S2TB-Trailer (Culver Indiana and Vonnegut: a documentary)

Posted: September 17, 2015 in Kurt Vonnegut
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Video Trailer for: “Culver Indiana and Vonnegut: a documentary”



“Culver Indiana and Vonnegut: a documentary”

Next week on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at about 8:00 PM (CST) we will be releasing an NDIOS video special on our YouTube channel. This video explores the rich history of Culver, Indiana  (and Lake Maxinkuckee) and its special relationship with renown author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.. Be sure to check out “Culver Indiana and Vonnegut: a documentary.”



“That will always be an enchanted body of water to me, my Agean Sea, perfect in every dimension. When I was twelve or so, I swam its width, as had my father and my brother and my cousin Richard – – and I became a man.”  -Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. on Lake Maxinkuckee.

During the ever important formative years of his youth, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. spent his summers vacationing along the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee in the town of Culver, Indiana. Kurt was part of the expanding Vonnegut clan whose earliest progenitors set up four cottages along this idyllic fresh-water body. It was here that Kurt got his first tastes of the rugged individualism that formed who he became as a person and a writer. A trait that started with his great-grandfather who immigrated to the United States from Germany during a period of social revolutions.

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Clemens Vonnegut, Jr. house

While recording our podcast episode on Kurt’s seminal work “Slaughterhouse-Five” we stayed at the Clemens Vonnegut, Jr, House (Kurt’s great-uncle). During the day we had an opportunity to explore the locale, and sit down with local historian and editor of the Culver Citizen: Jeff Kenney. Jeff was able to fill us in on the vibrant history of this unique mid-western town that is situated halfway between Chicago and Indianapolis (Kurt’s hometown).

We discussed the early Native American reservations of the Pottawatomi Indians, the arrival of the hunting clubs, establishment of the railroad, founding of the internationally renown military academy and lastly the summer cottage culture which brought Kurt to this place. This is the parallel history of a town and a family.

Ryan, Rick and Jeff Kenney

Ryan, Rick and Jeff Kenney

The documentary we have put together shows the intersection between person and place. We are born in one place and we die in another. This is true both physically as well as metaphorically. Whether we move away from our town of birth and establish our own tale within those very same city limits, or trek far across the globe to some foreign land–all things change. People grow and develop into a sum of experiences based on their genetics and interaction with their environment. A town is no different. The ground of its founding serves as the root of heritage and the people who populate its streets (be they muddy wagon worn trails or asphalt and concrete aggregate) bring the experience of environment.

Home is another thing, too. A concept of solace that is built upon both a physical location and an emotion of mood. Home is a place created for us, and one which we help to create. The condition of home is a multitudinous connection to the universe. An umbilical cord of community that attaches to some past feeling (and present sensation). Lake Maxinkuckee was a ‘home’ for Kurt.


Rick, Jeff Kenney and Dole

In an article written for the Culver-Union Township Library website (The Vonnegut Families of Lake Maxinkuckee), Jeff Kenney reprints quotes in which Kurt cited his affinity for Lake Maxinkuckee: “everything about that lake was imprinted on my mind when it held so little and was so eager for information, it will be my lake as long as I live“.

With the help of NDIOS ally Dole, show hosts Ryan and Rick sat down with Jeff Kenney to parse out the dual histories which converged in this place. Included in this documentary are photos and paintings which help to illustrate these twin tales. Join us as we explore the crossroads of culture and personal identity.


* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.

  1. Reblogged this on Ryan Sean O'Reilly and commented:

    Trailer released for NDIOS video special!

  2. restless37 says:

    Nice Job you guys.. thoughtful history of an interesting little place.. wouldn’t mind seeing that house myself someday. Great production work by the way.. no wonder it took so long.
    Not sure if you saw, but according to Documentary maker Robert Weide, Tralfamador was conceived of on that very platform that you did the interview near, as key component of a few other Vonengut Books..
    Hope Rick is feeling better..
    your number 1 fan!

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