Friday, April 13, 2012

Jazz Corner

Standing at the intersection yesterday, 
at Indiana Avenue and North Streets, I realized
I was standing in the middle of an area where so much
of the culture of Indiana's African-American
population was developed and expressed. 

The building above is the Madame Walker Theater
built in 1919 by Madame C.J. Walker, 
America's first self-made woman millionaire.
She had made her fortune through the development
and sale of her own line of hair care products.

The building shown above was a structure 
that made a big impression on me when I moved 
to Indianapolis in the late 1970s. Then, its brick facade 
was painted white with black trim. I knew it
as Arlene's, a record store whose primary clientele
was black. I love the building and have been 
very pleased to see it restored, with all of its beautiful
details accentuating its form. 


dive said...

Great buildings and a nice statue, too. So good to see an American city looking after its heritage.

Speedway said...

I have a nice story about the sculpture to tell you.

Just about this time last year, on my way to work, I found the saxophonist cut off at the knees, his torso lying beside his feet. I didn't know who owned or was otherwise in charge of the sculpture to tell them it was broken (I'd thought maybe a car hit it). The next morning it was still there, so when I got home early that day, I called the local arts commission to tell them about it, etc. When I went by again over the weekend, the sax player's torso was gone, I figured for repairs.

The sax player did not reappear, though. Some time later, I saw an item on the arts commission newsletter asking for info about a stolen sculpture. Yep, the sax player was gone - they figured for the metal. I called the detective to give him the info I had - dates, times, etc.
But the sax player was gone.

Later that summer, I read in the paper that it had been recovered, found in an alley by a man who'd taken it to a metal recycler to sell. The recycler recognized the sax player and told the guy to take it to the police.
Sax player returned, but not repaired and reset with the rest of his combo.

That is, not until the Super Bowl. I came downtown one afternoon to work at an art exhibit and saw the sax player had been re-installed and all of his buddies were polished and waxed, as they are now.

If I hadn't reported it in the first place, who knows whether he'd been sent to the smelter's, never to play again with his band mates. But it felt good to see him and to feel that I maybe played a part in his survival.