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Friday, January 30, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 24.0° F  Partly Cloudy
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Laugh. Cry. Cheer. The 2013 Wisconsin Film Festival aims for a big reaction

Films could be called movies because they can stir feelings deep within, those that weren't apparent before you set foot in the theater. Expect some intense emotional reactions at this year's Wisconsin Film Festival whether you're watching a harrowing documentary or an absurdist comedy. >More


Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack wins second term as big liberal money sits out race

Pat Roggensack's reelection to the Wisconsin Supreme Court solidifies her power and that of the conservative bloc she often leads. The Supreme Court is a veritable fortress for incumbents. In its 161-year history, through more than 120 elections, just two justices seeking reelection have been defeated. >More
 Tony Evers easily wins Wisconsin superintendent race, now faces battle with Gov. Walker

For state superintendent Tony Evers, reelection was the easy part. He handily beat his opponent, staunch conservative Rep. Don Pridemore (R-Town of Erin), with over 60% of the vote Tuesday. >More
 James Howard and TJ Mertz will face achievement gap and budget challenges on new Madison school board

Madison's newly elected school board members have their work cut out for them in what promises to be a year of change for the district. Not only is the board set to work with new superintendent Jennifer Cheatham, who started on April 1, it is also tasked with pushing through a plan to close the district's glaring achievement gap. >More
 John Strasser defeats Tim Bruer for Madison Common Council seat; all other incumbents survive

Everybody says it's hard to beat an incumbent. And Tuesday's elections for Madison Common Council proved that to be true -- with one stunning exception. Tim Bruer, the so-called dean of the Common Council who has served in since 1984, was upset by the relatively unknown John Strasser. >More


The high cost of water

Years ago George Carlin did a comedy bit called "Water Sez," which included the lines "water says, who cares. Drink me, I don't give a *#$%!" Many water users feel the same way and only think about their water when it's time to pay the semiannual bill. That may be about to change, though, and not just because the Madison Water Utility will soon be invoicing you monthly. Water is taking a bigger bite out of household budgets at the same time that Wisconsin's water utilities are apparently shirking their responsibilities in order to become cash cows for fiscally strapped municipalities. >More


Pioneer devise a new recipe for rock on Black Pasture

Blind dates normally carry low expectations. So the co-worker who set up Kenny Monroe and Jacqueline Kursel must be pleased. The strangers became a couple, the couple started a band, and the band put out an album. >More
 Pianist Gerald Clayton has jazz in his DNA

Jazz pianist and composer Gerald Clayton has known his life's calling since a third-grade talent show. The Grammy-nominated artist played a little boogie-woogie piece he had worked on with his father, noted jazz bassist John Clayton. Music was already a constant in his life, but this performance was the first time he felt its power as a creator. >More
 Max Raabe performs vibrant vintage jazz with a stone-faced expression

At first listen, it seems that German singer Max Raabe and his big band, Palast Orchester, are to the grand tradition of jazz what a watery aperitif is to a 12-course meal. Yet there's a surreal charm to their take on the jazz and pop pantheon, idealized and filtered through old movie musicals and debonair showmanship. >More



Strollers Theatre's Lobby Hero raises thorny questions about moral ambiguity

In 2011, The New York Times offered high praise for Kenneth Lonergan's dramedy Lobby Hero, calling it one of the best new American plays of the century. Strollers Theatre's production (through April 13 at the Bartell Theatre) shows why this play has earned such glowing reviews. >More
 Whimsy, irony and a bit of nostalgia help Broom Street Theater's Superhero Boogie soar

Superhero Boogie (through April 13 at Broom Street Theater) brings to life the stories of eight superheroes, pulling material from their glory days of comic books on tape. The play examines the line between childhood and adulthood, sticking to the audio script just enough to highlight the protagonists' adventures but also the nonsensical plots and scientific references that have long since lost their modern sheen. >More
 A brilliantly absurd sitcom explains How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)

How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) is the rare sitcom where everyone in the cast is a great comedian, down to the child actor. Polly (Sarah Chalke) is a basket case who, nevertheless, wants to be a good mom to her young daughter. >More


In No, a man tries to oust a dictator with optimistic ads

Dictators are generally overthrown, not voted out of office. Yet Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet's 15-year strong-arm rule -- noted for its colossal human-rights abuses and vast numbers of imprisoned, murdered, "disappeared" and exiled citizens -- ended as the result of a national referendum his increasingly reluctant allies demanded in 1988. >More
 Tchoupitoulas is a dreamy amble through nighttime New Orleans

A few years back, James Frey caused a fracas by marketing his book A Million Little Pieces as a memoir. After Oprah selected this tale of a recovering addict for her book club in 2006, The Smoking Gun revealed that many of its details were fabricated. Random House, the publisher, was so mortified that it offered refunds to customers who felt Frey had deceived them. It seemed that a discernible line had been drawn between truth and fiction. >More
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High expectations for UW campus sub shop Cheba Hut

I'll admit that I was annoyed when I saw the sign for Cheba Hut's "toasted" subs go up in January. "'Toasted'"? I thought to myself. "Those quotation marks are totally unnecessary." And then I felt chagrined, and square, when I checked the place out and saw the menu. Oh. Ohhh. It clicked. Nugs, pinners and blunts (4", 8" and 12") are the sizes of the subs; they're named after the many incarnations of Mary Jane. >More


A wish list for the Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee right fielder Norichika Aoki accounted for the Brewers' only home run on opening day at Miller Park on Monday. Bernie Brewer's butt didn't hit the left-field slide for Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks or Aramis Ramirez, each of whom had over 20 dingers last season. Meanwhile, Aoki's third-inning blast would have been 10% of his entire 2012 home run output. >More
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