What we’re tackling on The Tone Cluster’s first episode

What to expect when we kick off our live podcast on Tuesday, October 20 at the High Noon Saloon.

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So if you haven’t heard already, we’ll be kicking off our new live podcast series, The Tone Cluster, on Tuesday, October 20 at the High Noon Saloon. The event starts at 6 p.m., the actual podcast taping/discussion should get underway at about 6:30, and there’s no cover. In this planned monthly series we’ll be experimenting with and sometimes dispensing entirely with the panel-discussion format, with the goal of bringing diverse pints of view and provocative questions to the cultural issues at work in Madison. It’ll also function as a kinda-sorta one-year anniversary celebration for Tone Madison, since we launched last year on October 19.

For this first Tone Cluster, we’ve brought a group of insightful and witty people together to talk about all kinds of changes converging upon downtown Madison: Mayor Paul Soglin’s controversial and widely notedcrackdown on homeless people, the rapid rise of new development, the significant public funding behind some of said redevelopment, changes in public art, and changes in the business makeup of downtown, including the arrival of big chain craft-beer bars in a city that’s long been ahead of the curve on craft beer. Also someone was yelling about fries and liquor licenses recently.

Where is all this going? Who is it for? I think we’ll get some helpful perspective from our guests. Mike Martez Johnson, elections co-chair of Progressive Dane, has been writing a bit about downtown’s redevelopment and cultural shifts on Madison365 lately, arguing that some city leaders are spinning corporate welfare as social justice and questioning who is really welcome downtown. Then there’s two of the people I trust the most when it comes to cultural coverage of Madison: Lindsay Christians, who covers the arts, food, and drink for The Capital Times (it’s hard to narrow down a recent favorite Lindsay story because holy crap Lindsay writes a lot of stuff, but perhaps her profile of coffin-maker Eric Adjetey Anang), and André Darlington, who also covers food and drink for his Farmers Market Report podcast and for numerous outlets including Isthmus (his 2012 pan of downtown burger joint DLUX is still a classic). Then there’s Chris Lay, who’s known around town for his stand-up comedy work but lately has been doing a ton of great writing, much of it here on Tone Madison, in pieces ranging from his anti-pedal-pub manifesto to thoughtful Wisconsin Film Festival previews.

If that seems like an incongruous, oddly matched group of people, well, I hope it is. We’re all about shaking up Madison’s cultural conversations here at Tone Madison, and I think this bunch will start The Tone Cluster off in that spirit.

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