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Post by Sarah Bartash on 11/5/2013 12:21pm

The goal of the Driftless Film Fest (DFF), now playing into its fourth year, is simple: bring independent films from around the world to venues located in southwest Wisconsin. The festival has brought Oscar-nominated and award-winning films to towns in the area, which included "Beasts Of The Southern Wild" and “Chasing Ice" in 2012. Each year, the venues change a bit. This year, theaters in Mineral Point, Platteville, Lancaster, Boscobel, Prairie du Sac, and Spring Green welcome filmmakers and offer audiences a chance to see high-profile festival films in their own backyard. 

DFF opens Thursday, November 7 at the Mineral Point Opera House with a piece from home: "Of Some Fair Place," a documentary by Eve Studnicka tells the story of the artistic renaissance of Mineral Point, Wisconsin.  Also playing is the short "While it  Lasts" featuring Mineral Point artist Jamie Ross. Filmmakers are scheduled to be in attendance for this showing.

Post by Scott Gordon on 9/5/2013 1:00pm

This week, Madison comedian Ben Taylor and Capital Times writer Rob Thomas join Arts Extract to preview the fall's Madison cinema and comedy offerings. The fall's film highlights include the return of the Tales From Planet Earth film festival and another ambitious season of UW Cinematheque. Comedy headed to town includes the nerdy wit of John Hodgman and the giddy charm of Matt Braunger, although, sadly, the Sklar Brothers' planned show at the Majestic has been cancelled (they intend to reschedule in the near future). You can read more of Rob's work at his Madison Movie blog. Ben performs as a stand-up comic and a member of the Atlas Improv company. He will be hosting at the Comedy Club on State Sept. 19 through 21 as his stand-up alter ego, Mystic Rivers.

Post by Sean Weitner on 1/24/2014 1:04am

To find something I wrote on Dane101, I click on my name. I get a list of contributions, but also a running tally of how long it’s been since my first contribution. Today it says I’ve been a member for 8 years and 20 weeks, the time elapsed since my first edition of The Week in Movies, an annotated guide to what was playing in town. That was the start of the fall 2005 semester and there was a new Cinematheque calendar to flog, featuring forgotten Japanese director Mikio Naruse; Transporter 2 and The Aristocrats were opening in local theaters; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was at the drive-ins; South Towne Cinema -- yes, there used to be a multiplex at South Towne -- had just re-christened itself as a budget theater and was showing Revenge of the Sith.

South Towne closed a year later, and since that first installment, Madison has also lost University Square Four, Hilldale, Westgate Art Cinema and the Orpheum, gaining only Sundance in exchange. Neither the Marquee in Union South nor the excellent theater at MMoCA existed then, but we still had the Play Circle. (And, as Mark Riechers notes, back then Marcus was just as sure they were about to built a new ‘plex in Sun Prairie.)

Post by Scott Gordon on 10/11/2013 12:00pm

Several music sites this week have picked up on Madison-based Lonesome Wyatt And The Holy Spooks’ new tribute to Halloween novelty records, ‘Halloween Is Here.’ Mustard Relics reviews it and shares a couple of its tracks. (Arts Extract will be streaming the full record for one day only on October 31.)

Isthmus previews Lee Ranaldo And The Dust’s Monday show at the High Noon Saloon.

Cap Times previews Father John Misty’s Sunday show at the High Noon.

Cap Times reports that Bill Maher’s Sunday performance at Overture is being preceded by Maher-voiced PETA robocalls.

Justin Taylor shares his monthly metal picks at his blog

(Pictured: Lonesome Wyatt, being scary.)

Post by Scott Gordon on 10/5/2013 10:39am

Badger Herald reports that MC Lyte is partnering with UW-Madison for the second straight year to offer two $100,000 scholarships to students in the First Wave program.

Cap Times reports on a CD students at Madison’s Crestwood Elementary made with help from their musician teachers.

Isthmus reports on the re-opening of Tandem Press in a temporary north-side space.

Isthmus ponders the evolution and eccentric lyrics of Why? ahead of the band’s Saturday show at the Majestic.

Isthmus goes in for a deep, critical look at the Wisconsin Triennial.

Cap Times interviews John O’Hurley, of Seinfeld fame, currently starring in a production of Chicago at Overture Center.

Rob Thomas reviews Drinking Buddies, a film that gets its Madison premiere this week.

Missed previously: Impose reviews a new track from Madison’s Tar Pet (a solo project by Taralie Peterson of Spires That In The Sunset Rise). Arts Extract will be streaming Tar Pet’s new album next week.

Post by Scott Gordon on 9/13/2013 12:00pm

First, a few things I'm behind on. The newest Our Lives issue is out, and it has many articles focused on the arts, including a look at the Veteran Print Project.

Over at, Madison musician and metal blogger Justin Taylor has posted his favorite August releases, including the new album from Milwaukee band Northless. American Songwriter debuted a track from Madison musician Dietrich Gosser's new album.

The Cap Times reports on a performance-art piece about breastfeeding in public.

Capital City Hues reports on the newest member of the Overture Center's development team.

Rob Thomas wonders what will result from more local theaters venturing into indie and classics screenings. LakeFrontRow rounds  up the week's many local film events.

Isthmus interviews The National's Scott Devendorf.

Were you really worried we wouldn't get any Kathy Griffin interviews? Phew. Double phew.


Post by Scott Gordon on 9/6/2013 10:18am

The Cap Times reviews "Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey," a touring exhibition visiting the Chazen Museum of Art.

Isthmus previews the flurry of festivities that will mark the new Madison Central Library's opening later this month.

Isthmus looks at Oedipus Tex, Dharma Dogs, and three other local bands.

Jonk Music explains Cassette Store Day, not to be confused with "Columbia Records jumping the shark with that hilarious MGMT cassingle on Record Store Day."

Dane101 reviews Broom Street Theater's "The Waiting Room."

The Cap Times briefly notes Madison band Phox's performance this past week at the iTunes Festival in London. That said, even though the set was available for streaming live and after the fact, I can't find where any local outlets actually reviewed it. In fact, though plenty of local media outlets have covered Phox's rise in one way or another, I've yet to see much thoughtful, critical (and critical can include positive takes on the band, for sure) writing on the band anywhere in town. Thoughts, anyone?


Image: Detail from "The Sea Nymph," by Romare Bearden

Post by Mark Riechers on 5/16/2013 10:00am


This week the Arts Extract Podcast gives you the first in a two-part preview of the Madison area’s outdoor entertainment options.

Post by Christie Taylor on 5/1/2013 2:20pm


*Nature: If you restore it, the pike will come.

*WSJ (paywall): Across UW System, undergraduate research is an emerging tool for growth.

*WSJ (paywall): New science poised to bring back lost species, including Wisconsin’s passenger pigeons.

*Guardian: Madison professor Deb Blum on science writing: “I’m a neurotic over-researcher.”

*RJT: Groups plant trees to help endangered birds.

*UW: Vaterite: Crystal within a crystal helps resolve old puzzle.

*UW: New ‘green’ method to help upgrade biomass waste into valuable chemicals.

*UW: Stem cell transplant restores learning, memory in mice.

*WSJ (paywall): Conservationists cry foul as DNR reconsiders conservation plan, coniders adding ATVs, for Badger Ammunition lands.




Wednesday Nite at the Lab: A new energy paradigm: Microgrids. 7 - 8:15 p.m., Auditorium, 425 Henry Mall. Free!

Tuesday, May 7

Armchair Field Trips: Badger Army Ammunition Plant: Past, Present & Future. 7 p.m., McFarland Public Library. Free!

Armchair Field Trips: Salamanders of Wisconsin (with live salamanders). Stoughton Public Library. Free!

Wednesday, May 8

Wednesday Nite at the Lab: Exploring South Pole science: a hands-on look at the IceCube observatory. 7 - 8:15 p.m., Auditorium, 425 Henry Mall. Free!

To submit your science-related event, e-mail

Post by Sarah Bartash on 4/25/2013 1:41pm

Once upon a time in early 2011, newly-elected Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker presented his budget repair bill, which included some surprising proposals many maintain were not discussed during his campaign, especially those regarding the operation of state employee unions.  

In a state known for its history of progressivism and for its strong University system, the plans shocked many citizens, who flooded the State Capitol building and surrounding square in protest. Even in bitter winter weather, crowds of up to 150,000 people swelled in some of the largest political demonstrations in the state since the Vietnam War.

The new documentary film Forward presents an activist-level view of the ensuing events that, according to the filmmakers, “…swept state senators out of office, triggered the third governor recall election in American history, and inspired the Occupy movement.”

The film debuts to a sold-out audience this Sunday, April 28 at Sundance cinemas, plays in Milwaukee May 2 at the Oriental Theater, and again in Madison May 5. The short Overpass Light Brigade, which focuses on a Wisconsin activist group that holds lit signs over highway overpasses, will also play during the screenings. Filmmakers hope to raise funds to submit Forward to a number of film festivals as well as support the OLB Battery Fund.