Editor’s note: This post is Part 17 of “Celebrating the People of Bloomington,” a special retrospective revisiting some of the stories Bloom has published since its inception in 2006. The details in these stories have not been changed since they were originally written, but we have provided updates when possible. Each story highlights an individual who contributed to making Bloomington a compassionate, diverse, and creative community. For more stories from “Celebrating the People of Bloomington,” click here.
Mat Alano-Martin: Making People Laugh
Growing up in Clark County, Indiana, Mat Alano-Martin spent countless hours listening to song parodist “Weird Al” Yankovic and recordings of Richard Pryor. He dreamed of becoming a comedian.
In 2009, Alano-Martin told jokes at an open-mic night and was hooked. He made it past the first round of a competition hosted by The Comedy Attic and decided to more seriously pursue comedy as a career. He began working as floor manager for touring comedian Ralphie May in 2012 and soon became May’s regular opener. In 2013, he did more than 150 performances around the country and debuted a one-man show.
“My material is pretty much down the middle,” he says, “about common, everyday things.”
Alano-Martin is co-founder of the Limestone Comedy Festival.
Jane Kupersmith: Hopscotch Coffee Cafe On the B-Line Trail
Twelve years ago, Jane Kupersmith walked along the tracks of the Monon Railroad to her first job interview in Bloomington. She was an Iowa transplant hoping to attend Indiana University, and her strongest association with coffee was the cup she’d brewed that morning.
Today, she is co-owner with Jeff Grant of Hopscotch Coffee in the B-Line Station, located along the ghosts of those same tracks.
Hopscotch, which opened in October, is both eco-friendly and family-friendly, promoting recyclables and encouraging customers to bring their own mugs. The café houses a roaster and features teas from a biodynamic farm in Michigan.
“Coffee consumption is on the rise,” Kupersmith says. “The more good coffee in town, the better.”
Linda Chapman: B-town’s Flower Lady
Linda Chapman and Deryl Dale lived the classic back-to-the-land fantasy—buy some land, build your own home, raise children, and support your family with work that’s honest, good, and necessary: growing food, weaving cloth, making pottery. “I loved the tangible rewards of learning how to do the most basic things for ourselves,” Chapman, 58, says.
The co-founder of Bloomington’s Winter Farmers’ Market in 2003–2004, Chapman has been the owner-operator of Harvest Moon Flower Farm since 1989, selling at both local farmers’ markets and one in Indianapolis, and supplying flowers to local businesses.
Her blooms adorn the tables at some of Bloomington’s best restaurants, and her wreaths of herbs and boxwood hang on many a wall and front door.
The Remarkable Rise of Jennie Vaughan
On April 24, Jennie Vaughan was named chancellor at Ivy Tech Community College–Bloomington, succeeding John Whikehart and completing a journey that began in 1997 when Vaughan, her husband, Neville, and their 5-year-old son, Keagan, moved to Bloomington from San Francisco at the urging of Jennie’s sister Trish.
Vaughan’s first job after moving here was with Kelly Services, a temp agency. That’s where she first encountered
Ivy Tech, which she soon joined as its admissions and financial aid coordinator. Over the years, Vaughan advanced through the organization, first to registrar and eventually to assistant dean of enrollment services.
“It was obvious to me from the very beginning that Jennie was a leader,” Whikehart says.