So New: In Which I Party Like It’s 1999 (26 of 90)

My friend Reagin arrived on Friday night for three reasons:

  • attend the alumni awards dinner with me (for Faculty Homecoming King purposes)
  • hit The Vogue in Indianapolis for a Prince Tribute band
  • attend the Homecoming football game

We’ll get to the third later and the first isn’t important for these purposes. But the Prince Tribute band. That is important.

We had to slip out of the alumni dinner a bit early (just after we’d eaten dinner and I’d been announced) so we could get to Indianapolis before it was too late. Mind you, we still arrived at The Vogue Nightclub (see my Yelp review here) at 10:15 pm. Which is ridiculously late for the two of us.

We were each, I believe, hoping the other would insist we were simply too tired to go out.

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So New: In Which I Go To First Friday (20 of 90)


I’ve always lived in cities where artists were everywhere. Austin, San Francisco and Boston. I’ve even arranged most of my big travel around the writing and art.

And yet. I’ve never really indulged in the artiness of the towns I’ve lived in.

Until now. Tonight I went to First Friday, the art galley walk in downtown Indianapolis on Massachusetts Avenue, one of the main hipster streets in the city. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. But it turned out to be amazingly fun.

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So New: In Which I Meet Twitter Friends at The Wellington (15 of 90)

Throughout the past few months, I’ve met a random assortment of people through the magic of the Internet and networking.

I’m actually quite comfortable in cyberspace. Twenty-six years online will do that. (Great gobs! That’s a lot of years.)

It’s one of the main ways I find new friends and make new acquaintances as I move through life. So tonight was fun for me: I had the chance to bring together three of the folks I’ve met at a great little place called the Wellington Pub down in Broad Ripple.

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So New: In Which I Go To The Jazz Kitchen + The Hoosier Park Racing & Casino (13 + 14 of 90)

Last night, I journeyed into the city to catch some swing music at The Jazz Kitchen, a cool little dinner/dancing joint on the edge of Broad Ripple.

I’ve been stoked about visiting here since I came across it a few months back (before my 90-in-90), but the timing wasn’t right. Also: while I love jazz, I find it hard to really motivate myself to get out and about for it.

When I saw swing music nights on Tuesday, though, I jumped at the chance. I’ve oftentimes felt I was born at the wrong time. I would give anything to be 20 in 1920, although I suspect I’d have ended up on the wrong side of the law.

But that’s neither here nor there. I even convinced my friend Megan to join me for the evening. We spent the hour drive chatting and laughing, the 2 hours at The Jazz Kitchen noshing on great food and plotting, and on the way home I convinced her we needed to do one more thing.

We live about 15 miles from The Hoosier Park Racing & Casino complex, a weird mix of electronic gambling and the ponies nestled into the God-liest part of area. I find that hilarious. For many reasons. And I simply must support that. (Although I don’t spend money gambling so my support is more of a theoretical one.)

On the way home, we stopped off for a quick look-see around the place. It’s hard to describe the place in any way that makes sense, but let me just tell you this one thing:

Megan and I were the only ones smiling. (And not just because there is free serve yourself fountain soda available throughout the place.)

The night was definitely full of win on so many levels. We had great conversation, the music rocked, the food was pretty good (especially the fruits and cheese) and the casino was a definite topper. There is almost no doubt I’ll be going back to watch some sporting event there at some point.

(You can read my Yelp review of the Jazz Kitchen here.)

So New: The Indy Fringe Theater + Chathams (6 + 7 of 90)

I’ve been itching to hit the local theater scene since I returned from London. My summer re-invigorated the storyteller within me, but I’ve been slow to embrace him again.

No so.

I purchased two tickets (living aspirationally) to see a one man show, “They Call Me Mr. Fry,” which chronicles the first year of a teacher in South Central, Los Angeles.

The show, at the IndyFringe, was solid but I was really sold on the venue. The small building – it looked like a house transformed on the first floor into a theater – is exactly the kind of cool DIY life that everyone should experience at least once (a month).

(Aside: next year I’ll attend the IndyFringe Festival, a week-long celebration of theater along Massachusetts Avenue, which I now recognized as the place to be in Indianapolis. If you aren’t in Broad Ripple.)

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So New: The Indiana State Museum (5 of 90)

This weekend, I decided to eschew my normal football watching for a bit more of the culture of my new town. Or, the culture of the biggest city near my new town.

On Sunday, I headed to downtown Indianapolis to the Indiana State Museum to see “Odd Indiana,” a collection of strange pieces the museum has collected throughout the years.

I’m not sure why I wanted to see that. My former student Jen writes about things like this and I guess after reading her blog for the past few years, it’s not just part of my sub-conscious.

The “Odd Indiana” collection was small, nothing that was going to take up my day. (I did, however, watch an episode of Bride and Groom, a program where real-life couples got married on the air. One couple, obviously, was from Indiana.)

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So New: The Indianapolis Greek Festival (4 of 90)

Festival season where I’m from involves lots of Catholics, beer and gambling. At least that’s the way I remember it. Every summer, we’d bounce around from neighborhood to neighborhood, hanging out at the festivals where our friends went to school. Or where we figured we might run into friends. Or where we just ended up.

Other than that, I haven’t spent much time at neighborhood festivals. So when a friend asked me if I wanted to go to the Indianapolis Greek Festival, I jumped. That it was in Carmel, where I spent the first four years of my life, made it ever better.

Upon entering, we were given raffle tickets to win an iPad. We looked at each other and pocketed the tickets. Neither of us wanted to be in that raffle. We successfully made it past the dessert tent (although we returned after splitting a Gyro and purchased four — FOUR — desserts, which we mostly ate) and watched the third and fourth graders dance.

In fact, that seemed to be a large part of the day. Watching people dance. And eating.

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So New: An Aborted Night of Swing (3 of 90)

Tonight was supposed to be about swing dancing, but the one thing I’ve learned in my sobriety is that expectations can only get in the way of a good time. Instead of dancing, we wandered through town. Something I haven’t really done since I got sober 2 years, 4 months ago.

We (two former students went with) got a bit of a late start: Friday traffic and all. When we arrived at Fountain Square Theatre, there weren’t many people in the building and the girls weren’t entirely stoked about wading into a strange place. Instead of partaking in the lesson, we decided to head to The Brass Ring Lounge, an amazingly little lounge just up the street.

I seriously loved this little joint. The swing music was just loud enough to entertain, but never so loud it drowned out the chatting. There’s a cute patio area as well. I’ve been looking for cool places to hang out since I moved to Indiana and I’m positive this is now on my list.

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So New: A Dinner in the City (1 of 90)

Every journey starts with a first step. Tonight that meant heading to the city for dinner.

While I’ve been in Muncie for a year, I haven’t actually done anything in Indianapolis. Sure I’ve visited a bit here and there, but when I started to think about what I’ve done…I came up empty. So I had big plans for my first foray into the city.

Unfortunately the Labor Day holiday set about squashing that. Either the places I’d planned to visit were closed or the crowds were expected to be quite large. Life is an adventure (I keep telling myself), which meant time to ditch the Negative Nelly and embrace the night.

What matters here is that I cleaned my car, put on the nice clothes, picked up a friend and went to Capri Ristoranti. (You can find my review of the place on Yelp).

We had a great time. I forgot how much I missed getting dressed up for reasons other than school. What I’ve learned in the last few years, though, is how much I love going out for dinner. When I was drinking, I never – ever – joined my friends for food. I would head to the bar and meet up with everyone later, usually half-cocked. At the time, I didn’t understand the draw of nights with food and conversation.

Today, I get it.

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