Saturday, Oct. 17th, 2009

This Weekend: Fear Factory

Running through Halloween, the Ski Sprites are manufacturing fear down at their annual (and aptly named) Fear Factory out at the Eau Claire County Expo Center on Fairview Drive. It’s the area’s largest haunted house-style attraction, so if you love walking down dark hallways and having people pop out of nowhere at you, then this is the place. 7 bucks a scare. Details.

Also on Saturday: Kids Carnival @Mabel Tainter, UWEC Homecoming Parade, New Moon Mehndi, Anna Johnson, Jimmy Buffet Party, Geoffrey Keezer, 80's Dance & Costume Party (and another one), Guante Big Cats!, Capaciti & A-Scratch, Homecoming Show: Irie Sol, Desolatevoid, and Eau Claire Blues All Stars.

Interesting Movies: Capitalism: A Love Story, Carmike Independant Film Series, Lars and the Real Girl.

Art Shows: Some of our Own, Caradori Pottery 23rd Annual Fall Show, Encore! The Renaissance of Wisconsin Opera Houses, Isabelle Mondelaers Photography, Exploding Peacocks, The Four-Color World: Comics, Models & More, and Madison Artists from the Leff Collection 1950-1990.

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Friday, Oct. 16th, 2009

Try Not to Go Crazy Over This One

I guess Cartoon Network wasn't satisfied with only being one of the better channels on cable. Adult Swim, their late-night block of mature themed programming just so happens to make some of the best flash games around.

Sure, Schizophrenzy is a rip-off of a Nintendo game released years ago, but it has one advantage... It's free. And it's funnier. Pilot Mr. John K. Facey, P.I., through a Frank Miller-esque city while popping anti-psych meds and mario-stomping figments of your imagination. Oh, and the city's major is the bad guy.


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Thursday, Oct. 15th, 2009

Stephen Colbert says the fine citizens of Eau Claire are fat

Last night on the Colbert Report, Steven Colbert said we’re all super fat – as in the people of Eau Claire, specifically. The piece in question concerns the health care reform bill and an amendment that mandates lower premiums to people who lose weight. Here’s the excerpt, courtesy of Eat Me Daily:

  • The government's really sending really mixed messages: first they subsidize corn, making it so cheap we can gorge on high fructose corn syrup, then they charge us more for health insurance just because our organs have caramelized. Well I'm sorry, but our bodies are the only growth industry America has left. China may have 1.4 billion people, but I doubt they outweigh the combined residents of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Being overweight is as American as eating a whole apple pie. And we're the majority folks, 67% of the population is either overweight or obese, the scales are literally tipped in our favor.

Here’s a link to the whole show in question over on Hulu. The Eau Claire reference happens in the bit starting around 6:30.

Come on, Steve, lay off the Midwest. Mississippi, West Virginia, Alabama, and Louisiana are the fattest states in the nation. Wisconsin is a distant-ish 26th. Details.

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Tonight: Back Stage Concert Series

Tonight V1 and the State Theater usher in another concert series to downtown Eau Claire. At 7pm, the Back Stage Concert Series kicks off with bluegrassers New North String Band and backwater indie-rockers The Gentle Guest. According to a local arts and culture magazine called “Volume One” …

  • Co-developed by The State Theatre and Volume One, the Back Stage Concert Series brings you in through “the wings” and onto the venue’s stage for concerts bookmarked by a brick wall on one side and the velvet curtain on the other, creating an intimate, awesomely lit space of its own. While the event is open to all ages, a small bar will still serve beer, wine, and soda. Taking the stage about once a month will be exclusively local talent the likes of The Jaggernauts, Drunk Drivers, Meridene, Laarks, The Excellent Adventure, South Farwell, Jim Pullman Band, QuinnElizabeth, and more. If your mental picture of this series is still a bit vague, check this out …

For more videos, check out the hyper-official website for the Back Stage Concert Series. You'll also find dates, performer info, and audio tracks.

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Wednesday, Oct. 14th, 2009

Filmed in Wisconsin:
Clear Lake, WI

Clear Lake, WI, a film made in its titular location in southeast Polk County, recently premiered in Hudson and is now screening in limited markets. In the film, a disease breaks out and local preacher (played by Michael Madsen of Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill) claims the outbreak is punishment for the town’s sins and influences a group of teens to kidnap other townspeople. Fifteen years later, a filmmaker convinces some of the former teenagers to return to Clear Lake. But when they return, all hell breaks loose. The regionally made Hollywood thriller has won awards at several film festivals, including the Audience Choice Award at the Boston Film Festival, and co-stars Clear Lake native Dustin Booth, who also produced it.

Watch the trailer ...

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Tuesday, Oct. 13th, 2009

UWEC Players to offer ‘Haunts of Eau Claire Bus Tour’

In an area with three paranormal investigation groups on hand, you may think the Chippewa Valley is safe and secure, but we’ve no shortage of ghost legends around these parts. To wit, the UWEC Players have gotten into the Halloween spirit and will be offering spooky guided bus tours through Eau Claire, chronicling its most vicious murders, heinous acts, and startling stories. These are the same theatrical students that recently put on the show Candid and acted as living statues at International Fall Festival. They warned us that this event is not for the faint of heart, so be prepared as the knowledgeable and experienced guides tell some gruesome local tales and introduce you to national legends like Lizzie Borden and Pogo the Clown. Bring a hand to hold (or clutch), because this one and-a-half hour ride might test your nerves. The remarkable paranormal history of EC is also not for children, so if you are under 18, you are required to be with an adult. Seats are limited, (30 per bus) so buy your tickets sooner rather than later, or you will be left behind! Tours will depart from UWEC's Kjer Theatre on October 23, 24, 30, and 31 at 8pm and 10pm. Cost: $12 student, $16 public. Private groups may also be arranged ahead of time.

Contact to reserve tickets. For specifics, check out the Player’s website.

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Photo Contest Deadline: Oct. 23

Y’all better start snapping some hot shots with your fancy-pants cameras because the deadline to our annual photo contest is hurtling toward you like a flaming Jack-o-Lantern hurtled by a headless specter of the evil night.

Yes, we’ve been talking about Halloween today.

Anyway, you’ve only got about 1.5 weeks to submit entries to the contest. You could win cash prizes and the fame and glory of having your images published in 15,000 copies of Volume One Magazine. We’ll accept three photos per person, and they must have been taken in the Chippewa Valley in 2008 or 2009.

Please no flowers, waterfalls, babies, or American flags. And also, no babies holding flowers while wrapped in an American flag while going over a waterfall. It’s a great shot, but it’s been done before.

Read the full rules and submission details here. And check out last year’s winners.

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Monday, Oct. 12th, 2009

DNR to offer you all-new,
all-ugly wildlife license plates

As you know, if there’s one thing Wisconsinites love above all else, it’s beer cheese hunting deer the Packers lefse liberty protecting endangered animal species. It’s just in our blood. That’s why so many of us are driving around with a little gray wolf on our license plates. The extra money we pay for those plates goes directly to the DNR so they can help defend our state’s many fine animals that are less than successful at staying alive.

But even the largest lovers of endangered species must admit – them wolf plates are played out (yo). Well, starting in 2010, you’ll have another option. And the DNR wants us to help choose what animal they’re gonna slap on the optional license plates. According to JSOnline, the DNR only made about $387,542 off the wolf plates last year, and they’re really looking to give their finances a jolt in the arm. So they have a little poll set up to make sure they offer something popular …

  • … four other license plates are under consideration that feature an Eastern bluebird, great blue heron, red-headed woodpecker and, of course, the American badger. All of the plates depict the diversity of state wildlife.
  • The Department of Natural Resources is asking the public to weigh in on which ones they like. People can vote online until Oct. 19 at Click on the button for "new license plate designs.” The DNR and the state Department of Transportation will make the final pick.

So go vote! Animals on the brink of extinction aside, those plate designs are ugly. Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to get plates with the little gray wolf on them (as a species, they’re still hanging in there!) Both special plate options will cost $25 extra, all of which goes to the DNR.

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Are we overflowing with vinyl?

Over the weekend, we were tipped off about the new all-vinyl record store up on Clairemont by Old Country Buffet. We’ve got an unconfirmed open date of Monday, October 5th.

We haven’t been there yet, but our tipster says the place is great and the owner is a nice guy. He also said the stock is all used right now, and he picked up good used versions of Neil Young’s Harvest, Prince's 1999, The Band, ABBA. So take that as you will.

Revival Records, 2541 E. Clairemont Ave. Has anyone else been there yet?

And if that weren’t crazy enough, also over the weekend, our managing editor Trevor patroned a newly opened used vinyl shop across the alley from Eclectica on Grand Avenue. Two new vinyl shops in Eau Claire, opening within weeks of each other? Could it be? Is the (zombie) apocalypse coming? What's going on?

Rest assured, we’ll be looking into both places and reporting back.

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