Hey there, Badgers. Welcome to a new academic year, and welcome to the ArtsEtc. section of The Badger Herald. If you’ve decided to read this column, you’ve already proven to be a person who has marginal interest in the contents of this section, and by reading these first three sentences, you’ve already shown yourself to be a supporter of student journalism. Good job. I implore you to stay a little while. Peruse through these pages a bit. Pick one or two (or more) articles that seem interesting to you and read them. If you do this with some frequency, I guarantee you’ll know much more about the City of Madison’s bounty of arts-related entertainment than if you hadn’t.
It’s been proven that a small minority of humans take no pleasure out of listening to music. If you are in the majority who considers music (and the arts) to be an essential part of your life, you owe it to yourself to check out The Badger Herald ArtsEtc. section every once in a while, if not frequently. I guarantee you’ll have a much better college experience because of it.
When I was a freshman, I went to a university in the middle of Orange County, California. Orange County is a sprawling suburbia that seems to have replaced “culture” with rich, white Republicans who will call the police on you if you’re playing loud music after 9 p.m. As a Twin Cities native, I felt stifled, like a part of my life that was very important to me had suddenly been ripped from my grasp. Los Angeles — a cultural centerpiece of the entire world — was a traffic-ridden, 40-minute drive away. Not even the film school I was in could provide me with the escape I needed: I learned very quickly that the L.A. film industry is more about money than creative passion.
So I GTFOed and transferred to the University of Wisconsin. I was immediately amazed by the wealth of entertainment and culture the city had to offer. My freshman year was an exercise in not knowing what you’ve got — in my case, culture — until it’s gone. My sophomore year, it all came back.
My involvement with The Badger Herald started almost immediately after moving to Madison, and my work here has gotten me to see things that I otherwise wouldn’t have seen on my own. I got neon paint in my eyes at an EDM festival. I sat in a lecture in College Library with a bunch of old professors and learned about the history of microfilm. I snuggled with a complete stranger at a short-lived Madison business called “The Snuggle House.” I talked to the lead singer of Tame Impala about taking drugs with The Flaming Lips. I went to a Skrillex concert alone.
If you spend your four years at UW going from class to “Friday After Class” to the bars to hungover mornings to the bars again, you’ll be cutting yourself off from the myriad opportunities this crazy city has to offer. You might have fun, but all those nights out will blend together. Trying out the things you discover in the ArtsEtc. section will provide essential variety to an otherwise kaleidoscopic four years of partying and studying and partying and studying. Culture is a good thing. It’s good for the soul.
One of the best ways to get exposed to everything this city has to offer is by walking into the Badger Herald office. The ArtsEtc. section is always looking for new, gifted writers with a passion for discovering those arts-related things around campus that would otherwise go unnoticed by the student population. My Madison experience has been made so much better because of it. I guarantee (for the third time in the column so far) that yours will too.