The engine of communities across the USA is creativity. If not for the makers, the communities would be less vibrant, the human experience less enriching, our daily lives less full. Commonstate is a tribute to creative thinkers in every community who believe that a culture of creativity is a better culture for all.

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A story and a vision: My conversation with documentary filmmaker Erik Ljung

“I was literally watching the Olympics at home when Sherman Park happened. My buddy plays for team Nigeria in basketball and I was watching and scrolling through Instagram and I saw an activist that I follow was posting videos of people smashing cop cars. I thought, where is this happening? A little later he posted more stuff and I was like, holy shit. This is in Milwaukee. So I flipped on the news and just grabbed my camera and raced over there.”

Confessions of an escapist: I'm a middle-aged gamer

I worked at JC Penney in 1982. Employee #750. Yes, I still remember. My department was ground zero for the sales of hundreds of Sony Walkmen – the first cassette version – and my cash register was where hundreds of small town Wisconsinites (in Beloit, specifically) went home with the culinary wonders of the revolutionary microwave oven.

IKEA, Where Dreams Are Made

I read an article a few years back about how shopping at IKEA was a sign you weren’t really an adult yet. But, if you shopped at West Elm, that was it. Frankly, I think you’re stupid if you trade one for the other and I am vehemently opposed to the assertion your worth comes from which home decor store you are financially able to shop at. 

Talking to The Posies about life, harmonies, power pop and tacos

In the pantheon of pop/rock music there are only a handful of iconic duos – those whose voices mesh together seamlessly, whose songwriting and approach perfectly complement each other, who sang as if some kind of magic wand tapped them on the vocal cords at birth and made it so. There is Lennon & McCartney, Simon & Garfunkel, Phil and Don Everly, and I submit, Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of the Posies.

The brilliant pop songs of Michael Rault and "sounding like the 70s"

There was a something happening in the late 60s and early 70s where bands – and a whole bunch of them – found their own voice very quickly. When you consider that Led Zeppelin came out of the woodwork with a sound no one had heard before, taking traditional blues and blowing the cover off of it making it their own, they in many ways didn’t invent hard rock; they invented a sound that can only be described, simply, as Led Zeppelin.

In Which We Gorged Ourselves Silly

There’s a certain sadness when a beloved restaurant closes, not dissimilar to what it feels like to read a book you become completely immersed in only to have its events and characters leave your life with the turn of the last page. To celebrate our two year anniversary, my boyfriend and I had dinner at Circa 1880.

A Story Worthy of a Movie: My week at the Cannes Film Festival

It’s hard to say whether or not my job found me or I found it. There’s a great possibility that some divine power above chose to marry two desperate situations into one, creating both a powerhouse duo (if I do say so myself) and a killer friendship. Talent casting is not a business most find themselves in, and when I woke up with the job, I was surprised to myself there.

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