Jeff Zimpel

Jeff Zimpel art installation
Photo by Jeff Zimpel

“This is a framework we’re going to use to make art, organize events, and try to get some energy going. Ultimately, it’s how we’re going to activate the space. Right here.” Jeff Zimpel recounts the pitch he and Nick Schilz gave to Cardinal Stritch University to earn a studio space via artist residency in the university’s Communication Arts building to house their project, Create Space MKE.


empty room

For those of you just tuning in, this is the third part of a series about leaving a life of “should”—I should be this, I should do that. In the last segment, I explained how I studied classical singing and became a professional opera singer largely to please an absentee father who was never happy with me. Like most life stories, there is more to tell.

Self-Improv-ment: Level One

Atlas Improv on stage
Photo by Kelly Kittle

There are a multitude of studies out there that show public speaking still ranks as a top fear for humans, undiminished by the use of note cards, powerpoints, and teleprompters. This past summer, I decided to face that particular fear on behalf of you, the common nervous American, and study improv comedy.

From the Editor

Photo by ZDA, Inc.

Welcome to our first Open Air Issue. I find this topic very exciting because I love things that take us outdoors, and it signals the arrival of spring!

Discover Madison and Lakes Aboard Betty Lou Cruises

View of Madison from yacht
Photo by Betty Lou Cruises

To really discover the true character of Madison, those who live or visit here seek out unique experiences and local dining to uncover what sets the city apart from everywhere else. The beauty of the lakes draws people to our city. Enjoying great food and a boat cruise on Lake Mendota and Lake Monona aboard Betty Lou Cruises showcases Madison and takes in the natural beauty of the lakes while enjoying a beautiful Madison sunset on the water. Betty Lou Cruises has been a special part of the lakescape of Lake Mendota since 1998 and Lake Monona since 2002.

Ultimate is Madison's Alternative Sport

Ultimate Frisbee
Photo by Madison Radicals

Warning—this story may cause you to grab a Frisbee, run out your front door, leap into the air, and whip the disc as hard as you can. Or at least I wanted to after talking to two of Madison’s ultimate leaders: Madison Radicals Owner and Head Coach Tim DeByl and Madison Ultimate Frisbee Association President (MUFA) Pete Schramm.

The Smart Way to Save for Travel, Vacations, and Kids Activities

family on beach

Need to travel for an upcoming business trip? Planning on taking the family on vacation? Kids showing interest in a variety of after-school and summer activities? How are you going to pay for all of it on top of your regular monthly commitments? Don’t fret, it’s all possible with a little smart planning and leveraging of the money you’re already spending, and I’m going to tell you how. But first, I would like to define money for you and perhaps even challenge how you currently think about it.

See the Beer, Hear the Beer, Taste the Beer

Beer taps
Photo by Kyle Jacobson

“Someone once asked Michael Jackson, the famous beer writer, what his favorite beer was, and his answer had two parts. The first part was ‘a local one.’ But then he asked, ‘What time of day is it? What time of year is it? Is it hot out? Did I just get done with some sort of physical activity, or is it after dinner? Am I sitting by the fire?’ And that gets right to the heart of it. There are so many different styles of beer out there that it makes sense you could find one that’s suited to the particular situation you find yourself in.”

Perennial Favorites

Coreopsis “Zagreb”
Photo by ZDA, Inc.

Every spring, garden centers and stores are filled with hundreds of beautiful perennial flowers. New varieties promise the world: special colors, bigger flowers, shorter stature, and disease resistance. Many look fabulous in the store but are less than thrilling in the garden. The best perennials are more than just a pretty flower—they have good foliage, disease resistance, and add texture or structure to the landscape. For me, a perennial favorite has to be the strong and independent type. They need to drink responsibly, stand on their own, and live for years without dividing. Yet even the best of the best will disappoint if they are planted in the wrong place or with the wrong crowd. So it’s important to remember that there are different favorites for different environments. The following are perennial favorites grouped by sunny and shady conditions.

Breese Stevens Field

Breese Stevens Field
Photo by Breese Stevens Field

Breese Stevens Municipal Athletic Field holds a special place in the hearts of many Madisonians. Not only is the field the oldest city-owned and -operated athletic field, it’s also the oldest surviving masonry grandstand in Wisconsin.

Engage. Educate. Empower.

girl with hands up
Photo by Aldo Leopold Nature Center

“I’ve been coming here since I was three. My first memory of this place, I was knee deep in the marsh with my brother’s old, oversized boots on … mud was sliding over the top of the boot and slithering down to my toes, that, of course, were wiggling and wriggling in the cool wet muck.”

A Tick's Story

Leaves and tick

Dear Mom,
I am really enjoying living in Madison. After you left me and my 2,500 brothers and sisters in the spring, we hatched into larvae (although I kind of prefer being called a maggot—I think it has a nice ring to it) during the nice, warm summer and immediately found some white-footed mice nearby. Good thinking to lay us near their nest. We all ate our fill of mouse blood and it really filled us up. We couldn’t hold on anymore and dropped into the leaves. It was a soft landing, so don’t worry!

Grills, Grills, Grills

food on grill

Strip steaks and baby back ribs. Or the vegan-friendly take: cubed tofu and portabella caps. Then there’s pizza, kabobs, apple pie, and…yes, apple pie. Perhaps some clarification is merited. I was once like you, blissfully unaware to the contemporary world of grilling. Now I know many ways to make, well, burgers and brats, but a more adventurous soul has the opportunity to turn their backyard grill into a second kitchen without breaking the wallet or doing some serious landscaping.

Rutabaga Paddlesports: Rooted in the Outdoors and Community

Photo by Eric Tadsen

Rutabaga Paddlesports is not your typical outdoor recreational store. One of the few shops that specializes in paddlesports with some camping and clothing on the side, you’ll find when visiting Rutabaga an impressive display of canoes, kayaks and paddling accessories, and people passionate about sharing their love and expertise about paddlesports.

Camping: Add Adventure to Your Weekend!

Camping site
Photo by Green Concierge Travel

At its most basic level, camping is an overnight stay away from home in a shelter, such as a tent. For many, it’s an urban getaway with a natural setting and few distractions. Simple meals and sitting around a campfire round out the experience.

Domestic Violence

Photo by DAIS

It began like many other relationships. They met through mutual friends and Monica was immediately taken with Andrew’s charm. He was intelligent, witty, and charismatic. When they went out, he attentively listened to her in a way that she had never experienced before. He wanted to understand her passions, her values, and her dreams. When she introduced him to her parents, her father ended the evening by taking Monica aside and saying, “Honey, he may actually be the one!” Though Monica had always been the type to take her time, she felt it too—that maybe Andrew was the one. When Andrew asked her to move in with him, she didn’t hesitate.

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