Wednesday, Sep. 24th, 2008

Broken Music Scene?

Check out this comment left on the Best Of reader poll’s Talent category:

  • Well, kiddies ... as you all sit here and bicker amongst yourselves, we've had our first venue casualty.
  • Jake's in Menomonie closed its doors this week. In the face of a tough economy, John made the difficult decision to shut the place down. For those of you that aren't familiar - Jake's had great food, a great staff, and was a great venue for live music outside during the summer months. John is a musician himself, and always supported live music at Jake's. It will be sadly missed.
  • The lesson here is this: Jake's had good business, with both their food, and their live music. And if a place like that can't make it in today's world, a LOT more will be sharing its fate. Do what you can to support what's left of the already small number of live music venues in the area.     – J

And from last week on the same category:

  • ... We as cover bands should be worried about the state of our local music scene. If you have not played O'Leary's Pub or Tailgates since the smoking ban, perhaps you don't know how close we are to losing our local venues. Tailgates business is down 28% and has cut way back on it's live entertainment. If you have called O'Learys Pub in the past couple of weeks to book out 2009, you would know that they are not booking and will tell you they are seriously considering hiring DJ's and Karoake for their weekends after their slow summer. We, need to spend our energy trying to get our Myspace and Facebook fans to support not only ourselves, but, all of the local bands at these venues in the next couple of weeks. ...     – Slant

So what’s up with live music around here, guys? Is there enough interest / money / ambition to keep the scene going? Is this just the scene's normal ebb and flow, or is something changing?

Comments 6

Tuesday, Sep. 23rd, 2008

UWEC Student Makes T-Shirt That Says “Vagina” On It

We’re gonna take a big flying leap (with a triple flip) onto the bandwagon here, and talk about Catherine Emmanuelle, the UWEC student who is making some pocket change selling T-shirts that say "I don't endorse just any vagina." The Leader-Telegram says …

  • "The discussion was how we have a female running and how (women) feel like they have an allegiance - like they're indebted," Emmanuelle said. "We need to think about why we're voting for people. Who do I want to be elected? We need to do research."
  • That prompted Emmanuelle to create a way to make others think more about the candidates than about their gender. After two weeks of mulling over phrases in her head, "I don't endorse just any vagina" was born and printed on a T-shirt.
  • Emmanuelle's friend Caroline Wee, 34, was excited to help in any way she could.
  • "I said, 'Oh my God. We have to do this,' " Wee recalled.

First of all, “Wee” is the most amazing last name ever. Secondly of all, Oh my god, really, Caroline? What’s the big deal? Emmanuelle says she wants to start some discussion (and if you are reading this, mission accomplished, Cath), but it’s not like “I don't endorse just any vagina” is thought-provoking enough to generate more discussion than is already out there. I’m all for inflammatory T-shirt slogans, but this one could have been better. Laurie Forcier (dis)agrees:

  • Laurie Forcier, chairwoman for the Republican Party of Eau Claire County, thinks she knows what it's about - GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
  • "That is partisan," Forcier said. "I don't care what they say."
  • Forcier refuses to believe that Emmanuelle and Wee produced the shirt to make people think. Rather, Forcier sees it as a stunt to elude filing for tax-exempt status as a political organization. Furthermore, she thinks the wording is horrendous.

Horrendous? No. Effective? Eh. It’s just the word vagina. By the way, if any of you can send us a picture of someone wearing one of those T-shirts, we’ll totally give you some free stuff.

Comments 9

Monday, Sep. 22nd, 2008

Thirsty for Innovation, Wis. Man Turns Poop into Water

According to, an enterprising Wisconsin dairy farmer named John is making clean drinking water from his cows’ poop. Here’s a fun little factoid from the article:

  • John Vrieze says every single day the cows on his St. Croix County dairy farm produce 50,000 gallons of manure and waste. That's more than the average backyard swimming pool.

Good to know! Farmer John says the water made from all that manure is cleaner than treated municipal wastewater, which makes sense since he’s using a similar process. Man, a farmer gleaning drinking water from his overwhelming stores of cow crap – now that’s an Original Maverick, only less cool and more revolting. And probably more helpful in the long run.

Comments 6

Sunday, Sep. 21st, 2008
Friday, Sep. 19th, 2008

Burglarizes Same Store Three Times

Burglarizes Same Store Three Times
Cartwright boy gets caught last time and is sent the industrial school.
– Wisconsin Valley Leader | September 18, 1902

Chippewa Falls - Frank Morely, a 10-year-old boy living in Cartwright was sent to the industrial school at Waukesha yesterday for burglary. He broke into the Farmers’ store at that place three nights in succession and stole money. The last night he was caught in the act of capping the till.

Chad's Take: Where are they now?

It must have been a slow news week as this story was featured in the paper with a nice big headline. During the same week other Wisconsin reporters wrote about a woman who was attacked by a snake that was hiding in a bucket of apples and also of a man who while sleeping was nearly chewed to death by a rat. When the man woke up his wrist was so gashed that he almost died before the doctor could reach him.

However this story is pretty fun as well as I truly love stories of characters in the Chippewa Valley and this kid was certainly a character. Unfortunately I never spent the time to dig up any information on what ever became of this persistent young man. I always wondered if his time at the Industrial School changed him or if maybe he kept his ways and became a great thief in operating out of Wisconsin. Either way I hope he learned not to rob the same place three nights in a row. Just writing about this story has fired up my interest and I am going to find out what happened to this kid. I will let you know as soon as I discovery this guy’s fate.

Keep an eye out ...

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International Fall Festival

Downtown Eau Claire’s biggest festival all year long – the International Fall Festival – is set to pop off on Saturday at 10am. (The international community has been fully alerted.) If you’ve never been, it’s pretty cool. They shut down Barstow Street and turn it into a pedestrian mall where you can peruse all sorts of international food stands and international merchants. There’s an international stage with performances all day (including some totally sweet international clog action), a petting zoo, and a big ol’ parade.

Make sure you stop down to 17 S. Barstow and say hi – Volume One will have a booth in front of the office and we’ll have lots of local books and music on sale.

Also on Saturday: Autumn Alleycat '08 for the bikers, HallieWood Pub Crawl for the drinkers, Konquer The Kage for the fighters, The Gentle Guest for the raucus moonshiners, 3rd Annual Eau Claire Hip Hop Invasion for the DJs, and Drunk Drivers for the rawkers.

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Some Notes on the Best Of Poll

We’d like to use this post as a place to discuss the poll in general – so please leave a comment here if you have something to say about it. We’re listening.

OK, last year’s Best of the Chippewa Valley reader poll was long. Very long. Many of you asked it to be shortened. But we didn’t feel we could shorten it without cutting out tons of important stuff. So we kept it long but found a polling system that would allow you to just vote on whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted, without having to complete a giant form.

We also wanted to keep things open-ended like last year, allowing you to write in your own answers. Allowing other people to vote on your responses seemed like a great addition. So fit the bill. We knew there would be a few kinks in how it works, and that some responses would battle back and forth for placement, but there are comparable kinks in all polling options.

Most of the negative feedback we’ve heard comes down, directly or indirectly, to the polling results being visible in real time, and how voters (especially businesses) react to that. Despite the obvious problems, we still stand behind the openness of the poll. We didn’t expect the level of tampering seen in certain categories, but we’ll deal with it.

Given that is our polling system this year, and that we stand behind it, here’re some specific comments:

  • Some businesses and restaurants have rallied their customers, garnering tons of votes, allowing them to top certain categories. This isn’t cheating. It’s hard to argue with an establishment that has achieved that kind of customer loyalty.
  • On the other hand, some individuals have definitely cheated. And we can tell. The people running are working with us (and have been since this all started) to identify the different ways to “game” the system and those cheats will be factored into our the final Best Of placements.

Please let us know what you think about all this by commenting on this post.

Comments 10

Volume One at the Bejing Olympics

Former local man Matt Banker stopped in front of “The Bird’s Nest” at the 2008 Bejing Olympics this August while wearing his Volume One T-shirt! Matt is an artist and youth director for an international church in Bejing, where he currently lives with his wife Kara.He sent along his Olympic wishes with the photo: “Mei guo! Jia you!” (America! Step on the gas!).

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