Interest group: Arts & Entertainment

A Road Less Traveled

W. Earle Smith has spent a lifetime on a path toward the most rewarding part of his career: as artistic director of the Madison Ballet.

Finding Her Rhythm

With the first anniversary of Women Who Want to Dance approaching, organizer Susana Torres talks to Our Lives about coming here from Mexico, beginning to laugh, and Women Across Wisconsin

The Pink Plaque Tour

Take a stroll through time to discover some of the hidden history of Madison’s LGBT community. Dick Wagner gives you a guided tour.

Karin In Wonderland

Madison Arts Commission Arts Program Administrator Karin Wolf works to maintain the vibrancy and diversity of Madison’s public arts scene for current and future residents.

Still Dancing After All These Years

Danielle Dresden and Donna Peckett celebrate 25 years of TAPIT/newworks.

Live to Tell

Past Edenfred Executive Director David Wells on reinventing himself as he looks back in order to move forward.

As I Make Art, It Makes Me

Photographer and performance artist Angela Richardson invites us into her world of self-expression and discovery.

Mr. Forward

Forward Theater’s Richard Ganoung looks back over a life destined to be on stage, and the company he has come to embrace as home.

Every Diamond is Molded Under Extreme Pressure

Writer Ja’Mel Ware is rich beyond any monetary valuation. Find out why.

The World According to Michael

From private chef to cruise ship videographer, paper sculptor Michael Velliquette came a long way to find his creative niche in the “absurdly awesome.”

Becoming Trina

Christopher Wilford kicks off a new entertainment column by mapping out his own path to an entertainer’s persona.

The Wisdom of Years

Owl artist Clarence P. Cameron owes his success to the 
love and support of his partner, Bob Lockhart, with whom 
he has spent half a century.

For the Love of Good

The Mad City Sisters just can’t get enough of the stares and questions. It’s all about getting the conversation started.

Art and Independence

Babette Wainwright infuses her sculpture work with personal history and passion.

Queered Time

Karin Wolf speaks with artist and professor Jill H. Casid about her provocative work, theory as practice, and learning to live her dying.

Acting Out

New Our Lives editorial facilitator and Madison entertainment guru Michael Bruno catches up with actor Richard Ganoung.

The Born Creative

Through her art, Janis Senungetuk found a life’s work and a lantern to guide through adversity.


Madison duo Lion’s Mouth find their voice and their purpose through a unique musical experience

Mapping the Geography of Art

Anders Zanichkowsky explores inner and outer terrains through multidisciplinary artworks.

The Artist Teacher

Max White has blazed a trail as artist and teacher from the queer punk streets of San Francisco to the spiritual reflection of Madison.

Sing to Live

Gay men’s choruses across the country, including Perfect Harmony Men’s Chorus in Madison, have provided places of comfort and revitalization for Arthur Durkee.

Found in Translation

Yvette Pino’s “Veteran Print Project” builds bridges between communities by pairing military veterans with artists to create unique and powerful works of art.

Finding His Voice

Z104 radio host Aaron Rogers traces a curving path to chasing his dream of being an out professional on-air personality.

Circle of Art

Children’s Theater of Madison’s Roseann Sheridan found acceptance and a lifelong passion among the drama geeks.

The Artist Philosopher

Beth Racette seeks to explore and reveal the systems of the world through art.

Living the Dream

Joey Broyles lives according to a simple, radical code: “Be Yourself: It Will Change Your Life.”

One Fruity Day

FruitFest Festival organizers Corey Gresen, Rico Sabatini, and Liz Tymus talk about Madison’s newest queer Pride celebration.


An accident challenges a nature photographer to adapt and find beauty in a new life and a new lens.

On Wings, Waves, and Quivers

A selection from “Our Storytellers.”

The Judge Among Us

One Madison man’s road to Westminster.

Eclectic at Heart

I Love Funky’s is a wonderland for the adventurous decorator.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

The Overture Center’s Tim Sauers has given of his talents and expertise to the betterment of Madison’s premier arts center, arts education, and the community at large.

How Buffalo Bill Became My Idol

The Physical Markings of a New Gay Man

Please Don’t Stop the Music

Disc jockey Tim Walters keeps the music—and his dreams—going on and on.

Nobody Is Helping the Fags

StageQ’s Scott Bennett on the emotionally charged and historically based Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart. This play about the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic is directed by Steve Noll.

I’ve Got the Power

Proud Theater Mentor Gavin Logan on art and its power to connect and transform.

A Dynamic Duo

Two straight actors take on iconic gay roles in Middleton Players Theatre’s Rent and A Chorus Line.

Eat, Drink, and Be Mary

In a profile of Milwaukee’s rollickingly queer food and entertainment joint, Hamburger Mary’s brings the fun with the feast.

Fierce and Fabulous

Local performers Kitty La Rue and Moxie Rhodes of Peach Pies Caburlesque helped to bring the second annual Fierce! International Queer Burlesque Festival to Madison this summer.

The Lesbian Thespian

Four Seasons Theatre Artistic Director Andrew Abrams introduces us to UW Theatre major Angela Birrittella

Forward Thinking

Setting a course for advocacy has lead John Quinlan from Outreach to providing a progressive voice for our community on the radio with “Forward Forum.”

Happily Ever After

David Valdes Greenwood goes inside a same-sex marriage to candidly show the ups and downs of domestic bliss.

Landing on Solid Ground

Emma Donoghue delivers a story exploring how distance and difficulty don’t have to overwhelm a relationship

A Walk Through Time

Hear Us Out: Lesbian and Gay Stories of Struggle, Progress, and Hope, 1950 to the Present by Nancy Garden

A Glimpse at the Future

Wide Awake by David Levithan

Romancing State Street

Recent Milwaukee transplant Robert Leschke finds his home in our cultural core.

A Taste of the Exotic

Hookah dips Madison cuisine into the Mediterranean

A Journey Through Identity

Like Son by Felicia Luna Lemus

A Lifeline that Understands

Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, & Other Outlaws by Kate Bornstein

Our Gay Greats

Searching for LGBTQA women and men to model herself after, UW–Madison senior Amanda Hunter finds the importance of visible role models.

Summer of Love

A long sought-after mural project comes to Madison and the wall of Plan B just in time for marriage equality to make headway in the state

A Dance Floor of Our Own

DJ Boyfrrriend and the “Loose Cannon” queer dance party have been creating a community built on respect and busting a move

Drawn to Art

Up and coming visual artist Maggie Gosselar finds inspiration in the personal connections forged by the act of creation

Mad Props

Mel Marcum found acceptance and a crafty calling in the world of queer theater (and beyond)

She Comes Home

Singer Tina Gassen, of hip hop duo God-Des & She, talks about the highs and lows of the music business, family, heartbreak, and the journey that eventually led her home to Madison

A Beautiful Canvas

Artist Nicole Bresnik found herself and her purpose in pushing paintbrushes and boundaries

Mother, Daughter, Spirit

Photographer Lois Bielefeld recounts the long and twisting path toward self-acceptance and reconciliation with her family

A Man on a Mission

Meet Justin Hager, the UW–Madison senior who’s combining faith and activism.

Mending the Ties that Bind

Are There Closets in Heaven? by Carol Curoe and Bob Curoe

Life is a Cabaret

Meet Alexis M. Rouge, performer extraordinaire and co-founder of Lexi Ravyn Productions

Art’s Able Advocate

Meet Theresa Abel, activist and owner of the Artisan Gallery and Creamery Cafe in Paoli

Avenue Q Meets StageQ

What happens when the Artistic Director of Madison’s queer theater troupe talks with Rod, Avenue Q’s investment banker?

Precisely Placed Wit

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

Candy is a Fun Bon-Bon

Candy Everybody Wants by Josh Killmer-Purcell

The Literary Legacy

Crafting quite possibly the most distinctive collection of gay poetry has been a lifetime’s work for Michael Bemis. In his own words, he explains the value in gifting it to the University of Wisconsin’s Special Collections Library.

The Stages of Her Life

In her own words, StageQ Artistic Director Tara Ayres describes how her search for culture and social change lead her across America and to a Madison theater community whose mission shines a spotlight on our queer experiences.

Artist Profiles: A spotlight of area talent on local stages

Learn about some of the area’s local talent!

Our History: Mainstream Crossdressing

In the 1890s, the UW–Madison Haresfoot Club brought gender-bending into vogue.

What Does it Mean to be a Man?

Becoming Alec by Darwin Ward and Beyond Masculinity: Essays by Queer Men on Gender and Politics by Trevor Hoppe

Acting with Pride

Executive Director Brian Wild reflects on the past, present, and future of Proud Theater.

There’s No Place Like Home

Meet Queer Shorts’ brainchild, Katy Conley.

As Fiction Becomes Fact

Homecoming by Nell Stark

Long Live a Grand Dame

After surviving the Vietnam War and HIV, J. Patrick thrives in Madison’s theater community.

The Captain’s Table

With winter soon a memory and spring in bloom, the Betty Lou Cruises can again offer the best way to dine and experience the Madison skyline.

Men with a Plan

Meet Corey Gresen and Rico Sabatini the dynamic duo behind Plan B, the new Williamson Street nightspot.

Spotlight: Andy Abrams

Four Seasons Theatre’s Founder and Artistic Director*

An Identity Comes of Age

The Sweet In-Between by Sheri Reynolds

The Value of Individuality

King of the Screwups by K.L. Going

The Music Man

When his love for music mixed with a passion for performing, Christopher Lange developed PianoFondue—a comedy cabaret that puts humor and musical diversity on the center stage.

Look What Love Has Given Me

How do you make it in the music industry as an out artist? In her own words, legendary folk musician Tret Fure chronicles her career from piano lessons to Billboard charts.

Before Christopher Street

Years before George Segal’s “Gay Liberation” was permanently installed in New York’s Sheridan Square, the statues’ first home was in Madison’s Orton Park. Richard Wagner celebrates the work of the New Harvest Foundation.

National Women’s Music Festival

Festival producer Jane Weldon chronicles how Madison became the home to this 35-year mission.

From Serene to Sureal

Emily Mills surveys the diverse family of musicians that call Madison home.

Greg Harris and the Madison Shakespeare Project

What happens when your passion for language, poetry and theater meet your resolve to demystify Shakespeare? If you’re Greg Harris, you found the Madison Shakespeare Project.

A Genre-bending Children’s Book

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

40 years after Stonewall: Pride In Progress

The past 50 years in a civil rights movement through the eyes and perspective of a Madison native by Brian Powers.

Mineral Point

Richard Melnick creates the first podcast architectural tour in Wisconsin showcasing a town’s living history.

Addressing Religion-Based Homophobia

Crisis by Mitchell Gold and Mindy Drucker

The Diary of Josie Lynn

What a fun way to promote this awesome show, walking around the Capitol Square during a Farmers’ Market in full drag. And that’s exactly what we did—coffee in one hand, show fliers in the other.

Taking art into your own hands

Tara Ayres explores the world of contact improv, where participants combine improvisational movement and response with dance, music and physical connection.

Our Apparel: Styling Steven Heller

Personal Shopper Bonnie Raimy on dressing Steve

A Novel Collaboration

New Harvest Foundation awards grant to the University of Wisconsin Press to distribute Gay American Autobiography: Writings from Whitman to Sedaris

Madison’s Own Fairy Godmother

Michael Bruno shares his theatrical journey with Tara Ayres.

Our Apparel: Styling Mary Alice McGreevy

Personal Shopper Bonnie Raimy on dressing Mary Alice

The Cultural Advocate

People came expecting Special Olympics, something warm and fuzzy. It was so far from that, dealing with sexuality, rape, and relationships.

Already a Classic

Sugarless: A Novel by James Magruder

A Mosaic of Pain and Humor

Sex Talks to Girls: A Memoir by Maureen Seaton

The Valentine Poems

Linda Lenzke ‘s poetic prose chronicles love’s past and future.

Our Apparel: Styling Louie Phillips & Brian Schultz

Personal Shopper Bonnie Raimy on Dressing Louie & Brian

Everything’s Coming Out Roses

Out and proud Jake Aebly is hopeful for all those who will come out to a more open-minded society.


The Bartell Theater—home to six theater companies—is a haven of collaboration and cooperation.

Our Pages: Reviewing Travels in a Gay Nation & Something to Declare

Travels in a Gay Nation: Portraits of LGBTQ Americans and Something to Declare: Good Lesbian Travel Writing reviewed.

“Missing Monona’s North Shore” by local poet Nicky Sund

Poetry featuring local poet, NIcky Sund.

Our Town

Local community members reflect on their favorite Madison destinations from grocery stores to lakeshores, from neighborhoods to nightclubs.

Sarah Free

Sarah Newport is an extraordinary, ordinary person who has taken risks to have a creative life and be part of Madison community theater.

An Archaeology of Posing: Essays on Camp, Drag, and Sexuality

An Archeology of Posing by Moe Meyer reviewed


Poetry by Bob Leschke

Emotional Landscapes

Photographer Rolando Cruz tackles life’s mysteries, personal identities, and small, intimate moments through his ever-curious lens.

A Song in His Heart

Despite early setbacks, Bobby Goderich knew his love for singing was worth the hard work and patience that have since brought him to the stage with Madison Opera and beyond.

Welcome to the Dollhouse

This month Plan B cast member Trixie Mattel becomes the first drag queen from Wisconsin to compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Out of drag, Brian Firkus shares the inspiration for his alter ego.

Art Is My Sword

Performer Alena Joling, a.k.a. Colin Acumen, found a way to fight the hard fights within the supportive and radical community of drag artists in Milwaukee.


Former Plan B nightclub co-owner Rico Sabitini talks about growing up Jehovah’s Witness, being disfellowshipped after coming out, and helping others find the home they need.

Saving Five Nightclub

The community rallied to save a beloved LGBT space, and now owner Dave Eick is working hard to bring about a brighter future for the club and its wide spectrum of patrons.

Cuban, Libre

Cardinal Bar’s founder and longtime owner Ricardo Gonzalez recounts his experiences with revolutionary Cuba during his childhood, and his journey toward self-sufficiency and acceptance throughout some of the most tumultuous decades of the LGBT movement in the U.S.

Rock ‘n Roll Family

Local surf-rock band Venus in Furs are doing it all, from releasing a new record to having a baby, while blazing a musical trail based on close friendships and rad riffs.

Queer Little Theater

Encore Studio for the Performing Arts Executive Director KelsyAnne Schoenhaar talks about her own journey of unexpected
discovery at the crossroads of theater, disability, queer identity, and a million other things that make people
who they are.

The Jazz Man

Music has always been a major part of UW Director of Jazz Studies Johannes Wallmann’s life, and he is determined to see wider LGBT representation within his genre.

Cardinal Points

Tulin Waters takes another look at the life’s work of her tío—and owner of the Cardinal Bar—Ricardo Gonzalez.

Love, Life, Literature

UW Press Executive Editor Raphael Kadushin reflects on a life of good fortune and world travel, from his first generation immigrant roots in New York to finding the love of his life and “settling” in Madison—and the work yet to be done.

Gift-giving for people you love (and hate): An interview with John Waters

Michail Takach spoke with the notorious filmmaker and culture jammer about everything from the election to the state of gay bars in advance of his show, “A John Waters Christmas,” December 16 at the Barrymore Theater in Madison

The Wordsmith

Through struggles with identity, death, dyslexia, and homophobia, author Bridget Birdsall found a way to reclaim her self, her memory, and her life through the power of the written word.

A Life, Improvised

anessa Tortolano could have rested her laurels on co-founding and running the popular NessAlla Kombucha company, but the draw of improv and stand-up comedy brought her into a world where laughter was the necessary medicine.


We talk to Katie Kuehl of Cycropia Aerial Dance about how she got involved with Madison’s legendary performance troupe, and why the challenges of aerial performance are worth the learning curve.

10 years of Our Lives

Our Lives turns 10 years old this July, and this issue marks the start of our year-long retrospective. We take a look back at some of the people, stories, and changes that have marked the past decade of the LGBTQ community here in Madison, the state, and beyond.

Male Call

The first-ever Wisconsin Male Burlesque Festival teased and titillated, all while lifting up the women who pioneered the art form, and queering and challenging standard definitions of masculinity.


Isthmus editor Judith Davidoff takes the not-so-straight-and-narrow path to journalism.

Change Agent

OD Kimani found a platform for personal expression, empowerment, and social change in the world of neo-burlesque.

Walking a mile in Jane Lynch’s (comfortable) shoes

An interview with actress and Wisconsin AIDS Walk Honorary Chair Jane Lynch, by Steve Noll for Our Lives Magazine.

It’s Never Too Late: Emily Saliers explores a wide range of musical styles in new solo record

Longtime Indigo Girls member Emily Saliers is embarking on a tour to support her first solo album, with a stop in Madison on October 5 at the High Noon Saloon. Sandy Eichel interviews her for Our Lives in advance of the show.


Milwaukee’s Lex Allen charts a course through struggle, loss, finding his familia, and musical vulnerability and versatility.

A New Lens

Faced with family trauma, self-doubt, and plenty of uncertainty, local business owner Natalie Hinckley has found a way to chart her own authentic course through video production, music, and love.

Unapologetic Craft

Filmmaker and YouTube star Bria Brown carves out space for queer, black identity in an entertainment and cultural landscape still largely hostile to her existence.

A Rolling, Rollicking Conversation

Stacy Harbaugh interviews outspoken sex advice columnist and podcaster Dan Savage in advance of his tour stop in Madison

LaRae Lobdell of

Laughing Out Loud

Local stand-up comic Shawna Lutzow found her voice and a comedy cause after coming out.

Turning the Page

A Room of One’s Own, Madison’s 43-year-old independent, feminist bookstore, will keep its doors open under new ownership by longtime employees

Taking the Stage 

Incoming StageQ President Zak Stowe was bullied and shunned by his conservative, evangelical community for attempting to stage a play they felt was heretical. Now he’s finding his voice, and living life on his own terms, through the LGBTQ theater scene.

Dare to Drag

Brandon Rounds reveals the origins of Bianca Lynn Breeze, why he loves the Madison drag scene, and best practices for finding your own drag groove.

The Point of Return

Artist Ben Brummerhop never expected to find the key to sobriety and a creative kick-start when he followed a boyfriend to the small community of Mineral Point, Wisconsin.

Funny Lady

Stand-up comic Dina Martinez found acceptance and inclusion among the women of Madison’s comedy scene. Now she’s giving back with the Lady Laughs Comedy Festival, returning for its third run this fall.

Small Screen Heroes

Take a look behind-the-scenes of Hotel Bar, a new, LGBTQ-inclusive web series that delves into diverse lives—and deaths, and hopes to help put Madison on the filmmaking radar.

Looking for Plan C

An incident at a drag show at Plan B has sparked a deluge of long-held criticisms of the club and its new co-owners, leading to serious questions about the future of one of Madison’s LGBTQ venues

Bianca Lynn Breeze performing at Plan B's FruitFest in 2017

Plan B to close and reopen in March as Prism Dance Club

As Plan B becomes Prism Dance Club, new management looks beyond a simple re-branding of the east side night spot and toward a more inclusive and diverse mission statement.

A-Typical Drag

Gretta and Garnet Grimm-Deville have created a wildly inclusive, expansive, and downright delightfully weird performance with their monthly “Hysteria” drag shows.

A Beacon of Hope

Music Theatre of Madison brings Paula Vogel’s play Indecent to town, giving the spotlight to a heartwarming Jewish lesbian love story.

Finding Trans-ness through the Art of Tease

Mercury Stardust unpacks transitioning through burlesque—an art form centered on body awareness—and the significance of having queer spaces to explore it in.