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Sunday, July 13, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 65.0° F  Overcast
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FEATURED STORY

Funny or die: Would-be improv comedian tries out for Monkey Business Institute

The idea of the game is as simple as it is terrifying. In front of a room full of strangers, I'm presented with a key word and a musical style. Instrumental accompaniment will begin and, within seconds, I'm to improvise a song. "Your theme is burglary," says Sarah Rogers, one of the owners of Monkey Business Institute. "And the style is swing." >More

NEWS

Gene Ferrara's Center for Conscious Living is more than a church

Gene Ferrara doesn't look like your average reverend. He plays congas, often wears Hawaiian shirts and frequently sits in the crowd as others lead a workshop or parts of the Sunday service at the Center for Conscious Living. During his Sunday sermon, he's as likely to talk about the spiritual lessons he drew from watching a football game as he is to discuss current affairs or the esoteric teachings of Jesus, Buddha or Nelson Mandela. >More
 Saving Cherokee Marsh

For more than a century, the shores of Cherokee Marsh have slowly been washing away, making the marsh -- north of Lake Mendota -- more and more like "open muddy water with no plants." Several factors -- including the damming of the Yahara River and the invasion of carp -- have combined to eat away at the shoreline. About one square mile of wetlands has since been lost. >More
 Will political rivals find common ground after Walker's brat summit?

An offer of beer and brats is as good an olive branch as any in this land we call Wisconsin. Accordingly, at least 37 Democrats, 60 Republicans and one independent lawmaker accepted Gov. Scott Walker's invitation to down a few brewskis at the governor's mansion Tuesday night in the name of reconciliation. The goal was to find a way to move beyond the extreme partisan rancor that culminated in the June 5 recall election against Walker, who beat back Democratic challenger and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. >More
 How media called the Walker recall election so fast

When the major networks called the recall election for Republican Scott Walker barely one hour after the polls closed at 8 p.m., there was widespread disbelief over the results -- among Democrats, at least -- and bewilderment over the process. Some of the confusion was understandable. >More

OPINION & COMMENTARY

A new approach for Democrats

I was standing in the back of the room at the Majestic Theatre. It was an exciting moment in the recall election. Just days before the vote, Tom Barrett and Russ Feingold were appearing together before a jazzed crowd. Feingold gave a fiery speech and so, to the astonishment of so many people who underestimated him, did Tom Barrett. >More
 We are two mariners

Peggy's counting out $100 bills on the bar at the Little Musky in Woodruff. "Three-hundred, four-hundred, five-hundred...." I'm staring at my cell phone, willing it to light up, while the Indy 500 whines overhead from an old TV. Cell service is an oxymoron in the north woods, and this is interfering with our mission to buy a 1976 Lund 14-foot fishing boat with a Mercury 20 hp outboard. >More
 Tell All: 'Where are Wisconsin's manners?'

Dear Tell All: I couldn't believe the spectacle Wisconsin made of itself on recall election day. The Democratic crowd booed when Tom Barrett graciously congratulated Scott Walker during his concession speech. The Republican crowd booed when Walker graciously reached out to Barrett's supporters in his victory speech. Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch gloated during her own victory speech, rubbing roughly half the state's noses in it. After a year and a half of neighbor attacking neighbor, I wonder: Where are Wisconsin's manners? >More

MUSIC

Gay old time: Fruit Fest blends tunes, dancing and fundraising

It all begins with the Fruit Loop. The run-walk kicks off June 16's Fruit Fest, a celebration of LGBT culture that pairs athleticism with philanthropy and lots of live music. Unlike most 5K dashes, this one features giant bananas and freakishly overgrown grapes. It's whimsical, absurd and true to the spirit of Willy Street, where Fruit Fest takes place. During the summer, the festival is an entertaining way to celebrate Madison's LGBT community. >More
 The Men show off their influences

On "Country Song," a few tracks into the Men's new album, Open Your Heart, the New York rock band bask in twangy guitar parts run through loads of tremolo. That's just about all the track is. There's a similar principle at work on their other songs, as they sweatily appropriate what they will from rock's past. >More

AT A GLANCE

ARTS

Jerrod Carmichael made the leap to L.A.'s top clubs

Back in his hometown of Winston-Salem, N.C., 24-year-old comedian Jerrod Carmichael is taking a brief vacation at his parents' house, doing all the things he can't do while touring. Sleeping a lot, for example, as well as consuming an abundant amount of ice cream cake. >More
 Bristol Palin positions herself as a 'simple girl' on Life's a Tripp

Bristol Palin: Life's a Tripp is a reality series about Sarah Palin's daughter -- the one who got pregnant at 17 and is raising young son Tripp as a single mom. I'm tempted to comment on the title's idiotic pun, but Bristol puts me on notice. >More

MOVIES

Hair-metal musical: Rock of Ages head-bangs with style

We've seen the emphatic return of so many 1980s pop-culture touchstones, from tinny synthesizers to white sunglasses. But there's one Reagan-era institution young revivalists haven't really embraced: hair metal. There's a reason for that. It's terrible. >More
 Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding closes the generation gap

In Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding, Jane Fonda isn't seen sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun. But her performance as a war-protesting hippie still might give hives to Silent Majority types with long memories. Politics isn't really the Fonda character's main focus, though. >More
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ARCHIVE

EATS

Vasilis' Take Five on Willy Street serves Greek standards

Maybe the fifth time's the charm for Vasilis Kallias, with his fifth Madison-area restaurant, Vasilis' Take Five: Vittles & Vices. Kallias, who was also behind Opa Café and Lounge and the Mercury Café, brings new life to the former Corner Store with what he's termed Greek and Mediterranean fusion food. And the outlook is mostly promising. >More

SPORTS & RECREATION

Today's Brewers vs. the '82 team

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is having some fun with the 30th anniversary of the Milwaukee Brewers' lone trip to the World Series by taking a daily look back at what was going on with the team on this date in 1982. Of course, the '82 Crew featured Hall of Famers Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, Rollie Fingers and Don Sutton along with other legends like Cecil Cooper, Jim Gantner and Gorman Thomas. >More
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