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Saturday, August 30, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 77.0° F  Light Rain

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Wisconsin Film Festival 2013: Madison native Joel Schroeder delves into Calvin and Hobbes in Dear Mr. Watterson

Dear Mr. Watterson, one of this year's Wisconsin Film Festival selections (which screens twice, on Sunday, April 14, 4 p.m. at UW Union South and Monday, April 15, 9 p.m. at Sundance), is a finely crafted love letter to the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes and its creator, Bill Watterson. By interviewing fans, historians and fellow cartoonists, director Joel Schroeder highlights the strip's cultural significance and how the little boy and his toy tiger resonate with fans today, nearly 20 years after the last strip was published. >More
 Wisconsin Film Festival 2013: Writer-director Michael Wellenreiter discusses the films and foods that inspired La méduse rouge

The organizers of this year's Wisconsin Film Festival have dubbed La méduse rouge, which screens Saturday, April 13 (UW Chazen Museum, 9:15 p.m.), the "most out-there" movie of the eight-day event, so a typical synopsis seems a little off-base. >More
 30 Rock's Tracy Morgan digests fame and frustration in his act

Midway through a conversation with comedian Tracy Morgan, I present the synopsis of a hypothetical film called Being Tracy Morgan. A sequel to Being John Malkovich, Spike Jonze's bizarre 1999 tale about identity and self-awareness, it would revolve around some teenagers who discover a magical refrigerator that leads into Morgan's mind and body. If such a movie were to be made, I ask, what would its genre be? What kinds of images would people see? >More
 Comedian Erin Foley has been bitten by the acting bug

A seldom-discussed pastime of many standup comedians is sitting, as in those offstage moments they can take a seat and be alone with their thoughts. But don't expect to find Erin Foley kicking back on a La-Z-Boy before her standup sets. It seems like she's been living on a treadmill since entering the comedy circuit nearly a decade ago. I asked her about her journey to Hollywood before her upcoming trip to Madison's Comedy Club on State, where she'll perform Thursday, Jan. 17, through Saturday, Jan. 19. >More
 Carl LaBove sees comedians as modern-day griots

Great comedians are sages in the eyes of Carl LaBove. In the 1980s, when slapstick and impressions were at an all-time high in the world of comedy, he and his friend Sam Kinison set out to change the status quo. With a rotating cast of players dubbed the Outlaws of Comedy, they eschewed disposable one-liners in favor of brutal honesty, memorable anecdotes and well-timed delivery. >More
 How Michael Somerville turned a college dare into a comedy career

Michael Somerville has found himself in some strange situations during his 13-year career. Ask him about the college dare that started it all or his early work dancing in a pink bear costume for bat mitzvahs, and he'll offer all the proof you need. But his knack for self-deprecation and relationship-centered standup has opened many doors in the last decade. I asked him about his road to a comedy career before a three-night, five-show run at the Comedy Club on State Dec. 13-15. >More
 PHOX celebrate an eventful year on Madison's music scene

For the alt-rock collective PHOX, the holiday season marks the anniversary of their move to Madison and a curious incident that brought them closer. After forming in their hometown of Baraboo, PHOX plunged into Madison's music scene when they started getting offers to bring their eclectic sound to the area. >More
 Heat Aid benefit concert series hits close to home for some Madison musicians

This Saturday, the Madison music community will gather to launch a free concert series called Heat Aid. Taking place at local record store MadCity Music Exchange three Saturdays in a row -- Dec. 1, Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. -- the performances will feature a variety of Madison musicians, with all proceeds going to the Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund, a statewide nonprofit that helps low-income residents get the heat and air conditioning they need. >More
 For comedian Stephen Lynch, standup plus music equals magic onstage

If Paul Simon had an evil twin brother, one whose musical talents explored themes not of love and friendship but Juggalos and acid trips at the mall, he'd no doubt sound a lot like Stephen Lynch. A self-professed "musician trapped in the body of a comedian," he's produced a handful of studio albums and two highly rated Comedy Central specials over the course of a decade. I asked Lynch about his records, his acid trips, Juggalos and making the album he's always dreamed of before his Nov. 16 performance at the Barrymore Theatre. >More
 Voice actors John Roberts and Eugene Mirman discuss performing a Bob's Burgers episode live on stage

Several juicy ingredients make Bob's Burgers a hit among fans of Fox's animated sitcoms and critics at publications such as Paste and Slant. The show stars the Belcher family, whose struggling burger restaurant violates nearly every health code imaginable. Filled with bizarre situations and offbeat humor, their weekly misadventures are cleverly sketched out by writers from animated classics such as Dr. Katz and King of the Hill. >More
 Funnyman Leslie Jordan reflects on The Help, Will & Grace, Ski Patrol and one-man comedy shows

Known as for his candid, hilarious performances and his 4-foot-11-inch stature, actor-comedian Leslie Jordan is one of the most recognizable faces in television and film. He's cultivated a diverse body of work since the late 1980s, taking an Emmy Award-winning turn as Karen's swanky rival Beverley Leslie in the long-running sitcom Will & Grace and playing newspaper editor Mr. Blackly in the 2011 drama The Help. >More
 Henry Rollins recounts his global travels during a tour of state capitals

The former lead singer of punk band Black Flag and an ardent proponent of human rights, Henry Rollins is a prime example of a rocker turned activist. This year, he's hitting the presidential campaign trail with Capitalism, a two-month tour that will bring him to every state capital. He'll share his perspective on our nation's political process and anecdotes from his trips abroad. >More
 Ian Edwards went from a Burger King drive-thru to the comedy-club circuit

After moving to New York from Jamaica at age 17, standup comedian Ian Edwards began his career at a Burger King drive-thru. While taking orders through the speaker, he'd talk in odd accents. Joking with strangers was a way to pass the time, but it soon changed the course of his life. >More
 Comedian Doug Stanhope stands up to convention

Every once in a while, there comes a comedian who enchants audiences with a beautiful message about how laughter helps people face life's adversities. Doug Stanhope is not that comedian. Chances are good that Stanhope hates that sort of comedian -- and probably you, too, if you're into that kind of performance. >More
 Paula Poundstone garners laughs in the stacks and onstage

If Paula Poundstone wasn't a comedian, she might be a librarian. In addition to serving as a panelist on the popular NPR quiz show Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me, she's the spokesperson of the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations. I asked her about her less bookish habits -- stand-up and improv -- during a recent phone call. >More
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