Tuesday, Dec. 29th, 2009

New Art Co-Op in Menomonie

A whole heck of a lot of artists around the Chippewa Valley spend time talking about arts co-ops. Unfortunately, I think, the majority of that talk ends up as wasted breath over a pitcher of Berghoff at the Joynt or whatever the Menomonie/Chippewa Falls counterpart might be. There are a handful of art co-op type organizations in existence right now (like Arts Coming Together, Tangled Up in Hue), and there have been honest-to-god attempts in the past (Destini Artworks, anyone?), but truly strong and active art co-ops seem to be at a premium around these parts. However, some artists in Menomonie hope to change that.

Eight UW-Stout art students and two townies are starting a new co-op art gallery in downtown Menomonie – looking to have local people display and sell their creative works. Gallery 111, named for the store’s address (111 Main Street E.), is slated to open January 11, but has been displaying items from Stout students since December 18. Art from the founding members – as well as those who helped with the renovation – will be shown at the opening. Soon, others can join the co-op, so if you’re interested in getting involved or following the progress of the gallery, check out its website: Gallery111Menomonie.com. And check out the blog.

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Novel Scheme of a Farmer
January 2, 1902

Novel Scheme of a Farmer
Wants to take charge of Water street bridge, repair and control it.
Eau Claire Weekly Leader | January 2, 1902

Wm. Brown, a substantial farmer of the town of Washington, has conceived a novel plan, which, however has its drawbacks. His idea is to lease the Water-street bridge, repair it and charge toll for traffic. He is confident the farm traffic over the bridge would make it a profitable investment, for, he says some farmers don’t like to cross Grand-avenue on account of the trolley-cars. He would charge ten cents for a team and five cents for pedestrians.

Chad’s Take:
Eau Claire budget troubles solved

I am a big advocate for taking road trips. The feeling of the open road coupled with the endless possibility for adventure make the road trip a timeless American ritual. However, the road trip does contain a few drawbacks, and tolls are certainly at the top of that aggravating list. Have you ever enjoyed a nice trip to Chicago only to have the frustration of having to stop and pay $1.60 every ten miles diminish your fun? Last summer I was able to travel along Route 66 from Illinois to California without paying one single toll, and I must say that they were certainly not missed.

Tollways can have their fees, but what about the idea of a toll being setup inside the city of Eau Claire? I wonder what kind of condition the Water Street bridge was in during this time. It must have been a bit dilapidated if the city was considering letting a private citizen fix it up and operate it. Needless to say the idea would not have received my support. Yet in today’s world of quickly shrinking city budgets, maybe the Water Street bridge toll idea’s time has come.

What really excited me about this article was not the toll suggestion, but the Eau Claire trolley-cars. How amazing would it be to still have trolley cars operating in the city? Many tourist cities like San Francisco, Deadwood (SD), and Branson (MO) still have functioning trolleys to ride on, why not Eau Claire? I know Eau Claire already has a fantastic bus system, but I have always considered buses a poor man’s trolley, at least in the summer time. Rest assured I do not suffer from the disillusion that Eau Claire will get some trolley-cars anytime soon, or that they are even really necessary for the city, but it is nice to dream. Until that dream comes true, you can always travel over the Grand Avenue bridge knowing that the trolleys of the past were once there too.

Keep an eye out ...

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Monday, Dec. 28th, 2009

Got Skates?

After a one-day delay caused by that ol’ hag Mother Nature, Eau Claire’s neighborhood ice skating rinks are open for your Cutting Edge reenacting pleasure. Why the delay? In technical terms, the ice weren’t hard enough, goldern it.

But now the city’s outdoor rinks are open and we’re wondering if you guys are excited. We know all you hockey and figure skating fans out there are in a frenzy right about now, but you folks probably call indoor ice arenas home.

So how about all you people who just like to skate? Do guys get out there and use the rinks every year? The Chippewa Valley maintains fewer and fewer outdoor rinks every year – Eau Claire is down to four. But despite the decrease, the EC parks department went all out with Boyd Park this year, and instead of a big hockey rectangle, they made a curvy “ice track” deal with an island in the middle and a large circle on one corner for open skating. Pretty cool.

So who likes to skate? Leave a comment, please!

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Saturday, Dec. 26th, 2009

Saturday & Sunday: Holiday Hijinks!

If you’re looking to stretch your Christmas fun into a whole weekend of holiday hoopla, have you considered dinner theatre? Do it. Fanny Hill is running their holiday show, "Rudy's Holidaze Reunion" through Jan. 10.

Check out the madcap pot: Marsha and Rudy decide to get the Poznarski clan together for the holidays. Marsha reluctantly agrees to let our hero Rudy handle some of the details, knowing full well with Rudy's "help" the event may very well make the Titanic look like a pleasure cruise. Add to that the "unexpected guest" effect and you are in for some holiday hilarity.

So yeah – hijinks aplenty! There’s a show tonight at 8pm and a matinee on Sunday at 1:45pm. More details.

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Wednesday, Dec. 23rd, 2009

The warmest of wishes!

If you liked the video above, watch V1 staffers reading the holiday stories of local third graders (video). And if you liked that, listen to us reading kids' holiday stories (audio). AND if you liked that, check out all these sweet holiday tunes from local musicians.

Stay warm, drink nog, eat sugar, give gifts. Happy holidays, Chippewa Valley!

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Has A Grudge Against Dogs
Dec. 12, 1905

Has A Grudge Against Dogs
Eau Claire Weekly Telegram | Dec. 12, 1905

The supervisors’ report shows that nearly $200 paid by the county within twelve months for sheep killed by dogs. These worthless, hungry, mangy, vermin-eaten, bowlegged, lopsided, snarling, speaking, night-prowling, noisy, tow-lived, swift-footed, annoying, shot-dodging, oath provoking, poison-defying, backsliding, sorry cuts ought to be annihilated totally and forever and let the sheep have a chance. Let the work of exterminating go on day and night, including Sunday.

Chad’s Take- Alert PETA! 

About a year ago I wrote about an article that told of someone in Eau Claire poisoning the neighborhood dogs. The unknown culprit was responsible for causing the death of several dogs while many others suffered prolonged sickness due to the poisoning. The case was never solved, but perhaps the authorities should have questioned the person who wrote the above article, as it seems like they have a hatred for Chippewa Valley dogs as well.

On a more personal note I also thought that this article would make the perfect companion piece for all of the Christmas cards you receive from your friends and family where their dog is posed with them around a roaring fireplace. Even though this person is obviously upset with the loss of sheep in the community, I think their rant was a bit overboard, redundant, extravagant, superfluous, melodramatic, excessive, bitter, out-of-line, mean-spirited, over-the-top, cantankerous, ill-tempered, discourteous, gruff, blunt, crude and a bit rough.

Anyway, I hope this heartwarming article brings some bizarre holiday cheer to you and yours.

Keep an eye out ... 

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Virtual reindeer tipping!

Well, Christmas Eve is tomorrow and you may be having some trouble focusing on work/wrapping presents/watching your soap operas. So to help keep you in the holiday spirit while you’re wasting time, we point you towards a fun little "Reindeer Tipping" flash game. Basically, you’re a little Ebenezer Scrooge running around, tipping over Santa’s cute animals as they sleep. If you do really bad, Santa runs out in his undies to beat you silly. You might as well hunker down, wait for today's impending SNOWMEGEDON, and play a few rounds.

Tell us your high score and watch out for the penguins with bazookas! PLAY NOW.

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Tuesday, Dec. 22nd, 2009

New Wis. identity 7th worst?

The blog Brand New, which claims it offers you “opinions on corporate and brand identity work,” has posted their picks for the best and worst identities of 2009. And guess who’s sitting at number 7 in the WORST roster? Yep, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s $50,000 identity makeover – focusing on the logo so much of Wisconsin loves to hate. They say:

  • Poor choices in color and typography and even poorer decisions in configuration and scale make this one of the strangest logos of the year. Live like you mean it, but design like you mean it too.

Also on the list: Yale University Press, Kraft, MSN, Bing, and the City of Philadelphia. Good (bad?) company. Brand New talked about our new identity back in March, giving it a negative, though less harsh-ish review. Among other things, they point out that “Some people are offended that it was a male doing the cartwheel, ostensibly emasculating the entire Wisconsin's female population.” I never thought about that. But then again, I’m just a dude from Wisconsin.

P.S. We heard about this news over at As Seen in WI.com, a blog both handsome and charming.

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Monday, Dec. 21st, 2009

Show Review: QuinnElizabeth + Mike Perry @Backstage Concert Series

It was fun hearing Mike Perry. It always is. Singer/songwriter of the honest Wisconsin life. But, I will be quite honest with you, I was there to see QuinnElizabeth for the first time. Over the past months I have seen their name show up on more and more show bills. But, never anything on a night that would work out for me. Tonight I made it. And, I am so very glad I did.

It was a novel idea for a venue. Get everyone on stage at the state theater, and make us feel like we were stage hands, watching final dress rehearsal. I know that's how I felt anyway. I had played that role before, in a company of players staging an Irish Feaste. Then, it was a fine Irish band. Now though, I attend so much live music in bars, coffee shops and restaurants where the musicians are stuck off in the dark echoey corners. To be someplace where the lighting is perfect, the sound is perfect, well, it throws me for a bit. Believe me though, I recovered quickly and happily. 

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WQOW + V1 = Funny Hats

Volume One Senior Writer Eric Rasmussen recently teamed up with WQOW (TV18)’s Steve Betchkal for a hilarious romp through Oakwood Mall and a shop in Downtown Eau Claire in search of the perfect gift for Eric's wife. To watch, click here, and then select “The Perfect Gift” from the plethora of fine video options on the right. (Also check out their “Moving Music” report on the Margaret and the Malls Christmas music bus tour.)

You know when handsome anchor man Jerry Gallagher says “We’re gonna have a little fun tonight” … it’s on.

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