Sunday, Dec. 20th, 2009
Saturday, Dec. 19th, 2009

This Weekend: Best Christmas Pageant (Ever)

This weekend, you’ve got three chances to see what almost everyone calls “the best Christmas Pageant ever.” With such universal praise, how can you go wrong? The Eau Claire Children’s Theatre’s production of the holiday classic follows the escapades of them rascaly Herdman kids as they learn the true meaning of the holidays. You’ve got three chances to have your heart warmed – the show will be staged at the State Theatre on Saturday at 1:30pm and on Sunday at 1:30pm and 7:30pm.

Also on Saturday: Breakfast with Santa, some LIVE Reindeer, Holiday Art Fair kickoff, Historic Mansion Christmas Tours, Girls of the Hit Parade, Feathe + Wide Plans of a Palindrome, The Excellent Adventure, Down Lo + South Farwell, and just your average UFO Armada + Marijuana Death Squad + Romeo Vegas show.

And on Sunday: Christmas at the Leinie Lodge, Phoenix Gardens Winter Solstice Celebration, and The Memories Holiday Show.

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Friday, Dec. 18th, 2009
Thursday, Dec. 17th, 2009

Kenosha has the funniest Police Department ever

Wow, hats off to the Kenosha, Wisconsin Police Department for their hilarious “Twelve Days of Christmas” parody with lines like On the sixth day of Christmas, the chief gave to me ... six guns for cleaning. They even show a cop with his face smeared with jelly donut jelly. Great bunch of guys. Their website invites people who need a laugh "during this hectic time of year" to watch the video.


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Wednesday, Dec. 16th, 2009

Eau Claire Curling featured in the NY Times

With the 2010 Winter Olympics just around the corner, suddenly Eau Claire’s own curling ice is glistening in the spotlight. This week the New York Times ran an article featuring a recent curling event in Eau Claire, and we here at Volume One just announced a partnership with the Eau Claire Curling Club to launch a new starter league at the EC Expo Center.

The article, as seen on, focuses on Debbie McCormick – the skip, or captain, of the 2010 US Olympic Curling team (who was also a 1998 Olympic teammate of Eau Claire’s Mike Peplinski). McCormick curled for fun in Eau Claire a few weeks ago during a fundraiser for the 2010 team.

From the NY Times article…

  • McCormick clearly reveled in the camaraderie. She needled a neophyte curler who clumsily fell trying to sweep in front of a fast-moving curling stone, cheered on a 4-year-old girl pushing a stone with two hands, and high-fived two curlers from the Lone Star Curling Club who flew in from Austin, Tex.

  • “It’s fun for me,” said McCormick, 35, who will be competing in her third Olympics. “The tournaments we play in are so competitive, and there’s so much pressure to compete well. This is an opportunity for me to have fun with the community and have fun with the game.”

After I was recently exposed to the indoor game by a fellow V1 contributor, Volume One decided we wanted to help give local curling a kick in the pants this winter. After reaching out to the Eau Claire Curling Club, we’ve now partnered with them to help get a Monday-night “starter league” of sorts going in Eau Claire, beginning in January. It all starts with a series of free, open curling lessons and free Fat Tire beer on Monday, January 4. You can get the details here.

The above photo (credit: New York Times) depicts local Dan Brown as he warms up to curl against Olympians at the Eau Claire Curling Club.

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What’s your favorite holiday-ish movie?

Soon many of us will be hunkering down in front Ye Olde DVD Player for some hard core holiday movie watching. The staff of Volume One is actually planning a huge sleep over so we can pop some popping corn, bake piles of Christmas cookies, brew up vats of egg nog, and watch us some sweet Yuletide films.*

But we’re a little sick of the ol’ holiday standards like It’s a Wonderful Whatever, Miracle on that One Street, A Charlie Brown Something or Other, Rudolph the Stop-Motioned Reindeer, and The One With “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!”

So what else is there? Any hidden gems? What do you guys like to watch this time of year? Family favorites? Indie darlings? Anything? Leave a comment, man!

*Not true. We don’t even know how to make egg nog. Wouldn't even know where to start.

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UFO Armada

Maybe it’s the winter that’s got me thinking about roots, the way trees hunker down for six months of wind and ice cold and keep sucking at the dimmest glimmer of spring lodged deep within the frozen soil or the way we insulate ourselves indoors huddling close to things familiar. Maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to the Hammers of Misfortune “Fields Trilogy” near constantly lately. Whatever it is, the older we get, we seem irrevocably drawn back to the passions (sometimes poisons) of our past. Case in point, Eau Claire’s UFO Armada who are headlining a gig at the Bottle and Barrel (nope, not a typo) this Saturday. Within its ranks is one Brent K (he of the nasty and gnarly Desolate Void). Their sound is a two-fold return to roots, not only hearkening to the roster of indie rock bands (that actually rocked) on Amphetamine Reptile Records, but theirs is a sound that truly captures a golden age in Eau Claire’s musical history; these dudes wouldn’t have been out of place on a bill circa the mid 90s, playing with the likes of Three Liter Hit, Touch Is Automatic, Voodoo Love Mint, and Curious Jorge. No joke; check out their MySpace page for proof of some memorably potent tunes. Rounding out the evening is a performance by Minneapolis band Marijuana Death Squad (MySpace-less), whom I know next to nothing about, and further contributing to a welcomed sense of deja-vu is a performance by Chippewa Falls natives Romeo Vegas, who sound like a much tighter version of Curious Jorge if, maybe, Stephen was singing (seriously, RV are way cool and fully have this writer’s attention). This show is the closest thing you’re gonna get to time travel short of accidentally stepping in a worm hole. Show time is 10pm, and it’s friggin’ free. So what are you waiting for?

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Tuesday, Dec. 15th, 2009

Get down with some local Christmas tunes

As you read this, Volume One is proud to be hosting an 8-song collection of classic Christmas tunes covered by a bunch of local and formerly local musicians – from members of Meridene and Laarks to Feathe to Mages and more. The songs are available for your listening and/or downloading pleasure.

The merry little project – now it its third year, we believe – is headed up by local man Andy Plank who assembles musicians to contribute a self-produced, yuletidey song, pretty much just for the holiday heck of it.

So a big thanks goes out the Mr. Plank and all the musicians. Feel free to download the tunes and add them to your Awesome Xmas Mix CD of Jolly Sweetness. And if you’re interested in contributing to next year’s installment, email Andy:

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Get the sale on the threads!

Full disclosure: I spent 10-15 minutes writing that headline (a glorious play on the phrase Hit the nail on the head.) Rejected headlines include Sale Blazing!, Heads or Sales?, and Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a sale on t-shirts.

Anyway, our webshop is featuring a “Holly Jolly Shirt Sale” through Friday, Dec. 18 in which all of our attractive handcrafted, artisan garments t-shirts are available at 20% off. It’s almost as if there’s a big holiday coming up where people give each other gifts and Volume One wanted to make sure you could afford to give your loved ones an awesome local T-shirt for said gift.

The sale includes all t-shirts with sizes currently in stock, such as our popular I BIKE EC shirts (in black or blue), our entire stock of neighborhood tees (such as this or this), and all of our V1-specific shirts. All orders will be shipped in time for Christmas.

Here’s a link to all of the shirts in the webshop. (The 20% discount will be taken upon check out.)

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He Stole Her
Dec. 13, 1891

He Stole Her
A remarkable story which came from the Town of Ludington in Eau Claire County.
Eau Claire Daily Leader | December 13, 1891

A young farmer comes to town and carries off the wife of another man.

Ludington township is enjoying a rich sensation. The story goes that a farmer in that precinct, whose name is withheld for the present, made a trip to Eau Claire about one month ago and stole away the young wife of a man living not two miles from Barstow street. How he managed to get the woman to his little farm in Ludington township secretly and without resistance has not been explained. But Friday the woman returned to her hubby repentant and humiliated, and declared she had been stolen away and kept a prisoner. And he believed it. The facts are vouched for by a reliable citizen of Eau Claire, but the names of the parties are withheld for the present.

Chad’s Take:
Lock up your spouse

First off, let me save you the trouble of having to ask Frank Smoot where the town of Ludington is located. The town of Ludington is just east of Fall Creek in Eau Claire County. Consisting of nearly 1,000 people, the rural town normally gets lumped in with Fall Creek.

Now that I have done Frank’s job, let’s move on to the real heart of this article. Before any of you add this case to your running total of Chippewa Valley kidnappings, you should be aware that stories like this one were fairly common during this time period. Perhaps this woman really was the victim of a kidnapping and held hostage at a Ludington farm. Although stranger things have happened in the Chippewa Valley, I am a bit skeptical of this story only because over the years, I have discovered dozens of cases in which the woman simply ran off with another man, and when the forbidden romance did not work out, they inevitably returned to their waiting husbands. Upon returning home some of the women followed the advice of this article and told an amazing tale of being kidnapped by some unknown man. However, many other returning “kidnapped” women were much more creative and clever. These women claimed to have been drugged, hypnotized, and even tricked into leaving with another man. You see, during this time period men mostly thought that women were weak minded, and therefore they could easily be tricked or fooled by any suave and cunning man that came along.

However, these bizarre kidnappings were not exclusively reserved for women. Men also left their wives for other women, and many times when their new love did not flourish, the men also retreated to the safety of their previous home and spouse. Yet these strong and proud men could not claim that they had been kidnapped by some mysterious woman. No, these tough and rugged men had to suffer from amnesia, or have been robbed and beaten by a gang of traveling thieves.

So what really did transpire in Ludington? The simple answer is that I do not know. The article stated that it was withholding the names of the parties involved, and I was unable to find any other article that followed up on this kidnapping story. I did fin it interesting that the paper also hinted at its skepticism toward the kidnapping when it wrote “and he believed it,” referring to the outlandish story told by the wife. In the end I guess this case will remain unsolved, but maybe you should lock up your spouse just in case.

Keep an eye out ...

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