Welcome to the Wild Hog in the Woods Coffeehouse

25th Anniversary Celebrations

1978 - 2003

If you have digital photos, please share them here. Contact Jamie Poindexter.

Letter from a Hog far away

Batya Salzman Levy writes about her memories of the Hog.


June 20, KG & the Ranger, and the Open Mic.

KG and the Ranger

Open Mike    Open Mike

Tom running sound


March 28, Roxanne Neat, with Debbie Kmetz.

Roanne Neat   Roxanne Neat and Deb Kmetz

The Audience


A 25th anniversary letter from Batya Salzman LevyMarch 14, 2003

Well, well, well.

Found to my delight the Wild Hog website, and immediately was transported back through TWENTY FIVE years. Read Gordy and Agnes' ten year letter, and knew I absolutely had to join in, so hang on tight, campers………………

One of my sweetest accomplishments is having been an Original Hogger, from the very start. From endless coffee and free eggs (thanks Peter) at the late, lamented Spudnuts, to jams that touched heaven from our living rooms, those years of the early Hog were magic. Forgive the name dropping, but let's see, it was Peter Houser, Gordy Hinners, Deb Kmetz, Ken Rineer, Jamie Hascall and the amazing Agnes and her clan. Plus about thirty others - I'm a little fuzzy thinking about 1976. For months we played and performed at the Farmer's Market on Capitol Square, passing the hat and looking as homeless as we were. Word spread. Jams weren't enough.

And then that glorious benefit marathon on Willy Street (August '76??). We begged everything from everywhere; coffee, chairs, sound equipment. The co-ops and collectives of Madison gave with a rueful smile; you'll never make it, those days are over, but take the coffee and God bless. Michael Heckman (ahh, Michael) brought and worked the soundboard, then and for months afterwards. I may still have the poster somewhere, and I know I have the T-shirt!! The Green Lantern agreed to a partnership and the rest, apparently, is an astonishing quarter century of cooperation and great music.

For most of you probably reading this, I'm a stranger. So, no I never played an instrument, and my only participation onstage was as emcee or sometimes singing, my only (modest) musical ability. Mostly I sung offstage. A clear memory is the night someone gave us a large ceramic piggybank for the modest pass the hat cash. I emceed that night, informed the house of the new gift, and reminded everyone to fill up the pig. Presto, Phillup the Pig lives!!

It was all about the music, of course. Madison was - and from what I see on the website, still is - a magnet for the best backporch musicians in the Midwest. Pickers, plunkers, and pretty much everyone else. Ken's broomstick bass, Gordy's banjo, Peter's guitar, Chris Powers' sweet lightening, Jamie's bones and spoons, somebody's fiddles and harps. Concerts by Dan and Roxanne, Claudia Schmidt, Jim Post, and the best pickin' and grinnin', blues and any eclectic mayhem that would stick together and call themselves a band for the evening, like Michael M. and Tamin (ahh, Tamin) …….My mind boggles with the memory of making so much joyful noise. The friendships were like the music; we loved each other. We grew into it, learning budgets, organization, electronics, delegation, city bureaucracy etc., while going to class, falling in and out of love, and raising Sally. 1976 Madison as microcosm - The Churchkey, Club de Wash, WORT, barndances, Lienie's Bock, the 602, and, as ever, Spudnuts. And the flow of folks in and out, roommates, sweethearts, relatives, all willing to bake and haul and just show up out of compassion for a new performer so they wouldn't play to an empty room. I think the word is synchronicity - that sublime twist of luck that puts people and circumstances in the same room, and a new life form emerges.

I was back to visit in 1981, then for the last time in 1984, for a Hogger's party. Then Peter and Jamie went to points northwest, Gordy to North Carolina, and me, eventually, to Chicago for over 16 years. I see dearest Deb's name on the website, and send my heart's hello to her and any other well-remembered co-conspirators who see this letter. As for me, very briefly and without all the juicy bits, I have been living in Israel for seven years, have three nearly grown sons, am now divorced and living with my sweetheart. We house and feed various and sundry sons, a dog and cat, and wait for World War III. I teach English, rarely sing and at the ripe age of this close to 46, have finally cut my hair.

My email is letbe50@hotmail.com. Use it!!! Let me know how the fates have treated you. Many, many blessings for this, the 25th Anniversary of the Wild Hog, for all of you who have taken up the reins and pulled. Sing one in my name.

Batya Salzman Levy




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