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Friday, August 29, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 85.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Paper


So long, safety net?

Barbara Katz wants nothing more than for her son, Ben, to make a life for himself. But she knows that Ben, who will turns 20 at the end of this month, needs help for this to happen. Ben was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor when he was just a baby and had major surgery at age 2, which left him permanently disabled. Explains Katz, "He literally has half of his brain." >More


Wisconsin's recall elections: A primer

It's really not supposed to be like this. Historically, state senators in Wisconsin have been more likely to leave the Legislature's higher chamber because of death, felony convictions or election to higher office than through recall elections. It's different this summer because of the anger Gov. Scott Walker ignited by introducing legislation to restrict the collective bargaining rights of public workers. Democrats, unions and other liberal groups have gathered enough signatures to force six Republican senators into recall elections. >More
 Lawyers clash over ethical standards: Steinmetz targets Winnig for bashing Gableman over Butler

A former state Supreme Court justice has filed a complaint against Madison attorney Joel Bruce Winnig for comments he made while running for state Supreme Court. Donald Steinmetz, who served on the court from 1980 to 1999, has asked the Office of Lawyer Regulation to find that Winnig, in his comments about Justice Michael Gableman, violated an ethical standard that attorneys "maintain the respect due to courts of justice and judicial officers." >More
 Madison Fire Department bristles at locked Capitol doors

The Madison Fire Department, worried that locked exit doors at the state Capitol could pose a safety risk to the building's inhabitants, is pushing hard for changes to prevent a possible tragedy. >More


Defending the Wisconsin budget repair bill

In the spirit of Bill Lueders' call to tone down "The Politics of Hate," let's take a moment to extend some peace and love -- or at least understanding -- to the most vilified person in our state, Gov. Scott Walker, and to the legislation that's stirred up the most hostility, the budget repair bill. >More
 Tell All: Do protesters stink?

Dear Tell All: I was disturbed by an Associated Press report on the recent Republican Party convention at the Wisconsin Dells. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald got his fellow Republicans chortling in a speech that belittled the Capitol protesters: "It's been a long time since I've been around this many people who weren't chanting and yelling, sometimes at me. And I also got to tell you, you all smell a lot better, too." >More


Brat festivals offer all-you-can-hear buffet

The Madison music scene is eclectic, offering everything from Art Paul Schlosser's streetwise kazoo to Luke Polipnick's experimental jazz. But for sheer variety, you've got to be impressed by the only event that dares to promote itself with this tagline: More bands than you can shake a bratwurst at. >More
 No hip-hop at Scatz?

Scott Piernot, owner of the recently closed Middleton music venue Scatz, says he's ready to stop booking hip-hop acts if the city of Middleton reinstates his liquor license. Piernot voluntarily relinquished his license in March. >More
 Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit look to Alabama for inspiration

Rather than scouring Nashville or L.A. to recruit members for his newest band, the 400 Unit, singer and guitarist Jason Isbell went home. The band's name is even an Alabama reference, name-checking the psychiatric ward of a small-town hospital there. However, the themes of their sophomore album, Here We Rest, are familiar to folks from nearly every state -- and walk of life. >More



APT's Tracy Michelle Arnold is sexy, edgy or funny, as the role requires

"Acting is all I've ever really wanted to do," says Tracy Michelle Arnold of American Players Theatre. Thank goodness, then, that Arnold is so exceptionally talented. Now heading into her 12th season with the Spring Green-based professional company, Arnold is a magnetic stage presence who can master a wide range of roles. >More
 Viva light at Neon Lab

Everybody loves neon signs, right? Those colorful symbols of allure that beckon us to bars and restaurants. Turns out people love neon the way they love typewriters and film cameras and vinyl LPs. Neon is fading as a technology -- and as a craft. Tom Zickuhr wants to make sure that in this corner of the world, at least, that doesn't happen. >More
 Would-be composers can't carry a tune in Platinum Hit

Have you ever wondered why most pop music sounds so bad, given all the talented musicians to choose from and all the money that goes into each song? Platinum Hit offers a clue. In this reality competition, Jewel, Kara DioGuardi and other music-industry bigwigs put a dozen composer-performers through a series of tests to identify the next big hitmaker. >More
 Arts Beat: Mercury Players Theatre hit by setbacks

Mercury Players Theatre is the latest arts group to suffer recession setbacks. The company has canceled its annual Blitz Smackdown, scheduled for June 10 and 11. Tax records show that gifts, grants and contributions are down by half, and that other income is down by 44%. >More


Po wonders where he comes from in Kung Fu Panda 2

Let's face it: Jack Black is perfectly cast as Kung Fu Panda 2's portly, animated panda Po, the Dragon Warrior who keeps the peace in the Valley of Peace with the help of his comrades, the Furious Five. The enthusiasm Black brings to the character's line readings injects just the right amount of gusto, immaturity, humor and pathos into this animated kids' action tale. >More
 The Hangover Part II takes the party to Bangkok

The funniest thing about The Hangover Part II isn't, as you might expect, the onscreen, pre-matrimonial chaos involving the returning cast members. No, the real yuks commence immediately, with ex-Misfit Glenn Danzig, who croons -- there's just no other word for it -- "Black Hell," a brand new theme song for the franchise, thereby setting the film's tone of cheerful nihilism. >More
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Summer cocktails arrive at Graze and Underground Kitchen

May, a bountiful month for flowers, is also magnificent for cocktails. For this is when Madison's bars begin incorporating the flavors of summer into their drink programs. Two of the best places to experience this phenomenon are Graze and the Underground Kitchen -- stylish, light-filled establishments that share a common ethos of deriving inspiration from local ingredients. >More
 A bad year for morels? But there's lots more in the woods for Madison foragers

Pete Kelly spots our quarry behind an elm root standing like a fin at the base of a dying tree: two fresh morel mushrooms, their pocked conical caps protruding from the duff on a horizontal trajectory. He gestured toward a third, drier morel a yard away. This was our bounty for a few hours of wandering through stands of oak and elm, through calf-high groves of mayapples and ostrich fern on various public and (sanctioned) private lands near Spring Green. >More


NBA basketball: An international sport

The 2011 NBA playoffs have generated a few interesting stories: the fall of the L.A. Lakers and Boston Celtics; the emergence of a young superstar in Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant; the timely gelling of Miami's roster of mercenaries. But the NBA, a league that has made deliberate moves toward globalization over the last two decades, might be most interested in telling the tale of the Dallas Mavericks. >More
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