I’ve been slacking on uploading video I’ve taken of recent shows.
John Anderson playing a show with Disaster on 2007.01.07
Hannah , Darren, and Nick’s new band playing a show at House Gone Wylie some time in January. I thought they were terrific. I’m really excited about all the new bands starting in Bloomington, and they’re one of my favorites.
The Grade Grubbers, from Buffalo, also played that show.
Bitter Homes and Gardens is another new Bloomington band. We played with them at Punk Night at Uncle Festers.
We played with Delay, Taigaa! and Ghost Mice in Columbus recently.
7 of us went to see Ali in Pittsburgh and then I went further east to visit my parents for a couple of days.Â Here are some videos from the trip:
On the way to Pgh, we stopped in Columbus so Rawny, Kevey, and I could skate the famous Dodge Skatepark.Â This is a video of Rawny carving through the weird, rough, uneven concrete:
Walking back from Quiet Storm, we saw this friendly cat:
We went to this abandoned steel mill which is a really amazing place.Â Chiara likened it to a cathedral, and the size and grandeur and almost ornate quality of all the pipes and towers is staggering in the same way that all the cathedrals were when I was in Europe this fall.Â Its crazy how something that is not nearly as old can decay so much more quickly.Â Leanne wrote a nice story about the steel mill in the latest issue of her zine, New to Everything.
I distinctly remember my parents once getting mad at me and saying something like, “the whole world doesn’t revolve around you.”Â The thing that I hate about visiting friends in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is that when I’m there, this idea of the world not revolving around me, or at least, people like me, just doesn’t ring true.
I love skateboarding, and fixed gear bikes, and grafitti, but walking down Bedford, I feel like I’m in a commercial.Â And the neighborhood is so familiar to me, and familiar enough that, even as a visitor, I notice changes – that Bodega shut down, this Bodega seems to carry fancier beer.Â And it’s crazy howyou can seperate out the ironic white-kid graffiti from the rest, and how it has this menacing colonial quality.Â It gives me the same fear as seeing the little posts popping up for the surveyors in the field behind my house.
Living in Bloomington, I understand that it’s nice to be in a place where there is support and excitement surrounding the things that you make, and the things that you like doing.Â But I think that living somewhere should also be a negotiation, or rather, a dialogue between the different desires of different people.Â I think that people should exist for themselves and that their survival in a place shouldn’t be tied to existing at the service of others.
Every year the students come back to Bloomington, and it is both frustrating and exciting.Â This week, I’ve gotten two e-mails from strangers asking about the show I’m setting up this weekend, and it seems so long ago that people in town were excited about shows.Â The university definitely brings a certain vitality to the town, but the relationship can feel one-sided too.Â Whether it’s Kiva providing Internet to the college-oriented apartment buildings, Boxcar selling textbooks, or the bike project gearing up for a huge student bicycle demand, everything around me feels like it’s growing to support one kind of person.Â Certainly, it’s not much of a dialogue or a compromise, at least on a large scale.Â But some of my favorite people in Bloomington are students, and it is true, that more than anywhere else I can think of, any given person has the ability to build things, at least metaphorically, to stand alongside the college apartments, boutiques and bar and grills, to provoke that dialogue, to negotiate that compromise.
The Von Lee Theater on Kirkwood Ave. in Bloomington is getting turned into an upscale bar/restaurant, maybe some offices. With a lot of development, I think there’s always this horrified idle speculation that feels like an urban legend when it comes to understanding what it is that’s being developed. For a long time, there was this black plastic tarp covering the fence, and this was the first time that I noticed the tarp gone and could see how little of the structure was still intact. It literally stopped me in my tracks as I was riding my bike down Kirkwood.
Here is a photo of the Von Lee in earlier days:
And more recently when it stood closed for years:
I guess, at some level, I’m not anti-development. I understand that people want places where they can meet and share and interact and this is why people go to the mall even though the mall sucks and this is why people in my rural hometown really do hang out at Wal-Mart. What is sad, is that you have something like a movie theater which is a space that is pretty universally interesting, I mean, everyone likes movies right? And then its turned into a space, like an upscale restaurant that is relevent and accessible and interesting to much fewer people.
Last night, Ryan made the argument that at least downtown development is better than sprawl, but what I see is that downtowns in towns like Bloomington are ceasing to be the focal point, the shared physical space, for the entire community, and starting to be this theme park for only one part of population, be it yuppies or students. The spaces that are shared by everyone end up being the malls and the strip malls and the sprawl and the big boxes and the sad thing is that the way they’re constructed, or entirely mediated by commerce means that the potential for people’s interactions when they’re sharing that space are so much more limited.
As I was riding to my job, I ran into Jeremy Hogan outside of Ladyman’s Cafe. He was waiting to take some photos of Baron Hill who was having a pre-election community meet and greet at the diner this afternoon. And it was so disheartening because it all seemed so fake. The downtown diner is still appealing to politicians as this icon of street-level democracy, and there is some reality to that, to the convergence of college students and retirees each having their own debates over cups of coffee. But in the case of Ladymans, that space is being destroyed, disappeared. So I find it hard to believe that democracy can exist when we don’t even allow the spaces that we exploit as the image of democracy to exist.
On a similar stream of consciousness, I got an e-mail from Mylo Roze that included a bunch of articles about anti-homeless policies and crackdowns around the country, and he predicted the rise of similar sentiments and actions in Bton:
These articles (below) are relevant to Bloomington in that there are Food not Bombs food dispensing operations in town & also cook-out services by churches in People’s Park & other parks, surely to become more of an issue as Bloomington is gentrified & urbanized.
Also, once the new building is finished where the Von Lee theater stood (next to People’s Park) issues may arise.
Maybe it should be addressed pre-emptively, to be allowed by statute, as a preventative measure.
There has already been a purging of homeless people from the I.U. campus & the new bldg. replacing the Von Lee will house I.U. offices. There is a general tendency among the well-off to segregate the poor, remove the homeless from public view (& therefore tourists) & assume that existing agencies are adequately addressing such issues & that all homeless people are addicts or mentally ill. Note the authorities quotes about determining who is homeless & charging charities with misdemeanors.
I really enjoyed this show. Cathy set it up and it just felt like a nice time. I stopped by the show in between working on a bike at the Community Bike Project to try to help them get ready for the fall rush.