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Saturday, December 27, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 45.0° F  Light Rain
The Paper


Will play for food: Madison needs to get serious about supporting local music

Patrick Breiner, a young sax player who brightened the Madison music scene for three years, packed his bags in August and moved to Connecticut. This was Madison's loss. Breiner came to town after six years in New York City, where he studied jazz at the New School. He gigged with a whole bunch of bands here, including the estimable New Breed, which features the city's best young jazz players. >More


Prohibition sparked crime, corruption and cross burnings in Madison

Prohibition brought bad times to Madison: the first, and still worst, sustained violence the city's ever known, cops in the Ku Klux Klan, even a dirty judge in hock to bootleggers. For more than a decade in the 1920s and '30s, the criminalization of alcohol took a terrible toll. Madison's story wasn't unique, as evidenced in Ken Burns' PBS documentary Prohibition, airing Oct. 2-4. But it was our story. >More
 Madison tobacco retailer to Uncle Sam: Butt out

"I don't smoke, and I can't stand the smell of cigarettes," says Jason Clark, the founder and owner of Smokes on State, a store that sells a variety of tobacco products and tobacco (wink, wink) paraphernalia. Clark, a Wisconsin native, founded it and a similar store on the east side in May; he plans to relocate the State Street store to the west side soon. >More
 Is Chris Taylor an incumbent?

Chris Taylor won a crowded, hard-fought race this summer to replace Joe Parisi in the state Assembly, representing Madison's east side. But then a funny thing happened: redistricting. Thanks to the Republican-controlled Legislature, Taylor's home was moved into a restructured 76th District, one that now includes the neighborhood of Rep. Mark Pocan. Pocan plans to step down to run for Tammy Baldwin's congressional seat, which she is vacating to run for the U.S. Senate. Is Taylor an incumbent even though she's in a completely new district? >More


Attack on UW Affirmative Action is misguided

Roger Clegg, president of the right-wing Center for Equal Opportunity, stood up at a downtown hotel last week to give a press conference on Affirmative Action in admissions policies at the UW-Madison. He jabbed a finger into a debate that has been festering not just on campus, but nationwide. >More
 Tell All: Liberal neighbors freak out after military flyover

Dear Tell All: I'm a liberal person living in a liberal west-side neighborhood. Paradise, right? Well, not exactly. The neighbors all seem perfectly nice, but a neighborhood listserv has shown a more distasteful side. The listserv is usually reserved for homely messages -- babysitter needed, dog run away -- but it takes only the slightest nudge to set off a painfully embarrassing conversation. >More


The Head and the Heart's indie rock is a dream come alive

My friend Rich from Seattle and I ran an errand during our stay at his Vilas County cabin last summer. It was a beautiful morning up north. Sunlight speared down between the tall pines, turning the road ahead into a length of gold ribbon. Steam rose from the ground and moved low, as though the forest floor around us was breathing. >More
 Fortepiano master Malcolm Bilson finds the spaces between the notes

When pianist Malcolm Bilson plays the fortepiano in UW Mills Hall this Sunday, he will turn on that grand 18th-century charm. Bilson, emeritus professor of piano at Cornell University, will play his own fortepiano, one based on a circa 1790 Viennese model by Johann Schanz. The concert is free. >More
 Indie favorites Megafaun have Dairyland roots

On their fourth album in four years, Joe Westerlund, Phil Cook and Phil's brother Brad continue to reveal themselves to be students of music. That's how Eau Claire once knew them. It's been more than a decade since the three former Wisconsinites were members of the Eau Claire Memorial High School jazz band. Today they live in Raleigh, N.C., and perform as Megafaun, a band that's become a favorite of the national indie rock press. >More



Inaugural Wisconsin Science Festival embraces art

When this weekend's Wisconsin Science Festival was in the planning stages, among the first to jump onboard were Madison artists and arts organizations. In its inaugural year, the festival is exploring the overlap between science and art. Says Laura Heisler, director of programming at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, "The arts people got it more quickly than the science people." >More
 A would-be Eden goes awry in Terra Nova

At the beginning of Terra Nova, Earth is undergoing environmental collapse. So a couple -- doctor Shelley Conn and cop Jason O'Mara -- take their three kids on a risky trip into the past with a group of pilgrims. They wind up 85 million years ago, where an enigmatic leader named Taylor (Stephen Lang) sets up a colony amid the lush primordial forest. >More


Moneyball thinks outside the batter's box

"Nobody reinvents this game," a baseball announcer smugly intones late in the deliciously entertaining Moneyball, and the same sentiment could apply to baseball movies. Hollywood keeps spitting out variations on James Earl Jones' swooning speech from Field of Dreams, even as the game itself has seen other sports trample it in true national-pastime popularity. >More
 Shut Up Little Man! disturbingly chronicles squabbling neighbors

The documentary Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure resembles Winnebago Man, the recent film about a volatile RV pitchman who became an unwitting Internet sensation. Both movies are about obnoxious people whose appalling behavior was recorded electronically, on videotape in Winnebago Man and on audiocassette in Shut Up Little Man! In both cases the clips were informally distributed and became the object of cultish, sniggering obsession. >More
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Eating vegan in Madison restaurants

The good food is out there for vegans, but sometimes, hidden among other menu items, it can be hard to find. On my search for the best vegan food in Madison, I focused on locally owned restaurants and menu items that are always vegan, requiring no substitutions or omissions. I also gave extra points for dishes that are unique -- veggie burgers are fine, but here we're looking for something special. >More
 City or country, farm dinners showcase southern Wisconsin's artisanal food

Farm dinners take place at restaurants and sometimes on location at the featured farms. The events connect diners to producers through the work of chefs. "It's just about cultivating these relationships and building the community," explains sous chef John Nodler of Merchant, which is planning to hold such a dinner for one of its smallest produce providers, By George Farm. "For small farmers," explains Nodler, "it gives them a good chance to have their products showcased." >More


Russell Wilson so far

At his weekly press conference, Wisconsin head football coach Bret Bielema reveals the team's most valuable players from the previous game for all the units. Senior transfer quarterback Russell Wilson got the nod for the offense two weeks ago after the Badgers rolled Oregon State, 35-0. In that game, Wilson completed 17 of 21 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. >More
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