by MALCOLM ABRAMS
This issue marks the culmination of 15 years of Bloom Magazine. To me, 15 years really doesn’t seem so long. I have many friendships of more than 50 years. But time is relative. For Bloom Deputy Editor Sophie Bird, 15 years is practically forever. She was a tot in fourth grade when I started the magazine.
There are some people who grew up here or who have lived in Bloomington for decades who lament all the changes. They miss the quaint little town they knew years ago. I sometimes feel that way after only a decade and a half. I reckon about 50 student apartment buildings have gone up, a dozen or so new hotels, and god knows how many new Starbucks—all in the past 15 years.
Still, I don’t regret for a minute having moved here and I love the town as much as ever. And on the whole, I believe there have been many more positive changes than negative ones. Here are just some.
The incredible Cardinal Stage started at about the same time as Bloom. In the early days, its founder, Randy White, and I both conducted our business in the Bakehouse on the Square, as neither of us had offices. We were a couple of transplanted Canadians via New York City who washed up on Bloomington’s shore. At the time, I was living in a wretched student apartment on Lincoln Street.
The Jewish Theatre of Bloomington also launched 15 years ago. Under the direction of its founder, Audrey Heller, it has presented some of the most thought-provoking plays I have ever seen. Also during those early years, the irrepressible Chad Rabinowitz took the Bloomington Playwrights Project to unimaginable heights. Today, they even own their building.
In 2006, the ever-so-talented Krista Detor put on her first holiday show at the former Tutto Bene restaurant and it has been a much-loved staple of the season ever since. In the midst of a recession and against all odds, Jared Thompson opened The Comedy Attic, and later, with Mat Alano-Martin, launched to great acclaim the annual Limestone Comedy Festival. More recently, we have the Bloomington Academy of Film and Theatre making movies and teaching the performing arts.
Michael A. McRobbie, a transplanted Aussie, became the unlikely 18th president of Indiana University not long after the magazine began. In 14 years, he transformed IU, bringing it full force into the 21st century (read about his legacy on Page 8). He also spearheaded the building of our incredible high-tech new hospital and provided the impetus for the IU Cinema.
Over the years, new restaurants, breweries, and distilleries have sprung up like so many mushrooms. The same for new nonprofits, like the Refugee Support Network and New Hope for Families, while the Shalom Center has morphed into Beacon with a shelter and a permanent housing apartment building for people experiencing homelessness. The venerable Bloomingfoods co-op, so much a part of the fabric and spirit of the town, expanded to the Near West Side and to the Ivy Tech campus.
Downtown, we have a stylish new bus station and a spanking new 4th Street parking garage, the very fashionable FAR Center for the Contemporary Arts, and the B-Line Trail. And nearby there’s the Trades District, an exciting center for high-tech innovation, and Switchyard Park, where, yes, there actually is fun for the whole family. At the Convention Center we have new annual events like the Artist Guild show and the Bloomington Handmade Market. And for those who like a pint or two, we have the Bloomington Craft Beer Festival.
Almost done, but in the miraculous category, I have to mention that IU now has one of the best football programs in the country and the same is true for the IU women’s basketball team.
Fifteen years! 5,479 days! What a joy and a privilege it has been every day to put out this magazine in bountiful, beautiful Bloomington, Indiana.