The progression in identifying and showing what makes people visit and engage always come from a sense of knowing where you are and where you are going to. In attending Travel Media Showcase in Bloomington, Indiana, this holds true.
Bloomington is a small town most known for its college in the University Of Indiana. Now it needs to hold that balance but it always depends on what is offered. Staying at the Bloomington Courtyard By Marriott allows easy access but it depends of where the path leads you. The Irish Lion was a bit quiet but offered a light balance in the Salt Lick IPA while its burger despite its heavy countenance simply passed the progression. Oddly enough it was a college hangout, debauchery in its late hours, that set the stage. Kilroys On Kirkwood (also know as KoK) has a Tuesday night that is insane with $2 pretty much everything. The burgers and the pepperoni rolls for that price will mash your insides but are so good along with mini pitchers of Long Island, that you’ll forget the empty calories. It was so compelling that we ended back there again for a birthday celebration in tow with the elements only slightly higher in price a couple nights after. Alley Bar for the end of the night across from the Hyatt Place around 3 offered the ending bell with accepted fanfare.
Wineries and distilleries abound in any city. Butler seems to have the best dynamic of structure with a geologic phenomenon in the way their hill is based which allows them to get the right sunlight on the grapes to make them purr, especially with their blueberry blend. But it was a new distillery down the way entitled Cardinal that showed their intentions not by what they were currently doing but the expanding possibilities inherent in what was coming. Even though their mojito had promise, it was their coffee liqueur that really found the path. It has Kahlua properties but is inherently different enough to be the right mixer. However when blended with rum chulata instead of milk, life comes out to play. And the ice cream of that same ilk that is not quite available is simply insane. Girls who lose it for true Italian Nutella, beware.
Expanding into Hamilton County, art becomes an acquaintance that is always ready for exception. Nickel Plate Arts [1st Above. Art by resident artist Karen Miles] in Noblesville offers a homespun perspective but also an outlet that truly connects with creative and mentally intuitive people with interactive tendencies [2nd Above. Art by your intrepid narrator after two cups of Black Magic coffee].
Walter Knabe also calls Indiana his creative home. Having made Pop Art his creative structure, it is interesting to see how inspiration progresses. His recent profile art engages the use of his daughters and how they see life through the prism of Facebook. After talking with Walter one-on-one in his studio [1st Above] in Carmel. we discussed the essence of psychological masks which true is how the world functions. He related that when he takes photos for his art now, the subjects have an exact representation of how they want to be seen which is a result of selfies and smartphones. We discuss this as we look at one of his pieces “Little Red: The Brave Girl” [2nd Above] as this psychology interrelates with this in a big way.
In balancing this with history and modernity as we progress further, Connor Prairie in Fishers tries to find where education lies. Their Civil War interactive almost live-theater project, which also integrates HD and partial holographics, takes the experience a bit farther in a way which those updating Disney’s rides should observe (indicated by the forced perspective holographic shown above). At Connor Prairie, they also offer nature trails and seasonal concerts (like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy) which we experienced
This revolution in art and history continues in relevance to Indianapolis itself. Because of the integration of the Indianapolis 500 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, there can tend to be a mechanical possibility to the proceedings. Getting to race around the track with a driver at 60mph offers an essence of public accessibility and seeing some of the winning vehicles inside the museum also bring that effectively to mind.
However it became even more true in the example of the Indianapolis Museum Of Art, specifically through their current touring collection of “Dream Cars’ which examines concept cars from the last century. From the 1947 Norman Timbs Special [1st Above] to the 1970 Lancia Bertone [2nd Above], the thinking beyond logic truly resonates.
The same can be said for the muesum’s contemporary design collection examining modernism. The idea of that truth resonates within some of the modern furniture like Frank Gehry [1st Above] and Hella Jongerius [2nd Above] (who even though she was born in 1963 reflects an almost 2001 aesthetic).
If you are talking style where you blend bad boy tendencies while looking good doing it, John Dilinger is buried in Crown Hill Cemetary on an edge of town. People throw pennies as an ode. Johnny Depp snuck out here in disguise when he was researching “Public Enemies” and the site gives clear views back to Downtown.
That’s where the food comes in. St. Elmo’s Fire Steakhouse is right next to the Le Meridien in Downtown Indianapolis allowing for easy movement. Their shrimp with supreme hot sauce [1st above] has a degree of competition inherent in it especially when optimized with a Daredevil IPA. The servers know their stuff with the GM offering a tour de force on his good ability to read and converse alike. The New York Strip [2nd above] was perfectly prepared as was the wedge salad and potato…everything you would expect of a great steakhouse without completely blowing your countenance out of the water (since the night must continue). Being invited up into 1933 Lounge above after tales of Bourbon in Kentucky by yours truly, the Woodford Reserve Angels Envy sent the wind flying with 2 inch ice cubes before a tour of the 13,000 bottle wine cellar and a private sitting room commenced. Finishing off the tumbler, the night continued on the streets of Indianapolis filled with a blend of views enhanced by certain bottles of Mad Hatter before returning to the hotel for a homemade nightcap (replete with aforementioned 2 inch ice cubes) sitting around a marble bar.
Other food structures enhanced upon tantalized palettes blending times and possibilities but St. Elmo’s was singular in its superiority. Other had promise. Big Hoffa’s BBQ in Westfield had a sandwich called The Marley [1st Above] with pulled chicken, habanero cole slaw and white BBQ sauce that lit up the day. The Pint Room in Carmel, after some artistic expression, optimized with the Hangover Burger [2nd Above] with fried egg, hash browns and cheese to boot which was resolved by Middle Finger IPA. Ending the progression, Union 50 on Mass Avenue in Indianapolis procured succulent Sea Scallops [3rd Above] but it was the Pork Chop tasted in earnest as a share that simply popped (especially with a local Rogue Run Porter). Resounding in theme, all three of these restaurants embraced nostalgia but with a sense of fusion in known commodities while giving them all a sense of punch and artistic expression.
Indianapolis and the surrounding areas experienced in the perception of Travel Media Showcase held in Bloomington, Indiana shows the melded of modernity and understood history only makes for a more rounded experience in everything from art to food to every day living.
By Tim Wassberg
Posted in Arts Travel & Culture Features
Tags: Art, Big Hoffa BBQ, Bloomington, Crown Hill Cemetary, Culinary, Historical, Indiana, Indianapolis, Indianapolis Museum Of Art, Inidanapolis Motor Speedway, John Dilinger, Kilroys On Kirkwood, Nickel Plate Arts, Sirk TV, St. Elmo's Fire, Travel, Travel Media Showcase, Union 50, Walter Knabe