Reviewed by Yani Thoronka
Following the death of George Floyd and other killings of unarmed black people, artists in the Madison community came together to show their allegiance and solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement. Their allyship was demonstrated through a series of murals, which lined State Street. These murals were painted on long, wooden boards that covered the windows of shops and other buildings from the State Capitol to Library Mall.
But as stores slowly began to open for business, the murals were taken down. To help preserve this local artwork, the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact published a book. This new book is titled Let’s Talk About It, which is a collection of more than 100 works of art completed this past summer. The book is a coordinated effort by American Family in collaboration with local photographers, participating artists, and Black leaders to create something beautiful and inspiring despite the harsh reality of this grim subject.
Nyra Jordan, the social impact investment director at American Family Insurance, said she is honored to be “a part of telling the story of extraordinary people doing extraordinary things.”
by Hanna Eyobed, age 15
If it is true, that home is where the heart is, then Eritrea is my rightful home. Eritrea is located on the Horn of Africa, along the Red Sea, and it neighbors Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Sudan. Eritrea became a sovereign country only in 1993, after a 30-year war for independence.
When referring to incredible places, many people tend to speak of big bustling cities or spectacular landscapes. I think of the interconnected community, the unseen martyrs who fought for our independence and the beautiful traditions and sacred entities that inhabit the country. Both my parents, Asmeret and Eyobed, are from Asmara, the capital and largest city in Eritrea. So, my family’s link to our home country is strong.
When it comes to national customs, Eritrean people are known for their gratitude and care of tradition. Even with simple things, such as eating, unity is a prominent character trait. When eating, Eritreans share a big plate and incorporate different dishes into a meal that is widely known as Injera. Conversations like marriage, religion, social issues, family, and everyday lives are shared.
by Katina Maclin, age 15
Aretha Franklin made a significant mark in the history of American vocal music. For example, she sang at the inauguration of the very first African American president Barack Obama. And she was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Aretha Franklin was popular and accomplished across musical genres.
Most people are aware that Aretha Franklin was crowned the Queen of Soul. Though the question still may linger as to why and what makes her immortal status beyond Rihanna's, Tina Turner’s, or Jennifer Lopez’s. Was it because she won many awards? Because she could sing so well? Or perhaps something else? Franklin was the Queen of Soul because she rose through adversity, she persevered, and because of her undeniable talent.
Aretha Louise Franklin was born March 25th, 1942. This means that she lived through the Civil Rights Movement in the late 40’s to the late 60’s and witnessed the initiation of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013. She witnessed an era of racially motivated attacks against Black people, such as the 16th Street Baptist church bombing which happened in 1962. These are among the major events in Franklin’s lifetime that shaped and affected her. All of these experiences influenced her music and her standing in American society.
by Sydney Steidl, age 14
In such a divisive time, it becomes especially difficult for us to come together if we aren’t even looking at the same facts.
The internet and social media have given the average person a new opportunity to share any information they wish and this opportunity has been abused with the spread of misinformation. While most people seem to be aware of this issue, realistically, people aren’t going to spend their time checking the sources and facts for every new piece of information they encounter.
However, you’re bound to come across a post that you already know is incorrect, and you should know why it’s important to call it out and correct its mistakes properly.
Anthology Owners Believe in Giving Back to the Community
by Kadjata Bah, age 15
There is no denying the importance of the arts in our city, with murals lining streets and buildings, art fairs, museums, and the artists that make it all possible. Two of those artists, Sachi and Laura Komai, can be found at their paper and craft shop, Anthology.
Founded in 2008, Anthology is a space created to facilitate creativity and invite people to explore what creativity means to them. Both Laura and Sachi are artists themselves.
Langston Hughes: A Poet of the Harlem Renaissance
by Yoanna Hoskins, age 14
Langston Hughes was an African American poet, playwright and novelist. He became an early cultural icon, and his writing became part of the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920s. He focused on the failed dreams and bright hopes of his world.
Langston Hughes was born on February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. His parents separated when he was just a child. His father moved to Mexico, and Hughes was mainly raised by his grandmother. When he became a teen, he lived with his mother in Cleveland, Ohio. He started writing poetry around this time because of Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman, and he was involved in the literary magazine in school.
The Life of Artist Georgia O'Keeffe
by Hanna Eyobed, age 14
When Georgia O’Keeffe finished eight grade she decided she wanted to be an artist. She had this epiphany after seeing a drawing in one of her mothers’ books depicting a girl that she thought was beautiful. She said, “that picture started something in me that kept on going and has had something to do with the everlasting urge that makes me keep painting.”
O’Keeffe was born on a farm around Sun Prairie, Wisconsin in 1887. She said, “I always feel I was very fortunate to have grown up on a farm. I had a very pleasant childhood, though I was somewhat of a rebel.” When O’Keeffe was 13, she attended Sacred Heart Academy, which was a boarding school just outside of Madison. It is now known as Edgewood High School. She spent the next year at Central High School in Madison, where she began taking art classes. At first the teacher scolded her for only drawing heavy black lines. The same teacher however, encouraged her to use the natural colors of her subject.
The Badger: Iconic Sculpture by Wisconsin Artist Harry Whitehorse
by Giovanni Tecuatl, age 14
Harry Whitehorse, a world renowned Native American, carver and painter, worked with wood, metals, paints and snow to make art. The Ho-Chunk artist and native of Black River Falls, Wisconsin is well known for his sculptures, statues, and murals around the world. Ten of his pieces are included in the Madison area.
Whitehorse died in December, 2017, at the age of 90. His final piece was a sculpture named “The Badger.“ “The Badger“ is a realistic representation of the Wisconsin state animal, which he made around 10 years ago. It recently replaced the current statue “Nails‘ Tales“ on Monroe Street across from Camp Randall. “Nails‘ Tales“ had suffered years of criticism. Hopefully “The Badger,“ which is a state symbol and the UW Madison’s mascot, will bring Madison pride, the same way it does for Deb Whitehorse, Harry’s wife.
The Impact of Pop Art Today
by Mariama Bah, age 12
Pop art is art that is bright, fun, and different. Instead of art about mortality or history, pop art is about everyday life. Television sets, newspapers, and movie theaters were themes in pop art.
There is a fine line between fine art and popular culture. Pop artists were looking to cross that line to create something different. The artists used mechanically made prints as their medium. Pop art emerged in the 1950s, where positivity and optimism flourished in post-war America and Britain. But in the 1960s, the popular culture shifted to appeal to teenagers and young adults who were more interested in music and fashion. The mainstream culture was filled with actors, musicians, and artists from different social classes; they were the social elite at the time. As a result, pop artists also changed their focus to the popular culture by using common images of the time.
Pop art originated in the 1950s in post-war Britain. British artists such as Richard Hamilton, Eduardo Paolozzi, and Alan Jones all influenced pop art to become what it is today. In the 1960s, pop art made its way to America, focusing on technology and mass production. Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein were American artists who made iconic pieces of pop art.
Wisconsin's Renowned Poet - Ella Wheeler Wilcox
by Leila Fletcher, age 17
Society in the latter half of the 19th century held the rigid expectation that women limit their activities and aspirations to housework and raising a family. These expectations were present for, yet irrelevant to, Wisconsin’s most famous poet, Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Ella Wheeler was born to an artistic family on November 5, 1850, in Johnstown, Wisconsin. The family excelled in both music and writing; Ella’s brother, Marcus Wheeler, published articles in the Wisconsin State Journal. Despite their inclination for the arts, they were a farming family, even though farming was not their strong suit. In order to try their luck in a different area, they moved and settled down in Westport, just north of Madison, when Ella was 18 months old.
During Ella’s childhood, her family let her develop her artistic side by writing poetry instead of focusing on domestic chores. Her interests went against the norms of society, especially those of her neighbors. However, she did not let their opinions influence her actions. Ella finished her first novel at age ten, and she based her protagonist on her friend, Anne Fields, a fellow rebel. A few years after her writing debut, Ella decided to try a new platform for her work. She secretly made an agreement with the New York Mercury. She was given a free subscription, much to the surprise of her family, in exchange for her articles.
Ballroom Culture Evolved as a Means of Expression for Queer Youth of Color in New York
by Kadjata Bah, age 14
The 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning is not about a fire in Paris at all. Rather, it is about the passion that set aflame Harlem’s diverse youth in a search for identity and belonging. The film portrays the struggles of LGBTQ people of color in the 1980s and the establishment of ballroom culture, a phenomenon that began long before the '80s and one that has now become more mainstream. From the jarring realities of race and gender to voguing and legendary houses, ballroom was the American Dream reborn for Black and Latino youth.
Ballroom culture, also known as ball or house culture, began in the late 1860s when The Hamilton Lodge No. 710, a Black club in Harlem, started to hold the Annual Odd Fellows Ball. The gala was home to drag queens and kings who competed for prizes. It boasted attendance from spectators of all races, genders, and sexualities nationwide, once holding 8,000 visitors for their 1936 ball. Despite the Lodge’s efforts to diversify ball attendants, however, race and class divisions were soon apparent. Straight-passing middle-class men, along with the “intelligentsia and social leaders” of Harlem, would watch working-class men in drag perform.
History of Native American Mounds in Wisconsin
by Hanna Eyobed, age 14
Have you ever been hiking in the Madison area and seen mounds in the ground? Do you know the significance of a mound to Wisconsin’s history?
There are many kinds of mounds built by Native Americans. They can be shaped like panthers, bears, geese, and turtles. Others can be in the shapes of cones or lines. According to the National Park Service, the mounds were built with very little technology. Builders used baskets to gather and carry dirt to the mound location. Then they began pouring the dirt out and proceeded to press the dirt down with their hands and feet. This process took a few days as they would work from morning to night, padding down the dirt to their desired shape. [read more]
Lasting Impacts of the Reformation
by Amanda Welch, age 14
The Reformation challenged the very foundations of religion during the 1500s, opening up new religious opportunities for millions of people who didn’t agree with the reigning Catholic Churches’ views. The Counter-Reformation made by the Catholic Church blocked these ideal’s and tried to regain the followers it had before.
The Reformation started in Western Europe during the Renaissance period. In 1517, a man named Martian Luther publicly protested the Catholic Church’s teachings and called for its reform. Later that year, he created the Protestant Church based on his 95 theses. With the use of the printing press, he was able to spread his ideas widely. [read more]
Recent Arts & Culture Articles
Have you ever heard of The Beatles? Do you know just how famous they truly were during the 1960s? [read more...]
Aretha Franklin made a significant mark in the history of American vocal music. For example, she sang at the inauguration of the very first African American president Barack Obama. And she was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Aretha Franklin was popular and accomplished across musical genres. [read more...]
If it is true, that home is where the heart is, then Eritrea is my rightful home. Eritrea is located on the horn of Africa, along the red sea, and it neighbors Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Sudan. Eritrea became a sovereign country only in 1993, after a 30-year war for independence. [read more...]
Due to Covid-19, people are spending a lot more time at home. Many are watching Netflix, going on walks, and spending time with family. A good way to pass the time with family is to play classic board games such as Nintendo’s recent video game for the Switch, “Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics.” [read more...]
In such a divisive time, it becomes especially difficult for us to come together if we aren’t even looking at the same facts.
The internet and social media have given the average person a new opportunity to share any information they wish and this opportunity has been abused with the spread of misinformation. While most people seem to be aware of this issue, realistically, people aren’t going to spend their time checking the sources and facts for every new piece of information they encounter. [read more...]
Michael Starr Hopkins is currently circulating a petition he created to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. To date, over 500,000 have signed the petition.
The newly proposed namesake, John Lewis, was an American politician and civil-rights leader who served in the United States House of Representatives from Georgia. [read more...]
Prairie Moraine County Park is a park in Verona known for its popular off-leash dog park and its mile-long Ice Age National Scenic Trail. The dog park offers an opportunity for dogs to let out their natural instincts and run around freely with nothing restraining them. “Prairie Moraine Friends” is an organization currently made of 65 members with the end goal of making more areas within the park accessible for dogs to exercise freely and have fun in. For the dog parks, a dog permit is required. [read more...]
The staff at Falk Elementary School and other community members have announced a proposal to rename the school in honor of the late Milele Chikasa Anana. [read more...]
Does the murder hornet abide by its name? Is it deadly? This new insect entered the United States in December of 2019. It is also known by its native name, the Asian giant hornet. These hornets are the largest in the world. However, they are not as deadly as their name may imply. [read more...]
There is a fascinating and ongoing story happening in Madison’s northside. It is a story rich with mystery and local history, and it’s a story you can explore for yourself. Legend has it that Lake View Hill County Park is haunted by spirits. The forest and graveyard behind the Lakeview Lutheran Church next to the park are the site of the most suspicious activity, even though the park was the location of an old hospital. Some say the site is haunted because before the building was built the land was sacred to Native Americans. [read more...]
During research voyages in space, astronauts have the opportunity to see our planet Earth from many miles away. Countless others remain hopeful to someday have the same experience. Six astronauts, who had the chance to go into space, described their individual experiences during their time away from the planet. Chris Hadfield, Jerry Linenger, Nicole Scott, Mae Jemison, Leland Melvin, and Mike Massimino have all spent at least a week in space, if not longer. They each had different and distinct moments in space when their perspectives of the world changed, a shift which is called the “overview effect.” [read more...]
There is no denying the importance of the arts in our city, with murals lining streets and buildings, art fairs, museums, and the artists that make it all possible. Two of those artists, Sachi and Laura Komai, can be found at their paper and craft shop, Anthology. [read more...]
Out of all the things a first-year student at Harvard could do during spring break, Manny Medrano, with the help of his professor, spent his making an archaeological breakthrough. [read more...]
There is much to see in Dane County. Excellent museums, beautiful scenery, the state Capitol building, and the UW-Madison campus. In addition to its beautiful natural landscape, Madison has a rich and fascinating cultural landscape. We even have storm drains decorated with art. [read more...]
Langston Hughes was an African American poet, playwright and novelist. He became an early cultural icon, and his writing became part of the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920s. He focused on the failed dreams and bright hopes of his world. [read more...]
Sometimes people use the phrase “I could care less,” which is actually incorrect grammar. Or, at the very least, it’s not what the person meant to say. [read more...]
Social media is a large part of how teenagers interact with each other; however, it also overwhelms many teens and leads them to experience burnout. Some teenagers begin using social media as a way to engage with their peers, but the pressures resulting from its use eventually cause them to take breaks or leave the medium entirely. [read more...]
Facebook has been through quite a lot since its humble beginnings in 2004. Allegations of negligence in policing content and ads, interference in the 2016 election using their platform, and a massive privacy scandal are only some of the problems the social media company has encountered. Facebook has impacted online journalism atmosphere in numerous ways. Including a push to promote video content that left news outlets in limbo. [read more...]
The Midwest, especially the state of Wisconsin, is covered with thousands of ancient effigy mounds. From ground level, these mounds usually just look like small hills, but they were actually created by Native Americans hundreds of years ago. Some of these mounds are over 1,500 years old and can be over 100 meters in diameter. These mounds are usually made in the shape of an animal or human. It is believed that they were often built at the base of hills in order for the entire mound to be seen during construction. [read more...]
Society in the latter half of the 19th century held the rigid expectation that women limit their activities and aspirations to housework and raising a family. These expectations were present for, yet irrelevant to, Wisconsin’s most famous poet, Ella Wheeler Wilcox. [read more...]
Pop art is art that is bright, fun, and different. Instead of art about mortality or history, pop art is about everyday life. Television sets, newspapers, and movie theaters were themes in pop art. [read more...]
Simpson Street Free Press always has its eyes open for interesting museum exhibitions, and now the Overture Center is about to open a showcase, “Phoenix from the Ashes,” in the Playhouse Gallery running from September sixth through October 27th. [read more...]
Harry Whitehorse, a world renowned Native American, carver and painter, worked with wood, metals, paints and snow to make art. The Ho-Chunk artist and native of Black River Falls, Wisconsin is well known for his sculptures, statues, and murals around the world. Ten of his pieces are included in the Madison area. [read more...]
When Georgia O’Keeffe finished eight grade she decided she wanted to be an artist. She had this epiphany after seeing a drawing in one of her mothers’ books depicting a girl that she thought was beautiful. She said, “that picture started something in me that kept on going and has had something to do with the everlasting urge that makes me keep painting.” [read more...]
Do you know the significance of both the city of Aztalan and the Mississippians in Wisconsin’s history? [read more...]
Giannis Antetokoumpo was born on December 6, 1994, in Sepolia, Athens, a city in Greece. Although he was born in Greece, Giannis was not given Greek citizenship. His parents were undocumented, and Greece doesn’t have birthright citizenship. [read more...]
Not many people know about constellations even though they are all around us. Constellations are conspicuous groupings of stars that look like objects and figures in the sky. Astronomers use constellations to assist them in locating artificial satellites and finding specific stars. [read more...]
People think the Incas were not a sophisticated civilization because of their lack of a written language, but they were very intelligent. They had, however, a unique way of communicating: a language that was written in knots. [read more...]
The word “orange” describes both a color and a fruit. Which one came first might be surprising. [read more...]
The 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning
is not about a fire in Paris at all. Rather, it is about the passion that set aflame Harlem’s diverse youth in a search for identity and belonging. The film portrays the struggles of LGBTQ people of color in the 1980s and the establishment of ballroom culture, a phenomenon that began long before the '80s and one that has now become more mainstream. From the jarring realities of race and gender to voguing and legendary houses, ballroom was the American Dream reborn for Black and Latino youth. [read more...]
Have you ever been hiking in the Madison area and seen mounds in the ground? Do you know the significance of a mound to Wisconsin’s history? [read more...]
The electric guitar is fairly new in the world of music. [read more...]
When one thinks of segregation, the first thing that probably pops into the mind is the turbulent times of the 1950s. Buses, schools, theaters, and other spaces labeled “WHITES” and “COLOREDS,” are a common image of separation. But imagine spending your whole life with someone different, only to have memories of innocent, wild adolescence through a mono-toned lens, separate from your friends and partners. One daring journalist spent years in a small southern town documenting the evolution of the lives of teens. [read more...]
Meet the creator of video games like Donkey Kong, Super Mario, and others! Shigeru Miyamoto, often known as "The Father of Modern Video Gaming". [read more...]
Perhaps one of the best known heroines of history is Joan of Arc. Her bravery, conviction, and ultimate canonization has been an inspiration for men and women alike for centuries. One 1928 silent film captures the drama of her famous story as none other could. [read more...]
Eunice Kathleen Waymon’s first ambition was to become the first major Black concert pianist. Her career took a dip, a sharp turn, and a name change, but had an unexpected resurgence when she emerged as Nina Simone, a jazz, blues, and folk singer who was soon to become one of the most highly revered musicians in American history. [read more...]
The Reformation challenged the very foundations of religion during the 1500s, opening up new religious opportunities for millions of people who didn’t agree with the reigning Catholic Churches’ views. The Counter-Reformation made by the Catholic Church blocked these ideal’s and tried to regain the followers it had before. [read more...]
Pan-Africanism is an ideology that recognizes the struggles of all people of African descent as one. As a movement, it advocated for the unification of all Black people, and in its early beginnings, the independence of African countries and tackling inequality in the West. [read more...]
Have you ever heard the phrase “canary in a coal mine”? The term is used as an early warning of danger, and dates back to the early 1900s. John Scott Haldane suggested using a sentinel animal to give a warning to miners about carbon monoxide leaks. The animal the miners chose was the canary, a bird more vulnerable to poison gas due to their rapid breathing rate, small size, and high metabolism. [read more...]
In 1942, a rumor spread around England that Hitler was planning to initiate an airdrop of weapons into the prison camps to bring back Nazi prisoners of war (POWs). Hearing the rumors, England became worried and asked America to house their prisoners. America reluctantly agreed and the Germans, Japanese and Koreans POWs were sent to work in America on empty supply ships known as Liberty Ships. [read more...]
When rainwater runs off the land and enters a storm drain, it often empties into a nearby body of water and remains untreated. This poses a problem because increased urbanization in Dane County is creating more runoff. Many surfaces in urban areas are either impervious or absorb very little water, like roads and traditional lawns. Before heavy development, natural land absorbed 80-100% of rainwater. [read more...]
Electronic cigarettes (E-cigs) and other vaping devices came to the market in 2015. These products soon became popular, and the brand JUUL quickly rose to the top. JUUL, marketed as an alternative to regular cigarettes, was meant to help smokers switch to a better and "safer" way of smoking, vaping. [read more...]
Do you like Super Mario? Do you like board games? Then, you will love the Mario Party series.
Mario Party is a Virtual Boardgame, one of their most popular games to date. You can play as one of your favorite characters such as Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Princess Peach, and more. [read more...]
The role of journalism in society has changed drastically throughout the last couple decades. One event that contributed to this change is the Watergate scandal. The film All the President's Men
focuses on the Watergate scandal, which brought down the presidency of Richard M. Nixon. [read more...]
As many Madisonians know, the Madison Children’s Museum hosts the American Girl Benefit Sale every year. This year’s sale will take place on July 21-22. All proceeds are awarded to nonprofits throughout Dane County through grants from American Girl’s Fund for Children, a long-time supporter of Simpson Street Free Press. [read more...]
From singing funky, jazz-inspired tunes in the loud city of Las Vegas to lulling his three young children to sleep after a long night, Frank Sinatra has done it all. A loving father, Sinatra dedicated over 50 years of his life to music. [read more...]
A recent emerald ash borer outbreak has affected thousands of trees across Wisconsin. Many of the infected Ash trees need to be cut down. Madison Community Foundation recently helped launch a project to bring life back into the dead trees. [read more...]
Selena Gomez is one of the most successful modern artists. She started her career in 2001 and has maintained this stardom through many ups and downs in her life and career. [read more...]
Vincent Van Gogh was a very misunderstood Dutch artist who created many priceless works. Though he could do anything from sketch to paint, he mostly painted. One of his most famous paintings is Starry Night, which he created in 1889. [read more...]
The “Godmother of Punk” and feminist icon, Joan Jett, worked hard for all her accomplishments. Born Joan Larkin, she took on the stage name Joan Jett along the path to her dream of starting an all-girl band. [read more...]
Early in her life, Georgia Mills Jessup became an artist along with 29 other family members with jobs in the arts. She was a well accomplished painter, ceramicist, muralist, collagist, and sculptor. She started creating art at a very young age and continued for the entirety of her life. [read more...]
Imagine a shining utopian city with flying cars, robots, and towering glass buildings filled with elaborate technology. Who do you see inhabiting this city? One concept might change your view: Afrofuturism. [read more...]
Billie Jean King is amazing. A role model to everyone from gay rights activists to female equality supporters, this tennis player is well-known all over the world.
Born Billie Jean Moffitt, Billie Jean was born on November 22, 1947, and grew up in Long Beach, California. As a child, Billie Jean was surrounded by athletes. Her father, Bill Moffitt, was a firefighter and a sportsman, and her brother, Randy Moffitt, became a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants baseball team. [read more...]
The Midwest harbors many fascinating many mounds, burial sites, and historical landmarks - some are even located in Wisconsin. [read more...]
The Menominee people are some of Wisconsin’s oldest residents and have practiced sustained-yield forestry on their lands for hundreds of years. However, due to laws and treaties set by the United States, the Menominee have had to fight to regain control of their forests. [read more...]
Have you heard of the greatest band ever, also known as The Beatles? [read more...]
Hattie McDaniel was an actress and radio performer. She also became the first African American to win an Oscar in 1940. [read more...]
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is an historically-important building located in London, of course, named after William Shakespeare. Both the backstory and construction of the Globe are as interesting as the playwright himself. [read more...]
Today, many recently established news companies use social media outlets like Facebook or Snapchat. Even though these companies may be under fire from more traditional publishers of news, such as the New York Times
, the style of journalism being used is very similar to that of early American newspapers. [read more...]
Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist whose art was influenced by her depression and her health issues. [read more...]
Black comedy, TV shows, and music are shaping and influencing the way people talk, dress, carry themselves and form attitudes and lifestyles in the United States. [read more...]
Ancient Egyptians were skilled mathematicians and architects who built huge stone monuments in honor of their rulers. One type of monument they built for their pharaohs was the pyramid. The most impressive of the ancient monuments were the Egyptian pyramids which were built in Giza. [read more...]
All Eyez on Me
tells the true and untold story of legendary rapper, actor, poet, and activist, Tupac Shakur. The film takes place in New York City where Tupac spent his early life. It covers his whole story: from the streets of East Harlem to becoming recognized as one of the greatest rappers ever, to his untimely death at age 25. All Eyez on Me
stars Kat Graham, Lauren Cohan, Hill Harper, Jamal Woolard, Danai Gurira and Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Tupac Shakur. [read more...]
On June 25, 2009, Jackson died from overdosing on a prescription drug that his doctor gave him. His doctor wasn’t licensed to give the drugs to Michael. The police figured out that the chemicals in the drug killed Michael Jackson. As you can see, Michael Jackson deserves the title “The King of Pop.” [read more...]
Milestone Media started writing comic books in 1993. Their focus was different from big publishers like DC Comics and Marvel.
In the beginning, they wanted to make more significant characters of color so minority kids had heroes to look up to that looked like them. Milestone tried to depict characters of all races with integrity and wanted more accurate descriptions of other races instead of the innocuous character of color that most comic books show. [read more...]
Eleanora Fagan, commonly known as Billie Holiday, was an entertaining international jazz singer. She was born on April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to her parents, Sarah Julie and Clarence Holiday. [read more...]
Many people worry that artificial intelligence, abbreviated AI
, will one day replace humans, even in creative areas such as composing music. In a step in that direction, YouTuber Taryn Southern has created a song with the help of AI software. [read more...]
Have you ever taken a photo of the Eiffel Tower at night? If you have and posted it online, you may have committed a misdemeanor. [read more...]
Whitney Houston was a very successful actress and singer. Between 1985 and 1992, she released four albums that together sold more 86 million copies. [read more...]
The term “metropolis” is typically used to refer to a large, bustling city with tall buildings and constant movement. A 1927 silent movie by the same name made cinematographic history, and despite its subtle-but-strong influence on popular culture, you’ve likely never even heard of it. [read more...]
A wristband is a seemingly small object. But did you know that Disney World invested one billion dollars on a Disney wristband? They invented the piece—called the “Magic Band”— to make the Disney experience more magical and remove obstacles that keep visitors from enjoying their experience according to the higher ups at the company. [read more...]
Mandrake the Magician, a man capable of hypnotism and illusion, debuted as the first super hero in 1934. Four years later, Superman came flying into the comic book world and immediately became an idol to children and adults across the nation. [read more...]
The “I Have A Dream” Ball is a Madison Tradition. And it’s much more. The annual event organized by Women In Focus is an important part of our community history. [read more...]
Although Leonardo da Vinci is well known for his art, he was also a remarkable scientist. In fact, his 13,000 page notebook was full of inventions ranging from clocks to battle tanks that are still used today. [read more...]
When I was younger, I loved reading Magic Treehouse
, The Baby-Sitters Club
, and The Boxcar Children
books. I loved how these stories were full of talking animals and inanimate objects coming to life. But I noticed that all of these series’ protagonists
, another word for main characters, were white. When I realized this, I also noticed that in the rare times I did read about a young person of color, it made me feel important and almost special in a way. It took me quite a while to pinpoint why. [read more...]
For years, science education has been an important part of the Simpson Street Free Press curriculum – so has museum trips. Recently, I joined other teen editors for a wonderful weekend in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where we attended the annual Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium Conference and the famous Pump House Regional Arts Center. [read more...]
Did you know that 90 percent of the people who live in Thailand are Buddhist and about three million people there are Muslims? The lifestyle in Thailand is probably very different than yours. [read more...]
Many figures have changed the literary world throughout history, Chilean author Roberto Bolaño is one such figure. [read more...]
You probably know the legend of the majestic, antlered deer that live in the North Pole. You may even know that reindeer exist outside of Christmas stories. But did you know that there are actually people who live among reindeer? [read more...]
Johann Pachelbel, a 17th century classical musician, forever altered the musical world. “Canon in D major,” one of his 500-some compositions, for example, still performed by many today. [read more...]
Thousands of years ago, a pharaoh named Tutankhamun— commonly known as “Tut”—lie on his deathbed. He was one of the youngest pharaohs ever to rule Egypt. Ever since King Tut’s mummified body was discovered in 1922, archaeologists have worked to uncover the mystery of his life and early death. [read more...]
Rulers of Japan for almost 700 years, the Samurai warriors established an impressive legacy, one that continues to astound many to this day. Recently, SSFP staff and students had the opportunity to delve into the fascinating history of Samurai warriors at the Chazen Museum of Art’s stunning “Samurai: The Way of the Warrior” exhibit. [read more...]
We met at our South Towne newsroom early one Wednesday morning—most of us with droopy eyes and tired faces. It was early, but we were excited for the day’s adventure: we were headed westward toward Mount Horeb to visit the village’s new Driftless Historium & Mount Horeb Area Historical Society. [read more...]
Simpson Street editor Taylor Kilgore was driving home from our South Towne office the other day when she noticed something beautiful. Before her eyes, a group of artists, including teenagers, were working on a colorful mural on the side of the Well No. 3 Building on 6500 Raywood Road in Monona. [read more...]
It is more beneficial for a man to downplay the amount of work that went into his ideas, to act as if they just popped into his head. But for a woman, it is more beneficial to explain how much effort went into nurturing her ideas and developing them over time. Researchers in a joint project from Cornell University and Columbia Teachers College recently unveiled these problematic patterns in a series of three studies. [read more...]
CNCO is a Latin American boy band with five members: 21-year-old Christopher Velez (Ecuadorian), 20-year-old Richard Camacho (Dominican Republican), 19-year-old Zabdiel De Jesus (Puertorican), 18-year-old Joel Pimentel (Mexican), and 16-year-old Erick Brian Colon (Cuban). [read more...]
American Girl will host its annual benefit sale to help the Madison Children's Museum and its own Fund for Children this summer. This sale is a very popular event and typically brings in nearly 1 million dollars each year. [read more...]
Two years ago I visited the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico with my parents. This was an incredible experience, and I learned so much about the Pyramid. [read more...]
These days, you may see people wearing safety pins and wonder, “what’s up with that?” Before answering this question, it's necessary to consider the history of the safety pin. [read more...]
Be yourself. Accept who you are. These words of advice are easy to say, but Gabriela “Gabi” Hernandez learns to live them in the book Gabi: A Girl in Pieces
by Isabel Quintero. [read more...]
Before Bob Dylan was the music legend he ultimately became, he wrote a love song to the dairy state, Wisconsin. The lyric sheet for this unreleased piece will today cost $30,000 minimum. [read more...]
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...]