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Elkhorn senator wants to allow Tallan to keep performing in bars

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Pedro Oliveira Jr.
October 21, 2009
— Elkhorn’s musical prodigy Tallan Latz could go back to playing his guitar in area bars if the state Legislature approves a recently introduced bill aimed at allowing minors to perform in places where alcohol is served.

Sen. Neal Kedzie, R-Elkhorn, wants young musicians and theatrical performers to be allowed to gain public exposure and perfect their art by performing at local taverns.


State law prohibits children under 14 from retaining employment, but it makes an exception for those presenting musical or theatrical performances. The law also prohibits individuals under 18 from appearing in bars or similar venues where alcohol is served


Kedzie said not allowing talented musicians such as Latz to perform in a bar is a big irony in Wisconsin law.


“Currently, Tallan’s father could buy him a beer in the tavern but he could not perform his blues guitar act,” Kedzie said.


Tallan, a 9-year-old known in Walworth County as “T-Man,” has performed with guitar legend Les Paul and co-headlined a show in memory of Stevie Ray Vaughn. Recently, he was on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” where his performance was highly touted by judges and the roaring crowd.


Kedzie’s legislation would require a parent or legal guardian to accompany children while they perform. Musicians would not be allowed to play after 9 p.m. on nights preceding school days or 10 p.m. on nights not preceding school days.


Carl Latz, Tallan’s father, said the issue began about two years ago when local musicians complained about Tallan performing in taverns around southern Wisconsin.


Latz said Tallan was getting too much attention and drew jealously from other performers, who complained to state officials. Since then, Tallan has been barred from performing in clubs and taverns in Wisconsin—though he continues to perform in other states without legislation restricting his performances.


Latz said the bill would keep Tallan’s dream of becoming a professional musician alive by allowing him to perform at inside venues. Winter is around the corner, and outside festivals are over, he said.


Taverns are one of the few places where Tallan still will be able to perform.


“It would keep Tallan playing, it would keep him out performing and keep perfecting his talent,” Latz said.


The bill is at the Senate Committee on Children, Families and Workforce Development. A public hearing could be scheduled in the next few weeks, Kedzie said.



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