I had a wonderful time at the Penrod Arts Festival on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art yesterday. I confess that part of what got me there was the thought that I would be able to bring my iPhone along and “tweet” about my day at Penrod as @IndyTheatre on Twitter.com.
I also made another little video, this time with Dave Ruark from the Indiana Repertory Theatre. (See above.)
Below is the expanded version of my tweets, so that you can see what tweeting is like, if you haven’t already tried it. It’s not for everyone. Please don’t think I’m trying to sell you on Twitter or anything like that.
IndyTheatre hoping to get to #penrodartsfair today. Gorgeous weather for it!
I usually only tweet once a day or once every couple of days to let my Twitter followers know about a new blog post or to give a first impression of a show I’ve just seen. Sometimes I tweet other theatre-related news, but I’ve become resigned to the fact that since I am only a part-time blogger – and I don’t want to give up my fulltime day job as a librarian – I am never going to be able to go after the “scoops” that fulltime, professional journalists can. But that’s okay. What I enjoy most about blogging and micro-blogging anyway are the opportunities to share personal responses in a creative way.
IndyTheatre scored a Marsh discount ticket, gassed up the car…on to Penrod! #penrodartsfair
Micro-blogging “at the scene” is a lot harder than you might think! Being creative, or even observant, on demand is a challenge. Also, you don’t want to be so busy tweeting that you miss the actual experience. But this is true of life in general. One woman yesterday fussed and fussed about where she and her friend were going to sit to watch the dancers. I wanted to shout at her, “Lady, the dancers are dancing right now and you’re missing it! Sit down, shut up, and BE HERE NOW!”
It’s also hard, for me anyway, to type with one’s thumbs. However, almost everything is hard at first, right? So I keep at it with faith that I will get better at it. For this blog post I confess that I corrected most of the mis-typings in my tweets.
Another thing that’s tricky about tweeting is that you can make your tweets more searchable if you use hashtags – keywords that start with # and that are the same keywords that other people are using to write about your topic – but you have to remember to use them.
For the Indy Fringe Festival, for example, the hashtag was #indyfringe. I tried to figure out what the common hashtag would be for everyone who was tweeting about the Penrod Arts Fair, but I couldn’t find any that were specific enough. Plain #penrod led me to some very unsexy porn. Gaagh!
IndyTheatre Wondering what the hashtag is for Penrod. Using #penrodartsfair with fingers crossed.
I never thought I would be one to want to tweet (or text or call) from my car, but when you’re sitting in traffic waiting for the light to change, the urge to pick up your clever new iPhone is almost irresistible. Especially when:
IndyTheatre Sees a couple in lederhosen on their way to #penrodartsfair. Yay!
But I actually finished that tweet from the parking lot because I didn’t sit in traffic very long. The parking for Penrod this year was better organized than ever. I followed the signs to Light of the World Christian Church, slid into a parking spot, and then rode a school bus to the fair itself. Smooth!
IndyTheatre Scores the perfect free parking spot for #penrodartsfair. Is there a hashtag for good parking karma?
There were a gazillion other people at Penrod with me. At first we all shuffled along and I thought, “Oh, man. I hate crowds this dense. I should have stayed home and done yard work.” But eventually the crowd dispersed onto the various paths and I could breath again.
IndyTheatre Hah! Long line at the temporary ATM at #penrodartsfair. Must be good stuff to buy here!
IndyTheatre Stopped by Storytelling Arts of Indiana #penrodartsfair booth to say hi to Ellen Munds. Hi, Ellen!
I actually stopped by this booth a couple of times. Storyteller Marcia Baker was there, too.
IndyTheatre Okay, gorgeous paintings, pottery, and jewelry but where are the stages? (following my ears…)
I forgot to put the hashtag in that tweet. Sigh…
IndyTheatre Yay! Here is the #penrodartsfair dance stage! Just saw Indianapolis School of Ballet! Dazzling!
Young girls danced first on point and then with tap shoes. Then a group of older girls came out on stage and…
IndyTheatre Wow. “Blue Metallica” dance by indyballet.org was fluid, intriguing, & beautiful. #penrodartsfair
I wish I had caught the name of the choreographer. The woman announcing the dances gave him credit but it slipped out of my mind before I could tweet it.
When the Indianapolis School of Ballet was finished, some of the crowd left, and I snagged one of the folding chairs under a huge tree to people-watch and tweet some more before the next show:
IndyTheatre is thinking there is probably a pair of earrings here with my name on it, but Recollective is next on the #penrodartsfair dance stage.
IndyTheatre Cool breeze, shaded seat, live performance art. This is the life! #penrodartsfair
IndyTheatre Wonder where that child had that GREAT skull & crossbones painted on his cheek. #penrodartsfair
I found out later that there was a whole grotto devoted to activities for children. They could throw a pot, watch a puppet show, and more. The face painters used stencils, I think, to make their cool designs.
IndyTheatre Recollective Company is quintessential #penrodartsfair – an entrancing mix of disciplines.
IndyTheatre Just hung out with cast from “Speech & Debate” cast at Phoenix Theatre booth at #penrodartsfair
I was delighted to see Matthew Van Oss at the Phoenix booth. He was a geeky-cutie in a show called “End Days” at the Phoenix in early January, 2008 (just before I started Indy Theatre Habit.) The young woman with him looked familiar, too, and she definitely knew me, but I couldn’t place her, even after we talked for a bit, so I finally had to say, “I’m sorry: I’m spacing on your name and how I know you.” This happens a lot, I’m afraid.
Kelli told me excitedly that she was looking forward to being in “Speech and Debate” with Matt at the Phoenix this year. It’s about three students who feel squelched at their high school. The girl that Kelli plays, for example, never gets cast in school plays because the school’s theatre director hates her. Oh, I’m not explaining it as well as Kelli did. I wish I had thought to ask her to make a little video with me! But I had fun talking with her anyway. And now I am looking forward to seeing “Speech and Debate” next spring.
IndyTheatre Spring Phoenix show “Speech & Debate” sounds VERY fun and real. My kind of high school. Thanks, Kelli!
As I was standing off to the side tweeting, Dave Ruark from the Indiana Repertory Theatre came up to me. “Hey, you made it!” he said. “I just sent you a message on Twitter.”
Dave tweets for the IRT sort of in the same way I do: the occasional news bit or blog link, but then sometimes a whole flurry of “in the moment” tweets for special occasions such as when the cast of a new show gathers for the first time. I love reading Dave’s tweets. (Follow him yourself @IRTlive.)
Dave is also an iPhone user. It’s sort of like being in a club: you bond easily simply because you’re both members. He gave me some useful tips about downloading apps, and recommended Twitterific to make tweeting easier.
IndyTheatre Enjoyed talking with Dave Ruark from the IRT just now at #penrodartsfair. Video on blog tonight. Thanks, Dave!
I walked some more, and thought about tweeting that the three people at the Arts Council of Indianapolis booth made me smile because they looked like people from the movie “Men in Black” because they were all wearing dark sunglasses and standing solemnly with their arms crossed and this made me feel glad that the Arts Council is out there fighting on behalf of Indy arts…but before I could figure out how to say that in 140 characters or less, I was distracted by another booth – the Indiana Historical Society’s:
IndyTheatre Yay! Huge photo of man Abraham Lincoln at the indianahistory.org booth at #penrodartsfair
IndyTheatre Ooops! That should have been MY man Lincoln…but I’ll share. #penrodartsfair
Also by then I was at another of the several Penrod stages:
IndyTheatre Tad Robinson and company on the #penrodartsfair jazz stage is making me dance in public! I’m not the only one!
Matthew Socey, host of “The Blues House Party” on WFYI, was the MC for that stage. He said he was going to include musical cuts from the Penrod event later that night on his radio show. I caught the tail end of it on my drive home from a theatre show. Fun!
IndyTheatre Loving the idyllic “secret” paths of the IMA grounds especially during #penrodartsfair
Everything was in bloom! There were colors and patterns everywhere, yet they were all presented in a completely soothing way.
IndyTheatre IMA Lilly House is beautiful…and it has flush toilets. Yay! #penrodartsfair
I would like to go back to the Indianapolis Museum of Art some day soon to just wander the beautiful grounds and take a more leisurely tour of the Lilly House and exhibits. I am sorry that I have let my membership lapse. People were offering free tickets to the Penrod festival if you bought an IMA membership at the gate, but I had already bought a discounted ticket at Marsh. ($12 instead of $15) Ah, well. I’m sure the IMA will let me renew my membership the next time I’m there.
I wandered next to the children’s area, just to see what it was like…
IndyTheatre just “pet” a violin at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Petting Zoo at #penrodartsfair. Very cool.
A young man named Charles Lin, I think, from the ISO’s Education Department showed me how to put the violin under my chin and move the bow parallel to the little bridge thingy. My breath caught, it was such an exhilarating experience.
“How do you know where to put the fingers of your left hand?” I asked when I could breathe again.
Charles smiled and said, “Oh, you just learn.” I moved the bow then while he held down the strings. Then I tried holding down one string myself. “About an inch from the end,” he said, before turning to help someone else with another violin.
I pressed down on the string, drew the bow across, lifted my finger, drew it across again.
I wonder how much violins cost.
IndyTheatre feels good but is grateful for the firstaid people at #penrodartsfair just in case.
I walked past some more booths for organizations. Indianapolis Civic Theatre, Footlite Musicals, Buck Creek Players, and more. I didn’t stop to talk at each one, especially if I didn’t recognize the people staffing them, but I was glad to see them represented at Penrod.
Several people in black t-shirts, including a woman who told me her name was Robin, were assertively approaching passers-by to hand them show fliers:
IndyTheatre enjoyed talking with Robin from cabaretpoe.com at #penrodartsfair. New-to-me Irvington Lodge theatre.
Robin said that a young man who is somehow connected with a seniors center in Irvington put some of Edgar Allen Poe’s stories and poems to music. His show (warning: his website’s sound effects are startling!) will be at the Irvington Lodge all through October.
“It’s not a Masonic lodge any more,” Robin told me. “We’re making it into a theatre!”
“Are you in the cast?” I asked.
“Oh, no! I’m just helping to get the word out.”
I gave Robin my blog card and asked her to pass it on to “the young man” (I never did get his name) or whoever is sending out press releases or whatever.
Then I got serious about shopping…
IndyTheatre Hey! This year’s #penrodartsfair earrings DO have my name on them! “Hope” & “Create.”
…and about seeing as much as I could of the festival grounds…
IndyTheatre feels good to sit down with a lemonade. How big IS #penrodartsfair anyway?
It is HUGE. I walked and walked and still only saw a fraction of what was offered. But by then it was 4:30. The festival would end at 5:00. My iPhone battery was down to only 10% – just enough to call the Epilogue Players to make a last-minute reservation to see “Other People’s Money” at 7:30 that night. Then I listened to a band wearing tie-dyed shirts play songs from the 1960s and 1970s.
IndyTheatre Grooving to Peace Train on rock stage at #penrodartsfair. So glad I came!
Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com and @IndyTheatre