Circle of Lights 2018 is Indy’s premier holiday display

Saturday morning, November 10th, saw union members of IBEW local 481 braving brutally cold temperatures and wind to install the long strands of LED lights on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the center of downtown Indianapolis. This is the traditional start of the Circle of Lights celebration.

Working hard to get the lights up

Putting on the finishing touches

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year the lights will be turned on on November 23rd. One lucky kid will be picked to flip the switch and turn on the lights! (The contest is going on right now: a coloring contest.) 2018 will be the 56th year of this beloved Indy tradition. The lights come on at 7:30 that evening after a delightful variety show with local talent. Oh, and a huge fireworks show will follow the festivities.

All the strands are up

Close up of the top

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Be amazed at The Mind Tripping Show

You check in at a table in the lobby of the Hilton in downtown Indianapolis. The show is 90 minutes, no late seating allowed. Hop the elevator and head to the 15th floor. There you are seated group by group in a small and intimate room by Katarina, one half of the performing couple.

Christian pops out from behind the curtain with a dab of background information. He and Katalina are both Army vets, have been performing for decades, now live in Indy, etc. etc. He then starts the actual performance. What a great patter he continues throughout the show! Interaction with and including the audience is an important part of this romp into “miraculous” and “amazing” tricks of mind reading and, as the title suggests, mind tripping.

L to R: Katrina, Sher, Maj, Christian after the show

Katrina and Christian make a terrific team. Their timing is flawless as Katarina performs the classic “take a card, don’t show me, I’ll tell you what it is”. Same goes with the color of the Crayola crayons. You’ll chuckle as five folks from the audience draw body parts. The fact that anyone can be involved brings a sense of comradeship to those in the crowd. You do begin to know your fellow  patrons.

All in all this is a fun and funny evening’s entertainment. Christian brings clean humor to the performance. Katalina makes you feel at home and does some amazing things.  They are a wonderful husband and wife Comedy Mind Reading act. Ticket prices are reasonable with nice discounts for Seniors and Military.  Details and show dates and times are available at the Mind Tripping Show website.

Night scenes in Indy

Indianapolis on a Saturday night in early November can be quite pretty and full of activity. Landmark structures are well lit, and the street horse drawn carriages are already offering cozy rides to couples and families alike.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

State Capital

Downtown Indy’s Hilton hosts a great restaurant

McCormick and Schmick’s Steak and Seafood restaurant is located in downtown Indianapolis on west Market street between Monument Circle and the Capital Building. Housed in the Hilton Hotel, this restaurant  offers fine dining in a comfortable and elegant facility.

Entrance to the restaurant

Sher and I decided to have our dinner there as we waited for a show in the hotel later that Saturday night. The restaurant can be entered either from the lobby or from West Street. We were seated immediately and our waiter, Andrew, came to our table right away. He provided excellent service during our entire dining experience.

Our cocktails and menu

Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Salmon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our cocktails were delivered quickly, along with warm bread and butter. We ordered the Lump Crab cake for our appetizer. It was delicious. Sher had ordered the Blackened Chicken Fettuccine without the chicken. I had the Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Salmon. We were both delighted with our choices from the menu. Pricing was definitely in the $$$$ range, but we both felt that the price was worth it.

Caesars Entertainment buys Indiana Grand Casino

We saw that Caesars Entertainment out of Las Vegas had just bought the Indiana Grand Racing Casino as well as the Hoosier Park casino and racetrack from Centaur Gaming. We went out to the Indiana Grand to see what differences Caesars had brought to the place.

Other than some banners and signs calling out the Caesars name, we did not see any changes at all. The slots were the same. Our old players reward cards were still working, adding points as they always did. The half price buffet is still offered on Mondays for us “Golden Gamers” (folks 50 and over).

On Saturday, July 28th Caesars has a pretty wild promotion give-away day planned. They are calling it “An evening of winning” with $60,000 in cash prizes awarded over the evening.  Enter and get a chance to spin the wheel for an instant prize of $1,000! Time will tell what changes Caesars has in store for their new Indiana properties.  Be sure to check out the Indiana Grand website and the Caesars website for more info.

Million Dollar Quartet rocks the Beef & Boards stage

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre is presenting the Tony Award winning musical Million Dollar Quartet . We were able to catch this show recently, and boy were we glad we did! The story tells how Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash ended up together in the studios of Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee in December, 1956.

Jamming in Sun Records Studio Photo courtesy B&B Media

We were absolutely amazed at the amount of talent on stage. Each cast member gives an amazing and energetic performance. I wanted to dance in the aisles! Get ready to enjoy  “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Walk the Line,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Hound Dog,” and other classic hits.

We thought that Edward La Cardo nailed Elvis both in voice and in the gyrations of his presentation. Justin Figueroa is near perfect Johnny Cash when he “Walks the Line”. Brian Michael Henry, as Jerry Lee Lewis, redefines the phrase “tickle the ivories”.  His fingers just fly across the keys.  And I am sure that Carl Perkins is looking down on Christopher Wren and taps his feet in approval of Wren’s handling of the guitar. Yep, he’s that good. Dave Perry (Brother Jay) is a superb bass player, and Nathan Shew (Fluke) is outstanding on the drums. Rounding out the cast are Beef & Boards regulars Eddie Curry as Sam Phillips and Jill Kelly Howe as Dyanne.

We had a  very special evening at Million Dollar Quartet at Beef  & Boards Dinner Theatre. The music was iconic and professionally performed. We even got a history lesson as well. The sometimes dirty dealings of the record industry back then are shown. And in addition to the show, Chef Odell Ward’s buffet even adds  Southern inspiration to his scrumptious food. If you are in the Indy area we highly recommend MDQ. This is one not to miss.  For reservations, call the box office at 317.872.9664. For more information or complete show schedule through August 26th, visit Beef & Boards website.

 

“Singin in the Rain” gave us an enjoyable evening at Beef & Boards in Indianapolis

A live version of the MGM movie Singin in the Rain is on stage now at the Indianapolis Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. Sher and I enjoyed the first Saturday evening performance of this classic romantic comedy.

Don Lockwood (Timothy Ford), doesn’t mind the downpour as he’s “Singin’ in the Rain” (photo courtesy B&B media)

Singin in the Rain is based on the 1952 MGM feature starring Gene Kelly. The B&B version has a dynamic and talented cast that recreates the famous numbers from the movie. An outstanding performance is given by Hoosier native Buddy Reeder  as Cosmo Brown. Timothy Ford has the lead as Don Lockwood, Kimberly Dorren Burns is cast oppposite him in the role of Kathy Selden. We laughed out loud at B&B favorite Sarah Hund as she nailed the character of Lina Lamont, a ditsy blonde with an amazingly obnoxious voice. Eddie Curry has great comedic timing as the movie director, and Beef & Boards Executive Director Doug Stark once again enjoys being on stage, this time as the movie studio producer.

Cosmo Brown (Buddy Reeder), left, and Don Lockwood (Timothy Ford), right, tap dance while singing “Moses Supposes” to the diction teacher (Michael Shelton) Photo courtesy B&B media

The orchestra is excellent as usual, conducted by Terry Woods who also plays keyboard. Additional musicians included Rick Hajduk on trumpet, Dorthy McDonald on woodwinds, Kristy Templet on keyboard and Cameron Bailey on percussion. You can’t believe how much sound this orchestra can deliver!

Kathy Selden (Kimberly Doreen Burns), center front, pops out of a cake and sings “All I Do is Dream of You” with more dancers during a celebration for Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont at Monumental Picture

We are always impressed with the quality of the lighting and sets at this intimate theater. A couple of technical problems at the beginning of Act 1 were handled with true professionalism. It is fun to see the wide variety of stage effects they can get out of this rather small but very versatile stage.

Ron Morgan’s choreography is true to the flavor of the original. Reeder and Ford display tap dancing perfection in the hilarious number “Moses Supposes”. Those two guys really know how to make those tap shoes talk. And yes, Ford’s rendition of the title song takes place during a real rain shower on stage! Front row tables may even get a few drops of rain during the number.

Kathy Selden (Kimberly Doreen Burns), onstage center in white, performs during the lavish “Beautiful Girl” number on the Monumental Pictures soundstage

Speaking of songs, get ready to hear the songs that made the original movie such a hit. Listen for “Good Morning”, “All I Do is Dream of You”, “You are My Lucky Star” and of course “Singin in the Rain”. I got nostalgic when Reeder sang “Make ‘Em Laugh”. I’ve always liked that song from the first time I heard it at the movie.

Our evening at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre gave us an opportunity to have a relaxing evening of great food and professional entertainment. Our evening began when we were escorted to our table. Drinks are ordered, and then you are invited to the all you care to eat buffet. I always go back for a second slice of the signature roast beef.  Our waiter made sure our drink glasses were always filled. Get a cup of coffee after supper. The coffee is terrific. Deserts are available and Sher and I always  choose to enjoy ours at intermission. (Even though we are supposed to watch our sugar intake, we both went for the Chicago cheesecake with blueberry and strawberry toppings.)

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Singin’ in the Rain is on stage through May 26th.  For tickets, call the box office at 317.872.9664. For complete show schedule, visit the Beef & Boards website.

“Singin in the Rain” will make a splash at Beef and Boards

In 1952 famed movie company MGM produced a musical directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen. “Singin in the Rain” took the industry and movie goers by storm. Indy’s beloved Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre brings the stage version to its intimate facility for 50 performances through May 26th. Sher and I are really looking forward to seeing this production!

Don Lockwood (Timothy Ford), doesn’t mind the downpour as he’s “Singin’ in the Rain” (photo courtesy B&B media)

The title song made Kelly famous for his dancing in the rain. Somehow the B&B technical crew is going to make it rain on stage during that famous number. Can’t wait to see that inside rain storm. We’ll report on what we thought of the show after we’ve seen it. Get ticket info at Beef & Boards website.

 

Indiana Grand Casino offers half price buffet to seniors

Courtesy Centaur Gaming

The Indiana Grand Casino is 20 minutes from downtown Indianapolis in the center of the state. When you get your Club Centaur players card and are 50 and over you are tagged a “Golden Gamer”. Mondays are the best days for seniors at this popular casino.

On Mondays “Golden Gamers” get the Grand Buffet for half price. This is a great deal, especially for the lunch buffet (open 11 to 3). It is a full buffet with a great variety of foods. Half price makes the meal about $7.00 and includes your drink. You get half price for dinner, but it will be about twice the lunch price, but will have more selections of entrees.

In addition to the great deal on the buffet Indiana Grand also sponsors a free slots tournament for Golden Gamers. All you have to do is go to the place where the tournament machines are located, register, and play the slot machine anytime between 1:30 and 4. It is free to play, you try to get the most points in five minutes of play.

You do not have to gamble to get your free Centaur Club card. Take advantage of the great buffet discounts on Mondays. There is plenty of RV parking, with 24 hour shuttles to and from your rig. For information visit the Indiana Grand Racing and Casino website.