First things first...and as the regular readers know, the party agenda is always first.
High atop the party list is this Saturday's Madison's Favorites Block Party, which takes place, as has become the custom, on the 100 block of East Main Street, 7 p.m.-midnight. Madison's Favorites are selected by the readers in a poll Isthmus conducts every year; the results are officially revealed in the Annual Manual, which will accompany your Isthmus next week. The block party offers previews of both An Man and the Favorites.
These are valid justifications for hanging out in the street listening to good music and enjoying the Taste of Main Street. For your musical edification, we offer the twangy release of Pupy Costello & His Big City Honky Tonk in a return engagement to the Block Party stage. Joining the bill this year is Kali Kalor and their decidedly Latin exertions.
As for the comestibles, we are in one of Madison's dining hot spots. Joining in the celebration are East Main Street mainstays the Local Tavern, Restaurant Muramoto, Maduro and the Argus. (The Casbah is temporarily closed, and Cafe Continental doesn't play.) There will also be an appearance by Madison's Favorite Beer. (Hint: It doesn't have far to travel.)
And you won't have to wait long or go far for your next Isthmus-induced musical fix. Next Thursday night, Aug. 23, the Charter Club Tour, an activity of the Madison Music Project, presents Adam Isaac & the People around the corner at the Great Dane, 123 E. Doty St.
If you traveled west from Madison, far west, across the states of Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa, you would notice outward signs of the new energy era that is roiling the Midwest. There's the explosion in corn cultivation prompted by the ethanol boom, not to mention other biomass initiatives delving in products as diverse a sugar beets and pig manure. There are also massive power-generating windmills and gigantic transmission lines being installed to carry the electricity they produce to the populated markets.
This is the context that frames staff writer Vikki Kratz's cover story, "They've Got the Power." American Transmission Company not only has the power running within its lines, but also the power of this economic tidal wave behind it. As the story describes, this is an irresistible force that has yet to meet an immovable object.