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Wednesday, September 17, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 59.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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Spring break

Since it has been officially spring since last Friday, March 20, the current nasty weather should come as no surprise. We always get a taste of warmer weather as winter departs, only to get the cold and rainy stuff as soon as the calendar turns. That's life in the temperate zone.

Another verity of spring, at least for the last 11 years, is the Wisconsin Film Festival, which begins next Thursday, April 2. You should be in possession of the Film Fest catalog; we included it with Isthmus number 10 three weeks ago. This week our cover story harks back to the experience of a first-time film fest attendee, giving you reasons to go if you've never been.

Last year was Amelia Cook's first film festival. Recently arrived in Madison from her home town of Appleton, she was captivated by the promise of movie inundation (200 films in four days). In the process, Cook found out that it was a great way to meet people and get to know her new town. It was also a way for her to break into the local writing game. A 2000 University of Minnesota grad in English, she took in the film fest in part to contribute film reviews to In "Join the Crowd," she reveals that going to the movies doesn't have to be a solitary experience.

Cook, whose fulltime job is as an admissions counselor at Edgewood College, has more writing in her future. She is working on a book about her experiences in Honduras volunteering at an orphanage.

Also in this issue, Stu Levitan mines his wealth of Madison historical knowledge to take us back 50 years to 1959. Levitan has already published volume 1 of Madison: The Illustrated Sesquicentennial History and is at work on the second. 1959 was an interesting year; we can still hear echoes of it five decades later. And then there are names that half the city will recognize and half won't. Dinner at the Simon House, anyone?

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