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Madison: Devoid of characters?

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

Madison: Devoid of characters?

Postby jjoyce » Fri May 17, 2013 3:11 pm

Keith Daniels is selling the Harmony and it occurs to me that he's one of Madison's remaining characters. He's got a bunch of stories, relates to everyone and everyone relates to him. People at his bar cheer when he's spotted on TV, sitting in his customary Miller Park seat, just over the shoulder of right-handed batters.

I think there are some people who try really hard to be characters, but in the end they come a lot closer to being a-holes. They don't entertain you when you run into them, they berate you and bore you with stories about themselves. They're big personalities, but there's a difference between that and characterhood, at least in my view.

Any nominees?
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Re: Madison: Devoid of characters?

Postby Endo Rockstar » Fri May 17, 2013 3:45 pm

Not sure if he's there yet, but Mr. Eric Schinker, of the New Recruits now Bes Monde fame, is well on his way. I have never seen the man void of a hearty handshake, a smile, and a hilarious quip.

Kyle Motor can tell the story of The Tornado Room gig where Schink showed up late as shit swearing up and down he just spent the last 20 minutes talking to Otis Redding in a storefront entryway.

-Dan Motor
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Re: Madison: Devoid of characters?

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri May 17, 2013 3:55 pm

Is Bobby Hines still kicking?
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Re: Madison: Devoid of characters?

Postby Meade » Fri May 17, 2013 4:20 pm

I nominate Brooke, a red lab I met at a Madison dog park. And for runner-up, her owner, Dennis.
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Re: Madison: Devoid of characters?

Postby jjoyce » Fri May 17, 2013 4:45 pm

Hinds. Perfect. A few times a week we see him exercising along the sidewalk with some kind of resistance band gizmo. And he basically charmed the hell out of a room at the book fest talking about growing up in Kenosha with Alan Ameche.

And I'll second the nomination for Schinky. I can't get to a Bes Monde show to save my life, it seems. It's a summertime priority.
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Re: Madison: Devoid of characters?

Postby grumpybear » Fri May 17, 2013 8:09 pm

Keith Daniels definitely rates as a character but not a likeable one. Not sure why people treat him with such respect. Every time I've entered the bar he has behaved (like an a##) poorly. He sits in his little sheepshead game and then barks orders to his workers. Whenever he has actually waited on me, he has been surly beyond believe. I honestly can't understand it because everyone else at the Harmony is really nice.
On the other hand, I love his bar. Good service, great food, live music (though I don't take advantage of it enough).
I'll leave it at that.
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Re: Madison: Devoid of characters?

Postby Detritus » Fri May 17, 2013 9:09 pm

The Norwegian guy who runs Lightouse lamp repair on Park Street is quite the raconteur. Definitely got the accent I used to hear all the time around here as a kid, too.
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Re: Madison: Devoid of characters?

Postby david cohen » Fri May 17, 2013 11:08 pm

Ok, this cat is on the opposite end of the political spectrum from myself, and he can be kind of a douche, but there is no doubt that Rodney Kreunen is a Character with a capital C. I don't know if he is even still alive.
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Re: Madison: Devoid of characters?

Postby Galoot » Sat May 18, 2013 4:51 pm

I agree that Keith Daniels is generally an a-hole, and many people I know agree. That waitress who was or is his girlfriend (Alison?) is even worse. The Harmony can only improve with new ownership, IMO.

As for Madison characters--Catfish Stephenson certainly seems to fit the bill. The guy certainly loves to play the blues, and does it extremely well. He claims to have taught a lot of younger Madison blues guitarists over the years. He's a great storyteller, and any time I've sat down next to him when he was playing for change during the Farmer's Market, we've had great conversations about a wide range of things. Oh, he's an avid fly fisherman too.

Which reminds me of the guy who runs El Tigre Lounge, the son of the owner. Also a good character, with lots of interesting stories.
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Re: Madison: Devoid of characters?

Postby green union terrace chair » Sat May 18, 2013 5:30 pm

You will never regard someone younger than yourself as a "character." Therefore, as you age the number of characters decreases as the old ones die and there are no new ones added to the count.

Conversely, the number of them damn annoying kids with their weird clothes and strange habits increases as you age.

Charting these two trends reveals one line dropping the the right and the other rising, with the bottom axis representing the observer's age. Jason, you're just on your steady and inexorable march rightward on that axis. :)
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Re: Madison: Devoid of characters?

Postby Bwis53 » Sat May 18, 2013 11:14 pm

http://host.madison.com/news/local/colu ... 963f4.html

The shoe repair guy on Park St. is a great character. I've had the pleasure of sitting with his buddies and reminiscing about the old days.
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Re: Madison: Devoid of characters?

Postby narcoleptish » Tue May 21, 2013 7:56 am

I'll second or third Hinds.

Bob Hanson, owner of Mr. Roberts. He's been on Atwood a lot longer than Keith (no disrespect) and is a true east side character.

The guy who runs the huge regular garage sales off Fair Oaks by the creek, and also the big one at Wil-Mar during Orton Fest. He's a world ranked Scrabble player.

Al Reichenberger. Lots of interesting stories...

Bob Lynch. Longtime Madison boxing coach/enthusiast/historian. Extremely pleasant man with a great sense of humor, endless stories, and I'd still want him on my side in a fight.

Joe Cerniglia. Fedora wearing guy from the old "bush" neighborhood. Used to (maybe still does?) put on the Italian Workmen's Festival. Again, many interesting stories.
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Re: Madison: Devoid of characters?

Postby jjoyce » Tue May 21, 2013 8:53 am

Dammit, I'm gonna come up with a character who's younger than me if it kills me!

In the bartender department, Howard Hayes might qualify as a genuine character:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hJT5FKeMV8
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Re: Madison: Devoid of characters?

Postby christopher_robin » Tue May 21, 2013 9:07 am

Marco Pogo!
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Re: Madison: Devoid of characters?

Postby rrnate » Tue May 21, 2013 9:35 am

Galoot wrote:Which reminds me of the guy who runs El Tigre Lounge, the son of the owner. Also a good character, with lots of interesting stories.


Yeah, this guy! He's got to be the only bartender I've ever had a real-deal talk with - I don't go to a bar looking to make friends with the bartender, but that guy is too damn ingratiating not to. Nice guy, good bartender, awesome bar, etc.

I'd add Rick from Rick's Gold, just based on his appearances on "The Ass Jammery" on WSUM (Thursday mornings) - dude is seemingly the very definition of a character.

Also, Schinky for sure.

I'd also add the dudes (pretty sure they're bros) who run Plaka Tavern (formerly Cleveland's) - that breakfast is worth it just to talk w/ those two.

The "younger people aren't characters, they're just assholes" observation is a pretty good one. That being said, there are definitely some younger folks I'd consider to be characters, mostly in bands. However, I will not name them here, as I think it's best that we continue to paint Jason as an old curmudgeon and I don't want to give him any tips.
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