October 9, 2007

I had never been to a pow-wow, but I'd heard plenty about them. Most of what I'd been told could be roughly summarized in three words: fun, but fake. I'd always been attracted to Native American culture, its philosophy, its worldview, its simplicity. I was eager to experience it, curious to know if I could still feel it alive. So, when I arrived at the Crossroads Competition Pow-Wow at the Monroe County Fairgrounds in Bloomington, I was both excited with anticipation and dreading what I could find.

The first thing I heard was the sound of the flute - magical and ethereal, it emitted a simple, peaceful melody, the long notes almost trance-inducing. I followed its sound, mesmerized. And then the magic broke, for I found myself in an events pavilion - bright fluorescent lights shone uncomfortably above my head, and the concrete floor felt unnatural beneath my feet. It was supposed to rain, so the pow-wow was moved to a rain site. We hadn't had a good rain for more than a month.

July 31, 2007

Chronicles of Rachel: Adventures of a Transwoman in the Heartland
WFHB 91.3 or 98.1 FM
Thursday, August 30
6 p.m.

The term transgender can be defined as a person appearing as, or wishing to be considered as, a member of the opposite sex. Sometimes the word transsexual is used - to describe a person whose sexual identification is with the opposite sex.

Tune in to WFHB, Indiana's first community radio station, on Thursday evenings for bloomingOUT, part of the Firehouse Forum. The hour-long show is the only media program in Indiana - and one of only a handful in the Midwest - that offers a clear perspective on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexual queer and questioning (LGBTIQ) community and culture.

Once a month bloomingOUT features Rachel, a local transwoman, who shares vignettes from her daily life. When approached by producer Carol Fischer about being a part of the show, Rachel did not hesitate.

July 17, 2007

Craig Brenner and Lori Wallace
House concert
Friday, July 20
6-8 p.m.

Keep live music alive! Craig Brenner is donating his keyboard talent for a concert benefiting District 5 City Council candidate Isabel Piedmont, plus feeding the need for great music in an intimate, friendly atmosphere.

Piedmont's platform includes sustainability, collaboration and addressing poverty. “Enhancing environmental sustainability, reducing poverty and nurturing the local economy are achievable if we think outside the box and work together,” she says on her Web site,

House concert, you ask? Definitions of this welcomed phenomena include a live performance before an assemblage of music enthusiasts in a private residence; a unique opportunity to experience a favorite performer, up close and personal, without musical amplification or other artificial barriers; a lively, economical alternative to those noisome, crowded, hard-to-get-to venues; and an interesting addition to the itinerary of a touring musician.

For details about this event, contact Lorraine Farrell, campaign chair, at . Requested donation is $10 for a perfect evening of food, music and community involvement.

July 3, 2007

Third Thursdays at Nick’s English Hut
A benefit for Stepping Stones
423 East Kirkwood
Thursday, July 19
5–8 p.m.

Once a month Nick’s throws open its doors to aid a local not-for-profit. The brainchild of Natalie Cabanaw, a fave wait staffer of yours and mine, “Third Thursdays” has brought in hundreds upon hundreds for our area agencies.

“It’s a great way for people who don’t have a lot of cash to help donate,” says Natalie. “It adds up!”

Natalie donates all of her tips the night of the event – as does bartender Andrew Hilton. Additional wait staff pitches in, and 20 percent of the total food bill goes straight to the agency. The not-for-profit is asked to take the reins in advertising the event.

July 3, 2007

Bloomington Party for the Planet!
Ivy Tech Campus
200 Daniels Way
July 7
6 p.m.

The climate crisis can be solved! Join more than 2 billion people worldwide for this event – a pitch-in supper, conversations about what we all can do about our climate and the chance to learn more about the presidential candidates.

Bring a dish to share (a main dish for last names beginning with A-M, all others a salad, side dish or dessert), as well as a beverage and place setting for yourself. Alcohol is not permitted, as the gathering is in the student commons room.

June 19, 2007

Circle Singing Workshop
with Janiece Jaffe
Blooming Spirit Retreat Center
Sunday, June 24
1 - 3 p.m.

"Sound has been used in healing practices among indigenous cultures throughout time," Janiece Jaffe says. "The premise of this work is that everything in the universe is in a state of vibration and that we are constantly changing."

June 5, 2007

Open House
Dagom Gaden Tensung Ling
Buddhist Monastery
102 Clubhouse Drive
June 10, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

One of the great gifts of Bloomington is the opportunity to immerse oneself in Tibetan culture. Without leaving town (let alone the continent), spend your morning and/or afternoon enjoying a guided temple tour. Then view a photo exhibit of faraway lives dedicated to mission and service. Finally, get that jump on holiday shopping at a bazaar.

May 23, 2007

Boogie-Woogie in Bryan Park
June 2
5-8:30 p.m.

A promise comes to life in Bryan Park when two exalted piano players arrive in Indiana next week. Local pianist Craig Brenner was recently awarded a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission to study with Bob Seeley and Big Joe Duskin -- among the greatest boogie-woogie and blues piano players, ever.

"I promised to use what I learned and help stage a large, outdoor concert and bring the artists to Bloomington, and to collaborate with other local organizations to make it happen," Brenner says.

April 24, 2007

Craig Brenner Trio
tutto bene
Wednesday May 2, 8 p.m.

After a final or large project is completed, I always treat myself to something fun, be it a new pair of shoes or dinner out with friends. The end of another semester is no different.

Now that the year is winding down and the insanity of class and work is finally wearing off, take a cue from me and reward yourself. And what better way to unwind than with some good wine and jazz?

April 11, 2007

Breaking Away
Dunn Meadow
Wednesday April 18, 8:30 p.m.

Breaking Away, the 1979 triumph that won an Oscar and won IU some serious recognition, makes an appearance in Dunn Meadow this year. The Little 500-centric sleeper hit about breaking away from the crowd and following your dreams is a downright classic movie, and perfect to watch right around this time of the year.

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