Review: 'Insurgent' could use more divergence

Written by The AP Thursday, 19 March 2015 07:28

Given that conformity is the scourge of the "Divergent" series and much of its young-adult ilk, it's a shame that the films, including the new "Insurgent," do so little to stray from well-worn YA paths. 

For a series that waves the banner of individualism, they make a poor case for it. Instead of throbbing with a teenage spirit of rebellion — or things like youthful wildness, humor or sex — the two "Divergent" movies are curiously content to eke out a rigid, lifeless fable in drab futuristic environs. 

Skylight’s 'Snow Dragon' succeeds at illuminating uncomfortable subject

Written by Anne Siegel,
Contributing writer
Tuesday, 17 March 2015 12:38

Based on The Fallen Country, a 1986 young adult novel, The Snow Dragon takes on the difficult subject of family abuse. The world premiere opera, currently playing at Skylight Music Theatre, is set partially in an abused boy’s fantasy world and partly in his grim reality.

Fifty years of fascination: JoAnna Poehlmann at RedLine

Written by Kat Murrell,
Contributing writer
Sunday, 15 March 2015 13:29

JoAnna Poehlmann. — Photo: Courtesy Kat Murrell

How do you keep wonder alive over the course of decades? 

Detroit exhibit explores art, interplay of Kahlo, Rivera

Written by JEFF KAROUB,
Associated Press writer
Sunday, 15 March 2015 11:32

The work of Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo often seems a study in contrasts — he opts for the big and global, she the smaller and personal.

Yet the two were sharing ideas and “responding to each other artistically,” said Mark Rosenthal, curator of “Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit” at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Erdrich wins Library of Congress fiction prize

Written by The Wisconsin Gazette Thursday, 19 March 2015 07:17

Novelist Louise Erdrich will be honored with the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction this year.

Erdrich is the author of such acclaimed novels as "Love Medicine," "The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse," "The Plague of Doves" and her current novel, "The Round House."

At South by Southwest:
Must-see acts in Austin

Written by The Associated Press Tuesday, 17 March 2015 05:51

Preparing for the South by Southwest music festival is like shopping without a budget: there are just too many options.

The annual SXSW is jam-packed with thousands of performers and events - ranging from official showcases by Pandora and Spotify to unofficial ones, such as Raptor House and Roc Nation's weekend event that featured Spike Lee, Nick Jonas and Big Sean - kicking off the music portion of SXSW, which officially begins on March 17.

Lamb, Guinness and soda bread offer a fresh take on Irish stew

Written by Alison Ladman,
Associated Press Writer
Sunday, 15 March 2015 12:41

Chicken and dumplings is a wonderfully simple, deliciously comforting dish — a thick, meaty stew bubbling away beneath a patchwork of moist, pillowy dumplings.

So we decided to channel that comfort for a dish suited for St. Patrick’s Day. Taking inspiration from classic Irish ingredients and dishes, we came up with this over-the-top savory lamb stew with a rich broth made from beef stock, Guinness beer and fresh rosemary.

Review: Dennis Lehane writes gripping finale to crime trilogy

Written by OLINE H. COGDILL,
Associated Press writer
Sunday, 15 March 2015 11:23

Dennis Lehane’s thrilling trilogy about organized crime in the early 20th century is more than a look at gangsters and their ways. Without glorifying the illegal, Lehane’s “World Gone By” examines how crime works on one’s soul and what it means to know that the life you’ve chosen must give way to the next breed of criminals in this, the gripping finale.

“World Gone By” is also a textbook guide on how to end a series as Lehane smoothly guides his characters and plot to a smooth finish in this series that began with “The Given Day” (2008).

Review: Modest Mouse ramp up the weird on new album

Written by MATTHEW KEMP,
Associated Press writer
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 08:39

It’s been eight years since Modest Mouse’s album “We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank” smashed onto the U.S. charts at No. 1. Will lightning strike twice for frontman Isaac Brock with the long-gestating “Strangers to Ourselves”?

Stranger things have happened.

Milwaukee Rep's 'Five Presidents' successfully campaigns for the votes of politics lovers

Written by Matthew Reddin,
staff writer
Sunday, 15 March 2015 15:06
Photo by Tim Fuller.

Five Presidents is an exemplary — perhaps even near-perfect — play for its intended audience, even if there are no surprises in the wings that make it a strong American play in its own right.

Irish whiskey:
Perfect for a ‘spirited’ St. Paddy’s Day

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Sunday, 15 March 2015 12:37

At the end of the 19th century, Irish whiskey was one of the most popular whiskeys in America, but its fortunes tumbled, along with those of other alcohol products, with the advent of Prohibition in 1920. Today Irish whiskeys are on the rebound, but they still may be one of the spirit world’s best-kept secrets.

Chazen to show prized Shakespeare folio

Written by Jay Rath,
Contributing writer
Saturday, 14 March 2015 13:27

One of the most prized books in the world — the very first collection of William Shakespeare’s plays — is coming to Wisconsin. UW–Madison's Chazen Museum of Art has announced that First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, a national traveling exhibition, will visit Madison in 2016.

The tour marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and the exhibit at the Chazen will be the only showing in the state.