Indianapolis – MW2009

The plane landed in the Midwest city of Indianapolis and my first impressions were not good. The weather was a blanket overcast which muted all the colours making everything look a bit grey. Not a great start.

The war memorial in Indianapolis
The war memorial in Indianapolis

I was in town for the Museums and the Web conference 2009 for the best part of four days so I wasn’t expecting to have much time to get out and take many photos. Luckily I manged to get a few pictures in between sessions.

Anti-Obama demonstration
Anti-Obama demonstration

I stayed at the Canterbury hotel which is very central and it was only a short walk round most of the downtown ‘attractions’. On the afternoon I arrived there was an anti-Obama demonstration outside the Indiana State House. There was a band playing music, the signs and placards were great but otherwise it seemed a bit muted and generally the mood was ‘quietly angry’.

Early morning Indianapolis
Early morning Indianapolis

I woke up very early each morning which gave me the opportunity to go for a walk around the city centre. The light was really low and bright and I enjoyed experimenting with some back lighting. For a city centre and a state capitol I did find Indianapolis relatively empty of people and it never seemed particularly busy.

My top cultural experience of the trip was an encounter with a genuine biker – ‘Bird Dawg’. My colleague and I went for a beer and discovered that there were no tables free and ended up sharing with a couple. The guy looked a bit scary at first, shaven headed and decked out in leather and sun-glasses. He noticed our English accents and started up a bit of conversation and the more things went on the nicer he and his partner seemed. It turns out that when he’s not biking, he was a professional trucker, owning his own rig which was quite interesting to hear about.

Bird Dawg
Bird Dawg

Bird Dawg was the very proud owner of a fabulous Harley Davidson motorcycle, which he very generously let us have a sit on. He insisted that I borrow his leather vest so that I at least looked the part for the photo. I declined the offer of the chaps even though he said there was no ‘butt smell’ as they had no butt which I guess made sense.

Before going I had really considered going to a a baseball game and in a way I slightly regret it as ‘Victory field’ was right in the downtown area and looked really homely. I think I may have missed my chance.

Love at the Indianapolis Museum of Art
'Love' at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

We did visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art which turned out to be very good indeed. They hold a very wide selection of art from Turner and Reynolds to Chuck Close and many others. A small criticism would be that the art is crowded very closely on the walls and I would have preferred less but more spread out. Well worth a visit.

Art in White River Park, indianapolis
Art in White River Park, indianapolis

On my visit here I was in the closing stages of my marathon training and I had been worrying about where I was going to go for a run. I shouldn’t have worried too much as the quiet and art filled White river park was very close to the city centre. Considering that I’d worried about running around a city, the river path was a welcome surprise.

The conference itself was pretty good and I got quite a lot out of it. I do slightly wish it had been in a slightly more popular city, but on reflection it could have been a whole lot worse.

Don’t go out of your way to come to Indianapolis, but if you find yourself here then there are a few things to do.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s