Friday, Feb. 20th, 2015

UPDATE: UWEC says Phillips Planetarium may NOT close

Photo by Jia Teng Lim
Photo by Jia Teng Lim

UPDATE: Hold on to your telescopes, folks! UW-Eau Claire now says the announcement that the L.E. Phillips Planetarium would close after this semester because of state budget cuts is “premature.” The original announcement, made last week via an email from the planetarium’s director as well as on the planetarium’s website, was reported in a story in the Feb. 18 edition of Volume One. However, a media memo Friday afternoon from the university had this to say:

 Announcements recently were made via social media that UW-Eau Claire’s L.E. Phillips Planetarium will close May 16 due to budget cuts. These announcements are premature.

 The university continues its process of determining ways to meet its share of Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed 2015-17 state budget reduction to UW System, but no specific decisions have been made regarding cuts in response to the proposed reduction.

 Will the stars align to save the planetarium in the face of millions of dollars in cuts to UWEC? Keep your eyes on the sky to find out!

NOTE: Our original story is below.

UW-Eau Claire’s L.E. Phillips Planetarium, which hosts frequent programs about the night sky, will close at the end of the semester because of state budget cuts, planetarium director Lauren Likkel announced. Because of the impending closure, all shows – which are held at 7pm Thursdays and 11am Saturdays – will be free. In addition to a $4.5 million shortfall that must be fixed by June 30, UWEC faces an estimated $7.6 million cut from its base budget in each of the next two fiscal years as part of a $300 million UW System cut proposed by Gov. Scott Walker. Over in Menomonie, UW-Stout faces a $5.8 million annual reduction, according to estimates by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

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Wednesday, Feb. 18th, 2015

Calling All Makers! The Local Store's Supplier & Product Pitch Day: March 5

Artists, woodworkers, craftspeople, sewers, knitters, print makers, sculptors, chefs-n-bakers, and creatives of any kind: Do you produce a finished product you think would be a great addition to The Local Store? Or do you have the skills and tools and are open to ideas for what to create? Well, we want to talk to you.

We're setting aside a day (March 5) to hear about your ideas. To pitch something, contact us at LocalStore@VolumeOne.org. You'll get more details, and we'll set up your appointment. At your appointment, you'll need basic pricing, cost, and production time information ready to share, as well as samples of work to leave behind.

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River Prairie Hotel Announced

This image by Ayres Associates shows what the “main street” in Altoona’s River Prairie Town Center could look like.
This image by Ayres Associates shows what the “main street” in Altoona’s
River Prairie Town Center could look like.

Construction will start this spring on a 120-room motel in the northwest portion of Altoona’s River Prairie development, the city and the developer announced recently. The 90,000-square-foot Staybridge Suite is one of the biggest elements announced to-date for the quadrant, which city leaders hope grows into a new “front porch” for Altoona, including commercial, residential, and public development. The motel will be aimed at upscale, extended-stay guests, developer Thomas Larson of Larson Companies said in a press release. 

A conceptual drawing of the River Prairie development's northwest quadrant.
A conceptual drawing of the River Prairie development's northwest quadrant.
the new hotel will be part of the northwest quadrant, so the upper right of this image, between Hwy 53 and the river.
The new hotel will be part of the northwest quadrant, so the upper right of
this image, between Hwy 53 and the river.

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Tuesday, Feb. 17th, 2015

Icehenge: Because why not?

Image: Eli Wedel Photo & Design
Image: Eli Wedel Photo & Design

Near Lake Mills, Wis., out on frozen Rock Lake, archeologists discovered an ancient ice carving that they theorize was built as a temple to Wisconsin’s harsh spirit of winter. Not really. It was actually built because five guys got bored and decided to just make it, man. Eli Wedel Photo & Design has more pictures and information on the carving, which lasted for several days before being taken down for safety concerns (when they start to melt, 200 pound slabs of ice can get a little slippy-slidey). At any rate, it's a great example of boredom producing something, ahem, cool.

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Monday, Feb. 16th, 2015

5 popular* local-ish bands on Spotify

The now defunct Megafaun's former Eau Clairians Joe Westerlund, Brad Cook, and Phil Cook, shown here straddling unnamed equestrian companions.
The now defunct Megafaun's former Eau Clairians Joe Westerlund, Brad Cook, and Phil Cook, shown here straddling unnamed equestrian companions.

Spotify, the streaming music services, gives you access to local artists as well as big-name hitmakers. It will also tell you how frequently a track has been played, offering a unique way to measure the popularity of local songs on a worldwide platform.

1. S. Carey

Sean Carey may be drummer for Bon Iver, but he’s gained accolades of his own for his solo work. A track from his 2010 album All We Grow, “In the Stream,” has been streamed (hah!) nearly 2.2 million times. The next five songs on the local most-played list are also Carey’s: “In the Dirt,” “Mothers,” “Crown the Pines,” “Fire-scene,” and “Move.”

2. Megafaun

They call North Carolina home now, but Phil and Brad Cook and Joe Westerlund are Chippewa Valley natives. Like Carey, they are linked to Justin Vernon (as former bandmates in DeYarmond Edison), and like Carey, they’ve gained fans for their own talent, as demonstrated by the tune “Volunteers” from the 2010 EP Heretofore, which has been played 655,713 times on Spotify.

3. Field Report

UWEC grad Chris Porterfield, also an ex-member of DeYarmond Edison, is the creative force behind Milwaukee-based Field Report. The band released a critically acclaimed sophomore album, Marigolden, last fall, which included the “Home (Leave the Lights On),” which has garnered 577,283 spins on Spotify.

4. Peter Wolf Crier

This duo is composed of Eau Claire music scene vets Peter Pisano (Wars of 1812) and Brian Moen (Shouting Matches, Laarks, Amateur Love). The song “Beach” from 2011’s Garden of Arms has been played 287,905 times on Spotify.

5. The Daredevil Christopher Wright

An indie trio that has been on and off the scene for years, Daredevil earned its widest attention for the 2012 album The Nature of Things, yielding the track “I & Thou” (106,036 plays).

*Considering “Skinny Love” has gotten nearly 79 million Spotify plays, we leveled the playing field by excluding all of Justin Vernon’s bands from this list.

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Sunday, Feb. 15th, 2015

Sunday Event Picks (Feb. 15)

Check out Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure today at The Grand Theatre. Details below!
Check out Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure today at 
The Grand Theatre. Details below!

From early in the morning and into the night – a lot of fine quality events occurring on Sunday. Wanna know what they are? Of course you do. Our picks are below. Check out the rest of Sunday here

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Saturday, Feb. 14th, 2015

Saturday Event Picks (Feb. 14)

The Chippewa Valley Roller Girls are at it again tonight with their My Bloody Valentine home bout.
The Chippewa Valley Roller Girls are at it again tonight with their 
My Bloody Valentine home bout. Details below!

From early in the morning and into the night – a lot of fine quality events occurring on Saturday. Wanna know what they are? Of course you do. Our picks are below. Check out the rest of Saturday here.

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Friday, Feb. 13th, 2015

Fanny Hill Going Out of Business February 22

The Chippewa Valley will soon say farewell to Fanny Hill – and this time it will be for good. The restaurant/dinner theater/bed-and-breakfast/wedding venue will go out of business Sunday, Feb. 22, its owners announced Thursday.

“Current times do not support the overhead needed to continue the Fanny Hill operation,” the press release stated. “Last year, Fanny Hill’s production of live theater ended and the venue became available for local musicians as well as a venue for other theatre and entertainment groups to perform.” However, the press release continues, “Even the productions by third parties in the theatre have not had the attendance needed to continue the venue.”

Fanny Hill, 3919 Crescent Ave., has long been known for its beautiful location perched over the Chippewa River outside Eau Claire, its Victorian décor, and its fine dining options, including a famed Sunday brunch. Last February it pulled down the curtain on its own dinner theater productions, which for more than 30 years were overseen by Don and Lois Hodgins. Then late last year, Fanny Hill announced a new theatrical group, the South of the River Theatre Company, would stage productions at the venue; their first show, The Last Five Years, premiered just a week ago on Feb. 6. According to the press release, the show is sold out for Valentine’s Weekend.

Patrons are invited to pay one last visit to Fanny Hill before Feb. 22, although reservations are recommended and customers are reminded that menu and beverage choices may become depleted.

“We thank everyone who has supported us over the years and thank our wonderful staff for all they have and continue to do for Fanny Hill and our customers,” the press release concludes.

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Wisconsin Heritage: Old Language Dies Hard

It's no Germantown, but it's a pretty German town. German immigrants like the dudes above flocked to Hustisford, Wis. in 1840.
It's no Germantown, but it's a pretty German town. German immigrants much like the dudes above flocked to Hustisford, Wis. in 1840.  (Except these guys actually came to Dunn County. Image: Dunn County Wisconsin Genealogy.)

We all know the American Immigration Story. A family packs up everything it has and leaves on a ship from the “old country” bound for America. They set up a new life, form communities, and they hold onto their culture but inevitably assimilate into the Great American Melting Pot. In the case of Wisconsin, Germans made sure that the pot was filled with mostly beer, cheese and sausage. But that’s not how all immigration stories go, and it’s certainly not the story of Hustisford, a town that spoke primarily German for five generations. Now that’s what I call some serious sturheit.

Over at Mental Floss, Deb Gunther has written a piece on the small town 50 miles north of Madison. In 1840, waves of German immigrants descended upon Hustisford. It wasn’t until the 1910 census, however, that some key differences between Hustisford and other German immigrant communities became clear: a quarter of the population spoke German – and didn’t speak English at all. A third of that number were grandchildren of German immigrants who still didn’t speak English. It wasn’t until 1939 that the town’s German monolingualism began to fade out. In that year a church put out a newsletter saying that it would try to add one English sermon per month. On a trial basis.

German influence runs thick through Wisconsin’s history, but sometimes it’s easy to forget just how thick it is.

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Thursday, Feb. 12th, 2015

Mapping the Eaux Claires lineup

We took an exploded look at the many bands playing July's Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival to chart the connections – between each other, Eau Claire, April Base, and beyond – showing off a unique close-knited-ness within the lineup's diversity of bands. Click on it to make it huge. 

And check out our special interview with the core Eaux Claires organizers – curators Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner, creative director Michael Brown, and "fest narrator" Michael Perry: VolumeOne.org/eauxclaires

Eaux Claires Announcement 2015 

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Local Guides

Lists of places & resources