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Sunday, April 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 73.0° F  Overcast

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In defense of the Madison Landmarks Commission

In the March 6 edition of Isthmus, former mayor Dave Cieslewicz attacked Madison's Landmarks Commission over our rejection of Steve Brown Apartments' massive three-building complex at 115-127 W. Gilman St. Brown proposes tearing down the 10-story Highlander apartments, moving or eliminating two student rental houses adjacent to it, and replacing them with three brownstone buildings. >More
 Madison remembers JFK

Residents reacted to the president's assassination with tears, music, prayers and, in some cases, cheers. >More
 The Frautschis of Madison: Meet the city's most influential family

Of course Jerry Frautschi and Pleasant Rowland would have a greater impact on downtown Madison than any other couple. The Frautschi family has been changing the face of Madison for more than 100 years. >More
 Lowell Frautschi on the indecency of Sen. Joe McCarthy

The most public political act ever committed by a Frautschi dates to April 1951 when Lowell was to be honored at the annual banquet of the state furniture dealers' association. When he learned that U.S. Sen. Joe McCarthy would be the featured speaker, he quietly sent his regrets. >More
 Lowell Frautschi sets the record straight on Orson Welles' time in Madison

Orson Welles, who lived in Madison for about a year when he was 10, used to tell stories about the director of a summer camp he attended putting the sexual moves on him, which the budding genius avoided by slipping out a back window and taking the next train back to Chicago. "I don't believe it," says Lowell Frautschi. And he was there. >More
 Carmen Lundy creates a new American songbook

Carmen Lundy took a circuitous route to becoming a great jazz singer and composer. The soulfully seductive songstress is still on a unique road, with dates in Spain and South Africa after she headlines the Isthmus Jazz Fest at the Memorial Union Terrace on Saturday, June 22. Her free set is 8 p.m. at Mills Hall in the UW Humanities Building. >More
 The making of a downtown tradition: Concerts on the Square turns 30

For a free event, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra's Concerts on the Square series has meant big business for everyone from baristas to barristers and bassists, too. It may prove to be the greatest engine for cultural enhancement, community spirit and economic development ever devised by a single Madisonian. >More
 Rotary Club of Madison turns 100

It was "Beatles Month" at Downtown Rotary when I joined Madison's oldest, largest and most important service club in 2001. As I looked out from the dais and saw my old University of Wisconsin Law School professor Gordon Baldwin -- engaging academic and campus chair of the 1972 Nixon campaign -- singing "Eleanor Rigby," I knew this was the club for me. >More
 Pianist Gerald Clayton has jazz in his DNA

Jazz pianist and composer Gerald Clayton has known his life's calling since a third-grade talent show. The Grammy-nominated artist played a little boogie-woogie piece he had worked on with his father, noted jazz bassist John Clayton. Music was already a constant in his life, but this performance was the first time he felt its power as a creator. >More
 Bob Dylan gets political at Madison concert on the eve of Election Day

An animated, even playful, Bob Dylan added some unexpected political commentary to an excellent election eve show at the Alliant Energy Center Coliseum last night. "We tried to play good tonight since the President was here today. He's a tough act to follow," Dylan said during "Blowin' in the Wind," the encore to his 15-song set. "I think he's gonna still be the President," he said, predicting, to loud cheers, "It's gonna be a landslide!" >More
 Jazz musician Tia Fuller comes into her own after touring with Beyoncé

Two days before 9/11, a young jazz saxophonist named Tia Fuller moved from her native Colorado to Jersey City, N.J., a few miles from Manhattan, ready to make her mark. Then the local economy collapsed along with the Twin Towers. But she pressed on, landing a gig at a fish fry that very weekend. Soon she was in the funk band at a poetry slam, and before long, she was touring the world with R&B superstar Beyoncé. >More
 #MyMadisonDay: A 24 hour odyssey through the city

Hundreds of people participated in #MyMadisonDay, a multimedia project seeking to capture 24 hours in the life of Madison and its people. Their stories are compiled at MyMadisonDay.com, in the form of reports, photos and tweets, and condensed in this weeks Isthmus cover story. I spent the entire day sharing the experiences of others -- here is my complete report. >More
 Mary Stallings left the spotlight, and Dizzy Gillespie brought her back

Truth be told, Mary Stallings is just a little bit tired of being called "the best jazz vocalist you've never heard of." "It's flattering in a way," she says, "but I hope I'm not so much a secret anymore, especially after the last two albums." >More
 The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra keeps an essential American sound alive

The most influential big band in contemporary jazz is bringing a bit of Greenwich Village to Madison, just days before it celebrates an anniversary. As great art often does, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra began in disappointment, when jazz giant Count Basie commissioned Thad Jones, his band's cornetist, to write a full album's worth of material in 1965. Basie rejected the seven compositions Jones presented, saying they didn't sound like his band and might be too hard for his musicians to play. >More
 Jennie Justo, Madison's 'Queen of the Bootleggers'

During Prohibition in Madison, Jennie Justo was the Queen of the Bootleggers -- pretty and vivacious, proprietor of the college crowd's most popular drinking spots. There were several speakeasies in the area just west of Park Street and south of the tracks; Jennie's were the nicest. >More
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