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Thursday, December 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 33.0° F  Overcast
The Paper

FEATURED STORY

Will major development change the character of State Street?

Max Grinnell fell in love for the first time on State Street. Not with any particular person, but with the urban setting in all its messy beauty. "It was an exciting place to be. The reason I was down here so much was that my father operated a film society on campus and showed a lot of movies at Vilas Hall," Grinnell remembers. "I was down here, putting up posters, watching people, looking into the storefronts." >More

NEWS

The making of a downtown tradition: Concerts on the Square turns 30

For a free event, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra's Concerts on the Square series has meant big business for everyone from baristas to barristers and bassists, too. It may prove to be the greatest engine for cultural enhancement, community spirit and economic development ever devised by a single Madisonian. >More
 Women lawmakers share stories about rape, difficult pregnancies in Wisconsin ultrasound bill debate

This was no ordinary debate in the Wisconsin Legislature. Rep. Mandy Wright (D-Wausau) shared publicly for the first time that she had been raped when she was 8. Rep. Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton) talked in public for the first time about the anguish she felt when told 17 years ago that one of the twins she was carrying had died in utero and that she had to make a choice to "save the life" of her other son. >More

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Scott Walker is not invincible: Democrats need to shake off their fatalism

Snap out of it, people. Two numbers make Scott Walker vulnerable: 50 and 44. The governor's approval ratings hover around 50%, which is weak for an incumbent. And Wisconsin ranks 44th among the states in job creation. Walker ran on jobs, promising to create 250,000 in four years. At the current pace we won't get half the way there in time for his reelection. >More
 A vacation up north goes south

>The Integrated Stable Cradles II system on the Yakima Superjoe Pro 3 bike rack is made of durable, medium-soft plastic. Pliable enough to grip the crossbar of your bicycle. Hard enough to secure it wiggle-free for city or Interstate transport. You wouldn't expect the unit to hurt you too badly when you slam the rear hatch of your car down onto your head. >More
 Tell All: Group sex gone wrong

Dear Tell All: I want to speak to Straight Man, who went to dinner at a married couple's house with his wife, then found hosts George and Martha interested in group sex ("Foursome, Anyone?," 5/16/2013). George and Martha were at best inconsiderate, not noticing that you felt uncomfortable around them. At worst, they are manipulative predators who were grooming you and your wife. The couple tried to get you and your wife drunk, and in a coordinated way tried to make you violate your wedding vows. >More

MUSIC

All Tiny Creatures evolve: The experimental band bring vocals to the fore

All Tiny Creatures' new album, Dark Clock, is pretty accessible, so it's strange to think that it might alienate some fans. The local experimentalists insist that this was not part of the plan. Like many creatures, they're just evolving. >More
 Trombonist Darren Sterud fills the Fountain with bold jazz shows

When Branford Marsalis performed at Overture Center in February, he got wind of the Fountain, a live-music venue across the street that's reinvigorating the city's jazz scene. After rehearsal, he stopped in to check it out, pronouncing the back bar a "cool little space." Darren Sterud, a 27-year-old professional trombonist, was bartending that day. >More
 Isthmus Jazz Festival 2013 turns UW Memorial Union Terrace into a chilled-out getaway

With Make Music Madison, Solskinn and the Madison Area Music Awards, this weekend is a flurry of tuneful activities. The Isthmus Jazz Festival on the Terrace at the UW Memorial Union is probably the most relaxing option. Most of it is outside, swathed in Lake Mendota breezes and the brat stand's tantalizing aromas. >More

AT A GLANCE

ARTS

American Players Theatre's The Two Gentlemen of Verona is an early example of Shakespeare's comedic talent

A pre-show downpour at American Players Theatre's outdoor theater in Spring Green didn't delay the opening of The Two Gentlemen of Verona (through Oct. 6). The play, one of Shakespeare's earliest comedies, can be a bit dreary and ponderous, but it has bright spots as well. We see hints of the Bard's hallmark tropes and themes, including a female character disguising herself as a boy and the bizarre foibles of young lovers. >More
 American Players Theatre's Molly Sweeney shows what's lost when a blind woman gains sight

Even if Hamlet isn't your thing, this season's Molly Sweeney (through Sept. 28) just might be. This play by Brian Friel is composed of monologues written for three actors, which tell the story of a blind Irish woman rendered mostly sightless at a young age. Molly (Colleen Madden) is far from discouraged by her blindness. She's confident, ebullient and bold, sucking up life's tactile wonders with every pore. That is until her husband, the overly enthusiastic Frank (David Daniel), decides she’d be better off with sight. >More
 Under the Dome seals off a town from the world

CBS's new series Under the Dome is premised on a beautifully simple "what if" scenario: What if an invisible dome descended on a small town, cutting it off from the outside world? In this Stephen King adaptation, the residents of Chester's Mill are in the midst of a normal day when the dome drops -- a spectacular special effect involving fire, earthquakes and debris. >More

MOVIES

Joss Whedon turns Much Ado About Nothing into a stylish, modern romp

The romantic banter in Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing flutters and flirts as it navigates a course of love that never runs smooth. It's a breath of fresh air in a dreary catalog of films based on Shakespeare's plays that either sag under the weight of the Bard's language or sacrifice the poetry in those words in the pursuit of realness. >More
 Monsters University is a lively lesson about perseverance

Ratatouille, like most of Pixar's feature films, has supporters who think it's a masterpiece. As brilliant as Brad Bird's direction and visual style are in that film, the story has always left me vaguely pissed off. And now, thanks to Monsters University, the new prequel to Monsters, Inc., there's a chance to show exactly why. >More
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ARCHIVE

EATS

Cortadito Express is more than a novelty act

The first thing you hear about Cortadito Express is that it's located in what used to be the coatroom of the Cardinal Bar. Yes, the engineering of that build-out is impressive, but more so is the Cortadito Express dining room: the streets of downtown Madison. The little package that is Cortadito's kitchen opens up to serve any and all Wilson Street passers-by. What comes from it is a quality of street food that Madison has been waiting for. >More
 Nose uncovers the world of Cali wine

First there's steamy sex. Then a mysteriously unmarked bottle of wine shows up on the doorstep of wine critic Clyde Jones. He's smitten; it's the perfect cabernet. Later, his body is discovered stuck in a fermentation tank. There's an ambitious gumshoe reporter, a beautiful widow, a reclusive winemaker, a disgruntled vineyard heiress, a seedy bar called Glass Act. And more sex. >More

SPORTS & RECREATION

In defense of Brett Favre

After the Green Bay Packers released Desmond Bishop on Monday, ESPN Wisconsin's Jason Wilde reported that the linebacker would be visiting with the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday. Wilde followed that news immediately with a cautionary tweet. >More
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