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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, July 28, 2014

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Counting Crows performs at The Riverside Theater in Milwaukee on Wednesday, July 23, 2014.
Counting Crows performs at The Riverside Theater in Milwaukee on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (Photo: Benjamin Wick)

Counting Crows brings full house to its feet

Adam Duritz and his hair ruled the stage.

The Counting Crows lead singer led the close-to-sellout crowd in a nearly 2-hour-set Wednesday night at the Riverside Theater in Downtown Milwaukee.

From "Round Here" on the album "August and Everything After" to "Long December" on "Recovering the Satellites," the band's hits were sung along to with an audience that appreciates the folksy/blues sound of  musical storytellers sharing experiences of life and love.

The lighting display got to be a little too much for the room, but the affects worked well to keep the stage looking engaged and active. Members of the band played multiple instruments that ranged from accordions to organs and ukuleles.

Duritz commands on the stage, as the main storyteller, the band’s leader and orchestra director of the audience itself. His hair was so impressive, it deserved its own place on the bill.

Counting Crows has been releasing a new song every couple weeks before the release of the new album, "Somewhere Under Wonderland." The band played a couple of those new songs, notably "Scarecrow" and "Palisades Park."

If you were a fan expecting to hear everything that made the 1990s cool, this wasn’t the show for you. If you wanted to be entertained by a finely-tuned band performing an interactive show, that’s what you got out of the concert on the historic stage.

Walking on the stage to "Lean on Me" performed by Bill Withers, the band was cast in blue, hitting it hard and early with "Round Here" and a great renditions of "Untitled  (Love Song)," that had the crowd yelling "arms wrapped around my neck" and mumbling the rest of the words as a taxed brain was on the hook to come up with the rest of the lyrics.

Sure, we all knew the chorus to "Omaha," but the rest of the concert had me wishing I’d take the time to be familiar with some of the deeper cuts on the older albums. Maybe that was the point. Remembering Duritz with his arms soaring on into the main space of the theater, more tha…

Anime film "Appleseed Alpha" was released on DVD, digital and Blu-ray today.
Anime film "Appleseed Alpha" was released on DVD, digital and Blu-ray today.

"Appleseed Alpha" sets up animated world in spectacular detail

If about a quarter of the way through you forget you're watching an animated feature, the film did one of two things very well. Either the story pulled you in with well-developed characters in exciting situations, or the animation is just that good.

Both are true of "Appleseed Alpha."

It is as stunning in its animated detail as it is an entertaining story.

"Appleseed Alpha" is the third full-length animated film, following "Appleseed" and "Appleseed Ex Machina." The "Alpha XIII" broadcast series was re-edited into two films as well.

What is different here, in this prequel, is that it tells the story of the main characters -- soldier Deunan and bioroid Briareos, who used to be her boyfriend – in a time after the war ended. All too often stories about soldiers of fortune end when the final battle is won. We never get to see what happens to the winners and losers after the fighting is ended. In "Appleseed Alpha," we realize that both sides never won the battle of World War III.

In the other two films, we find our couple in Olympus, working in the structured military command. In this film, they are mercenaries only living in the moment, doing what they need to survive. By the end of the film they have purpose … they’ve found a reason to keep going, just to see if Olympus even exists.

The detail spent on the lighting, the renditions of the backgrounds, the textiles of clothing and the camera perspectives are breathtaking. There has been decades of technological development in the world of CGI crammed in these last few years. In this animated film, first available on DVD, digital and Blu-ray today, we get to see these animation skills at its best.

I had the opportunity to review the Sony Home Entertainment Blu-ray over the weekend.

As with Japanese anime, the films developed for the western world have a pace or feel that we’ve come to expect out of most of the average movies we like … think of the common summer blockbuster. But the Appleseed world is a story…

Time Warner Cable reached its Connect a Million Minds project goal to promote learning in science, technology, engineering and math.
Time Warner Cable reached its Connect a Million Minds project goal to promote learning in science, technology, engineering and math. (Photo:

Time Warner Cable reaches 1 million minds

In 2009, Time Warner Cable launched its Connect a Million Minds (CAMM) project to help get more young people interested in STEM – science, technology, engineering and math.

Late last month the cable company reached that goal to teach young students that skills in these areas would prepare them to be future problem solvers.

The milestone announcement was made at the White House Science Fair.

"All of us at Time Warner Cable are extremely proud of the work we’ve done to inspire our nation’s future problem solvers and cable’s next generation of innovators," said Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Rob Marcus.

"For the past five years, our Connect a Million Minds initiative has anchored our company in a relevant and important cause that has helped us live up to the commitment we have to our communities and the future we all share."

Jayda Collazo, 12, of the Bronx, N.Y., and Eddie Cuba, 11, of Paterson, N.J., were at the White House event as representatives of the one million young people who have become interested in STEM because of CAMM. Collazo and Cuba are members of The Children Aid’s Society -- Dunlevy Milbank Boys & Girls Club and Boys & Girls Club of Paterson & Passaic. Both Clubs are part of Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA)’s partnership with Time Warner Cable.

"We are very grateful to Time Warner Cable for bringing Jayda and Eddie, two talented Club youth, to the White House Science Fair," said Jim Clark, President and CEO of BGCA. "STEM education is critical to the future success of our young people. With the support of partners like Time Warner Cable, we hope to inspire underrepresented youth in STEM by teaching them how to make technology -- rather than just consume it -- and how to think critically and creatively."

B93.3 and its sponsors named Julie Leonhardt of Bayside Middle School as the "Teacher of the Year."
B93.3 and its sponsors named Julie Leonhardt of Bayside Middle School as the "Teacher of the Year." (Photo:

B93.3 awards "Teacher of the Year"

It goes without saying that education is important. However, because it becomes a necessary way of life, it often blends into the background of our normal routines.

That’s why it is good to take the time to thank the educators and staff members that truly shine in their work to teach the next generation.

WLDB-FM B93.3 announced the winner of its "Teacher of the Year Contest" -- Julie Leonhardt of Bayside Middle School. 

From May 1 to 14, votes among the "Teacher of the Month" winners were taken online to select the winner of the annual promotion.

As winner of the competition, Leonhardt will receive a four night stay at RIU Palace Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, courtesy of Funjet Vacations.  In addition to the trip, Leonhardt will receive a grand prize package that includes front row tickets to see Michael Bublé at BMO Harris Bradley Center on July 27, a $100 gift card to The Melting Pot of Brookfield, a $50 gift card to Marcus Theatres courtesy of Educators Credit Union, "milk for a year" from Prairie Farms, and a "B93.3 Teacher of the Year" trophy from Personalized Awards and Specialties in Mequon.

Leonhardt beat out nine other candidates including Christie Timm (October winner, Carrollton Elementary School, Oak Creek), Jon Waite (November, Hamilton High School, Sussex), Michael Theine (December, Parkway Elementary School, Glendale), Jane Posanski (February, Audubon Technology and Communication Center Middle School, Milwaukee), Carson Wright (March, Maryland Avenue Montessori School, Milwaukee), and Kristi Sims, Karisa Mantey, Pat Roemer and Jennifer Van Acker (April co-winners, Oak Creek West Middle School, Oak Creek).