STREB Forces Whizzing Gizmo

STREB Forces turns modern dance into “Extreme Action”

This is not your average modern dance company. Elizabeth Streb and her eponymous Brooklyn-based company will bring  their theatrical “extreme action” dance show to Purdue tonight.

STREB FORCES features “Action Hero” characters (don’t call them  dancers) stretching the  limits of body and gravity. Performers fly through the air, dodge spinning iron beams, fall horizontally and gracefully in formation, and walk on walls. The show is like a circus performed at the intersection of physics and  theatre.

Elizabeth Streb has been called the Evel Knievel of dance. She is daring in both performance and philosophy. Her Brooklyn STREB Lab for Action Mechanics is a “beta-test for a new cultural paradigm.” It’s an open source, free as in freedom, dance studio that is a destination for creativity in its neighborhood.

Can we get this in Greater Lafayette, please?

SLAM is an open-access venue that models a new kind of artist-driven community institution. The doors of SLAM are never closed. Performances at SLAM are not stiff, class-coded, regimented affairs; they are neighborhood happenings where the company’s longtime fans from the high-art crowd mingle with the at-risk kids from the local public schools and their parents.

STREB successfully funded a Kickstarter project last fall to have an ongoing show 5 times a week, with rehearsals open free to the public. This will enable artists to “own their means of operations.” Their goal is to not depend so much on grants and theatre companies.

If that weren’t enough success, a new documentary, Born to Fly, tells  Streb’s story of her theory of movement. It was chosen as an official selection in 2014 SXSW Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, and Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

STREB FORCES at Purdue

Friday, April 4, 8pm
Elliott Hall of Music

Hamlet / Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead double feature

Double Feature: Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Hamlet: presented by The Acting CompanyPurdue Convocations has pulled off an amazing weekend of theatre with this double header from acclaimed The Acting Company and The Guthrie Theater.

Saturday, Loeb Playhouse will feature Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Hamlet. Then on Sunday, The Guthrie Theatre joins their Saturday companions to present Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

This marks the first production of Hamlet in The Acting Company’s 40-year history. The play dramatizes the revenge Prince Hamlet exacts for his father’s murder, setting him on a journey seeking his personal mortality. Grief, rage, danger, revenge and moral corruption are all in play in this game. Bring your notebook to keep track of one of the most quotable literary works in history.

to be or not to be… the primrose path… this above all… to thine own self be true… murder most foul… brevity is the soul of wit… what a piece of work is a man!… woe is me… the lady doth protest too much… what dreams may come… though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t…

Under TONY winner John Rando’s direction, the story of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is structured as the inverse of Hamlet. The title characters are the leads, not supporting players, and Hamlet himself has only a small part. The pair appear on stage in this play when they are off-stage in Shakespeare’s play, with the exception of a few short scenes in which the dramatic events of both plays coincide.

This one-two weekend punch should be a real treat.

Hamlet

Saturday, March 29, 2014
8 pm
Loeb Playhouse

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Sunday, March 30, 2014
3 pm
Loeb Playhouse

Kickstarter

Entrepreneur & Kickstarter co-founder coming to Purdue

Perry Chen, entrepreneur and co-founder of Kickstarter
Crowd funding, raising money with small pledges to fund a product, creative project, or business, is all the rage these days. Just this week, Facebook paid $2 billion for virtual reality (VR) firm Oculus. The maker of the Oculus Rift VR gaming headset  gaming received $2.5 million from backers of its Kickstarter project only 18 months ago.

Tonight, Perry Chen, the co-founder and CEO of Kickstarter, will speak to students as part of the Purdue Series on Corporate Citizenship and Ethics in Krannert School of Management.

Future MatchBOX co-working Studio for entrepreneurs in Lafayette, IN

MatchBOX Studio in downtown Lafayette will have its grand opening April 11-13 during Startup Weekend.

With entrepreneurial hub Purdue Foundry and co-working spaces The Anvil and MatchBOX Studio, Greater Lafayette is becoming a hot place in the region to foster creative, new ideas.

Check out Chen’s free lecture TONIGHT to get a taste of the entrepreneurial spirit burgeoning in Lafayette. This area is ripe for development of new ideas in the fields of engineering, technology, computer science, and biomedicine.

Perry Chen, entrepreneur and Kickstarter founder

7 pm, Thursday, March 27, 2014
Loeb Playhouse
FREE, open to public

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Grammy-winning Del McCoury Band impress at Long Center

 

Fresh off his Grammy win and as well as his 75th birthday, Del McCoury and his unbelievably tight band graced the historic Long Center for the Performing Arts stage for one of the best sets of 2014 so far in Lafayette.

Dressed in sharp suits, McCoury and his quartet of pickers, which included sons Ronnie and Rob McCoury, jammed for about two hours in front of an enthusiastic crowd of more than 300. Dozens of classic bluegrass instrumentals, fiddle tunes, waltzes, gospel numbers and even a Carter Family song on speed were crammed into the set and encore.

Plucking his acoustic guitar effortlessly, McCoury still sings like a bird as he delivered soaring vocals and even some falsetto throughout the night. The Long Center’s acoustics were born for such acoustic offerings. While it holds more than 1,200, McCoury’s presence and musical prowess gave the concert an intimate feel. With the balcony closed off, most in attendance were close to the stage and were not shy about voicing their approval and their song requests.

McCoury and his young band took everything in stride. With his white hair combed back and bright green tie blazing, McCoury relished time in between songs to banter with the crowd, give homespun stories from his 50-year-plus career, and even to give an impromptu guitar and capo lesson.

“I’m silly tonight,” the living bluegrass legend laughed while adjusting the capo on his old guitar’s neck.

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A guitarist and banjo player for bluegrass father Bill Monroe back in 1963, McCoury paid tribute to his old boss, who always called him “Dale,” with a few tunes, including the classic “Kentucky Waltz.” McCoury played several selections off of his new album, “Streets of Baltimore,” too.

Usually, when fans of a veteran act hear the dreaded “Now we’re going to play some songs from our new album,” it’s time for a bathroom break. Not with McCoury. The new album mines classic material like the title track — made famous by Bobby Bare and later country rock wild child Graham Parsons — and other tunes sound like they could have been written 50 or 60 years ago as opposed to during President Obama’s second term.

The crowd gave McCoury two standing ovations and clapped along to the most driving numbers like “Trainwreck of Emotion,” a McCoury original from 1997.

McCoury’s band’s tightness may come from its extremely busy schedule. The quartet of fiddle, bass, banjo and mandolin have appeared with String Cheese Incident and Yonder Mountain String Band and behind Keller Williams, which helps draw the younger set to McCoury’s shows. The young musicians also fuel The Travelin’ McCourys, a sibling band that goes out on the road without dad.

Opening the show was local favorite Woodstove Flapjacks. Led by Matt Scherger on vocals and resonator, the band celebrating 10 years together resembled a plaid shirt, work boot wearing orchestra with seven players manning about a dozen different instruments through classic country, blues and old-time selections. A little more laid back in a theater setting, the band benefitted from high harmony vocals from drummer/washboard player David Harmon. Yes, it was Harmon on harmony.

Sadly, Scherger confirmed rumors that the band is hanging it up this month. The Flapjacks will play in its more familiar setting — Lafayette Brewing Company — Saturday with The Tillers. It’s a big week for one of Lafayette’s greatest bands. Here’s to 10 years of good times and tunes.

Woodstove Flapjacks

Woodstove Flapjacks

Photo by Liran Mimon / Wikimedia Israel

Hacking the General Assembly

The state legislature generates a lot of data, but it’s not always easy for the public to access. In order to make information about the legislature more consumable, the state has developed “MyIGA“: an application programming interface (API) that allows anyone to access legislative data programmatically.  On Saturday, the West Lafayette Public Library will be hosting a “hackathon”. The public is invited to come and work on programs to collect and manipulate the data.

Participants of all backgrounds and skill levels are welcome. Projects will need people to come up with ideas, people to code, people to design user interfaces, and even people to sit back and learn. Hackathon organizer Zachary Baiel wants “people to collaborate and be successful in engaging their community.” He sees this as an opportunity for social involvement and education. Experienced coders will be able to help novices take their ideas and make them reality.

“I am excited to see what we accomplish when we go to the same location, for an extended duration of time, and have an opportunity to interact with data. In this case, the legislative data of Indiana. It is an immensely empowering opportunity,” Baiel said. Progress on one or more applications that make use of the General Assembly data will mark the Hackathon as a success. Baiel is developing an application that allows users to sort bills by the date of their last activity and hopes to find contributors on Saturday.

But the Hackathon isn’t just about doing something with the legislature’s data. “I also want to show people that everyone can code. If nothing else, in the form of pseudocode. Computers and technology can be incredibly social. We want to give a face-to-face opportunity as well.”

Registration is not required, but attendees are asked to fill out a brief survey in advance of the session. Participants should bring a laptop with whatever software they need to apply their particular skills. Those who wish to develop a new application are asked to contact Bob Amos to request an API token in advance.

The MyIGA Hackathon is from 10 AM – 2PM on Saturday, March 22 in the Digital Media Resource Center of the West Lafayette Public Library, 208 W Columbia Street.

Time to Re-State Street

Now that West Lafayette owns State Street (no longer Highway 26, owned by INDOT), the conversation about how to dress up this tired strip of asphalt is leading into the planning stages. Dave Bangert has a lengthy article about the plans at J&C, including:

• A return to two-way traffic through the Village.

• A roundabout at River Road to help solve the terrible pedestrian crossings there.

• Wider walkways throughout.

• A separate bike track that runs from one end to the other.

• A second roundabout at Tapawingo Drive to create an entrance into what the plan sees as an extended West Lafayette downtown. (There really is something to this Greater Lafayette roundabout trend, isn’t there?)

• And a thoroughfare coming off that Tapawingo roundabout, bringing the street closer to Wabash Landing and reconfiguring the screwy parking situation in front of the strip mall to instead include on-street parking.

“We’re looking at something that says, ‘You’re here. Welcome to West Lafayette, welcome to Purdue,’” said Eric Lucas, an MKSK consultant helping to lead the project.

If it is all realized as planned — unlikely, but an urbanite can dream — it will be a remarkable achivement for the city.

Mad-eye Molly eludes Naptown's Third Alarm defenders Saturday at the Brawl House. Photo by Pinola Photography.

Brawlin’ Dolls win big in 2014 home-opener

Bone Krusha lays one of her many big hits Saturday at the Lafayette Brawlin's Dolls home-opening victory over Naptown's Third Alarm

Bone Krusha lays one of her many big hits Saturday at the Lafayette Brawlin’s Dolls home-opening victory over Naptown’s Third Alarm

In front of a boisterous Brawl House crowd of about 800, the Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls executed a near perfect game plan in route to a 226-121 thrashing of Naptown Roller Girls’ Third Alarm Saturday night.

It was the first home bout of the 2014 season and it was the Brawlin’ Dolls’ first win under the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association affiliation. The victory brings the Dolls’ season record to 1-1.

They hit. They blocked. They skated. They didn’t lose composure when Naptown collected itself for strong defense or damaging power jams.

The Dolls looked as strong if not stronger than the 2013 squad that earned a franchise best 6-1 record.

Naptown’s Third Alarm’s last visit to Lafayette came in May 2012 and the Indianapolis team left with an easy 168-51 victory. Almost two years later, revenge was best rolled cold as jammers Psycho Socializer, Rampage and Dreaded Thunder combined for 196 of their team’s 228 points to lead the black and pink to a decisive win. Bubble Gun was the fourth jammer in the mix. The smaller skater’s ability to get low for points kept Naptown on their toes, too.

Benefiting from Psycho Socializer’s expert jamming — using an arsenal of moves and strategy — and Naptown’s undisciplined play, the Dolls scored 93 points before Naptown even got on the scoreboard.

Blocks and hits galore got the crowd into it early and often. The Liberator had a strong game dishing out the punishment while Biscuits N Crazy often contained two skaters at once with her blocking prowess. Second-year skater Bone Krusha used strength and speed to crunch opponents, including an especially brutal hip check on a Naptown jammer late in the bout. Stitchez had a strong blocking game as well.

On the injury front, Bang A Rang made a triumphant return to the Brawl House after missing the entire 2013 season due to leg issues. She skated well in the pack. However, Arctic Wolfsbane suffered a lower body injury during the opening jam and did not return. She was in good spirits on the bench and will return for the Dolls’ next bout, April 12 vs. Glass City Rollers at the Brawl House.

Wolf’s absence meant only 11 skaters for the Dolls, but the three-pronged attack of Rampage, Psycho and Thunder was plenty of offense. Coquette Threat, The Liberator and Mad-eye Molly chipped in effective jamming later in the bout when legs began to tire.

Dreaded Thunder capped off the victory in style during her final jam. While earning four points for her team, the dreadlocked dynamo destroyed her opposing jammer with a vicious hit and then obliterated defenders on her own as three of her blockers were hauled off for penalties. She kept going before finally calling off the jam from the floor.

Down a few skaters to Naptown’s 14 was not an issue as the Dolls enjoyed  a comfortable lead throughout the night and the hundreds of fans in attendance equally enjoyed yet another strong, bone-crunching victory.

Psycho Socializer jams for points Saturday at the home-opening bout for the Lafayette Brawlin' Dolls. Photo by Pinola Photography.

Psycho Socializer jams for points Saturday at the home-opening bout for the Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls. Photo by Pinola Photography.

Jamming stats

Psycho Socializer — 11 jams/ 77 points, 7 points per jam

Rampage — 9/67, 7.4

Dreaded Thunder — 11/58, 5.27

Mad-eye Molly — 5/11, 2.2

The Liberator — 2/6, 3

Coquette Threat — 2/4, 4

Bubble Gun — 4/3, .75

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