Tag Archives: Big Car Service Center

Help Big Car Say YES

20 Apr

Vouched Books has been a partner with the Big Car Art Collective since our launch back in October 2010. They’ve graciously opened up their gallery for our readings, given me a space to sell books at Indy’s monthly First Friday Art Festival, and embraced Vouched as a part of their goodness.

They’re currently trying to raise money to support their efforts in “taking art to people as a way to bring people – of all ages and backgrounds – to art and creativity. We also believe that public spaces should be invigorated with creativity, with play, with the energy of making things and having fun. Our program will make life better in Indianapolis by introducing engaging public programming on our downtown Cultural Trail, Canal and in urban parks and public spaces. Ultimately, these public goods help people connect with their city and each other.”

Big Car is pushing a drive at Global Giving, which is a lot like Kickstarter, but specifically for rad nonprofits who are doing rad things around the world.

I know there are tons of things in this world vying for your generosity, but I can personally vouch for Big Car, that every dollar you give them will go to something awesome–like turning an entire unused, decrepit parking lot into a urban garden or an abandoned auto service center into a thriving community art space host to international festivals, TED talks, and Vouched Presents readings.

An Evening with Frank Bill – Feb 10th

17 Jan

Vouched is teaming up with Punchnel’s, Second Story, and Big Car to bring you a night to hang out with author Frank Bill (Crimes in Southern Indiana).

From the desk at Second Story/Punchnel’s:

An evening of conversation with Frank Bill, author of Crimes in Southern Indiana, for readers, writers, and people who like hanging out with them. Bill will be joined by winning writers from the Boiled Down Noir Contest at Punchel’s.

Admission: Free
Food & drink will be available at the event

All proceeds benefit the work of Second Story to help kids learn to love creative writing.

We’ll also host a pre-event reading group discussion of Bill’s book at Service Center on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m. This is also free.

Sponsored by:

Punchnel’s
Vouched Books
Big Car

If you got them in you, crank out some words for the noir contest. And get thee to the Service Center on February 10th to drink some beer with a guy who knows his backwood noir.

The Service Center Transforms

1 Nov

On October 5th, 300 workers from the Lilly Day of Service joined the Big Car Art Collective (of which Vouched has become a part) to completely transform our new community space on the west side of Indianapolis, the Service Center.

It was one of my favorite days of 2011. The Service Center looks absolutely incredible, completely transformed from the decrepit abandoned building it was at the start of 2011. I can’t wait to see what this becomes.

We Had a Party: Vouched Presents Recap

22 Jul

It seems almost pointless at this point to post a recap of last Monday’s Vouched Presents DOGZPLOT Literature Party, since Barry posted a rad top 10 of the evening at the DOGZPLOT tour blog, and Sean Lovelace posted all glow and beaming at his blog, and contributor and table extraordinaire Tyler Gobble had kind and awesome things to say at his.

At the height of the evening I counted 85 shining faces, which was rad to see so many out, rad to see such a crowd at a silly little reading, despite the heat wave which made quick work of the Service Center’s aging A/C and went to work on the crowd and readers, and poor Matt Mullins, drenched in sweat and only at the mic a few minutes, and how the heat and the sweat became a part of everything, how it reminded me of basement shows, the ceiling dripping, people shouting with the lyrics, sweat skin and anthems, man.

And thanks to Flat 12 with their blond ale on hand, and Scratch Truck with their Scratch Burger, that piece of wonder meat, bacon marmalade and gorgonzola, majesty belly with scratch-made banana pudding, “Oh, there’s bananas at the bottom,” Ashley said, “There’s bananas. At the bottom,” she said.

And Barry says Indy buys books, and hell yeah, Indy loves books. People come to Indy and they see everyone consuming books, and always such surprise, always such wonder. Indy loves books, look at Indy swarming the table, look at Tyler looking pretty behind the Vouched table, and thanks so much to him because without him, I’d be dead, I’d not have survived the reading keeping everything running, going smooth, and having to mind the table, too, oh hell nah, but Tyler, man, Tyler’s the man, man. Thank you, Tyler.

And all the readers were such bright bodies, such bright words. I was glad they way their words floated out into the shine and the shimmer of the sun through the windows, and the heat, sweat, swelter, but they all shined on, their words wonderful, thanks to all the readers who read, I can’t show all your faces, but you can see them at the Big Car Flickr set where all these pictures are from.

Everyone made this event what I wanted and hoped for, thanks be to the readers, the awesome sponsors: Yelp!, Scratch Truck, Big Car, Writer’s Center of Indiana, NUVO, The Lit Pub, Flat 12, sunnyoutside press:, thanks to the audience with resolve, with summer drenched bodies, thank you for coming out for laughing for enduring the summer for buying books for supporting words for helping me believe in my city in what I’m trying to accomplish with Vouched in what things can be.

Did I mention how many of you there were? There were so many of you. Look at all of you believers.

Thank you. Goodbye.

Tonight’s the night, DOGZPLOT Lit Party!

18 Jul

Get your drink on with some Flat 12 beer!

Get your food on with Fat Sammies Ciao Wagon and Scratch Food Truck!

Get your book on with Vouched Books, Writer’s Center of Indiana, and sunnyoutside press!

Get your words on with Sean Lovelace, Roxane Gay, Barry Graham, Matt Mullins, Jesus Angel Garcia, Steve Himmer, Micah Ling, Laura Adamczyk, Jim Walker, John Clark, Jessica Dyer, Kevin McKelvey, Layne Ransom, and Bryan Furuness!

I hope to see you there!

Awful Interview: Layne Ransom

15 Jul

Layne Ransom may look sweet, but she has a name right out of a video game, and that kicks ass. I think she should be Duke Nukem’s nemesis, but a nemesis you can’t beat, ever, even on God code. I’m not sure if Duke Nukem had a God code. I know Doom did. I never used God code on Doom. The only code I ever used was the Happy Ammo code: IDKFA. I don’t believe I still remember that.

Come see Layne Ransom kick Duke Nukem’s ass at the Vouched Presents: DOGZPLOT Literature Party next Monday!

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your day job?

I’m from Boonville, Indiana, which is about twenty minutes east of Evansville, and like most hometowns it’s mildly embarrassing. There used to be a restaurant a short walk from my parents’ house called Hootie’s Hillbilly Café that affirmed every possible stereotype one could create about a place called Boonville. It’s now the Boonville Café (if it’s still open – I’d have to ask my grandparents), which I don’t think is actually all that better for the town’s reputation than a place called Hootie’s Hillbilly Café. At least when that was open there was this sweet painting of deer being hunted by a dude in a coonskin cap on a concrete wall bordering the parking lot.

I work at The Gap Outlet in Muncie. I have to be the least cool person working there. If there was a “Least Cool Employee of the Month” award, I would win it every month, except maybe February.

I’m always intrigued by creative minds, how they do what they do. Where do you get your ideas? Do you have a Muse?

Nah, I’m pretty sure Muses went extinct around the time Teddy Roosevelt first got elected to office. Most of the time my ideas just stem from simple moments of “Wouldn’t it be hilarious if–” or “Oh my god, wouldn’t it be terrifying if–” and letting my imagination run ruffian with those snippets of possibility. Or sometimes, for inspiration I eat Doritos and watch People’s Court in a beanbag chair, occasionally playing with a cauterized nub of flesh in my left nostril from when I had a benign polyp removed in eighth grade. Inspiration is weird.

What do you think about the word “soul”?

It’s a word that feels like a body of water – soft around the edges, some level of depth that isn’t known. Soothes your throat when you say it. But the idea of an actual soul is scary. It’s like there’s ghosts just hangin’ out in our lungs or large intestines. I don’t want a spirit haunting my digestive tract. How rude, ghosts.

Do you like rap music? Why/why not?

Yes – who doesn’t?

Why do you write? Is it to express yourself? To gaze lovingly at your navel? To incite a riot?

It’s just this feeling of having objects and places floating around in my head that want a safer place to live than my abysmal short-term memory, so I’m like, “Here’s a Word doc,” and they’re like, “Okay, sweet.” And letting them go, seeing how they evolve and what they can become is addictive in a simple, visceral way for me. I used to gaze lovingly at my navel, until once I fell asleep doing so and had a nightmare about Harry Belafonte – who for some reason had beach ball-sized googly eyes – and my deceased family dog holding me hostage in a castle dungeon.

Writers are supposed to know things and be political and stuff, right? What do you think about the war in Middle East?

I think it’s a common misconception that writers know things, because I bet some do but I sure don’t. I didn’t even know there was fighting happening in Missouri.

Man, I love birds in art and literature. Do you love birds? Stars? The moon?

Birds in art and literature are great because they don’t poop on your clothes, tweet while you’re on the phone, or hate you. Real birds sometimes do that, like the cockatiel my parents bought for me when I turned twelve. (I asked for her, so like most people I was a total idiot as a pre-teen. Also, the word “pre-teen” is stupid.) Her name is Paulie and I don’t even care that I gave her a completely unimaginative name because she is awful. She wishes I were dead and loves my dad because he enables her crippling chemical dependency on Diet Mountain Dew.

Celestial bodies? Booooring. How about sexy bodies? Those are neat.

Have you ever been to Indianapolis? What’s your impression of Indy, whether you’ve been here or not?

I’ve been to Indianapolis several times. One time I saw some people tell jokes on a stage. Another time I ate rice with other foods on top of the rice. Another time I saw a girl vomit in front of a work of art. So yeah, I like Indianapolis.

What would you like to say to people about coming to see you read at the Vouched Presents: DOGZPLOT Literature Party?

Oh man, THANKS, that’s really nice and maybe I can buy you a beer sometime. I hope it’s good for you like a pack of Malamute puppies trotting toward you down the side of a gentle hill carrying envelopes in their mouths with messages, messages all for you, saying things like, “You are a morally good human being” and “You have a nice ass. Like, really nice.” Also, Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Fantasy” is playing in the background.

Awful Interview: Bryan Furuness

8 Jul

Bryan Furuness is reading at the Vouched Presents DOGZPLOT Literature Party on July 18th, a place where you should be if you’re in the area, and hell, there are planes and you can fly to Indy if you’re not. Basically, you should be here to see him read.

Futurist Ray Kurzweil has made the following predictions about Bryan Furuness:

In 2017, Bryan will be the first man to be fully integrated with a machine. He will try to get people to call him “Mr. Roboto” or “Terminator F”, but, like all self-granted nicknames, these don’t stick, and he becomes known as “Robodork.”

In 2023, the robotic parts of Bryan will declare war against the fleshy parts, which will result in Bryan hitting himself in the face while saying, over and over, “Why are you hitting yourself? Why are you hitting yourself?”

In 2031, Japanese scientists will grow a new, fully-grown Bryan in a basement in Spokane. In an attempt to prove Bryan 2.0’s superiority over Bryan 1.0, the scientists arrange a public chess match, which will go awry when neither Bryan can remember if the pawns can jump each other, and before the scientists can intervene, Bryan 2.0 sticks two bishops up his nose and goes, “King me,” at which point Bryan 1.0 laughs so hard he knocks over the board. The scientists’ weeping will be heard from blocks away.

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your day job?

I’m from Indiana, the part around Gary that calls itself “the Region,” or, when it’s feeling especially clingy, claims to be part of “Chicagoland.”

I write, teach, and edit. At coffee shops, Butler, and Booth and On Earth As it Is, respectively.

I’m always intrigued by creative minds, how they do what they do. Where do you get your ideas? Do you have a Muse?

Daydreams. I’m an inveterate daydreamer. But I don’t have a Muse. I think you’re only issued one of those if you’re a poet. From the eighteenth century. Who’s wearing a frilly shirt. And a sexy, pouty expression. Dammit, now I’m daydreaming about Byron.

What do you think about the word “soul”?

I like it, especially when it’s followed by “train.”

Do you like rap music? Why/why not?

Does anyone call it rap anymore? Besides white guys over thirty? A group that includes me, so maybe I shouldn’t cast stones, since I do feel weird every time I say “hip-hop,” because in my heart it’s still rap.

I grew up watching Yo! MTV Raps with Fab Five Freddy, and later Doctor Dre (no, not that Dr. Dre) and Ed Lover. And I wasn’t just a casual watcher, either. I taped the episodes and watched them over and over, and called my buddy Jim Boren afterwards to talk about it as breathlessly as any tween ever talked about Justin Bieber. Did you see that new MC Hammer video? Hammer, don’t hurt ’em!

Rap was it for me back then. I practiced the Ed Lover dance in front of the full-length mirror in my bedroom, I beat-boxed along with my Fat Boys tapes, and I played the Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill to death. The black tape just snapped; I wore that sucker out. So I went to Kmart and laid down twelve bucks for another one.

I wasn’t alone, either. Almost everyone I knew in high school had a Public Enemy tape in their car, and in college, you weren’t cool if you couldn’t quote lines from The Chronic. But after that, something happened. White guys my age stopped listening to new rap. They still held the old stuff in their hearts—play NWA’s “Express Yourself” for any middle-aged account executive and watch his eyes light up—but that was just nostalgia. When guys my age listen to new music now, it’s what we used to call “alternative,” but what now seems to be mainstream rock. Stuff that ranges from Cake to Modest Mouse.

I’m not banging on that music, or those bands. Hell, Cake is a cornerstone for one of my Pandora channels. And it’s not like I’ve exactly stayed the course with rap while all my peers have fallen away, either. Although I like to listen to 96.3, the mainstream hip-hop station in my town, and more edgy stuff on the high school stations, you’re much more likely to catch me listening to instrumental hip-hop like Blockhead than some new underground rap artist.

But I guess my real question is this: what happened to my generation’s love for rap, and why? Did we move away from rap, or did it move away from us?

Why do you write? Is it to express yourself? To gaze lovingly at your navel? To incite a riot?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, actually. My best and most true answer might be connected to flow. I’m talking about Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s theory of flow, about the way you feel when you’re completely absorbed with a task, and everything falls away and when you finally look up, you realize you’ve been sitting in a coffee shop for two hours with your mouth hanging wide open.

I think it’s important to say that I don’t feel this sense of flow every time I read or write or daydream, but when I do feel it, it’s almost always while I’m doing one of these three things, which is why I think I like doing them every day.

Writers are supposed to know things and be political and stuff, right? What do you think about the war in Middle East?

It’s taking all my editorial restraint right now to not insert a “the” in that question, to make it “the Middle East.” Though it’s kind of funny without the definite article in there. It makes it sound like “Middle Earth.”

I’m sorry, what were we talking about?

Man, I love birds in art and literature. Do you love birds? Stars? The moon?

Birds, yes. Especially the buzzards in Karen Russell’s Swamplandia. Stars, too. I like them. But the moon can go fuck itself.

I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.

You know what? I’m not sorry. And the moon knows why. It knows what it did.

Have you ever been to Indianapolis? What’s your impression of Indy, whether you’ve been here or not?

I have lived in Indy for the better part of thirteen years. I love this city, though sometimes it’s the kind of love you feel for your old dog who’s half-bald and pisses the carpet every time the doorbell rings.

Actually, it gets easier to love this city all the time. Culturally, it’s gotten so much better and richer and more varied in the last decade that it’s hard to believe. To risk a moment of sincerity here (which might just break the internets), I’d like to say that Vouched and Big Car are big forces behind the rising cultural tide in this city. Thank you for all that you do.

What would you like to say to people about coming to see you read at the Vouched Presents: DOGZPLOT Literature Party?

Come hear about the moon’s dirty, dirty secrets. Then follow me up to the rooftop, where I have stashed some RPG’s donated by the service station’s neighbor, Don’s Guns. Amid drunken ululation and shaking of fists in impotent rage, a few select volunteers will fire grenades at the moon’s smug, smug smile. First one to knock the fat bastard out of the sky drinks for free the rest of the night.

So, come. Bring the whole family.

Last Day to Vote for Big Car!

30 Jun

Hey everyone, we need your help!

Today is the last day for Big Car’s run for a $25,000 Pepsi Refresh grant, and we need all the votes we can get to stay in the top 15. We’re currently at 10th now, but we started the day at 8th. Everyone is making their final push today, and we have to push just as hard!

There are 2 ways to vote:

  • 1) Go to http://refresheverything.com/servicecenter and vote. You can sign in with facebook if you don’t want to create a Pepsi Refresh account!
  • 2) Text 106734 to 73774! It’s that simple. You don’t get signed up for spam texts or anything of the sort–just a text response confirming your vote.

You can vote twice today by voting both ways!

Equally as important as your voting is helping to spread the word. Anyway that you can share this with your friends (facebook, twitter, blog, &c.) would mean the world to Big Car!

Thanks so much for all your support this month, and I’m sorry for being such a bug about it, but this could be huge!

Vouched Presents: DOGZPLOT Literature Party – July 18th!

14 Jun

We’re still ironing out the details for this event, but I can assure you, it’s going to be fashioned out of giant marble pillars of kick ass.

Barry Graham and his DOGZPLOT crew are going to be in town as part of their Summer Reading Tour, and we’re throwing them a party. As always, it’s free, but there will be beer and food on hand and proceeds from the event go to benefit Second Story Indy.

We’re having it at the Big Car Service Center for Contemporary Culture + Community (NOT THE GALLERY!) at 3914 Lafayette Road, Indianapolis. Readings will start around 6:30pm, but you’re encouraged to show up early to drink beer and stuff face!

Jim from Big Car is working his magic to get a local microbrew to have some brew on hand. I’m contacting some local food trucks to get some food for your lovely faces. My amazingly talented friend Jeremy Albert is on deck to design some posters for us. We’re even getting a barbaric Yelp from the local Yelp community coordinator to help spread the word!

We have the readers lined up already, so while we’re waiting for all the other pieces to fall into place, I thought I’d at least share with you those who will be sharing their words with us!

Barry Graham
Sean Lovelace
Roxane Gay
Matt Mullins
Steve Himmer
Micah Ling
Laura Adamczyk
Jim Walker
John Clark
Jesus Angel Garcia
Jessica Dyer
Kevin McKelvey
Layne Ransom
Bryan Furuness

I hope to see you there! You’ve only yourself to blame if you miss out on this.

Help Big Car get $25k

1 Jun

Some of you might know that Vouched is partnered with Big Car Art Collective here in Indy, that in fact, many elements of Vouched wouldn’t really exist without Big Car’s help. They’ve given me a really excellent, high-traffic location to have my book table every month during First Fridays, and they graciously provide their gallery space to hold my Vouched Presents readings. Big Car believes in Vouched, in the small press community.

But, I want all of you to know this, because I want all of you to help them.

As part of the Big Car collective, we are trying to win a Pepsi Refresh grant that would go to sustain our new community space, Service Center, on the west side of Indy–an area that craves and needs a space like this. Here’s a video about the space:

If you would be so kind, spread the word on your blogs, on facebook, on twitter. Service Center is more than just a community center in Indy. Through its partnership with Vouched, it extends beyond Indy to every writer and publisher and reader who has ever benefited in some way from our work here at Vouched.

And please, please, please vote for Service Center. Vote by texting 106734 to Pepsi (73774). Vote at your home computer, your work computer, your school computer, every computer you can think to vote on. Vote everyday, as many times and in as many ways as you’ve available to you. Vote.