In Microtones, our newsletter-first column.
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MICROTONES by Ben Munson, contributor
A good historical landmark should carry a bit of intrigue, maybe some mystery. Along Interstate 90 in Wisconsin, the “For Sall” sign fits those criteria.
It’s not the only oddity in the area. I’m fairly sure but not completely certain that the Upickstrawberryfarm.com trailer near DeForest used to the “Home of the Beer Lube” trailer that sat beside Naughty Novelties before it burned down in 2010. But “For Sall” is one of the most enduring.
It’s been there for as long as I can remember, hanging out just north of exit 115 near Poynette, waiting to greet drivers in the north-bound lanes with its breathtaking misspelling of an elementary word. Underneath the words is a phone number with an area code for Houston, Texas and some surrounding areas. A nice place to live, for sure, but a long way away from Poynette. And beyond that, no details, no images, no context.
What does it mean? Is something for sale? Does the phone number belong to someone or something called Sall? When did the notice for tattoo removal, along with another Houston phone number, get added to the other side of the sign? Do you also have to go to Houston to get a tattoo removed?
Clearly other people have noticed the sign and pondered its existence, too, since someone created a Google listing for it and referred to it as a historical landmark. So far, the sign has racked up a very respectable 4.8 out of 5 star rating, with reviewers saying they “had a blast” or calling it “one of the most important signs in Wisconsin.”
I wanted to know more about the sign, so I called the number. The first time I called, someone (Sall?) picked up and I heard some noise coming from the other end. I said “Hello?” but whoever was there hung up without saying a word. I called right back, thinking maybe there had been a connection issue, but this time it went to voicemail.
I left a message, but who knows. Maybe it’s just as well. Knowing too much about For Sall would spoil the mystery.
Madison artist Victor Castro is working on a big statement for the September 20 Climate Strike.
On the podcast, Phoebe Schlough talks with artists Jacki Whisenant and Rob Lundberg about their environmentally focused show at the Overture Center.
John McCracken runs the numbers on the dominance of butt-rock at Taste Of Madison.
Elsewhere on the Madison internet: The Coney Poster Project profiles artist and musician Maggie Denman in a new video. Roscoe Mitchell has announced a September 22 show at Café Coda. Mad City Music commemorates that time Iron Maiden played soccer with some kids in Waunakee. WORT’s A Public Affair talks with Deborah Blum about her book The Poison Squad.
This week’s Madison calendar: Mills Folly Microcinema returns to Arts + Literature Lab. OUT plays at Communication. The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford screens at the Chazen. And more.
Upcoming Tone Madison Events!
Wednesday, September 11: Avola, Elrond, Saint Saunter, Woodman/Earhart. Communication, 8 p.m.
September 14 and 15: Half-Stack Sessions and Tone Madison Stage at the 2019 Willy Street Fair.
September 20 through 22: Infamous Local Fest at The Winnebago and Communication.
December, date TBD: Tone Madison Best of 2019 Listening Party