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Saturday, February 28, 2015 |  Madison, WI: -8.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Paper


Bringing up baby, again: More grandparents are stepping in when parents check out

Single mom Sue Palm knew things were bad with her daughter, Tina, but at least she was getting help. Tina (whose name has been changed to protect her privacy, along with those of other children in this story) had long struggled with learning and behavioral issues, and eventually her father's death. >More


Peer specialists share their stories to assist clients in recovery

Stacy Paul remembers her breakdown vividly. She was riding the bus home after her night shift at St. Mary's Hospital when it happened. "For whatever reason, I couldn't remember where I lived or my name," says Paul, who was 23 and working as a nursing assistant at the time. "I didn't remember my address." >More
 Mary Burke runs in the middle

There are those on the far right and far left of the political spectrum, but they don't make up the majority of Wisconsin voters, says Mary Burke, the lone declared Democratic challenger to Gov. Scott Walker. The bulk are near the middle, and Burke says she is their candidate. >More
 Earth Stew is hooked on compost

Joanne Tooley got into composting like a lot of people do " through gardening. "Healthy soil produces healthy plants," she observes. Tooley is the proprietor of a new Madison business, Earth Stew, that will help area households with composting " an element of responsible contemporary living that increasingly is seen as a necessity. >More


How baby boomers can make amends

As the year draws to a close, it's a good time to be reflective about not just the year gone by, but the years behind us " to give some thought to what we've done and what kind of legacy we're leaving in our wake. As a generation, it looks like my people are planning on being a burden on our children. >More
 Tell All: Twits on Twitter

Dear Tell All: For years, friends have been urging me to join them on Twitter. "Come on, it will be fun," they said. "Join the party!" After holding out as long as I could, I signed up and began "following" my friends and family members. I've been shocked by what I've seen. >More


My first Madison house concert

It's natural to head to a bar or club for live music, but sometimes you don't have to look any further than your own backyard. Concerts are thriving in living rooms, basements and, yes, backyards all over the Madison area. After a friend took me to my first house concert this past summer, I was hooked. >More
 WheelHouse bring a modern rock approach to old-fashioned country music

The term "country music" is a lot broader than it used to be, even a few years ago. When you turn on country-pop radio and hear Sheryl Crow and Darius Rucker, you may think you mistakenly landed on a '90s rock station. >More
 Communion concert series comes to Madison

Madison appears on many "best of" lists, in part because it has such a large number of concerts by touring acts each year. Having many live music options is a good thing, but it can be hard for an unknown artist to bring in an audience when famous performers come to town regularly. >More



StageQ's Scrooge in Rouge is a sidesplitting sendup of Dickens' holiday classic

It wouldn't be the holidays if there weren't a few disasters. But even if your fruitcake burns to a crisp in the oven, your Christmas tree falls over, and your presents are lost by the post office, you're probably going to have a better day than the actors portrayed in Scrooge in Rouge, a cross-dressing sendup of the Dickens classic by StageQ (through Dec. 21 at the Bartell Theatre). >More
 University Theatre gets experimental in An Evening with Poe

University Theatre is taking a "Nightmare Before Christmas" approach to holiday programming this year with An Evening with Poe (through Dec. 8 at Vilas Hall's Hemsley Theatre). >More
 Psych: The Musical is a detective show with Broadway razzle-dazzle

Creator Steve Franks has made a success out of Psych, the comedy-drama about a private investigator who fakes psychic powers. How to freshen things up after seven seasons? Franks goes for broke with Psych: The Musical, a two-hour, over-the-top Broadway-style episode. >More


Director Peter Jackson retools the Hobbit story in The Desolation of Smaug

It's easy to confuse Peter Jackson's Hobbit films with his Lord of the Rings films. He seems to be counting on it. That much was clear in An Unexpected Journey, the first part of his series based on J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved novel The Hobbit. Jackson took a lot of liberties, adding an extended prologue and familiar faces from The Lord of the Rings to establish a connection with his original trilogy. >More
 A Touch of Sin shares tales of violence from modern China

"China is still changing rapidly," writer and director Jia Zhangke observes in the production notes for A Touch of Sin. "Violence is increasing." That's the starting point for this remarkable, Palme d'Or-nominated anthology film, which tells four stories of contemporary China, all of them involving hideous brutality. >More
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Taqueria El Jalapeño is a big Mexican restaurant in an intimate space

So many Mexican-American restaurants, in Wisconsin at least, are sprawling temples of the combo platter, warehouses that can seat 150 in front of vats of complimentary salsa. Good service in a place like that is often undercut by the scale, creating the impression that it's all polish, no intimacy. >More
 Rating grocery-store Champagnes

Boozy advent calendars are a thing in Madison this holiday season. I recently sampled Big Gin from Seattle out of a calendar devoted entirely to 24 days of craft gins. I thought, "This is how you win Christmas." There are whisky calendars floating around as well, and it made me sad there isn't a comparable item for wine aficionados. Although, done poorly, it could mean a month of Sutter Home airplane bottles. >More


Mad Rollin' Dolls kick off their 2013-14 season of roller derby action

If you walked into the Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center for the roller derby last weekend, your first impression might have been that the playing track was missing. If so, you're old. The banked oval of the '70s is long gone from most venues, as is the campy, comic-book version of the sport that many of us remember as professional wrestling on roller skates. >More
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