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____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>American singer Lydia Lunch has been selected to speak at the IU Cinema at 4 p.m. Friday as part of the campus-wide Burroughs Century celebration. Lunch worked in New York City with many influential writers, actors and musicians in the late ’70s and early ’80s, putting her in touch with contemporaries such as Burroughs and others who worked during the “No Wave” era.“They both lived in New York at the same time,” Charles Cannon, Burroughs Century Steering Committee leader, said. “They were both involved in the downtown New York art scene.” Lunch’s lecture will incorporate her life and career as well as the artistic work she created during this time period. She has worked as a singer, poet, writer, actress and self-empowerment speaker. In her early music career, she started the band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks before moving onto a solo music career. Later, she founded her own recording and publishing studio and appeared in two different films. She also wrote and collaborated on a variety of books, according to the Burroughs Century website. “This time period was comparable to Paris in the 1920s,” Cannon said. “We have Lydia here to talk about that place and that time and what it meant to be there.” Cannon originally wanted to bring Lunch to Bloomington for a musical performance, but after walking through the Indiana Memorial Union one day, he saw a flyer that changed his mind. An anthropology class on campus called “Sex, Drugs and Rock ’n’ Roll” was teaching both Burroughs’ and Lunch’s material, so Cannon coordinated with the professor and decided to bring Lunch in for a lecture. The lecture will feature a speech, a discussion between Lunch and professor Shane Greene and a question-and-answer session. “The plain fact is that there are very few people left who actually knew Burroughs,” Cannon said. “To have Lydia here to talk about what it meant to be in New York City at that time is phenomenal.” Follow reporter Alison Graham on Twitter @AlisonGraham218.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>IU Art Museum Docent Monica Jensen presented this month’s thematic tour
Saturday, focusing on the role of eyes in both art and culture. “Sight and the idea of seeing is hugely important,” she said. “Eyes can show a sense of real power.” Jensen
began “The Eyes Have It” tour on the third floor, centered on African
art. Many African pieces feature what are called coffee bean eyes, which
are almond shaped with a slit down the middle.Other sculptures
have eyes that pop out from the face and are depicted to be wide open, a
symbol of an all-seeing being to protect others. In art, eyes can reveal a lot about the piece being viewed, Jensen said. Jensen also focused on the materials the eyes were made from, specifically iridescent seashells. When the light from the fire would hit them in ancient temples, the eyes would flicker and give life to the piece. “When these sculptures were created, the eyes were so important and treated in a specific way,” Jensen said. Eyes
were made to symbolize power and protection in Africa, seen in the
various pieces in the museum. These traditions spread into later
cultures in Asia and the Western world as well. In Egyptian
culture, people are often portrayed with a heavy black cosmetic
surrounding their eyes, which has often been thought of as only a
decorative detail. Jensen explained it’s actually a way of
preventing the “curse of the evil eye.” It was used especially on
infants and small children, which dates back to the protective uses of
eyes in Africa. In more modern art, Jensen explained that
viewers can see artists begin to learn about the eye itself. They
started to put that knowledge into the way they made pieces and how they
were meant to be seen by others.She described the way artists
painted portraits so that the eyes of the subject seem to follow the
viewer around the room. This is achieved by painting their gaze straight
out of the painting and keeping other variables constant. Ending
her tour, Jensen told of a historic fad. Europeans from about 1780-1830
would request small portraits of their eyes to be attached to jewelry
and given as gifts to their loved ones. “People actually exchanged these and commissioned artists to create them,” Jensen said. “But they led to something else.”
Indonesian puppeteer Jennifer Goodlander presented a talk about her research Wednesday at the IU Art Museum.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The walls of the IU Art Museum surround students with famous works by artists like Monet and Picasso, each with its own history. Discovering these histories is the job of Jenny McComas, the IU Art Museum’s curator of Western art after 1800 and head researcher for the art museum’s Provenance Project. Researchers for the Provenance Project track down the whereabouts of IU’s current art pieces from the time of their creation to the time that they entered the museum’s collection. McComas and graduate students from the department of art history work together to research and contact museums and galleries throughout the world to piece together the history of each piece of art in the gallery.“Provenance provides important information about a work’s history, and having a complete provenance can help prove a work’s authenticity,” McComas said. However, some pieces have a higher priority than others. The project is largely focused on dating paintings that could have been in Europe during the Nazi-era. “We want to ensure that we do not have works in the collection that might have been looted during World War II,” McComas said. According to the project’s website, the museum is working along with the American Association of Museums’ “Standards Regarding the Unlawful Appropriation of Objects During the Nazi-Era.” These guidelines include many rules for how a museum handles research and claims of ownership. If an artwork was illegally obtained in the past, a conscious effort must be made to return the object to the rightful owner, according to the association’s website. Finding the history of these paintings can be a long and intensive process, McComas said. First, researchers examine the works themselves to see if there are any inscriptions or labels that could lead to important information. Past galleries are contacted and other archival research is conducted. “Sometimes we have a great deal of information which makes it relatively easy,” McComas said. “Other times it is nearly impossible.” For example, “The Studio” by Pablo Picasso took McComas more than five years to complete research for. “Although I was not continuously researching the painting during that time, it took a long time for all the elements of the painting’s history to fall into place,” McComas said. McComas corresponded with a museum in England that exhibited the painting during the 1930s, visited two archives and examined various publications in her research. Many successes have been made, she said, but the museum still has a long way to go. Eight hundred pieces have been marked for research and about 20 percent of the projects have been completed. “In addition to learning about former owners of works in our collection, we might find out more information about the scene depicted in a painting or learn something about how the work fit into the particular artist’s oeuvre,” McComas said. “All of this helps us to better interpret works for our visitors.” Follow reporter Alison Graham on Twitter @AlisonGraham218.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Human-animal hybrid figures and female body parts with floral details are only a few of the works now on display at the Kinsey Institute.The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction opened two art exhibits Friday. One of the galleries, called “Flora,” displays works from the Kinsey Institute’s permanent art collection that have a common theme of plants and nature. “We have collected art since the 1940s when Kinsey first started doing his research,” Kinsey Institutes’ Curator of Art Catherine Johnson-Roehr said. “Shows like this are a great way to show the breadth of our permanent collection.”The exhibit includes photography, sketches, sculpture and paintings, all of which have been inspired by nature. The Kinsey Institute also tries to include objects from the large library of resources it houses on its fourth floor, Johnson-Roehr said. One piece is a series of books by Tee Corinne and Betty Dodson that was part of a feminist movement in the 1970s. The books show a variety of female body parts with floral details. “Feminist artists were trying to help women become more comfortable with their bodies,” Johnson-Roehr said. “The idea that a woman would find herself beautiful was a strange idea then.”Artist Ian Hornak is the focus of the Kinsey Institute’s second exhibit, called “Beauty and the Beast.” The exhibit displays solely Hornak’s work from a specific period of time in his career. “What I think is really interesting about this period of work where he was focusing on the human body is his interest in these human-animal hybrid figures,” Johnson-Roehr said. “I think it’s really intriguing how he was playing with really realistic figures and really imaginative ones.” Hornak was a hyperrealist artist who lived and worked in New York with other artists such as Andy Warhol, Willian de Kooning and Robert Motherwell. The Kinsey Institute’s collection focuses on the years 1967 through 1968 when Hornak was interested in depicting the human figure before he switched to landscapes, which is what he is more widely known for. “It’s certainly pretty surreal but at the same time a lot of it is focused on artistic basics like the human body shape, and just combining that with animal imagery,” Kinsey Institute Intern Joseph Kenshur said. The art featured in the exhibit is almost entirely from the Kinsey Institute’s permanent collection, but it is borrowing a few pieces from the Ian Hornak Foundation in Michigan. “There’s so much to look at in the drawings, all this detail and these really interesting figures,” Johnson-Roehr said. After the exhibits close, the pieces will return to storage and might not be seen again for years. The exhibits will remain on display through April 4 at the Kinsey Institute, located in Morrison Hall.“It’s a nice opportunity to get a sense of what this particular artist was doing,” Johnson-Roehr said. “He was doing really inventive artwork.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Thirty-eight faculty artists from the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts are scheduled to present art pieces in the faculty exhibit at the IU Art Museum, opening Saturday, Jan. 25. Nearly all artistic mediums are represented, including sculpture, photography and graphic design. “It makes for an interesting exhibition,” curator of the exhibit Jenny McComas said. “I think there is something for everyone.”Grunwald Gallery director Betsy Stirratt is showing two pieces from her series, “Half: Light,” which she has been working on for about two years. One piece is called “Specter” and is an oil painting on canvas. “It’s based on the idea of light and how light and space might emerge out of an overall darkness,” Stirratt said. “It’s talking about the way things become clearer to us in our mind over time.” Other faculty artists showing art in the exhibit are Professor Emeritus Edward Bernstein with his piece “Scorched Earth Policy” and ceramics Professor Malcolm Mobutu Smith with his piece, “Two True.” Digital Art Professor Arthur Liou is also presenting a high definition video that he created in 2012 entitled “Saga Dawa.” Liou has presented work in Japan, Taiwan and Canada, among other countries. “It’s nice to be a part of the faculty group, which is very distinguished,” Stirratt said. “You’ll see this huge range of beautiful, thoughtful and intelligent work. It’s a great group, and I am proud to be a part of it.” Many of the faculty members from the School of Fine Arts exhibit their work nationally and internationally in a variety of private and public exhibitions, according to the museum’s press release.“It’s a good opportunity to see all of the faculty work in one place and to see contemporary art by local artists,” McComas said. The Art Museum only exhibits a faculty show about once every two years, so there is a unique opportunity for students to attend this winter, Stirratt said. “It’s critical for students to see what their instructors are doing,” Stirratt said. “Actually experiencing the art physically is important. All art has to be experienced one-on-one to be appreciated fully.” Follow reporter Alison Graham on Twitter @AlisonGraham218.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Associate Professor Julie Van Voorhis discussed the diffusion of Egyptian cults and religious symbols into Roman and Greek culture during a Noon Talk on Jan. 22 at the IU Art Museum. Works inspired by Egyptian cults are displayed in the museum’s Gallery of the Arts of Asia and the Ancient Western World. Van Voorhis, who teaches Ancient Greek and Roman art history at the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts, explained the segregated Greek empire and the expanses it inhabited. Many of the Greek city-states were not as friendly as they are believed to have been, Van Voorhis said.They were only brought together because of religious traditions and a common language.These common religious traditions came from the many areas of the Greek empire, especially Egypt. “Lots of cultures borrow from Egypt, but Egypt always looks to itself,” Van Voorhis said. “It’s a remarkable consistency, regardless of who ruled Egypt at the time.” Van Voorhis described how many different civilizations respected and admired Egyptian culture during ancient times. Serapis, a Graeco-Egyptian god and the focus of Van Voorhis’ talk, was essentially created after Alexander the Great’s empire was split among leaders. Egypt was given to Ptolemy, who adopted Egyptian customs and religious traditions in order to better establish his power and support in Egypt. “You start to see this interesting negotiation between cultures,” Van Voorhis said. In her work, Van Voorhis said she often questions why Greek and Roman cultures adopted these Egyptian cult religions. “The Egyptian cults bring a hope of an afterlife,” she said. “I think for a certain Greek and Roman population, these cults would have offered a promise for more.”Follow reporter Alison Graham on Twitter @AlisonGraham218.
Gallery of Art will open a show based on a variety of work by William S.
Burroughs on Jan. 24.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Chandeliers, lights and shadows surround Edward Bernstein’s retrospective exhibit at the Grunwald Gallery of Art. “Almost Illuminated” opens Friday with a gallery talk at 5:30 p.m. and will remain on display through Feb. 14. The exhibit features Bernstein’s art from his career as an artist and professor.“There are different bodies of work that he’s created over 40 years or so,” Grunwald Gallery director Betsy Stirratt said. Bernstein completed his graduate work at IU in 1973 and returned in 1991 to teach at the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts. He taught at the school until his retirement in 2013. A large portion of the exhibit shows different chandeliers in varying perspectives to accompany its theme. Bernstein said his inspiration for these pieces came from his work in Venice, Italy. “When I was over there teaching, I saw these things and thought they were gorgeous,” Bernstein said. “When you get close to them they become very different, like you’re in this whole new world.” The chandelier pieces were made using a variety of media, including sketches, prints, photographs and digital work. Stirratt said Bernstein is primarily a printmaker, but he also has experimented with sculptural works during the course of his career. Another area of Bernstein’s exhibit comes from the time he spent in Brazil as a visiting scholar. After visiting poor areas of the country in 2012, he said he was inspired by the people who lived there and created a variety of pieces based on them. One large piece is a tapestry constructed of more than 350 images of the people and their village. In front of the images, Bernstein welded a painted chain-link fence. “It’s the idea that between the rich and poor, there is a huge divide,” he said. “The idea that chain link keeps you out of something and in some ways keeping them from going somewhere better.” A retrospective exhibit, “Almost Illuminated” shows work from Bernstein’s entire career and serves as a representative sample of his art.The unifying theme of illumination is inherently present, Stirratt said. “I think for art students it might be nice to see how one theme can be pushed so far,” said Amanda Fong, PR assistant at the Grunwald Gallery. “You can see his thoughts come out in the same way, and he deals with a lot of the same subject matter.” Stirratt said attendees will recognize Bernstein’s commitment to his art.“They get to see a broad range of work by someone who’s been a dedicated artist for over 40 years,” Stirratt said. “For students to see that dedication, that lifelong devotion to something, is important.” Follow reporter Alison Graham on Twitter @AlisonGraham218.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Spring semester will bring five new artists to speak at the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts, each representing a different artistic medium.Every semester, each of the 10 areas of the School of Fine Arts uses their funding to pick an artist to speak in the Visiting Artist Lecture Series. Each artist presents a lecture and works hands-on with student artists, including critiquing their work, meeting individually and leading workshops. “It’s critical to get one-on-one interaction, to understand what this person’s like and what their feeling about making art is like,” Grunwald Gallery of Art Director Betsy Stirratt said. “Those things can only happen in a small group situation.” She said choosing the artists is a collaborative effort.“It’s usually students and faculty working together to decide who to bring in, whoever will help their program the best,” Stirratt said. Erik Waterkotte is the first lecturer scheduled this spring. Waterkotte, who will present on Jan. 24, is a printmaker and served on the School of Fine Arts faculty as a visiting assistant professor from 2010 to 2011.“I am continually drawn to ideas and events that blur the line between fantasy and reality,” Waterkotte said on his website. “Utopias, dystopias, religious extremism, cults, alchemy and mysticism are all fodder for my work.”After Waterkotte, a photographer named Alec Soth is scheduled to visit on Feb. 7. Soth is from Minneapolis and has exhibited work all over the world including New York, Rome, Milan, Berlin, London and Seoul, South Korea.Sculptor Robert Melee will visit the School of Fine Arts on Feb. 21. Melee, who lives and works in New Jersey and New York City, has exhibited work around the country.He has been featured in the New York Times, V Magazine and Art Monthly.Sondra Sherman is scheduled for March 28. Sherman specializes in metal making and jewelry design.Sherman has shown her pieces in solo exhibits in California, Massachusetts, Arizona and Washington D.C. “Inspired by the private and public contexts of jewelry, I utilize its distinctive voice in the world of things we surround ourselves with and are surrounded by,” Sherman said on her website. The final visiting lecturer of the semester is graphic designer Dawn Hancock, scheduled for April 11. Hancock founded Firebelly, a graphic design company that focuses its design work on charitable organizations. The School of Fine Arts encourages all art students to attend the lecture series even if the artist does not work in their particular medium, Stirratt said.Non-art majors and people in the Bloomington community are encouraged to attend as well. All lectures begin at 5 p.m. “I think it’s important to see how artists work outside of a classroom,” PR assistant Amanda Fong said. “You get so immersed in what it’s like to create art in a classroom when you have an assignment. Seeing artists come and do things for their own purposes is really eye-opening.” Follow reporter Alison Graham on Twitter @AlisonGraham218.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The University Players performed their final shows of the semester Friday and Saturday.“BOB: A Life in Five Acts” shows one man’s life journey from birth to death. “It’s essentially just this eager, bright-eyed, hopeful kid becoming a man and searching for what it takes to be great,” Director Nick Pecoraro said. “It’s new and quirky.” Megan Gray, stage manager for the play, compared it to the film “Forrest Gump.” “He goes on these crazy adventures and makes a lot of friends along the way,” she said. “At the end, there are interviews with people he met, and it shows the impact he had on them.” “BOB” was written by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and is a relatively new play. Pecoraro was able to email the playwright about questions he had regarding the production while the cast and crew worked throughout the semester. “We didn’t have any past productions to base it on,” Pecoraro said. “I could just email the playwright, and he responded within the day. It makes it more human and is a better way to get insight into a new work.” Every spring, the University Players take production submissions for the next year, and one board member submitted “BOB.” “We just loved it,” said Gray. “BOB” was performed by a total of five actors, but it included a wide variety of different characters. The main character, Bob, was played by one actor, and the rest of the cast was made up of chorus characters. “It was fascinating seeing them completely transform themselves,” said Gray. “Everything from a trucker to a prostitute to Bob’s mother. These four actors were so talented.” The main character travels to about 20 different places during the entirety of the show, which Pecoraro said proved to be a challenge for the set designers. “We didn’t actually have a set, which is not common,” Pecoraro said. To depict these different scenes, designers made video projections that served as the background for the majority of the performance. “It was a new challenge for us,” Gray said. “It was quite extensive and took some time.” Each play takes a lot of work for the group, made up completely of undergraduate members. Auditions for “BOB” took place in October, and since then the group has been hard at work, Gray said. “It’s a huge challenge,” Pecararo said. “Everyday there are new realizations and challenges that pop up in the script. How do we get a train into a small little theater? How do we show Mount Rushmore? You really go through a lot.” Practices, rehearsals, creating the projections, designing the costumes, planning the props and a lot of other outside work went into this production. “It took a fantastic team to put this together, but it was worth it,” Gray said. Next semester, the group is performing two plays written by aspiring undergraduate playwrights in the group, Sam Barkley and Nick Pappas. They also plan to do a traveling children’s musical, which will be put on at the Monroe County Public Library and other venues around Bloomington. Next semester closes with a show called “35 mm,” directed by Sam Ostrowski. The group hopes to incorporate photography into this play as a multimedia platform. To get involved with the University Players, visit their Facebook page, facebook.com/UPTheater, and look for flyers around campus about upcoming opportunities. “We would love students to get involved,” said Gray. “We’re always looking for actors, singers, stage directors, anything. If you’re passionate, we want you here.” Follow reporter Alison Graham on Twitter @AlisonGraham218.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Four months ago, David Orr walked out of his front door and stopped to appreciate the nature around him. Twenty feet from his front door he witnessed a daddy long-legs spider and a hornet fighting over a dead earthworm. This natural drama in his own backyard inspired him to create his piece, “Subtle Frontiers,” which delves into research of plants and animals found in his backyard and people’s experience of the nature around them, he said. The Grunwald Gallery of Art opened its MFA and BFA Thesis Exhibition to the public this Tuesday, which features artwork from students graduating with either their bachelor’s or master’s degree in Fine Arts in December. Orr is the only master’s student to graduate this December and one of 19 artists to display his work in the gallery. The other 18 artists are undergraduate students.He said he always knew he wanted to do something about nature and started with the idea of choosing multiple spots and exploring the old growth of Indiana’s forests. After walking around in his yard, he decided to instead focus on the nature close to home. “My piece shows how fascinating nature is if you shift your perspective,” Orr said. “We have incredible diversity of insects and birds in Indiana.” Orr received a bachelor’s degree in fiction writing from Columbia College in Chicago but dabbled in graphic design projects for years. After graduating, he got a desk job for a publishing company in Bloomington and after working there for a while, decided to go back to school to earn his master’s degree in graphic design. The Thesis Exhibition is a graduation requirement every semester for students in the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts. December graduates show their art in one exhibition and spring graduates have six different opportunities starting after spring break. Each student brings in the pieces they have selected and sets them up in the gallery themselves. This often requires students to build pedestals and plan their space for their artwork. “When they get out of school and want to have a show somewhere, they will have to learn to make decisions on their own and plan their space,” Betsy Stirratt, director of the gallery, said. “You have to learn to negotiate or change your plans a little bit based on what the realities are.” The Thesis Exhibition displays a wide range of art forms including photography, jewelry-making and smithing, figurative sculpture, painting, digital media and more. “I always think there’s something unusual to see,” Stirratt said. “People can see a big range of what’s being made in art today by people their age.” Orr’s piece is almost entirely digital. He created an interactive website that provides an interface for viewers to explore his backyard by clicking on his own illustrations.With each click on the website, the viewer is taken to pages designed by Orr and shown research about each animal or plant in his backyard. Each graphic was designed by Orr on Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and took about four to eight hours to complete. To enhance the website for a gallery setting, Orr created a series of about eight banners, which depict scenes of nature with scientific graphs and figures in the background. “I wanted it to be visible globally and to mix the data I used in my research with my own illustrations,” Orr said. The Thesis Exhibition will be on display until Dec. 14, and Orr will lead a discussion of his piece at noon Friday. “There’s a ton of good work here,” Orr said. “There’s really something for everyone.”Follow reporter Alison Graham on Twitter @AlisonGraham218.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Bloomington Playwrights Project kicks off its premiere of “The Banana Tree,” a play written by Dan Castellaneta and Deb Lacusta, tonight in its in-building theater.Lacusta, a writer for “The Simpsons,” and Castellaneta, the voice of Homer Simpson, bring a comedy about a convenience store clerk named Angela, who dreams of becoming Las Vegas’ first African-American female magician. Her dreams are complicated when she is held up and a kidnapping arises due to a telepathic banana tree. “The Banana Tree” is being shown for the very first time in the theater, which is the only theater in Indiana dedicated to featuring new plays. “You can’t see these things anywhere else in the world,” Producing Artistic Director Chad Rabinovitz said. The Bloomington Playwrights Project was founded in 1979 by IU students Jim Leonard and Tim Moseman and has since featured completely original plays.“We develop them here and get them to move to other theaters,” Rabinovitz said. Rabinovitz and other actors helped to develop the play in Telluride, Colo., this summer. “It’s a type of show that a lot of students will enjoy,” Rabinovitz said. “A lot of people say plays are boring, but not this one.” “The Banana Tree” was chosen to premiere at the Bloomington Playwrights Project because of its comedic nature, Rabinovitz said. “I always look for diversity,” he said. “You don’t want five dramas in a season, and we haven’t had a zany comedy in awhile.” Later this season, the Bloomington Playwrights Project is set to premiere three more plays. The next one to be shown is a drama called “Island Song,” about five young people living in New York, documenting how their lives intertwine and unfold. “Island Song” is set to premiere Jan. 31. “The Banana Tree” marks the second show in their Major Playwright Series. This Friday, Bianca Black plays the lead role, Angela.“I’m definitely looking forward to the show,” Black said. “We live for the actual performance, to give people something to enjoy.” The curtains will rise at 7:30 p.m. tonight, and showings will continue at that time every Friday and Saturday for the next three weeks. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $17 for students. “It’s hilarious,” Black said. “What other thing would anyone else want to do besides laugh for two hours?” Follow reporter Alison Graham on Twitter @AlisonGraham218.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>A locker room full of high school basketball players sat on the benches, heads hanging. Sweat dripped from their foreheads as their coach yelled at them after the end of a lost game.“Zero,” Justin Gilbert said. “Zero points. You didn’t score once in the fourth quarter.” Gilbert was the head coach of the Medora, Ind., high school basketball team in 2011, which had a multiple-year losing streak. That year was his first year coaching, and he hoped to turn the team around. “Eight minutes,” he said. “And you didn’t score once.” Medora is about 40 miles southeast of Bloomington. The population is slightly more than 500 people, and only a few small businesses line the streets. The high school serves as the main economic and communal hub of this poverty-stricken, quiet Midwest town. Before 2009, many had never heard of Medora, until New York Times reporter John Branch discovered the town and its failing basketball team. After Branch’s article was published, two friends, Davy Lothbart and Andrew Cohn, stumbled upon it and were taken by the perfect metaphor of both the failing town and the failing basketball team. “It was a film we were born to make,” said Cohn, director of the documentary “Medora,” based on the Medora Hornets high school basketball team during their 2010-11 season. Once Cohn and Lothbart came up with the idea of their documentary, they began work in 2010. “We moved down to Medora and got to know the kids on and off the court and really tried to piece together what happened to this town,” Cohn said. The documentary premiered at the IU Cinema Thursday evening to a full house and is set to tour 21 cities. It has already won more than 10 film festival awards. “We didn’t think that anyone was going to see it,” said Rusty Rogers, the center for the team.However, the film has been getting a lot of attention and has supporters like Stanley Tucci and David Letterman. After filming, Cohn and Lothbart needed money to fund their editing process. They decided to set up a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for their project with a goal of $18,000, but ended up raising about $65,000, Cohn said. The directors are also selling Medora merchandise that goes back to the school system to help fund its athletic programs and provide technological tools for the students. “We hope this film makes it harder for the school to shut down,” Cohn said. * * * Fifty years ago, Medora was known as a budding-town with jobs and a growing population. Population hit its peak in 1990 with 805 people, according to Indiana’s census data. Since then, about 300 people moved away as businesses and factories shuttered, Cohn said.According to the New York Times article, an automotive plastics factory that employed several hundred closed in 1988. Fewer than five years later, the brick-making plant shut down and the town lost even more jobs. “When an industry leaves a town the size of Medora, it’s hard,” Cohn said. “People just start to leave. The people that are there have been there for generations. People leave because they have to, not because they want to.” Despite the closings, Medora High School seems to keep the town on the map. “For a lot of these small towns, the few that are left, the schools are a central part of the town’s identity and economy,” Cohn said. However, the school’s enrollment record has also been dropping as families move. “The last time I was there, less than a year ago, the school itself had an enrollment of 75,” said Riley Morris, a sophomore IU student who grew up in Medora. Each time the school loses students, funding drops and it is forced to make more cutbacks, Morris said. The town identity is reflected on Medora’s high school basketball team, which had a losing streak of 0-22 before filming and, according to the New York Times article, had a group of players facing hardship in their personal lives. * * *Of the 19 boys on the 2009 team, only five lived with both their mother and father. The rest were spread out between grandparents, foster parents or with other friends. Rogers moved in with his friend Zach Fish’s family after his mother went to rehab for alcohol addiction. After she left, he dropped out of school and got a job at Hardee’s. After Fish’s mother took him in, he could go back to school. About 10 percent of the students in the high school experienced drug problems as well, according to the New York Times article. Many of the players smoked cigarettes, and the town itself was known as a “meth-head” town. “Medora has a reputation of being a drug town,” Morris said. “I think that may be another reason so many people leave.” Not only did the school suffer from lower funding in 2011, but the opportunities for higher education were slimmer in Medora, Cohn said. “They tried to get me to transfer to another school, but I didn’t want to and my parents didn’t want to drive to another town everyday,” Morris said. “The hardest part was a lack of opportunities. There weren’t many extracurricular options or classes and a lot of people told me I was going to fail.” Morris is the first person in his family to attend college and struggled to complete college applications because there was little instruction from high school counselors. Whenever Morris returns to Medora, he gives a presentation at the high school about the college admissions process to high school sophomores and juniors.* * * After losing 13 games in the Hornets’ 2010-11 season, they picked up a 63-57 win against Columbus Christian in Columbus, Ind., in the final game of the documentary.Columbus missed its final shot, and Medora came out victorious. “Medora wins,” the announcer said. “Medora wins!” In the past two seasons, the Hornets haven’t increased its number of wins, but the boys still strive to achieve larger goals.Rogers is a coach for middle school basketball players in Medora and is planning to attend college. Logan Farmer, another member of the 2010-2011 team, is a sophomore at Vincennes University.The basketball team may not be any better, and the economy may still be struggling, but there is hope.“We hope that people think of the value of small towns,” he said. “We don’t pretend to have any of the answers to the larger questions.”Follow reporter Alison Graham on Twitter @AlisonGraham218.
IU-Bloomington students, ages 18 to 64, will graduate, attaining a total of 1,945 degrees.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The Venue Fine Art & Gifts played host to scenic artist Don Geyra Tueday as he discussed his 30-year career working on Broadway, movie and TV productions.Geyra started painting as a boy. His father was a scenic artist on Broadway and did television commercials in the 1960s, which Geyra said influenced him. “He once told me, ‘The greatest compliment to a designer is being told that your work is so beautiful, you should be a painter,’” Geyra said. “I went straight to painting.”Geyra moved to Bloomington to attend IU and graduated in 1977 with an MFA in painting. After graduation, he moved to New York City and apprenticed at a Broadway shop for two years before joining a painter’s union. He started first in Broadway, painting backdrops and scenery for shows. Eventually, he moved on to movies and TV and began working with some well-known actors and directors in the field, such as Nicholas Cage, Robert De Niro and Mike Nichols. Geyra worked on the movie “I Am Legend” as a green screen backdrop painter.He described the film’s backdrop as a two-acre canvas he worked on with 20 other scenic artists. He said that while working on the movie “Zoolander,” he and the crew traveled to an unfamiliar location at 3 a.m. As they walked through an abandoned building, Geyra said he approached a hole in the floor, yelled to everyone to stop and shined his light over it. The hole was 30 feet deep, and the bottom was concrete. “There ended up being about eight of these holes that we had to patch up,” he said. Geyra said many other instances put him in danger, especially when he was working on the film “Meet Joe Black.” The crew was working in a building with a 30-foot-high scenery backdrop. While working on the crown molding on the top, they were standing on scaffolding with no safety rails. Geyra said he went back down the scaffolding to get something the crew needed and on the way back heard yelling from above. He came running over and saw that a friend of his had fallen off the scaffolding. They called 911, but the injuries ended up being minor. Eventually, Geyra said he grew tired of New York, and he and his wife began looking to move to a quieter setting. They decided to come back to Bloomington, and he works at the Musical Arts Center. “Bloomington has welcomed me back,” he said. “It’s a great place to come back to. I love working with the students.” Geyra said he is enjoying smaller-scale projects and other freelance work. He said he hopes to help students while working at IU find a place in the scenic art field. “It’s not an unreal thing to be from a small town in Indiana and become head scenic artist at the Metropolitan Opera,” he said. “It’s completely possible.” Follow reporter Alison Graham on Twitter @AlisonGraham218.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The Red Tailgate lot was filled with cream- and crimson-clad students.Most tents covered ping-pong tables and cases of beer, except for one white tent with red and white balloons. The Union Board, the Office of Alternative Screening and Intervention Services, the IU Health Center and the Student Alumni Association co-sponsored a sober tailgate to offer students free food, drinks, games and prizes. Union Board service director Lexy Parrill said she estimated more than 400 students passed through the tailgate’s white tent. “We thought it was important to provide food and water to the students, even if they were drinking,” Parrill said. “We want to give back to build a stronger community at IU.”Union Board Assistant Director DeAnthony Nelson said students received a free cup, water bottle and many other giveaways. “We’ve been told by a lot of students that they don’t have a place to go without drinking,” said Barbara Moss, health educator at IU Health Center. “But here they don’t have to feel the pressure, but they’re still in all the action.”The organizers wanted to provide an open environment that all students could participate in to further build a strong community, Parrill said. This weekend’s tailgate served as a test run for the idea of a sober tailgate for students, Perrill said. She said after this weekend the organizations plan to continue to put these tailgates on at other football games.“It’s definitely in the works,” Parrill said. Moss said she was asked by students where the tent was going to be at the next game. “People can come and have something to do,” Nelson said. “I can come here and enjoy myself and have fun without having to drink.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Every morning the ovens are fired up and the batter is mixed. Flour, sugar, eggs and chocolate chips are tossed into the bowl and mixed.The dough is hand scooped with an ice cream scooper, plopped onto cookie sheets and placed in the oven at the perfect temperature. This isn’t mom’s kitchen, but the kitchen of College Cookies, a new business in Carmel, Ind.Launched Aug. 26, College Cookies is based on an old cookie recipe from Anne Kirk, grandmother of 10, and sends cookies to hungry college students across the nation. Anne started her catering company in 1974 and became known for her cookie recipe.She passed that recipe on to her children, and they, in turn, sent the cookies off to their kids who went to college.Anne’s son, Tim Kirk, repeatedly sent the family cookies to his son at Wabash College, and after a while he began getting requests. “We’re used to these cookies, but our friends were seriously obsessed,” said Kerry Kirk, Anne’s granddaughter and chief marketing officer for College Cookies. “People are addicted. They love them.” After getting so many requests for the cookies, Tim realized these cookies could really be lucrative. He bought the domain CollegeCookies.com and kept it for 12 years. Six months ago, the Kirks sat down and decided they wanted to do something with the name. This led to College Cookies, which donates $1 to literacy initiatives for every box of cookies sent.Right now the company is working to send a child in Nepal to school for a year, which costs $250, through a company called Room to Read. Kerry traveled to one of Room to Read’s sites in Vietnam in July to see the charity at work before College Cookies officially launched.Room to Read trains the people in the villages to be self-sufficient, mainly by teaching them how to build facilities and be teachers.“The coolest part was how excited the girls were to be there and learn and know they are changing their lives,” Kerry said. “It gives them an opportunity to choose what they want to do with their lives.” After visiting Vietnam, Kerry said she knew the charity was perfect for College Cookies because of its value on education. “It made it really real what we were doing,” Kerry said. “Our hope is to become really successful, and I think eventually we’ll be able to give a lot of money to help these different people.” College Cookies is not only focused on education but on family as well. Many of Kerry’s aunts and uncles are involved and so is her brother in New York. Her grandmother, Anne, still comes in and bakes.The company wanted to make sure when students opened their box of cookies it felt as if they were sent from grandmother’s kitchen, so they made sure their cookies were preservative-free and made from fresh ingredients. Despite turning their cookies into a business, the Kirks are still centered around the cookies.Every year at Christmas, Anne and family members go to the bakery to make cookies for the holidays. “We all truly want each other to be successful and for (the company) to be successful. We all know that we have each other’s best interests at heart,” Kerry said.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The Bloomington Animal Shelter is organizing Adopt-a-Dog Month during October to promote dog adoptions from shelters. “You can get a great dog from a shelter,” said Virgil Sauder, manager of the Bloomington Animal Shelter. “We have some wonderful dogs here to adopt.” In honor of this month, dog adoptions are dropped to $40, and all dogs are vaccinated, heartworm tested, spayed or neutered and microchipped.Adoptions also come with a free bag of food and a free vet visit to any veterinarian in Bloomington. Finding a perfect pet match for customers is a serious job for the shelter.To accomplish this, the shelter provides adoption counseling to its customers, which helps to place them with the right animal.Some people like animals with stronger personalities and who are active, but other people like calmer animals that can lounge around, said Jenny Gibson, volunteer coordinator for the Bloomington Animal Shelter.“I enjoy big dopey cats and dogs, but it’s all about what you’re looking for and falling in love with that particular animal,” she said. Those who adopt a dog during the month of October will be entered in a raffle to win a gift basket with dog toys, treats and obedience class certificates from Mad4MyDog Training in Elletsville, Ind., and Applied Canine Behaviors in Bloomington. During October, shelter volunteers often take animals to different locations to raise awareness of shelter adoption and other outreach. Adopting a dog from a shelter versus a pet store or puppy mill has many benefits to both the animal and the community, Gibson said. “If you go to a pet store, a lot of the dogs aren’t spayed or neutered, and some of the animals are not responsibly bred,” Gibson said. “We make sure our adoptable animals are healthy and ready for homes.”This year, the shelter has taken animals to the Bloomington Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.The shelter will be participating in an event called “Arfpocalypse” which will take place Oct. 27 at Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville, Ind. It will be Indiana’s largest dog adoption event. Participants and shelters register their dogs and bring them dressed in costumes in order to break the Guinness World Record for largest costumed dog gathering.There will be music from Here Come the Mummies, a Nashville, Tenn. based funk/R&B band that performs in mummy costumes. The event will also provide food and dogs available for adoption. “The biggest benefit is companionship,” Gibson said. “A dog is someone who loves you unconditionally. It really enriches someone’s life to have that kind of love.”