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Thursday, April 17, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 37.0° F  A Few Clouds
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The dead, a soul drummer, and the ghosts of smut in the July 13 edition of Isthmus

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Dave Edmunds got it wrong when he sang:

"You went away and left long time ago
Now you're knocking on my door
I hear you knocking
But you can't come in"

Well, in a little village 70 miles northwest of Madison on Highway 33, the dead can come a-tapping and do come in. In this week's Isthmus, Linda Falkenstein visits a surviving artifact of 19th century spiritualism, the bucolic Wonewoc Spiritualist Camp.

Every summer since 1893, members of the Spiritualist church have gathered here with resident mediums to contact the spirit world. And wow, do they get the other-worldly word-from God, angels, spirit guides and, in Falkenstein's case, her maternal grandmother.

Susan Kepecs writes about another kind of spirit, the heavy tapping of the legendary soul drummer Clyde Stubblefield. He reflects on his days with James Brown, the "unbelievably wicked" Motown parties he attended and his move to the friendly confines of Madison in the early 1970s.

This prompts publisher Vince O'Hern, in his Making The Paper column, to reflect on his youthful (and dare we say "sketchy"?) days when he bartended at The Dangle strip club and met Stubblefield on the very night the funky drummer moved to Madison. Now, there's a story.

Speaking of stories (as in news story), Bill Lueders casts a gimlet eye on the operation of Monona Terrace on its tenth anniversary and finds that the taxpayers are subsidizing the convention center with far more bucks than ever was projected.

David Medaris, meanwhile, discovers an overlooked anniversary of another major venue: the Barrymore Theatre marking its 20 year of operation. A round of applause for general manager Steve Sperling and the neighborhood activists who converted the old X-rated movie palace into an icon of Schenks-Atwood revitalization.

Lots of happy ghosts there, for sure.

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