Tag Archives: Wisconsin

Anxieties of a Drug Trafficker

Madison, WI – One recent afternoon at the Brass Ring – a billiards bar on Madison’s east side – “Buddy,” a Wisconsin-based marijuana trafficker, talked the pros and cons of his business. He suggested that a rash of heroin-related high jinks across Dane County over the last year has stifled its growth as authorities step-up their interdiction efforts. “Anytime you get into a period like this – and I’ve noticed waves of it happening in the past – people become a little more insular about who they work with,” he said, nursing a Bloody Mary. “There’s no new faces and… Continue Reading

McKenna and Droogs Torment Private Citizen

Madison, WI – Every so often I’m blown away by an outstanding work of journalism. I love a well developed and thought provoking piece that enriches my understanding of the world I inhabit. I stumbled upon such journalism earlier this week, a work by Brian Sikma, an ambitious writer who pins down provocative issues with probing questions and unflinching fortitude. On Dec. 4, The Green Bay Press Gazette posted a story on its Facebook page about Wisconsin’s Department of Justice plan to slash funding for its Sexual Assault Victim Services program by 42.5 percent. The program, established in 1995, provides… Continue Reading

Daisy Dick’s Draggy Debut

The band plays to a nascent audience. Black River Falls, WI – Ya gotta love salient coincidences, those ones that punctuate life in ways that might tempt you to ascribe to them some deeper more transcendent meaning. On Thursday morning, as we rolled into Black River Falls, we saw hanging above the highway a banner announcing that weekend’s Jackson County Fair, which last year I worked as a carnie for Wenzel Amazements, an experience that in part inspired this current endeavor. Like the Wenzels I was back in Black River Falls to work a festival, a different one being held… Continue Reading

Killing Time in the Dells

A wax depiction of a technique developed in ancient China where rats are encouraged to eat people alive. Wisconsin Dells, WI – Normally I’m not keen on tourist towns, with their bubble-gummy aesthetic and overpriced fare, but there are exceptions, of course. Wisconsin Dells, where I spent my Fourth of July, is one of them. And though I’ve visited dozens of times over the years, it still holds a secret or two. Located about 50 miles north of Madison, along Highway 12, the city, along with nearby Lake Delton, attracts more than five million visitors annually. Famous for its massive… Continue Reading

Comp Time with Marcus the Karcus

One day in the mid-1990s, Marcus the Karcus, then 16, was flipping through a magazine in an underground bookstore when he came across some pictures of people hanging from hooks. Having always been drawn to the macabre, young Marcus was instantly mesmerized by the photos. “This is the world I wanted to be in,” he recalls thinking. “It seemed like one of those things that only went on in big cities, not something that was accessible to me.” Nine years later, Karcus, as he’s generally known, began exploring body modification. One day while getting pierced, he noticed a picture on… Continue Reading

Operation Stash Recovery

Residents wait in the brutal heat for the fire department's okay to retrieve belongings from their apartment. Madison, WI – Yesterday morning I received a text from my friend Nick Mortensen telling me that his apartment complex was on fire. After waking to a knocking on the door, he saw the the fire trucks outside, but didn’t hear any smoke alarms. No one even yelled ‘Fire!’ Nonetheless, he grabbed some things and went to the club for a workout. By the time he returned, flames had engulfed the roof of the building. One of the things I like most about… Continue Reading

Highway History: Myself, a Marker and the Massacre

Near the confluence of the Bad Axe and Mississippi Rivers, outside of Victory, WI. Victory, WI – The nation’s highways are dotted with commemorative plaques, memorials and points-of-interest. Wisconsin alone has 520 such markers, each offering a tidbit of state-approved history. Many of these markers are tributes to obscure local figures, events or milestones, significant to few beyond the civic boosters who raised the money for their creation. Most are forgotten as quickly as they’re read. But every once in a while one will arouse the imagination and compel you to contemplate an unimaginable history. Here, just south of Victory,… Continue Reading

Home Sweet Home

The state capitol in Madison, WI. Madison, WI – I’ve been back home for nearly a month now. The plan was to drop off my belongings, which I hauled back from Philly, then head south along the Mississippi to New Orleans. Based on the destruction from the gazillion tornadoes that have torn through Missouri and other states, I’d argue the decision to not leave right away was somewhat fortuitous. Although, I am pretty certain the new ultra-wide angle lens I purchased this week would’ve captured the destruction well. I began working on a cover story for Madison’s weekly tabloid for… Continue Reading