Author Archive | Dan Wakefield

Notes on a Native Son

Originally published in GQ Magazine in August 1988, my piece “Notes on a Native Son” is re-printed at The Stacks Reader:

The first thing I saw were the eyes. They were large and looked very wise, older than the face in which they were set. There was a sadness about them. but more than that, a power, a strength that survived whatever the blows were—physical or psychic or probably, both—that caused the dark shadows around them, above and below, giving them the bruised look of a fighter who’d been punched. It might, in fact, have been the face of a fighter, a young black man with a thin mustache and short dark hair who had boxed his way out of the ghetto. He had actually done just that, but with words rather than fists.

Read the whole piece at the Stacks Reader

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Richard Lugar: A Friend Until the End

I had the honor of writing a feature story in Indianapolis Monthly on my dear friend Dick Lugar:

Lugar’s honesty came to the fore again in one of our class’s final activities. It was Shortridge tradition that the graduation dance was put on by 30 senior boys (chosen by the previous year’s seniors) who formed the prestigious “Club Thirty.” It was our job to select the band to play, the site of the dance, set the ticket price, and sell the tickets—in brief, make all the arrangements. At our last meeting, to divide up the spoils—a minor profit divided among us—all were ready to close the meeting and go out for burgers and maybe some under-the-counter beer, when Lugar stood to say that our business wasn’t over. He explained that we needed to report our profits to the I.R.S. and pay whatever tax was required by the government. None of us were trying to do an end run around our responsibility—such an adult duty had simply not occurred to anyone. Lugar made sure it was all carried out according to the letter of the law. My immediate thought was that Dick was making sure that no future muckraking reporter would dig back into his history when he ran for president and find an illegal flaw in his high school past. He was an Eagle Scout, in character as well as achievement, and he never broke a pledge.

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Cure the Blahs: “The Ballad of Klook and Vinette”

Feeling the January blahs? Wake yourself up with a stimulating new production of “The Ballad of Klook and Vinette” put on by the exciting new Brian Fonseca Theater Company. Founder of The Phoenix Theater, Fonseca is to theater in Indianapolis what Vonnegut is to writing – innovative, thoughtful, un-afraid to rock the boat. Fonseca’s first production was “Hooded – Being Black for Dummies” and it lived up to all the adjectives employed in the previous sentence.

I have read the script of the new show – “The Ballad of Klook and Vinette” – it pulses with life, and takes you on a roller coast ride of unexpected dips and highs that will rock you out of your snowbound rut. Klook is a drifter who is tired of drifting, Vinette is on the run but she doesn’t know what’s chasing her. Meeting over carrot juice, they take a chance on love. . .

Take a chance on this life-brimming play, with the extra attraction of music directed and performed by Tim Brickley, an original artist who plays at The Jazz Kitchen and The Chatterbox. The Fonseca Theater Company is staging its first year of provocative productions at Indy Convergence, 2611 W. Michigan.

Performances beginning this Friday, January 25 through Feb. 1; Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays 5pm and 8pm, Sundays at 2pm. Purchase tickets at  https://fonsecatheatre.org/buy-tickets/or by contacting Associate Producing Director Jordan Flores Schwartz by email at jschwartz@fonsecatheatre.org or by phone at 678-939-2974.

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Dan Wakefield

Dan Wakefield