Hot Air: They’re Ba-a-a-a-ack!

The State Of Kate


Just putting the finishing touches on today’s Big Talk, featuring the Cardinal Stage Company‘s artistic director Kate Galvin.

She came to Bloomington just about two years ago by way of the vibrant theater scene in Philadelphia where she won awards for directing and a rep as a real musical theater comer.

The Cardinal’s 2019-20 season begins in precisely two weeks, on September 5th, with the opening of “The Great Gatsby” at the Ivy Tech Waldron Auditorium.

Tune in this afternoon at 5:30 for the Galvin chitchat on WFHB, 91.3 FM or come back here tomorrow for the link to the show’s podcats.

Quit Complaining

The students have moved back in, for the most part.

With Move-In Week just about in the rear view mirror, the complaint dept. doors have swung open so wide and with such vehemence that they’re about to turn into this:

BTW: I miss revolving doors, I don’t know precisely why. Maybe because it used to be so much fun watching people from Podunk, Iowa trying to navigate them.

Anyway, every second person you bump into in this town is carping about the traffic and the drivers who go the wrong way down one-way streets, and the New Jersey-ites with their massive, maybe even armored, tinted-windowed, black SUVs.

Here’s an example of how persistent the kvetching is: Last week, my beloved Cubs lost a gut-wrenching heart-breaker in the bottom of the ninth to the Philadelphia Phillies. It was the culmination of a stretch in which my erstwhile boys had soiled their undies time and again. I was so traumatized by the events of that final inning that I took to a social medium and posted “I hate them! I hate them! I hate them!” Most people caught the drift, knowing me and my obsession with the North Side nine, but one commenter replied, “Thought you meant the returning hordes of students!”

I don’t hate the students, primarily because they and the main campus of Indiana University itself make Bloomington what it is. It’s like saying the beach’d be a great place to laze around if it weren’t for all the water and sand. There are some things that, morally, you can’t complain about because you shoulda known when you:

  1. Moved there;
  2. Married them;
  3. Gorged on a sack of White Castles;
  4. Tried to squeeze your expanding backside into;
  5. Voted for when the whole rest of the goddamned world knew the guy was a talentless, crass, egomaniacal, megalomaniacal, borderline sociopath who lies only whenever he opens his detestable mouth.

Bloomington is a town full of lively coffeehouses, exciting theater companies, the rare independent bookstore, Lotus Fest, and Ross Gay. It’s one of the very few tiny islets of Blue in this crushingly Red state because of the +40,000 plus human beings who teach, study, cut classes, pontificate, bloviate, act, sing, write, dance, sculpt, paint, strum, blow, screech, and profess their undying love for humanity here.

You knew that when you moved to Bloomington.

You’re thrilled to tears in June and July when you can find a parking space and then get seated almost immediately at the Anatolia or Taste of India restaurants on 4th Street. Places like that don’t exist in, say, Martinsville. There’s a reason for that. Martinsville folk think Oreo’s rainbow cookies celebrating Pride Month will turn their sons and daughters into raving homosexuals. They’re afraid the cooks and bus staff at a place like Anatolia are secretly planning a second 9/11-type attack while preparing their scarily exotic dishes.

We embrace all that here because we’re the nine-months-of-the-year home to people from China, Kazakhstan, India, Niger, Seattle, and countless other strange lands. We tolerate single-sex couples occasionally ambling down Kirkwood Avenue holding hands because…, well, universities draw such a dizzyingly diverse mix of humanity. Hell, we even have our own local chapter of Black Lives Matters. (Note: There isn’t one in Martinsville.)

That, babies, is the whole package. Bloomington. Relaxed and nearly empty during the late spring and summer months, it gets packed in mid-August when its population, for all intents and purposes, doubles. If that didn’t happen annually, we’d be — sorry, gotta say it — Martinsville.

For a couple of decades I lived in what the real estate people like to call Wrigleyville in Chicago. When I moved there in 1984, I dug the idea of walking to the ballpark on any given day the mood struck me and copping a ducat for the baseball game. Of course, that was just about the time Wrigleyville along with Lansdowne Street outside Boston’s Fenway Park were just becoming the first “ballpark villages,” loci of overpriced restaurants and bars, music venues, boutiques, souvenir shops, cutesy furniture markets, and other such detritus attractive to young, urban professionals who flocked to the area, causing home prices and rents to skyrocket faster than the national debt under a Republican president.

Those folks (whom we used to refer to as Yuppies) shrieked loudest about the ungodly crowds milling around “their” neighborhood on game days. They formed groups and associations to fight every breath and motion of the baseball organization that made Wrigleyville or Fenway-Kenmore so desirable to them in the first place. Hell, they’d have been pleased as hell if the Cubs or the Red Sox suddenly decided to pull up stakes and move to Schaumburg or Foxborough.

No, you don’t get to carp and moan about crowds when you decide to move next door to a stadium.

Just as we in Bloomington don’t get to howl about how snarled traffic is for the three or four days of Move-In Week.

Sure, we can raise hell when over-served students deface storefronts or double- or triple-park on Walnut Street or act like horses’ asses toward waitstaffs, just as the denizens of Wrigleyville or Landsdowne Street can scream about people pissing in their gangways or bloodying each other in drunken fistfights on their front lawns.

But the crowds and the traffic come with the territory.

And the 40,000 Indiana University people are Bloomington.

One thought on “Hot Air: They’re Ba-a-a-a-ack!

  1. Mark Taylor says:

    Not ashamed to admit that advancing age does make me a little to sour and cranky, at times; your Pencil today is a good reminder that only a very small percentage (hopefully) of IU students actually have anything to do with my seasonal unease.

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