A Very Fond Farewell

I was taught that when something stops feeling fun and starts feeling like an obligation, it’s time to sit down and make a change, which is a nice way of saying that after four and a half years, LakeFrontRow is closing its doors.

You may have already noticed a downswing in content on this end. Life changes, time constraints, and a day job that just won’t quit have all led me to the realization that this space can no longer provide local arts coverage to a standard with which I’m comfortable.

Make no mistake, though, this was a difficult decision, especially after everything LakeFrontRow has accomplished. A film series at the Madison Library. A regular role previewing festivals from afar. An even stronger local commitment to Madison’s own Wisconsin Film Festival. Interviews. Podcast episodes. Premiere screenings. It’s been a truly remarkable ride, one that would not have been possible without many people. And so, a cavalcade of acknowledgements is in order:

My utmost gratitude goes out to Adam Blust, who was kind enough to put up with an endless deluge of web design questions, the bulk of which orbited around the dread-soaked, pulsating reality that I had no idea what the heck I was doing when embarking on this project.

I have yet to actually meet Capital Times editor Rob Thomas, but that didn’t stop him from graciously previewing our first screening in 2014 after a rather desperate request from yours truly. “LakeFrontRow Cinema” grew in variety and visibility from his first story.

Thanks to Madison Film Forum, especially Jim Kreul, whose magnanimous approach to sharing our content can never be overstated.

Where would we be without UW Cinematheque and the Wisconsin Film Festival? Ben Reiser in particular has nurtured a confidence and trust in this operation that was critical to getting LakeFrontRow in the “local media” conversation at all, and I will never forget that.

I’d be remiss if I failed to recognize the hardworking people at Tone Madison. Scott Gordon has been the model I’ve most tried to emulate in my years as editor-in-something here. I thank him for always valuing our voice in the reporting landscape — and for not calling me out for (rather poorly) mimicking most of what Tone does so well.

Four years ago, Trent Miller of the Bubbler reached out to a complete stranger and asked if he had any interest in programming a film series at the Madison Library. After I agreed to it, Lisa Mettauer, who’s likely enjoying a retirement cocktail on a beach right now, put up with my wonky marketing skills and offbeat communication habits. That goes double for her successor Sean Ottosen, whose unwavering confidence in “LakeFrontRow Cinema” has been vital to my sanity.

I also need to thank anyone who’s ever contributed to this space in any way. That includes the far-flung bloggers of our halcyon days, where writers just barely tolerated my scattershot editorial direction. A great deal of the relevance and sharpness of LakeFrontRow in recent years is because of Grant Phipps, whose skill for packing so much into so little is a talent I envy and admire in equal proportion. I am proud to have worked alongside him and will continue to enjoy reading whatever he writes.

Finally, thank you to you. To anyone who’s ever read something in this space or taken a gamble on a Wed evening at the Central Library, I sincerely thank you. What began as a poor distillation of The AV Club’s film section has transformed into something smaller in scope and with a purpose far more meaningful than anything I could have imagined; our round table discussion this past spring only solidified that. Any self-respecting journalist with more time on his hands would take that momentum and run with it, but I find comfort in having been involved in an event that felt like a culmination of our mission here: To tell you about the great stuff happening in your own backyard. Hopefully, in some way, we accomplished that.

Thanks for reading,

David Klein, Editor-in-something