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Saturday, December 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 30.0° F  Light Snow
The Paper


Can we save Madison's lakes? A new effort raises hope for rapid change

If it were simple and cheap to clean up Madison's lakes we would have done it by now. Unfortunately, the answers are complex, uncertain and costly. But there is a big new wave of activity washing up on the shores of the Yahara lakes, and it is raising hope for relatively rapid and noticeable progress. The Clean Lakes Alliance is a broad coalition of heavy hitters in science, government, environmental organizations, foundations and business, all committed to cleaning up the lakes in short order. >More


Rotary Club of Madison turns 100

It was "Beatles Month" at Downtown Rotary when I joined Madison's oldest, largest and most important service club in 2001. As I looked out from the dais and saw my old University of Wisconsin Law School professor Gordon Baldwin -- engaging academic and campus chair of the 1972 Nixon campaign -- singing "Eleanor Rigby," I knew this was the club for me. >More
 Hunting critics want a say in Wisconsin's wildlife management

Patty Lowry had never been to a meeting of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress before attending the group's spring hearing last week at Sun Prairie High School. But her interest in the group has grown since she learned it was behind the recently passed state law allowing trapping and expanded hunting in state parks. >More
 Dane County Democrats take back seat in 2013 legislative session

It's a given that lawmakers in the minority party are frozen out of leadership positions on legislative committees, powerful or otherwise. It's the chairperson, after all, who holds the power to advance or kill legislation. So it's no surprise that Democrats, who have been the minority party in both the state Senate and state Assembly since 2010, when Republican Gov. Scott Walker also took office, chair no committees. >More


Former Madison alderman Tim Bruer used his power to help people

When people run for office and then tell you that they are not a politician, you can be sure of one of two things. Either they're lying to you or they're lying to themselves. And the latter is worse. >More
 My father's mental illness

It wasn't the first time he stormed from the house shouting his demands into the dark. This last time was the worst, though. It took a minute for my mother and me to realize it was even happening. He'd been loud in the yard before. Now he had moved it into the street. >More
 Tell All: Unplanned, drunken sex

Dear Tell All: Biggest Idiot wished he'd never told his longtime platonic girlfriend how he felt about her (Don't Have Sex With a Friend," 3/21/2013). But in fact, he didn't actually tell her. Instead, he had unplanned, drunken sex with her and during the act told her several times that he loved her. That's not the same thing as telling her that he wanted to be involved with her romantically. >More


Ants in his pants: Why folk-rocker Langhorne Slim cannot sit still

Singer-songwriter Langhorne Slim can't stay in one place for long. A restless spirit, he strives for adventure. He bears a resemblance to musical drifter Woody Guthrie, but he's more rock 'n' roll rambler than itinerant folksinger. >More
 Josh Ritter works through his divorce on his deeply personal new album The Beast in Its Tracks

Josh Ritter didn't let his 2011 divorce from fellow singer-songwriter Dawn Landes stop his creative process. In fact, the split -- and the sequence of events that led up to it -- prepared him to create his latest album, The Beast in Its Tracks. But there was a moment of hesitation at the start. >More
 Pissed Jeans make noise-rock about stupid people and crummy jobs

Pissed Jeans seem to idealize the power of noise-rock while regarding it as the dumbest possible style of music. The band offer a lean and powerful update on the likes of Flipper and the Jesus Lizard that's not as self-consciously ambitious as, say, fellow Sub Pop noise-rockers Metz. >More



UW theater professor Patrick Sims urges Madison to confront issues of race, culture and class

UW theater professor Patrick Sims can't resist playing around with his students. While helping them organize a field trip, he sees an opportunity for a laugh. It's a gamble, though. The subject at hand is a veritable powder keg: how "driving while black" can get a person into some serious trouble. Sims goes in for the win. "I am driving a black car," he says with a sly grin, his eyes twinkling behind wire-rimmed glasses. "Can't a black man drive a black car?" >More
 Forward Theater's Good People addresses class-based privilege with vivid characters and laugh-out-loud humor

When it comes to poverty, Americans seem to have a particular obsession with luck versus choice. David Lindsay-Abaire's 2011 play, Good People, being staged by Forward Theater Company in Overture Center's Playhouse through April 21, mines this moral territory through the struggles of Margie, a middle-aged single mother of an adult daughter with special needs. >More
 All the President's Men Revisited takes a fresh look at the Watergate scandal

You couldn't ask for a better reevaluation of the Watergate scandal than All the President's Men Revisited. Robert Redford narrates the story of President Richard Nixon's downfall, drawing on interviews with the journalists who broke the story (Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein), Nixon henchmen (Alexander Butterfield, John Dean) and media commentators (Rachel Maddow, David Frost). >More


Upstream Color is an odd fantasy about a worm that facilitates mind control

I haven't forgotten what American Players Theatre actor Jonathan Smoots said about Harold Pinter. At a talkback after a performance of Old Times, Smoots remarked, "In Pinter, there are no ding-dong moments." What he meant is that the playwright doesn't introduce his characters conventionally -- by, for example, having other characters greet them at the door (ding-dong!). There likewise are no ding-dong moments in the enigmatic, rewarding drama Upstream Color. >More
 Ryan Gosling makes an alluring motorcycle bandit in The Place Beyond the Pines

Writer-director Derek Cianfrance has a flair for the sublimely saccharine. In his 2010 film, Blue Valentine, Ryan Gosling plays an overzealous lover who breaks out a ukulele and tells his girl he's going to reveal his "special talent" of "singing stupid." This announcement elicits a whole spectrum of gut reactions: He is winsome, pitiful, grating, mortifying, and then suddenly winsome again. His song is so surprisingly beautiful that you don't want it to stop. >More
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Opening day! A look at the 2013 Madison food cart season

Say "April 15" and most Americans think of taxes. I think food carts. That date's the start of the season for Madison's Mall/Concourse vendors, which means new sites for some veterans and the debut of first-timers. >More
 Think pink: A lineup of rosés for the change of season

The first sign of spring this year wasn't crocuses poking through the tundra; it was the steady pink stream arriving from the West Coast in the form of rosé. The gush began a few weeks ago, and if you're a rosé fan, you'll want to try these refreshing bottles now with a bit of soft goat cheese. Preferably outside. >More


'In an instant, it just stopped': Madison marathoner Bob Ansheles recalls his Boston experience

Bob Ansheles, the director of marketing and membership for the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and a former sales manager at Isthmus, had finished the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon and was a couple blocks away from the finish line when he heard the first blast. >More
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