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The Daily


Bright spots: Isthmus critics look back at 2009 in Madison culture

In 2008, Madison's arts scene was, thanks to the crashing economy, in trouble. In 2009, the bottom fell out. >More
 Madison makes 'em laugh

Madison has always had its fair share of sketch, improv and standup acts -- not to mention being the hometown of comedic titan Chris Farley. And these days, there's a flourishing scene taking shape here, one that offers a supportive community for those wishing to flex their funny muscles. >More
 Overture Center helps pump big bucks into downtown economy

Just in time for its fifth anniversary celebration this weekend, the Overture Center for the Arts has received a special gift: fresh financial impact figures that show audiences pumping $9.8 million in related spending into the downtown economy annually. >More
 Top picks for the Overture and Wisconsin Union Theater seasons

It's September already -- time for my annual opinionated guide to the 2009-2010 performing arts schedules at the city's downtown culture palaces. So here's opinion number one. Overture Center is playing it safe, since a handful of edgier shows in the Capitol Theater last year took financial hits. The Wisconsin Union Theater's still taking risks, but the season's a pared-down version of its former self. >More
 Kennedy Center chief speaks at Overture Center

Despite the dismal economy, this is no time for nonprofit arts organizations to think small. So said Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. in a talk at Overture Center. >More
 Overture Center positioned to prosper in recession-devastated arts scene

Despite the economy, advance ticket sales have increased. More popular programming is coming. Top road shows looking for venues now put us on par with Milwaukee. Better financial management is in place. Studies have begun for changing management, possibly privatizing it. Best of all, donations are up -- way up. >More
 Idiosyncratic artist Brian Strassburg turns to fanciful creations

In recent years Brian Strassburg has seen demand for his cartoons and commercial illustrations evaporate. He cites a number of reasons, including the rise of the Internet and easily available clip art and stock art, as well as the decline of print media and their budgets. You might call that bad news. But it has given Strassburg time to work on other projects. >More
 Plugging in: Podcasts in Madison

As mobile devices proliferate, the way Madisonians navigate and experience local culture will be increasingly shaped by the content made available through the portable web browsers many city residents bring along on social outings. With that in mind, a growing number of Madison musicians, writers and social commentators have begun to develop content compatible with mobile consumption. >More
 Return to Function at MMoCA is about everyday stuff

"I was very interested in the fact that people were dealing with political, economic or everyday issues," says Madison Museum of Contemporary Art curator Jane Simon of the exhibition Return to Function, which she organized. "It's kind of a radical notion when juxtaposed with other aspects of contemporary art." >More
 Eight to know: In praise of Madison artists you may have missed

You can probably name the prominent players on Madison's arts scene. But they'd be the first to say that the local culture doesn't begin and end with them. Madison is a thriving and growing center for the arts, thanks to our many galleries, music venues and performance outlets, to say nothing of the cultural riches shared with us by our colleges and schools. >More
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