The Friday List is a recurring feature in which we jog memories, spark thoughts and perhaps generate debate in one of the grandest formats devised by man … the almighty list. Are we missing something? Are we dead wrong? Offer your thoughts on the list du jour by heading to the Valley Review’s Twitter or Facebook pages.
It’s a hopeful time. It’s a goal setting time and there’s a fresh, positive energy around us.
The new year has arrived and many of us are setting forth on a mission to take full advantage of the fresh calendar.
At Valley Review, we did a little brainstorming and came up with some resolutions that we think will keep that tank of hope full and the energy high as the year continues on. We live in a vibrant and creative place that’s full of opportunity. In setting resolutions, there’s no better time to recognize it.
Here’s our list of 10 artful resolutions to make the very most of 2020 from the very best around us.
Get to a Fox Valley museum: This one will take priority for those hoping to catch “Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World.” The exhibit at the History Museum at the Castle will come to a close after Sunday, so there’s no minute like the last one for those who’ve procrastinated. But there’s plenty more to explore such as the Appleton Historical Society Museum, the Trout Museum of Art and Hearthstone. In Neenah, there’s the Bergstrom Mahler Museum of Glass. There’s a lot of beauty and oh so many items of interest. And as for Appleton museums, you can catch a bargain. Purchase a Museums of Appleton Pass from Downtown Appleton Inc. and catch five museums for $25.
Listen local: The Fox Valley is chock full of amazing, original music talent. To be ignorant of their work while listening to that same Eagles song for the bazillionth time is almost sinful. Catch some shows and if you like what you hear, pick up a CD from the merch table before heading home. Listen in to WAPL’s Home Brewed on Saturday morning or tune into 91.1 The Avenue. If you like what you hear, head out to a show. Keep the circle going throughout 2020.
Catch some independent films: No one wants to miss the latest blockbuster and be left out of the watercooler talk. Though there’s something special in exploring the creative endeavors found beneath radar. The Fox Valley has a number of opportunities throughout the year to view films created locally and buzzworthy, smaller productions from well beyond our region. Local events include the Wildwood Film Festival and The Film Forte in Appleton as well as the Weyauwega International Film Festival.
Explore our public art: Our museums are great, but there’s something about taking in the beautiful and the thought provoking while out in the sunshine. Take an afternoon or several and dedicate it to the many murals and sculptures that adding to Fox Valley life. It’s one thing to admire while driving by. It’s a fuller experience to get up close and take some time with the pieces. Make a point this year to give the works their due.
Take in some comedy: The Fox Valley has long been spoiled with its access to the funniest men and women in the country. Skyline Comedy Club has long been well-regarded venue among comedians building strong reputations and has hosted a number that have gone on to reach super stardom. The region has built a strong stable of local comedians — several of which have gone on and toured nationally. If you’re looking for those already at superstar status, look no further than venues including the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Weidner Center, Resch Center and Meyer Theater — all of which regularly bring in top acts to feed our needs for comic relief.
Redecorate: The Fox Valley is blessed with some fabulous visual artists who’d love your support. And let’s face it: everyone knows that landscape in your living room came from Bed, Bath and Beyond. Get original, whether it’s from Art At The Park or any one of our many local galleries. The hunt is the best part. Chat with the artist. Find something that screams your unique style. And know there’s still plenty of dental reception areas that’ll keep the Homegoods wall art section humming along.
Make live music routine: If you’re at home and bored at any point during the Fox Cities summer, you’ve officially given up. There’s music everywhere and at often at the very best admission price: free. We’re blessed with some incredible performers. We’re just as blessed that there are so many places giving them a stage. There are community music series in Kaukauna, Neenah and Appleton. Community bands stage regular performances in Kimberly, Little Chute, Appleton and Neenah. There’s no reason to have live music as a once-in-awhile form of entertainment. Resolve to get out once or more a week.
Check out a new venue: It’s easy to get comfortable and we’re all guilty in some degree with settling into familiar places. Fact is, there are many, many excellent venues for live music in the Fox Valley hosting a variety of genres. Head over to Lawrence Memorial Chapel for free to inexpensive concerts featuring some of the finest young musicians in the country. Hit a coffeehouse for a latte and some acoustic numbers or any one of several great live music bars for a few beers and some full bands. However you do it, make a point to get to some places you haven’t yet been and support their efforts to support our artists.
Take in some theater: The next year will bring some amazing Broadway tours to the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. Enjoy, but don’t stop there. The Fox Valley has some incredible community theater troupes including Attic Theatre and Neenah’s Riverside Players. Many of our high schools are putting forth some elaborate productions. Do yourself a favor and get lost in their stories.Create: Show your bravery. Be willing to be vulnerable. Give it your best. There are plenty of places to put your creativity into motion. Paint at Pinot’s Palette. Try your hand at mosaics or pottery at The Fire. Dust off the guitar case and hit an open mic. However you choose to do so, add to the artistic energy.