Archive for April, 2014

Spotlight 2014 at Clowes Hall, May 19

April 30, 2014 Leave a comment
Clowes Memorial Hall

Clowes Memorial Hall. staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

By Lisa Sirkin Vielee
On behalf of Spotlight 2014

For the 20th year, the Indianapolis performing arts community is coming together on one night to raise money for the Indiana AIDS Fund with a gala performance at Deborah J. Simon and Wayne P. Zink present Spotlight 2014.

David Hochoy, artistic director for Spotlight 2014, has announced the program for Monday, May 19, 2014, at Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler University, 4602 Sunset Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana. The program includes six new performances, including one world premiere, but many previous performers are not in the line-up. The full program is listed below, in the order it will be presented.

“As the Indianapolis performing arts community grows, we are continuously approached by new groups who want to be a part of Spotlight,” Hochoy said. “In order to showcase the breadth of the arts and to keep the show to a manageable length, we’ve had to break the show into two groups, one which you’ll see on stage this year and a completely different line up of performers next year.”

Brenda Williams featuring the Pride of Indy Jazz Ensemble

“Seven Day Fool” by B. Gordy Jr. and Sonny Wilson, Arranged by D. Smith
Vocals: Brenda Williams
Conductor: Chris Forsythe

Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre
Gepetto and The Cricket Duet from “PINOCCHIO”
Choreography:Gregory Hancock
Music: Ludavico Einaudi

Q Artistry
Excerpts from ZirkusGrimm

Motus Dance
Choreography: Ashley Benninghoff

The Fourth Wall
“Little Match Girl” by Brett Abigaña

Bobdirex Productions
“Aquarius” from Hair by James Rado, Gerome Ragni & Galt MacDermot
Director: Bob Harbin
Musical Director: Trevor Fanning
Choreographer: Kenny Shepard

“Dear God”
Original Poetry by Tasha Jones

Indianapolis Men’s Chorus
“Turn it Off” from The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone
Director: Greg Sanders

No Exit Performance
The Sermon,” a scene from Swan Lake

Indianapolis School of Ballet
Diamanté (World Premiere)
Choreography: Victoria Lyras
Music: “Palladio for String Orchestra: Allegretto”byKarl Jenkins

Kenyettá Dance Company and Nicholas Owens Dance Company
Messing Around
Music of Ray Charles

David Murray, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
“Capriccio #2” by David Anderson

John Michael Goodson, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Shadow Box by Michael Cristopher

Doug Dilling
“Bring Him Home” from Les Misérables by Claude-Michel Schönberg & Alain Boublil

Asia LaBouche of “The Ladies of Legends at Talbott Street”
“Wings” by Little Mix

Begun in the early 1990s as PARTners Performing for Life, Spotlight has grown into the largest fundraising event of its kind in the Midwest. Last year Spotlight netted more than $367,000. Because everyone associated with Spotlight – from the performers and stagehands to the lighting crew and marketing staff – donate their time, nearly 90 cents of every dollar raised from the event goes toward grantmaking for HIV testing and treatment as prevention.

Tickets for this spectacular night of music, dance, theater and spoken word performances are $25, $50 and $150 and are available at the Clowes Hall box office, at all Ticketmaster locations, or by calling 1-800-982-2787.  The $150 VIP ticket includes a pre-performance reception at 5:30 p.m. at the Schrott Center.

For more information about the event, visit, or call 317-940-6444.

Presenting sponsors for Spotlight 2014 include Wayne P. Zink; Deborah J. Simon; The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis; Efroymson Family Fund, a CICF Fund; and WFYI.


Annie Oakley Perfumery Introduces ‘Wisteria’ Fragrance Line

April 29, 2014 Leave a comment
Wildflower Woods

The wisteria vines at Wildflower Woods.
Photo provided by Annie Oakley Perfumery and used with written permission.

By Becky Burke
Annie Oakley Perfumery

The Annie Oakley® Perfumery in Ligonier, Indiana, has partnered with the Gene Stratton-Porter Memorial Society to offer “Wisteria,” a new natural fragrance that was introduced at the 2013 celebration of the Indiana author’s 150th birthday.  The fragrance is now available at the gift shop of the Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site in Rome City, which recently opened for the season at 1205 Pleasant Point, Rome City, Indiana.

“Wisteria” was created by perfumer Renee Gabet, founder of Annie Oakley®, with inspiration from Stratton-Porter’s beloved wisteria vines in her formal gardens at Wildflower Woods (see photo above), a focal point at the 123-acre State Historic Site.  “The scent captures light florals, fresh lake breezes and more spicy notes from the locust arbor framed by the wisteria that Gene planted nearly 100 years ago,” according to Gabet.  She said the “beautiful and fragrant blooms are in full glory and enchant visitors each spring,” typically blooming in early May.

Guests to the historic site can now take home the memory of Stratton-Porter’s beloved wisteria bushes in the form of either a perfume spray or a perfuming body crème developed by Annie Oakley®.  “The scent can be worn by anyone and has a wonderful lingering effect without overpowering, making ‘Wisteria’ a perfect treat for yourself or a lovely present for a friend,” Gabet said.

The partnership between Annie Oakley® and the Gene Stratton-Porter Memorial Society began in August 2013, when “Wisteria” was introduced at the author’s 150th birthday celebration during the annual Chautauqua Days in Rome City.  Gabet says the partnership between her perfumery and the memorial society will continue as additional fragrances are created for an entire Wildflower Woods collection.  “I couldn’t be more proud to work with the Gene Stratton-Porter Memorial Society to develop a fragrance based on another strong-willed, independent woman like Annie Oakley, for whom my perfumery is named.”

Gene Stratton-Porter (1863-1924) is Indiana’s most widely-read female author who wrote such favorites as A Girl of the Limberlost and Freckles.  She was also known as a naturalist and a gifted nature photographer.  Her career started with her writing about nature for magazines, but she soon turned to fiction to share stories based on her experiences living among the woodlands and wetlands of northeastern Indiana.  In her lifetime, Stratton-Porter authored 12 novels, seven nature studies, three poetry books, children’s books, and a number of magazine articles.  Eight of her novels were produced as motion pictures.

Annie Oakley Perfumery in Ligonier, Indiana.

Annie Oakley Perfumery in Ligonier, Indiana. staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

Her cabin at Wildflower Woods near Rome City is situated on the shores of Sylvan Lake among 123 acres of fields, woods and beautiful formal gardens.  Wildflower Woods has been turned into Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site that is open to the public from April 1 to December 1 each year, with hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

The Gene Stratton-Porter Memorial State Historic Site offers hourly tours of the naturalist’s cabin, occasional nature tours, educational programming and other events, as well as an onsite gift shop.  The store sells a variety of gift items, including the new nature-inspired Wisteria perfume by Annie Oakley® that is sold exclusively at the gift shop.  The spray perfume retails for $30, the perfuming body crème for $15, and a traveler spray is available for $5.

All proceeds from the Gene Stratton Memorial gift shop sales are used to support future educational programming, gardens and grounds maintenance, and restoration and other projects at the historic site.  Gene Stratton-Porter Memorial Society members receive a 10 percent discount on all gift shop purchases when showing their GSPMS membership cards.  Click here for more information on the memorial society, or call 260-854-3790.

Annie Oakley® is a family-owned business that was founded in 1980 by perfumer/ entrepreneur Renee Gabet.  The company can be traced back to Gabet’s home in northern Indiana, where she, along with her husband and five children, began mixing perfumes in their family kitchen and shipping orders from their front porch.  Annie Oakley® soon moved to its own manufacturing facility with a mission to create world-class perfumes in the heartland of America.  The perfumery continues to be a family venture, with Renee, her husband Chuck, and other family members overseeing the operation.

Annie Oakley® has grown from a home-based business to a world-class perfumery selling millions of its various products, which include natural and organic fragrances, along with pure essential oils and body products.  Annie Oakley Enterprises has become an American success story.  In 2011, the firm opened The Annie Oakley Perfumery Studio to provide tourists to northern Indiana’s Amish country with a rare opportunity to view a perfumery operation and learn how Annie Oakley® fragrances are created, blended and bottled. The company was named 2012 Innovator of the Year for Northeast Indiana by KPC Media Group and has been featured on national tourism websites and blogs.

Annie Oakley™ products are sold nationally and internationally through more than 1,000 retail locations.  Its fragrances are offered in Paradies airport Shops and in partnership with independent retailers across the country.  For more information, visit or call 260-894-7219.

New Peace and Nature Garden at Benedict Inn

April 28, 2014 Leave a comment
Benedict Inn Tree Planting

Beech Grove Mayor Dennis Buckley and Matt Wakefield from Keep Indianapolis Beautiful plant a tree at Benedict Inn. Photo provided by Benedict Inn and used with written permission.

By Dema Newby
Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center

The Benedict Inn Retreat & Conference Center, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Benedict, and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc., (KIB) are collaborating on the creation of the Peace & Nature Garden that will be created on the retreat property by KIB.  The kick-off and sign dedication for the project was held on April 5. KIB’s Youth Tree team planted nearly 100 trees on that same date as part of the kick-off.

Part of KIB’s IPL Project GreenSpace program, this space will create a meditative place that is quiet, safe, and ADA accessible. Featuring shaded and open areas, sitting areas, walkways, and art the space will highlight the native plant palette to further the biodiversity of our local environment; improving the habitat for local birds, animals, and insects, which in turn enriches the land and air.

The Benedict Inn will hold an Information Night on May 13, 2014, at 7 pm to introduce the design and plans for the Peace & Nature Garden. The public is encouraged to get involved to help create the community space, as a core objective in the collaboration with KIB is to engage the wider community. Anyone interested in learning more about this project, or in participating on the work days, is welcome to attend the session May 13.  The Benedict Inn is located at 1402 Southern Ave., Beech Grove.  Additional volunteer dates will be communicated during this meeting, as well as in other communications to follow.

The Benedict Inn welcomes women, men, and children of all ages and faiths to its many, varied, and inspiring programs fostering spiritual and personal growth. Myriad programming will be developed to utilize the newly created space once it is implemented. To learn more about Benedict Inn programs, visit

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. is a private, nonprofit organization with a mission to engage diverse communities to create vibrant public places, helping people and nature thrive. In 2013, KIB worked with more than 30,000 volunteers on over 500 community projects.  To learn more, visit, or follow them on Twitter @kibiorg and like them on Facebook @kibiorg.

Things to do in Indianapolis, Apr 28-May 4, 2014

April 27, 2014 Leave a comment

South Shore Air Show at Fair Oaks Farms, July 11-13

April 26, 2014 Leave a comment
US Air Force Thunderbirds

The US Air Force Thunderbirds are the headliners at the South Shore Air Show, July 11-13.
Photo courtesy of the Media Gallery at

By Nicki Mackowski-Gladstone
South Shore Convention & Visitors Association

UPDATE 6/25/2014: This event has been cancelled due to excessive flooding at the venue.

The South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority is pleased to announce the United States Air Force Thunderbirds as the headliners of the 2014 South Shore Air Show. The South Shore Air Show will be presented at Fair Oaks Farms in Newton County, Indiana, July 11-13, 2014.

The US Air Force Thunderbirds is the aerial demonstration squadron that showcases the pride, precision and professionalism of American airmen and the skills that all fighter pilots must possess. Spectators will be marveled by the Thunderbirds and the capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the Air Force’s premier multi-role fighter jet, as they perform a variety of stunning aerial formations. To watch a video on the Thunderbirds, visit

Fair Oaks Farms is a 33,000 acre attraction located at 856 N County Rd 600 East, Fair Oaks, Indiana, just west of I-65 Exit 220. This enables the two organizations to have ample room to make additions to the family-fun event. Attendees will enjoy exciting aerial acrobatics, Fair Oaks Farm attractions, as well as new additions.

More air show acts will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information on the air show, visit or call 219-554-2720.