Welcome to the 1st Annual Best of the River Valley reader poll! Drawing inspiration from cities like Eau Claire, Madison and Milwaukee, we’re excited to facilitate this reader poll that showcases your voice in sharing the best of what our area has to offer to our community and those who visit it.
Last Spring these baby robins were, for a short time, tucked carefully into a nearby shrub. My neighbors, Ruthie and Jerry discovered their little chirps and pretty soon we were all checking on them daily, especially after thunderstorms. I had a new perspective on robins.
Watching and writing about APT’s 2021 Winter Words play readings from my home office in Escondido, California – with actors and directors from home (the Valley) and all over the country – has been, to quote APT’s artistic director, Brenda DeVita, “an unexpected gift of the pandemic.”
Wisconsin is dotted with Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. During his decades-long career, the famed architect designed structures ranging from the Monona Terrace to the Robert Lamp House — a single family home on North Butler Street in Madison. Now, one of Wright’s lesser-known buildings is getting a boost from the state of Wisconsin.
A few years ago a friend and I were sitting at a picnic table near the riverwalk in Sauk City and noticed a French Talouse goose among a huge flock of Canadian geese. A woman sitting nearby gave us the lowdown: “That’s Norman, he gets along with everyone. He was dropped off here by, presumably his owner.” How sad.
Based on the previews and trailers, I had moderate hopes for this movie and it’s always a nice surprise when a film exceeds expectations. Palmer is one of those films. It’s not perfect, but performances by Timberlake, as Eddie Palmer, a recently released convict, Ryder Allen as Sam, a seven-year boy who enthusiastically identifies as a girl, and Alisha Wainwright as Maggie, Sam’s grade school teacher, give this movie legs. Allen, eight-years old in real life, is a joy to watch in his movie debut. Sam is unexpectedly thrust upon Palmer who is already facing challenges reintegrating into society and must decide what is best for the boy. Juno Temple (Sam’s wayward and absent mother, Shelly) and June Squibb (Vivian, Palmer’s kind grandmother) also deliver outstanding performances. Directed by Fisher Stevens.
The School of Architecture at Taliesin announced recently that it will be dropping the term “Taliesin” from its name and has severed ties with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and will move forward as just the School of Architecture.
Daniel Kaluuya (Black Panther, Get Out) gives a compelling performance as Fred Hampton, a trailblazer in the 1960s Black empowerment movement. At just 21 years of age, Hampton was a senior leader in the Black Panther party in Illinois and was known as a unifier. His ideas were viewed as radical by many and the FBI saw him as a threat. LaKeith Stanfield stars as Bill O’Neil, a small time criminal coerced by FBI agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons) to infiltrate the Black Panther party. Judas and the Black Messiah has six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor (both Kaluuya and Stanfield). (Premiered on HBO Max. Still playing in theaters and should return to streaming by this summer).
This movie was recently in Netflix’s Top 10 Viewed list, so I checked it out. With Owen Wilson as the lead character, I was expecting action with a bit of light-hearted comedy: wrong. This film is frenetic and very intense. It doesn’t take long before the action starts, and it never stops. Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson) works for a US-based water infrastructure company and takes his wife Annie (Lake Bell) and family on a new assignment in an unnamed county bordering Vietnam. Pierce Brosnan stars as Hammond, someone that always seems to be around at the right time—is he good or bad? You’ll have to watch to find out.
The announcement of APT’s 2021 in-person Summer Season was an emotional event here in Spring Green. And, from what we’ve heard, it was for you as well. So to start, we want to thank you for the support, the excitement and even the tears you’ve shared with us since then. Your emails, notes and social media comments make us so happy, and keep us going when challenges come our way (and they do keep coming). But today is for accentuating the positive, so thanks once again for being the best audience we could hope for.