There aren't a lot of theater stages that can claim to have hosted presidential speeches—and fewer yet for which that president was William Howard Taft. Opened in 1883, the Grand Opera House has seen performances by the likes of Mark Twain, Harry Houdini, and John Philip Sousa, among other culture-makers of distant generations. Across a century and a quarter, the magnificent auditorium has played the parts of a vaudeville venue and a movie theater, and it wasn't until the mid-'80s that the stage resumed its duties as an opera house. After a sweeping referendum, the city acquired and restored the building, and in 1986 it reopened with a new staging of The Bohemian Girl—the same work that had first lifted its curtains more than a 100 years earlier. Today, 660 can enjoy the opera house's historic magnificence: an enormous, staggered chandelier, cherubic murals across the ceiling and flanking the balcony, and an unmatched ambiance of crimson and gold grandeur.
Like many of Fox's lavish movie palaces, the Meyer opened in the 1930s, only to see its Spanish Atmospheric touches fade over the years as it became a modern triplex cinema. But once it was converted to its current incarnation as a live performing arts venue, the staff worked hard to restore its opulence, from the midnight-blue sky with twinkling stars to columns decorated with gold leaves. The theater's crown jewel, however, is the Mighty Wurlitzer organ, which was refurbished using the original 1927 blueprint. With its pipes ranging from the size of a pencil to 16 feet, the instrument boasts a range of tones and cinematic sound effects, such as horse hooves, chattering teeth, and David O. Russell roaring at his actors.
Keggers creates a lively atmosphere for casual parties and get-togethers. Its outdoor beer garden hosts live music events where patrons can sit at a wooden bar or lounge on the patio and sip a variety of beers including Miller Light, Spotted Cow, and Leinenkugel. For more intimate gatherings, the Lyric Room is available for rental as an event space with a 100-person capacity and entertainment capabilities for bands, DJs, or your fledgling mime act.
The Equinox Jazz Orchestra delivers soul to the stage, paying tribute to influential songwriter Johnny Mercer. At the Mostly Mercer Show, the band aurally embraces the audience with classic American songs, including “Fools Rush In,” “Days of Wine and Roses,” and “Blues in the Night.” Ears perk up at the sound of fondly remembered tunes such as “Moon River,” a greater success than either “Star Stream” or “Orbiting Celestial Body Waterfall.” Enjoy the high-octane trumpet wails and southern groove of band leader Jeremy Davis’s professional ensemble as it performs an original arrangement of Mercer’s music, specially commissioned by the Friends of Johnny Mercer to mark the songsmith’s centennial.
The team at Deerfield Pistol & Archery Center builds lasting relationships with their customers. Their certified instructors teach classes for all levels, including a one-on-one beginner shooters course and concealed-carry classes. From there, students might move on to one of the center's many shooting leagues, during which they can take aim at traditional targets?or in the case of the Cowboy Action Shoot?even fire towards bowling pins.
In addition to helping support the Union, a completely self-supporting, non-profit organization, a community membership to the Wisconsin Union grants card-carriers access to grand opening events, hotel discounts, specialty classes, and more. During summer, the Terrace on the shores of Lake Mendota hosts live music five nights a week, and the Lakeside Cinema screens films on Monday nights. Throughout the year, members can take advantage of renting rooms for events, purchasing food from the Union’s 21 eateries, campus-wide WiFi access, and a connection to the heart, soul, and sweaty date-night palms of the University of Wisconsin student body.