1018 Williamson Demolition Delayed

Landmarks gives owner a year to sell or tie property to Petinary expansion

1018 Williamson (right) is spared from demolition for now. Owner Mike Kohn who also owns the Petinary (left) wanted to convert the property to greenspace.

1018 Williamson (right) is spared from demolition for now. Owner Mike Kohn, who also owns the Petinary (left), wants to convert the property to greenspace.

When Petinary owner Mike Kohn purchased 1018 Williamson in 1992 it was in sorry shape and he planned to tear it down. A year later the City of Madison Landmarks Commission granted him permission to demolish the property but it never happened.

Now 22 years later, after restarting the process, Kohn will have to wait another year to try for a demolition permit. Landmarks has suspended his application for demolition until next fall, a move that one person close to the process says may be nearly unheard of in Madison.

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CommuniTree Vandalized by Cowardly Art Critic(s)

Graffiti mark applied to tree was pathetic attempt at protest

TreeVandal_CW

Courtesy: Caffeinated Politics.

The iron tree sculpture that welcomes those traveling eastbound on Williamson to the neighborhood was dedicated Friday (September 12) in a ceremony at Bandung restaurant due to rain.

Named the CommuniTree, the 32-foot tall sculpture stands in the median of Willy street adjacent to Machinery Row and the Gateway Shopping Center.

The tree was erected on August 3, garnering some praise and some comments of disdain; such as describing the tree as akin to a toilet brush, according to the Caffeinated Politics Blog.

In the days before it was dedicated last Friday, someone or several painted a yellow dot on the side of the tree. The dot was likely meant to mimic the City of Madison’s method for identifying trees that need to be removed due to the Emerald Ash Borer.

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Willy Street Fair 2014 Pics & Vids

37th annual Fair bathed in sun and good cheer

The Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.

The Willy Street Fair, September 14, 2014.

It was a cloudy start to Sunday but even Mother Nature sensed today was special and the sun emerged as the Willy Street Fair Parade prepared to launch. As it circled through the nine block route in the Marquette neighborhood, the phalanx of fun proved to be one of the largest by way of participants.

Three marching bands at the beginning, middle and end, punctuated appearances by the familiar: stilt walkers, Hoopelation, the circus wheel and the Forward Marching Band; along with new entrants like the Madison Circus Space and the Mustache Beard Wearers Union: Local 608.

Down on Willy Street the thoroughfare filled quickly as temperatures in the middle 60s and possibly a late-afternoon Green Bay Packer kickoff brought people out early. Over 150 vendors filled the curb spaces and the larger presence was notable. The food offerings were diverse and plentiful but the retail booths did not break much new ground.

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The Grand Ceremony of Them All

37th Annual Willy Street Fair to give us one last great summer weekend

Poster by: David Micheal Miller

Poster by: David Micheal Miller

The final festival of the summer is here and just in time as fall stares at us all from off stage. The Willy Street Fair (September 13-14) is this weekend, heralding the end of a great season of celebrations within the neighborhood.

For 37 years we have gathered along several blocks of Williamson to recognize many things; but mostly the spirit of neighborhood togetherness, action and culture. While the event is a fundraiser for both Common Wealth Development and the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, organizer Gary Kallas says the community aspect of the fair has always come first.

“It’s more about community building, it’s more about bringing people together,” said Kallas who is Wil-Mar’s executive director. “I like to think of this as sort of secular spiritualism and it culminates the summer, the Willy Street Fair, with the grand, grand ceremony of em all the Parade on Sunday at 11 a.m.”

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Gallery: Yum Yum Fest 2014

 

The first annual Yum Yum Fest held forth in the newly opened Central Park as members of the Madison Area Chefs Network offered their most creative dishes to attendees. The event was created to highlight the strong connection many Madison restaurants have with local food vendors.

Along with the food were four strong musical acts to entertain the throng on a glorious late summer Sunday afternoon.

 

Yum Yum Fest Celebrates Local Food Producers

Madison chefs to serve creative dishes, share skills

Courtesy: Yum Yum Fest 2014

Courtesy: Yum Yum Fest 2014

Some may think Madison is one of the snobbiest cities in the land, but there is one thing we won’t apologize for: the festivals. This city packs an incredible amount of these celebrations in our small window of temperature appropriate weather each year. One more event has been added to the summer lineup with tomorrow’s Yum Yum Fest in Central Park.

Created by the newly formed Madison Area Chefs Network; the festival will highlight the incredible, and nationally recognized, dining options that have emerged here in Madison and their kitchen leaders who have committed to sourcing much of their food locally.

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Orton Fest to Celebrate Survival

Park continues to triumph over tornados, boulevards and development

Anders Osborn during last year's Orton Park Festival.

Anders Osborn during the 2012 Orton Park Festival.

In its long history, Orton Park has had to survive many threats. In 1924 the City of Madison proposed a boulevard with a 12-foot median that would bisect the park. Proponents argued this would improve traffic flow from King Street to the Eastside following the recently opened Rutledge Street bridge across the Yahara. It seems that this route had become a very popular artery for “far” Eastsiders who wanted to avoid railroad crossings at Williamson Street and Atwood Avenue.

The opposition to that project ninety years ago echoes the same reasons why today’s residents guard the tranquility of Madison’s oldest park: its too popular with children. The festival, begun in the middle 1960s, is in its 49th year and grew out of general neighborhood organizing against various development schemes and for neighborhood strength and cohesion.

In the last days of spring, despite rabid stewardship over the years by park lovers including the Friends of Orton Park, Mother Nature also attempted to remake the land when an EF-1 tornado barreled through the Marquette neighborhood early on June 17. While some trees were lost, the park never lost face with even the fallen trees repurposed in a resourceful way.

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Williamson Gateway Tree Stands Tall

Metal sculpture installation on 600 block of Willy is complete

Gateway tree just after installation was completed. Courtesy: Facebook

Gateway tree just after installation was completed. Courtesy: Facebook

The long awaited Williamson Gateway Tree, created by metal artist Erica Koivunen with assistance from her husband welder and blacksmith Aaron Howard, began to take shape on the median of the 600 block of Williamson this morning (August 3).

The 32-foot sculpture is a welding tour-de force involved both rough and finite touches from the trunk to the over 200 flowers that will form the canopy. Koivunen even included insects and birds throughout the tree.

The $60,000 tree is one of several signature art projects forwarded by the MNA Arts & Culture Committee with support from several benefactors including the Madison Arts Commission.

You can view the progress at the Williamson Gateway Tree Facebook page.

Sculpture artist Erica Koivunen with blacksmith and husband Aaron Howrad.

Sculpture artist Erica Koivunen with blacksmith and husband Aaron Howard.

Love Mural Brings Plan B Wall Alive

Michael Owen paints a gritty, active, energetic version of his signature piece

Michael Owen's 22nd Baltimore Love Mural adorns the east side of Plan B Nightclub.

Michael Owen’s 22nd Baltimore Love Mural adorns the east side of Plan B Nightclub.

It didn’t take long for Artist Michael Owen to transform the beige, moribund east wall of Plan B nightclub into a vibrant Madison version of his Baltimore Love Mural. It took about two and a half days to finish the work which is only the second version of the mural to have color in the background

Deep blue colors, punctuated by reds dashed on top graffiti-style, fill the street end of the wall before they are abruptly halted by an off white background. In the center the iconic black hands that spell “love” give the viewer a breath and respite.

The blue does not hide for long as it slowly grows from below after the first hand, filling each space before exploding past the “E” hand in a joyful dance of colors toward the end of the building.

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La Fête Makes Triumphant Central Park Return

Masked Ball for adults and kids joins french, cajun and blues music festival

Underground house music DJ Derrick Carter will headline the Masked Ball Saturday at  La Fete de Marquette.

Underground house music DJ Derrick Carter will headline the Masked Ball Saturday at La Fete de Marquette.

La Fête de Marquette, the French-infused neighborhood celebration of music and culture that raises money for the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center is returning to a familiar but much improved place. Central Park was officially opened this year and La Fête will be the first festival to be held after long delayed plans to develop the space as a park were finally realized.

The first two festivals were held to promote the idea of Central Park and were located on the grounds of the current park. For seven years the festival has grown and matured while it dwelled at the corner of Dickinson and Main Streets. This year features a vast and inspired mix of events including one named Big Top, which suggests the return to a larger space is just in time.

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