Monday, Jun. 22nd, 2009

Another Feature Film for
Good Ol’ Wisconsin

Public Enemies (which was filmed in Wisconsin, duh) is coming out soon (July 1), but that’s not all the movie news our state has to offer. The feature film No God No Master will be produced by Strata Productions Inc. and shot at locations all over Milwaukee. The film is set in 1919-era New York City, and apparently, now-era Milwaukee looks a lot like that. Strata says the city’s “vintage architecture and Lake Michigan’s horizon” can simulate old world NYC. Who knew?

The producers say they are dedicated to filming in the Midwest and hope to start around July 20. The movie will star David Strathairn – above, smoking in black and white – who was nominated for an Academy Award for Goodnight, and Good Luck, and stared in films like The Bourne Ultimatum, Sneakers, and A League of Their Own. No God No Master is the story of William Flynn, the federal Bureau of Investigation agent who unraveled a plot to kill John Rockefeller Jr. and bomb the New York Stock Exchange during the Red Scare of the early 1900s. It’ll be written and directed by Terry Green.

As you can read in the press release linked above, Strata set the whole thing up through Film Wisconsin. So good for Film Wisconsin.

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Struck by Lightning
June 24, 1904

Struck By Lightning
Eau Claire Weekly Telegram | June 24, 1904

During the storm yesterday afternoon, Miss Theresa Uetz, aged 19, who resides with her parents on the west side in Eau Claire city was struck by lightning. A dog in the same room was killed. The girl will recover.

Chad’s Take:
Being hit by lightning – Bad luck or good luck?

I have always been fascinated by stories of people being hit by lightning. It is not that I take some sadistic pleasure from these stories, I am just realty curious as to the rarity of the event. How much bad luck has to fall on you before you get hit by lightning? Generally speaking the odds are in your favor that you will never be hit by lightning. Think back to how many times have you heard someone tell you that you have better odds being hit by lightning than winning the lottery. Was Miss Uetz any luckier or unluckier than someone winning twenty million dollars? I am sure that her dead dog would not have considered itself to be very lucky.

This article really directed me down a path of wondering if people who get hit by lightning also generally suffer from ill fate in the rest of their daily lives. Was this a freak one-time event that happened to a person who generally enjoyed good luck in life, or was the lightning strike just another mishap in a long line of tragedies? I would love to know more about the life and luck of Miss Uetz. Perhaps some of her descendants will read this article and let me know what became of her---But then again, I am probably not that lucky.

Keep an eye out ...

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Sunday, Jun. 21st, 2009

Back-Alley Summer Cinema Series

Because of full-season sponsorship by Deborah Becker - State Farm Insurance, our Back-Alley Summer Cinema Series is back in action for 2009. We're talking about Volume One's Monday-night film series, screening classic and out-of-the-mainstream films of all kinds. Movies are shown in the alley that would-be 205 Graham Avenue in downtown Eau Claire, and start at 9:30pm sharp. The space holds no more than 200 people, so show up early for a good spot.

JULY 6: The Karate Kid (1984) Rated PG-13
JULY 13: Waitress (2007) Rated PG-13
JULY 20: Young @ Heart (2008) Rated PG
JULY 27: Lars and the Real Girl (2007) Rated PG-13
AUGUST 4: The Princess Bride (1987) Rated PG-13

More details right here!

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Saturday, Jun. 20th, 2009

Sunday: FATFAR

The world's “largest one-day tubing event” is on Sunday, so get started blowing up them tubes. FATFAR (the Frenchtown Annual Tube Float and Regalia) starts from the boat landing near the Main Street bridge in Chippewa Falls – on the south side of the mighty-ish Chippewa River – and you just float on down to your chosen destination. There’ll be FATFAR festivities at both Dewey’s Roadhouse and Loopy’s Saloon & Grill. Float safe.

Stuff on Saturday: Solstice on Grand Art Faire, Breaking Bricks, Summer Solstice Celebration, 1st Annual Northwest BeerFest, Milk, Davey J and the Jones Tones, the Carnivalé of Debauchery & Deviance, Charlie Parr, and Orestus.

Stuff on Sunday: Amy M Band, Howard "Guitar" Luedtke, Summer Sounds Concert, Drums Along the Red Cedar, Eau Claire Express, and the Ski Sprites Water Ski Show.

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Friday, Jun. 19th, 2009
Thursday, Jun. 18th, 2009

VIDEO: FATFAR in Your Face

Hey, FATFAR is this weekend on Sunday. This is possibly the world’s largest (and completely unorganized) river-based tube float event. Shockingly, we have no data to back that up, but who cares? As usual, it starts from the boat landing near the Main Street bridge in Chippewa Falls (on the south side of the mighty-ish Chippewa River). Stay safe. Above is the scandalous exposé Volume One made about last year’s tube-fest (it's Rated R, and has almost 9,000 views on YouTube). We believe it accurately captures the noble spirit of the event. Music by Orestus.

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Wednesday, Jun. 17th, 2009

The Jail and Facebook

If you haven’t been completely enthralled and distracted by the tale of the Dump Truck Bandit or the tale of the Plummeting Window Washer, your local news radar may have picked up on that fact that, on Monday, Eau Claire’s Plan Commission recommended doing everything the county wants as far as green-lighting the downtown jail expansion. But the City Council still needs to produce a super majority vote in favor of the county’s plans, or the downtown jail is a no-go. And things look pretty iffy for the county. As the Leader-Telegram points out, it looks like enough council members are leaning against the project to vote it down. From the L-T:

  • Councilman Brandon Buchanan voted against the rezoning Monday as a member of the Plan Commission and said he will do the same next week. Councilman Berlye Middleton said he also plans to oppose the rezoning.
  • Meanwhile, Councilmen Andrew Werthmann and Larry Balow said they're leaning against the proposal to build a new jail just east of the courthouse, while Councilman Thomas Vue said he's concerned the project is too large for the space allowed by the comprehensive plan. Councilman Thomas Kemp has spoken against the downtown jail in the past …

And also meanwhile, WQOW ran a story on last night’s 10pm newscast about Councilman Buchanan’s Facebook page, on which Buchanan posts, "Councilman Brandon Buchanan is voting no. The jail is officially DOA next week." Jail issues aside, is it kind of weird for him to be so open? And weird or not, is it OK? We’re all for transparency in everything from the businesses we frequent to our elected officials, but this feels … just kind of weird. Maybe our innate Midwestern drive to Keep To Yourself  is getting the better of us, but … huh. What do you guys think?

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Meridean is a shockingly tiny town 15 minutes away from the city. The huge sandbar island is a perfect place for feeling alive on a summer night.

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Tuesday, Jun. 16th, 2009

Japanese “IQ Test” Will
Melt Your Brain

According to the guy who posted the Everybody has to cross the river brain-teaser game, it might be “an IQ test given to job applicants in Japan.” But I doubt it. If my formidable understanding of Japanese culture can be trusted, the game is probably a promotion for soy sauce or some sort of snack made from baby octopus eyeballs. At any rate it’s fun – in an infuriating kind of way. You try to get everyone across the river, but some people can't be left alone together, and only a few people can drive the raft. It took me forever to figure it out. PLAY NOW!

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Stones Throw to close on Tuesday night, June 23

OK, so the Stones Throw is closing next week. We just got a press release this morning that says, “After three years of business, MarSteiner Hospitality has announced they will close Stones Throw in downtown Eau Claire on Tuesday, June 24 under the current ownership.” To be clear, this means the bar will officially be closed at 2am on Wednesday, June 24.

This isn’t a rumor. The Stones Throw says discussions are underway with potential new owners, but there’s no word yet on new management or a reopening date. In the PR, co-owner Todd Pernsteiner says, “Even with our exit from the scene for now, I have faith that the Chippewa Valley music industry will continue to thrive and do well. We wish the new occupants well in their future endeavors.”

Now, we’ve seen the Stones Throw change hands again and again (and agian and again) over the years, so this isn’t exactly shocking. But on the other hand, Pernsteiner and co. really went above and beyond to make that place work. They drew in a good mix of touring and local acts, and they promoted their shows well. And their food was pretty good, too. If they can’t make it, who can?

Anyway, they’ll be holding a 3-day customer appreciation party from Sunday, June 21 through Tuesday, June 23. Tuesday will also see the venue's last open mic night. And then, MarSteiner Hospitality will have a “business assets sale” on Friday and Saturday, June 26-27, from 11am to 7pm to sell equipment and bar supplies. Everything from sound and lighting equipment to office supplies and furniture will be for sale to the public.

Damn. Many people overlook live music venues like the Stones Throw when they talk about "The Arts" as a whole, but our bar venues are just as important as our State Theaters and our Mabel Tainters. This is a blow.

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