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.
Interest group: Arts & Entertainment
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
Take a stroll through time to discover some of the hidden history of Madison’s LGBT community. Dick Wagner gives you a guided tour.
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.
Danielle Dresden and Donna Peckett celebrate 25 years of TAPIT/newworks.
Past Edenfred Executive Director David Wells on reinventing himself as he looks back in order to move forward.
Photographer and performance artist Angela Richardson invites us into her world of self-expression and discovery.
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.
Writer Ja’Mel Ware is rich beyond any monetary valuation. Find out why.
From private chef to cruise ship videographer, paper sculptor Michael Velliquette came a long way to find his creative niche in the “absurdly awesome.”
Christopher Wilford kicks off a new entertainment column by mapping out his own path to an entertainer’s persona.
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.
The Mad City Sisters just can’t get enough of the stares and questions. It’s all about getting the conversation started.
Babette Wainwright infuses her sculpture work with personal history and passion.
Karin Wolf speaks with artist and professor Jill H. Casid about her provocative work, theory as practice, and learning to live her dying.
New Our Lives editorial facilitator and Madison entertainment guru Michael Bruno catches up with actor Richard Ganoung.
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
Anders Zanichkowsky explores inner and outer terrains through multidisciplinary artworks.
Max White has blazed a trail as artist and teacher from the queer punk streets of San Francisco to the spiritual reflection of Madison.
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.
Yvette Pino’s “Veteran Print Project” builds bridges between communities by pairing military veterans with artists to create unique and powerful works of art.
Z104 radio host Aaron Rogers traces a curving path to chasing his dream of being an out professional on-air personality.
Children’s Theater of Madison’s Roseann Sheridan found acceptance and a lifelong passion among the drama geeks.
Beth Racette seeks to explore and reveal the systems of the world through art.
Joey Broyles lives according to a simple, radical code: “Be Yourself: It Will Change Your Life.”
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.
A selection from “Our Storytellers.”
One Madison man’s road to Westminster.
I Love Funky’s is a wonderland for the adventurous decorator.
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.
The Physical Markings of a New Gay Man
Disc jockey Tim Walters keeps the music—and his dreams—going on and on.
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.
Proud Theater Mentor Gavin Logan on art and its power to connect and transform.
Two straight actors take on iconic gay roles in Middleton Players Theatre’s Rent and A Chorus Line.
In a profile of Milwaukee’s rollickingly queer food and entertainment joint, Hamburger Mary’s brings the fun with the feast.
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.
Four Seasons Theatre Artistic Director Andrew Abrams introduces us to UW Theatre major Angela Birrittella
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.”
David Valdes Greenwood goes inside a same-sex marriage to candidly show the ups and downs of domestic bliss.
Emma Donoghue delivers a story exploring how distance and difficulty don’t have to overwhelm a relationship
Hear Us Out: Lesbian and Gay Stories of Struggle, Progress, and Hope, 1950 to the Present by Nancy Garden
Wide Awake by David Levithan
Recent Milwaukee transplant Robert Leschke finds his home in our cultural core.
Hookah dips Madison cuisine into the Mediterranean
Like Son by Felicia Luna Lemus
Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, & Other Outlaws by Kate Bornstein
Searching for LGBTQA women and men to model herself after, UW–Madison senior Amanda Hunter finds the importance of visible role models.
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
DJ Boyfrrriend and the “Loose Cannon” queer dance party have been creating a community built on respect and busting a move
Up and coming visual artist Maggie Gosselar finds inspiration in the personal connections forged by the act of creation
Mel Marcum found acceptance and a crafty calling in the world of queer theater (and beyond)
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
Artist Nicole Bresnik found herself and her purpose in pushing paintbrushes and boundaries
Photographer Lois Bielefeld recounts the long and twisting path toward self-acceptance and reconciliation with her family
Meet Justin Hager, the UW–Madison senior who’s combining faith and activism.
Are There Closets in Heaven? by Carol Curoe and Bob Curoe
Meet Alexis M. Rouge, performer extraordinaire and co-founder of Lexi Ravyn Productions
Meet Theresa Abel, activist and owner of the Artisan Gallery and Creamery Cafe in Paoli
What happens when the Artistic Director of Madison’s queer theater troupe talks with Rod, Avenue Q’s investment banker?
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
Candy Everybody Wants by Josh Killmer-Purcell
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.
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.
Learn about some of the area’s local talent!
In the 1890s, the UW–Madison Haresfoot Club brought gender-bending into vogue.
Becoming Alec by Darwin Ward and Beyond Masculinity: Essays by Queer Men on Gender and Politics by Trevor Hoppe
Executive Director Brian Wild reflects on the past, present, and future of Proud Theater.
Meet Queer Shorts’ brainchild, Katy Conley.
Homecoming by Nell Stark
After surviving the Vietnam War and HIV, J. Patrick thrives in Madison’s theater community.
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.
Meet Corey Gresen and Rico Sabatini the dynamic duo behind Plan B, the new Williamson Street nightspot.
Four Seasons Theatre’s Founder and Artistic Director*
The Sweet In-Between by Sheri Reynolds
King of the Screwups by K.L. Going
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.
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.
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.
Festival producer Jane Weldon chronicles how Madison became the home to this 35-year mission.
Emily Mills surveys the diverse family of musicians that call Madison home.
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.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
The past 50 years in a civil rights movement through the eyes and perspective of a Madison native by Brian Powers.
Richard Melnick creates the first podcast architectural tour in Wisconsin showcasing a town’s living history.
Crisis by Mitchell Gold and Mindy Drucker
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.
Tara Ayres explores the world of contact improv, where participants combine improvisational movement and response with dance, music and physical connection.
Personal Shopper Bonnie Raimy on dressing Steve
New Harvest Foundation awards grant to the University of Wisconsin Press to distribute Gay American Autobiography: Writings from Whitman to Sedaris
Michael Bruno shares his theatrical journey with Tara Ayres.
Personal Shopper Bonnie Raimy on dressing Mary Alice
People came expecting Special Olympics, something warm and fuzzy. It was so far from that, dealing with sexuality, rape, and relationships.
Sugarless: A Novel by James Magruder
Sex Talks to Girls: A Memoir by Maureen Seaton
Linda Lenzke ‘s poetic prose chronicles love’s past and future.
Personal Shopper Bonnie Raimy on Dressing Louie & Brian
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.
Travels in a Gay Nation: Portraits of LGBTQ Americans and Something to Declare: Good Lesbian Travel Writing reviewed.
Poetry featuring local poet, NIcky Sund.
Local community members reflect on their favorite Madison destinations from grocery stores to lakeshores, from neighborhoods to nightclubs.
Sarah Newport is an extraordinary, ordinary person who has taken risks to have a creative life and be part of Madison community theater.
An Archeology of Posing by Moe Meyer reviewed
Poetry by Bob Leschke
Photographer Rolando Cruz tackles life’s mysteries, personal identities, and small, intimate moments through his ever-curious lens.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tulin Waters takes another look at the life’s work of her tío—and owner of the Cardinal Bar—Ricardo Gonzalez.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
OD Kimani found a platform for personal expression, empowerment, and social change in the world of neo-burlesque.
An interview with actress and Wisconsin AIDS Walk Honorary Chair Jane Lynch, by Steve Noll for Our Lives Magazine.
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.
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.
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.
Stacy Harbaugh interviews outspoken sex advice columnist and podcaster Dan Savage in advance of his tour stop in Madison
Local stand-up comic Shawna Lutzow found her voice and a comedy cause after coming out.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Gretta and Garnet Grimm-Deville have created a wildly inclusive, expansive, and downright delightfully weird performance with their monthly “Hysteria” drag shows.
Music Theatre of Madison brings Paula Vogel’s play Indecent to town, giving the spotlight to a heartwarming Jewish lesbian love story.
Mercury Stardust unpacks transitioning through burlesque—an art form centered on body awareness—and the significance of having queer spaces to explore it in.