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Thursday, May. 25th, 2017
Dive into summer as Fairfax Pool opens for the season Saturday, May 27.
The outdoor pool will be open from 2 to 6pm May 27, Saturday and May 28, Sunday, and then from noon to 6pm Monday, May 29, before resuming its regular season schedule.
Eau Claire Parks and Recreation will be selling discounted season passes through Friday, May 26. All passes are being sold 10 percent off their regular rates.
Tuesday, May 30 through Sept. 3, Fairfax Pool will operate under its normal hours:
➜ 11:30am to 7pm Mondays through Fridays
➜ 11:30am to 6pm Saturdays
➜ 1pm to 6pm Sundays
Without a pass, daily admission fees are $4.25 per person or $3.75 per person for groups of 15 people or more.
Picnic pavilion rentals are available at $10 an hour for birthday parties, family picnics, reunions, meetings or just to secure a shaded place for your group. After-hour pool rentals also are available for $225 for groups of 100 or fewer, adding $2 for each additional person, up to $525 for groups of 300 or more.
Passes can be purchased in person from 8am–5pm weekdays at the Parks and Recreation Administrative Office, 915 Menomonie St. or at Fairfax Pool, 4200 Fairfax St. For more information, contact Eau Claire Parks and Recreation at 715-839-5032.
As they (apparently) do every year, international fitness gizmo manufacturer Fitbit had researchers look at data from over 10 million Fitbit users nationwide, taking into account the following metrics:
• Duration of sleep per night
• Daily Reminders to Move goals met
• Daily steps
• Daily active minutes
• Resting heart rate
And they’ve used that data for a ranking of the Fittest Cities in America. And as it shakes out, Eau Claire came in at number 3. Some takeaways:
1. Wisconsin did OK!
We had 3 Sconnie cities in Fitbit’s top 6 “fittest” cities ...
1. Duluth, MN
2. Appleton, WI
3. Eau Claire, WI
4. Boulder, CO
5. Bellingham, WA
6. Madison, WI
2. Eau Claire sleeps the bestest
With an average of 7 hours, 6 minutes and 43 seconds per night, Eau Claire’s Fitbit users slept the most of all cities in the study. Here’s a somewhat hilarious graphic:
3. We were #4 in steppin' out
“Fitbit users in Appleton, Wisconsin are the highest steppers, averaging 8,208 a day, and Green Bay, Wisconsin took the second slot. Two cities in Minnesota also made the top 10: Duluth, No. 3, and Rochester, No. 8.”
1. Appleton, WI
2. Green Bay, WI
3. Duluth, MN
4. Eau Claire, WI
5. Boston, MA
Monday, May. 22nd, 2017
Here’s yet another internet list on which we find the fair city of Eau Claire.
Thrillist’s recent rundown of THE BEST SMALL TOWN TO VISIT IN ALL 50 STATES explores America’s small towns as inexpensive travel destinations, saying, “They’re ideal for young kids and retirees, two groups who favor the chiller things in life: short walks, sunny parks, uncrowded beaches, unhurried conversations. Small-towners also dig on taffy, chicken-fried steak, old-timey train stations, historical markers, quirky festivals, driving barefoot ... nodding hello to strangers, and other things that never really go out of style.”
Take that as you will.
Most towns on this list have populations in the 500-20,000 range, but Eau Claire took the Wisconsin spot despite its 67,500+ citizenship.
To no one’s surprise, Thrillist cites Justin Vernon and the upcoming Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival as reasons to visit. But they also mention our new downtown hotels, favoring The Oxbow for its locally sourced food and unique amenities. They also namecheck Phoenix Park and Lazy Monk Brewing while praising our trails and waterways. Here’s the full blurb on Eau Claire:
Wisconsin: Eau Claire
Eau Claire is a hair over our 60k population cap, but it's still one hell of a spot to spend a low-key weekend. Bon Iver frontman and Eau Claire native Justin Vernon chose this city to set up camp for the Eaux Claires Music Festival -- head there in June to see the likes of Feist, Wilco, and Chance the Rapper. Two hip boutique hotels just opened downtown, our favorite being the The Oxbow, with locally sourced grub at The Lakely, a stage, and an art gallery -- plus, every room has a phonograph with free vinyl records to rent at the front desk. But don’t hole up in your room. Surrounded by lush farmlands, Eau Claire earned its name for its crystal-clear waters, so take advantage of the stunning river trails and over 1,000 acres of parks. At the relatively new Phoenix Park, you can hit the farmers market, then cross the river to Lazy Monk Brewing for craft beer flights (the rye IPA is awesome). -- D.N. and Josh Mellin, Thrillist contributor
Travelers looking for a small town twofer are in luck as nearby Stillwater was the pick for Minnesota.
Friday, May. 19th, 2017
The Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival is just about four weeks away, and they just announced their mind-bending slate of visual arts, performance pieces, sound installations, artistic collaborations, and literature events that will happen at Troix on June 16 and 17. Getting a glimpse like this at some of the experiential works the curators have planned is making the festival more real than ever.
This year, we’re seeing festival mainstays like The Banks evolve into different landscapes, new works from artists featured at Eaux Claires past like VNESSWOLFCHILD, Chuck-U, and Chippewa Valley native Davy Sumner’s sound installation work. We’ll get to see tons of wild new ideas play out, including some seriously large-scale sculptures, live painting, murals, dance performances, new stages with new designs, and a "Mom Booth,” where a bunch of real moms (even some of the artist’s moms) will hang out and talk to fest-goers and give hugs and motherly life advice. And lest we forget “The Big EAUX” installation by Eau Claire’s Antic Studios greeting you on the way into the grounds. Plus, we’ll get to see the work of Eau Claire artists Holli Jacobsen, who’s creating a “Moss Cave” in the woods, and Kevin Michael Scheid, who will make tons of balloon art and release them during musical performances.
If you head over to the www.eauxclaires.com, you can see the full digital presentation of the lineup (and also learn more and buy tickets). Here’s the arts lineup in full:
Artist: Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels (New York, NY)
Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels is an Australian-American sculptor who makes large-scale installations inspired by fantastical blueprint drawings.
Artist: The Pickup Music Project (Boston, MA)
"Fluid Process" is an interactive sound sculpture that makes music with falling water.
Artist: Intermedio | Eric Blyth, Sam Ferris-Morris, Justin West (Cincinnati, OH)
“Tremolos" is a multichannel speaker installation that explores the physical expression of amplitude modulation.
“no [space] for time"
Artist: Concrete Pig (Minneapolis, MN)
This installation eludes any sense of reality we are accustomed to. Another world altogether, scratches in film, media consumed, past forgotten. All in an illusion where rocks float to the surface.
Artist: Erlend Neumann (Hudson, NY)
This sculpture exemplifies Neumann’s sculptural approach of minimal yet complex forms which can have multiple arrangements which work with the physical and the negative space.
Artist: Erlend Neumann (Hudson, NY)
Expanding on the work displayed in Neumann's “SOURCE" installation(s), The design for the “Sparreaux" stage is a take-off from the classic tweeter design found in loud-speakers. The intention is to create a structure which is beautiful and can assist in the projection of sound naturally through its form.
Artists: Michael Brown and Clearwing Productions (Eau Claire / Milwaukee, WI)
The next evolution of the "The Banks" continues the creative initiative set out from the first two editions of Eaux Claires. The mission of this performance space is to alter how audience and artist interact with an emphasis on incorporating experimenal video and audio elements to produce a unique viewing environment. For Troix, "The Banks" will be an experimental venue-in-the-round that is set amongst the woods and encourages audiences to move around the performance area and experience impromptu sets from multiple vantage points.
Artists: Michael Brown and Carl Faber (Eau Claire, WI / Portland, OR)
Lighting designers Carl Faber and Michael Brown have been collaborating together since their introduction at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2005. Expanding on their work from previous editions of Eaux Claires, "The Ampools" is a site-specific lighting installation that encompasses the entire festival grounds. This year includes more area to discover in the woods as you explore Eaux Claires at night.
“The Big EAUX"
Artist: Antic Studios (Eau Claire, WI)
Returning for its third incarnation at Eaux Claires, "The Big EAUX" is a 3D-mapped art installation by Antic Studios - a local production company widely known for intricate stage designs and stunning visual content. Standing at close to 8' tall and 40' wide, the installation is a perfect reminder of our place and time over the weekend.
Artist: Andy DuCett (Minneapolis, MN)
Ask about life’s big questions, get a hug or some help with your homework, and grab some sunscreen from Mom. Staffed by real moms from the local community, including mothers of artists at the festival, the "Mom Booth" is an opportunity to engage with the familiar notions of motherhood and see how they change from person to person.
“The Woods: A Way of Seeing Things"
Artists: Krista Stout, Sol McCormick, and Joseph Stout (Minneapolis, MN)
Making its second appearance at Eaux Claires, "The Woods" is an invitation to see things. It's an invitation to look past the meadow's mown grass to where things are a little shadier, a little more secret, a little wilder.
Artist: Chris Kallmyer (Los Angeles, CA)
One thousand live crickets are amplified throughout the Eaux Claires woods. Installed in their natural environment, the crickets create a sound that points to memory, the passage of time, and the poetics of place.
“The Living Room"
Artists: Andy DuCett and Chris Kallmyer (Minneapolis, MN / Los Angeles, CA)
An Upper Midwestern living room planted in the Eaux Claires woods. Come take a nap, watch the trees from the couch, or listen to some sounds on our vintage stereo console. If you're lucky, those sounds may just be impromptu listening sessions of unreleased music from our artists and friends.
“NEON FOREST GALAXY”
Artist: Kristina Rolander (Milwaukee, WI)
For Eaux Claires III, Kristina will create an immersive stage design uniting art, audience, and performer in a heightened sensorial experience. With diorama-inspired structures, hanging elements, and handpainted backdrops, the musicians will perform inside a custom-made environment. By utilizing specific paints, the colors will transform under different lights, from day into night. The stage design itself will never change, however one’s perception of it will. The final piece will be a truly site-specific work, infused with the spirit of the surrounding forest, prairie, and land.
Artist: Davy Sumner (Los Angeles, CA)
Eddy Currents is a mechatronic percussion instrument, named for a shared phenomenon between loops of electrical current and analogous circular motions in rivers. Steel spheres are propelled by electromagnetic forces to create abrupt attacks and granular decays as elements in a spatialized, chaotic composition. Residual energies from the coiled magnets are funneled to create underwater eddies that visually echo and sustain the electrical pulses of the music
Artist: VNESSWOLFCHILD (Detroit, MI)
A roaming and evolving performance art project taking form in different shapes and configurations throughout the festival. The less you know, the better your interpretation.
Artist: John Mark Creative (Minneapolis, MN)
John Mark is a Choreographer and Creative Director whose clients include Lizzo, Har Mar Superstar, Weird Al Yancovik, Tickle Torture, the Afghan Whigs, Little Scream, the New Pornographers, and many more. “DECORUM," an original dance series for Eaux Claires, is inspired by PSA's from the 1960's and other questionable guides to life.
Artist: Kevin Michael Scheid (Eau Claire, WI)
Kevin Michael Scheid inflates balloons of different shapes and sizes during concerts, as a form of performance art. He sets them free over large crowds in hopes of encouraging participation, while creating wonderment and spreading joy. All are invited to interact with, play, and have fun with the balloons throughout the duration of Eaux Claires III.
Artist: Kelie Bowman (Brooklyn, NY / Sunset, SC)
Kelie Bowman's current body of work explores the ephemeral qualities of light by shifting depth and distance in a still medium. "Crescent Field" portrays multiple landscapes at once as if looking through a kaleidoscopic horizon. These large-scale murals encourage a considered connection to our environment and speak of shifting landscapes, rising waters, and exploring the vastness of space and nature.
“The Driftless Area: Trapezoidal Study"
Artists: Burlesque Public Works Division (Minneapolis, MN)
This installation will be a base layer consisting of three walls, separate yet together, which will become a composition built up of layers of painted and physical typography and signage.
“We Were Seeds"
Artist: Landon Sheely (La Crosse, WI)
Classically untrained and foolishly optimistic, Landon Sheely hopes to hearten the viewer, often using childlike form and idealism, typically through print, but also making common use of any medium that doesn’t require patience or precision.
“Live Painting by Justin Orvis Steimer"
Artist: Justin Orvis Steimer (New York, NY)
Justin Orvis Steimer will live-paint during the festival in reaction to the music being created around him.
“Where Peggy-O Meets Mandolin Rain"
Artist: Casey O’Connell (San Francisco, CA)
This mural was orignally created during Eaux Claires 2016, with its completion following the close of the festival. Troix marks the first time this work has been made accessible for public viewing.
“CHUCK-U Coloring Wall"
Artist: Chuck-U (Minneapolis, MN)
Chuck-U is a prolific illustrator and artist making his second appearance at Eaux Claires. He draws strange creatures in strange environments in a style that can be described as “very linesey” as in, he uses lots of lines. At this year's festival Chuck will be creating a site-specific work that encourages audience and participants to help fill in the lines and color the wall as the piece evolves.
“The Poetry of Eleanor Perry Smith"
Artist: Eleanor Perry Smith (Denver, CO / Milwaukee, WI)
Eleanor Perry-Smith is a performance poet and writer. Her work blends classic verse with contemporary grit.
"Eaux Claires Literary Program"
Narrator: Michael Perry (Eau Claire, WI)
Writers: Dean Bakopoulos & Alissa Nutting, Mary Cutrufello, Guante, Daniel José Older, Patti See
This year fest features lots of writers, and again they will meet fest-goers in a quiet place. And in the spirit of collaboration and crossover, the writers will all appear and pop up in other contexts throughout the grounds.
Artist: Holli Jacobson (Eau Claire, WI), with Lang Jacobson, Elizabeth Harclerode and Dagmar Beckel-Machyckova
"Moss Cave" is a sheltered bed of moss that encourages visitors to stop, rest, listen, and return to the festival with renewed energy.
Tuesday, May. 16th, 2017
The saga of a quirky piece of Eau Claire’s architectural history took a positive turn recently when a local business offered space for the storage and repair of the iconic roof topper from Woo’s Pagoda Restaurant.
Chippewa Valley Door Co. in Chippewa Falls responded to a public plea from the Chippewa Valley Museum for indoor storage space for the 18-foot pagoda structure, which has been kept outside since 2014 when it was salvaged before the well-known Chinese restaurant was demolished. Another business, Live in Eau Claire, has offered to restore the pagoda, but it needs adequate indoor space in which to do so.
Chippewa Valley Door Co. is offering the use of a building with 14-foot doors and 20-foot ceilings, providing plenty of vertical space for the pagoda, said owner Rob Bearrood. The company, which installs and services garage doors, recently purchased the building that houses the Chippewa Herald, 321 Frenette Drive, Chippewa Falls.
Bearrood said he decided to offer the space after hearing media reports that the Chippewa Valley Museum would cease pursuing restoration efforts unless indoor storage was found. Chippewa Valley Museum Director Carrie Ronnander – who set that ultimatum in April – said she was excited by the offer. “It still has to go all the way through,” she noted, “but we’re much further along than we were before.”
Eau Claire construction firm Market & Johnson has offered to move the pagoda, but a date hasn’t been set.
Since it was salvaged in May 2014, the pagoda has been stored outdoors next to Banbury Place on Galloway Street. However, it has deteriorated because of exposure to the elements. Live in Eau Claire had previously offered to repair and display the structure at the Local Lounge, its restaurant on North Clairemont Avenue. A recent fundraising dinner at the Local Lounge netted $3,000 for the restoration project, which will cost an estimated $15,000, Ronnander said.
Friday, May. 12th, 2017
Monday, May. 8th, 2017
For all of the music and art that actually happens at the two-day Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival (June 16-17 this year), the last two years have seen plenty of activity before the fest, with local musicians and show organizers throwing all kinds of events all over the city on the Thursday before, hoping to attract festival goers who showed up early. Not to mention the festival itself has thrown shindigs of their own with Phil Cook both years – at the Whispering Pines campground in 2015 and The Lismore in 2016).
However. This year a collaborative effort between Downtown Eau Claire Inc. and Blugold Radio 99.9FM will shine a collective light on all of the pre-fest events happening on June 15, when you can catch local music at different venues across downtown Eau Claire. They call it "Prex Claires." You'll find some of your local scene faves, and maybe a couple surprises as well.
Several shows are already booked on the Thursday before, including OXBEAUX, the official pre-Eaux Claires concert at The Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely featuring The Shouting Matches, Field Report, Dem Yuut, and Idle Empress. And of course, we'll have a special night of Volume One's own Sounds Like Summer Concert Series in Phoenix Park that night, too. But there will be tons of other shows going on around town, and Prex Claires hopes to pull them all together under one big umbrella in an effort to get as many people enjoying themselves downtown as possible.
In the Eaux Claires organizers' recent Reddit AMA, Creative Director Michael Brown talked about this, saying one of the festival's goals is for the Eau Claire community to take charge and start booking shows, events, and other cool stuff before and around the festival: “Our dream is for all of downtown Eau Claire to engage with the festival and start booking shows on Thursday night. Even Wednesday night! There are so many venues in town.”
“Our goal is to introduce visitors to our vibrant Downtown community and amazing local music," said Kyran Hamill, of Downtown Eau Claire, Inc. “Prex Claires is a great opportunity to get to know our community before spending the weekend at Foster Farms.”
The full slate of music events and lineups happening in downtown will be released soon, but participating venues will include The Oxbow, The Plus, The Mousetrap, The Brewing Projekt, Acoustic Café, Dive, and The Fire House.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched the cultural renaissance in Eau Claire over the past decade that the arts aren’t the icing on the economic cake: In fact, around here they’re more akin to economic meat and potatoes. And it’s this growing realization that Creative Economic Week (May 13-20) is meant to celebrate and amplify.
Locally, the week will be marked with panel discussions, the launch of a new professional organization for designers, a walking tour of downtown art galleries, and much more, including musical and theatrical performances.
Eau Claire is one of a number of Wisconsin communities taking part in the second annual Creative Economy Week. Locally, the week will be marked with panel discussions, the launch of a new professional organization for designers, a walking tour of downtown art galleries, and much more, including musical and theatrical performances.
“During Creative Economy Week we’ll shine a spotlight on the strong and growing arts and culture economy in Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley,” said Mike Schatz, executive director of Downtown Eau Claire Inc. and the city’s economic development director. “We want to recognize the efforts and importance of the creative class workers that add to the quality of life we enjoy in Eau Claire.”
The week is the brainchild of Arts Wisconsin, a statewide arts advocacy group based in Madison, and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, which represents cities and villages across the state. The week was established to highlight the major impact the arts have on our lives – and our pocketbooks.
So what exactly is the “creative economy”? Arts Wisconsin defines it as “the intersection of the creative workforce, creative industries, and creative communities.” And the creative economy a bigger swathe of the entire economy than you might think. The arts encompasses everything nonprofit museums and symphonies to for-profit photography, architecture, and graphic design businesses. According to a study recently released by the National Endowment for the Arts, more than 91,000 people work in the arts and cultural industries in Wisconsin, earning $5.2 billion annually. Nationwide, the arts and culture sector contributed more than $730 billion to the American economy. That’s a whole lot of creativity!
Here’s a rundown of the Creative Economy Week events in Eau Claire. Full details here.
Saturday, May 13
3-5pm: State of our Creative Economy (kickoff event), The Lakely, 516 Galloway St.
6pm-midnight: The Brewing Projekt’s Two Year Anniversary, The Brewing Projekt, 2000 N. Oxford Ave.
7-9pm: Boats & Bridges CD Release Show, Volume One Gallery, 205 N. Dewey St.
Monday, May 15
6-8pm: State of Our Visual Art & Design (conversation and networking), Artisan Forge Studios, 1106 Mondovi Road.
7-8:30pm: State of Our Literature (conversation and music), The Gallery at The Oxbow, 516 Galloway St.
7-10pm: Monday Jazz Sessions hosted by Michael Shults & Jeremy Boettcher, The Lakely, 516 Galloway St.
Tuesday, May 16
6-8pm: State of Our Theatre (conversation), The Plus, 208 S. Barstow St.
7-8:30pm: Writing for Exposure: Why Writers Need to Get Paid for Communities to Flourish (And How to Do That) (panel discussion), Volume One Gallery, 205 N. Dewey St.
Wednesday, May 17
8:30-9:30am: How to Become a Full-Time Maker (panel), Red's Mercantile, 224 N. Dewey St.
6-7pm: “Sounds Like Home” Public Input Session, Chippewa Valley Museum, Carson Park.
7-9pm: Dairyland Designers Association Kickoff Event, The Gallery at The Oxbow, 516 Galloway St.
Thursday, May 18
4-8pm: Downtown Eau Claire Gallery Walk, North and South Barstow street districts.
7-9pm: Songwriters in the Round, Volume One Gallery, 205 N. Dewey St.
8:30-10:30pm: Clear Water Comedy Presents Emma Arnold, The Plus, 208 S. Barstow St.
Friday, May 19
6-8pm: Book Release & Reading: Transnational/Turn, Volume One Gallery, 205 N. Dewey St.
7-9pm: Twig Issue III Release Party, Forage 930 Galloway St.
7:30-9:30pm: BareBones Ensemble Theatre: Two Plays by Harold Pinter, The Grand Theatre, 102 W. Grand Ave.
Saturday, May 20
7-8:30pm: Steve Szydel Performance: Re-release of Fairchild, Volume One Galley, 205 N. Dewey St.
Across the three-county area, state and local taxes generated by visitors were estimated to be $45.1 million last year. Spending by tourists also supported the equivalent of about 4,300 jobs in Eau Claire County and generated $103 million in wages.
From massive music festivals to quiet weekend getaways, tourism is a huge component of the Chippewa Valley’s economy. That’s the story told by new figures released by the state Department of Tourism about spending by visitors last year in Wisconsin. According to the new report, direct spending by tourists in Eau Claire, Chippewa, and Dunn counties hit $363 million last year, a 4.6 percent increase from 2015. In Eau Claire County alone, travelers’ direct spending was $228 million, a 5.7 percent increase from the previous year (and a 16.5 percent increase from just three years earlier). Across the three-county area, state and local taxes generated by visitors were estimated to be $45.1 million last year. Spending by tourists also supported the equivalent of about 4,300 jobs in Eau Claire County and generated $103 million in wages.
“Tourism’s role in our community continues to grow, and from an economic standpoint, the numbers reflect that,” said Linda John, executive director at Visit Eau Claire. “Last year’s numbers show that we are doing the right things to make our community a destination worth traveling to and one where every traveler feels safe.”
Statewide, direct tourist spending was $12.3 billion last year, while total visitor spending was a whopping $20 million. All those tourists generated $1.5 billion in state and local taxes, which saved the average Wisconsin household $650 each. Just by itself, that sum could buy a nice little tourist trip.