Talk of the Town: The Spirit & Place Festival

The Spirit & Place Festival—the program that makes public lectures hip—turns 20.
The Ticket 2015

Spirit. Place.The relationship between those two words was the subject of a robust debate among three literary lions—Kurt Vonnegut, John Updike, and Dan Wakefield—in 1996 at Clowes Hall. And thus was born Indy’s coolest lecture series, whose wildly different events over the course of 10 days are each intended to spark conversation around one theme. This year’s: “Dream.”

The goal remains the same: to get the whole city talking. From November 6 to 15, exhibits, performances, workshops, and more will fill venues all around the Indy area.
A range from panel discussions to potlucks have been employed at past festivals to get the chatter started. Here are three highlights from this year’s lineup of 29 events:

1.  This is Not a Program
November 6 at Glendale Branch Library
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Spirit & Place is kicking things off with a 1920s-style surrealist-themed party. Costumes and general wackiness are encouraged.

2.  Spirited Chase
November 14
For this “mystery tour,” attendees will be given directions to various spots all over the city that each connect to Spirit & Place’s “Dream” theme.

3.  Public Conversation
November 12–13 at the Indiana Medical History Museum
After a screening of the 1946 film A Matter of Life and Death: Neuroscience on the Silver Screen, about a WWII pilot dealing with hallucinations after a near-death experience, neuroscience experts will, um, dissect the film for how it deals with the brain … all in a building that actually houses brains in jars.


The Ticket 2015This article appeared in The Ticket, a 2015 special publication.