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Thursday, January 29, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 34.0° F  Overcast
The Paper


Slaying the Gerrymander: Here's a solution to Wisconsin's rigged legislative districts

Winning the governorship plus majorities in both houses in 2010, Republicans seized the golden opportunity to dominate the decennial process of redistricting the state as never before. >More


The scourge of shingles

Last spring I struck up a casual conversation with a stranger and heard about how the debilitating pain of his wife's shingles infection had been overwhelming both of their lives for months. Though I had heard of shingles, I thought it was a nuisance rash that troubled a few overly sensitive seniors. >More
 Toddlers take to tablets

Late last month, the Madison Metropolitan School District adopted a five-year, $27.7 million technology plan calling for all district students, including those in the primary grades, to have significantly increased access to their very own tablet or notebook computer by 2019. Some parents, as well as education professionals, questioned whether elementary-aged kids, especially kindergarteners who aren't even able to read or write yet, will gain much benefit from introducing yet another screen into their lives. >More
 ACLU targets Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban

It wasn't long ago that local activists saw little hope in challenging Wisconsin's 8-year-old ban on same-sex marriage. Forcing a redo vote on a constitutional amendment is a multi-year process that would have required the unlikely cooperation of the Republican-controlled Legislature and governor's office. And a court challenge didn't look any more promising. >More
 Dane County judge rules permit requirements for Wisconsin Capitol gatherings unconstitutional

Dane County Judge John Markson has dismissed 29 tickets issued to participants in the Solidarity Sing Along, ruling the state's permitting requirements for Capitol gatherings unconstitutional. In one of two written rulings issued Wednesday, Markson said he agreed with defendant Michael W. Crute, who argued that the state's permit requirement "violates the First Amendment because it applies, on its face, to very small groups." >More


Madison is missing the mark on Judge Doyle Square

Whatever gets built in the southeast quadrant off the Capitol Square will be there for maybe seven or eight decades. So it's important to get it right for the future, not just right for right now. We're talking about the block containing the Madison Municipal Building, the surface parking behind it and the Government East parking ramp on the other side of Pinckney Street. The city currently calls the project Judge Doyle Square. >More
 Tell All: Duck Dynasty haters are intolerant

Dear Tell All: You use the word "bigot" liberally, most recently in reference to Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty. I wonder if you know what it means. >More


Local Love Fest is a passionate ode to Madison's music scene

There's no shortage of love songs around Valentine's Day, but what about odes to local musicians who create those songs? Enter Local Love Fest, a yearly compilation album that features local bands covering other local bands. The fourth edition debuts at a Feb. 7 show at the High Noon Saloon and one on Feb. 8 at the Crystal Corner Bar. >More
 Can Neutral Milk Hotel's upcoming show at the Orpheum live up to the mythology fans have created?

An element of mystery helps sustain Neutral Milk Hotel's popularity. Soon after the 1998 release of their sophomore album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, mastermind Jeff Mangum pulled the plug and all but vanished. >More
 Lou and Peter Berryman give New Yorkers a taste of Madison-made folk music

Lou and Peter Berryman and their witty, Wisconsin-themed folk tunes are known far beyond the state's borders. They've been recorded by notable folkies like Claudia Schmidt, and Pete Seeger said "A Chat With Your Mother" is "one of the great American folk songs of the 20th century." Now the accordion-toting act will be honored in New York City's Greenwich Village, where the folk revival of the 1960s took shape. >More



Michelle Wildgen crafts delicious Bread and Butter from memories of working at L'Etoile

By any standard, Michelle Wildgen is having a very good year. Her third novel, Bread and Butter, comes out on Feb. 12; classes are full at Madison Writers' Studio, the writing school she founded last year with fellow Madison author Susanna Daniel; and a movie of her first novel, You're Not You, starring Hilary Swank, Josh Duhamel and Emmy Rossum, is slated to hit theaters in early summer. >More
 Victor Castro raids recycling bins to create 'social sculpture' in Madison

Victor Castro is proud to create art with "leftovers." Castro, who is known for his public art projects in Mexico and Peru, received a $10,000 grant from the Madison Arts Commission last year to create a site-specific mural at the new Meadowridge Library. >More
 Stradivarius shakedown

The 1715 Lipinski Stradivarius, made by famous violin craftsman Antonio Stradivari, was stolen from Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond on Jan. 27. The Milwaukee Police Department, the FBI and Interpol immediately began searching for the instrument, whose estimated value is up to $6 million. >More
 Strollers Theatre tackles tough questions about the moral ambiguity of war in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo by Strollers Theatre explores life in a war-wrecked city by giving the dead a voice. At the time of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Baghdad is filled with the ghosts of tyrants, children, soldiers and many victims of murder, including a tiger killed in captivity. >More
 Music Theatre of Madison's Hostage Song shows how two blindfolded captives stay sane as their hopes of release dwindle

Being held captive in a foreign land could dramatically change the one's definition of normalcy and make escape the most immediate goal. So it makes sense, at least somewhat, when the characters in the Music Theatre of Madison production of Hostage Song break into song. >More
 Alice Walker, for and against: American Masters profiles the controversial writer

Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth tells the unlikely story of a poor African American sharecropper's daughter who dedicates herself to changing the world and, against all odds, does. Walker immersed herself in the civil rights and women's liberation struggles of the 1960s and wrote about them in poems and novels. >More


Documentaries shine the brightest among short films nominated for 2014 Oscars

I'll start with the good news. This year's five Oscar-nominated documentary shorts are wonderful. They're screening next week at Sundance, and the shorts nominated in the animated and live-action categories are screening this week. >More
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Get an old-school fix at Nonno's Ristorante Italiano

Traditional Italian/Italian-American is a style of restaurant few appear interested in opening in Madison. What new kitchen has dared to trot out your grandfather's Bologneses and Parmigianas and Alfredos? If you speak Italian, you know nonno is the word for grandfather, and there's your answer. >More
 Madison shuffles locations for late-night food carts

Where Madison will host its late-night food carts continues to be an issue for the city's Vending Oversight Committee. >More


What's wrong with Wisconsin men's hoops?

The memories are so clear. Mere weeks ago, the Badger men's basketball team was humming along, everyone was contributing, and Bo Ryan's world appeared as beautiful as Tuscany in springtime. Fans and writers, yours truly included, rushed to lay rose petals at the players' feet. >More
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