Mama Madison: Moms take the stage

This year, it's more than brunch

We have no real time-honored traditions around Mother's Day in our house. I'm not really one much for flowers. My houseplant curse carries over to cut bouquets; anything green in my care will die a natural death within hours--unless the cat gets to it first. And breakfast in bed, while glamorous in theory, ends up with crumbs, and then ants in places they shouldn't be. If the weather is nice (which I am not counting on this spring), biking over to the east side for a Lazy Jane's scone is sweet, and a handmade card even sweeter. But other than that, a day of lazy nothing sounds pretty darn good to celebrate my maternal status.

But this particular Mother's Day there's an intriguing performance going on in Madison that could inspire me to experience Mother's Day in a whole new way. The first is the back-by-popular-demand LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER show at the Barrymore. The brainchild of Madison-based "stay-at-home" humorist Ann Imig, LTYM features live readings by local writers, primarily the kind that publish on-line, musing on "the beauty, the beast, and the barely-rested of motherhood."

By all accounts last years inaugural event was more than just a well-executed series of live readings. It was akin to a spiritual event--a revival of sorts--bringing amazingly talented women together to tell their stories, both happy and haunting, of the divergent paths of motherhood. Two friends of mine, both of whose writing I tremendously admire, took the stage last year and claimed the experience was transformative for both the performers and audience alike. This year, LTYM is taking it on the road with locally produced shows in new cities including Austin and Los Angeles. But the concept was born in Madtown, and with such talented Wisconsin women as Deb Nies, Elizabeth Katt-Reinders , and Sara Santiago participating at the 3 PM Mother's Day event, I have no doubt this is a perfect opportunity for mamas in Madison to take second-Sunday-in-May celebrations to a whole new level.

Twenty area high schools students"Jewish, Christian and Muslim"are the focus of the second show. While teens won't always listen to their mother, these kids have gotten the opportunity to "listen to the other" in a unique semester-long program launched by the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions (a UW-Madison initiative and my employer). Called the "Courage Project", this is LISAR's first program involving area youth. In the Mother's Day final performance you'll witness these kids sharing experiences of personal courage and burgeoning interfaith friendships through original poetry, interpretive dance and song.

Rohany Nayan, LISAR's Graduate Fellow has developed something pretty special with this program. She, a Muslim, along with Cantor Debbie Martin of Temple Beth El and Pastor Katie Baardseth of Midvale Lutheran have created a program that trains teens to develop the courage necessary to work through stereotypes about others and to communicate honestly with each other about their personally held beliefs. Oh, and all three are moms. I guess that should come as no surprise.

Hopefully my oldest can get involved in next year's incarnation. I can't think of a better Mother's Day present he could give me than new, unexpected friends and broadened social and intellectual horizons. Oh, and of course the chance of course to see him on stage. Gypsy Rose Lee's mom had nothing on me.

Sure, sleeping in and a manicure rarely disappoint, but both of these Sunday afternoon performances sound like pretty satisfying ways to spend Mother's Day.

And there's always time for a Lazy Jane's scone beforehand.

comments powered by Disqus

More to read

Loading More Articles
No More Articles

Mama Madison: When mom gets a new roomie

This past week, against both my will and better judgement, I accompanied 50 or so middle school kids to the Future Problem Solvers Wisconsin State Bowl, a popular academic and skit-writing competition. It was my husband who had originally signed up to chaperone the event, thinking that spending a few days with his 11-year-old daughter and her compatriots would serve as an excellent anthropological experience. But when an unexpected work obligation made it impossible for him to attend, it was me left holding the bag

Mama Madison: Earth Day awareness

It may be a bigger waste of breath than electricity to ask my kids to turn off the lights when they leave a room. If I've nagged them once, I've nagged them a thousand times. No, I've never noticed anything amiss with their fingers. But it appears they are physically incapable of flipping a switch to the "off" position.

Mama Madison: Parents should know and understand school codes of conduct

I want to say thank you to the Board of Education for allowing Maia to return to class, unquestionably the place she belongs, as well as to thank them for adopting the new policies. But just as importantly, I also want to thank Maia and her family for their willingness to come forward with their story.

Helping your kids stick with music lessons

Some clever-clogs is playing Rachmaninoff on the piano at a party, and there it is again, that oft-heard adult lament of lost opportunity from a dejected onlooker: "I wish I could play. I wish my parents hadn't let me quit music lessons. I was just a kid -- how was I to know?" It's a reasonable complaint.

A summer camp quiz for parents

If you're checking out summer camps for your child, there are many issues -- some obvious, some less so -- to keep in mind. Here's a list to keep handy when you contact camps and camp directors, looking for the perfect spot for your kids to have fun, relax, and learn this summer.

Mama Madison: Lessons in dining out

I know, in the grand scheme of things, that my kid issues, when it comes to dining out, absolutely pale in comparison to those of parents whose kids have special needs. Many kids, especially those who are on the autism spectrum, are disturbed by changes in their routine, or anxious around noisy places. They may not be able tolerate waiting for a table or standing in line. So unfortunately, many of these families just avoid eating out at restaurants altogether.

Mama Madison: Natural vs. un-natural parenting

It's weird to admit this, especially in a city surrounded by as much outdoor beauty as Madison. But frankly, I'm just not that into nature. I'm more of an indoor kind of gal. Give me an afternoon at the Chazen or the Wisconsin Historical Museum over the Arboretum or Olbrich Gardens any day.

Mama Madison: Theatrical talent close to home

Lavish costumes, gorgeous sets, a full orchestra and a concession stand where nothing cost more than two bucks and you have a pitch perfect experience at the theater. Oh, and did I mention the ticket prices were just $10 dollars apiece? One could afford to take the whole family for a live theater experience for less than an evening at the Lego movie would cost including popcorn.

Mama Madison: Race to shame

I think the first time in recent years that I've felt a real sense of shame, as both a parent and community member, was last Tuesday evening as I sat in a crowded elementary school LMC to listen to Ken Taylor, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, and his colleague, Torry Wynn, present key findings from the 2013 Race to Equity report to our PTO group.

Hancock Center addresses bullying through body movement

It's Wednesday morning at Allis Elementary School on Madison's east side, and 16 third-graders -- 10 boys and six girls -- enter into an open-space classroom in typical wiggly, giggly style. Some are making goofy faces at one another, some are bouncing around hand-in-hand with friends, and others are just trying to stay out of the whirling-dervish path of activity.

Mama Madison: Get in the picture

Of the 789 poorly-composed, way-too-dark and out-of-focus photos currently living on my iPhone, I can count on two hands the number that show my kids and me together. And my husband is in probably no more than three or four of those.

Mama Madison: Welcome to the Parenting Olympics

Something kind of magical has happened these past two weeks during the Sochi Olympics. There is no question, debate or disagreement on what will be watched on television once all homework is done. Everyone in the family makes time to sit down together to watch an hour of so of the primetime televised games.

Mama Madison: Facebook's instant nostalgia fix

Truth be told, though, this month I'm feeling a bit cinematically fried. In some ways, I already feel like I've spent the last week or so at a film festival. A festival specializing in minute-long glimpses of ordinary lives all ending with credits that feature the ubiquitous blue thumbs-up. Yes, it's been the February of the Facebook movie.

Mama Madison: The kindness question

Just last week, on precisely the same day the Momastery post was getting over a million well-deserved views, Madison mom Suzanne Buchko was telling a similar story. Not on a blog but instead in the confines of the modestly circulated Franklin-Randall Elementary School weekly newsletter.

Toddlers take to tablets

Late last month, the Madison Metropolitan School District adopted a five-year, $27.7 million technology plan calling for all district students, including those in the primary grades, to have significantly increased access to their very own tablet or notebook computer by 2019. Some parents, as well as education professionals, questioned whether elementary-aged kids, especially kindergarteners who aren't even able to read or write yet, will gain much benefit from introducing yet another screen into their lives.

Mama Madison: Science or study hall?

This past Monday, had winter's unrelenting weather allowed, Middleton Cross Plains School District teacher Andrew Harris would have once again been at the helm of a classroom. After nearly four years of fighting his dismissal from Glacier Creek Middle School for viewing and passing on sexually explicit material on district computers, MCPSD has been legally forced to reinstate Herris, this time as a seventh-grade science teacher at Kromrey Middle School.

Mama Madison: MTV provides a teachable moment

In a study published last week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, academics have found that the 16 and Pregnant series may have played a significant role in the recent decrease in U.S. teen pregnancies.

Mama Madison: Planning for the MLK holiday

In our house, sad but true, we've rarely spent the Martin Luther King holiday discussing race, social justice or the power of non-violent civil disobedience. Instead, the third Monday in January has historically been treated as just another day off school, just another long weekend. And it's been a missed opportunity.

Mama Madison: The long vacation

It's not something that happens very often, but last Friday, as news of the impending arctic cold snap reached our house, my kids were rooting for Governor Scott Walker. They were rooting for him to take Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's lead and cancel school throughout the state. They couldn't care less if he had the authority to do such a thing -- if he called off school, he'd be their hero.

Mama Madison: Cheating 101 at Middleton High School

Late last semester, as students were packing up their backpacks one final time before winter break, Middleton High School principal Denise Herrmann and assistant principal Lisa Jondle were co-authoring a note home to parents informing them of a widespread cheating scandal involving nearly 250 calculus students at the school.


Emails from Isthmus Parents feature event highlights, story links, site updates, and occasional special offers from trusted sources. Name and email address are required. Thanks!