Sunday, Dec. 7th, 2008

“Some Area Kids Playing Without Hats and Mittens”

This headline made me snort coffee. I know it's not meant as shocking news, but when has this headline tucked between “Fatal Semi Accident Slows Traffic for Hours” and “Report Issued in Death of Child at Clinic,” it’s kind of hilarious:

“Some Area Kids Playing Without Hats and Mittens”

HOLY CRAP, WHAT?! Playing without mittens? Outrageous! Seriously, the story is partially about families not being able to afford proper winter clothes for kids. Not so funny. The article mentions some ways to help out.

However, WEAU also took the time to interview Memorial High School students who are scandalously ignoring their mother’s advice and not wearing a coat to school. One girl said her jacket is simply too “poufy” to be convenient. While some people over the age of 18 might complain about “stupid kids these days,” let’s just remember what an important role hypothermia plays in natural selection.

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Friday, Dec. 5th, 2008

This Weekend: Buy Earplugs

It’s gonna be a hard rocking weekend, folks. First up? Maudlin: guitars clang with power pop edge and sass when St. Paul's Maudlin take to the Stones Throw stage tonight. Singer Priscilla Priebe's quaint croons recall Kim Deal-fronted Pixies. Seriously, you'd go somewhere else when there's a band with a song called "Dancecaster" playing tonight? The show’s at 10pm, $5.

Then, on Saturday, how’s about one quarter of Husker Dü plus Jaggernauts plus Drunk Drivers? Grant Hart was the singer/songwriter/drummer in the influential 80's punk band Husker Du. Since then, Grant has toured extensively as a solo artist. Get on down to the House of Rock for that action. 10pm, $5.

Also on Saturday: QuinnElizabeth, Festival of Trees, Santa Claus in Downtown Eau Claire, The Mabel Tainter Fine Arts and Crafts Faire, Christmastime in the City, Santa Claus in Chippewa Falls, A Little House Christmas, Tree Lighting, All-Ages Show, Eggplant Heroes, Cadillac Kolstad, Northwinds Brass Band, Downers Grove, and Catchpenny.

On Sunday: Brunch with Santa, Cook-Rutledge Mansion Christmas Open House, Holiday Band Concert, and Pat McCurdy.

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Thursday, Dec. 4th, 2008

Fought A Vicious Buck
(Dec. 1, 1898)

Fought A Vicious Buck
Eau Claire Man’s Terrible Struggle, Which May Result Fatally
– Eau Claire Weekly Leader | Dec. 1, 1898

Rice Lake – Fred St. Clair, of Eau Claire, fought for his life in the deer pen of Greenwood Park the other day, with a vicious buck. A barn in being built in the park for the deer quartered there, and St. Clair was sent to the park to measure some lumber.  After being once knocked down by the animal St. Clair grabbed the buck by its horns and for several minutes the struggle went on. At times St. Clair would be under and at times the buck, but the animal had the best of the struggle until help arrived, and the buck was killed. St. Clair was gored several times and may die.

Chad's Take:
Happy Hunting

With deer hunting fever finally over the Chippewa Valley I thought I would share an inspiring story for all of you hunters that made it back to safety with your kill. Unfortunately former Eau Claire resident Fred St. Clair wasn’t quite as lucky as you were, because when Fred came face to face with a giant buck he wasn’t armed and ready. Actually Fred wasn’t even hunting. Fred simply made the mistake of trying to grab some lumber from the deer pen and was attacked by a large unprovoked buck. 

Sadly I was not able to discover the fate of Mr. St. Clair, but every person who goes out deer hunting in the Chippewa Valley should try to even the score for Fred. As for Greenwood Park, it is still located right off Highway 8 outside of Ladysmith, but if you decide to visit make sure you take Fred’s advice and watch out for the deer.    

Keep an eye out ...

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Sneak Peak at the Eau Claire Jazz Festival

I know it’s early… way early… but I still can’t help but get excited about our upcoming Eau Claire Jazz Festival. In its 42nd year, the festival has gotten a huge boost by drawing on the local arts community and tapping into resources throughout the Chippewa Valley. The festival is beginning to take on a new life thanks to organizer Patty Horecki and her army of volunteers and interns. They have broadened the scope of the festival by bringing in visual artists, more clubs and local performance venues (my jazz band played at Oakwood Mall as part of the event last year), and poets to give it a more community based feel. Eau Claire is a jazz town after all and there is a lot of talent to put on display.

And then there is the festival week. It’s a week later than usual this year – April 2-5 – to kick off the start of National Jazz Appreciation Month. There are some great guests coming to Eau Claire. One of the hottest tenor players out there, Chris Potter, will be in town along with Jiggs Whigham on Trombone. And of course there will be UWEC Jazz I along with all of the outstanding talent from colleges and high schools throughout Wisconsin and the upper Midwest. It’s a must-attend event!

Check out this awesome video of Chris Potter! I got to jam with him at the University of Minnesota when I was in high school. He came to town on tour with the Mingus Big Band. (This is not video of that jam session… I know you’re disappointed)

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Salvation Army
Prefers Its Own Kind

Whoa, what?! The Salvation Army will kick you out of your post if you marry someone who’s not also in the Salvation Army. What?! That’s what they’ll be doing to this guy in Oshkosh. From the AP

  • The leader of the Oshkosh Salvation Army will lose his job if he goes ahead with plans to marry outside the organization.
  • Capt. Johnny Harsh is engaged to a woman who's not affiliated with the Salvation Army. They're planning to marry in June.

I guess there’s nothing illegal about this, but it’s kind of unexpected for the people who work so hard being nice to people. Seems like a pretty limiting policy hiring-wise, as well. At any rate, I’ll still be plunking change into the red buckets whenever I can.

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Wednesday, Dec. 3rd, 2008

Note from the Editor:
This Issue's Cover

Besides our annual “Best Of” issues, this edition marks the first time we’ve featured a cover image that references content inside. The scruffy dude standing there in the tie and vest is local musician Justin Vernon, of recent Bon Iver fame, shot by one of our contributing photographers Drew Kaiser. We have a sizeable article written by Ken Szymanski, covering Vernon and the amazing couple of years he’s had penetrating the consciousness of the world of popular music.

But having a feature inside didn’t mean we had to also put Vernon on the cover, and whether we should or not was a question we wrestled with. Unlike almost every other publication out there, we’ve never had cover images relevant to anything inside, we simply feature local art for local art’s sake – since it’s one of the few places the general public around here can see it. But when asked over the years if we’d ever put a person or specific story on the cover, we always said if there was a local arts and culture story that was big enough, we probably would. Well, during the production of the article we realized that time had probably come. While hundreds of creative Chippewa Valley residents have seen all sorts of commercial and artistic success, it’s unlikely there’s ever been an entertainment story bigger than the story of Bon Iver. The success has come like a wild fire and with no signs of extinguishing any time soon. Critical acclaim, international tours, late-night talk shows, splashy magazine spreads – it’s all there.

Now, we fully expect some of you to groan about Volume One falling all over themselves to put our new local celebrity Justin Vernon on the cover, and we fully expect others of you to not know or care who Justin Vernon is and wish we’d have just had regular art. That’s all fine. For us, it was simply an opportunity to do something different, but with darn good cause for doing it.

The text above is the Dec. 4 issue's "Note from the Editor/Publisher," found on page 4.

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County Jail Strike Force Takes On Justice League! System!

The County Jail Strike Force met again last night and really pushed the whole “alternatives to incarceration” concept to a new level. Until now, that particular part of the agenda seemed like something that would only get talked about, while the location seemed to be the real issue. But according to the L-T

  • A special jail committee is proposing that any construction be based on the incarcerated population growing only as fast as Eau Claire County's general populace.
  • By approving a jail inmate growth rate of just 1 percent per year, the committee hopes it will pressure county officials and the justice system to use more alternatives to incarceration. That 1 percent growth rate is less than prior projections made by consultants and the trend indicated by recent, actual jail numbers.

Possessing somewhere between none and zero expertise in law enforcement strategy, I have no idea if the local justice system will actually peruse alternatives to jailing people because they have a less-than-huge jail, but I have doubts. Wouldn’t they already be trying to do that?

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Tuesday, Dec. 2nd, 2008

Did You Do Black Friday?

The whole thing about Black Friday being the largest shopping day of the year isn’t actually true. From what I hear, the Saturday before Christmas is usually the busiest and most lucrative day of the year for America’s retailers. But with the big discounts and “starting line” frenzy promoted by big (and small) stores, the day has become a pretty big deal in our collective consciousness. I’ve never actually been at any of our local Black Friday sales, but it seems like the shopper stampede is usually relatively tame around here.

Many people see all those shoppers lined/bundled up for hours before a store opens, and the word “sheep” immediately pops to their lips. I’m not sure that’s an accurate name to use, but I’ve never gotten excited over big-big-big sales, not to the point of camping on the concrete outside of a store. Or course, I rarely find something exciting enough to get me out of bed before the sun comes up. What about you?

Check out some photos from Best Buy's door opening.

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Monday, Dec. 1st, 2008

The Big Week, December 1

In this episode: holiday home tours, yard inflatables, mom and pop shops (with a break down), and we give away a $50 gift certificate to A Brand New Tattoo.

Note: Now on every episode of the Big Week, we'll be announcing a winner for one of our V1 Insider $50 Giveaways. So enter them and try to win. If you hear your name announced in the Big Week, you have 7 days to email and claim your prize.

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Friday, Nov. 28th, 2008

This Weekend:
Welcome to the Jungle

If you're looking for a way to wash off the glossy commercial residue of Black Friday bargain hunting (assuming you didn't partake in this, that is), we've got the perfect thing – slam those memories of the hyper-crowded aisles at Target and Best Buy right out of your head with a bangin' night of drum and bass at the Stones Throw: Black Friday Beats: A Drum 'N' Bass Beatdown. The show features One Love, Konkrete Jungle Minneapolis, and Jungle Vibe Collective. MC Brace, MC Hyde, Catalyst, and Josh G will be throwing down the drum and bass vibes. Also, BluePauly2, dirtydub, DJ L, & SWAE provide the best in minimal, techno, and house. If you understood any of that, this is probably the show for you. It starts at 8pm and costs 4 bucks.

Saturday: Larry, Cat in Space, Santa Claus in Chippewa Falls, Tonic Sol-Fa, Reptile Palace Orchestra, and a White Trash Winter Bash.

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