Best of Indy: Arts & Culture



In the time it takes most people to read War and Peace, a local not-for-profit built an entire library. On wheels. With a pretty mean horn. Last spring, a high-school English teacher named Kirstin Northenscold and her friends pitched The Cool Bus at the quarterly 5×5 Competition and won $10,000 to transform an old school bus into a bookmobile. Their goal? To visit public schools and other places kids gather, give away books, and get them excited about reading. Sporting more graffiti on the side than a downtown underpass, the vehicle loudly announces that you won’t be shushed inside, and kids seem to flock to it.

Contributor Bios

For nearly four decades, writer Michael Martone has been blurring the lines between fact and fiction, from the not-quite-true Alive and Dead in Indiana to the fake travel tips of The Blue Guide to Indiana. But the 2013 Indiana Authors Award winner is perhaps best known for his contributor bios—sometimes fictional, sometimes just wacky. Here, one of our recent favorites:

Michael Martone was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and is the author of several books of short fiction, including Four for a Quarter, Michael Martone, and The Flatness and Other Landscapes. He has taught at Iowa State University, Harvard University, Syracuse University, and, currently, the University of Alabama. He is very happy that, now, his computer actually counts the number of words allotted (he has been given 100 words) to tell his life story, like robotic Fates, measuring out the length of the line, there, in the bottom frame of the window, cutting him off at the exact

Design Inspiration

Delicia’s menu has given us plenty to rave about, but at the risk of talking with our mouths full, it’s the SoBro eatery’s whisk-you-away-to-Buenos-Aires decor that we love most. Co-owner Nancy Ficca toured the Latin restaurants of New York for ideas, and then blended them like so much chili and lime to design one of Indy’s most sophisticated, tropical-feeling dining rooms—all in a former video-rental place. Ficca wanted to differentiate Delicia from her previous, linear work at The Northside Social and Usual Suspects by adding curves, most notably an enormous barn-wood arch over the bar. But it’s that white brick wall, lit from behind through cross-shaped punchouts, that’s the avocado in the guacamole. 5215 N. College Ave., 317-925-0677,

Design Gallery

Former curator of design arts R. Craig Miller retired before he could see the culmination of his five-year effort to bring a world-class contemporary-design gallery to the IMA. Luckily, you’re still here to enjoy it. Last month, the 10,000-square-foot space on the third floor—one of the largest of its kind in North America—debuted a quirky collection of teapots, typewriters, and furniture by the likes of Frank Gehry and Robert Venturi. Miller acquired 1,200 objects while he was here, many of them high-minded pieces like Philippe Starck’s Bedside Gun Shade, a gold-plated pistol lamp. But in keeping with the museum’s new populist movement, there will be plenty to relate to: That Dyson vacuum isn’t there for the janitors. 4000 Michigan Rd., 317-923-1331,


If the Indiana New Works series at Butler University’s Schrott Center on Dec. 2 turns out half as well as the venue, it’s headed for an encore. The 450-seat, $15 million auditorium opened in April to rave reviews, thanks to its acoustics, sightlines, and a stage that’s larger than Clowes Hall’s. Of course, the theater’s real test will be intimate plays by writers such as Lou Harry, raising the curtain this month. 610 W. 46th St., 317-940-2787,

Flooring Statement

MORE: Find out what Hoosier son won for Best Ghost Story, and meet the cast behind the Best Hoosier Collaboration.

Mix glitter, a pile of shattered glass,and a bucket of resin, and what do you get? The stunning terrazzo floor at the Indiana Design Center’s newish Santarossa Showroom. Choosing your own terrazzo is like ordering frozen yogurt: Just pick your resin color and your mix-ins, such as marble chips. Unlike the froyo trend, however, this durable floor will still be around in half a century. Santarossa should know: The local company turns 90 next year. 200 S. Range Line Rd., Carmel, 317-580-1924,

Playful Choir

Don’t let the occasional bawdy humor fool you. The 80-odd fellows (mostly gay but taking all comers) of the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus are a cultivated group. Their Dec. 21 holiday show at Marian University Theatre will be a far cry from blush-inducing productions like last season’s “Night at the Cabaret.” As for future shows? Boys will be boys. 317-855-8706,

Mix of New Media and Old

At the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library downtown (340 N. Senate Ave., 317-652-1954), a Smith Corona typewriter matching the one used by Indy’s most famous writer invites anyone to sit down and peck out something for the ages. Kurt was something of a Luddite himself, so it’s hard to say what he would have made of the fact that the notes are then converted to tweets (@kurtstypewriter). But the experiment has yielded some gems:


See more Best of Indy picks here.

This article appeared in the December 2013 issue.