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A colorfully costumed, winged performer from Dragon Knights

Lotus Position

As stiltwalkers go, the Dragon Knights are in a class—nay, a world—unto themselves. Erase any preconceived notion you may have of clowns tottering about pointlessly on sticks: The Dragon Knights create graceful flights of fancy using slender pole stilts to shape shift into gigantic, leaping crickets and mischievous griffins (head of an eagle, body of a lion), among other fabulous creatures. The Knights are but one of some two dozen artists from across the globe convening Thursday, September 16th, through Sunday, September 19th, in Bloomington, Indiana for the annual Lotus World Music and Arts Festival.

Performances at ten different venues include artists from Sierra Leone (Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars), Kyrgyzstan (Ordo Sakhna), Haiti (Emeline Michel), Brazil (Choro Livre), India (The India Experience), Spain (Oreka tx, stars of the documentary Nomadak Tx), Quebec (Genticorum), and, yes, Chicago (Funkadesi).

In addition to the concerts, Lotus Fest features an “Arts Village” where (along 6th Street between Walnut and Washington) visitors can collaborate on community weaving projects and chalk murals while surrounded by installations and on-going performance art pieces.

And what’s a festival without a few parades? At 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 18th, the percussive enthusiasts of Nation Beat will beat a path from 3rd Street to the Arts Village. Then at 8:15 p.m., the Punjabi-influenced Red Baraat will travel down Kirkwood Avenue and 4th Street to the sounds of Indian bhangra.

GO Lotus World Music and Arts Festival in downtown Bloomington, Indiana, September 16th through 19th. One- and two-day passes range from $35 to $64. For more information, check or call 812-323-3020.


Nearby, you’ll find a selection of international cuisines on par with the festival line up. Four we recommend:

  1. Lauded by Bon Appetit on two separate occasions, The Trojan Horse (100 E. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington; 812-332-1101, has been carving skewers of lamb in its visible-from-the-street kitchen for more than 30 years. Locals swear by the gyros.
  2. Amol India (416 E. 4th St., Bloomington; 812-331-8844, As a rule we’re not big on buffets, but we’re willing to put up with heat lamps for Amol’s curry.
  3. Anyetsang’s Little Tibet (414 E. 4th St., Bloomington; 812-331-0122, serves Tibetan, Thai, Indian dishes, and dumplings to fall in love with.
  4. Janko’s Little Zagreb (223 W. 6th St., Bloomington; 812-332-0694, Chicago may be the Steak Capital of the Universe, but Little Zagreb’s prime cuts will pass the taste-test for even the biggest beef snobs.


We recommend the Grant Street Inn (310 N. Grant St., Bloomington; 812-334-2353,; rates range from $259 to $329); the Biddle Hotel and Conference Center (on the campus of Indiana University at 900 7th St., Bloomington; 800-209-8145,; rates range from $249 to $309); and the newly open Showers Inn (430 N. Washington St., Bloomington; 877-334-9009,; for rooms still available, rates range from $269 to $289).