Mile 2, Day 2: #MileofMusic

Last year’s Mile of Music festival here in Appleton was such a huge success they’re doing it again and it started yesterday: I’ve already seen Charlie Parr (who knocked my socks off last year), Los Colognes (who reminded everyone of Dire Straits), Belle Adair (although I didn’t get to see their whole set) and some of Geri X, The Crowe Brothers, and Boom Forest.

Will be going to as much as I can today again: The Mutts most definitely, Swear and Shake (from Brooklyn!), Cereus Bright, Langhorne Slim, Bonesetters, Thriftones, Bruiser Queen, The Blakes, and maybe Pop Goes the Evil.

And no, I hadn’t heard of most of these bands, but I hadn’t heard of Those Darlins last year when I saw them and they became a permanent part of my music library.

Chickens & Rifles

Some men have been carrying AR-15 rifles to the Appleton Farmer’s Market. They are making a Point about open carry laws and 2nd Amendment rights, etc.

Other people – and yes, these are people I know – decided to carry chickens to the Farmer’s Market instead, because you can’t openly carry a chicken to the Farmer’s Market but you can carry a rifle.

So you can see why some people are upset and protesting the rifles.

The problem is that there’s a weird intersection of city and state laws here. The municipal code bars the chicken. The state law allows the rifles. What you wind up with is a wholly stupid situation, where people will be boycotting the farmer’s market because they don’t want rifles there, you know, near their children and parents and friends, which means the city, or the county, or someone, will have to do something instead of letting a really cool local institution fail.

Continue reading “Chickens & Rifles”

Ready for Appleton’s Music Fest: #mileofmusic

I’ll be tweeting what I’m going to see today and tomorrow and Sunday – there are so, so many interesting bands playing, and at so many venues! It’s pretty incredible. Check for #mileofmusic on Twitter – there are already plenty of posts, photos, reviews & updates.

The full details are at the Mile of Music website & via the Post Crescent’s hub for the event.

Thanks, Cory Chisel! I’m personally hoping this will become an annual event. The whole thing is a little surreal, to be honest, since we now live in a house Chisel lived in when he lived in Appleton.

Swing State

So there are endless political ads on the TV machine, BUT there’s also a lot of cool people speaking in Wisconsin these days too, & this Friday, in fact, Michelle Obama will be speaking at Lawrence.

Let’s just say we’re really really really excited.

GLBT Partnership: Appleton, WI

We recently went to the 15th anniversary celebration of the local GLBT Partnership here in Appleton. It’s an amazing thing, really: a small group of people decided to create a safe space for LGBTQ teenagers here in the Fox Valley in 1997 because there were no existing support groups or safe gathering places for them.


They still struggle for funding, so if you want to help out queer youth who actually need the help – and are living in a place that isn’t very queer friendly – this is a great way to do it. You have to go to this PayPal account – under SKenevan’s name – and in the memo line indicate that it’s for the GLBT Partnership. Honestly: this group is tiny and very, very necessary. (Feel free to tell them I sent you if you do donate!)

One of the group’s founding members, Shannon Kenevan, who was honored at the celebration, wrote this piece about the group:

The Fox Valley GLBT Partnership is turning 15 years old this fall. For those of you under age 30, you probably don’t remember a time in your life that the Partnership did not exist. It’s always been there to offer weekly support and leadership development to youth ages 14-18 who identify as LGBTQ, as well awareness and educational programs for the rest of our community. Those over age 30 may remember back to their teenage years when there were no groups like the Partnership. Continue reading “GLBT Partnership: Appleton, WI”

Local Politics

I will honestly say I’m flabbergasted. There is a local election coming up for the city’s Aldermen, and one of the men running, Tom Van Susteren, posted this on his Facebook page, which is public:

How on earth this could be considered appropriate for any politician’s Facebook page is beyond me. Really, I’m staggered by the bad judgment, the treatment of violence against women as funny, and the violence against a public figure as funny, plus torture as funny.

I understand that someone out there finds this entertaining, which horrifies me even more.

Appleton Domestic Partner Benefits

I just got this note from Katie Belander of FAIR WI. As you all know, I was one of the “local LGBT leaders” who spoke at this Appleton Common Council meeting in favor of the city granting domestic partner benefits.

Earlier this month, I was proud to stand with local LGBT and allied leaders when the Appleton Common Council granted health care and related benefits to the registered domestic partners of city employees by a vote of 10 to 6.  This is a major step forward for Appleton, the Fox Valley and Wisconsin.

But anti-fairness forces are already gearing up to try to undo the progress we have made together.

Saturday morning, the Appleton Post Crescent ran a citizen’s letter calling domestic partner benefits a “cancer [that] must be killed before it spreads” by overturning “this immoral and fiscally imprudent policy through direct legislation by referendum.”

As we learned with the state domestic partnership registry, no victory will go unchallenged. And at Fair Wisconsin, no victory will go undefended.

If you can, please make a donation to FAIR WI so we’ve got the resources to fight this one.

Appleton City Employees Get Domestic Partner Benefits

It looks like such a humdrum shot, doesn’t it? City Council votes are notoriously unexciting, even if and when the debate gets a little heated. That is, the votes go up on the screen, and no one hoots or hollers or storms out: they just move on to the next subject, like the width of roads or the proposal to add a bike lane.

Still, this shot is of the board that gave Appleton city employees domestic partner benefits for the very first time. A few elected officials spoke eloquently and bravely, and a few community members did too.

A huge congratulations to Appleton for leveling the playing field for employees who are in same sex relationships and registered as domestic partners with the state of Wisconsin.

Moved In & Getting to Work

We’re basically moved into our groovy new apartment in Appleton; it’s in the house next door to the house I lived in last year, & I’ve already nearly walked up those steps instead of the new ones a few times.

We have a lovely big porch to the front & side of the place, a big picture window, high ceilings, a big bathroom. It’s a lovely apartment, and because we both came this time, it already feels like home. When I’ve lived by myself here, for three months or six months, I tended toward monasterial. Or bachelor. Or both.

Tomorrow I attend a small symposium about pedagogy; Saturday I meet with a student about her senior project.

It’s nice to be back at work, & to feel the cold floorboards of the porch under my feet in just socks; better still to look up at a nearly full moon and a sky full of stars.