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'Dizzyland: Leon Varjian and the antics of the Pail & Shovel Party'

Posted: 05/01/17

'Dizzyland: Leon Varjian and the antics of the Pail & Shovel Party'

The Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) Art Committee together with campus partners and the friends and family of University of Wisconsin-Madison alumnus Leon Varjian invite the Madison community to celebrate an exhibition honoring Varjian’s legacy as the “Clown Prince of Madison” at the Fredric March Play Circle Theater May 6.

The exhibition opening ceremony will take place at 4 p.m., and the exhibition unveiling and reception will occur at 5 p.m.

The celebration will mark the beginning of a month-long exhibition curated by WUD Art student leaders Yusi Liu and Zack McDowell in collaboration with David Null of UW-Madison Archives and Varjian’s longtime friend Scott Mindock.

The exhibition was named “Dizzyland: Leon Varjian and the Antics of the Pail & Shovel Party”, in homage to writer and editor Jay Kennedy's comic rendering of the infamous Pail and Shovel Party at UW-Madison and the Party’s vision of transforming campus into an amusement park. The now defunct student-led political party imagined escalators on Bascom Hill and a flooded Camp Randall in which boating races would occur.

The exhibition will include personal documents, posters and other memorabilia from Varjian’s memorable time at UW-Madison, courtesy of his sister Doris Cross and Mindock.

The event schedule is as follows: 

  • Opening ceremony, May 6, 4 p.m.
    Fredric March Play Circle Theater, Memorial Union
    WUD Art, campus partners, and past Pail and Shovel Party members, including President Stu Baker, Treasurer Gale Teschendorf, and Mindock, will help the community celebrate and relive the days of flamingos on Bascom Hill.
  • Exhibition opening unveiling and reception, May 6, 5-7 p.m.
    Class of 1925 Gallery, Memorial Union 
    Students, Wisconsin Union members, staff, faculty, and community members are invited to the WUD Art-sponsored, free opening reception. During the reception, a screen printing station will be available outside the gallery. There, participants can make Varjian-themed cards. 
  • Pail and Shovel memento and reception, May 6, 5-8 p.m.
    Festival Room, Memorial Union
    Guests are invited to attend a reception where a limited number of authentic Pail and Shovel memorabilia items will be available.

Those interested in attending the exhibition events are encouraged to RSVP at The exhibition runs May 6 through June 5, daily from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

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