As Sky Blue Window's general manager and longtime social media wrangler, I spend more than my fair share of time checking in on our data. From Google Analytics to Facebook Insights, our page views totals, average time on page, new vs. returning users and nearly any demographic information or guesstimation that IP addresses have to offer. Numbers can be useful in evaluating content, but really, we're here to tell stories.
In the interest of celebrating that mission -- to highlight what is interesting, special or particular about central Indiana's cultural world -- I asked several regular freelancers and bloggers, as well as the everyday SBW crew, to pick out the stories they most loved from our first 365 days of publication.
- Kirsten Eamon-Shine / Rachel Enneking
- Sky Blue Window aims to cover the diversity of Indianapolis' local music community, from the seats at Hilbert Theatre to indie rock in Fountain Square.
Recommended by Justin
The Best Seat in the House by Kirsten Eamon-Shine
"This is a cool look at not only the best music venues in town, but also an insider guide to helping you pick the perfect seat that will give you a great view and unbeatable acoustics."
Recommended by Seth
Building an Economy-Size Conversation by Wesley Cate
"I vividly remember hearing of this Council. Over the years, I have become a huge advocate for Indiana music, and it was incredibly exciting to read about this group of stakeholders who were bringing their minds together for the sake of spreading the quality music this city has to offer. Throughout his piece, Wesley captures the genuine passion of these individuals -- something that I strive to do with every article I write on local music. While this piece fostered an ecstatic response from myself, I also believe it helped legitimize the efforts of the many driven music minds that call Indianapolis home, showcasing that there really are some great things happening in our city music-wise."
Recommended by Cathy
Creative Ferment by Jami Stall
"I haven't -- yet -- ventured to Flat 12 Bierwerks, but thanks to this piece by Jami Stall, it's on my to-do list. Who knew I could grab one of their crazy-sounding brews, catch a short by an independent filmmaker and be welcomed by a crowd of artists and musicians all at the same place? Not me. This story's snappy writing makes the microbrewery seem like a "Cheers" for hopheads, and I'm curious. More, it is a fun read."
Bonus fact: Hugh Vandivier was a big fan of the full Beer Week series, which he described as "a great package of stories and video covering a real highlight of the Indy scene."
- Courtesy of Flat12 Bierwerks / Three Floyds
- Beer Week stories were among Sky Blue Window's most-read content.
Recommended by Emily
Graphic Content by Emily Taylor, also from Beer Week.
"I love finding out about little pieces of art that are often overlooked or taken for granted -- such as those in marketing or on labels. Emily Taylor does a great job going behind the scenes with these little-known artists."
Recommended by Mike
A Stitch in Time by Cathy Kightlinger
"I love this story because it covers an under-appreciated aspect of theater. Tailoring is something of a forgotten art in our culture, and I really enjoyed getting a peek at the people responsible for the excellent costumes that help make IRT productions so enjoyable. I love when a writer digs beneath the surface, or in this case, behind the curtain."
- Perry Reichanadter / Glenn Gass / Ben Shine
- In addition to covering big openings and major productions, our writers work to find the special stories that reveal the depth and detail of central Indiana's cultural life.
Recommended by Ben
The Weirdest Thing Lou Reed Ever Did by Cathy Kightlinger
"When Lou Reed died last November, I weirdly felt like I lost an uncle. His music was formative during my teenage years, and I think I sort of modeled my half-grumpy/half goofy persona from listening to his darkly tragic and tongue-in-cheek songs over and over. I loved Cathy's story because it wasn't a corny homage to Reed's life work, rather it was a story shared as a tribute to a lost friend."
Recommended by Hugh
Me & My Arrow by Ben Shine
"Ben Shine's stuff is really great, and I always enjoy his insight, especially as a fellow music-lover. I hear way too many of my friends who are parents complain about "having to put up with Radio Disney in the car." In his post "Me and My Arrow," Ben talks about exposing his young son to music and fretting about how to instill creativity in his boy. By playing the music Ben loves, rather than the commercialized, overproduced "kid-friendly" pabulum, he shouldn't have to worry."
Those are a few of our favorites. Are there any we missed?Front page photo by FourthFloor, used with Creative Commons license.