Tuesday, Mar. 24th, 2009

This Evening: Ask a Scientist

UW-Eau Claire and Acoustic Café continue their cool “Ask a Scientist” series tonight with a program on insects. Quite timely since they seem to be hatching. Dr. Paula Kleintjes Neff – Professor of Biology at UW-Eau Claire and insect conservation biologist – will discuss the many benefits insects provide the planet. She will highlight the variety of ecological and economic services they provide, including those that have increased our understanding of science and influenced culture.

And then the best part: Time at the end is reserved for questions from the audience. So you can totally ask questions like, “Is a spider going to crawl into my ear while I sleep and lay eggs in my brain?”

The show starts at 7pm. Details.

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More Barre Chords

Seeing how this is called the Bar Chord Report fr Dunn County, it seems obvious, to me at least, that I Love Barre Chords. In fact I think I'll put that on a bumper sticker.  I hart Barre Chords.

Most of my favorite rock and roll can be attributed to these wonderful chords.  I can't get enough of 'em.  In fact, that is the problem I face.  While there is a treasure trove of wonderfully loud barre chords merely an hour west of Dunn Co. and a decent sampling just east of Dunn Co., I find a major shortfall in Dunn Co. itself.  Sure, there are a handful of places in Menomonie (Water Front, Mr Heavys, Pioneer) and nearby, that host live music, but I can't seem to find the kinda chords I love.  Yeah I know there's good shows put on by the Blue Devils at Stout (once or twice a month) and many people have "basement" parties with bands, and there are even some bars that "have" bands play there.  Beyond that, there isn't one place where you can hear good, old, loud chords on a regular basis.  

Now don't get me wrong.  I can enjoy live music in a tiny bar, where they move the pool table and jukebox out of the corner to make room for the band, but it's just not the same as going to a "venue" where music is the focus, not an afterthought.  A place with a stage, a house p.a., lights, sound guy, etc.  A place where the floor rumbles and the sound can make your hair/beard  part.  A place that was built for barre chords. A place where Marshalls can be turned up and brought to life.  A place for the public, at least for the section of public that enjoys volume(ear plugs have their moments) and the energy of a live performance, to worship barre chords. A rock and roll night club, that is a home for barre chords. That is what I miss most living in Dunn County.  I really do love it out here on the tundra, in fact we have our own private rock club.  And while it rocks and is tons of fun, it's not the same as grinning madly, with a dozen or more strangers, to the sound of wonderfully primitive barre chords, being played loud and proud by living people on a stage,  A stage at a public place. With regular shows.  Several nights a week.  

So I sit in front of a fire and dream.........maybe, just maybe, someday, that stage will be in Dunn County.   Because, Live Music is Better and Barre Chords Rule

Woody Guthrie-"If you're playing more than 3 CHORDS you're showing off."

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Monday, Mar. 23rd, 2009

Nate's Dungeon:
March 19 Show Review

Last Thursday night, the rock was at Nate’s Dungeon. And I mean the musical term not the professional wrestler/academy award winning actor (just you wait). The closet-busting-sized crowd was enthralled by the musical stylings of Fatal Inebriation (St. Paul), Coincide (Memorial High School), and Stormstrike (Stevens Point). I picked up Stromstrike's brand new album and figured I throw on a track for your own personal listening. Lastly I’d like to let everybody know to come to the Dungeon on April 4 for a very big show. Dios Mio and Bring That Shit, featuring Ben Crew of InDefence will be playing with a whole bunch of other bands. I’ll post more on this soon.

Listen to The Core by Stormstrike:

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In Case You Missed the Big Fancy Jail Decision …

Would you like a giant helping of déjà vu with your county jail site recommendation? After a costly stall in site plans, months of meetings, and one failed site suggestion, the (snappily named) Special Committee to Resolve Jail Space and Site Needs has made their final recommendation: the same damn spot downtown.

Expensive? Yes. Disappointing to many people ? Of course. Anticlimactic? Oh goodness, certainly. From WEAU.com:

  • The 15-person group voted 10 to 5 to recommend the county build a new jail near the Chippewa River in downtown Eau Claire.
  • "In Eau Claire County we don't want to build a jail, but we need the jail,” Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer said.
  • Sheriff Cramer says he’s been working for six years to get a new jail. And, after hours of debate, the committee got what was a stalled plan rolling again.
  • Although Chair Colleen Bates warns there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Of course, this is a special committee’s recommendation, not the final say. When the Eau Claire County Board hears the final recommendation, it (and the city of Eau Claire) could still reject the plan. Interesting quote from the WEAU story: “Even Sheriff Cramer says the new jail design isn’t the most efficient.”

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Telling us what we already know

So it seems Madison's culture mag, The Isthmus, is officially smitten with our music scene. Not unlike other news outlets last year, The Isthmus latched onto Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago over and over. But unlike most, The Isthmus boldly looked beyond the flannel, exposing the layers of diverse aural talent that have solidified in recent years. Tell us something we didn't know.

When the mag decided to name Bon Iver the state's musician of the year, the writer also pointed out that "everywhere I turned this year, people were talking about Eau Claire." With today's feature article, titled "Kindred Spirits," The Isthmus not only uses considerable space to further describe its crush on Bon Iver, but clearly did its share of research to encapsulate local gems such as Mike Perry and the entire Amble Down catalogue.

The message seems to be that Eau Claire is a hotbed for talented musicians, who seem to belong to a "family" of sorts, and all of which call The Joynt home.

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Saturday, Mar. 21st, 2009

This Weekend: Check Out ArtsWest 30

Head on don to the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library this weekend for a heaping helping of art. ArtsWest, now in its 30th year!) is an annual juried art show featuring over 50 works selected from more than 200 entries submitted by artists from throughout Wisconsin. This year's entries are judged by Scott Stulen, project Director for mnartists.org in Minneapolis, a joint project of the Walker Art Center and McKnight Foundation. Enjoy the show during regular library hours. Details.

And here’s an article about judging all that sweet art.

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Friday, Mar. 20th, 2009

The Big Week, Episode 23

In this episode: we remix the new Wisconsin state slogan, explore a forty year old fetus, interview a bandit, and giveaway $50 in fancy clothes.

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Thursday, Mar. 19th, 2009

Killer Rabbits on the Loose

If you can see past WEAU.com’s biggest headline this morning – Seven Million Dollar Chopper Lands in Eau Claire! – you may notice a tiny story about what’s surly a major sign of the upcoming Bunny Apocalypse. Apperarantly, a local motorist fell prey to a clever bunny ambush. The story

  • Dunn county deputies say the driver of this SUV was driving on 970th Street South of Elk Mound when they think he swerved to miss a rabbit, hit a culvert, went airborne, crossed the road and rolled three or four times.
  • Sgt. Todd Kurtzhals says the driver, who wasn't wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the SUV into the field.

The driver sustained minor injuries, much to the chagrin of the evil rabbit who tried to kill him. This is a warning people. It’s the beginning of the end. The rabbits are coming, and they are pissed.

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Beast Causes Terror!, March 19, 1908

Beast Causes Terror
– La Crosse Tribune | March 19, 1908

Eau Claire- A wild beast said to be a panther has been terrorizing residents in the southwestern part of Eau Claire County and the northeastern portion of Pepin County. Some of the farmers upon waking up mornings find that some of their sheep and young stocks and calves have been devoured. A farmer’s son was followed for a short distance. 

Chad’s Take:

    What a timely story! Here we have a case of a strange animal terrorizing Eau Claire County. The newspaper wrote that is was thought to be a panther (also known as a cougar, mountain lion, or puma depending on the region of the US). For years I have been receiving reports from witnesses who claimed to have seen a cougar in WI. Witnesses have sent me photos of tracks, hair, and photos of blurry animals all claiming to be cougars. Of course every time I talked to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources they scoffed at me and I was informed that cougars are no longer roaming in WI. Their position has changed a little now that a cougar was recently treed in Wisconsin and shot with a tranquilizer (it escaped) and numerous definitive photos of it were published in the media. We can now rest assured that at least one cougar is roaming the countryside of Wisconsin.

    However, what if the creature from the article was not a cougar? What could it possibly be? Well believe it or not I have received many reports of strange animals still terrorizing Eau Claire today. My first report came from a woman driving home at 11pm from her shift as a nurse at a local hospital. She was traveling along on Highway 37 heading south when she noticed a large wolf like creature on the side of the road. She said it was the size of a very large dog but it moved more like a bear. What bothered her the most was the fact that the creature’s eyes were glowing red. She was quickly overcome with fear and sped off for the safety of her home.

    A few years later I received another report of a strange cougar-like animal inside of Eau Claire. Again this report came from a woman traveling home during the evening. This witness was traveling along Highway 53 toward the south when she spotted a large black dog-like creature roaming the side of the road. The woman described the creature as a large black heavily muscled unknown animal. She too took off out of the area as fact as she could.

    An even more bizarre creature has been reported near the boat landing of Meridean near Carryville (right outside of Eau Claire). This area is cursed by the legend of the Hellhounds of Meridean. The dare warns that if you visit the old Meridean boat landing near Carryville and if you set foot outside of your car, you will encounter the hellhounds. I spoke with an eyewitness of the hellhounds who was a large biker guy, the kind of guy you didn’t think would be scared of anything. He told me that he was out at Meridean with a couple of fellow bikers when they noticed several large black dogs off in the woods. As these “dogs” moved closer the group noticed that the animals were nearly transparent. Unfortunately the men got frightened and hopped onto their motorcycles and sped off as fast as they could, they finally stopped once they had reached the safety of Chippewa Falls.

    What these mysterious creatures are is still unexplained. Even though the first reports started in the early 1900s we still are baffled. Until one is captured or killed we may never know. My advice is to strap on your hiking boots, grab your biggest cage, and start out in search of discovering what mysterious beast has been terrorizing Eau Claire for over 100 years.

    Keep an eye out.

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Wednesday, Mar. 18th, 2009

Crime Rate Totally Tanks!

According to the Eau Claire Police Department (via the Leader Telegram), our local crime rates have totally tanked. They’re at their lowest point in 30 years. Eau Claire’s weaknesses in the crime arena are further explained …

  • Despite a rise in violent incidents, Eau Claire's overall crime rate in 2008 was the lowest in 30 years, according to the Eau Claire Police Department. …
  • While violent crime increased by 8.1 percent last year, property crime fell by 6.9 percent. Overall, the crime rate dropped 4.2 percent in 2008.
  • Shoplifting increased last year, but total thefts declined. Stolen vehicles dropped dramatically, plunging by more than 40 percent, according to police figures.

How can our community possibly compete with the excitement of big city crime in the midst of such positive plunges and reductions? Police Chief Jerry Matysik is quoted as saying "We're very pleased. We depend on all members of the community. We can't do it alone."

That’s right, people. The police cannot stop crime alone. You must do your part by not robbing banks, not car-jacking, and not being a jewel-stealing cat burglar. And you’ve been doing a crackerjack job, Chippewa Valley. Kudos!

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