Maggie Iken – Milwaukee Record http://milwaukeerecord.com Music, culture, gentle sarcasm. Sat, 22 Sep 2018 00:52:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 http://milwaukeerecord.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/cropped-mrapp-32x32.jpg Maggie Iken – Milwaukee Record http://milwaukeerecord.com 32 32 The case against Sony’s upcoming Slender Man movie http://milwaukeerecord.com/film/case-against-slender-man-movie/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/film/case-against-slender-man-movie/#respond Thu, 08 Mar 2018 16:18:14 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=47126 Despite the conclusion of the trials of teens Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier for the stabbing of their classmate Payton Leutner, Wisconsinites are not out of the woods yet in regards to Slender Man fallout. Sony Pictures is backing an upcoming film, simply titled Slender Man, set premiere on August 28 of this year. The […]

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Despite the conclusion of the trials of teens Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier for the stabbing of their classmate Payton Leutner, Wisconsinites are not out of the woods yet in regards to Slender Man fallout. Sony Pictures is backing an upcoming film, simply titled Slender Man, set premiere on August 28 of this year. The film announcement has caused a stir locally, due to its perceived disrespect to the families involved in the case.

In an interview with the Associated Press earlier this year, Bill Weier, Anissa’s father, called the film “extremely distasteful” and asked local theaters to decline screenings. Some have. Local theaters did not respond when asked whether or not they planned to screen the film.

To understand the outrage, it is important to be familiar with the timeline of events:

• May 31, 2014: Leutner was stabbed by Geyser and Weier in Waukesha

• May 2016: Sony began development on the film

• June 19-July 28, 2017: Footage for the film was shot

• September 15, 2017: Weier was found not guilty by mental disease or defect

• October 7, 2017: Geyser was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect

• December 21, 2017: Weier was sentenced to up to 25 years in a state mental institution

• January 2-3, 2018: Sony released poster and teaser for the film

• February 1, 2018: Geyser was sentenced to 40 years in a state mental institution

It might seem a bit odd that the timelines for the film production and the trials intersect. While it certainly seems distasteful, and even abhorrent, it is legal. Local attorney Jason Richard offered his insight, focusing on the First Amendment.

“Think about the amount of art that has been made that we deem offensive,” Richard says. “But still, in this country, the way we view our freedom to make art and express our ideals revolves around the concept that ultimately we are going to be able to make art.

“There used to be a bunch of challenges as to the legality of obscenity. It was a huge thing that was constantly in front of the Supreme Court. I don’t think I’m going to get the quote exactly right, but it was something along the lines of, ‘You’ll know obscenity when you see it.’ That leaves tremendous room for error, but that’s our society taking the position that we’re pretty much going to let anything fly. I’ve seen obscenity where I went oof, but as far as banning it? I think the First Amendment is too important.”

That answers the question of how the movie can be created, in general. But to write, cast, film, announce, and release a trailer prior to the conclusion of the trial seems like a completely different issue. Naturally, there are loopholes.

The trailer looks suspiciously similar to what actually happened in Waukesha, but it seems apparent that the movie will take a highly fictionalized turn. Because of this, the studio is not blatantly ripping off a headline. “They’ll always argue there are enough differences, that it’s not the same,” Richard offered.

And if there aren’t any differences?

“You could make the argument to your image, to the use of your story, but you’re going to end up in long litigation against a studio with an unlimited budget for legal fees,” Richard says. The likelihood of a family independently having enough money to file a suit and go toe to toe with fancy corporate lawyers is slim to none.

As far as the overlapping timelines, Richard explained the jury selection process, which is extremely important in any case, but specifically those with such a strong presence in the media.

“Every attorney on every case has a right to pick their own jury. They’re given preemptive strikes. During those questions, there’s always questions about whether or not you could be impartial, whether or not you had exterior sources that would affect the way you ultimately look at the case. If someone’s watching this idiotic film, they’re kicked off the jury.”

This method isn’t foolproof—people often lie. But the film won’t hit theaters until the end of this summer, which is long after the trial concluded.

With many films based on true stories, it seems strange that there hasn’t been another movie in recent memory that has evoked the same “how dare they” response. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee film studies instructor and PhD candidate Joni Hayward was able to provide an example: Heavenly Creatures.

“It came out in 1994 and is based on the Parker-Hulme murder case which happened in New Zealand in 1954, so we’re looking at a 40 year gap, and it was still somewhat controversial,” Hayward explains.

This example has shocking parallels to the Slender Man case: teen girls, mental illness, a fictional world they created, and a premeditated crime to help them attain acceptance into this world. The stark difference between the approaches of the two films is that one aims to be biographical, while the other relies on shock value and a fictitious villain. Another difference? Heavenly Creatures was well-received.

“To me, it would make a lot more sense if the horror about the movie wasn’t about Slender Man per se, but based on the trailer it looks like it will be,” Hayward says. “In terms of whether a film like this could provide an ethical experience, I think it could if the horror of it was about media and media propagation as opposed to Slender Man.”

Regardless of their different backgrounds, both Richard and Hayward do not believe petitions circulating on the internet to nix the film will sway Sony’s mind, especially at this stage in the game. They also agreed that the most effective way to protest the film is to vote with your wallet and not see it. In the entertainment industry, money talks.

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My day at the 2017 Milwaukee Paranormal Conference http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/my-day-at-the-2017-milwaukee-paranormal-conference/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/my-day-at-the-2017-milwaukee-paranormal-conference/#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2017 15:28:04 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=41837 ilwaukee got into the Halloween spirit last weekend with its third annual Paranormal Conference. Boasting a busy schedule of ghost tours, spooky film screenings, and live music and dance performances, there was something for everyone. For me, being socially avoidant and quietly skeptical, there was Sunday’s schedule of presentations at the Irish Cultural and Heritage […]

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Milwaukee got into the Halloween spirit last weekend with its third annual Paranormal Conference. Boasting a busy schedule of ghost tours, spooky film screenings, and live music and dance performances, there was something for everyone. For me, being socially avoidant and quietly skeptical, there was Sunday’s schedule of presentations at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center. For my third year in a row, I returned with an open mind to see if someone could provide me with irrefutable evidence that something else is out there.

The Paranormal Pub Series kicked off with a presentation called “Magic Behind Words: A Discussion on Secret Societies and Symbolism,” led by Kristan T. Harris. You may know Harris as the guy from American Intelligence Report who “exposed” the Veterans Park Memorial as an occult ritual site. Despite this, I kept an open mind going into his talk. Secret societies are interesting to me, and are one of the things discussed at the conference that can be proved as legitimate without a doubt. Harris began by boasting his attendance with this year’s Bilderberg group meeting, a yearly event that is highly secretive, elite, and something I actually happened to know a thing or two about. However, it went downhill from there—he swiftly jumped from the dangers of self-driving cars to proclaiming that pushing a “1” and a “3” together makes a “B,” as if it had a profound relevance.

Fortunately, this was followed up by an entertaining and educational presentation by Noah Leigh, the founder and lead investigator of the Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee. Entitled “Based on True Events: When Hollywood Deviates From Reality,” Leigh discussed the lives and investigations of Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens have recently skyrocketed in notoriety due to the Conjuring films, as well as the mystery surrounding the Amityville Horror. Going film by film, Leigh explained what happened and what didn’t to a captive audience. Also noteworthy was the way he began the session by stating his investigative motto: “If it’s furry and in the woods, it’s probably a bear and not Bigfoot.” Recognizing that there are probably logical and conventionally accepted explanations for strange phenomena gains a lot of cred with me.

Next up was the Milwaukee Krampusnacht Planning Session with local Krampus-enthusiast Robert Schoenecker. The attendees were small in number but were quite enthusiastic. One of the organizers from the Chicago Krampus group discussed how he’d grown his event over the last several years, and gave insight into German festivity planning prep. Both he and Schoenecker brought in their traditional masks used in the activities.

Returning from a brief intermission that included finding an ATM and spotting my favorite vanity plate ever (“NOT GOTH”), I came back to the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center. This time, I was welcomed by a door that opened by itself when I approached and closed behind me. There was no one around the door inside, and no one was playing any sort of trick on me. Sure, there could have been a wind tunnel that forced the door open, but I was spending my day being open-minded.

In one of the vendor rooms, there were concessions. This wasn’t a quick setup of a sub sandwich party platters though—these were good eats. I got a brat; though fairly standard fare, there were plenty of condiments to spice it up including some spicy and tasty ghost pepper jelly. The African peanut stew, one of the vegan offerings, was the highlight. Full of flavor and a large portion to boot, I kind of wish I could have purchased some to-go.

Also among the vendors was a table set up with an auxiliary Xbox camera connected to a laptop. Drawn in by the technological display, I asked the lady there to tell me about her booth. She was there as a part of the Northern Wisconsin Paranormal Society, a group headquartered in Rhinelander that does investigations in the upper third of the state. They investigate a couple of cases a year and have found everyday explanations for the disturbances, as well as inexplicable occurrences. She also relayed that not everyone wants to rid their homes of a haunting; sometimes it’s a deceased relative who helps around the house.

Next up was a presentation on ghost photography by Dale Kaczmarek. Kaczmarek is the president of the Ghost Research Society, and reminded me of my dad if he had a mustache and was at all into the paranormal. That being said, I trusted him. Offering his insight on ghostly figures on film, Kaczmarek showed examples of hoaxes and also of instances he couldn’t explain. He dismissed many mysterious glows as cigarette smoke, exhalation in cold temperatures, light lag, and over-imagination. He did share a spooky Polaroid which appeared to have a double exposure, though that particular film could not be doubly exposed.

To finish out the day, I got my first tarot reading courtesy of Dark Star Ministry. Not knowing Alien is one of my favorite movies, a deck illustrated by H.R. Giger was selected for me (the art was cool, albeit a little heavy on alien dick). The experience felt very much like reading a horoscope—it was vague enough to apply to anyone, but I could point out where specific cards were relevant to me. And yes, I got the death card.

Year three of the Milwaukee Paracon was enjoyable (especially because I didn’t watch the flaming trash fire that was the Packer game). While a lot of the evidence presented at these sessions wasn’t solid enough for this skeptic, I will keep coming back. As they say, I want to believe.

 

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12 (non-touristy) things to do in Milwaukee (without drinking) http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/12-things-milwaukee-without-drinking/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/12-things-milwaukee-without-drinking/#respond Mon, 30 Jan 2017 06:15:38 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=31828 ive months ago, I stopped drinking. Coincidentally, my social life also got a lot tamer/lamer around the same time. Living in a city known for beer, I find myself staying in almost every night and not having a lot of options for things to do on the weekends. I know I could go out, but […]

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Five months ago, I stopped drinking. Coincidentally, my social life also got a lot tamer/lamer around the same time. Living in a city known for beer, I find myself staying in almost every night and not having a lot of options for things to do on the weekends. I know I could go out, but I’m socially awkward without alcohol, I’m not into hanging with drunk people while I’m sober, and the temptation to drink is still pretty daunting. I find that most events that happen around Milwaukee, even during the day, cater to drinkers (why is beer yoga a thing?). I could do a number of family-friendly activities in the area, but they tend to be a bit on the family-friendly/touristy side. I’m still a 20-something year old weirdo who wants to have fun, just without the liquid courage. The following list is not only a guide to non-alcoholic, non-touristy things to do in the city, but also a personal checklist.

1. Take a Class at Waxwing
Waxwing, located on the corner of North and Oakland, is known for its offerings of art, knick knacks, and other fun goods made by local vendors, but the store also hosts an eclectic variety of classes. You can learn the ins and outs of numerology, how to read tarot cards, the best way to solve a Rubik’s cube, and more.

2. Catch one of the Colectivo Back Room Shows
Finding live music (especially in winter) at a venue that doesn’t smell like stale beer can be a bit of a struggle. Luckily for those who prefer to not be around alcohol, Colectivo and the Pabst Theater Group have developed a glorious partnership. Maintaining a busy booking schedule, Colectivo’s Prospect Avenue location hosts nationally touring musicians (frequently with a local opener) for an affordable price.

3. Celebrate Taco Tuesday
If your idea of Taco Tuesday is waiting for a table for over an hour so you can get Americanized Mexican food, try changing it up. There are a multitude of taco-serving restaurants in the city, and you owe it to yourself to try more of them. How about La Casa De Alberto, on National and 6th-ish? The restaurant happens to be closed on Tuesdays, but on any other day of the week you can get four tacos for $7. Even if you’re bad at math, that’s a good deal. (Also: When you aren’t ordering margaritas, these outings get a bit cheaper.)

4. Meet your favorite author at Boswell Books
East Side mainstay Boswell Book Company has been bringing in-demand and up-and-coming authors to the city with great frequency. Often these events are free of charge, although some bigger names do require an entrance fee. Past Boswell speakers include Chuck Palahniuk, Chuck Klosterman, Garrison Keillor, Alison Bechdel, and, uh, Lauren Conrad.

5. Embrace your inner cheesehead at the Clock Shadow Creamery
For only $3, you can take a tour of the Clock Shadow Creamery and sample some of its cheeses. Since opening in 2012, Clock Shadow has expanded to offer its cheeses not only at its factory—the only one of its kind within the city—but at an abundance of area grocery stores. Producing cheddar, quark, chevre, ricotta, and more, the creamery is sure to satisfy your cheese needs.

6. Float at Float Milwaukee
If you’re mentally stable enough to handle 60 minutes of sensory deprivation, take a trip over to the float tanks in the Third Ward. Float Milwaukee offers a variety of session options for an affordable price (plus a discount if it’s your first time). Proven to help with pain relief, and sure to be a nice refresh in a world of constant connectedness, floating is a much healthier and more productive alternative to drinking.

7. Try chocolate and cheese pairings at Indulgence Chocolatiers
While Indulgence Chocolatiers offer chocolate and wine/beer pairings, they also combines delectable treats with cheeses. With four different pairing flights at the Walker’s Point location, customers can enjoy tastings in-store and purchase truffles, bars, and more to take home.

8. Take the Stone Creek Coffee tour
Everyone loves brewery tours, but when you don’t drink they can be a bit of a downer. Stone Creek Coffee offers free tours of its factory downtown, something no other coffee roasters in the area do. Stone Creek also offers monthly classes on home brewing methods and espresso, so you can finally understand why your barista friends rave about pour overs. If you can’t be a beer snob, be a coffee snob.

9. Check out a movie at the Oriental or the Avalon
Going to a movie sans alcohol sounds like a lame activity; anyone can sit in a dark room at home and mindlessly stare at a screen at no additional cost. What this doesn’t take into account are the numerous beautiful and unique movie theaters in Milwaukee. The Oriental’s interior is gorgeously ornate, and it’s possible to see something new every time you’re there. If you’re on the south side of the city, the Avalon may be closer to you. Recently renovated, you can enjoy comfy seats, in-movie food service, and a twinkling starlit ceiling (bonus points if you see a shooting star).

10. Pretend it isn’t winter at the Mitchell Park Domes
While the Domes fall under the category of being fairly touristy, they can offer permanent Milwaukee residents something enjoyable not found anywhere else. If you suffer from seasonal depression, or just get really fucking bummed out by our shitty weather, get a little slice of desert, garden, and/or rainforest. Sometimes it’s helpful to remind yourself that there are plants that grow on our planet, which can be easy to forget in our grayscale winters.

11. Learn how to fix bikes at Vulture Space
Why pay someone to fix your bike when you can learn to do it yourself? Vulture Space, located in the Shops of Grand Avenue, lets you use its collection of tools to make adjustments to your own bike, free of charge. Open to individuals of all levels of bike knowledge, Vulture Space has helpful volunteers willing to share their expertise. It also has bikes to rent if you’re not quite ready to purchase one yourself but still want to ride.

12. Volunteer at WMSE
Whatever style of music you’re into, 91.7 plays it. Having just celebrated its 35th birthday, WMSE has been bringing independently funded tunes to the Milwaukee area since the early ’80s. This means it’s sustained itself off of donations of not only money, but time. You can fill out a volunteer application on the WMSE website for recurring day-to-day operational help as well as special events, like the Rockabilly Chili Fundraiser on March 5.

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I watched ‘American Movie’ for the first time: A minute-by-minute recap http://milwaukeerecord.com/film/american-movie-first-time-minute-by-minute-recap/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/film/american-movie-first-time-minute-by-minute-recap/#respond Wed, 26 Oct 2016 05:15:47 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=28786 Living in Milwaukee for the past six years, being a member of the arts community, and having a general interest in weird-ass shit, it’s astounding that I’ve never seen Chris Smith’s 1999 documentary American Movie. I see the film’s star and subject Mark Borchardt all over Milwaukee, but have remained unaware of how he gained such […]

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Living in Milwaukee for the past six years, being a member of the arts community, and having a general interest in weird-ass shit, it’s astounding that I’ve never seen Chris Smith’s 1999 documentary American Movie. I see the film’s star and subject Mark Borchardt all over Milwaukee, but have remained unaware of how he gained such notoriety. After hearing Mark blurt out something about a peanut monster at the recent Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, I decided to embark on a journey to find out why this man is the poster boy of the city’s ’90s film scene. Here’s a minute-by-minute recap of my first viewing of American Movie.

0:00:15 Is this real? Does Mark actually talk like this? Is this scripted?

0:01:34 “Idle hands are known to be the devil’s workshop.” Not quite, but close.

0:01:52 First Mike Schank appearance. Again, is this real?

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0:04:05 Mark’s bills definitely make him relatable to me at this point in my life. I too have thought about applying for one of those credit card mailers. I’m two weeks late on my car payment. I feel ya, buddy.

0:05:05 Casting in a time before the internet: flyers at suburban libraries. People talk about Craigslist being sketchy, but a sheet of paper with a few sentences in Times New Roman about a local film seems a bit risky.

0:06:47 American Movie is like Fargo meets This Is Spinal Tap and it’s a 100% accurate depiction of life in Milwaukee.

0:07:26 The shots from Mark’s earlier films are actually pretty impressive for Super 8. I am starting to think Mark might actually know what he’s talking about.

0:09:53 These actors auditioning for Northwestern are the worst I have ever seen. Maybe it’s the worst script I’ve ever heard. Regardless, when Mark comes in and just screams the lines in that poor woman’s face, I believe it. A+ acting, sir.

0:10:45 I appreciate Mark going to the Timmerman Airport to work on his script. So far, this film has been a great exhibition of bleak Milwaukee scenery.

0:11:08 “There’s some corny dialogue that would make the pope weep.”

0:11:49 Enter Bill, in a glorious Christmas sweater. His grunts and other assorted noises are primo. He is a quintessential Midwestern grandpa.

0:13:53 Mark is so determined to get out of bed to work on this film. Any cough or sniffle out of me, and I use it as an excuse to take a day off from my corporate job.

0:15:04 Wait, Coven? Like “COH-ven?”

0:15:41 “My first impression of him was he looks like a pretty raw dog. He’s pretty tall and crazy lookin’. I liked it.” Thanks, Ken Keen. I don’t think that’s what “raw dog” means anymore.

0:16:45 “Coven is a 35-minute direct market thriller film shot on 16mm black and white reversal.” Yep, Mark actually knows what he’s talking about. I barely know what any of this means. He’s not just dicking around in a junkyard with a camera he found in a basement. He has a vision for what he wants Coven to be.

0:17:46 “Is that what you want to do with your life? Suck down peppermint schnapps and try to call Morocco at two in the mornin’? That’s senseless. But that’s what happens, man.” Sounds like a typical Friday night.

0:19:20 Did he just apologize to the camera for erasing his own whiteboard?

0:19:52 “Doesn’t sound very kosher to me.” Oh, Bill. I don’t trust banks and independent filmmakers either.

0:22:13 Mike Schank totally doesn’t know what “centrifugal” means. Nice Return Of The Living Dead Part II shirt, Mark.

0:23:30 Mark rallies his Coven cast and heads out into the woods to film. The capes are making everything come together. When the cast’s jeans aren’t showing beneath their robes, you could even say they look menacing.

0:24:57 It’s refreshing to hear Mark talk about his “American dream.” Driving through what I assume are the suburbs, it makes me remember that he’s an actual person and not an actor. Is he hamming it up? Maybe, but there’s only so much you can ham.

0:26:28 Enter Joan, the new girlfriend. She’s very well spoken and devoted to the project. I like her.

0:27:03 KIDS. He has kids! Multiple children! They’re cute and funny.

0:30:17 Mike Schank is like one of those “metal goes acoustic” compilations. Vocals leave a lot to be desired, and the riffs don’t have the same effect unplugged.

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0:32:13 Poor Tom Schimmels and this kitchen cupboard scene. They put Ken Keen in charge to ensure this will work properly. Tom probably has a concussion.

0:35:21 Richard Robert Jorge and Mark are in the UWM Recital Hall discussing how to pronounce Coven. Mark thinks it sounds too close to “oven,” so it must be a long “o” sound. Solid logic, I’ll take it.

0:36:55 Mark’s own brother is suspicious of his motives for films and thinks he’s going to kill him? What the heck, man, that’s pretty rude to say on camera. No one is shit-talking your ceramic elephant, Betty Boop snow globe, and bottle of White Rain. FOH.

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0:37:21 Mark’s son quoting Apocalypse Now, “The horror, the horror,” should be a Vine. I would use it to describe every Packer game this season.

0:39:30 Mike Schank is a living, breathing D.A.R.E. advertisement. I wanna hang out with him.

0:42:20 Mark is really cute with his kids! I feel bad for his current relationship situation with Alyssa. He’s just trying to make things work.

0:47:06 Oh my GOD, what is this bathtub scene with Bill?! I’ve never found myself cackling about a conversation about how thick someone’s toe nail is. Not only is it absolutely hilarious and not something you could ever fake, but it’s incredibly humanizing. Mark is taking care of Bill. I’ve never done this much for my family.

0:52:30 “You can’t make up an idea all by yourself.”

0:56:56 Whoa, things are getting dark. Any feeling I previously had about Mark being a doofus has subsided. His heart is really in his film(s), and his mom doesn’t even think he’ll finish it. Alyssa comes back and fights with Mark in front of the kids, and Joan gets frustrated and leaves. I don’t know how this hasn’t gotten spoiled for me in the six-plus years of living in Milwaukee, but I really hope he at least finished Coven.

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1:01:43 Mike: “This is definitely a sign of voodoo.”
Mark: “Why is it a sign of voodoo?”
Mike: “It’s an unnatural cross, Mark.”
Mark: “What, you think when Jesus was hangin’ there he thought it was natural?”

1:03:30 Mark brings flowers for Joan to apologize. They might be from his new job at the cemetery. Resourceful, I can dig it.

1:04:21 Mark’s dedication to the film is glaringly apparent. Is he sleeping in the Mitchell Hall basement on the UWM campus with his kids? I don’t know anyone who would go to the lengths he’s going to to maintain his relationships with his family and pursue his career at the same time. (The kid in me thinks this would be a super rad sleepover and I’m jealous of his daughter’s bright purple Pocahontas shirt).

1:07:07 Recording nature/silence. Gotta go to Kettle Moraine.

1:07:30 Bill’s really struggling with his lines. All I know is that when my seasonal depression kicks in this winter, I’ll be repeating in my head, “It’s all right, it’s okay. There’s something to live for, Jesus told me so.” (Well, more realistically, I’ll probably just copy Bill and say “It’s all right, it’s okay, ughhhhhh.”)

1:11:30 UWM couldn’t get away with not clearing the snow from the Mitchell Hall stairs anymore. That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.

1:12:25 NO MIKE SCHANK, DON’T YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT DOING PCP IN THE HOSPITAL WHEN YOUR MOM IS WATCHING.

1:15:27 Mike won $200, gave $100 to his dad, kept $60 in his room, and put $20 in his wallet for spending. Mike Schank is better with money management than I am, and he has a gambling addiction.

1:16:29 PACKER SUPER BOWL! I remember this night.

1:21:22 “There was no such thing about college or religion or anything. There was drinkin’.”

1:24:24 Things seem to be coming together. Is this actually going to happen? I really want Coven to happen.

1:25:21 Mark: “Do you think this is a little bit cathartic for you?”
Mike: “Very cathartic, Mark.”
Mark: “Do you know what cathartic means?”
Mike: “No.”

1:30:12 I legitimately feel terrible that Mark had to clean up a shit explosion in a bathroom at a cemetery.

1:31:55 Ken Keen WOULD have a 1992 Duke basketball T-shirt.

1:35:16 Coven looks rad as fuck. Can I see this somewhere? Please?

1:40:00 Wow, Bill is looking quite skeletal and not making a lot of sense and almost falling into the street. Come on, Bill, keep it together.

1:40:46 Bomb dropped. R.I.P. Bill. Your generosity, old man noises, and love of peppermint schnapps will never be forgotten. Even 10 years after his death, I’m bummed that I will never have the opportunity to share a Surge with him.

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A conversation with Leo Hayashibara, Milwaukee’s (former) serial showgoer http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/conversation-with-leo-hayashibara-milwaukees-former-serial-showgoer/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/conversation-with-leo-hayashibara-milwaukees-former-serial-showgoer/#respond Thu, 11 Feb 2016 06:15:01 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=19310 ilwaukee has many icons. The Milverine patrols our streets, the Milwaukee Lion may or may not still prowl the north side, the East Side Turkeys steer clear of college students, and the Brewers have that ugly dog. The city’s music scene has—well, had—a mascot, too, and his name is Leo Hayashibara. If you’ve been to […]

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Milwaukee has many icons. The Milverine patrols our streets, the Milwaukee Lion may or may not still prowl the north side, the East Side Turkeys steer clear of college students, and the Brewers have that ugly dog. The city’s music scene has—well, had—a mascot, too, and his name is Leo Hayashibara.

If you’ve been to any street festival, bluegrass bash, or rock show within the city limits, you’ve probably seen Leo. Distinct with his short stature and kooky dance moves, he is a standout member of any crowd. One could say that he has contributed more by means of attentive listening and cover fees than anyone else not directly affiliated with the scene. His support was evident last month at Riverwest FemFest, where he danced and head-banged throughout multiple days of music. Ehson Rad, frontman of Devil Met Contention, says of Leo, “He’s our barometer of if it’s going to be a good show or not.”

Leo is a quirky guy. His idiosyncratic mannerisms genuinely parallel his signature dance moves. You could say he talks with his hands. Sometimes his stream of consciousness takes hold and he’ll go off on a tangent; other times he responds with the utmost brevity. He’s also no longer a Milwaukeean: Since this interview was conducted, Leo moved to southern California for work. We can only hope that he visits in the future, and that we’ll see him once again in the crowd.

Milwaukee Record: Are you from Milwaukee?

Leo Hayashibara: I’m not from Milwaukee, I’m not from Wisconsin. I’m originally from California.

MR: What brought you here?

LH: I got a job here so I relocated in the winter of the polar vortex. I work in higher education. I had multiple part time jobs in California, which is what a lot of people in California actually do. They call them freeway flyers, where people just drive around from job to job, which is possible because there’s essentially a community college every few miles. The ones I [worked at] were dozens of miles apart, so I spent a lot of time sitting around on the southern California freeway. I figured to have a single job in Milwaukee was better than having multiple part time jobs in California. So I figured I could get a full time job in Milwaukee, walk to work, and then be free after work and do whatever.

MR: But with the cold weather, maybe you’re not so much of a fan?

LH: Yeah, the first six months were not so good. After that, summer rolled around and I was just fine. You find stuff to do in the summer. There are as many free concerts as you could hope for. It’s quite doable.

MR: Do you have a favorite street festival?

LH: I try to get out to most of them in the couple years I’ve been here. I’ve been to most of the ones in Riverwest. I did Summer Soulstice, and, you know, the Bay View Bash. The Brady Street one.

MR: Have you been to Summerfest?

LH: Yeah, the first year I was here I went to Summerfest. This year, they had a fair number of string bands and whatnot, so I went to see a fair number of strings bands. That’s what I did when I lived in northern California, I went to go and see string bands because that’s what they would book in the middle of the summer when it’s a hundred-and-some-odd degrees outside. In this case, there was a major venue to go to, which happened to be a big brewery that had string bands during the summer because they were somewhere between Bay Area/San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, so they’d stop there.

MR: What is the scene like in southern California, versus northern California, versus here?

LH: Southern California is very spread out, so I’m not going to walk to any shows. You have to be very careful about what you pick. You have to pick the particular thing you want to go to, and [the show] can be kind of expensive, [as well as] the cost of transporting yourself from place to place.

Now, northern California is like a college town. There’s maybe a few bars or clubs where they have shows, or a brewery or another independent venue, and that’s about it. Then there’s the whole city festival thing during the summer. You can go see various sorts of festivals if you want to go up in the mountains somewhere. If you’re into that, northern California is good.

Then, Milwaukee is like a small concentrated area. By this time when I moved here, there was such a thing as the Internet and you could look stuff up. Once I got to know enough people, they’d ask, “Are you going to go to this, that, or the other?” and I had to think about it. What are the details?

MR: Do you have any genres you lean more towards? What did you grow up listening to? What do you listen to now?

LH: I used to listen to loud, fast stuff when I was a kid. I went to a lot of string band/bluegrass/alt-country shows [in northern California], so you develop a taste for that, because it’s what’s available. And it’s available here in Milwaukee, too. Maybe not so much the original guys like .357 [String Band] or High Lonesome or whatever, but the people who are affiliated with them are still around, and other bands like [Grasping At Straws] or whatnot are playing within that genre, and that’s great.

MR: Do you have a favorite show that you’ve seen in town?

LH: The one that trips me out the most was when I went to go see Polka Floyd down at the beer garden. Now, what would you think about seeing polka versions of Pink Floyd music? I’m just standing in front of them, doing my thing as normal, and all of a sudden I’m just dancing around a bunch of small children, [and they’re] following me around. It’s like the pied piper. This goes for the entire show. Where are you going to see something like that? To me, that’s just trippy.

MR: Do you have a favorite non-local act?

LH: I did get my opportunity to see some Japanese noise rock bands. I got to see Boris. I got to see Melt-Banana. They actually have other acts affiliated with them. Like with Melt-Banana, they played with Rio Turbo. You know, that was all right. I get to meet the guys from Rio Turbo because they’re all just bouncing around in front of the stage. Here, people aren’t going to bolt because they’re done playing the show. They’re an opening act and they’ll just hang out. Boris was interesting. They play with other noise rock/metal type acts. I made a mistake of getting caught in a mosh at that one, because you know these guys are twice my size and half my age. They helped me up, there’s no damage done. Those are the actual shows that I have shirts from.

MR: I’ve heard that you hang out at the beer garden in the summer.

LH: Well, there are the traveling beer gardens. I’ve never been to the one in Wauwatosa, so I’m probably not going to do that now. Of course, there’s Estabrook Park which is affiliated with the Old German Beer Hall, and they’ll occasionally have little shows that you don’t have to pay for and can bounce around to, and to me that’s entertainment. It used to freak me out going to the Old German Beer Hall because you’re just packed in there like sardines, whereas out in the open you can move around and do stuff. Depending on who happens to be playing, sometimes they’ll have standard old-time polka guys, which is great. Sometimes they’ll actually have what I call “alt-polka” bands. They can play extraordinarily fast and loud. I like that because I can do that.

MR: Do you have a favorite beer?

LH: A favorite? Well…

MR: You can throw a few out there. I really like IPAs.

LH: Well, that’s a west coast-y kinda thing. That’s totally seasonal if you live somewhere where there are seasons. I lived in southern California where there are essentially no seasons. So going back to something like that, I’m not going to buy huge imperial stouts most of the time. They’ll make them, though. They’ll actually sell you an imperial stout in December or January. It might be 75 or 80 degrees out. I try to support the local guys and their local beers. In Wisconsin, we have New Glarus and whatever. Going back to southern California, I’ll drink whatever they happen to have there.

MR: Do you have a favorite brewery in the area?

LH: The thing is, now that Sprecher gave me my free X concert, I have to give them credit for having a traveling beer garden. X is actually from [my hometown]. They all live in Orange County now. Exene, John Doe, Billy Zoom! It was a free show, and it was raining, but oh well. That just makes it more epic.

MR: I have to ask about sports. Do you have a favorite sports team?

LH: Who is it that pisses off Chicago more? The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim or the Los Angeles Kings? People in Milwaukee are fans of the Chicago Blackhawks, but are totally diametrically opposed when it comes to the Chicago Bears, even though it’s closer to Chicago than it is to Green Bay. If you can have a hockey team in Los Angeles, a hockey team in Anaheim, multiple teams around New York, why is it they’re so opposed to another hockey team in the Midwest? Why do they have hockey teams in the deep South and in the desert? Why not have more hockey teams in the Midwest where you can actually see kids skating? That’s crazy.

MR: What are you going to miss the most about Milwaukee?

LH: I’ve been here for a couple years, and I know many, many more people than I did when I lived in northern California for twice as long. People here are pretty open and pretty friendly. It’s your typical stereotype of midwestern people. It’s pretty much true. That I will miss. Winter, maybe not so much. Then, there’s the whole concept of being able to drink outside. If you go to a bar or venue in southern California, they crack down pretty hard on that. There are no beer gardens, per se. They might have something called a beer garden, but it’s part of a restaurant and it’s not the same thing. And here you actually have the four seasons. In northern California, it would rain for several months out of the year, and maybe a couple months where it’d be nice, and then a couple months it’d be brutally hot. You go back through the cycle again. In southern California, it’s relatively more constant than that. There’s going to be dried up weeds and rocks for the most part.

MR: But we barely have four seasons. We have, like, winter and…

LH: Road construction, I know. There are seasonal activities, especially if you’re into the whole festival thing. There’s the festival season in the summer, and then late summer/early fall, there’s the whole sort of German music thing. Oktoberfest in California is completely different. It’s confined to a little area. It’s not like in a public park where you have people drinking outside. I can go down to a public park here and people know who I am. You walk into a bar here and people know your name. That’s a completely different experience when you live around 10 million people. I’ll be completely anonymous again, and that’ll be kind of freaky.

MR: Anything else you want to add?

LH: I’m trying to find someone to take over my apartment. If you’re interested in living on the East Side, next to shops and restaurants, within walking distance to UWM, get a hold of Maggie and she’ll get a hold of me and we’ll work something out.

Also, since I know pretty much what is going to happen in terms of higher education in the state of Wisconsin…I would tell somebody that if you’re going to work in higher education, go to a state where the governor actually finished college, because that’ll tell you what his or her priorities are.

MR: Can we blame Scott Walker for you leaving?

LH: It’s not so much him. After watching Scott Walker at the national debates, I’m thinking no, that guy was not the guy who came up with these things. There’s someone else behind the scenes pulling the strings.

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Search For The Perfect Packers Bar, Week 17: Bremen Cafe http://milwaukeerecord.com/sports/search-for-the-perfect-packers-bar-week-17-bremen-cafe/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/sports/search-for-the-perfect-packers-bar-week-17-bremen-cafe/#respond Mon, 04 Jan 2016 06:05:18 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=18025 In Search For The Perfect Packers Bar, Milwaukee Record contributor and Green Bay native Maggie Iken sets out to find the best Packers viewing experience Milwaukee has to offer. Catch up with previous weeks here. y original viewing plan for Week 17 was to head over to Bounce Milwaukee for its insane “guaranteed win” deal: […]

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In Search For The Perfect Packers Bar, Milwaukee Record contributor and Green Bay native Maggie Iken sets out to find the best Packers viewing experience Milwaukee has to offer. Catch up with previous weeks here.

My original viewing plan for Week 17 was to head over to Bounce Milwaukee for its insane “guaranteed win” deal: if the Packers lose, your food and drinks are on the house. I neglected to look at Bounce’s hours, however, and it closes at 8 p.m. on Sundays. (In hindsight, this was a good business decision.) I called an audible and trekked over to Riverwest to my old stomping grounds, Bremen Cafe.

If you’ve never been, Bremen is what I consider a standard Riverwest bar. There’s music most nights of the week, several pinball machines, and Ian MacKaye-related bathroom graffiti. I have spent many hours in this bar, and there is a certain level of comfort I feel when I see Liam and Britta, two of my favorite bartenders, holding down the fort.

Despite being an avid Bears fan, Liam always prepares food for the games. For the season’s finale, he went all-out with sausage, pasta, meatballs, and garlic bread. As soon as all of the evening’s fare was set up next to the Game Of Thrones pinball machine, a line formed. I loaded up my plate and sat back down, only find that all of the food would be gone in a matter of minutes. Lesson learned: get in the huge line that wraps around the back room.

The beer selection is one of my favorite things about Bremen. The taps are the usual suspects of Lakefront brews and Old Milwaukee, but the bottle selection is superb for a bar of its size. Ranging from $3-$6, there is no shortage of affordable craft beer. While the bottles change on a regular basis, I can always find a handful I want to try. I feel it’s my duty to inform you that Bremen currently has Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute IPA ($6), one of the best IPAs on the market. To ensure that I could drive home, I opted for the lower-ABV Hamm’s tall boy ($3).

When the assembled crowd finally did get a touchdown shot, I was surprised to see that it wasn’t Pucker. There’s only so much Pucker a self-respecting adult can consume, and over the past several months I have surpassed my limit. It was some sort of grasshopper shot, which was a refreshing change of pace. My lactose intolerance wasn’t too pleased about it, but at least it didn’t taste like a Jolly Rancher.

As far as game viewing options go, there are two TVs above the bar and a projection screen in the back room (usually where bands perform). All tables and chairs were accounted for by the end of the first quarter, but if you’re a true Packers fan, you’d be at the bar at kickoff.

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Folks, the Vikings won the division. My mom grew up in northwestern Wisconsin, so her disdain for Minnesota is akin to Milwaukee’s hatred of all Chicago sports (excluding Blackhawks bandwagoners). These feelings of hostility have been instilled in me since the last time the Vikings were a threat during Randy Moss’s 1998 rookie season. The past 15 years have been lackluster for their team, and I had deemed them a non-threat. Well, fuck.

Game highlights for the Packers this game were sparse. James Jones racked up over 100 receiving yards and Micah Hyde had that lovely albeit strange baseball-esque interception. There was some questionable reffing (it was a goddamn forward pass). This was not the most entertaining game.

Did the Packers deserve to win the division? Their performances after the bye week says “no,” not even against a lackluster team like the Vikings. But, as any diehard fan recounts, last time the Packers lost the division, they won the Super Bowl.

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Search For The Perfect Packers Bar, Week 15: Flannery’s http://milwaukeerecord.com/sports/search-for-the-perfect-packers-bar-week-15-flannerys/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/sports/search-for-the-perfect-packers-bar-week-15-flannerys/#respond Mon, 21 Dec 2015 06:30:56 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=17737 In Search For The Perfect Packers Bar, Milwaukee Record contributor and Green Bay native Maggie Iken sets out to find the best Packers viewing experience Milwaukee has to offer. Catch up with previous weeks here. onestly, before this past Sunday, I had never seen a Cleveland Browns fan in real life. Browns fans were rumored […]

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In Search For The Perfect Packers Bar, Milwaukee Record contributor and Green Bay native Maggie Iken sets out to find the best Packers viewing experience Milwaukee has to offer. Catch up with previous weeks here.

Honestly, before this past Sunday, I had never seen a Cleveland Browns fan in real life. Browns fans were rumored to exist only by game day photos and Johnny Manziel jersey sales. I don’t even think I could name more than two or three athletes who have played for the Browns. As far as I’ve been concerned, the Browns and their followers are mythological figures referenced by the media.

But at around 2:45 p.m. yesterday, I saw a young man in brown and orange gear. Then, an older gentleman in a Browns sweatshirt, two grungy Riverwest-looking dudes wearing Browns T-shirts under their flannel, and even an older couple with various articles of team-affiliated clothing. It was like waking up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve and catching Santa before he flees to the next home, except way less exciting. Alas, this rare race of humans does exist, and they congregate at Flannery’s for game day.

They occupy one of the two bars within the establishment, claiming the room’s TVs for their viewing pleasure. There’s even a huge banner above the bar. From time to time yesterday, I would venture over to observe these individuals in their seemingly natural habitat. Aside from their awkward cheer of, “Here we go Brownies, here we go!” I must report that they seem to be understanding of the fact that their team is irrelevant, especially in Packer country.

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That being said, the majority of the space at Flannery’s was dedicated to Packers fans. I nabbed a table in prime viewing position of one of the massive flat screens instead of standing in the sea of green and gold by the bar. This crowd, while definitely Packers-affiliated, seemed to be more interested in the social aspect of the game. People were not getting rowdy for an impressive first down. The only people consistently clapping and cheering were me, a bunch of older guys sitting near me, and bartender Alex, a.k.a. @vodkalemonades, who may be Milwaukee’s fastest tweeting Twitter user. This isn’t a bad thing, and in fact makes Flannery’s a destination for viewing the game with friends who might not be that into the sacred ritual of consuming mass amounts of football on Sundays.

It’s also good for people watching, even beyond the Browns fans. The table next to mine had two young lovebirds who only stopped holding hands to eat their food. They seemed oblivious to the fact that sports were on, and it was painful to watch. To top it off, they were being served by a guy with a now-relevant Jedi braid. You do you, dude.

My waitress for the evening, Brianna, was very courteous and attentive. After being seated, she thought she took too long to get drink orders and bought the first round for my viewing partner and me. Did she take a touch too long? Maybe, but I sure as hell wasn’t going anywhere. The gracious gesture put me in a fantastic mood and set the bar high for service into the foreseeable future.

The game day drink specials are $3.50 tall boys and $5 bloodies. Naturally, I started with the bloody, which came with my choice of chaser (Fixed Gear, duh). Topped with two massive green olives and a pickle spear, it rivaled the deliciousness of last week’s bloody at Leff’s. It was so spicy I needed to eat the free self-serve popcorn to save my mouth. (Just to clarify, this is a good thing.) Plus they’re $5. I totally recommend.

Flannery’s has a fairly full bar menu including apps, burgers, sandwiches, and wraps. Feeling particularly ravenous, I opted for the California Egg Stacker burger ($10.50), which came topped with bacon, cheddar, avocado (a healthy portion, I might add), lettuce, tomato, and a fried egg. I upgraded my side for $1 to get sweet potato waffle fries, which might be my favorite thing on the menu. I managed to eat most of my order, and still have not needed to eat since—it was a TON of food. My partner got an appetizer order of 12 grilled buffalo wings as his main course ($9.50), and he could barely finish his as well. The wings were juicy and tasty, but could have used a tiny bit more spice. As I’ve said before, I have a particular affinity for tear-inducing spiciness, so they are probably perfectly acceptable for the general population.

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I enjoyed watching the game at Flannery’s, despite the relatively boring game. John Kuhn (KUUUUUUUUUUHN) started the game off with a five-yard rushing touchdown, and received an unsportsmanlike conduct call for excessive celebration. This was fine because it was Kuhn and he gets few opportunities to act like a dingus in the end zone. Directly after, Damarious Randall intercepted the ball and ran it back 43 yards for a touchdown. The Packers weren’t going to lose to the Oakland Raiders, but their shortcomings offensively and defensively were well defined by the end of the first quarter. The Raiders’ saving grace (not game-saving, but perhaps dignity-saving) was Amari Cooper, who had two touchdowns and several tricky catches. Still, they were no match for the Pack and James Jones’ hoodie. (I’d like to make a motion to have the hoodie be our new mascot.)

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Search For The Perfect Packers Bar, Week 14: Leff’s Lucky Town http://milwaukeerecord.com/sports/search-for-the-perfect-packers-bar-week-14-leffs-lucky-town/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/sports/search-for-the-perfect-packers-bar-week-14-leffs-lucky-town/#respond Mon, 14 Dec 2015 06:07:10 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=17555 In Search For The Perfect Packers Bar, Milwaukee Record contributor and Green Bay native Maggie Iken sets out to find the best Packers viewing experience Milwaukee has to offer. Catch up with previous weeks here. On my second trip out to Tosa, I ventured to beloved Wauwatosa watering hole Leff’s Lucky Town. The Sunday special […]

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In Search For The Perfect Packers Bar, Milwaukee Record contributor and Green Bay native Maggie Iken sets out to find the best Packers viewing experience Milwaukee has to offer. Catch up with previous weeks here.

On my second trip out to Tosa, I ventured to beloved Wauwatosa watering hole Leff’s Lucky Town.

The Sunday special at Leff’s is the build-your-own bloody mary ($5). They give you a glass with ice, vodka, and a garnish of a sausage stick and string cheese. Then, you go over to a station set up at the bar and add the rest in. For as much as I love drinking bloodies, I have never made one. I honestly don’t know a whole lot about what’s in them. After embarrassingly staring at the ingredients, I found my server, Brittany, and asked for assistance. She went through every ingredient to figure out the flavor I was looking for. She asked me if I like Tabasco (duh), and made it super spicy. I neglected the horseradish because yuck. I completed my garnish with one small green olive, but they had asparagus, celery, and much more. My favorite part of the whole process was, because Brittany basically held my hand the whole time, it was one of the best bloodies I’ve ever had. I hope I can replicate this in the future.

While the bloody was the highlight for me, there were other specials Leff’s offered. They had deals on Miller products (I chose to go with the $3.50 PBR tallboys instead), including buckets for $10. Every Miller product you purchased also gained you a raffle ticket. At halftime, several tickets were selected to spin their Packer prize wheel. Prizes included more free booze, which is all anyone really wanted anyway. The touchdown shots were the usual green apple Pucker that tastes like Jolly Ranchers.

Leff’s has an expansive menu consisting of typical bar fare. There are several options for burgers, chicken, nachos, apps, and more. Their specialty is their Big Ass Pretzel ($11), which I was convinced to get on name alone.

Indeed, it was a big ass pretzel. After seeing it, I thought my viewing partner and I wouldn’t be able to finish it, but I underestimated my ability to eat mass amounts of carbs. It was super soft and had just the right amount of salt on it, and came out fairly fast.

The vibe at Leff’s was certainly enjoyable. Akin to Camp Bar, they preceded the game with some jock jams. During halftime, they played Packer-themed classics such as “The Bears Still Suck,” “Roll Out The Barrel,” “Packarena,” “Fly Like A Cheesehead,” and “Green And Yellow.” Everyone was decked out in Packer gear except for the two assholes next to me wearing Cowboys garb (Really? Who are you? Why are you here?). Despite being packed (pun intended), our waitress was fast and attentive, even when dealing with tables of drunk idiots asking for 18 shots of Jameson (this really happened).

My biggest recommendation if you want to come to a game here (which you should) is to come AT LEAST an hour before kickoff. I showed up at 2:30, only to find there were no bar seats or tables left. It is also worth noting that there are no bad seats for game viewing. The room I was in, which wasn’t huge, had seven TVs. I had a good view vantage point for three of them.

Strangely, Leff’s also sells Christmas trees. Proceeds benefit area schools, which is pretty neat. It’s the only bar I’ve ever been to that also sells plants.

I think we can all agree that this win is attributed to the return of James Jones’ hoodie and Eddie Lacy’s focus, plus the addition of that weird sensual thumb-sucking action by Aaron Rodgers. Not only was the Pack doing fairly well despite the abysmal rainy weather, but the Cowboys blew it. Dez Bryant, possibly the most intimidating player on their team, had a single reception for nine yards. Every time he dropped the ball, the bar erupted in cheers and laughter. Running back Darren McFadden had an exceptional game with 111 yards (which helped out my fantasy team) in the losing effort. With Romo out, nothing about Dallas is threatening. James Starks had one rushing touchdown and one receiving, with Lacy also picking up a late score. My boy Randall Cobb even finished the evening with 81 yards. Oh, and fuck Greg Hardy.

All in all, I had a blast at Leff’s. It’s quirky and unique and puts on a good Packer party. I wish it wasn’t all the way out in Tosa, but next time I’m in the neighborhood, I’ll definitely stop by.

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Search For The Perfect Packers Bar, Week 13: The Winchester http://milwaukeerecord.com/sports/search-perfect-packers-bar-week-13-winchester/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/sports/search-perfect-packers-bar-week-13-winchester/#respond Fri, 04 Dec 2015 06:25:44 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=17286 In Search For The Perfect Packers Bar, Milwaukee Record contributor and Green Bay native Maggie Iken sets out to find the best Packers viewing experience Milwaukee has to offer. Catch up with previous weeks here. finally made it over to The Winchester for the first time. The Winchester, of course, is located in the former […]

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In Search For The Perfect Packers Bar, Milwaukee Record contributor and Green Bay native Maggie Iken sets out to find the best Packers viewing experience Milwaukee has to offer. Catch up with previous weeks here.

I finally made it over to The Winchester for the first time. The Winchester, of course, is located in the former Two Bucks, whose controversial owner met community opposition after making racist remarks about patrons. The Winchester is in no way affiliated with that whole fiasco, though it did evidently purchase Two Bucks’ contents, as everything looks similar. The new owners painted over everything that alluded to the bar’s past, however, and added a bunch of Western-themed décor, including guns. Eh.

My favorite thing was the fact that they carry Wasatch’s Jalapeno Cream Ale ($5). This sounds terrifying, I know. I hate flavored beer, but since it wasn’t flavored with anything sweet, I took a chance. It’s like if you were to take a drink of beer right after taking a bite of a jalapeno popper, which means I absolutely would live off of it if I could. Wasatch is based out of Utah and not a regular fixture in most Milwaukee bars, and I had never seen this beer here before. Besides that, there appears to be a standard offering of beer, including Lakefront and Milwaukee Brewing Company brews. They don’t have a beer listing, for bottles or taps.

Food was overpriced. I ordered the Cowboy Pork Wings ($8.75) which were tasty, messy, and spicy. They were solid, but not worth nearly $9. I also got an order of waffle fries ($5.75) which were also fine and overpriced. I was full after eating and the flavors were spot-on, particularly the hot barbeque sauce on the “wings.” If everything was about 20 percent less, it would be more reasonable.

The service was disjointed. There are kinks that are excusable during the first couple of weeks, but not a couple of months in. No one told me it was happy hour when I came in (I came in at about 6 p.m., and it was half-off taps until 7). I couldn’t tell who was working and who was just a friend of an employee. I spoke loudly about wanting to grab one last beer before I left, and no one (despite definitely being able to hear) responded. Fine, I’ll keep my $5.

Male employees wouldn’t look me in the eye when I was trying to talk to them about football, but addressed my male friends. I overheard one of the male employees talk with another employee about how he enjoyed sleeping with people who weren’t able to legally drink yet because they’re “innocent.” Perv alert.

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Onto something more positive: the win! The Packers could not stand to lose to the Lions twice in one year. I will admit that my spirits were low and my hopes waning. I did not believe the Packers would be able to produce a second half good enough to make up for an atrocious first. When I saw Aaron Rodgers rocket that ball up and into the end zone into the cluster of players, I held my breath. Defeat was becoming too familiar. When I saw Richard Rodgers in front of all the defenders, my eyes widened. A Hail Mary is a beautiful thing.

It was very reminiscent of the Michigan vs. Michigan State game a few weeks earlier. The home teams lost, and hilarious pictures of their mortified fans were taken.

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All in all, I’m not making a point to return to the Winchester. Maybe with more time, they can straighten out service issues. I would then be okay with paying the significant price I did. Too many things were out of place for this to be an enjoyable experience.

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Search For The Perfect Packers Bar, Week 11: Camp Bar Shorewood http://milwaukeerecord.com/sports/search-for-the-perfect-packers-bar-week-11-camp-bar-shorewood/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/sports/search-for-the-perfect-packers-bar-week-11-camp-bar-shorewood/#respond Mon, 23 Nov 2015 06:05:59 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=16958 In Search For The Perfect Packers Bar, Milwaukee Record contributor and Green Bay native Maggie Iken sets out to find the best Packers viewing experience Milwaukee has to offer. Catch up with previous weeks here. alking into Camp Bar Shorewood, I felt very warm and welcomed, like I was at a relative’s house up north. […]

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In Search For The Perfect Packers Bar, Milwaukee Record contributor and Green Bay native Maggie Iken sets out to find the best Packers viewing experience Milwaukee has to offer. Catch up with previous weeks here.

Walking into Camp Bar Shorewood, I felt very warm and welcomed, like I was at a relative’s house up north. The seating options turn the vibe from lumberjack sports bar to cozy family hangout. There are two bars, plenty of tables, and groupings of comfy chairs around fireplaces. This was a perfect selection after the first snowfall of the season.

The place was absolutely packed when I arrived roughly 20 minutes before kickoff. My recommendation is to get here early to get a seat in a prime game-viewing location. The amount of people didn’t wear on the employees—everyone I spoke to was very courteous and helpful.

In the moments leading up the kickoff, the bar staff went all out. There were smoke machines, DJ lighting, and that one song from Jock Jams everybody knows. They announced who was working during the game, which was a friendly albeit kitschy touch. (Shout out to our bartender, Mr. Jeff, from Rhinelander!)

A preview of my Packer bar this week.

A video posted by Maggie Iken (@mcgaggles) on

The Sunday drink special is $6.50 bloodies. The pint came with a hefty garnish (cheese, olive, two kinds of sausage, pickle, AND asparagus) and a Rhinelander pony, which made this the best bloody for the value this season. Camp Bar also has an option to upgrade to a 22 ounce bloody ($8).

After this, I moved on to Lagunitas IPA ($4-5). My companions ordered a bucket of five High Lifes ($18). Camp Bar also offered $3 shots of Fireball during commercials. The touchdown shots were a sweetly sickening mixture of Mountain Dew and what I assume was flavored vodka or rum. Camp Bar also has a fairly extensive cocktail list, including a full page of old fashioneds.

There is a unique set-up for food. Camp Bar does not have a kitchen, nor does it assemble any food on-site. All food is ordered from Falbo Brothers, less than a half mile away. Instructions for ordering are listed on the front page of the menu: text your order to a specific number, receive your order number, tell your cocktail waitress, get your food. With a maximum wait of 40 minutes, the system is on par with bars that do their food in-house.

I ordered a 14-inch deep dish pizza with sausage, pepperoni, black olives, and jalapenos. This is part of Camp Bar’s Pick 6 deal, and I could have gotten two more toppings for the same price if desired. With tip, this cost me around $24. To call it “deep dish” is a bit misleading—it’s simply thick crust. I pride myself in my ability to put away some pizza (maybe not as much at Tyler Maas), and I was full after two slices. It was so delicious I forgot to take a picture (oops).

I honestly didn’t expect to enjoy hanging out in Shorewood. But Camp Bar had a variety of beverages, more food options than I knew what to do with, and an energetic vibe that I strive to find on these expeditions. To top it all off, the Packers finally won.

It didn’t matter that this was against the young, fragile Teddy Bridgewater, who got sacked six times. It didn’t matter that a football fan outside of the Packers’ division might not be able to name any of the Vikings’ players besides Adrian Peterson. The Packers finally pulled away from their losing streak. Jeff Janis had a 70 yard kick return! Mason Crosby didn’t miss any field goals or extra points! James Jones wore a hoodie under his jersey that made him look like he was playing a casual pick-up game with relatives! There was a squirrel on the field in the first quarter!

All of these things contributed to Green Bay beating a team they should have had no trouble beating. We can stop saying stupid things about Olivia Munn that make no sense. We can stop calling for Dom Capers to be fired, until the next game. With the Packers’ next two opponents being the Bears and the Lions, I think we can hold off on worrying for a while.

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