Category Archives: Indianapolis Monthly

The Last Waltz of the Mighty Wurlitzer (via Indianapolis Monthly)

Illustration / Christoph Hitz

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Indianapolis Monthly — Over the years, Indianapolis has been home to any number of pizza parlors. But only one had the power to rattle your plates.

If you’re of a certain age, the Paramount Music Palace very likely hosted one of your birthday parties, field trips, grandparent visits, post-football game feasts, tour-bus stops, giant family dinners, or honeymoons. (Seriously, honeymoons. We didn’t believe it at first, either.) For more than a decade, it was the family-friendly belle of the east side, accessibly opulent, affectionately schmaltzy, reasonably priced, filled with kids, and tinged with gold. And though the Paramount had live musicians every night, there was one true star of the show: a massive 1931 Mighty Wurlitzer theater pipe organ that would appear each evening by rising from the floor, rotating with regal splendor. If you were of a certain age back then, there was nothing better in the world.

At the height of the Paramount’s glory days, the Mighty Wurlitzer was simply one of the biggest instruments in the country, and it looked and played the part. “You could feel the bass in the building and in your body,” says Michael Fellenzer, current president of the Central Indiana Chapter of ATOS. “And for me, there was a complexity that was fascinating. One person is making this sound like an orchestra? How?”

That word—how?—was the draw of the place, the question that enraptured kids and grandparents, drawing them back, letting them wonder. How can one machine make that sound? How does one person play it? How do you get something that big in here, anyway? And now, 20 years later, those who loved it way back when might wonder: Where did it go?

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HGTV’s Two Chicks and a Hammer Nail Down a Second Season of ‘Good Bones’ (via Indianapolis Monthly)

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Indianapolis Monthly — There are a lot of ways to destroy a chimney—and most of them are satisfying—but Mina Hawk (née Starsiak) says you’re really only supposed to stick with one. “A brick at a time,” says Mina, over coffee/La Croix at Calvin Fletcher’s coffee shop in Fletcher Place. “We allllll went to college. We allllll understand gravity.”

But during a recent day of shooting the second season of Good Bones, the HGTV home-renovation show she headlines with her mother, Karen E Laine, Mina suddenly found herself dealing with a second, considerably more dramatic method. “Spoiler alert,” says Mina, sounding as if she’s still trying to convince herself she saw this. “Tad just pushes it over.”

Tad is Mina’s college-aged little brother and the guy in charge of the Good Bonesdemolition crew. Tad’s gift is for breaking things. But here, Tad has made what Mina clearly regards as a questionable decision. “Tad is on the roof, sees the chimney wobbling, and pushes it over. It goes straight through the roof. Huuuuuge hole,” says Mina, sounding either scolding or impressed; I can’t actually tell which. For her part, Karen is more delighted. “We were all like, ‘That was really cool! But shit!’”

This is more or less a standard afternoon on the set of Good Bones, currently shooting a second season that premieres in May. Good Bones differs from many home-renovation shows in two key departments: 1. Significant increase in angry falling towers of brick, and 2. Mina and Karen handle nearly everything themselves.

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Fan Friction: The 10 Most Memorable Moments from the IU/Purdue Rivalry (via Indianapolis Monthly)

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Indianapolis Monthly

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Indianapolis Monthly — Indiana basketball’s defining rivalry rekindles twice in February with two new episodes of a series Purdue currently leads by a reasonably commanding 115–89. Aaaand you know where this is going: That’s where IU people say “banners,” and Purdue people say “dusty,” and IU people mention how Purdue’s dominance was mostly before color movies, and Purdue people observe that the schools are dead even with 22 regular-season Big Ten titles each, and IU people bring up Gene Keady’s $600 comb-over, and Purdue people note how none of their coaches have ever been fired for forcefully scolding a 19-year-old. Here’s what got (and kept) the ball rolling.

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Two Days Embedded in the World’s Hottest Brickyard (via Indy Monthly)

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Proud of self for taking this photo and not falling off a moving pickup.

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Indy Monthly — Two things about my experience at this year’s Brickyard 400, held Sunday on the surface of the sun: This was my first NASCAR race (though I’ve seen Cars 4,000 times, which counts), and I was lucky enough to spend it with Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski and his Miller Lite 2 crew. So while I can’t hear a thing anyone is saying right now, I can offer these thoughts from Keselowski’s pit box and Pit Road.

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Ask Me Anything: Jamie Hyneman, Outgoing MythBuster (via Indianapolis Monthly)

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Jamie Hyneman, MythBuster and Indiana guy

Indianapolis Monthly — After a 14-year run for Discovery Channel’s MythBusters, January marks the beginning of the final season for the series that brought viewers duct-tape boats, rocket-powered Chevy Impalas, and all manner of explosions. While fans might be disappointed, the show’s serious special-effects impresario—a Columbus native and Indiana University grad—is looking forward to the peace and quiet.

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You just wrapped up filming. Are you going out with a bang? 

I have a couple of days, and then I take off for the Mythbusters live tour. It will in all likelihood be my last time in the public eye. Something will likely pop up here and there, but for the last 14 years, I’ve been only a few days or weeks away from a camera crew. It’s odd—I’m someone who is not very gregarious, doesn’t crave attention, doesn’t talk much and am not that good at it. And yet for the longest single period in my life of doing one thing, that’s exactly what’s been required of me. That’s why I’m often told I seem cranky on-camera. But it also seems to be a prominent part of the on-screen chemistry between me and Adam [Savage].

The full Q&A at Indianapolis Monthly.

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The Ultimate Indiana Bicentennial Playlist (via Indianapolis Monthly)

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Indianapolis Monthly — Something we discovered putting together a list of iconic albums produced by musicians with Hoosier ties: This place is sick with talent. There’s a singer/songwriter whose name is as synonymous with his home state as anyone’s in music, the over-the-top rock god responsible for arguably the greatest heavy-metal debut album ever, world-class violinists, opera singers and empowered-female pop icons and then, to round out the list, Michael Jackson, Cole Porter and Wes Montgomery. Whittling such a wealth of talent into a single list of essential albums by each artist was an impossible task, so for insight we asked an all-star list of musicians, writers and experts, most with their own Hoosier ties.

See the full playlist here.

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Taking a Stand: How Chris Leeuw is Offering Neurohope to the Paralyzed (via Indianapolis Monthly)

Chris Leeuw (Photo / Stephen Simonetto via Monthly)

Chris Leeuw (Photo / Stephen Simonetto via Monthly)

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Indianapolis Monthly — He wasn’t being a daredevil. His choice wasn’t some expression of defiant, idealistic independence or gratuitous death-cheating. Chris Leeuw was on a kayak trip with friends near Edinburgh in August 2010 when he decided to jump off an abandoned truss bridge—a high bridge, sure, 50 or so feet, but he knew the water was deep. He was 28. People do that sort of thing when they’re 28.

The problem was the guy next to him, who climbed up to make the leap as well. Leeuw didn’t know the guy, though he didn’t mind the company. They jumped at the same time, but Leeuw—at 6´2˝and 200 pounds—fell faster. The other guy drifted over toward Leeuw while falling; witnesses later said it looked as though Leeuw opened up a hole in the water for him. The damage from their collision was instant. Leeuw heard nothing, felt nothing. It’s not like you sense a crack or hear a snap when your spinal cord is hurt. He was fortunate to have air in his lungs at the time, so his motionless body rose to the surface by itself. But the ascent happened slowly, too slowly, and he reached that point when you’re underwater for too long and you can’t hold your breath anymore and your lungs need to draw in. Luckily, the guy who landed on top of Leeuw reached him and dragged him out of the river to a little beach, where Leeuw’s brain caught up with his instincts and started to churn. He thought of all those NO DIVING signs with the lightning bolts through the words from his days as a lifeguard. What did I just do to myself?

Read the full story at Indianapolis Monthly.

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John Mellencamp’s 10 Greatest Indiana Concerts (via Indianapolis Monthly)

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They come from the cities and they come from the smaller towns.

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Indianapolis Monthly — Ask John Mellencamp fans for memories of his best shows in Indiana, and one thing quickly becomes clear: The guy has performed in a lot of places around here. He has played bars and football stadiums, basketball arenas and fancy theaters, Farm Aids and guerrilla gigs. Regardless of venue, though, the shows have rarely disappointed. “As much praise as he’s gotten, I think he’s still underrated as a live performer,” says Anthony DeCurtis, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone who received his Ph.D. in American literature from Indiana University. “I saw him in 1992, and it was just torrid. I don’t think I’d seen John in an arena to that point, and I remember thinking, ‘Boy, he’s not having too much trouble filling up this space.’”

In honor of Mellencamp’s August 4 date at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the final show of a tour that has made a number of Indiana stops already, we compiled a scattered, highly unscientific, and 100 percent debatable list of Mellencamp’s best Hoosier concerts over the past four decades. As you might suspect, the list is culled from minutes and memories, so if yours are different (and they probably are), drop us a line. Here are our choices, presented in chronological order because we can’t really rank them. Well, except for maybe that one.

Read the full list over at Indianapolis Monthly.

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