It seems almost silly to be talking about summer, given the brutal winter we've endured and that endures still in the memory, not to mention a spring that has sprung in fits and starts and still doesn't feel all that spring-like on certain evenings. But since many of our summer traditions operate according to the calendar and not the climatic conditions, we shouldn't be surprised to find ourselves at that point.
The signs of summer are popping up all around us in the world of Isthmus Publishing Co. On our website this Wednesday, TheDailyPage.com, beer guy Robin Shepard gave us a heads up (pun intended, if you appreciate that sort of thing) on what the area beer crafters are brewing, available soon at your local outlet, if not already. If you missed it, the report is still there, as is everything we've published to the site since it was re-engineered a couple of years ago. Search The Daily section.
In this very issue of your weekly intelligencer, theater contributor Paul Kosidowski (you knew him as Paul Gerard when he was a staffer here) sizes up the prospects for seeing thriving theater this summer, starting June 6 in Spring Green. That, of course, is the site of American Players Theatre, the thespian experiment turned established institution that enlivens our summer evenings and entertains the throngs from near and far. In a sidebar, he runs down the season's fare, which still adheres to, but has expanded upon, its Shakespearean core.
But the surest harbinger of summer's imminent arrival is SummerTimes, our annual summer publication, which marks Memorial Day as the season's kickoff. Sure enough, Memorial Day is next Monday, and sure enough, Summertimes nestles within this issue. Though its cover promise to be "the guide to the warm season" may seem a bold statement, given our experience so far in 2008, it delivers on telling you where to go and what to do in the Madison area and throughout our fair state for the next three and a half months.
This year's offerings are grouped around activities: Kenneth Burns tells you when and where to hear good music, and we have listings for road trips, festivals, area attractions, theater, spoken word and more. We have suggestions for vacationing at home from Mary Ellen Gabriel and destinations much further afield (Wisconsin is a big state!) from Dennis McCann.
We've packed a lot in there that merits your spending a few hours to prepare for the next few months. Rejoice! Summer is almost here. (Really.)