Month: November 2012

Pudge are kickstarting their first album


Pudge, a threesome of brothers from Appleton, are kickstarting a fund to record and produce their first album. Make a pledge now before the deadline, and expect great things. Tony, Andy and Tom have been playing together for a while. They self-produced a five-song EP in 2007, which is really great, and they’re aiming now to release a professionally produced album. These are three dedicated guys who have rocked out in their spare time at […]

High school


I first heard The Smiths in the 8th grade. My friend Debbie said, “There’s this great song on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack. I think you’d really like it.” The song was Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want. The whole soundtrack was filled with iconic music from the mid-‘80s, but Debbie was right: that Smiths song was beguiling. By 9th and 10th grades, I was wearing Smiths t-shirts. I used to order […]

Bill Cunningham New York


Bill Cunningham in Manhattan. Flickr photo: Shawn Hoke Richard Press made a documentary on New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham a couple of years ago and called it Bill Cunningham New York. I watched it recently and highly recommend it. Mr. Cunningham is in his 80s and still going strong. He’s had quite an amazing and long career. The film focuses mostly on the present moment and follows Bill as he bikes and walks around Manhattan […]

St. Vincent, David Byrne and some heavenly horns


St. Vincent live in Madison. Photo: Daniel Stout David Byrne and St. Vincent (Annie Clark) have a new album out that they collaborated on. It’s quite a treat to hear two wonderful artists working together. Their artistic measures are quite balanced together. This album — called Love This Giant (Amazon and Spotify) — features a full 12 tracks. Annie Clark has put out three albums thus far as St. Vincent. They’re increasingly good as she […]

The pretty lights and winter


Photo: Daniel Stout December is a blur. It’s all down the funnel towards December 25. It’s less than a month away. The pretty lights are already up in some places. Christmas is almost entirely a secular holiday. Black Friday is the decidedly non-spiritual beginning to the season. The lights add some cheer to the beginning of winter. I like winter generally. There’s a lot to like: lakes frozen over, falling snow, heavy jackets, crisp air […]

December is coming: Patio cello edition


Photo: Daniel Stout Thanksgiving is gone, and December is on its way. Patio cello performances will have to wait until next year. The holiday season has officially started. I did not go shopping on Black Friday, nor did anyone in my family. Black Friday is a vulgar addition to the Thanksgiving holiday. I was running some errands on Wednesday and saw people camped out in four or five tents outside a store. They had a […]

Mr. Chank Diesel, font provocateur

clips / people

I wrote this article on Chank Diesel originally for Icon, which was an alternative newsweekly that covered Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Mr. Chank Diesel, font provocateur Icon — March 11, 1999 The man who invented Mister Frisky and Uncle Stinky talks about type design He calls himself the Junk Food Font King. He is a type designer, and his job is to make words look cool. So the next time you slide some Welch’s […]

IBM shuts down the mighty Lotus


Flickr photo: catzrule The first spreadsheet program for personal computers, what we had in my home growing up, was a program called VisiCalc. It was popular and sold 700,000 copies. In 1983 though came a product that killed VisiCalc and cemented the IBM PC as the platform of choice, Lotus 1-2-3. Lotus Development Corp. got its name from the far east. It made the career of Mitch Kapor, its founder. Kapor went on to co-found […]

Thanksgiving cranberries


Flickr photo: Philip Chapman-Bell Today we give thanks. My family Thanksgiving always has cranberries. Wisconsin is the largest producer of cranberries in the country with over 50% of the market. My grandmother still made the cranberry sauce this year as she has every year for as long as I’ve been alive. It was an unseasonably warm Thanksgiving day, 65 degrees or more and breezy. Tomorrow the temperature will drop more than 30 degrees for a […]

Obama pardons two Thanksgiving turkeys


Obama pardoned two Thanksgiving turkeys today named Cobbler and Gobbler. Apparently the president’s tradition of pardoning a turkey began with Abraham Lincoln in 1865. It’s a symbolic gesture and simply is good public relations, which is probably why the tradition continues. PETA says enough with the empty, outdated gestures. They’d like to highlight the 46 million turkeys slaughtered for food each year. According to that Politico piece, turkey pardoning goes back only to 1989 with George […]