Welcome to Tidbits, a feature of Mixed Metaphors, Oh My! Tidbits are bite-sized morsels of news and happenings: more characters than a tweet, more ephemeral than a post, less satisfying than a conversation.
08/15/2017 Back to School for Trump
07/29/2017 ICBM: Not So Funny Anymore!
From CNN: “North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile Friday that appears to have the range to hit major US cities, experts say, and prompted a fresh round of condemnation from the United States, China, Japan and South Korea.” For historical perspective: I went to elementary school and middle school in the mid 1950s thru mid 1960s. It’s not so funny anymore.
06/04/2017 Wonder Woman Mini-Review
First, let me go on record that I thoroughly enjoyed the film for reasons I will briefly outline, next let me simply state that this is not a feminist film that will eclipse all the movies to date that have objectified, discounted, or minimized the importance of women in life or characters in movies. This is a superhero movie, based on a comic book, and in this case, the superhero is a kick-ass woman who is beautiful, smart, and powerful, waging a battle against war. Who would not enjoy watching that story? Here’s what you’ll see: Amazing special affects, Amazon women on horses doing slow-motion acrobatics in the air with bows and arrows, choreographed like modern dance; fight scenes that for the most part are not gratuitous, classic confrontations with good and evil (always exaggerated using comic book conventions so you are never confused about who to root for), consistent acting by leads and supporting characters that includes a band of ethnically and culturally-diverse misfit heroes, and historical settings which are alternately realistic and impressionistic. What you’ll hear is a great soundtrack that swells with emotion on cue, sometimes inconsistent or wonky accents (always a challenge), and a screenplay that is for the most smart, not corny, laden with some great lines that the audience reacted to enthusiastically. Here’s my favorite, “I’m both frightened and aroused.” My recommendation to filmgoers, especially women, “suspend your disbelief,” sit back in your seat, and enjoy Wonder Woman waging peace.
05/05/2017 Health & Healthcare Update
Good morning on this Cinco de Mayo! I’m alive and well, recovering from yesterday’s carpal tunnel release surgery. First, a thank you to “my person,” sister and friend, Tami for her help and most of all for her company yesterday. The wait for the procedure was longer than estimated, but the surgery only took 15 minutes and I was discharged shortly afterwards. I was awake when they rolled me into the OR and after anesthetizing me with ketamine (sometimes used to anesthetize large animals, LOL!) I went on a lovely trip. Ketamine: Psychological effects ranging from pleasant, dream-like states to delirium have occurred as ketamine wears off. Fortunately, my reaction was the former. I was in good hands with my surgeon and the whole team. I’m grateful that I have healthcare coverage and I’m mad as hell that Congress took the action that they did yesterday. I thought it was ironic to be watching CNN and the House of Representatives vote in between watching videos of practical jokes and adult cartoons while we waited. Somehow, all three are somewhat related. Lastly, I want to thank everyone for your well-wishes, offers of help, and healing thoughts. I’m grateful!
04/22/2017 Earth Day: Show Some Love to Mother Earth!
On this Earth Day, I begin my day by attending the Dane County Farmer’s Market, just one gift from Mother Earth and the stewards who work it, harvest the bounty, and share the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor. As I write each morning, I look out my window on the world and watch the seasons change. In the past two or three weeks, I’ve witnessed the barren trees and grass turn green, flowers bloom, the quality of daylight change, the sun rise earlier, and set later, and the songs of birds welcome the morning. I’m grateful. We’re all responsible for protecting and caring for this planet we call home. We can’t allow the politics of greed and the denial of science destroy the environment which nurtures and supports us. Thank you to all who celebrate this day by marching in support of science and climate change. A final thank you to the legacy of the former Wisconsin governor and senator, Gaylord Nelson, who founded Earth Day.
04/08/2017 Saturday Morning This Spring Day
Warm temperatures, blue skies, and sunshine have finally arrived at the same time, the trifecta of the spring season, which inspired this poem this morning.
Saturday Morning This Spring Day
Saturday morning this spring day,
my senses take in the sounds, the smells,
the spectrum of blues and greens as dusty white,
wispy clouds streak across the new day’s morning sky.
In the distance, I can hear a jack hammer
pounding concrete in metered blows;
a parking lot will become a demolition site,
then a foundation, finally condos and lofts for artists.
Railroad crossing alarms sound, tenor bells create a symphony
with whistles and chirping bird song, jack hammer percussion,
joined by a freight train’s rolling thunder below my window,
first slow, speeding up, gasping a throaty exhalation.
The air is crisp and clear, no moisture to hold the aromatics
of the musky earth, yet the wind carries the hint of flowers,
fragrances of the season. Bulbs begin to bloom, trees bud,
rebirth and new beginnings, Saturday morning this spring day.
03/11/2017 The First Signs of Spring
Every year I take a Staycation in the spring, though I continue working during the day (and this year fewer hours and days). Evenings and the weekend in March and/or April is spent in darkened movie theaters watching films from the Wisconsin Film Festival. This year the festival runs from March 30 – April 6. I see 13 films if my purchase experience is successful. The second sign of spring is the start of Daylight Savings Time. We turn our clocks forward before going to bed tonight. A bonus this year, is tomorrow morning is also the March Full Moon, the Worm Moon.
03/04/2017 TGIF Now Means a Day of Just Living
My new part-time work schedule began this week, Monday – Thursday, 9:00 – 3:00, which means every Friday is the start of a three-day weekend. Yesterday was the first TGIF. I took my new car in for its first oil change and grabbed breakfast before an early $5 movie matinee, Get Out (see it!). Afterwards, before I did taxes, I had a coffee and chocolate break. Yeah, life is good. I’m grateful! Read my essay on semi-working, full-time living, No More 9 to 5!
01/23/2017 One-Year Anniversary of My Mother’s Death
Today is the one year anniversary of my mother’s death. Our family gathered yesterday to support our father and each other. We celebrated Mom’s life by being together, sharing a meal, telling stories, crying and laughing, and will continue to do so today and tomorrow in her memory. My brother Rick from Colorado surprised us all by flying in for an extended weekend. Tami and her husband Ron were unable to be with us in person, along with other family in Colorado, Texas, and Las Vegas, yet we were together in spirit. Dad broke one of his rules too (and we laughed about that as well). Though Dad is a huge Packer and Badger football fan, when the family is together he doesn’t turn on the TV in the living room. He wants to be present with us. Yesterday the TV was turned on (a little wagering on the outcome ensued) and in the end we mourned the Packers along with other mother. Thank you for the support our family has received from our friends who we consider to be chosen family. For those of you who may be wondering, The Loud Family lived up to our reputation.
01/21/2017 Women’s March in Madison, Wisconsin (and all over the world)
Today, I march with millions of women and their supporters and families all over the world in support of women’s rights and in protest of Trump and regressive laws worldwide.
12/22/2016 Affirmation Coffee Mug
Yesterday, I did a little holiday shopping in my neighborhood, in Madison, Wisconsin at Vault, an interior design studio that has the most amazing (and lighthearted) gift and home accessories. I spend a lot of time early in the morning (it’s 4:45 a.m. as I write) at my desk on my laptop, drinking coffee. I treated myself to a gift, a new coffee mug with an affirmation that reads, “Everything will be okay!” I thought it would be perfect for these difficult times and a great way to start my day. Look closely…
11/16/2016 Profiled at the Post Office
I was profiled at the Post Office today. I needed to buy stamps. Here’s how the conversation unfolded:
Postal worker: “What can I do for you today?”
Me: “I need a sheet of stamps.”
Postal worker: “What kind do you want?”
Me: “What kind do you have?”
Postal worker: Pulls out a sheet of Wonder Woman stamps.
11/15/2016 Help for the Post-Election Blues
For my family, friends, and readers of my blog in Madison, Wisconsin, join us to process the election results and ramifications, and for support and empowerment at the Goodman Center. Moving Forward Together.
11/01/2016 Home: Writers Explore Its Meaning
I’m grateful that two of my submissions, a poem, Again, Again and an essay, Home: Hearth and Heart were selected for an anthology benefiting OM Village Tiny Homes in Madison, Wisconsin. I’m joining other writers tonight to read our work as part of the Fall Fundraising event. The anthology is for sale, all proceeds benefiting Occupy Madison’s Tiny House Village.
08/14/2016 Hippie Christmas in Madison
The next 48 hours is “Hippie Christmas” in Madison, Wisconsin, the annual moving day rite, when student and many downtown leases expire and contents of their apartments pile up on the curb. Madison municipal workers do a great job of attempting to remove the debris, yet it still provides an opportunity (though apparently against the law) to trash pick, recycle, and search for the abandoned find. People are warned however to not take mattresses or upholstered furniture, you may be inviting bed bugs as your new roommates! Photo courtesy of Michelle Stocker of WSJ/Cap Times from August 2015.
07/31/2016 Hillary Clinton Wore a White Pantsuit
Hillary wore a white pantsuit when she accepted the nomination for President of the United States. She’s been criticized for years for wearing pantsuits, yet she honored the suffragettes who wore white when they fought for the right to vote and for the thousands of us who wore white when we marched in Washington in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. Here’s a photo of me and the Madison, WI NOW contingent in Washington, DC from July 1978, wearing white when we marched in support of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). I’m wearing the aviator-style glasses that Gloria Steinem made popular and the screen-printed t-shirt I designed for our contingent.
05/29/2016 The Loud Family Plants Mom’s Flowers
Today is the first year my family gets together to plant flowers over the Memorial Day holiday weekend without Mom, yet we continue to carry on the tradition and plant flowers for her in her memory. This is something Dad wanted to do and us kids agreed. We are using donations from her funeral visitation to buy the flowers for her garden. Her legacy lives on in us and will live on in each bloom. Thinking of my mother and family today with love.
05/05/2016 The Seat of Creativity
Out with the old, in with the new. I say good-bye to the poorly assembled (by me) IKEA writing desk chair that I used for almost 15 years, and say hello to my new desk chair expertly put together by my brother-in-law, Ron, a handyman indeed. I hope to write in it for at least 20 years or more.
04/14/2016 The 18th Wisconsin Film Festival
Today the 2016 Wisconsin Film Festival kicks off 8 days of film-going with 158 movies.
Tonight’s opening night feature is Taika Waititi’s wonderful and hilarious Hunt for the Wilderpeople at The Barrymore Theater on Madison’s east side (a new venue for 2016) followed by an after party at the Harmony Bar and Grill.
For anyone trying to track me down over the course of the next week, when I’m not sleeping, working, or grabbing a bite to eat in between, you’ll find me at the movies, one of my favorite places in the world. I consider the Wisconsin Film Festival to be my springtime annual staycation. Following is a little background on the what, why, where and how I make my selections, then the list of my picks and itinerary for the week. I hope to see you at the movies, and stay tuned to this site for my post festival reviews and wrap-up.
First a couple of notes about my selection process:
- Since I work during the day, the earliest weekday film I can make is 6:00.
- From experience, I’ve not selected any films that begin at 8:00 or later. I’m a morning person.
- I’ve tried to leave sufficient travel and parking time between theaters and showtimes.
- I have a work event on Thursday, April 21 so I didn’t select any films that day.
- My maximum weekend number of films I can see in a day (based on previous experience) is 3.
- I like documentaries so there are a number of them that made my list.
- I’m a big Robert Altman fan so one of my picks is one of his films. He’s the featured director this year.
- Some of the films that I originally hoped to see were at times I wasn’t available or conflicted with other selections.
Here are my picks:
- Friday, 4/15, 6:30 pm “Cameraperson,”, UW Union South Marquee
- Saturday, 4/16, 11:00 am “Louder Than Bombs,” Sundance Cinema 6
- Saturday, 4/16, 4:30 pm, “Remember My Name,” UW Chazen Museum of Art
- Saturday, 4/16, 7:00 pm, “June Falling Down,” UW Union South Marquee
- Sunday, 4/17, 12:30 pm, “Unlocking the Cage,” Barrymore Theater
- Sunday, 4/17, 4:15 pm, “The Fear of 13,” Sundance Cinema 6
- Monday, 418, 6:00 pm, “The Witness,” Sundance Cinema 5
- Tuesday, 4/19, 6:30 pm, “Lo and Behold,” Sundance Cinema 6
- Wednesday, 4/20, 6:00 pm, “Starving the Beast,” Barrymore Theater
02/14/2016 Valentine’s Day Solitaire
01/19/2016 Winter in Wisconsin
I’ve often written about how much I appreciate the changing seasons in Wisconsin, however like most things in life, there are upsides and downsides. The downside this time of year is that you really can freeze your ass off!
12/25/15 Happy Holidays from Madison, Wisconsin
Since I didn’t send out Holiday cards this year, please accept this wonderful mural on the wall of Mother Fool’s Coffeehouse which I’m repurposing as my facsimile Holiday greeting. The photo is by Michelle Stocker of the Capital Times.
10/6/15 The Soundtrack of My Life: An Evening with Joan
Tonight I have a date to see and hear Joan Armatrading with my sister, Tami Reschke and her daughter, my niece, Gemma. What makes this so special for me is that I introduced my sister to Armatrading’s music, probably 30 years ago, and now we are introducing Gemma, another generation, to the remarkable singer-songwriter and musical talent of Joan Armatrading. I credit Joan with writing the soundtrack of my relationship life. I’m also looking forward to seeing my friends, Joan’s fans, and the newly remodeled University of Wisconsin Union Theater, renamed Shannon Hall, which has always been one of the premiere venues for music. Listen to Joan sing, Love and Affection.
8/17/15 Woodstock Music & Arts Fair
46 years ago, a few friends and I were panhandling at Monument Square in my hometown of Racine, Wisconsin, attempting to finance a road trip to an outdoor rock concert in Woodstock, NY. We didn’t collect enough money to make the trip, so we spent our earnings at the movie theater instead. I don’t have many regrets in my life, but I always wished I had made it to Woodstock and wonder how different my life may have turned out.
7/9/15 Throw Back Thursday, 1969, “School for Wives”
Today’s TBT contribution from my college acting days at UW Parkside in 1969. I played Georgette, the coquettish servant, in Moliere’s “School for Wives.” I’m on the far left, and my good friend from that time, Dick Esser is on the far right.
6/28/15 Celebrating the SCOTUS Marriage Ruling
Where’s my spouse? Oh, I don’t have one! I’m still full of joy and celebrating all my married friends and family, and grateful that I have equal rights under the law to marry if I choose! One of my writing friends suggested my Conversations w/My Next Girlfriend blog series needs to be retitled, Conversations w/My Next Wife!
For those wondering why my profile picture looks serious and not joyful, I continue to use my WTF watchdog expression for my profile picture because there’s still lots of work to do to provide equal protection under the law for all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic and class status, gender identity, and religious beliefs (or not). Let’s keep fighting the good fight after we take some time to celebrate first!
5/9/15 On the Eve of Mother’s Day
First, I’d like to state how grateful I am that I still have my mother in my life to celebrate with tomorrow. I also want to acknowledge my friends who have recently had to say good-bye to their mothers, my friends Sandra, Julie and Abbie, and their families and loved ones. My thoughts are with you this weekend too and I wish you comfort during a day that I can only imagine when your grief will be amplified. I’m also grateful that I was witness to the journey of friends who were caregivers to their mother’s before their death, both Sandra and Julie, plus Leanne and years earlier Vig. You all have taught me so much about how to let go of a loved over a span of years. Lastly, I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all my friends and family members who are mothers, including my former partners who were generous enough to share their children with me and allowed me the opportunity to be a mother too. I hail from matriarchal lines of women on both sides of my family and have learned how powerful mothers are as they love, nurture, mentor and protect their children. For Mother’s Day and my mother, my essay from 2013, A Grateful Daughter.
5/2/15 Union Corners Project Updates
For those readers following my posts about LGBTQ- and senior-friendly cohousing at Union Corners in Madison, Wisconsin, housing and retail projects are in the works with groundbreaking dates and a timeline for the UW Clinic, Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market grocer, market rate and affordable housing, plus two cohousing communities, including MESCoH (Madison East Side Co-Housing). See project timeline and update below:
Click on the Madison.com link to read Mike Ivey’s article, Union Corners with organic market, cohousing finally to take shape.
4/11/15 50th Anniversary of the Palm Sunday Tornado
Today marks 50 years since tornadoes ravaged parts of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan on April 11, 1965, on Palm Sunday. My family was visiting relatives in Monroe, Wisconsin. My great Uncle, Freeman Mills, sold mobile homes at the time. When he heard the roar of the tornado barreling down on them like a freight train, he tackled the pregnant wife of the couple who he had been showing the trailer and shielded her with his body. Before the husband could finish his sentence that began, “What the hell do you think…” my uncle said “Hit the deck!” and the mobile home did a somersault in the air and landed back on it’s unsecured base. My cousin was in the park with the concrete band shell and got as close to the ground as he possibly could, my Aunt and parents were in downtown Monroe after shopping and having a bite at Baumgartner’s, and my sister and remaining cousins had been to the bowling alley. I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s house with my Grandmother and the babies. I watched the sky turn first from gray, to charcoal and then to green, as the wind was whipped around and the sound of birds and animals was a chorus of chaos, then it got eerily silent and the tornado came. When everyone returned home safely, my Aunt dispensed tranquilizers like they were candy. We were safe and sound, but many others were not so lucky. I was 15 years old.
3/17/15 Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
My great uncle, Joe Flanigan, owned a bar across the street from St. Patrick’s Church in Racine, WI. The priests would often visit Joe after mass for beer. We used to joke that Uncle Joe heard confessions from all the priests. On St. Patty’s Day all the beer was green and his normally red hair matched the beer!
3/14/15 Pi Day, Pie Day, and More
Today is a special day for many reasons, some worthy of celebration, some not. Today is Pi Day, Pie Day (let’s all have a slice), Albert Einstein’s birthday, and for filmgoers in Wisconsin, Wisconsin Film Festival tickets go on sale at noon today. If I had remained married, today would be my 44th wedding anniversary, and lastly and sadly, today is the memorial Service for Tony Robinson.
2/20/15 Countdown to the Academy Awards, Sunday 2/22/15
Here are my picks for the top awards. This is not based on an analysis of the voting probabilities of the Academy, but simply part guesswork, part personal preference:
Best Picture: Boyhood
Director: Richard Linklater
Actor: Michael Keaton
Actress: Julianne Moore
Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons
Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette
Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Foreign Language Film: Ida
Song: “Glory” from Selma
Make your own predictions. Here’s a ballot. I hope your favorites win!
2/13/15 Friday the 13th and the Eve of Valentine’s Day!
Dear Next Girlfriend, I hope you’ve been reading my conversations with you. If you’re resourceful, you may even find your Valentine.
2/5/15 Mixed Metaphors, Oh My! Has a Birthday Today!
Today is the 2nd anniversary of my blog. Apparently, I still have something to say and hopefully it continues to be worthy of sharing. Today’s Tidbit is s commentary on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to rewrite the mission of the University of Wisconsin in his budget address on Tuesday, 2/3/2015:
Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to rewrite the mission of the University of Wisconsin by deleting the word “truth” and “The Wisconsin Idea” in his budget proposal failed. Now he’s left backpedaling, stating that it was a “drafting error.” I guess this is what happens when you attempt to delete the truth. He’s left with “rewriting” his intent. I hope the public, especially those that have supported him through the recall and his re-election begin seeing him for what he is, an agent of special interests and more concerned about his presidential ambitions than he is about the people he was elected to serve, and the great progressive traditions of our State and University. Shame on you, Governor Walker!
1/22/15 Another Dispatch from a Filmgoer
I saw American Sniper on Saturday. I was moved by Chris Kyle’s story as portrayed by Bradley Cooper (certainly deserving of his Best Actor Oscar nomination) in a film directed by Clint Eastwood based on Kyle’s memoir. I was also very conflicted by the story. Some background: In high school I volunteered for the Red Cross and rose at 5:00 a.m. to send off young men with care packages who were off to basic training, some who never returned after their call of duty, as a candy-striper I played bingo with recovering vets at Great Lakes Naval Hospital, some who lost limbs, others who lost the will to live, I marched against the war in Vietnam while in college, I sat up all night with male friends the night before they had to visit the induction center, I mourned the loss of friends and young men I grew with up who died in Vietnam. Years later I sat in anonymous circles with vets, who years after they served, struggled with addiction and PTSD. Like many others in this country, I was horrified by the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the ISIS beheading of hostages and the recent Charlie Hebdo murders. War extracts a high price on its people and its soul. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Wars are not paid for in wartime, the bill comes later.” I suggest that people see this film, talk about it, debate its merits, jingoism and themes in respectful ways with each other. Read reviews and commentary.
1/16/15 Dispatch from a Filmgoer
As a movie lover who is not a critic or a member of any professional film association, union, or guild, I still care deeply about filmmakers, their subjects, actors, and all the crews that practice their craft. I enjoy reading all of the reviews, op-ed pieces and commentary during award season. I look forward to the award shows, and celebrity spectacle, watching winners make acceptance speeches, particularly actors working without scripts. This year, however I’m concerned about the historical accuracy debate which seems to be applied to some films and not others. I know there are politics in every industry and behind-the-scenes campaigning by studios to promote their product. It is a business after all. What displeases me about it this year, especially with the Oscars, is that both people of color and women filmmakers are being singled out, not for recognition, but for snubs.
12/31/14 New Year’s Eve 2014
12/24/14 Holiday Wish
11/21/14 When a Friend Bakes You a Pie
When a friend, Leanne, who is famous for her pie-baking talents, volunteered to make a pumpkin pie for my mother for Thanksgiving after reading my blog post, Home for the Holidays on Mixed Metaphors, Oh My! it inspired this poem:
When a Friend Bakes You a Pie
Some days you know you are loved
because a friend bakes you a pie,
or makes sourdough pancakes,
delivers dinner to your door,
when homebound or grieving, or
visits on a day when depression
presses you down so hard
you feel like your flesh is cement
and your blood runs cold.
11/5/14 My Reaction to the Mid-Term Election Results
10/13/14 A Halloween Public Service Announcement on Behalf of Your Dog
Halloween is approaching. It’s prime time for costume planning — for you, your children and for some of you — your dogs. Since your dogs can’t talk back, other than bark, communicate with body language, or leave the room in distress, I offer this plea originally posted last year, Don’t Dress Up the Dog on Halloween.
10/11/14 National Coming Out Day
Just in case I missed telling someone, or your were simply wondering, yes, I’m gay, I’m out, and I’m proud!
9/24/14 Red Sky at Morning
The first day of fall was yesterday. I love the changing seasons, and autumn is my favorite time of year. When I looked out this morning I saw the most beautiful sky.
9/6/14 Fifty Years Ago Today: My First Concert, The Beatles
Today is the 50-year anniversary of an early life-changing event. As a 14-year-old girl discovering music, my teenage prayers were answered when my father gave his permission for me to attend The Beatles concert in Milwaukee with my three best friends, Joyce, Lin, and Sheila accompanied by Sheila’s mother (the first woman I met who owned and rode her own motorcycle). It was a peak experience for which I continue to be extremely grateful. To read more, revisit my post, Beach Boys, Beatles, Bob Dylan & The Byrds.
6/9/14 Bring Back Our Girls – Girl Rising Mural
This past weekend I posted an essay on Mixed Metaphors, Oh My!, Still I Rise: Girl Rising, inspired by a public art mural on the wall of Mother Fool’s Coffeehouse in Madison, Wisconsin. Today in the online version of Isthmus, our local independent weekly newspaper, Catherine Capellero shared the story in the Madland column about the girls who painted the mural. Six middle schoolers from O’Keefee Middle School: Adeline Geary, Skye Lukas, Odessa Chusid, Anabelle Poore, Ruby Sutherlin-Sovern, and Amelia Hoffman, members of a group called Girl Generation, conceived and painted the mural.
To read Capellero’s story in Isthmus, click on Madland: New mural at Mother Fool’s is an inspiring tribute to missing Nigerian girls
4/26/14 Union Corners Latest Project Plan Receives Neighborhood Support Madison East Side Co-Housing (MESCoH)
I was in attendance at the recent Union Corners neighborhood meeting and has been actively collaborating with the SASY neighborhood association, Gorman and Company and other stakeholders in the development of the Union Corners plan. For an update on the project proposal, read more here from The Daily Page.
4/19/14 Wisconsin Film Festival Audience Award Winners Announced
The Wisconsin Film Festival named the annual Steep & Brew Audience Award winners for 2014. Each year they choose films from three categories: documentary, narrative, and restoration. Viewers rate the films on a five-point scale. This year’s winners: American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs (documentary), The Rocket (narrative) and Vertigo (restoration).
American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs was my favorite documentary of the films I saw this year. Click on the post title to read more about Grace Lee Boggs: Wisconsin Film Festival Fandom.
4/5/14 LGBTQ-Friendly Co-Housing in Madison Update:
The Madison, Wisconsin LGBTQ-friendly co-housing group continues to meet, working with a number of groups including the developer, Gorman and Company, SASY, the neighborhood association, and the Design Coalition and Design Coalition Institute, proponents of co-housing. We’ve named our group and have begun the process of creating our vision:
Madison East Side Co-Housing (MESCoH) is a group of individuals seeking to establish, design and build a community of homes and common spaces on the East Side of Madison, Wisconsin based on the co-housing model. We are exploring several potential locations for our co-housing community, including the proposed development at Union Corners. Members of MESCoH have expressed interest in such features as green-building, walkable neighborhoods, community gardens, outdoor common areas, and street design featuring traffic calming. MESCoH invites like-minded individuals with shared values and a commitment to participatory decision-making to join us as we develop our vision and mission statement and move forward to create a welcoming and diverse community that is affordable, intergenerational, LGBTQ- and senior-friendly, and dedicated to preserving the quality of life and vibrancy of our east side neighborhood.
Here’s the most recent design proposal from 4/3/14 with a description of the changes. The co-housing “pods” would be located in the lower right triangle:
From the SASY Newsletter – Some of the highlights of the new site plan: Union Green has become a non-motorized vehicle entry. A transit hub adds a one story structure with bike amenities and provides the entry to underground parking for the Clinic. There is now an L-shaped array of mixed use buildings that abut the Union Green and E Wash and surrounds a small surface parking lot with a central green space that could be used for public uses. The mixed use bldgs are part of the grocery/housing parcel and have openings to the interior of the site. The triangle area is improved, the green courtyard has returned but there are still a lot of drive aisles that need to be addressed. A pedestrian walkway cuts through most of the site but the treatment of it will need to be refined at the SIP level.
I wrote this poem on the eve of the Equinox. Today is the first day of Spring! As they say, what a difference a day makes.
March Morning Malaise
Fog creeps in my day
like a bad mood
while spitting drizzle.
from the grayness above
like the forgotten homeless,
only moving on and on — and on.
The Wisconsin Film Festival is one of my favorite events. On Saturday, I successfully ordered my tickets online. I got all my picks. Each year I try a different strategy from standing in line at the box office, ordering by phone or online. Last year I was in the front of the queue about an hour before the box office opened and it took an additional two hours after it opened to place my order and I didn’t get all my picks. This year I intended to order by phone, but kept getting a recording that the box office wasn’t opened yet. I heard stories from others about problems ordering online, yet this year found it to be pretty seamless. I’m out of town and have another commitment for two days of the festival so this year I’m only seeing 8 films, instead of the dozen from recent years. Here they are: Actress Breathe In The Rugby Player, Happy Christmas, American Revolutionary: Grace Lee Bogs, The Congress, Visitor, and Cheatin.
On Thursday, February 27th the elementary and junior high school where all of my siblings and I attended, and my father’s workplace for 30 years, had a devastating fire in the multipurpose room which doubled as a lunchroom and gymnasium. I loved being in that school, both during the day and in the evening when we’d pick my father up from work. I loved the terrazzo floors, the smell of sweeping compound and chalkboard dust, the walls of lockers, and the clock in the main hallway outside of the school office. I had some of the greatest teachers and experiences there that helped form who I am today. It was a sad day.
I watched the film Short Term 12 yesterday. I’ve added it to my Filmgoer’s Guide of the Best Films of 2013. It’s a small film with a big heart, a credible, and engaging drama that draws you in with ease. It begins with caretakers at a facility for at-risk youth welcoming the newest member of the team by sharing a funny, yet poignant work story. You care for these people immediately, both the workers and the residents, and soon discover the thin line that separates the two. There are different kinds of love stories happening here. Compassion, empathy, and connection are the tools that transform these lives. See this film, the work of a young writer-director, Destin Daniel Cretton, with a compelling cast featuring Brie Larson and John Gallagher, Jr. Read and see more here: NY Times review and film trailer.