Date: Wednesday November 5, 2014
Time: 8pm
Location: High Noon Saloon (map)

The Magic of Solar Panels and Why They Will Save the World

Summary: Solar power has been in the news lately as the “it” girl of alternative energy. But is she really that awesome on the inside, or is it just more hype? We’ll play science dodge-ball, and learn why solar roadways are a HORRIBLE idea but other applications of solar power will truly save the world.  

Presenter bio: Robin Lawson is a Jane of all trades, master of many. A 4th generation mechanical engineer, she grew up in northern WI with her very own maker space in the woods. Robin is currently the co-founder (with her genius engineer brother) and design diva of Lumen Electronic Jewelry, which creates twinkling LED jewelry powered by the magic of solar cells. She also enjoys tricking minors into loving science through their kits and classes. When she isn’t melting metals she can also be found dancing like no one is watching.


All Samples Cleared: The Curious Rise and Fall of Sampling In Hip-Hop

Summary: At the bedrock foundation of hip-hop is sampling. Flipping drum beats, chopping up horn stabs, and looping breaks for the b-boys used to be the way it all went down. Then, once the money started flowing starting with Rapper’s Delight, the lawyers came calling and more or less put an end to it making it so that landmark albums like Paul’s Boutique would now be too cost-prohibitive to ever get produced and released legally in today’s music landscape. In the same way that English teachers use hip-hop to make poetry fun, let’s try and use it as a jump off to examine the current messed-up state of copyright laws in America. 

Bio: A Madison transplant from North Carolina where he wrote his undergrad thesis on “Hip Hop’s Interdisciplinary Cultural Roots”, Chris sometimes writes things for The Isthmus and Tone Madison, occasionally performs standup comedy, often times sells people records at MadCity Music Exchange, and will always have a last name that’s a sex-verb.


Midwest is Best!: Serial Killer Heavy Hitters

Summary: We’ve all heard the phrase “Midwest is Best,” and that sure rings true when it comes to serial killers. Four of the most infamous serial killers of the past 150 years have hailed from the great states of Illinois and Wisconsin: H.H. Holmes, John Wayne Gacy, Ed Gein, and Jeffrey Dahmer. This presentation will delve into the lives and deaths of these four men and their heinous crimes, looking at what may have driven them to kill, details of some the murders, and the aftermath personally for these men, for popular culture, and for the reputation of the midwest. Whether it’s that clown at your child’s birthday party, your doctor, that chocolate factory worker, or your neighbor, you just can’t always trust that Midwestern hospitality.

Presenter bio: Originally from Ohio, Alexandra Newman came to Madison a few years back, receiving her Master’s degree in Art History in 2012 with the thesis “The Trope of the Enwhitened Boy Adventurer: Tintin and Jonny Quest.” She studies French and American cartoons and comics, and American pop music ephemera. Currently she teaches Art History at Madison College, serves as the Celebrity and Stardom Chair for the Midwest Pop Culture Association, and has a mild obsession with watching Investigation Discovery crime shows.