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Wednesday, July 9, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 71.0° F  A Few Clouds
The Paper

FEATURED STORY

Exposing ALEC: The Center for Media and Democracy goes after the right-wing powerhouse

It was a rainy spring Friday afternoon, and Lisa Graves was feeling a little loopy. The day before she'd been in Washington, D.C., part of a coalition rallying outside the offices of the American Legislative Exchange Council protesting the conservative organization's role in passing Florida's Stand Your Ground law, now in the spotlight after the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin. >More

NEWS

Controversy in Madison's Downtown Plan: Public may balk at overlooked proposals

Madison is nearing completion on its Downtown Plan, a process that has dragged on for more than four years and will guide development there for a long time. But the plan may well head to the Common Council this summer with contentious issues unsettled, some of which have received little public scrutiny. >More
 Wisconsin Democrats have work to do, as primary turnout looks good for Gov. Walker

Although Kathleen Falk was trounced in the primary election for governor on Tuesday, the mood at her party at the Edgewater Hotel was surprisingly cheerful. Falk entered the room to hearty cheers and at the podium did her best to rally the troops in support of her opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. >More

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Walker's millions will have little effect on Barrett in the recall election

As it turned out, the primary itself was no problem at all. The candidates did not attack each other and, in fact, the exercise gave Tom Barrett a higher profile and a chance to test some arguments. It also kept Walker's attack machine at bay. Though he did figure out that Barrett would be the nominee and did run some attack ads against him, it's nothing compared to what might have happened if there had been a clear Democratic nominee from the start. >More
 Tell All: Polygamy is legal

Dear Tell All: In response to Polygamist in the Closet, who asked 'Why is polygamy illegal" (4/27/12): It isn't, just like same-sex marriage isn't. Both are legal, if not officially recognized by the government. If you can get a group of people to recognize your marriage contract, you have a marriage contract. You can't be arrested for it, but you also can't get courts or taxation agencies to recognize it, either. >More

MUSIC

The new business model for bands

For musicians, selling songs to corporate interests used to mean selling out. That notion has been replaced by a new one. These days, licensing songs for TV shows and ads is simply smart, 21st-century business sense, a way for artists to earn extra cash -- and find more listeners from a single 30-second ad than an entire year of touring can attract. >More
 Scott Lamps moves easily between pop, classical and musicals

Madison has more than its share of musical chameleons, songsters who switch effortlessly between rock, country, jazz and more. You have to look harder to find people who work not only in pop but also in more complex musical genres, like classical. An example is multi-instrumentalist Scott Lamps. One of the most prolific Madison musicians right now, the UW graduate works in widely divergent genres. >More
 Sarah Jarosz is one of Americana's rising stars

Talent courses through the fingers of mandolin and banjo whiz Sarah Jarosz. By age 12, bluegrass notables like Ricky Skaggs were pulling her into their jam sessions, and by age 16, she had inked a deal with Sugar Hill Records. To cap off high school, she released her debut album, Song Up in Her Head, which led Rolling Stone to call her "Gillian Welch's long-lost daughter." >More

AT A GLANCE

ARTS

Kevin Henkes writes his first book for beginning readers, Penny and Her Song

Kevin Henkes is riding high following the reception of his latest book, Penny and Her Song. It's the first story for beginning readers from the Madison children's illustrator and author. "It's a very different art form," he says. "I'd never done it before, so it was exciting to try to do." >More
 Whoooo's Johnny? America's favorite late-night host was a mystery man

Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show for 30 years, inviting himself into American homes with the salutation "Heeeere's Johnny!" An American Masters profile begins with fellow stars praising Carson in familiar ways. He had the best jokes; he had a gift for making his guests look good; he had universal appeal. Well, okay. >More

MOVIES

The Burton/Depp collaboration flatlines in Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows marks the eighth collaboration between director Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, and you could say the partnership has been fruitful. They've made some wonderfully original films like Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood, and they have made rolling-around-in-it-like-Scrooge-McDuck money. But the creative marriage has grown less and less creative. >More
 In Darkness tells a devastating Holocaust story

Based on actual events, the claustrophobic epic In Darkness is as emotional as they come: a Holocaust story shot through with darkness both literal and figurative. Set mainly beneath the streets of Lvov, Poland, In Darkness uses the dank, horrific sewers to great and terrible effect. >More
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ARCHIVE

EATS

Try JD's fabled steak burger and more at new Bassett Street restaurant

During the course of a late Friday-night run to JD's food cart -- located between Gorham and State on Broom -- my companion and I were offered mystery foil-wrapped packages (alleged to be cheesecake) by a guy on the street, lightly panhandled and mooned. If this is not your preferred gauntlet to run for a burger or a fish sandwich, then the new JD's Soul Food storefront operation on the ground floor of the Aberdeen apartments might offer a little less student-body (ahem) wackiness. >More

SPORTS & RECREATION

Sad days for Brewers fans

A month ago, optimistic Milwaukee Brewers fans insisted it wasn't too brash to predict that their team would be in the thick of the National League's Central division race with St. Louis and Cincinnati. Today, they're watching games through their fingers and avoiding the daily injury reports. >More
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