Wednesday, Sep. 28th, 2016

Bon Iver Event in Eau Claire Wednesday Night Sets Off Global Listening Party

Update: Check out our live Periscope stream from the event...

Bon Iver's much anticipated new album, 22, A Million releases to the world on Friday, but hundreds of fans got their first full listen of the album Wednesday evening at 6:30pm in front of the Bon Iver mural outside The State Theatre at the corner of Eau Claire Street and Farwell Street. Check out some photos.

As we now know, there are ten other murals related to 22, A Million across the globe in cities like London, Berlin, Mexico City, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Minneapolis – each representing one of the ten tracks on new album, with different obscure iconography and abstract numerals by artist Eric Timothy Carlson. These all seem to point back to the eleventh mural right here in Eau Claire, which is one of the collection’s largest and depicts the album’s actual artwork. 

Photo: Nick Meyer
Photo: Nick Meyer

So here's what's happening ...

Starting Wednesday evening, the album is being played out in full – via boombox and cassette – at the site of each mural in each city’s respective time zones, starting with Eau Claire. So we're basically the kickoff to a global listening party. 

Fans who showed up to the listening party in Eau Claire got their mitts on a sweet new Bon Iver zine – a collection of poster-sized artwork from 22, A Million printed on broadsheet newsprint. Some of the artwork in the zine mirrors the art found on murals around the world.

It’s a pretty cool way to roll out a record, a strategy that mixes visual art, viral marketing, music, community … the list goes on. Justin Vernon and company are definitely doing things differently with 22, A Million, an album which marks a turning point in the Bon Iver saga, musically, aesthetically, and metaphysically. And we’re all along for the ride.

The album is out on Friday Sept. 30, and you can pick up a copy at The Local Store (where you’ll enjoy 15% off your entire purchase when you scoop up the vinyl), online at boniver.org, or through many major retailers digitally and physically.


Listen: New Bon Iver Tracks

33 “GOD”

22 (OVER S∞∞N) [Bob Moose Extended Cab Version]

Bon Iver - 10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄ (Extended Version)

 

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Wednesday, Sep. 21st, 2016

4 Things From the New York Times Profile of Bon Iver

“For me from a very early age, music has been my religion. It’s been my way of understanding, it’s been my way of celebration, it’s been my way of contemplation.” – Justin Vernon

On Wednesday, The New York Times published an expansive profile on Bon Iver and Justin Vernon – The Blessed, Cursed Life of Bon Iver – talking with Vernon about his struggles with the music industry, his unique path to notoriety, and the experimental production techniques that birthed his band’s stunning new album 22, A Million. The story covers a lot of ground, from Bon Iver’s humble beginnings to the present, on the brink of their most ambitious and wondrous effort to date.

1. On Kanye West and learning to be humble

“I got in a friendly argument with Kanye West about the word humble once. He said, ‘Have you ever looked up the word humble?’ I was like, ‘Actually I don’t know if I have.’ And he showed me the definition of it, and it’s far more self-demeaning, kind of the problematic Midwestern ‘Sorry!’ mentality, than I realized. I took a lot out of that conversation. Ultimately, I think it’s great to serve others and everything, but I think there’s a certain point where it’s diminishing returns for the people around you if you’re not showing up and being who you are.”

2. On Vernon’s fascination with the number 22, his old basketball jersey number

Each song title on “22, a Million” begins with a number that holds a private significance for Mr. Vernon. He has always been drawn to the number 22. While growing up and playing sports, he chose it as his jersey number; he also, he said, sets wake-up alarms to 22 minutes after the hour. As he chopped up the phrase “It might be over soon” in the sampler, “soon” began to turn into “two, two”: 22.

The album opens with “22 Over Soon” and concludes with the hymnlike “1000000, a Million.” “Being 22 is me,” he said, “and then the last song being a million, which is this great elusive thing: like, what’s a million? The album deals a lot with duality in general and how that works into the math. I was big into Taoism in college, and the paradox of duality, and how it’s always one thing and the other — you can never have one thing without the other. So it’s 22 being me and a million being the Other. That was a way to look at it as a circle.”

3. On experimenting in the studio to find new, unheard of sounds

“A big thing for me on the album was, how do we get something to sound accidental or new or fresh,” he said. When he was dissatisfied with the overly digital sound of “22 Over Soon,” he and his engineer took a cassette (Neil Young’s “Unplugged”), pulled out the tape and crumpled it and wrote on it with a marker. Then they recorded the track onto it, creating distortion and dropouts. Other songs toy with recording speed, ending up between standard pitches.

4. On music as religion and healing

“For me from a very early age, music has been my religion. It’s been my way of understanding, it’s been my way of celebration, it’s been my way of contemplation.”

As Bon Iver re-emerges, Mr. Vernon is thinking hard about self-preservation. “When I made the last record, actually both records, I very much felt like I’d healed myself,” he said. “Oh, I got done, and oh! now I’m better. And this one, I’m smarter than that. Now that this album’s done, as much as I healed a lot of things by making it, I know that it’s an ongoing thing. The river does not end.”


Listen: New Bon Iver Tracks

33 “GOD”

22 (OVER S∞∞N) [Bob Moose Extended Cab Version]

Bon Iver - 10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄ (Extended Version)

 

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Tuesday, Sep. 20th, 2016

Consultant: Downtown Block Best Suited for Public Market

A “traditional” public market, like this one in Milwaukee, isn’t feasible in Eau Claire, but a smaller one may be.
A recent report indicates a “traditional” public market, like this one in Milwaukee, isn’t feasible in Eau Claire, but a smaller one may be.

A multi-tenant indoor market focused on local food and paired with a specialty grocery store is a viable option for downtown Eau Claire, according to a feasibility study recently presented to the Eau Claire City Council.

Specifically, the plot now known as Block 7 – a parking lot at the corner of North Barstow and Wisconsin streets, across from The Livery – “holds the highest potential for an indoor market,” according to Portland, Maine-based Market Ventures, which conducted the study on behalf of the city.

Originally, city planners had considered the Cannery District – a newer redevelopment area on the west bank of the Chippewa River, north of Madison Street – as a potential location for a larger-scale market. However, the report advises against this location as well as the large-scale approach.

Originally, city planners had considered the Cannery District – a newer redevelopment area on the west bank of the Chippewa River, north of Madison Street – as a potential location for a larger-scale market. However, the report advises against this location as well as the large-scale approach.

“The research and analysis suggest that a ‘traditional’ public market hall populated with numerous, small, independent food retailers and with dedicated market management (like the Milwaukee Public Market) is not a feasible approach for Eau Claire,” the report states. Instead, the city should consider two “interrelated strategies.” First would be “Developing a local food-focused, multi-tenant indoor market on the ground floor of a new building on Block 7, with an independent specialty grocery such as a food coop as the anchor tenant, several independent prepared and fresh food retailers as complementary tenants, and common event and education space.” These “complementary tenants” could include bakers, butchers, coffee roasters, florists, or others, the report says.

The report’s second suggested strategy is to create “a multi-block market district around Phoenix Park which highlights the area’s existing and proposed food- and event-related assets while adding new market-related functions over time.” Those existing assets include the Eau Claire Downtown Farmers Market, the Artist Market, community gardens, nearby restaurants and breweries, and the soon-to-be-built Confluence performing arts center and its adjacent plaza.

The City Council voted unanimously Sept. 13 to accept the report. City Councilman Andrew Werthmann said he hopes the vote encourages private-sector action on the public market concept. “What that does is it sends a signal to potential developers that the council would like to see proposals that include the public market plan, and I think it shows the viability of doing the public market,” Werthmann said.

The 1.67-acre Block 7 is owned by the city’s Redevelopment Authority, which intends eventually to sell it to a private developer. Twice the RDA has issued a request for proposals, but neither of them led to a development agreement.

“Does this preclude other ideas (for Block 7)?” Werthmann said of the report’s emphasis on a public market on the site. “Absolutely not. But it does signal that we prefer it.”

Ned Noel, associate planner for the City of Eau Claire, agreed that the plan now needs a private-sector champion. “We would really like to see the private sector businesses step up to fill this sort of vision,” he said. The report, he noted, can serve as a form of market research for potential developers.

A developer would likely need financial help to make the project a success. Noel expects that such a developer would pursue grants, as the Menomonie Market Food Co-op did last year to fund its successful expansion. The report details numerous avenues for funding, including private equity, corporate donations, capital campaign, federal and state tax credits, and a variety of grant programs. 

The study was funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Group Health Cooperative, Marshfield Clinic, and Mayo Clinic Health System.

To learn more about the public market project and to read the report, visit eauclairewi.gov/departments/community-development/public-market.

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Monday, Sep. 19th, 2016

The Night Market – An indoor-outdoor maker market and sale series

Fridays in October • 6pm-9pm • at The Local Store and Volume One Gallery ... and Courtyard! • 15% OFF STOREWIDE • Every Week: local makers • local food trucks • fire pit • live music • hot cider & snack samples • pre-holiday savings

Volume One and The Local Store are introducing the Night Market – a brand new indoor/outdoor “maker market” and sale series on Friday nights throughout October from 6-9pm. Each night, we'll feature 4–6 different local makers – themselves and their products – in the Volume One Gallery. During the event, we'll also setup a fire pit in our courtyard area, invite local food trucks, host live acoustic music, and serve hot cider and snack samples. Simultaneously, all regular Local Store merchandise is 15% OFF during the Night Market!

Each week will see a rotating cast of custom temporary displays from the following local craftspeople, artisans, and artists ... Keep reading for details!

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GOODBYE, GAP: Federal funds will complete missing Old Abe Trail miles

PEDAL PUSHER. Users of the Chippewa River Trail, shown above, will be able to bike all the way to Chippewa Falls – and beyond – when the final gap in the adjacent Old Abe State Trail is completed as early as 2018.
PEDAL PUSHER. Users of the Chippewa River Trail, shown above, will be able to bike all the way to Chippewa Falls – and beyond – when the final gap in the adjacent Old Abe State Trail is completed as early as 2018.

Even though the Chippewa Valley has become increasingly friendly for bicyclists in recent years, there’s still something missing – literally: There’s a 2.4-mile gap in what otherwise would be a continuous trail system connecting Menomonie, Durand, Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Cornell, and points between. The gap in the Old Abe State Trail between Lake Hallie and Chippewa Falls has forced bikers to find alternate methods of traveling between where the trail ends abruptly at 40th Avenue near the “tank farm” in Lake Hallie and begins again at the Highway 124 bridge across the river from downtown Chippewa Falls.

Soon, thanks to a federal grant, the two ends of the trail will be connected. The West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission announced Sept. 2 that $508,000 from the federal Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) would go toward a joint effort by the Village of Lake Hallie and the City of Chippewa Falls to build the missing segment. The grant will cover 80 percent of the cost of the project, the remaining 20 percent of which (about $127,000) will be shared by the two municipalities. The funding is expected to come in 2018, so you still have time to train for 80 miles of continuous pedaling.

Jeremy Gragert, northwest ambassador for the Wisconsin Bike Federation, is among those praising the news. He points out that this will be the first time since the original bike boom of the 1890s that Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire will be linked by such a trail. “Communities connected by this corridor see it as a great benefit for tourism, transportation access, the environment, quality of life, and economic development, and I agree,” he said. “We are in the midst of a new bike boom, but we need to work even harder as advocates to assure it is here to stay, and we all need to get our butts on bikes even more to continue the momentum.”

According to Jason Duba, assistant transportation planner with the regional planning commission, the funds will cover design, state review, and construction of the trail. The City of Chippewa Falls already owns the right-of-way for the segment I the city limits, while the portion in Lake Hallie is owned by Xcel Energy, which will allow of its right-of-way at no expense.

Back in 2010, the City of Chippewa Falls had received a $688,000 TAP grant to finish the trail connection. However, the state Department of Transportation rescinded the grant four years later because the money hadn’t yet been spent. (A potential frac-sand facility had caused a planning delay.) After that, the regional planning commission helped the two municipalities successfully seek the new grant.

“This completes a long process to connect the Chippewa River State Trail with the Old Abe State Trail and Red Cedar State Trail and is the last segment that will now provide a safe riding space between Durand, Menomonie, Downsville, Altoona, Eau Claire, Lake Hallie, Chippewa Falls, Jim Falls, and Cornell,” Rick Rubenzer, Chippewa Falls director of public works, said in a press release. “The City of Chippewa Falls is honored and excited to cosponsor construction of this final leg of the journey and welcomes bicyclist to this city and region.”

In addition to the money for the trail, the regional planning commission will receive $140,000 in federal funds to develop a regional bike and pedestrian plan for Dunn, Chippewa, and Eau Claire counties.

Gragert, of the Bike Fed, said such steps are necessary to help offer safe transit options for those who don’t drive. “There is a long way to go to build connectivity to and from the trail to places where people live, work, shop, and go to school,” he said. “We still need to create public transit (bus) connections between Eau Claire, Lake Hallie, and Eau Claire – and I think projects like this will showcase the benefits of making transportation that is accessible to people of any age, income, or ability.”

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Thursday, Sep. 15th, 2016

Watch Bon Iver Perform New Music on The Tonight Show

 

Bon Iver appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Wednesday night (Sept. 14) and played 8 (circle) from their new album 22, A million – set to release on Sept. 30. This was the second time the track was heard live by audiences – the first was during Bon Iver's set at the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival last August, when they debuted the album.

After the song, Fallon gushes, "I got a thousand questions—I don’t know how you do it."

This was the fourth time Justin Vernon has joined Jimmy Fallon on live TV. In previous years, the band has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman (December 2008), Late Night with Conan O’Brien (September 2008), twice on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (May 2011 w/ Phil Cook, June 2011 w/full band), The Colbert Report (June 2011), and Saturday Night Live (February 2012). And just for good measure, Justin Vernon appeared with Volcano Choir onLate Night with Jimmy Fallon in September 2013.

 

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Tuesday, Sep. 13th, 2016

Bon Iver to Appear on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

Bon Iver will return to late night television this week, appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon – on Wednesday night (Sept. 14) at 10:30pm (CST) on whatever audio/visual device you prefer to view NBC these days. Presumably the band is there in anticipation of their latest album – 22, A million – set to release on Sept. 30. This will be the fourth time Justin Vernon has joined Jimmy Fallon on live TV.

In previous years, the band has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman (December 2008), Late Night with Conan O’Brien (September 2008), twice on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (May 2011 w/ Phil Cook, June 2011 w/full band), The Colbert Report (June 2011), and Saturday Night Live (February 2012). And just for good measure, Justin Vernon appeared with Volcano Choir on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in September 2013.

On Wednesday, Fallon will also welcome  Kevin James and actor Michael B. Jordan.

Check Out Some of Bon Iver's Past Appearances

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Monday, Sep. 12th, 2016

Confluence Project Scores Another Half Million Dollar Donation

In February, planners of the Confluence Project unveiled this new rendering of the proposed arts center, created by Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture and Strang Architects. Click for a closer look!
In February, planners of the Confluence Project unveiled this new rendering of the proposed arts center, created by Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture and Strang Architects. Click for a closer look!

Mayo Clinic Health System has made the fundraising total for the Confluence Project in Eau Claire a whole lot healthier. The Chippewa Valley branch of the health system announced this morning that it will donate $250,000 toward the Confluence Performing Arts Center – a total that, thanks to an anonymous challenge grant, will be doubled to $500,000.

“The Confluence Arts Center highlights the value placed on the arts in the Chippewa Valley,” said Dr. Randall Linton, president and CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System of northwest Wisconsin. “Mayo Clinic Health System is proud to play a role in making this performing arts center a reality. It will be a destination landmark for years to come and will also help attract and retain highly skilled healthcare workers in the Eau Claire area. We look at this as an investment in both our community and our employees.”

With its donation – which will be spread over five years – Mayo joins a long list of Chippewa Valley businesses that have made pledges to the project, including Royal Credit Union, Xcel Energy, JAMF Software, Market and Johnson, Commonweal Development, Northwestern Bank, and many others.

Ground will be broken in October for the $45 million performing arts center, which will be shared by UW-Eau Claire and the community. The project is funded by the state of Wisconsin, the City of Eau Claire, Eau Claire County, as well as by donations from private individuals and institutions. According to Sue Bornick, executive director of the Eau Claire Community Foundation, private philanthropy already has exceeded $14 million, and that’s without the challenge grant. More than three-quarters of the funds needed to match the full $1.5 million have been raised, and donations and pledges received before Sept. 30 will also go toward the matching grant.

To learn more or to make a donation, visit communityfortheconfluence.org or call the Eau Claire Community Foundation at (715) 552-3801.

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Eau Claire's Legendary "Cave Lady"

The Eau Claire River
Are there caves along the Eau Claire River? You can bank on it.

Let's enjoy a blast from the past (July 7, 2011 to be exact) as former Volume One columnist and local history ninja Frank Smoot details the very true tale of a very real cave along the Eau Claire River – and the very real lady who once lived in it.

I walked along the south bank of the Eau Claire River between the Dewey Street bridge and the S-bridge by Banbury. I had heard there was a cave on the north bank, but I couldn’t see it. Do you know where it is? – V1 Reader

Thanks for asking! I do. Your informant was off by one riverbank. It’s actually on the south bank and you were almost to it. It’s about a quarter-mile upstream from Dewey. You’ll find a nice path on the south side of the Dewey Street bridge. The trail goes native just beyond a state office building lawn, but keep going up the river anyway. You’ll see a world of concrete relics in the woods: shipping docks without their buildings, old foundations, piers. The path roughens, and suddenly you’ll see it, carved into the bluff below East Grand. It’s a big vault: 12 feet at its tallest, 20 feet at its widest, some 50 feet deep.

It’s not a natural cave. As far as I know, a renegade brewer named Robert Hantzsch blasted it out (or maybe, more mildly, excavated it) about 1860. One story says he brewed in a house at 830 East Grand, and sent his brew down a shaft into vats in the cave. Or he brewed on River Street (now Graham Avenue). Or at the corner of Eau Claire and Farwell streets. Anyway, he stored beer there, it’s said, to escape a tax on distilled goods. In 1870, one of Eau Claire’s many fires destroyed the distillery. He skedaddled to Minneapolis and died there in 1882 at 46 years old. The only other commercial tenant: a local construction company (Schlosser & Hubener), which used it briefly as a powder magazine.

But the most locally famous story wasn’t Hantsch’s ...

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5 Out-Of-This-World Facts About Wisconsin Astronaut Jeff Williams

Wisconsin native and spaceman Jeff Williams
Wisconsin native and spaceman Jeff Williams.

1. Marathon Man

With very little fanfare, Wisconsin native Jeff Williams made history Aug. 24 when he broke the U.S. record for most time spent in space. By the time he returned to earth on Tuesday, Sept. 6, Williams had spent a cumulative – and amazing – 534 days in orbit across four space missions, surpassing fellow astronaut Mark Kelly’s record.

Williams took this picture, showing the Duluth/Superior area FROM SPACE.
Williams took this picture, showing the Duluth/Superior area FROM SPACE.

2. Badger Born

Williams, 58, was born in Superior and raised in the tiny village of Winter, about 90 miles north of Eau Claire, where he graduated from high school in 1976. He still keeps in touch with his hometown – even from space: In May, he chatted about his space experiments with Winter students via a videolink from the space station.

Williams, shown here beside and unimaginable, vast emptiness.
Williams, shown here beside and unimaginable, vast emptiness.

3. Impressive Resume

Before becoming an astronaut, Williams was a U.S. Army test pilot, logging 3,000 hours in more than 50 aircraft and retiring from active duty as a colonel in 2007. He joined NASA’s astronaut program in 1996 and first went to space on the shuttle Atlantis in 2000. He began his third stint on the ISS in March, and he’s spent more than 25 hours spacewalking during his missions.

4. Eye in the Sky

During his spaceflights, Williams has been an active shutterbug: In fact, during his 2006 mission to the ISS he took more photos of the Earth than any astronaut in history. Many of these pictures became part of his book.

5. #Spaceman

Williams has been an active user of social media during his time in space, sharing his stunningly detailed photos of the planet with hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter (@Astro_Jeff), Instagram (@astro_jeffw), and Facebook (NASAAstronautJeffWilliams). Seriously, if you haven’t seen his pictures, you’ve just found a new source of amazement.

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