Arts & Culture


May 23, 2007

When Bloomington pedigree singer-songwriter Suzette Weakley, or "Stella" of local folk country favorites Stella and Jane, encountered the round-robin live music format while gigging at Nashville's illustrious Bluebird Cafe with Bobbie "Jane" Lancaster, she was enthralled. She saw no reason why she couldn't seed something similar back home.

And though Weakley says there were some initial misgivings on the part of some locals about a system in which a handful of musicians sit on stage and take turns presenting new material - not unlike second graders during show and tell - Bloomington's own version of round robin is in its fourth month and gaining momentum and a homegrown audience at a dizzying pace.


May 23, 2007

The image stuck in Jennifer Robinson's mind – a woman striding through the Bloomington Farmers' Market during a rainstorm, carrying a single bag of lettuce with her husband following, pushing a baby stroller.

And when she and husband J. A. Hartenfeld, longtime Bloomington market vendors who live and work on a Greene County farm, decided to write a book about the Bloomington Farmers' Market, they wanted to learn why so many venture out in rain, cold and blazing heat to get products they could get at local groceries.

"Although many people have the sense that it's cheaper to go to a grocery store, they still go to the market," Robinson said. "So we went to people with the question, 'Why are you doing this?'"


May 9, 2007

Jeremy Gotwals knows how to work the crowd.

On a sunny Saturday morning at Bloomington High School South’s baseball field, the spectators laugh and clap as he performs a fight song, yelling “Cougars!” at his command.

When Gotwals slides into home plate to end his performance, the crowd erupts. He jumps up, hoists his jeans back into place and beams.

“Thank you!” he yells, taking an exaggerated bow.


May 9, 2007

Susan Swaney hopes to build on some Hoosiers’ knowledge about the historic labor leader Eugene V. Debs, a man whose time she argues has returned.

“People have either never heard of him or barely heard of him,” the artistic director of the Bloomington-based Voces Novae chamber choir says. “They’ve read about him in their high school government textbooks, along with the muckrakers and Theodore Dreiser. You know, it was kind of a paragraph in my high school text.”

Indeed, history written in the post-McCarthy era, she argues, has all but forgotten Debs, at best, or maligned him, at worst.

“He was kind of tainted,” she says. “The implication was he was one of those pinkos who was always stirring up trouble,” which, as those who attend the May 19 Voces Novae performance of Eugene V. Debs: An Indiana Original will learn, is an apt description.


April 25, 2007

A somewhat unlikely assemblage of beguiling musicians is clicking on all cylinders these days, riding high in their two complementary musical vehicles, Men of Many Vices, a funk-tinged bluegrass rock amalgam that resists tidy pigeonholing, and Fautlines, a more straight-ahead, high-octane bluegrass outfit whose reverence for both tradition and the avant garde is obvious.

Upright bass player Ryan Deasy, banjo man Toby Oler and fiddler Mike Lindeau form the nucleus of the five-man collective and funnel their disparate musical interests into both bands. Indianapolis-based Nick Mallers lends percussion to Men of Many Vices, and Chris Padgett sporadically plays acoustic guitar for Fautlines since he relocated to North Carolina.

April 25, 2007

My world, the world, is a little less brilliant today. Two of the brightest lights ever produced in the state of Indiana – novelist Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and former Congressman Jim Jontz – died within four days of each other this month. And the planet will never, ever be the same.

To say that both of these men profoundly influenced my life would be understatement of monumental proportions. Long before I laid eyes on either, their spirits tapped me on the shoulder whispered, “That way, young man. That way.”

By the time I finally did see them in person – the mid-80s for Jim and mid-90s for Kurt – I was well down that path and couldn’t have been more grateful.


April 25, 2007

Craig Brenner Trio
tutto bene
Wednesday May 2, 8 p.m.

After a final or large project is completed, I always treat myself to something fun, be it a new pair of shoes or dinner out with friends. The end of another semester is no different.

Now that the year is winding down and the insanity of class and work is finally wearing off, take a cue from me and reward yourself. And what better way to unwind than with some good wine and jazz?

MFA, African and New Testament works on display

March 28, 2007

On March 28, the IU Art Museum will premier several exciting new exhibitions, with work from Master of Fine Arts candidates in the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts, African artists Tijani Sitou and Kalidou Sy and Venetian draftsman Domenico Tiepolo.

The exhibitions will be on view in the Special Exhibitions Gallery and at the School of Fine Arts (SoFA Gallery) through May 20.


September 7, 2005

Susan Swaney hopes to build on some Hoosiers’ knowledge about the historic labor leader Eugene V. Debs, a man whose time she argues has returned.

“People have either never heard of him or barely heard of him,” the artistic director of the Bloomington-based Voces Novae chamber choir says. “They’ve read about him in their high school government textbooks, along with the muckrakers and Theodore Dreiser. You know, it was kind of a paragraph in my high school text.”

Indeed, history written in the post-McCarthy era, she argues, has all but forgotten Debs, at best, or maligned him, at worst.

“He was kind of tainted,” she says. “The implication was he was one of those pinkos who was always stirring up trouble,” which, as those who attend the May 19 Voces Novae performance of Eugene V. Debs: An Indiana Original will learn, is an apt description.