Thursday, July 31, 2008

The “Summer of Christel House” Block Party

Geoff Ballotti, president and CEO of Group RCI and Christel DeHaan, Co-Founder of RCI, the world’s largest timeshare exchange company and Founder of Christel House International, will join over 500 Group RCI employees and their families at the “Summer of Christel House” block party Monday (4 August). It'll raise funds for Christel House International, reports Inside INdiana Business.

The event, from 3-8 p.m., will include many fun games of chance, family-friendly activities at the Group RCI headquarters, 9998 North Michigan Road, Carmel. At the close of the event, Christel House International will be presented with a check for $100,000 in donations that Group RCI has raised over the past few months in support of the charity.

For reservations and more information, contact Susan McGowan, 973:753-6482.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hoosier Orchid To Close Up Shop

Hoosier Orchid Company, 8440 West 82nd Street,Indianapolis, will close as a retail nursery 30 August.

Company president William Ames Rhodehamel wrote in a notice on the corporate website yesterday, "We have enjoyed growing and sharing our orchids, developing new and exciting lines of breeding, discovering new species, speaking to orchid societies, educating our local customers, displaying at shows around the country, making rare species available, and so many other aspects of our business. Our closing is a bittersweet recognition of the changing aspects of the orchid industry and societal trends."

He continues, "Sales of our inventory will be in a deliberate, public way with email and web announcements of offerings at each stage. Until August 30th we will continue our regular business, and sales will continue through our website and at our nursery. Following August 30th we will begin our inventory reduction."

To be added to the notification list, send an email.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sculpture Celebrates IMA's 125th Anniversary

A commissioned three-story fluorescent light installation by California artist Robert Irwin (pictured) will be unveiled in October in honor of the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s 125th anniversary.

Irwin’s abstract sculpture made of fluorescent light and scrim material was designed for the Museum’s main 60-foot atrium Pulliam Great Hall. The commission is funded in part through a gift by Ann M. and Chris Stack.

Irwin’s Light and Space III will transform the experience of entering the Museum’s galleries. A 60x60-foot screen will stretch across three adjacent planes by the main escalators. A series of white floor-to-ceiling scrim panels will bracket five channels of fluorescent light mounted in a grid-like pattern across the wall surfaces. Visitors will be blanketed by a tunnel of light as they move between the three gallery levels of the IMA.

The commission will be unveiled as part of a gala celebration in honor of the IMA’s 125th anniversary on 11 October.

Monday, July 28, 2008

14th Annual Ragtime Festival

The Classic Ragtime Society of Indiana presents its 14th annual Ragtime Festival next month.

There'll be two public performances -- 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. -- on 16 August in the Basile Theater of the Indiana History Center, 450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis.

The whole shebang runs 15-17 August, featuring Terry Waldo (New York), Terry Parrish (Indiana), Paul Asaro (Illinois), Nan Bostick (California) and Flying Cloud Dance Academy (Ohio). Headquarters is Holiday Inn East, 6990 East 21st Street, Indianapolis.

"Fiasco" At the Brickyard

"INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — It's one of the biggest events of the year at a venue intended to help NASCAR showcase its racing. Instead, Sunday's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway left everyone apologizing to the fans for what could only be called a fiasco....

"Goodyear and NASCAR were not OK, left to explain why the race became a debacle. The tire issue cropped up early Saturday, when drivers learned during the first practice they could only last anywhere from three to 10 laps before the rubber wore down to the cords."

This Indianapolis Observer thinks the story is just beginning!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Watch for Changes at the Walker

The Madame Walker Theatre Board said it has chosen a preferred developer for a mixed-use development and renovation of the historic venue on Indiana Avenue, reports the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Full Spectrum of NY LLC would lead the mixed-use development, which may include retail and restaurants, office space and a boutique hotel.

The first phase will involve renovating and expanding Madame Walker Theatre Center, which was built in 1927. The theater board has been planning a $10 million capital campaign, which may kick off this fall.

Tapped for engineering, design and construction management are locally-based A2SO4 Architecture and Khafra Engineering, which has an Indianapolis office.

Friday, July 25, 2008

No, He Didn't

The Indianapolis Star reported this morning (in that "Just One Minute" box on the front of the Metro Section) that Mayor Greg Ballard had named Ricardo Gambetta to head the city's Latino Advisory Council.

Except that Gambetta, who headed up Latino Affairs for former Mayor Bart Peterson, moved to Washington, D.C., several months ago.

So...we don't know who heads up Indy's Latino Advisory Council yet. There's no active link on the mayor's Office of International & Cultural Affairs page for the Latino Affairs heading.

And, there aren't any details available either for the Chinese Festival scheduled for 13 September. The city's website says "information coming soon".

Here's Gambetta's email to this Indianapolis Observer:
Washington DC, July 25, 2008
Dear Friends:
I have just learned about today’s newspaper story in which is it reported that I will be leading Mayor Ballard’s new Latino Advisory group.
I just want to clarify that the story of my return to Indianapolis is untrue. I have been and will continue to work for the National League of Cities leading a new Immigrant Integration project in cities and towns across the country.
It is work that I greatly enjoy.
While I miss my friends in Indianapolis, I am not returning at this time and I have no idea who is going to head the Mayor Ballard’s new Latino Advisory group or going to serve as members. Whoever it is, I wish them the best in working for and supporting the community that all of us love and respect.
And if you are ever in Washington, DC, look me up !
Ricardo Gambetta
Immigrant Integration,Inclusive Communities Programs.
Center for Municipal Programs and Resources
National League of Cities.
1301 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W
Washington, DC 20004
Ph: (202)626-3153

UPDATE (Monday, 28 July):
The Mayor's office has deep-sixed the original link. Here's all we know about the Chinese Festival. (Hint: not much.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Children's Museum Expands Again!

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis plans to build a $15.7 million expansion with 37,500 square feet of new space including a welcome center, bus driveway and bike port, reports Cory Schouten in The Indianapolis Business Journal's Property Lines blog.

The project is slated to begin in the next few months and should be done in time for the arrival of a blockbuster King Tut exhibit scheduled to open in June 2009

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Start with Art 2008

Start with Art is the annual kick-off to the Indy arts season. Hosted by the Arts Council of Indianapolis, it takes place from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. 4 September in the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis.

Tickets start at $50 each. For reservations, click here, or call 317:631-3301.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Seen Those Tire Sculptures Yet?

Chakaia Booker's art is in place all around the city (and will remain on display through April 2009).

Want to know more about how she made those hulking tire sculptures?

Head to the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, 340 North Senate Avenue, Indianapolis, for an exhibit about the making of these, ummm, completely appropriate works for a city known around the world for auto racing. (That's "Black Hole", at left.)

Admission to iMOCA is free; it's open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

The collection of Indianapolis sculptures is Booker’s largest urban exhibition, and the first comprised of artworks created specifically for the community. You can read more here.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Microwbrew Festival is TODAY!

The 13th Annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival opens at 3 p.m. today in Broad Ripple's Opti Park, 820 East 66th Street (just east of College Avenue) in Indianapolis.

Presented by the Brewers of Indiana Guild and World Class Beverages, it closes at 7 p.m. -- so don't wait any longer!

More than two dozen Indiana breweries plus 15 more from out of state are offering over 250 different beers to try -- and that's included in the admission price of $35.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Weir Cook Name Returns to (Parts of) the Indy Airport

According to Chris O’Malley of The Indianapolis Business Journal, the Indianapolis Airport Authority decided that road leading into the airport will be called Col. H. Weir Cook Memorial Drive, and the main terminal will be called H. Weir Cook Terminal.

Harvey Weir Cook (1892-1943), born in Wilkinson, Ind., was a pilot who flew warplanes in World War I, and died in action in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Grand Marshall Named for Allstate 400

Actor John C. McGinley has been named the Grand Marshal for this year's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, reports Inside INdiana Business.

McGinley is best known for his work on the television comedy Scrubs. He will headline pre-race activities for the 15th running of the NASCAR event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Indiana's New Poet Laureate is Norbert Krapf

Norbert Krapf (pictured), newly designated Indiana Poet Laureate, will be feted at a party beginning at 5:30 p.m. 27 July in the American Cabaret Theater in the historic Athenaeum, 401 East Michigan Street, Indianapolis.

Light refreshments will be provided by Jeanette Footman of Zamovar, host of the weekly Sunday Kaffeeklatsch at Perk Up, 6536 Cornell Avenue, Indianapolis.

Norbert Krapf, Monika Herzig and Friends (Carolyn Dutton on violin, Peter Kienle on bass) will perform poetry and jazz from Imagine -- Indiana in Music and Words.

Mark Kesling, CEO of the American Cabaret Theater, will announce the details of a new series he has invited the new Indiana Poet Laureate to create, Together Again: Music & Poetry.

The event is open to the public at no charge (children are welcome!), and everyone will have a chance to mix, talk and celebrate. For more information, call 317:631-0334.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

IUPUI says sorry to janitor scolded over KKK book

The Indianapolis Star couldn't be bothered about this national story, so it was up to an Associated Press reporter to write the coda:

"A janitor whom a university official had accused of racial harassment for reading a historical book (pictured, left) about the Ku Klux Klan on his break has gotten an apology — months later — from the school," reports Deanna Martin, Associated Press Writer.

"Charles Bantz, chancellor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, apologized to Keith John Sampson in a letter dated Friday, saying the school is committed to free expression.

"'I can candidly say that we regret this situation took place,' Bantz wrote.

"Sampson's troubles began last year when a co-worker complained after seeing him reading a book titled Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan.....

"Bantz didn't apologize to Sampson until last week, after a column in The Wall Street Journal sparked renewed criticism. Bantz also wrote to the others involved in the incident, including the co-worker who filed the complaint, said IUPUI spokesman Rich Schneider.

"'The sentiment the chancellor was expressing in all of the letters was that this whole matter could have and should have been handled differently,' he said.

"Sampson, who still works for the school, said that he accepts the university's apology but that he was hurt by the allegations and has not enjoyed being in the spotlight.

"'It's really frustrating for me because I am not the kind of person that they were painting me as,' he said."

Read it all here.

Note: an interesting bit of news, buried in the story, is the information that IUPUI's affirmative action officer (Lillian Charleston), the one who found Sampson "guilty" in the first place, has retired! This Indianapolis Observer hopes she was "asked" to retire!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Animals and All That Jazz

Enjoy the hottest sounds in Indy at the Indianapolis Zoo Thursday evenings beginning this week -- 17 July (other dates are 24, 31 July, and 7, 14, 21 August). Animals and All That Jazz “Sing the Night Away” brings music to the middle of the zoo grounds.

The concert series runs from 5:30-8:30 p.m., offering a rare chance to experience the ambiance of the Zoo after hours.

If you're not a zoo member, the jazz is included with regular Zoo admission.

This Thursday, it's Shannon Forsell & Jimmy Guilford & The Cool City Swing Band! For the complete lineup, click here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Oesterle Buys Holy Trinity for Opera

Jennifer Whitson writes in The Indianapolis Business Journal that Angie's List co-founder and CEO Bill Oesterle has purchased the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church building in Meridian Kessler for nearly $1.5 million and leased it to the Indianapolis Opera to use for rehearsals, educational programming and smaller performances.

The opera still will perform its mainstage productions at Clowes Hall and won't move into the building until February. Holy Trinity will continue to occupy the building until its new church is completed in Hamilton County early next year. The church's annual Greek Fest still will be held in the Meridian Kessler location this September.

The building was put up for sale in the fall of 2005. In mid-2006, a charter-school group signed a contract to buy it, but the deal fell through when neighborhood groups rejected the idea over concerns the school would tie up traffic. Neighborhood groups have signed off on the opera's plan.

The opera is trying to raise an additional $3.5 million to renovate and maintain the building, $1.3 million of which donors already have pledged. It also is looking to sell its current offices at 250 E. 38th St.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

38th Summer Celebration of Black Expo Opens Today

The first exposition, a two-day event held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in 1971, attracted over 50,000 people.

Summer Celebration is now the largest African-American event in the nation, with over 300,000 people in attendance.

The schedule of programs and events stretches over an 11-day period and includes business workshops, health and wellness, employment opportunities, spiritual enrichment, exhibits, youth activities and entertainment.

Check it all out here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Attention: IUPUI

This case isn't going away anytime soon.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) notes in a release dated 8 July 2008:

"Two months ago, in the face of withering public criticism, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) revoked its original finding that student-employee Keith John Sampson had committed racial harassment by reading a book at work that celebrated the defeat of the Ku Klux Klan in a 1924 street brawl. Now, IUPUI is claiming that Sampson was in fact punished for some other behavior, but the school refuses to reveal any details of this alleged conduct. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is calling on IUPUI to either reveal and prove this alleged offense or stop publicly smearing its own student.

"'This looks like a classic example of a college making things worse in an unprincipled attempt to save face,' FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley said. 'IUPUI's own letters to Sampson made clear that his reading a book about the Ku Klux Klan was the problem, and the university claims to have completely exonerated him of all charges. If so, why are its spokespeople now telling The Wall Street Journal that the problem was really some other mysterious conduct that the university will not reveal to anyone, including Sampson himself?'"

It's time. Past time! for IUPUI to come clean. Tell that to Charles R. Bantz, Chancellor, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis: 317‑274-4417;

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Well, Then....

The Wall Street Journal corrects its mistake.

Monday, July 7, 2008

"Harassment" Case Makes the Wall Street Journal

Way back in February, this Indianapolis Observer picked up a story from NUVO about Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis employee (and student) Keith John Sampson, who received a letter (dated 25 November 2007) from Lillian Charleston, of IUPUI’s Affirmative Action Office.

The letter begins by saying that the AAO has completed its investigation of a coworker’s allegation that Sampson 'racially harassed her by repeatedly reading the book Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan by Todd Tucker in the presence of Black employees'." It concludes that this action -- "repeatedly reading the book" -- was deemed racial harassment.

(Needless to say, Sampson was astonished that he would be reprimanded for reading a scholarly book, checked out of the IUPUI library, on his break time!)

Now, Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal has picked up the case, placing it in the context of the current presidential race (the headline reads "American Politics Aren't 'Post-Racial'").

Inexplicably writing that Sampson worked at Purdue University, instead of IUPUI [note: this has been corrected in the online version], she recounts the student/employee's saga, noting that "Purdue's latest follies highlight a widespread problem".

It's worth noting that while NUVO blacked out the name of Sampson's accuser, Rabinowitz names Ms. Nakea William as the co-worker who leveled the charges of reading a book with "inflammatory content" against Sampson.

"In April," Rabinowitz writes, "having been pressed by the potent national watchdog group FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) as well as the ACLU – University Chancellor Charles R. Bantz finally sent them a letter expressing regret over this affair, and testifying to his profound commitment to freedom of expression. So far as can be ascertained, the university has extended no such expressions of regret to Keith Sampson."

There will doubtless be more on this egregious case; IUPUI should be deeply ashamed of its actions.

Check out this and this and this and this for more commentary on the situation.

Yep. Everybody's writing about this...except The Indianapolis Star.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tempel leaves Center on Philanthropy

Eugene R. "Gene" Tempel (pictured) will succeed Curtis R. Simic as the seventh president of the Indiana University Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in 1936 as IU's fundraising partner.

Tempel, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, which is headquartered on the Indiana University-Purdue University (IUPUI) campus, is nationally known as an expert on philanthropy and nonprofit management. He was listed by the Nonprofit Times as one of the country's 50 most influential leaders in the nonprofit sector. He played a key role in the establishment of the Center on Philanthropy in 1987.

His appointment, which is subject to the ratification by the Foundation's Board, is to take effect 1 September. Tempel holds faculty appointments in higher education and philanthropic studies in the IU Schools of Education, Liberal Arts, and Public and Environmental Affairs. He earned his master's degree from IU's College of Arts and Sciences and his doctorate from the IU School of Education, and holds an undergraduate degree from St. Benedict College.

Simic is retiring after 20 years as president of the Foundation. During his tenure, the endowment grew from $214 million in fiscal 1988 to $1.6 billion. IU has ranked among the top 20 American universities in total voluntary support -- gifts and research grants from the private sector -- for 16 of the past 18 years.