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Thursday, February 26, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 10.0° F  A Few Clouds
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Cheap Shots 2011: Shame

It was a terrible year for Wisconsin. But that makes it a great year for Cheap Shots, our annual shoutout to dubious distinctions in public affairs. 2011 saw an uptick in shameful behavior among political players, from lying to cheating to physical violence. When one Supreme Court justice grabs another by the throat, when the governor considers planting troublemakers among protesters, when doctors hand out fake sick notes to their political allies -- well, all you can do is weep. Or laugh. In other words, read on. >More


Overture Center set for transition with new management

On Jan. 1, as part of an agreement reached last December by the Madison Common Council, the Overture Center Foundation will officially take over management of the arts center. Overture's board has yet to hire an executive director, but center spokesman Rob Chappell says one should be on board by early next year. Overture is considering one of five finalists, including the center's current director, Tom Carto. >More
 MPD updates policy on interactions with armed citizens

For $10,000, Madison settled a lawsuit brought by the so-called Culver's Five, who were ticketed with disorderly conduct in September 2010 for openly carrying firearms. Has the case changed the way Madison police will deal with people carrying guns in public? >More


The Wisconsin left made a spectacle of itself in 2011

In Wisconsin, 2011 came in like a lion and left like a lion fighting for its health benefits. Newly minted Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to require greater health and pension contributions from government employees, along with virtually removing public union collective bargaining, set off a cacophony of tumult that ricocheted through every corner of the state's borders. >More


Rock with REACH raises funds to put books in kids' hands

Local music maker Keefe Klug cuts sharp and soulful pop tracks with his band, the Surgical Precision, and he's also got a soft spot for good works. By day, he lends his talents to REACH a Child, a Madison-area nonprofit that distributes books to kids caught in stressful situations like fires, car accidents and domestic strife. As director of the organization's child witness program, he equips tots who testify in court with imaginative stories that transport their minds to a place far from the trauma they've experienced. >More
 Camper Van Beethoven's signature tune was a surprise success

Ever since Camper Van Beethoven got back together in the late 1990s, the indie rock forebears have continued a remarkable second act. When they broke up at the beginning of that decade, the group appeared to be on the cusp of breaking big in the mainstream, à la R.E.M. Camper had released a pair of well-received major-label albums and notched a modern-rock radio hit with a cover of Status Quo's "Pictures of Matchstick Men." >More



Arts 2011: Isthmus critics rate the year in Madison culture

What a year it has been on the arts scene. Artists reacted passionately to the political drama in the Capitol, boldly designed new buildings opened on campus, and striking new artistic voices emerged. Our writers look back on a colorful 2011. >More
 Thinking ahead: Madison arts leaders offer ideas for 2012

At this time of year, many of us reflect on ways to better ourselves. It's the same for area arts leaders, who offer a variety of New Year's resolutions. Rob Chappell, spokesman for the Overture Center for the Arts, resolves to "convince every member of every touring Broadway cast to expunge the word 'thrilled' from their bio." >More
 Jane by Design peddles fashion-industry fantasy

The new series Jane by Design is a wish-fulfillment fantasy for ordinary teen girls who think they just might wind up in the glamorous fashion industry one day. Jane (Erica Dasher) introduces herself as "a dateless high school zero" who's taunted by the popular girls and ignored by her longtime crush. Oddly enough, nobody seems to have noticed that she's really an Anne Hathaway-level beauty whose perfect figure is draped in stunningly sexy clothes. >More


The best films of 2011

Welcome to 2011 at the movies -- when the only thing certain about the best movies was their uncertainty. People, as a rule, don't particularly like ambiguity. A much-talked-about university study earlier this year suggested that "spoilers" are actually welcome to many people, which explains why average viewers get annoyed at pointy-headed movie critics embracing films in which it's not instantly clear what's going on, how things are going to end, or even why a film ends the way it does. >More
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Amid 2011's openings and closings, Madison restaurants delivered some pretty impressive food

No surprise: Seasonal, local and sustainable were linchpins of Madison's 2011 dining scene. The mantra extended from a new fine dining spot on campus, Steenbock's on Orchard, to mobile food vendors like Melanie Nelson of the Good Food cart. >More


The Rose Bowl pits pro-style Wisconsin against Oregon's evil spread-option attack

The Rose Bowl is one of the great venues in sports. Those who have been fortunate to attend the annual college bowl game played there will describe the magical moment when the setting sun bathes the San Gabriel Mountains, looming over the stadium's rim, in a golden glow. From their seats, fans must choose between ogling the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape and keeping their eyes on the gridiron below. >More
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