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Friday, December 26, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 43.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
The Paper


The battle for Sun Prairie: Progressives and conservatives fight for the soul of the suburb

It's easy to write off Sun Prairie as a sleepy town of little consequence. It's got a Main Street right out of The Andy Griffith Show. Its communities, dotted with neighborhood schools and more parks than seems fair, are homey and welcoming. People are friendly and happy. And its annual corn festival, which starts on Aug. 16, promises to once again be a wholesome family affair where thousands converge for fresh sweet corn dripping with butter. >More


Troubled kids find confidence and connections in Forward Learning wilderness program

When Jessie Kushner and Troy Gosz are not trekking the Wisconsin wilderness or leading at-risk youth through the wilds of northern Minnesota, they take leisurely morning walks through Elmside Circle Park neighborhood with their beloved border collie Fly. The scene among neighbors here is like one ongoing family reunion. In the mix, Kushner and Gosz are the cool childless couple with the irresistible dog. >More
 Without a city composting plan, Madison businesses fashion their own

Isaac Sinnott rounds the corner away from the Capitol on his 10-speed bike and pulls into the loading docks behind Graze restaurant. Snaking behind him is a low-slung, 10-foot-long trailer carrying six plastic buckets that serve as a low-tech garbage-hauling system. >More
 Four vie for Dane County clerk, 'where the action is'

The Dane County clerk might not seem like a particularly sexy job, but don't tell that to the four candidates running for the post in the Aug. 14 Democratic primary. "I'm running because this is where the action is," says Scott McDonell, the current chair of the Dane County Board. "The efforts to suppress voters' rights is meant to turn Wisconsin from blue to red." >More


Eric Hovde will win Senate GOP primary for Wisconsin

One of the nastiest primaries in Wisconsin's recent history is winding down, and the polls say it's a horse race. According to a recent survey from Public Policy Polling, Eric Hovde has a slight edge over Tommy Thompson and Mark Neumann in the Aug. 14 Republican primary for U.S. Senate. >More


Dawes works out a classic L.A. rock sound

In three short years Dawes has become one of America's shiniest rock 'n' roll bands. Band members Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith were born in the belly of the L.A. music scene. Their father, Lenny Goldsmith, was Tower of Power's lead singer. Now, joined by Wylie Gelber and Tay Strathairn, Dawes headlines mega-festivals while continuing to pound the small club circuit. >More
 Kevin Greenspon is a demure figure in experimental music

Kevin Greenspon's body of work can be intimidating at first, given the mass of experimental electronic music he's released on dozens of cassettes and CD-Rs. The L.A. artist's individual pieces, though, tend toward the demure and remote. "Paradise A.D.," the title track of a free digital compilation, sums up Greenspon's overarching balance of sonic density and humble melody. >More



Madison troupes will comfort and challenge you in 2012-13 theater season

The 2012-13 theater season brings sheer abundance. There are international blockbusters and works by local folks, and many companies are undertaking ambitious projects: new work or selections that aren't easy choices, whether in scale or subject matter. >More
 Four Seasons Theatre's A Little Night Music explores love's complexities

Love, its pleasures and its thorny complications form the basis for Stephen Sondheim's revered musical A Little Night Music, opening Aug. 10 in a new production by Four Seasons Theatre at the Overture Playhouse. While at times achingly poignant, it's also comedic. >More
 Hotel Hell lays waste to innkeepers' dreams

British chef Gordon Ramsay has made a specialty of yelling at food-service folks in the reality series Hell's Kitchen, MasterChef and Kitchen Nightmares. Looking to expand his yelling franchise, he branches out to hoteliers in the entertaining Hotel Hell. Ramsay travels the country to help struggling innkeepers -- a.k.a. sitting ducks. >More


The Queen of Versailles wallows in American materialism

One of my moviegoing pet peeves is documentaries that condescend to their subjects. So I was worried about seeing The Queen of Versailles, about a staggeringly wealthy couple's attempt to build a 90,000-foot house, America's largest. >More
 A longtime marriage founders in the moving Hope Springs

Hope Springs isn't a great film, but it didn't have to be in order to distinguish itself. In a media landscape that only has eyes for the sex lives of nubile young things, Hope Springs' sincere and unembarrassed exploration of mature sexuality marks a welcome exception. >More
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At Viet House, the broken rice is extra nice

There are large swaths of the population who will studiously avoid the very latest dining venue where waiting for a table is de rigueur. These people are more likely to call in a takeout order somewhere, then eat it in the air-conditioned comfort of their living room while watching the Ed Schultz show, and then not tweet about it. You know who you are. >More
 Chocolaterian Café to come to Schenk's Corners

First there was Christine's Toffee, a Madison-based candy company whose goods made it into swag bags at last year's Emmys. Christine's made its way into my heart, too, with its bacon toffee. Soon, though perhaps not soon enough for eager eaters, the business will expand with the opening of the Chocolaterian Café. It will fill the spaces of the former Anchor Bank at 2000 Atwood Ave. and Schenk-Huegel at 2005 Winnebago St. >More


Prepping for a mud run

Tip #1: Wear clothes you don't mind getting caked in mud. Tip #2: Dig out an old pair of running shoes. Tip #3: Strap them on tight with a few turns of duct tape. Now you're ready to tackle one of the many mud runs or obstacle races coming to the greater Madison area. >More
 The other Olympics

What's more lame, NBC's coverage of the London Olympics or complaining on social media about that coverage? Apparently, all those participating in the #NBCFail meme expect to see exactly what they want, when they want it, failing to understand that the network's priority is to deliver the biggest possible number of viewers to its advertisers. >More
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