Sunday, October 19

Colts vs. Jaguars 9th Annual Tailgate Event for Gleaners Food Bank Nov 23

How about a little spring cleaning for the autumn? How about doing that fall cleaning in your pantry and kitchen cabinets? Perhaps you could find a can (or four) of items you thought the family would like, but didn't. Or maybe you've gone on a diet and won't eat that diet-unfriendly item.

I have an idea.

Tuck them into your Colts hoodie pockets or a grocery bag and swing by this event on the way to the game. Indianapolis home-played Colts vs. Jaguars game on November 23, a food-raising will take place at the 9th Annual Tailgate event sponsored by Goelzer Investment Management for Gleaners Food Bank.

I will be in attendance, sweatshirt on, as they accept canned food from folks wanting to help even a little. With so many of our community hurting, I was pleased to accept this invitation, which will be held 11 am - 1 pm, at the Hurst Bean Field parking lot, located directly across from Lucas Oil Stadium.

To contribute to the food donation to Gleaners, Colts fans are invited to stop by Hurst Bean Field prior to the Colts game to drop off canned food. Drop boxes will be located at the entrance areas of the Hurst Bean Field parking lot as well.

Goelzer will donate skids of beans for the cause to go along with the canned foods. Why beans? They wanted to give food that is high in complex carbohydrates, protein and dietary fiber, helping to satisfy hunger because it is absorbed slowly. Beans are also high in calcium, iron, folate, and potassium.

About Gleaners
Since its inception, Gleaners has distributed over 320 million pounds of food and critical grocery products to more than 250 hunger relief agencies serving needy Hoosiers. In addition to food distribution to hunger relief agencies, Gleaners serves our most vulnerable populations, children and seniors, through specialty programs such as BackSacks: Weekend Food for Kids, School-Based Food Pantries, the Summer Meals for Kids Program and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program. In Gleaners’ 21-county service area, more than 260,000 struggle with hunger and food insecurity—and 107,000 of them are children. To learn more, log onto Gleaners.org.

About Goelzer
For more than 45 years Goelzer Investment Management has been actively involved in the Indianapolis community and with various charities while growing to become one of the leading investment firms in Indiana. As an independent, fee-based firm, Goelzer provides comprehensive investment planning, advice and portfolio management services.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker, consultant and trainer for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Friday, October 3

Movie Review: Gone Girl

“Gone Girl’’ opens with as much hype as only Hollywood can throw at a movie they hope will make a gazillion dollars but aren't sure it will. The flick is based on the book of the same name written by Gillian Flynn, and stars Ben Affleck as the shallow, philandering husband, Nick Dunne, who is top suspect in the disappearance of his pretty blond wife, Amy, portrayed brilliantly by Rosamund Pike. Many twists and turns, and what-the-hecks fill the screen from this bestselling novel.

Where to start with this movie?

Okay, first ~ you will probably hate the ending. And, I don't mean hate like you hate cooked spinach. I mean absolutely loathe the way you probably (or should have) hated the ending in Cast Away with Tom Hanks. Without giving it away in a spoiler, it is an unsatisfying ending that surpasses the long list of improbable straws and breaks the impossible-to-believe camel's back. It will leave you walking away coming up with your own ideas on how it should have ended. Never a good sign.

However, the cast is stellar. And ... I will be the first to admit at being more than a little pleasantly surprised at Affleck's performance. I have always thought of him as the "pretty" one of the Matt Damon/Ben Affleck duo, with Damon being the much more "talented" one, particularly in "The Talented Mr. Ripley."

Shame on me.

I am delighted to see that Affleck has become an actor worth watching for more than his square jaw and ruggedly handsome looks. He steps into the frustrated, but clueless, role well not realizing his every comment and move are tightening the legal noose around his neck. Giving in to his self-centered carnal needs, he even goes so far as to having a sleepover at his sister's house with his very young, sexy student, played by Emily Ratajkowski.

When a novelist's work is picked up and made into a film, celebrations are held ~ the big time has been reached. If the film flops, the author can always fall back on the fact the screenwriter misinterpreted their work. But if the screenplay is written by the original author, there is nowhere to hide; no one else to blame.

Which is where we are with this confused work. Is it a thriller? A satire? A statement piece of the horrors of the writers (both main characters and the mother) who cannot find work and fall into poverty after the collapse of the publishing world? Many writers are able to blend more than one genre successfully, this one doesn't quite reach that seamless goal, going in too many directions with too many half-done story lines.

The directing of David Fincher, know for works such as “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," is tight and flows well. How much responsibility holds the director, however, in putting out a movie without correcting gaping holes in the plot? I don't know if he is allowed to ask for rewrites, but will assume as the top guy that he is allowed to, and should have with this one.

Let's talk about the elephant in the room ~ the bed-room to be exact. How necessary is it to see on a giant screen a man performing cunnilingus on a woman, or the frontal shot of a man after receiving pleasure from a woman? Or the close up of a woman's breasts several times? It adds zero to this particular plot, detracts from the flow of the movie actually, and, even though it is Affleck for the 'V' shot and Harris' full view, it makes for uncomfortable moments with audience members.

The Plausibility Factor
We go to the movies for escape, to broaden our knowledge and to test our boundaries and give a lot of creative licensing to the writer in order to achieve those goals. When the first inaccuracy comes along, we shrug it off. When they continue, they add up and the filmgoer leaves the theater feeling rather cheated at the blatant mistakes.

If the Dunnes were wracked with money issues, and the trust fund was gouged by Amy's parents and the last of it was used to by The Bar, how could they afford to lease a mega mansion in a tiny, dried up town with no income except the barely-making it tavern? And the expensive furnishings, cars and lifestyle they have? Okay, we'll get past that for the sake of the story.

But ... every FBI agent in the country will roll their eyes at how utterly stupid the film makes these guys look. Standing around the "kidnapped" victim, hanging on her every word without questioning anything and believing every syllable that drops from her lips? Chastising the one local yokel cop (Kim Dickens), who dares to bring up an inconsistency ~ seriously? A multi millionaire is killed and left in a bloodbath, in his bed, by a nobody from a hick town in Missouri and no one checks her story?

Which brings us to the next implausible point.
How did Amy slash, perfectly connecting with, the jugular vein of her old/new boyfriend, portrayed by America's darling Neil Patrick Harris with the tip of a boxcutter? And why did Flynn feel a need to make him rather creepy also? How many psychotics does one story need? Nick tries to bring up the fact his wife was able to get a box cutter while allegedly tied up but no one else thinks of it (like the FBI or cops) and tells him to shut up.

And, glaringly ~ if every single inch of the lake house is hooked up to security cameras recording every single second, every single day, as NPH states clearly, there would be evidence contradicting Amy's story completely and she would have been fried, electrocuted or lethally injected without doubt ~ reasonable or otherwise.

Turning in a fabulous performance as the charming attorney Tanner Bolt is Tyler Perry. His bigger-than-life personality and polished schmoozing lit up the screen leaving you wanting more about this lawyer for those in the legal limelight. Perhaps a film about his exploits should be forthcoming. Every role's actor was selected carefully, no matter how small, including television journalists, performed by (Missi Pyle) and (Sela Ward) demonstrating the top-notch skill of Laray Mayfield, the casting director for this film.

If I were the 'stars' type reviewer, I would give it one star for writing, five for acting, rounding out to three overall. See it, but don't blow your budget on it. What could have been an intelligent thriller turned into an insult to those looking for one, but will score high in the fun film category. Likely it will do well at the box office and frustrate nit pickers like me.

Bottom Line: Gone Girl is entertaining, but implausible, with outstanding performances by the entire cast going too many directions to give full attention to any of the numerous story lines.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker, consultant and trainer for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Saturday, September 20

Theater Review: IRT: The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT), breaks its pattern of opening with an edge-of-the-seat drama and opens the 2014-2015 season with a comedy. Last year the downtown theater started its season with The Crucible, in 2012 it was the stark (and fantastic) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,  the sensually dark Dracula in 2011 had everyone talking and Holes opened the historic theatre in 2010.

This year's offering for Indy ~ Shakespeare's, The Two Gentlemen of Verona ~  is one of the Bard's earliest works and tells of two friends who become opponents in the game of love.

If you have been loathe to sample, or reacquaint yourself with, Shakespeare, this comedy is good one to try. Friends go on their individual life's journeys and reunite only to fight over the affection of a woman. While Proteus, portrayed by Chris Bresky, and Valentine, played by Charles Pasternak, search for the loves of their lives, they find their own character and flaws.

Ryan Artzberger portrays the comedic servant, Launce, with Crab, his faithful canine sidekick (who received oohs and aahs throughout the show). Female love interests were: Lee Stark as Julia and Ashley Wickett as Silvia.

The laugh-a-minute comedy is a great addition to the LORT theatre's list. Solid performances by the entire cast are enjoyable to watch and highlighted most by Pasternak's smooth portrayal of the play's morally just character.

I must admit, however, that although this is a play worth seeing for any stage fan, it lacks the wow factor of opening shows in years past. When one sets the bar as high as IRT has done with its season starters for so long, to open with a comedy is ~ anticlimactic.

Much better to continue with grabbing potential theatre-goers and current subscribers with another by-the-throat drama. This one could easily have been set to stage somewhere in the middle of the season. Perhaps they will return next year to a schedule with an anticipated play such as one by Tennessee Williams (my hope) and set the standard high once more.

Bottom Line: Charles Pasternak turns in a flawless performance in IRT's season opener comedy, The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Images: provided

Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker, consultant and trainer for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Wednesday, September 17

Ruffs & Tails at the IRT 2014 Benefits Humane Society of Indianapolis

Dog parents will get a chance to help the Humane Society of Indianapolis while enjoying a night out on the town with their four-pawed friends. The Indiana Repertory Theatre is launching its inaugural ‘Ruffs & Tails’ event Owners and their furry pals can meet other canines, nibble on human and doggy treats and get their picture taken wearing Shakespearean ruff.

The event takes place opening weekend of IRT's 2014-2015 season with The Two Gentlemen of Verona and their furry, tail-wagging cast member, Crab. Dogs are welcome to enjoy Three Dog Bakery goodies with flavors they’ll love including vanilla, peanut butter and carob. Think your dog is the most adorable in Indiana? Win over the crowd and have your dog’s picture taken in Shakespearean ruff to show off his or her theatrical side. Pictures of each future star will be taken and a specialty Three Dog Bakery gift basket will be awarded to the most ‘liked’ dog photo on the IRT’s Facebook page.

Learn more about the Humane Society and bring donations for their Humane Society Wish List. Donations include an entry to win a class from Bark Tutor School for Dogs. With special code, “IRTdog,” $2 per ticket of the Wed, Oct. 1, 7:30 pm performance and the Sun, Oct. 12, 5pm performance will be donated to the Humane Society of Indianapolis.

For more information about the IRT (Indiana Repertory Theatre), schedule, ticket pricing and full season calendar, please visit irtlive.org.

Image provided
Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker, consultant and trainer for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Tuesday, September 16

Restaurant Review: Top 10 Best Northside Nights 2014

Northside Nights 2014 will take place Sept. 15-28 bringing Indy's northernmost eateries into the
 limelight. The restaurant week, similar to Devour Downtown, is a foodie favorite with independents and chains sharing value-priced menus alike. The culinary fest includes 45 eateries for a peek at places you have been dying to try, check back on favorites and discover ones you have not heard of before the food event.

As it was so popular for Devour Downtown, I am noting the Top 10 Best menus by highlighting the "Top 10" restaurants in green. All restaurants will have links to the menus for the event. An asterisk marks new participating restaurants.

How did I decide? The criteria includes those that seem to be the best combination of good value, innovative menu and going above the others (ex. offering beer or wine also). And, so I give you the ...


Northside Nights
Top 10 Best Restaurants 2014

1881 Grille at Marten House Hotel

Bazbeaux

Bella Vita at the Marina

Champps Americana

Chef Mike's Charcoal Grill

Coalition Pizza*

Cobblestone Grill

Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant

Divvy

Eddie Merlot's

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse

The Gathering Bistro & Pub at Geist

Hall's Castleton Grill

Harry & Izzy's North

Hellas Cafe

Hollyhock Hill*

J. Razzos (Carmel)

J. Razzos (Westfield)

Late Harvest Kitchen

The Local Eatery & Pub

The Loft at Traders Point Creamery

MacKenzie River Pizza Company (Carmel)

MacKenzie River Pizza Company (82nd Street)

Matt the Miller's Tavern

Mellow Mushroom*

Melting Pot

North End BBQ*

Oakley’s Bistro

Ocean Prime

Patrick's Kitchen and Drinks*

Peterson's

Pizzology

Rockstone Pizza & Pub

Sahm's Restaurant & Bar

Scarlet Whiskey & Wine Bar

Scotty's Brewhouse

Seasons 52

Stone Creek Dining (Noblesville)

Stone Creek Dining (Zionsville)

Sullivan's Steak House

Woody's Library

The list of participating restaurants and corresponding menus will be updated online at NorthsideNightsIndy.com. Additional information and special offers will also be posted on the Northside Nights Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker, consultant and trainer for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.