Hot Air: Tons Of Fun

Words & Music

Big Talk Thursday again. My guests this week are the poet and the publisher, respectively, Chris Mattingly and Dave Torneo. The two are releasing Mattingly’s new collection of poetry, The Catalyst, his fourth book, later this month, under Torneo’s imprint, Pickpocket Books.

Mattingly (L) & Torneo in 2015 [Image: Limestone Post]

Funny thing is, each can be described by the other’s label. Torneo, a founder of Ledge Mule Press, is also a poet and obsessive letter-writer and Louisville’s Mattingly has a long history of working in the handmade, old-school, letter press book binding world.

Mattingly, BTW, years ago earned an athletic scholarship to the baseball hotbed Olney Central College, some 30 miles west of Vincennes as the crow flies. The erstwhile shortstop has the diamond game genes in him — his uncle is the former all-star first baseman for the New York Yankees, Don Mattingly. Chris, though, heeded the call of the Muse Erato and eventually became professor of poetry and literature at L-ville’s Bellarmine College, one-time home of social activist/Trappist monk Thomas Merton. Mattingly’s poetry is inspired by — and often can become — music.

Torneo, for his part, has a 30-year history of working with people in need, spending a number of years as a counselor for runaway and at-risk kids. Now he works as a case manager for CASA, the court-appointed special advocates for kids whose parents have gotten tangled up in the county’s justice system.

Mattingly, Torneo, IU prof Ross Gay, and several others used to run around together in a writing group headquartered at the late, lamented 4th Street coffeehouse, the Green Bean. There, they founded Ledge Mule Press.

Give a listen later this afternoon at 5:30 on WFHB, 91.3 FM. And, as always, I’ll post the podcast link here tomorrow AM.

Drink! Drink! Drink!

You think we have problems here in Bloomington with underaged binge drinking? Dang, mang, y’oughtta visit the University of Wisconsin-Stout. And no, that’s not a pun.

George Washington University English professor Margaret Soltan writes a blog called University Diaries, in which she decries the Twilight Zone-ish state our holy land’s institutes of higher ed find themselves in these days. She recently pointed out that things got so bad in Stout a couple of years ago that UW-Stout staffers actually went door-to-door to plead with students living off-campus to try, please, pretty please, to control dumping alcohol down their gullets in volumes resembling rainwater in a culvert during a summer deluge.

In a scene reminiscent of recent events here in B-ton, university and town officials stood on their heads to try to curb the entrepreneurial impulses of a certain few bar owners. Those proprietors had come up with any number of gimmicks to get students — both those over and under 21 — to pour spirits and brews into themselves. The ensuing rape culture and sport-violence many students consider requisite parts of their educational programs seem not to ruffle the feathers of the aforementioned publicans.

Meanwhile, sez me, a burgeoning number of college grads find themselves saddled with lifelong student loan debt and lessening prospects for good jobs.

Ain’t America great?

[h/t to loyal Pencillista George Bull]

His Pizza Isn’t The Worst Thing About Him

Meanwhile — again, thanks to Pencillista Bull — we learn that Indiana’s own Ball State University is a grateful recipient of big dough from disgraced former Papa John’s Pizza racist-in-chief John Schnatter.

Even though Schnatter, whose long history of tone-deafness and utter insensitivity to racial issues cost him his job at the top of the pizza-like product empire, Ball State has yet to announce it’ll scratch his name off the new John H. Schnatter Institute for Entreprenship and Free Enterprise on the Muncie campus. See, Schnatter and his right wing, Rand-ian, aspiring overlords of the globe at ALEC gleefully footed the bill for the fascist-capitalist shrine to Darwinian economics.

So, for the foreseeable future, a big Ball State facility will continue to bear the name of a man who thinks race relations aren’t so bad nowadays as long as we refrain from chaining black men to the backs of pickup trucks and dragging them to their agonizing deaths.

Dang, all you belly-aching black folks out there, what more do you want from us white people?


Back when The Loved One and I first arrived in this town, I started working for WFHB’s then-news director Chad Carrothers as a reporter along side the affectionately-ncknamed “news hound” Shayne Laughter.

She’s since migrated over to WFIU where she now produces a spanking-new podcast called Reader’s Radar, in which she aggregates and recaps compelling pieces from the still-thriving world of literary journals.

Laughter reads selected pieces from the many Hoosier journals still in existence and will interview the producers thereof about why they continue to do what in the hell they do. It’s been said, ad nauseum, that people don’t read anymore. Yet literary journals continue to publish and aspiring writers continue to submit creative, often fascinating work to them.

Yet another reason why I dig living in this sprawling megalopolis the most.

Beaulé Ball

Those of you who know Cindy Beaulé are aware she’s one of the most beloved of Bloomingtonians. An inveterate activist, volunteer, patron of the arts, and cultural touchstone in her own right, Cindy has amassed a lengthy list of pals and admirers around these parts.

Beaulé and her boy, Steve Pollitt.

She’s turning 60 this year and — to her great credit — isn’t afraid to say so. In fact, she’s throwing herself a big 60th b-day bash Thursday, August 30th, at the Players Pub. The orgy of music and fun also will be a benefit for WFHB, which happens to be celebrating its 25 anniversary this year as well.

See you there.

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