Stimulus funds help young professionals settle in | Page 6
VOLUME 9 , NO. 180 | SEPTEMBER 17, 2009
Pictures tell the story PHOTO COURESY OF DAVE RUDRUD
Previously unpublished photos recall the day Elvis came to La Crosse Page 4
MUSIC & THE ARTS: ERICKSONS back in town • pAGE 9 | REVIEW of the new muse cd • Page 11
2// September 17, 2009
Second Supper Social Networking cELEBRITy cRusH: Scarlett Johansson WHAT BOOk ARE yOu cuRRENTLy READING?: Just started "The Great Gatsby" TELL us yOuR GuILTIEsT PLEAsuRE: Guitar pedals TELL us A JOkE: Why does Snoop Dogg carry an umbrella? Fo drizzle. (I hope that hasn't been used yet.)
NAmE AND AGE: Justin Schubert, 27
IF A GENIE GRANTED yOu ONE WIsH, WHAT WOuLD yOu Ask FOR? To leave La Crosse
WHERE WERE yOu BORN?: La Crosse cuRRENT JOB: Music geek
FIRsT cONcERT yOu WENT TO: Alice Cooper, Warrant, Slaughter and Dokken at the La Crosse Center. Oh yeah!
DREAm JOB: Songwriter
WHAT's THE LAsT THING yOu BOuGHT? Guitar pedals
LAsT THING yOu GOOGLED: Phish IF yOu cOuLD LIvE ANyWHERE IN THE WORLD, WHERE WOuLD IT BE? In the clouds WHAT Is sOmETHING yOu WANT TO DO BEFORE yOu DIE?: Leave La Crosse WHAT Is yOuR BEvERAGE OF cHOIcE? Root beer
WHAT's IN yOuR POckET RIGHT NOW?: iPod Touch, keys, bubble gum, guitar pick WHAT Is yOuR FAvORITE PART OF sEcOND suPPER? Gettin' Shuggy With It HOW DO yOu kNOW JAmIE (LAsT WEEk's INTERvIEW)?: She's dating a very good friend of mine.
Second Supper is a community weekly newspaper published 48 times a year, on Thursdays, by BartaneseEnterprises LLC. Second Supper 614 Main St., La Crosse, WI 54601 | Phone: (608) 782-7001 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Online: secondsupper.com Publisher: Roger Bartel email@example.com Editor in Chief: Adam Bissen firstname.lastname@example.org Student Editor: Ben Clark email@example.com Sales: Mike Keith firstname.lastname@example.org Sales: Blake Auler-Murphy email@example.com Contributing Writers: Nick Cabreza, Ben Clark, Brett Emerson, Shuggypop Jackson Contributing Photographer: Ashly Conrad
September 17, 2009 // 3
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Poor Kanye West. I know it’s been pretty trendy to bash the guy for his upstaging of Taylor Swift at the Video Music Awards last weekend, but when the media inquisition starts introducing the man’s recently deceased mother, I think it’s about time we re-evaluate our priorities. Don’t get me wrong; it was a pretty douchy thing that Kanye did to Swift. He deserves to catch flack on blogs and on bar stools, but his gaffe has played out ad nauseum on some of the nation’s most (*ahem) respected news sources. Don’t we have more important stuff to talk about? Just this week, for example, the city of Philadelphia announced plans to close all public libraries beginning Oct. 2, the president of Afghanistan was proved to be a crook engaged in massive voter fraud, and the New York Times revealed that U.S. corporations have violated the Clean Water Act more than 500,000 times in the past five years. Oh, and a celebrity got tipsy and actually made an award show entertaining. I don’t have nearly enough space to discuss the racial acrimony simmering beneath this whole brouhaha, but it’s important to remember that MCA (a white rapper from the Beastie Boys) pulled an even more outlandish stunt at the 1994 VMAs that people merely found amusing. Kanye just said that Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” was one of the greatest music videos of all time. And lest we forget, he was right.
— Adam Bissen
Best music videos of all time Michael Jackson — "Thriller" Peter Gabriel — "Sledgehammer" Beastie Boys — "Sabotage" Beyonce — "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" 5. Fat Boy Slim — "Weapon of Choice" 6. Guns n' Roses — "November Rain" 7. Weezer — "Buddy Holly" 1. 2. 3. 4.
Elvis Presley songs
People who need a timeout
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
"Heartbreak Hotel" "Jailhouse Rock" "Suspicious Minds" "Don't Be Cruel" "Can't Help Falling in Love" "That's All Right" "Blue Christmas"
Serena Williams Joe Wilson Kanye West Glenn Beck Bernie Madoff Lagarrette Blount Hamid Karzai
Coming next week in Second Supper • Welcome to Oktoberfest • Decorating Small Spaces — The Living Room visit us online at www.secondsupper.com
WHAT: Applefest! WHERE: La Crescent, Minn. (most events at Abnet Field) WHEN: Sept. 17-20 The leaves are beginning to change colors, the mornings are getting brisker and the days shorter. For those of us living here in the Coulee Region, this time of year means only one thing ... time for some fresh, home-grown apples! This weekend, La Crescent will hold its annual Applefest celebration, in which the whole city takes part in honoring their cash crop. Events for this year include a carnival opening on the 18th, with a performance from 3 Beers 'till Dubuque ending the night. Saturday will offer a flea market and arts & craft show (10 a.m. at La Crescent Elementary School), a classic car show (10 a.m. on Fourth Street between Oak and Elm), a variety of fun activities for the kids (the kid power tractor pull and the kiddie parade), as well as some good ole' fashion clog dancing (4 p.m. at the King Apple Tent) and apple orchard tours. The night ends with a musical performance from the band Simon Sezz at the King Apple Tent, with the show starting at 8 p.m.. For more information on events for this weekend, visit www.applefestusa.com. And remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away!
— Ben Clark
4// September 17, 2009
BELOW: Girls camp out for a chance to see Elvis Presley during his concert in La Crosse on May 14, 1956. RIGHT: WKBH disc jobkey Lindy Shannon interviews Elvis backstage at the Mary E. Sawyer Auditorim. FAR RIGHT: Elvis and his band perform during his first concert in Wisconsin.
Old pictures tell the story of the day Elvis came to town
When the Elvis Explosion hits the La Crosse Center again Friday for its threenight run, the city will host thousands of fans who know everything there is to know about the King. Or so they thought. Dave "Rudy" Rudrud, who next month celebrates his 20th anniversary as owner of Shooter's bar on 3rd Street, has shared with Second Supper several previously unpublished photos of Elvis Presley's visit to La Crosse in 1956. Rudrud got the photographs of the May 14 concerts (two shows) from his late uncle, Ray Plamadore, former general manager of the Mary E. Sawyer Auditorium, where Elvis performed. (For newcomers, the auditorium was formerly on the site of the county building on 6th and Vine streets.) The collection includes photos (photographer unknown) of Presley's concert his first in Wisconsin, his three-man band, local fans and a backstage interview of the 21-year-old Presley by Lindy Shannon, a well-known local radio show host and music promoter. The photos, moreover, led Rudrud to another insight of interest to Elvis fans: a You Tube slide show with audio from the Shannon interview. "I was trying to do research on the pho-
tos and found it through that," Rudrud said. The slide show provided no background as to who was doing the interview, though one person identified Shannon in the comments section. "I recognized the voice right away," Rudrud said. "He (Shannon) had a radio program, when I was a kid, about music." Shannon worked many years for WKBH radio, in the record department of Leithold Music and with Lin-Beck Enterprises, which was his music promotion business. He died in 1995. "Everybody knew Lindy," said Rudrud, who described Shannon as a "mover and shaker" in the rock and roll industry in this town. The interview includes discussion of Presley's two-year music career, hints of a movie career yet to come, his first Vegas visit and more. You can hear the interview posted by "jackiej61" in January at www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr5q0sYAmgl. If it does not load, search You Tube for "Elvis Presley Interview 1956 La Crosse WI." Editor's Note: Elvis fans interested in seeing Rudrud's photos can visit him at Shooters, 120 3rd St. S. The bar's regular hours during the Elvis Explosion are 8 p.m. to close Sept. 1820. And even if the bar is closed, he will still be happy to chat if he's there, so just knock.
A day at the derby
Last Saturday night, I had the opportunity to attend one of our country’s finest and most cherished traditions: a demolition derby. When I heard about the Eve of Destruction demolition derby going on at the La Crosse Speedway, I knew I had to go. You see, I’ve never been to a demolition derby before, and the idea of watching massive tons of steel crash into a variety of objects and each other appealed to me. Hell, what’s more American than watching destruction and mayhem from the comfort of your seat with a beer in your hand? I knew I had to go and witness the carnage first hand, if only for myself. The first thing that amazed was the number of people in attendance. Thousands of fans poured out to show their support. I walked in, eying the throngs of people in the filled stands. Looks like I’ll be standing for this show. As I stationed myself by the stairs, I began to look over the crowd. NASCAR and Harley-Davidson shirts as far as the eye could see. Carhartt jackets and Ford racing hats were the norm. I felt slightly out of place, with my plain sweatshirt and my long hair, but nobody cared. We were all there for one reason, to watch stuff get mad wrecked. The first event was the Steel Wall Challenge, in which a car would drive straight into an inverted car hanging directly in front of it. I watched the first contender drive around the track and pause, the crowd silent; waiting with bated breath for the moment of impact. Suddenly, with a screech of tires, the car burst forth, rushing toward its target. BLAM! The wooden support beams went flying while the impact caused the car to do a somersault in the air. The crowd went nuts, cheering as the damaged car drove triumphantly around the track, minus a headlight and dragging its front bumper along the way. Next some motorcycle stunt riders pleased the crowd with a vast array of wheelies, burn outs, 360s and other tricks. Featuring riders Joe Beavers and Ryan Suchanak, members of the motorcycle stunt team Vertical Mischief set out to do what they do best: extreme motorcycle stunts. They revved up the crowd, especially when they would stop the bike completely, balancing only on one tire. They had two events throughout the night, with their last stunt ride being a competition to be crowned the crowd favorite. This is as a good time as any to mention that demolition derbies appear to be mainly a family event. From what I could see, the
Photo by Ben Clark
The derby is all about mayhem and destruction.
majority of patrons were parents bringing their children to witness the mayhem. The ages of the kids ranged from newborns (I actually saw two parents change their baby’s diaper on the main walk between the stands) to high school. And believe me, if there was one event that got these kids fired up, it was the monster trucks! This being my first demolition derby, I’d never seen a monster truck outside of a YouTube video, and watching them rev up in the pit was almost a religious experience. So big … so much power! Simply imagining these beasts treading over beat-up junkers brought a smile to my face. The monster trucks for the evening featured The Felon, a well-decorated truck that had narrowed eyes on the side, peering out toward the audience. During its runs, it became completely airborne after smashing the hell out of three junkers lined up in a row. Following The Felon was Mechanical Mischief, which delighted the crowd with more of the same events;: completely destroying the cars that lay before it, getting some serious air and, of course, dong monster truck wheelies down the front straightaway. Following these guys, derby driver Ben Allen attempted to jump a camper over a bus. Needless to say, the camper was destroyed, and the bus survived with only its front completely smashed in. Following the monster trucks was the Green Mamba Jet Car, which basically consisted of your typical race car with a JATO rocket attached to the back. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term JATO, it stands for Jet Assisted Take Off, and is mostly known for its inclusion in the Darwin Awards, in which a car with a JATO attached to its back sped down the desert
floor until the driver’s (and the car’s) destruction into the side of a canyon. Back to the subject at hand, the Green Mamba Jet Car took its position along the front straight-away and let loose, brightening the whole track with a giant fireball behind it. The crowd stood and cheered as the rocket car raced down the track. Feeling the heat from the rocket's blast (and I’m standing in the back, mind you) I shouted excitedly with the crowd. What on earth could possibly top that, I thought to myself. Little did I know that the main event was the very definition of a demolition derby. Complete destruction of everything. The main event was the Trailer Race of Destruction, in which more than 10 vehicles pulling trailers raced around the track. The trailers ranged from campers to boats, from trailers holding lawnmowers to mini-floats. The idea is that the drivers go as long as they can, regardless of the debris filling up the track. Within three laps, the red flag came up and two trailers and a now defunct pick-up truck had to be cleaned up and escorted from the track. The race finished, with the decided crowd favorite being driver John Ratz, who drove with a full camper and a trailer behind his vehicle. Unbelievable. I left the derby as I had when I walked in: with a big smile on my face. Sure, I wouldn’t actively head to demolition derbies out of nowhere, but this was a great time enjoyed by thousands of people of all shapes and sizes. If you’ve never been to a demolition derby, I suggest going to at least one, just to see what it’s like. For me, I know that I definitely didn’t leave empty handed. Drive on, La Crosse area drivers. Drive on!
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At Eve of Destruction, the author is sold the whole seat, but he only needs the EDGE! By Ben Clark
September 17, 2009 // 5
6// September 17, 2009
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First time home buyers find plenty of reasons to smile An $8,000 tax credit can sweeten the deal, but shoppers must close on their property soon
Photo by Ashly Conrad
(608) 784-1811 801 Rose St. Only 1.9 Miles From Campus
By Adam Bissen
firstname.lastname@example.org The “starter home” is more attainable that it has been in years. Padded by a glut of unsold houses and a one-time federal tax credit, young people in the Coulee Region have rushed into the real estate market in huge numbers, but their window for governmentstimulated savings is nearing a close. In order to qualify for an $8,000 tax credit, first-time home buyers must have the property transferred to their names before Dec. 1, which could have late-to–the-market shoppers scrambling to secure the closing details on what should be one of the biggest purchases of their lives. After four months of looking at houses in the La Crosse area, Nick Koegl and his girlfriend Natalie Marx this summer purchased their first home: a two-story, threebedroom bungalow on Madison Street. “It just seemed like the logical time,” said Koegl, 26, a management coordinator at Logistics Health Inc. “A lot of the (home) prices are lower right now. It’s certainly a buyers’ market, and I’m not going to complain about $8,000 in free money.” Koegl is not alone. Local Realtors and lenders are reporting an unprecedented surge in activity for first-time home buyers (see related story), and the National Association of Realtors estimates that close to 2 million Americans will take advantage of an $8,000 tax credit, stimulating an additional 350,000 home sales. Of course, the active soliciting of firsttime home buyers follows the nationwide burst in the real estate bubble. A culture of speculation had developers over-saturating the housing market, so homes either sat
unsold or prompted owners to drop their asking prices, and other houses were foreclosed on by banks or unleashed by owners trying to stave off financial ruin.
Hunt can take time
Buying a home is a time-consuming process that often involves getting pre-approved for a loan, figuring a budget, scouring the market, touring houses, making an offer, finalizing a loan, hiring a home inspector, preparing a deed, purchasing insurance and paying closing costs. The process can take weeks or months, and although many advisers comment on the glut of homes sitting on the market, finding the perfect house can be difficult — especially on a young professional’s salary. Brian Norsten, a 26-year-old who also works at LHI, experienced the financial hang-ups of that second side of the “buyers’ market.” Norsten said he and his wife, Kelly, checked out hundreds of houses online and toured more than 70 in person before settling on a three-bedroom split-level house in La Crescent. They made an offer in February that the owner accepted, finalized a home loan and transferred utilities into their names, but a week before the planned closing date, the Norstens learned that the seller owed more money on the property than the couple had offered to pay for it. The seller’s bank nixed the deal, which had the Norstens scrambling to lock in an interest rate with their lender and convince Fannie Mae and the seller’s bank to allow the sale. “We were always told ‘speed up the process so you can put in a full offer,’ but it’s usually in the seller’s bank’s hands,” said Norsten, who ultimately closed on the La Crescent home last month. “I was a little ignorant on this whole process as well. At work there’s like five of us buying houses at the same time. I believe I was the first one to start looking, and I was the last one to close.” Mitch Luehring, a 27-year-old architectural technician, has been shopping for a home since early this summer. He said he wants a yard Nick koegl and Natalie Marx thought the time was right to purchase a three-bedfor his dog and is “tired of room house on Madison Street. 'Free money' from the government didn't hurt either. throwing my money away” on
Jen Whitedog and her boyfriend, Ben Leach, worked the 'buyers market' to their advantage. rent, but even after touring five homes, he has yet to find one at the right price. “Obviously I want to close by the end of November, and if I don’t I’m going to be much less likely to dive in right now,” said Luehring, referencing the deadline for the tax credit. “It’s almost like an incentive to rush into it, but I’m not necessarily taking that approach. If I don’t find anything that I’m not completely satisfied with, I won’t be purchasing it.”
Buyers still have leverage
Although the $8,000 home buyers credit, which is applied to the following year’s tax returns, will end after November, the housing market is still a long way from the boom cycle of the 1990s and early 2000s. Many purchases from that era are still considered overvalued, which can give buyers leverage to negotiate, especially if a home has been sitting on the market. Jen Whitedog, 29, an administrative assistant at the Company Store, purchased her first home in May 2008 — in the heart of the housing collapse but before Congress passed the tax credit. She found a house on La Crosse’s south side with a large backyard abutting the bluffs and offered the seller $25,000 less than his asking price, which he quickly accepted. After a home inspector discovered problems with the home’s heating system, the owner also purchased a new furnace and fixed a fireplace before the sale. Whitedog said she shopped around for a good interest rate but was hurried into buying due to increased regulations in the mortgage industry, which would have made her credit score less than favorable by the new standards. “I feel that maybe I was pushed a little fast to get into my house — not that I’m not happy with it, but don’t buy a house just to try to help somebody else, because it doesn’t always work out,” said Whitedog, “but I’m super happy with this place!” Editor's Note: In the spirit of full disclosure, we note that Nick Koegl is a former sales representative of Second Supper.
September 17, 2009 // 7
After the housing bust, Realtors kept busy
It is too soon to judge the economic impact of the first-time home buyers’ tax credit, but it sure has stimulated the office hours of the local real estate industry. “Oh my gosh, I am going nuts right now because of it,” said Dawn Garmes, a mortgage loan officer at Altra Federal Credit Union. Although final figures have not been calculated for the ongoing rebate program, which began in February and ends in November, Garmes estimated that 80 percent of the loans she calculates are for first-time home buyers, an increase of about 300 percent. To receive the tax credit, a “first-time home buyer” — defined as someone who has not owned a home for three years prior to purchase — must have an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000, or $150,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly. Eligible buyers can claim a rebate of up to $8,000 — or 10 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less — on their 2009 or amended 2008 tax returns. The income and age limits have helped move homes on the cheaper end of the local real estate market. Bill Favre, a Realtor with Cindy Gerke
and Associates, said most first-time home buyers generally look at properties that are $125,000 or less. “Things have just dramatically increased since that (tax) incentive has been out there, as opposed to the past where those houses generally sat on the market for a while,” he said. Although anecdotal evidence seems to indicate an increased demand among home buyers, lenders aren’t as freewheeling as they had been in the past. Garmes said most home loans will require a minimum down payment of 2.5 percent of the purchase price. Additionally, lenders will scour a buyer’s credit history to ensure to ensure that a new mortgage won’t push a buyer’s debt ratio past 40 percent of his take-home income. “The ‘no money down’ programs are pretty much gone,” Garmes said. “Everything is going crazy in this industry. It’s a lot stricter than it used to be.” In addition to the federal tax credits, Couleecap, a local nonprofit agency, offers a number of resources to aid low-income home buyers, including classes and grants. Kahya Fox, the housing assistant director, said the people she assists are more informed than they had been in the past.
In part she attributes this to the downturn in the local housing market and a dramatic increase in foreclosures. “The big thing with this housing market kind of bottoming out the way that it has, I think it made people more savvy for when they decide to be home buyers,” Fox said.
— Adam Bissen
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entertainment directory // September 17 to 23 thursdaY,
just a roadie away
Del's Bar // 229 3rd St. Nick Shattuck • 10 p.m.
The Starlite Lounge // 222 Pearl St. Kies & Kompanie • 5 p.m.
Son Voltt // Sept. 27
The cellar (UW-L) // 1741 State St. Derek James • 7 p.m.
First Avenue • $19
Kings of Leon // Sept. 28 Target Center • $44
Popcorn Tavern // 308 4th St S Roster McCabe • 10 p.m.
Grizzly Bear // Sept.30
tHE ROOT NOTE // 115 4th St. S. Nathaniel Seer • 12 p.m.
First Avenue •$19
moby // Oct. 1 Myth Nightclub• $27
The Arterial // 1003 S. 16th St. Bill the Singing Cowboy • 5:30 p.m.
Telefon Tel Aviv // Oct. 2 7th Street Entry• $7.50
JB's Speakeasy // 717 Rose St. Ministry of Love • 10 p.m.
Popcorn Tavern // 308 4th St S Up and Coming • 10 p.m.
Roster McCabe, a reggae/funk/rock group out of Minneapolis, has been building buzz in area on the strength of their soulful live shows and excellent hair. They will perform Thursday night at the Popcorn Tavern.
My Second Home //2104 George St.
Wilco // Oct. 2 Roy Wilkins Auditorium• $34
Paxico • 8 p.m.
Popcorn Tavern // 308 4th St S Som'n Jazz • 10 p.m.
Popcorn Tavern // 308 4th St S Paulie • 10 p.m.
the Jay Street Joint //324 Jay St. T.U.G.G. • 10 p.m.
Waterfront Tavern // 328 Front St S. Chris Bucheit and Steve Meger • 8 p.m.
tHE ROOT NOTE // 115 4th St. S. Four Potatoes & Hypnopotamus• 8:30 p.m.
The Jay Street Joint //324 Jay St. Open Jam • 8 p.m.
Pearl Street Brewery // 1401 St. Andrew St. Cheech and Chubba • 4 p.m.
Cavalier Lounge // 114 5th Ave N Bumpity Boom Boom • 10 p.m.
George Street Pub // 1728 George St. Jesse Gomez • 9 p.m.
tHE ROOT NOTE // 115 4th St. S. Jazz Jam • 8:30 p.m.
Cavalier Lounge // 114 5th Ave N Bad Axe River Band • 10 p.m.
Piggy's blues lounge // 501 Front St S. Ross William Perry Band • 8 p.m.
American Legion // 711 6th St. S Midwest Banjo Jamboree • 9 p.m.
Northside Oasis //620 Gillette St. Open mic with Abbey Lane• 8 p.m.
JB's Speakeasy // 717 Rose St. SOMA • 10 p.m.
Popcorn Tavern // 308 4th St S Mr. Blink • 10 p.m.
Piggy's blues lounge // 501 Front St S. Ross William Perry Band • 8 p.m.
Northside Oasis //620 Gillette St. King Everything • 9:30 p.m.
Popcorn Tavern // 308 4th St. S. Shawn's "Prom Night" Open Jam • 10 p.m.
Popcorn Tavern // 308 4th St S Mitch's Open Jam • 10 p.m.
tHE ROOT NOTE // 115 4th St. S. The Ericksons w/ Bluff Country • 8:30 p.m.
Mississippi Explorer // Riverside Park Fayme Rochelle and friends •5:30 p.m.
Houghton's //1002 Jackson St. John and Mike Caucutt • 8 p.m.
Nighthawks Tap // 401 S. Third St. Open Accoustic Jam • 10 p.m.
George Street Pub // 1728 George St. Jesse Gomez • 9 p.m.
Nighthawks Tap // 401 S. Third St. The Lost Marbles • 10 p.m.
Nighthawks Tap // 401 S. Third St. Defcon 5 • 10 p.m.
Del's Bar // 229 3rd St. Rich Wooten • 10 p.m.
The Ericksons plant new roots
By Adam Bissen
email@example.com When we last caught up with the Ericksons, a neo-folk duo comprised of two La Crosse-born sisters, they were riding a wave of Brooklyn buzz between tours of the East and West coasts. They had just released an album, the haunting Middle of the Night, and a sold-out crowd at the Root Note marveled at the musical development these Midwesterners had found in New York City. Their harmonies weren’t just impressive — they were practically perfect. The Ericksons will be back in town Friday night for another show at the Root Note, and if geography is any indication, we may be able to count on more regular performances. In February, the duo left Brooklyn and moved to Minneapolis, hoping that the new scene will help them connect to a deeper audience. “A lot of the people that we knew, especially the people that we knew musically, were like ‘How can you leave New York?’” Bethany Erickson recalled in August when the group was in town for the Great River Folk Festival. “Because there’s a weird thing about New York where people think you’re cool or something just because you live there. "But for us we just knew better. ... There was a new step to be taken and a ceiling had been reached there.” While the sisters are happy to be back in the Midwest, they credit New York for the development of their career. Younger sister Jenny Kochsiek (Bethany’s surname offers a more pronounceable band name) moved
to New York City in 2005 and took a job as a public school teacher. Bethany moved in soon afterward and the two worked to parlay a life of singing into a viable music career. The Ericksons began working the open mic circuit, and the response in Brooklyn was immediate. They said they were offered a gig after their first performance, so wowed was the crowd by their original music. “The beautiful thing is that she is just a master of harmonies,” Erickson said about Kochsiek. “I think with the sisterly connection there’s a vibe going on that’s special of course, but any melody that I write, any new song, she would immediately key into it.” Although they didn’t have much experience in the music business, they kept writing songs and following the cues of others on the scene. In just a few years time, the Ericksons developed a New York fan base, began touring regionally, recorded an album and released it at a sold-out concert in Brooklyn. They followed that with an East Coast tour from Vermont to Tennessee and a West Coast tour from Seattle to California. In an era of put-on musicianship, there’s something inherently genuine about the Ericksons’ music. Their harmonies are ethereal while seemingly effortless, their lyrics universal but not schmaltzy. Although the Ericksons built up a certain buzz in New York City, they said they wanted to spread their audience beyond musicians and “cool kids.” Thus came the move to Minneapolis, a city with natural roots and an engaged arts scene. In the coming year they hope to record a second album and engage the Twin Cities before embarking on another national tour. “I feel like Minneapolis is really where we need to be, and it’s a perfect home base,” Kochsiek said. “I miss New York every day for all the madness that it is, but I wouldn’t want to go back. I feel like this is where we need to be to make our career what we want.”
September 17, 2009 // 9
10// September 17, 2009
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Oktoberfest Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu Munich, Germany
Depending on your priorities in life, September may harken the start of school, football, original network television or squirrel hunting, but it has a singular appeal among beer snobs: Oktoberfest lagers. Yes, careful readers, Oktoberfest occurs in September. I don’t have the column inches here to fully explain this calendrical disconnect, but when you have a smooth lager in your hands, it doesn’t much matter anyway. Last autumn, my first as Second Supper’s beer critic, I reviewed a different Oktoberfest for six straight weeks — a fun streak that I hope to keep alive in 2009. The only thing stopping me, I suppose, is the variety of brews stocked by my local retailers, but if this beat has taught me anything it’s that when it comes to beer, Wisconsin will always provide. Yet for my inaugural beer in the Great American Oktoberfest Tour, I opted for this selection from Minnesota. The Summit Oktoberfest pours a nice auburn hue with a thin beige head and racing carbonation. Inhaling from a distance, the aroma seems airy with faint caramel-like malts and traces of grassy hops, but a deep whiff evokes something closer to mosquito
spray. There’s some serious alcohol in this Appearance 4 brew! — 7.7 percent abv, more than I’ve Aroma: 7 seen in any other Oktoberfest. Even so, the fla- Taste: 8 vor comes on light with toffee sweetness quickly Mouthfeel: 6 shifting to dry hops. That heavy hop pres- Drinkability: 8 ence may be a staple for Summit beers, but here it nearly obliterates the Total: 33 malts, which are usually the backbone of Marzen-style Oktoberfests. Some biscuit flavors do arise from the middle of the tongue, but this beer’s defining trait is a peppery finish. The mouthfeel is surprisingly thin-bodied for a high alcohol lager, and it’s drinkability is also way too easy. In many ways, this is a lager like no other — dry, hoppy, thin-bodied and high alcohol, a nice comparison for all the Oktoberfests that are to follow.
— Adam Bissen
er’s n g i s De Drugs The
There’s a pretense that many of we music followers adhere to, that the addition of orchestral strings or classical piano to an album is sign of its creators' evolution. (There’s something inherently odd in describing a turn to centuries-old musical styles as forward-thinking.) This refined Masterpiece Theatre veneer has always been applied to Muse’s penchant for epic rock, but The Resistance kicks the band’s sonic megalomania into greater heights. While previous albums mixed the orchestral with more conventional rock songs, within this work the contrasting styles are often separated into styles that range far beyond the old halves. A Gary Glitter stomp opens the album with its most straightforward rock song in “Uprising.” Buzz bass pulses the song into symphonic synth choruses and swinging guitars, overlain with Matt Bellamy’s desperate wails for revolution. The theme of revolt continues as piano-fueled electronics run through the title track, which, in swelling major key, states that “Love is our resistance.” The album’s third track, “Undisclosed Desires,” is Muse’s most unusual song, in that it sets its clock by hip-hop beats, staccato strings and Bellamy singing seductively. The album begins to reveal its greater ambitions with “The United States of Eurasia/Collateral Damage.” The track’s opening is a straight-out Queen style rock opera that dovetails into a Chopin piano piece devoid of edge or irony.
Oh hi, right now I am listening to a genre of music known as metalcore. I'm doing this because a reader made a request. This person also said Second Supper never talks about any good music. So here you go buddy, this one is for you. Metalcore combines hardcore punk and different genres of metal, thus its name. Influenced by early thrash bands such as Suicidal Tendancies, Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front and GWAR, as well as metal bands such as Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax, metalcore popped up in the early '90s. These early metalcore bands played loud and fast adrenaline rushes of sonic ruckus, usually with a couple of guitars, a drummer with a double kick drum, and a singer who did that growl/yell combination that makes the lyrics next to impossible to understand. Some of these early groups included Converge, Hatebreed, Cave In, Integrity, Earth Crisis, Rorschach and Candiria. Many of these bands subscribed to straight-edge ideologies (abstinence from drugs and alcohol) and were down with stuff like animal rights and veganism. While the bands that influenced metalcore were in heavy rotation on my stereo in my delinquent teenage skate punk days, metalcore was something I never
September 17, 2009 // 11
ARTS Medium: Album Stimulus: Muse — The Resistance Anno: 2009 Much of what passes between this track and the album’s three-ring coda are variations of Muse’s rock side. “Guiding Light” is a stately ballad, whereas “Unnatural Selection” rushes straightforward and “MK Ultra” melds rumbling bass lines with Icarian synths that lead to a string-laden freefall and triumphant resurrection. Another unusual track prefaces the ending in “I Belong to You,” which starts as a jaunty piano track and spends its middle as a Saint-Saens piece of majesty. The weakest part of the three-track, fully orchestral finale is Bellamy’s occasional wailing. Were it not for these intrusions, the 12-minute work would have been flawless. Nonetheless, “Exogenesis” proves that the band has a future in symphony. While it may be cliché to label rock bands using classical elements as artiste savants, Muse has been running this route for long enough that these songs aren’t sudden grabs for orchestral street cred. This is an album that fans of the band could see coming for years, and when it arrived, The Resistance neither dropped the ball nor overindulged itself into incomprehensibility. What is equally notable about this work is its aim beyond the symphonic, how the unexpected styles that drop into the flow add to its gravity and make the whole more encompassing than a rock opera. Evolved? Certainly, but not necessarily parallel to expectations.
— Brett Emerson got into, thus am probably going to come across like the amateur that I am and leave out a ton of bands that mean something to those of you who like this stuff. Toward the end of the '90s, a new wave of metalcore bands came out with more of an emphasis on melody and — gasp! — some lyrics that a person could understand. This stuff became known as melodic metalcore and includes bands such as Killswitch Engage, Avenged Sevenfold, Trivium, As I Lay Dying, Atreyu, All That Remains and Unearth. A million other bands I'm sure could be talked about, but I'm so out of the loop I don't know which ones are relevant. I associate this music these days, perhaps ignorantly, to high schoolaged scene kids with the fashion trappings of guys wearing girl jeans, giant ear plugs, tsunami hair and a thousand camwhore friends on MySpace who all look like them. I most likely couldn't tell you the difference between metalcore, screamo or brootal, and quite honestly, I'm not all that interested to take the time to figure it out. In truth, this genre of music makes me feel old and think such unhip thoughts as not understanding the music kids are into these days. Instead, I'll listen to the reissues of Beatles and Radiohead albums that came out this past month and be a washed up has-been. Yo metalcore, I'm really happy for you, I'mma let you finish, but Beatles/Radiohead had some of the best albums of all time.
— Shuggypop Jackson
Whatever Works (2009) Director: Woody Allen Cast: Larry David, Evan Rachel Wood, Patricia Clarkson Writer: Woody Allen You would think that, as a film critic, I'd be well-versed in the cinema of Woody Allen. Sadly, this is not the case. As a teenager, I thought of his movies as too smart, too artsy, too more-for-adults. I've heard his latest, "Whatever Works," described as "vintage Woody Allen," perhaps due in large part to the fact that he wrote the script in the '70s and resurrected it now because of the writer's strike. Regardless, if this is vintage Allen, as many a Tomatometer encapsulated review claims, then I've been wasting my time not watching his movies. Hey, I'm an adult now. I'm educated. And pragmatic. And highly neurotic. It's all making more sense. Allen and his protagonists, in this case Boris Yellnikoff (Larry David), appear more like close friends than characters on a screen. If only people like these existed in real life. In theory, Boris Yellnikoff is my kind of guy. He's rude, pessimistic, blunt, insightful and, most importantly, impossibly funny. He's the bitter old codger you find scowling at any given time down at the local coffee shop, angry diatribes on politics and philosophy and sports and women flowing freely out his mouth. "Whatever Works" finds Boris matched with one incarnation of his antithesis, a Southern belle named Melodie (Evan Rachel Wood), whom he takes in, instills with
existential pessimism and marries. It's clear from the get-go exactly how bullheaded David's character is; you won't find him changing in any way. What isn't clear is exactly how he'll sway Melodie and her far-right parents (Patricia Clarkson and Ed Begley Jr.) to see things his way (because you know Allen won't compromise the philosophical and political subtexts embedded in his script). And though Boris' world view is decidedly negative, the film is overall positive — very positive. You might expect a film like this to turn a bittersweet third act; I know I did. Lessons and experiences gained usually come in the face of loss, but in this case, Boris Yellnikoff is the lesson. He's a walking (or to be more exact, hobbling) book of real-life experience. He's the catalyst for change in the characters around him, a broken record whose words could suddenly become epiphany. He speaks with the zeal and enthusiasm of a college professor, but simultaneously entertains with the best of stand-up comedians. As a result, the people around him adopt his existential adage, "Whatever works." Here Larry David finds a role that suits him perfectly. He's the perfect Boris and the perfect stand-in for Woody Allen, and if Boris and "Whatever Works" are vintage Woody Allen, then I want more.
— Nick Cabreza
12// September 17, 2009
Editor's Note: Food and Drink Specials is a free listing for Second Supper’s regular advertisers and $25 per week for others. For information, call (608) 782-7001.
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BARREL INN $2.25 for mini pitcher cHuck's All day everyday: $1 Doctor, $2 Silos $3 pitchers, $1.75 rails EAGLE’s NEsT Open to close: $2 U “Call” it HOWIE’s Happy hour 4 to 9 p.m.; 9 p.m. to close: Night Before Class - $3 pitchers of the beast IRIsH HILLs Happy Hour 4 to 7 p.m. daily JB’s sPEAkEAsy $1.75 domestic bottles PETTIBONE BOAT cLuB $1 oﬀ fried chicken PLAyERs Price by Dice RINGsIDE closed scHmIDTy’s $6.95 lunch buﬀet $9.95 breakfast buﬀet 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. sLOOPy's ALmA mATER $11 buckets of beers (pregame-close), taco specials during game THE JOINT $2 domestics and rails, 4 to 8 p.m., Shots of Doctor $1 all day, everyday THE HELm All day (everyday!) specials $1.25 Old Style Light, $1.50 LAX Lager/ Light, $1 shots of Dr. THE LIBRARy Sunday Fun Day - Wristband Night TOP sHOTs $5 Pitchers/$2 bottles of Miller products (11-4pm) $2 Corona Bottles, $2 Kilo Kai Mixers , $3 Bloodys (7-1AM) TRAIN sTATION BBQ Ask for great eats
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BARREL INN Buck burgers BROTHERs $2.50 Blatz vs. Old Style pitchers cHuck’s Monday-Friday: Happy Hour 2 to 6 p.m., 50 cents oﬀ everything but the daily special Guys’ Nite Out: $1.50 silos EAGLE’s NEsT 7 p.m. to close: $1.50 domestic pints, $1.50 rails HOWIE’s 9 p.m. to close: $3.50 domestic pitchers JB’s sPEAkEAsy $1.75 domestic bottles PETTIBONE BOAT cLuB Kids eat free with adult PLAyERs Happy Hour all night long, two-for-one RINGsIDE Closed scHmIDTy’s BBQ sandwich sLOOPy's ALmA mATER $2 can beer (2-6 p.m.) $11 buckets of beers (6-close) sPORTs NuT Buck Burgers THE cAvALIER Martini Ladies’ Night, James Martini: vodka, triple sec, orange juice THE JOINT $2 domestics and rails, 4 to 8 p.m., Shots of Doctor $1 TOP sHOTs $1.75 Miller/Bud Light Taps, $2.25 MIcro/Craft Taps, $2.50 Cherry Bombs (7-1AM)
BARREL INN Bucket Night, six beers for $9 BROTHERs Wristband night cHuck’s 50-cent taps domestic, $3 pitchers cOcONuT JOE’s $2 Tuesdays, including $2 bottles, import taps, beer pong, apps, single shot-mixers, featured shots, 50-cent taps EAGLE’s NEsT 7 p.m. to close: $1.50 domestic pints, $1.50 rails HOWIE’s 9 p.m. to close: $1 rails, $2.50 pitchers, beer pong IRIsH HILLs $2 domestic cans JB’s sPEAkEAsy $1.75 domestic bottles PETTIBONE BOAT cLuB 2 for 1 burger night PLAyERs Karaoke @ 10 p.m., 2-4-1 Happy Hour 5 to 10 p.m., all you can drink rail mixers @ 10 p.m. RINGsIDE Open 4-9 scHmIDTy’s Tacos sLOOPy's ALmA mATER $2 can beer (2-6 p.m.) 12" pizza: $8.99 up to 5 toppings (4-close) sPORTs NuT Tacos $1.25 THE JOINT $2 domestics and rails, 4 to 8 p.m., Shots of Doctor $1 THE LIBRARy $1 domestic taps and rails, one-half price Tequila TOP sHOTs $1.75 Rails, $1.50 Domestic Taps, $3.50 Jager Bombs (7-1AM) TRAIN sTATION BBQ 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., extra side with sandwich; 4 to 9 p.m., $1 oﬀ rib dinner
BARREL INN $6 all you can drink taps and rails, 8 to midnight BROTHERs 10-cent wings, $1 Miller High Life bottles, $1.50 rail mixers cHuck’s $2 Pearl Street Brewery beers cOcONuT JOE’s $1.25 for 1 pound of wings, $1 PBR/PBR Light bottles, $1.50 Rolling Rock, $2 jumbo rail mixers, $2.25 Bud Lights, $1 shot of the week EAGLE’s NEsT 7 p.m. to close: $1.50 domestic pints, $2 craft pints, $1.50 rails HOWIE’s $5 all you can drink JB’s sPEAkEAsy Happy Hour 5 to 7 p.m. LEGEND’s $1 shot of the week, $4 domestic pitchers, $1.25 1 pound of wings PETTIBONE BOAT cLuB $6.99 AUCE pasta PLAyERs Karaoke @ 10 p.m., 2-4-1 Happy Hour 5 to 10 p.m., $1 Pabst cans, Dr. shots @ 10 p.m. RINGsIDE $6.50 double cheeseburger scHmIDTy’s Chili dogs sLOOPy's ALmA mATER Wings, Wings, Wings... $2 oﬀ 14: pizza, $2 can beer (2-6 p.m.) sPORTs NuT 15-cent wings THE cAvALIER $1.50 taps 6 to 8 p.m. THE JOINT $2 domestics and rails, 4 to 8 p.m., Shots of Doctor $1 THE LIBRARy Karaoke, $2 double rails & all bottles
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$2 domestic bottles, $2.50 Skyy/Absolut mixers, $2 Dr. shots (7-1am)
TRAIN sTATION BBQ Special varies
BARREL INN $4.50 domestic pitchers BROTHERs $3 Three Olive mixers, $3 Mojitos, $2 Cherry Bombs, $1 Bazooka Joes cHuck’s After-Class $3 Pitchers, $1.75 Rails cOcONuT JOE’s Happy Hour 7 to 9 p.m.: $2 for all single-shot mixers and all beers, $2.50 jumbo Captain Morgan mixers, $2.50 jumbo Bacardi mixers (all flavors), $3 Jagerbombs EAGLE’s NEsT 3 to 9 p.m.: two-for-one domestic bottles and rail drinks HOWIE’s 9 p.m. to close: $2 Captain mixers, $2 bottles/cans, $3 Jager bombs JB’s sPEAkEAsy Happy Hour 5 to 7 p.m. LEGEND’s $3 jumbo Svedka mixers, $2.50 Corona bottles, $2.50 Cuervo shots PETTIBONE BOAT cLuB Pettibone Fish Fry
PLAyERs 2-4-1 Happy Hour 3 to 9 p.m. RINGsIDE $5 chicken salad on rye w/ lettuve, tomato and onion scHmIDTy’s Fish sandwich sLOOPy's ALmA mATER Friday Fish, $2 can beer (2-6 p.m.) THE JOINT $2 domestics and rails, 4 to 8 p.m., Shots of Doctor $1 THE LIBRARy $1 kamikaze and red headed sluts TOP sHOTs $2.00 Captain Mixers, $2.00 Long Island Mixers, $3.00 Eﬀen Vodka Mixers (7-1AM) TRAIN sTATION BBQ 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Chicken on fire $7.95; 4 to 9 p.m., Bones and briskets $13.95
BARREL INN $10 pitcher and pizza BROTHERS FAC 4 to 8 p.m.: $2 taps, $2 rails, $2.50 Miller Lite pitchers, $3 Bacardi mixers, $3 Mojitos, $2 Cherry Bombs, $1 Bazooka Joes cHuck’s 12 to 3 p.m.: Buy one, get one domestic beer; Holmen Meat Locker jerky raﬄe cOcONuT JOE’s Happy Hour 7 to 9 p.m.: $2 for all single-shot mixers and all beers, $2.50 jumbo Captain Morgan mixers, $2.50 jumbo Bacardi mixers (all flavors), $3 Jagerbombs EAGLE’s NEsT Open to close: $2 U “Call” it HOWIE’s 9 p.m. to close: $2 Bacardi mixers, $2 domestic pints, $1.50 shots blackberry brandy IRIsH HILLs $14.95 steak and golf JB’s sPEAkEAsy Happy Hour 5 to 7 p.m. THE JOINT $2 domestics and rails, 4 to 8 p.m., Shots of Doctor $1 LEGEND’s $3 jumbo Svedka mixers, $2 Jonestown shots PETTIBONE BOAT cLuB Prime riv PLAyERs 2-4-1 Happy Hour 3 to 8 p.m. RINGsIDE $1 oﬀ wild wings, $1 oﬀ philly steak and cheese sLOOPy's ALmA mATER $11 buckets for college football, 2 for 1 pints/pitches w/ student ID over 21 sPORTs NuT 15-cent wings THE LIBRARy $1 kamikaze and red headed sluts TOP sHOTs $5 Miller/Bud Light Pitchers, $2.25 Leinies Bottles (7-1AM)TRAIN sTATION BBQ One-half chicken three bones $12.95
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BARREL INN 25-cent wings, $1 shots of Doctor BROTHERs Wristband night, $1 shots with wristband $2.50 SoCo and Jack cHuck’s Ladies’ Nite Out: $1.50 rail mixers, $2.50 X bombs cOcONuT JOE’s Happy Hour 7 to 9 p.m.: $2 for all single shot mixers and all beers. Wristband Night: $5 college I.D., $9 general public EAGLE’s NEsT 7 p.m. to close: $1.50 domestic pints, $2 craft pints, $1.50 rails HOWIE’s 9 p.m. to close: $1.25 rails, $1.75 bottles/cans IRIsH HILLs $14.95 steak and golf JB’s sPEAkEAsy Happy Hour 5 to 7 p.m. THE cAvALIER All Mojitos $5 THE JOINT $2 domestics and rails, 4 to 8 p.m., Shots of Doctor $1 LEGEND’s After comedy: Pint Night - $1 pints of rail mixers and domestic taps, $2 pints of call mixers and import taps, $3 pints of top-shelf mixers PETTIBONE BOAT cLuB BBQ night, $1 oﬀ PLAyERs 2-4-1 Happy Hour 5 to 10 p.m., $2 Captain mixers, $1.75 domestic beer, $1.50 rails, $1 Pabst cans @ 10 p.m. RALPH’s Southwest chicken pita $5 RINGsIDE Southwest chicken pita scHmIDTy’s Tacos sLOOPy's ALmA mATER Ladies night, 2 for 1 drinks (6-close), $2 can beer (2-6 p.m.) sPORTs NuT $8.99 12-ounce T-bone THE HELm $1 Vodka Drinks, $1.00 12 oz Dom. Taps, $1.25 12 oz prem. Taps, $3 Orange Bombs THE LIBRARy $1 kamikaze and red headed sluts TOP sHOTs 5 Domestic Bottles for $10, $5 Micro/Import Bottles $11.50, $7 Micro/Craft Pitchers (7-1AM) TRAIN sTATION BBQ 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Barn burner $7.95; 4 to 9 p.m., Hobo dinner (serves two) $30.95
September 17, 2009 // 13
14// September 17, 2009
CROSSWORD "Dietary Restrictions"- Don't go over your limit By Matt Jones Across 1 Gentle farm animal 5 Motor scooter model 10 Canadian Indian 14 Cookie served crumbled in some drinks 15 Rods with wheels 16 Gordie on the ice 17 Guy who grows tubers in Tubingen? 20 Up to this point 21 1936 Summer Olympics track star Jesse 22 "Hasta ___!" 25 Humdinger 28 Bird in hieroglyphics 29 It's a nice piece of glass 30 Diamond figures 34 Revolutionary fixing flats in California? 38 Mining find 39 Wager 40 Abduction ship, in tabloids 41 The Jaguars, on some scoreboards 42 10-minute film about baseball's Darryl? 46 Pro grp. 47 Like ___ of sunshine 48 Peek-___ 49 Column type 51 Way too proper 53 Flower part 56 "Shush!" 58 Yiddish outburst high up in Colorado? 64 "___ Love Her" (Beatles song)
65 Journalist ___ Rogers St. Johns 66 Prefix before "dynamic" 67 Subservient response 68 Components of entertainment centers 69 Showy light Down 1 Bump locale? 2 "___ 'Friends' Electric?" (1979 Gary Numan song) 3 Debussy's "La ___" 4 Speech full of hot air 5 She makes a living off of letters
Answers to Issue 179's
"Tune In, Drop Out"
6 Former Montreal player 7 It seems like it'll never end 8 Humane Society adoptee 9 Drunk-skunk connection 10 Dish on a Chinese menu 11 Tattoo flower, often 12 McGregor of "Angels & Demons" 13 Wriggly critters 18 Author Rand 19 "Blues in the Night (My Mama Done ___ Me)" 22 Alcoholic morning drink 23 Scrubs a space mission 24 SF team, to fans 26 Insult preceder? 27 Full of foliage 29 Czar named "The Great" 31 Teens' summer work opportunities, usually 32 Location of the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World 33 Adult shop purchase, perhaps 35 "Charlotte's Web" author's monogram 36 Steel for use in concrete
37 Romaine lettuce, alternately 43 Singer with the 1974 #1 hit "Rock Me Gently" 44 Squash handful 45 Hispaniola resident 50 Clearasil rival 51 Edible pockets 52 Stephen of "The Crying Game" 53 Supercomputer company since the 1970s 54 Optimally rated 55 Some TV screens 57 Home of the Runnin' Rebels 59 ___-jongg 60 Like 123, but not 456 61 Word before maiden names 62 Precious metal: Sp. 63 Hither and ___ ÂŠ2009 Jonesin' Crosswords (editor@ jonesincrosswords. com) For answers to this puzzle, call: 1-900226-2800, 99 cents per minute. Must be 18+. Or to bill to your credit card, call: 1-800-655-6548. Reference puzzle #0432.
September 17, 2009 // 15
THE LAST WORD
Back in My Day By Shuggypop Jackson firstname.lastname@example.org "Dude, what's going on with the Second Supper?" Not a day goes by the past few weeks where somebody hasn't asked me that question. The reason for all of the inquiries has to do with the new direction the paper has been going for the past month. People fear change, and in a town like La Crosse where things tend to always stay the same, the SS changes have created more of a ripple than I would have expected. Chill out people, we've got this. I think. As for what these changes are, honestly, I don't exactly know the overall vision. We have a new owner who is a vet of the newspaper game, and I trust his judgment. Already I have been excited by
some layout changes that have gone into effect. Simple things like breaking the paper into appropriate sections (music stuff goes here, news features go here, etc.) make the paper more intuitive and easier to digest. We have a new program to improve the quality of our photographs, as well as more pages in color and sidebars that add to the overall aesthetic. An atmosphere of professionalism permeates HQ now more so than it used to, which being an elder statesman of the bunch, I appreciate. Other areas have personally been a little harder to digest. Those of us who have been serving up issues of this rag are a collection of freaks and geeks, creative misfits that are drawn to things off the beaten path. We all have a passion for writing and an equal disdain for the status quo. Only one of us has a journalism background; the rest of us are creative writers who appreciate the edgy stylings of Hunter S. Thompson, Lester Bangs and Dan Savage over whatever NYT writer got the Pulitzer in journalism this year. We fit into the age bracket that is more likely to get our current events from Jon Stewart than Brian Williams. None of us are exactly drawn to writing middle-ofthe-road news coverage that you find in the local daily. It's just not really a fit for the type of writers we are. Which is where the ballyhooed gossip circulating around town comes into play.
There is a lot of talk around HQ of rebranding the SS, even possibly changing the name, and appealing to a wider audience. Hey, I'm all for this. I think. But the thing is, I was originally drawn to write for the SS because it was a publication that I wanted to read. Inevitably I will go through some growing pains. In the past I was given full creative control to take any offbeat angle in stories I covered. It was all about artistic integrity, not the lousy stipends we get paid. I wasn't censored, the seven words you can't say on TV weren't taken off the palette. I've published some writings I'm really proud of, and I've also published some experiments that didn't quite work and resulted in total crap I'd prefer my name wasn't associated with. But that in a nutshell was the charm of the SS. We were an unpolished turd that occasionally swung for the fences and hit one out. For those of you who got us in all our rough glory, you looked forward to it. To others, they found us asinine and stuck to the Trib or Coulee Region Women. Recent articles that have been printed definitely have an AP feel to them. I am fine with this and, in some areas of the paper, think this could be a good thing. I think. Having articles I turn in heavily edited to fit this style and remove a lot of my personality is a blow to the ego, but I'll get over it. We were a pretty communal operation in the past with equal say in shaping what hit the streets. Now my
status seems to be more of a freelance gun for hire. "Writers Wanted" signs are in the windows, making me feel I'm now easily replaceable. But these are just personal vanities; overall I'd like to think I am on the same page as the new SS vision, am open to being a team player and following where the new direction takes us. I think. Where it takes us, I don't exactly know, but I think I have an idea. The Isthmus in Madison is a template that has been mentioned to strive for. In the age of the Internet, where daily papers fold on a weekly basis and TV news stations desperately struggle to remain relevant with their pleas to follow them on Twitter, it's difficult to carve a niche that people regularly return to. I might be putting the SS on a pedestal it doesn't belong on, but I considered it the only media source in town that doesn't reek of Midwestern blandness. We can be equally sophisticated, smarmy, low brow and quirky. In a city that lacks underground radio, an art house cinema, limited amounts of touring performances, and is far removed from being a cultural hub that's up on the latest trends, we take pride in being a homegrown source to attempt to provide these things, while lending a voice that subverts the dominant paradigm of mainstream conformity. We also have the balls to call out BS where we see it. I'd like to think those aspects are going to remain. I think. Just without the potty-mouthed humor.
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16// September 17, 2009
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After $50 mail-in rebates that come as Visa® Debit Cards. New 2-yr. agmts. and Premium Mobile Internet Plans required. $30 act. fees may apply.
Let us help you find a location: visit uscellular.com or call 1-888-BUY-USCC Things we want you to know: New two-year agreement (subject to early termination fee) and credit approval required. A $30 activation fee may apply. Regulatory Cost Recovery Fee applies; this is not a tax or government-required charge. Additional fees, taxes, terms, conditions and coverage areas apply and vary by plan, service and phone. Use of service constitutes acceptance of the terms of our Customer Service Agreement. See store for details or visit uscellular.com. Promotional Phone subject to change. U.S. Cellular Visa Debit Card issued by MetaBank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Allow 10–12 weeks for processing. Card does not have cash access and can be used at any merchant location that accepts Visa Debit Cards. Card valid for 120 days after issued. Premium Mobile Internet Plan is $19.95 per month. Application and data network usage charges may apply when accessing applications. Contract Renewal: Customers who have completed at least 18 months of a two-year agreement are eligible for promotional equipment pricing. See store for eligibility. Free Incoming claim based on combined voice, Text and Pix usage by typical U.S. Cellular customers. Mobile Broadband on 3G Network only available with select handsets. Kansas Customers: In areas in which U.S. Cellular receives support from the Federal Universal Service Fund, all reasonable requests for service must be met. Unresolved questions concerning services availability can be directed to the Kansas Corporation Commission Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at 1-800-662-0027. Limited-time offer. Trademarks and trade names are the property of their respective owners. ©2009 U.S. Cellular.