Third-year MFA photography student Audim Culver said she can display her work in just about any of Bloomington's local coffee shops. However, when it comes to finding a gallery space, she must to seek options out of town.
"You can always get a show at a coffee shop," the 28-year-old IU student said. "There are those more grassroots places. But as far as finding a more legitimate gallery space, that's when things get more difficult."
Television shows are reruns. Most of the college population fled Bloomington for the summer. The Comedy Attic isn't having open mic nights every Wednesday. But Bloomington's downtown comedy club has found a way to provide entertainment, laughter and good popcorn.
Formerly the Funny Bone, located on Fourth and Walnut Streets, the Comedy Attic this summer features the 2nd Annual Bloomington Comedy Festival every Wednesday night from June 2 through July 28.
"There's good popcorn," Tom Brady, the 2009 Comedy Festival winner, says. "It's not much different from the rest of the year, but I think they add a little bit of extra salt. I could be wrong, but it's good popcorn. And they give you a little extra soda. It's a good combo."
Editor's note: The following guest column was submitted by Ashley Fisher from the Bloomington Area Arts Council in response to criticisms leveled by local artists in The Bloomington Alternative and other local media.
Fallout from the past
The new (Bloomington Area Arts Council) Board's 10-month story starts with the realization at the beginning of 2009 that the organization was failing -- again. Sensing this, both Ashley Fisher and Rob Hanrahan, who had recently joined the BAAC -- Fisher as a new Board member in October 2008 and Hanrahan November 2008 as a fundraising consultant -- took up the challenge as President of the Board of Trustees and Executive Director respectively in March 2009 to address the long-term sustainability of the arts council, despite its weakened state at that time. Both believed that the organization could be transformed -- and still do.
Matthew Shepard's murder shocked the nation. The 21-year-old gay college student was killed on Oct. 7, 1998, by two men near Laramie, Wyo. After torturing and robbing Shepard, the men tied him to a fence post and left him for dead.
Shepard was discovered 18 hours later by a passing biker in a coma and died shortly thereafter.
Ten years later, Bloomington High School North's (BHSN) Advanced Theatre Production class presented The Laramie Project, a play by Moises Kaufman, that depicts the aftermath of the nation's best-known hate crime.
Shepard's killers invoked the "gay panic defense" during the trial. They said they were driven temporarily insane by Shepard's alleged sexual advances. One eventually pleaded guilty and was given two consecutive life sentences. The other also received two consecutive life sentences after brokering a deal with Shepard's parents.
Unrequited love, artistic failure, death, and--comedy?
It might seem odd, given the first three themes, but comedy is undeniably present from the start of The Seagull, the IU Department of Theatre and Drama's latest production of Anton Chekhov's 1895 classic, when Masha comments, "I'm in mourning for my life" to Medvedenko, the schoolmaster who is desperately in love with her.
Chekhov's play, though centered on the depressing aspects of the human experience, also points out the humorous -- and often ridiculous -- elements to even the most painful moments in life. And the IU production, which opened this past Tuesday at the Ruth N. Halls Theatre at the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, highlights this well, thanks to the cast and set design.
The Seagull is the final MFA thesis project for several of the students involved in its production -- including director Erik Friedman, actress Allison Moody (Arkadina), scenic designer Chris Wych and lighting designer JoJo Percy -- and all should be pleased with the result.
Cardinal Stage Company is doing it again. And this time, the star is -- a goat.
On Feb. 22, O Lovely Glowworm, or Scenes of Great Beauty, will open at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. It is sponsored by Cardinal's 2007-08 season sponsor, Irwin Union Bank, and is a part of Arts Week, an IU community winter arts festival.
According to the news release for the production, O Lovely Glowworm is "the outrageously funny and profoundly moving story of a goat desperately trying to figure out who he is, where he is and why he is."
I drove to the Musical Arts Center (MAC) last Friday evening with high expectations. I walked out several hours later disappointed.
My disappointment had little to do with the show itself. A Wedding, Pulitzer Prize winning-composer William Bolcom's adaptation of Robert Altman's 1978 film about a high-society wedding, was first staged at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2004. It's Bolcom's third project with IU Opera Theater. His other collegiate premieres, McTeague (1996) and A View from the Bridge (2005), achieved critical acclaim with IU Opera Theater.
Overall, it was enjoyable, and even though the supertitles ruined every single joke for me, I laughed often thanks to the performers' talent and execution.
Murray McGibbon sits on a plush beige sofa, surrounded by native African Zulu masks that scream of far away places. The 2 p.m. sunlight streams in on the native South African and IU theater professor as he discusses The African Tempest Project.
The project, he says, "was a hands-on workshopping of Shakespeare's play within a South African context."
McGibbon's receipt of a Lilly Endowment New Frontiers grant enabled six students from IU and 14 from the University of KwaZulu-Natal to produce The African Tempest Project this past summer in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
And it all might happen again. If more funds are granted through the Lilly Endowment, IU will return the favor, housing several South African students while rehearsals for The Tempest are underway in Bloomington.
You're invited to a wedding – IU Opera style. On Feb. 1, the IU Opera Theater will open the spring portion of its 2007-08 season with the nation's first collegiate performance of A Wedding by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom.
A Wedding, based on Robert Altman's 1978 film about a high-society wedding, was first staged at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2004 and is Bolcom's third project with IU Opera Theater. Bolcom's collegiate premieres of McTeague (1996) and A View from the Bridge (2005) achieved critical acclaim with the IU Opera Theater.
There are certain things in life that just sit with you. Maybe it's a song, maybe it's a scene in your favorite movie, or maybe it's a painting filled with color and life. Whatever "it" is, it rounds out your life and makes the journey a little easier to bear.
For me, it's an entire musical. Rent, the history-making rock musical based on Puccini's opera La Boheme, came to the IU Auditorium Nov. 13 and 14, and the experience filled a hole in my life that I didn't even know existed.
While I was already familiar with the music and storyline from the movie version that came out in 2005, I knew I needed to see it live to get the full experience. Well, I went, and I fell in love with the production all over again.