Post by Fareed Guyot on 4/11/2013 3:00pm
This post originally ran on Willy Street Blog.
One of Willy Street’s longtime artisans has quietly retired as Larry Gleasman recently closed his gunsmithing business, Grampa’s Gun Shop at 1374 Williamson Street, after 30 years. Gilbert Altschul, who grew up just a few blocks away, plans to re-invigorate the location and open Grampa’s Pizzeria honoring his own grandfather, using the elder’s pizza recipe that delighted his family for years.
Gilbert’s late grandfather, William VandeHey, first created his hand-rolled pizzas while serving in the Air Force in the 1950s and ‘60s. During that time, he opened a bar and eventually sold the pies out of his establishment for a few dollars apiece. The recipe would live on at family events, and Gilbert learned how to prepare the pizza from his dad, Dan Altschul, who had learned it from William.
Post by Mark Riechers on 4/10/2013 12:00pm
Declare your love for the most popular girl in school in front of your entire eighth grade class? Back your car into a ditch in front of the school gym on prom night? You need the curative properties derived from sharing those awkward, cringe-inducing moments with a room of absolute strangers. Consider What's Your Damage?!
Brought to Madison by Dane101 co-founder and celebrated awkward person Jesse Russell in 2006, What's Your Damage?! marries an open mic night with a bad high school reunion, inviting anyone with a cringe-worthy story and the gumption to tell it on stage a chance to air their darkest moments to a understanding crowd eager to derive entertainment from their suffering. In a good way.
Post by dane101 on 4/19/2013 9:00am
Did you pass notes in class? Did you write in your diary during middle school summer vacation? What about high school love letters, perhaps never sent?
Now the real question: did you save these?
Join a growing list of brave souls tonight, April 19, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the Johnson Public House, 908 East Johnson Street in Madison for What's Your Damage?! Described as the marriage between a bad high school reunion and an open mic night, this event, the first WYD?! since 2010, will feature a slate of Madison’s angstiest to kick off the show, including:
- Nate Bjork
- Harry Charles
- Sarah Koske
- Laura "Hobbes" LeGault
- Emily Mills
- Katie Muldowney
- Jeff Schultz
List subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances or last minute loss of nerve. Open mic to follow, or just cheer on those who have survived adolescence and lived to tell the tale.
The revival is sponsored by Dane101 and organized by a slew of Madison arts regulars: comedian and Dan Potacke Show host Alan Talaga; comedian Chris Lay of The Madison Podcast; arts writer and professional tell-all Laurie Stark; and Dane101 writer, editorial board member, and angst machine Christie Taylor. Lay and Talaga will emcee the free show.
Post by Sarah Bartash on 2/25/2013 12:25pm
This weekend, the first Greater Midwest Body Painting Competition was held at two locations in Madison. The first portion took place at the Art In gallery, where the artists spent up to six hours painting their models. Awards were presented during the runway show at the Inferno nightclub, where the audience also chose the people's choice winner.
- Sara Meyer (artist) / Stephanie Pucci (model) won first place and best model (photo leads this post).
- Christy Grace (artist) / Amy-Jo Hagen (model), won second place and the people's choice award.
- Mararete Mauthe (artist) / Lindsay Boswell (model) won third.
Janet Campbell attended both the gallery and runway show and shot photos on behalf of Dane101. You can see more at her SmugMug page, or click through the page break for a partial gallery.
Post by Sarah Bartash on 2/19/2013 11:00am
This Saturday, February 23, 2013, artists from around the Midwest will compete in a 6-hour competition. The canvas is what makes this public contest and the following runway show and awards party unique—the artists will all be working to display their best interpretation of the theme, “My Dark Valentine,” upon the human body.
“I want people to attend so they can remove any preconceived notions about what body art is,” said Dawn Marie Svanoe, co-owner of the company responsible for hosting the Greater Midwest Body Painting Competition. Glitter to Gore LLC. sells specialty makeup products online as well as face painting, body painting, henna, special effects and beauty makeup services. Dvanoe, along with Michelle Soltis, conspired to bring a competitive body painting event to the Midwest in part to open this part of the country to an art form which gets much more exposure on the coasts and down South.
“We wanted to find new body artists in the Midwest and also show what it is. It is a true art. We have people from Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa…there are some amazing artists out there. It’s part of a bigger art community. Not just a fad.”
Post by Sarah Bartash on 2/13/2013 4:06pm
Late winter can be a desolate time for many, including for those who identify with the steampunk community. The previous year’s conventions, with their scintillating conversations of speculative technology, are over, and this year’s are a few months away. Halloween and its myriad of opportunities to don leather flight gear, Victorian corsets or more elaborate costumes, is but a memory. Now, some Madison non-profits are stepping up to fill that void with some truly inventive events.
The Aldo Leopold Nature Center's Full Steam Ahead event is this Friday, February 15. When asked why the environmental education center, which also cares for surrounding trails, chose a steampunk theme, Manager of Marketing and Audience Development Alanna Mebearis answered jovially, “Why not? Steampunk brings together so many creative people who are passionate about technology and provides a perfect way for us to introduce new audiences to our high-tech exhibits. We are hoping people will leave the event feeling inspired to think about how we interact with technology and how it could be used to fuel a sustainable future.
"This is actually the first of what we’re calling our “Aldo After Dark” series of events for adults. We are doing another fundraiser of this type on May 10th which will be a Fermentation Fest."
Post by Sarah Bartash on 2/7/2013 9:59am
Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival, New Orleans’s Mardi Gras… whatever you call it, the time to experience good old human hedonism before 40 days of contemplation and religious reflection could not come at a better time for those of us located in the cold Northern climates. Although the large festivals (held before Lent, a pious time that runs from Ash Wednesday through Easter in Christian religions) mentioned above happen in the South, there’s just something magical about two nights of Brazilian-inspired bands, youthful drum groups, and tropical dancing while the snow flurries of February fly. This year’s all-ages Madison Carnaval kicks off at 8:00 p.m. on February 8 and continues on Saturday, February 9 at 8:00 p.m. at the Majestic Theater.
Tony Bublitz of the Madison percussion ensemble the Handphibians, feels the magic of Carnaval (the Portuguese spelling of the word) in the months leading up to the event. The all-volunteer group practices weekly and organizes other performers to present two full nights of entertainment. All of the groups in this year’s Carnaval are based in Madison Wisconsin.
Carnaval has been a tradition in Madison for 16 or so years. The past is a bit hazy, and the groups involved have changed over the years, but every year adds something more to the line-up. New this year are two youth drumming ensembles, the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County’s Black Star Drumline and Drum Power.
“We have about 160 performers over the two days,” Bublitz says. “At times, we have 30-40 drummers on stage, so we actually are getting pretty big for that space.”
Post by Scott Gordon on 1/11/2013 12:21pm
Welcome to Arts Reads, a weekly roundup of Madison's best arts journalism.
Some of Madison's music writers must be feeling surly this week. 77 Square spotlights the vicious noise-rock outfit STNNNG ahead of the band's Saturday show at the Dragonfly, and Isthmus' Jessica Steinhoff checks in with Wisconsin punks Jetty Boys and Direct Hit!, who play the Majestic's punk showcase on Friday night. See also my Isthmus report on the rugged emotions Nick Brown will be exploring in a Friday CD-release show at the High Noon Saloon.
In other arts news, the Wisconsin State Journal's Gayle Worland reports on the risks the Madison Public Library is shouldering as it prepares to take over the Wisconsin Book Festival. Visual-art shows opening this weekend include EcoSquared at Hatch Art House, which 77 Square's Lindsay Christians reviews here.
Lastly, if you've ever wondered what goes on at the Sector 67 "hackerspace" on Winnebago Street, Wisconsin Public Radio's Wisconsin Life program has this dispatch.
Below: "Brain Dumb" by STNNNG
Post by Jesse Russell on 12/3/2012 1:15pm
Steampunk is unique among fan communities in that it wasn't born from one single specific source material. The general underlying guiding principal is that it takes place in a Victorian era where steam and clockwork technology has run rampant and is accessible to the masses. In recent years, the term has also come to include amplifying the advances made into the research of electricity in the late 19th Century. It's the lack of a single personality or organization at the core and a general feeling of shared ownership by the community that puts the "-punk" in "steampunk."
Every fandom develops rifts. Even fandoms controlled by an overseer (for example, George Lucas lets Star Wars fans and professionals play in his Universe as long as they respect certain rules) have divisions on how one should operate within that community. When you have a community as individualistic as "steampunk" the rifts can run especially deep. Is someone steampunk if they incorporate clothing that isn't period-specific? Are backpacks powered with small "Tesla batteries" legitimate? Should there be a greater effort by participants to acknowledge the negative impact of 18th and 19th Century Imperialism? Should vampires, fairies, cat people and other mythical creatures exist as part of the steampunk culture?
Additionally, steampunk is an international phenomenon. How participants in the United States see the fandom isn't necessarily the same way participants in other countries see the fandom. Understandably, the culture in which a fan lives is going to greatly influence how they see the genre as a whole. Should a fan in Australia tell a fan in Mexico that their perception of steampunk is wrong? Probably not. But it happens.
Post by Mark Riechers on 11/27/2012 10:10am
If Abraham Lincoln enlisting a pair of Croatian physicists to build super weapons that could take on the Confederate dirigibles built by Chinese and Russian allies sounds vaguely dissimilar from what you recall from high school history, perhaps you should pay Teslacon a visit. You might learn something.
“At the time, people were doing experiments with sound, light, current,” says Eric Larson, the mastermind behind one of the fastest-growing steampunk conventions in the country, taking place here in Madison November 30 through December 2 at the Madison Marriott West. “What if we had people like Madam Curie with X-rays? What if we had some of these European doctors come over to contribute their electrical theories?"
Larson doesn’t espouse alternate histories out of malice for social studies teachers. Revisionist history is a big component of the steampunk fandom, and one side effect of the explosive popularity that Teslacon has experienced since it started back in 2009 has been a rabid demand for a complete vision of the world in which the immersive steampunk convention takes place. This year, Larson found himself re-imagining the events of Civil War–complete with horse-mounted gatling guns and steam-powered grenades–that led to the world of super-villains and Tesla-coil-powered airships that attendees find themselves wandering at the convention.
Teslacon’s “immersion” label isn’t just about sucking people in with backstory–the con is staffed with 170 in-character support staff and actors playing roles in a weekend-long episode in the convention’s ongoing narrative–this year, attendees will be headed to the moon on a Georges Méliès-inspired mission led by ship captain (and Larson alter-ego) Lord Bobbins, cooked up by a “fully steampunked” Queen Victoria as a last-ditch effort to win the war against Doctor Proctocus, a super villain that has conquered all of Europe back home. "It's more an homage to Flash Gordon, Buck Rodgers and stuff like that," says Larson.