Friday, Oct. 24th, 2008

Sunday: Found Footage Festival

For the third year in a row, Volume One is bringing the Found Footage Festival to the Cameo Budget in downtown Eau Claire. If you’ve never been … well, it’s just awesome. The FFF is a touring showcase of odd and hilarious found videos, shown on big screens, with snarky, live commentary from the festival’s curators – Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher. Pickett and Prueher, both UWEC alums, will be presenting two shows: Sunday, Oct. 26 at 7pm and 9pm. The shows feature a while new line up of videos!

On Saturday: check out Halloween Storytime for Families, peep the Unexplained Eau Claire conference, dance at the the Chippewa Valley Ragtime Society Fall Concert, settle in for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, let big time songstress Shawn Colvin massage your ear drums, get funky at the Kinetix ft. Funky Honky Horns costume party, mix it up with Minneapolis's favorite remixers/DJs/party rockers, and – just because I love the name – enjoy a Bountiful Ham Dinner with Live Music.

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Have you been to Hollywood ... WI?

Strange Accident
Simon Brazek, Saved from Asphyxiation, Falls Downs Stairs and Is Killed
– Milwaukee Journal | October 28, 1901

Simon Brazek, a farmer at Independence, went into a smokehouse and fell asleep. Live coals were still in the house and he was taken to the house of a neighbor and resuscitated. He thought he was well enough to walk about, and, arising from bed, attempted to come down-stairs. He fell headlong down the stairs, sustaining injuries from which he died a few moments later.


Chad's Take: Have you been to Hollywood Wisconsin? 

The town of Independence sits just a few miles south of the Chippewa Valley. However the small rural town could easily have been featured in the movie Final Destination. The premise of the movie was that we all have a specific time where death pays us a visit, and if you are clever enough to cheat death, it will simply circle around and come back for another try at your soul.   Yet this type of bizarre scenario only happens in Hollywood right?  Well someone should have told that to Mr. Brazek. As you can see from the above article Mr. Brazek was barely saved from asphyxiation only to die moments later when he tumbled down the stairs. Stories like this were plentiful in the newspapers of this time. My favorite newspaper story featured a man who was hell-bent on killing himself so he guzzled down a jar of poison, then torched barn, and while the flames were closing in on him he took his life at the end of a rope. Cases like that certainly save the Grim Reaper a lot of work.    

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Thursday, Oct. 23rd, 2008

Automotive Machine Works, Inc.

I was procrastinating for prom, the way I do for most things. I'm trying to get to four seasons before they close so I can pick up my corsage and all that crap. To my dismay, Florian Gardens had been replaced by Automotive Machine Works. Inc. Not really. They were actually just changing their sign, and revealed an apparently ancient sign from the shop that used to be there.
 

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CultureBully.com Has Got the Local Goods

Volume One contributor Ian tipped us off to Minneapolis-based CultureBully.com’s 60 hour blogathon, which I think is over now. But at any rate, earlier this week, they blogged A LOT about the Twin Cities music scene and beyond. This included new music and interviews from local favs like Bon Iver, Laarks, part of Mel Gibson and the Pants, Wars of 1812, Heiruspecs,  and Charlie Parr.

Culture Bully is a music blog that provides daily updates including news, band features, album reviews and interviews on both national and local levels. Thier blogathon was part of a nationwide fundraiser and promotion for school music programs.

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County Jail Strike Force ATTACK!

Just a quick note to let you know the County Jail Strike Force Special Committee to Resolve Jail Space and Site Needs (CJSFSCtRJSaSN) is meeting tonight. The meeting is open to the public, but I’m not sure if this is a public-input-style session or not. No matter what, we should totally tailgate beforehand. I’ll bring the tiny propane grill, you bring the brats and buns. Who’s got chips?

Public Forum: Special Committee (to Resolve Jail Space and Site Needs) Thursday, Oct. 23  • County Courthouse Building, Room 2550 • 6:30pm

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Wednesday, Oct. 22nd, 2008

What’s Your Favorite Freaky Movie?

We had a bit of a space crunch in our Hauntings special section a few issues back, and we had to cut a few of the spooky bits and pieces, such as Special Projects Editor Trevor Kupfer’s “Frightful Flick Fest,” where he outlines some surefire freaky films for your Halloweenish enjoyment – categorized by type, from “franchise” to “disturbing.” So in the spirit of the season, we published the whole thing online for you to peruse. Check it out.

Now, Mr. Kupfer fancies himself a bit a film snob buff, so all of us here are wondering how his picks stack up. He’s not saying these films are the best, he’s just saying they’ll satisfy your hunger for something ghoulish.

We’re encouraging you to read his lists and leave comments with your own suggestions. What’d he miss? What should he have ignored? Is he totally clueless or right on the terror target? Leave a comment and let him know!

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Bus Budget Outlook Races Downhill

You’ve probably heard that local bus ridership has been steadily increasing (and if you haven’t, it has) – but the city says the increased revenue from more and more riders is getting its ass kicked by increasing operating costs by $1.23 million. Those behemoth people movers don’t come cheap. From the L-T:

  • The Eau Claire Transit system's continuing ridership increases haven't been enough to offset growing expenses and decreasing state aid, resulting in a significant cost increase for next year amid concerns about the system's future viability.
  • City 2009 budget figures released Tuesday show a projected 10.53 percent increase in transit operating expenses for 2009, with expenses outpacing revenues by $1.23 million.
  • The proposed budget includes a $1.23 million transit tax subsidy, a 23 percent subsidy increase over this year.

But things could get even worse if state aid for city transit continues to decline, and we won’t know how that all shakes out ’til next spring. So as of January 1, bus rides will now be $1.50 a pop.
 

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Tuesday, Oct. 21st, 2008

Candidates Ask WEAU, WQOW to Yank Opposition’s TV Ads

Without the funding to run a counter-strike ad campaign, State Assembly hopefuls Jeff Smith (D) and Kristen Dexter (also D) are asking local TV stations to pull ads they say are blatantly false. From WQOW.com

  • In an ad running on TV stations the ad claims: "Now here's something you may be interested in. Kristen Dexter's Healthy Wisconsin Plan, which includes free healthcare for illegal aliens and people who don't even live or work in Wisconsin. Just look at how much of your taxes this plan will soak up, Wow!"
  • Local Democrats Jeff Smith and Kristen Dexter claim the ads are false. They're not alone, many candidates challenge claims made by their opponents often leaving it up to the voters to figure it out. In this case, Smith and Dexter are leaving it up to us, the local television stations, to figure it out. They want us to pull the ads. 

Of course, just putting those ads out there, true or false, does the damage they're designed to do (alliteration!) Once it’s in your head, it’s in your head. And when a candidate must deny accusations like this, it just prolongs your exposure to it. Or am I just paranoid of politicians brainwashing my tender mind?

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Monday, Oct. 20th, 2008

Hoodoo It!

Claims Hoodoo Clings To Family
– Eau Claire Leader | October 11, 1906

The children of Bert Tandler, who murdered his wife at Milton Junction and then committed suicide at Eau Claire, Sept 8, have been adopted by Mr. and Mrs.White, who reside in Drywood, Chippewa County. At the hearing it was learned that the Tandler family seems to have been born under an unlucky star. The elder Tandler came from Germany and settled at Drywood. Illness has visited various members of the family; then they have had misfortune almost every year. In July, the home of the family was burned down and much money and many valuable papers were lost. Members of the family were afraid to adopt the children.

 
Chad's Take: Hoodoo and curses sell papers

Wow ... mix in a tragic murder, suicide, and a couple of children that were so cursed that their own family would not take them in and you have the perfect newspaper article. When is the last time you read about an Eau Claire citizen committing suicide? Usually today’s newspapers simply write that the recently deceased person died unexpectedly. Toss in this bizarre cursed family and you certainly have my attention. I would love to pick up today’s newspaper off of my porch and read a story like this one. Local weird stories like this grab the community’s attention (and wallet) and I think that if newspapers covered these stories instead of celebrity gossip they might just be able to win back their readers.

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