David Medaris


Eric Tadsen

University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of anthropology Neil Whitehead died on Thursday, March 22 at 56. A department chair and beloved by students, Whitehead researched culturally expressions of violence, shamanism, and historical anthropology; his legacy is detailed in a UW news release and and obituary. The following cover story by David Medaris, published in the August 24, 2004, edition of "Isthmus", explores his work investigating ritual violence in the form of kanaimà sorcery in the South American nation of Guyana. Read more

From the archives

"Enrique's Journey" is this year's Go Big Read selection -- the book chosen by the UW-Madison to spark a community-wide discussion. Sonia Nazario's Pulitzer-winning story is the epitome of long-form enterprise journalism, first published as a 30,000-word "Los Angeles Times" series. It has since been expanded in book form and translated into eight languages. Read more


You pull into the parking lot off Lien Road on Tuesday evening, hoping to find an antidote for the sense of helplessness you've felt since you saw the horrifying images on the morning news shows. Read more

From the archives

On weekends during the season, the scene conjures South Asia at the height of British colonial power. The game itself is an enduring product of that era, lingering long after the colonies won their independence. The game is cricket. The place: Reindahl Park, home ground for the Madison Cricket Club. Wisconsin's capital: a cricket colony. Read more

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David Medaris

Madison installed its first seasonal on-street bicycle parking corral Wednesday outside the Tipsy Cow at the top of King Street. Converting one short-term car stall into 10 bicycle parking spaces, the new bike racks answer demand for more bike parking near the intersection of King, Main and Pinckney streets at the Capitol Square. On-street bike parking also relieves sidewalk congestion -- freeing space for pedestrians, sidewalk cafes and other uses. Read more

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David Medaris

Heads turn the moment the first two pull up to the curb at about 5 p.m. in front of Brocach on the Capitol Square. Commuters waiting to board their buses home share a genuine what-the-hell moment with passers-by. Read more

A & E

The forecast is worrisome. In the days leading up to a Saturday kayaxpedition on the Mecan River, it climbs from 40% to 60% chance of thunderstorms. On the eve of the daytrip, the radar animations show approaching cartoon doom. But a 60% chance of thunderstorms leaves a 40% chance of "not" thunderstorms, of missed opportunity. Read more

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It's no game. Studying to become a computer game artist or animator involves hard work and long hours. "I tell my students they need to learn to live on less sleep," says Eric Weiss, chair of Madison Media Institute's computer game art and animation program. Read more

Get Smarter

On a B-cycle, what's the hurry? This would be a fine bike to cruise around a beachfront resort like, um, Madison's isthmus. Most excursions on Madison's B-Cycles will be for short errands and trips. Read more

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John Luton

By the end of the month, cyclists may be able to park at two proposed on-street bike corrals in central Madison. The concept has taken off in Europe, been imported to bike-friendly cities like Portland, Ore., and Boulder, Colo., and has even gained counter-intuitive traction in Milwaukee, where an on-street bike corral has been installed outside an Alterra Coffee shop. Read more


A bunch of Madison Curling Club members were talking about summer activities they might pursue as a complement to their ice time on the rink in McFarland. Curling veteran Bill Swanson remembers someone saying he had been so impressed by the bocce tournaments he saw during his travels that he hired a contractor to build a regulation bocce court in his backyard. Read more

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Pete Olsen

Darren Burrows recalls standing around the production office while acting in the 2010 film "NoNAMES" when someone said, "Darren, I'm such a fan of your work. How did you become involved in this project?" "Nick's a friend of mine," replied the alumnus of TV's "Northern Exposure", referring to "NoNAMES" co-producer Nicholas Langholff. "And somebody else in the office said, 'Oh, you've been Langholffed too.'" Read more


"Coming upon the remains of war," says Lewis Koch. "In an incredibly remote and very pristine, stark landscape." This extraordinary experience inspired Bomber: A Chance Unwinding, the Madison photographer's new installation in the Watrous Gallery at the Overture Center. Read more

A & E

Think of it as a moveable feast in Hemingway's metaphorical sense of the term. "The idea is that we're tasting history, culture and architecture," says Andrea Hughes. Food, too, of course. The founder, owner and general manager of Madison Food Explorers is explaining the concept behind her gustatory three-hour "Lake to Lake" tours of central Madison. Read more


Efforts are under way to restore both of Madison's liberties: the distressed Statue of Liberty replica that has stood for 40 years in Warner Park, and the more fanciful Statue of Liberty that has appeared on Lake Mendota's ice off the Memorial Union Terrace at irregular intervals since 1979. Read more

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Bike to Work Week's popular Commuter Challenge has outgrown Bike to Work Week and split off to become the Get Up and Bike Wisconsin Challenge. With thousands of bicycle commuters competing last year in a statewide competition to claim Bike to Work Week mileage bragging rights, this may have been inevitable. Read more

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inutes beyond Madison's urban edges, the best local bicycling depends on good escape routes that provide short and swift access to Dane County's extensive network of scenic two-lane town and rural roads. The less time cyclists devote to getting out of town, the more leisure they have to savor the resource. Read more

Isthmus Summertimes

Remember how Bike to Work Week got its start here as Bike to Work Day? It's happening again. With the 2011 edition designated for June 6-10, Madison's Bike to Work Week is extending beyond the bounds of that single work week to encompass the previous Friday. Read more

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Carolyn Fath

With less on the menu for the Bartell Theatre in its 2011-12 season, managing director Sarah Hoover sees more substantive fare. "I think there are a few more chances taken with the next season," she observes, noting that the resident companies appear to be taking a collective turn toward more serious productions. Read more


Attending the earliest Capitol protests galvanized Lisa Marine, inspiring her concept for an art project: She would design a T-shirt bearing Wisconsin's outline, the word SOLIDARITY emblazoned across its chest and a star identifying Madison as the uprising's epicenter. Read more



J. Shimon & J. Lindemann

David Medaris began writing for Isthmus when he was still in high school at West. He went on to spend almost three decades at the paper, exploring the profound as well as the mundane. Read more

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