January 2020

Madison Opera Performs Fellow Travelers

Photo by Dan Norman

Love. Fear. Politics. For centuries, opera has reflected, critiqued, and influenced societal conditions using music and drama to make audiences consider their world in a new light, starting conversations about humanity and society with themes crossing the boundaries of time and place.

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Carol Chase Bjerke: Roaming the Mountain

Photo by Lee Bjerke

The life of an artist is relaying the exploration of a mountain that nobody else gets to experience. Carol Chase Bjerke has been in the professional world of art for decades, and she’s traveled all over her mountain of adaptive context, spending time in the greenery of the foothills, the trials of the nival storms, and even reaching the summit a time or two. Whether ascending or descending a moment in life, Carol’s outlook is constantly evolving through aspect.

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Do you say yes to things that you know you really don’t have the time for? Do you put other people’s needs above yours? Do you feel pressure to do things you don’t want to do because you don’t want to disappoint someone? Yep, I’m looking at you, kid. You have problems with boundaries. People who have problems with personal boundaries are the people that are focused on the needs of others and not on themselves. In other words, people pleasers.

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Everyday Volunteerism with Sarah Rowe

Photo by Sarah Rowe

Think about things you notice that seem to be invisible to everyone else. Something as simple as a honeybee on a flower. Or as chance as a shooting star. Or as glaring as the number of MacBooks in a café. But then you remember the documentary you saw on the declining honeybee population. Oh, and the factoid you learned about being able to see a shooting star every 10 to 15 minutes while stargazing. Ah yes, and that you’ve been looking into buying a MacBook for the past month. It’s the things we preoccupy our minds with that suddenly go from being our world’s white noise to taking center stage.

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Photo by Rachel Bottner

It’s a favorite ritual for many, marked by the leisurely pace a weekend oftentimes affords and a desire to venture out and enjoy new and well-known eateries. The practice of enjoying brunch in lieu of a standalone breakfast or lunch stretches back nearly a century in America by many accounts. Restaurants with brunch menus have long provided a range of offerings on Saturdays and Sundays, and the following restaurants are no exception.

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Firefly Coffeehouse: Something for Everyone in Oregon's Living Room

Photo by Eric Tadsen

Coffee. Just saying the word is alluring enough. But my experience has been that different coffeehouses call out to different types of coffee drinkers. Some seem to appeal to the hipster persona, others to a more traditional crowd. Though all shades of fads might be present at any given coffeehouse, rarely will the venue speak beyond any single one in a meaningful way.

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The Mixing Bowl Bakery: Treat Yourself

Photo by Eric Tadsen

Walking distance from the Wisconsin River in Sauk City, The Mixing Bowl Bakery offers sweet distractions from the everyday. Owners Vickie and Curtis Eberle grew up in the community and recognize that their customers are the reason they’re in business. They created a community-driven business built on the ideals of family and togetherness, and are grateful to provide a little slice of happiness in the form of a baked good, latte, or casual conversation.

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The Old Feed Mill Restaurant: A Culinary and Cultural Treasure

Photo by Eric Tadsen

The Old Feed Mill Restaurant in Mazomanie evokes a sense of a bygone era while diners enjoy tried-and-true comfort food like grandma used to make, and they do so in a working stone buhr mill dating back to 1856. “In addition to my original recipes, I’ve taken recipes from my mother,” says Nancy Viste, who has co-owned the restaurant with her husband, Dan, since 1995. Nancy upped the ante on the recipes to make them taste even better, leading to the restaurant’s reputation for great food. “I call it the open-minded version of mom’s cooking by adding wine or switching up an ingredient or two to take the dish to the next level. Mom wasn’t closed minded, but she never thought to experiment or vary the recipe.”

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From the Editor

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” — Neil Gaiman

I love this quote because it’s a simple message about being, trying, and living. What you choose to do with a day not only affects that day, it influences your week, month, year, and life. When you expose yourself to and engage in something new, it signifies a willingness to grow. Growth comes from success and failure, so you simply need to try to grow. The chances you take ultimately direct the path of your life.

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Nano Nano Ale from Pail

Photo by Kyle Jacobson

The world of beer is a fairly vast playground for the hairsplitter—rife with rules and well-defined classifications of what is and isn’t acceptable per the prescribed. With any art, there comes the inevitable critic. And with the introduction of the critic, marginalization, categorization, and occasional deification blossom like bloodstained thorn bushes between beer and beer drinker. I could go into rankings that influence market decisions and alcoholic bloggers celebrating unbalanced beers that get you drunk quick, but the world of definition certainly has its place and benefits.

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The Cider Farm

Photo by The Cider Farm

“And there never was an apple, in Adam’s opinion, that wasn’t worth the trouble you got into for eating it.” – Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

We’ve been duped! Well, at least I have. See, I used to have this narrow vision of what a hard cider is, this sweet, sugary cavity bomb carbonated like a soda pop and tart like a Jolly Rancher. I hate even writing those words in this article, so do me a favor and forget I used them. The Cider Farm in Madison, co-located with Brennan’s Cellars, makes a definitive argument that apples can be to ciders what grapes are to wines.

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Totally Tropical Flavors

Photo by Olbrich Botanical Gardens

When browsing the grocery store and piling items in a shopping cart, it’s easy to give little thought to where the food came from. As eating local and farm-to-table movements become more commonplace, labels identifying the city, state, or number of miles from which your produce came are helping shoppers make more informed choices about the sources of their food. But what about the tropical foods you eat on a daily basis?

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UW Provision: The Meat People

Photo by Eric Tadsen

If you want to go whole hog for your next cookout, fundraiser, or event, a visit to The Meat Market in Middleton or Local Source Food in Sun Prairie is in order. The meat at these two specialty store outlets is from UW Provision in Middleton, which is the same high-quality fresh or frozen meat the wholesaler ships to regional grocery stores and restaurants. It’s convenient to buy in bulk without breaking the bank.

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The House of Michelangelo's Coffee

Photo by Michelangelos Coffee House

Built in 1905, the Lamb Building, at 114 State Street, is one of the earliest and finest remaining Queen Anne-style commercial buildings in Madison. The structure was designed by local architectural masters Claude and Starck and is a Madison landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

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Wisconsin Farmers Union

Photo by Wisconsin Farmers Union

Let Us Reason Together.

The phrase has inspired the work of Wisconsin Farmers Union (WFU) for nearly a century. It encapsulates the efforts happening even today across the countryside as farmers, foodies, and advocates organize to keep family farms on the land and reform a broken American food system.

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Falling For Fleas!

Photo by Dane County Humane Society

Fleas are everywhere on every continent, but most people don’t really think much about them anymore. I mean, the Black Death was a long time ago, right? The facts are found everywhere, on every continent. The fleas in Antarctica feed on a variety of seabirds, but if there was a large population of dogs and cats there, I’m sure the cat flea would be there too. Fleas have been around longer than humans, their flea fossils embedded in amber dating back to the upper Eocene and Miocene periods.

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UW Badgers Spotlight Softball

Photo by Sarah Phipps

Despite the inevitable curveballs that come at the hands of Mother Nature, the University of Wisconsin–Madison Badgers’ softball program has been a fan favorite from the get-go. The 20-player team begins competitive play when temperatures tentatively, if ever, sneak above the freezing mark, and snow is a common sight. “It’s a warm-weathered sport played in a cold-weathered climate,” says coach Yvette Healy of the reality for the women wearing a UW Badgers softball uniform. “We’re kind of a road-warrior team because we travel a lot.”

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