Lotus Festival brings some amazing music from all over the world to town. Being a college town with an amazing

music school, there were always jazz concerts, and some big name bands would come through to play. In high school, I’d also go up to Indy to see some great music such as James Brown at the Indy Jazz Fest. And my dad always has some amazing players in his band, like Gordon Bonham on guitar, so just being able to be on stage with those guys at a young age really made me develop into the musician I am now. NUVO: How did you get involved in tUneyArDs and what do you bring to the table musically? BRENNER: I first met Merrill in 2005 when we were both counselors at a summer music camp in New Jersey. We became good friends, and after the camp ended we stayed in touch. I lived in Oakland and she lived in Montreal, but over the next few years we’d meet up at various times because we were both on tour with different groups. So basically ever since 2005 or so, we became sort of long-distance musical partners. Merrill asked me to join her in tUnEyArDs as soon as she got offered the Dirty Projectors tour. When she was first getting started she was playing a lot of these tiny places, even small cafes. But once she started playing bigger rooms, she felt like she needed bass to help people move their feet and dance a little more. I never tried to convince her to let me play in the band or anything; she asked me! I thought she was doing great as a solo act, so I never really wanted to step on her toes. When she added me to the band, I think she felt like there was a lot less pressure on her to do everything.


WED. 09/28



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NUVO: You co-wrote some of the most popular songs on W H O K I L L. What was the songwriting process like? BRENNER: Most of them started during a rehearsal or sound check, when Merrill would set up a loop and sort of play what she had so far and let me play along with the beat and come up with something. When you add bass it can change the whole harmony of the song, so I’d try to see what kind of different notes I could play to change the mood of the song. I think she was really excited to have someone that she could bounce ideas off of and see what worked. She still writes all the lyrics, and they’re very much her songs, but in a song like “Gangsta,” where Merrill’s playing live drums, the bass line really becomes a harmonic and melodic voice and a real foundation for the overall song.„ 100% RECYCLED PAPER // NUVO // 09.28.11-10.05.11 // music



Foster the People


LOOP ROCK TUNE-YARDS, PAT JORDACHE, SLEEPING BAG Rhino’s, 331 S. Walnut St., Bloomington 8 p.m., $12 (, all-ages

See feature, pg. 34.



See Barfly.



8 Seconds Saloon, 111 N. Lynhurst Drive 9 p.m., GA $7, pit $15, 21+

Yeah, man, Fuel is still around. The post-grunge band got a little kick a few years back when American Idol dude Chris Daughtry publicly acclaimed his love for them, singing their tunes and praises on-air. In return Fuel tried to recruit Daughtry as a lead singer (they needed on at the time); when he turned them down, they re-tooled their sound to be a little more Idol-friendly. And that is where they stand as they roll into 8 Seconds.


Indiana Landmarks Center, 1201 Central Ave. 8 p.m., $15 advance (, $18 door, all-ages

ISIS of Indiana, an affinity group for female musicians, has been plenty busy this year, hosting a series of events at The Cabaret at the Columbia Club, as well as a Girls Rock-styled summer camp, Girls Create Music. This weekend will see their second annual Femmes Blu Festival, a combination trade show and concert, with the concert element being, as you might have guessed, blues-themed. Performers will include vocalists Nancy Moore, Debra Mullins and Heather Ramsey with bassist Jennifer Kirk, pianist Monika Herzig and drummer Jordan West. ECLECTIC CROSS POLLINATION FEAT. T.J. REYNOLDS & THE FREEHAND ORCHESTRA, HINX JONES, JOHN KAUFMAN AND THE FREQUENCY White Rabbit Cabaret, 1116 N. Prospect St. 9 p.m., $6, 21+

T.J. Reynolds’s band The Freehand Orchestra is pretty well cross-pollinated in and of itself — think vintage soul/funk instrumentation — so this show is eclectic on both a meta and micro level, if you will. You’ve got Reynolds’s hiphop and soul hybrid (with horns), the slightlymore conventional emcee duo Hinx Jones and the jazz-inflected neo-soul project Josh Kaufman and the Frequency. Wear a bee suit to get in the mood.

GREG BRENNER: AN EXIT INTERVIEW This Saturday’s Punk Rock Night Awards marks the end of an era. After 11 years organizing the long-running event, founder, host and general maven-about-town Greg Brenner is retiring from his day-to-day role in favor of expanding the idea elsewhere and producing for individual bands. “I’ve been doing this for so long, I don’ t think I can add anything more to the night in the role I am now,” he says. “I want to get back to the roots of the night and see if I can propagate it in other cities — and create a circuit, which was one of the original ideas back in the beginning. And as far as producing, I’ve probably seen close to 10,000 bands in my life, so I think I could add some value to a band by championing their work.” However, this is far from the end for a weekly event that taught half of Indianapolis how to complete the phrase “Every Saturday night is …” Brenner is handing over the managing and hosting to Rich Barker, who’s been heavily involved in PRN organization for quite some time now. “This thing has really stood the test of time,” he says. “I’m glad that I can turn it back over to the community, and I have strong faith in Rich and everyone else involved that it’s going to continue to be great.” Punk Rock Night thus remains one of the longest-running, if not the longest-running, live music events in the city. “I really thought it was going to be one of


music // 09.28.11-10.05.11 // NUVO // 100% RECYCLED PAPER

those six-month things, but I just persevered and made it work,” he says. “There wasn’t a lot out there when it started, and now there’s a lot of choices every night, which is the way a city should be. I just wanted to go to a show , and I said, ‘Nothing’s out there, so I guess I’ll do it myself.’” —PAUL F.P. POGUE

10TH ANNUAL PUNK ROCK NIGHT AWARDS Melody Inn, 3826 N. Illinois St. Saturday, Oct. 1, 9 p.m., $10, 21+

Featuring Livermortis, Riverbottom Nightmare, Belligerent Bendajos and Mr. Clit & The Pink Cigarette; hosted by Brenner and Rich Barker



by Wayne Bertsch

Sept. 29 at the Melody Inn.




247 Sky Bar is the new place downtown Indy that you can get sophisticated drinks with out the sophisticated pricing.



Located Above Taps & Dolls

The Lawn at White River State Park, 801 W. Washington St. 7:30 p.m., $32.50-39.50 (plus fees), all-ages

247 S Meridian St., Indianapolis, 46225

Roots-rock band The Avett Brothers got a pretty big push earlier this year at the Grammys, when they played alongside Mumford and Sons as part of a weirdly-conceived showcase. Their stuff isn’t made for that big a stage; part of its charm comes from its front-porch feel, where not everything’s perfect (these guys aren’t virtuosic bluegrass dudes, after all), but the energy, enthusiasm and soul come through in spades.

Hours: Thurs - Sat: 7pm - 3am Thurs - Sat: DJ


Wheeler Community Art Center, 1035 Sanders St. 7:30 p.m., $17 advance (, $20 door, all-ages

A Fast Folk dude who made his name alongside Suzanne Vega and Shawn Colvin, the Alabamaborn Pettis has been writing thoughtful, clever work for the about 30 years now. Pettis first broke into the scene when Joan Baez covered one of his tunes, “Song at the End of the Movie” HELPING HANDS Bands for Hands, a concert benefiting stagehands or the families of stagehands af fected by the State Fair stage collapse, is being organized by colleagues with a “there but for the grace of God” kind of attitude. Guys like T im Lee, a 21-year employee of Verizon Wireless Music Center and one of three people putting together the day-long concert, which will take place Sunday, Oct. 2, at 8 Seconds Saloon. “Nathan [Byrd], who was killed, and the three other guys who were hurt all rode the truss in; they all fell with the lights and the roofs and everything,” Lee explained Monday. “They were working truss spots [or, in layman’s terms, they were assigned to operate spotlights above the stage]. I’ve been a truss spot at least a hundred times; I’ve been a house spot 300 times; and I’ve been a deckhand over a thousand times. It totally could have been me had I been working for the Local 30 [a stagehand’s union]. It was a pretty shocking thing for a lot of people.” The concert, which will run from 2 to 11 p.m., will feature plenty of local talent, including Healing Sixes, Why On Earth, Threat Level, OneEyed Dog, 3:1, Jay Stein, Minksy Kinks burlesque troupe, The Remedies, Smoke Ring and Radio FX. Lee managed to score donations from several big names who played his workplace for the



Flying Toasters benefit’s silent auction. Both Darius Rucker (for merly, Hootie) and Avenged Sevenfold donated autographed guitars. Jimmy Buffett signed a hat. Elton John inked a tour program. Blink 182, Bullet For My Valentine, Tom Morello and The Romantics also contributed signed items. All bands are volunteering their time and talents free of charge, and 8 Seconds has donated the space for the day. Donations will go towards a memorial fund for Local 30 stagehands. Lee notes that proceeds will largely benefit three stagehands who were seriously injured in the collapse, with other stagehands who sustained less serious injuries also receiving monies. Parts of the proceeds will also be allotted for the family of Byrd, the sole stagehand killed in the collapse. Tickets, priced at $10, are available from Ticketmaster, The Dugout and the Local 30 headquarters. Bands for Hands is still accepting donations from area businesses for the silent auction; e-mail for more information.

Friday Cousin Roger

Saturday Polly B & the Jam


BANDS FOR HANDS: A BENEFIT CONCERT FOR STAGEHANDS WORKING THE STATE FAIR TRAGEDY 8 Seconds Saloon, 111 N. Lynhurst Drive Sunday, Oct. 2, 2 p.m., $10 suggested donation, 21+

247 S. Meridian St.

(2nd floor, next to Crackers Comedy Club)


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Just Judy’s Reception Hall 317-657-0006 3826 N. Illinois 317-923-4707


Great food & entertainment!! Wednesday:

Best Family Breakfast in town







Live music with Andra Faye & Friends


Saturday: Karoke

6pm-10pm Full kitchen menu until 9pm

Light menu after 9pm 2210 E. 54TH ST. 317.254.8796

Wed. 9/28 ECHOMAKER w/ Melt-Face and dj Deadrisk...doors @ 8, show @ 9...$5. Thurs. 9/29 The Free Zone Radio Show presents THE VIBRATORS(UK) w/ Dan Glenzig, Frankie Camaro and Circle City Deacons...doors @ 8, show @ 9...$10.




Fri. 9/30 Midwest State Of Mind, Shake, Izzy & The Catastrophics(NYC)... doors @ 9, show @ 10...$5.




Sat. 10/1 10th Annual PUNK ROCK NIGHT MUSIC AWARDS w/ Livermortis, Riverbottom Nightmare, Belligerent Bendajos and Mr. Clit & The Pink Cigarettes... doors @ 9, show @ 9:30...$10. Sun. 10/2 COCOANUT GROVE LOUNGE NIGHT...w/ TIMELESS FEEL... doors @ 8, show @ 9...$5. Tues. 10/4 day 1 of ROB & DAVE’S 10-YEAR MELODY INN ANNIVERSARY 5-DAY EXTRAVAGANZA... Juxtapoze presents Godfather Sage, Searchl1ght, Shiva...doors @ 10...$4. *Early Show...The Wellingtons(Australia) w/ The Shake Ups...doors @ 7, show @ 8...$3. SPECIALIZING IN LIVE ORIGINAL MUSIC AND HIGH PERFORMANCE SOCIAL LUBRICANTS





in 1979; in the year’s since, he’s tried out several sonic worlds, including a slightly dated New-Agey sound and more conventional acoustic territory in recent years. Part of the Indy Acoustic Café Series. INDIE YUCK

Radio Radio, 1119 E. Prospect St. 8 p.m., $12 advance (, 21+

Fuzzy guitar rock from London, in the vein of My Bloody Valentine and user-friendly Sonic Youth. Just about everyone dates this band back to the early ‘90s — hell, even the cover for their self-titled debut looks like it could’ve been slapped on a Dinosaur Jr . or Sebadoh record. Expect loud, slow guitars, a little feedback (but not too much) and sweet, languid vocals. And expect it all to be done quite well.



Talbott Street, 2145 N. Talbott St. 3:30 p.m., $30 public, $25 APA members, $10 students, 21+

So we might’ve passed up the opportunity to pick this piano duo gig — too cheesy and whatnot — if not for the fact that it was booked by the American Pianists Association. They tend to know their pianists, so we’ll trust that this first concert in their Ballads, Beats and Big Pianos series will be legitimate. The program is broken into classical and pop components: the first act will feature Schubert, Bach, Stravinsky and Piazzolla; the second, Coldplay, the Bee Gees, Radiohead and Bizet. HIP-HOP FREDDIE GIBBS, 9TH WONDER, KID DAYTONA The Vogue, 6259 N. College Ave. 8 p.m., $10 advance (plus fees), $15 door, 21+

Gary-born gangster rapper Freddie Gibbs, who tends to drop by Indy on the weekend Sunday of Circle City Classic, will headline a hip-hop showcase sponsored by a California streetwear company. Gibbs, who spent a fallow period on Interscope before launching a successful indie career, released an EP this

year — a collab with producer Statik Selektah called Lord Giveth, Lord Taketh Away — and is at work on a mixtape with the Young Jeezy camp, not to mention a genuine full-length, Baby-Faced Killah, due in the not too distant future. With Little Brother producer 9th Wonder and Bronx emcee Kid Daytona.



Egyptian Room at Old National Centre, 502 N. New Jersey St. 7:30 p.m., $27.50 advance, $30 door (plus fees), all-ages

Well, I just have to quote from a New York Times interview with Alex Turner, the frontman for Arctic Monkeys, who’s been having to explain the meaning of the title to his band’s latest album, Suck It and See . “It’s an old Britishism, like a bit Dick van Dyke-y, like ‘give it a try’ almost — it’d be a slogan for some candy,” he said. “That’s not really traveled very well.” So, there you have it. The band got back to basics on that new record, downsizing a bit after their Josh Hommeproduced effort, Humbug, re-capturing that dancey, post-punk Clash/Jam/Strokes feel that initially endeared them to the British masses.



Management outfit Monotone, Inc., knows how to launch stars in this post-indie world: They’re behind Vampire Weekend and M.I.A., and they’ve had Foster the People, the dance-pop outfit whose breezy anthem “Pumped Up Kicks” you’ve surely heard this summer, in their stable for some time. That single was out well before the band’s debut, this year’s Torches, which largely offers more of the same — light, summery, melodic, slightly woozy three-or-so-minute pop tunes, pretty well perfect for the weather we were enjoying about a week ago.







NEON LOVE LIFE Tuesday Night Roaring Colonel




music // 09.28.11-10.05.11 // NUVO // 100% RECYCLED PAPER

“I’ll take you where you wanna go,” Neon Love Life promises on “Grounded,” the third track on the band’s impressive debut disc. And these four women absolutely deliver on that boast: Tuesday Night is a full-throttle, no-nonsense collection of seriously fun and fearsome punk with a pop edge that’ll remind you at various times of The Pretenders’ riffs and Patti Smith’s howl. Really, though, this disc is a celebration of rock ‘n’ roll, a windows-open, crank-

the-volume, sing-at-the-top-of-our-lungs joyride that begins with Tasha Blackman’s propulsive drumming and ends with Blackman leading a raved-up cover of The Cramps’ “Teenage Werewolf” that’s as campy as it is energizing. In between, Lindsay Manfredi sings of loves gone wrong (the superb title track) and sometimes right (“Love Control”), and about how music can make you feel better when everything else is going wrong (“Clark Street”). And guitarist Ashley Plummer and bassist Sharon Rickson provide tuneful muscle — just listen to them race around on “A.M. Sun” and “Indiana.” The disc has its ragged moments — both “Whiskey” and “Love Control” could have used a fuller sound during the verses, and the 4½-minute “Lovers Lie” feels long and overblown. (“Ghost,” which is almost five minutes, has a seductively creepy feel, so its length is never an issue.) But overwhelmingly, this is a stellar effort. The members of Neon Love Life are also the local organizers of Girls Rock, where they teach pre-teen and teenage girls how to write and play their own music. In the future, Tuesday Night can serve as their teaching manual. —MARC D. ALLAN




Indianapolis-based hip-hop artist T.J. Reynolds (and sometime NUVO contributor) is back this summer with his second album, Purpose, this time with his full band, the Freehand Orchestra, backing him up. It’s been a little bit more than a year since the release of Reynolds’ first album, Sugar on the Tongue , but if the new album is any indication, Reynolds has grown as a musician in the meantime. For one thing, unlike Sugar on the Tongue, the new album seems almost totally bereft of samples. Purpose shows Reynolds has burnt some midnight oil in the beat laboratory and come up with some hooks that, even after the first listen, will stick with you. It’s either that or the samples are so well-disguised that Reynolds still makes the beats all seem like his own. Although Reynolds rhymes over all of his songs, the album seems to owe as much to



In the year following her debut, self-titled album, Bobbie Lancaster has continued to present her Americana chanteuse sound to audiences — via solo shows, radio gigs and on-stage with fellow folkie Tim Grimm for his John Prine tribute shows. Her latest release is a live album compiled from a pair of area shows. The first was an Indy Folk Series show on March 19; the other, a concert recorded in Bloomington on June 8 for community

jazz and funk influences as hip-hop? In fact it’s almost hard to call this a hip-hop album, given tracks like “Paternity,” which is, in my opinion, the album’s gem. The song opens with a slowed-down, funky bass line that lulls you into a reminiscent reverie before Reynolds drops in a high, clear keyboard line and a distant, dusky saxophone riff. Then come Reynolds’ vocals, rife with life lessons and carefully-planned rhymes. “Paternity,” like a lot of Reynolds’s tracks, is cautionary and instructive; in this case, he urges men to do the right thing and be a part of their children’s lives, even if they’ve fallen out of love with their children’s mothers (“And even if the love that you made has soured/that is no excuse for you to live like a coward/the time has come for you to be selfless/reach out your hand, your child is helpless…). At the same time, the only thing that could stop “Paternity” from being a go-to stop on someone’s iPod is that same lyrical denseness. At times, “Paternity” comes off as a bit too urging and preachy, and the full-blown, in-your-face presentation of Reynolds’ vocals detracts from the smooth, dusky, noirish quality of the track. The album’s other true stand-out track, “Father,” also has to do with fatherhood. Vocals on “Father” are more subdued than on “Paternity,” fitting more inside the song than taking charge of it as Reynolds reflects on fatherhood and whether he is repeating the same mistakes his father made (“Fighting the fact I’m exactly the same as my father”). Again, Reynolds seems to shine most when he combines his rapping with a smoother, funkier vibe, softening the beats and extending the basslines into clean, highly catchy refrains. —GRANT CATTON

radio station WFHB’s Local Live series. The album succeeds because Lancaster’s voice is a gem — expressive, sultry, and world-weary enough to make us think she’s experienced a bit of life. One of her best, “I Don’t Wanna Miss You,” leads off the album; it’s a tune filled with longing and anthemic chord changes that hits the same vein as Mellencamp’s “Minutes to Memories.” “Hairless Monkey” shows Bobbie has been listening to Prine. “Run That Light” mines blues territory and provides a chance for Lancaster to stretch her vocal chops (“Baby, run that light, because I am on fire”). Other highlights include “The Rain,” from her days performing as Stella and Jane, and the epic “The Tragic Tale of Maggie Donovan,” from her recent studio release. Lancaster’s lyrics, sweet and strong, carry the work, since the music is spare — just two instruments (Lancaster on mandolin, Nick Einterz on guitar). While the recording could have benefited from a bit more high end in the mix, and the folk series recordings sound subtly thinner than the radio set, those are minor quibbles with a release that gives the listener the feel of being in a room with Lancaster as she lets flow a raw, tight, stripped-of-gloss show. —ROB NICHOLS

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Placentas are useful!

Plus, world’s longest tonsils The medical establishment generally regards placentas (afterbirth) as biohazardous waste, but to New York City placenta chef Jennifer Mayer, they are a nutrient-laden meat that can alleviate postpartum depression and aid in breast milk production (among other so-farunverified benefits). Mayer typically sets up in clients’ own kitchens, she told New York magazine for an August story. Some placentas are “really intense, with grief or sadness or uncertainty.” Others might be “joyful,” “big and round.” Mayer’s method: Drain the blood, blot dry, cook for a half-hour (leaving something resembling brisket), chop into slivers, dehydrate overnight (rendering it jerky-like). For a popular touch, Mayer then grinds it in a blender and pours the powder into several dozen (one-a-day) capsules.

Can’t possibly be true

• The Learning Channel’s “Toddlers & Tiaras” series has pushed critics’ buttons enough with its general support of the competitive world of child beauty pageants, but a recent episode provoked unusually rabid complaints, according to a September New York Post report. Mother Lindsay Jackson had costumed her 4-year-old Maddy as “Dolly Parton” -anatomically correct (chest and backside) Dolly Parton. The Post described Maddy as “embarrass(ed)” at her chest when another 4-year-old pointed at her and asked, “What is that?” (Ultimately, the judges liked Maddy -- for “sweetest face.”) • Things You Didn’t Think Existed: (1) World Record for Length of Tonsils: Justin Werner, 21, of Topeka, Kan., was certified in July by the Guinness Book, with tonsils measuring 2.1 inches and 1.9 inches, respectively. The old “champion” was Justin Dodge of Milwaukee. (2) Global Competition in Dominos: The breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia will be the site, in October, of the world domino championship. (Twenty-five countries belong to the International Domino Federation.) • Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Rob Dickerson finally received his Purple Heart this summer, four years after he was seriously wounded in a rocket attack in Iraq and two years after he began a paperwork battle with the Army to “prove” his injury. Recently, the Army had apologized and mailed him the award, but it arrived C.O.D., leaving Dickerson to pay the $21 fee. (The Army subsequently reimbursed Dickerson the fee, but Dickerson said he hasn’t been able to cash the check, in that it was erroneously made out to “Roy Dirksen.”)


• Madrid’s Getafe soccer club, struggling for customers, startled Spain this


summer by commissioning a porn movie, with zombies, hoping to attract more fans. As if that were not quixotic enough, it then tied the movie to a campaign to solicit sperm-bank donations. Explained the film’s producer, Angel Torres, “We have to move a mass of fans to seed the world with Getafe supporters.” A promo for the film follows a Getafe fan, armed with a copy of the movie for his viewing pleasure, as he disappears into a clinic’s private cubicle to fulfill his donation.

Unclear on the concept

• “Do You See the Blimp Who Robbed You?”: In August, 400-pound Eric Kenley, 48, won a new trial for his two New York City robbery convictions after appeals court judges realized that the police lineup that identified him was unfair, in that he was apparently much fatter than the other men in his lineup. The police had attempted to compensate by using larger-than-average men and by presenting them all seated, to minimize the weight difference. • Obviously intense about potential child-trafficking, the government of Quebec, Canada, requires strict proof of a live birth, certified by a doctor or licensed midwife. However, the waiting list to hire either one is long, and Heather Mattingsly went with an unlicensed midwife, whose word the Directeur de l’etat civil declined to accept. Four months after the birth, the agency ordered Mattingsly to submit to a vaginal examination. After “calls from the media” (according to a Montreal Gazette report) persuaded the agency that such an exam was useless, it finally agreed, on Aug. 26, to grant a birth certificate if Mattingsly submitted a doctor-certified copy of her pre-birth ultrasound. • You’re Doing It Wrong: Jason Dean, 24, was arrested in Ringgold, Ga., in August and charged with false imprisonment after he waited in the parking lot of a Taco Bell, approached an 18-yearold woman and handcuffed her to himself. After her screams brought others to come help her, Dean explained that he had been trying for several months to get the woman to go out with him but that she had so far refused. • A New York Times obituary for former lead singer Jani Lane of the heavy metal band Warrant revealed that Mr. Lane’s birth name (he was born a year after Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy) was John Kennedy Oswald. Rebellious musicians (Warrant’s debut album was Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich) often adopt provocative stage names to enhance their image, but Mr. Lane must be one of the very few to have abandoned a provocative birth name in favor of a bland one.

Least competent criminals

• No Respect: (1) The man who approached tellers at the Eastern Bank in South Boston on Aug. 25 eventually fled empty-handed, but only after one teller had refused his order for “all your money” (she told him she was “closed”) and another had scolded him for breaking into the front of the adjacent line and for not removing his hoodie. (2) A

news of the weird // 09.28.11-10.05.11 // NUVO // 100% RECYCLED PAPER

man dressed as Gumby was ignored by a 7-Eleven clerk when he tried to rob the store in Rancho Penasquitos, Calif., on Sept. 5. The clerk told “Gumby” not to waste his time, and “Gumby” finally fled. The clerk had such little respect for “Gumby” that he did not even report the “robbery”; it came to light only when his boss was reviewing surveillance video.


• Richard Kreimer (whose appearances in “News of the Weird” in 1991 and 2006 achieved “Classic” status earlier this year) is back, apparently still defiantly malodorous. He recently filed four lawsuits against NJ Transit, alleging that he has been illegally prevented from boarding trains just because he is homeless. (NJ Transit says his behavior and lack of hygiene irritate passengers.) A former Kreimer lawyer told the Newark Star-Ledger in August that Kreimer virtually runs “sting” operations, waiting for people to offend him so he can sue. Kreimer, who tape records all his conversations, told the Star-Ledger that the lawsuits will continue, although he looks forward to one day being able to “close my law practice.” However, for now, he says, “Business is booming.”

New frontiers in perversion

• Mennonites, a famously patriarchal, closed-sect religion, often live in colonies such as the one in Bolivia founded

by a group from Manitoba, Canada. At press time, eight men from the colony are on trial in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, for rapes of up to 130 women and girls from 2005 to 2009, allegedly instigated by Peter Weiber, 48, the colony’s veterinarian. Weiber supposedly converted a cow anesthetic into an aerosol sedative that he sprayed into the victims’ open bedroom windows at night, after which he and his co-defendants would enter and have their way with the victims. According to an August dispatch in Time magazine, the case is hampered by shamed victims’ reluctance to testify and by the behavior of the defendants, who have been “laughing” at witnesses, “jok(ing) with guards,” or “fall(ing) asleep” during the trial.

A News of the Weird Classic (January 2005)

• When Billy W. Williams, 53, skipped out during his trial for aggravated assault in 2003 in Dallas, Judge Faith Johnson was obviously annoyed, though Williams was nonetheless found guilty in absentia. When Williams was recaptured and returned to her courtroom in October 2004 for sentencing, Judge Johnson organized a “welcome back” party in his “honor,” with balloons, streamers and a cake, to create a festive backdrop for her gleeful announcement that she was sentencing him to life in prison.

©2011 CHUCK SHEPHERD DISTRIBUTED BY UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa FL 33679 or WeirdNews@ or go to


TO ADVERTISE: Phone: (317) 808-4609 E-mail: Mail: Classifieds 3951 N. Meridian St., Suite 200 Indianapolis, Indiana 46208

PAYMENT, & ADVERTISING DEADLINE All ads are prepaid in full by Monday at 5 P.M. Nuvo gladly accepts Cash, Money Order, & All Major Credit Cards.

POLICIES: Advertiser warrants that all goods or services advertised in NUVO are permissible under applicable local, state and federal la ws. Advertisers and hired advertising agencies are liable for all content (including text, representation and illustration) of advertisements and are res ponsible, without limitation, for any and all claims made thereof against NUVO, its officers or employees. Classified ad space is limited and granted on a first come, first served basis. To qualify for an adjustment, any error must be reported within 15 days of publication date. Credit for errors is limited to first insertion.

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FULL-TIME GENERAL WAREHOUSE Sur la Table The Art & Soul of Cooking SEASONAL POSITIONS -1st, 2nd & 3rd shifts available -Pick, Pack, Shipping, Receiving -Starting Pay up to $10.75/hr A commitment to regular attendance Must be 18 yrs. of age or older Must be able to work overtime & weekend Please apply on-line at: No Phone Calls Please PHONE PRO Great pay for talented phone person. Experience required. Up to $30/ hour! 317-213-0713


© 2011 BY ROB BRESZNY Services | Misc. for Sale Musicians B-Board | Pets To advertise in Marketplace, Call Adam @ 808-4609

ANNOUNCEMENTS FASHION SHOW EXTRAVAGANZA Asebella Presents “FOR YOUR EYES ONLY” Portions of the Proceeds will be donated to the Autism Society. All tickets sold in advance at Asebella Boutique in Lafayette Square or at 2419 E. 56th St. Tickets can be purchased on line @ For more information contact 317259-4391 October 30th, 2011 12:00-4pm (lunch served at 12:45p) Ritz Charles- Carmel Indiana showcasing: evening gowns, clubwear, costumes, men’s wear, multiple vendors VIP: $40 Reg Adm: $30 GRAND OPENING Sign of the Tymes Salon Visit our Unique Boutique Upstairs Eclectic Vintage Consignment, accessories-home decor and more. Join us Saturday October 8th, 2011 Open House 2pm-6pm Drinks & hors-d’oeuvres 2750 E. 62nd St. NW Corner of 62nd & Rural St. Across from Macy’s at Glendale Town Center 317-251-0792 Walk-ins Welcome

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ARIES (March 21-April 19): I’ve got a challenging assignment for you. In accordance with your current astrological omens, I am inviting you to cultivate a special kind of receptivity -- a rigorously innocent openness to experience that will allow you to be penetrated by life’s beauty with sublime intensity. To understand the exact nature of this receptivity, study Abraham Maslow’s definition of real listening: to listen “without presupposing, classifying, improving, controverting, evaluating, approving or disapproving, without dueling what is being said, without rehearsing the rebuttal in advance, without free-associating to portions of what is being said so that succeeding portions are not heard at all.” TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Government officials in Southern Sudan are proposing to build cities in fantastic shapes. They say that the regional capital of Juba would be recreated to resemble a rhinoceros, as seen from the air. The town of Yambio is destined to look like a pineapple and the city of Wau will be a giraffe. I’m confused by all this, since I know that most of the people in South Sudan live on less than a dollar a day. Is that really how they want their country’s wealth spent? Please consider the possibility, Taurus, that there are also some misplaced priorities in your own sphere right now. Hopefully they’re nothing on the scale of what’s happening in South Sudan, but still: Allocate your resources with high discernment, please. GEMINI (May 21-June 20): You have cosmic clearance to fall deeply, madly, and frequently in love, Gemini. In fact, it’s OK with the gods of fate and the angels of karma if you swell up with a flood of infatuation and longing big enough to engorge an entire city block. The only stipulation those gods and angels insist on is that you do not make any rash decisions or huge life changes while in the throes of this stupendous vortex. Don’t quit your job, for instance, or sell all your belongings, or dump your temporarily out-offavor friends and loved ones. For the foreseeable future, simply enjoy being enthralled by the lush sexy glory of the liquid blue fire. CANCER (June 21-July 22): Among the surprises spilled by WikiLeaks some months back was the revelation that U.S. diplomats think Canadians feel “condemned to always play ‘Robin’ to the U.S. ‘Batman.’” If that’s true, it shouldn’t be. While Canada may not be able to rival the war-mongering, plutocrat-coddling, environment-despoiling talents of my home country America, it is a more reliable source of reason, compassion, and civility. Are you suffering from a similar disjunction, Cancerian? Do you imagine yourself “Robin” in relationship to some overweening “Batman”? This would be an excellent time to free yourself of that dynamic. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): “Enigmatology” is an infrequently-used word that means the study of puzzles and how to solve them. I’m invoking it now to highlight the fact that you need to call on some unusual and idiosyncratic and possibly even farfetched resources as you intensify your efforts to solve the puzzles that are spread out before you. The help you’ve called on in the past just won’t be enough for this new round of gamesmanship. The theories and beliefs and strategies that have brought you this far can’t take you to the next stage. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): This would not be a good time for you to read the book called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Enhancing Self-Esteem. In fact, it will never be the right time to read it. While it’s true that at this juncture in your life story you can make exceptional progress in boosting your confidence and feeling positive about yourself, you’re not an idiot and you don’t need idiot-level assistance. If there was a book called The Impish Guide to Accessing and Expressing Your Idiosyncratic Genius, I’d definitely recommend it. Likewise a book titled The Wild-Eyed Guide to Activating Your Half-Dormant Potential or The Brilliant Life-Lover’s Guide to Becoming a Brilliant Life-Lover.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): “When I was born,” said comedian Gracie Allen, “I was so surprised I didn’t talk for a year and a half.” I suspect you will soon be experiencing a metaphorical rebirth that has some of the power of the event she was referring to. And so I won’t be shocked if you find it challenging to formulate an articulate response, at least in the short term. In fact, it may take you a while to even register, let alone express, the full impact of the upgrade you will be blessed with. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): “During a game of Apocalypse against the Witchhunters,” reports Andrew_88 in an online forum, “I authorized my Chaos Lord to throw his vortex grenade at the oncoming Cannoness and her bodyguard. Safe to say he fluffed it and the vortex grenade scattered back on top of him. Then he proceeded to take out my allies, the Havocs, Land Raider, and Baneblade, before disappearing, having done no damage to my opponent.” I suggest you regard this as a helpful lesson to guide your own actions in the coming days, Scorpio. Do not, under any circumstances, unleash your Chaos Lord or let him throw his vortex grenade at anyone. He could damage your own interests more than those of your adversaries. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): According to my analysis of the astrological omens, it’s high time for you to receive a flood of presents, compliments, rewards, and blessings. You got a problem with that? I hope not. I hope you are at peace with the fact that you deserve more than your usual share of recognition, appreciation, flirtations, and shortcuts. Please, Sagittarius? Please don’t let your chronic struggles or your cynical views of the state of the world blind you to the sudden, massive influx of luck. Pretty please open your tough heart and skeptical mind to the bounty that the universe is aching to send your way. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): I like how astrologer Hunter Reynolds encapsulates the Capricornian imperative. If you “can manage your ego’s erratic moods and uneven motivations well enough to offer a service with consistent quality,” he says, “the world confers social recognition and its accompanying material advantages on you.” The members of other signs may appear warmer and fuzzier than you, but only because you express your care for people through a “strictness of focus,” “disciplined work,” and by being a “dependable helpmate.” This describes you at your best, of course; it’s not easy to meet such high standards. But here’s the good news: The omens suggest you now have an excellent opportunity to function at your very best. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): “Not being omniscient is a really big drag for me,” says poet Charles Harper Webb. I sympathize with him. My life would be so much easier and my power would be so much more graceful if only I knew everything there is to know. That’s why I’m going to be a little jealous of you in the coming weeks, Aquarius. You may not be supremely authoritative about every single subject, but you will have access to far more intuitive wisdom than usual, and you’ll be making extra good use of the analytical understandings you have. Bonus: You will also be absorbing new lessons at an elevated rate. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): John Tyler was President of the United States from 1841 to 1845. Believe it or not, two of his grandsons are still alive today. They’re Lyon Gardiner Tyler and Harrison Ruffin Tyler, born late in the life of their father, who was born late in John Tyler’s life. I invite you to find some equally amazing connection you have to the past, Pisces. How is your destiny linked to the long ago and faraway? I suspect you might find that distant history will be more vital and important than usual in the coming weeks.

Homework: At least 30 percent of everything you and I know is more than half-wrong. I’m brave enough to admit it. Are you? Describe your ignorance at

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NUVO: Indy's Alternative Voice - Sept. 28, 2011  

"Crimes in Southern Indiana" Frank Bill's tales of a land wracked by meth and misery.