Joel Gersmann hated blogs: He thought they were filled with scurrilous gossip and the inane, meandering thoughts of people who, if they really wanted to write, should be writing serious stuff…like plays, and novels — or at least articles about his beloved Broom Street Theater. Joel died four years ago today. Were he still alive, […]

It’s raining at a medium windshield wiper pace and I’m running late for lunch with Penelope Trunk. I was going to park in a ramp, but I spot an open space on West Washington Avenue only a block away from my destination; so I take it even though I only have 85 cents in change […]

There are many things I’ll do for Himself, but buying a bottle of vodka in a crystal bottle shaped like a human skull is not one of them. Firstly, he doesn’t drink; so he’d probably keep the silly thing in his cabinet of curiosities, hoping its value would one day outpace inflation. Secondly, if he […]

It’s not often a Madisonian is honored with a postage stamp, so I rather expected there to be a bit of a fuss – maybe a mayoral proclamation, a small ceremony with overly-long speeches and sheet cake. But as far as I was able to determine, there was very little local interest in the issuance […]

His name is Junius, and I have hundreds of photographs of him. Not different photographs, but the same one printed over and over, each about 3.25″ x 2.25″ and each with handwritten notes on the back. I found this photo cache in large pocket folder full of negatives and contact sheets from the summer I […]

It arrived in the mail last week: a large manila envelope with “Office of the Mayor” in the return address space. It sat in a “good intentions” pile on my desk for a few days. Probably wasn’t urgent, I thought. Probably a report on water quality or some propaganda for streetcars. When I finally found […]

Last Sunday, when I stopped in Cross Plains (on my way home from the Lake Louie Brewery) to take a few photos of lawn ornaments, I also snapped a photo of the neon Heileman’s Old Style sign outside Main Street Lanes. Suspended under the neon sign is another sign that says “Gopher Crossing.” I was […]

Most nights, if you’re lucky, you can find Floyd W. Cheatham III on the 200 block of State Street, across from the Overture Center, making beautiful music on his saxophone. He’s performed there off and on for almost a decade — and those of us who admire the haunting, evocative sounds of his music, hope […]