Yep, you read that post title correctly: Madison is such a cool city artistic-wise that we have not one but two separate, neighboring, coexisting — and free — art fairs that occur downtown on the 2nd weekend of July every year.
I want to tell you about what I did — and didn’t — do this past Thursday night. First off, what I did do was attend a little get-together that raised funds for the LGBT pride parade in Madison this August. It was a rather simple party, with just under a couple dozen supporters and Board of Directors membership of Madison’s LGBT community center, held in the home and garden of one of the center’s longtime supporters in one of Madison’s more cozier and aesthetically pleasing neighborhoods (lots of shade trees, narrow and winding streets, beautifully manicured yards).
Geez, where did the summertime go? I look at my calendar today and it says it’s the first day of autumn. Rats! Mother Nature must hate the fact that summer is going away, too, as we’ve had a very wet week here in Madison. So, taking inspiration from the occurrence of the autumnal equinox as well as The Finicky Cynic’s own poem about autumn, I’ve written up this quick prose about the change from a season we’re going to miss so very much when winter’s chill has its way.
“Summer Must Go Away”
Summer has to leave today
It knows it has to leave today
But it doesn’t want to leave today
It wants to stick around
And stay just a little bit longer
And give us warm and sunny days
But there’s something else today
There’s rain today
Lots of rain today, and yesterday
Because Summer doesn’t want to go away?
But maybe, just maybe
Rain is Mother Nature wanting to say
“Please, Summer, don’t go away”
But Summer will have to go away today
And Mother Nature’s tears today
Are creating a river, flowing away
Past trees that will turn gold and red
Before Winter’s shades of gray
And its cold and frosty days
Summer must leave today
But we will never forget its long days
Its lovely days
Of greens and blues and sunny ways
That led us to adventures
In places near and far away
With new smiling faces to see
And starlit nights after great days
Of fun and enjoyment
That we had day after day
Summer must leave today
For Autumn it must make way
But it will come back another day
After Winter and Spring have had their day
Then we’ll reunite with Summer, that old friend
And we’ll enjoy those warm and sunny days again
If you recall from August of last year, I had plans to march, as Allison, in Madison’s LGBT pride parade. However, a very last-minute familial situation scrapped those hopes. (At least I did dress up for the public one month later.) But I still love a (pride) parade, and I wanted to take in this year’s edition of Madison’s pride parade, which took place on August 21.
The event is technically billed as the Outreach Pride Parade & Rally. The Outreach of the name is the LGBT community resource center here in Madison (mission statement: “To promote equality and quality of life for LGBT people”). Outreach, which just moved to a newer, more expanded office in Madison earlier this summer (memo to self: check it out very soon), puts on noteworthy LGBT-oriented events in the Madison area every year, including an awards banquet that is scheduled to take place this coming week, and, since 2014, a parade and rally every August.
You’re probably seeing that “since 2014” part in that last paragraph and are wondering to yourself, “Really? Madison is so open and progressive, yet they’ve only had a pride parade since 2014?” Well, that’s not true. Other groups have put on pride parades in the past, including a group called Capitol Pride that put on a small parade in the late 2000s/early 2010s. Those groups, for various financial and/or organizational reasons, have come and gone. Some of the previous pride parades and rallies in Madison have been different than what Outreach puts on. Some years it was just a parade; a parade followed by a picnic or rally; and, as I recall one year, just a picnic since there wasn’t enough money in the budget for a parade (a city parade license and police logistics can cost a pretty penny).
So, peoples, has your week been as busy as mine has been? Yeah, I’ve been busy virtually the entire week, up to and including today (Sunday). And the strange thing about it is I actually took the entire week off from work. You’re probably reading that last sentence and are wondering, “Gee, Allison, isn’t not being busy the point of taking an entire week off from work?” Well, what can I say? I can be a busy beaver sometimes.
So, everyone, are you all tucked out from the Olympics? As much as I love watching the Olympics every four years (or two years if you factor in the Winter Games), I admit I feel a sense of overwhelming exhaustion when the final day of any Olympiad rolls around. Watching so many hours of the action and hearing all the news from Rio for 17 days straight can be so overwhelming.
But there is also a bit of a letdown feeling on that final day of the Olympics. You’ve gotten so used to seeing anything and everything from Rio after 17 days, and when you see that cauldron extinguished, you can’t help but think, “Aww! That’s the end?” Whatever feeling one gets on that final Sunday, it feels weird when you get up Monday morning, turn on the TV, and realize that The Today Show is suddenly no longer giddy about whichever Olympian accomplished whatever feat by using any kind of ability in whatever event.
Whatever feelings of exhaustion or loss on the day after the Olympics end, I bet not a lot of people, even the most ardent of Olympic fans, will realize the gravity of the moment: No matter how the 11,000+ athletes performed in Rio, and whether they took to the medal stand or missed out, their performances are now a part of Olympic history, right alongside those who took part in the first modern Olympics in 1896. Theirs are experiences that they can tell everything about to their children and grandchildren, who can pass the stories on down to their descendants. Pretty heavy stuff, huh?
I haven’t written a new post in a few days, and I haven’t written about fashion in a long while. So with the urge to resolve both of those situations, I thought I’d spend this Saturday morning at home and surf a random fashion website. Like, say, the women’s section of JCPenney’s website, in particular the jackets and blazers subsection. The blazer you see on the right is part of the Black Label by Evan-Picone collection JCP has available. I love the color combination in this particular photo; black is a perfect accenting color, and especially with the spa color of the blazer. (Yeah, the website’s entry for this item describes it as “spa” though I tend to call it light blue or aqua.)
You notice that though the blazer is designed for a woman in mind (well, of course!), it is clearly inspired by a men’s style blazer, from the notches on the lapel to the twin buttons on front. Note, too, that there do not appear to be any front pockets or offsetting trim that demand attention (like, say, those on this blazer). It also gives an image of professionalism to the bystander. That makes this blazer and outfit perfect for, say, someone running for public office. Indeed, if I were in charge of a certain presidential candidate’s wardrobe, I’d add this to her closet. That is, of course, if it’s not in her closet already. Continue reading
Ho, ho, ho, peoples! Time for another edition of “Allison in Madison,” and this time around it’s also “Allison’s word.” I’ll tell you the word (or phrase, actually) in a bit, but I start by noting that yesterday (Monday) was the 15th day of August. I was a pretty busy beaver on Monday, what with a full day of work, errands, and typing up my previous blog entry. So busy, in fact, that I forgot that the 15th was a very important day in Madison.
“And you still had to work, huh?”
No, it wasn’t an official holiday by any means. August 15th (or 14th depending on the landlords’ terms) is the day when new lease periods for apartments in Madison’s central core simultaneously begin. I refer to “central core” as the areas in or near the University of Wisconsin campus, including downtown. And, yeah, a lot of UW students occupy those apartments during the academic year. It’s not so much about the rent, of course (apartment rent can be pretty steep in many spots throughout this town, as I can attest) but the close proximity of these apartments to the UW campus area.
Yep, I’m still on an Olympic kick on this blog, and since the Rio Olympics are still in the early part of its fortnight, you’re probably hooked on them as well. This time around, instead of having fun with the games (as I did here and here), I want to highlight the fact that the rainbow flag of pride appears to have a prominent place (figuratively speaking) alongside the Olympic rings and the flags of the participating countries. I start with the image to your right that captured a moment one night before last Friday’s opening ceremony. While the traditional torch relay, with the flame that would light the cauldron on Friday night, proceeded through Rio neighborhood of Ipanema last Thursday, two men carrying the flaming torches stopped for just a moment. And they kissed. The news reports I’ve come across about the moment (including here and here) do not identify the men nor confirm if they are indeed a couple. But as you can tell from the photo, at least some of the tan-shirted volunteers helping to escort the torch relay took time to enjoy the moment. Many of the onlookers appear to enjoy it as well, as did the rest of the world, thanks in no small part to Globo Esporte reporter/cameraman Pedro Verissimo’s image making the rounds on social media. Continue reading