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

Author Archive

Sit Modern, Walker’s Point, BC Modern

Stylish and aged Italianate architecture lines 5th Street, an element that allows this backwater strip to keep any shred of its historic charm. Although this part of Walker’s Point now finds itself more done-up into high maintenance redevelopment by the day, the craggy corners hang on.

Faded murals commemorate the recent disappearance of old standbys like La Perla, diffusing further into these antique buildings’ weathered exterior sidewalls with each elapsing minute. Up and down this storied stretch, goods and food stuffs of all sorts still peek out of bay windows groping the sidewalk, tempting passers by to pass some time exploring.

Nook Picked

Mid-century modern definitively took over 21st century design sensibilities and BC Modern has its own take on the in-demand trend. Nestled in this streetscape, from the outside BC Modern looks like your run-of-the-mill vintage general resale store. Eric Lewis, BC Modern’s shop keeper and curator, has found a mixture somewhere between mid-century and Americana that soothes the senses wanting for the aesthetics of both.

Thoughtfully staged groupings of social and family living and dining sets get accented by humbly elegant and period matching homewares. Eric is a self proclaimed picker and good at it. He also picks collaborators just as well.

Finds Abound

Scanning about the shop, overtaken by the variety of items, you’ll spot adventures like a well-aged vinyl section, and vintage clothing, coats and jackets, and nick-knacks and chotchkies of assorted randomness. Entering the ‘Material Era’ of the ’80’s, which can be credited with adding new consumerist flavor to this American trinket making tradition, causes BC Modern no concern. If you’re into vintage resale shopping, wherever era you’re into, BC Modern can hold your interest and will likely have you parting with a few bucks for a few unique items.

BC Modern started in a windowless warehouse buying and selling vintage furnishings and now calls a prime storefront at at 900 South 5th Street home. BC Modern’s official hours are 12:00p – 5:00p on Saturday and Sunday or by appointment.


Connoisseur Culture: Uncle Wolfie’s Breakfast Tavern

Taking a seat at the marblesque horseshoe dining counter that centers the culinary action of Uncle Wolfie’s, it felt like the place made its home on the corner of Vine and Hubbard for years. In actuality, they’ve only been open a couple hours during their soft launch.

Set to open this Monday, Uncle Wolfie’s a self-proclaimed breakfast tavern (this might be a Milwaukee first) has the type charm you’d expect from a well-seasoned cafe.

A project of Whitney and Wolfgang Shaefer, they are making this spot happen by enlisting their battle tested service industry compadres and handing control of the range top eyes to chef Joe Singer.

credit: Local Trolley

How to Breakfast Tavern

Singer’s inventiveness will land on your plate as variations on staple brunch items like pancakes, potatoes, salads, steak and burgers. Egg benedict gives an example, served with a choice of meat options including salmon slices given flavor with a good soaking beet and tarragon juice.

credit: Local Trolley

As you might expect Uncle Wolfie’s also is caters to coffee lovers. They’ll make a variety of coffee drinks to contrast hair of the dog concoctions like hibiscus cocktail coolers.

Instant Mystic

The rise of European salon cafes in Milwaukee highlight timelessness of certain types of gathering spaces. When asked of the inspiration for Uncle Wolfie’s design and decor Shaefer responded quickly, “All of Milwaukee’s makers.” Many of the finishings and accents are design by locals.

The bench seating back cushions were made by Madam Chino, one Milwaukee pioneering handmade and sustainability-focused garment up-cyclers, and Directive a recently founded leather goods maker that has had extraordinary success in first few years.

credit: Local Trolley

The salon also shares a hall way with neighboring storefront Orange and Blue Co. that offers curated hand made or ethically sources items.

If your list of places to frequent wasn’t long enough, Uncle Wolfie’s deserves a place either way. Uncle Wolfie’s opens December 17 and will offer neighborhood friendly service 7 days a week, located at 234 E. Vine, Brewer’s Hill, Milwaukee.

Holiday Cheer, Next Act, The Twelve Dates of Christmas

Mary’s fiancé backed out of Thanksgiving plans claiming he ate ‘bad chicken’. Unexpectedly home alone, Mary watches the NYC Thanksgiving Day parade as planned. Her entire face a gasp, not only did her fiancé stand her up, but he got caught on national t.v. necking his highly manicured coworker… at the parade.

In a moment that probably got snickers during the show’s run, Mary insinuates that she’s now sure he ate some ‘bad chicken’. After getting publicly jilted, Mary (Susie Duecker) desperately tries to piece her life back together.

Oh Gee Thanks

Having a “typical middle American” social background, Mary’s support network finds increasingly proactive, however oblivious, ways to rally around her. Mary’s athletic and over achieving sister Sally (Susie Duecker) starts Mary on her regimen of unwanted help by getting her to blow off some steam on a punching bag.

Ironically, Mary’s anticipated rage barely registers on the training prop. This vignette gives a taste of how the “normal European-American” woman’s life course will be put on comical display, painted with absurdity, and depicted with exaggerated character sketches.

Mary finds herself jostled between her mom’s social expectations, her Aunt Kathy’s meddling, her personal respectability rules and codes (all 1,462 of them), and of course the sordid dealings of her courtiers. Her misfortune having begun on turkey day, gives ample time for social pressure to build up as each seasons’ holiday approaches, snowballing into her worst year ever.

As Mary recounts these follies in front of her Christmas tree, her mind’s resident keyboardist Jack Forbes Wilson and doo-wop duo Kelly Doherty and Marcee Doherty-Elst boost her dramatic stories with holiday flavored musical accompaniment.

Comedy, Commentary and Places Inbetween

David Cecsarini brings Ginna Hoben’s The Twelve Dates of Christmas to life on Next Act Theatre’s stage. Quip and witty, the one act challenges Deucker as Mary to cycle through about 20 individual character impersonations with thoroughly humorous and effervescent affect.

She travels fluidly to and from personas of her southern aunt, her midwestern mom, a harried New Yorker, a tragically hip barista, an Irish import bartender and a cute kid actor, and several others, immersing the audience in a year Mary’s life in run-on detail.

Kelly Doherty and Marcee Doherty-Elst, well-known for their acting prowess on independent theatre stages, can carry a tune quite harmonically and gave the audience tastes of their Doherty Sisters Cabaret throughout the act.

The Twelve Dates of Christmas closes with a matinee show today (if you hustle) Sunday, December 9 at 2:00p at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St. Milwaukee, WI 53204 in the Third Ward.

Many Phazers, Cactus Club, Dramatic Lovers

Dramatic Lovers is the latest configuration of a band of buddies that have a couple decades of history together making music. They play a indie pop/alternative riff on shoegaze, driving deep into any emotional cavities it can find.

They put out a 7″ on Foriegn Leisure records titled Make Believe/Made it My Own in the spring of 2017, then chilled out for a bit.

Dramatic Lovers, pt 1, Cactus Club, MKE

Dramatic Lovers is back around this fall with new music to close out 2018. Cactus Club hosted this outfit in mid-October, nestled in with Luxi (currently on her Lost Letters tour) and Buhu (Austin) on a random Friday. They rocked this live version of Made it My Own pretty hard.

Dramatic Lovers, pt 2, Cactus Club, MKE

They featured a performance at the 88.9Radio Music Awards 2018 last night. If you missed it, add Dramatic Lovers’ next show to your weekend bucket list, which is tonight December 7 at Colectivo Back Room on Prospect at 6:30p (a rare all ages show at that)… or just go sternum deep and see them at the A/V Club showcase at SXSW 2019.

Rotten bite, Alchemist Theatre, Punk is Dead

Don (Liz Mistele) paces the greasy floor of her downtown flop room rambling on crassly, spilling the contents of her tortured soul dragged down with her lifelong impulse to seek attention through music. Maybe a moment of vulnerability let the hard veneer of an consummate disinterested and dispassionate artist crack and leak this type of sappy introspection.

The guitar being her main tool, her f-the-world attitude supplys the battery power for her punk artistry. She strains to stay inspired to find words for her voice, tinged with a soft southern drawl, to fend off the onslaught of train-jumping troads popping up more and more bringing youthful disregard and foreign technology into her scene of rarified Punk.

Stoli (Natasha Mortazavi) patiently listens to Don’s ranting and moaning through brief interruptions from various half-drank booze bottles and consultations with a heart-shaped box. Stoli’s conversation and thoughts come off stereotypically shallow at first impression, matching her curled and pinned up blond hair. Then randomly, with the ease of a natural born poet songwriter, lets her words console and coddle Don’s ego, appetite and libido. After all, Don’s dingy apartment doubles as a love nest for the two of them. Or is it a tomb?

Wishing to come off as innocent as a daisy in a pastoral field, Stoli dolts about her past as a sweet southern girl, daughter of a slick wheeling businessman and a trophy wife. With a second glance something else lingers around her, a grim side seething with a thirst for blood.

Sacred Sanguine

Long known now for his mildly-salacious halloween tales drawing their settings from visions of dank NYC nights lifted from the summer of ‘77, Aaron Kopec delivers another cryptic and cleverly written story for the small stage in Punk Is Dead! It’s a wolf cry to our primal and perverted curiosity about New York counterculture of that era. His characters this time make an odd couple of an age weathered degenerate musician and a naive and primrose doll who decided to break her pedestal awaiting her sexual maturity by absconding with said degenerate musician.

On the surface, the story has some typical elements, kitsch punk rock novelties and costume design; some cliche punk stuffing like crappy guitars, pleather, harsh language and drugs. However, within the script Kopec again through his knack for allusion, irony and commentary gives this story needed volume by taking on contemporary issues such as male douchery, American fetishism over youth, same sex relationship stereotypes, and stilted and exploitative midcentury modern marriage arrangements and gender roles, and anything commonly thought to be normal.

This is not a show for people with Victorian sensibilities. Punk Is Dead!, an airy black hearted excursion into the lurid psyche of the American mind that gets a little campy, crude, and self-absorbed made strictly for the entertainment of avid independent theatre maniacs.

Michael Christopher as Chuck, the not so punk sound guy from CBGB. completes the cast of Punk Is Dead!

Production credits go to Brittany Broache (stage manager), Evan Crain (set design), Kara Penrose (Violence and Intimacy Choreography).

Punk Is Dead!’s run comes to a fitting end this weekend with shows remaining Friday, October 26 and 27th at 7:30 at the Alchemist Theatre in Bay View.