#72: Howard Park Ice Rink

Taking a wintry spin around the Rockefeller Center Ice-Skating Rink is arguably the quintessential New York City holiday experience. I'm here to argue that you don't need to make the trip. South Bend boasts its very own ice-skating rink perfect for snowy afternoons in the already-upon-us holiday season. The rink just opened up this past Friday, and I'm personally already coordinating a trip with some of my friends to be followed by hot chocolate at one of our favorite downtown coffee shops.

The rink is located just over the river at the intersection of Jefferson and St. Louis and is open every day of the week (hours are posted below).  For those of you more than a little nervous to strap on skates (you know who you are), give it a try, everyone falls down at least once. You might as well make this holiday season memorable.

Mon-Thurs- 3:00-5:30pm
Fri- 3:00-5:30pm, 7:00-10:00pm
Sat- 10:00-noon, 1:00-3:30pm, 4:00-6:00pm, 7:00-10:00pm
Sun- 1:00-3:30pm, 4:00-6:00pm, 7:00-9:00pm

Adults- $6     Children- $5     Children 5 and under- FREE

Skate Rental: $3 per pair per session

TIP: The South Bend Parks and Rec website offers a free admission coupon with the purchase of one full-price admission. Get it here.

#71: Sunrise Cafe

Tomorrow marks one of the most revered days in the shopping calendar: Black Friday.  While there are the young upstarts of "Cyber Monday", "Small Business Saturday", and most terrible of all, those soul-less stores that are open on Thanksgiving, Black Friday reigns supreme.  To get your morning started, I recommend stopping by the South Bend Chocolate Company for free coffee, or if you'd like more than liquid fuel, the Sunrise Cafe on Lincolnway.

Small building, big portions...
The Sunrise Cafe is found in a teeny-tiny house on the main thoroughfare between downtown and the airport, a perfect place to stop on your way to/from Chicago or the Michigan City outlets.  The menu features standard breakfast and lunch fare, all at reasonable prices, and the two-person wait staff is as friendly as can be.  When I went, I had an asparagus and swiss cheese omelet (under $5), which was good, but I really enjoyed the accompanying raisin bread that was dripping with butter.  My friend's egg scramble was a tasty mess and came in a huge portion.  Make sure to check out the whiteboard by the door for the morning specials.

Their mug collection is conversation-worthy
The down-to-earth service and intimate space of this place is a world away from what you'll find in stores on Black Friday, but it's a perfect spot to start your morning right.

Where: 1805 Lincoln Way West
When: Open early - 2pm
Tip: As with most local diners in the area, the Sunrise Cafe offers some fantastic workweek breakfast specials (my choice: 2 pancakes + 2 eggs for $3.95).  Order a bottomless cup of coffee, and you will be ready to go for Black Friday, all for the price of one venti Caramel Brulee latte at Starbucks.

#70: Elkhart's Turkey Stampede

It is with disappointment that I acknowledge South Bend's (apparent, let me know in the comments if this isn't true!) lack of that most prized of Thanksgiving morning traditions. No, I'm not talking about watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I'm talking about a Turkey Trot. For those of you not familiar with the term: an early morning race (typically benefiting charity) to burn off calories before the Thanksgiving Day feast commences.  But you know what, that's what neighbors are for.

Nearby Elkhart, just a couple of exits up the Toll Road, is hosting its 2nd annual Turkey Stampede. The fees to race benefit Elkhart's Faith Mission, a charity organization providing food and clothing to those who most need it. The Mission is also one of several organizations in the Michiana area providing Thanksgiving Day meals to those who would have otherwise gone without.

The Turkey Stampede itself is actually not just one race, but allows you to choose between a 10K run, a 5K run, a 5K walk, and a 1 mile run or walk.  The races begin at 8:30am with registration going on from 7:00am-8:00am. I know it's early, but just think how great the actual turkey will taste later on in the day.

For more information including directions, fees, and registration visit the website here and view an informational PDF here.

#69: Lula's Last Days

Recently, a reader of our blog, named Nicole, commented on our post about Lula's.  She said what I've always felt about that coffee house, and I hope she won't mind that I'm re-posting part of her comment here:

"I started going occasionally when I was in high school in the late 90s. After I got out of school, and after stints at the south side Studebagels and the Barnes and Noble cafe I started working here, worked 5 nights a week for a few years - loved my co-workers, loved the regulars, met my boyfriend here when I was working. Even now a little over 5 years after leaving I can walk in and always see someone I know. The few years I worked there I had so much fun, working or hanging out with co-workers, it very much felt like a family and Lula's has always had a feeling of community. Many have moved away but this is still the only job I've ever had where I kept in touch with so many of them, even if it is just Facebook. :) I loved making the hummus during prep work, it was always my favorite thing to do for some reason! Even the odd jobs we ended up doing as employees - fixing the front door, painting, planting flowers, re-covering cushions on chairs - it all made it feel like the place was our own. At least that's how I felt about it, and even though I don't work there anymore, I still do.

So many people have "their" place - this is mine. I've always been a bit of a cafe rat who frequents many places in town (most often the downtown ones out of convenience since I work down here now) but this is still it for me. My home away from home, I love everything about it."

For Nicole, myself, and many others like us, Lula's has been that comfortably bizarre and deliciously friendly local coffee house.  Every artist, feminist, poet, independent voter, professor, hippy, hipster, burn-out, [life-long] student, aspiring actress, writer, nerd, faux-foreigner, and pseudo-intellectual needs one; and I don't know anyone who would contest me in saying that Lula's has been just that for all of South Bend's outsiders, insiders, readers, music-makers, and appreciators of good coffee and even better atmosphere.  For almost 16 years, Lula's has been full of characters you expect to find in novels, not necessarily in Indiana, while serving damn good coffee and my favorite chicken, artichoke, and spinach wraps.

It's with a heavy heart and an empty coffee cup, that I tell you Lula's at 1631 Edison Road is nearing its end.  Because its lease will not be renewed, Lula's will be closing at this location on Wednesday, November 24th...just two days from now.  You have just over 48 hours left to bask in the glory of that eerie eye in the blue corner,  sit under the roman columns among palm trees, check your reflection in one of the mirrors on yellow wall, or respect the moon and star "Thank You for not Smoking" sign.

I strongly urge you, or rather insist that you do at least 2 out of 3 of the following:
- stop in during these last couple days and take a mental photo of this important place
- buy some of their extra goods (details below)
- frequent the new location, once it is found and opened (this last one is not optional)

In a recent email to Lula's supporters, the owner said that one way you can help is to do some food shopping at Lula's to clear out the inventory.  Here are some of the items you can buy between now and Wednesday:
  • $6/lb - Coffee
  • $8/lb - Espresso
  • $3.50 - Big bag of Zapp's chips (a classic Lula's side-dish)
  • $2.50/lb - Smoked Ham
  • $10 for 100 bags of Republic of Tea
  • $3 for 10 oz. - Honey Mustard
  • $5 per bottle of Monin Syrups
Don't you fear.  Lula's will find a new and equally wonderful location, but during these last few days here on Edison, stop by to appreciate the Lula's community that has flourished and grown over the last 16 years, not to mention the toasted brie sandwich.

#68: Opening Day for the Holiday Stores

The holiday shopping season has descended upon us quite suddenly, much like the permacloud that covers the skies at this time of year.  Perhaps the two are dueling forces, as if twinkling icicle lights and beady-eyed reindeer could somehow combat the oppressive darkness that descends at 5pm here.  Every time I look at the window as I'm leaving work, I'm shocked by how dark it is already.  Not fair, mother nature.

Lucky for me, tonight, a new store is bringing light to South Bend (literally and figuratively).

A Homestead Shoppe (Lighting and Lampshades) opens up in downtown South Bend, and is providing wine and cheese in proper holiday cheer.  This store is one of fives temporary shops that will be open in downtown South Bend for the holiday season.  Also joining are Imagine That! toy store; Party, Work & Play, clothing/shoe store; Heritage Arts & Crafts, featuring local arts; and the Michiana African American Chamber of Commerce and Friends Holiday Market.  It's great to have more tenants downtown, and the city's "Pop Up Shop" program--these stores have free rent until New Year's!--really shows an innovative way to bring more of the seasonal spirit of consumerism to the downtown area, because really, their presence is a gift. Heh heh.

So leave the house and come downtown for A Homestead Shoppe's open house.  It's retail therapy that also combats Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Now that's what I call happy hour.

Where: 123 S. Michigan (near Spark)
When: Open house starting 5:00pm-9:00pm

#67: 72 cent Junior Burgers at Bonnie Doon THIS WEEK ONLY

While driving to a friend's house Saturday night, I heard a radio ad for an anniversary special at Bonnie Doon.  Head over to that long time Mishawaka institution this week and celebrate 72 years of Bonnie Doon by getting a junior burger for only 72 cents.

Location: 2704 Lincolnway W, Mishawaka, IN 46544
What: 72 cent junior burgers
Why: Because Bonnie Doon has been around for 72 years, which is a long time.
Fun Fact: Last week, they offered 72 cent root beer floats.  So I'm crossing my fingers that there will be another deal next week.

#66: New Music Ensemble

Think that classical music only consists of Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven? That it's, well, boring? Well, think again. Indiana University South Bend's 'New Music Ensemble' is committed to in their own words: promoting new music, performing the most current music, and allowing IUSB students to "experiment" and create new music.  That all sounds pretty much the opposite of boring to me.

The ensemble, led by Jorge Muniz is performing today at 4:00pm at the Campus Auditorium at IUSB. One of the items in the line-up for today's show includes a ballet piano piece for four hands. For those of us who are musically illiterate, that apparently means that two people play the piano at one time. I'd personally go to see that alone. If you're interested in what this type of 20th and 21st century music and performance is all about, go half an hour early for the pre-performance lecture with the performers at 3:30.

When: 4:00pm (or 3:30pm)
Where: Campus Auditorium, IUSB. Link to map and more info here.
Tickets: Adults, $7 order ahead, $9 at the door. Students and children are FREE.

#65: First Annual Holiday Walk

Just can't wait until Black Friday to begin your Christmas shopping?  Generally detest the violent showing of greed and consumerism that day involves?  Need to buy some late birthday gifts to give to your family at Thanksgiving?  Or have a Saturday free to spend depleting your checking account?

Regardless of your motivation, this weekend is a great time to welcome the holiday spirit back into your life.  Tomorrow, four shops on the 700 block of East Jefferson will display their holiday goods for the first time this season, proving that block parties are not just for summertime.

Here's the run down
First Annual Holiday Walk
Location: 700 block of East Jefferson
Date: November 20th
Time: 10 am to 4 pm
Participating shops: Marigolds, Just Goods, Buttons & Bows, and Beehive Salon
Apparently, there will also be refreshments and in-store specials.  I'm crossing my fingers for peppermint hot cocoa.

We, three bloggers, are especially excited for tomorrow, because the event features two of our favorite local shops: Marigold's and Just Goods, and it'll be great to check out Buttons & Bows and the Beehive Salon as well.

Yeaaa, I know what you might be thinking... I, too, hate the fanatical rush to begin the Christmas season.  Holiday shopping before Thanksgiving can make me feel a little overly capitalistic.  It makes me worry that I'll get into the consuming of the holidays rather than the giving.  Yet, there is something special about buying that first gift for your mom or someone else special.  (For some reason, it makes me think of the scene from "The Polar Express" - the book, not the movie - when Santa gives the sleigh bell to the kid and declares "THE FIRST GIFT OF CHRISTMAS!"  which, mind you, is a very sacred scene  in my litany of childhood Christmas memories.)  

There's another heart-warming idea at work here.  It's not simply about the browsing, buying, and gift wrapping.  It's about that small business community that has developed on the 700 block of East Jefferson, bringing friends and patrons together to kick off the season of peace on Earth and goodwill towards (wo)men.  Mmmm, let the warm and fuzzy holiday season begin.

#64: Fever Alternatives for November 18th

Since we (kind of) promoted an event at Club Fever last night, I feel the need to balance things out with an installment of Fever Alternatives!  

Just when it feels like there's nothing else to do tonight but flock to Michiana's hottest night club along with the area's collegiate population, we're coming to your rescue with a handful of Thursday evening suggestions.  For all of you So. Benders (South Bendites, Bend Aides, etc) who cannot stomach the idea of - as the kids say -"grinding" up on a stranger tonight, here are a few events that might be even MORE fun than a night at Club Fever!

6:00 PM  Begin your anti-Fever evening with a nice dinner... at the public library?  Normally, I wouldn't eat things found at the St. Joe Public Library, but tonight is different.  Check out their cooking workshop entitled "Thrifty Thursday: Ready, Set, Cook!"  I hope the food is better than the name.  LaSalle Branch Library, info for hungry readers here  
7:00 PM  Adams High School students will sing about the hilarious history of homicide,  "The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940," John Adams High School, 808 S. Twychkenham Drive, seriously, I'm not kidding - more info here
7:30 PM  Motown classics?  Absolutely.  Darryl Buchanan at Trio's, 124 N. Michigan Street, more info here
7:30 PM  Mozart, Bach, and like stuff like that... with the IUSB Philharmonic at Northside Hall (campus auditorium), 1855 Northside Boulevard, Ticket prices at the door: $9 for adults, $7 for senior citizens, students and children are free, more event info here  and fancy pants classical music stuff here
9:00 PM  A little bit of country... and hopefully a lot more folk with Tommy O Miller at Fiddler's Hearth, 127 N. Main Street, more info here

No, I can't guarantee there will be cage dancing at these events, nor will I promise that it'll be overflowing with sweaty 20 year olds.  Heck, you might even have to pay more than $1 for a shot. But I hope you'll somehow find a way to enjoy one (or more) of these events tonight.

Let us know how you'll be avoiding Club Fever tonight!

#63: Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry After Party at O'Sullivan's

Right now, I'm sitting in Lula's after the last poetry reading at its current location, but I'm considering heading over to O'Sullivan's later.  Why?  Well, this bar often offers all drinks for $2, so the answer should be evident, but tonight is extra-special.  It's the after party for the "Red Carpet Movie Screening" of Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry, a new documentary about the famed tattoo artist.

In a blink of an eye, you can go from chilling with Notre Dame MFA students to well, this...

The documentary showed at 6:30 tonight at Club Fever -- anybody catch the film? it looked fascinating -- but the after party at O'Sullivan's is sure to be a prime place to people watch and get inspired for your next tattoo.  It's a gallery showing with skin as the medium, so perhaps it's no wonder that common ground can be found in South Bend among the  Masters of Fine Art and masters of body art.

Where: O'Sullivan's Crossing, 235 S. Michigan St.
When: 9:00 pm -- last call (and who knows after that...)
Extra incentives to go: door prizes, body art certificate giveaways, Sailor Jerry girls & drink specials.

#62: Boy Gets Girl

Notre Dame's Film Television, and Theater Department is well-known for producing three to four impressive productions a year. They range from musicals to dramas to tragedies to the classics (Our Town closed the season two years ago). This year is no different and for their second production of the year, they've chosen Rebecca Gilman's "Boy Gets Girl", a contemporary commentary on dating in the modern age.

It's been open for a week and reviews from friends who have already attended indicate that it's emotionally draining, intense, and an incredibly interesting and worthwhile production. One friend said it's even worth going for the set alone. The drama is directed by Siiri Scott, a Notre Dame faculty member and acted by undergraduates at the University. There will be performances through Sunday of this week, but tickets are going quickly.

For more info and to order tickets check out the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center's website here.

#61: Who Do You Think You Are? Uncover Your Family's History

After a moment of silence for Bryan's Piano Barr, it's time to move on to everything else there is to do in South Bend beginning with tomorrow's genealogy session at the St. Joe County Public Library. Who out there hasn't wondered the origin of your last name or if you're related to some historical figure?  Well wonder no more, just show up at 6:00pm tomorrow in the Dickinson Room at the Main library to learn the best tips and tools for uncovering the gems in your past.

Maybe you're the long lost descendant of Henry, John, Clement, Peter, or Jacob Studebaker? Maybe your great-great grandparents came through Ellis Island? Maybe your ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War? Maybe you have family in Alaska? I mean who knows, right? So take advantage of this class and find out!

Where: Dickinson Room at the St. Joe County Public Library, Main Branch
When: 6:00pm, November 16, 2010

For more information call 574-282-4621.

#60: In memoriam: Bryan's Piano Barr

I wish none of the 365 things to do in South Bend would never involve this, but just like pets can't live forever, just like the teacher you had a crush on in high school will eventually get grey hair, there are some things you can't prevent in life.  Change is inevitable, right?  (Still, I'd like to see more diverse base of support for local places...).

So, Bryan's Piano Barr shut its doors today after a decade of serving cold beers and a slap-in-the-face to those used to the ND college bar scene.  I was happy to see the place was packed, but the mood was bittersweet.  Gospel hour had its last hour.  And who will drop the disco ball when I stand up for being proud to be an American?  Bryan urged the crowd to support him at his first extra-Barr show at Kelly's Pub on Thursday night.

Should you expect a post?  Perhaps.  It is right across from the Farmer's Market...

#59: The Rolling Stonebaker

Across the States, the latest foodie craze has revolved around food trucks and stands.  While the idea of a portable restaurant is nothing new, the offerings have increased in complexity from the classic hot dog or ice cream stand.
Photo by Andrea Georgian, one of the authors of this ingenious idea!

Today, South Bend brings you its particular twist on this trend: the Rolling Stonebaker, a retooled Studebaker fire truck offering wood-fired pizza.  It's stopping by the Studebaker Museum (naturally) today to sell their creative pizza offerings.  Their unusual ingredients are a breath of fresh air from the classic pizzas you'll find in South Bend joints.  (As a transplant from Virginia, I think 'The Purple Pig' looks especially appetizing-- it's good to see BBQ and slaw together again.) 

Jim and Andrea, the couple behind this idea, found the truck for sale on Craigslist and thought they'd use their culinary skills to bring warm cheesy goodness to the Midwest masses.  Since July 31st, the truck has travelled around to different farmer's markets and events in the Michiana area, but catch it here in South Bend in the very place owner Jim Chaddock did research on what the truck should look like.  This pizza-vending truck is one helluva brainchild.

Where: The Studebaker National Museum, 201 Chapin St.
When: 10am - 5pm
Website: http://rollingstonebaker.com/

#58: Main Street Cafe

Barely 3 months old, Main Street Cafe has already taken downtown South Bend by storm. I'm of the opinion that you can never have too many coffee-shops/cafes in one area, but Main Street also offers several features that other coffee-shops around the area don't. First, they're open until 10:00pm on weekdays. Let me repeat that, they're open until 10:00pm, making this the perfect place to read, study, and relax in the heart of downtown post-business hours.

But the list of awesome continues. I was in the cafe recently and overheard a staff member mention to a customer that they had won the recent chili cook-off between the restaurants of Downtown South Bend. So there you go, for a second reason, they apparently have the best chili in the city. Third, free Wi-Fi. Fourth, their dessert case. You have to see it to believe it. I could go on, but I would rather you just visit and try it out for yourself.

102 North Main Street

Mon-Thur- 7am-10pm
Fri-Sat- 7am-11pm
Sun- closed

Fun Fact: Main Street can partially lay claim to the birth of this blog. A late night here as well as several at Lula's was responsible for the initial design, conception and launch of 365 South Bend.

#57: Art Classes at the South Bend Museum of Art

The itch to create something took hold of me the other day.  I never took an art class in school, but I was always envious of students who had "studio" and something other than Word documents to show for their time spent in class.  I would tell myself, Take an art class in your spare time, some other time. Don't waste your time now.

Little did I realize how much an art class is not a waste of time.  It's a fully enriching experience, which I discovered when I stopped the procrastination and finally signed up for a pastels class at the South Bend Museum of Art.  The class is composed of beginners like myself and accomplished artists looking for another opinion on their work.  The most unexpected and most wonderful element of the class is the community -- most people know each other but they are most kind to me, the newcomer.

It's eye-opening to take an art class.  You begin to see things you didn't before.  After I had drawn tree after tree, struggling to figure out how to make branches look realistic, I started to notice the branching patterns of the trees around me.  Then I began to realize where there were trees (St. Joseph Street, of all places) and where there were not (Grape Road, for one).  In class, it was fascinating to observe the more advanced students work on their pieces.  Each person took a different approach to the same medium; some used pastels to depict ephemeral landscapes, others used its blendable color to recreate vivid flowers and faces with startling accuracy.

While this post may seem tangential and personal, I want to convey to you that art class fosters an appreciation of the world around you, both in regard to other people and the environment.  And this mindset of loving where you are, dear readers, is kinda what this blog is all about.

Where: South Bend Museum of Art, 120 S. St. Joseph Street
When: A 4-week Winter session is now open for enrollment; classes are offered year-round
Website: http://southbendart.org/index.php?lt=03

#56: Arts Cafe

Again with the misnomers!  "Arts Cafe", an annual community open house hosted by the Near Northwest Neighborhood, Inc. (NNN), is more of a lively all-ages festival than a laidback artists gathering.  Now in its eigth year, this event is a great way to catch a glimpse into a neighborhood that has a lot of character.

The motivation behind this event is to showcase some restored homes that are for sale (at great prices -- even I could afford the mortgage. I thought seriously about buying a house...for about two minutes), so there were about a half-dozen homes that you could enter and look around.  Each one was different, but beautiful wood floors and window frames and unexpected nooks seemed to be common features.

Looking at these different homes was fun enough itself, but in addition, there were booths set up in different homes with local vendors selling everything from cookies to knit caps.  You never knew what you would find when you entered a house.

Also, on the street, there was a two stages with live music, and pop-up tents for non-profits and businesses were scattered throughout.  Many organizations in South Bend, and NNN in particular, support community groups and historic preservation.  Paradoxically, this appreciation for the past keeps the city vibrant and full of things to discover, especially when there's pressure to have in town the big-name chains that can be found anywhere.  There may not be a Cheesecake Factory in the area, but trust me, it ain't got nothing on Miss Brittney Jennings's $1.50 pumpkin-and-cream-cheese cupcake.

When: Sunday, 10 am - 5pm
Where : Stop by Cushing Street and Lindsey St. first, where the NNN tent with a map to the house tour
Website: http://www.nearnorthwest.org/Pages/Events/ArtsCafe2010.htm

#55: Alexander's Grill

This restaurant is popular among Notre Dame students for its late night hours and cheap prices.  Nothing beckons more than dollar beer, and a five dollar gyro platter special.  Whether it's the most authentic Greek food in town, as their website claims, is open to debate -- my week in Greece taught me that Greek salad does not have lettuce in it and that feta should be eaten in card deck-sized blocks -- but they do have the most authentic Greek sense of hospitality I've seen since Yia Yia Kaltsas gave me a pound of food as an afternoon snack.  The owner, Ari, is one of the most outgoing people I've ever met, and he'll sit down in the booth with you to chat.  I've taken several pictures with him at his request.  His joy from this restaurant is contagious. 

This is a great place to go in big groups, and they're happy (overjoyed, sometimes) to accommodate everyone.  While the gyros are the most popular, their menu is quite large. Don't miss the appetizers -- lots of good dips and the staple for every good Greek restaurant, flaming cheese. 

Where: 1841 South Bend Ave.  (across from Studebagels)
When to go: They're open seven days a week and until 4 am (!) on Friday and Saturday.
Tip: Mention if you're a ND/SMC/HC student/staff/faculty member, and you'll get 15% off the bill.

#54: ArtPost

It’s the first Friday of the month. 

As such it’s "First Friday" here in South Bend with the monthly bevy of events that follows.  Just Goods is having a re-opening celebration! There’s an Open Mic at Chicory Café! Opera LaSalle’s holding an open dress rehearsal in the Blue Gallery! A book-signing by author Colleen Affeld at Idle Hours Bookstore! Origami at Spark, ceramics at the Chocolate Café, and copper jewelry-making at Fire Arts.  There’s almost too much to do and too many places to go, but if you have time for only one activity tonight, my personal recommendation would be to stop by the new-guy-around-town art gallery, ArtPost, and its opening reception for “Dr. Funlaw: Collective Consciousness.”

About a year old now, ArtPost, is a gallery founded by local artists and dedicated to bringing great local and regional art to South Bend. As they say, “we believe in promoting art at home.” The exhibition featured tonight is no exception. It presents young, local artists who go by the name “Dr. Funlaw” and whose work is described as “highly saturated” and “brightly colored.” The event description even notes that “they are known to suggest the use of 3D Chromadepth glasses to best view their work.” The exhibition will run through December 19, so if you can’t make it tonight make sure to stop in before then.

ArtPost has already set itself apart through its great collection of art books (McSweeney’s Quarterly included), local photography, permanent exhibits, and featured exhibitions. In addition to the featured art tonight, upcoming art includes Cuban posters and an artist who “experiments with stenciled skateboard decks.”  Honestly, that doesn't get out of the door and through theirs, who knows what will persuade you because this is about as local and as cool as you will find, at least in South Bend.

Where: ArtPost Gallery, 216 W. Madison St. (574-287-6293 if you want to call)
When: Exhibition Reception: tonight 5:00-9:00 pm; Regular Hours: Thursday, Friday, Saturday noon-8:00 pm, Sunday noon-4:00 pm

#53: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

I have a soft spot in my heart for community theater, but whether you're new to the stage or grew up in the green room, you're sure to enjoy the South Bend Civic Theatre's production of the familiar and frightening "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". The story of the upstanding Dr. Jekyll and the murderous Mr. Hyde has been described as a "stunning psychological thriller" and its portrayal on the stage should be eerily entertaining.

The production will run through November 7, leaving only four more days for you to check out the show.  There is a chance that most of the shows have already been sold-out so move quickly and make sure to call ahead or check the day of to see if there are any seats left.

Check out the Civic Theater's website here and a South Bend Tribune review of the production here.

#52: The Notre Dame Forum

In times such as this, you appreciate living in (somewhat of) a college town.  In these lucky cities, there are plenty of free, educational, and cultural events that (somewhat) balance out the  gameday traffic and crosswalk-disregarding pedestrians.  

Tonight, the University of Notre Dame hosts Thomas Friedman, author of the Hot, Flat, and Crowded and Pulitzer-prize winning columnist for The New York Times, as a speaker for its annual Forum.  The topic for this year's series of discussions is "The Global Marketplace and the Common Good."  In other words, how to balance the demands we place on the economy and on helping out each other.  It's an interesting, pertinent topic, and Thomas Friedman is an articulate source on globalization, religious fundamentalism, and climate change. 
Doesn't he look engaging?!

His point of view is sure to spark debate, and the best part about this event is that it provides a platform for Notre Dame students and faculty to engage each other in discussion.  This often proves to be the most interesting part of the night.  The Dean of the ND Business School, a Theology professor, and a senior Economics major will have a roundtable discussion after Mr. Friedman speaks.

Unfortunately, there are no tickets left to the venue where the discussion is being held, but the next best option is a showing at the Mendoza College of Business Auditorium.  (And afterwards, you can sneak over to the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center for the post-Forum reception.)  Even if you feel like staying in, away from the first frosts of winter, you can still engage your mind by watching it on the live stream at forum.nd.edu.  

Although you can still learn a lot about humanity by watching America's Top Model.

Where: University of Notre Dame campus, or at home on the live screen
When: 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Tip: The website for this event is spectacular, and you can learn more about this topic and post your thoughts.

#51: Vote

Taking the time to vote is one of our most important civic duties, and here in South Bend it's no different.  Polls will be open until 6:00pm so head over to your polling place and fill out a ballot. This is your chance to affect the future of South Bend, and I can't think of a better example of this blog's tagline to "Do Something Local Today".

Find your polling place here.

Check out election coverage on the South Bend Tribune here.

#50: El Dia de los Muertos Festivities

Don't be fooled into thinking that Halloween is the only major holiday this time of year.  Mexico's annual El Dia de los Muertoes or The Day of the Dead is increasingly celebrated throughout North and South America on November 2nd to honor the lives of those who have passed away in the past year. It is important to note that this day is indeed a spirited celebration of life rather than a mournful occasion.

In that spirit, Notre Dame's Institute for Latino Studies will be sponsoring festivities a day early, on campus this evening in the Hesburgh Center's Great Hall. The evening will include presentations by anthropologist Dr. Alex Chavez and Juan Rivera of Sones de Mexico with interspersed performances from several Notre Dame student groups including Ballet Folklorico Azul y Oro and Mariachi ND.  All of the activities are free and open to the public so take some time tonight to stop by.

Where: Hesburgh Center for International Studies, Great Hall. If you're not familiar with the campus, check out a map here that also includes parking info.

When: 5:30pm-8:00pm

For more information on The Day of the Dead or this evening's events, the website is located here.