Entertainment in Madison can be fabulous. It's not exactly broadway, but there are some talented people in this area. One great place to experience some of the local talent is in the Overture Center on State Street. This beautiful facility is host of a tremendous amount of cultural activities. The other day I had the opportunity to see "A Christmas Carol". That was my first visit to the Overture Center since it's recent remodel. In the past I have seen the "Nutcracker", "Rent", "David Copperfield" and even "Hootie and the Blowfish" (many years ago).
Some say that there are not enough cultural experiences in Madison. Especially when compared to Chicago or New York. And while Madison might not be the worlds epicenter for arts and entertainment, I believe there are a number of places to satisfy that craving for arts and entertainment.
Other good venues to check out concerts, plays, and other fun things include the Barrymore, the Orpheum, or even the Alliant Energy Center. I think any of these places contribute the energy and excitement that exists in downtown Madison. One organization that is committed to this continued vibrancy is Downtown Madison, Inc.
If you're looking for something exciting in the Madison area, I encourage you to look downtown. Maybe catch a play at the Overture Center, concert at the Barrymore, or grab some food in a quaint restaurant on State Street. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
One of my goals for this blog is to further engage with my community. For me this means finding different ways to get involved and not remain a passive observer. I find that many times it's too easy to come home after a hard days work and just lounge on the couch. Not anymore. I've made a commitment to myself to get out more and get involved. This time of year can be a great way to get involved with others.
There are many reasons to get involved in your community. Some people want to meet new people. Some want to make a difference in the world. Some want to feel better about themselves. Some do it because it's cool. Some just do it because they care. I am constantly amazed at how much there is to see and do in the world.
Every time I travel my world view grows to see a perspective that I didn't know about before. I didn't fully understand the differences and similarities among other cultures until I traveled to Europe. Practicing Spanish came to a whole new level when studying abroad in Central America. These events in my life were life changing because I felt like a new age explorer of the world. My thirst for culture and life experiences grew with every new trip.
In Madison, I find a similar phenomenon. The more I get involved and talk to people in the community, the more I find out about interesting things that I can do. Last month I went to a government 101 lecture series with Madison Magnet and learned how EASY it is to make a difference in local politics. I love learning about new businesses and local issues through Downtown Madison, Inc. A few days ago I signed up to ring bells for the Salvation Army (it's my first time ringing bells). I also signed up to voluntarily jump into Lake Monona in February to raise money for the Special Olympics (crazy, I know).
There really is a ton of opportunities to get involved in activities that make a difference. This time of year many people focus on family, gifts, and friendship. I encourage you...
I love winter. I mean, I love winter. Many people think I'm crazy. "It's so cold outside," most of them say. But I absolutely love it when we have days in Wisconsin like the last week when it snowed more than 6 inches. The crisp cool refreshing air. The calm quiet sounds of a heavy snowfall. The physical reminder that winter has officially arrived.
What's so great about snow is that you can actually go outside and enjoy it. For example, last night I went to Elver Park for an evening of sledding. And the other day I went snowmobiling with another agent in my office. Sometime soon, I hope to go snowboarding at Tyrol Basin or Cascade Mountain. Actually I'd really like to take a trip out West to the snowy peaks of Colorado for some snowboarding.
What is it about winter that some people love and others hate? I suppose the obvious negative is that people don't like to be cold. They would like to escape to Florida or Arizona when the snow flies. I guess that says something about me. I like winter and the changing of seasons. I like finding different ways to get out and enjoy life, regardless of the temperature.
In Madison, there's all kinds of fun things to do in the snow. I already mentioned sledding at Elver, one of my favorites. On the east side of Madison I have heard that Olbrich Park is also great for sledding.
Another thing that looks really fun is kiteboarding or ice sailing on the lakes. It's probably not safe right now because the lakes aren't completely frozen, but soon these activities will be an option to further enjoy winter in Wisconsin.
That makes me think more of ice and it's role in Wisconsin culture. Ice skating, ice fishing, ice hockey, broom ball, and cross country skiing are a handful of time honored traditions that many people enjoy this time of year. I encourage you to get out there and try enjoy this weather. Or go South and avoid the cold. As for me, I'll be in the snow or on the ice for the next few months.