A Life of Song
I N D Y N AT I V E E V E LY N R A I R E F L E C TS O N H E R M U S I C A L JOURNEY FILM FOCUS
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Amber Hankins Publishes Children’s Book With an Important Lesson
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A MOTHER’S MESSAGE
DL Lowry Salon Takes Bold Step to Elevate Indy’s Hair and Skin-Care Scene
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A LIFE OF SONG
Indy Native Evelyn Rai Reflects on Her Musical Journey KEY CONTRIBUTORS
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A MOTHER’S MESSAGE
AMBER HANKINS PUBLISHES CHILDREN’S BOO K WITH AN IMPORTANT LESSON ago and put pen to paper, and the result was “Curly Q’s, Curly Q’s, Go Away!” Through her book, Hankins encourages When Amber Hankins set out to write a young children to embrace who they book, she didn’t know what the content are and to love the skin they are in. Her would be but knew she wanted it to center daughter Avery has naturally curly hair around her daughter. Hankins, one of the and grew up struggling to accept it. Now co-hosts of WISH-TV’s segment “Life. as an 8-year-old, her mother’s book has Style.Live!,” always had the desire to write given her confidence and Hankins says it a children’s book. She sat down two years has been “the gift that keeps on giving.” Writer / Shay McCoy Photographer / Michael Durr
When it comes to the relationship she has with her daughter, Hankins says Avery loves being a part of the story and helping it come to life. She hoped that what was once a bedtime story that she told her daughter would end up resonating with other children, and let it help them accept the uniqueness of themselves and those around them. She knew the story would make life a little more beautiful, and teach
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others to gain a new perspective on what makes people special. Hankins has always loved writing and that is what influenced her to seek a career in the news broadcasting industry. She was drawn to the concept of the news as storytelling, and saw it as an opportunity to tell new stories and ask questions that get to the root of issues. However, she wanted something more and her book was a way to dive back into her passions. Becoming a mother also changed her perspective on many things in life and she aimed to create something that families could pass down to the next generation. Now that she is an author, her background in news has helped her develop a story and tell it well.
a New Year’s resolution to start writing a children’s book. She wrote notes of the overall original concept and message of the story, doing numerous rewrites and also conducting research to learn more about what makes a children’s book powerful and impactful. Rhyming is used frequently throughout the story to connect children to the message, and the illustrations are light and colorful. Hankins decided on Kids at Heart Publishing, a company out of Cambridge City, to help her figure out where to begin. They are dedicated to the process of children’s books and helped Hankins’ vision. She had specific ideas
Reception for “Curly Q’s, Curly Q’s, Go Away!” has been enthusiastic, and Hankins loves to go to book signings to connect with those who have been impacted by the story. Young girls and their moms will approach her saying they were hoping for a book like hers. Even older women say that they wish they had this kind of book when they were younger because of the powerful message of self-love and acceptance. She knew that the story would be beneficial for young children, but also realized it resonated with adult women who have felt different because of how they look. Hankins says “we are always trying to be someone else,” and when we stop comparing ourselves we can embrace our unique features. Hankins’ writing process began at her mother-in-law’s house where she fulfilled
on what she wanted the illustrations to look like, and the illustrators worked from photos of Avery to create an accurate representation. Hankins hopes that little girls and boys will be able to grow up with her book, and be able to teach their children and their children’s children the powerful message of embracing the qualities that make them special and beautiful. “We all have something about ourselves and about our bodies that we don’t love,” she says, adding that it is especially easy to use social media to compare ourselves to others. She hopes readers come away from the book realizing life would be boring if we were all the same, and she encourages her daughter to appreciate who she is. Now that she has a 3-year-old son, she would love to eventually write a book for him someday to spread the message of self-love.
David Lowry - Owner DL Lowry Salon
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DL LOWRY SALON TAKES BOLD STEP TO ELEVATE INDY’S HAIR AND SKIN-CARE SCENE Writer / Lisa Wallace Photographer / Ashley Wittmer @ashwittmer
For nearly 30 years, DL Lowry Salon has been a fixture on Indy’s north side, earning a reputation as a destination salon for high-end hair and skin care. After operating in two Nora locations, most recently next to Target, owner David Lowry decided it was time to invest in his own standalone salon along 86th Street. The impressive new $3.5 million facility opened in October in the former Lions Eye Bank, transforming both the interior and exterior of the building into a luxury, state-of-the-art space. “I’m so grateful to see this dream of a beautiful new salon realized for my staff and the clients we serve,” Lowry says. “We are beyond thankful for the support the Indianapolis community has shown us over the past several decades, and we’re honored to be able to continue to invest in this neighborhood for years to come.” The new salon features 45 chairs, a private room for hair-loss consultation, a Revlon professional color bar, extensive product merchandising, and skin-care treatment rooms. Massimo Pizzoleo, a renowned interior designer in the beauty industry and longtime friend of Lowry, provided the vision for the new salon’s modern aesthetic. Shiny white floor tiles contrast with chrome and black leather chairs, and bright light fills the expansive space. While the design may be reimagined, Lowry’s mission for the new salon remains the same as when he first opened in 1994 - to dignify and strengthen his profession and renew people’s lives. He firmly believes that by helping clients look their best on the outside, he’s empowering them to feel their best on the inside and take their best selves out into the world. To help clients look and feel their best, Lowry and his team approach each appointment with the DL Lowry signature experience. This ethos of warmth, style and sophistication extends to every aspect of the appointment, from the moment a client walks into the salon until the moment they leave. Appointments are timely but not rushed. Clients are greeted with sparkling water, tea and coffee. Shampoos include a full head, neck and shoulder massage. Fresh styles are finished with a round-brush blowout. High-performance products are recommended to maintain the health and look of the new style at home. Lowry also works to make sure he’s bettering the lives of his staff. He
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and his team of more than 20 stylists and aestheticians receive weekly training, an unparalleled model in the industry. This commitment to ongoing education is to ensure the team stays up on the latest cut and coloring trends, which can change frequently, and is able to achieve clients’ desired results. It’s also designed to help each stylist maximize their earning potential. Lowry’s business model is built around providing tools for personal and professional growth to encourage each employee to achieve a level of financial stability. The education begins for each stylist the same way - as a stylist apprentice, no matter where they received their cosmetology training. Every stylist on the floor has gone through this unique two-year training program in addition to their cosmetology schooling, to learn all the necessary techniques and customer-service skills that working at DL Lowry demands.
collected by an innovative Kérastase pen exclusive to DL Lowry in the Indianapolis area, she can prescribe hair-loss regimens and anti-aging hair treatments to restore clients’ confidence. Bridal services is another area of expertise DL Lowry excels in. Stylist Jessica Waltz has worked hard to expand her service offerings to include lash extensions, bridal hair and airbrush makeup. Waltz and the DL Lowry team are able to provide large wedding parties with all of their bridal hair, makeup and skin-care needs, in the salon or on location. Lowry’s innate ability and dedication to his profession have earned him international recognition and a reputation of excellence. He has earned Colorist of the Year honors at the Davines Worldwide Hair Tour Competition in Amsterdam. He was included in the Top 200 Fastest Growing Salons in the U.S. and named a Salon of Distinction by Salon Today magazine, and also included in the Top 100 North American Salons by L’Oréal Kérastase for three years running.
The program is notably longer than most salons require, but the work is worth the reward. A remarkable number of Lowry’s stylists have stayed to grow and develop their careers with DL Lowry, eventually earning senior- He has set the bar high for himself and others, and sees the new salon as a way to continue to raise it. stylist status. Many members of his team have been with him for more than 20 years, and some since the very beginning. “Our new space will not only allow us to reach more people in the Indianapolis community, but also empower more stylists to achieve selfSenior Stylist Lowry encourages his stylists to continue their education sufficiency,” Lowry says. beyond the apprenticeship and achieve advanced certifications. For example, Alandra Henderson, certified hair coach and hair-loss specialist More information and appointment scheduling can be found with the renowned Bauman Medical, is specially trained in utilizing at dllowry.com. innovative scalp analysis technology to combat hair loss. With data
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FILM FOCUS KAN-KAN CINEMA AND BRASSERIE SUPPORTS FILM AND COMMUNITY Writer / Shay McCoy Photographer / Michael Durr
ndianapolis is a city of the arts. There are renowned museums, entertaining musical venues and murals that inspire. However, film fanatics and supporters did not have a place to call home until the Kan-Kan Cinema and Brasserie was founded. Louise Henderson, the executive director of the Indianapolis Film Project (the nonprofit that powers the Kan-Kan Cinema), knew Indianapolis needed a place for film. The intention was always to locate the cinema within the city, and the founders and board members settled on Windsor Park in the Near Eastside area. This area historically had local small businesses, and those involved with the cinema wanted to bring vitality back to the area. The cinema was originally supposed to be a converted church, but a crumbling foundation required a new build from local architects. The team at Matinee Creative, a local marketing studio, oversaw the brand development of the cinema and included vibrant colors with an art-deco feel. The name comes from a line in author Kurt Vonnegut’s novel “Cat’s Cradle.” The team looked all over the city and Henderson says “the decision of being in a neighborhood was very intentional.” Now located next to the new Amelia’s and Stomping Ground, the Kan-Kan Cinema brings even more energy and local flavor to the
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area. A restaurant was always a part of the original plan, and the Brasserie brings Chef Abbi Merriss, a James Beard Award nominee whose culinary talents brought incredible dishes at Bluebeard. Her expertise and strong management bring a comfortable, European menu that will change often. A full bar offers an extensive wine and cocktail menu. Henderson says “food and film go hand in hand,” and now guests can enjoy an elevated, classic dinner-and-movie experience. Concessions like popcorn and locally sourced beer and wine can be taken into the theater. The Kan-Kan Cinema was slated to open in March of 2020, but the pandemic forced the staff to cancel all planned programming and events. However, they improvised resourcefully and provided film lovers with virtual showings and discussions, membership drives, and outdoor movie nights that helped maintain visibility and keep the community involved. Henderson was anxious but says the excitement, anticipation and momentum for the theater that hadn’t even opened was palpable, and she saw that the community desperately needed it. The cinema eventually opened that August with three screens - the smallest seating 35 people, the next largest seating 45, and the biggest seating 145. When the Indianapolis Film Project members set out to found the Kan-Kan Cinema, they wanted to focus on four areas - film, exhibition, education and audience outreach. Their main goal is to show first-run independent films, many of which have bypassed the big-box movie theaters around the area. The cinema provides space for locals to host film workshops and compelling discussions
that unpack tough issues and conversations around film. Festivals like the Heartland Film Festival and Spirit & Place have also been held in the venue. Collaborations with local film organizations have helped strengthen the community and showcase movie premieres from filmmakers in Indianapolis. Series are also a large part of the programming at the Kan-Kan, like a series for teenagers who are interested in film and potentially want to pursue a career in the field. Henderson has seen people come to the theater like moths to a flame, and says she has realized “the city didn’t know what it didn’t have.” As the only local, nonprofit art-house cinema in the city, in February the Kan-Kan Cinema will show the foreign Oscar film nominees along with Oscar shorts. These include action, animated and documentary shorts compiled into feature-length films that normally would not reach a wide audience. The Kan-Kan Cinema provides space for private rentals and local events, and even hosts movie-themed trivia as part of the initiative to be an integral part of the neighborhood. Film lovers can keep up with the Kan-Kan Cinema and Brasserie events and updates through their social media, and their popular and vibrant weekly newsletter. They have many local events and series coming up and will continue to bring in independent films to the city. For more info, visit kankanindy.com.
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PAPA BEARS CHICKEN IS A SOBRO STAPLE Writer / Amanda Gibson Photographer / Michael Durr
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here’s no doubt that South Broad Ripple has really taken off, with local businesses like GoldLeaf Savory & Sweet, Loom, Hawkmoth, and Foundation Coffee Company just to name a few. Among those businesses is Papa Bears Chicken, which has helped to build this community. Kelvin Brasher, owner and operator, is proud to operate his business as a one-man show, and says he’s excited to see his community grow. When businesses open it helps build others up, especially with an increase in foot traffic. Before the opening of Brasher’s business, his wife previously owned a boutique in the same building. “She came home one day and said, ‘We are opening a restaurant,’” Brasher says. It just made sense, as Brasher and his family have always been cooking and eating food the way he serves it to his customers now. He’s a proud one-man operation because he truly loves what he does. “This is fun,” he says. “I’m a people person. Meeting people is what I like to do.” The other benefit when you’re the only one is that you get to see the benefits quicker. It’s his name on the food, and he wants his company to be built on hot food and great customer service.
“I MAKE EVERYBODY’S FOOD AS IF I’M GOING TO EAT IT.” - KELVIN BRASHER -
“I make everybody’s food as if I’m going to eat it,” he says. Brasher knows a thing or two about marketing, as his Instagram page has more than 10,000 followers, and the sign outside his building draws people in - a big yellow sign advertising two-piece chicken dishes for 99 cents. Once you’re inside, you’ll see that the establishment offers more than just chicken. Brasher offers lamb burgers, catfish dinners, stir-fry dishes, pizza and rib tips. His Instagram is filled with daily specials. Fried chicken wings are the most popular, with an abundant amount of sauces to choose from including lemon pepper, parmesan garlic, mango habanero, hot honey, spicy garlic, and what Brasher suggests to all his new customers - honey garlic pepper. 18 / BROAD RIPPLE MAGAZINE / FEBRUARY 2022 / BroadRippleMag.com
When the topic of growth comes up, Brasher dreams bigger than just a second location. He has ideas of Indiana college tours with his menu, with an end goal of bringing all that new reach back to 46th street. “I based my business on some of the best mom-and-pop restaurants in the city that have been around for 30 to 40 years in one location,” he says. Brasher differentiates himself in many ways
from your typical mom-and-pop place. One “I’ve seen how the traffic has trickled down draw for newcomers is that you can often find from Broad Ripple and now we’re jumping him in the kitchen cooking his heart out until harder,” Brasher says. 3 a.m. He has a lot to do with that trickle. “I love when I get a new customer and they turn right back around and bring more with Papa Bears Chicken is located at 1938 East them,” he says. “I like that because that means 46th Street in Indianapolis. You can follow them on Instagram @ppapabearschicken. I’m doing a good job.” For more info, call 317-253-2697. He’s excited for the coming years, and to continue to see SoBro grow.
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A Life of Song I N D Y N AT I V E E V E LY N R A I R E F L E C TS ON HER MUSICAL JOURNEY sung the national anthem at an Indiana Pacers game, served as a featured vocalist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and done Indianapolis native Evelyn Rai has been singing voice-over work in nationally televised ads for as long as she can remember. from Coca-Cola and Transition Lenses. Writer / Seth Johnson Photographer / Michael Durr
“My mom says I’ve been singing since I got here, and I believe that’s true because I don’t recall not ever hearing music within my being,” Rai says.
Rai started singing in front of people through church. “As an African American you’re usually cultivated in church, so gospel singing was always the way,” she says. “Culturally, music and dance were what we did.”
To this point in her life, Rai’s voice has gotten her far. Having worked with Grammy-winning recording artists such as Through her experience singing in church, Michael Bublé and CeCe people quickly picked up on Rai’s vocal Winans, Rai has also prowess.
“I had this big, huge voice for such a little person.”
out show at The Box Media Space on East Riverside Drive. In looking back on the evening, she sees the concert as her “first stepping out” into the world of jazz. “I stepped out and said, ‘I’m going to do what I really want to do. I’m going to sing jazz,’” Rai says. “That’s where we are.” Since the successful show at The Box Media Space, Rai has gotten more experience producing jazz-inspired shows around the city. The most recent of these, Soulful Collaborations, is a series of live recordings, which will eventually be available to live stream.
- Evelyn Rai
“Soulful Collaborations is my idea of preserving the culture of jazz music and giving artists a platform to be presented upon,” Rai says. “I wanted to squash the sense of competition. I can’t do what you do. If we have a chance and can do it together, let’s do it together.” While the Soulful Collaborations recordings are still in production, Rai hopes the series can be something for people to enjoy remotely in the comfort of their own homes.
“I had this big, huge voice for such a little person,” she says. “Everywhere I went people would either ask me to sing or act because I was a drama queen as well. Because I had been singing in the church all my life, it was not uncommon to be requested to sing for weddings, funerals and conferences.” Despite her years of singing experience, Rai held herself back from singing jazz until recently - something she’d always wanted to pursue but could never quite muster up the confidence for. “Back in the day when jingles were king, I got an opportunity to get in that circle to do voice-overs and jingles, and that was really, really cool, but I never saw myself as good enough,” Rai says. “That’s why self-talk is so important.”
“If we have to get back into being isolated, I want people to get quality music and just have a great time,” Rai says. “As IRemoval, move forward within the•circles of this city, I just • Tree Garage/Basement/ want to be able to encourage jazz and give people a nice Topping & Trimming Attic Cleanout experience.”
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In particular, Rai says it was the passing of her son that pushed her to take flight and pursue her jazz dreams. “It was understanding brevity of life,” she says. “We were at the funeral home on my son’s birthday, and we buried him the day after his 31st birthday. I realized how short life is and I realized we have a lot of fear that’s so unfounded. Perception is everything - it’s how you think. You will attract what you focus on.”
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There’s nothing we wouldn’t do for the health and well being of our fellow Hoosiers. But sadly, COVID-19 has tested the limits of what health systems can accomplish on their own. And now, almost two years into the pandemic — desire, expertise and modern medicine are simply not enough.
We need help. Your help. The situation is dire. We have more patients in our hospitals than we have beds. We’re converting available units into critical care wards, just to make room. And as you know, the entire healthcare industry is operating on a short staff, which means our caregivers are running out of steam. It’s a daily challenge to treat incoming COVID-19 patients, as well as those who suffer from strokes, heart attacks, car accidents, cancer and appendicitis.
FULL + BLEED
We need action. Right now. Here’s what you can do:
Get vaccinated. Get boosted. Get tested. Get masked. And please remember, if you have a mild case of COVID-19, call your doctor or go to a MedCheck/Urgent Care facility. Do not go to an emergency room, as we’d strongly prefer to save those beds for the very sickest and most in need of immediate attention. Our strength is in our ability to come together. And it is together, that we will finally see our way out of this.
23 / BROAD RIPPLE MAGAZINE / FEBRUARY 2022 / BroadRippleMag.com