Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spring Gallery Tour in Broad Ripple Village

Head on out to Broad Ripple 8 May for the Spring Gallery Tour. Some 18 galleries and specialty shops will be open from 5-10 p.m. and you can ride a free shuttle between 'em (look for the sign: "event shuttle stop").

Don't miss Big Hat Books, which will have ceramics, oils and glass on view in addition to (duh!) a selection of the best books in town.

And, don't forget that the 39th annual Broad Ripple Art Fair will be 16 and 17 May on the grounds of the Indianapolis Art Center, 820 East 67th Street, Indianapolis!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

If the Yankees Can't Fill Stadium Seats...

The New York Times reports today: "Twelve days after opening their new stadium, the Yankees on Tuesday bowed to the sour economy and the specter of empty seats by slashing in half some of their top-end, $2,500-a-game prices."

This Indianapolis Observer wonders about the effect of "the sour economy" (not to mention Indy taxpayer rage) on the Colts and the Pacers. Attending sporting events is, indeed, an optional activity. That's entertainment money, not rent or groceries!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Throw the Bums Out: Still Continued

"The Colts are miffed they were dragged into the Pacers' tiff with the Capital Improvement Board. The CIB may or may not get relief for its $47 million shortfall before lawmakers adjourn Wednesday. And taxpayers are disgusted with everyone," writes John Ketzenberger in today's Indianapolis Star.

"It's just another day in paradise," he continues. "Or maybe it's paradise lost because if the CIB can't get its financial house in order, we're all in trouble."

This Indianapolis Observer agrees. Once upon a time we had mayors who could drag warring parties into the same room and smack some sense into them.

Ketzenberger concludes, "With stakes this high, the city can't afford to drift aimlessly. This is a solvable problem."

Advance Indiana reminds us of this dark little secret: "Let's see who is getting free tickets and using suites controlled by the City and the CIB at LOS at Colts games. Let's learn who is footing the bill for that free entertainment. Let's find out whether politicians are reporting all of those free gifts on their statements of economic interest."

UPDATE (30 April 2009):
Advance Indiana reports: "I'm picking up indications that the CIB plans to announce that it will no longer be able to conduct business as of September 1, 2009 because of its budget shortfall."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Anderson: "An Indiana Town Appreciates Obama"

"The possibilities and the pitfalls early in the Obama era are playing out in this city of 57,000 an hour’s drive northeast of Indianapolis, a place that has lived for decades with an undercurrent of anxiety about the decline of the automobile industry."

Read the rest here in today's New York Times.

Throw the Bums Out: Continued

Advance Indiana writes: "As I've repeatedly explained, the [Capital Improvements Board] does not own [Lucas Oil Stadium]. If it doesn't have the financial means to operate the stadium within its existing budget, which it knew when it signed the lease with the Colts, then it should turn the stadium back over to its rightful owner, the State of Indiana."

This Indianapolis Observer is wondering why we don't tell Jimmy Irsay to take his team back to Baltimore. Oh, wait! Baltimore has the Ravens now and no longer wants the Colts!

As a commenter added to Ruth Holladay's blog today: "we're supporting for-profit entertainment sports with our tax dollars".

This Indianapolis Observer agrees: Why the hell are we doing that? Throw the bums out.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Who knew? The Colts never asked for a new stadium!

Dear Colts Fans:

Much has been reported and communicated about the Colts over the past several months, including several statements which have been either misleading or simply untrue. We would like to set the record straight by sharing with you facts of the Colts’ financial contributions to the State of Indiana and the City of Indianapolis and the club’s significant investment in the building and on-going operation of Lucas Oil Stadium.

First and foremost, the Indianapolis Colts have not sought in the past, nor is the club currently seeking, any special favors from the CIB, the City of Indianapolis, or the State of Indiana.

The Colts never asked for a new stadium. In 2004, the City of Indianapolis approached the Colts about the possibility of a new stadium, not the other way around. The City’s need for an expanded convention center and desire to accommodate the NCAA for future Final Fours prompted its exploration of a facility to replace the RCA Dome. At no time did the Colts threaten to leave Indianapolis or otherwise “hold the city hostage.”

The Colts negotiated in good faith with the State and the City and eventually entered into a development agreement with the Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority (ISCBA), governing the construction of Lucas Oil Stadium, and a lease with the CIB, governing the Colts’ use of the

The Colts made a 30-year commitment to the community. Those written agreements, signed nearly four years ago, committed the team to this community for the next 30 years with no option to renegotiate, regardless of any financial downturns that might arise.

The Colts agreed to take the risk and responsibility to achieve financial success in Indianapolis. The new agreements also removed the financial guarantees for the Colts that existed in our RCA Dome lease that could have cost the city tens of millions of dollars on a regular basis. In essence, the risk of financial success in a small market has been shifted from the city solely to the Colts.

The Colts have been meticulous in meeting and, indeed, often exceeding the requirements of those agreements. We have contributed over $100 Million to the construction of the facility and it is simply untrue for anyone to suggest we don’t have “skin in the game.”

It is also important to note that, from the very beginning, Lucas Oil Stadium was designed to be a multi-use facility to accommodate many users, not just the Colts. Already, the stadium has successfully hosted many events having nothing whatsoever to do with professional football and many more are already scheduled for years to come. While we are immensely proud to be able to call Lucas Oil Stadium our home field, the fact of the matter is the Colts only use the stadium a maximum of nineteen days a year; and the facility is available for use by virtually anyone else the remaining 346 days.

Second, the Colts have been engaged in extensive dialogue, based upon facts and equity, with those leaders who are working hard to find a solution to the CIB funding shortfall. Jim Irsay has personally met with Senator Luke Kenley and Mayor Greg Ballard to discuss these matters. Our representatives have also been in frank, open, and continuing communication with the CIB and the financial leaders of the state legislature since this issue began to emerge early last winter.

Third, our understanding of the CIB’s history is that the CIB’s budget shortfall is neither new nor unexpected. In fact, only a relatively small portion of the predicted shortfall can be directly attributed to the increase in actual maintenance and operations expense required by Lucas Oil Stadium. What is particularly puzzling is that the shortfall appears to have only become a crisis when the CIB concluded it might be obliged to assume all the operating costs of Conseco Fieldhouse to avoid an early termination of the Pacers' lease.

Fourth, the Colts believe recent criticism of its civic involvement to be unwarranted and unfair. We are extremely proud to have one of professional sports’ most comprehensive community outreach programs. While we are deeply involved statewide, we have not predicated charitable giving and civic involvement upon how much public acclaim the club gets in return. The Colts remain committed to that approach.

Fifth, the Colts’ commitment to the City of Indianapolis and the State of Indiana has also included providing an exemplary football team on and off the field. The club has invested heavily in recruiting players and coaches of which Indianapolis and the State of Indiana can be proud -- on game days and all the other days they make positive contributions to our communities. There are no more positive role models than Peyton Manning, Gary Brackett, and Jeff Saturday. We believe the Colts’ record in wins as well as community leadership speaks for itself. In anticipation of this weekend’s NFL Draft, the Colts are preparing to make multi-year and multi-million dollar commitments to the next generation of leaders like those three.

The Colts remain optimistic that a fair and equitable solution will be found that assures the fiscal good health of the CIB, an organization that is very important to the long-term success of Indianapolis and the entire State of Indiana. We hope, though, that the public discussions of the issues will be based upon facts.

The Indianapolis Colts

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Hot Time In Indy This Week

Nearly 30,000 firefighters are in Indianapolis for the Fire Department Instructors Conference.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

ICVA to Unveil New Branding Campaign

The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association will roll out its new marketing brand this week. "Raising the game" will be featured in visitor guides, regional television spots and on new trade show booths.

This Indianapolis Observer expects this tag line to end up right alongside "Wander Indiana".

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tobias Resigns as Airport Authority Board President

Randall Tobias, who served as president of the Indianapolis Airport Authority Board for little more than a year, has resigned. Law requires board members to be residents of Marion County, and Tobias plans to move to Hamilton County by the end of 2009.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Oh, no! Not another one!

Yet another mismanaged public entity: the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library.

As Inside INdiana Business reports, "A jury has found engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti not liable for $24 million in damages related to construction problems at the new Central Library in Indianapolis."

And, that's not all: "the Boone County jury also found the library must pay more than $700,000 in attorneys fees."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Choral and Orchestra Festival

No tickets are required for a free music festival at 3 p.m. 26 April in Clowes Memorial Hall on the campus of Butler University, Indianapolis.

Carl Orff's dramatic "scenic cantata" Carmina Burana is the centerpiece of this year's ChoralFest performance featuring the Butler Chorale, University Choir, Symphony Orchestra and Jordan College of Fine Arts School of Music student soloists, conducted by Dr. Eric Stark.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

One Night, One Stage, One Reason

The Indianapolis performing arts community gathers together on the stage of Clowes Memorial Hall, Butler University, to raise money and awareness of HIV/AIDS in Indiana.

Appearing at 7:30 p.m. 20 April are Dance Kaleidoscope, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Kenyetta Dance Company, Indianapolis Children’s Choir, Phoenix Theatre, Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre, Indianapolis Civic Theatre, Indianapolis Opera and Brenda Williams featuring the Pride of Indy Jazz Ensemble.

Proceeds from the "Spotlight 2009" event will be used by the Indiana AIDS Fund to support agencies and programs that educate and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and serve those living with the disease.

Tickets are $32.50 and $100, and are available at the Clowes Hall box office or by calling 800:982-2787, at all Ticketmaster locations and online.

A Patron’s Reception will be held at Clowes Memorial Hall at 5:30 p.m. on the night of the performance. The reception is included with the purchase of a $100 ticket.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Same Old, Same Old

OK, Mayor Greg Ballard came out of hiding today to announce his solution for the CIB crisis. Let's see, tax everybody more so the Pacers and Colts can have nice places to play.

Or, as Advance Indiana put it, "This is not about Downtown Indianapolis. It's not even about the City's convention industry. It's about putting tens of millions of additional taxpayer dollars into the pockets of the billionaire sports team owners every year."

This Indianapolis Observer wonders how the new mayor got suckered by the old politicians!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Piling It On

The bad news just keeps on coming.

Not only is Indianapolis suffering (like the rest of the world) from the recession, but our sewer system is on the verge of collapse, we can't afford upkeep on either the Lucas Oil Stadium or Conseco Fieldhouse, the former site of Market Square Arena remains an unpaved gravel parking lot years after the building was torn down -- and now we find out that the Indianapolis Water Company owes hundreds of millions of dollars in interest payments. ("The water utility's $435 million in variable-rate debt represents 58 percent of its overall debt", reports The Indianapolis Star, noting that amount is "about three times higher" than industry standards recommend.)

This Indianapolis Observer wants to know: where's the mayor?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Harlem Globetrotters Entertain in Indy

The athletic and humorous Harlem Globetrotters come to the Conseco Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis at 7 p.m. 17 April.

Tickets ($21-116) are available from Ticketmaster or call 317:239-5151.

Friday, April 10, 2009

One-Peek Show at Stutz

"One-Peek Show" is the title for the current exhibition at the Stutz Building, 212 West 10th Street, Indianapolis.

Sponsored by the Stutz Artists Association, it features the work of 70 members. The show continues through 25 April, and the gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays (or by appointment).

The Stutz Artists Association's annual open house is the last weekend of the show: 24 and 25 April. Advance sale tickets are $10, with admission at the door $12 those two days. Proceeds support the Stutz Residency Program, a scholarship that provides free studio space and utilities for emerging local artists. It is one of the largest grants to individual artists in the state.

Tickets are available at the Stutz Business Office (#C200), 1060 North Capitol Avenue, Indianapolis, or call 317:503-6420. In addition to being a great opportunity to buy one-of-a-kind gifts (art prices range from $12 to $10,000), the event offers a look at the vintage cars on display in the historic Stutz car factory. Visitors also can sample acoustic music, nibble on gallery snacks and purchase foods from select local restaurants.

Oh, the image? That's "Dusk Eyes Find" by William Denton Ray.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Indiana Barrister Weighs In on CIB Conundrum

"A plan to use of combination of user fees and taxes to close the Capital Improvement Board’s $47 million operational deficit may have come to a halt even before it had a chance to really get out of the gate," writes Abdul Hakim-Shabazz in a blog posting today.

"Republican State Senator Luke Kenley tells me reaction to the plan unveiled last week has been very negative. He says the public doesn’t want to pay more taxes in the economy, there is a growing resentment towards the owners of the Colts and the Pacers and none of the stakeholders are crazy about ponying up more cash."

There's more here.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Komen "Promise Grant" Awarded to IU School of Medicine

Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis has been awarded a $5.8 million Promise Grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure as part of this year's allocation of $25.7 million for Promise Grants.

IU will try to establish biomarkers that doctors can use to better predict which breast cancer patients will benefit from the drug Avastin, and which cancer patients will suffer significant side effects from its use.

Promise Grants are large-scale grants (up to $7.5 million each during a five-year period) targeted to research that brings science to the bedside more quickly than ever before.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

ArtBabble Goes Live! is the newest online destination for art video.

It was conceived and built by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, but other partners are now adding content.

This Indianapolis Observer says, go ahead! "Play Art Outloud!

Monday, April 6, 2009

If You Think Culture is More Important than Sports

Get thee to Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis for "Indy Culture Matters", a rally organized by Central Indiana cultural organizations at noon on 20 April.

As we all know, cultural destinations "matter" more to Indy's short- and long-term economy and the city's reputation more than those thugs staging mock battles in the city's sports palaces.

If you agree (or even if you just think that the arts are a good supplement to "professional" sports), consider joining the hundreds of cultural destination employees, board members, supporters, and others who believe that "Indy Culture Matters".

There'll be a performance by Cathy Morris at 11:30 a.m., followed by the rally at noon.

Central Indiana’s cultural institutions have been sidelined in this city’s success for too long. It’s time to make some noise.

As the Arts Council of Indianapolis notes:

· The arts generate $468 million in economic activity each year in the city of Indianapolis
· The arts add nearly $52 million in local and state government revenue annually
· The arts support more than 15,000 local jobs
· Cultural organizations in central Indiana host more than 7 million visits to diverse performances, exhibitions and programs

The Indianapolis Consortium of Arts Administrators (ICAA) consists of 38 CEOs of Central Indiana's largest arts and cultural organizations.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Fat Cats Try to Spin the Money Tale

According to Indiana Barrister, the Indianapolis Colts are playing "smoke and mirrors" with payments toward their portion of the tab for Lucas Oil Stadium.

"The Indianapolis Colts say they contributed $100 million to building Lucas Oil Stadium," Abdul Hakim-Shabazz writes. "It all depends on how you define 'contribute'."

Read it all here.

Abdul's conclusion? "So the Colts put in $137,000,000, they get back nearly $1.6 billion and they don’t want to contribute $5 million a year ($150,000,000 over 30 years; less than 10 percent of their total revenue stream) and would rather see your taxes go up."

In the opinion of this Indianapolis Observer, the Colts are behaving just about as ethically than the Pacers.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Illinois Building to be Resuscitated?

"A 10-story downtown building that’s been vacant more than five years and labeled one of the state’s most endangered historic structures soon may see new life," according to a report by Cory Schouten of the Indianapolis Business Journal.

"Local developer Halakar Properties Inc. has put the Illinois Building under contract, and has been meeting with city officials about a tax abatement that could help return retail space to the first floor and turn the upper floors into apartments, industry observers said.

"The company, which developed the 3 Mass condo and retail project, has been talking with potential development partners for the Illinois Building. No cost or time line for the project was available."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

CIB deal: something is not right

Ruth Holladay says, "Starting with the assumption that we all want the Colts and Pacers to remain in Indy, a quick look at the deal brokered and offered by Sen. Luke Kenley yesterday raises more red flags than a 10-car pileup at the Speedway."

Well, this Indianapolis Observer thinks her assumption is false (if "we all want the Colts and Pacers to remain in Indy" we'd all be buying tickets to the games. And, duh, we aren't.

At this point, who cares if the Colts and Pacers stay in Indy? (Her allusion to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway reminds all of us that the IMS does NOT depend on tax money for its operation.)

What will be hurt by all this is Indy's convention business -- destroying the "downtown" that Mayor Greg Ballard is so worried about. With the highest hospitality taxes in the nation, who in their right mind would put a meeting here?

Kenley and all the rest of the "good old boys" should be ashamed of themselves for lining up behind the Capital Improvements Board. (It would be uncharitable to think they're preserving their box seats for the Colts and Pacers, now wouldn't it?)

Grab your pitchfork and torch and head down to the General Assembly so our elected legislators know that their futures are on the line -- the natives are restless. Just say no to welfare for the fat cats!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Country's Worst State Legislature

The late Harrison Ullman (editor of NUVO) used to refer to Indiana lawmakers as "the country's worst state legislature".

Their expected decisions regarding the Capital Improvements Board and its sweetheart deals with the Pacers and the Colts just add to that conclusion.

As Advance Indiana reports, "In the end, nobody but the taxpaying public pays for poor financial planning by a CIB leadership that is hell-bent on putting as much of your money in the pockets of the billionaire sports team owners as possible no matter what the cost. No lessons are learned. Nothing changes."

This Indianapolis Observer remains appalled.

Art for Beds Means Taste of the Market?

Artwork and cuisine combine for a fundraiser set for 4 to 7:30 p.m. 19 April in the Indianapolis City Market, 222 East Market Street, Indianapolis.

"Art for Beds" benefits Gennesaret Free Clinics, which provides free health care services to homeless and the working poor in Indy through five emergency shelters, two food pantries, three medical van sites and a dental clinic.

Included is a "Taste of the Market", with sampling of City Market fare accompanied by "spirits and non-alcoholic beverages", silent and live auctions. To be offered are ceramics, jewelry, wine baskets, restaurant certificates, tickets to various venues, sports memorabilia, vacation destinations and, of course, artwork.

Steering Committee chairs are Rhonda Long-Sharp, Diana Turik and Mark Varnau. Judy O'Bannon and Amy Peterson are the 2009 honorary chairs.

Tickets are $85 per person, or $1500 for a table. Reservations are requested by 10 April, and can be made online. For more information, call Gennesaret Free Clinics, 317:639-5645.

Oh - the picture is from the invitation, and it includes a detail from "Main Stage" by Heather Cuthbert-Lutgring (acrylic/mixed media on canvas, 18"x24").