Deb Gottschalk

Deb Gottschalk work
Photo by Deb Gottschalk

“If you keep going down the end of Sherman, there’s a nice park with good walking trails. There’s actually three parks around here. There’s canoe-putting off of Wheeler that you can put in to Cherokee Lake and go up the Yahara. It’s a really nice place to canoe. You go just a little bit up the river, but there’s no houses. You don’t feel like you’re in the city anymore.”

Drawn to Art? Visit Woodland Studios

Woodland Studios shop
Photo by Eric Tadsen

Woodland Studios is a boutique art gallery with artisan printing and framing. It’s best described as part store and part gallery for one-of-a-kind types of art. Prices range from $20 to collectible price points for a variety of art mediums appealing to all types of customers. It’s also the place to bring a treasured family photograph to have it printed and made into something special, or to have a custom-framed job designed and completed.

Ho-Chunk Nation: The Spirit of Madison

Ho-Chunk entrance
Photo by Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison

Since the hunter-and-gatherer days of our tribe, we of the Ho-Chunk Nation, formerly known as Winnebago, have strongly believed in connection. Our ancestors inhabited the Madison area around 11,000 years ago, holding it for safekeeping as stewards of the land to take from it only as needed. Though the connection we have to the land still very much exists, the connection we have to the people of Madison has grown alongside the city itself.

No More!

spider web

Throughout this series, I’ve shared my personal journey of leaving behind a life of “should” to find happiness and fulfillment as my authentic self. It’s an ongoing process, and I recently made a startling discovery about a powerful should that I’ve harbored unwittingly for years. Previously, I wrote about how I was vulnerable to rape at a young age because of my belief that I should do whatever men expect of me. With this segment, I want to shatter another should and talk about being in an emotionally abusive marriage. I got out and never discussed the abuse in my first marriage. The should kept me silent, and I’ve protected my ex all these years. Worse yet, the same sense of should extended well beyond my ex to other people—especially men—who mistreated me.

Self-Improv-ment: Level Three

Comedy stage

Every story has a beginning, middle, and end. Atlas Improv Co.’s level three class is the end of my formal educational journey with improvisational theatre. Having spent a school year’s worth of Wednesday nights in the confines of the theatre space, I think about the growth and change I’ve experienced. Everyone knows stories are only good if the protagonist grows or learns something.

Stoughton Opera House: Independent Theatre Enriching Community Involvement

Stoughton Opera House inside
Photo by Tim Erickson Photography

Over a century ago, the city council of Stoughton looked to make a statement to the importance of the city and have it stand out. Their plan: have a theatre in the upstairs of the Stoughton City Hall with city offices downstairs. It would make everyone happy, establish a community center, and provide profits to afford the building.

Athens Grill: Mediterranean Comfort Food for Everyone!

Grilled Eggplant Gyro - our vegetarian gyro.
Photo by Eric Tadsen

Athens Grill, a new Mediterranean restaurant on the north edge of Madison in Westport, opened in December 2017 with its farm-to-table menu. The vision to bring delicious and nutritious Mediterranean food to the general populace at affordable prices has culminated in a restaurant that offers a variety of dining options in a new, spacious, freestanding building next to where it all began as Athens Gyros—in a Shell gas station.

From the Editor

Photo by REACH-A-Child

It’s our first Community and Culture issue, which is the theme that best represents the essence of Madison Essentials. It’s about who we are and where we live.

Youth & Money

Parent and child showing saving

Face it, most adults don’t like discussing money. We all use it, but most stop there. I would venture to say it’s an attitude our culture has embraced to help us deal with the anxiety many feel when the subject of money comes up.

Chinese Grocery Stores Futher Define Culture in Madison

Grocery store
Photo by Kyle Jacobson

Defining the word culture is rather simple. Generally, it’s agreed that the art, food, and intellectual pursuits of a community make up part of its culture. But larger cities, like Madison, are difficult to confine to homogony. An effort is made to describe the area as multicultural, but that in itself is only an aspect of a city’s culture and not the complete picture.

Frabjous Hubs of Influence

Working Draft Beer Company
Photo by Kyle Jacobson

Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” is a poem known for its utter nonsense. But in the counterintuitive logic of Wonderland, it further illustrates a world full of adventure appropriately laced with confusion. When taking something as all-encompassing as poetry and applying it to Carroll’s world, it almost seems Wonderland would be incomplete without it. And, in the end, the poem is understood as a poem.

Hotel Ruby Marie

inside Hotel Ruby Marie
Photo by Maureen Cassidy Photography

Railroads were the most important mode of transportation in the mid-19th to the early 20th centuries in Madison. Hotel Ruby Marie, at 524 E. Wilson Street, stands today as a significant example of a building in the commercial area that grew up around two depots constructed to serve the railroads and their customers. In fact, the hotel is one of only four 19th century hotel buildings remaining in Madison and is located in the East Wilson Street Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin

ARCW lobby
Photo by ARCW

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that can cause Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). While many advancements have been made in treatment, there’s still no cure for HIV/AIDS. However, with proper treatment, people with HIV can live long, healthy lives. Fortunately for Madison-area residents living with HIV, there’s a clinic that can meet all of their healthcare and social service needs.


REACH-A-Child vehicle
Photo by REACH-A-Child

The REACH BAG is a durable backpack maintained in the first responder vehicle. It’s initially equipped with 10 new, vetted children’s books and 10 drawstring backpacks. The REACH BAGs are refilled every six months or sooner if requested. First responders use the books to comfort children they encounter in crisis situations.

Diabetes in Cats

cat with vet

When my family and I lived in North Carolina, we had minivacations on the Outer Banks. One night, as we were leaving a restaurant, we saw a little kitten trying to hide under a bush. Of course, we coaxed him out. He was a stray with fleas, ear mites, and a round little belly. He got his first bath in a hotel bathtub and rode the three hours home with nary a peep. We named him Flip because we found him under a restaurant called Flipperz. A week later a hurricane hit that area of the Outer Banks, but that’s another story.

New Glarus

New Glarus
Photo by Sue Moen

Driving through New Glarus on Highway 69, you’ll notice something immediately. Chalet-styled buildings with sloping roofs and balconies, which are often decorated with colorful flower boxes in the summer. If you think it looks a bit like Switzerland, then the locals got their message across. New Glarus’ roots and origins are in the canton of Glarus, Switzerland.

Community Matters When the Goal is Liberation

community of people
Photo by DAIS

The shelter at Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) is a community comprised of shelter residents, staff, and volunteers. This community is fundamental in providing services to domestic-violence victims and their children while staying in an emergency shelter.