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Friday, February 27, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 14.0° F  Fair
The Paper


Playtime unplugged: Madison designers help reinvent the board game

Once upon a wintry eve, before the advent of Netflix, DVDs, television and radio, families would gather around a piano to sing songs, or around a board game to pass the time. This was largely a function of not having a whole lot else to do. Before electricity, even reading a book was a bit challenging after sunset, and people mostly just ate dinner and went to bed after a bit of crocheting or cribbage. >More


Can videogames create mindful teens? UW-Madison researchers look into the therapeutic possibilities

Teenagers spurning family time and conversation for Candy Crush during the holiday season is nearly as common a sight these days as turkey and baked ham. But UW neuroscientist Richard Davidson, founder and chair of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, is optimistic that a new study will find evidence that games can be used to encourage pro-social behavior and mindfulness in teenagers. >More
 Who will pay for Judge Doyle Square?

The Judge Doyle Square project now being contemplated by the city has been billed as the largest city project ever. If it happens, the city isn't the only public body that will be paying for it. >More
 Judge Doyle Square could eat up city of Madison's parking reserves

The prospective developers of Judge Doyle Square are looking to tap not only tax incremental financing revenue, but parking utility funds. At the level requested, the project would seriously deplete the city's parking utility reserve fund, leaving it strapped for cash for future projects. >More


Wisconsin stacks the deck against unions

Remember the nonstop outrage over the Affordable Care Act? Opponents of Obamacare spent weeks shouting that the whole health-care expansion was clearly a failure because of glitches in the website when people tried to sign up. Obamacare critics, meet the Act 10 rollout in Wisconsin. >More
 On being a patient

Thanksgiving week is a great time to be in the hospital if you're a college basketball fan. Holiday tournaments in Alaska and Hawaii mean games are televised into the wee hours of Central Standard Time. That would be 2 a.m. right now. And here I lie in Room 910 with a giant plastic sippy-cup of ice water in one hand and a game-show button in the other. >More
 Tell All: Facebook is ruining Christmas

Dear Tell All: I grew up in a house where Christmas was the most special time of the year. My dad always took the whole week off work, and both he and my mom spent all their time with my sister and me. My main memory is how intimate it was. We baked cookies together, went shopping together and decorated the house together. >More


Your guide to New Year's Eve 2013-14 parties in Madison

With the end of 2013 come New Year's Eve parties for toasting the triumphs of the past 12 months. There are also plenty of opportunities to drown your troubles in cocktails, trample them on the dance floor or tune them out during a super-loud guitar jam. >More
 The Flavor That Kills turn retro-rock parodies into funky showpieces

The Flavor That Kills have only been together since 2012, but they've gone through an impressive amount of change between then and now. With members of Awesome Car Funmaker and Screamin' Cyn Cyn & the Pons, two hilarious bands from Madison's past, it's no surprise that the group began as a humorous homage to '70s rock. >More
 Joseph Huber aims for honest, forthright folksongs after .357 String Band's demise

Milwaukee's .357 String Band spent many sweaty nights playing "streetgrass," a sped-up form of bluegrass, at venues around the world. The band broke up in 2011, but the music hasn't stopped. Since then, singer and banjo player Joseph Huber has released Tongues of Fire, a solo album full of Americana, folk and singer-songwriter influences. >More



Guys on Ice hooks audiences with its heartwarming depiction of Wisconsin fishermen

I've always wondered what goes on in those little, lit-up fishing shacks on frozen lakes. Ice fishing is an intrinsic part of Wisconsin culture, particularly for the men who wake up before dawn to trek over slick ice for a long day of watching tip-ups. Guys on Ice, a Wisconsin-made musical coming to the Barrymore this week, gives theatergoers a peek inside this phenomenon. >More
 Four Seasons Theatre's splendid singing elevates The Fantasticks' tale of young lovers and meddling fathers

I first encountered The Fantasticks when I was a teenager. Listening to the cast recording over and over, I was charmed and a touch confused. It was so different from the other musicals I knew: dreamlike and a little strange. The excellent production by Four Seasons Theatre (through Dec. 22 at Overture Center's Playhouse) would have met the approval of 16-year-old me. And on opening night, the 30-something me was pleased, too. >More
 Madison Ballet's The Nutcracker fills Overture Hall with magical characters, vibrant costumes, and gorgeous music and dancing

It might have been cold and gray outside, but the Madison Ballet production of The Nutcracker (through Dec. 24) made Overture Hall colorful and inviting on Saturday afternoon. The Madison Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John DeMain, sounded even better than last year. >More
 I still love Lucy: CBS airs a little-seen Christmas episode

What are the odds of a black-and-white 1950s sitcom being funny in 2013? Extremely low " unless the sitcom is I Love Lucy. In the I Love Lucy Christmas Special, CBS offers us a holiday gift by airing two 1956 episodes, "The Christmas Episode" and "Lucy's Italian Movie." The only concession to modern-day audiences is colorization. >More


Anchorman 2 is a smarter jab at TV news than its predecessor

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is like a mash-up of movies released in 2013. It's got self-delusion in '70s New York, just like American Hustle. It's got a shark fight that rivals the one in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, with poor Kristen Wiig playing nearly the same part she plays in that film. It's also got a strong black character fighting for her place in the world, similar to 12 Years a Slave. >More
 Saving Mr. Banks is a stark look at the story behind Mary Poppins

In Saving Mr. Banks, P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), the irascible author of Mary Poppins, bitterly complains that her story will lose its realistic edge in the hands of Walt Disney (Tom Hanks). This is just one way director John Lee Hancock force-feeds us gritty realism when telling the story behind the magical nanny with the flying umbrella. >More
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Sol's on the Square adds a Korean dimension to downtown Madison dining

Korean culinary traditions and Korean-American experiences have mainstreamed over the past few years in a massive way. That might not be so apparent in Madison, where access has been limited. New Seoul has been open near UW Hospital for more than two decades, and was joined more recently by K-Pepper in Middleton. Sol's on the Square -- actually just off the Square at 117 E. Mifflin St. -- fills a hole in the sparse Korean-food landscape. >More


Bo Ryan's hoops for the holidays

Ah, the holiday cheer was pouring in from all directions last weekend. Congratulations to the UW volleyball team, which advanced to the NCAA Final Four after winning its regional in Champaign, Ill. A tip of the hat goes to the Packers, who improbably stayed in playoff contention after a second-half comeback in Dallas that defies facile description. >More
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