An e-zine for happenings of local culture in Milwaukee and elsewhere

Archive for September, 2012

Own Ward, Bay View Gallery Night 2012

Cramming activities into the last clement days of the year isn’t too difficult in Milwaukee and no neighborhood rises to the occasion quite like Bay View. There’s the South Shore Farmers Market and The Frolics. There was Pabst Fest and Bay View Bash, Art Beat, that other crap I’m missing, and now Bay View Gallery Night, which kicks off tomorrow night. Yes, a Gallery Night so cool it happens a full month before the rest of the City’s.

On the serrated butter knife’s edge of this madness, Made in Milwaukee and Alchemist Theatre safely press their pointy little teeth into Milwaukee’s penchant for creative to-do’s du jour. Bay View’s abundance of venues and pop-up cultural dioramas basically will allow you to just walk down KK without a plan. But here are a few places and artists to see.

Alchemist Theatre and Bay View Lounge

They co-sponsor the night and will have photography of Shane Gardner on the walls and music of Todd Richards and the Surround Sound Experiment in the ether. What’s coolest about this stop? The Alchemist Theatre has a chic/cheeky dive concept lounge rarely open when no show is on-stage.

If you’re not sure about theatre, you can at least absorb one of the best social atmospheres Milwaukee has to offer without committing a couple hours to stage entertainment. If you like it enough, you can vamp back in for the Alchemist’s upcoming Hollowed Eve themed freak-you-out live theatrical production The Alchemist Eye.

Amanda Iglinski at the Hide House

Usually all sorts of craziness goes on at the Hide House like church services and improvised musical shows. Most of that will probably still be going on tomorrow night and among others Amanda Iglinski’s works will perch on the Hide House’s interior vertical planes as a part of the first floor display. She’s a tremendous pop artist with intriguing vision that melds social commentary to the craft of picking images, motifs and colors to blend.

The Hide House will also have exhibits and B-Boy performances from the TRUE Skool camp, Bay View Arts Guild, Sara Risley, music, art studio open houses and egg rolls from Mamma’s Eggrolls.

Gao Gallery

Resident artist Jenie Gao will open her space to feature artwork of her contemporaries Steph Davies, Laura Macias Barrera, Zina Mussman, Rachel Quirk and live music.

Gao Gallery occasionally offers instructional art workshops. Stop by during Bay View Gallery Night and you’ll be able to screenprint a ready made design on one of your own garments or a T that you can purchase there. Jenie Gao’s star as a fine art purveyor is in full bloom and something to gaze upon for seeing what it looks like to go beyond just having talent in a particular medium.

Shogun Tattoo & Body Piercing

Ink’s abound in this town, why stop now? I see calf tats are in. Shogun Tattoo & Body Piercing will wet their needles publicly for the grand ole’ first time, opening on BVGN’s expressive ocean swell. The Mil can’t get enough ink, how can you blame us, most of us live where our bodies are at the moment anyway.

The Rest Are The Best Anyway

If I were to drop a few more names for thirst quenching pit stops let’s jus throw Studio Lounge, Black Bird Bar, Boon and Crockett, Hector’s and Club Giribaldi out there arbitrarily. Bay View Gallery Night’s website has the full listing happenings complete with proper addresses and other vital information. I also hear that the new super brilliant Alterra will have a parking lot extavaganza of sorts to top it all with a mango.

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Real Raw, Cooking Raw, Caroline Carter

Two women focus on a food processor, a friend in the field healthy eating. Ready for their next culinary television how-to episode, ingredients get sliced and chopped. They are making raw meatloaf. Sounds disgusting right? It gets better, the meatloaf they make contains no meat.

As grills cool during the summer’s end, meats, buns, cheese and the slightly possible pickled veggies that have hit dinner plates all the summer take a breather. Autumn kitchens warm up for the holidays, getting ready for the year’s best eating that has yet come. Not many deny how good the traditional meat and potatoes diet tastes going down, but a movement gaining popularity aims to challenge our outlook of food, from ingredients to preparation, and how what we digest affects our well-being.

Here in Milwaukee, Caroline Carter has gravitated towards the benefits that healthy food choices can provide the body, and seeks to teach how to make those benefits go even further by preparing her food raw. On the food pyramid, the items she chooses are exclusively flora, supplemented by vitamins and minerals that increase the potency of her meal’s salubriousness.

Carter and her daughter Shenita Ray can show you how to enjoy alternatives to traditional cooking, for any meal of the day. They shop locally and feature segments on sustainable food producers in the area and local grocers including Outpost.

Karyn Calabrese receives much credit for helping to trailblaze the raw food movement and inspire those like Carter spread the raw food gospel. Calabrese is the proprietor of two restaurants in Chicago, IL one, Karyn’s Raw has an exclusively raw and vegan food menu.


via MPTV1036 on YouTube

Caroline Carter’s cooking show Cooking Raw airs Fridays at 6p and Sundays at 12:30p on MPTV Channel 36, and Saturdays at 12:30p on MPTV Channel 10. She also has a line of healthy wheat and gluten-free flax seed crackers and granola, called Caroline’s Homemade, that you might find at some of your favorite local healthy living spots including Beans and Barely, Good Harvest Co-op, Riverwest Co-op and a few others.


The Miss Hit, Assassins, The Rep, The Hyatt

Incarnating the falling action of Stephen Sondheim’s musical story Assassins, Lee Ernst finally reveals himself unmistakably through an amazingly new gravely voice, taking himself up a notch from his deliberately muted early scenes. He’s ranting in a Santa suit about why the White House deserves an unexpected guest arriving in a Boeing 747. In his crescendo, coincidentally, Ernst gets to roll with a Sondheim reference to worn-down American dream-seeker Willy Lowman from Death of a Salesman.

Penning Assassin’s in 1991, an absurdist reconstitution of America’s most harrowing and somber historical events, John Weidman and Sondheim remembered a failed plane hijacking aimed at President Nixon’s Oval Office in 1974. How did our intelligence community fail to see the legitimate threat that a sufficiently conniving crazy person in an aircraft could be. Exactly 10 years from Assassins’ publishing, the entire world found out.

A Few Good Thoughts

The Milwaukee Reparatory Theatre has a run of Assassins opening its Fall 2012 season. What contributes more to a good discussion than timely commentary? With Assassins, Sondheim fixed history’s lens on the people who have personified the pinnacle of disillusionment and aimed it square on the President. Yep that guy, the man with the spoon stirring the pot, doling out meat and potatoes to some and the salty broth to others, whatever his discerning eye decides.

Sondheim helps us hear the singing voice of the people who couldn’t push their way in line, follow directions on how to get a bowl, or even get in the mess hall, and their praises of exercising the 2nd Amendment as a fall back plan. As we see in Assassins, it’s mostly personal rather than political, a moral of Sondheim’s story still ringing clear as a bell 20 years later in the current Presidential election season.

The World on Stage

As we’ve come to expect, Clements utterly transforms his set and players, to create that magical place that is live theater. Brian Stills (Giuseppe Zangara), Chris Peluso (Lee Harvey Oswald), Sarah Litzsinger (“Squeaky” Fromme), and Evan Herrington (John Hinckley), with notable presence, bring the tortured souls of would be, and successful, assassins into the auditorium. They twirl around a concentric dual-carousel stage in search of their unwitting targets, Presidential and otherwise.

Having just enough time enough time before their brushes with demises, James Garfield and Gerald Ford make memorable cameos played by Ray Jivoff and Jonathan Altman, Ford being the luckier of the two. Luke Brotherhood (Billy) makes several appearances, as a kid, subtly contrasted with Jonathan Gillard Daly’s role as Proprietor of the world fair carnival quiz show where the musical drums up the past.

Emma Goldman (Melissa Joy Hart) appears, in a markedly humane moment of the story, while being futilely courted by Leon Czolgosz (Steve French) before he offs President McKinley. J.R. Yancher gives a fittingly aloof version of Secretary of State James Blaine bearing witness to Garfield taking lead. Mark Price’s performance as Garfield’s assassin worked really well, as his exaggerated gestures accentuated the edges of Charles Guiteau’s character, forming it into a fitting caricature.

Caroline O’Conner, in her role as Sarah Jane Moore, all play long vigorously working herself up to going after Jerry Ford, basically caught fire while wearing a polyester blend pant suit from the time she stepped on stage, incinerating the New Jersey Turn-Pike Nancy type-cast until nothing was left but ashes.

Master of Ministry

Through Adam Monley’s performance, John Wilkes Booth likably turns into an effete dandy capable of significant vanity-driven wickedness, a rare combination of Jack Merridew, Jack Sparrow and Prince John from Disney’s Robin Hood. Booth centers himself as the ring leader of this historical lineup of notorious suspects.

Subject to Booth’s insidious instigation, all of the assassins have just the right buttons pushed to unlock their innermost superior sore loser. They play carries on with remarkable levity as one by one each of our nation’s darkest hours are relived. In some cases, these moments threaten the overall artistry of the play.

In other scenes, the production loses opportunities to really capture the intrigue of such grand events as Presidential assassinations by relying too heavily on multimedia effects, rather than keeping the live theatre special effects interacting with the players. Shortcomings aside, the play’s inherent asymmetry and non-linearity overbear the acting in some places, however not enough to completely throw the show out of orbit.

More than the Rest

Clement’s deploys a chorus to bolster the performance of the ensemble, sung by Hart, Jivoff, Yancher, Altman, Alex Kelper and Kelly Faulkner. Steve French delivered a moving baritone during the Ballad of Czolgosz worth mentioning. The intern ensemble did well in their supporting roles played by Emily Berman, Lamar Jefferson, Toni Martin, Jessi Noel, Tyrone Phillips, Jess Pritchard, Jamie Rezanour, Teddy Spencer, Bri Sudia, Trequon Tate and Mercedes White.

The Real Miss

One event in history conspicuously absent in Sondheim’s musical, involves the ever famous Theodore Roosevelt. While campaigning for President on the Bull Moose Party ticket on October 14, 1912, Roosevelt left the Gilpatrick Hotel to deliver a stump speech. He carried in his coat pocket his wire rimmed glasses, a tough piece of buffalo hide gum, and his 50 page speech manuscript.

A deranged bartender from New York City named John Schrank followed Teddy Roosevelt to the Mid-west, under the pretense that he was hunting for a bounty of Squab. Schrank approached Roosevelt and shot him. As fate would see fit, the pages of Roosevelt’s long winded speech and steel case for his glasses slowed the bullet’s entry into his chest.

Against the doctor’s orders, a wounded Roosevelt insisted that he should deliver the speech to spite the attempt on his life. He did so with blood seeping through his shirt at the Milwaukee Auditorium. On the original footprint of the the former Gilpatrick stands a hotel to this day, The Hyatt. Inside the the Hyatt’s eastern entrance vestibule, on 3rd Street, a historic marker enshrines the near miss.

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Technically, Teddy Roosevelt was running for Office again, after becoming the youngest President in our nation’s history when President McKinley was assassinated in 1901. During his next 8 years of Presidency, Roosevelt successfully founded the Progressive Movement, a concerted push to make sure that big corporations didn’t trample the American public. Come on Sondheim that should be close enough!

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Assassins blazes its barrels onstage until October 7th at The Rep, with audio described performance Tuesday September 11th, cast talk back on Thursday on September 13th, and lunch matinee and talk back with props director Jim Guy on September 26th.


Roast Your Choice, Stone Creek and Alterra

For a small pond, Milwaukee has never shied away from rivalry. In the battle grounds of Milwaukee’s corner taverns and mid-block pubs, brew masters watched their glory pour from beer taps. More recently, Milwaukee’s other favorite brew has inspired a less overt battle to fill coffee house mugs with specialty blends caffeinated beverages. What more fitting place for a friendly business duel to take place, but at the intersection in Bay View where Lincoln, Kinnickinnic, Allis and Howell Avenue create the most conspicuous conglomeration street corners per acre of anywhere in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Waterier Features

If Bay View were Greenwich, Connecticut Alterra Coffee Roasters would be the Jones’. The coffee brewers that auspiciously broke-in a vacant garage on the Eastside in 1992 before the curse cast on Prospect Mall took hold, in 2012 leveled the old Maritime Bank building a redeveloped it into a LEED-certified coffee super cabin suitable for a mountainside lot in Boulder, Colorado.

Much conversation titillates around the subject of coffee culture and Alterra just upped the ante. More like a coffee resort, their open air patio sits adjacent to a convertible vestibule that leads to the lobby’s order counter. A flock of hip and forward thinking parents and yuppies, are joined by counter-thinking parents and hipsters in a line reaching the sidewalk on KK. Hustling servers of all ages and persuasions, from tattooed to typical, cut through the through the faux log tables and chairs, to seek out and deliver goodies to those dining on the patio.

On Alterra’s upstairs level, though the garage door window was closed, the lofted space still felt like a high-end stilted bungalow in Costa Rica. Despite the pomp and trendiness, we all know that Alterra serves extremely tasty coffee, including the house coffee that was barely phased by a few of tablespoons of half and half, truly fitting for a coffee blend represented by the rock star accentuating the “A” in Alterra.

Keep that Upper Lip Stiff

Having a niche is sometimes just as good as being at the top of your game. Nestled in behind a patch of birch trees, Stone Creek Coffee’s shop exudes the understated and connoisseur quality of its founder. Eric Resch started Stone Creek around the same time Lincoln Fowler, Ward Fowler and Paul Miller jump started Alterra, today the shops are kind of like two cool brothers that took different paths to productive adulthoods.

Baristas tending to a quaint and quiet lounge area, with comfy leather chairs and wood furnishings holding an impeccable golden maple stain, patiently wait for customers to settle on their beverage choices. A modest but sweet selection of bakery and reasonably priced fruit awaits a chance to accompany a smooth cup of freshly drawn coffee. The patrons inside and out have their coffee without a fuss, a bit motley in their own right. The down-to-earth nature of Bay View has thoroughly soaked into the Stone Creek establishment, you might barely know it’s there riding past. Stone Creek’s visual impact barely distinguishes the shop from the surrounding landscape.

Not too long ago Stone Creek did some remodeling of its own. The patio is set with rugged green steel chairs that offer a surprising level of comfort despite their riveted all-conditions design. All-weather industrial strength umbrellas anchored in place shield the tables from the rain or shine. Elongated park benches give a few additional places to settle. A traditional garden fountain trickles audibly, miraculously drowning-out road noise that one might imagine enveloping your outdoor experience, but it just doesn’t.

The coffee tables inside, situated in an acceptable and not too cozy proximity to one another, offer various vantage points, inspired by the Stone Creek slogan accordingly, from which to sip your coffee slowly. Large screened windows make the counter area into a sun porch overlooking the cafe’s patio. Favoring kinship to the traditional beer brew pubs of Milwaukee, Stone Creek notably serves a house ice brewed coffee straight from a beer tap into single serve cups, or take-away refillable growlers, as if you needed a reason to come back.

Enough Sippers for All Occasions

Alterra Coffee Roasters and Stone Creek Coffee Roasters do the brewers of Milwaukee’s past proud Monday – Sunday during regular coffee drinking hours, fittingly with Stone Creek opening a little earlier and Alterra closing a little later.