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Saturday, December 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 26.0° F  Overcast


Give a gift of tickets to Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest 2015

What better way to show that you care? Tickets to the sixth annual Isthmus Beer & Cheese Fest make an ideal holiday gift for... well, your family, your friends, and even yourself! >More
382 Pixel LineCitizen Dave: My first venison dinner of the season

It was fate. The other night I came home to find a postcard from the Wisconsin DNR. The doe I shot on the first day of gun deer season in November had tested negative for chronic wasting disease. >More
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The Paper

Gary Andersen? It's not us, is it?

When Gary Andersen called Barry Alvarez to tell him he was resigning to accept the head coaching job at Oregon State, he probably didn't use the phrase "It's not you, it's me." And like most people, if Andersen had said that, he probably didn't mean it. >More
382 Pixel LineWelcome to Wississippi, the right-to-work state

Scott Walker "dropped the bomb" back in 2011 with Act 10, which did away with most public employees' collective bargaining rights. Now the Republican leadership in our state Legislature is gearing up to throw a Molotov cocktail at all Wisconsin workers. Making Wisconsin a "right to work" state is at the top of the Republicans' agenda, according to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau). >More
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Doolittles Woodfire Grill brings contemporary touches to American fare

The cynical among us may, during these holiday months, look at the paved expanse of East Towne with scorn. It's cold, hard commercialism all right, a shopping mall and a bunch of bank drive-throughs and scads of national chain restaurants. The hopeful among us? They're packing into Doolittles Woodfire Grill. >More
 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
Punk, funk, bluegrass and folk fests at Majestic place regional artists on a big stage

January can be a slow time of year for music venues. Touring acts are largely on hiatus until a bit later in the season, and customers can still be recovering from the whirlwind of the holiday season. >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
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


Saturday, December 20
Narayan Mahon Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
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Kids in the Rotunda Overture Center-Rotunda Stage
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The Jimmys Knuckle Down Saloon, 9:00pm
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Cowboy Troy Madison Turners Hall, 9:00pm
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DJs Mike Carlson, Josh B Kuhl Majestic Theatre, 9:30pm
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Madison Ballet's "The Nutcracker" Overture Center-Overture Hall
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Dance Wisconsin's "Nutcracker Ballet" UW Memorial Union-Shannon Hall (Wisconsin Union Theater)
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Encore Studio's "The Last Week in December" Encore Studio for the Performing Arts, 8:00pm
Sunday, December 21
Narayan Mahon  Madison Museum of Contemporary Art


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: My first venison dinner of the season

It was fate. The other night I came home to find a postcard from the Wisconsin DNR. The doe I shot on the first day of gun deer season in November had tested negative for chronic wasting disease. >More


Madland: City council races offer much more than the lesser of two evils

As reported last week, candidates are now declaring for the Madison Common Council elections in spring 2015. I've often wondered why so many people are willing to run for alder in the first place: Crazy hours for a job where the hourly pay probably doesn't hit minimum wage; all the joy of drawing the ire of the public with very little of the power of other elected positions. >More


Tell All: Where do I draw the line when my daughter dresses too sexy?

Dear Tell All: My sweet little girl has turned into a teenager -- with a vengeance. At 16, she's obsessed with guys, along with the way she looks. This whole thing has been building up since middle school, but recently it's reached crisis proportions. >More


Mama Madison: Talking about race with Families for Justice

Like many parents, I look at the wide world around my kids and do my best to prepare them for life. We talk about working hard, being kind and responsible, Internet safety, stranger danger, and the (gulp) birds and the bees. But what about a topic such as race? >More


Madison Snaps: December 19, 2014

Today's image titled "Short Morning at Short Stack" was photographed by Paul T. McMahon. >More
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Yang Sao Xiong remembers the bizarre hissing sounds the most. He was 7 years old, a refugee with his family from Laos, when he arrived in California in 1987. "When we first got off the plane, all I could tell was that people were making all these 's' sounds," says Xiong, describing his first impression of English. >More


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


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


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


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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