A Grand Landmark Returns to Glory
Mar30

A Grand Landmark Returns to Glory

My love for old buildings started at a young age. One of my earliest real estate crushes was the Indiana Hotel building, attached to the Embassy Theatre downtown. Looking up into the rows of windows framed by limestone façade, I imaged the grand guests who once stayed inside. I envisioned glamorous ladies dressing for dinner – styling their hair, adorning themselves with sparkling baubles, and gracefully sashaying down the halls. I imagined what it would’ve been like to sleep there in the hotel’s heyday. How did they heat the rooms? Did they share bathrooms? Did any famous people spend the night? A few years later, I got to know the building even better. I had the privilege to perform on the Embassy stage dozens of times. Back then, the backstage hallways were painted with murals and covered with autographs and fading head shots from past performers. The cramped dressing rooms had faded carpet and peeling paint. But backstage passageways offered plenty to explore and imagine. As we waited for our turn at recitals and dress rehearsals, we’d play hide-and-seek down the halls and tell ghost stories in the Embassy’s ornate, expansive bathrooms. My attachment for the Embassy and Indiana Hotel building was partially inherited. In the ’70s, my dad and uncle donated their time and professional skills to return the Embassy to its former glory. My dad would point out the decorative molding and ceiling designs. “You see that,” he’d say. “That’s gold leaf paint. It has tiny bits of actual gold in it.” (My dad has always known EXACTLY what kind of information would thrill me.) As a kid, it was hard for me to imagine that such a captivating architectural treasure – the Indiana Hotel – sat empty, collecting cobwebs instead of hosting guests. I told myself that someday, I wanted to buy it and turn it back into a posh hotel, a quirky shopping mall or a complex of studio apartments. Back then I didn’t grasp the kind of expenses such an endeavor would entail. But happily, I don’t have to worry about what will become of the historic structure. Today, the Embassy will unveil recently completed renovations to the Indiana Hotel. The two-year renovation project included the addition of a rooftop patio, a two-story ballroom, rehearsal and classroom spaces and new administrative offices. The $10-million project included the removal of a wall separating the Embassy Theatre and Indiana Hotel spaces, and made way for a mezzanine lounge, theater bars, concessions, new dressing rooms, an updated box office and a heritage center. The project started with the construction of the downtown Courtyard Marriot, says Barb Richards, Marketing Director at the Embassy Theatre. “[They] wanted to build in downtown Fort Wayne...

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LFW Weekend Fun File
Mar24

LFW Weekend Fun File

Happy Easter! In this edition of the Fun File, you’ll find a few Easter activities highlighted around town, but there are so many fun things happening this weekend, be sure to check out our calendar for the full list! In the meantime, here’s a quick peek at some of the things we are looking forward to this weekend! If you’d like to see your event featured in the Weekend Fun File, or added to our events calendar, let us know! Email us at info@livingfortwayne.com   1. YLNI March Hot Spot Thursday, March 24 at 5:30 pm                 This month’s hot spot is at Bar 145! If you’re a young professional looking to make some professional connections (or just some friends), join us! 2. Peppa Pig at the Embassy Thursday, March 24 at 6 pm               My 3-year-old LOVES Peppa Pig. This show at the Embassy should be great, and it’s something the whole family can enjoy! 3. Dinner and a Movie: “Hungry for Change” Friday, March 25 at 7 pm                 Three Rivers Co-Op and Natural Grocery is hosting a screening of “Hungry for Change,” a film looking into the secrets of the diet, weight loss, and food industries that could be keeping us to continue struggling to lose weight. This film will change your life! Snacks and food from the cafe are available for purchase. 4. Easter in the Garden Friday, March 25 from 10 am to 3 pm               Easter at the Botanical Conservatory! Kids can participate in activities, visit with the easter bunny, and have a chance at winning a sweet prize. There’s even some live animals available for cuddling.   5. Easter Fest at Jefferson Pointe Saturday, March 26 from 12 pm to 4 pm       There’s a free visit with the Easter Bunny! Kids can also get their faces painted, play games, and visit a petting zoo! 6. Glow In The Dark Easter Egg Hunt Saturday, March 26 at 8:30 pm             Uh, a glow in the dark easter egg hunt in Schnelker Park? SO FUN. Don’t forget your flashlight! 7. Beer Bourbon Bacon Festival Saturday, March 26 at 5 pm           I mean. It’s Beer, Bourbon, and Bacon. Do you need more explanation? … This years BBB Fest will feature over 100 beers and 5 local restaurants will offer bacon-themed items priced between $3 and $6. There will also be bourbon (duh). 8. Arena Dinner Theatre’s Frost/Nixon Friday and Saturday at...

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Artlink’s Gallery Crawl: Meet Justin Johnson
Mar22

Artlink’s Gallery Crawl: Meet Justin Johnson

On Thursday, April 14th from 6-9 pm, Artlink is hosting its very first Pop-Up Gallery Crawl through downtown Fort Wayne. At each stop along the one-day walking tour, participants will experience different music, food, and original artwork by local artists and vendors. Just down the street from Artlink, the second stop along the Gallery Crawl will be at 127 and 129 West Main Street near Fort Wayne’s Coney Island. Like the other locations on the tour, a local restaurant will provide food and there will be music, this time courtesy of the four-man jazz band, West Central Quartet. The featured artwork will be contributed by artist Justin Johnson, the Gallery Director for the School of Creative Arts at the University of Saint Francis. Justin Johnson will display an array of new artwork as well as a small grouping of earlier mixed-media drawings. The new pieces he will feature include abstract pen and ink drawings on vellum and collage based works. “My new work is linear and abstract,” Johnson explains. But because he draws his inspiration from so many art forms across the globe, his work also includes “references to history and the current social and political landscape.” Justin Johnson has been passionate about art since an early age and devoted his life to improving his craft, specifically in drawing. Most of his work also explores the possibility of mixed media as a visual outlet. To see Johnson’s work outside of the Artlink Gallery Crawl, feel free to stop by Crestwoods Gallery in Roanoke which is displaying an assortment of his artwork. Or to view more his work, visit his website here. When asked what it’s like to be an artist in the Fort Wayne community, Justin Johnson answers, “I have been a practicing and active artist here in Fort Wayne for over 15 years. In that time, I have seen the downtown art scene grow and evolve in exciting, new ways. Opportunities are blossoming in a variety of ways for artists with downtown development and a Fort Wayne audience that is eager to support them. I think the future is very bright for not only the artistic community, but for Fort Wayne as a whole.” To see what other artists, musicians, and restaurants will be featured on the other locations in Artlink’s Pop-Up Gallery Crawl, visit www.livingfortwayne.com on March 25th for the next article in the Artlink series. To get tickets for the Art Crawl, go to www.artlinkfw/GalleryCrawl where they are available at $15 per person and $25 per couple. For more information, please visit Artlink’s website. Or follow them on social media at Facebook, Instagram, and...

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LFW Weekend Fun File
Mar17

LFW Weekend Fun File

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Our calendar is full of fantastic events taking place around our city, so be sure to check it out for a more exhaustive list. In the meantime, here’s a quick peek at some of the things we are looking forward to this weekend! If you’d like to see your event featured in the Weekend Fun File, or added to our events calendar, let us know! Email us at info@livingfortwayne.com   1. Next Women of Country Tour Thursday, March 17 at 6 pm         Sponsored by K105, Jennifer Nettles will be at the Embassy, and she’s bringing some wonderful, talented ladies with her. It should be a great show, and yes, I know it’s country, but we do live in Indiana. Drive your truck downtown and check it out! 2. Gala Gone Wild Saturday, March 19 at 7 pm             Not your typical gala. This should be so fun! There will be pop-up entertainment, dueling pianos, and fun performances. Snack on some hors d’oeuvres and enjoy the cash bar while you watch the out-of-the-box entertainment. 3. “La Fille Mal Gardee“ March 18 & 19 at 7:30 pm March 18 & 19 at 2:30 pm               Fort Wayne Ballet’s latest show. It’s about a young girl, her mother’s ideas of who she should love, and her finding her one true love. I’m excited about it, I heard it’s great! 4. Grassroots Baby Grand Opening                 ATTENTION moms. There’s a natural parenting store in Fort Wayne. Did you know that? It was running out of Java Mama, but now it has its own storefront! Support these local shop owners who want what’s best for our babies and check out their grand opening! 5. Impractical Jokers Saturday, March 19 at 7 pm and 10 pm               “Where’s Larry?” Tour is at the Embassy. We love the show, we should love the live performance. 6. WIT Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm Friday late performance at 10 pm                 I heard this show was amazing from several different people. They said they laughed, they cried, they had all the feels. It’s closing weekend, so I put it at the top of my to-do list! 7. Women Make Movies Sunday, March 20 at 4pm and 8 pm     In celebration of Women’s History Month the IPFW Women’s Studies Program sponsors a showing of films created by women. It’s free at the Cinema Center. 8. FAME Festival March 19 and 20 — Time varies       It’s a...

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LFW Weekend Fun File
Mar10

LFW Weekend Fun File

Our calendar is full of fantastic events taking place around our city, so be sure to check it out for a more exhaustive list. In the meantime, here’s a quick peek at some of the things we are looking forward to this weekend! If you’d like to see your event featured in the Weekend Fun File, or added to our events calendar, let us know! Email us at info@livingfortwayne.com   1. Second Chances Art Exhibit and Auction Fri, March 11, 6pm – 9pm         Community artists were paired with Blue Jacket graduates to create artwork to tell the graduates’ stories of triumph. Some pieces of art will be auctioned off, and proceeds of the benefit go to Blue Jacket. There will be a cash bar and lots of fun! 2. Karaoke Classics Live Fri, March 11 at 7 p         It’s karaoke night for Heartland Sings! From Britney to Journey, the Heartland Vocal Artists channel your favorite artists by performing their hit singles accompanied by the instrumental combo. Audience members are encouraged to sing along, and a free drink is included in the ticket price. Good food, good eats, good music, fun songs — perfect night! 3. Creative Cocktails Saturday, March 12 at 5:30 p         This month’s Creative Cocktails event is at Club Soda. Meet some friends, and have a drink and a great time before the Axis Dance Performance! 4. AXIS Dance Performance Saturday, March 12 at 8 p         World-Famous, AXIS Dance troupe is performing at the Arts United Center! After the performance, there will be an audience Q&A. Don’t miss this great event!     5. St. Catty’s Day at Black Pine Saturday, March 12 at 1 p             Black Pine is open for a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration! Dress in green, grab the kids, and enjoy bottomless hot chocolate and beautiful animals! 6. Get Green Saturday, March 12 all day         Family fun all day long! There’s a 5k, the firefighters are turning the river green, and there are tons of other activities for all ages (Lucky Charms eating contest, anyone?). It should be a beautiful day, stop by! 7. St. Monci Art Opening at Fancy & Staple Saturday, March 12 at 5 p             Great art from St. Monci. Ron Ostlund, of Ostlund Custom Works and G2G Jewelry/Metal Couture, will also be there, and there will be food from Bird Food and drinks from CS3! 8. Throw a Pi(e) in the Face of Cancer Saturday, March 12 at 6 p           There’s an art show and...

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