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Last month, representatives from Visit Bloomington and BEAD (Bloomington Entertainment & Arts District) traveled to Portland, Oregon to accept the 2013 Arts Destination Marketing Award. The annual award is presented to destination marketing organizations and local arts agencies that work collaboratively using the arts to market their community as a travel destination.
Visit Bloomington works closely with BEAD, and other local arts organizations, to promote arts and cultural events and attractions to visitors (and residents). Home to a wide variety of performance groups and venues, galleries and museums and fabulous annual events (both on and off campus), Bloomington is more than just a city that talks about art - the arts are truly alive here in Bloomington and we couldn't be prouder to receive this award. The honor truly belongs to all of our arts partners throughout the community.
We invite you to explore the Arts and Entertainment related attractions and upcoming events available in Bloomington for an almost endless array of things to see, do and experience. There's enough here to keep you busy for literally days - but don't stop here.
Visit Bloomington works hard to promote the arts outside of the city limits, too - in fact we collaborate with our counterparts in Brown County and Columbus, Indiana to bring you ArtsRoad 46, where we promote arts related happenings throughout the region. Visit the ArtsRoad 46 website or Facebook page to learn more about how you can enjoy the arts in Bloomington...and beyond!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! If you'll be in Bloomington on the Thanksgiving holiday, but aren't able to (or just don't want to) prepare an elaborate meal, we've got you covered.
The following Bloomington area restaurants will be open on Thanksgiving day and would love to welcome you and your family or friends for lunch or dinner. Enjoy!
- Bobby's Colorado Steakhouse will over a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings. Served buffet style, the meal will feature turkey, ham, prime rib, baked ziti, roasted veggies and more. Available from 11 am to 5 pm. Price: $18.50 per person; kids 10 and under are half price.
- Chapman's Restaurant will serve a delicious Thanksgiving brunch and dinner buffet, complete with a pancake station, roasteed turkey, ham, prime rib, salads, assorted desserts and more. Available from 10 am to 3 pm. Price: $21.95 per person; kids 10 and under are half price.
- FARMbloomington will offer special gourmet Thanksgiving meal, prepared by Chef Daniel Orr. The meal will inlcude a first course, main course (with a vegetarian alternative), dessert and a take-home goodie bag. Seatings at Noon, two and four pm. Price: $39 per adult; $22 per child. Reservations recommended, call 812-323-0002.
- Cracker Barrel will be open from 6 am to 10 pm, serving their regular menu. Prices vary.
- Bob Evans will be open from 7 am to 7 pm with a limited, original menu. Prices vary.
If you know of other options in the area, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.Posted on: Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 9:13 AM by: Tosha Daugherty
The Banana Tree is a hysterical new comedy by well-known funny people Dan Castellaneta and Deb Lacusta. Both have a longstanding background of improv with the notable group, Second City, and both have written multiple episodes of The Simpsons. What's even cooler is that Dan is the voice of the single most iconic cartoon character of our generation, or at least my generation: Homer Simpson. So these guys both know comedy!
What's most exciting is that this show is going to be born and raised in Bloomington. It's not a play that just happens to be written by two notable playwrights that we just decided to produce. As with all Bloomington Playwrights Project shows, these playwrights are joining us in the production process and will be here in Bloomington to work on making the script better and better. How cool is that?! It's cool. It's very cool. Oh, and Dan Castellaneta is going to play the voice of the Banana Tree!
I don't want to give too much of the plot away since a lot of the fun comes with the ridiculous surprises, but overall the show is about Angela, a convenience store clerk who dreams of being Las Vegas' first African American female magician. But after a series of hilarious run-ins and blunders, Angela finds herself in the middle of a robbery, a kidnapping, and at the mercy of a criminal mastermind that also happens to be a telepathic banana tree. A telepathic banana tree! You don't see that every day. Or any day.
I especially love that the show takes place in a convenience store - we're going to have a fully stocked store that will be opened before the show where you can shop for concessions! I don't know of any other theatre in the world that's done that! The initial design rendering (below) from our Scenic Designer, Shane Cinal, shows what the set will look like. This design is an early draft so it's missing many of the details that you'll see when it's complete, and of course it's missing all of the snackage.
Ultimately, The Banana Tree is going to be one of the funniest shows I've ever produced or directed. The cast for this one is truly amazing and we've got a hysterical script to work with. Rarely do you know that you've got a hit before the show opens, but for this one, I know it before we've even started rehearsals. It's going to be fun times in Bloomington when The Banana Tree is open!
Special thanks to our guest blogger, Chad Rabinovitz, for telling us all about this exciting new production. Chad is the Producing Artistic Director for the Bloomington Playwrights Project, the only professional theater in Indiana that is focused solely on new plays.Posted on: Monday, Nov 4, 2013 8:50 AM by: Tosha Daugherty
In keeping with old-fashioned practice, the winter holidays come to life in downtown Bloomington on the Friday after Thanksgiving. All it takes is the sparkling tradition of the Canopy of Lights. Thousands gather in community spirit to witness the simple, yet beloved lighting ceremony. Many have joined the celebration and made it a family tradition to ring in the season.
While the weather may be frightfully cold, don't let that keep you away. There is plenty of hot chocolate, kettlecorn and holiday music from the Bloomington Brass Band to keep you warm. But if it gets to be too much, downtown has more to offer.
While waiting for the ceremony to begin, shop at local downtown stores offering sales and special activities. CFCProperties decks out the halls of Fountain Square Mall for the season and carolers are on hand inside the mall for those not yet wanting to brave the frigid temps. Even our historic courthouse is decorated for the occasion!
Don't be late for Santa's arrival - Polka Dot the Clown takes the stage leading the crowd in holiday favorites Jingle Bells and Here Comes Santa Claus right before his arrival. For many, it's the first sighting of the man in the big red suit. When Santa takes center stage, the cheers are contagious and the countdown begins.
In unison, the crowd shouts, "5...4...3...2...1..." and it happens. Downtown Bloomington transforms into a magical winter wonderland. Regardless of your age, when the switch flips, it is one of the best feelings of the year. The 2013 Canopy of Lights Ceremony will be Friday, November 29th, at 7 pm on the north side of the square. The Canopy will remain lit through New Year's Day. Over 250,000 individual bulbs, or 25 miles of lights, are strung from the Courthouse to the buildings around the square and in the trees, creating the sparkling canopy. This annual holiday celebration is a partnership with CFC Properties, Monroe County, Cassady Electric and Downtown Bloomington, Inc.
Special thanks to our guest blogger, April Wasson. April works for Downtown Bloomington Inc, is a mother of three, and enjoys spending quality time outdoors.
Updated Schedule for Friday, Nov. 29 (added 11/20/2013)
9:30 am - 6:30 pm, WonderLab - hands on activities, games and food.
5:30 pm, Courthouse Lawn - peace statue dedication.
5 - 9 pm, Monroe County History Center - open house.
6 pm, Monroe County Courthouse - open, featuring 40-foot tree.
6 - 7 pm, Bloomington Brass Band - live music on Kirkwood.
6 - 7 pm, Bloomington Chamber Singers - Fountain Square Mall.
6 - 8 pm, Music Makers - caroling/singing.
7 pm, Lighting Ceremony - featuring Santa, Polka Dot, the Bloomington Brass Band, local dignitaries and a special appearance from Willy Wonka and his Oompa Loompas, courtesy of the Cardinal Stage Company. Photos with Santa will immediately follow in Fountain Square Mall.
If you have not made plans to come back for IU Homecoming (October 31-November 2, 2013), make sure to do so as you will experience a wonderful weekend of great programming and events. In addition, after a year-long research project to retool and improve our approach to Homecoming, you will see a new branded look that will be used consistently throughout campus and the Bloomington community. This new look will help easily identify IU's Homecoming Weekend to visitors and alumni for years to come.
- The return of the Homecoming Parade on Friday, November 1. The route will run from 4th and Lincoln near downtown, up Kirkwood towards the Sample Gates and Indiana Avenue. The parade starts at 6 pm with a pep rally presented by IU Athletics afterwards at the Sample Gates.
- DeVault Open House on Friday, November 1, will be an opportunity for visitors to check out the beautiful home of the IU Alumni Association, receive a free gift and enjoy some amazing treats from Sugar & Spice.
- Classes Without Quizzes gives alumni a chance to revisit their favorite classes and/or professors by sitting in an actual class. This could serve as a potential recruiting tool for future Hoosiers by bringing them to a classroom setting to see how things take place here at IU. Registration is FREE and available through the IU Alumni Association website.
- Alumni Leaders Recognition will take place during Homecoming Weekend. Stay tuned for more details from Jen Goins and the Alumni Relations team!
- Hoosier Village starts up at 12:30pm on Saturday, November 2. Enjoy amazing food from some of Bloomington's favorite restaurants, great music, appearances from the Marching 100 and IU Cheerleaders, Kids Zone, beer garden and more! Then, head into Memorial Stadium at 3:30 to cheer on the Hoosiers!.
There is a lot to look forward to this year and we are excited to have you back in B-town in early November. Feel free to contact the IU Alumni Association with any questions you may have. Welcome home. GO IU!
Special thanks to our guest blogger, Mike Mann. Mike is an Alumni Program Officer with the Indiana University Alumni Association who received his BS from IU in 1991. His Twitter profile bio describes him as an "IU Spirit Guide/Fan/Alum, Dad, Husband, Sun, Runner/Excerciser, Reader, Foodie, Beer drinker, Wine lover, Traveler, Lover of Social Media, Smart Ass, Good Guy." Give him a follow there - he's known as @btownmann.Posted on: Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 8:59 AM by: Tosha Daugherty
I'm just going to say it: I love art and craft markets. The opportunity to buy a one-of-a-kind object and meet the person who made it is absolutely irresistible to me. The work of craft artisans is my go-to holiday gift for family and friends - last year it was ceramic picture frames, the year before hand-blown glass ornaments. That's why my calendar has two big red circles around November 8 and 9, 2013. Those two dates mark a conflagration of craft markets in Bloomington - four in total; three on the east side and one downtown. Each uniquely special and when taken all together, a craft-lovers dream.
Let's start on Bloomington's east side. At the intersection of College Mall Road and E. 3rd Street, at St. Mark's Methodist Church, is the Holiday Pottery Show and Sale. Produced by Local Clay Potter's Guild, this popular show is in its 16th year and features the work of 24 regional potters. Work ranges from the distinctly decorative to the festively functional - and everything in between. The budget-minded can find hand-stamped brightly colored magnets, mugs and ornaments as well as statement pieces perfect for the mantelpiece or the holiday table. The show kicks off with an opening reception Friday, November 8 from 5 - 9 pm and continues Saturday, November 9 from 9 - 5 pm.
Located close by at 3420 E. 3rd Street is the Fiber Arts Show and Sale sponsored by the Bloomington Spinners and Weavers Guild. Here, you'll find some of the finest textile work available in the region, all in a cozy setting at First United Church. Not only are there wearables of all sorts, there are throws, wall hangings, greeting cards, ornaments, toys, rugs and even jewelry. You may even be lucky enough to catch an artist weaving, spinning, or knitting - demonstrations go on throughout the show. The opening reception is Friday from 5 - 9 pm, and the show continues on Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm.
The newest addition to the east side craft market scene is the Bloomington Glass Guild's Holiday Show, which takes place at University Baptist Church, 3740 East 3rd Street. This popular destination for glass-lovers is in its third year with a growing list of artists showing glass crafting in all its forms including hand-blown, fused, slumped, kiln-fired and mosaic in glittering pieces including jewelry, ornaments, functional and decorative tableware, hanging art pieces, vases and more. Shopping hours are Friday from 5 - 9 pm and Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm.
With some space still available in the trunk, let's head downtown to the Bloomington Handmade Market at the Bloomington/Monroe County Convention Center, 302 S. College Avenue. Now in its 5th year, the Bloomington Handmade Market is the destination to find contemporary, emerging artists and crafters showcasing their wares at an affordable price. With an emphasis on contemporary design aesthetic and sustainable materials and practice, the art and craft you'll find at the Bloomington Handmade Market has a decidedly urban and fresh feel. Jewelry, wearables, letterpress prints, toys, home décor are all there to tempt you, and a shopper's café and live local music help energize the browsing and shopping experience. The Bloomington Handmade Market runs Saturday, November 9th only from 10 am - 5 pm.
Back home unpacking my new hand-crafted treasures, I'm once again glad I made craft market-shopping a weekend priority. See you there!
This fun blog post comes to us courtesy of Miah Michaelsen, the Assistant Economic Development Director for the Arts for the City of Bloomington. Michaelsen's responsibilities include leading management of the Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District (BEAD), serving as a liaison with the City's Arts Commission, working with artists and community arts organizations to promote the arts as economic development, and coordinating public arts projects throughout Bloomington. In her spare time she is an committed arts "consumer" enjoying art and craft markets, galleries, public art, live performances and more. Sometimes she can even cajole her husband and two sons in coming with her!
Posted on: Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 8:51 AM by: Tosha Daugherty
Trust us, this upcoming show at the Buskirk Chumley Theater is one you do NOT want to miss, no matter what your musical perferences are. Black Violin blends classical, hip-hop, rock, R&B and bluegrass music together into an unique - and amazing - sound. Black Violin is made up of classically trained musicians, Wilner "Wil B" Baptiste and Kevin "Kev Marcus" Sylvester, along with their band, featuring ace turntable whiz DJTK (Dwayne Dayal, drummer Beatdown (Jermain McQueen) and cellist Joe Cello (Joseph Valbrun). They have collaborated with popular and diverse artists including P. Diddy, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Tom Petty, Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin and The Eagles.
Don't take our word for it though - here's what other people think:
Black Violin was voted one of the Top 5 New Bands at South By Southwest.
The New York Times says:
"Black Violin works hard, but makes it all look like play... Sometimes they play with the intense seriousness of orchestral soloists; at others they fiddle as if at a hoedown; at still others they strum the violin and viola like guitars."
Executive Director of the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, Danielle McClelland, says:
"I've been booking bands for the Buskirk-Chumley Theater for a while now, and paying close attention to music for decades. Sometimes, I can get a bit jaded. Bored. Lose the sense of intimacy and energy and hope a really good group can bring you. But then an email comes in from an long time agent friend with the subject line "WOW" and everything about why I do what I do comes into focus.
Black Violin is one of the most exciting groups I've seen in a long time. They're doing something new with great skill and even bigger heart. The audiences at SXSW this year voted them in their top five favorites out of literally hundreds of bands. They made me get up out of my seat and throw my hands in the air...
I know you've never heard of them. I know I generally just let you make your own decision about who you want to see at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. But in this case, I'm telling you. Get your Black Violin tickets today. I promise, they'll blow your socks off."
So... what are you waiting for? Black Violin will perform at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater on Saturday, October 12 at 8 pm. Special ticket prices are available for college and high school students - only $10! Get your tickets now!
Still not convinced? Here's a sample:
Posted on: Friday, Oct 4, 2013 1:21 PM by: Tosha Daugherty
Are you ready to celebrate the arrival of autumn and all those hauntingly fun events that come along with Halloween? Bloomington's ready, and we don't want you to miss one spooky thing! Here's your checklist of the 13 things you need to know about celebrating the season - B-town style!
Take a Haunted Museum Tour on Oct. 11 and 25, at the Monroe County History Museum. Local celebrities of the past will be on hand to answer all your spooky questions!
See enchantingly beautiful handmade, blown glass creations at the 4th Annual Great Glass Pumpkin Patch event on the Monroe County Courthouse Lawn on Oct. 12. Choose from over 300 beautiful examples!
Take the Road Less Traveled Fall Color Eco-tours from Natural Bloomington. On Oct. 12 and 19, enjoy beautiful fall colors on routes only locals know! (Nothing scary about these tours; just beautiful scenery, so bring your camera.)
Discover the world of real blood sucking creatures at WonderLab with Nature's Vampires on Oct. 19. Some of them aren't as scary as you might think!
Walk the Trick or Treat Trail - if you dare! Cartoon friends and villains will be on hand in the forest at RCA Park on Oct. 19. There will be plenty of treats - and some stories, too!
What should you do on an ink-black night with learing jack-o'-lanterns and crisp apple cider? Enjoy the Festival of Ghost Stories beneath the stars at Bryan Park, of course! The night comes alive on Oct. 25.
Come along for a Ghostly Gathering on Oct. 25 and 26 at Paynetown State Recreation Area. Participants will enjoy a variety of festivities, including pumpkin painting and a costume contest!
Check out the fangs, scales, claws and more at Nature's Monsters Live Show at WonderLab on Oct. 26. Have some close encounters and discover the some of the critters we think of as monsters aren't so scary after all!
Join the IU Auditorium for a silent film with creepy organ accompaniment, as Dennis James Hosts Halloween on Oct. 26. James is joined this year by experimental percussionist Mark Goldstein to perform their original accompaniment to the Sci-Fi silent film and cult classic Aelita: Queen of Mars.
Venture into rural Bloomington, near the legendary Stepp Cemetery, where dozens of creatures, monsters and maniacs await at the Barn of Terror. Open every Friday and Saturday in October.
Enjoy a trip on the Haunted Hayride, every Friday and Saturday in October. Not-so-scary earlier times are available for family fun, or venture out in the dark and into the haunted stable, if you dare!
Learn about Victorian mourning practices and see odd creatures from the Monroe County History Center's collection at the Attic of Oddities Exhibit, on display throughout October.
Pick out the perfect pumpkin from one of the locations below and take a little bit of Bloomington home for your own Halloween celebrations. You'll find the perfect blank canvas for the best jack o' lantern ever, and maybe even some beautiful decorative varieties as well.
Fowler Pumpkin Patch
4865 South Leonard Springs Road, 812-322-0050 - Open Friday through Sunday.
Musgrave Orchard & Cider Mill
8820 North Old State Road 37, 812-339-5006 - Open Wednesday through Sunday. Pick up your pumpkin, apples, Indiana's best apple cider and all the other trappings of fall!
8024 Indiana Highway 37, 812-876-5800 - Several varieties of pumpkins and other gourds, locally grown at the Creekbend Vineyard, are available throughout October at the Oliver Winery tasting room.
Posted on: Monday, Sep 23, 2013 12:50 PM by: Tosha Daugherty
My friend Julie and I have a tradition.
We both love the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival, and while we don't usually go together, we always seem to run into each other somewhere in the festival precinct.
Lotus is like that. It's a one-price-buys-all event, so as you move from venue to venue, trying to see as many of the 25-30 performers as possible, you invariably run into people you know.
So when Julie and I encounter each other, we pause and compare notes. Specifically, we ask each other if we've had any "Lotus Moments."
What's a Lotus Moment? Well, it's sort of an epiphany. The festival brings musicians to Bloomington from cultures across the globe. When that diverse energy and creativity mixes with a curious and receptive audience, interesting things can happen.
For example: In 2008, I was standing in one of the tent venues, absorbed in a catchy Texas Swing number by an American group, when I noticed a North African musician nearby, complete with purple robes and turban, grooving away to the same tune.
That snapshot revealed something: that whatever country we come from, we can all enjoy the same music. That's a Lotus Moment.
Here's one of Julie's: She once came into the back of the Buskirk-Chumley Theater while a Puerto Rican band was on stage driving a high-energy salsa tune-and the entire audience, young and old, was dancing like crazy.
Another year I sat in one of the quieter venues, listening to an Irish fiddler and guitarist as they lilted a beautiful reel. All of a sudden I realized that, like me, the rest of the crowd was utterly absorbed in the music. The only sound was the rhythmic tap-tap-tap of hundreds of feet on the wooden floor, keeping time.
That's Lotus - a coming together of people and cultures into a long weekend of sharing and harmony. The music is wonderful, everything from classical Indian ragas to Corsican a cappella vocals, from Colombian jazz to raucous Ethiopian brass. You feel like you're traveling the world when you're just crossing the street. But the essence of Lotus is community, the joining of people from different backgrounds into a fleeting but congenial whole.
One last Lotus Moment: I'm standing in front of the stage on Fourth Street, enjoying some performance or other, when I glance behind me. The entire block is filled with people, faces illuminated by the stage lights, with a giant September moon rising behind them...
...and every single one of those faces is smiling.
The 20th annual Lotus World Music and Arts Festival is September 25-29, 2013. See www.lotusfest.org for a complete schedule and ticket details and don't forget to share your own favorite Lotus Moments below in the comments section!
Special thanks to our local guest blogger, Bill Holladay. Bill is a Bloomington-based writer and editor as well as occasional baker, stonecarver, cyclist, birder and yoga instructor. He has attended every Lotus Festival to date and has volunteered since 1995, the festival's second year, so it's a pretty safe bet you'll see him at the festival this year!Posted on: Friday, Sep 20, 2013 6:25 AM by: Tosha Daugherty
The Hilly Hundred Bicycle Tour is set to roll into Bloomington and the surrounding area for the 46th year on October 18-20, 2013. This three-day event features two days full of road cycling on some of the toughest hills in the state, but that's not all! It also offers lots of great camaraderie with other cyclists, live entertainment each evening and spectacular scenic vistas along the way. You can register online up until October 14.
If you're a first year participant and not sure what to expect, or you've considered participating, but haven't registered yet, we'd like to share with you this excellent testimonial that Visit Bloomington received about a past Hilly Hundred event:
"I've been riding in the Hilly Hundred for more than 20 years now and I highly recommend it to riders of all levels. It's a lot of fun. I travel from North Carolina to Indiana for the event every year because the unique terrain and route are fantastic and the ride support and organization are the best I've ever experienced. Plus, the weather in South Central Indiana in the fall is always spectacular.
I've both camped at the Hilly campsite and stayed at hotels in Bloomington in previous years and I enjoy doing both of those things. My very favorite thing about the Hilly Hundred is that every year I get to ride in it with 4,000 of my best friends. We get up early, ride all day and have a good time going out to dinner in Bloomington in the evening. They have so many great options but I enjoy brewpubs and I think Bloomington has two of the best in Bloomington Brewing Company and Upland Brewing Company. Plus don't forget the delicious Italian Beef sandwich at Nick's Pub. That alone is worth the trip."
John from Charlotte, North Carolina
We hope you can join John, and 4,000 of his closest friends, this year for the Hilly Hundred Bicycle Tour. It really is one of the premiere bicycling events in the Midwest, and we are very proud to have it each year in Monroe County. If you've participated before, we'd love to hear about your favorite things about the Hilly Hundred in the comments section below! We'll leave you with just a few of the many photos this great annual ride.
Posted on: Tuesday, Sep 17, 2013 10:34 AM by: Mike McAfee