Inventive Ways to Be Original

By Edo Steinberg

Jim Krause has many strategies to maintain his creativity. “My wife and I come up with prompts,” he says. “For instance, one of the things we do is tell each other about the strangest thing that happened to us that day. Sometimes your ‘strange radar’ isn’t on, but the moment you start looking for interesting things, you’ll start discovering them. It can be an interaction with another person or learning or seeing something new, something visually odd. ‘Oh, there’s a rooster, and it’s in downtown Bloomington.’ You don’t usually see roosters in downtown Bloomington.”

People lose their sense of wonder as they grow older. “For babies and children, everything is brand new,” Jim says. “Thinking of myself, my eyes were open with amazement at anything new. We were captivated by the smallest things, like rings hanging over our crib. As children, we go off to grade school and we’re encouraged to be creative. We finger paint and try to play instruments, dance, write a poem.”

This continues in high school and college, where people tend to peak creatively. “In college, you’re exposed to even more people and ideas. You hear opinions you may not agree with. All this new stimulation is fuel for your ideas.”

“Then, you get a job,” Jim says. “You find a partner, and maybe get a dog or a cat. Then a year goes by, two years go by, 10 years go by. If you’re lucky, you still have a partner, a good house, a good job, and a pet, and what happens is that all those new experiences become a routine. For instance, you must think about the easiest way to get from where you live to IU, and you know of a good way to approach your academic work. We all think of the best ways to impress our boss, the best ways to impress our partner, because we’re trying to find the best practices – what’s the easiest way for me to succeed in my life.”

Jim tries to push back against routine. “I always try to do something different. It could be small things: if you brush your teeth with one hand, try it with the other; if you shave with one hand, try it with the other.”

Another strategy Jim and his wife have is to tell each other something new they learned today. “It can be something small. For instance, I talked to three homeless people on Kirkwood. One of them was named Tim. I applauded the fact that they had this really cute dog to help them get money, partially for dog food. They said, ‘yeah, it really works to meet the girls.’ It was a fun conversation with three homeless people, really the high point of my week.”

Some other things Jim does: go to work a new way, eat in a new place, talk to a stranger, and always schedule “me time”, no matter how busy you are. Try to do something new during your “me time”. Jim likes to play music during this time. “Music can be a rut too. It’s important to practice on a regular basis, but you should also play different kinds of music or a different instrument.”  For instance, Jim, a guitar player, is nowadays playing bass just to do something new.

As a creative person who likes to go out of his comfort zone, Jim thinks that projects that other people pitch him are more interesting for him to work on than projects he comes up with on his own. “They’re usually something I would never have thought of.”

Eighth Brown Bag of the Semester – April 19, 2013

Jim Krause, Senior Lecturer: Department of Telecommunications at Indiana University

TitleProducer’s Logbook: Behind the scenes of the documentary Spirit of Brown County.



Take a peek behind the scenes of a broadcast documentary with producer/instructor Jim Krause. In this presentation, Jim will show excerpts and discuss the process behind his latest documentary, Spirit of Brown County, which he produced for WTIU. This seminar is ideal for anyone wishing to learn more about writing and producing documentaries, camera and editing strategies, and techniques for working with clients and subjects.

Lotus and Jim

Jim sporting a Lotus festival shirt and hat.

by Teresa Lynch

During what he describes as his misspent youth, Jim Krause would sometimes catch a “grey dog” up to Bloomington from Louisville.  Often, he was on the grey dog or Greyhound bus, as you might know it, to Bloomington to perform as a musician.  During one of those trips, Jim was waiting for the bus to Bloomington when an older man – seemingly a farmer – approached him and inquired about the mandolin case sitting next to him on the ground.  Jim told the man that he did indeed play and the man asked if Jim would show him.  He readily agreed and pulled out his mandolin, playing a few tunes for the stranger.  The man then asked if he could give it a try – a request to which Jim readily agreed.  The man turned out to be quite talented and the two sat swapping the mandolin between them until the bus arrived.  The man thanked Jim for the opportunity to play and they boarded the bus separately.  It wasn’t until the bus arrived in Bloomington and the man got off the bus to a swarm of photographers and journalists that Jim realized that his impromptu session had been with Lotus Dickey – one of Indiana’s most treasured musicians.

Many people in Bloomington might readily associate “Lotus” with the Lotus World Music and Art Festival that is held each year in town.  What they might not realize is that the festival is named after Lotus Dickey and not the Lotus flower.  Lotus grew up in rural Indiana, south of Bloomington.  From the early 1930’s and on into his late years, Lotus was an avid composer and performer.

Lotus Dickey performing in Indiana in the 1980s. Photo by Nan McEntire and sourced from

In the late 1970’s a documentary film crew at IU featured Lotus and jump-started what would become a flourishing music career.  The Lotus Festival pays homage to him as one of the treasured musicians of Southern Indiana.  Jim’s involvement with the Lotus Festival would come much later, but the fond memory of his chance encounter with the folk musician still resonates with him.

Jim originally came to Bloomington to study music composition.  At the time, his primary musical instrument was the viola.  As his studies progressed, he found himself less and less interested in the atonal, arrhythmic music his instructors were coercing him to compose.  He decided to quit composition and instead pursue audio engineering and video production during his undergraduate studies.  He worked for some time with visual and musical artists around Bloomington, in familiar places such as the Bluebird, but eventually left off working with those artists for more steady and secure work with companies such as Hoosier Energy.  He laughed, though, to tell me that now, at a stage in his career that allows more flexibility for creative odd jobs, he is back to working with artists because he enjoys it.  In fact, a primary impetus these days for Jim for performing, running audio, or tech directing is working for good causes, especially in the region.  Which is how he ended up some years ago on the Board of Directors of the Lotus Festival.

Jim first became interested in organizational development when he was on the board of WFHB, a Bloomington community radio station.  After working with WFHB, Jim transferred his volunteer time to focus on the Lotus Festival.  He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Lotus Festival for four years and even served as the chair for one of those years.  This year, however, Jim is only volunteering with the festival as a photographer.  But, that gives Jim an opportunity to experience the Lotus Festival up close and personal.  The festival is set to begin September 20, although some pre-festival events have already started.  And with artists travelling in from St. Lucia, China, Côte d’Ivoire , Finland, and more, there’s bound to be a lot more memory – not to mention community – building going on.

Telecom Intramural Sports and Sailing with Jim Krause

The first week of classes were underway last week, but the summer weather hasn’t given up on Bloomington yet. In honor of the warm days, we celebrate fall intramural sports. Several Telecom grad students and faculty participate in fall IMs here at IU, and this week we’re featuring those athletic academics.

We also feature the first segment in a forthcoming series on objects in faculty offices.  We bring to life the huge coastal map in Prof.  Krause’s office.

Intramural Sports

This week marks the beginning of intramural soccer season at IU, and the department’s team is ready for action. Featuring faculty and graduate students from Telecommunications as well as a handful of players from other academic units, the team has been improving over the course of the last two seasons, according to grad student Peter Blank.

Peter adds: “The team has some outstanding new players that add to the strength of a solid core group.  FC Telecom would be invincible if maybe one or two new players could harmonize the team even more.”

The weekly games, which are played on Thursday evenings at Karst Farm Park, are competitive any given week, but the department’s team eyes one particular game with even more zeal. Current PhD student Travis Ross, who plays for another team, Man Down, admits that his continued affiliation with a rival team has made for an intense rivalry.

Travis, who received his master’s in the School of Library and Information Science, was already playing for Man Down when he joined the department.  The problem, from FC Telecom’s point of view, is that he hasn’t considered leaving his original team. “I’m too attached to my team to switch now, and it’s fun playing against people you know,” Travis says of the decision. Fun, perhaps. But how much has the rivalry grown since its inception? During the department’s summer game against his team, Travis scored eight goals and boasted 4 assists, although Telecom has been victorious in the past.

What’s in store for this fall’s match up? Peter suggests, “If Travis’ team would start using their feet more instead of their hands, they will not stand a chance against Telecom.” Travis is hesitant to say who will come out ahead but notes that he’s been training heavily all summer. His main concerns are bulldozing Professor Mark Deuze, who Travis describes as “a rough guy and competitor” and Professor Steve Krahnke, who has “a real eye for talent,” a proclivity to pick up talented players from rival teams as the season progresses. We’ll see who comes out ahead this year, but in the meantime, catch up with the team (and sure, you can also watch Travis play if you want) on Thursday nights at Karst Farm Park.

If soccer isn’t your thing, you can still catch other scholar-athletes from the department in intramural sports later this fall. PhD student Lindsay Ems, who joined her first intramural team at IU in 2003, co-captains a team in several sports, including flag football and basketball when the weather cools down a bit. Lindsay’s team, Collective Action, was originally formed in 1999 and was comprised mostly of students from Sociology and Communication and Culture departments. Today the team consists of other departments, Telecom grad students, and more recently a group from IU’s nursing school.

Over the course of the past two years, the team has reigned victorious in both women’s flag football (2008 Champs; 2009 Runners-up) as well as Division II women’s basketball (2010 Champs). The team, which still has some of the original members from the 1999 team, has also played dodgeball, extreme dodgeball, and ultimate frisbee. Below is a photo of Lindsay’s 2010 Championship Basketball Team, with Telecom graduate students Satina Stewart and Anne Morningstar.

Graduate students Lindsay Ems, Satina Stewart, and Anne Morningstar with other teammates from Collective Action following their 2010 Div. II IM Basketball victory.

Objects in Faculty Offices, Segment 1: Coastal Map in Jim Krause’s Office

Professor Jim Krause took time this week to share one of his great joys in life: sailing.  Jim began sailing around the age of 16 at a music and arts camp in Interlochen, Michigan.  A self-taught sailor, he describes sailing as a multi-faceted experience.  More importantly, he loves that sailing can take you to incredible places that you couldn’t normally get to. Jim has spent an extensive amount of time sailing in the Pacific Northwest exploring remote islands and wilderness.  When he comes back to Bloomington, he spends time boating  on Lake Monroe watching sunsets and falling stars.  Jim considers Bloomington a wonderful place to live because in addition to sailing on Lake Monroe, he does a lot of trail running and kayak camping at Hoosier National Forest.  Check out this video tour of his office and hear Jim talking about his beloved map:

Thereafter see the map come to life in the majestic footage from his travels in the Pacific Northwest:

Sailing Montage

In addition to being an accomplished musician, Jim is a talented videographer who has documented many of his adventures.  Jim says the best thing about sailing is that is both technical and challenging.  You have to be self-sufficient to succeed.  These skills are needed to be successful in life in general.


Katie Birge:  Intramural Sports

Nicky Lewis:  Coastal Map in Jim Krause’s Office