My favorite things Indiana

by on November 17, 2006 at 5:47 am in The Arts | Permalink

A brief trip it will be, but here goes:

1. Music: Michael Jackson is from Gary, and his most underrated song is "She’s Out of My Life."  There is also Cole Porter (overrated in my view, compared to Jerome Kern) and Ned Rorem.  Wes Montgomery has a few good albums, usually they are live; it is a shame he wasted his immense talent on muzak.

2. Literature: Sorry, but I find Kurt Vonnegut unreadable, and don’t tell me about Harrison Oberon.  Dreiser?  I’ve never read Newton Tarkington, who wrote The Magnificent Ambersons.  I’ll go with Philip Jose Farmer and his Riverworld series.

3. Painter: I am only slightly fond of Robert Indiana (yes he is from the state), or for that matter William Merritt Chase; here is my favorite Chase painting.

4. Favorite small town: Alex recommends Columbus, Indiana, for wonderful architecture.  I defer to him.

5. Movie, set in: Hoosiers and Breaking Away do not sit well with me, so help me out if you can.

6. Blogger and libertarian crusader for civil liberties: Radley Balko.

The bottom line: I don’t even like James Dean.  Radley is great, but my favorite thing Indiana is in fact Liberty Fund.

1 Don November 17, 2006 at 6:15 am

Um, you mean *Bergeron*, right? Oberon is a character in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

2 Tyler Cowen November 17, 2006 at 7:15 am

Yes, Bergeron…

3 Tyler Cowen November 17, 2006 at 7:31 am

Tingy nails it, thanks.

4 Ann November 17, 2006 at 8:56 am

For movies, what about Rudy? Notre Dame is in Indiana.

5 sammler November 17, 2006 at 9:04 am

I head never realized that Indiana was a fount of unreadable hacks… Vonnegut, Dreiser and P. J. Farmer!

Though Mother Night is a medium-good book.

6 Paul P November 17, 2006 at 9:52 am

Vonnegut’s first novel is written in a very different style from his later work; you wouldn’t know he was the author. It’s simultaneously prophetic and dated, but I liked it a lot. It’s called Player Piano.

7 X November 17, 2006 at 10:28 am

Dan Quayle

8 adbomaha November 17, 2006 at 10:46 am

Another great Indiana movie– The Music Man.

9 Derek Lowe November 17, 2006 at 11:11 am

Yep, that’s Booth, not Newton Tarkington, all right. And as for Farmer, I keep the Riverworld series as a perfect example of what happens when a writer bites off an order of magnitude more than he can chew. That was always Farmer’s problem, as he himself realized, but he seemed unable to do anything about it. Riverworld went from “Wow!” to throw-book-out-window, book by book, like something heavy falling down the stairs.

10 S November 17, 2006 at 12:14 pm

The banned books library

11 josh November 17, 2006 at 1:12 pm

“John Mellencamp?”


“Another great Indiana movie– The Music Man.”

River City, Iowa, actually 🙂

12 Ralph Hitchens November 17, 2006 at 2:39 pm

After seeing a splendid performance of “Kiss Me Kate” at a
regional theater last weekend, I would be the last person to
refer to Cole Porter as “overrated.”

13 Bill Stepp November 17, 2006 at 3:08 pm

John Mellencamp is up to his neck in federal farm subsidies.
For that reason alone, he should be boycotted.

14 Jason Briggeman November 17, 2006 at 4:49 pm

Entrepreneur (tie): Colonel Eli Lilly, Madame C. J. Walker.

To avoid the inane “what is a sport?” controversy, I will call this category, “Institutions for competitive spectacle”, and there is a tie: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Notre Dame football.

Movie, set in: A second vote for “A Christmas Story”.

Crazy/captivating pop singer, all-time (tie): Axl Rose, David Lee Roth, Michael Jackson…the family left when Janet was only 5, not sure whether to count her.

No pop singer: Mellencamp.

Rock band: Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, I guess, but this is a weak category for Indiana.

And, this week especially, a mention is merited by the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation, located in Indianapolis.

15 jkm November 17, 2006 at 9:30 pm

I think less of man who doesn’t like “Hoosiers” or “Breaking Away”. It makes me question your resturaunt recommandations.

16 Ray G November 17, 2006 at 10:23 pm

I’m from Evansville, where the South actually begins. Here’s a story.

A bunch of Hollywood types descended on the city for the making of “A League of Their Own.” Madonna had made a couple of snide remarks about going to a small country town (city and metro area is around 200K, two large universities, etc). So the producers think that the local folks are going to turn out in droves to be extras for the movie.

Negative. The town was quite put off by Madonna’s comments, and only a dozen or so people ever showed up on a regular basis. So all of the crowd scenes had to be shot with 12 or 15 people sitting among cut outs.

This wouldn’t work for the big game scene towards the end, and so they were reduced to raffling off a car to entice enough people to attend so they could film a full stadium.

I was off in the Marines at the time, but my parents sent me pics from the local paper of bored looking young people manning the tables where all of the extras were supposed to be signing up, but of course were not.

And basketball really is a kind of religion there.

17 Red Crayon November 18, 2006 at 12:27 am

yes… Larry Bird. that reminds me: French Lick.

18 jim November 18, 2006 at 8:54 am

Another Indiana connection is David Letterman who earned a degree from Ball State.

19 jim November 18, 2006 at 9:30 am

Abraham Lincoln remembered childhood years in Indiana fondly as “joyful” ones “without want”.

20 Michael Blowhard November 18, 2006 at 12:10 pm

I’m putting in another vote for “Breaking Away,” which a) I liked, but which also b) represents one of the few times Hollywood has actually put on film (in a sympathetic and non-sentimental way) what life in mid-America is really like. I grew up in Western NY, which might as well be the midwest, and I knew those kids, those houses, those parents, those roads, and those behavior patterns, and I enjoyed the droll, corny, understated squaresville humor and the big hearts. That was me and my buds growing up! Fun to see it portrayed accurately, respectfully, and with just the right dusting of fond satire.

21 jim November 18, 2006 at 2:41 pm

Famous Hoosiers listed on Wikipedia”

22 KaneCitizen November 18, 2006 at 9:10 pm

How about Sen. Richard Lugar, the guy who, in the mid-90’s (when everyone was worried about what sex acts were performed upon whom by which member of the Clinton Adminstration) was like “You know, there are a bunch of loose nukes and chemical weapons floating around in the former Soviet Union, and not only that, but there are some terrorists out there who don’t like us very much…” This would typically get him 3-5% of the vote in the 1996 GOP presidential primaries before he was forced to drop out.

23 jim November 18, 2006 at 10:12 pm



24 Alycia February 8, 2007 at 4:29 pm

I would also like to cast my “vote” to Peru for being the most interesting city in Indiana. As previously mentioned, it is quite rich in circus traditions. Each year, hundreds of Miami County youth ages 4 to 21, sign up to practice and perfect their circus acrobatic skills. The Annual Circus City Festival has been enjoyed by locals as well as visitors from around the state, across the nation and occasionally abroad. In addition, chosen performers have the opportunity to travel to other countries such as Monte Carlo and perform for the royal family yearly. Each July the circus performers will perform up to 12 shows, complete with sequinned costumes, live animals, and an amazing band all in a 3-ring circus building under the bigtop. The last day of performances begin with a parade through the city of Peru. This annual parade is the 2nd longest parade in the state of Indiana. It includes not only bands, local performers, circus acts and clowns, but also live animals such as elephants, lions, tigers, horses, etc. If you enjoy parades and have not yet experienced this one, take the time to visit. You won’t be disappointed.
Not only does Peru have the Circus City Festival, we also celebrate famed and talented composer Cole Porter with festivals and tours of his childhood home and gravesite.
Grissom Air Base is now a reserve base with a very well-developed air museum. It holds school and group tours by reservation. Also don’t miss the Festival of Flight in October at the Air Base. Sit in cockpits, climb the 5-story observation deck and see 24 historic aircraft.
Miami County is one of two Miami Indian communities still in existence and make Peru their headquarters. The other location for the Miami Indians is in Oklahoma.
In addition, Rock Hollow Golf Course just happens to be ranked 8th Best Course in the US and Canada for under $50. Laid out over 300 acres, Rock Hollow mixes old-growth forests with cattailed wetlands and rock to make each round a tough, yet fair challenge.
Enjoy endless boating, fishing, hiking, and camping at the beach at Mississinewa Reservoir. There is plenty of natural beauty to experience in this area such as bald eagles and various other outdoor wildlife.
Deemed the Circus Capital of the World, Peru, Indiana, is a must-see landmark of the entire midwest. Check out to see what I’m talking about!

25 Robert Gable March 10, 2007 at 12:05 am

Ack. I thought I was commenting on the “Indiana” page. Sorry, don’t really know any Connecticut-based political slogans.

26 kadacoza November 5, 2007 at 7:49 am

Florence Henderson is a Hoosier.Where would we be without the Brady Bunch’s mom???
Wabash IN is the first electrically lighted city in the world also where Crystal Gayle grew up (from the time she was 4 years old or so).
Mark Honeywell(check your thermostat it probably says Honeywell on it) made his home in Wabash and donated vast amounts of money to the community partly in the form of the Honeywell Center- google that and check it out- nice place especially for a town of 12,000.
Jane Pauley is a Hoosier as is Shelley Long.
Other notable Hoosiers: designer Bill Blass ,Drake Hogestyn ,David Canary and Julia Barr soap stars from Days of our Lives and All My Children.Harry Smith of The Early Show on CBS was born in Hammond but IMdB mistakingly has Lansing IL-I heard him say it himself on the show one morning. There are a lot more but I don’t have time to look them all up.
But who can forget the real biggy? JAMES DEAN born in Fairmount IN!

There IS more than corn in Indiana!

27 JoDale August 20, 2008 at 12:37 pm

Crystal Gayle (country singer), Shelly Long (Cheers), Marjorie Main (Ma Kettle), Gene Stratton Porter (author), Carole Lombard (actress), Auburns Cords Duesenbergs (some of the most beautiful automobiles ever built), Philo Farnsworth (TV inventor)

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