Geeks Mania Arcade capitalizes on retro vibe

In a strip mall off of Odana Road, there’s a portal to the past. Dimly lit rooms echo with a sensory cacophony of electronic bleeps and bloops and colorful flashing lights against a background of classic rock music. Comic book covers, sci-fi posters and trading cards are plastered on the walls.

Geeks Mania Arcade, established in Madison in early 2016, is part of an arcade revival, capitalizing on the trendy vibe of the 1980s and ’90s.

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High-demand field of nursing offers much room for advancement

When she was an 8-year-old growing up in Fond du Lac, Ashley Rusch helped provide hospice care for her grandmother as she fought a rare form of cancer.

“I remember helping feed my grandmother, brushing her hair, listening to music with her, talking with her and holding her hand,” said Rusch, who’s now 30 and living in Madison. “I got to see what it was like to care for someone in that capacity and the compassion that was needed. I knew I wanted to make a difference in a different way.”

Rusch is now a clinical nurse specialist in the in-patient operating room and outpatient surgery center at UW Hospital. She entered a profession with growing demand and the potential to advance on a path parallel to a doctor’s.


Fiery finale

After a decade, Madison’s favorite winter freakfest is hanging up its leather and pasties, but not without a last bash. Fire Ball X: Apocalypse, Jan. 27 at the Majestic, is the final installment of an annual alternative circus that’s drawn performers from around the region and the world. Each year, burlesque artists, aerial acrobats and fire and pole performers are greeted by a throng of outlandishly costumed and enthusiastic participants.


Mindful resistance

Books-Chapman-Mare-02162017Mare Chapman’s “Unshakeable Confidence” lays out a plan for female empowerment

Madison psychotherapist and meditation instructor Mare Chapman believes mindfulness is an important step toward empowerment.

Chapman has distilled the nine-week course she’s taught for 20 years into a new self-published book, Unshakeable Confidence: The Freedom to Be Our Authentic Selves. Chapman’s class teaches women how to dismantle the damaging thought patterns instilled by a male-dominated society while helping them learn to be at home in their own skin. Read the article at

From Athens, of Montreal, and digging Madison


The psychedelic glam-pop act is pumped for the Majestic

The weird, sexy glitter circus known as of Montreal is rolling into Madison, a place where the band feels right at home.

“I like Madison. It’s a progressive town with a big college,” similar to the band’s native Athens, Georgia, says Kevin Barnes, of Montreal’s androgynous founder and driving force. “The Halloween show we had in Madison [in 2013] was epic.”

That’s quite a compliment coming from the the offbeat, artsy, psychedelic glam-pop act, famous for frenetic, rainbow-colored performances. The band plays the Majestic Theater on Sept. 20.

This year marks of Montreal’s 20th anniversary. The band’s had at least that many rotating members in those two decades, with Barnes being the sole constant. The band’s 13th record, Innocence Reaches, released in June, is an upbeat, rhythmic infusion of electronic dance music.

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Incubating artists and writers


Arts + Literature Laboratory has found its niche as a creative hub

At the Arts + Literature Laboratory, last night’s art show swiftly becomes the backdrop for tomorrow night’s reading series and next week’s concert.

For these reasons and more, Rita Mae Reese and Jolynne Roorda founded Arts + Literature Laboratory (ALL). The experimental, collaborative space opened in January and has since been packed to the gills with people attending multimedia exhibitions, theater and musical performances.

The nonprofit was recently awarded two local grants to further its mission: $2,885 from the Madison Arts Commission to fund ALL’s Professional Development Series for Writers, which includes monthly craft talks and write-ins, and a $960 grant from Dane Arts to help support a series of exhibitions by emerging Dane County artists and related professional development programs for visual artists.

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