Posted tagged ‘Overture’

My Year in Live Music: 2012 favorites

December 26, 2012

Boy, I like music.

All kinds.

From opera to jazz to alt country to classical.

Put another way: Philip Glass meets Nicholas Payton meets Jon Dee Graham meets Porgy and Bess meets Ben Sidran meets Mary Chapin Carpenter.

As I wrote in this year-end wrap-up of 2012 for

I saw more than 60 shows this year, at venues in San Francisco, New York and many places in between. But this reprise — my eighth seventh annual for — focuses on shows within a car drive of Madison. My tastes are catholic and open-minded, but caveat emptor: I’m a music enthusiast and not a critic. Full confession: I lack even an elementary understanding of music, can’t play an instrument and couldn’t carry a tune in a suitcase. But I love live music.

I loved how, on a hot night in Milwaukee (July 16, Riverside Theater), a superb Diana Krall encored with an impossibly fast version of Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek” that somehow segued into Lennon and McCartney’s “Come Together.” After ripping up the High Noon Saloon (May 21), Alejandro Escovedo’s encore was equally improbable: Mott the Hoople’s 40-year-old hit (penned by David Bowie) “All The Young Dudes,” followed by encore after encore until Escovedo led the band off the stage to the middle of the club to sing one last acoustic number surrounded by the audience. This was darn near a religious moment.

To read more about my 2012 favorite shows, please go here.

To read my previous year-enders, follow these links:







To read more, please go here.


When The Solution Is A Problem

November 9, 2010

Wow, it’s hard to see a good outcome to the city’s predicament with the failing Overture  Center of the Arts.  The bail-out plan is mightily attractive, and it’s being pushed by a lot of sincere  (and influential) people. The problem is that its adoption will come at the expense of  more innovative thinking on managing Dane County’s regional facilities in the 21st century.

I explain what’s at stake in a recent column for Isthmus. It begins:

When pianist Olga Kern began playing the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 at the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s season opener a few Fridays ago, the first gentle notes hung in the air. I could hear the faint hum of the piano wires vibrating from her pedal work.

What marvelous acoustics Overture Hall has! What a gorgeous place to hear the symphony and the Madison Opera. And what a horrible situation the Overture Center for the Arts finds itself in.

A week earlier, cold to the issue, I parachuted into the last meeting of the Overture Ad Hoc Committee. I heard the rumbling unease in which the committee recommended that the city buy the arts complex for $1 from its private nonprofit owner.

So many unanswered questions, so much uncertainty, and the city is supposed to wrap up this deal before Jan. 1?

Holy cow! I turned to a veteran city official and (with apologies to Jon Stewart) told him: “This is the clusterf#@k of the arts.”

You can read more here.

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