____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The Bloomington City Council unanimously passed legislation Monday night that implemented a 54 percent increase in water utility rates for Bloomington residents.The special session convened to discuss two amendments to the legislation that dealt with an upgrade and expansion to Bloomington’s water treatment plant and water lines running from the Lake Monroe reservoir into the city.Bloomington City Council President Isabel Piedmont-Smith opened Monday evening’s discussion by expressing hope that the project would be a long-term solution to providing water to the people of Bloomington.While the initial proposal called for a 47 percent rate increase to cover the $41 million project, Piedmont-Smith introduced an amendment to increase the rate another seven percent.The difference, which would amount to about an extra dollar per user, will enable the city to begin paying off principal as well as interest on the loan they will take out to cover the project, resulting in almost $10 million in savings.Bloomington has one seven-mile water line from the water treatment plant into the city. The pipe is 43 years old, and though it seems to be in good condition, it is risky to rely on only a single water source for a community the size of Bloomington.“I don’t think there is any rational argument to be relying on a single line,” councilman Dave Rollo said.Members of the public and the business community expressed their support, and concerns, during a call for public comment on the measure. Larry Jacobs, speaking for the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, supported the rate hike as a fiscally responsible action. “The voice from the business community is that this makes more sense, so we do support the amendment,” he said.Jim Tolan, a self-described “long-time citizen, long-time water user,” also took his turn at the microphone.“I was a strong supporter of this two years ago, and I am equally strong now,” Tolan said. “I am retired, living on a fixed income, and I don’t mind paying my water bill.”However, not everyone expressed consent. Andy Davis, who serves on Bloomington’s Commission on Sustainability, said he was there to share his reasons for being the only dissenting vote in the group’s support of the measure.“I still think this is a problem that we can serve through conservation,” he told the panel. Each council member in turn said this was a particularly difficult decision, but it came as a result of taking a deeper look into Bloomington’s welfare for future generations. “I (originally) voted ‘no’ but decided to change my opinion because I think it is prudent not to burden the future,” Rollo said.Councilman Steven Volan said the drastic rate hike is an issue that could have been avoided and should be avoided in the future.Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan offered his support in the decision to go ahead with the projects and the additional rate hike.“You are investing in future services that we don’t even know yet by being fiscally responsible,” he told the Bloomington City Council.“Long after we are gone, people aren’t going to remember who sat in this room and voted for this, and the fact that you’re doing it and the way that you are doing it — you can take great pride.”The unanimous decision did not come without strong reservations, the strongest of which was the relationship between providing more water and instilling a culture of conservation.Councilman Andy Ruff stated the irony that the department that reaps the benefits of water usage is also tasked with promoting conservation.“I am concerned,” he said. “I really do think it potentially undermines being more conservative to want to generate revenues and conserve.”Those paying their water bills will feel the impact.“We have tried to find another way,” councilman Chris Sturbaum said. “We really ended up trusting the experts and the consultants. I apologize to those who are going to be paying more, but that is the price of water.”For Piedmont-Smith, the increased rates are a concern that needs to be addressed. “I have no doubt that a 54 percent rate increase is going to be very hard on many low-income users,” she said. “In that respect, it is going to make it very hard to vote in favor. We need to publicize the help that is available, because there will be people in the end who can’t conserve themselves out.”
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____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Graduation is right around the corner, and for senior Valkyrie Savage, that means figuring out one thing: how to avoid entering the workforce. Having spent her last semester of school in Switzerland, the computer science and mathematics major says the European lifestyle is growing on her. “I’m really liking the European way of work because they mandate three weeks off on top of public holidays, and there are lots of public holidays, so no one here is really married to their work the same way that people in the states are,” Savage said. Unlike the mass of soon-to-be graduates who have spent the last year sending out resumes and cover letters hoping to nab a rare job in a recessed economy, Savage and her boyfriend, Evan Stratford, have spent the last year mapping out routes and securing shelter for a 10,000 kilometer (more than 6,300 miles) bicycle ride around Europe. They will start in Copenhagen and travel along the continent’s western and southern coasts to Istanbul. Though both are adventurous, the aim is to go beyond the adrenaline rush and work to spread a positive message. “We decided it would be a good idea to use this as an opportunity to promote some environmental issues,” said Stratford, who is finishing his degree from Ontario’s University of Waterloo. They have allocated six months to complete the journey, allowing for breaks along the way to become involved with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, which matches volunteers with housing and food in exchange for helping with tasks on farmlands all across the world. A tremendous network of relatives, friends, and friends of friends are supporting the trip by providing additional housing, financial support and perhaps even the bicycles for their journey. The IU cycling community helped inspire the couple to go forward with their extensive ride. Stratford visited during last year’s Little 500 race and saw firsthand how seriously Hoosiers take the sport. “You have this sort of community opposite to what you normally see — people driving around in their cars and they are all very angry about it. It’s very refreshing,” he said.The tech-savvy couple will use social media to share their experiences with those who cannot travel along. They have set up a Web site, a Twitter feed and a Facebook fan group for the expedition. Ethan Bradley, a senior who will finish a degree in finance and Spanish next month and head straight to a job in Indianapolis, says he appreciates that he will be able to experience the adventure vicariously through Valkyrie, whom he has known since age four. “I will definitely be following on Facebook and keeping in touch,” Bradley said. “It will be interesting just to see what she can do.”Savage realizes she will serve as a virtual tour guide for those following her quest.“I’ve out-traveled everyone I’m related to,” Savage said. “My family loves it — they follow me on Facebook. I feel closer to them when I can share things like this.” Even in the planning stages, the two have found the journey has already begun, and working out the logistics may be the hardest part. “You can’t plan everything,” Stratford said. “You’re expecting something to go wrong at some point because something will go wrong at some point.”Naturally, finances are a big concern.“The planning overhead is crazy,” Savage said. “The trip itself will boil down to food and plane tickets.” “And gear,” they agreed.Even as all the pieces fall into place, the question remains: Why? “We were trying to think of something really awesome to do once we both finished school because neither one of us is quite ready for grad school or real life,” Savage said. “There’s all these things out there that you can do,” said Stratford, who has accepted a job with Facebook once the bike ride is over, “and to say that all I did in life is sit in front of a computer and write some code, I feel like there would be something missing there.” With graduation coming up, the timing, place and match have all lined up.“I think he is probably the only person I’ve ever met who would be crazy enough to go 10,000 (kilometers) on a bicycle,” Savage said. “I guess it’s just the next big adventure.”And the effort just makes the adventure more satisfying.“I think it is a really awesome opportunity,” Bradley said. “She is a good example to everybody else of chasing after what you want to do with your life.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Elinor and Vincent Ostrom stood side by side, hands held tightly as they became recipients of the University Medal, IU’s highest honor.The medal, awarded by IU President Michael McRobbie, was presented prior to Professor Elinor Ostrom’s Nobel Prize lecture Tuesday at the IU Auditorium. McRobbie said the distinction has only been awarded 10 times.Vincent Ostrom joined his wife on stage for her presentation, as he has for more than 40 years of research and collaboration.“The prize did come to me personally,” Ostrom said, “but it would never have come but for the work I did with Vincent Ostrom all these years and the Workshop.”McRobbie told the packed auditorium that Ostrom had received her Nobel Prize in Economics “for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons,” and that she was the first woman to have won the prize.“These are the facts,” he said.But according to McRobbie, the facts alone do not convey the outlying story of the honor Ostrom’s award has brought to the University.“She epitomizes what it means to be a scholar and colleague who shares her success along with her generosity,” he said.Ostrom presented to the audience the same slide show she used during her acceptance speech in Sweden. She spoke of some of her early work and how it led to her research that ultimately won her the prize.“When I went to graduate school the world was very simple,” she joked, but she went on to stress that “complexity is not the same as chaos.”Ostrom touched on ideas such as game theory and the tragedy of the commons, but also related her research to such diverse applications as communal fisheries and the mafia. “It was very informative, very detailed,” said freshman Karissa Miller. “She spoke in a way that I could understand, which I was worried about because I am not an economist.”Miller said she skipped her Spanish class to attend the speech. “This is a once in a lifetime chance to see a Nobel Laureate discuss her research, I want to take advantage of it,” she said.In addition to their teaching and their research, the Ostroms also started the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis located on IU-Bloomington’s campus. “It’s like a lab, but it is a social science lab,” Ostrom explained. The Workshop offers a colloquium on Mondays open to the entire IU community.“Vincent wanted to be sure that we organized a way that students at multiple levels and visiting scholars and faculty could work effectively together.”Ostrom’s current studies include analysis of three local community owned forests.“It speaks a lot of the University,” Miller said. “Their professors are of a higher standard.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>A line formed at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater down Kirkwood Avenue on Saturday for “Small Box,” an opera set in a death row waiting room.And although the line delayed the curtain call of the production, the cast and crew said they were happy to accommodate the wait.“I really like the crowd,” said Herman Whitfield III. composer, conductor and IU alumnus. “It showed that there was some interest which I have not seen before, so I really think in the future we could bring new opera to Bloomington.”As the performance began, an intense red light revealed eight chairs, backs turned toward the audience, in which the eight singers sat. The orange jumpsuits of the inmates provided the only other color against the simple black set. The one act opera tells the true stories of several inmates on death row, as well as the officers of the prison. The day-to-day details depicted the similarities of life on both sides of the bars, emphasizing underlying human emotions. A new inmate, Willie, played by graduate student Brennan Hall sang, “I’m still getting used to this place, I’ll try to fit in” as if he is the new kid in school, hoping to make friends. Other facets of life appear when a wife visits her husband for the last time.“You’ve got to tell our son a short cut is the longest way,” he begged her before their final embrace. A third prisoner discussed the alternatives presented to him during his life on the street – he applied to the army, but they wouldn’t take him because he couldn’t read. Sophomore Erin Mills was in the audience to see her friends in the production. “It was ridiculously awesome,” she said. Mills commented that the physical mannerisms of the characters were not the typical erect opera stance and added a sincere and emotional element to the characters. “I wish it was longer so we could get to know them better,” Mills said. “The fact that Willie was willing to sacrifice so the other man can live was really enlightening.” After the show, which was performed one night only, the cast and creative team behind the production stuck around to mingle with individual audience members about the performance. “Although the premiere has ended, it is still able to be nurtured by whoever is involved either directly or indirectly,” Whitfield said. “It was satisfying because when you introduce something to the world it starts to take on it’s own hue – it starts to grow and mature in and of itself.” “Small Box” marks the first opera for Whitfield, who was chosen by librettist Bruce Pearson to score and conduct the production. “This was so phenomenal. I can’t wait to see what you do next,” one audience member told him during the talk back session. “Me too,” Herman said.
One-act opera draws attention to topics ranging from death row to humanity.
Stephen Wolter drew on his national park expertise and his passion for photography Wednesday at the IU Art Museum Noon Talk series.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Eight voices and syncopated clapping open up the performance, singing “I’m so glad to be here.” Bloomington-based world music a cappella band Kaia’s repeated lyric served as a mantra for the bands and audiences attending the three-day Lotus World Music and Arts Festival in town this weekend. On a rainy Friday night, Kaia brought a full crowd into First United Methodist Church, one of eight venues housing music for the festival. Along with local music venues and churches, four temporary outdoor stages were set up for the 29 international musical acts converging in Bloomington for Lotus’ 16th year. Sarah Noggle, a volunteer who has served as the volunteer coordinator in previous years, said she appreciates the opportunities that an international music festival brings. “Here we are in southern Indiana, and we get a chance to interact with people from all over the world and they get to meet and be enlightened by people in this country,” Noggle said. “It is a chance for people in this part of the world to reach out – that is what we should all do, is share.” The festival makes its mark on Bloomington, shutting down various downtown streets for the weekend so pedestrians can stroll from venue to venue experiencing the simultaneous entertainment. Two blocks north of the church, a colorful display of paper lanterns, flags, sculptures and sidewalk chalk brightened up the night as part of the Lotus Visual Arts Village. The space featured performances and also a sculpture designed by IU fine art students. Three blocks east under a tent, the crowd forgot about the rain as it danced to Mexican salsa-punk band Los de Abajo. Masked band members played a variety of instruments, adding electric guitars, two drums sets, an electronic DJ and coordinated dance moves to traditional salsa rhythms. While a full weekend pass to Lotus costs $52 and a nightly pass costs $34, the outdoor tents provided opportunities for those without a ticket to see some of the acts. Junior Stacey Schwarz did not have a pass to the festival, but said that the sounds of the concert encouraged her to join the crowd on the other side of the barricade for the Los de Abajo concert. “It’s almost as good a view,” Schwarz said. “They should do something to block it off. However, it is much appreciated that they don’t.” As the festival wound down on Friday, the rain ceased as well, and musicians not on the playbill gathered together on street corners and continued to add music to the night. Magic in the parkSno cones, lawn chairs and picnic blankets welcomed the Saturday sunshine, which arrived right in time for Lotus in the Park, a free afternoon of concerts, workshops, and art in Third Street Park. “We are thrilled to be here in the free section” a band member from the Stairwell Sisters told the audience. The Stairwell Sisters were this year’s Lotus Dickey artist, a title given out each year to an old-time musician or group in honor of native Hoosier and Lotus Festival namesake. The San Fransico-based band includes Evie Ladin from Bloomington. “It’s been 10 years since I moved away,” Ladin said to the crowd. “It was hard to do because this community is amazing. It is incredible to bring (the band) to Bloomington.” Many bands reiterated that there is a sense of community embedded in Bloomington that blossoms during Lotus. “Lotus is just amazing, and we’ve been well taken care of,” said a band member from Kaia who was on hand Saturday afternoon to lead one of three workshops available as part of Lotus in the Park. “We feel privileged to be here.” Chinese and Inner Mongolian band Hanggai combined traditional folk melodies with electric guitars and a drum kit to provide the afternoon audience with beats to dance to. “Thank you very much,” Hanggai’s lead singer said. “This is my first time in America, I’m very happy to be here.” Between acts, stilt walkers intricately adorned in bird and a butterfly costumes strode through the park as kids followed like the Pied Piper. The festival then paraded from the park to Kirkwood Avenue where performances again filled the venues for the night – just as the rain returned. Inside the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, Indian fusion band Srinivas Krishnan & Madras Broadcast sat on the stage and offered a conversation of saxophones, violins and southern Indian percussion instrument mridangam. Before the final dance number, Krishnan addressed the audience, telling them the final song title is translated to “country.”“What country do each of us really belong to?” Krishnan asked the audience. “We call it world music, but I belong to everybody. We are not necessarily made in India – we represent a tradition of music that has to be shared.” The theater rang with applause. Outside north of the square, in defiance of the Saturday evening’s dropping temperatures, EE: Magic Circus Marching Band juggled, flipped, danced and hula-hooped in brightly colored rags and various animal-ear hats. Listeners wanting a different kind of multimedia performance were under the tent and out of the rain listening to Bajofondo, an electrotango group from Argentina whose performance was synched with a video projection. Laurel Cornell, a Bloomington resident who has attended all 16 years of the festival, said she appreciates the unique opportunity that Lotus brings. “You get to hear all kinds of sounds you wouldn’t ordinarily get to hear, like the toy piano,” Cornell said. “The tents are actually really dry – there are lots of people dancing and there seems to be steam rising by the stage.” Feeling spiritedThe World Spirit concert featuring a sampling of the festival’s acts brought Lotus to a close Sunday afternoon. The ticket to the event was a $5 commemorative Lotus pin designed by local artist Sam Bartlett. Kristina Hobbs, who made sure that her trip from England to visit family coordinated with Lotus, was in the audience with her niece and nephews. “We’ve made a pact that next year we are going to do the whole weekend,” she said. Hobbs said she has attended Lotus in the past and values the community that the Lotus festival provides. “It’s not just the music, it’s the whole thing,” Hobbs said. “I love music, but the diversity of it – all the different cultures, world views, the whole spectrum, the whole atmosphere – that everyone is here to enjoy themselves and explore – Bloomington is like that anyway. This weekend shows that.” Graduate student Elizabeth Plant, who works at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, reflected on the festival. “Last year it was sunny,” she said. “This year it is rainy, and that made it much more memorable.” Plant said the rain outside made the opportunity to be dry and listening to music all the better. “It was so amazing that it was a rainy Saturday night in Bloomington,” she said. “I would’ve been sitting at home but I got to hear amazing music.” Plant said she regrets not discovering Lotus sooner during her undergraduate years at IU. “I really think it has changed my life,” she said. “Experiencing different cultures without having to leave – I just love it. I want to come to Lotus for the rest of my life.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>“I ask girls ‘What is the sexiest thing a guy could do to get a girl?’” IU alumnus Brain Watts told the Bear’s Place Ale House and Eatery crowd Monday night.“They said chase after your career,” Watts said. “So that’s why I am here tonight – to be sexy.”A young crowd filled the tables, booths and even church pews that make up Bear’s Place’s back room, which is the site for the bi-weekly Comedy Caravan show. Stephanie Wagner, the host of the comedy show, hushed the crowd as the lights lowered, and Watts took the same stage where he started his stand-up career shortly after graduating in 2008. Watts’ routine touched on Subway shops, being a new uncle and his parents, who were also in the audience.He made fun of words found on Web sites such as urbandictionary.com and other odd words that, if said with authority, will not be questioned. “I was a tour guide while I was here at Indiana and girls would come ask where the health center was, and I would tell them, ‘It’s just pollywompus from the Herman B Wells Library.’”Watts also laughed at the texting trend of using acronyms. He pointed out that a simple “lol” doesn’t actually mean ”laughing out loud” the way an all caps “LOL” means actually “laughing out loud.”“Ladies, next time just be honest, reply with ‘twkfbnttpwillol,’” he said, or in other words: “that was kinda funny but not to the point where I literally laughed out loud.”Daniel Hiester, a 2006 IU graduate, was in the audience to support Watts, whom he met when they lived in the same dorm during Watts’ freshman year.“He was one of the nicest guys you could meet – especially in a dorm,” Hiester said.Whitney Buccicone, an IU alumna and Hiester’s wife, said Watts was determined to move to Los Angeles and “nothing we could say to him could daunt him. He has a dream, and he is following it.”Watts, who does stand-up comedy one or two nights a week at Los Angeles venues such as The Comedy Store and Improv Comedy Club planned to head straight to the airport after his show to arrive in time for a casting call-back Tuesday.“Ultimately I’d like to be a TV writer, comedian, actor – not a real actor. I just like being funny,” Watts said. “One day, if I do make it big, it would be fun to say this is where I started. I do like this place.”
Comedian and IU alumnus Brian Watts said the people in Los Angeles are prettier, cooler and have vintage threads rather than sorority T-shirts.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The IU Art Museum boasts a collection that includes works of art ranging from Monet to 13th-century B.C. bronze statues. Though the museum is free and open to the public, weekend tours offer an informed way of seeing the collection. Ed Maxedon is the curator of education at the museum and trains the docents who lead the tours.“We have public tours every Saturday at 2 p.m., and on the first Saturday of every month we have thematic tours,” Maxedon said.Maxedon explained that the docent will have a prepared “highlight tour,” but if visitors have a specific agenda, such as African art or Chinese art, the tour can be specified to their interests.“It is the only time there is someone here to give a tour that is on staff and in the building,” Maxedon said.The thematic tours are usually designed around each docent’s interests. This month’s tour was titled “Mythical, Mystical, Material Adornment.” Upcoming thematic tours include “Silk Road: Trails in Textiles” and “Must Art be Beautiful?”Kim Lance, a senior who recently stopped at the museum’s Angles Cafe for an iced coffee, said she has gone on two tours of the art museum in her time as a student.“Freshman year I came to one, and then last year for a class,” Lance said.The course, about complimentary and alternative medicine encouraged the students to connect with a piece of artwork in the museum, Lance said.“We went into the exhibit and found a painting that we were drawn to and meditated on it,” she said. Lance said she appreciated the opportunity to look at the museum’s work with the specific agenda that comes with a themed tour.Docent Margarete Handy, who designed this month’s tour, said the IU Art Museum is quite a treasure even though its curators and administrators are humble regarding the collection.“They don’t brag a lot, but they have one of the largest pre-Renaissance collections in the country,” she said.Handy noted that she benefits as a docent as much as the visitors.“The purpose is to educate both the person giving the talk and the public,” Handy said.Lance agreed that the museum has much to offer students and visitors. “I like it,” she said of the museum. “A lot of students can come here and utilize it. It’s kind of like getting away from campus, plus it’s educational.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Backed by a posse of DJs and surrounded by smoke, hip-hop dynasty Bone Thugs-n-Harmony took the Bluebird Nightclub stage late Sunday night. A sold-out crowd of faithful fans greeted the group with a long-awaited cheer – they had been waiting 10 years and four opening acts to see this performance. IU senior Rachel Zakem got a ticket from a friend earlier in the day. “I’m from Ohio, so I love them,” she said of the Cleveland-based rap group. Zakem said she was impressed with the Bluebird’s pull by being able to recruit top acts to perform at the downtown venue.“The music scene here is really good,” she said, referring to the Bluebird’s contribution to Bloomington’s music scene.Bone Thugs released a string of successful albums in the 1990s, including 1994’s “Creepin on ah Come Up” EP and “E 1999 Eternal.” But in recent years they have not been able to match the success that came along with their earlier albums, most notably their Grammy-winning hit single “Crossroads.” Ivy Tech student Janet Grumme came to the show decked out in her Bone Thugs-n-Harmony T-shirt. “I love Bone Thugs, so I am so excited,” she said. “I don’t really like rap, but I really like Bone Thugs. They are old-school and I can feel it - that’s what I like.” As the night went on, a succession of opening acts was drowned out by the crowd’s chant for “Bone Thugs!” “Just one more song?” pleaded one MC. Michael H. Epstein, a 2005 IU alumnus, was in town for a bachelor party with other IU graduates. Four of them decided to stay an extra night to check out the concert. “If this is what we stayed for – for them to blow off their fans,” Epstein said as another opening act was being booed by the crowd. But eventually, the show started as group members Wish, Layzie and Krayzie Bone took the stage in succession. “I take back everything I said,” Epstein said over the roar of the crowd. The group rolled out their tongue-twisting rhymes and launched each song with their signature harmony and a cappella sound. The group, which also includes members Flesh-n-Bone and Bizzy Bone, is reportedly working on a soon-to-be-released album “UNI-5: The World’s Enemy” – featuring the five members reunited after years of controversy, including poor-selling solo albums, jail time and lawsuits. While only the three core members of the group performed on Sunday, they sampled a who’s-who of the rap industry, highlighting a Bone Thugs collaboration record that includes a graveyard of hip-hop royalty.“When I say Eazy, you say E,” they instructed the crowd, in memoriam for their former producer Eazy-E. A similar shout-out was made before launching into “Notorious Thugs,” the group’s 1997 release with rapper Notorious B.I.G. “When I say Biggie, you say Smalls – let’s bring that fat thug back to Indiana!” the band yelled.Senior Brittany Wilson said she has been a Bone Thugs fan since she was 12 but had never seen them perform. “I think it is awesome. It is such a small venue,” she said of their performance at the Bluebird Nightclub. “I think they are making a comeback.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>"I suppose I have time for one more,” blues performer Eric Bibb told the crowd. As he quietly tuned his guitar, an audience member broke the silence with a shout. “Welcome to Bloomington, man!” “Thank you,” Bibb said as he looked up from his guitar with a smile. “OK, two more.” The audience broke out into the rowdy applause it had been providing throughout the evening. Summer Night of Lotus brought a full crowd Friday night to the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Though only one of the three acts was even in Bloomington at the scheduled start time of 7 p.m., both the musicians and the crowd maintained their enthusiasm throughout the night. After waking up at 4 a.m. in Salt Lake City, bad weather conditions in Chicago delayed Bibb’s arrival to Bloomington. But after receiving a second standing ovation from the crowd during his encore performance, Bibb said, “I would have gotten up at 3 a.m. for this.” The event served as a preview to the Lotus World Music & Arts Festival, which takes place every fall in Bloomington. The event showcases international music groups. Friday night’s event began with Hector del Curto’s Eternal Tango Trio, led by front man Hector del Curto of Argentina playing the bandoneon, a tango-specific accordion, and featuring Gustavo Casenave of Uruguay on piano and Jisoo Ok from Korea on cello.Because they were the only band that drove in instead of flying, they were not delayed because of bad weather. The audience was treated to a bonus set from the trio as the following acts rushed into town from the Indianapolis airport. Del Curto entertained the crowd by confessing that Ok is his wife, and though they had been playing together for some time, it was not until they danced tango together that they fell in love. Audience members were then invited to come down to the stage and take their own stabs at tango. Loren Serfass, a graduate student in the Jacobs School of Music, attended because a friend had recommended the trio. Serfass has attended and volunteered at previous years’ Lotus World Music & Arts Festivals. “It’s a really great way to see different kinds of music,” he said. “It’s also a nice thing to volunteer in, and they need a lot of volunteers.” Teri Watkins, the special events volunteer coordinator for Lotus, said 480 volunteers helped to run last years’ event in the fall. “Bloomington has a long summer – lots of little events,” Watkins said. “We wanted to become part of that culture.”When a couple from the audience stood to dance, Bibb again showed his appreciation for the crowd involvement. “It’s been a long time since I had people dance to my finger-pickin’,” he said.French-Canadian band De Temps Antan rounded out the evening, despite also being delayed in its travels and without a guitar after it went missing at baggage claim. The band also invited the audience to come down to the stage, and the crowd happily accepted the invitation to dance.Ok agreed that the audience was the deciding factor for the evening. “It was so exciting because the audience supplies the energy, and if they don’t get into it, we don’t get into it,” Ok said. “But they inspired us every time.” Lee Williams, executive director of the festival, also praised the crowd. “I’m always amazed at Lotus audiences,” he told the crowd. “(The night’s performers) couldn’t be more different, and yet you responded wonderfully. The hidden secret of the whole event is you.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Along with works of art ranging from war photographs to art about sex, the SoFA Gallery now has one more thing to hang on its wall.The Bloomington/Monroe County Convention and Visitors Bureau awarded the SoFA Gallery a Hospitality Award on May 14 for 2009’s “Best Arts/Entertainment Attraction.”The Hospitality Awards are annual awards given in conjunction with National Tourism Week, an industry-wide celebration of the importance of tourism to the economy.In addition to bringing sculpture and artwork about sex to Bloomington, the School of Fine Arts Gallery is also bringing tourists.Mike McAfee, executive director of the convention and visitors bureau, said visitors spend $250 million annually in the Bloomington area, and the SoFA Gallery is one of the attractions they are coming to see. “It’s sitting here in Bloomington, but it could very well be in New York or London or Paris,” McAfee said. “People flock from all over to see it. It’s what makes Bloomington so unique: the culture.”Megan Abajian, the public-relations specialist for the SoFA Gallery, said the gallery was honored to receive the award.“We are very proud and pleased, and we will continue to strive to bring innovative and engaging exhibitions to the University and the community,” Abajian said.Though the gallery, in the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts, is part of the University, it also plays a role within the greater community. “We basically try to be the contemporary-art facility for Bloomington,” Abajian said. “We present certain things in an educational format, and who we are educating isn’t just students. It’s the public as a whole as to what may be going on currently in the art scene.”This spring, the gallery showed works of art in a variety of media, including printmaking, ceramics, graphic design and photography. Shows featuring the work of students graduating with bachelor’s or master’s degrees in fine arts were also presented. The current exhibit is the Kinsey Institute’s Juried Art Show.Abajian said the award is an affirmation that the gallery is serving its intended purpose. “We’ve always strived to have a standard bringing in contemporary-art exhibitions to Bloomington and also showcasing student work,” Abajian said. “So if anything, this just confirms that we’re on track and we are servicing the community as well as the University and that people enjoy the shows that we are bringing in.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Downtown galleries and local bands combined efforts to kick off the summer during Bloomington’s First Friday event.The most recent Downtown Gallery Walk and Street Dance, which took place Friday, are designed to support local artists and musicians.The Gallery Walk, a combined art opening of 10 downtown galleries, occurs every other month as a part of First Friday. “It’s a great insight into Bloomington – something you really gotta do,” said Bloomington resident Linda Dausend, who comes out to the galleries every month. “You get to look at different kinds of art and you get to see a lot of people.”Jaime Sweany, owner of participating gallery The Wandering Turtle, agreed. “Bloomington has a really vibrant arts scene, and people need to come out and support it,” Sweany said. “I try to keep it local or regional, and also try for an emphasis on music.”Bloomington-based multimedia artist Janice Williamson said events such as this add to the city’s cultural scene. “It is really important to Bloomington,” Williamson said. “You get to meet artists, enjoy music and meet gallery owners.”Along with the Gallery Walk this month was Street Dance, a block party featuring local bands which took place on Seventh Street between Walnut Street and College Avenue. “This is an old Bloomington tradition that began in the ’60s,” event organizer Scott Kellogg said. “The idea is to have a free rock concert in the middle of the street that brings the community together.”The success of Friday’s event is a good sign for upcoming summer arts events. There will be two more street dances in conjunction with July’s and August’s First Fridays, as well as Rock the Shops, an event designed to support Bloomington’s downtown that will feature musician Carrie Newcomer. “The artists are really dependent on each other and need to support each other,” Sweany said.