Thursday, Apr. 27th, 2017

Behind The Scenes: Listen To Your Mother, La Crosse’s Finale Season

Listen To Your Mother 2017 Cast. Photo: Diane Knothe of Apropos Photography
Listen To Your Mother 2017 Cast. Photo: Diane Knothe of Apropos Photography

Listen To Your Mother is a national series that features local stories about mothers and motherhood. In our second year hosting a show in La Crosse, my production team of Beth Erickson (Jobe Communications and Trust Point Inc.), Molly Hilligoss (YWCA La Crosse), and I wish that everyone could be a fly on the wall during auditions. We hear incredible stories of love, loss, laughter, and life journeys. It is a privilege to listen to each story, and we want to thank everyone who has trusted us with their truths over the past two years. There is something so touching about listening to a person’s truth it can only be described as magical.

The 2017 show promises to take our audience on a well-crafted exploration of “the good, the bad, and the barely-rested” that is motherhood. Though, we should say, you don’t have to be a mother to enjoy our show. We are excited to introduce our cast of 13 women and men to you. Our cast is diverse, and so are our stories, with tales coming from all over the globe this year.  

We’ve got stories about mothers, of course, but we also have stories about mother figures, the often unrecognized individuals who play just as important a role in our support system – grandmothers, aunts, sisters, even stay-at-home dads. We’ve got stories to make you laugh, and definitely some that will make you cry. All of our stories are full of heart.

Behind the scenes, our cast and production team are getting to know one another. We’re sharing more stories. We’re talking about our families, our jobs, our hobbies, our passions. We’re workshopping the show order and fine tuning our pieces, so when show night comes you can sit back and enjoy this production of live readings that is truly unlike any other.

We’re thrilled to welcome back our emcee for the evening, WKBT News 8’s Lisa Klein. So many of our local sponsors, such as Women Writers Ink and News 8, returned to support us this year, and we are ever grateful for their partnership. The many local sponsors we have help provide us with rehearsal space, they feed our cast, they promote the show, and they all support women and families.

All of the Listen To Your Mother productions across the country – there are 30 cities this year – take place within a few weeks of Mother’s Day, and each performance supports a nonprofit partner as well. Locally, ten percent of every ticket sold will benefit YWCA La Crosse whose mission is to end racism and empower women and girls. Our local YWCA has been established for over 100 years and offers many programs for teens and adults that support mentoring, counseling, rehabilitation, social justice, and diversity.

We can’t wait to see you in the crowd on show night! It is an honor to share these stories with each of you. In the meantime, don’t forget to LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER!

2017 Cast  

  • Joanne Adragna Shird
  • Beth Erickson
  • Maureen Freedland
  • Nancy Heerens-Knudson
  • Sylvia Jimison
  • Livia Johnson
  • Jonathan Lamb
  • Amy Sanwick
  • Susan C. Schuyler
  • Michael Scott
  • Sheida Teimouri
  • Clare Wight
  • Christy Wopat
2016 Cast. Photos: Bruce Defries
2016 Cast. Photos: Bruce Defries
YWCA Development Director, Rose Reinert. Photo: Bruce Defries
YWCA Development Director, Rose Reinert. Photo: Bruce Defries
Photo: Bruce Defries
Photo: Bruce Defries
Photo: Bruce Defries
Photo: Bruce Defries

Friday, Mar. 3rd, 2017

Stanton West, formerly Eddie Danger, to Release Folk Album

Eddie Danger is about to release a debut folk album under his grandfather's name, Stanton West, to be produced by David Grisman and Jerry Garcia's percussionist, Joe Craven at Foxtail Studios in California.

Eddie Danger has been part of the Wisconsin music scene for almost 20 years.  He was the creator behind the Feel Good Music & Arts Festival, Renewsical: A Musical About Renewable Energy, The Seafaring Musical Marionette Puppet Show, bluegrass band Dangergrass, and the Wisconsin Roots Music Cooperative.  There isn’t a venue or stage in Wisconsin he hasn’t played.  If you haven’t heard of him perhaps you were wandering a music festival and he randomly stopped you to give you a magic acorn (a real acorn top with a glass marble for the nut).  There is even a chance you were at a wedding he officiated, or you sang along with him at a kids’ show or a farmers’ market.  He is a spreader of fun and music.  And now he has a new project.  

After making a name for himself in the folk scene appearing in a film with A Prairie Home Companion’s Garrison Keillor, being a regular on WPR’s Simply Folk, and winning multiple songwriters’ contests throughout the state, Danger decided to go folk’in all the way.  Danger is releasing a new folk album under his grandfather’s name, Stanton West, that will be released this summer.  The album is being recorded at Foxtail Studios in California and produced by his musical hero, Joe Craven.  Craven is most known for his work as the percussion player for David Grisman and Jerry Garcia’s five acoustic albums released under Grisman’s record label Acoustic Disc.  

Stanton/Danger has spent the last 10 years balancing his music career with being a home-schooling stay-at-home dad and a part-time organic farmer.  Now that both of his kids are ready to attend school, he is presented with the opportunity to focus on his music career entirely.  He refers to the whole idea as, “Being Who I Am, Going Pro, & Providing for my Family.  I Love being a creative person and I Love my family.  This is an effort to do them both a service.”  It’s a big step, and he is taking it enthusiastically.  

Danger is taking action by exemplifying his sentiments of, "To thrive in this world you must decide what you Love to do and figure out a way to make it happen." He sees this as his time to step it up and record in professional studio with one of his musical heroes producing the project.  His first eleven albums were self-funded and recorded in home-studios.  Stanton has also been working with an artist manager out of Nashville. She has been helping him with the preproduction of the album.  She feels confident that she can get the songs on to national folk radio charts.   

The new songs are groove-driven, folk tunes about feeling good, being who you are, and staying present in the moment.  Like all of his past projects, it promotes family fun, environmental stewardship, building community, healthy local food, live & local music, creative expression, and being a positive (yet practical) force in the world. 

Danger is doing a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for the month of March and is offering some very unique acorn themed rewards to backers including an acorn tattoo!

Learn more about Stanton West on Facebook or his website.

Wednesday, Feb. 22nd, 2017

You're Invited! MOSES Offers Locals Discount Night & Downtown Gets Ready to Party


Photo: Dahli Durley
Photo: Dahli Durley

The MOSES Organic Farming Conference is coming! What does this mean? Not only does it mean the La Crosse Center is completely taken over, right down to each storage room, but it also means Downtown La Crosse becomes “the Oktoberfest of organic farmers”. In lieu of lederhosen, you’ll see plaid flannel and overalls; instead of dirndls, you’ll see… well, plaid flannel and overalls. You may notice the beauty of more folks in town with dreadlocks, hipster glasses, and a few extra beards. German beers may get opted out for an organic cider and polka is replaced with some of the best bluegrass and Americana in the Midwest.

With several music venues poised to open their doors to the overflow of the best attended event at La Crosse Center, locals can kick up their heels with some visiting folks that know how to work hard and play hard. These farmers may even share a thing or two about healthy soil composition.

What’s the MOSES Organic Farming Conference about? It’s the world’s largest gathering of organic farmers and the conference opens Thursday night at the La Crosse Center, and runs through Saturday. Locals can get a special ticket for $20 on Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. to see the trade show with over 170 vendors, supplying everything from organic seeds to hand tools and small-scale tractors—many items perfect for gardeners, too. The event also features a bookstore with farming, homesteading, and gardening books hand-selected for great content.

The Thursday evening locals ticket includes admission to the bookstore and the one-woman performance of “Turn Here Sweet Corn,” which starts at 7:40 p.m. In addition, tickets are available to the entire conference as well.

Horseshoes & Hand Grenades
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

What’s going on Downtown? Horseshoes & Hand Grenades play two nights at The Cavalier, Mid West Music Fest kicks off a dance party with PHO at the Root Note, Pigtown Fling strings it up at The Bodega, The Shufflin’ Duprees switch it up with Blues at The Brickhouse, and more!

Check out additional links to articles and events at the end of this article for more info about each event. Throw on your plaid, check out the MOSES Organic Farming Conference, and get downtown this weekend!  

Monday, Feb. 20th, 2017

Call to Artists: The People's Flag

La Crosse Group Seeks New Flag Design

Will Kratt presents The People's Flag project
Will Kratt presents The People's Flag project

 La Crosse Group Seeks New City Flag Design

From the peak of Grandad Bluff to the ripples of the Mississippi River, La Crosse, Wisconsin is a welcoming community with a wealth of culture to offer. A collaboration of local groups have come together on a project to create a symbol to represent the affection that citizens share for this city which they are calling “People’s Flag of La Crosse”.

The collaboration of Artspire, Pump House Regional Arts Center, School District of La Crosse, FUN Group, and Downtown Mainstreet, Inc. has initiated a “Call to Artists” to design a flag which the group hopes will be displayed around the city. “It’s something that’s meant to represent the community,” stated Brian Fukuda, group member. Citizens of all ages and professions are encouraged to design a flag that expresses the values that the city holds.

Current City of La Crosse Flag
Current City of La Crosse Flag

Though this is not meant to replace the current City of La Crosse flag, it will be an additional symbol that members of the community will be able to rally around and take pride in its symbolism.

Mayor Tim Kabat of La Crosse is on board as well stating, “I’m looking forward to the project. I’m hoping there’s a lot of community engagement.” And so far, there has been.

The group has connected with the School District of La Crosse on this project as a follow up to last year’s successful Compassion Project (in partnership with Artspire). Some students in art classes will have the opportunity to learn about the symbolism that goes into creating flags and may design 6” x 10” flags of their own to represent their family, school, neighborhood, or city. “We felt this was a great connection with the schools… we’ve received a request for 500 mini flags for the schools already,” added Eva Marie Restel, Chairperson of Artspire. This summer during the Artspire event, these designs will line the sidewalk and river view near the Weber Center for the Performing Arts to illustrate the different ways people envision their city.

Members of the community will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite design through online polling to be considered during the ultimate vote by members of the committee.

Entries may be submitted in a digital file format or may be a photo of a flag they created as long as the entry meets the submission requirements. The winning flag designer will be awarded a sponsored cash prize as well as recognition at the Artspire event on June 10. Visit the program website by clicking here to learn more about the project and how to submit a design of your own.

Online voting begins April 10. Visit Artspire this summer when the final design will be revealed and the citizens of La Crosse will be able to admire this collective symbol of a place that they all call home.

Not feeling confident in your artistic abilities? Watch the Ted Talk the group is directing people to watch, focusing on the simplicity of flag design. Maybe you could be the one to leave a lasting mark on the city of La Crosse. 

Thursday, Feb. 9th, 2017

Composer and Pianist Luke Thering Releases Ballads for Buddha Album

La Crosse, Wis.-based UW-La Crosse alum, composer, teacher, and pianist Luke Thering recently released the album, Ballads for Buddha. SEVEN covered the Wonderstruck Theatre Co. production, “Mop Dog”, a children’s puppet show April, 2016 of which Thering composed and recorded the full soundtrack.  

Ballads for Buddha delivers serene piano compositions through contemplative pieces such as “Things as they are, here and now”, “Truth One: Dukka (suffering)”, “Brahma-vihara (loving, kindness, compassion, joy equanimity)”, and others.  

According to Thering’s website, he shares, “this album is comprised of entirely improvised pieces, recorded on one day. At the piano, I let Buddhist ideas inform my musical decisions – namely the Four Noble Truths, and concepts like impermanence, acceptance, attention, and intention. Periods of silence were intentionally added at the end of some tracks to allow for time to take a breath, both literally and aurally-speaking.”  

Purchase Ballads for Buddha: Here

Learn more about the work of Luke Thering: Here

See Thering play at an upcoming show with 3rd Relation Jazz Quartet: Info Here



Emerging Artist Exhibition showcases oil paintings by Luther College students Ryan Koning and Joseph Cowan

“Make Yourself Comfortable: Marah,” oil on canvas by Ryan Koning, 19”x 22”
“Make Yourself Comfortable: Marah,” oil on canvas by Ryan Koning, 19”x 22”

Lanesboro Arts will present an Emerging Artist Exhibition featuring portraits by Ryan Koning and still-lifes by Joseph Cowan. The show opens with an artist reception on Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, from 6-8 p.m., and runs through March 19. Free and open to the public, winter gallery hours are Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. These two talented artists were selected in a jury process for the 3rd annual Emerging Art Show at Lanesboro Arts.

A sophomore at Luther College studying art and education, Ryan Koning has created a collection of distinctive oil painting portraits inspired by concepts of relationships and comfortability. “I sought to capture not only the likeness of the sitters I painted, but also their personalities and what may have been going through their heads at the time,” she said. Genuine and relatable, Koning states her portraits are largely influenced by the attention to realism displayed by John Singer Sargent and the personality of the work of Lucian Freud.

Originally from the Des Moines area, Koning has been drawn to oil paint as a medium since first using it in a high school class. “The rich tones and variety of thickness that can be achieved through oil is magical to me,” she shares. “So far, oil paint is the only medium I have found that makes the level of both expression and realism I strive for possible.”

“Still Life with Orange” oil on canvas by Joseph Cowan, 12”x16”
“Still Life with Orange” oil on canvas by Joseph Cowan, 12”x16”

Also a sophomore at Luther College studying art, one of the reasons Joseph Cowan feels the need to create art is in order to make sense of the world. “Still life painting is possibly the most distilled expression of this goal because it allows the artist to focus on abstract relationships, and form,” he says. “Without unnecessary emotional interference one can begin to answer one of the most basic questions about reality: how does it look?”

Originally from La Crosse, Cowan’s goal is to create images that are effective in replicating feelings, aesthetics and situations that are hard to explain with words, and to be able to render the real world as he sees it. “These oil paintings were all painted from life using controlled lighting,” explains Cowan. “My preferred procedure is to execute the paintings in two layers: one underpainting layer which may be colored or monochromatic, and the next layer a direct painting of the subject.”

Providing year-round arts programming for more than thirty years, the mission of Lanesboro Arts is to serve as a regional catalyst for artistic excellence and educational development in providing diverse art experiences for people of all ages. Handicapped accessible and free to the public, the exhibition gallery is located at 103 Parkway Ave N. in Lanesboro, Minnesota. The exhibit is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

The Band of Heathens Live Feb 10: Mid West Music Fest Show at Cavalier

Austin, TX based, The Band of Heathens, are an old-school southern Americana and boogie woogie band that have gathered a huge base of fans in their 10 years as a band. Mid West Music Fest (April 14-15 La Crosse and April 28-29) is helping to bring them to La Crosse through a partnership with Weber Family Foundation. In a rare Midwest performance, the 5-piece band will be joined by Denver-based Great American Taxi and local country-grass pioneers The Smokin’ Bandits.

The non-Midwest acts are not as out of the ordinary as it sounds for the organization that has made a name for itself branding Midwest music and its artists. “In the music business, these days, like in a lot of fields, it comes down the relationships we are building with certain artists, booking agents, and local community members, says MWMF Festival Director Parker Forsell.

“There actually is a strong chain of connections here that all circles back to relationships made in the community of La Crosse,” Forsell adds.

The Band of Heathens are managed by Chad Staehly, who is the brother of Christian "Chubba" Staehly of The Smoking Bandits, a group of La Crosse guys who all met while attending college here. The Staehly brothers grew up in the Fox Valley, but have gravitated like many others toward the burgeoning arts and cultural scene in the Mississippi Valley. Chad Staehly is in the process of moving his family to town, which should be a boon for the music community in general in our area. Chad works for Nashville-based Gold Mountain Entertainment and is not only the manager of The Band Of Heathens, but other well-known acts Todd Snider and The Chicago Farmer. He also plays keys, sings and manages his own two bands, Great American Taxi and Hard Working Americans (which includes Todd Snider, and Dave Schools and Duane Trucks of Widespread Panic).

Both The Band of Heathens and Great American Taxi are celebrating the release of new albums and are on tour throughout the country.

More event info by Clicking Here.

Band of Heathens: Website

Great American Taxi: Website

The Smokin Bandits: Facebook

Monday, Nov. 21st, 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

For fans of Hogwarts and its wizarding world, now you can travel back 70 years before Harry Potter into the underground magical realm of New York City. Starring Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, a researcher and writer documenting magical creatures, audiences everywhere will delight in the discovery of these very fantastic beasts.

Meet our critics. Jess Witkins is a newly christened Potterhead, who just finished reading the Harry Potter series this year. She hails from the House of Gryffindor and her patronus is a fox.

Todd Wohlert has not read the Harry Potter books, but we won’t hold that against him. He is a fan of the film adaptations. He believes he wouldn’t make the cut for a Hogwarts House, but could probably bunk up in Hagrid’s hut on the school grounds.

TW: First off, I thought “Fantastic Beasts” was fantastic. 

JW: I loved it! It was so fun.

TW: It is full of interesting characters and the imagination you would expect out of J.K. Rowling. It is a whole new world with just enough touchstones back to the contemporary world of Harry Potter.

JW: The detail of everything is really quite stunning. From the costumes to the hair and makeup to the set design, they really captured the 1920s. Visually, the “muggle world” was just as compelling to see as the glimpses we got into the world of wizards and witches.

TW: This movie was really good about dropping little nuggets for future adventures. If they go on with the planned five-movie series, there should be a lot to dig into plus some love triangles.

JW: I thought Eddie Redmayne was incredible. I’ve been a big fan of his ever since “The Theory of Everything,” and I read that for that movie he worked with a choreographer to pinpoint 12 different physical characteristics he could do as he portrayed Stephen Hawking’s progression with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Now, in “Fantastic Beasts,” I feel his strong suit was his nonverbal reactions, his facial expressions. He plays a character that is more comfortable around animals than people, and I feel he did that very well.

TW: Some other critics said the movie did not have as much depth as the final Harry Potter movies, but I disagree with that. This movie is a starting-out point. If you bog people down with too much information at once and get too heavy (not to say that there weren’t serious moments), it would be a drag and people would not want to follow along. They’ve set the plot points needed to continue if they wish.

JW: Well, and if you think about what captivated young audiences in the books or earlier movies, it was the world building—the creation of this magical place where staircases moved and people in paintings talked. Yes, there was a storyline to follow, and we loved it because it demanded bravery of its hero. But I think the reason we went back to the Harry Potter world again and again was for the joy of imagination and the things the movie allowed us to believe were possible. “Fantastic Beasts” has done that. The scene where Newt takes a non-magical human into his menagerie of creatures is delightful. We’re as smitten as he is to feast our eyes on these fantastic beasts.

Final question: Which fantastic beast would you want as a pet?

TW: The bowtruckle.

JW: The niffler.

Verdict: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is a beautiful and wondrous tale about protecting, rather than destroying, those we don’t understand. It is an entertaining and, of course, magical movie to go see on the big screen.

Check Marcus Theatres for times and locations.  

Friday, Nov. 18th, 2016

Good Times With Bad Companions

Feel like getting out the skinny ties, pointed shoes and cutting the rug to some raucous rock-a-billy and cavorting country tunes? Come to the Trempealeau Hotel on Saturday, November 19 because The Bad Companions are the band for you. The four piece from Minneapolis has played everywhere in the Midwest from neighborhood dive bars to car shows, from music festivals to county fairs. They've been on national TV and were featured on NPR's Prairie Home Companion – which seems a given considering the band’s name (get it, Companion?).

The roots-rock quartet was formed by Alan 'Al' Subola. Subola is a veteran of the Twin-City's rock scene, having spent years as lead guitar player and principal song writer for the critically acclaimed Vibro Champs. He was nominated as best electric guitarist in the state by the Minnesota Music Association. For the Bad Companions, Al also plays the lead guitar and is responsible for a majority of the vocals. Another Vibro Champs alum is standup bass player W.E. 'Bill' Keefe who's played with James Brown's drummer – Clyde Stubblefield. The Companion's drummer Scott 'Frenchy' Freemont earned his chops in bands like Stockcar Named Desire and Frenchy's Big Band. Finally Dan Gaarder of Roe Family fame plays the second guitar and supports Subola on vocals – especially when the Companions get their country on.

For smaller bar gigs the Companions like to perform as a three piece, leaving the second guitar in Minneapolis. Hayden Grooms on drums, Bill's stand up bass and Al's guitar still deliver the whole Bad Companions experience of utterly danceable classics and originals influenced by the likes of Bill Haley, Roger Miller, Johnny Cash and the Reverend Horton Heat.

Says Subola, ”I'm excited to come back to The Hotel. It just goes perfectly with our rock-a-billy and classic country music. An old building, the Mississippi on one side, Main Street on the other – it just feels like home. And please know – we will rip into a Johnny Cash train song, as soon as one comes by”.

Bad Companions Live

Saturday, November 19
8 – 11pm

Trempealeau Hotel
11332 Main Street
Trempealeau, WI 54661

No cover – pass the hat
(608) 534-6898

Sunday, Oct. 30th, 2016

SEVEN Announces $7000 Ad Prize Winner

The La Crosse Area Chamber Business Expo was held last Thursday, October 27, 2016 showcasing over 120 booths highlighting businesses and their services. The well-attended event featured presenters from Leithold Music and Brennan to share their stories of local business success.

SEVEN was one of many businesses to host a prize giveaway to celebrate the event. A $7000 SEVEN Advertising Package and Local 7 Gift Pack was up for grabs at the SEVEN booth as well as online for regional businesses to enter to win. (Click for prize details.)

Announcing, the prize winner...

Congratulations to Valley View Mall

and Laurie Cafe!


*If you would like to inquire about advertising your business in SEVEN, please call (608) 780-3853 or email