Don't Ruin It For Everyone Else
Created for BookmarkIndy, a project of Indiana Humanities that highlights the places that inspired Indianapolis’s writing community and features local artists and musicians.
Don't Ruin It For Everyone Else was based on Dan Wakefield's book Going All The Way and set at the Red Key Tavern.
For artist Jamie Pawlus, the red neon key atop the Red Key Tavern serves as a perfect metaphor for the conversations between Sonny and Gunner, the main characters in Dan Wakefield’s novel Going All the Way. The young men struggle to determine the rest of their lives, understand love and figure out how to engage with women—or, in other words, to find “the key” to life’s myriad mysteries and challenges. Pawlus frequently creates works that reflect her (often humorous) inner dialogue, so she was inspired by a scene in the novel when Sonny fled during a disastrous sexploit, leaving Gunner behind, while “the place where the terrible movies ran through his head lit up with a neon sign that said Don’t ruin it for everyone else.” Pawlus’s work, then, makes visible and tangible Sonny’s inner turmoil and nods to the enduring legacy of the Red Key neon sign.