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Saturday, December 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 30.0° F  Light Snow Fog/Mist
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FEATURED STORY

A place called Occupy Madison: The homeless community plans its radical next step

When Caleb Pickle fled trouble at home in the spring of 2012, he wound up a stranger on the streets of Madison. Then he heard about a place called Occupy Madison. It was a group of people camping out, pooling resources. Pickle was skeptical at first -- he worried the group might be unstructured or unruly -- but gave it a chance. >More

NEWS

Wisconsin poised to modernize WIC nutrition program after passing on federal grant

In keeping with the Walker administration's distaste for tapping federal funds for state services, the former secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services refused in 2011 to apply for a $8.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The grant would have helped implement a swipe card system for Wisconsin's Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. >More
 Tim Bruer brought home the bacon

One of Tim Bruer's favorite lines to colleagues on Madison's Common Council is: "I've seen this movie before; here's how it's going to end." Ald. Mark Clear says the line was always a warning about unintended consequences: "He could be very persuasive and make you see the long-term consequences of a particular action." >More
 Sustainability journalist Doug Fine talks about carbon footprints, creature comforts and cannabis cultivation

Doug Fine is more than just the jocular guy who wrote a sometimes tongue-in-cheek report called Farewell, My Subaru, about going back to the land and off the grid, raising goats at a ranch in rural New Mexico. Fine is serious but not solemn about ecological sustainability issues, from decreasing our fossil-fuel consumption to increasing industrial cannabis production. >More

OPINION & COMMENTARY

A tipping point for Madison schools

It's make-or-break time for Wisconsin's public schools. You would never know it from the Americans for Prosperity school-choice bus tour, but here in Wisconsin we actually have one of the best public school systems in the nation. Why, then, is my old Fox News colleague Juan Williams paying repeated visits, sponsored by AFP, to tell Wisconsinites we ought to imitate the school systems in Florida and Louisiana? >More
 Tell All: Death to my noisy neighbor

Dear Tell All: I have a problem that I'm sure a lot of Madison renters can relate to: My upstairs neighbor will not give it a rest with his acoustic guitar. Between the repetitive riffs and the corresponding foot stomping, it feels like I'm living in a never-ending open mic night. He mostly plays songs from the Beatles and Bob Dylan, and is especially fond of the Beatles' "Across the Universe." >More

MUSIC

UW's Gamelan Ensemble re-creates songs and dances from ancient Javanese kingdoms

The students in UW's Javanese Gamelan Ensemble learn notation that seems almost impenetrable compared to straightforward Western concepts such as sheet music and chords. This traditional Indonesian music challenges them to focus and adjust, and it asks the same of the audience. >More
 Green bluegrass: Graminy cultivate an eco-friendly 'symphony'

It's not unusual for nature to inspire songwriting, but few musicians call their work eco-friendly. A score can be printed on recycled paper, but a melody can't stop global warming. But maybe we're not having enough faith in music's power. Just ask Graminy, a local band that fuse bluegrass and classical music. >More
 The dream of the '90s is alive in the hip-hop of Joey Bada$$

Joey Bada$$ was just 4 years old when the '90s came to a close, but you'd never guess it from listening to 1999, the solo mixtape he released last year. The recording sounds like it's plucked from the golden era of hip-hop that the gifted NYC rapper mostly heard from a child safety seat. On April 12, Bada$$ will stop by the UW Memorial Union Rathskeller, where he'll try to impress people who remember that decade as well as hip-hop fans from his own generation. >More

AT A GLANCE

ARTS

The Bubbler, a new Madison Public Library program, finds innovative ways to connect creative types

In the past, Madison Public Library wasn't the place to craft a blueprint or build a miniature rocket. If there were any handmade books on the premises, they were probably in a display case, behind a layer of glass. Well, times have changed, and now you can learn to create all of these items through hands-on classes the library has organized. They're part of the Bubbler, a new, free program for local "makers." >More
 University Theatre's Wondrous Tales of Old Japan II offers a glimpse into the Japanese kabuki tradition

University Theatre's annual Theatre for Youth production, Wondrous Tales of Old Japan II (through April 13 at UW Vilas Hall's Hemsley Theatre), illustrates the emotional power of storytelling by weaving together colorful tales old-world Japan. >More
 Alien races try to coexist in the post-apocalyptic Defiance

Syfy boasts that Defiance marks the first convergence of TV and online gaming. The drama will unfold as both a series and a multiplatform videogame, with connections between the two mediums. That's an intriguing gimmick -- but luckily there's nothing gimmicky about the TV premiere, which stands on its own as richly imagined science fiction. >More

MOVIES

56 Up is reality TV's longest-running experiment

With the arrival of 56 Up, I think it's fair to ask if Michael Apted's legendary documentary series has become more fascinating in theory than in actuality. It is, after all, the only movie being screened four times at the Wisconsin Film Festival. >More
 A German teen questions her Nazi upbringing in Lore

Australian writer-director Cate Shortland is fascinated with teenage girls on the precipice of adulthood. They were the subject of her 2004 debut, Somersault, and they're also the focus of her latest effort, Lore, which is screening at the Wisconsin Film Festival. But this time, Shortland adds the bracing reality of political exigencies to a social and sexual coming-of-age story. >More
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EATS

The Vanilla Beanery, a Sun Prairie business, creates a high-end extract

When Julie Wiedmeyer isn't serving on the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce or the Plan Commission, or organizing the rapidly growing Sunshine Supper, which serves free meals to low-income members of the community, she makes vanilla extract. More to the point, she finds the time to extensively research vanilla beans, distributors, recipes and extraction techniques, and now makes vanilla extract that she sells under the Vanilla Beanery label. >More
 The Coopers Tavern expands upward, readies for second CSA dinner series

The Coopers Tavern, 20 W. Mifflin St., is moving fast with its second-floor expansion. It should be open in early May, "in time for Craft Beer Week," says owner Peter McElvanna. The space echoes the long, narrow first floor, but opens up at the Mifflin end with floor-to-ceiling windows that boast what may be the best unobstructed view of the Capitol on the Square. >More

SPORTS & RECREATION

Love the new, fun Badgers football squad

Less happens during an actual three-ring circus than what played out on the Camp Randall Stadium turf last Saturday morning. Over 800 fans showed up for an open spring practice -- something unheard of during the Barry Alvarez and Bret Bielema regimes -- and got a brief glimpse behind the curtain of big-time college football. >More
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