In Microtones, our newsletter-first column.
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MICROTONES by Chris Lay, associate publisher
Summer is officially over, which means that it’s time to grab a thermos of spiked cider and get yourself to a dang corn maze. Sure, most of them have been open for a month or so now, but everyone knows that October is the month to hit one of these things up, even if you’re only there to grab a pumpkin or two. Here’s a handy rundown of some farms near Madison that have carved miles and miles of whimsical twisting trails through acres of their cropland.
Treinen Farm, Lodi, 15 acres
Treinen’s probably the best-known of these, and for good reason, since its corn maze tends to take some big conceptual swings with its themes and designed. Recent years have seen them pull off a steampunk Vitruvian man, a trilobite, and one heck of a cute unicorn. This year the Treinen folks have framed the whole thing around a Rudyard Kipling story, “The Elephant’s Child,” and it looks pretty damn nice. Honestly, it’s all but impossible for me to look at the photos on the farm’s website and not imagine that the whole thing was ripped from a long forgotten Reading Rainbow segment, and I mean that in the best way.
Creek Bed Country Farmacy, Poynette, 18 acres
Besting Treinen by a few acres, the Creek Bed Country Farmacy (wow, they really committed to that pun) has opted to empower visitors to its maze with the theme of “Anything’s Possible.” Complete with a cute little winged piggy, Creek Bed went and made sure no one would miss the gag and straight up wrote “When Pigs Fly” right there as an elbow to the ribs. Best of all, if you happen to be there around noon on a weekend, you can get a picture with the Pumpkin Princess!
Leatherberry Acres, Baraboo, 12 acres
If you like your hayrides with some heavy-handed jingoistic imagery, get thee to Baraboo’s Leatherberry Acres, where you’ll find an eagle screaming across a map of the the lower 48 and (what I believe to be) a depiction of Marines raising the stars and stripes triumphantly over Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Previous years might have been less brazenly patriotic, but it looks like this year the maze has a lot more going on, technically speaking, so… it’s an acceptable trade off I guess?
Mayr Family Farm, DeForest, 7 acres
Last but not least is the Mayr Family Farm which, to be honest, is on this list as more of a curio than an outright recommendation. One of a handful of corn mazes across the Midwest that partnered up with Culver’s to promote the fast food chain’s Thank You Farmers® Project, the farm has made it so everyone who stops by can wander through a Culver’s logo that’s likely legible from the lower stratosphere, all in the name of encouraging smart farming.
These all run more or less through the very beginning of November, so get out there and wander your convoluted way through the corn while you can.
New this week:
Photographer Michael Kienitz gives us a tour of his show at the Chazen, Iceland’s Vanishing Beauty.
Madison-based essayist Meghan O’Gieblyn discusses her new book, Interior States.
On the podcast, Madison/Milwaukee producer knowsthetime explores his new beat tape, Summer’s End.
Bon Iver will play a Tammy Baldwin fundraiser on October 20 at the Sylvee.
Don’t forget to join us for a Tone Madison-presented show, with Eric Hall and Apollo Vermouth, on October 9 at Arts + Literature Laboratory.
Elsewhere on the Madison internet: An out-of-control show-goer at Mickey’s tried to swim away from the cops, Channel 3000 reports. WORT’s A Public Affair talks with Fermentation Fest speaker Gary Paul Nabhan. Madison punk duo Gender Confetti played a live set on WORT’s Queery. Jazz pianist and UW-Madison music professor Johannes Wallmann announces yet another album as bandleader, Day And Night, due out in November.
This week’s Madison calendar: Maineland screens at UW Cinematheque. Madison band Therapy Drones celebrate a new album. Kahil El’Zabar and David Murray play the new Café Coda. Art In hosts a hip-hop fundraiser. And more.