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Wednesday, July 30, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 77.0° F  Partly Cloudy
The Paper

FEATURED STORY

Walker's radical reform: How has it worked out for Wisconsin's economy?

Gina Ray had a front-row seat to the chaos that erupted around the Capitol protests in early 2011. Although Ray sympathized deeply with the protesters, she had a job to do as a 20-year veteran on the governor's security detail: protect the governor and his staff and keep the peace. Mostly, what she saw going on behind the curtain during those chaotic days was fear. >More

NEWS

Madison school board candidates focus on budget cuts, achievement gap, privatization in spring 2013 primary

Running for school board is cool again. Not only will all three seats in this spring's general election be contested, there will also be a primary election for the first time since 2007. TJ Mertz, Ananda Mirilli and Sarah Manski will compete in the Feb. 19 primary for the seat of retiring board member Maya Cole. The three candidates argue that the Madison school board has never been more important. >More
 Wisconsin public defender refers a minor seeking court-approved abortion to Care Net, a crisis pregnancy center

From the get-go, Tia was certain she wanted an abortion. She had her reasons. Just 17, she says she could have gotten pregnant by one of two boys. She had also recently done drugs, including coke. "It made me nervous about how the baby would be affected and stuff," says Tia, who lives in Madison but asked that her real name not be used and that other identifying details be withheld. >More
 Walter Milton, Jr., Madison schools superintendent finalist, withdraws after quick pushback, Jennifer Cheatham remains

Only one superintendent finalist will be meeting the public at a forum Thursday at Monona Terrace at 5:45 p.m. Late Tuesday, the school board announced that Dr. Walter Milton, Jr., had withdrawn his name from consideration because the district "is not the right fit for him." Milton, who is currently superintendent of schools in Springfield, Illinois, spoke with Isthmusjust hours before the board's announcement and seemed enthusiastic about attending the forum, saying he would answer questions from the public and media "with an open heart." >More

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Tax code vs. democracy

It's February, which for most of us means it's time once again to begin preparing tax forms. Other than perhaps a 24-hour rectal exam, there is no experience I dread more than this annual ritual. >More
 Tell All: Wisconsin Capitol dress code? Really?

Dear Tell All: I'm amused by the fact that Republicans recently instituted a dress code for legislators in the state Assembly. Now there's a great solution to one of Wisconsin's biggest problems: the fact that not enough male politicians wear proper suits and ties, and not enough female politicians wear proper dresses or pants suits. >More

MUSIC

Celebrate or protest Valentine's Day in Madison with these concerts

Is romance in the air this Valentine's Day, or are you romancing the idea of saying to hell with the holiday? Whether you've been struck by Cupid's arrow or you're aiming a middle finger at the chubby cherub, Madison has plenty of musical options to ensure the week ahead plays whatever tune your heart desires. Here are my top picks for the Valentine's-obsessed and the Valentine's-averse. >More
 Richie Cole plays manically exuberant jazz

Richie Cole has released a few different albums with "madness" in their titles. For the alto sax veteran, the word doesn't signal avant-garde abrasion or emotional turmoil, but rather a relentless pursuit of the festive. >More

AT A GLANCE

ARTS

MMoCA shows how Ellsworth Kelly set the art world on fire

Color is king right now at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. While the outside world is shrouded in white, MMoCA boasts a riot of color -- and not just in its main galleries, where Ellsworth Kelly Prints runs through April 28. >More
 Edgewood College Gallery's Art Lesson is a brave yet sensitive reflection on impermanence and desire

Don't let the name of Edgewood College Gallery's latest exhibition fool you. Art Lesson: The Boston School Considered (through Feb. 24) isn't really about Boston. Some would say these photos are about New York during the birth of punk and the emergence of AIDS, but that's not the whole story either. >More
 The Acting Company's As You Like It is as bold as the Bard himself

The "All the world's a stage" monologue from Shakespeare's As You Like It is a roadmap of sorts for a globetrotting repertory troupe called the Acting Company. Since launching in 1972, it has trained several stars of the stage and screen, including Broadway luminary Patti LuPone and Academy Award winner Kevin Kline. Over time the limelight fades for many performers, but these actors' careers have endured several of the life stages the speech describes, from lustful young adulthood to wisdom-rich middle age. >More
 Mercury Players Theatre plays uncomfortable acting games in Circle Mirror Transformation

Mercury Players Theatre's Circle Mirror Transformation might feel familiar to anyone who's taken an enrichment acting course at a community center. Complete with an overly enthusiastic instructor, abundant awkward silences, and uncomfortably personal acting games, the play takes you within the walls of an adult drama class. >More
 Touch finds the meaning of life in the number 318

If you love TV, you have to love its grand follies. These are the shows that throw caution to the wind to make REALLY IMPORTANT STATEMENTS ABOUT HUMANITY. Touch is one of those shows. Kiefer Sutherland plays the father of a mute boy who sees the connectedness of all things, somehow involving the number 318. (The number 5227 also seems significant. Who knew?) >More

MOVIES

Animated tales shine in a program of 2013 Oscar-nominated shorts

In the recent past the Oscar-nominated shorts have disappointed me. I'm happy to report that this year's nominees have much to recommend them. Programs of animated, live-action and documentary shorts open this week at Sundance. I'm focusing on the animated and live-action ones. >More
 Side Effects proves that genre fare can be elegant and memorable

Steven Soderberghrecently announced his retirement from feature filmmaking. It was a bleak day for cinephiles who appreciate his approach to "genre" movies. If Soderbergh has proven anything over the last three decades, it's that any broad concept can be executed with professionalism and style. >More
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ARCHIVE

EATS

Ale Asylum's tasting room crafts a satisfying brewery meal

In describing to friends how the new Ale Asylum tasting room on Pankratz Street is already flourishing, I joked that it's come a long way from the house-frozen pizzas of its former location on Anderson Street. (House-frozen, oddly enough, has yet to become a foodie totem like house-cured or house-smoked.) >More
 Mildred's Sandwich Shop ends an era

Fans of Mildred's Sandwich Shop, you have two weeks in which to eat a last Leadbetter or Blystone. The venerable holdover from Madison's veritable hippie years has been sold, and the new owners plan to open a new restaurant at the site, according to its Facebook page. >More

SPORTS & RECREATION

Nice day for a ride! Madison Winter Bike to Work Week turns two

Call them crazy or the rest of us lazy -- many bike in winter and love it. To encourage you to try it, too, the city's second annual Winter Bike to Work Week will be held Monday through Friday, Feb. 11-15. It's sponsored by Madison Bike Winter<, a loose-knit group of enthusiasts. >More
 Badger QB quandary

Gary Andersen has yet to run a practice, call a timeout, or signal in a play as Wisconsin's head football coach, but many are already evaluating his job performance based on the announcement of the 2013 recruiting class. Andersen is being praised for holding on to all but a few of the recruits originally wooed by his predecessor, Bret Bielema, and adding a few of his own. >More
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