This week’s listmaker: Ken Honeywell. Ken is creative director at Well Done Marketing and editor-in-chief of Punchnel’s. He was Fountain Square before Fountain Square was cool.
Here is how far we have come in just five years: Five years ago when I told people my office was in Fountain Square, the most common responses were, “Where exactly is that?” and “Is it safe?” Today, the most common response is an over the top, almost fawning admiration. “Oh, god. I love Fountain Square.” That’s what people say today.
Gentrification–let’s call a spade a spade–hasn’t been easy for everybody in Fountain Square. The arrival of creative-class hipsters has led to a rise in property values that isn’t exactly friendly to the working-class people who’ve lived in Fountain Square for decades. It’s not the hipsters’ fault: the revitalized Fountain Square commercial district is a sort of bohemian paradise. It’s like a little slice of San Francisco’s Mission District right here in Indianapolis; the resident who painted “Just move to San Francisco already” on a Fountain Square wall knew whereof he sprayed.
And, to be fair, the people who are moving into Fountain Square and its surrounds are mostly generous and open-minded and delightful. Right now, it’s an amazing place to be–and this coming weekend is going to be especially amazing. It’s no coincidence that at least three big Fountain Square events this weekend involve Well Done Marketing and our staff. We love it here–and we’d love for you to visit. Here are five good reasons to come this weekend.
1. A Mythic Indy Reading, Friday, March 7, 7 p.m. at Well Done Marketing, 1043 Virginia Ave. in the Murphy Arts Center. If you’ve been following our Mythic Indy series, you know how uniformly interesting and inventive these stories have been. You may also know about the good work we do with Second Story, the non-for-profit group we started to help Indianapolis kids learn to love creative writing. This Friday, our worlds collide as we welcome Indianapolis author Bryan Furuness to our Mythic Indy reading. (I can vouch for Bryan’s talent. I just finished his excellent novel The Lost Episodes of Revie Bryson, and highly recommend it.) He’ll be joined by Mythic Indy authors Dawn Fable, Sarah Layden, and Maggie Wheeler. Admission is free; we’ll be selling refreshments, and all proceeds go to benefit Second Story. Hear some great storytelling; help out some kids. Seems like a plan to us.
2. Water Liars with Motel Beds and Mina & the Wondrous Flying Machine, Friday, March 7, Do317 Lounge in the Murphy Arts Center–doors at 7, music at 8. Ah, Water Liars. Their album Wyoming was probably my favorite of last year. Their music is tough and literate and brutally honest, and I hope our reading event will be done in time for me to make it upstairs for their set. But you should also consider their opener that night: Mina & the Wondrous Flying Machine features Well Done Marketing partner Scott Woolgar on guitar–and the equally wondrous Mina Keohane on keyboards and vocals. And the Do317 Lounge is a really nice, intimate space to see a great show.
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3. Thunderbird, 1127 Shelby Street. With mixology bars doing brisk business downtown, it’s a wonder it took this long for the trend to hit Fountain Square. (The Square’s proximity to Bluebeard is certainly one explanation.) Wonder no more: Thunderbird is open, and it’s as fabulous as you’d imagine from the combination of drinks by Joshua Gonzales late of Ball and Biscuit and the Libertine, food by Ed Rudisell of Siam Square and Black Market and Rook fame, a Southern-leaning menu by Rook’s Carlos Salazar, and decor by Nikki Sutton, with a big assist from Kipp Normand. It’s gorgeous, warm, and comfortable, the drinks are fun (and potent), and the food is delightful–scaled-up bar fare including fried hominy, shrimp and grits, chicken and hoecake, and cornbread. If you’re making a night of it in Fountain Square, it’s worth adding Thunderbird into the mix.
4. Beta Cell Bash, celebrating the songs of Johnny Cash to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Saturday, March 8, at Radio Radio, 1119 E. Prospect St.–doors at 8, music at 8:30. Great cause, right? And a show featuring a lineup of some of Indianapolis’s most interesting musicians, including Well Done Marketing’s own Brian Deer. All performing the songs of Johnny Cash at a bar that has no small pile of rockabilly cred. Proving once again that Indianapolis musicians are, as a group, some of the most charitable people I know. And that sometimes the best way to raise money for a great cause is to show people a damn good time.
5. End of the Line Public House–in the Fountain Square Theatre Building, on the Shelby Street side. Long before all the cool new restaurants and bars (and people) showed up in Fountain Square, Linton and Fern Calvert bought the Fountain Square Theatre Building and turned it into a destination; before three years ago, if you knew one thing about Fountain Square it was that you could go duckpin bowling there. If you knew another thing, it was probably the Diner, a ’50s style establishment at the corner of Prospect and Shelby. But the other restaurant the Calverts ran, Shelbi Street Cafe, was reliably excellent. It was the nice place to eat in Fountain Square for people in the know. For the past few years, it’s been rebranded at the End of the Line Public House–and, if anything, the food is better. I think they have the best macaroni and cheese in Indianapolis. Their pizzas are outstanding. Their gingham salad is better known to several Well Done Marketing staff as “Crack Salad.” What I’m saying here is that, yes, Fountain Square is rightly being celebrated for all the cool new stuff there is to do here. But don’t overlook the places and the people that have been making us cool all along.