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Mifflin memories

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

Mifflin memories

Postby jjoyce » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:25 am

When I was a freshman in '89, I spent about a half hour at Mifflin. There was a folk stage at one end, a rock stage at the other and a beer garden in the middle. The affair was sponsored by the Mifflin Street Co-op and it was much more about the original and neo-hippies than anything I was interested in. As I recall, there were definitely a ton of other things going on that day.

I don't remember going again until I was a junior, when I had friends who lived on the street. We sat on their second-floor porch and watched the proceedings. We did not print out t-shirts, rig up a multi-story beer funnel or even pack the house. There were maybe a couple dozen of us and, as I recall, the event was just one of a few things we did that day. I always wondered why someone would rather hang out on a Mifflin porch than the Union Terrace on a warm, sunny spring day.

In 1996, the year of the rioting, I attended for the first and only time as a non-student. My friends and I had a blast and in retrospect, it's not surprising at all that the place went bonkers. We picked up a twelve-pack on the way and consumed it openly while walking up and down the street. I believe we bought a couple more twelvies from Cap Center and ended up distributing cans to people we knew as we encountered them. I left at about sunset. Not long after, fires were set and bottles were hurled at firefighters. When my friends and I discussed it, we were all mortified. Everyone we had dealt with that day was pleasantly hammered and amused at their surroundings. Stories about the fire starters and bottle throwers being largely out-of-towners seemed plausible. I clearly remember several city officials vowing that there would never again be a Mifflin Street Block Party.

Ben Masel was quoted as saying he was struck by not once being offered a joint while there, surely a unique experience for the pot activist at any Madison event, let alone Mifflin.

The co-op closed in 2006, but I don't remember when they stopped organizing the block party. It seems to me that was the tipping point after which the event went significantly downhill. The co-op represented the Mifflin Street establishment that kept the transients in line. Don't screw this up for us, they seemed to say.

Last year I monitored social media to pull together a Storify post for this site (http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/artic ... icle=36686). It was an interesting experience. The day started with students posing in front of intricate booze displays. The involvement of law enforcement seemed to be just part of the fun. Despite ample warnings, many students who expected to show up and start drinking on the street seemed put out that the cops would step in to wreck their fun. I expect more of the same this year.
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Re: Mifflin memories

Postby rrnate » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:34 am

Speaking as someone who moved to Madison in 2000, Mifflin St. has pretty consistently always been primarily douchenozzle fest in my book.

UW is putting on a counter fest (http://madisonrevelry.com/schedule.html which is a pretty good college-pull lineup, though it's not going to pull in any of the dinks who cause trouble.
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Re: Mifflin memories

Postby Meade » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:36 am

.
Last edited by Meade on Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mifflin memories

Postby minicat » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:56 am

Digibot got the plug pulled on an afternoon set at Mifflin St. Block Party the year I was there.

That says about all I need to say about that crapfest.
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Re: Mifflin memories

Postby fisticuffs » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:01 pm

My fondest Mifflin memory is working at Music Go Round and telling all the bands looking to rent PA for the event that we were all booked up. Drunk, inexperienced operators plus drunk sloppy party goers just sounded like a bad deal. Especially since most of them couldn't cover the cost of the damage they'd no doubt have done. I only attended once when I was 20. A resounding "meh".
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Re: Mifflin memories

Postby rrnate » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:03 pm

Meade wrote:
jjoyce wrote:When I was a freshman in '89...

I am so lonely. Won't one of you crack towels with me?


Mifflin St. Block Party brings out the best in everyone.
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Re: Mifflin memories

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:07 pm

I've never had much interest in the party -- so little interest in fact that I agreed to work one year while it was happening as nobody else wanted the shift. At the time (1992), I was delivering movies for Late Night Video. I had to make a delivery to Ogg Hall and pulled up in the yellow zone. There were two squad cars sitting in front and three officers chit-chatting with each other. As I proceeded inside, one of the officers stopped me and told me I could not park there. I explained I was a delivery driver. He said he didn't care -- I had to move my car. I explained that I would only be inside for a couple minutes and that delivery drivers always parked there. He said I didn't have a permit* to park there. At this point, I angrily said, "Y'know, right this second, about 5 blocks from here there are literally hundreds of underage drinkers, yet you are choosing to hassle me. I'm just trying to do my job!" This caused the other two officers to burst out laughing and the cop who'd been hassling me said, redfaced, "Fine. Just hurry up!" and off I went. So while I may not have actively participated in the party, I did get a chance to get in the face of The Man (and, knowing Late Night Video, I was probably pretty stoned.)

*This incident prompted my boss to finally get me a delivery driver permit. This allowed me to drive on State St. which was awesome for several reasons, but mostly because it allowed me to pull up directly in front of Badger Liquor. At the time, I was still a year underage, so it was great to be able to hide my ill-gotten beer in my car rather than carry it home on foot. Fun times.
Last edited by Prof. Wagstaff on Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mifflin memories

Postby scratch » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:12 pm

Meade wrote:
jjoyce wrote:When I was a freshman in '89...

Nice piece of confessional writing. You should turn it into a book and go on Oprah.


"show me a comment of mine that was "off-topic" and I will remove it myself"
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Re: Mifflin memories

Postby jman111 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:49 pm

Nitrous balloons from a big-boy tank in the back of a nondescript van, parked behind a house on the 500 block. 5 bucks a piece.

Also many stumbling, giggling, semi-conscious individuals carrying similar-looking balloons near said van. And the occasional ppptthhhhllllpppp of balloons escaping from those who perhaps overindulged.
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Re: Mifflin memories

Postby Ducatista » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:51 pm

I went to a couple Mifflins in the mid 80s. The first year was a happy, fun, totally Madison street party. Memories are pleasantly hazy. So was the air... the weed penalties back then were so low ($6 ticket for less than an ounce, I think?) that the cops rarely bothered.

Second year started off well enough, until I ended up babysitting my roommate's bad-tripping younger brother. Gave the proceedings the amateur-hour feel, and that's how I've thought of the block party ever since. Maybe unfairly, but no loss to either Mifflin or me.
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Re: Mifflin memories

Postby snoqueen » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:22 pm

I'll spare you tales from the early seventies, except to say it was an excellent spring party except they either had not invented porta potties yet, or no one thought to rent any.

I remember it as the first sunburn of the year, since I was usually working at one of the win-a-joint concessions and was out there all afternoon. The whole party pretty much fit in just the 400 block of W. Mifflin -- it wasn't all that huge. We'd go home by late afternoon -- I think the bands quit playing around 4-5 pm.
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Re: Mifflin memories

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:33 pm

Sno, as I usually brought my own joints, I probably didn't see you. But I always bought a one dollar special brownie at the stand by the coop.

scratch wrote:
Meade wrote:
jjoyce wrote:When I was a freshman in '89...

Nice piece of confessional writing. You should turn it into a book and go on Oprah.


"show me a comment of mine that was "off-topic" and I will remove it myself"

Let's see if the guy who quickly calls others "liar" is a hypocrite.
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Re: Mifflin memories

Postby wallrock » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:00 pm

I went once in my sophomore year. I had been in the CAE lab working on a project and some of my classmates asked me if I was going. I didn't know anything about it other than my roommates were supposedly there so after I wrapped up I decided to see what the fuss was all about. After swinging by Knuckleheads for a pack of smokes I demonstrated my ignorance by walking from State Street to E Mifflin instead. It took me a few blocks to realize my error and by the time I made it there the party appeared to be winding down, driven mostly indoors by a bit of rain. I recall standing at the corner of Bedford by that tanning place and asking a police officer if this was supposed to be the big party. He just told me to go home.
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Re: Mifflin memories

Postby snoqueen » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:14 pm

wallrock wrote:...I demonstrated my ignorance by walking from State Street to E Mifflin instead. It took me a few blocks to realize my error ....


I lived over by E. Mifflin for years, and this happened every spring. A few carloads of confused out-of-towners would be driving around our extremely dead neighborhood asking where's the party. Quite often, it appeared the party had already started right in their car.
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Re: Mifflin memories

Postby green union terrace chair » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:43 pm

snoqueen wrote:
wallrock wrote:...I demonstrated my ignorance by walking from State Street to E Mifflin instead. It took me a few blocks to realize my error ....


I lived over by E. Mifflin for years, and this happened every spring. A few carloads of confused out-of-towners would be driving around our extremely dead neighborhood asking where's the party. Quite often, it appeared the party had already started right in their car.

I hope you pointed them further to the east.
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