THE BIRTH OF A SENSATION
Welcome to the newest reason to love Bloomington. You’ve arrived at the online news, arts, culture, and opinion extravaganza we call Electron Pencil.
We swooped down to these environs from the big town on the shores of Lake Michigan a little more than two years ago (after a brief side stay in Louisville, Kentucky.) Now we’ve found our home.
We’d been part of The Third City communications powerhouse from November, 2008, starting up that whole shebang with the estimable journalist Benny Jay. Like Martin & Lewis and Frank & Jamie McCourt, we went our separate ways this past August.
Hoping to carry over our success from the Windy City, we’ll be trying to tie together all the mini-communities that make this 70K-pop. micro-lopolis one of the most cosmopolitan in this holy land.
Over the next few weeks look for us to present a daily updated art gallery featuring painting, sculpture, photography, videos, and other eye candy. We’ll also offer fresh short fiction and movie, TV, live performance, and stage reviews. There’ll be podcasts of poetry readings, essays, and rants.
And you can begin each day with the well-reasoned, scintillating, and invaluable opinions of Big Mike Glab.
We’re glad you’re here. Dig in!
Bloomington’s own franchise of the Occupy movement that huffy Congressman Eric Cantor (R-Va) not long ago characterized as a “growing mob” is still sleeping in tents at the appropriately monikered People’s Park.
America’s Been Very, Very Good To The Cantor Family
I honestly don’t know which “mob” imagery he was trying to evoke. There is of course, the Mob of “The Godfather” and “Goodfellas.” But he may have been trying to channel his own inner Laurence Olivier as the uber-ambitious Crassus in “Spartacus,” denouncing the growing sentiment of Power to the People in Stanley Kubrik’s version of ancient Rome.
“Did you truly believe,” Crassus roars at the republican (small-R) Gracchus in the Senate, “Rome could be so easily delivered into the clutches of a mob?”
Yeah, I see Cantor more as the cock-of-the-walk defender of the patricians. I also see him being ministered to by a body slave in his private bath, as portrayed in the director’s cut of the 1960 classic.
Rome Was Very, Very Good To Crassus
You remember that scene don’t you? Tony Curtis plays the body slave, Antoninus, squeezing a sponge over Crassus’s bare back. Crassus asks the scantily clad Antoninus if he’s ever eaten oysters or snails. Antoninus says he has never had a snail.
Crassus then asks if he considers the eating of oysters or snails to be a moral question because — duh — he’s not really talking about oysters and snails.
Antoninus is far less than thrilled about where the conversation is headed.
Uh, No Thanks, I’m Not Very Hungry.
After Antoninus towels him off Crassus reveals that he prefers both oysters and snails. Then Crassus stands near a window proferring a magnificent view of the imperial city on the river Tiber.
Crassus: “There, boy, is Rome! … There is the power that bestrides the known world like a colossus. No man can withstand her…. How much less, a boy!
“…There is only one way to deal with Rome, Antoninus. You must serve her. You must abase yourself before her. You must grovel at her feet. You must….” (Crassus pauses for effect) “…love her!”
Crassus turns back toward Antoninus and discovers that his slave — who has seen his master’s snail and has no taste for it — has run away.
Now I’m not saying Eric Cantor prefers snails as much as he prefers oysters (although Max Blumenthal, in his 2009 book “Republican Gomorrah,” posits that the GOP is chock-full of closet snail eaters.)
I’m jes sayin’ he loves gazing out at the vista of the colossus that bestrides the known world, circa 2011 — the same vista Occupy Wall Streeters are as unenthusiastic about as Antoninus was about escargot.
Bloomington’s “mob” is holding strong even as the weather grows inexorably more crappy. Thursday would have been a perfect day for Occupy Bloomington campers to call it a season. They haven’t. This thing looks as real in our town as it is across this colossus.
(The following pix were shot at noon, Thursday, November 4, 2011, at People’s Park.)
PUBLIC RADIO NEEDS YOUR DOUGH
Stumbling into Soma Coffee for my fix this morning, I almost crashed into WFIU’s jazz boss, David Brent Johnson, and his delightful bride, Brenda McNellen. (And isn’t she the sweetest human on record? She grinned at me as she always does despite the fact that I grunted at her.) Seeing the two reminded me that pledge week started yesterday. “Go raise some money,” I said to DBJ. He promised he would.
Videographer Steve Llewellyn tells us about the grand opening of a new art space all day (mostly) today.
Trained Eye Arts Center will offer bands, hot air balloon rides, wine and finger food, folk dancers, comedy improve, poetry readings and more, all for a fin (four bucks if you say you arrived via the B-Line Trail.
The new headquarters for the arts collective is at 615 North Fairview. Doors open at noon and the fun goes on until midnight.