Madison entertains coincidence and convergence as we enter the first week of May, a situation fully reflected in this issue of Isthmus.
Our cover story highlights Matt Rothschild, editor and publisher of The Progressive magazine. The occasion is the celebration of its 100th anniversary - it began publishing as La Follette's Weekly in 1909. Robert M. La Follette was, of course, the Wisconsin senator who founded the Progressive movement, as a Republican. He left the party, too progressive to be tolerated. Coincidentally, this week we have the defection of Arlen Specter, senator from Pennsylvania, from the Republicans to the Democrats for much the same reason.
In its 100 years, The Progressive has given voice to the pantheon of liberal social activists from Jane Addams through James Baldwin to Nat Hentoff. It's been staunchly pacifist, except for a couple of wobbles, through all that time, and has never wavered in its support of civil rights, civil liberties and the environment.
Staff writer David Medaris outlines the weekend's celebrations as part of his Rothschild profile. Amid the hoopla shines the star of Robert Redford, the actor and activist who has become a supporter of The Progressive, and who will be a participant in the events April 30-May 2. On May 6, another star converges in support of a local cause. Author, humorist and radio personality Garrison Keillor will preside over a performance meant as a memorial to his brother, Phil, who lived in Madison.
The proceeds from the Overture appearance will benefit a fund to replace the shelter at Tenney Park. I guess you'd call it a coincidence that Keillor describes his brother's life in an interview with David Medaris. The fact is, Medaris is all over Isthmus this week. He also wrote the arts feature, "Funding Creativity," a look at the work of the city's and county's culture administrators. That's the third Medaris byline in this edition. We should perhaps give the guy a rest or revisit our scheduling.