Faces of the Fort Presents: Rick Kinney
Aug13

Faces of the Fort Presents: Rick Kinney

Earlier in this series, I wrote about “being the change you want to see in your community.” This month’s Face of the Fort puts that into perspective, and could stand to show us all a thing or two about chasing our dreams. Living Fort Wayne introduces Richard Wayne Kinney Jr., otherwise known as Rick Kinney. There’s a man with a vision, and then there’s Rick Kinney. Sometimes, half the battle of finding your vision is determining exactly what you want in the first place. For Rick, that came when he was 16 years old, standing in the Riviera Theatre in Chicago, watching the Deftones perform live on stage. At a young age, he began to learn not only what good music sounded like, but what a passion for music felt like. By age 30, Rick was the drummer for a band (Moser Woods actually…they’re good, and they’re opening for The Mersey Beatles in October…I’m plugging it because I’ll be writing about them soon), he became an entrepreneur, and had spent more than a decade dedicating his life to music and bringing outstanding, artful performances to communities throughout the country. He gained experience in lighting design, rigging, sound and video, even stage management and promotions. With that, he founded Even Keel Event Productions and for the next two years, went on to produce, promote and manage multiple local concerts and events. Then he was offered the role of Technical Director for the Fort Wayne Embassy; a job that provided him with the fine tuning he needed in his expert field. “I had all this experience,” he says, “but I needed to find a way to bring it all together.” So finally, in 2012, Rick found just what he needed, and he knew it immediately. The Clyde Theatre was built in 1951 and was designed by the same architect as the Embassy. It’s a grand, beautiful establishment. But it sat quietly in the back corner of Quimby Village on Bluffton Road for approximately 20 years without a single movie-goer to pass through its doors. The parking lot is full of pot holes. The walls and ceilings are dilapidated. Yet there is an energy in this place. I know, because he took me there. Rick saw what The Clyde Theatre could be, and it is exactly what Fort Wayne is missing. So many times, our city is passed up by performers that are looking for standing-room venues like the popular Vogue or Egyptian Room in Indy. But, Rick knew that to get The Clyde there it would take time. And patience. And money. Even Keel Event Productions purchased The Clyde Theatre in...

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Faces of the Fort Introduces Virginia Alvino
Jul08

Faces of the Fort Introduces Virginia Alvino

Virginia Alvino loves the ‘Little’ in our Little Big City. She hasn’t been here long – not even two years, actually. But Virginia Alvino has a lot to say about Fort Wayne, Indiana. As a 24 year-old from the bright-light city of Las Vegas, Nevada, she had a lot to discover in her travels (first north to Oregon, then southeast to Indiana). But, that’s what Virginia does. She listens and learns. “It’s the intangible things that shape our lives” she says. Virginia has used those intangibles, those “authentic experiences” to understand our people, our city, and to make it home. Virginia is a journalist/reporter for NPR member station here in Fort Wayne. She easily explained to me that she ended up here because “people move around a lot in public radio.” She was looking for a small station to make her own. What she found here in our “little big city” was ideal. “I loved the station and the people immediately. I had never even heard of Fort Wayne, but when I got here I loved the city too.” “It felt like home before it was,” she continued. Virginia made it a priority to learn about her neighborhood and others, recalling a feeling of Americana. She and her roommate have made a promise to each other to “walk through every alleyway from every angle.” This is a true testament of someone who can’t get enough of her surroundings, always yearning for a more meaningful understanding of them. In our talk, Virginia was candid, brutally honest. She was as raw and pure as I could expect a person to be about the experience she has had during her two years in our city. It wasn’t surprising to me when she said people often apologized to her when she told them where she had come from. But why? Are we really sorry to another person that they found themselves in Fort Wayne, Indiana? “I mean, I get it,” she says. “I left my hometown as soon as I could. But you don’t know what you’ve got. You’ve got to go discover it for yourselves.” For Virginia, it was less about the things she found in our town, and more about what the town did for her. “Fort Wayne is a space you can claim as your own. People are grounded here, but they let you in. No one knew me here, yet I was invited to Thanksgiving dinner.” To some of us, our city may be just about as big as you can handle. But, our nights and lights and clean, open streets were a vast contrast from what Virginia was...

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The Many Faces of our Fort – Introducing Adam Garland
Jun11

The Many Faces of our Fort – Introducing Adam Garland

“Be the change you want to see in your community.” Isn’t that something to live by? Living Fort Wayne thinks so, and that’s why we’ve decided to bring back our Faces of the Fort series – this time with a twist. There are individuals in this city who do great things. We see their faces at events and hear their stories in all the local publications. They are business owners, entrepreneurs, public figures…they are great people. And, they’re making a difference. But here’s the thing, they’re not the only people. We live in a city with people from all cultures, from every corner of the United States, of all ages, all religions, all walks of life. And we all make a difference. The people of Fort Wayne create the “fabric of our community.” With Living Fort Wayne’s Faces of the Fort, I have the privilege of introducing you to a few of them. I am thrilled to begin with Adam Garland. Adam Garland is a 26 year old transplant from Bloomington, IN. His father was a car dealer and his mother was an art historian and curator. In 2003, Adam and his family moved to Fort Wayne and he attended Northrop High School. He hated it. In 2007, his mother passed away, leaving behind her collection of cameras and a broken, lost son. Adam had plans to go to school to become a pastor. But, the death of his mother left him in a dark place with a lack of enthusiasm for even his tangible existence, much less his spiritual one. He started taking pictures with his mother’s cameras. Adam found that through pictures, he could transform and shift his experiences. He could see things from a different perspective. “Photography let light back into my life,” he explained to me, readily. So that was the re-birth of Adam Garland. “I didn’t like Fort Wayne at first,” he laughed. So, I asked him what he likes about it now. Adam explained to me that he didn’t start to like our city until he started biking and exploring neighborhoods. Traveling from one end of town to the other, on a bike with a camera on his back, he began to see how it all came together. And he watched it all through his camera lens. It was this growth and transformation for Adam that fuels his fire for our community today. He is a strong advocate of bike share and public transportation. “When people start to explore other parts of our city, it brings us all together. It’s so easy to be involved in your community, but you have to be...

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Faces of the Fort Returns, with a little help from our friends
Jun10

Faces of the Fort Returns, with a little help from our friends

The Faces are back! This Thursday, Living Fort Wayne will re-launch our Faces of the Fort series with local photographer, designer and civic advocate, Adam Garland. We want YOUR help in finding more Faces! We live in a city with people from all walks of life and we all make a difference. If you know someone who lives in and loves our city, and you think more people should know about them, send us their contact information! We will be collecting names, and determining our Faces based on your submissions throughout this series. Don’t forget to get their permission and send us their contact information at info@livingfortwayne.com. Help us show off the amazing people that make up Fort...

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Jirk Comedy: We’re Laughing With You
Mar12

Jirk Comedy: We’re Laughing With You

The thing about comedians is that they have a genuine smile, a genuine laugh, and it’s contagious. It’s what draws us in. Here in Fort Wayne, with the help of the four men behind Jirk Comedy, it seems to be catching on. Last year, Living Fort Wayne’s Lynn Altevogt introduced us to Dirk Walker, Ryan Ehle, Jared Busch and Ian Anderson as they embarked on their dream of recreating the comedy scene in Fort Wayne. What began as an outlet for local amateur comedians to do stand-up in a venue other than our long standing Snickerz Comedy Club (which can be a tough place to land a gig), has turned into something much bigger. Although the four seem slightly surprised at their success, the evidence of their hard work makes it not surprising at all. Thanks to the business savvy of Dirk and Ryan, Jirk Comedy is not only bringing rising stars and national acts to our city, but they have made a name for The Fort in the process. Comedians and agents know we’re here now, they know we’re on the map – and they are eager to pay us a visit. I met with Dirk and Ryan and we talked about how business has changed for Jirk and the funny guys that created it all. “We have a good eye for comedy,” they humbly explained. And clearly, they have a good eye for their city as well. “It’s easy to sell Fort Wayne because of our location. We’re in a perfect location between the other bigger cities – like Dayton, Toledo and Chicago – to tag on to another show.” It’s all about smart scheduling. …So, they’re funny and smart. Local venues have been very open to working with Jirk, and as more locations learn about it, their list continues to grow. The local band scene is solid in our city, and it seems that the venues who support local music and the arts are excited to incorporate comedy into their entertainment offerings as well. Jirk makes a habit of appearing at places like CS3, O’Sullivan’s, Pint & Slice, the Cinema Center and even the Embassy. In fact, 2015 kicks off the Embassy Comedy Series, which currently consists of three shows taking place in the Indiana Hotel Lobby. Their first show happens this Wednesday, March 18th featuring DJ Dangler and Mike Bobbitt. Keep an eye on Living Fort Wayne for updates and even a chance to win tickets! Then, mark your calendars. Thursday, May 7th Jirk Comedy presents “Last Comic Standing’s” Doug Benson at IPFW’s International Ballroom. Buy tickets online now and we’ll keep you up to date on ticket giveaways and more....

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