Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library

“All my jokes are Indianapolis.  All my attitudes are Indianapolis.  My adenoids are Indianapolis.  If I ever severed myself from Indianapolis, I would be out of business.  What people like about me is Indianapolis.” —Kurt Vonnegut, 1986
from http://www.vonnegutlibrary.org/

Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library

One of my places that I want to visit in Indianapolis but have not yet is the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, opened last year. It is open daily (except Wednesday) 12pm-5pm and located at the “corner” of Senate, Indiana, and Vermont streets. From the hotel, walk towards downtown a block to Senate (the street where the capitol building is), then turn left (north) and go four blocks. It will be on your left.

340 N. Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Colts and construction

Ah, irony. After Chris Bishop’s invitation last year in Wisonsin to this year’s conference and his truly rabid support of the Colts (I’ve seen the picture of him yelling at one of the games), I do find it ironic that the Packers won last season, Peyton’s out for the season (most likely), and the teams currently have palindromic 2011-2012 season records. All that aside, I do still have faith in our home team, which leads me to the

1st part of this blog entry: Colts

Go Colts!

This Sunday the Colts have a home game at 1pm against the Kansas City Chiefs. Rumor has it that tickets may be a little easier to come by this season, so this may be an opportunity to go to an NFL game if you’ve always wanted to and never had the chance. Of course, I assume that everyone will either giving their paper presentations or listening and learning from them, so I doubt any of us will be impacted by this. 🙂

However, this does bring me to point #2: Construction

Picture from http://www.urbanindy.com

As much as I love the Cultural Trail in Indianapolis, it is not completed yet. The Super Bowl this upcoming February 6, 2012 is going be held here in Indianapolis, which means even more construction is under way to make the city its shiniest and prettiest for early next year. Bonus construction, coupled with a lot of one-way streets in downtown Indianapolis, makes driving extra fun (or headache-inducing). Also not surprisingly with construction, where to cross the street, which lane is open, etc. may change daily (or hourly). Drivers in Indianapolis, being in the Midwest, are generally still polite (read: not enough honking, in my opinion), so just keep that mind, and bring good walking shoes!

WHICH Marriott?

Ah, Indianapolis. Indianapolis and Marriott seem to have a pretty good thing going. So good, though, that it can be a little confusing to figure out which Marriott is where you want to be.

Indianapolis Marriott Downtown--THIS is the right one


The Marriott you want: Indianapolis Downtown Marriott, 350 West Washington Street. This is the one closest to the Convention Center, next to the Westin, south of the Government Center.



The other Marriotts in downtown Indianapolis (but not the correct one):

Marriott Place (aka conglomeration of several Marriott hotels)
The JW Marriott (aka the big blue one): if you end up here, you are a block away from the actual Marriott you want. Head towards downtown (away from the river). On the other side of the Government Center Parking Garage will be the Indianapolis Downtown Marriott (where you want to be).

Courtyard Indianapolis Downtown: this is on the west (river) side of the JW, immediately next to the JW. One of two Courtyards in downtown Indy.

Fairfield Inn & Suites: next to the Courtyard above.

Springhill Suites: also in the Marriott Place.

Other two downtown Marriotts not mentioned yet (these are kind of back to back–they share their parking lot with each other):

Courtyard Indianapolis at the Capitol: the other Courtyard, in between New York & Vermont streets, about 3.5 blocks too far north.

Residence Inn Indianapolis Downtown along the Canal: this does face directly onto the canal; again, still 3.5 blocks north of where you should be.

I’ve included all of the names here so hopefully, if you end up at the wrong one, you will know either to head away from the river and towards downtown, or head south (towards Government buildings & parking garages). Good luck & see you soon!

Oh, another tip–highly recommend getting to the hotel from West Street (there are exits off of I-65 and I-70 for West Street); there are a lot of one-way streets downtown and construction. Maryland is one-way east; Washington is one-way west; Missouri runs in between then and is two-way.

Like Roller Derby? Monumental Mayhem Oct. 7-9

Roller Derby!!!

Interested in roller derby? Always wanted to go, but were a bit nervous or not sure what to expect? Like the idea of watching other people with awesome nicknames try and push each other down while on roller skates?

This weekend is your chance!

I’m sure there are more technical terms for what happens in roller derby, but I’ve only been to one bout–I do remember that term–and can’t remember any other lingo. The Monumental Mayhem, a roller derby tournament of the Top 10-ranked teams in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association’s North Central region (thank you for the information, Indy Star), is happening at the Indianapolis Convention Center this weekend, across from our conference hotel!

For those who have never been to a bout, I have to say that it’s a fun atmosphere, and roller derby is more than skating and shoving people. There is strategy involved, and the scoring was (to me) not intuitive; it was fun to figure out how the sport worked, cheer for your favorites, and daydream about what your roller derby name would be.

Monumental Mayhem Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/MonumentalMayhem

Monumental Mayhem Webpage: http://www.monumentalmayhem.com/

Restaurant Guide for Downtown Indianapolis

Image from http://visitindy.com/

As a fan of downtown Indy, I love to be able to introduce people to restaurants in Indy. Contrary to what I sometimes hear, Indianapolis DOES have a variety of one-of-a-kind locally-owned restaurants, as well as some unique restaurants with only a few locations nationally.

Our restaurant guide represents a small portion of dining options available in the downtown area; if you have questions about particular ones, other ethnic cuisine options, etc., please leave me a comment, or stop by the Hospitality table at the conference!

I also highly recommend checking out the map from the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association: http://visitindy.com/web_files/map/DTRestMap_c040110.pdf

This is a great 2-page document with a map showing locations of many landmarks and restaurants in downtown Indy, as well as contact information for those places. I’m a visual person and seeing a location of something on a map is more helpful to me than only written directions.

“Lions and tigers and bears, oh, my!”

New baby elephant Kalina! http://bit.ly/n0uHAO

(the following information provided by our local zoo expert)

The Indianapolis Zoo is just down the street from the NCAA Hall of Champions, location of the Sunday night gala event. We have a dolphin amphitheater, touchable sharks and even a botanical garden. Our female baby elephant, Kalina (just born on July 20th), is a real cutie pie and not to be missed. Check out the zoo at http://indianapoliszoo.com/, or just ask me. I’ll happily talk your ears off about our wonderful facility.

Sue London (zoo volunteer naturalist)

Need a little culture (besides the Cultural Trail)?

Yes, I already extolled the virtues of the Cultural Trail, but what if you are looking for culture–as in performing arts? Indianapolis has a year-round performing symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO), and the Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT).

Image courtesy of the ISO http://www.indianapolissymphony.org/

The ISO’s world premiere performance of the program “Do You Hear the People Sing” happens our conference weekend their Pops series. More information can be found here: http://www.indianapolissymphony.org/tickets/learnmore.aspx?id=4390

The ISO is located in the historic Hilbert Circle Theater located on Monument Circle, 0.5 miles from the Downtown Marriott (exit the hotel onto Washington Street).


Indiana Repertory Theatre
Image courtesy of Carl Van Rooy http://www.flickr.com/photos/vanrooy/

The IRT’s Going Solo Festival of three intimate one-actor plays returns for its third year of audience acclaim. During your time in Indianapolis, you could attend of three different one-actor plays (or more!):

I Love to Eat: Cooking with James Beard by James Still
Lost: A Memoir by Cathy Ostlere and Dennis Garnhum
Nobody Don’t Like Yogi by Tom Lysaght

The IRT is located in the beautiful 1927 Indiana Theatre located at 140 W. Washington St., 0.2 miles (~3 blocks) from the Downtown Marriott (exit the hotel onto Washington Street).

Two of my favorite things–the Indy Cultural Trail & the downtown Canal

When I moved to Indianapolis 5 years ago, I wasn’t super excited about it. Growing up in rural Indiana, moving to Indiana’s “big city” didn’t hold a lot of thrill for me.

However, despite my lack of initial excitement, I truly have been pleasantly surprised by Indy. One of the neatest things (in my opinion) in Indy is the Cultural Trail. The Cultural Trail “is a world-class urban bike and pedestrian path that connects neighborhoods, Cultural Districts and entertainment amenities, and serves as the downtown hub for the entire central Indiana greenway system.” (according to http://www.indyculturaltrail.org/about.html )
As a biker, I have appreciated the Trail and how it links up my way to work (the White River Greenway) with the Monon Trail (a rails-to-trails path) and weaves itself downtown, providing a much less stressful bike ride around downtown and is also very pretty. 🙂 The Cultural Trail is along existing roadways, so make sure to pay attention to traffic signals.

A detailed map can be found here: http://bit.ly/q2dvwW

The Cultural trail also ties in with another of my favorite things about Indy–the downtown Canal. The canal is great for running & walking (you can also bike on it, but it can get kind of narrow at points) and is below the street level, so it’s actually quite peaceful even though you’re in the midst of the city. Since it is below street level, you also don’t have to worry about crossing streets, having to constantly stop at lights, etc. You can get in a nice 3-mile loop pretty easily just along the canal (all the way to Buggs Temple on the north end), and it also hooks into the pedestrian bridge that connects the White River State Park with the Indianapolis Zoo, which has a promenade path on the north side of the zoo.

(image above from http://bit.ly/pwsfz1)

The main canal path is marked on the map in green. The conference hotel, Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, is one of the red icons towards the bottom; the canal is only a few blocks from the hotel, so it’s a nice place to go for a stroll!

Brew Bracket Fall Tournament

Do you like locally crafted microbrews? Do you like stouts? If so, the Brew Bracket Fall Tournament may be something to add to your Saturday calendar.

This event features a specific type of beer (on Saturday, October 8, it is stout) where you, blindly taste-testing each of them, get to determine the best brew out of all those entered. More info about what a Brew Bracket is can be found here: http://www.brewbracket.com/about/

More general info about the event can be found here: http://www.brewbracket.com/upcomingevents/

Event: Brew Bracket

Date: Saturday, October 8, 2011

Time: 12.30pm-5.00pm

Where: Indiana State Fairgrounds (you will need to have a car or taxi to get here)

The cost is $35/person, or $7/designated driver.

I plan on also posting about some of my favorite local breweries (or place to get a beer) in Indy. However, what do you want to hear about? 🙂

Things to do in Indy–German Fest! (Groupon special)

*For a limited time only! (well, for the Groupon anyway)

When you think of Indianapolis, it’s race cars, Peyton Manning (well, until this year), breaded tenderloins, popcorn, and….German Fest? Yes, indeed, Indy has its own German Fest, also know as the Third Annual Original and Fabulous GermanFest! GermanFest is a one-day event in downtown Indianapolis on Saturday, October 8 from 12pm to 6pm.

Groupon, a website that offers specials deals each day for various cities, provides special pricing for this event. Choose between the following options:

  • For $15, you get admission for two people (up to a $20 value) and two beers (a $10 value; a $30 total value).
  • For $27, you get admission for four people (up to a $40 value) and four beers (a $20 value; up to a $60 total value)

To purchase the deal, go to Groupon’s website: http://gr.pn/nqfgG5

For full details about GermanFest and all the activities, please visit the GermanFest website: http://bit.ly/owabVE

Some nice details from the website include: “Wiener dog races all day, every hour, Alpine Express and their famous yodel-ers, Jay Fox and his Bavarian Showtime Band, the Steinheben – strong man contest, the 5K Lederhosen lauf and much more!”

GermanFest takes place at the Rathskellar/historic Athenaeum at 401 E Michigan St., about 1.3 miles walking from the hotel.