Category Archives: Jared Thompson

Hot Air: He Makes Me Laugh

I happened to meet a couple of the standup comedians who appeared at Jared Thompson’s spectacular Limestone Comedy Festival this weekend. Lauren Faber of Durham, North Carolina, and Rachael Goldman of Evansville shared the weekend’s bill with the likes of W. Kamau Bell, Fortune Feimster, Colin Quinn, Jo Firestone, Janelle James, and scads of others.

They were profoundly impressed with the work that Thompson has done in putting together B-town’s annual yuck extravaganza. In fact, our brief tête-à-tête-á-tête became a tad contentious when the two jokesters started arguing about whether the Limestone was the planet’s second- or third-greatest standup fest. What fest is better than Bloomington’s? One said Bridgetown and the other nodded. Moontower was suggested and quickly shot down. Toronto. New York. Boston. LA. Nope. None better than our town’s.

I dunno where LCF stands in the latest rankings and I don’t care. All I know is Thompson is putting this town on the map, babies.

Funny thing is, not long ago I ran into Jared on the street and he and I, both in a mad rush to get somewhere else, found it necessary to stop and talk about what ails our beloved Cubs this year. At least three times during the convo, each of us said, “I gotta get going, but one more thing….”

Here’s one more thing for you: If you’re not at next year’s Limestone Comedy Fest, you’re nowhere, dig?

Hot Air

Rights Without A Home

Well, whaddya know? Our big sister up to the north, Indianapolis, this week passed a law to protect the homeless.

The homeless, for pity’s sake.

How very retro of the Circle City. Hell, you’d think this was 1964 or something. This development is so earth-shaking that the story is being carried in Al Jazeera, for chrissakes.

Not only that, AJ notes, there a whole goddamned “movement” to protect and care about those w/o McMansions or even well-appointed refrigerator cartons in this holy land. Can Al Jazeera be talking about the same country I know?

Refrigerator Carton

Home?

Acc’d’g to the story, homeless-protection laws are being passed in places like Washington, D.C., Madison, Wisconsin, and Duluth, Minnesota. Okay, these three are People’s Republics, primarily run and inhabited by subversives, preeverts, and pointy-heads whose political and philosophical spectra run only from pink to red. But Indy?

Yes, Indy. Under the new law, awaiting the mayor’s pen, the homeless would be guaranteed “the rights… to carry out basic human functions such as sitting, standing, eating and sleeping in public areas.”

Heavens. Gov. Mike Pence surely tossed and turned all last night. Not only are the homeless not billionaires, thereby not worthy of due respect in this Free Market, Ayn Randian, I-got-mine-and-to-hell-with-you nation but they’re not even hundredaires! How can a patriotic American even think about them?

Apparently, Indy Council guy LeRoy Robinson has been thinking of them. He sponsored the bill. I didn’t know anything else about him, but I like him.

Robinson

LeRoy Robinson Of Indianapolis

So I did a little digging into this Robinson character. Is he a Russian plant? A member of ISIS? Kim Jong Un’s man in America? Perhaps all three?

Here’s what one prominent Indy att’y said about him when he was running for his City Council seat:

I have watched Leroy grow since childhood into a very well rounded young man with a passion for his community, education, and public service.

Evidence, perhaps, that he wasn’t born in Kenya like some other elected officials we know? We’ll see.

He’s a former schoolteacher, which automatically should disqualify him from US citizenship if the likes of, say, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have their way.

Last fall, Robinson displayed on his City Hall desk a sign reading “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” along with four other council members.

I’m liking him more and more.

Funny thing is, he’s a Christianist, which should be cause for me to sniff dismissively. But maybe — just maybe — his religious belief has inspired him to care about silly things like education, justice, and the homeless. If so, he sounds to me like an honest-to-gosh follower of Jesus Christ — as opposed to those who say they are but aren’t.

Tears Of Joy

The National Weather Service is going way, way, way out on a limb and predicting high temperatures over the next five days to range from 43º today to 56º Wednesday.

I think I’m gonna cry.

Bird & Flowers

Can It Be?

House Boy

It was learned these last couple of days that no House Republicans were slated to attend the 50th anniversary celebration of the first of the Selma marches and the Bloody Sunday police riot that shocked the nation — well, some of the nation — on March 7th, 1965.

Bloody Sunday/Selma

John Lewis (Foreground) As The March Commences

Today’s celebration has been attracting pols like bumblebees to bright pink flowers. Jeez, even George W. Bush says he’s going to attend (of course, he doesn’t have to worry about alienating Right Wing voters anymore.) Everybody, it seems, wants to get in on the civil rights act. Everybody that is, except Congressional Republicans.

The tsk-tsking that all Republican members of Congress had better things to do today — including get their cars washed, shoot a round of golf, and clip their toenails — came as an embarrassment to the GOP. So last night, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told the world that, yes, he’ll be in Selma this afternoon.

Perhaps he’ll see what it’s like to be a token.

In any case, do you need any more evidence that no matter what Republicans say, they really, really don’t give a shit about dark-skinned folk?

Hey, while we’re on the subject, here’s a reminder. You oughta get yourself a copy of the graphic novel, March: Book One, illustrated by B-ton resident Nate Powell. It’s the story of then-civil rights activist and current US Congressguy John Lewis’s road to Selma. Lewis was clubbed on the head by one of Alabama’s state troopers and suffered a fractured skull that day fifty years ago.

Bloody Sunday

John Lewis Hits The Ground

Here’s my January 2014 interview with Powell on WFHB and here’s a longer interview I did with him for for the April 2014 Ryder magazine.

Daylight Savings

Set your clocks ahead tonight, woohoo!

Clock

Son Of Seymour

This should make a certain percentage of Bloomingtonians happy and a certain percentage nauseated: a new biography of John Mellencamp will be released next month. Titled Mellencamp: American Troubadour and written by David Masciotra, the book is being published by the University Press of Kentucky and is due on booksellers’ shelves April 6th.

Book Cover

I don’t know why it is but tons of my adopted town’s citizenry love to tell stories about how their girlfriend’s brother-in-law once ran into Mellencamp at some hardware store and the rock star emeritus was all kinds of a-hole-ish. Sometimes I think peeps expect guys like Mellencamp to pump their hands and say, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a fan. Can I pay for all your stuff? I s’pose it never occurs to folks that they might be the hundredth person to grab him by the arm that morning and stutter, You’re…, you’re…, that guy…. Right?

Or, maybe he is a jerk. I dunno. Read the book and find out.

She Likes Us! She Likes Us!

Search me as to why I missed this a couple of months ago but let’s celebrate it now: Comedian Amy Schumer named the Comedy Attic one of her 10 fave clubs in the country in USA Today.

All the rest were pretty much big city joints — the Gotham Comedy Club in New York, Punchline in San Francisco, Hollywood Improv in LA and the like. Schumer’s list ran in the paper’s January 11th edition. She had this to say about Jared & Dayna Thompson’s place and our thriving, throbbing megalopolis:

It’s the Midwest, but they’re nobody’s fool. The people are smart, and I love the culture there, and the restaurants and the bars. It’s kind of a happening city.

Schumer

Funny Girl

Hot Air

Make Me Laugh

Can’t wait to get my hands on the new issue of Bloom mag.

Bloom Mag Cover

Ha.

The Comedy Attic‘s Jared Thompson graces the cover. Inside, you’ll find out all about funny business in this town, natch, so grab one when you get a chance. You know, of course, that the Limestone Comedy Fest is fast approaching. This year the fest features as a headliner Patton Oswald.

Sure, he’s good, but can he rival last year’s appearance by Tig Notaro for getting Bloomington’s laugh-addicted pumped to the sky? Time will tell.

Spring Can Stink, Too

So I’ve been bragging and crowing about how fab these recent spring days have been. Y’know, sunshine, warmth, daffodils, forsythia, breezes, short pants, and the ebbing of crushing winter depression.

All true. Life has taken a decidedly more positive turn of late.

In fact, I threw every window in the house open yesterday. The months-old atmosphere redolent of garlic, olive oil, my socks, me, dog, cat, and other foulings of air were swept out forthwith and, within minutes, the joint smelled like a delightful cabin in the woods.

It was so warm last night that most of the windows were still open when Steve the Dog, Sally the Dog, Kofi the Cat, and I all fell asleep on the two living room sofas. It was as peaceful a sleep as four creatures could experience together, all of us lulled by the rustling of budding trees and bushes in the soft wind and the occasional distant hoot of an owl.

But then an unseen skunk shot a blast of self-defense at some threatening critter and the first wave of reek blasted the four of us out of the arms of Morpheus. Steve and Sally began barking and howling like mad dogs, my eyes began watering, and Kofi went so far as to stir, stretch, and resume his snooze.

Skunk

Sleep Wrecker

I had to slam shut every single window in the house and somehow explain to the hounds that they weren’t going out no matter how much they begged and whined. My explanation consisting solely of the repeated words, “Shut the f_k up!”

So, I’m still pretty deliriously happy about spring, only I’m now reminded nothing’s perfect.

WFHB Board News

The WFHB Board of Directors will have a new look after the station’s annual meeting June 7. That’s when the general membership will vote to fill three open spots.

Current Board members Carolyn VandeWiele and Matt Pierce (also state representative from the 61st District) are giving up their seats and Hondo Thompson quit the Board a while back, with his seat filled on an interim basis by Richard Fish. Fish is running for a full term this time.

Here are thumbnail descriptions of the four candidates for the three open spots, as selected by the current Board’s nominating committee.

Sarah Borden is new to the WFHB  family but has been seeking the best way to volunteer her skills at the station for some time. She has a business background and offers skills in accounting, bookkeeping, tax filing, payroll, budget preparation and monitoring, financial planning, grant research, writing, submission, and management and specific HR duties which could be very useful to the station.

Richard Fish has served on the WFHB Board since March 2013 when he was appointed by the board to finish out the term of a member who resigned and is seeking re-election.  Richard is a founding member of Bloomington Community Radio and long time host of Bloomington Beware and The Firehouse Theatre. Richard states that he feels that he can “help most in the area of planning and visioning. WFHB is — and will be — facing some serious challenges and changes in the foreseeable future.”

Benjamin Loudermilk comes to us through the on-air appeal for persons interested in applying for the WFHB Board of Directors. He writes “I have been a proud supporter and listener of WFHB since it was launched on the airwaves 20 plus years ago. When I learned of the upcoming open seats, I was excited at the prospective opportunity to seek candidacy to serve on WFHB’s Board of Directors.” Benjamin is a native Bloomingtonian, currently employed as a Paraeducator at BHSNorth, and an IU alumnus. He has been active in the local Arts community for over 30 years. He feels his strongest skills are in communication, research and networking.

William Morris has been associated with WFHB for nearly five years – as a DJ (“Brother William”) on several music shows, as a roving reporter and news reader with the Daily Local News, and as an interviewer/producer on Interchange. He states “Now, I’d like to participate in a broader, more-constructive and (hopefully) more productive way as a member of the Board of Directors….  As an attorney, I believe I can help the station think through and resolve legal matters that it will face in the next several years. As a former journalist and big-time music fan, I hope I can help the station look at programmatic, artistic and creative decisions.  And, as a five-year member/volunteer of the station, I hope I can share my enthusiasm for WFHB with others in a way that fosters greater community, camaraderie and achievement.

Other candidates can still get in on the fun through a petition process. One of those is Maryll Jones, who started the Friends of WFHB Facebook group. The Friends arose in reaction to the Board’s selection of Kevin Culbertson as general manager last fall. Culbertson’s nod sparked a firestorm of controversy when it was revealed he’d been instrumental in operating a number of Christian radio stations out west and that he wasn’t a member of the Bloomington community. Jones is collecting signatures at this time.

Speaking of Jones, she applied to the nominating committee but was rejected. Word is the Board is keeping its distance from her because she’s the boss of Friends. Because of the negative reaction to Culbertson’s hiring in Friends and his subsequent decision not to accept the position, there’s been talk he could, if he so chose, institute some type of legal action against the station. If anything, the scuttlebutt goes, Culbertson could claim something on the order of workplace religious discrimination. When he informed Board President Joe Estivill he wouldn’t be taking the job in a letter dated November 20th, 2013, Culbertson wrote:

Never in my 30 plus years of working in broadcasting and media have I seen such hostility in a work environment.  The slanderous statements and cyber bullying have passed the point, in my opinion, which any reasonable person would believe there would be an expectation of being able to accomplish the objectives of the station in due course.

WFHB honchos are hyper-sensitive to the possibility that Culbertson might file suit. Even a suit without much legal basis would have to be answered in court, meaning the station would incur potentially devastating expenses. It’s been decided that since Friends is an independent entity, the station shouldn’t have any connection with it as long as WFHB still has exposure to legal action. Ergo, Maryll Jones won’t be getting an official imprimatur from anybody connected with Firehouse Broadcasting any time soon.

Your Daily Hot Air

Funny Man

I know precisely what I’ll be doing Wednesday night, March 12. I’ll be sitting stage-side at Jared Thompson’s Comedy Attic.

Why?

To see the coolest funny man (or the funniest cool man), W. Kamau Bell, skewer everything in this holy land — and, hell, the rest of the world while he’s at it.

Photo by Matthias Clamer

W. Kamau Bell

I’ve been missing my weekly fix of WKB ever since the FX/FXX cable outfit cancelled his brilliant gabfest last year. Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell put everybody from Conan O’Brien and Arsenio Hall to TV’s favorite altar boy, Jimmy Fallon, to shame. He was trenchant, cutting-edge, politically aware, culturally conversant, and he gave no quarter. Naturally, his number weren’t good enough to save his show’s life. ‘Murrica, right?

Anyway, he’s touring the country in the late winter and early spring and he’ll be here in his proud mama’s beloved Bloomington. Yeah, our own Janet Cheatham Bell, author and educator, raised the son of a gun. She’ll be at the Attic, I’m sure.

Me? I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Miracles Of Modern Technology

Just wondering: Have the Peerless Leaders of this bustling metropolis ever seen or heard of the brand new technological innovation pictured below?

Snow Plow

And another thing: Has anybody around here heard tell of that hi-tech substance that some folks say makes snow- and ice-covered roads safe to drive on? I believe it’s called salt.

Salt/Water Interaction by Temperature

How It Works

See, late this afternoon I drove from Pencil World HQ on State Road 446 to Bloomington’s courthouse square. It’s a drive that usually takes about 9 minutes. Today, it took me 45. The drive back was just as long.

And in all that time I saw nary a one snow plow nor salt spreader.

A tip for our City Fathers & Mothers. It’s winter out.

Do You Mind?

America, here is your hottest craze: Mindfulness.

It’s a perfect reflection on our holy land.

Mindfulness is a concept that has been bandied about in the corner of the woo world that we in the book industry refer to as “Eastern Culture.”

The American Psychological Association says mindfulness arises from “a largely obscure Buddhist concept founded about 2600 years ago.” It became popularized in recent years through the writings of Zen Buddhist big shot Thich Nhat Hanh as well as an American pal of his by the name of Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh’s Advice: Don’t Sweat It

The best definition I can give you is it’s a state of mind that enables the practitioner to brag that s/he is concerned about “reality,” the ‘important” things in life, and a more “healthful” way of thinking and living while the rest of us are frittering our lives and precious thoughts away on trivial pursuits like, well, making a living.

Its basic philosophical exhortations include:

  • Keep cool
  • Don’t worry
  • Be nice

Mindfulness, therefore, is simply a ancient predecessor to that late-1980’s, early-1990’s self-help family of fads wherein a passel of PBS-fund-drive superstars tossed out philosophical and behavioral bromides like so much confetti. There were Robert Fulghum (All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten), John Bradshaw (“your inner child”), Leo Buscaglia ( the hug-meister), and Robert Bly (the drum banger).

Up until a few years ago, the only people conversant in mindfulness were those already predisposed to ideas such as reiki and ayurvedic medicine. In other words, awfully credulous folk.

Time

Now mindfulness has hit the mainstream. The cover of Time magazine’s February 3rd issue was devoted to this latest rage. And the evil geniuses who travel annually to Davos to strategize slicing up the known world have been sharing tips the last several years on how to utilize mindfulness and meditation to make the planet’s workforce more docile and compliant.

Americans will believe in anything, apparently. Except maybe evolution.

The Battle Of The Century

Speaking of evolution, science hero Bill Nye is debating Creation Museum founder Ken Ham tonight.

[Watch the live stream here.]

Debate Promo

Click Pic For Live Stream

I’m not watching, listening, or caring. First, you can’t really debate a person who holds a belief that is based on faith. It’s almost like debating someone over whether or not chocolate tastes good. It either does or it doesn’t, depending on the person who’s doing the tasting. And if that person doesn’t like chocolate, s/he can never be persuaded otherwise.

Ken Ham believes god created the world some 6000 years ago. He also holds that humans and dinosaurs lived side by side in our not-so distant past. These beliefs are not based on any rational evidence but on a surrender of logic to “received wisdom.” This is not meant to be an insult; the Bible warns against using one’s intellect to figure out the ways and means of the Big Daddy-o in the Sky.

Creation Museum

Faith, Not Evidence

Nobody can ever win this debate. Neither man will convince the other side of anything. Here’s a sure shot: Tomorrow morning, people on both sides of the “debate” will claim victory.

That’s not a debate; that’s a dog and pony show.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.” — Anais Nin

ONE QUESTION

The Spice Girls?

AMERICAN IDIOTS

Do you realize there’s such a thing as a School of Exorcism?

Yup.

Karen Stollznow writes in James Randi’s Swift blog that the school is run by a fellow named Pastor Bob Larson. He travels the country selling books and giving demonstrations. He trots out his teenaged daughter and her two young friends to pray and gesticulate and dance around saps they pluck from the audience for their brand of spiritual scrubbing.

Larson At Work

Larson runs something called the Spiritual Freedom Church. He’s been a guest on Dr. Phil (duh), Oprah (duh, duh!) and Anderson Cooper (wtf?) Stollznow tells of attending one public exorcism/panhandling event and watching as Larson played his parlor game with an alcoholic audience member who’d been dragged in by his mother.

Larson, his daughter, and her nubile pals whacked the guy with their Bibles while he was restrained by stage goons and showered him with abusive rhetoric. Or should I say they showered the “demon” that they claim has been victimizing the poor guy’s family for seven generations.

My fave part of Stollznow’s recount is when Larson daughter interrupts the festivities to ask her daddy-o, “What was the demon’s name again?”

People give this guy their hard-earned cash, natch.

MAD MOB

The School of Exorcism reminds me, Indianapolis was the site of the 2012 Paranormal Meet & Greet this past weekend.

Believers in ESP, EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena, wherein spirits of the dead speak through audio recorders), ghosts, and other woo-woo fabulosities got together and told each other they weren’t loons at Hannah House. Run exclusively by volunteers, the historic Hannah mansion is marketed as a haunted house.

One of the featured guests at the Hannah was Kat Klockow, who calls herself the Urban Legends Detective and a cultural anthropologist studying urban legends. She’s written a book called “Haunted Hoosier Halls: Indiana University.”

I bet you didn’t know that this neck of the woods is rife with wraiths.

The Indiana Memorial Union Is Home To A Ghost Dog

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind my reading public that this is the year two thousand freaking twelve! Sheesh!

SINGLES PARTY

Jared Thompson, the big cheese at The Comedy Attic, deejays tonight at The Bishop, downstairs from his laff joint.

He’ll be spinning discs from 8pm to midnight. And they’ll all be 45s from his mother-in-law’s collection. We used to call them “singles.”

Here’s the spindle of jams JT’s M-in-L sent over to the happy couple:

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.

I Fucking Love Science: Experiment By Mohamed Babu Of India

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

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

Mental FlossFacts.

The UniverseA Facebook community of astrophysics and astronomy geeks.

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.

From Eat Sleep Draw: Drawing By Dylan Silva

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.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Muddy Boots Cafe — Joe Sanford; 6-8:30pm

Landlocked Music — Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, in-store performance; 7pm

Monroe County Public Library — It’s Your Money series: Kayte Young of Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard demonstrates ways to save food money; 7pm

The Bishop — Donora, Teammate; 9pm

The Bluebird — Dave Walters karaoke; 9pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; through September 1st

◗ 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:

  • Coming — Media Life; August 24th through September 15th
  • Coming — Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture; August 24th through September 15th

◗ 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 CulturesClosed for semester break, reopens Tuesday, August 21st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

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