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Thursday, December 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 26.0° F  Light Snow

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Yang Sao, Enbridge, New Year's parties, Doolittle's in the December 18 issue of Isthmus

What can you find in this week's Isthmus? Highlights from the latest issue follow. >More
382 Pixel LineHow Chris Farley came out of Madison to conquer the world

In the 1980s, I lived near a tiny theater in downtown Madison called Ark Improv. A comedian named Chris Farley performed in this converted garage, and the place seemed way too small for him. >More
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The Paper

Dane County residents concerned about proposed Enbridge oil pipeline expansion

A Dane County committee will hear a proposal next month on whether to allow a tar sands pipeline to triple its capacity -- exceeding the size of the controversial Keystone pipeline. >More
382 Pixel LineDespite lean times, Dane County moves forward on road, building projects in 2015 budget

The Dane County Board on Nov. 17 approved a spending package for 2015 whose main selling point was that current funding levels for most services would be maintained. >More
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Layla's Persian Food serves distinctive and singular dishes

Layla's Persian Food is a cheery, quirky basement space appointed with eclectic odds and ends -- mirrors, rugs, mismatched furniture and bright French blue chairs. It's hidden away under the Madison Hostel, and the small room holds a scant handful of tables. >More
 Madison Area Chefs Network to host week of culinary events in March 2015

The Madison Area Chefs Network is gearing up for its next big event: a week of chef-centered events at participating restaurants slated for March 9-15, 2015. >More
Is Steel Panther a novelty band or parody band?

The four aging, heavily made-up men in Steel Panther look like the bastard offspring from an unholy union of Poison and Mötley Crüe circa 1989. They write over-the-top hair-metal songs ripe with melody, muscle and machismo, fearlessly creating an amalgam of that maligned era's sound and embracing all its excesses and debauchery. >More
 Taking the plunge with Modern Mod

If you'd called Emily Massey a musician just a few years ago, she would have corrected you. She was a dancer who trained with Madison Ballet. Her dad, Mike Massey, was the main musician of the family. He wrote the score to the company's 2013 hit, Dracula. >More
Children's Theater of Madison keeps A Christmas Carol fresh in its 35th year

When the narrator invited the packed house in Overture's Capitol Theater to come closer to hear a very special story -- one that absolutely cannot begin with "once upon a time" -- there was a sense that hundreds of velvet- and taffeta-clad children and their parents leaned in to be newly amazed and enchanted by the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. >More
 Star soprano Hayley Westenra to sing holiday favorites with Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

Acclaimed soprano Hayley Westenra, who has mesmerized audiences across continents with her clear, innocent voice, will appear with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra at the Orpheum Theater on Dec. 18 and 19. >More
Wild is an unapologetically feminist film

Cheryl Strayed was a mess. She was in the midst of divorcing her husband. She was using heroin. She was lost. So, in the summer of 1995, she figured maybe she might be able to find herself by hiking a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Which she did. And then she wrote a book about her transformative experience. And now it's a movie. >More
 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies fails to live up to the epic Lord of the Rings

The best thing about finally reaching the third and last chapter of Peter Jackson's ponderously epic eight-hour adaptation of the rather brief and chipper novel The Hobbit is that we may be assured that once the DVD hits next year, some intrepid fan is going to whittle the whole thing down into a breezy 105-minute phantom edit... like it should have been in the first place. >More

THE GUIDE

ISTHMUS PICKS

Isthmus Picks: Madison calendar for December 18-25, 2014

Here are this week's Isthmus Picks. The Guide provides an extended listing of events in and around Madison. >More

CITIZEN DAVE

Citizen Dave: Let's drop the 'student-athlete' pretense for big-time college sports

When now-former Wisconsin Badgers football coach Gary Andersen unexpectedly caught the last train for the West Coast, one of the reasons suggested by pundits was that the UW has tougher academic standards for its players than a lot of other schools. >More

PEOPLE

Straight talk with Dan Savage

It was supposed to be for "shits and giggles," mocking the mores of the time. A sex advice column written by a gay man who treated straight sex with the same revulsion straight people had for gay sex. >More

TELL ALL

Tell All: Why does everyone in Madison like to hug?

Dear Tell All: I grew up in rural Wisconsin but have lived in Madison for over 10 years. At this point, I consider myself a dyed-in-the-wool near-east-sider. I shop at Willy Street Co-op, read Isthmus, have a CSA, recycle, vote for liberal local politicians, etc. I've gone native in all respects except one: hugging. >More

ISTHMUS PARENTS

Mama Madison: Checking it twice

If you're like me, looking around your house in the weeks before Christmas will probably have you convinced that the last thing your kids need to find underneath the tree is a pile of new toys. >More

MADISON SNAPS

Madison Snaps: December 18, 2014

Today's image titled "window peeping sunday morning" was photographed by Steven Bauer. >More
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COVER STORY

In latte art, there's more than meets the eye. Those frothy hearts and ferns are actually supposed to make your latte taste better. Painting, as the professionals call it, is all about the milk-to-espresso ratio with each sip. >More
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BEER

Growth continues to seem boundless for craft beer in Wisconsin. Once again, the last 12 months have offered brewery openings and expansions, new faces behind the brew kettles, and plenty of memorable beers. These developments are evident around the state, while the region surrounding Madison continues to build a reputation as a brewing destination. >More

TOURISM

Isthmus news editor Joe Tarr reported on the city of Madison's room tax and funding for promoting tourism in the December 11 issue, and discussed his story with WORT producer Dylan Brogan on that day's edition of In Our Backyard. >More

THE AMAZING RACE

Here we are, at the penultimate leg of the 25th edition of The Amazing Race -- just one more week until it'll all be over. The bad news: Our gals, UW-Madison grad students Amy and Maya, the #SweetScientists, ended up in last place on this leg. The good news: No one was eliminated. >More

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