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Category: Arts & Humanities

Going back to the island with a ‘Lost’ podcast and why rewatch shows are taking over

Los Angeles Times

Quoted: Jonathan Gray, a media studies professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, described rewatch podcasts as a sort of virtual book club, where fans can move through a show as quickly or as slowly as they want. Podcasts also offer a “deep dive” that fans may not have gotten the first time a show aired.

“Water-cooler discussions are short,” Gray said. “You’re not meant to spend 45 minutes at the water cooler talking about last night’s episode of ‘Lost.’”

Interview: Cartoonist Lynda Barry, Author Of ‘Making Comics’


It’s always a surprise to see who the MacArthur Foundation selects to receive its annual fellowships — the six-figure awards known as Genius Grants — but one of this year’s picks was particularly exhilarating: comic artist Lynda Barry. For anyone who read alternative weeklies from the ’80s through the ’00s, she was the eternally wise and strange mind behind Ernie Pook’s Comeek.

How MacArthur ‘genius’ Lynda Barry is exploring brain creativity with true artists: Preschoolers

The Washington Post

As an associate professor of interdisciplinary creativity at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Barry is pushing the envelope on understanding how the brain creates and responds to words and pictures — a scholarly envelope that, in her mind, should be positively covered with illuminating doodles.

Carrie Coon On Her New Podcast, The Joys Of Voice Acting, And Her Surprising Career


Coon’s first TV role was in 2011, on The Playboy Club, which only ran for three episodes. Before that, she was kicking around the regional theater scene in the Midwest — she received an MFA in acting at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and later moved to Chicago. Mainstream success and becoming a familiar face seems to be something Coon never counted on, but has greeted as a pleasant surprise.

The stereotypes we keep


It’s bold, real and wildly uncomfortable — the basic ingredients of a play created to spark debate. The Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning Clybourne Park, playing at UW-Madison’s Mitchell Theatre through Nov. 24, starts on a chipper note, with characters blithely debating origins of ice cream while dropping subtle hints of cultural ignorance. But it erupts into poisonous verbal sparring and screaming matches about racism, prejudice and fear. It’s a heavy performance to watch, let alone perform.

Exhibit at the Tory Folliard Gallery will celebrate life and work of John Wilde

Milwaukee Magazine

Noted: Wilde (pronounced WILL-dee) was born in Milwaukee in 1919 and spent most of his life in Wisconsin, both producing art and teaching it for 34 years at UW-Madison. His medium of choice was painting, supplemented by printmaking, drawing and silverpoint – the ancient practice of drawing with silver wire fashioned into a mechanical pencil of sorts.

Street science: Mural project seeks to engage the public


Gliding thick brushes covered in browns, pinks, blues and silver across white walls, Melanie Stimmell Van Latum gives off a Bob Ross-like aura as she tackles her newest mural project. It’s study time at the Discovery Building, and all is quiet, except for the sounds of dripping man-made waterfalls and the splashing of the artist cleaning her acrylic-caked brushes.

Indigenous Wisconsin: Overture exhibit by Ho-Chunk artists tells many stories


Noted: Look more closely at “Untitled,” a 1985 oil-on-canvas work by the late Harry Whitehorse, and you will see how the artist’s use of pointillism, the impressionist technique of painting with distinct color dots, brings the sun-soaked image to life. Viewers might become transfixed by the buck’s stare, which reads as if unwanted visitors have interrupted his respite.

In addition to Whitehorse, purportedly born in a wigwam near the Indian Mission in Black River Falls in 1927 and proprietor of Chief Auto Body in Monona for 40 years, the exhibit’s other superstar is the late Truman Lowe, a former fine arts professor at UW-Madison who also served as curator of the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. The other artists are relatively unknown, with several exhibiting publicly for the first time.

Composer/Pianist Brianna Ware Shares Personal Favorites At Grace


Listeners who follow classical music in Madison will have noticed Lawren Brianna Ware.  In 2017, she was the Grand Prize winner in the Overture Center’s “Rising Stars” competition.  Since then she has finished a Master’s in piano performance at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she is now studying composition with Prof. Laura Schwendinger.  On Saturday, November 16th, Ms. Ware will play a concert with a number of collaborators as part of Grace Episcopal Church’s “Grace Presents” series.

Lynda Barry’s “Making Comics” is one of the best, most practical books ever written about creativity

Boing Boing

For many years, Barry has served as an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison art department and at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, using her method to teach both adults and children to get in touch with a creative impulse that is simultaneously deep, mysterious and irrational and trainable, biddable and reliable (with practice).

Want to Be More Creative? A MacArthur Genius Shows You How


The phone’s ringing, your email is pinging and there are only 10 precious minutes until your next meeting. Is it any wonder that you can’t come up with even a small coherent thought–much less a big creative idea?

Maybe it’s time for an intervention. That’s why I’d like you spend the next few moments listening to Lynda Barry. Last month Barry was one of 26 people chosen as a 2019 fellow of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. As The New York Times reported, “Known colloquially as the ‘genius’ grant (to the annoyance of the foundation), the fellowship honors ‘extraordinary originality’ and comes with a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000, to be distributed over five years.”

Mobile research, photography studio to study national parks


Years ago as an undergraduate student, Tomiko Jones learned from a Navajo potter that there was no word for “art” in his native language, suggesting instead that “art is how you walk into the room. It is how you move through the world.”

Now an assistant professor of art at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Jones plans to actualize that idea. She learned in June of the approval of a $75,000 grant from the UW–Madison School of Education to have a high-tech and environmentally sustainable mobile research and photography studio built by students in the College of Engineering’s Makerspace fabrication facility. While the grant won’t cover the cost of a vehicle to transport the studio, Jones says she will procure one and expects to be touring national parks with the studio in three to four years.

Hamel Center celebrates opening, bringing “Wisconsin touch after Wisconsin touch” to music school

The Capital Times

After nearly three years of anticipation and extensive construction, students, donors and faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison gathered Friday evening to celebrate the Hamel Music Center, a state-of-the-art facility that promises improved performance and recital venues for the Mead Witter School of Music.

New Hamel Music Center to open

Madison Magazine

When the Overture Center for the Arts opened in 2005, Madison obtained a crown jewel of a performance venue that remains the envy of many a larger city. Meanwhile, the students, faculty and guest artists who are part of the Mead Witter School of Music at the University of Wisconsin–Madison remained trapped in Mills Music Hall, and the other inadequate facilities in the outdated Humanities building.

UW-Madison’s music school celebrates its new building, which encompasses two concert halls and a rehearsal space

Tone Madison

UW-Madison’s new Hamel Music Center has been in the works for well over a decade and the project kicked into gear in 2009, when the university announced plans to knock down a college bar called Brothers and build much-needed practice and performance spaces for music students and faculty.  The result, at the corner of University Avenue and Lake Street, comprises a 660-seat concert hall, a smaller 300-seat recital hall, and a rehearsal space specifically designed for large ensembles. It’s a big, glitzy undertaking completed entirely with private funds, but something had to give—performance spaces in the Humanities Building, like Morphy Hall and Mills Concert Hall, are well past their prime in terms of acoustics and creature comforts. That said, music students have criticized UW for not including more rehearsal space in the new building, The Badger Herald reported in September.

Wisconsin artists shine at MMOCA Triennial exhibit

Wisconsin State Journal

When Pranav Sood arrived in Madison from his native Punjab, India, he looked for a place to live with one priority in mind: It had to be near an art museum.

So Sood, a painter and new MFA student in the UW-Madison Art Department, settled into a Downtown apartment just half a block away from the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Admission is free, so he could drop in anytime. And he hoped to network with other artists and learn more about the American art scene there.

Jessie Opoien: Lizzo’s magic let us all shine for a night — especially one twerking UW-Madison assistant professor

Capital Times

“If I’m shinin’, everybody gonna shine.”

When Lizzo sang it, she meant it.

For one magical night last week, she shared that moment with Madison. And in that moment, we all got to shine — but perhaps no one more than Sami Schalk, an assistant professor in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dissing Hendrix, a stoned pony and other highlights from rocker Steve Miller’s wild Washington Post interview

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee-born Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Steve Miller is renowned for his immortal hits: “The Joker,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Rock’n Me,” “Abracadabra” and others.

He’s also well-known for being outspoken. The day the Rock Hall announced Miller as one of the inductees in its Class of 2016, Miller in a Journal Sentinel interview called the hall “an exclusive private men’s club” and called on them “work more on music education programs and to make its museum something more than a place where they sell postcards, posters and T-shirts” — and he was critical of the Rock Hall, and the music industry at large, at the induction itself. 

Steve Miller cracked the code of 1970s radio. But he’s still raging against the music industry.

Washington Post

Steve Miller should have nothing to complain about. But on a recent afternoon, sitting in the elegant patron’s room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the singer and guitarist fires away when asked about his new set, “Welcome to the Vault.” The box, out Oct. 11, is a fascinating dip into his archives, 52 tracks that stretch over 65 years, from a 1951 performance by blues legend T-Bone Walker in his childhood living room to a 2016 jazz band reinvention of Miller’s “Take the Money and Run.”

Film for a troubled planet


It’s not too late to save the planet, according to a visually stunning documentary to be screened by UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies in advance of a pivotal United Nations climate summit.

True American art


In a dimly lit gallery in the School of Human Ecology on the UW-Madison campus sit three cases draped with linen. Beneath the coverings are funerary objects taken from Indigenous resting places — swatches of handmade cloth and bags that were meant to be used by the dead in the next world.

Bloody good fun


It’s not often that the men’s magazine Maxim makes its way into arts and culture criticism, but that noted periodical told its discerning readers that Evil Dead: The Musical is “one musical you’ll actually want to see.”

Inside peek of the new Hamel Music Center

Daily Cardinal

The brand new Hamel Music Center offered a first-look tour to the media of the state-of-the-art facilities on Sept.16. Located on the bustling intersection on University and N. Lake St., the structure houses a beautiful recital hall, rehearsal hall and concert hall all stemming from a grand, spacious lobby.

Illustrator, writer Lynda Barry will speak on artistic creativity

Tusacloosa News

She’s been inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame, won the Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award, Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award and others, and been listed as one of 12 women cartoonists deserving lifetime achievement recognition by the Comics Alliance. Barry is currently assistant professor of interdisciplinary creativity at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Illustrator, writer Lynda Barry will speak on artistic creativity

Appalachia Times

She’s been inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame, won the Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award, Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award and others, and been listed as one of 12 women cartoonists deserving lifetime achievement recognition by the Comics Alliance. Barry is currently assistant professor of interdisciplinary creativity at the University of Wisconsin–Madison

Superfans: A Love Story

The New Yorker

At the time, Henry Jenkins was a twenty-eight-year-old doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He had grown up reading Famous Monsters of Filmland and bonded with his wife, Cynthia, over “Star Trek.” (He explained to me that the preferred term is Trekkers, not Trekkies.)