After originating the role in Philadelphia and then New York, world-famous opera singer Angela Brown graces the Capitol Theater stage as Addie Parker in the Madison debut of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird. The production is a jazz-infused opera with music written by Swiss composer Daniel Schnyder, with libretto or text, written by Bridgette A. Wimberly. An actress myself, I had the unique opportunity to sit down with Brown and hear first-hand about the ins and outs of her rise to operatic fame. [read more...]
China, Greece, Rome, and Central American countries all claim they started the beloved sport of soccer nearly 2,000 years ago. It might surprise you to learn, however, that soccer actually became the sport we know today in England. [read more...]
All my life, I have left my home in America every year to fly across the Atlantic and spend my summers in Hungary. [read more...]
“Bootleggers and Baptists.” When I first heard this phrase, I thought that it must be some expression that refers to a dull topic that only middle-aged adults would understand. But as I conducted more research, I soon discovered that the phrase is actually a storied saying with a fascinating origin! [read more...]
Famous painter Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907, in Coyocoan, Mexico. Though Kahlo is one of Mexico’s most known and revered painters, she actually didn’t begin her artistic career until after she was gravely injured in a bus accident. [read more...]
For many, 2016 may not have been the best year, but we sure had a great time at Simpson Street Free Press. I want to tell you about some of my best experiences at SSFP in 2016. In the midst of all the good moments, five rise to the top. [read more...]
The question “is music poetry?” crossed my mind on a Tuesday afternoon at the Simpson Street Free Press newsroom, when I stumbled across a news release my editor Aarushi Agni had placed inside my folder. The release, a recent article from The New York Times, explained the reactions of the literature community after the iconic Folk singer/songwriter Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his songwriting work. [read more...]
Justin Drew Bieber, known simply to much of the world as Justin Bieber, is a pop superstar who was first discovered via YouTube at age 12. Born on March 1, 1994, Bieber was raised in Stratford, Ontario by a single mother. [read more...]
A big-time star with an attitude, Selena Quintanilla Perez was born in Lake Jackson, Texas, on April 16, 1971. She began performing as a child and, by age of 10, became the lead singer in her family band, "Selena y Los Dinos". [read more...]
Ella Fitzgerald, also known as “The First Lady of Song,” was an astonishing singer. Born to William Fitzgerald and Temperance “Tempie” Williams Fitzgerald, in Newport News, Virginia on April 25, 1917, Fitzgerald lived solely with her mother. [read more...]
Although Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles is a major success today, she didn’t always have a star-studded life. Born on March 14th, 1997, in Columbus, Ohio, Biles was raised by her grandparents because her mother struggled with substance abuse. After living with her grandparents for a while, Simone Biles and her sister were officially adopted by them. [read more...]
What sport helps participants stay strong, win battles, and teaches valuable self- defense? Karate, of course! A long time ago in Japan, karate was brought to the Okinawan Islands by a Chinese family. In Japanese, karate literally means “empty hands.” Karate originated here because weapons were banned in Japan at the time, so hands became the weapons of choice for many warriors. [read more...]
Tyga is an American rapper, best known for being signed by Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment Management Company. [read more...]
Gymnast Lauren Hernandez found her sport at age five. With every performance as a kid her high level of talent increased. At just 16 years Old Laurie Hernandez became the first athlete born in the 21st century to win an Olympic gold medal in women’s gymnastics on the American team. [read more...]
Imagine a wall. On it is painted a destructive sea with a mountainous tree in the middle. Grimy pollution litters the tree’s roots. Also featured are small white human and animal silhouettes. Elegant flowers gild treetops. Behind these designs are two worlds—human and natural—that depict antagonistic relationships. This wall, these images are more than just fantasy; in fact, this is a real mural that Japanese artist Ikeda Manabu has worked on for the past three years at the Chazen Museum of Art. [read more...]
What is colorism? Colorism is prejudice or discrimination toward people of color that specifically focuses on the relative darkness of an individual’s complexion. I wasn’t quite sure what it really was until I watched a documentary called Dark Girls. Even though I have experienced colorism first hand, Dark Girls reveals experiences of colorism in the U.S. and around the world. [read more...]
Recently, some of SSFP's teen editors including Enjoyiana, Diamond, Dija, Sylvan, Jackie, and Leila gathered at the Chazen Museum of Art to view an exhibit on 20th Century sculpture. Our wonderful volunteer editor Jane Coleman planned the outing. Mary Brennan, a friend of the Free Press, greeted us as we entered; an experienced docent, Mary acted as our guide. As we walked up the stairs to the exhibit, Mary provided us with a little background. [read more...]
For years, African American history and culture has been downplayed in literature, films, and the media. However, with the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the African-American narrative will finally become accessible to everyone, creating a richer story of America. [read more...]
Katrin Brendemuehl, age 13 and Callan Bird Bear, age 12 The gorgeous artwork crafted by Native American tribes known as beadwork can be as intricate as the wings of a dragonfly. The allure of colorful glass beads against a dark, rich fabric is enough to catch nearly anyone’s eye. This fall, the James Watrous Gallery, a gallery at the Overture Center with a focus on contemporary Wisconsin artists, features these culturally significant, powerful works. [read more...]
Have you ever wondered how Drake became one of the most famous artists in the music industry? Well here’s the story of how Drake went from “0 to 100, real quick,” to quote one of his songs. [read more...]
The Blue Mosque is located in Istanbul, Turkey, but it wasn’t always a mosque. Before becoming a mosque, it was the mother church of the Byzantine Empire. In 1453, the church fell under the Turkish and at that point it became a mosque. It attracts large numbers of visitors each year. The temple houses various exhibits and museums. [read more...]
If you've ever been to a powwow, you might have heard the tinkling sound of the Jingle Dress Dane. Historically used for healing, the Jingle Dress is now part of a dance that honors and celebrates Ojibwe culture and tradition. [read more...]
Celeste Curiel empezó a cantar a los cuatro anos de edad. Desde pequeña le encantaba la música de mariachi y tenía ilusión de ser cantante. Ahora, Celeste estudia en la universidad Texas State University, donde está estudiando para obtener su maestría de canto y de ópera. [read more...]
The Great Wall of China is one of the most spectacular architectural structures of all time. With a length of about 3,946 miles, the Great Wall was originally built in the 1600s to keep Mongolian horsemen from invading China. The wall was also constructed to showcase the Emperor's power and glory. [read more...]
J.K. Rowling is regarded by the world as a highly successful writer due to her creation of the Harry Potter series. But before Rowling achieved fame, she went through a dark period. During this time, she faced many challenges that threatened not only her writing career but also her well-being. [read more...]
Recently, friend of the Free Press and valued volunteer, Jane Coleman, surprised a group of Free Press reporters with a field trip to the Japanese wood block exhibit at the Chazen Museum of Art. The group of us—including Diamond, Dija, James, Christy, Felicia, Ruthanne, and our editors Taylor and Aarushi—met at the South Towne newsroom where Jane gave us a briefing. Jane explained that Dr. Gene Phillips, professor of Japanese Art, had generously agreed to take us into the “floating world.” He would be acting as a docent, or a volunteer guide, for us. Excited, we grabbed our freshly sharpened pencils, notepads, and camera. We piled into two cars and crossed the isthmus. [read more...]
Rare, pretty little stones, pearls have held the attention of people for centuries. [read more...]
Does the language one think in or speak in determine how one perceived events? Does it affect how one notices things? A debate has raged on for over 70 years about whether language affects how people think. [read more...]
Across time and culture, dance is a way that humans communicate. When people dance, they organize their body movement into patterns. Dance patterns may be structured steps and movements or informal, a more natural style of dance known as improvisation. [read more...]
Bringing together over 60 local artists, Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM) hosted its third annual “Creating for a Cause” art fair earlier this month. [read more...]
Godzilla is a mythological creature from Japan. He was based on a cross between Iguanodon, Stegosaurus, T-rex and dragon. [read more...]
Marie Louise Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun, a famous painter during the 1780s and 1790s, was the kind of person every painter dreams of becoming–even today. She was not only one of the most famous, highly-paid painters but also one of the first women accepted into one of the most prestigious art academies in the world. [read more...]
Simpson Street Free Press student reporters recently had the opportunity to meet and interview potters from the rural Mexican village of Mata Ortiz at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA). Each artist has a unique story—some began the trade at age 17, while others started at only four years old. All of the artists, young and old, share a deep passion for the ceramic arts and their village. [read more...]
Movie theaters around the country are now using a new method to lure people to their screens: reclining seats. [read more...]
A small, once dirt-poor Mexican village now hosts one of the largest concentrations of modern artists in the world. In fact, for the 1,200 residents of Mata Ortiz, high-quality ceramics have become more than an expression of culture—they have become a way of life. [read more...]
Many visitors to Louisiana might not know the difference between Creole and Cajun food. Creole and Cajun are two cultures that originated in the French Catholic Colonies in New Orleans, Louisiana in the early 1700's. Since both cultures are French and share influences, one might wonder what the difference is between them and their cuisines. [read more...]
The Barrymore Theatre played host to special guests this past Mother’s Day: Ann Imig and the cast of “Listen to Your Mother.” [read more...]
William Shakespeare, one of the most famous writers of all time, is known worldwide for his plays, sonnets and poems. Also called the ‘bard,’ or the ‘upstart crow,’ Shakespeare is best-known for his works "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet," and "A Midsummer Nights Dream." In fact, these works are still performed today all over the world. [read more...]
We recently made a trip to downtown Madison. Simpson Street Free Press writers, Lucy Ji, Alex Lee, and Helen Zhang, visited the City-Council Building looking for another piece of local history. What we found was a little-known treasure that is both history and art. [read more...]
When I was five my mother took me to an introductory rehearsal of The Tempest at the Young Shakespeare Players theater. My mom talked to the directors and read pamphlets; she was scoping out the program to see if it was something I’d like to do in a few years. But when she decided it was time for us to leave, she found me, of all places, on stage introducing myself and saying I wanted to be in the play. Richard DiPrima, the founder and director of Young Shakespeare Players (YSP), told my mother, “The readiness is all,” a quote from Hamlet. Even though the age minimum to perform was seven, he encouraged me to join. I recently completed my 11th production, Will & Sid Ride Again, and am about to start on my 12th. [read more...]
Most Madison streets are bland and colorless, but that may no longer be the case if a proposal by Alderperson Marsha Rummel of the Near East Side is passed. Her proposal outlines a process to gain the City’s approval to do street art. [read more...]
The Upstart Crows are performing again, this time a production of Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. The performances are Thursday, May 1; Friday, May 2; and Saturday, May 3 at 7:00 pm, with a matinee on Saturday at 2:00 pm as well. All performances take place on the Evjue Stage at the Bartell Theatre, 113 E. Mifflin Street. [read more...]
Mycenae was the most powerful kingdom developed in Greece between 1600 and 1200 B.C. This kingdom had a very advanced culture. Although the Mycenaeans did not keep records, they left an archaeological trail. Archaeologists know from discovered artifacts that Mycenaeans communicated in a written language and developed technology. [read more...]
Will and Sid Ride Again is a medley of comic scenes and sketches from the 1590s and the 1950s. The scenes are from William Shakespeare and Sid Caesar. This is the second time a show of this kind will be performed at Young Shakespeare Players. [read more...]
During the Middle Ages (400-1400 A.D.), art influenced the lives of the European people. Romanesque and Gothic art dominated Europe. Mainly displayed in the church, both styles significantly impacted European culture, in ways that are still evident today. [read more...]
A painting long considered fake was recently declared a Van Gogh original by a set of experts at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. [read more...]
When Free Press reporters decided to check out the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, I was thrilled. As a consistent museum goer, I am impressed by the Chazen’s vast art collection and recent building expansion. [read more...]
Frida Kahlo was a famous Mexican artist known for her distinctive style. Lifelong struggles helped Kahlo create her most valuable masterpiece, her life. [read more...]
On a recent trip to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCa) a group of Simpson Street Free Press reporters, including me, visited the exhibit Los Grandes Del Arte Moderno Mexicano. This exhibit features seven accomplished Mexican artists who greatly influenced Mexican Modernism. The works of Diego Rivera, a famous muralist, particularly caught my attention. [read more...]
A young theatrical troupe called The Upstart Crows will perform the play “The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy For Serious People.” The performances will occur at 7 pm on November 15 and 16, and at 1 pm on November 17, on the Bury Stage of the Bartell Theater, located at 113 E. Mifflin St. in Madison, Wisconsin. [read more...]
B.B. King, also known as the King of the Blues, started his career as a young boy in the 1940’s. He is still going strong to this day. [read more...]
On June 21, the summer solstice, all types of live music will be heard in Madison, thanks to the volunteer-led organization called Make Music Madison. [read more...]
It was 1972 and President Richard Nixon was running for reelection. Late one evening an obscure, seemingly minor break in took place at Democratic party headquarters. Nobody at the time could have predicted that this incident would shake the foundations of the federal government. [read more...]
The breakthrough hit, “That’ll Be the Day,” was recorded by the American singer and songwriter who produced some of the most influential work in rock music, Buddy Holly. [read more...]
The roots of blues music run deep. This rich history can be traced along major highways running south to north through the American heartland. US. Route 61 is one these roads. It is known as the “Blues Highway.” [read more...]
On a recent Friday night at the Simpson Street Free Press student reporters joined Madison journalists Mark Eisen and Chris Murphy to watch the film, “Good Night and Good Luck.” [read more...]
Despite tough obstacles throughout life, Billie Holiday managed to become one of the greatest jazz singers of all time. That’s quite the accomplishment, even if her career didn’t last long. [read more...]
A biopic based on the memoir of rock and roller Cherie Currie; The Runaways is a thrilling film directed by Floria Sigismondi about the rise and fall of Joan Jett’s teenage band. The Runaways stars Kristen Stewart as the legendary Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning as the seductive Cherie Currie. The storyline takes place in California during the mid 1970s, when Joan was just 17. [read more...]
The Madison School District is facing more budget cuts than ever and music programs will be among the first to go. Just in the last few years, one entire orchestra was cut from the Madison Memorial music program and more cuts will follow. For example, the music department is in need of important items such as instruments and stands, but no funds are available from the school district. [read more...]
Everyday new pop songs are blasting on the radio, Internet, and CD players for our entertainment. While you’re jamming to your favorite song, do you ever think of what it costs to produce such a song? Surprisingly, in many cases pop songs are worth millions of dollars. Yes, the catchy lyrics, and head nodding beats all come with a price. In fact, the song “Man Down” on Rihanna’s new album, “Loud”, cost around $1,078,000 to produce. [read more...]
It was a bright and beautiful afternoon when fellow staff writers, Antoneah Armour, Pallav Regmi, Victor Lien and I, went to visit Mahon Antique Restorations. Located less than five minutes from our south side newsroom, our editors told us this would be a good story. We weren’t sure why. We were anticipating a lecture about furniture, but instead we found something much more fascinating. [read more...]
As we Simpson Street Free Press reporters pulled up to the Sun Prairie Library’s parking lot, we gazed excitedly at the church-like building. While walking in, we noticed a small sample of the Arts Tribe Exhibition. We stopped in the library’s community room, there we met some Arts Tribe members. [read more...]
Memorial High School provides many unique and innovative art and music classes. Most students at my school have the opportunity to learn how to use a glass torch, handle a throwing wheel, create animations, sing in a choir, and play an instrument. Not only do these arts programs teach fine art and music, many studies have shown that arts education helps with overall academic achievement. [read more...]
Recently we visited Taliesin, the home of Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most influential and well-known American architects. His home is unique because when he designed it, he combined influences from other cultures. Some of his other famous designs include the Guggenheim in New York City and the Monona Terrace, here in Madison. [read more...]
One of the many joys of music is its many different styles and genres. Just like there’s a book for everyone, there’s a musical style for everyone. Some people prefer jazz, others like rap. Artists like John Mayer and Jamie Cullum are adored by some, while others would much rather jam to Green Day. Unfortunately, today’s big retail stores are limiting the variety of music offered to the public. [read more...]
It seems that Governor Doyle and other state officials are reading their copies of the Simpson Street Free Press. After many recent editorials in this newspaper, and elsewhere, there is an effort underway in Wisconsin to increase the arts in our schools. [read more...]
Josie and I recently saw the world premiere of Murther!, a play written, casted, and directed by Jacob Turner. [read more...]
Every year, Verona Area High School’s theater department puts on a fall musical that always draws large crowds. As preparation and planning begin, many eager, young students show up for auditions. [read more...]