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The Wisconsin State Journal Melanie Conklin Column: Some Madison Love for Locksley

February 15, 2007

By Melanie Conklin, The Wisconsin State Journal

Feb. 14–”When is the last time an unsigned band played Jimmy Kimmel?” asks Guy Benny. “I’ll tell you the last time it happened: Never.”

The band set to change that, says Benny, is a group of Madison guys who now live in Brooklyn, N.Y.: Locksley, who are set to appear March 2 on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Benny, the band’s manager and producer, bemoans that the group gets little love in its hometown, but “the guys all love Madison.”

The band, made up of Madison West grads Sam Bair, Aaron Collins, Jesse Laz-Hirsch and Kai Kennedy (the stepson of Chancellor John Wiley), is getting plenty of national love. Rolling Stone placed them among the top 25 bands on MySpace.com, they’re in Elle Magazine’s current issue (“It may be the closest we ever get to Jessica Simpson,” band members joke at www.bandoflocksley.com). And Spin, Benny says, is including Locksley in a March feature as “a breakthrough band.” And Locksley songs have been featured on “Project Runway,”"Lost,”"America’s Next Top Model,” as well as two Payless Shoes commercials.

Now show your love: go buy Locksley’s new album, “Don’t Make Me Wait.”

National honor for Rosenthal

Since 2001, the New York-based news service Women’s eNews has highlighted women whose work “will shape the upcoming year on issues crucial to women and girls.” Nominations for this year were whittled down to “21 leaders for the 21st century” and among them is Hannah Rosenthal, who splits her time between Madison, where she lives with her husband, Rick Phelps, and Chicago, where she is executive director of the Chicago Foundation for Women.

You might remember Rosenthal from her time as director of the state Democratic Party in Madison or from her work in Bill Clinton’s administration in Health and Human Services. But she was picked for this honor, says editor in chief Rita Henley Jensen, due to her anti-violence advocacy campaign to “make Illinois the safest state for all women and girls.”

Reality outside TV

NBC-15′s Rob Crain, who’s been the news director at WMTV for almost two years and was responsible for adding four additional newscasts, is quitting his job on March 9.

Crain, who also spent a decade at WISC-3, says he’s leaving the TV news business altogether this time. “I’m looking forward to seeing what the ‘real world’ is like,” says Crain. “Basically, I’m just looking for a new challenge.”

One big goal is spending more time with his children, ages 4 and 8, who “want to see me a little bit more.”

Martini Bob makes Cosmo

“Martini Bob” Perry is in the middle of putting together a contest to find Madison’s ugliest bartender for charity, and says he plans to enter. (More details on that as it comes together.)

But Perry, the famed mixologist behind the bar at Smoky’s, just got included among “five of the hottest bar chefs” by Cosmopolitan magazine, which singled him out in its February issue for this concoction: the Malibu Coconutini. The mix of equal parts Malibu rum, Irish cream and chocolate liqueur goes in a chocolate-drizzled glass, garnished with “a chocolate lollipop.” Perry shares other creative beverages on his site: martinibobs.com.

Spend Valentine’s Day with Mr. Wrong

If you abhor Valentine’s Day, this book reading might be for you. Wednesday at Borders West, Wisconsin Trails editor Harriet Brown reads from her new book, “Mr. Wrong,” where she reveals the story of a lover who dressed up in his dead mother’s clothes.

The book, a compilation of two dozen essays on bad love and rotten lovers, includes confessions from two other well-known Madison writers, who will join Brown tonight. Jacquelyn Mitchard confesses her passion for a man who turned out to be impotent. And travel writer Raphael Kadushin tells the tale of a dream guy he met while entwining tongues in the dark at a gay club in London.

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Copyright (c) 2007, The Wisconsin State Journal

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.

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