It's "Madison Week" at OnMilwaukee.com. We sent our editorial staff to check out bars, restaurants, retail outlets and cultural venues in order to uncover some of the best of Wisconsin's second-largest city.
MADISON -- Staying in the Edgewater Hotel in Madison meant I regularly walked past the Quisling Clinic, 2 W. Gorham St., made famous by Elvis Costello in his 1979 tune, "Green Shirt," from the "Armed Forces" LP. Well, he made it famous among his fans.
"Cause somewhere in the Quisling Clinic
There's a shorthand typist taking seconds over minutes
She's listening in to the Venus line
She's picking out names
I hope none of them are mine"
That the former clinic's awesome art deco architecture matches that of the Edgewater is no coincidence. The story goes that the Edgewater was actually built to provide shelter to the patients who traveled from far and wide to visit the Quisling, which was sort of a Mayo Clinic back in the day.
The building was converted into the Quisling Terrace apartments in 2000. Costello once said he'd seen the sign outside the building when driving past and jotted it down in his ideas notebook.
Later, I walked down to Law Park, along Lake Monona, to pay tribute to Otis Redding, who died when his plane crashed into the lake exactly 41 years and one day before my visit. I dragged Andy Tarnoff along in my fruitless search to find the monument to Otis placed in the park. Like the lake, Law Park was iced over and frigid, curtailing our quest.
Otis was traveling with his band The Bar-Kays from Cleveland to Madison for a gig at The Factory, 315 W. Gorham St., which was later home to Canterbury Books and now to Avol's. I passed this site on my way down to the lake.
Turns out the memorial is on the William T. Evjue Rooftop Garden in Monona Terrace.
The musical leg of my Madison trip closed with a visit to the High Noon Saloon, where the OnMilwaukee.com editorial staff missed Fever Marlene but got to see The Blueheels instead.
The next morning on the way out of town we passed Smart Studios on Washington Avenue, where Nirvana recorded "Nevermind."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.