Mar 27

We enjoyed Sex with Strangers during our first visit to the Phoenix Theatre

20170326_132229Don’t take the headline the wrong way, folks. Sex with Strangers is the play title! Our first visit to this well established Indianapolis theater was most enjoyable. The Phoenix Theatre experience is different from larger venue playhouses. From the lobby we walked to the stage down a somewhat narrow flight of stairs. It seemed like we were headed down into a catacombs. The Basile Stage is outfitted with tables and chairs as well as a couple of rows of theater type seating. The seating is comfortable and intimate.

We really enjoyed Sex with Strangers. The cast has two actors. Brandon Alstott plays Ethan, a 20 something blogger and writer whose questionable morals lead to your questioning his motives. Ethan’s counterpart is a 30 something wanna be writer named Olivia, played by Angela R. Plank. Both players do an excellent job in their character development and delivery.

Thrust together by accident, the play begins with Ethan and Olivia discovering each other’s history, personalities and desires. There is great humor in the first act with references to blogging, the internet, smart phones and social media. Olivia is writing a new book. Ethan is ready to launch a new app. Yes, they do “hook up” to use current terminology. It seems like they can be a couple. But wait! The relationship sours a bit after the intermission.

We really enjoyed the show and are looking forward to attending other productions at this marvelous venue. When you go be sure to purchase one of the pastries offered. I can speak for the brownies: they are as good as your mother used to make.

Be warned, some of the language is right out of the gutter. There are explicit sexual references as well as some serious ‘making out’ on stage. I would give the show an “R’ rating.

Mar 25

A one ton granite ball floats on water

I had to try moving the ball! It rotates with a tiny touch.

I had to try moving the ball! It rotates with a tiny touch.

The 28 inch diameter, 2000 pound granite sphere floats on a cushion of water pumped up from a fountain below. The socket of the granite base is precision carved to allow an 8/1000th inch thick layer of water that the ball rests on. Even a child can rotate the ball!

This marvelous floating granite ball fountain is in front of the Nature Center at Holliday Park in Indianapolis. 

Mar 24

“The Ruins” from New York City are one of the strange things to see in Indianapolis

Holliday Park is located in the near north-side of Indianapolis in one of the more higher end neighborhoods. The park is a beautiful setting with hundreds of trees, flowers and wildlife. In addition to the natural features of this inner city recreation site you will find an eclectic display affectionately tagged “The Ruins”.

The centerpiece of this ‘artwork’ is a structure that is the home of three massive sculptures atop a brick and mortar conglomeration of various architectural details. The three statues are called “The Races of Man”, are carved from (fittingly) Indiana limestone and represent Caucasian, Asian and African ethnic groups.

 

IMG_5095The original home of the three statues was a building in downtown New York that was torn down in 1950 to make way for a new skyscraper. The building’s owner, Western Electric, held a contest among US cities for the rights to have the sculptures. Long story short, Indianapolis won the competition. It took two decades and tons of money to bring “The Ruins” to a condition suitable for public use.

 

We visited the park today and frankly were amazed. What a beautiful setting! The Ruins were fascinating to see. It was fun walking the grounds and touring the nature center as well. We will return later after the trees bud out and flowers make their Spring appearances! There was adequate parking for RV’s and buses.

 

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Feb 15

Visit Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis

Infamous bank robber John Dillinger's family marker

Infamous bank robber John Dillinger’s family marker

Crown Hill Cemetery is on the near Northwest side of Indianapolis. It was first created as a cemetery during the Civil War, and eventually two different National Cemetery areas were established. The grounds are beautiful and host many visitors all year long.

The facility is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the burial site of a President (Benjamin Harrison) and a notorious bank robber (John Dillinger). Other notable burials include poet James Whitcomb Riley, Col. Eli Lilly, three U.S Vice Presidents, 14 U. S. Senators and 11 Indiana Governors. The cemetery grounds are noted for the beauty and solitude that offer visitors a place to run, walk, bike or even have a picnic.

View from James Whitcomb Riley's grave: Indy skyline

View from James Whitcomb Riley’s grave: Indy skyline

National Cemetery, Union Soldiers

National Cemetery, Union Soldiers

Oliver Morton, Indiana Governor during the Civil War

Oliver Morton, Indiana Governor during the Civil War

The Gothic Chapel

The Gothic Chapel

Feb 05

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat thrills the crowds at Beef & Boards

The cast sings “Go, Go, Go Joseph” Courtesy B&B Media

The cast sings “Go, Go, Go Joseph” Courtesy B&B Media

Beef & Boards is offering the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice production of  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as its first musical of the 2017 season. Prepare to put a smile on your face as you enjoy this delightful presentation at Indy’s beloved dinner theatre that runs through March 26th.

Tim Wessel has the title role. Having been the understudy for the character in the recent National Tour, Wessel brings a life long love of the production to his performance. Based on the Old Testament story of Joseph and his life in Egypt, the show was nominated for seven Tony Awards during its Broadway run. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat features a wide variety of music including country, rock, pop and even calypso.

All aspects of the production reveal the professionalism and expertise of the Beef & Boards theatre. The costumes designed by Jill Kelly are a visual treat. The stage set is both dynamic and stunning. The orchestra, directed by Kristy Templet, brings an amazing variety of music to the stage. Doug King both directs and choreographs with an eye for an exciting show. The dancing is superb. Hats off to the talented kids in the Children’s Ensembles who show remarkable on stage poise and talent.

Andrea Fleming makes her B&B debut as the Narrator. Douglas E. Stark in his 45th year in the business is delightful in his portrayal of Jacob and Potiphar. Look for hilarious anachronisms that pop up all through the show including Disco, country swing, and of course Elvis.

Andrea Fleming as the Narrator Courtesy B&B Media

Andrea Fleming as the Narrator Courtesy B&B Media

Joseph (Tim Wessel), left, and his father, Jacob (Douglas E. Stark) Courtesy B&B Media

Joseph (Tim Wessel), left, and his father, Jacob (Douglas E. Stark) Courtesy B&B Media

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan Neal Green is incredible in his number that has Pharaoh turning into an Egyptian version of Elvis, complete with the hair and gyrating hips. Prepare to tap your feet, smile and think “are they really doing this?” Once again the elaborate costumes add to the splendor of the number. Green’s kibitzing with the crowd adds yet another dimension to the scene.

This production has gone to the top of the list for our favorite shows we have enjoyed at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. Every aspect of the show is exciting and surprising. The finale of the show has the entire Company in the “Joseph Megamix” featuring a wildly energetic number that acts a a wrap up. You’ll love it. Don’t miss this show.

Check the Beef & Boards website for information. Tickets are available by calling the box office at 317.872.9664 between 10 a.m. & 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays. Tickets include Chef Odell Ward’s dinner buffet, fruit & salad bar, and select beverages. Plenty of free parking is available.

 

Nov 27

A Beef and Boards Christmas celebrates the season

Rudolph really can fly!

Rudolph really can fly!

One of the favorite holiday shows in Indiana is back on stage at Beef & Boards on Indy’s northwest side. This beloved variety show, celebrating a 24 year run, is known for its consistent quality. I think the 2016 version of the show actually raised the bar for the overall quality of the production.

Once again the show is hosted by Deb Wims and Kenny Shepard. This will be the last time you will be able to enjoy the heartwarming performance of this marvelous duo as Deb will soon be relocating with her family out-of-state.

The extremely talented principal singers this year is a quartet including Peter Scharbrough, Kyle Durbin, Betsy Norton and Cara Statham. Returning as the featured vocalist for the show is Kendra Lynn Lucas. Kendra brings an amazingly strong voice to all of her many songs. Music director Kristy Templet leads the B&B Orchestra, placed center stage. Several numbers feature just the orchestra which is a real treat.

Fancy costumes, great dancing and exciting song!

Fancy costumes, great dancing and exciting song!

You will be immersed in the spirit of the season during the show. The costumes are, well, stunning. I am still in awe of the number of costume changes! (Hats off to costume designer Jill Kelly Howe) Director/Choreographer Ron Morgan has put together a fabulous production. The action is nonstop and exciting.

Kendra Lynn Lucas center stage singing "O Holy Night"

Kendra Lynn Lucas center stage singing “O Holy Night”

My favorite numbers? I have to say I loved them all. OK, I loved the Grinch, Alvin and the Chipmunks and flying Rudolph. Each year I cherish Kendra Lynn Lucas belting out “O Holy Night”. Her passion flows out and envelopes the entire house with the Spirit of Christmas.

A Beef & Boards Christmas runs through December 23rd. Chef Odell Ward’s holiday buffet is a true culinary delight and is a great way to start your fun filled and joyous evening at indy’s beloved dinner theatre. For reservations you can call the box office at 317.872.9664 or visit the Beef & Boards website.

Nov 23

WWII Gun Emplacements Once Protected Puget Sound and Seattle

The Army had plans in place to upgrade the Puget Sound harbor defenses when the Japanese attacked Pearl
Harbor on December 7, 1941. The attack prompted a feverish scramble to implement those WWII plans.

Fort Ebey was constructed from 1942 to 1944. It overlooked the Straight of Juan de Fuca and the open Pacific
Ocean. It was the first of a series of defensive positions that also included forts Casey, Worden and
Flagler, also on Puget Sound.

One of the gun turret foundations

One of the two gun turret foundations that still look over Puget Sound

Historic Fort Ebey State Park on Widbey Island is home to the remains of Battery 248 of the Coast Artillery
Regiment of the Washington National Guard. The guns are gone, having been melted down for scrap at the end
of the war. What remains, however, are the two circular gun emplacements and the supporting large concrete
bunker where ammunition, powder bags, and other equipment was stored.

The bunker is open to the public. A flashlight is a good companion if you venture into the bunker, as the
rooms are not provided with any lights. You will see the massive steel doors on the powder rooms as well
as the concrete pads where the three large generators were placed.

In front of the bunker towards the edge of the steep cliff you will see the forward observation bunker. A
narrow slit provided a panoramic view of the waters. No ships could enter the Sound without being spotted.

Forward observation post

Forward observation post

Date on the main bunker entrance

Date on the main bunker entrance

The main armament of the fort was provided by two guns on swivel turrets. These guns fired a 108 pound
shell with a range of 15 miles. The 26 man gun crews could fire a round every 12 seconds.

Take a step back in time with a visit to Fort Ebey State Park. Walk where the artillerymen walked. Explore
the bunker. Stand near the forward observation position and imagine being on the lookout for enemy ships
trying to invade the Puget Sound.

Day passes are only $10, with a yearly pass available for $30. More information about Fort Ebey State Park may be found at the park website.

Nov 06

The Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky

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The Museum building

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The working carousel

Early "Armored Horse"

Early “Armored Horse”

Sandusky, Ohio is home to a fascinating museum devoted to the history of the carousel and merry-go-round. You will be amazed at the history of the different styles of animals used throughout the years. There are so many subtle variations within the different styles.

Another feature is a full sized and working carousel within the building. Go ahead, enjoy a ride on this marvelous piece of history. It was purchased in the 1990’s. No animals came with the ride, and museum staff lovingly added animals from the onsite collection as well as loaned animals from private collections.

The museum is in the old Post Office building and there have even been some paranormal activity reported within the museum! Here is the museum website with all information including open hours, etc.

Oct 29

Pie at Blue Springs Cafe

If you are driving on Interstate 70 around the St. Louis, Missouri or Highland, Illinois area you will want to be sure and stop at the Blue Springs Cafe. We saw their signs advertising their famous foot high pies as we were traveling on Interstate 70 from Indianapolis to St. Louis. We couldn’t resist stopping for a middle of the afternoon treat and we are so glad we did. The pie is delicious. I had blackberry pie with a scope of ice cream and my husband had the coconut cream pie. Of course we both had to sample each others and both were worth stopping for.

Next time we travel on I-70 we are going to plan our trip so we can eat dinner at the Blue Springs Cafe. The food looked so good and is served family style.

The Blue Springs Cafe is open daily from 11:00am until 9:00pm. They are located at exit 30 in Highland, IL. For more information the website is www.foothipies.com. They get a 5 star rating from me on the pies and am looking forward to dinner on our next trip through the area.

Oct 28

The colossal statue of King Neptune on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk

Compare Neptune's size to the bike rider!

Compare Neptune’s size to the bike rider!

September of 2005 saw the grand unveiling of an awesome sight on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. Where 31st Street intersects Atlantic Avenue, a 34′ tall bronze statue of the famous King Neptune gazes over the city as he emerges from the depths of the sea. Well, OK, he maybe isn’t coming out of the sea but he is sure impressive!

The artwork is the masterpiece of artist Paul DiPasquale’ a well known sculptor from Richmond, Virginia. Neptune grips his trident in his right hand while he “palms” a huge sea turtle in his left hand. He is surrounded by many other seas creatures, including dolphins and a massive octopus. The details in both Neptune and the sea creatures are breathtaking. This statue is adjacent to Neptune’s Park, site of many events held on the beach during both the summer season and the off season as well.

Neptune and his turtle

Neptune and his turtle

The octopus on the statue base

The octopus on the statue base

A trip to meet King Neptune is a must when you visit Virginia Beach, Virginia. You will be impressed!

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