Sunday, October 31

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit

I boarded the RMS (Royal Mail Ship) Titanic, the finest ship of the White Star Line on April 10, 1912. With my fiancé and my brother in second class accommodations, I, Miss Dagmar Jenny Ingeborg Bryhl, am traveling from Sweden to America.
RMS Titanic

Thus began my journey at the Indiana State Museum, through the exhibit of the artifacts of the most famous maritime disaster in history.
With more than 240 pieces the journey winds through various rooms stocked with artifacts and recreated first- and third-class cabins. The 'iceberg room' gives the sensation of the freezing air the night of the sinking complete with an iceberg for touching.

Weaving through the displays and reading the well-researched stories behind the relics gives a connection to the actual people who died while doing just as we all do, living our daily lives. From a perfume salesman to the well-known Unsinkable Molly Brown to the individuals transferred to the ill-fated ship from other ships, the sense of reality is more readily felt with the biographies and personal items.
Recreated first-class cabin
 Hair combs, perfume samples, letters, wallets and eyeglasses are available for viewing with the identities of the owners alongside. The dinner menus served in all three classes, along with the china and glassware displayed side-by-side, emphasizes the differences in the social classes.

The eeriness of acquiring an actual passenger's identity upon entering the exhibit is significant in bringing home the reality of the tragedy's magnitude. Not knowing if you survive or perish until the end circumvents the 'just another set of statistics' detachment which occurs with many exhibits.

I disembarked, alive in a lifeboat; one of only 711 to survive. More than 68 percent were lost due to panic, inadequate quantity of lifeboats, general disbelief of the inevitable and freezing water temperature.
According to the British Parliamentary Papers, there were 2224 people aboard. Other reports contain varying numbers due to inaccurate records, people traveling under aliases and passengers boarding and leaving at various stops.

My fiancé, Ingvar Enander, and my brother, Kurt Bryhl did not survive.
Recreated hull of Titanic

Bottom Line: An educational opportunity exists with this exhibit, ripe for parents to encourage children to share their thoughts. An absolute must: watch Titanica, the 45-minute documentary at IMAX, attached to the museum, immediately prior to visiting the exhibit itself. Especially for children, it enhances the experience by showing how everything was rescued.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit and Titanica continue at the Indiana State Museum through January 16, 2011. For more information visit imax.com/indy and indianamuseum.org.

Photos submitted by Indiana State Museum
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook. Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

Sunday, October 17

Beef and Boards: White Christmas

Haynes sisters Betty (Christnie Mild) and Judy (Erin West)
Do NOT bother going to see White Christmas, the Musical, playing at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis. Stay far, far away from this show...unless you feel a need to sit through two and one half hours of seriously old-fashioned, feel-good nostalgia, great singing and fantastic dance numbers, that is.

Based on the 1954 movie, starring Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen, this musical, once again, finds B&B breaking the seasonal rule, bringing the holiday a little early.

But, you can't argue with success. With a packed theater for WC's opening weekend, and the sold-out shows of Smoke on the Mountain: A Sanders Family Christmas two summers ago, owner Doug E. Stark (General Waverly) apparently knows the audience doesn't look at the calendar when deciding where to spend their money and evenings.
Timothy Ford and Curt Dale Clark

From the first note, Bob Wallace (Curt Dale Clark) and Phil Davis (Timothy Ford) draw you into the seasonal mood with their warmth and sincerity wrapping around you like a knitted afghan.

Clark portrays Wallace in a thoroughly likable manner, giving the romantically reluctant crooner the necessary laid-back touch. His strong voice blends well with the other singers, including in Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep, with Christine Mild as Betty Haynes.

Mild's Love You Didn't Do Right By Me
Mild, last seen portraying the title role in the B&B hit show, Always, Patsy Cline, claims the audience's attention best with Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me and Sisters, paired with Judy, portrayed charmingly by Erin West.
Standing out most to this critic were the aptly chosen performers for every role, including the supporting cast, most notably, Kenny Shepard, Deb Wims and the ever-animated John Vessels.

John Vessels
Dave Ruark
In case you've been suffering from John-Vessels-withdrawals, not to worry. Fans of Vessels' portrayal of the good Reverend Oglethorpe in the Smoke on the Mountain saga will be delighted to find him in this show, stealing scenes and
 depicting deadpan characters, including Ezekiel, the handyman and Snoring Man.

Keep your eye on Dave Ruark, portraying Sheldrake. I enjoyed Ruark in April at The Cabaret at The Columbia Club supporting the talent of Lauren Cregor. Ruark is one of those entertainers whose talents are only discovered one layer at a time. His creative abilities range from singing to being one of the original performers of ComedySportz. 

Special note: The second act's high-energy dance act places West and Ford all over the stage including on top of a baby grand.

Bottom Line: Beef and Boards' family friendly White Christmas brings a warm cup of holiday cheer to your heart.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and FaceBook.
Photo credit: www.juliecurryphotography.com
Comments can be sent to elizabeth@gottago.us. Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

Monday, October 11

Ultimate Gift Guide 2010

Annual Ultimate Gift Guide 2010
Gotta Go’s 3rd annual Ultimate Gift Guide is quickly coming upon us. Below you will find important details, including the deadline. The UGG is published in all newspapers carrying Gotta Go and online at www.gottago.us. The date of publication is dependent on each newspaper’s scheduled holiday shopping issue.
Please note: The quantity of newspapers carrying Gotta Go has increased to 7 with a total circulation of 216,000. All newspapers are located in the Indianapolis metro area.
 
Categories
·         Food: Non-sweet
·         Food: Sweet, not candy and fudge items (ex. cinnamon buns, cakes, etc.)
·         Food: Candy/Fudge
·         Food: Wine/Beer, including related items
·         Nonfood: Children (all items)
·         Nonfood: Adult (all items)
·         Monthly Club: example-Flower of the month club
·         DVDs
·         CDs
·         Books
·         Other: If you believe your item does not fit into any category, enter it in this one.

Rules and Tips:
1.      Items are only allowed entered into one category.
2.      Your company is allowed to enter up to three (3) different categories.
3.      Send the necessary amount needed for a panel of three to judge.
4.      Perishables must be shipped to arrive on a weekday and in non-spoiled condition.
5.      No pornography, sexual, illegal, or hate items will be allowed in the competition.
6.      Entries must be received no later than November 5, 2010, 6 p.m. EST. No late entries accepted.
7.      Please ship entries to: Gotta Go, 2960 S. Keystone Ave., Indianapolis, IN, USA, 46203, Attn: Ultimate Gift Guide-Elizabeth J. Musgrave
8.      Please send all questions to Elizabeth@gottago.us or call Elizabeth at 317-457-3221.
9.  Items cannot be returned and will be disposed of as necessary.
10.  No monies, by way of donation, fee, or otherwise, will be required or accepted by any judge.


Thank you for your interest. I look forward to a wide variety of gift ideas again this year.

Happy Holidays,
Elizabeth J. Musgrave



Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Facebook, Twitter @ejmusgrave1, and at gottago.us.

Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

Secretariat

Just in time for the holidays is a feel-good movie which will play as well on DVD as it does on the big screen. Secretariat, the newest Disney release, recounts the record-breaking historical equine story of "Big Red," as he was affectionately nicknamed by his groomer, trainer, owner and fans worldwide.

Although most people generally do not get involved in horse racing, the saga of Secretariat became international news in 1973 as he broke one record after another. No horse had won the Triple Crown, consisting of The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes and The Belmont Stakes, in 25 years, since Citation in 1948.

Anytime we, as humans, are able to witness the excellence of a star, whether the role of athlete, actor, musician, singer, astronaut, or even, yes, a horse; it is a wonder. Compared to the everyday life, the average event; being a part, even if only on the fringe, of the truly gifted, gives one a feeling of being part of something bigger. To be near greatness elevates one's soul and Secretariat gave everyone something to cheer about.

Diane Lane portrays owner Penny Chenery (Tweedy) extremely well as is her norm. Lane has the ability to allow the story to evolve around her rather than demanding the focus on her, which, of course, draws your attention in the simplicity of her movements.

Special note: the authentic clothing and hairstyles demonstrates that Heather Chaffee, Lane's costumer, and Hayley Stuppel, costumer to Malkovich, have a firm handle on the true fashions of specific eras.

John Malkovich is let loose on the role of Lucien Laurin, the quirky horse trainer with an affection for outrageous clothing....and hats, lots and lots of hats. Drawn out of retirement by interest in the horse's lineage and natural talent, Laurin trains the thoroughbred, bringing in a daredevil jockey by the name of Ron Turcotte. Malkovich provides the laughs at every turn giving the necessary comedic twist to keep this film from becoming too sweet.

Bottom Line: Secretariat is a movie that is truly Disney in the best sense of the word, making this a feel-good, go out and buy to watch over and over again, movie.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, restaurant and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC's Saturday Morning News Show and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and on FaceBook.

Comments can be sent to elizabeth@gottago.us. Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

Friday, October 8

Hoosier Park Racing & Casino

Sex in the City slot machine at Hoosier Park
What do martinis, silk and Sex in the City have in common? Me...and Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, located just 30 minutes from Indianapolis in Anderson. I recently accepted an invitation to see what kind of fun could be found at a horse track and casino.
Free valet parking was a great first impression, followed by friendly faces at the casino door. During the tour, I was given instructions on how to play one of the nearly 2000 slot machines...while drinking a delicious Godiva chocolate martini. Not a bad way to be schooled.

Settling on the Sex in the City pink-lighted machine, I learned to bet maximum and cash out while ahead. This theory worked with the slots and proved true, also, at the Black Jack table where I won again. (My winnings totaled $70.) Also in the casino were, exclusive to HP, organic e-games for poker, using real cards, and roulette.

The obvious effort made for the comfort of the patrons shows with the ever-changing variety of games and contests, the entertainment selection, including Boys II Men on October 9, and the numerous levels of eateries for every appetite and budget. Beginner's or lady's luck, combined with the fun factor and martinis, enhanced the idea that HP would be the perfect place for my next girls' night out.

Francisco Torres, Denny Velazquez and David Mello
I slipped over to the track side and got the pleasure of visiting the jockeys in their hideaway. The athletes were generous with their time, and I had the honor of interviewing champion-rider Francisco Torres who stated that the people at Hoosier Park "welcome me with open arms." Torres rides in nine races daily, five days per week, year 'round, ranking consistently in the top. With career purse winnings in the $41 million range, the quiet-spoken gentleman knows how to cross the line first.

Next, I met with Bob "Brownie's Picks" Brown, handicapper and lifetime expert of all horse betting. After explaining about the various numbers, jockeys and horses, Brown left me feeling ready to pick the winning thoroughbred. I checked the odds, took into account the rankings, bet...and lost. I checked my notes and bet again. I lost again.

I'm sure I missed something important in the tutoring session because I could not pick a single race correctly. Next time I'm using a time-honored scientific method...the jockey with the prettiest jersey.

Stuffed mushrooms with sweet Italian sausage
Because the HP folks know watching horses race creates a deep hunger, they reserved a table for me at Homestretch Steakhouse, overlooking the Winner's Circle. With an extensive wine list, I had no trouble selecting a Cabernet to complement my meal.

Crab cakes and stuffed mushrooms were served as starters. The mushrooms are stuffed with cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese and sweet Italian sausage, a nice twist to a standard making this my favorite item.

After an entree of New York Strip, with a side of burgundy mushrooms, I spied the dessert trolley, heavily laden with after-dinner treats. I decided to lessen its load by selecting slices of carrot cake and turtle cheesecake to drown my sorrow at losing at the track.

So often, when dining at a high-end eatery, the quality of service does not always match the price increase. The Steakhouse staff had no idea they were being reviewed. With generous portions at surprisingly reasonable prices and a friendly server who demonstrated knowledge of the wines and the menu, the Steakhouse provided some of the best service I have ever received in a restaurant. I would take it a step further and say that I would drive up to HP just for the dining experience. Be sure to ask for Jessica.

Bottom Line: There are too many items to list why we should all join in on all the fun they are having at Hoosier Park. Just take my word, it's worth the drive...

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo credits: Photo submitted by Hoosier Park, Photo by Izzy Evans
Websites: www.hoosierpark.com
Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.