Feature Stories

November 10, 2007

Blood, sweat and tears. That is what the orchard bees are after, and there's plenty of it to go around. For Andy, Amy, Grace and Willa it comes with the territory. They are the Hamilton family - the owners of Musgrave Orchard and the suppliers of fresh produce to the Bloomington community.

Day in and day out they work with one another. Pressing cider, selling goods, picking vegetables and taking care of animals mark
the minutes and hours on the clock.

Their goal is simple, and, as Andy likes to put it, they are "just trying to keep an old business alive."

Since the 1930s, the days have been long and the hours have been short for those who work at Musgrave Orchard. Lester Musgrave originally owned the farm during the Great Depression. Eventually, his son Robert gained control and sold the property to the Hamilton family four years ago.

November 10, 2007

Jerry Lee Lewis
Last Man Standing
Artists First AFT-20001-2
Jerry Lee Lewis, piano and vocal duets with (in order of appearance) Jimmy Page, B.B. King, Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger & Ronnie Wood, Neil Young, Robbie Robertson, John Fogerty, Keith Richards, Ringo Starr, Merle Haggard, Kid Rock, Rod Stewart, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, Eric Clapton, Little Richard, Delaney Bramlett, Buddy Guy, Don Henley, Kris Kristofferson


One of the advantages of being my age is that I had the privilege of growing up in the Golden Age of Rock 'n' Roll, from the mid-1950s through the British Invasion of 1964. One of my fondest musical memories is from when I was 11, and just knocked out by listening to Jerry Lee Lewis pounding out "Great Balls of Fire" on the AM radio, back in January, 1958.

November 6, 2007

Davy Knowles knows the blues. The 20-year-old lead singer and guitarist of British blues-rock trio Back Door Slam has been playing since age 11, and his skill on the guitar has sparked comparisons to such legendary musicians as Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.

"It's incredibly flattering," he said during an interview before the band's Nov. 1 show at the Bluebird, "but embarrassing at the same time. Those people really set milestones. I would never put us in the same league."

Reviews of the band consistently do just that, though, albeit with shock that Knowles, at age 20, could sing the blues with such conviction and soul. George Varga's review of the band in The San Diego Union-Tribune describes Knowles as "the precocious nephew of the late Stevie Ray Vaughn and Rory Gallagher," while others repeatedly describe his talent and vocals as "beyond his years."

November 6, 2007

For several years, I've wanted to attend the famed late-night showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I can't tell you why exactly, but there was always something appealing about dressing up like a nutcase and throwing toast at a movie screen, with die-hard fans shouting and singing along to every campy line.

Well, I finally popped my "Rocky" cherry. Granted, it wasn't a midnight showing, but I dressed up, I threw things, I yelled the appropriate lines during the movie -- and I had one hell of a time. Decadent doesn't even begin to describe it.

In case you don't know the story, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a two-hour long, 1975 camp-fest starring Tim Curry as the transvestite scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter who hosts a stranded couple in his mansion one rainy night.

November 6, 2007

The Kelly Richey Band
Sweet Lucy -- KRB1136

I was first introduced to the Kelly Richey Band in the summer of 2006, when I heard this Cincinnati-based band at Indianapolis's noted blues club, the Slippery Noodle Inn. I was impressed with her vibrant, two-fisted guitar playing from the beginning, and complimented her by quoting what was said of Memphis Minnie: "She plays guitar like a man." This CD, Speechless, by her and her elemental band of only David Clawson on drums and Jimmy V on bass, only confirms and deepens my initial impression.

October 23, 2007

At the IU Art Museum’s special exhibitions gallery, two unique exhibits share an emphasis on the artists’ techniques and experimentation with their crafts.

“Sculpture Transformed: The Work of Marjorie Schick” features 67 works of art from the internationally renowned contemporary craft artist Schick, who received her MFA with distinction in jewelry and metalsmithing in 1966 from IU.

“The Second Wave: Modern Japanese Prints from Bloomington Collections” features 40 modern Japanese woodblock prints, including prints from the museum’s collection and some borrowed from local collectors.

October 23, 2007

Seven Acres Band
Seven Acres
Seven Acres

Howard Glazer and the EL 34s
Brown Paper Bag
Random Chance RCD-23

“Blues had a baby, and they called it rock ‘n’ roll,” Muddy Waters once noted. Certainly the blues and R&B have been integral parts of creating first, rock ‘n’ roll, then rock, and have been a part of these genres’ history since the mid-1950s, responsible for the genesis of blues/ rock hybrids that have ranged from the sublime to the ripoff. Rock is heavily indebted to the blues, and contemporary blues also indebted to rock, as these two CDs show.

October 12, 2007

If you want a holiday that's a perfect fit for the performing arts, you want Halloween. The costuming, the surprises, the begging for candy -- it all fits. So, if you're looking for something to scare you this October, or something to make you laugh, here are two plays and a film you might be interested in.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Victorian cautionary tale of a man caught between his better nature and his repressed inward desires is getting a new treatment in the Monroe County Civic Theatre's production, as director Russell McGee lays some modern elements on top of the classic tale. "I've had a fascination with Jekyll and Hyde for a long time," McGee says.

October 9, 2007

When Babita Upadhyay’s 3-year-old daughter returned from a birthday party and observed, “I was the only brown person there,” Upadhyay knew it was time to talk to her about diversity.

“Since then I’ve tried to educate her about many things regarding diversity, so when she goes out to the real world on a daily basis she is fully comfortable and confident in dealing with her surroundings,” she said.

When children embrace diversity, the world opens more doors for them, said Upadhyay. “The way to do this is by raising their awareness and by teaching them compassion.”

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.

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