Ah, summer in Wisconsin - so much to do, such a short time in which to do it all. This inevitably leads to scheduling conflicts, which require that choices be made. Does this distress us? No, as long as we follow the primary dictum: Have a good time.
Everyone has a good time at Madison Mallards games, and that's not by accident. For our cover story this week, Isthmus writer Jason Joyce follows the guy most responsible for ensuring the fun, general manager Vern Stenman. Six-thousand-plus fans pack the north-side ballpark affectionately known as the Duck Pond this time of the year, and their enjoyment is evident throughout the Warner Park area. Their lively cheering is enouraged by the staccato incitement of the park's PA system. And the voice behind the microphone is quite likely to be Stenman's.
The Mallards will be playing here this weekend, with games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. But they aren't the only ones who will be engaging in a quintessentially American pastime. The Isthmus Jazz Festival kicks off on Thursday at the Memorial Union Terrace and continues through Sunday, with an all-star lineup of jazz talent, and featuring rising star Madeleine Peyroux at the Union Theater on Saturday night.
All the acts are free, with the exception of Peyroux, but if you'd like to encourage future renditions of this 19-year-old tradition, you could become a festival patron. For $100 you get seating under a tent, free parking and a host of other inducements. Contact the Union Theater for details and patron tickets. And should it rain, we have backup locales in the Rathskeller and the Wisconsin Union Theater. You don't have to remember all this; we've put all the info in the eight-page program that pulls out of the center of your Isthmus this week.
One more thing to alert you to: This week the balloting for Madison's Favorites gets under way. You should know what this is by now: In June we ask our readers for their opinions in an array of categories, mostly goods and services, and in August we print the results in the Annual Manual. The balloting will run for a couple of weeks. For details, look at the ballot on page 55 of this issue. But we prefer that you vote online; it's much easier for us to tabulate the results. However, we continue to offer you a choice of voting methods, because what really matters to us is that you vote.