Best of Indy: Arts & Culture

New Supergroup

They say the best bands are greater than the sum of their parts. In the case of The Last IV, the parts are pretty excellent themselves. When four of Indy’s veteran rock stars took the stage at last year’s Tonic Ball, the band didn’t yet have a name, but the musicians did. Having played in groups ranging from the iconic punk outfit Zero Boys to the ’90s pop sensation The Lemonheads, the guys are as familiar with international touring as they are with The Vogue. Finally together in a single band, they recorded a 7-inch this fall that they’ll debut at Radio Radio on New Year’s Eve.
1214-RUSTYREDENBACHERRusty Redenbacher
lead vocals
Previous Bands:
The Mudkids, Birdmen of Alcatraz, Tornado Alley
Day Job: Brewery assistant at Outliers Brewing Company
Word IV Word: “When you’re 17, everyone in the band is so desperate to be heard. At this point, we’re a lot more willing to listen. We try to write songs that effect social change, but I’d love to have one song that gets played on Q95 in 2035.”
1214-VESSRUHTENBERGVess Ruhtenberg
Previous Bands:
The Lemonheads, Zero Boys, The United States Three, The Pieces
Day Job: Instructor of architecture history at Butler University
Word IV Word: “This is my 30th year in the music business. In 1984, I played my first show at Cosmos Pizza. But everyone in the band has earned some respect at this point. It’s not John, Paul, George, and … Steve. There are no junior members.”
1214-DAVID_TUFTY_CLOUGHDavid “Tufty” Clough
Previous Bands: Zero Boys, Bigger Than Elvis, Toxic Reasons
Day Job: Owner of Radio Radio and Revolucion
Word IV Word: “Making money at restaurants and bars is fine, but it’s not as fulfilling as playing music. Someday, my grandkids are going to put on old Granddad’s records and think it’s pretty cool. They’re not going to be worried about how much guacamole I sold.”
1214-DEVONASHLEYDevon Ashley
Previous Bands: The Lemonheads, Birdmen of Alcatraz, The Pieces
Day Job: Studio drummer
Word IV Word: “I grew up on the west side, where I missed a lot of the local music scene early in life. I was playing drums in church. But eventually I met Rusty, Vess, Tufty. We all go way back. This is unusual, but in this group, I’m the quiet one.” (“It’s all that church-going!” Tufty says.)
1214-INDYpostcardPostcards of Indy
John Green’s cameo may have been cut from The Fault in Our Stars this summer, but local artist Kate Oberreich made it into the film—or her work did, anyway. Oberreich’s watercolor paintings, drawings, and collages hung on protagonist Hazel Lancaster’s bedroom wall. Recently, the Ball State grad has been producing postcards for Silver in the City. And without a word scribbled on the back, they’re little love notes to Indianapolis. To all our friends and family in lesser places, “Wish you were here.”
1214-HIFINew Concert Venue
The Do317 Lounge had the right location (Fountain Square’s Murphy Building) but the wrong elevation (hard-to-find second floor). When the hipster hangout relocated to the first floor and rebranded this year as the Hi-Fi, it immediately found a larger audience. For very reasonable cover fees, you can now see national acts such as the Lumineers and Blitzen Trapper in a cozy, 195-person space in the bustling Cultural District. And given the wealth of local musical talent in Fountain Square, the neighborhood was overdue for a complement to Radio Radio. Whether you’re lucky enough to snag one of the few tables or you’re standing near the stage, the Hi-Fi has excellent acoustics, making it the place to see the next great indie-rock band. Which might just be Frontier Ruckus on Dec. 5. 1043 Virginia Ave., 317-493-1209,
Reader’s Choice Best Art Gallery: Long-Sharp Gallery
“Two floors of work from local and world-renowned artists.” —Lamont King, Jr.
Under-The-Radar Theater Company
Quality over quantity has been the secret to success for Bobdirex. That and Bob Harbin. After 20 years of casting in Los Angeles for Fox (where he discovered such stars as Neil Patrick Harris), Harbin returned to Indy in 2010. And while the theater company he formed here only puts on one show a year at the Athenaeum, they’re invariably knockouts. Harbin has a gift for finding talent that can interpret both comedy (2013’s Spamalot) and drama (2014’s Hair). We’ll be there with the rest of his apostles for the June production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
1214-TIPSYFILMTipsy Film Night
Further proof that beer is taking over everything in Indy, Flat 12 Bierwerks hosts the liveliest monthly film series in the city. Last December, the brewery started showing locally made documentaries and shorts under the name Reel to Reel, serving IPAs and stouts as refreshments. Since then, the free cinema nights have often had a theme. In July, Reel to Reel presented “Beehive Beauty School,” an evening of ’60s hairstyling demonstrations found by co-organizer Todd Bracik in a building that once housed a beauty school—plus honey beer brewed for the event. The next showing will be Dec. 18, when about a dozen local short films will play. Now, if we could just figure out which beer goes best with popcorn. 414 Dorman St., 317-635-2337,
1214-DJCLASSAlternative To Piano Class
Being seven months pregnant, our reporter was a little nervous when she walked into Broad Ripple’s Deckademics DJ class and the instructors started talking about “chopping babies.” But co-founder Nick Saligoe (a.k.a. DJ MetroGnome) placed one of her hands on a record and the other over the innumerable knobs of the turntable, and she was spinning baby scratches (moving the record a quarter-turn and back) and chops (a quarter-turn with a cross-fader to cut out the reverse sound) in no time. The only independent DJ school in the Midwest, Deckademics opened last winter and has enrolled more than 250 students. Instructors always start with turntables and teach the skills of listening to music before they work in any digital software. A six-week course costs $249, while a one-day “weekend warrior” class runs $75. For a radically different introduction to playing music, that’s not much scratch. 6108 N. College Ave., 317-662-8661,
1214-KLIPSCHearbudsPersonal Concert Hall
Put in a pair of Klipsch X11i earbuds, and you forget things—that you’re walking down a noisy street, that Adele did not stop by to perform privately for you, that the manufacturer of the technology is based here in Indy. You forget these things because the headphones’ 110-decibel sensitivity produce a surround-sound experience more typical of a set of high-end, 12-inch speakers. The crisp vocals. The separation of instruments. The chest-thumping bass notes. It’s hard to believe these things are possible from lowly earbuds (albeit $350 ones). But Hoosiers designed them, and the world is listening.
1214-KYLERAGSDALEArts Splurge
Local impressionist Kyle Ragsdale’s nine canvases depicting this season’s Indiana Repertory Theatre plays are showstoppers. And what started as a marketing gimmick soon will be available for purchase. At the IRT’s Celebrity Radio Show fundraiser on Feb. 27, the theater will auction off the luminous original paintings, which measure 24 inches by 36 inches. Bidding starts at $500. 140 W. Washington St., 317-635-5252,
To see all 119 Best of Indy winners, click here.