This week’s artist’s Spotlight is on @valerie79 (Valerie and Deegan)
- Tell me a little about yourself.
Valerie: “We moved from Madison, WI to Waterloo, WI in September of 2017 after casually looking for a place where we could have separate spaces for our creative endeavors. After seeing The Mode building online, we decided to have a look, and while it wasn’t exactly what I had imagined for myself (pastoral with room for a pet goat) it was a really cool property and too good to pass up.
The property comes with a separate building that had been a barbershop and is now my art studio, so it was basically perfect for us. I mostly do pop-style acrylic painting and odds and ends art–mainly gluing googly eyes or glitter on EVERYTHING, so it’s nice to be able to keep that contained.”
Deegan: “I’ve been playing in bands for over 25 years & have met a thousand musicians & rad people but never even thought of being a venue owner myself. i always saw myself being marginally successful at best as a bass player but when i walked in here i knew i was home. having a business was just a bonus to me. with that said, the space isn’t exactly perfect as my wife said. it is great in that we have space to play indoor badminton but you can hear EVERYTHING top to bottom & front to back in the main building. but at worst we need to be considerate of each other’s needs as it relates to sound & at best we own the coolest house in Wisconsin if not the world.”
2. What is the Mode Theater? How did it start? What kind of acts does it have?
“The Mode was an old single screen movie theater built in the 1930’s. it ran until the mid 1980’s when the multi-plex theaters took over,
and in the 90’s it was converted into a multi-use space. a second floor was created within the space adding living quarters upstairs, and the theater seating was removed & the angled floor was leveled. today it serves as our home & business. most recently we’ve done live music, comedy, art shows & event rental. Additionally, we have a screen printing press that we have used to make our own merch as well as products for bands and other acts.”
3. Can you talk about the Wisconsin cultural art theme? How is it different than any other state?
“Wisconsin is surprisingly eclectic in its art offerings, you’re basically able to find anything you like, from felt and button crafts to more modern graffiti or pop-style pieces. We’re fortunate to be located between Milwaukee and Madison, so we have equal access to Madison’s more hippie-folk handicrafts and Milwaukee’s grittier, industrial aesthetic. How it might differ from other states is that winter is bitterly cold and summer is blazingly hot and humid, in either case, we drink a lot more here than they do in other places. That’s what we’ve heard anyway.”
4. What has been your favorite act that has been in the theater?
“Musically, Dead Rest, a 3-piece punk band from LaSalle, IL., for comedy we’ve really enjoyed hosting Tyson Purcell’s Show “Tragedy + Time = Comedy” which is equal parts dark & hilarious. Our friend David Mueller has done an excellent job with his Ace of Arts pop up show which features a variety of artists & makers from the area. Sadly, we had to postpone the show this year for a global pandemic.”
5. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?
“We decided to shut down the physical space for the remainder of 2020 to keep performers, guests, & ourselves safe. We did a streaming show with 10 or 11 musicians at the start of the stay at home order and are looking to do more, but are researching equipment upgrades to make it a better experience. Keep an eye on The Mode Theater Facebook or Instagram pages for current info!”
If you like to learn more info. These are the following contact information: