Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Isthmus: “Citizen: The Real Reason for Atwood Avenue’s Renaissance”

Saturday, November 1st, 2014
Just published at Isthmus.com….
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Citizen: The real reason for Atwood Avenue’s renaissance
Eliminating parking requirements for small storefronts buoyed business growth

Michael Barrett on Saturday 11/01/2014 10:23 am

“Destination: Atwood Avenue” was a nice little promo piece inIsthmus that should definitely be featured in the Greater Madison Convention and Visitor’s Bureau pamphlets. It lacked, however, a good investigative question: Why has Atwood seen such a revival?

Yes, yes, we are lucky to have so many creative entrepreneurs who have worked hard to make their businesses successful on this once run-down thoroughfare; good on them, and thanks. And yes, the the transition of the Barrymore Theatre from adult movie theater to hip venue was a signal event. But it is a tired old story, because there it sat for nearly 20 years, a lonely beacon, with neighbors of empty storefronts and no resurgence in sight.

The true linchpin of the revitalization of Atwood: city parking policy. Had it not been for the informed, critical activism of a few people in the neighborhood, not one of the hip enterprises that have grown up on Atwood in the last 14 years — the era of sustainable and rapid resurgence — could have ever happened on Atwood. Why? Because the city prohibited it through parking policy.

Until the early 2000s, suburban parking requirements were imposed on dense, parking-light urban business districts such as Atwood. It was a death warrant.

Creativity and entrepreneurship were throttled. Coffee shops were told to brew in strip malls. Boutique beers, ordered to industrial parks. Eclectic restaurants, stymied.

Here’s how it worked: The city required that there be an off-street parking space for every table for two, no exceptions. This meant no fun. No funky. No creative. No nothing.

This went on for decades. As older enterprises faded, the city parking bosses ensured that no new businesses could move in to keep the district vital. It wasn’t the mall that killed Atwood, it was public policy.

By 1999, a (very) small group of visionary citizens had had quite enough of this. These active alt-transportation agitators worked with verve and persistence, at times getting in the faces of hidebound alders and parking bureaucrats, to put a stop to the desertification of Atwood Avenue. Over the shrill warnings of planners and highwaymen, the citizens who crafted the Schenk-Atwood-Starkweather-Worthington Neighborhood Plan (PDF) of 2000 enshrined a provision that prioritized a walkable business district. To that end, it strongly recommended eliminating parking requirements.

Yes, eliminating parking requirements. Altogether. This was a radical notion up to the mid-aughties, believe it or not.

Once passed, these same citizens started showing up at zoning meetings, plan in hand, demanding that cool businesses be allowed to locate on Atwood sans parking.

Cafe Zoma was the first successful — but hard fought — “exemption” under the new neighborhood plan. It featured zero car parking stalls. That set the precedent for all the coolness that followed. Creative entrepreneurship blossomed, and just keeps blossoming.

Under new city leadership in 2003, Atwood Avenue’s successful elimination of parking requirements was recognized and even incorporated into the new zoning code. There are no longer minimum parking requirements for small storefronts anywhere in the city.
Michael D. Barrett is an energy efficiency and community plan analyst with UrbanThoreau LLC and publishes urbanthoreau.com/blog.

Motor Primitives: 2010 MAMAs Best Hard Rock/Punk Band!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 10th, 2010

The Motor Primitives just received “BEST HARD ROCK/PUNK BAND OF 2010” at last nights Madison Area Music Awards!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ed accepts award, commences to rip into the Wisconsin legislators (yes, including the Madison delegation) for shortchanging kids.

And backstage…..

Motor Primitives celebrate the award backstage....

My all-time favorite band, makin’ it to the big time!*

WhOOOOOOOOOOOOH-HOOOOOOOOOH!

*Thanks everyone who voted–you made it so!

Gallery Night: My Pick: Larry Price @ Mermaid Cafe

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Gallery Night is tomorrow night, Friday!

My prime pick is Larry Price’s installation at Mermaid Cafe. I’m a huge fan of Larry and his art. He’s my go-to guy when I need a classy gift. Pam has loved every one of watercolors she has received, and they grace our walls nicely.

Being a geographer, I fell in love with Larry’s keen eye for urban landscapes. Vernacular architecture and commonplace streetscapes — typically of the eastside variety — are infused with new meaning, new perspectives and new life thanks to Larry’s artistic vision.

Much of his work is smaller in scale, but this installation will feature some large format works I haven’t seen yet. It should be fun. & interesting.

I’ll also likely be wandering up to the various galleries along Winnebago & Atwood and will likely end up at Alison Mader’s Artspace Twenty-Two Eleven (2211 Atwood Ave.), and, of course, finally at the Harmony.

Hope to see you there!

Below is Larry’s artist description:

Large, dynamic, acrylic, contemporary landscapes on canvas, ranging in size from 72″x 60″ to 36″x 48″.

I’ve been influenced by Wolf Kahn, one of America’s greatest abstract expressionist landscape painters, known for his unique use of color.

Gallery Night is Friday, May 7th, 5-9 PM at the Mermaid Cafe, 1929 Winnebego Street, Madison, Wisconsin.

The paintings will be at the Mermaid for a week after the show.

Girls Rock! Motor Primitives @ Brink TONIGHT!

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Motor Primitives play tonight at the Brink Lounge….

The AM version of the details:

Who: Motor Primitives

What: MPs & other local bands play for a Fundraiser for Girls Rock Camp

Where: Brink Lounge, 701 E. Washington Ave

When: TONIGHT! Thursday, 3/18, 7 PM

How a): BE THERE! Be There! BE THERE!

How b): Vote for the Motor Primitives for “Hard Rock/Punk Performer of the Year for the 2010” in the Madison Area Music Awards!!!!!

The Disco Version of the Motor Primitives original announcement:

We got yer rock for you:  Thurs., 3/18, the Brink Lounge @7pm
What does “Rock” mean to you?
Well, whether you’re a musician, music lover or a little of both, rock can be emotional, visceral, torturous, intellectual, joyous and so forth and so on.  We at MP HQ whole heartedly endorse any and all endeavors that  develop the next generations of rockers (or, warp the next generation…However you like to see it).
Toward that end, the Motor Primitives are playing a fundraiser for Girls Rock Camp!
What is GRC?  Girls Rock Camp is an intense one week day camp for girls ages 9-18.  Campers of all skill levels learn various instruments, form a band, write a song and perform at the end of week Girls Rock Showcase.
Want to know more?  Go to their webpage at: http://www.grcmadison.org
Heard enough and want to support the event?  Come to the fundraiser on Thursday, March 18th @7pm.  A $5 cover will get you an evening of entertainment including Bonobo Secret Handshake, Brett Newski (of the Nods), The Motor Primitives (8:30ish) and Beth Kille.
Remember folks…It’s for the children…Awwwwwww!
That there was announcement #1.  And now…Announcement #Dos:
The Motor Primitives are nominated for Hard Rock/Punk Performer of the Year for the 2010 Madison Area Music Awards (as in, “Who’s yer” MAMAs).
We would greatly appreciate your vote to get into the finals for this award. All it takes is a few minutes of your time and a $5 donation to the MAMAs to vote at http://www.themamas.org.
All proceeds go towards youth music programs and put instruments in the hands of kids who might not otherwise have them. Many school districts and community groups in the Madison area benefit from this program.
What!? Another event focusing on the little darlings?  You betcha!!
Did you know that children are our future?  In particular, your children are my future.  Eventually, I’m going to be a ward of the state and your kids will be paying for my adult day care.  Thanks in advance!
The first round of voting runs until March 18th.  Hey!  That’s the same day we’re playing the fundraiser at the Brink.  What a coinkydink!
NEXT SHOW AFTER DAT:
May 15th @ Mickey’s Tavern
Too much wordy…stop now.
“Heads will bob!”
<http://www.motorprimitives.com>www.motorprimitives.com

Hope to see you there!

Happy St. Pat’s!

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

And apparently the aforementioned saint did more than just drive out snakes….He saved western civilization!

Q: What’s the Greatest Threat to the Planet?

Monday, March 1st, 2010

A: http://www.youtube.com/user/1standMain#p/u/1/VGJt_YXIoJI

…. a fun & lighthearted take on a serious topic thanks to our friends over at the Congress for New Urbanism.

Robbie Webber exasperatedly declared that they captured her entire 50 minute class talk on the Environment & Urbanism in 3 minutes! D’Oh!

TONIGHT! Tatooed Love Boys, A Pretenders Tribute, High Noon Saloon

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010
She’s got the bangs. She’s got the attitude. She’s got the scowl.
But can she sing with a sneer?
Come hear for yourself:
What: In concert, Tatooed Love Boys, a Pretenders tribute band (see: Pretenders album 1, side 1, song #4).
Who: Pam Barrett as you-know-who*, Sean Michael Dargan (James “Honeyman” Scott), Tom Broeske (Pete Farndon), Michael Brenneis (Martin Chambers).
How: The first set IS the first album.  The needle drops on “Precious” and runs straight through “Mystery Achievement.”  The second set is a smattering of tasty tunes from the second, third and fourth albums.
A sample of classic lines Pam wanted to highlight (with a sneer):
“I had my eye on your Imperial”
“All impressed and half undressed”
“You ask me for advice, I say use the door”
“Silver lights, summer moon”
“And furthermore, I don’t like your trousers!”
(Can you tell Pam is relishing getting to be rude in the name of impersonation?)
When: Tuesday, February 23rd starting at 5:30 PM (sharp!)
Where: High Noon Saloon
Hope to see you there!
-Mike
*Pam asks: “How many music critics does it take to say, “You sound like Chrissie Hynde.” before I *snap* and join a Pretenders tribute band?”
Answer:  “All of them!”

She’s got the bangs. She’s got the attitude. She’s got the scowl.

But can she sing with a sneer?

Come hear for yourself!

What: In concert, Tatooed Love Boys, a Pretenders tribute band (for band name origin see: Pretenders album 1, side 1, song #4).

Who: Pam Barrett (as you-know-who*), Sean Michael Dargan (as James “Honeyman” Scott), Tom Broeske (as Pete Farndon), Michael Brenneis (as Martin Chambers).

How: The first set IS the first album:

Embrace the Scowl!

Embrace the Scowl!

The needle drops on “Precious” and runs straight through “Mystery Achievement.”  The second set is a smattering of tasty tunes from the second, third and fourth albums.

A sample of classic lines Pam wanted to highlight (with a sneer):

“I had my eye on your Imperial”

“All impressed and half undressed”

“You ask me for advice, I say use the door”

“Silver lights, summer moon”

“And furthermore, I don’t like your trousers!”

(Can you tell Pam is relishing getting to be rude in the name of impersonation?)

When: Tuesday, February 23rd starting at 5:30 PM (sharp!) TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!!

Where: High Noon Saloon

Hope to see you there!

*Q: How many music critics does it take to say, “You sound like Chrissie Hynde.” before Pam *snaps* and joins a Pretenders tribute band?

A: All of them!

Grassroutes Caravan: Madtown 2 Motown, a Mobile Village of Resilience

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Sounds like a fun & wacky bike ride! — A caravan traveling by bike to the United States Social Forum from June 10th-20th of 2010.

The Route
The Route

Latest Edgewater Fun

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010
Hey Mike,
Check out these two links. The video from Beverly Hills is amazing! Maybe posting these on your Blog? Not sure if you have seen www.edgewaterproject.com.
Scary moment of the day…
What is up with the weird way the Fontana store is closing, and no info on the plan for the building?
The old White Horse Inn and assorted stores behind the Overture that are all defunct are not seeking new renters.
One half of the first hundred block of State St. in front of the Overture has been bought and sold to Marty Rifkin and his rumored partner, Jerome Frautchi.
Maybe other big buck people are waiting to get a precedent setting overturn of Landmarks to get busy and tear down a significant portion of the downtown to make the setting of the Overture less conspicuous by removing the “ugly old buildings” surrounding it.
Don’t believe me? Google Pleasant Rowland/ Aurora New York, and see what you get.
The Overture..The gift that keeps on taking.
Hope your party is a huge success! I’m working the whole day and will be too wiped to party, but thanks.
Happy New Year to both of you!This
Joe

David Waugh (a leader in the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood) put together an excellent fact sheet replete with some big, fat, ugly factoids that leave more big, fat questions than answers regarding the developers of the Edgewater Hotel project. It just gets more & more apparent that the partners involved in the Edgewater redevelopment are rather unsavory.

Here is a little prognostication, from an always-in-the-know friend, regarding the Edgewater project and its implications for the future of State Street & environs……

Hey Mike,

Scary moment of the day…

What is up with the weird way the Fontana store is closing, and no info on the plan for the building?

The old White Horse Inn and assorted stores behind the Overture that are all defunct are not seeking new renters. [Though I did just talk to the owner of Fontana today–the store is apparently moving a couple of doors down, on Henry St. — MB]

One half of the first hundred block of State St. in front of the Overture has been bought and sold to Marty Rifkin and his rumored partner, Jerome Frautschi.

Maybe other big buck people are waiting to get a precedent setting overturn of Landmarks to get busy and tear down a significant portion of the downtown to make the setting of the Overture less conspicuous by removing the “ugly old buildings” surrounding it.

Don’t believe me? Google Pleasant Rowland [Frautschi’s wife] / Aurora New York, and see what you get.

The Overture..The gift that keeps on taking.

Meanwhile, Alderman Brian Solomon (one of the good guys on the project), had a lot to say in his defense of the law, our civic processes and the future of the look and feel of our downtown.

And for a little levity, my in-the-know friend also sent along a fun video which uses the It’s a Wonderful Life trope to make the point about the importance of planning for a quality place.

Tuesday evening (Jan 5) at the council, folks, council “reconsiders” the Edgewater, with a rumored “compromise.”

The Haggis. Entered. Madison.

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Enter the Haggis, done entered Madison and rocked the Brink tonight. This was a fantastic show. Celt-inflected rock, folk rock, even a tinge of metal, it was all there, and it was all fun. This was the best touring band I’ve seen in years. The energy: palpable. The creativity: likewise.

My favorite song was something of an epic poem about the lead guitarist’s grampa whose farm got overrun by a pipeline co. Gramps took ’em to court….30 years later made it to the Supreme Court of Canada, and…WON! The song was almost Knopflerian in its guitar rock grandiosity and portentousness of story. There were plenty of lighter songs as well, but they kept it all well mixed so that nobody got bored. Yes, Jeff (of The Motor Primitives), there were plenty of key changes throughout the show.

The Pints opened, and they too rocked, but in a much folkier trad-Celt way.

Ed Feeney (bassist extraordinaire, formerly of that 80s thrash/punk band, The Appliances SFB; currently of The Motor Primitives, Reptile Palace Orchestra, & more) had been bugging me for years to go see these guys. He was dead on about how great their sound is. Oh, and he’s in love with their bassist: he thinks the dude is the best thing since sliced bread!

I got a kick out of the bagpipes, of course. Thankfully, the guy knew how to keep it dialed back so we didn’t get our eardrums screeched out!

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The guitarist was virtuosic on that Gibson; he knew how to coax a tuneful growl out of it. But his real talent was in weaving that individual talent into the band’s sound (i.e., no prima donna here!).

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Sound guy had them dialed in perfectly.

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The room was full….

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Everyone was there, including famous personages…

The kids….

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The old hippies…

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A bassist of fame, air bassing to his favorite bassist….

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And the eastside party impresario, there to sample the Haggis…..

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I saw Bob Queen smile during the encore. Really. I did. He smiled. Thus, expect to see ETH at any one of the following: Waterfront Fest, Orton Park Fest, Willy St. Fest, or (possibly, but unlikely) Fete de Marquette (wrong ethnicity, doncha know!).

And they rocked….

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