Monday, August 4, 2014

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

“At the crux of every game is knowing when it’s time to leave the table.  And it’s important to be artful in your exit.  No turning back.”  “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”

Friday we were Dick and Cheryl Hagelberg’s guests at a Gary SouthShore RailCats baseball game at U S Steel Yard.  Dick and George McGuan’s company, Kidstuff Playstations, purchased about 50 tickets for employees and their families.  Admission included free food at a picnic area, including Cole slaw, baked beans, chips, hot dogs, and burgers.  The contest featured a steal of home (when the rival pitcher attempted to pick a runner off first base), a disputed home run, a beautiful catch by the RailCats’ centerfielder, and a game ending double play.  An old-timer (about my age) sitting in the first row next to the visiting dugout had a scorebook and cowbell, reminding me of when Mrs. Smith, wife of Dave’s Little League coach, would ring one at every opportunity.  This guy used his more judiciously.  Earning the save was RailCats newcomer Andy Loomis, a Bishop Noll grad who played Triple-A ball in the Baltimore Orioles farm system before injuring his elbow.  He had Tommy John surgery just 12 months ago.  The weather cooperated, and a splendid fireworks display followed the 8-5 RailCats victory over the Kansas City T-Bones.
above, Jimbo, Dick & Cheryl; photo by Toni Lane
Andy Loomis on mound and congratulated by manager Greg Tagert

Saturday we subbed in the Hagelbergs’ bridge group.  Beforehand eight of us dined at Miller Bakery Café.  The other two couples are members of the Hobart Unitarian Church and good liberals.  Brian and Connie Barnes, who sat across from us, are neighbors and friends with former IUN administrator and IU Southwest chancellor F.C. Richardson and his wife.  Brian, a history buff, expressed interest in attending September’s book club meeting at Gino’s.  Back at Hagelbergs, I started strong the first round with Toni as my partner but then had mostly poor hands the rest of the night.  Toni finished second, a mere 100 points behind Cheryl.  We had each contributed a dollar to the pot, and Cheryl received $4, Toni $3, and Dick a buck, the booby prize.

Sunday the Hagelbergs drove us to Memorial Opera House for musical “Dirty Rotten Scandals,” which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Kevin Sherman and Darren Serhal were delightful as con artists.  Serhal reminded Cheryl of Adam Sandler and me of Steve Martin, who co-starred with Michael Caine in the1988 movie on which the play was based.  Sexy lead actresses Peyton Tinder and Matlyn Rybak kept my interest as well.  Afterwards, when I declared that “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” was the best play I’d ever scene at the Opera House, the others ranked it second only to “Chicago.”

It was pouring when the final curtain went down, but Dick, who hoped to eat outside, speculated that it wasn’t raining in Chesterton.  Sure enough, it had stopped by the time we reached Lucrezia’s; and after I discovered the source of water dripping on me (an adjoining table’s umbrella), I was relatively comfortable.  I had scallops, a salad, and a bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  When the Hagelbergs dropped us off, Cheryl said we were probably sick of them.  On the contrary, it was a fun weekend, due in large part to activities they had organized.

In the Post-Trib Jeff Manes profiled filmmaker Dan Rybicky, whose documentary “Almost There,” about 82 year-old Peter Anton, is due out soon.  A sneak preview recently took place at the 90 year-old Hoosier Theatre in Whiting during Pierogi Fest.  Anton lived his entire life in a house on Hemlock Street in East Chicago that it was condemned three years ago.  Rybicky and co-director Aaron Wickenden refer to “Almost Home” as a “coming of old age story.”  Manes summed it up as “hilarious, heartbreaking, and haunting.”

David Rutter’s Post-Trib column castigated Governor Mike Pence for claiming to be a good Christian while calling for the deportation of 245 Central American child refugees.  After quoting the Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty Rutter writes that the children “who traveled thousands of milers just to escape horrific gang violence seem to be the very refugees to whom Lazerus refers.  Nope.  Vamoose, says the governor.”  Going from the ridiculous to the sublime, without an iota of evidence, Indiana Congressman Todd Rokita suggested that the Central American children might be bringing with them the Ebola virus that has killed nearly a thousand West Africans.

In the Conference Center lobby Steve McShane installed a display of new Archives acquisitions in one of the glass cases.  In addition to three Arcadia Press volumes Ken Schoon’s “Dunelands,” and biographies of Jim Jontz and George Taliaferro, he included Roy Dominguez’s “Valor,” my latest Shavings, and Anne Balay’s “Steel Closets.”  Steve recognized Anne’s worth to the university and regional scholarship, unlike the scoundrels who felt threatened by her and used colleagues she supposed were her friends to spy on her.  Today John Trafny donated a copy of his new pictorial history of Glen Park, which will go into the case shortly.
above, kids celebrate during 1949 Glen Park Jubilee; below, James H. Madison

On the back cover of James Madison’s “Hoosiers” are words of praise from former Congressman Lee H. Hamilton, former Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, Indiana Humanities CEO Keira Amstutz, and me.  Terming the book “a towering achievement, I wrote: “Madison has provided a fresh, stimulating, user-friendly, and definitive new history.  He captures the economic, political, social, and cultural diversity of Indiana and presents a richly illustrated and documented history that makes room for ordinary people, outsiders, and dissenters.”

On Friday French filmmaker Blandine Huk emailed Maurice Yancy that the documentary she and Frederic Cousseau have been working on is almost done except for fine-tuning of subtitles and sound mixing.  She added: “We follow the blog of Jim so we saw you on a funny picture recently [taken at Taste of Chicago].” 

Today, lo and behold, Frederic and Blandine sent me a link to the finished product, called “My Name is Gary.”  I was thrilled at how good it is.  I congratulated them on an awesome job that brought back fond memories of their two-month visit last fall when they stayed with Kate Land and Corey Hagelberg.  I appear in the film with Samuel A. Love putting up Camilo Vergara’s Martin Luther King posters on the front wall of 4 Brothers Market on Twenty-First Ave.  I also provided analysis on the 1967 election of Richard Hatcher.  Excerpts of their interview of Hatcher, which took place in the Calumet Regional Archives, are among the many highlights.  Hatcher told of a bullet intended for him barely missing its target (a story I’d never heard before) and of the huge celebration along Broadway when he won office as mayor.
 Richard Hatcher still shots posted by Samuel A. Love

“My Name Is Gary” commences with footage of white folks at Marquette Beach and a 1956 Golden Jubilee parade down Broadway.  Near the end we see a black family swimming in the lake and a parade that took place last September on the day I went with them to the former site of Stewart Settlement House, now an urban garden, where a neighborhood block party was taking place.  After I told Frederic and Blandine how impressed I was with “My Name Is Gary,” they emailed back: “This is great that you love the film, we are very happy."

The latest Rolling Stone (with Katy Perry on the cover) contains a moving article on transgender victim CeCe McDonald, who spent 19 months on prison for merely defending herself when attacked by a racist high on meth.  I plan on showing it to Anne Balay.  Also in the issue is David Fricke’s interview with Tom Patty, a native of Gainesville, Florida. Petty, who still retains an accent despite having lived in Southern California for 20 years, declared: “I don’t necessarily agree with a lot of the Southern ethic.  I’m grateful to the South.  It’s a beautiful place.  There are wonderful people that are fascinating to me.  There’s also terrible ignorance and downright evil.  That’s part of the culture, all mixed together.”

Son Dave, who turns 45 today, will receive the “I Am Success” award on Saturday, and former E.C. Central student Denzel Smith posted a photo with him.  Keon Kendall wrote: “That must have been a great day if you got Lane to actually smile in a picture.”  Also honored by The Circle was Christine Scott.  Tykora Williams wrote: “I love Ms. Scott.  She was the only person who knew I wasn’t a troublemaker.”


We meant to celebrate Dave’s birthday with Chinese carry-out, but both places in Chesterton were closed on Mondays, so we settled on Applebee’s, where I ordered my second Leinenkugel Summer Shandy (a fruit beer that’s growing on me) in three days.  Joining us was Jim Migoski, on the last leg of a six-week cross-country trip that included an Alaska cruise.  His wife Kate, Toni’s best friend, died nine months ago, and Big Jim,” my former bowling teammate before transferred to Pittsburgh, planned several trips to Cancun for the four of us.   Toni had a chance to talk with him during the day, and I invited him for breakfast the next day.  It’s been rough for him, but the road trip is a sign he is determined to not remain morose about his lot in life.  Kate would have wanted it that way.  I talked Becca into riding in Jim’s new Lincoln, which had a device for lighting up the floor.  She tried all seven color choices.   Angie made a birthday cake, but most of us were too full to have more than a sample.

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