Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Connecting the Dots

If only we had a watchdog media in Indy!

Buried in today's Indianapolis Star is the reason Music for All is in trouble. This non-profit organization that stages the annual Bands of America competition was lured to Indy a couple of years ago, and then blindsided by the Capital Improvements Board.

How so? Check the jump. Way toward the end of the article is the information: "37% increase in rent and other services at Lucas Oil Stadium from what the organization had been paying at the RCA Dome".

The Colts are subsidized, but high school bands are overcharged.

This Indianapolis Observer is horrified, once again.

Monday, March 30, 2009

And I Repeat:

If the Hulman family can run the Indianapolis Motor Speedway without capital payments from Indy, why can't the Simons run the Pacers and the Irsays run the Colts without our tax dollars?

If the Indy "500" -- the Greatest Spectacle in Racing -- doesn't need subsidies from Indianapolis, why do the owners of the basketball and football teams demand them?

(Yes, this Indianapolis Observer knows that the IMS gets substantial law enforcement services, but that's a pittance compared to the enormous subsidies the Pacers and Colts get -- think, for starters, about Conseco Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Throw The Bums Out

So, the Indianapolis Star justifies the million-dollar-jaunt of some five dozen Indy movers and shakers to Cancun as the guests of the Pacers with a whitewash in today's "Behind Closed Doors" column?

They paid sponsorship money to the Pacers, so they get to party?

What about the shortfall between what the team owes the city? Don't the sponsors have a responsibility to uphold the contractual obligations of the Pacers?

Or is it like Nero fiddling while Rome burns....

This Indianapolis Observer is appalled. If the fans don't buy enough tickets to support the Pacers (or the Colts, for that matter), perhaps their time in the spotlight is over.

As Ruth Holladay says in her blog, "Wasteful spending is exactly that: wasteful. If these corporate fat cats have the dough to throw a luxury six-day vacation into their deals with the team, in these hard-luck times, maybe THEY should bail the Pacers out -- after all, they get the benefit of luxury suites and other perks. They may well be the only people in town enjoying the Pacers these days."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Good Old Boys' Club Unravels

This Indianapolis Observer is watching with keen interest the devolution of the Capital Improvements Board (CIB). Once a powerful out-of-sight operator, it's become a caricature of good governance.

If the Hulman family can run the Indianapolis Motor Speedway without influxes of capital from Indy, what's wrong with the Simons (and the Pacers) and the Irsays (and the Colts). If the Indy 500 doesn't need subsidies from Indianapolis, why do basketball and football?

If the "fans" don't support the Pacers and the Colts, why should the city? Enough with the corporate welfare already. Fund culture and the arts, not professional sports!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Concert to Celebrate 90 Years of Butler Bands

The Butler University Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, under the direction of Dr. Robert Grechesky, will present the final concert of their 2008-2009 season at 3 p.m. 5 April 5 Clowes Memorial Hall on the Butler campus in Indianapolis.

The event is free and open to the public. No tickets are required. For more information, call 317:940-9246.

A special reception in honor of the 90th anniversary of the Butler Bands will be held in the Clowes Lobby following the concert.

The concert will feature a wide range of repertoire, including the Symphony in Three Movements by John Stevens. This work was commissioned by the Butler Wind Ensemble as part of a consortium of universities from around the country.

Also on the program is Blessings by Samuel Hazo. This beautiful work features guest faculty artists Andrea Gullickson, oboe; William Grubb, cello; and Nancy Davis Booth and Michael Schelle, reciters. The work includes four poems about relationships between parents and young children, and the combination of music and poetry makes for an intensely emotional experience.

The Symphonic Band will perform Malcolm Arnold’s Prelude, Siciliano and Rondo as well as Daniel Bukvich’s Symphony No. 1. The grand finale will combine both bands for a rousing rendition of the Polka and Fugue from Schwanda the Bagpiper, by Jaromir Weinberger.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

IMA Receives 125 Gifts For 125th Anniversary

Inside INdiana Business reports that the Indianapolis Museum of Art has secured 125 works in honor of its 125th anniversary. The donated pieces range from Old Master paintings to 21st-century African textiles.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Past, Present, and Future of Abraham Lincoln in Indiana

This year’s 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth reminds Hoosiers that he spent his formative years in Indiana.

"The Past, Present, and Future of Abraham Lincoln in Indiana" will be discussed by William Bartelt during an "Ideas in Indiana" presentation co-sponsored by the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research, the Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana State Museum.

The discussion is planned for 3-4:30 p.m. 3 April in the Indiana History Center, 450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis. If you plan to attend, please contact Susan Stinn, 317:472-2053 by 31 March.

Bartelt is the author of There I Grew Up: Remembering Abraham Lincoln’s Indiana Youth. A retired educator who spent fifteen summers working as ranger and historian at the Lincoln Boyhood Memorial, Bartelt is a member of the Federal Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and serves as Vice-Chair of the Indiana Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. He will be joined by Dale Ogden, chief curator of cultural history for the Indiana State Museum, who will share the Museum’s plans for Lincoln’s future.

Following the discussion, a tour of the Indiana Historical Society’s conservation lab to see how the Society’s own collection of Lincoln documents and images have been preserved.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

And We Thought Things Couldn't Get Any Worse

Not only is the Capital Improvements Board collapsing, the Indianapolis Airport Authority being taken over by a megalomaniac and the Indianapolis Public Schools system imploding, but (according to today's Indianapolis Star), the city can't even get the chuckholes filled in poor neighborhoods as quickly as they are in the more affluent sections.

That, and the murder rate continues to rise.

This Indianapolis Observer is wondering why we bothered to vote in a new mayor if he can't even get those potholes patched in a timely manner!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Scandalous Behavior?

Advance Indiana is becoming required reading in Indy.

In addition to reporting on the, ummmm, interesting background of the new head of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, Gary R. Welsh is "outing" the mayor for his reprehensible decision to close Indy swimming pools this summer for repairs (see this) and the continuing blackmail of the city by the Capital Improvements Board (see this).

Did you know that, according to Advance Indiana, "we spend more money on the CIB than we spend providing fire protection. We spend four times on the CIB than we spend on our city's parks. And we spend more on the CIB than we spend on the prosecutor's office, the public defender's office and the entire Marion County court system combined." This Indianapolis Observer sure didn't!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Indianapolis Airport Authority Abdicates Responsibility

The Indianapolis Airport Authority unanimously approved the appointment of John D. Clark, III as its new CEO despite ample evidence of his tenure in Jacksonville, Florida to demonstrate that he is an arrogant, self-aggrandizing person who has no time for answering to the public or treating those who work under him with any respect. Thanks, Mayor Ballard, for continuing to trash every principle upon which you were elected to serve the people of Indianapolis.

Above is a direct quote from Advance Indiana. This Indianapolis Observer couldn't have said it better. So s/he didn't.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Indy Hosts School Bands Festival

Indianapolis is the site of the Music for All National Festival, which began today (19 March), reports Inside INdiana Business.

The three-day event involves more than 40 of the nation's high school and middle school bands, orchestras and percussion ensembles, and includes concerts and master classes.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"In a Dark Dark House" Opens 20 March

Heartland Actors' Repertory Theatre will present "In a Dark Dark House" by Neil Labute in six performances at the IndyFringe Theatre, 719 East St. Clair Street, Indianapolis.

Dates are 20, 21, 27, 28 March, 3 and 4 April, with all shows beginning at 8 p.m.

The production stars HART company members Ryan Artzberger and Matthew Roland with Rebecca Masur and is directed by Michael Shelton.

For tickets, check the website or call 317:796-2222.

Monday, March 16, 2009

IMA Offloads Its Dogs

When a museum has something it doesn't want, it "deacessions" the piece. That is, out it goes -- hopefully generating a little cash the museum can use to purchase something it does want (at least at the moment).

The Indianapolis Museum of Art is no different, except that (in a nod toward transparency) all of us can wander through a new searchable database of recently deaccessioned artworks.

The database includes information on works the museum has identified for sale and their valuations since late 2007, when the museum began a comprehensive review of its collection to identify candidates for deaccessioning (e.g. sale, transfer or exchange).

Since then, the furniture, antiquities, textiles, American painting, European painting and contemporary collections have been reviewed and assessed. The decorative arts, Asian art and African collections are currently under review with additional works proposed for deaccessioning to be presented for approval at the May and December 2009 Collections Committee and Board of Governors meetings.

Some items the IMA possesses were never actually accepted. These unaccessioned objects in the collection will also be reviewed for possible deaccessioning. They will be advertised in The Indianapolis Star in accordance with the State of Indiana’s legislation governing abandoned cultural property in an effort to find the original owners and/or to gain clear title. After the required waiting period, all abandoned cultural property will either be accessioned or deaccessioned. So, if you think a friend or family member might have given something to the IMA, check that list to see if they can get it back.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Robert H. and Frank E. McKinney Jr. are NOT related

Indianapolis Monthly has a cover story this month on families that "built" Indy -- Lilly, Clowes, Simon, Ayres, etc.

Too bad they didn't do their due diligence in fact checking.

Robert H. McKinney (born in 1925 and son of E. Kirk McKinney Sr.) is not the brother of Frank E. McKinney Jr. (born in 1938 and son of Frank E. McKinney Sr.).

Maybe the writers/editors were confused because the late Frank E. McKinney Jr. had six children, two of whom are Frank E. McKinney III and Robert McKinney (but none of which is Kevin -- he's Bob's son).

Makes this Indianapolis Observer wonder about all the other "facts" in their cover story!

In yet another "news coincidence", Randall Tobias (former head of Eli Lilly & Co.) filed for divorce recently from his wife, Marianne -- who was married to Frank E. McKinney Jr. at the time of his death in 1992.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Did Indy Pick the Right Person for the Airport?

Not according to a report by Chris O'Malley and Scott Olsen of the Indianapolis Business Journal.

"[John D. Clark, (pictured) t]he man nominated to be CEO of the Indianapolis Airport Authority was a polarizing figure in Jacksonville, where he's been the CEO of the Florida city's aviation authority since 2001", they write.

"During that time, Clark amassed a long list of critics - ranging from the city council to airport police to neighborhood residents in the path of a proposed runway extension.

"Jacksonville's alternative newspaper, Folioweekly, in November [2008] published a scathing article about Clark, painting him as a big spender with little regard for authority."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cosmopolitan on the Canal Burns to the Ground

Advance Indiana has an interesting take on this morning's fire in an under-construction apartment project along the Central Canal.

Gary R. Welsh notes the upper floors were all-wood framing, instead of the concrete-and-steel used on the ground level, creating a tinderbox situation. Other commentators have noted that the fire was "particularly intense".

This Indianapolis Observer hopes the arson squad is out in force on this one!

UPDATE as of 17 March 2009:

Officials blamed arson in Indy canal fire
reports The Indianapolis Star.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Conference to Promote Careers in Agriculture, Life Sciences

More than 1,000 minority students are expected to attend a national conference in Indianapolis this month to learn more about agriculture and life sciences career opportunities, reports Inside INdiana Business.

The 24th annual Career Fair and Training Conference of the National Society for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences will be held 26-28 March at the Marriott Hotel Downtown.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

IMS to Host Different Kind of Race

The "Nascent 500: Business Plan Challenge" could be referred to as "The Greatest Spectacle in Business Plan Contests." Hosted by Ball State's Entrepreneurship Center, it attracts students from universities across the U.S. and Canada to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on 20 March.

Twelve semi-finalist teams are selected to participate (based on submitted business plans), and are awarded $500.

Next, they get 500 words to earn pole position and 500 seconds (about 8 minutes) to pitch their business plan in the back of a limousine as it travels around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Four teams advance to the "Homestretch" round and present their plans for a chance to win more than $18,000 in prizes.

The winning team receives a victory lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a quart of milk, and $10,000.

It's too late to enter for this year's competition, but check out the guidelines so you'll be ready for next year!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wolfgang Puck is History at the IMA

The Indianapolis Museum of Art has selected Sodexo Inc. as the new foodservice provider for its on-site restaurant, reports Inside INdiana Business.

Sodexo and Indianapolis-based Kahn's Catering will become the preferred caterers for events at the IMA. In the coming weeks, Sodexo will work with the museum to develop an original restaurant concept and menu. Sodexo will replace the catering and cafe currently handled by Wolfgang Puck at the IMA.

This Indianapolis Observer remembers when Wolfgang Puck was a person, not a brand. In fact, one of his first restaurant jobs was right here in Indianapolis. He was a staffer in the kitchen of La Tour, the restaurant atop what was then the Indiana National Bank Building in the 1970s.

Too bad he couldn't keep track of the quality levels of his franchises, and got booted from the IMA!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

20th Anniversary Celebration Starts 14 March

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art first opened its doors on 24 June 1989.

This year, the institution in Indy's White River State Park, celebrates 20 years of inspiring appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West and the indigenous peoples of North America.

The Opening Day Celebration, set for 14 March, includes:

* The opening of the exhibition "Facing West: Celebrating 20 Years of the Eiteljorg Museum"
* 1989 admission and membership prices: Guests can visit for $2 and become new members for as low as $25
* 20% discounts in the Eiteljorg Museum Store and Sky City Café
* Extended hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more, click here.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Seeing Eye-to-Eye with Oleanna

To mark its second official season, The Theater Within, 1125 Spruce Street, Indianapolis, is staging "Oleanna", a play by David Mamet.

The first in the theater's Awaiting Illumination series, "Oleanna" introduces John, a well-intentioned but conflicted college professor anticipation of receiving tenure by the university review committee, and Carol, a troubled young student trying to shed light on the value of her instructor's sometimes confounding use of language.

Performances start at 8 p.m. on 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28 March. For information, contact Rod Isaac or call 317:850-4665. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students/seniors.

Future productions include "Bent", "The Mercy Seat" and "Never The Sinner".

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fine Furniture: An Inspired View

"Fine Furniture: An Inspired View" is a collection of works by four different artists in their junior year in the Herron School of Art and Design Furniture Design Program at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. The show showcases how they use their inspiration and artistic vision to create one-of-a-kind furniture forms.

The exhibit will be on display 20-31 March in the Cultural Arts Gallery, Room 240 of the Campus Center at IUPUI, 420 University Boulevard, Indianapolis.

For more information, contact Kyle Capicik.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Volleyball Tournament to Attract Thousands in Indy

More than 20,000 people are expected to gather in downtown Indianapolis this weekend for one of the country's largest volleyball tournaments, reports Inside INdiana Business.

The 2009 Mizuno Mid-East Qualifier will be held tomorrow through Sunday (6-8 March) and feature 520 teams and 6,000 girls from across the country.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Business of Sports

Sonny Vaccaro (pictured), Director of Vaccaro Sports Partnerships, will speak on "The Business of Sports" at 5 p.m. today (4 March) in Room 259 of the Indiana University School of Law at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.

His presentation is sponsored by the The Entertainment and Sports Law Society. A reception will follow. For more information, contact Matt Nolley.

Considered one of basketball's most well-connected insiders, Vaccaro remains a formidable force in contemporary sports marketing and grassroots basketball. His promotional innovations (beginning with the signing of Michael Jordan to his first major endorsement package) revolutionized the sports marketing genre with shoe endorsements, team affiliations and other ground-breaking promotional partnerships which have helped propel the fortunes of countless athletes, collegiate programs and professional teams.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ballard to be One Term Mayor?

Advance Indiana outlines a startling set of revelations about Mayor Greg Ballard's financial dealings.

Campaign pledges about accountability and transparency are trashed as the one-year incumbent curries favor with well-heeled contributors.

"Despite a pledge to restore ethics and public accountability, Ballard has governed this past year under the guiding principle that anyone wishing to do business with the city-county government must pay to play."

But, don't take my word for it. Read it all here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

MIBOR Reports Home Sales Figures

The Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors (MIBOR) says the number of units sold from November through January is down 16 percent, compared to the same period a year earlier, reports Inside INdiana Business.

MIBOR says nearly 4,500 homes sold in the period had an average price of $125,700. Out of the 13 counties in the Indianapolis-area, only Decatur and Putnam posted increases in average sale price from November through January.