Opinion: Plan B Should Try Harder

Nightclub should get license renewal but still fails at the simple things

My location (right) on the night I heard the Plan B hubub. Without trying I was able to clearly hear talking and music from over 200 yards away.

My location (right) on the night I heard the somewhat typical Plan B hubbub. Without trying, I was able to clearly hear talking and music from over 200 yards away. Base image courtesy: Google

In a few days the Alcohol License Review Committee will hold a separate hearing to further examine the renewal of Plan B nightclub’s alcohol license. This is the second straight year the establishment, located at 924 Williamson Street, has received extra scrutiny rather than their license being renewed in a block by the City of Madison.

This blog has looked at the various reasons for the problem surrounding Plan B’s operation, and both the owners of the club and neighbors affected by the noise have legitimate beefs. But it was not until Sunday night, May 26, when I took Plan B co-owner Rico Sabatini up on his challenge to take a late night walk on Jenifer Street, that I concluded that Sabatini and his partner Cory Gresen are not trying hard enough.

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Plan B Alcohol License to Receive Special Hearing

ALRC votes to separate license renewal after MNA request

The City of Madison Alcohol Licensing Review Committee voted Wednesday night (May 22) to separate Plan B Nightclub’s (924 Williamson Street) license renewal and consider it at a special hearing on June 3. The separation was requested by the Marquette Neighborhood Association, in a letter, citing unresolved noise issues since the nightclub opened in 2009.

While the typical nightclub noise has largely been addressed, at least three households on the 900 block of Jenifer Street continue to cite lost sleep from low bass frequency noise emanating from Plan B. Both the club’s owners, and an audio specialist they hired to assess the location, agree bass noise is being transmitted through the roof of the club; housed in an older concrete block building that used to house Star Photo, a commercial photo processing business.  Continue reading

MNA Requests License Review of Plan B

Association says nightclub has failed to adequately address noise issues

The Marquette Neighborhood Association voted this week to ask a City of Madison Committee to review the alcohol license of Plan B nightclub at 924 Williamson Street. In a letter approved by the MNA Board on Thursday, April 18, the association wants the City’s Alcohol Licensing Review Committee (ALRC) to separate Plan B’s license for closer scrutiny when the ALRC makes its yearly license renewals in June.

The battle over noise at Plan B has pitted a nightclub which appears to be in compliance with current noise ordinances against neighbors who nightly feel vibrations from the bass portion of the music being played at the club. The owners of Plan B say they have made good faith efforts and spent money to ameliorate the noise issues. The neighbors say that Plan B has only taken minimal steps to solve the problem and refuse to tackle the main culprit: a roof that is susceptible to vibration and is likely transmitting it toward the neighborhood one block away.  Continue reading

Grampa’s Pizzeria is Open Late

Grandson to add panache, build brand around bar-born family recipe

Gilbert Altschul is opening Grampa’s Pizzeria in the former space of Larry Gleasman’s Grampa’s Gun Shop.

One of Willy Street’s longtime artisans has quietly retired as Larry Gleasman recently closed his gunsmithing business, Grampa’s Gun Shop at 1374 Williamson Street, after 30 years. Gilbert Altschul, who grew up just a few blocks away, plans to re-invigorate the location and open Grampa’s Pizzeria honoring his own grandfather, using the elder’s pizza recipe that delighted his family for years.

Gilbert’s late grandfather, William VandeHey, first created his hand-rolled pizzas while serving in the Air Force in the 1950s and ‘60s. During that time, he opened a bar and eventually sold the pies out of his establishment for a few dollars apiece. The recipe would live on at family events, and Gilbert learned how to prepare the pizza from his dad, Dan Altschul, who had learned it from William.  Continue reading

Fresh Meat

Underground Food Collective to open butcher shop on Willy

Courtesy: Underground Food Collective

A traditional butcher shop will be opening at 811 Williamson street by the end of the month. The Underground Food Collective which offers catering, cured meats, and also operates the recently opened restaurant Forequarter on Johnson street; looks to offer meats supplied by farmers who take a caring approach to their animals and crops.

The location, which according to UFC was originally the Williamson Blacksmith building for which Williamson Street got its name, will also serve as a retail outlet for UFC’s other items such as jams, pickels, mustards, and krauts.

You can find out more information at UFC’s blog

Related: The Best Goat Salami in America

Willy Street Fair 2012 – Sunday

Fantastic parade kicks off great final day at the Fair

The parade ends with a impromptu street party, the Bubbleman himself, Jim Wildeman can’t help but grin.

I heard it from several people over and over again that the 2012 Willy Street Fair was probably the best in a long time, if not ever. The weather, enthusiasm, and proud traditions combined for a second day as thousands appeared on three blocks of Willy Street to take in music, food, entertainment, and a large amount of vendors.

Almost everyone was raving about the parade, led by the Bubblemobile, that was lively and the probably the largest ever. After the parade had made a lap through the neighborhood it was time for the stretch run down Willy and its traditional finish in the middle of the 900 block; where both parade participants and viewers danced under the balloon banner for an extended period of time.

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Willy Street Fair 2012 – Saturday

You really missed a great Saturday on Willy Street, parade today

As the sun sets the crowd sways to the music of St. Lucia-based Taj Weekes. Photo by: Thomas Balistreri

While its the people that make the Willy Street Fair so great, the weather was a close second. With a temperature near eighty degrees, thousands came to Willy Street on Saturday (September 15) for Day One of the Fair. Food, drink, and music filled the 900 and 1000 blocks of Williamson Street. The Main, Folk, and Electronic stages were in action with day-long line ups.  Continue reading

Willy Street Fair is Here!

Final summer celebration is this Saturday and Sunday

The Willy Street Fair Parade, circa 1985. An earlier incarnation of Jim Wildeman’s Bubblemobile still retains the iconic bubble smokestacks. The author is pedaling furiously in a homemade pedal car. Courtesy: Richard and Judith Guyot.

It is simply the best neighborhood festival in the City of Madison, and as far as I’m concerned the best festival ever. I’m a little biased having grown up with the Willy Street Fair (September 15-16) in my backyard, but i’m sure all will agree this weekend’s event is the best expression of what it means to live, work, and play in the Marquette neighborhood.

We have arrived at the end of a great summer for festivals in the Marquette neighborhood despite the wish for a little more rain and less heat. The weather for this weekend will be sunny and in the mid-70s which will bring throngs of people to the 900 and 1000 blocks of Williamson Street.

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Orton Park Ready to Celebrate

47th Orton Fest is here despite lingering noise and crowd concerns

In 1975 the festival was known as the MNA picnic. Rented from the City was a trailer that transformed into a stage. Courtesy: Richard and Judith Guyot

The Orton Park Festival (August 23-26) is just days away in this year of the perpetual summer. After Orton there is just one last neighborhood gathering to go, the Willy Street Fair. The Fair, The Fest, La Fete and Waterfront have been fantastic neighborhood celebrations; but may be a victim of their own successes as they have grown exponentially in popularity, and for some, threaten the beauty of the neighborhood they celebrate.

As a kid over three decades ago, the Orton Park Festival was the last event of the summer since it always seemed to fall on the Sunday before the first day of school. That would be Monday, the very next day. So it was a bittersweet time, filled with games, food, music, and my friends, but the first day of school always loomed.

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Gallery: FruitFest 2012

Fruit Fest, Madison’s LGBTQI Summer Music Festival, was held on June 16, 2012 in the parking lot of the Plan B night club in the 900 block of Williamson Street. The Marquette Neighborhood and its surroundings boast a large number of  LGBTQA residents which just adds to the fun, eclectic, and diverse pedigree of the area.

This year’s music was headlined by Cazwell, but also featured folk musicians, punk bands, DJs and of course, drag queens. The festival has grown in the recent years it has been around and now includes a 5K run called the Fruit Loop, Star Fruit Idol Karaoke contest, and the 1st Annual Summer Camp Bingo AIDS fundraiser.

FruitFest 2012

Fruit Fest is Madison's LGBTQI Summer Music Festival hosted in the Marquette Neighborhood in June. This year's event was held on June 16, 2012.