When last you heard from me (a week ago in this space), I informed you that I had just been given some "Stop the presses!" news. I had been writing about Isthmus' success at the Milwaukee Press Club's Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism Competition - three firsts and a second was a nice haul for us. They awards came in a variety of categories: feature, column, even sports. I was happy for the result but a little puzzled that we hadn't registered mention in the arts, our longtime strong suit in these contests, and an area we have dominated over the last couple of decades and then some.
Well, I was the victim of premature notification. Yes, we had won the awards, as the first email received indicated. But as I was finishing my remarks, on or a little behind deadline, another email arrived, informing us that staff writer Kent Williams had won Best Critical Review of the Arts. He won the whole category, both first and second places.
Unless you are reading us for the first time this week, you're familiar with Williams' work. He writes the vast majority of our film reviews. (Not this week. He's on vacation.) He also does other writing for the paper, primarily arts features. His subject matter isn't restricted to film; anything related to popular culture is grease for his biodiesel.
Williams' first-place effort, "He's Back" (8/17/07), talked about Frank Lloyd Wright's legacy seeping out of recent local construction, from the new Yahara bridge on East Washington Avenue to the remodeled Dane County airport. Terming him "the headmaster of the Prairie School," Williams saw Madison's love/hate relationship with the eccentric genius as resolving itself on the amorous side. His second-place effort, "The Popular Vote" (5/17/07), concerned itself with the "American Idol" phenomenon, just the type of popular spectacle that would catch the Williams' eye. We are pleased with and proud of his success.
I remind you that next Tuesday, April 1, is not only April Fool's Day but also Election Day. (I resist the obvious comment.) We hope that you have saved the League of Women Voters' Candidates Answers special section that came with last week's Isthmus. Whether you have or not, there is additional information available about the school board and county board contests available on TheDailyPage.com. Marc Eisen has been conducting a "Take Home Test" with the school board candidates, asking about issues such as the racial achievement gap in schools and school boundaries. Vikki Kratz, assisted by Jason Joyce, has been profiling county board races, based on candidates' responses to questionnaires sent them.
You can find this information by visiting the Daily segment of TDP. Our digital gurus promise that the pertinent posts of the last month or so will be aggregated for your convenience.