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IndyBuzz provides information about Central Indiana's most stimulating and thought provoking events -- discussions and conferences, art exhibitions, films, music performances. It tells you what's happening … explains why you should be part of what’s happening. More than an events calendar, though, IndyBuzz tries to make events more meaningful for participants by suggesting an article or two to read before the event, recommending books or websites that will be sources of further information after the event, and pointing out related events that are worth attending.

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Oct. 7: Trust a politician, go to a Starbuck's and open the doors to local culture

I just heard about this from Keira Amstutz, assistant deputy mayor for cultural development (can there be a sweeter job for a bureaucrat?):

Starbucks Coffee is partnering with the Arts Council of Indianapolis and the Cultural Development Commission to promote the 2005-2006 Indianapolis Cultural calendar. For one day only -- on Friday, Oct. 7 -- anyone who stops for a cup of coffee at one of 45 Central Indiana Starbucks stores will be treated to a complimentary copy of the Cultural Calendar AND a Starbucks card worth $5. The offer is good while supplies last, and there's a limit of one complimentary card and one cultural calendar per customer.

As part of Friday's celebration, local musicians will perform at four Starbucks locations from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Performers include guitarist Greg Ziesmer at the Conseco Fieldhouse store, guitarist John Alvarado at the Broad Ripple store, harpist Melissa Gallant at U.S. 31 and Edgewood Road and harpist Jill Pitz at the Carmel store at 116th Street and Keystone Avenue.

Also on Friday, the Indianapolis Downtown Artists & Dealers Association
(IDADA) is holding its First Friday Art Tour, when numerous galleries throughout downtown hold openings. Village Drums will perform at Davlan Park next to the Starbucks in the Mass Ave Cultural District from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The Indianapolis Cultural Calendar features more than 700 arts and cultural events happening in and around the city during the next 16 months (September 2005-December 2006). Each calendar includes an IndyArts card, which gives users discounts on performances, exhibits and other cultural events across the city. The calendar cover features a vibrant abstract painting by Indianapolis artist Quincy Owens. Valued at $9.50 each, the calendars are for sale at www.indyarts.org or in the stores at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Conner Prairie, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indiana History Center, Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis Artsgarden and Indianapolis Museum of Art.

What a deal! For the piece of a cup of Starbuck's coffee (yes, I know, it is expensive coffee) you get the cup of coffee, a $9.50 culture calendar, and an IndyArts card ... plus the possibility of live harp music if you go to the right Starbucks. Wow! How could you possibly turn down this offer?

Well, you might feel that you wouldn't recognize a Starbusk's store if you saw one, and thus couldn't find the right place. But go here for pictures of every Starbuck's in Indianapolis ... trust me, you'll recognize one when you see it.

Perhaps you feel that this really is too good an offer to be true, politicians have lied to you in the past, how can you trust this assistant deputy mayor for cultural development? Keira Amstutz clearly is a different breeed of politician, one who is comfortable posing with a double bass, so when she says she has 10,000 calendars to distribute, let's quote Ronald Reagan: "Trust but verify." Go to a Starbuck's Friday and see for yourself.

Maybe you are thinking it isn't worth making the trip to a Starbuck's for an IndyArts card and Indianapolis Cultural Calendar won't be worth it because, well, "Indianapolis Culture" is an oxymoron. The art scene here is kind of provincial, not very edgy or avant-gardey, sort of like harp music in a Starbuck's. You might say that, but if you did you would be very mistaken. As I have said before, the arts and music scene in Indianapolis right now reminds me of how Seattle felt around 1980 when there was clearly a lot of potential bubbling away. For more on this ferment (from people who are a lot more cultured than am I) check out the Spirit & Place discussion of arts and artists gravitating to Indy.

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