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

Posts tagged “DIY

Lit Corners, Sugar Maple, The Viper & His Famous Orchestra


Tucked neatly in the back of Sugar Maple, the Okka Disk performance space is best known for its annual jazz fest set to turn 6 years old this year. In the meanwhile it also makes a temporary home for jazz musicians and their extended family when the occasion calls. None more suitable that a rare new moon appearance of The Viper & His Famous Orchestra in Milwaukee.

When talent meets ingenuity in music, good things happen, like the The Viper & His Famous Orchestra. They’re a seasoned bunch of classically trained musicians and/or general life enthusiasts, who have mastered the mixology of traditional and homemade instruments, pouring out well measured roots country and swing jazz.

Bring the Mustard

Featuring a ukelele (Ryan Jerving), upright bass and viola (Riley Broach), trombone (Rob Hen), piano (Jon Peacock), percussion (Edward Burch), The Viper really gets interesting when these core ensemble pieces confront their DIY musical doppelgangers.

Meeting their match, Broach gets in the mud on washtub bass, Burch on suitcase drum confirms he and his doppelganger are one in the same , and Peacock ignores all street signage on stylophone, toy piano, and the atrocity that is the air-tubed melodica.

The Howl of Goodtimes

Once the The Viper gets going, the goodtimes roll. They take themselves 45 RPM less serious than their music, pulling out a few comedic bits for their sets to go with the sarcasm and pop culture wit from the ages.

The Viper will take over 91.7 WMSE’s Local Live tomorrow at 6p. If you really must see them live you get another chance March 7th at Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co.’s new cafe on Bruce Street.

A Song for All Seasons by The Viper & His Famous Orchestra via The Viper on YouTube

‘Tis Gift Season, Local Fashion, Last Ditch Effort, Zen Dragonfly

A smorgasbord of makers will fill Zen Dragonfly’s 3rd Annual Last Ditch Effort. Created by local fashion designer Angela Smith, Zen Dragonfly carries a suite of skirt and dress designs derived from re-purposed fabrics, along with hats, knit tams and beanies and other hand sewn accessories.

Every year she teams up with other local artists and crafts people to have a year-end vendor market. This year the Last Ditch effort will convene at the Body and Soul Healing and Arts Center in Sherman Park’s Good Shepard Lutheran Church on 48th and Roosevelt Boulevard.

Past vendors at the Last Ditch Effort included bookbinders, visual artists, screen printers, jewelery artists, natural soaps and beauty products. In a stroke of luck for sweet teeth, several local bakers will also be in residence to help you spoil your appetite a little early, with a variety of tantalizing goodies.

The Last Ditch Effort will go down on Saturday December 21, 2013 from 12:00p to 6:00p at Good Shepard Lutheran Church, 3617 N. 48th Street. Like the Zen Dragonfly page for the latest updates on this event.

Who’s Making, Up Market, MOCT


Football dominates Sunday afternoons, especially in Packer country and especially when the hometown favorite makes mince meat morsels out of ancient rivals Chicago Bears. MOCT on Pittsburg has taken a different approach to Sunday funday, mixing an afternoon of sports and indy commerce. They’ve huddled with Wren Solares’ creative start-up Lost In Milwaukee to give a winter home to Solares’ venture the Sunday Up Market. The first installment of Up Market popped this past Sunday, scheduled to cycle in crafty inventories on alternating Sundays through the Spring of 2013.

Accommodating a couple of fists full of vendors, the Up Market gave opportunity to venerable makers-of-things of varying materials including Butterscotch Baby’s full line of Total Body Experience products, felted accessories by Jan Falk, repurposed and original nit designs by Zen Dragonfly, couture from BVEN Boutique on Brady, and some serious iron work from Historic Preservation Award winner Milwaukee Blacksmith Inc. Sunday Up Market’s selection of wares and accessories gave a swath of interpretations on winter favorites like hats, scarves, wrist warmers and some really nice mittens, and all season items like jewelry and resale vintage fashion from other sellers as well.

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As craft and art fairs become vogue, mainstay outlets like WSME’s Buy Local Bazaar, Art vs Craft and Made in Milwaukee need company, its getting to the place where there are just not enough booths to go around. Even more intriguing, MOCT has the ability to host this event on a regular basis with a nearly ideal atmosphere for a local shopping experience: urban chic and niche. Once spring breaks, Solares, collaborating with the Walker’s Point Association and Alderman Perez, plans to move the venue of Sunday Up Market to an outdoor space that will accommodate 200 vendors. The Sunday Up Market spring kick-off is scheduled for May 5, 2013.

Even though the next Up Market is a month out, you may still have time to strike a deal with some of the vendors before Christmas by contacting them directly, online or by appointment. The next Sunday Up Market is January 20, 2013 at MOCT. You’ll find more information on the market and vending opportunities on Sunday Up Market’s website.

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.

Art vs Craft 2011, MSOE Wehr Center

Over the weekend Art vs. Craft happened. Art, Craft, some might say who gives a damn. Could you just boil it down to that? This event is in its 8th year and it keeps growing. Well, you could do some boiling and you would probably be shopping regularly at Bay Shore Mall Towne Mall and Mall too.

Founder of Art vs. Craft Faythe Levine is the patron saint of Milwaukee’s DIY fervor, and gets a big high-five-oops-miss-ha-ha for nurturing the movement here. A couple of winters ago, she and Amy Heimerl released a global view documentary about making stuff called Handmade Nation (actually one of the first happenings I ever blogged was a write-up of the film premier in Milwaukee).

So after missing Art vs. Craft last year and the years before that, I finally got a chance to go. The full listing of vendors is here on Art vs. Craft’s website. All of Art vs. Craft‘s vendors were personally invited to participate. It’s mostly comes down to taste, and everyone had something good to offer. Here are a few that I really enjoyed.

Why @LocalTrolley Checked-Out:
Kristopher Pollard Illustrations and Portraits
Megan Lee Designs
Delia Sophia’s Handmade Cutting Boards
Speakeasy Pens and Gifts
Bureau of Print Research and Design
Just Seeds