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Sunday, December 28, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 23.0° F  Fair
The Paper


Back into Africa

The land is unfenced, and men wander with their small flocks looking for places to graze. This is Lesotho's landscape -- old lifestyles amid modern, changing ones. The men are wrapped in colorful blankets, and often wear ski masks to protect their faces from the searing sun, blowing wind and grainy dust. >More


Wal-Mart won't let Salvation Army bell ringers inside

Last week, as Madison endured its first major winter storm, Daniel Knoetke stood outside the west-side Wal-Mart, ringing a bell for the Salvation Army. "It was the night all the snow dropped," says Knoetke, a Madison resident. "Hardly anyone was out there. The wind was blowing like hell." >More
 Allegations fly at Madison Water Utility

City of Madison Water Utility employees have filed a series of complaints alleging harassment and retaliation, Isthmus has learned. The targets include City Engineer Larry Nelson and Human Resources Director Brad Wirtz. >More


A different kind of Christmas

hristmas feels different this year. I'm not exactly sure why, maybe fewer lights, less spending. But it's more than that. There's an unease in the air, but also a sense of hope. I can't wait for Barack Obama to be sworn in as president. I'm ready, as are many others, to see the end of the George W. Bush era. But that's only a part of it. >More
 Go big on the mountain

Dizzy from the holiday retail madness, I recently enjoyed a surprisingly mellow and fun shopping experience at Focus Snow and Skate near East Towne Mall. Focus caters to the area's snowboarders and skateboarders only (sorry, skiers); it's all about the love of board sports. >More
 The Brotherhood of the Traveling Pants

I read your recent column about girls whose rear ends show over their low-slung jeans (11/21/08) and wondered about boys who wear their own pants so low that 1) we have the "pleasure" of seeing their boxer shorts, and 2) they can't walk down the street without having to hold them up by the waistband. Do they think this is attractive? Do they think girls think it's attractive? Aren't they concerned about either tripping over them or having them fall down mid-stride? I have a young-adult daughter who tells me that girls think this is ridiculous, so what gives? >More


Winning spins: My top ten Madison albums of 2008

Here are my 10 favorites of 2008. Here's something else: I've lived in this town for 16 years. I've spent 12 of those years writing about local music. And there are more great Madison recordings from this year than any year I can remember. >More
 Guitars for Vets: Lessons for veterans suffering from PTSD

Together with his guitar teacher, Patrick Nettesheim, Dan Van Buskirk founded a nonprofit organization called Guitars for Vets, which aims to bring music instruction to veterans with psychological disorders like PTSD and schizophrenia. >More
 Bon Iver is music artist of the year in Wisconsin

This month, the musical pride of Eau Claire, Bon Iver, landed a spot in Rolling Stone's Top 50 albums of 2008 (#29). Just last week, Bon Iver performed on the Late Show with David Letterman. Has Eau Claire become the musical mecca of the Badger State? Maybe -- but one thing's for sure: Bon Iver is Wisconsin's music artist of the year. >More



Madison Ballet's Nutcracker looks to E.T.A. Hoffmann's story

What, no Sugar Plum Fairy? That's just one of many changes Madison Ballet is making to its annual production of The Nutcracker at the Overture Center for the Arts. Also gone will be the Snow Queen and others. >More
 More than meets the eye

Even if we accept a photograph as truth - and that's a pretty murky proposition - it's never really the whole truth, just one piece of it. Each of us, and by extension, the camera's lens, sees things from our own viewpoint. Minor shifts in perspective can trigger large shifts in perception. In a new exhibition at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, German-born photographer Barbara Probst confronts these issues in ways that are not only visually appealing but also offer, at times, an understated humor. >More
 A holly jolly folly

Wisconsin Public Television's 30-Minute Music Hour (Saturday, 9:30 p.m., WHA) departs from its usual diet of regional acts for a national-caliber banquet featuring Grammy-nominated Loudon Wainwright III. Wainwright is a pro at the one-man-with-a-guitar routine. >More
 Family feuds

Sadly, there aren't many video games that are both a) friendly to families of young children, and b) fun. Take a look at You're in the Movies. It comes with a tiny camera you place on your TV. You stand in front of the camera, which projects your image onto the screen, while horribly rendered "movie scenes" serve as background settings. >More


Slumdog Millionaire: Quiz show

Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire, which seems to pick up a new raft of critics' awards just about every day, is a mad, thrilling and perversely luminous film. >More
 The Day the Earth Stood Still: Keanu barada nikto

When word went out that this remake of Robert Wise's sci-fi classic was in the works, a hue and cry arose from those who have kept watching the skies since the golden age of the Cold War-era science-fiction film. Admittedly, I was among those whose first thought was, "Why?" and whose second thought was, "Keanu Reeves?!" Seriously, it didn't sound like a smart move in any direction when announced, and, unsurprisingly, this loud, hammy and, above all, pointless do-over only serves to point out the genius of the original. >More
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Vindaloo, my darling: Flavor of India

Flavor of India is the third Indian restaurant in Wisconsin by brothers / co-owners / chefs Devinder Singh Badwal and Sital Singh and the second in Madison, following their Taste of India on Monroe Street. This latest entry gives Madisonians an opportunity to study the nuances of north Indian cuisine (though major regional styles are all represented on the dinner menu). >More
 Read it and eat

When I was a kid we never put up the holiday tree until Dec. 24. No doubt that seems absurdly late to people who string their porches with Christmas lights at the same time they're removing the Halloween ones. But I bet even those eager beavers have a few last-minute gifts to scramble for. Food books to the rescue. I can recommend the following, all published in 2008. >More


UW-Whitewater Warhawks whoop it up

Last weekend, the UW-Whitewater Warhawks proved their mettle by beating fifth-ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor in the Division III national semifinals. On Saturday, the team plays the top-ranked Mount Union Purple Raiders in the title game. It starts at 10 a.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN2. >More
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