The Stranger Next Door

 (c) Amy Beers

(c) Amy Beers

Curiously glancing out the kitchen window of my one-bedroom apartment in Indianapolis, just on the outskirts of downtown; I wondered who it was that might live next door.  A batch of chocolate chip cookies warmly came out of the oven on this wintery night, filling the room with a comforting smell I remember from childhood.  I thought about sharing with my neighbor…but what if they were unwelcoming?  

Days passed.  The remaining cookies became stale and sadly, I threw them out.  

Turns out, DJ Kyle Long loves chocolate chip cookies.  He also has a big heart for the often overlooked members of society.  I didn’t learn that we had lived right next door to each other until months after I moved away and met him for the first time over coffee to talk about global music.  

DJ Kyle Long has been spinning international beats for nearly ten years in Indianapolis.  He also hosts a weekly music program for WFYI radio, writes a regular music column for NUVO, is a music consultant for Eskenazi Health and is the co-founder of Cultural Cannibals.  He’s an advocate for Indy’s growing immigrant population.  You’ll often catch him bridging cultural gaps with his music on a high-energy night at the Hi-Fi in Fountain Square.       

Culture is changing,” states Kyle. “You can either seek to understand and embrace it, or, build a wall.  My hope is to break down walls, because human connection provides greater benefit for a better life and a better future.

What a more perfect way to start connecting, than at a venue accessible to everyone and through music - a language that everyone understands.  Sometimes we are hesitant to step outside of our comfort zone; but, you’ll find, as Kyle has experienced, most people are happy when others take interest, and are proud to share their culture.      

There is so much more to gain in learning from each other and celebrating our diverse cultures.  By staying in a safe bubble, we run the risk of getting left behind as the world becomes more globally connected.  Connecting with others is about enriching our lives and the lives of those around us.

Don’t let your cookies go stale.  Share them, and let’s get to know our neighbors.

Say "hi" to DJ Kyle Long while you dance the night away to Bollywood Beats from India at the Hi-Fi in Fountain square.