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Tuesday, October 21, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 48.0° F  Overcast
The Paper


Rallying the Faithful

No hymns were sung, no candles lit. It was not exactly a prayer meeting. But Julaine Appling did make clear where, for her, grace lives. Speaking of divorce and the sorrows it brings, she told the gathering, 'If this hasn't touched your family, praise God!' Appling was lecturing in the sanctuary of Faith United Methodist Church, in Neenah, on a rainy night in late August. She was there to teach concerned Christians how to be, as a flyer promoting the event proclaimed, 'salt and light in their community.' >More


Solar option is catching on

With the exuberance of a hyperactive 8-year old, Andrew Bangert shows off his toys. But Bangert is not your average 8-year old. First of all, he's 39. Second, his toys aren't powered by double A batteries; they're powered by the sun. But oh, how he loves them. 'You've got to see my meter spin backwards,' exclaims Bangert, pointing to a small gray box with a CD-size disk sticking out of the front. >More
 The new guy on the bus

When Chuck Kamp becomes Madison Metro's new manager on Oct. 16, he'll inherit a system that's had its share of problems. Although ridership has risen steadily for five years, Metro has had to hike fares and propose service cuts to deal with budget shortfalls. >More


Better luck this time?

On Nov. 7, residents in the Madison Metropolitan School District will vote on a referendum that includes building a new school on the far west side. The total package would hike taxes on an average home by about $29. Although a similar referendum was defeated in May 2005, this year's ballot initiative may be the best solution to the growth and school-boundary issues that have dogged the district for more than five years. >More
 Cancel the elections!

If we were honest about the sorry state of our democracy, we would admit that elections have become mostly irrelevant. In almost every contest, we could avoid a lot of fuss and bother ' and get the same result ' if, instead of holding an Election Day vote, we just tallied which candidate raised the most money and declared that person the winner. 'It would save us the faÃade of going through the motions,' agrees Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin. 'Who spends the most wins the race. That's almost always the case.' >More
 Stalking the bluebird of happiness

I'm a 38-year-old father of two. I love my wife. I love my kids. I even love my job, although it can be demanding at times. We have a lovely home, we attend church regularly, and we're blessed with many close friends and family members who live nearby. Despite all this, I scored so low on a 'Happiness Test' my wife passed along to me that I've barely been able to get out of bed in the morning. What gives? What am I doing wrong? You seem like a pretty happy guy. What's your secret? >More


Swing survivor

Jazz piano giant McCoy Tyner's no stranger in this town. Over the years he's played several Madison gigs, including two at the Wisconsin Union Theater, in 1973 and '78. It's been a while, but Tyner returns to the WUT on Friday, Oct. 6, at 8 p.m. It's the first act in the classy new Isthmus Jazz Series, which later this season brings in Eddie Palmieri and Dianne Reeves. >More
 Latin pop, Madison-style

It's past eight o'clock on a Friday night, and all 10 members of Kali Kalor are crowded into a two-room basement studio at the Martinez house in Fitchburg. They're about to play 'Mi Nuevo Amor' ('My New Love'), the song that's currently number eight on the Top 10 Hit List of Madison's Spanish language radio station, La Movida. On this chart, Kali Kalor stands in the company of major-label Top 40 artists like Shakira. >More
 Time after time after time

There are things that should end your career. Top of the list? Having, or covering up, an affair with a 16-year-old congressional page. Next one down? Trading your New Wave dance-bop fame to hang out with professional wrestlers. That's what Cyndi Lauper did (the wrestler-singing, not the page-stalking) when last I paid attention to her. >More




By any measure, PhotoMidwest 2006 is a big event. Organized by the Center of Photography at Madison, the month-long celebration of photography (which runs through the end of October) includes workshops, lectures and dozens of exhibitions at 80 different venues. Held every other year, PhotoMidwest began life in 2002 as the locally focused Photo Fest. Today, it concentrates on the work of amateur and professional photographers from seven Midwestern states, and chairperson Patricia Delker says it draws attendees from as far away as California and Canada. >More
 The illusion of fusion

Kanopy Dance Company's 'Fall for Dance: Passionate Fusion' packed Overture's Promenade Hall last Friday night. This notable growth in community support for dance performance was satisfying. So were some of the dances. Kanopy artistic directors Lisa Thurrell and Robert Cleary originally aimed for fusion with local flamenquera Tanya Tandias, but the chemistry wasn't convincing. The result was mostly a set of separate works. Kanopy's got more solid dancers than usual this year, but flamenco's brio isn't in their kit. >More
 Girls gone weird

Friday's performance of Ugly Ducklings was appropriately a benefit for GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) for Safe Schools. Carolyn Gage's play explores homosexuality and coming-of-age issues at a summer camp in Maine where homophobia and cruelty are festering. >More
 A losing season

'Friday Night Lights' (Tuesday, 7 p.m., NBC) is set in a Texas town obsessed with its high school football team. It exploits every known sports clichÃ: the star quarterback with a heart of gold, the running back with demons to overcome, the womenfolk who are either goddesses or whores. You just know the team will come from behind to win its games in the last second, and you just know the crucial play will be a long pass thrown in slow motion as a brass fanfare rises on the soundtrack. I won't even bother to tell you about the coach's inspirational halftime speeches. >More

This game's new version offers several racing modes, but the real fun is in the Fight to the Top mode, which lets you start as a rookie driver in the Whelen Modified Series and slowly work your way up through the Craftsman Trucks and NBS series until you're offered a contract to drive for a NEXTEL Cup team. >More


Sink or swim

By all rights, The Guardian should have been a typically empty Hollywood action movie about the explosive, adventurous lives of Coast Guard rescue swimmers. It turns out instead to be a surprisingly engaging character-driven picture: not quite Ingmar Bergman, but not Michael Bay either. The film's two heroes, Coast Guard legend Ben Randall (Kevin Costner) and his young hotshot protÃgÃ, Jake Fisher (Ashton Kutcher), are both gifted but damaged. They're the best in the business at saving lives but haunted by memories of dead friends and past failures. With the slightest prodding, their neuroses and insecurities come spilling out all over the floor. >More
 X-Men: The Last Stand

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Valeria Benner

Valeria Benner, caterer and prep cook, discusses Fresco, the restaurant on top of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. >More
 Hotel kitchen

Hotel dining rooms may be competitive in other cities, but Madison's hotels don't really stake their reputation on food. The Edgewater dining room coasts by on its views, and the Concourse is mostly known for the size of its brunch. Only the Hilton has established a solid reputation for its muscular, consistent steakhouse dinners. The Concourse, though, recently attempted to introduce some actual competition by hiring a new chef for its Ovations dining room and revamping its menu. So far, the Hilton has nothing to worry about. >More


'A team that flows together'

Between games at the UW Field House last Friday night, as Wisconsin's volleyball team took on Michigan State, two students were debating the pronunciation of Badger senior hitter Amy Bladow's last name. 'No, no. It's Bladow, like Play-Doh,' said one. 'Maybe, but it should be blah-DOW, like ka-POW!' insisted the other. 'That way, every time she gets a kill or a block or something, we can all go 'blah-DOW!'" With her powerful play at the net, often accompanied by fist-pumping intensity and charisma that fills the Field House, Bladow has become a fan favorite and team leader. >More
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