The Pencil Today:


“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice.” — Albert Einstein


A woman I know was thumbing through the Indiana Daily Student yesterday when suddenly she stopped, jerked the paper closed, and shuddered.

Ugh. Not for me,” she said.

“What is it?” I had to ask, because clearly she wanted me to.

She reopened the paper and showed me a story about the big new public art exhibition that’ll be taking place in our bustling metrop through the fall.

That is, Jill Bolte Taylor‘s brainchild (sorry), “The Brain Extravaganza!” It features 22 five-feet tall fiberglass brains, parked here and there around town. The hunks of gray matter were designed by her and sculptor Joe LaMantia.

Jill Bolte Taylor Loves Brains

Artists have adopted the brains and gussied them up to their creative hearts’ desire. People will be able to buy the oversized organs, thus raising dough for the Jill Bolte Taylor Brains non-profit org that, in her words, supports “brain awareness, appreciation, exploration, education, injury prevention, neurological recovery, and the value of movement on mental and physical health.”


Brain In A Jar

(Note for our Bloomington readers: The following three paragraphs are written for the benefit of non-Bloomingtonians who aren’t as intimately familiar with JBT’s story as we are.)

Bolte Taylor, of course, is a world-renowned brain on two legs. She was already a respected neuroanatomist when, at the tender age of 37, she woke up one morning and found her thinking and motor processes bizarrely jumbled. Thanks to her brain expertise, she knew she was suffering a stroke.

She eventually had a golfball-sized blood clot removed from her brain. Her language center, among other structures, were profoundly affected. Her recover continues to this day.

She gave a hugely compelling TED talk about her experience, the response to which inspired her to write a book, called “My Stroke of Insight.” It became a New York Times Bestseller and Bolte Taylor went on to be fawned over by Oprah Winfrey. Her story is now the basis for a planned Ron Howard film.

Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED Talk

Anyway, Bolte Taylor and LaMantia’s fiberglass brains will be dedicated today. Here’s Bolte Taylor describing them: “Big beautiful anatomically correct brains with 12 pairs of cranial nerves and all the gyri and sulci a girl could want on a brain.”

Surely, such visual exactitude is what caused my friend’s stomach to churn yesterday morning. For the less squeamish among us, they’ll be objects of celebration.

Local husband and wife artists Patricia and Jon Hecker have done a brain. See a series of pictures of their work-in-progress on Patricia’s Facebook page.

Brains In The Brawn Room At BHSS

Get on over to the Bloomington High School South gym for a launch party today, noon to 2:00pm. Bolte Taylor and LaMantia will be there as will all 22 artist-decorated brains. It’s the only chance you’ll have to see them all in one place. The brains will be carted off to their display sites after the party.

I can’t think of a better organ to celebrate in these benighted days than the brain.

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

Saturday, April 28, 2012

City Hall, Showers PlazaFarmer’s Market; 8am-1pm

Razors Image BarbershopFree blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, HIV, BMI screenings & nutrition counseling; 9am-6pm

IU Gladstein Fieldhouse, Indoor Track FacilityRedsteppers dance unit auditions; 10am

Upland Brewing CompanyMaifest, “Rock Out with Your Bock Out”; 11a-1a

Trained Eye Arts CenterWomen Exposed 7; Noon

Story Inn, Brown CountyIndiana Wine Fair; Noon-7pm

IU Grunwald (SOFA) GalleryBFA & MFA Thesis 3 Exhibitions; Noon-4pm, through May 5th

Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibit, “Picturing Archeology”; 1-5pm, through July 1st

IU CinemaFilm, Orson Welles’ “Chimes at Midnight”; 3pm


AmVets Post 2000Benefit dinner & silent auction for Special Olympics Indiana; 5pm

Twin Lakes Recreation CenterBleeding Heartland Rollergirls vs. Brew City Bruisers; 6pm

Bloomington High School North AuditoriumBloomington Symphony Orchestra, “Finale Fantastique”; 7:30-10pm

IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger Auditorium — Film, “The Artist”; 8 & 11pm

Buskirk-Chumley TheaterIU Soul Revue; 8pm

IU AuditoriumIU Straight No Chaser; 8pm

The Player’s PubSheila Stephen; 8pm

The Palace TheatreCowboy Sweethearts; 8pm

Comedy AtticJeremy Essig; 8 & 10:30pm

Max’s PlaceGlenn Furr Agency; 9pm — Perfunctory This Band; 11pm

Bear’s PlaceCooked Books, Crys, Kam Kama; 9pm

The BluebirdThe Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band; 9pm

The BishopSoul in the Hole with the Vallures; 10pm

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