Category Archives: Beatles

Your Daily Hot Air

You Say You Want A…

Okay, if you want to overthrow…, um, what- or whomever, I’m with you. Count me in for the revolution as long as certain global archcriminals get scalped.

Case in point: Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia. I wish I had his address. I’d throw eggs at his front window, at the very least.

From arabianbusiness.com

Evil Prince

The Prince has sued Forbes Magazine in a British court for libel. The editors of that biweekly paean to wealth and two of its reporters, according to the Prince’s filing, wronged him when they stated that his net worth is $20 billion, rather than the more accurate (or so he claims) $29 billion. The bastards!

Honestly, what can you expect from a guy whose bazillions are laundered through a corporate entity known as Kingdom Holding Company? Really? Kingdom? He owns a hefty chunk of the right-wing media colossus News Corp. as well as slices of Apple and Citigroup. As the (alleged) 26th richest human on Earth, he’s not just part of the 1 percent, he’s of the .000000004 percent. Four freaking millionths of one goddamn percent!

Revolution, my friends, now.

Brilliant

This just hit me.

I want to sell T-shirts, buttons, and bumper stickers with this motto on it. Maybe even have it inscribed on my head stone. It is the single truest, most direct, punchiest thing any of us can ever say.

Here it is:

Bumper Sticker

This’ll Make Me Bazillions!

Of course, you can have your choice of jerk photos. Ayn Rand. Chris Brown. Lloyd Blankfein. Kim Kardashian. Anyone in power at Monsanto. You get the idea.

Simple. Straightforward. Don’t be a jerk.

Tarnished Genius

I’m no big fan of Bobby Kennedy. He and his bros had their political careers bought and paid for by Big Daddy Joe, whose fondest dream was to become the Boss of America through them. The Kennedy boys were entitlement personified. They treated women like dirt. They were so sexually acquisitive that they verged on being predators. They were in thrall to mobsters and wannabes. They were liberal when liberalism could get them votes, then they turned around and were conservative for the same reason.

But they were smart. And they did care about blacks and the poor. So I won’t throw the babies out with the bathwater.

After the whacking of JFK (by L.H. Oswald, alone, natch — I’m no conspiracy theorist), Bobby essentially had a nervous breakdown. He came out on the other side a different man. A better man, I might add. A man who had the courage to speak to what could have been an angry, potentially violent crowd one night here in Indiana.

Indy Star Photo

Bobby Kennedy Breaks The News

It was April 4, 1968. RFK was flying into Indy for a quick campaign stop. As the plane was about to touch down, the captain informed Kennedy and his staff that Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated. Bobby’s handlers told him it would be suicide for a white man to tell a crowd of black people that one of their leaders, one of their heroes, had been killed. Let’s not land, they begged him. Let’s go somewhere safe.

And Bobby said no. The plane landed and he gave this speech on the tarmac, completely extemporaneous and without notes, one of the finest in the history of this very, very imperfect nation:

Ladies and gentlemen.

I’m only going to talk to you for just a minute or so this evening, because I have some, some very sad news for all of you. Could you lower those signs, please? I have some very sad news for all of you, and, I think, sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world; and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause for the effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it’s perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black — considering the evidence, evidently, is that there were white people who were responsible — you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.

We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization — black people amongst blacks and white people amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion, and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust, of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond, or go beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poem, my favorite poet was Aeschylus. And he once wrote:

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget

falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair,

against our will,

comes wisdom

through the awful grace of god.

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King — yeah, it’s true — but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love, a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.

We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We’ve had difficult times in the past, and we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.

And let’s dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.

Thank you very much.

Kennedy died of a gunshot wound to the head 45 years ago Thursday.

Revolution

The Pencil Today:

HotAirLogoFinal Saturday

THE QUOTE

“Radio was my pal. I was just crazy about it.” — Bob Edwards

Edwards

THE CHRISTMAS I BECAME KING FAROUK

The transistor radio just might be the coolest consumer electronic product ever invented.

Think of it, the kids of the early ’60s were able to carry, for the first time in human history, music in their pockets.

Transistor Radio

One Of Humankind’s Crowning Achievements

The iPod is merely a refinement on that earthshaking development. The smartphone can’t begin to compare, since it forces its possessors to communicate with Mom & Dad, among other insufferables.

I was eight years old in the fall of 1964. I’d seen the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show the previous February and was hooked. They were young and mop-headed and fun. I must admit I had no particular love for any one of their endless string of hits, but they opened up the Top 40 charts for me.

Because of them, I discovered the Rolling Stones, the Dave Clark Five, Martha and the Vandellas, and The Four Seasons, all of whom I liked much more. Wherever I saw a radio –the ungainly kind that plugged into the wall — that landmark year, I turn it on and fiddled with the dial until I could pull in WLS or WCFL, Chicago’s rock ‘n roll stations.

Martha & the Vandellas

Martha And The Vandellas

The thing I studied most that year had nothing to do with math or science; it was Dex Card’s Silver Dollar Survey. Card was the new afternoon DJ WLS had hired early in 1964 to position itself even younger and hipper than when it had originally gone to all rock ‘n roll four years earlier. Each afternoon he’d play, in order, the 40 songs on his Silver Dollar Survey compilation of Chicago biggest hits.

Image ©Scott Childers

Dex Card At A WLS Record Hop

I appeared faithfully every Friday afternoon after school at Frank’s Dime Store on North Avenue to pick up my fresh new copy of the tri-fold Silver Dollar Survey. For the rest of that day, I’d devour the thing, memorizing the position of each song on the chart.

By the way, it had taken WLS a few years after the big 1960 format change to really catch on. A lot of people who lived within range of the station’s clear channel, 50,000-watt signal were farmers. WLS could be pulled in on a good day from Minneapolis to St. Louis, Louisville to Cincinnati and Detroit. That covered an awful lot of plow-pushers. And at first, all those farmers were mightily ticked off that WLS had replaced shows like “The Prairie Farmer” and “Barn Dance” with stuff like “Alley Oop” by the Hollywood Argyles.

The rock ‘n roll DJs, including Dick Biondi (The Wild I-tralian), Clark Weber, and Art Roberts, gamely hung in there, waiting for the right break — and it came with the arrival of the Beatles in the US in the winter of ’64. Next thing anybody knew, WLS and its big competitor, WCFL, were the hottest stations in town.

WLS/Dick Biondi

That’s where I come in. Starting in September, 1964, I began badgering my mother to get me a transistor radio for Christmas. Ma gave me her stock-in-trade response, “What are we, the Rockefellers?”

She’d alternate between that and “Who do you think you are, King Farouk?”

King Farouk

King Farouk Would Have Had A Transistor Radio

I had no idea who King Farouk was, but I assumed he was filthy rich.

Generally, once she’d invoke either of those titans of wealth, I’d know that whatever I was asking for was out of the question. She had, after all, grown up during the Great Depression and that experience mixed in with her own innate neuroses and compulsions caused her to squeeze a dime so tightly that Roosevelt turned blue.

But this time, I would not take no for an answer. I hammered her seemingly daily, often earning a whack to the side of my head for my troubles.

Besides, Ma never saw Christmas as a time to bestow trivial gifts like toys and such on us. Every Christmas eve, I’d unwrap her Sears gift box full of underwear and socks and then lie to her, telling her they were great. I’d be excited over the gifts my sisters Fran and Charlotte would give me, like Tonka trucks and big 64-crayon boxes of Crayolas. But not Ma’s.

Tonka Truck

At school, all my friends would gush about their new toy cranes and Erector Sets. Then they’d ask me what I got. The first year they asked, I responded honestly: “Well, my Ma got me underwear and….” I had to stop there because my friends’ howls of laughter were drowning me out.

By the time Christmas rolled around in ’64, I’d grown past Tonka trucks and crayons. I wanted — no, craved — the Rolling Stones and Martha and the Vandellas. I was growing up.

So, that Christmas eve I was decidedly less excited than I’d normally be. We feasted that night on the usual Sicilian Christmas Eve table of the Seven Fishes. My fave, then as now, was the calamari in red sauce. I’d let the tentacles dangle out of my mouth and try to force my sister Charlotte to look, at which point she’d threaten to withhold her gift from me that year. I’d stop forthwith.

At about eight that evening it was time to open the presents. I felt as though my childhood was past because I really didn’t care all that much about the whole thing. The previous year, for instance, I’d gotten a James Band 007 attache case, complete with code book, false IDs and a Luger that shot plastic bullets. Now that was a Christmas gift. The week between that Christmas and New Year I’d even written out my will in case I’d be killed in the execution of my duties as a spy. I recall folding it up and hiding it in the 007 breast pocket wallet that came with the attache case.

007 Attache Case

Now, at the jaded age of eight, nothing short of a transistor radio would do and since I wasn’t going to get it….

My brother Joey called out, “To Mike from Ma and Dad.”

He handed me the present. It was small, about ten inches by six inches, so it wasn’t the usual underwear and socks. I didn’t even tear the package open as I’d always done in the past. This time I carefully opened it, rather like a fussy old aunt who found it weirdly imperative to preserve the wrapping paper for next year.

The moment I saw the picture on the front of the box, I screamed, actually screamed, as if I were being tortured by Auric Goldfinger.

From "Goldfinger"

“Why No, Mr. Bond. I Expect You To Die!”

There it was, my transistor radio.

The Rolling Stones and Martha & the Vandellas were now mine. All mine.

I slept with that thing, the earphone attached to me, for the next three years until I got my second transistor radio. I quickly arrived at the point where I couldn’t get to sleep without the sound of music in my right ear.

Best Christmas present ever.

CHRISTMAS WRAPPING

By The Waitresses.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Majority rule only works if you’re also considering individual rights. Because you can’t have five wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for supper.” — Larry Flynt

HERESY

I ruffled a lot of feathers Saturday when I wrote that I hadn’t swallowed the September unemployment figures like a good boy taking his cough medicine.

Responders called me both cynical and a conspiracy theorist.

I prefer the term skeptic.

Search Me

The outrage, naturally, came from Barack Obama supporters. All of them who voiced displeasure with that post know I am as eager as they are to see the president be reelected in four weeks. Nevertheless, they viewed me, at least for the moment, as if I’d stepped in dog shit.

Just to show that I’ve cleaned my shoe off and am ready to be accepted back into polite society, I’m going to voice doubt for a set of stats once again.

This time Willard Romney on the receiving end of my sharp pen. I heard this morning that Romney’s lead over Obama in one poll suddenly is 4 points. Not even a week ago, Obama led Romney by four points. So, that’s an eight point swing, attributable only to Obama performing in the first debate as if his high school girlfriend had just dumped him.

I don’t buy it.

Margaret, who owns the Book Corner, asked me yesterday if I was getting tired of the presidential campaign.

Man, am I!

And it’s still inconceivable to me that a significant number of people haven’t decided at this late date whom they’re going to vote for.

If opinion polling is a science, it’s the softest of the soft sciences. And that includes such alchemies as economics and psychology.

Early voting in Monroe County begins today in the Curry Building, 214 W. 7th St. The polling place is open most days from 8am to 6pm. Click here for more Monroe County voting info. Also, click here to find out who your elected officials are.

The Curry Building

I’m going to vote today. Here are my choices (I live in Monroe County, Perry Township, Precinct 22):

  • President & Vice President: Barack Obama & Joe Biden
  • Senator: Joe Donnelly
  • Governor & Lieutenant Governor: John Gregg & Vi Simpson
  • 9th District Representative in US Congress: Shelli Yoder
  • Indiana Attorney General: Kay Fleming
  • Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction: Glenda Ritz
  • State Senator, District 40: Mark Stoops
  • State Representative, District 60: Peggy Welch
  • County Commissioner, District 2: Julie Thomas
  • County Commissioner, District 3: Iris Kiesling
  • County Council At Large: Geoff McKim & Cheryl Munson

I’ll leave about a dozen offices blank either because I don’t know enough about the candidates or the opponents are both full of crap.

Now, here are my winners:

  • Obama/Biden
  • Stoops
  • Welch
  • Julie Thomas
  • Kiesling
  • Geoff McKim & Cheryl Munson

Just Win, Baby!

The GOP statewide will make a clean sweep. Indiana also will go for Romney/Ryan but the President will be reelected nonetheless. And, as always, the People’s Republic of Bloomington will go solidly Democratic.

It’s a real mixed bag for me this year but as long as Obama makes it in for a second term, I’ll be happy. What with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hanging on to life by her fingernails, I shudder to think what this holy land will become under another president in hock to the right wing theocrats of America. A Romney administration would be salivating for Ginsberg to at last turn in her lunch bucket and nominate a jurist who thinks corporations are people and the Earth is only 6000 years old.

In any case, go vote. If you don’t you’re a jerk.

CRAZY IN LOVE

The woman’s haircut was a cross between Moe Howard’s, an Afro, and a mullet. Swear to god.

Plus, she had vacant eyes, which was fitting because, well, once you hear why she was on the talk show, you’ll understand that her cranium was as empty as a Republican’s promises to the Middle Class.

I don’t remember which talk show the woman was on. It could well have been Oprah. I did a tiny bit of research and found that she’d also appeared on Morton Downey, Jr.’s show. And if you remember him, you ought to dash out and get an emergency lobotomy because your brain is tainted.

Her name was Sue Terry and she made the rounds on national television to proclaim to the world that she was in love with John Wayne Gacy.

Sue Terry: The Most Whacked-Out Fangirl Of All Time?

That’s the John Wayne Gacy who was found in 1978 to have buried the corpses of at least 33 young boys and men in the crawlspace beneath his Northwest Side Chicago home.

Gacy was one of the maddest hatters this holy land has ever produced. His defense attorney probably considered it a monumental triumph that he convinced judge, jury, press gallery, and gawkers not to string up his client immediately after the prosecution’s opening statement.

Nevertheless, the woman with the improbable hairdo pledged her undying love to Gacy years after he’d been locked up and was awaiting execution. If memory serves me correctly, when pressed as to why she’d feel so strongly about a man who murdered more frequently than other men clean out the garage, she replied, “Well, he never done nothin’ bad to me.”

Which, come to think of it, is as Tea Party-ish a thought as has ever been uttered.

Anyway, I was reminded of this woman in an article I read about the fearsome nature of girl crushes. The author, Rachel Monroe of the Awl website, begins the story by laying out the crush roster she and her teen pals had: Monroe was smitten with Gavin Rossdale, friend Mary was into Leonardo DiCaprio, and Emily was all about Paul McCartney.

She Loves Him, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

The three made their respective idols the absolute centers of their lives, which is not so terribly fearsome. But the extent that other young girls go to vis a vis the likes of, say, Justin Bieber often is. And then there are those who carry their crushes into adulthood — yick — or whose idols are less than savory characters — even more yicky.

For instance, Monroe reveals, there’s a whole interwebs community of girls who, still to this day, are head over heels for the boys who committed the Columbine shootings. And, natch, there’s now a population of teen girls who are gaga for the loon that shot up the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado earlier this year.

Monroe explores the frightful nature of these and less extreme examples of girl crushes. She writes, “A girl with a crush is also capable of crushing.”

She cites the worries that authorities had about the Beatles when that rage was at its hottest. There was real fear that the Fab Four might eventually be injured or killed by the mobs of shrieking girls that followed them.

Beatlemaniacs surely were not psychotic and if they had harmed the boys, it wouldn’t be because they had malice in their hearts. But those who, like Sue Terry or the Columbine fangirls, are mad for vicious murderers even have a psychiatric handle, hybristophilics.

Can This Be Love?

The piece gets into sexual repression, expression, and double standards. Check it out and explore the hairline border between love and violence.

[h/t to Roger Ebert for the original link to the story.]

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Brought to you by The Electron Pencil: Bloomington Arts, Culture, Politics, and Hot Air. Daily.

STUDIO TOUR ◗ Brown County, various locationsThe Backroads of Brown County Studio Tour, free, self-guided tour of 16 local artists’ & craftspersons’ studios; 10am-5pm, through October

WORKSHOP ◗ Ivy Tech-BloomingtonSolving the Credit Mystery: Credit Counseling Expert Panel, experts from Fifth Third Bank, IU Credit Union, & Regions Bank offer info and advice on credit scores, credit cards, etc.; Noon

LECTURE ◗ IU Latino Cultural Center — “Dancing to Fidel’s Tune: Revolutionary Cuba through Alma Guillermoprieto’s Memoir ‘La Habana en un Espejo’,” Presented by Latino Studies Dissertation Fellow, Silvia Roca-Martinez; Noon

LECTURE ◗ IU Woodburn Hall — “From Food to Fracking: Human Health and the Environment,” Presented by ecologist & author Sandra Steingraber; 4-5pm

MUSIC ◗ The Venue Fine Art & GiftsThe Art of the Harpsichord, Presented by Beth Garfinkel; 5:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — “The Lives of Others”; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallStudent Recital: Clarinet Studio Concerto Competition; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleRichard Groner; 7-9pm

WORKSHOP ◗ BloomingLabsIntro to Arduino Programming, Arduinos on hand but guest must bring own laptops; 7-9pm

DISCUSSION ◗ Monroe County History CenterCivil War Roundtable: “Hoosiers in the Mexican War Who Became Leaders in the Civil War“; 7-9pm

POLITICS & DISCUSSION ◗ First United Methodist Church — “Health Care Reform and Medicare: Are You Confused?” Bob Zaltsberg of the Herald-Times moderates, 9th District Congressional candidate Shelli Yoder and numerous experts expected to attend; 7-8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Cafe DjangoJeff Isaac Trio; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallContemporary Vocal Ensemble, Dominick DiOrio, conductor, performing Chen Yi, Sandström, Muhly, Cage, Tormis, & DiOrio; 8pm

GAMES ◗ The Root Cellar at Farm BloomingtonTeam trivia; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopRingo Deathstarr, Secret Colours; 9pm

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
  • Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists; through October 14th
  • “Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; through December 31st
  • “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers,” by Julia Margaret, Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan; through December 31st
  • French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century;” through December 31st
  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Pop-art by Joe Tilson; through December 31st
  • Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st
  • Embracing Nature,” by Barry Gealt; through December 23rd
  • Pioneers & Exiles: German Expressionism,” through December 23rd

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • Ab-Fab — Extreme Quilting,” by Sandy Hill; October 5th through October 27th
  • Street View — Bloomington Scenes,” by Tom Rhea; October 5th through October 27th
  • From the Heartwoods,” by James Alexander Thom; October 5th through October 27th
  • The Spaces in Between,” by Ellen Starr Lyon; October 5th through October 27th

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibit:

  • “Samenwerken,” Interdisciplinary collaborative multi-media works; through October 11th

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibits opening September 28th:

  • A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners;” through December 20th
  • Gender Expressions;” through December 20th

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibit:

  • “CUBAmistad” photos

ART ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits:

  • “¡Cuba Si! Posters from the Revolution: 1960s and 1970s”
  • “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”
  • “Thoughts, Things, and Theories… What Is Culture?”
  • “Picturing Archaeology”
  • “Personal Accents: Accessories from Around the World”
  • “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”
  • “The Day in Its Color: A Hoosier Photographer’s Journey through Mid-century America”
  • “TOYing with Ideas”
  • “Living Heritage: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia”
  • “On a Wing and a Prayer”

BOOKS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit:

  • Outsiders and Others:Arkham House, Weird Fiction, and the Legacy of HP Lovecraft;” through November 1st
  • A World of Puzzles,” selections form the Slocum Puzzle Collection

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Soup’s OnExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Culture: “CUBAmistad photos; through October

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • Bloomington: Then and Now,” presented by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • “Doctors and Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical professions

The Electron Pencil. Go there. Read. Like. Share.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.” — HL Mencken

GO OUT

Hey, GO! is back home.

Yeah, we were scheduled to start running our indispensable events listings on the new Ryder Magazine and Film Series website ages ago but, like all construction projects, it’s running late. Way, way late.

So we’ve decided to run the listings on The Pencil until the Ryder’s ready to go.

We know you’re ready to go — so go to GO! and figure out what you’re going to do today.

FREEDOM IS DEPRESSING

Indy radio station WXLW-AM switched to conservative talk from sports talk on September 10th.

The station, which billed itself as XL 950 until ten days ago, now calls itself Freedom 95. It features such deep thinkers as Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage.

Laura Ingraham: Ann Coulter-Lite

Now, normally I’d run from political talk radio as swiftly as I would from the skunk that’s been hanging around my front yard in the middle of the night recently. That goes for liberal talk as well as conservative talk, although there isn’t much liberal talk radio in this holy land and it’s an especially rare commodity in these parts.

But I’ve been catching bits and pieces of Freedom 95’s new act because the station is programmed into my car radio. See, XL 95 was part of the Cincinnati Reds radio network until the programming shift.

Anybody who’s read this space knows I’m a rabid Cubs fan. “Rabid” being the operative word — I foam at the mouth and exhibit other signs of madness at the mere mention of the night of October 14th, 2003. But as much as I am a Cubs partisan, I’m equally devoted to the sport of baseball in general.

The Bartman Moment

I have absolutely zero rooting interest in the Reds. In fact, a vestigial distaste for them still lingers from the early 1970s when they were positioned as the short-haired, beardless, mustache-less, clean-cut, all-American boys — Nixon’s Team, as it were. Still, my passion for the game overcame my prejudice when I found that XL 950 offerede the only Major League Baseball broadcasts over the local airwaves. It had become a habit for me to tune the radio to AM 950 to see if there was a game on whenever I got into the car in the evening.

And then ten days ago, rather than hear the Texas drawl of “The Cowboy,” Reds announcer Jeff Brantley, talking balls and strikes, I was assaulted by the drone of reactionaries trying to drum up rage at the Muslim mole who now occupies the White House.

Last night I packed Steve the Dog into the car for one of our regular walks at Lake Monroe. As usual, I flicked on the radio and pressed the button for 950, hoping to catch the Reds playing, coincidentally enough, at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs’ David DeJesus Misplays A Ball In Last Night’s Loss

And again, I was reminded that my little diversion has been snatched away. The grating, agitating voice of Michael Savage spewed out of the speakers. Before I had a chance to reflexively flip the station, I became drawn in by his tales.

Savage was speculating on the make-up of the Mitt Romney cabinet. Romney, Savage is certain, will triumph (along with goodness, wholesomeness, whiteness, and unfettered capitalism) over Barack Obama in the November election. Savage threw out dozens of names for the various cabinet departments, including that of John Bolton for Secretary of State.

Bolton, you may recall, was George W. Bush’s ambassador to to United Nations. He is to diplomacy what a bacon double-cheeseburger is to good nutrition.

Bang — You’re Dead!

Anyway, once Savage cleaned up at State, he turned to the putative next president’s financial consigliere. Why haven’t we all been hearing, Savage wondered aloud, the name Donald Trump?

Trump, Savage explained, was the only Republican who could have whomped Obama. Truth. I heard him say this with my own fouled ears.

Romney will edge the best the Kanyan takeover conspiracy has to offer, sure, Savage allowed. But Trump would have mauled Obama with a good 20 percent plurality.

You Had Your Chance, America

Now, the sane among us recall Trump being unable to garner even ten percent support among likely Republican voters when he dropped out of the race in the spring. I’d imagine a poll of all Americans would indicate fewer than ten percent wonder what the point of existence is when it allows for the presence in it of Trump himself.

But Savage is certain Trump would wrest the nation from the clutches of the imams, with whom Barack Obama is inextricably tied.

And here’s why. Obama has tanked the American economy, Savage asserts, conveniently forgetting a few little things like the real estate crash, the stock market crash, and the Wall Street/big biz scandals that all occurred pre-Obama bin Laden.

Because Obama has destroyed America’s wealth, there are now scads of poor people. The poor, Savage pronounced, would welcome a Trump White House with open arms.

Again, truth. I heard these things with my own ears.

The media, Savage bleated, would have you believe the poor hate the rich. Au contraire, Savage would say if he could tolerate the existence of languages other than Ma & Pa Kettle’s sacred English.

Savage explained: The poor trust the rich to run this blessed land. The poor, he continued, know that the rich have their best interests at heart.

Everything I Do, I Do For The Poor!

Yeesh.

Can the Republican Party really be this disconnected from reality?

Talk about rabid.

 ▲

BABY, YOU’RE A RICH MAN

You’ve heard of these guys, no?

Yep, we’re back here for the time being.

The spanking new Ryder website is…, well, it’s somewhere. While Peter LoPilato and his army of computer geeks perfect the new site, we’ll be running Bloomington’s best events listings here, again. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

MUSIC FESTIVAL ◗ Downtown Bloomington, various locationsLotus World Music & Arts Festival; though Sunday, September 23rd, today’s acts:

  • At the Buskirk Chumley Theater — Lotus Thursday with Chris Smither & Ben Sollee; 7:30pm

MUSIC FESTIVAL ◗ Bill Monroe Memorial Music Park & Campground38th Annual Bill Monroe Bluegrass Hall of Fame & Uncle Pen Days; through Saturday, September 22nd, today’s acts:

  • Audie Blaylock & Redline, The Grascals, Grasstowne, Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers, Sisk & Ramblers Choice, Larry Efaw & Mountaineers, Karl Shiflett & The Big Country Show, Tim Graves, Daryl Mosley & Farm Country

LECTURE ◗ IU Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, Bridgewaters Lounge — “After Global Hollywood: The Prospects and Perils of Chinese Media Capital,” presented by Michael Curtin; 4:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Bear’s PlaceTribute to John Coltrane; 5:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubBuilt for Comfort; 6:30pm

BOOKS ◗ IU Neal-Marshall Black Culture CenterJohn Edgar Wideman reads from his works, free & open to the public; 6:30pm

POETRY & MUSIC ◗ Blue Studio GalleryPoets Tony Brewer * Travers Marks read from their works, Jazz by Kyle Quass; 6:30pm

FREE CLASSES ◗ Hinkle-Garton Farmstead Historic SiteIntroduction to Irish Gaelic, 1st of eight weekly sessions through November 15th; 6:30pm

POLITICS ◗ Monroe County Public LibraryLeague of Women Voters Candidate Forum: State SEnate, District 40, and General Assembly, District 46, candidates; 7pm

LECTURE ◗ ISU University Hall Theater, Terre HauteUniversity Speakers Series: Lee Hamilton; 7pm

NATURE ◗ Monroe County Public Library — “The Monarch MIgration,” presented by Rachel Gliesmann; 7pm

PANEL DISCUSSION ◗ IU Asian Cultural Center — “A Changed America,” the effect of Asian & Latino immigrants on American culture, co-presented by the ACC & the Latino Cultural Center; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ Cafe DjangoQuinn Sternberg Quartet; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Rachael’s CafeYer Heart, Wringer, The Shell Corp., Neal Meyer; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceTarpaper Turley; 8pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial UnionUB Films: “The Amazing Spiderman;” 8pm

GAMES ◗ Serendipity Martini BarTeam trivia; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdThree Story Hill, Elephant Quiz; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopMono, Chris Brokaw; 9:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceElsie White; 10pm

FILM ◗ IU Memorial UnionUB Films: “The Amazing Spiderman;”11pm

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “The Bolognese School,” by Annibale & Agostino Carracci, through September 16th
  • “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
  • “Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; through December 31st
  • “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers,” by Julia Margaret, Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan; through December 31st
  • French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century;” through December 31st
  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Pop-art by Joe Tilson; through December 31st
  • Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • What It Means to Be Human,” by Michele Heather Pollock; through September 29th
  • Land and Water,” by Ruth Kelly; through September 29th

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibit:

  • “Samenwerken,” Interdisciplinary collaborative multi-media works, Opening September 21st

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibit:

  • Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection;” through September 21st

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibit:

  • “CUBAmistad” photos

ART ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits:

  • “¡Cuba Si! Posters from the Revolution: 1960s and 1970s”
  • “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”
  • “Thoughts, Things, and Theories… What Is Culture?”
  • “Picturing Archaeology”
  • “Personal Accents: Accessories from Around the World”
  • “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”
  • “The Day in Its Color: A Hoosier Photographer’s Journey through Mid-century America”
  • “TOYing with Ideas”
  • “Living Heritage: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia”
  • “On a Wing and a Prayer”

BOOKS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit:

  • Outsiders and Others:Arkham House, Weird Fiction, and the Legacy of HP Lovecraft;” through November 1st
  • A World of Puzzles,” selections form the Slocum Puzzle Collection

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Soup’s OnExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Culture: “CUBAmistad photos; through October

ART ◗ Boxcar BooksExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Papercuts by Ned Powell; through September

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • Bloomington: Then and Now,” presented by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • “Doctors and Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical professions

The Electron Pencil. Go there. Read. Like. Share.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.” — George R.R. Martin

WATER!

The football teams from both Bloomington High School North and South are beginning summer workouts this week.

Normally, this development would bum me out as a sign that summer is coming to a rapid conclusion.

For the first time in my life, though, I’m actually looking forward to the end of summer. I’ve had my fill of South Central Indiana being transformed into the Gobi Desert from May through September.

Traffic Tie-Up Caused By The Bypass Construction

LOOK TO THE SKIES

If you happen to be awake just before dawn these days, you’ll be treated to a spectacular planetary show.

Brilliant Venus shines in the eastern sky with Jupiter just above it. The two planets hang aloft like glittering jewels as the sky turns from royal blue to cyan.

BTW: Right now, four of the five visible planets can be seen either at dawn or dusk. Mars and Saturn appear in the west after sunset.

VINDICATION?

When I occasionally drop in to the Subway at 6th and Walnut, I have to endure the auto-tuned thump of hot hit music on the radio as I devour my foot-long veggie deluxe on 9-grain honey oat bread

Invariably I conclude that today’s pop music is mind-numbingly awful. Just as invariably, I flagellate myself for being a grumpy old bastard.

Bitter fossils have been complaining about “kids'” music ever since radio began airing records. I know one extremely old bird who still thinks the Beatles are untalented and a passing fad.

In my case, at least, there may be something valid in my distaste for the likes of Katy Perry and the execrable Justin Bieber.

A group of Spanish researchers has released a study of nearly one half million pop songs spanning the years 1955-2010 and concluded that today’s hits are more bland, dumb, and loud than those of earlier years.

Bland, dumb, and loud — sounds like a dictionary definition of Carly Rae Jepsen.

Serrà, Corral et al: Schematic Summary With Pitch Data

The researchers measured the music using three criteria: harmonic complexity, timbral diversity, and loudness.

In strictly technical, scientific terms, the researchers have confirmed my conclusion: today’s pop music blows.

Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z

Are Americans more bored than ever?

It seems that way, considering the things we do to amuse ourselves.

For instance, there’s acroyoga.

Acroyoga

Apparently, acroyoga combines yoga, gymnastics, too much free time, and access to glorious, sunny beaches. In other words, it’s the perfect pastime for privileged white people.

In keeping with the American fetish to competitize (I just made the word up, thank you) everything, it seems acroyoga pose-offs may be coming to a television near you soon. Yoga maniacs have been pestering the International Olympic Committee to include the house-wifely alternative to infidelity to include it in future Games. The IOC, thankfully, has ruled yoga is not a sport but a quasi-religious practice.

Now, acroyoga might trump that argument.

More Acroyoga

One web site tells of acroyoga’s goals to “cultivate trust, empowerment and joy.”

Yuck. Sounds like a line from the marketing pamphlet of some corporate team-building consultants.

And we know how pestilent those people are.

Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

Present and CorrectFun, compelling, gorgeous and/or scary graphic designs and visual creations throughout the years and from all over the world.

Present and Correct: Imi Knoebel

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

Mental FlossFacts.

Caps Off PleaseComics & fun.

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Monroe County FairgroundsDay 4, 2012 Monroe County Fair, Joe Edwards & Jan Masters Show; 3:3opm & 6pm — Blind Rebel; 7:30pm; Noon to 11pm

◗ Madison Street between sixth and Seventh streets — Tuesday Farmers Market; 4-7pm

The Venue Fine Arts & GiftsRandy White of Cardinal Stage Company presents “The Art of the Theater”; 6-8pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Robbie Bowden; 6-8:30pm

Cafe DjangoJazz Jam; 7:30pm

City Hall, City Council Chambers — Arts Alliance of Greater Bloomington quarterly meeting, open to the public; 7:30-9pm

The Root Cellar at Farm Bloomington — Team trivia; 8-10pm

The Player’s PubBlues Jam hosted by Bottom Road Blues Band; 8pm

The BishopWhippoorwill, Throwing Stars, National Public Rifle Association; 9pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • John D. Shearer, “I’m Too Young For This  @#!%”; through July 30th

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • Qiao Xiaoguang, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts” ; through August 12th
  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th
  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th
  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th
  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th
  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st
  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012
  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st
  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits: Bloomington Photography Club Annual Exhibition; through August 3rd

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — Closed for semester break

Monroe County History Center Exhibits:

  • “What Is Your Quilting Story?”; through July 31st
  • Photo exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“You can have a revolution wherever you like, except in a government office; even were the world to come to an end, you’d have to destroy the universe first and then government offices.” — Karel Čapek

DISTAFF DEMS

So, Julie Thomas is the Dems’ choice to replace Mark Stoops on the November ballot.

Julie Thomas

Stoops, you may recall, is replacing Vi Simpson on the ballot for her state senate seat. Simpson is running for lieutenant governor on a ticket with John Gregg. Thomas aims to swap her Monroe County Council seat for Stoops’ Monroe County Board of Commissioners post. Got all that?

It’s the Democratic Shuffle.

Anyway, the Thomas move only adds to the local Democrats’ big women’s push this year. Make sure you read my piece about Dem women in this month’s Ryder magazine.

THE RULES MUST BE FOLLOWED!

Don’t you just love petty tyrants?

Some officious little dweeb in London cut the power as Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello played and sang in Hyde Park Saturday night. Arguably the two biggest rock stars in the world, Springsteen and McCartney have been jonesing to jam together for years.

A Dream Come True

They finally got their chance at the end of Springsteen’s big show last night. Right in the middle of “Twist and Shout,” though, the aforementioned noodge gave the order for the plugs to be pulled.

Seems the Westminster Council has a hard and fast new rule that outdoor concerts at Hyde Park must be completed by 10:30pm. It was 10:45pm when London’s Big Hall Monitor cut the boys off.

Sorta funny no? If only London’s bosses had been such sticklers when the LIBOR scandal was brewing.

NO SIR

BTW: You’ll note I did not call the former Beatle “Sir” Paul McCartney.

I won’t do it. Not now or ever.

There’s no place in my world for phoney-baloney titles of “nobility.”

My Blood Is Quite Blue

This holy land’s “Founding Fathers” had no use for Britain’s caste society either. After all, we had our own system of oppression and disenfranchisement to nurture.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Flavorwire.com points out a new website modeled after Rotten Tomatoes called I Dream Books.

RT, as you know, is a film criticism aggregator that canvasses movie reviews from around the nation and rates each picture based on some algorithm the geeks in charge have conjured. Now IDB does the same thing, only with tomes.

So, I clicked on the first title that came up on the IDB page. It turns out to be that risible Christian fever dream, “Heaven Is for Real.”

Do I have to explain this criminal misuse of a significant portion of our nation’s forests to you? Everybody should know by now it’s about some reverend whose three-year-old kid undergoes an emergency appendectomy and emerges from the surgery with a hair-brained tale that he’d died and gone to heaven but for some odd reason was kicked back out and his soul returned to his Earthly body.

The most gullible among the populace take this as de facto proof that their religious fantasies are the real deal.

Get this: IDB gives this aggressive insult to our intelligence an 80 percent positive rating! The review the site features reads, in part, “‘Heaven Is for Real’ will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child.”

Honestly, people. A three-year-old explaining the nature of existence to us?

The Time-Space Continuum

To the best of my knowledge, three-year-olds are those members of society who defecate in their pants, throw tantrums when they’re denied any more cookies, often believe monsters are hiding under their beds, and who occasionally display their penises in misguided attempts to entertain us. Because we realize three-year-olds, to put it politely, aren’t fully all there, we don’t throw them in jail for the latter infraction.

Why, then, would millions of people take as gospel some crackpot tale such a kid would tell his old man, who no doubt asked a lot of leading questions to draw said nonsense out of him?

And we let these people vote?

I can’t imagine that four of every five book reviewers in the country think this drek is hot stuff. I’ll be watching IDB closely to see if the bugs in its algorithm are worked out.

THE GOOD DOCTOR

Well, one guy now knows whether Colton Burpo and his daddy-o made up their little story or not: Dr. Conger, a terrific guy from Lima, Ohio.

That’s all I’ve ever known him as — Dr. Conger.

Clyde Conger

He kept a home here in Bloomington as well as his Ohio digs. He was an insatiable reader and would make the trek to the Book Corner every month or so to stock up on hardcovers.

Dr. Conger was an anesthesiologist. He wasn’t a rich man but he and his wife were comfortable. He was no fan of the greedy bastards who hold sway in these Great United States, Inc. today.

Whenever I’d see his wife pull up in front of the store in their minivan, I’d dash out to help him walk the few steps to our front door. Dr. Conger suffered from diabetes and the resultant pain in his feet tortured him.

I’d sit him in one of our Franklin chairs, and we’d talk about the issues of the day as well as new books. I’d mention a title that might interest him and he’d say, “Would you get me that? I think I’ll buy it.”

After a half hour or so, the pain in his dogs would get to be too much and he’d struggle to stand in preparation to go outside and wait for his wife, who was shopping around the square. The two of us would wait for his wife to pull back up. I’d ask him why he just didn’t call her and he’d always reply that he didn’t want to cut in on her shopping time.

Old man Dr. Conger was a swell bird. He died a few weeks ago.

No depictions of heaven ever allude to books being there. I get the feeling Dr. Conger wouldn’t care too much for that kind of heaven.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

TC Steele State Historic Site“Sunday at Home: An Old Fashioned Celebration,” with fun, crafts, vocal and harpsichord music, hand-cranked ice cream and more; 1-4pm

◗ IU Wells-Metz TheatreMusical, “You Can’t Take It With You”; 1pm

Brown County Playhouse, Nashville — Musical, “Footloose”; 2pm

◗ IU Auer HallSummer Arts Festival: David Linard Trio; 4pm

The Player’s PubThe Reacharounds; 6pm

Bryan ParkOutdoor concert, Bloomington Symphony Orchestra with Charles Latshaw, conductor; 6:30pm

Bear’s PlaceRyder Film Series, “Gerhard Richter Painting”; 7pm

Gerhard Richter And His Piece, “Abstract Painting (911-4)”

◗ IU Auer HallSummer Arts Festival: Various performances by members of the Jacobs School faculty; 8pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • John D. Shearer, “I’m Too Young For This  @#!%”; through July 30th
  • Claire Swallow, ‘Memoir”; through July 28th
  • Dale Gardner, “Time Machine”; through July 28th
  • Sarah Wain, “That Takes the Cake”; through July 28th
  • Jessica Lucas & Alex Straiker, “Life Under the Lens — The Art of Microscopy”; through July 28th

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • Qiao Xiaoguang, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts” ; through August 12th
  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th
  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th
  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th
  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th
  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st
  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012
  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st
  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show; through July 21st
  • Bloomington Photography Club Annual Exhibition; July 27th through August 3rd

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — Closed for semester break

Monroe County History Center Exhibits:

  • “What Is Your Quilting Story?”; through July 31st
  • Photo exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“I’ve never really had a hobby, unless you count art, which the IRS once told me I had to declare as a hobby since I hadn’t made any money with it.” — Laurie Anderson

ARTISTS AND GALLERIES OPEN HOUSE

First things first — you have to go to the GO! page today. Click the logo now.

Bloomington is humming with events and activities on this first day of June. Leading the way is this weekend’s Summer Arts Blast. Tonight, galleries around downtown will throw their doors open for the Arts Walk. Painting, photography, poetry, film, music — you name it. Just go to GO! for all the info you’ll need.

Tomorrow and Sunday we’ll have the Open Studios Tour wherein artists around town let people into their homes and studios to see how their art is made.

Which reminds me of the annual Pilsen East Artists Open House that would take place in September in my old Chicago neighborhood. East Pilsen was a designated arts community, chock-full of artists, musicians, playwrights, authors, sculptors and others who were habitually late with their rents.

Pilsen East Artists Collective, The Lampreys

The arts walk happened over a weekend and usually began at noon and ran through 8:oo or so.

One of the artists loved telling this particular story.

Many of the people who would pass through the studios and homes of the artists were young professionals with brand new families who were more concerned with checking out the neighborhood to determine if they should buy in rather than with the art on display.

Now, this type of creature was roundly loathed by the artists for several reasons. One, they were really nothing more than transplanted suburban yuppies (bet you haven’t heard that word in a million years) who would only live in the city until their children were old enough to go to school, at which time they’d flee back to places like LaGrange or Highland Park.

Ooh, We Love The (White, Safe Part Of The) City!

Second, their presence in an arts neighborhood signaled, essentially, the end of said arts neighborhood. See, in Chicago, arts neighborhoods serve as transition states between neighborhoods filled with brown people and those filled with detestable white pseudo-hipsters.

By the time the neighborhood would be washed clean of its brownness, the artists would be priced out.

Anyway, one Saturday morning the artist in question was chatting with some art walkers who’d stopped in and were sincerely curious about his work. A husband and wife came in pushing a luxury stroller that had about as many extras as a Mercedes automobile and, for all the artist knew, probably cost as much as well.

Nothing’s Too Good For Our Little Man

Since the stroller was nearly as wide as a Mercedes to boot, the husband was dashing about in the artist’s home, moving things to make a path for the stroller’s precious princely contents. The artist watched this in amazement.

Suddenly, the young messiah in the stroller announced he was thirsty and only juice would do. So, like that, the daddy-o marched over to the artist’s refrigerator and, without asking, began rummaging around for the juice his heir demanded.

Now, the refrigerator contained only the usual artists’ provisions: a half carton of out-of-date eggs, an almost-empty salsa jar, and store-brand mayonnaise. So the artist didn’t make a move to stop the man from rifling through his private space. He wanted, instead, to watch him.

Maybe Some Vintage Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Too

Eventually, the daddy-o concluded that his golden boy, who by this time was shouting for his juice,  would go ungratified, at least in this particular spot.

So the father closed the refrigerator door and turned to the artist. “Don’t you have any juice here?’ he demanded.

“No,” came the reply

“No?” Pops asked, incredulous.

“No.”

The couple and their squalling kid left the premises forthwith.

The artist and his other guests merely laughed.

So, here’s a tip. Stay out of the artists’ refrigerators this weekend.

Otherwise, enjoy the open houses.

THE CREAM OF THE VINTAGE FASHION SHOPS

While you’re traipsing around downtown digging the art, make sure to stop in at Brynda Forgas’s Hidden Closet in its new location directly behind the Book Corner.

The Hidden Closet

Brynda’s throwing a big opening party for the place staring at 5:00pm. The entrance is on the Kirkwood side. Trust me, it’ll be worth your while; she’ll will be serving cream puffs.

WELL, IF YOU REALLY MUST BE A WRITER….

As if there isn’t enough to do this weekend, get ready for the IU Writers Conference starting Sunday.

Featured scribblers include Lynda Barry (arguably one of the coolest people ever to draw a breath), Dan Chaon, Jean Thompson, Erin Belieu, Lou Berney, Jenny Browne, and James Canary (apparently, he has no website).

Lynda Barry’s Self-Portrait

The shebang runs through Friday, the 8th. One highlight will be a featured reading Monday night by Dr. Susan Gubar, whose book “Memoir of  Bebulked Woman” recounts her struggle with blade-happy surgeons who carved her up in an effort to rid her body of ovarian cancer.

Each day from Monday through Friday is packed with classes for writers and those aspiring to the maddening vocation.

As of this AM, all classes and workshops were still open for registration so get on it, baby.

Here’s a tip from a writer who’s been clacking the keyboards professionally since 1983: unless you’ve got an insatiable jones akin to heroin addiction to put your thoughts, imaginings, and/or fever dreams on paper (or LCD screen) get out while the getting’s good.

Writers, by and large, are whacked-out, half-drunk, personally unendurable, and usually broke. And those are the successful ones.

If, on the other hand, you can’t stop yourself from stringing words together, then by all means sign up for some IUWC sessions.

PAPERBACK WRITER

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?

It took me years to write, will you take a look?

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