Thursday, Feb. 18th, 2010

Name ECCT's new theatre space

This appears to be a banner week for getting public input on labels and monikers. First the UWEC mascot stuff, and now, the Eau Claire Children’s Theatre’s recently completed performance space. They say they can't go on calling it "the new building" forever, so they need your help in choosing a new name. They've done several informal surveys, and have narrowed it down to their top seven choices. You can weigh in by taking a super fast survey, so please do.  But we also thought it’d be fun just poll you guys right here. Check it out:

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Wednesday, Feb. 17th, 2010

GAYNGS super group taps Justin Vernon, former locals

JAGJAGUWAR is all set to release “Relayted” on May 11, an album that brings together the talents of over 25 musicians from various scenes around the country. They call themselves GAYNGS. It's got a ton of former locals – and one fairly notable current local – on board. The roster includes Ryan Olson (Mel Gibson and the Pants), the men of Megafaun (Joe Westerlund, Brad Cook, and Phil Cook), Bon Iver buddies Justin Vernon and Mike Noyce, and Maggie Morrison (Lookbook, Digitata). The songs were recorded in Minneapolis and Wisconsin. From the press release:

  • When Ryan Olson decided to make a record with Solid Gold members Zack Coulter and Adam Hurlburt, it was clear to them what the result would be: a collection of drugged-up keyboards and slick bedroom production almost exclusively inspired by 10cc's "I'm Not In Love." To be fair, they weren't entirely off. What they didn't know was that it would spiral into a project of epic proportions, enlisting the talents of over 25 musicians from various scenes around the country, relocating the base of operations from Olson's Minneapolis bedroom/studio to the Wisconsin-based studio April Base, and the genesis of a musical super-family, GAYNGS.
  • From the moment anyone heard Olson, Coulter, and Hurlburt's rough version of their first composition "The Gaudy Side of Town," they wanted in on it. To most of the players involved, this genre of music was quite foreign yet entirely familiar. Olson knew this, and began calling upon an eclectic cast of contributors whom he thought would share his vision, and relish in the idea of exploring uncharted musical territory within them. The first people to join the cause were North Carolina's Megafaun (Joe Westerlund, Brad Cook, Phil Cook), and with them came Ivan Howard (The Rosebuds), and Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and Mike Noyce. By mid-2009 the studio sessions were becoming more and more frequent, bouncing back and forth between April Base and Olson's bedroom. In Minneapolis, Olson brought in Rhymesayers rapper P.O.S and his fellow Doomtree artist Dessa, psych-rockers Jake Luck and Nick Ryan (Leisure Birds), song-birds Channy Moon-Casselle and Katy Morley, jazz-saxophonist Michael Lewis (Happy Apple, Andrew Bird), retro-pop duo Maggie Morrison and Grant Cutler (Lookbook), and slide-guitarist Shön Troth (Solid Gold). Read more, see track list.

So get ready for that. (Crazy-ass watercolor above by Michael Gaughan.)

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New Blugold Mascot Concepts

Buckle up for some huge news from UW-Eau Claire! A highly-skilled committee charged with selecting an official mascot for the University has narrowed its options to three: an ox, a voyageur , and ... no mascot.

What kind of boring school doesn’t want a mascot?

Artwork and a narrative supporting each concept will be emailed out tomorrow to thousands of alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of the university. The e-mail will ask recipients to rate each idea and offer comments on the concepts. Here’s what we got:

  • The Voyageur. The voyageur represents the finest aspects of Blugold tradition: exploration, courage, curiosity, excellence and diversity, their proposal stated. The region's legacy is rooted in French and Native American names of rivers, towns, lakes and woodlands, they said. Eau Claire was named by voyageurs. Look.
  • The Blugold Ox. The ox would have golden horns and a yoke made from the Council Oak Tree, symbolizing a charge toward the future. Lumbermen prized oxen for their loyalty and endurance, she stated, noting that Babe the Blue Ox's hooves have been credited for making hills and rivers. The Blugold Ox embodies an extreme thirst — for knowledge and excellence. Look.


I don’t know about you, but that raging bull up there looks a lot more formidable than Frenchy McFringePants. Plus, the ox artist – Mallory Prucha Rishoi – is half of the duo behind this awesomeness, so that’s cool. 

Way more mascoty info here.

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Tuesday, Feb. 16th, 2010

Who knew about our cues?

So besides organic farming and television references to midwestern towns, Wisconsin is a national leader in ... anyone? Anyone? Yep, you guessed it – high end pool cue production. It may have to do with Wisconsin's massive population of woodworkers, trees, and/or bars with a pool table (not sure), but we have a lot small shops churning out gorgeous cues for hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands of dollars apiece. JSOnline tells us ...

  • "You probably have the mother lode of cue makers," said one of the best known non-Wisconsin manufacturers in the United States, Dan Janes of Joss Cues in Towson, Md.
  • This isn't big business. The largest participants have no more than a few dozen employees. ...
  • "When you get into the real cue makers, there's no doubt that Wisconsin is the most productive state in the country," said Mike Panozzo, publisher of magazines Billiards Digest and Billiard Retailer.

Check out the article for a photo gallery of cue production. Awesome/interesting quotation from a cue maker: "Some customers look at you in a different light if you make too many cues.  "They want you to be carving them with a jackknife in a garage."

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Monday, Feb. 15th, 2010

Local drummer achieves Pitchfork thumbs up

Cool. Half of the Eau Claire duo Farms – drummer Andy Todryk – got a track review on Pitchfork’s “Forkcast” blog. The track’s called “Hemp Scented Body Lotion” and it’s from Andy’s side project Vacation Dad (full-length album forthcoming). Says reviewer Chris Bosman ...

  • Hazy and cavernous, it fills its chillwave sound with otherworldly vocals and thunderous percussion.

Check it out.

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