Thursday, Aug. 15th, 2019

Dungeons & Dragons in Eau Claire: How to Get Started

Images: 1, 2, 3 (CC BY-NC 4.0)
Images: 1, 2, 3 (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is a tabletop roleplaying game (RPG) which encourages its players to not only do a lot of basic math, but to really indulge in their fantasies and imagination to create a world of magic and combat all their own. As part of the character-building process, players are told to pick ideals and flaws that their characters have, as well as what their own personal goal might be outside of the main campaign created by the all-knowing dungeon master (DM). D&D has become more mainstream in recent years, possibly due to the downfall of the Satanic Panic of the '80s (and definitely because of its emergence in beloved pop culture franchises), and more people than ever have started unraveling the secrets of the fantastical world of Faerûn. Nowadays, D&D isn’t just for dark, damp basements. 

James Johonnott, Volume One's listings and resource editor and a seasoned DM, would explain it to the “non-dice-rolling public” as “a group of people sitting down to imagine a story together.” And, those stories you make with friends can be dramatic, hilarious, or heroic, and they stick with you. Making plans with friends, especially as an adult, can be very challenging. At any given time, adult life is absolute chaos, but Johonnott says setting time aside every week helps him to “foster and maintain adult friendships.” Not only does D&D allow for a fun break in the chaos with friends, but he adds, “Imagining another person and their personality, goals, and ambitions is a great way to connect with other people at the table, and explore other identities.” D&D is all about imagination, adventure, and problem-solving, but it’s also about friendship, as corny as that sounds, and building memories that will last a lifetime.

That's Great, but ... How Do I Play?

If you’ve been wondering how to get started, have no fear because Eau Claire Games and Arcade is here (315 Graham Ave., Eau Claire | website). Eau Claire Games and Arcade has set aside scheduled times for players to meet on Sundays from 3 to 8pm as well as Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 10pm. Here you will be able to find players and DMs to help you understand the rules and mechanics of the game, as well as find other groups to join if you’re alone, and believe me, you are never alone in searching for a D&D group. You can even privately message the store on Facebook if you need help forming a group, and they will help you contact other players around the Chippewa Valley. If you’re a newbie and you feel intimidated by the seasoned players who seem to know everything about the game, that’s okay, but know that these people are a great resource and the employees are there to help you.

D20 Gaming (2158 Eastridge Center, Eau Claire |Facebook) is also a great place to get involved with the D&D community, and it’s a wonderful place to get your starting equipment. I recommend every player invest in the D&D Player’s Handbook and a set of slick new dice, and every DM should have a copy of the D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide to help them build their world and lead a positive gaming experience.

However, these rule books can get a little pricey. When I asked Johonnott what advice he had for someone who’s interested, but is also on a budget, he recommends checking out wizards.com/dnd to find free rules, and purchasing the newly released D&D Essentials Kit is “the best way to get in on the ground floor.”

5 Tips for the New Hero

1. You do not have to use real figurines. Figurines can get expensive, and painting them can be annoying and time-consuming, so just forget the whole thing and use some extra dice lying around. Honestly, as long as it’s small, you can use anything to represent your character on the map. Random baubles from around the house, pieces and figures from other game sets, or even painted rocks from the yard work perfectly.

2. You don’t even need a map, either! DMs need to prep and think of so many different scenarios for their players, that making combat or setting maps can get really time-consuming, but if you have a small party with a good imagination, maps aren’t necessary.

3. Playing for four hours straight can be exhausting. Mentally and emotionally. Be kind to yourself and take a break in the middle of the session, or start off with smaller sessions of one or two hours to get yourself used to using your brain at full throttle for extended periods of time. Snacks and fizzy drinks are also great to have on-hand during a session to give your brain the extra boost it needs to explore an abandoned castle.

4. If you don’t know how to play, or you think you’re playing it wrong, don’t worry about it. The beauty of D&D is that every party and campaign is different. But, if you still want some examples, there are plenty of podcasts out there to listen to, such as The Adventure Zone, which is available on all podcasting platforms, and Critical Role, an online series which can be found on Youtube, geekandsundry.com, or their own website at critrole.com.

Important Note: Not everyone is as professional or talented a story-teller as Matt Mercer! Sometimes, you just gotta be a McElroy, and that’s great fun, too.

5. Lastly, and this is the most important part, don’t be afraid to get silly! I know it’s hard in the beginning, and you’re going to feel stupid, but making up fun accents or voices and throwing yourself into something is so much fun and rewarding. Sharing such a powerfully imaginative experience with your friends makes those friendships so much stronger, and it allows you to fully immerse yourself in that world.

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Thursday, Aug. 8th, 2019

Keep Calm, Bon Iver Fans: You can listen to the entire new album today

i,i listening party at The Local Store in downtown Eau Claire, August 7.
i,i listening party at The Local Store in downtown Eau Claire, August 7.

After listening parties took place last night (Aug. 8) in more than 60 cities all over the world in places like Amsterdam, London, New York, L.A., Sydney, Tokyo, and a little ol’ city called Eau Claire – Bon Iver started dropping songs from their new record i,i every hour overnight (plus videos). Six of them are out there as of this posting – “We,” “Naeem,” “Marion,” “Salem,” “Holyfields,” and "iMi," featuring James Blake and Velvet Negroni – but by the end of the day today, the record should be out in full.

Physical copies of i,i, the band’s fourth album, release on Aug. 30. Four singles from the record have already been out there for a while – “Hey Ma,” “Man (U Like),” “Faith,” and “Jelmore.”

With i,i and the ensuing arena tour that follows its release, the band and its growing family of collaborators are gearing up for a blockbuster live show, the details of which are outlined in a recent mini-documentary released with WeTransfer.

“It’s a much bigger sound, and we’re pushing more air,” frontman Justin Vernon said in the mini-doc. "I hope when people hear the record they’re kind of interested to see how we’ll do it live, because it’s quite intense. There’s a lot of layers, there’s a lot of big sounds, and everyone’s challenged by the record. We’re literally in the midst of figuring out how to do that and it feels really exciting.”

There’s gonna be lots more to talk about in the next few weeks, so keep your ears open and eyes peeled.

You can stream all these songs wherever you do that kind of thing, and you'll be able to get your physical copies Aug. 30. And you can preorder physical copies from The Local Store.

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Friday, Jul. 26th, 2019

Wisconsin State Journal Profile Dives Deep on Eau Claire, Banbury Place

Eau Claire's Banbury Place via the
Eau Claire's Banbury Place via the "S Bridge."

On July 14, the Wisconsin State Journal dedicated more than 3,500 words to the story of Eau Claire’s economic comeback and artistic endeavors, pointing to a number of developments helping to make it all happen. The profile stands out against the many other articles on Eau Claire we’ve seen over the past five years because it takes a much deeper dive than the usual tourism pieces, and rightfully recognizes ideas and people who’ve been in play for well over a decade.

Sure, you’ll see the usual references to Justin Vernon, the Pablo Center, and other big, important developments of the past 10 years. But as the article details, it’s taken heartfelt effort on behalf of hundreds, if not thousands, of Chippewa Valley doers to get the city on track for improvement.

Prominently featured was the impact of Banbury Place, which serves as a home for hundreds of small local businesses, studios, artists, and more:

“One of the most vibrant and colorful places in the complex is building 13 that had been used as a hardware warehouse and parts facility for the tire plant. The building is now home to several studios for a wide range of artists, a coffee shop, art gallery and Forage, an event space and commercial kitchen that opened in 2016.”

It’s great to see Banbury and its residents get the attention they deserve. The sprawling complex has really been one of the city’s workhorses as far as artistic and entrepreneurial efforts are concerned. The article does a good job tracing the property's historic economic significance to what it is today – and the people who make it so.

Artisan Forge Studios gets its own call-out for similar efforts to house and inspire local artists and entrepreneurs.

“Across town, a similar concept is growing in a former International Truck repair shop. The 33,000-square-foot Artisan Forge Collective was created by Greg Johnson, a metal artist and fabricator, in 2015. The building is home to 51 artists, a coffee shop and hair salon. The idea of the business is to provide studio and gallery space for artists with Johnson's staff marketing and selling the artwork for the artists.”

Other shout-outs include the Lismore Hotel, The Oxbow and The Lakely, Jamf Software and Zach Halmstad, and the Eau Claire Jazz Festival, as well as area artists both established and up-and-coming.

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Thursday, Jul. 11th, 2019

New Bon Iver album i,i drops August 30; Hear two new songs “Faith” and “Jelmore”

Photo: Graham Tolbert
Photo: Graham Tolbert

The ever-evolving thing called Bon Iver is back, officially, and a brand new album drops in just a brisk seven weeks.

On August 30, the band will release their fourth album called i,i – a 13-track record that features a huge cast of players including contributions from James Blake, Aaron and Bryce Dessner, Bruce Hornsby, Channy Leaneagh, Naeem, Velvet Negroni, Marta Salogni, Francis Starlite, Moses Sumney, TU Dance, and more.

The announcement comes with the release of two brand new tracks from i,i – “Faith” And “Jelmore." At once, it feels like classic Bon Iver with lush folk inflections and mysterious lyrical themes, but there’s experimental layers of spastic synths and glitchy samples more indicative of the band’s current vibe. What we’ve heard of the album so far feels like a culmination of all the music they’ve created over the last decade. There’s an intangible sense of completion there.

i,i
i,i

"The thirteen new songs on i,i complete a cycle: from the winter of For Emma, Forever Ago came the frenetic spring of Bon Iver, Bon Iver, and the unhinged summer of 22, A Million. Now, fall arrives early with i,i,” the press release reads. Is this the end? Is it a pivot to something different? Does it help to ask vague rhetorical questions? Probably not.

The album was recorded in part at frontman Justin Vernon’s April Base studio in Fall Creek, before finishing up at Sonic Ranch, a massive studio space in West Texas which, according to Wikipedia is “the world's largest residential recording studio complex.” 

"It feels very much like the most adult record, the most complete,” Vernon says. "It feels like when you get through all this life, when the sun starts to set, and what happens is you start gaining perspective. And then you can put that perspective into more honest, generous work.”

And as for the meaning behind i,i, Vernon said: "The title of the record can mean whatever it means to you or me. It can mean deciphering and bolstering one's identity. It can be how important the self is and how unimportant the self is, how we're all connected."

Anyway, last time they dropped a record, the rollout included murals all over the world, listening parties, visual teasers, all kinds of wild stuff. So be on the lookout for what’s coming next.

Lyric Video for “Faith”

Lyric Video for “Jelmore”

i,i Track List

1. Yi
2. iMi
3. We
4. Holyfields,
5. Hey, Ma
6. U (Man Like)
7. Naeem
8. Jelmore
9. Faith
10. Marion
11. Salem
12. Sh'Diah
13. RABi

You can pre-order the album now, if that’s your kinda thing: https://boniver.ffm.to/icommai


Previous New Music

Hey, Ma


U (Man Like)

 

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Tuesday, Jul. 2nd, 2019

12 Cool and Quirky Wisconsin Roadside Attractions to Visit this Summer

Image: James St. John | CC BY 2.0
Crystal Cave • Image: James St. John | CC BY 2.0

For your entertainment and driving convenience, I have put together a route containing some of the weirdest and quirkiest roadside attractions this great state of Wisconsin has to offer, and believe me, it was very difficult to narrow it down to just four ...

1. Crystal Cave

W965 WI-29, Spring Valley, WI 54767 | 50.6 Miles from Eau Claire

The first attraction on this list is Crystal Cave, a family-friendly cave in Spring Valley that was discovered in 1881 by two, young brothers George and William Vanasse. Since 1942, Crystal Cave has offered tours through its dark, dank depths featuring interesting and mysterious rock formations, a black-out chamber, and unexpected life thriving in the underground. Besides the thrill of exploring a rich world beneath our own, there’s a cute, little gift shop, too!

2.  Railroad Memories Museum

424 N. Front St, Spooner, WI 54801 | 81.9 Miles from Eau Claire

Spooner, and the area around it, is filled with interesting things to look at and visit such as the Railroad Memories Museum. The development of railroads in Western Wisconsin began in the late 1800’s in Hudson, WI with the North Wisconsin Railroad Co. and connected most of the Midwest. By 1882, the Division Headquarters had moved to Spooner, and with time, this town became an extremely important hub for railway transportation in the Midwest as well as an economic center by employing roughly 600 people in its heyday. Railroad Memories Museum was constructed in honor of the impact shipping and commuter trains made on the region, and the vintage trains and various other items are well worth a look.

3. Big Dick’s Buckhorn Inn

105 Walnut St, Spooner, WI 54801 | 84.5 Miles from Eau Claire

Within Spooner also lies Big Dick’s Buckhorn Inn and three weird surprises. Mixed in among the many stuffed mounts, you will notice a stuffed calf with two heads and a stuffed saber-toothed tiger! Not only that, but the men’s restroom was once visited by President John F. Kennedy! I can’t guarantee that either of those unique animals were once living, but when I called the inn to confirm whether or not it was graced by JFK, Jacob Wahleichner, an employee at Big Dick’s Buckhorn Inn, says “it’s true, he was here sometime on March 18th 1960. [He] stopped in while campaigning.” So, if you love taxidermy, or history, or you’re just in the mood for a good beer, stop into Big Dick’s Buckhorn Inn on your way to the next attraction on this list!

4. Giant Ax and Arrow

US Hwy 2, Brule, WI (on the south side by the intersection of Anderson/Wills Rd) | 150 Miles from Eau Claire

If you’re looking for some interesting and potentially hilarious photo opportunities, drive over to Brule for a giant arrow sticking out of the ground and a giant ax stuck in a log on the roadside. These two enormous statues provide great inspiration for illusions such as a tiny lumberjack and a warrior struck down in battle. Or, if you’re not interested in lying down in the roadside grass, these beauties can be seen clearly from the road, too.

5. Chainsaw Totem Pole Forest

County Hwy M, Medford, WI (on the corner of Division Drive) | 72. 8 Miles from Eau Claire

The last stop on our tour of under-appreciated, roadside attractions lands us in Medford, just over an hour outside of Eau Claire. Off of county highway M, to the right if you’ve been looping around counter clockwise, is a small forest of 21 poles with roughly 400 chainsaws sticking out of them. Gordy Lekies, the man who created this quirky piece of art, stuck these chainsaws into bare, wooden poles in all sorts of different angles and heights like branches on actual trees, so if you’re not too tired after driving all day, I would certainly suggest stopping by. Wisconsin certainly is something to behold.


Here's some more cool places!

1. Jurustic Park

Image: Jim | CC BY-SA 2.0

M222 Sugar Bush Ln Marshfield, WI 54449 | 87.7 Miles from Eau Claire

Home to several extinct, iron-made creatures that inhabited McMillan Marsh, Jurustic Park is a beast of a sculpture garden. Explore the park and view the sculptures all made from repurposed antique objects as well as a cute, little Hobbit Hole because why not? You can even take the kids and leave your tranquilizer gun at home because, unlike Jurassic Park, these creatures aren’t harmful.

2. Dr. Evermore’s Sculpture Park – Forevertron

S7703 US-12, North Freedom, WI 53951 | 143 Miles from Eau Claire

Fashioned by Dr. Evermor (alias of Tom Every, the sculptor) the Forevertron is an enormous, 320-foot-tall scrap metal sculpture that looks like a repair station for steampunk airships. Surrounded by a collection of gun turrets, huge insectoid robots, and fanciful, science-fiction Victorian architecture, the Forevertron has inspired many scrap metal artists around the country.

3. Viking Church

Town Line Rd, Washington, WI 54246 | 289 Miles from Eau Claire (includes a ferry ride)

Known as Stave Churches, these multi-gabled, pagan-architecture-inspired churches were common in Scandinavia during the medieval ages. The Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Washington Island built this authentic replica in 1993 and it’s currently used for weddings, ceremonies and other gatherings. If you visit, just be sure not to trip on Mjollnir stuck in the ground out back.

4. Moccasin Bar

15820 US Hwy 63, Hayward, WI 54843 | 107 Miles from Eau Claire

If you haven’t had enough of taxidermy from Big Dick’s Buckhorn Inn, Hayward’s Moccasin Bar is a treasure-trove of taxidermy. It proudly displays the world’s third largest muskie as its crowning piece, and it also includes fun scenes depicted by animals, such as a rabbit cheating at a game of poker, a raccoon as the victor of a boxing match, and a courtroom with a wolf presiding as judge.

5. The Pink Elephant

4995 Co Rd V, DeForest, WI 53532 | 163 Miles from Eau Claire

Pink and proud in front of a variety of gas stations since the early '60s, this elephant has become quite the icon. Now known as Andy’s Pink Elephant, or just “Pinkie” for short, this adorable, pink animal has stood by the roadside welcoming guests to his gas station with a big smile beneath his trunk. The gas station even sells pink elephant souvenirs to show off back home!

6. Lawn Ornament Extravaganza

4531 S Lake Dr, Cudahy, WI 53110 | 252 Miles from Eau Claire

So far, this list has consisted of locales with one large ... thing, but a Cudahy resident decided one wasn’t nearly enough. Their attraction is complete with a skull, Hamburglar, and, of course, the casual Cadillac sinking into a gravel pit.

7. Chalet of the Golden Fleece

 

618 2nd St, New Glarus, WI 53574 | 191 Miles from Eau Claire

Home to the worldly collection of Edwin Barlow, this museum displays a jeweled watch once owned by King Louis XVI, Gregorian chants on parchment dating from 1485, and plenty of Swiss related collectables, like a fancy 300-year-old Swiss table.

8. House on the Rock

5754 WI-23, Spring Green, WI 53588 | 165 Miles from Eau Claire

Last but certainly not least is one of the most famous roadside attractions in the entire Midwest, and darn near too obvious to list. The House on the Rock is so bizarre, magical, and mysterious that fantasy/horror writer Neil Gaiman included a description of this attraction in his novel “American Gods,” but found that he had to “tone down [his] description of it and leave things out…to make it believable.” Between the phantom orchestra, the carousel, and the Infinity Room, this is so much more than a “house.”

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Coming This Fall: New Bon Iver ... Album?

Well, judging by a prototypically cryptic teaser video that dropped this morning, it’s looking like there’s some more Bon Iver music on its way by the end of the year. The band, headed up by Justin Vernon and featuring an extended family of collaborators, posted the video called “Sincerity is Forever in Season,” where Michael Perry’s voice seems to hint that a new record – or something – will come this fall.

“Bon Iver, born of winter,” Perry reads. “Bloomed in spring, stutter-shimmered into summer … and now, it might be autumn … it might be.”

The video features a bunch of nature-y imagery, there’s a wolf in there and a butterfly, woods, water, sunlight, some classic Bon tunes from their previous records, and the tagline “Keep it Restaurant.”

This comes after the band released two singles last month “Hey Ma” and “Man (U Like)” and directed fans toward a cool, chaotic blog called icommai.com which is full of aesthetic images, text grabs, bizarre photography, band news, and lots more stuff.

So, something’s coming. It’s most likely an album – the band’s fourth. But with Bon Iver, you can never be too sure – which makes writing about it super fun and not awkward at all. So rather than speculate wildly, maybe we’ll just wait and see what happens next.

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Friday, Jun. 28th, 2019
Tuesday, Jun. 18th, 2019

UW-Eau Claire Remains Best in State for LGBTQ+ Student Support

For the second consecutive year, the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire has been named the best school in the state for LGBTQ+ student support by BestColleges.com and Campus Pride, two websites dedicated to informing prospective students and ranking universities in the United States.

Christopher Jorgenson, the director of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, is proud to be a part of the movement toward acceptance and celebration at UWEC, but maintains that there is still more work to be done. Jorgenson said that “rankings such as these do not serve as confirmation that we’ve reached some ultimate pinnacle of LGBTQ+ advocacy; rather, they are indications that we are on the right track.”

Since January of 2017, the United States has experienced an alarming number of setbacks and roadblocks in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance. Nevertheless, it is Jorgenson’s hope that, “amidst a national political landscape saturated with white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia and virulent anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment, UW-Eau Claire will continue to engage in critical self-reflection, so as to realize its institutional commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.”

More from UW-Eau Claire

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Monday, Jun. 10th, 2019

How Wisconsin "Lost" Michigan's Upper Peninsula

The story behind this one is bizarre by our standard, mundane by 19th century standard.
The story behind this one is bizarre by our standards, yet mundane by 19th century standards.

It's (kind of) common knowledge in Wisconsin that what is now Michigan's upper peninsula was once part of America's dairyland, and was somehow ceded to our eastern neighbors. But just like most common knowledge, this isn't quite as true as it seems. It's actually the result of a war which had nothing to do with Wisconsin. And not the "aggressive diplomacy" sort of war. A sheriff was stabbed, so we're going to count it as a war.

In the 18th century, cartography wasn't an exact science and statelines weren't something you could look up on Google maps. In 1787, the U.S. government enacted the Northwest Ordinance, declaring the border between the state of Ohio and Michigan Territory as "an east west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan." Congress used the Mitchell Map to define this line, and as you can tell from looking at the map above, Mitchell was a bit off in his calculations. A straight line drawn with the US government's description would have cut off almost all of Ohio's access to Lake Eerie, which would have cost Ohio a lot of trade revenue. To avoid this, Ohio changed the description of the border itself so that it ran from Lake Michigan to Maumee Bay.

The inaccurate
The inaccurate "Mitchell Map" started a border dispute, an interstate "war," and decided the fate of the UP.

So far so good, until ...

So far so good, until Michigan applied for statehood in 1833 and drew the border between itself and Ohio using an accurate map and the original description of the border. This created a tract of land called the "Toledo Strip," 5 to 8 miles wide. To try and make Michigan give the land back, Ohio governor Robert Lucas pulled some favors in congress to deny Michigan's statehood. Enraged, Michigan governor Stevens Masons enacted the "Pains and Penalties" act making it an imprisonable offense to support Ohio in the Toledo Strip, and enforced it sending 1,000 Michigan militia to the strip. In response, Lucas sent 600 Ohio militia.

No Man's Land. I think I can hear Ennio Morricone in the background.
No Man's Land. I think I can hear Ennio Morricone music in the background.

Okay so the Toledo "War" wasn't that exciting; it was mostly bloodless skirmishes, arrests, lawsuits, and saber rattling. There was one bizarre case where Michigan sheriff Joseph Wood tried to arrest Major Benjamin Stickney for voting in an Ohio election while living in the strip. Benjamin and his sons, One Stickney and Two Stickney (you can't make this up), resisted and stabbed the sheriff. He survived his wounds, and it was enough to prompt both sides to withdrawn from the No Man's Land. The political scuffle went on until 1836 when a deal was reached. Michigan would gain statehood and give up the Toledo Strip, but gain the upper peninsula from the Northwest Territory. Ohio considered it a victory.

That is until people learned about the mountains stuffed full of copper and iron ore in the upper peninsula. More wealth came out of the UP than out of California during the gold rush, and supplied 90% of America's iron and copper. Sounds like Michigan got the better end of the deal.

In the summer of 1837, as the Toledo War was ending and Michigan was gaining its statehood, the Wisconsin territory was officially formed. Wisconsin was, at one point, part of Michigan territory but broke off before it ever had its own name on the upper peninsula. Thus, we never had it. But, if Ohio had just kept to itself and accepted the loss of the Toledo Strip, Michigan would have likely left the upper peninsula for Wisconsin.

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Friday, Jun. 7th, 2019

Pablo Center Unleashes Second Season Lineup (STOMP, Postmodern Jukebox, TU Dance and Bon Iver, Bill Engvall, Wynton Marsalis, & More)

International percussion sensation STOMP comes to the RCU Theatre in March 2020.
International percussion sensation STOMP comes to the RCU Theater in March 2020.

In August of 2018, the Pablo Center at the Confluence announced their first annual season lineup, chock-full of world-class spectacles and local legends.   It’s been a wild ride from Cloud Cult to Farewell Angelina, with stops in between including Chippewa Valley’s Torch Sisters’ La Caverne, Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild’s Fun Home, and so much more.

After a year of firsts, the state-of-the-art venue is stepping up its game with the announcement of its second season, featuring live music, ballet, theater, circus, spoken word, fine art, magic, and more.  Twenty shows made the inaugural line up, but the 2019-2020 season boasts more than 30 headline shows, a set-list series, and gallery shows that will amaze and inspire.

A Few Highlights ...

Postmodern Jukebox • TU Dance and Bon Iver • STOMP • Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra w/ Wynton Marsalis • Béla Fleck • Bill Engvall • Lyle Lovett • Trey Anastasio • John Hiatt • Chris Kroeze

The Main Shows

Come Through: TU Dance and Bon Iver comes to the RCU Theatre in November.
Come Through: TU Dance and Bon Iver • November 2019

Cirque Mechanics 42FT – A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels • September 26, 2019 • RCU Theatre • A marvelous performance exploring the history and lore of circus through dance, acrobatics, and more.  42FT has American industrial ingenuity at its heart.

Ballet Hispanico • October 5, 2019 • RCU Theatre • Latin dance, contemporary movement, and ballet unite in an all-Latina program that celebrates the work of several Latina choreographers.

Ethel with Robert Mirabal • October 16, 2019 • RCU Theatre • This string quartet, which was nominated for a Native American Music Award, presents a program inspired by Water as the embodiment of Spirit, and its essential role in Life on Earth, along with Native American musician Robert Mirabel.

Postmodern Jukebox • October 25, 2019 • RCU Theatre • Contemporary classics take on a whole new identity when married with big-band, vintage country, doo-wop, and many other musical styles of the past.  In glamourous costume, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox will have audiences of all ages jammin’ along.

Todd Green: World Strings • October 30, 2019 • Listen to and learn about dozens of string, flute, and percussion instruments as Todd Green plays unusual rhythms and scales from around the world.  Audiences will learn about the culture and history of the music, enjoying the similarities and differences between Western and Eastern tunes and tools.

Spektral Quartet • November 5, 2019 • Jamf Theatre • This Grammy-nominated string quartet ties classic works and traditional songs and movements with more contemporary pieces with seamless flair.

Postmodern Jukebox • October 2019
Postmodern Jukebox • October 2019

Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) • November 9, 2019 • RCU Theatre • All 37 of William Shakespeare’s immortal tragedies and comedies blaze across the floor in record time.  From shrew-taming to midsummer night dreaming, this troupe weaves their way from play to play.

Cuentos: Tales from the Latino World • November 9, 2019 • Jamf Theatre • Storyteller, playwright, and musician David Gonzalez brings tales from Spanish-speaking cultures of the world to life with memorable characters and positive messages for children. 

Me La Amargates Tú • November 14, 2019 • Jamf Theatre • This group shares the carefully preserved language and music of Sephardic Jewish communities, incorporating the use of medieval and renaissance instruments for a world-touring show.

Come Through: TU Dance and Bon Iver • November 22-24, 2019 • RCU Theatre • St. Paul dance troupe TU Dance, known for their exploration of social change through the choreography of Uri Sands, teams up with the Chippewa Valley’s ascendant musician Justin Vernon of Bon Iver for an evening-length commission. 

Sandeep Das and Mike Block • November 25, 2019 • Jamf Theatre • Cello and tabla (a pair of Indian drums) merge when Sandep Das and Mike Block, who originally met in Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble, bring their out-of-the-ordinary performance to the Jamf Theatre.

Moscow Ballet’s Nutcracker • November 27, 2019 • RCU Theatre • A family favorite throughout generations, the Moscow Ballet’s Nutcracker is an enchanting escapade of holiday magic, sure to put audiences in good spirits.

A Charlie Brown Christmas • December 1, 2019 • RCU Theatre • Another holiday classic full of heartwarming scenes and beloved holiday characters, A Charlie Brown Christmas features the music of Vince Guaraldi and the discovery of the true meaning of Christmas.

Bill Engvall • January 2020
Bill Engvall • January 2020

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis: Big Band Holiday Tour • December 11, 2019 • RCU Theatre • Timeless holiday carols and tunes take on a new timbre as performed by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.  A holiday program full of big-band attitude, directed by Marcus Printup.

Leanne Brown • December 13, 2019 • Jamf Theatre • A one-of-a-kind author event by Leanne Brown, author of NY Times bestselling cookbook “Good and Cheap.”  This work is known for $4/day food stamps recipes with illustrations that are to-die-for.

Bill Engvall • January 18, 2020 • RCU Theatre • Observational satire at its finest and most relatable from recording artist, TV personality, and comedian Bill Engvall.

Alfredo Rodriguez Trio • January 23, 2020 • Jamf Theatre • This Cuban jazz musician exemplifies improvisation and adaptation with his eclectic, storytelling compositions.  Rodríguez is a globally recognized and Grammy-nominated musician.

Orlando Consort: Food, Wine, and Song • February 6, 2020 • Jamf Theatre • Dinner and a show – at the same time.  The Orlando Consort pairs good music with good wine and a menu inspired by medieval feasts for an experience out of history.

Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn • February 7, 2020 • RCU Theatre • “The family that picks together, sticks together.” Banjo musicians Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn pick their way to the Pablo for their Echo in the Valley national tour, pushing the instrument to its limits.

Call of the Wild • February 28, 2020• Jamf Theatre • Jack London’s classic tale of Buck, a sled dog in Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush, comes to life through live storytelling and projected imagery. 

Cirque Mechanics 42FT – A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels • September 2019
Cirque Mechanics 42FT – A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels • September 2019

 Johnny Gandelsman - Violin • February 15, 2020 • Jamf Theatre • Founding member of Brooklyn Rider and member of the Silkroad Ensemble, Grammy-award winning violinist and producer Johnny Gandelsman presents Bach’s complete cello suites on the violin.

Home Within: Kinan Azmeh and Kevork Mourad • February 19, 2020 • Jamf Theatre • Syrian clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh and visual artist Kevork Mourad team up to reflect on the Syrian revolution and its aftermath through music and imagery.

Iny Asian Dance Theatre • February 29, 2020 • RCU Theatre • Iny Asian Dance Theatre is the first Hmong Dance studio ever developed in the United States.  They’ve performed in Thailand, Laos, China, Korea, and all over the united states, bringing traditional and contemporary performance together to amaze audiences.

Alicia Olatuja Quintet • March 18, 2020 • Jamf Theatre • From classical to jazz and R&B, Olatuja has been described by The New York Times as “a singer with a strong and luscious tone.”  She celebrates noted woman composers through her arrangements and performance.

Clara Osowski – Mezzo Soprano • March 31, 2020 • Jamf Theatre • An in-demand soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and Europe, mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski celebrates springs with an evening of Schubert and other favorites.

Ben Seidman • April 2020
Ben Seidman • April 2020

Beep • April 5, 2020 • Jamf Theatre • Beep, an unusual robot, crashes into a peaceful village where everything has its place, uprooting the routine of Mort’s village.  Gentle storytelling and puppetry tells the story of what happens when someone new comes to town.  There will be two showings, including a sensory-friendly performance.

Sybarite5 • April 8, 2020 • Jamf Theatre • This “string quartet with a bass” brings rockstar attitude to everything from Bowie to Radiohead, giving a new look to chamber music.

Ben Seidman • April 10, 2020 • Jamf Theatre • Seidman, a UW-Eau Claire graduate, has made waves with his role on the Netflix Original: Brainchild, and wowed audiences of Penn & Teller: Fool Us.  After two Travel Channel specials, three seasons of Las Vegas performance, and designing illusions for Criss Angel, it’s time for a night at the Jamf Theatre.

Turtle Island with Cyrus Chestnut • April 23, 2020 • RCU Theatre • Infused with hints of gospel music’s global tones, the combination of Turtle Island Quartet with jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut is remarkable, exciting, and uplifting.

Kaia String Quartet • May 13, 2020 • Jamf Theatre • Chicago-based KAIA captures Latin American culture through strings.  Featuring works by Astor Piazolla, Jose Bragato, and Claudio Santoro, the flavor of Latin American music will fill the Jamf Theatre.

STOMP • March 20-21, 2020 • RCU Theatre • The international percussion sensation with decades of rave reviews on the books uses brooms, poles, garbage cans, lighters, and more to bring on the rhythm.

'Set List' Shows

Chris Kroeze • December 2019
Chris Kroeze • December 2019

Pablo’s lineup of contemporary music concerts ranges from local treasures to nationally known visitors – and homecomers.  New acts will be added throughout the season.

Mike Perry and the Long Beds • September 27, 2019 • Jamf Theatre
Lyle Lovett • October 15, 2019 • RCU Theatre
Trey Anastasio • October 21, 2019 • RCU Theatre
John Hiatt • October 4, 2019 • RCU Theatre
Postmodern Jukebox • October 25, 2019 • RCU Theatre
Pit Wagon / Laska / Ben Shaw • November 1, 2019 • Jamf Theatre
Them Coulee Boys • November 15, 2019 • Jamf Theatre
Chris Kroeze: Home For the Holiday • December 20-21, 2019 • RCU Theatre
Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn • February 7, 2020 • RCU Theatre
Jerrika Mighelle and Friends • February 21, 2020 • Jamf Theatre

Constituent Groups & Shows

Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra
Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra

Chippewa Valley Jazz Orchestra
The CVJO Presents The Music Of Harry Connick, Jr. • October 18, 2019
Ignore The Forecast! With Andrew Neesley & Mel Flannery • December 7, 2019
CVJO’s 10th Anniversary Bash With Wayne Bergeron • February 22, 2020
The CVJO With Special Guest Roxy Coss • May 1, 2020

Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra
Mendelssohn’s ‘Reformation’ Symphony • October 12, 2019
A Classical Christmas • December 14, 2019
The Young People’s Concert • February 1, 2020
Brahms in Spring • March 14, 2020
Happy Birthday, Beethoven! 250th Birthday Celebration • May 8, 2020

Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild
The Who’s Tommy • October 3-6, 2019
Legally Blonde the Musical • May 7-10, 2020
Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical • June 25-28, 2020

Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra
An Afternoon with Bloch, Fauré and McCartney • September 29, 2019
Saturday Evening • November 16, 2019
Family and Friends • January 25, 2020
Lux: The Dawn from on High with the Master Singers • March 21, 2020
American Dreams • May 16, 2020

Volume One's True North • December 2019
Volume One's True North • December 2019

Eau Claire Children’s Theatre
Elf: The Musical • November 15-17, 2019
Disney’s Frozen Jr. • February 14-16, 2020
Mary Poppins • March 6-8, 2020
The Rainbow Fish • April 3-4, 2020
The Hunchback of Notre Dame • June 11-14, 2020
Newsies • July 23-26, 2020

Eau Claire Male Chorus
Associated Male Choruses of America (AMCofA) Big Sing, “LET THERE BE MUSIC” • April 17-18, 2020

Master Singers
America, My Home 2019: Carmina Pax • October 13, 2019

UW-Eau Claire
Faculty Recitals • September 6, 2019 / October 4, 2019 / November 1, 2019 / February 7, 2020 / March 6, 2020 / May 1, 2020
Wind Symphony/Symphony Band Concert • October 17, 2019
Company • October 18-20, 23-27, 2019
BluGold Marching Band Concert • November 7, 2019
Choral Showcase • November 10, 2019
Holiday Concert • December 8, 2019
James and the Giant Peach • March 6-8, 12-15, 2020
University Symphony Orchestra Concert • April 16, 2020
Eau Claire Jazz Fest • April 24-25, 2020
Confluence Dance Project • May 1- 2, 2020

Volume One
True North • December 19-21
2019 Great Big Hullabaloo • May 30, 2020

Tickets

Tickets for the 2019-2020 season will be available for purchase to the public at www.pablocenter.org, or at the box office starting on Monday, July 29 at 10am.  Pablo Center members will be offered pre-sales on the following dates:

Director Circle – July 8, 2019
Designer Circle – July 10, 2019
Artist Circle – July 12, 2019
Partner – July 15, 2019
Advocate – July 18, 2019
Supporter – July 22, 2019

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