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

Archive for November, 2012

The Giving Part, 88NINE, Hands-on Garage

This was the weekend of giving thanks for what we have and what we don’t. I caught a radio spot by 88NINE this week that illustrated how some say thanks by giving back to their community.

Hands-On Garage is a local Auto repair shop that provides full service repairs as well as rental bays for DIY mechanics. 88NINE’s story highlights Hands-on Garage’s charitable contribution to Milwaukee, a weekly contest to provide repairs to an employed person in need. Read the story from 88NINE here.

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Coughing and Such, Jackpot Gallery, Nicotine Bliss

I’ll never get used to the receding daylight suffered by fall changing to winter. The premature darkness did allow the new inhabitants of Truly Spoken’s old space to feature their fine vintage replacement framed window glass under studio lighting. There’s a market around here for that huh? That’s the kind ingenuity you expect to see these days unfortunately. Nice to see someone making lemonade out of it.

Keeping with its long-suffering reputation as the hotbed for everything an urban cross-roads should have, Riverwest proudly watched one of its more established artist venues, Jackpot Gallery, open a new show titled Nicotine Bliss. The Jackpot Gallery show opened November 9th and helped demonstrate the robust bandwidth Milwaukee’s art scene has achieved; The Portrait Society Gallery’s unveiling happened to be on the same night attracting a whole different crowd.


via AnthonyMikkelson on YouTube

Unsel Fish Guild

Headlined by no-one in particular, 14 artist shacked up on Jackpots’ walls for Nicotine Bliss. Pieces touched on traditional forms of painting and print-making, and went guerrilla, pop and re-purposed.

Anthony Mikkelson minds the design spaces ACME and Used Car Studios shared his insights on the sights from his world and beyond. Several of his pieces presented illustrations of characters, objects and street-scapes endemic to urban areas. Channeling folk-artsiness for a few pieces, ACME scrawled deliberately on reused objects such as wood board and LP liners, leaving urban artifacts and relics of this current age.

Gregory Martens went ballistic depicting the end of days in series of prints that stopped time in several locales spread far and wide across the continents. As the rapture occurs, the sights, sounds, and amazement of that moment culminate in natural, celestial and symbolic realms colliding with known and unknown forces amidst the final cataclysm. Martens brings this world to our un-believing eyes applying print-making techniques to oversized paper.

A Matter of Medium

As much about the final product, as the method of reaching the consumable image, the works comprising the Nicotine Bliss installation all share the desire to go new places, off-canvas, and away from acrylic paint. Paul Kjelland really stood tall applying hand cut paper techniques.

With a precise razor blade, Kjelland took two very pop images of youth doing youthful things and simulated posterizing effects on them, with cuts leaving only the essential details of the image, then coloring them with a glazes of spray paint until the images looked as if they could be stills from A Scanner Darkly.

Contributing healthily to the Nicotine Bliss show also were Lindsay Marx (a painter of growing infamy), Brad Warsh, Lois Galvez, Levon Turner, Ahmad Kearney, Ella Dwyer, Max Senesac, Kellen Kroening, Jenna Wilson, Joshua Carol and Kate Luscher.

Nicotine Bliss tears down November 27th.


via FritsisNietzsche on YouTube


Model Space, Portrait Society Gallery

Breaking in its newly reconfigured space, the Portrait Society Gallery’s latest opening went easy as a Saturday afternoon whistle Friday night at the Marshall Building. At least that’s the way feels when you just get to be one of the many enthused patrons.

An Enclave, Rarified

For several years prior, the Portrait Society’s raw 5th floor space stitched a hallway of individual offices into a quiet cave of high quality, highly focused artistic subject matter. Pieces hung in PSG’s noncontiguous display areas, for you to find. No longer the case, the space and its work now finds you.

Formerly, a plain-old door threshold lead to an makeshift office, slash 1 of 3 dedicated display areas, slash storage closet. The PSG said f-it and removed the entire corner of the hallway, replacing it with a very attractive, skillfully made glass entry way.

Inside they adjusted an interior wall to create a tangible but quaint division between three contiguous display areas, one capitalizing on existing exposed brick that will never get old. Studio lighting added, and action! A polished gallery space to suit the already exquisitely polished curating taste of PSG’s Debra Brehmer.

Viewing the Latest

Now showing at the Portrait Society Gallery, several exhibitors dual traditional photographic exposure techniques against those renegade ones. With Natural History ,Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lotham display series of enhanced silhouettes that retain some of the human subjects’ physical facial features and impose on to them others.

Nicholas Grider , in co-artistic display with the Portrait Society, delves into vintage photographic styles compiling a series of family mantle pieces and adding to them contemporary aesthetic appeal.

Taking center display space, with their installation Decay Utopia Decay, having used an oversized DIY camera and an improvised enlarger to muster 30×36 inch cyanotype exposures, hardcore photography virtuosos J. Shimon and J. Lindemann, draw out ambiguous and mysteriously staged photo frames that dramatically convey 15 thousand word statements.

The Portrait Society Gallery’s latest installments hit the wall November 9 and will hang there until January 5, 2013. The Portrait Society Gallery opens to the public Friday thru Sunday, 12 to 5pm, on the 5th floor of the Marshall Building in the Third Ward.


Bottle, Lightning, Yield, The Please Please Me

Jessie Torrisi digs for a loud octave to check the sound sound system with. It’s The Please Please Me’s last stop on their tour, Yield, before heading back to homebase. Above the stage, clear plastic cords house a series of small lights that grant a red haze; dim red, the color of Rock. The eyes and images of a thousand Rock heroes stuck to the wall on posters approve. The Please Please Me can now begin.

A drummer, a cellist, and Torrisi on lead and vocals, at a volume suitable for listening, dive into their set. They easily touch shallow water of typical triangle-ting pop, then drift deeper looking for country and bluesy rock roots. Born south by south west in Austin, The Please Please Me call it circus pop. It sounds like the music stuff that definitively adds to the shape of Rock.

Fittingly they lope down the heartbroken road that keeps fingers calloused from strumming away the pain. Drum lines beat by Agustin Frederic switch back and forth mid-song from mid-tempo big epic rock ballad-esque tom pounds, to slight time-keeping hi-hat ticks. The cello bowed by Alissa Shram haunts mysteriously, giving each song a ambient cohesion. Intriguingly, The Please Please Me makes Sunday evening wine sipping music that when played live amps up to a whiskey slugging pitch.


The Please Please Me EP video tease via YouPleasePleaseMe on Youtube

That frighful edge of Milwaukee’s Eastside that dulled in the 2000’s, grates against a new breed of old souls, in clunky worn leather boots. The Please Please Me fit right in, Yield growing in its own way, incubating dark musky crevices needed for spawning a good rock lounge.