t’s probably fitting that the idea for Wisconsin Skinny (wiskinny.com) was hatched in a bar. Local tattoo artist Pete Kugel found himself looking around at fellow patrons, and decided the body types he saw were no less attractive than the sticklike Barbies who all too often set the standard for “skinny.” To Kugel, skinny is a state of mind. What began as a simple online T-shirt and work-jacket clothing line has quickly morphed into a brand name and aesthetic paying homage to a curvier, bygone era. Kugel’s designs were first embraced by the rockabilly scene, but have since become a proud symbol for anyone who feels like they don’t quite fit in—and have no real desire to. “Being heavily tattooed, people often look down on me,” Kugel says. “With Wisconsin Skinny I’m standing up for people who are a little bit different than everyone else.” – Jason Albert  

“Saving historic buildings is not just good for the economy, it’s also good for the environment. By reusing existing buildings instead of demolishing and replacing them, we spare the landfills millions of tons of construction waste, and avoid wasting the energy embodied in the existing building. At the same time, saving historic structures reinforces the unique sense of place that attracts new residents and tourists. People in Madison need look no further than the Capitol Square during the Dane County Farmers’ Market to appreciate the power of historic preservation to bring people together in a unique, historic setting.” — Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and speaker at the Capitol Neighborhood Inc. annual meeting on June 18. capitolneighborhoods.org

For many of us, competing in the 140-plus-mile Ironman triathlon is a daunting notion. But you can reach for a more attainable goal with the inaugural General Casualty Capitol View Triathlon. Held June 7 at Governor Nelson State Park, the race features a 15.35-mile sprint tri—that’s a 1/4-mile swim, 12-mile bike and 3.1-mile run—and a longer 31.98-mile Olympic tri, plus collegiate and relay divisions. Capitol View was started to give “everyday Joes an opportunity to try a tri,” says race director Jamie Osborn, and to grow the sport of triathlon in the Madison area. It’s an especially good option for those of us who aren’t Iron-clad—at least not yet. capitolviewtriathlon.com — Amanda N. Wegner

This unplayable-violin-turned-work-of-art by Middleton textile artist Deb Menz is one of ten created for Art of Note, a fundraising program for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras. Menz’ violin will be auctioned—and the nine others raffled off—at a June 5 gala. artofnote.org