Dan Wakefield’s Red Key

What I love most about Dan Wakefield is his sense of humor. He is really funny. It is uncanny how close in humor he naturally is to his dear friend Kurt Vonnegut. Dan’s wit and satirical sense of humor is not lost on me.

Dan WakefieldWakefield is starting a blog called “Vonnegut’s Oldest Living Friend” which has an asterisk beside it, since it isn’t
exactly true. Vonnegut’s lawyer is older and so is one other friend, so I suggest the title should be “Vonnegut’s 3rd Oldest Living Friend Who Writes Almost As Well As He Did”

The truth is, Wakefield can hold his own against anyone.

Wakefield will soon be releasing a soft cover version of “Under The Apple Tree”. He was inspired to write this from memories of his childhood, creating the older brother he longed for, modeled after his WWII hero cousin who grew up next door to Dan on Guilford.

When I interviewed Dan a couple months ago for an article in the Broad Ripple Community Newsletter, atBRip.com, Dan told me he moved back to Indy for two reasons: the Indianapolis Central Library and The Red Key.

Spending an evening with Dan Wakefield at his favorite hang out, I understand the draw.

After we sit down at a booth with a small table, the waitress immediately brings him a glass of red wine.

No one’s head turns when you walk in. This isn’t a place to see and be seen, it’s an intimate gathering place, for quiet and friendly conversation.

The owner is behind the bar, representing the 2nd of 3rd generations of their family. The name could be “The Red low-Key” The lighting is just right and the furnishings are all cozy originals (and still comfortable, thank God).

After I order a drink, Dan deposits his change into the jukebox, filling the place with his favorite music, which compliments not only the ambiance, but Dan’s life. ”The Rose” sung by Bette Midler comes on first.

Wakefield shares a story about a friend of his who met her husband at The Red Key. As the story goes, the gal was at the bar and a man sat next to her, hoping to make a new friend. She got up to use the bathroom and the owner (Russ, the founder) came over to the guy and told him that his intentions better be honorable or else. These two ended up marrying.

The proprietor wanted to establish a place where a woman could come in and feel safe.

Dinah Washington sings, “Love Walked In”

As I comment that the menu is comfort food, Dan responds, “it’s comfort everything.” For him, no truer statement could be made.

Dan is a vegetarian unless he is at The Red Key. Simple options on the menu make for quick decisions, the burgers are good and so is the chili and potato salad.

In the article I wrote about Dan, our graphic artist used a painting of Dan by artist Ellen Crabb, based on a photo taken at our booth. Dan shares that he met the artist, Ellen Crabb, here at The Red Key.

Dan was dining with a couple of friends and asked Ellen if she was a relation of Cecil “Buddy” Crabb, a former star halfback of the Shortridge Blue Devils. Buddy had been 2 years ahead of Dan at school, and had no idea who Dan was, but everyone knew Buddy. Turns out Buddy was Ellen’s uncle who lived on Meridian Street, had been a fighter pilot in Korea and a General in the USAF.

“I can’t get started” plays on the jukebox with Bunny Berigan on trumpet. The lyrics are hysterical and Dan (as am I) is highly entertained by them:

I’ve flown around the world in a plane, I’ve settled revolutions in Spain, The North Pole I have charted, but I can’t get started with you.

“It’s the first song, written in 1936, that uses contemporary references,” shares Wakefield, “I thought Cole Porter wrote it, but he didn’t.” It was Ira Gershwin. I looked it up. Everyone from Bob Hope, Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, have all covered it. Great tune.

Dan asks me if I have seen the latest Nuvo, which I hadn’t but fortunately it was on a stand by the door. He told me that the front page reads, “Dan Wakefield on Orgasms. Page 21” I immediately jump up to grab a copy.

Betsy Blankenbaker wrote a book about her orgasms. It is an important work, truth be told. Apparently Betsy directed a documentary on “New York in the 50s” which is Wakefield’s favorite of his works (I believe he said this, if not exactly his favorite work, this was his favorite class he taught at Florida International University.) So in thanks, he writes a book review of her Autobiography of An Orgasm. I ordered my copy.

Dan explains that while they are friends, they weren’t close friends and reading this book was the first he’s known of her orgasms. Now that that’s out of the way…

Sammy Davis Jr. is singing “Something’s gotta Give”

Looking at the planes hanging from the ceiling, Dan shares that during filming of Going All The Way, any planes that were not WWII were taken down. A few scenes were shot in The Red Key. (then it hits me – I am in a pub where Ben Affleck has been! – actually, I just thought of that. I don’t care about this aspect. At all.)

“I wrote the book Going All The Way while living in Boston,” says Wakefield, “In it, I mistakenly wrote that The Red Key was located at 54th and College, and I heard about it from many a local critic…”

It’s located at 52nd & College.

We finish up as “My Way” by Frank Sinatra plays.

View the article on Dan here:

As the Year Comes to a Close, a Look Back

Aside from spending time with my family, my favorite part of December is the recap of amazing stories throughout the year. In this week’s Sports Illustrated, Sportsmen of the Year are celebrated, highlighting stories from 2014.

The notable stories from the Olympics includes biathlete Tracy Barnes qualifying for Team USA  only to give up her spot to her twin sister, Lanny. That’s a special kind of love.

Gold medalist Dario Cologna of Switzerland crossed the finish line of the cross country ski race only to wait another 28 minutes for 43 year old Roberto Carcelen of Peru, who finished last. Cologna hugged him at the finish line. Carcelen is only the 3rd winter Olympian from Peru and competed with broken ribs sustained during training a few days earlier.

Perhaps my favorite athlete from the Winter Olympics was Team USA Luger Kate Hansen, who danced uninhibitedly to jams on her iPod. She tuned out the world, even while being filmed, and just danced. We should all dance like her.

Sportsmanship was perhaps best exemplified by the Oak Harbor HS football team, forfeiting the championship game to their arch-rival, Marysville-Pilchuck Tomahawks. Marysville-Pilchuck school suffered a horrible tragedy, with a student opening fire in the cafeteria, shooting 5 kids, killing 4 of those, then shooting himself. The Oak Harbor team showed dignity and compassion rarely exhibited in competitive sports, especially in a championship game of high school football. Those boys and coaches are earth angels.

The ALS challenge. Who knew that a bucket of ice water would aide in awareness of a disease like nothing before? Thanks to John Frates, millions of people had cold chills and wet pants.

Stories of inspiration, where blessings can occur under extreme circumstances, or perhaps just a 13 year old, determined to improve his basketball game in Queens by shoveling away the snow off a court. He couldn’t wait for the snow to melt.

I love reading these stories of triumph, of courage, and of perseverance. These are worth reading over and over, enjoying the highs, looking for blessings in every situation, and keep on keeping on.

indy 11

Perhaps my favorite story of 2014 is a little closer to home. The Fishers HS Lady Tigers, with my daughter as one of the goalkeepers, led a team all the way to the state finals, winning the state championship and finishing #1 in the final MaxPreps National rankings!!!!! Go Tigers!

Fishers High School is in a class all to themselves. The school spirit is incredible. The student support, the fans – it has been an amazing four years for our family, and to wrap up a high school experience on top like that is simply amazing. The school is 8 years old…incredible! or as my youngest says frequently, who likes quotes from The Princess Bride, “That’s INCONCEIVABLE!” And we aren’t done with FHS – we will have a freshman there next fall and another is coming down the pike! :o)

indy 11 end of year

I wonder what amazing stories await us in 2015?

FailFest Blog

I want to first express my gratitude to all of the amazing people that I meet, and especially those that loving share their stories with me. This trust means a great deal to me and I am so grateful to write about so many fun, interesting, and incredible people!

Ok, now to discuss FailFest!

For the main article I wrote on FailFest, please visit www.atFishers.com.

On November 19th, Launch Fishers played host to a variety of speakers who really don’t use the f-word. And by f-word, I mean “failure”

While I enjoyed all of the speakers that I listened to, I am going to share my notes from Susan Baroncini-Moe’s presentation. Here are the highlights from my notes on her speech:

6 steps to transform failure into success

  1. let yourself feel the emotions – let it go (give a time limit)
  2. acknowledge your successes – from the experience, spin your view – fresh perspective
  3. analyze mistakes – clear plan, clear goals, strategy in place
  4. strategize the future
  5. take action

ok, so maybe I only got the necessary 5 steps…


you can transform failure into success you decide what happens next, most importantly – failing doesn’t make you a failure – you decide who you are going to be tomorrow.

My favorite quote came from a guy who has a sign on his desk that reads:

“Fucking up two things at once does not count as multi-tasking.”

Best gratitude moment: John Wechsler thanking his mom for his spinal column.


Indy Premier

To tell the truth, I have been looking for an excuse to write an article on the local soccer club that I have been writing checks to for over 12 years. When Fishers Soccer Club merged with Noblesville SC and IPSC, and added to their coaching staff (2) members of the new Indy Eleven  professional soccer team, I finally found that opportunity.


As a parent of three kids – who all are currently playing on a team as I type, I can’t say enough about the program that they have all experienced or are currently involved in. My oldest, when she was five, wanted to play soccer. She was the kid that stood around and watched – while ON THE FIELD – and observed the other girls running and furiously kicking a ball, and sometimes other players, to get it into a goal. She would incidentally touch the ball now and then and I was shocked she wanted to keep playing. She is an observer, and was learning it first, then slowly began to participate, as she was visualizing the field like a game of chess. She was the perfect kid for a coach to “develop” into a talented player. There are some coaches who only like working with and are only useful to coaching already naturally athletically talented kids, and most enjoy the development of players. My kid was always on the third team once she started travel. She was long-legged and awkward through puberty – and it is during this phase of growth that kids either excel in their sports or fall off. She started to excel, but it wasn’t without the proper coaching and encouragement, which she fortunately received through this soccer club. The coaches have been incredible. So this kid, who is a bright, talented goalkeeper, persevered and made it to the top team once she got to U15. And now she is her high school varsity team  and has some opportunities to play at the collegiate level. While we are unclear if that will happen (she is more focused on academics and is not interested in playing D1) she loves the game and I credit her coaches at Indy Premier – most of whom are still there. Not bad for being on the “C” team.

DSC08935The other aspect of Indy Premier that is incredible, is their aggressiveness with their goalkeeping training. Kirby Valle, who played at Tennessee and Butler (after her mom suffered a stroke during her freshman year at Tennessee, she abandoned a full-ride scholarship to be closer to home and help take care of her mom and went on to play women’s semi-pro as a keeper – and a side note, the ONLY position at the time for Tennessee women’s soccer that was a full-ride is that of GK) is heading up the GK coaches, which includes Jason Ballack (played at Wright State and professionally) and German GK, starting Indy Eleven keeper Kristian Nicht. It is now mandatory attendance for all GKs in training to attend 2x per week – depending on age. This is crazy awesome! Indy Premier is creating an amazing base of success and support for soccer players on the northeast side of Indianapolis. I am happy that my boys are benefiting from this!


I love that so many kids have the opportunity to participate in so many different sports, and having a support group of coaches who really care about your child helps tremendously. I am grateful that my daughter was not on the top teams initially. I have watched the attitudes and superiority complexes of the kids who have always been on the top team, and while many are truly talented, natural athletes and continue to improve, many have fallen off…for once you are at the top for so long, it is hard to cope with not. Parenting and support come in handy in those cases, as they are delicate and challenging. Regardless of the experience we have with our boys, I know that they will continue to love the game and you never know from all the kids out on the field, which one will some day be the next greatest soccer coach ever, having played at a supportive club as a kid.

Full article on Indy Premier is found in the Sept. issue of atFishers.com and atGeist.com, part of the Towne Post Media Network

Author John David Anderson

Interviewing John David (he prefers “Dave”) Anderson was fun – I read his novel, STANDARD HERO BEHAVIOR prior to meeting him, and I really enjoyed it! It is a fun read, and for an official review, I had my 13 year old son read it, he loved it, and is waiting for a sequel! (Dave, ahem! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge!)

Dave’s books can be found on Amazon.com!

KR: I see a trend in SIDEKICKED and with Standard Hero Behavior that the main character thinks of himself as an unlikely hero – (is this the case with MINION, too? I haven’t read it yet) How do you see these characters? Let’s start with Mason is SHB.

JDA: Heroism is often a function of circumstance rather than superpower. I think all of my novels question what it means to be heroic, though some, like STANDARD HERO BEHAVIOR, are more tongue-in-cheek about it. I think that’s why I enjoy superhero stories–because they allow us to explore the contrasts between the human and superhuman, to see (and relate to) the potential flaws in even our most idyllic figures. Mason Quayle finds himself in a situation that requires him to be heroic and struggles to rise to the occasion. Andrew Bean has the makings of a hero–the code, the costume, the powers–but just wearing a mask isn’t enough. SIDEKICKED is full of heroes with ulterior motives, and I think, its this question of motive that makes the exploration of heroism so interesting. My latest novel, MINION, actually explores it from the other side–questioning whether someone clearly planted on the wrong side of the law can still be considered heroic–and, again, I think it comes down to a question of motivation and world view. What do you have that’s worth fighting for?

KR: What elements from the universe you use as the setting for MINION and SIDEKICKED that you wish existed on Earth?

JDA: The moments I like best in those novels are the mundane ones, actually. Drew cheating on a math test. Conversations on the bleachers behind the school. Meeting a girl at the mall. To be honest, I’m glad we don’t live in Metropolis or Gotham or any place where capes and masterminds take to the skies to duke it out. If we did, I would undoubtedly be one of the bystanders, probably the guy who gets stepped on by a giant robot.

That said, it is a lot of fun creating a universe where the ordinary and extraordinary have so much interplay. You see the latest Marvel blockbuster, and for the most part, it’s nonstop, popcorn-munching action. Not always a lot of quiet moments. I like my universe to be more balanced. Quiet, with the occasional supernova thrown in to shake things up.

KR: In MINION and SIDEKICKED you have contrasting narrators: Drew is a hero, albeit a flawed one. Michael is a villain, though equally reluctant, it seems, to embrace that identity. Which character do you identify more with?

JDA: I’m a do-gooder at heart. For all of his flaws and trust issues, Drew is an upstanding character. He faces familiar coming-of-age obstacles–identity issues, daddy issues, girl problems, escaped henchmen trying to knock his head off–but as I was writing his story there was never a doubt in mind that he would (try to) do the right thing at the end. Michael, on the other hand–I had no idea what he was going to do. The act of writing the novel was an act of exploration, attempting to pinpoint his motives, watching him evolve, to create a values system that works somewhat outside of society’s norm. So I guess I’m more like Drew, but there’s a part of me that finds Michael a lot more compelling.

KR: What’s next? A return to the world of superheroes?

JDA: A return to the world of fantasy, actually. Stuttering mages. Barbarians that faint at the sight of blood. Goblin turncoats. And a protagonist who is short a finger but finds its easier to pick pockets that way. Look for The Dungeoneers next summer (2015).

Scott and Aunna Fadness, Soon to be the First Mayor of Fishers, and First Time Parents

First Family PhotoIt is refreshing to interview a politician and sense that “I could be friends with these people”, as is the case with Scott and Aunna. They are warm, inviting, fun, and shockingly normal. Let’s hope the office of Mayor does not jade them!

A funny story that was shared that didn’t make the article: Like any couple expecting their first child, there is a lot of preparation. One Saturday, Aunna was away for the day and Scott decided he would be useful and paint the baby’s room. (Let me stop here and add that Scott knows everything about how to run a farm, having grown up on one. Once he enters a home, however, the expertise abruptly ends at the threshold.) They had the paint, it just needed to be applied to the walls. Scott had watched the professional painters change the wall color in several other rooms in their home, so how hard could it be, right? Scott went to the Do-It Center to pick up the needed accoutrements and went to work. When Aunna got home he told her to go look in the baby’s room. She ascended the stairs with trepidation  Reaching the doorway of their baby’s room, she stood there and cried. For there was not only paint on the walls, but also on the carpet, ceiling, and trim. Before she came back downstairs, Aunna placed a desperate 911 call their painter to COME AND FIX IT!

First Family 5

Every couple has a story like this one, where boundaries are set, rules are created, and limitations discovered. One of my favorite stories of my husband’s household handiness is a plumbing episode from our condo in Broad Ripple. We had a drip in the master shower that was slowly getting worse and making me crazy. It had progressed to the point that I had to close the bathroom door at night. After insisting that he could fix it, and after dropping hints that I should just call a plumber, he finally took the initiative to tackle it, on Thanksgiving Day…

I was very pregnant with child #2, and our oldest was 3.5 years old. The shower was a standup, stall shower that I could barely fit into being 8 months pregnant. As he popped off the nob, it unexpectedly burst forth, pinning him against the opposing wall, shooting out cold water at his chest like a fire hydrant. His arms and legs are spastically moving all around as he is screaming. I enter the bathroom to see what is going on and started laughing to the point of tears. It was the funniest visual and situational comedic event I have ever seen that wasn’t on a movie screen. Our daughter enters and starts crying because she thinks I am crying, due to the tears of laughter streaming down my face.

By 2pm on Thanksgiving Day, every plumber in central Indiana is relaxing on a La-Z-Boy in a tryptophan-induced coma drinking beer. Being forced to shut off the water main for our entire building until the next day did not win us any points with our neighbors. Lesson learned: call a professional!

View the Geist article here:

WARMfest article

WARMfest article with Dan and Lisa Ripley – Cover for August issue of the Broad Ripple Community Newsletter, BRip.com

This was a fun article for me to write because I love the environment, and to discover someone forward-thinking about capitalizing on the water use for the White River in Broad Ripple was exciting. When my husband and I were first married, we lived in Broad Ripple and I use any and all excuses to go back. Dan and his wife Lisa are easy-going people, and love the water and conservation – so much so that they created WARMfest to raise awareness of the White River. The fact that they have spearheaded such a large-scale music festival from inception amazes me. This concert didn’t just grow – it began HUGE and was a big success last year (inaugural) and will be this year, too. With Big Head Todd & The Monsters headlining, among others, this annual Labor Day weekend concert event is here to stay!

Funny story, so I drive a Hummer. It’s an H2 that has required hardly any repairs, I have driven it for over 10 years and 150,000 miles later the brakes are still in great shape. It is truly the BEST car I have ever had! So weighing financial costs of not having a car payment, driving minimally around town since I work from home, and the environmental factors of new car production – regardless of the model and make, I think I am maintaining my environmental edge, although I am easily judged to be quite the opposite until someone knows the full story. I have driven the Hummer for so long that I am completely immune to the dirty looks from Prius drivers and the like that occasionally misjudge me. After all, these people are not easy to spot since my vehicle is so large. So anyway, later the same day after our initial interview, I realize that I need to snap some shots of Dan and Lisa. I head over to their home, ready for a boat cruise on the White River and to take some pics. I pull up in the driveway, now keep in mind the interview and discussion was environmental in focus – and Dan sees me pull in and yells, “YOU DRIVE A HUMMER??!!!” I started laughing to the point of tears. He completely thought I drove a Subaru or a Prius, or God forbid a golf cart of a car like a SmartCar (no offense to owners of those, but go test drive a SmartCar and then a golf cart and I dare you not to make the comparison). WARMFEST.org

It’s a Start

Combining writing and the fact that I am a “people person” works out quite well for me! More often than not, my required word count for an article is far less than what I could have written on any given topic. My objective with this blog is to share the bits that either did not make the final edit, or expand upon the printed piece. This will definitely be more conversational and casual in most cases, allowing for some fun facts and experiences behind the scenes of an interview. 

It will also be a technology lesson for me, since I am a social media novice. This blog will serve as my learning curve in linking my FB, Twitter and this blog and whatever else may be created to further reach people who crave the latest insta-everything.

Kara Kavensky

Kara Kavensky