Thursday, May. 7th, 2009

The Art of Rock

It’s nice to see bands actually promote themselves with cool posters – because so many of them don’t. The kudos this time goes to the Jim Pullman Band for this huge three-foot-tall pop-art style poster promoting the all-ages gig they have this Friday, May 8 at the Grand Little Theater with Meridene and the Holy Rifles. Should be a good one.

What’s great is that this isn’t even a new band trying to make a name for themselves  – the Jim Pullman Band has been around for years – yet they still have the spark to put up an ambitious little poster every once in a while.  (And in this case, the ambition to print it on multiple pieces of paper and tape it all together to get the super-sized effect.) Is it the greatest piece of local rock and roll artwork ever? Not even close. But it works great none-the-less. Nice work guys.

We saw the poster flailing in the wind right before the last piece of tape gave out, so we snatched it up to put up at our office (hope that’s OK with you JPB).

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It Did Not Take
May 7, 1897

It Did Not Take
Mormon missionary work met with no favor in this vicinity
Eau Claire Weekly Telegram | May 7, 1897

Not one convert as far as known

Latter-Day Saints evidently discouraged by lack of interest in their mission, as they have not been seen here for some time.

Eau Claire- The Mormon propaganda in this city and county has proven a fizzle. About six weeks ago two missionaries representing the church of Latter-Day Saints arrived here and commenced work. They applied for the use of the Second Congregational church, stating they had no money with which to secure any place to hold meetings. The trustees of the church declined to permit the Saints to use the edifice. They then commenced distribution of tracts from house to house and did a little personal proselyting by word of mouth. They made no impression and attracted scarcely any attention and it seems certain that they did not secure a single convert. Evidently becoming discouraged with Eau Claire as a field of labor, they left and have not been seen here for two or three weeks.

The concerted movement for the promotion of Mormonism is now going on in many sections of the country is one of the notable features of current events, and has not been
given as much attention by the press as some less interesting subject.

Chad’s Take- Eau Claire the new Salt Lake City?

A few months back I wrote about an article for this blog that told of Eau Claire authorities trying to keep a fortune teller out of the area by imposing a hefty daily business tax on her. I guess the officials did not recognize that if they wanted people to ignore the psychic all they had to do was label her a Mormon.

My real interest in this article rests with the two missionaries that were sent to Eau Claire to spread the word of Mormonism. Just how mediocre were these missionaries that they were unable to convert one single person? Seriously, not one convert? Most anyone could descend on Eau Claire and start spewing information about a water God residing in Half Moon Lake, and within a week this person would have at least a couple of disciples.

However, this article has not completed diminished my view of Mormons, in fact the
the next time they knock on my door I am going to answer just to see if they have improved their pitch over the years.

Keep an eye out!

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Wednesday, May. 6th, 2009

Police Chief to City Council: Let’s Keep Downtown Antisocial

Chippewa Falls Police Chief Wayne Nehring is behind the times. Though he believes he’s looking out for the safety of Chippewa Falls residents, he’s currently only acting as an obstacle to a fresh idea brought forth by forward thinking, community minded individuals.

Chippewa’s city council has been pitched the idea of closing one block of Bridge Street (a main one through downtown) from noon until 7pm on Thursdays, June through October, for a new take on their downtown farmers’ market – putting it right on the street among the business and pedestrians. According to the Chippewa Falls Main Street Association, the current market hosts about 26 vendors and sees roughly 300 patrons in a parking lot on the south side of downtown. Part of the reasoning for the move is to connect the market with the relatively new concert series they host in the Harmony Park Courtyard just off Bridge Street on Thursdays. All of this is an effort to create a bustling pedestrian mall of culture and commerce right downtown.

But Chief Nehring is displaying a particularly incorrect attitude towards the purpose of downtown streets, and had this to say in his letter to the council:

  • “Although I appreiciate and actually agree with the concept, I do not believe it’s appropriate to take away the motoring public’s right and expectations to use the street for its intended purpose for the length of time requested.”

My jaw dropped. Viewing streets’ only intended purpose as a way to move motor vehicle traffic is part of what has made many American downtowns a joke. Streets are for the community, and motor vehicles are not the only (and certainly not the most important) user group. Stopping a potentially dramatic cultural advancement of downtown Chippewa Falls to heed the “motoring public’s right and expectation to use the street” would be ill advised, and quite frankly, just sounds fearful of change. Drivers: get over it. Chippewa residents: speak out in support of this street closure. You: let us know what you think.

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Minnesota Governor Wants to Rub Salt in Your Eyes

Minnesota's Governor (a man named Tim Pawlenty), is very excited about the prospects of a Vikings-affiliated Brett Favre, as hinted at by these guys. "Salivating," in fact, according to Check it out:

  • He says it would be "a wonderful little salt to rub in the eyes of some of our Green Bay Packer friends."
  • Pawlenty laid out the scene: "Can you imagine Brett Favre going into Lambeau Field in Viking purple and maybe even wearing No. 4? There would be audible gasps. There would be 60,000 audible gasps as he came out of the tunnel."

I’m not sure if Governor Pawlenty is aware, but information delivery systems such as the internet and television will probably have broken the hypothetical news to Packer fans well before the first Vikings/Packers game at Lambeau, thus lessening the surprise to an inaudible gasp level. Or lower.

The article even references the partnership between our states, which is hoped to save $10 million through resource and information sharing. Not sure how Favre factors into that figure.

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Volume One visits The Lost City of the Incas like it’s no big deal

Former V1 contributor (currently in Las Vegas) JoAnna Haugen was recently unveiling ancient secrets around the world, and BAM! Look what she’s wearing. She says …

"Cory and I just got back from a 4-day hike on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. But we couldn't do it alone – we brought Volume One with us! I'm attaching a pic of the two of us with our V1 shirts at the legendary Wonder of the World. It was a truly stunning place – what an experience!"

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Tuesday, May. 5th, 2009

Adam Winrich Gets Crackin'

Howdy buckaroos! Just last week, I, along with V1 contributor Aryn Widule, had the opportunity to hang out with the Chippewa Valley’s world record holding whipcracker, Adam Winrich, at his home just outside Eau Claire. We caught up with him on one of the few days he was home between setting his seventh world record (in Italy) and heading out to Texas to shoot an instructional whipcracking DVD. Right now Aryn is taking a crack at the full story for the May 14 issue of Volume One, but in the meantime (as a treat to our faithful website readers) I whipped up this video that shows Winrich in action. Shots include a massive fire whip, a Florida cow whip routine, and cutting several cans of soda Clean. In. Half. Not to mention an interview with the whipmaster himself. Let us know what you think.

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Kids Coloring Contest Winners!

Hey! Remember that Kid’s Coloring Contest he held a while back? So do we! Sorry for taking our sweet time announcing the winners. The voting results were held hostage by a clandestine group of art-hating aliens from space. Luckily, a well-placed counter-strike force (of astronauts) was able to retrieve data. And now, we can finally announce the winners, chosen by you, the voting public. There were some close races, but here’s how it all shook out:

Niko, Athena, and Jack all win gift certificates to benny HaHa art supply store, located in downtown Eau Claire. Thanks for all the great art, everyone!

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Monday, May. 4th, 2009

Out of the Dark

So local musician and pedal producer Ben Hinz, under the pseudonym Aen, recently released an instrumental, experimental album called Alone in the Dark, then got signed to a label on it. The album is free, so go download it here. As Ben describes it,

  • "This release is somewhat of an anthology; songs from here and there over the last couple of years, all recorded in one dark, cold basement or another. The songs were all quickly constructed with whatever instruments were on hand. Usually after midnight. Alone in the Dark can be an emotive audio puzzle for those who take the time to listen to it."

I lent an ear, and labyrinthine may be a better word. "Viola Study"’s ambient, ghostly strings swell to a thundering and groaning techno stomper. And "I Do Not Remember This" begins with a minute of shrieking noise followed by a haunted mansion’s worth of eerie sounds. Have a listen and tell us what you think.

All the same, twin cities-based experimental/noise net label noiseKoncept liked Alone in the Dark, and now Aen sits among their list of artists exploring glitch, noise, ambient, dub, techno, and other styles of electronic music.

Ben has also been a central member of local experimental rock band The Ronald Raygun, but received international recognition (and a Volume One article to boot!) with his interests in creating and selling original guitar pedals and manual synthesizers. Today, Ben produces these tools as Dwarfcraft Devices, selling 10 to 35 a month to clients in the US, Europe, and Japan.

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Minnesota’s Electric Fetus Digitizes Itself

Tales of Minnesota’s Electric Fetus record stores are plentiful in these parts. Even back when Union Records was still somehow scraping by, kids always heard about these amazing indie shops right across the border (Minnapolis, St. Cloud, and Duluth). And weekend pilgrimages are still the norm for locals looking for that non-Best Buy music buying experience. Well, that might change a little bit.

The Electic Festus has started an indie-tastic digital download service by partnering with a distributor called ThinkIndie. And they’re really trying to keep local with it. Downloads are $1.11 apiece, which is competitive with iTunes and the like for sure. Andrea Swensson at City Pages says …

  • Scanning the site, there are a few highlights that pop out right away: the Lifter Puller album Fiestas + Fiascos, which has long been out of print on CD; the old Babes in Toyland album Minneapolism; and new local albums by bands like Dosh. And all of the music purchased on the site goes to support the local record shop.
  • "We're not just a site," said Chris Hall, the Electric Fetus' webmaster. "We have 40 years of record-store experience here. That's what's been missing from the digital stores."

Check out the Electric Fetus store … online. It’s kind of a beta version, as the Fetus is adding more and more music. As we speak. Something to think about.

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