City Life – Milwaukee Record http://milwaukeerecord.com Music, culture, gentle sarcasm. Fri, 23 Feb 2018 20:05:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 http://milwaukeerecord.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/cropped-mrapp-32x32.jpg City Life – Milwaukee Record http://milwaukeerecord.com 32 32 No one wants to run Bradford Beach and Northpoint Custard this summer, apparently http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/no-one-wants-to-run-bradford-beach-and-northpoint-custard/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/no-one-wants-to-run-bradford-beach-and-northpoint-custard/#respond Fri, 23 Feb 2018 17:07:18 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=46547 Every Friday, Off The Record looks to other Milwaukee publications (and beyond) for bits of news we missed throughout the week. • Two of the many wonderful things about summers in Milwaukee are Bradford Beach and the nearby Northpoint Custard stand. Operated for a number of years by SURG Restaurant Group and The Bartolotta Restaurants, respectively, the warm-weather lakefront […]

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Every Friday, Off The Record looks to other Milwaukee publications (and beyond) for bits of news we missed throughout the week.

• Two of the many wonderful things about summers in Milwaukee are Bradford Beach and the nearby Northpoint Custard stand. Operated for a number of years by SURG Restaurant Group and The Bartolotta Restaurants, respectively, the warm-weather lakefront destinations consistently draw an eclectic mix of Milwaukeeans looking to cool off, catch some rays, sip a tiki drink or two, and grab a burger and fries. But what happens when Milwaukee County suddenly requires a minimum annual rent of $60,000 for both properties, and both previous operators say, “No thanks”? We’re about to find out!

According to the Milwaukee Business Journal:

In January, Milwaukee County issued two request for proposals (RFPs) seeking operators to oversee the concessions and operations for both Bradford Beach and North Point Park for the next five years. The deadline for bids was Feb. 13, but the county did not receive any responses that met requirements of the RFPs.

For the past number of years, The Bartolotta Restaurants has run the North Point Park building as the well-known Northpoint Custard stand and SURG Restaurant Group had managed Bradford Beach’s food, beverage and recreational services, which include the beach’s volleyball league, the tiki bars and the food concessions in Bradford View Beach House. The property lease agreements between Milwaukee County and those two local companies expired this year.

SURG claims it’s bailing on Bradford Beach because of the weather-dependent nature of the location. Bartolotta, meanwhile, submitted a since-rejected bid (the only bid submitted for Northpoint) that ignored a newly required $60,000 baseline bill for annual rent (intended to “increase revenue for Milwaukee County Parks”):

“We feel it is unreasonable to hold a fixed minimum rent when so many variables outside of the operator is at play,” the restaurant group writes in its application. “Our proposal, while variable, reasonably achieves the objectives of the county while not unfairly jeopardizing the operator.”

Despite the setbacks, Milwaukee County says it is confident it will secure vendors for the spots in time for summer. [Milwaukee Business Journal]

• Miller Brewing Company has been named a “founding partner” of the new Milwaukee Bucks arena, and will sponsor three bars in the upper concourse: The Miller Brewing Co. bar, the Leinenkugel’s bar, and a Coors Light bar. [BizTimes]

• Twisted Path Distillery, 2018 S. 1st St, will host a series of free concerts in its newly opened tasting room. The series kicks off tonight at 8 p.m. with a show from The Zach Pietrini Band. [Milwaukee Magazine]

• Milwaukee Record contributor Kyle Lobner started a Patreon for a daily version of his “Frosty Mug” Milwaukee Brewers news round-up. [Patreon]

• REYNA released a new, Bananarama-channeling summer jam, “Cool With It.” It’s gooooood. [Soundcloud]

• The old Valhalla at 1111 N. Old World Third St. is set to become Truth Lounge. The owner says he wants to create a “chill atmosphere where you can come hang out, have a couple of drinks and just have a really good time.” [OnMilwaukee]

• The old Zak’s Cafe at 231 S. 2nd St. is set to become Toast, a “groovy new breakfast, brunch and lunch spot.” [OnMilwaukee]

• The old Water Buffalo at 249 N. Water St. is set to become Blue Bat Kitchen and Tequilaria—or BBK for short. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

• The old The King & I at 823 N. Plankinton Ave. is set to become Crab Spice House. [OnMilwaukee]

• “Bay View truly is one of the city’s most desired neighborhoods.” [BizTimes]

• NEWaukee’s ever-popular Night Market will return June 13, July 11, August 15, and September 12. [OnMilwaukee]

• Coquette Cafe, 316 N. Milwaukee St., has closed after 19 years. [OnMilwaukee]

• Little DeMarinis, 2860 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., will close March 3. [OnMilwaukee]

• Have a great weekend, Milwaukee!

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Bounce Milwaukee will give free admission to students disciplined for March 14 school walkout http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/bounce-milwaukee-will-give-free-admission-students-disciplined-march-14-school-walkout/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/bounce-milwaukee-will-give-free-admission-students-disciplined-march-14-school-walkout/#respond Wed, 21 Feb 2018 22:38:04 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=46493 In its relatively brief existence, Bounce Milwaukee has done a number of things to let Milwaukee know where its owners stand on specific issues. In 2016, Bounce gave non-English-speaking customers a free scoop of ice cream in direct response to Leon’s Frozen Custard’s controversial “English-only” ordering policy. Today, the business is standing behind a proposed […]

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In its relatively brief existence, Bounce Milwaukee has done a number of things to let Milwaukee know where its owners stand on specific issues. In 2016, Bounce gave non-English-speaking customers a free scoop of ice cream in direct response to Leon’s Frozen Custard’s controversial “English-only” ordering policy. Today, the business is standing behind a proposed national school walkout on March 14 to protest gun violence by offering free admission to any students who are punished for “for peaceful, civil action.”

On Wednesday, Bounce posted an offer on its Facebook page. Anyone suspended or given detention as a result of walking out on March 14 will get free admission to Bounce Milwaukee as a “show of thanks.” The offer also extends to a parent or guardian of any student punished. Bounce’s full statement is below.

“Students are on the verge of doing what adults have failed to for years now. Threats by the School District of Waukesha and others to punish students for peaceful, civil action are both counterproductive and missing a huge educational opportunity. On March 14th, if you are given a detention or suspended from your school for engaging in a civil action, we’ll offer you free Bounce admission (for both you and a proud parent or guardian) as our show of thanks. We’ll also have resources on-site on March 14th, so that you can reach out to your legislators.”

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11 notable Milwaukeeans with even more notable names http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/11-notable-milwaukeeans-with-even-more-notable-names/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/11-notable-milwaukeeans-with-even-more-notable-names/#respond Wed, 21 Feb 2018 19:08:19 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=46351 We’re all trying to make a name for ourselves. Whether it’s in the form of worldwide fame or just a good reputation among friends and co-workers, everyone wouldn’t mind some positive attention from others. Fortunately, most of us have an opportunity to try and make a name for ourselves without having to be reminded of […]

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We’re all trying to make a name for ourselves. Whether it’s in the form of worldwide fame or just a good reputation among friends and co-workers, everyone wouldn’t mind some positive attention from others. Fortunately, most of us have an opportunity to try and make a name for ourselves without having to be reminded of another person’s success along the way. Some of us aren’t so lucky.

A handful of Milwaukeeans (and others with local ties) have managed to do notable things and garner attention despite living in the shadow of a more famous person who just so happens to have a similar or identical name. Here are just a few examples that come to mind.

1. Carole Caine
Carol Caine
made a name for herself on metro Milwaukee airwaves as one half of “Dave & Carole.” Her 35 years in front of a mic brought the broadcaster considerable success among drive time radio listeners. Technically, Caine is the best-known person with her exact name, but since she worked in an audio medium, some listeners couldn’t help but be reminded of the host’s phonetic similarity to Carol Kane. The accomplished actress is known for her roles in Taxi, Annie Hall, The Princess Bride, and her recurring part on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. No matter how you spell it, both Caine and Kane have entertained folks in and around Milwaukee for more than three decades.

2. Corey Hart
While Corey Hart managed a decent Brewers career as one of the pivotal players on some pretty good Milwaukee teams from 2004-2012, the fan favorite will always pale in comparison to the musician by the same name. One Hart wore his sunglasses at night. The other usually wore them during day games. One Hart had 1,009 career hits. The other had just two. One Hart wrote “Never Surrender.” The other surrendered himself when he hit sacrifice flies. Okay, we’re done.

3. David Caruso
If you watch The Morning Blend with any regularity, you’ve likely seen a cameo from David Caruso. No, not the shitty actor of CSI: Miami and sunglasses meme fame. We’re talking about the celebrated planner and the charismatic face of Dynamic Events. The Milwaukee-based Caruso is nationally regarded in the specific field of event planning, but the world is certainly better acquainted with the red-headed dude who played Mitch in First Blood.

4. David “Gruber” Allen
David Gruber is the epitome of a Milwaukee celebrity. The attorney’s name appears on billboards, television spots, prints ads, and in the background of plucky upstart online publications throughout the region. As renowned as Gruber’s name is, his fame really only shines in one state (that’s all). While the lawyer’s popularity and level of recognition obliterates that of veteran character actor Dave “Gruber” Allen in Milwaukee, the writer and thespian garners more attention outside of southeast Wisconsin—even if it’s just as the old hippy from Freaks And Geeks and Netflix’s Love.

5. Ervin Johnson
Yeah, it’s spelled differently, but Bucks fans couldn’t help but draw the comparison (or lack thereof) between Milwaukee center Ervin Johnson and Hall Of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson when they saw or heard the name between 1997 and 2003. He was a serviceable center, but he wasn’t Magic.

6. Johnathon Mayer
Poor Johnathan Mayer. The Milwaukee singer-guitarist made it through most of high school before another John Mayer became a household name. Though the coincidence of two musicians and frontmen having the same name likely made the younger Mayer want to run through the halls of his high school and scream from the TOP OF HIS LUNGS when he found out, it hasn’t deterred John Mayer from continuing to play music over the last 15 or so years. When he’s not taking shit for his name, the Mayer of Milwaukee is crafting excellent ditties for Surgeons In Heat that we’d take over “Your Body Is A Wonderland” any day of the week.

7. Matt Foley
Everybody knows the name Matt Foley. However, not everyone is aware that Chris Farley’s beloved character who lived “IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER” was named after one of his friends. The real Matt Foley was born in Milwaukee and spent most of his childhood in Wauwatosa before moving to Illinois in his teens. He returned to town to attend college at Marquette, where he struck up a friendship with a fellow Marquette student and rugby teammate the world would eventually know as Chris Farley. Foley left Marquette after his sophomore year to go to seminary school in Chicago, where he still lives and works as a priest. Even after Foley’s transfer, he remained close with Farley until his death 20 years ago. You can listen to the priest talk about the comedy icon who made the name Matt Foley famous on Mike Mangione’s podcast.

8. Pamela Anderson
With all due respect to the Baywatch actress and Playboy pinup, Pamela Anderson isn’t a name that’s often equated to fine art. That’s not the case in Milwaukee, as our Pamela M. Anderson is a locally-lauded expressionist and abstract painter. If you ever see a person at a gallery night exhibition hoping to get their copy of Barb Wire signed, you now know why.

9. Tim Allen
We move from Pamela Anderson to her Home Improvement co-star. Actor, comedian, and grunt enthusiast Tim Allen is coming to Riverside Theater on June 23. The doubleheader will be a rare occasion when two notable Tim Allens are simultaneously in Milwaukee. The other, less renowned, Tim Allen has worked in radio for more than 30 years. Through the years, he’s established himself as a trusted authority on the Milwaukee Brewers, which is even more impressive after learning he’s blind. He currently talks sports on 105.7 The Fan. In addition to his on-air work, he’s taught courses at a technical college. We also like to imagine him having philosophical discussions with a neighbor whose face is partially blocked by a fence.

10. Tony Snell
As far as PrideFest organization is concerned, Tony Snell is a star player. The Executive Director at Milwaukee LGBT Community Center and the PrideFest mainstay was the most celebrated person with his name in the city until the Bucks traded for the sharp-shooting guard and lifetime Chipotle gift card recipient two seasons ago. It’s not a competition though. Both are pretty great and should share a free burrito together sometime.

11. Tyler Webb
Like Corey Hart, Brewers pitcher Tyler Webb’s name is obscured beneath the shadow of a prominent ’80s figure with similar nomenclature. Unlike that situation though, Tyler Webb is overshadowed by the name of a fictional character. The name of the young hurler (whose first name is actually Jon) instantly brings to mind Ty Webb, the scene-stealing golfer from Caddyshack. Perhaps this real life player will outshine the course accomplishments of this fictional athlete someday. But with an ERA above five in his young career, Tyler Webb has some work to do before that happens.

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Grand Avenue GameStop is closed and now the mall is (almost) dead to us http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/grand-avenue-gamestop-closed-and-mall-almost-dead/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/grand-avenue-gamestop-closed-and-mall-almost-dead/#respond Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:00:58 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=46471 Sad news for fans of buying new and used video games—and maybe a Funko Pop figure of Cartman or whatever—in cavernous downtown malls: the GameStop on the ground floor of the Shops of Grand Avenue, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave., has closed. According to an employee we spoke to through the locked glass doors that he wouldn’t […]

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Sad news for fans of buying new and used video games—and maybe a Funko Pop figure of Cartman or whatever—in cavernous downtown malls: the GameStop on the ground floor of the Shops of Grand Avenue, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave., has closed. According to an employee we spoke to through the locked glass doors that he wouldn’t open for some reason, the Grand Ave. GameStop is simply closing—despite the giant “WE’RE MOVING” posters plastered on the windows. At least that’s what we think he said. It was kind of hard to hear him.

It’s a tale of two dying institutions. National video game retailer GameStop has been around in some form or other since the early ’80s (remember when it was Babbage’s?). The recent rise of digital downloads, however, has forced the video game giant to close hundreds of stores. The perpetually underused Shops of Grand Avenue, meanwhile, have been on life support for years. Other than an in-progress apartment conversion for the Plankinton Arcade area, the mall is still awaiting its much-ballyhooed makeover. Seriously: the only thing keeping us from writing off the mall forever is the Rocky Rococo in the food court.

In honor of moving-but-not-really-moving, the Grand Ave. GameStop is handing out flyers good for 20% off your next purchase—though the offer is only good at the GameStop at 1633 Miller Park Way until March 3. No word yet on whether the discount applies to the store’s usual deal of taking your $800 trade-in and giving you $17 of store credit.

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Wear your Milwaukee nostalgia on your sleeve with Remember The Tees http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/milwaukee-nostalgia-shirts-remember-tees/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/milwaukee-nostalgia-shirts-remember-tees/#respond Tue, 20 Feb 2018 06:40:55 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=46412 It has never been easier to flaunt your Milwaukee pride. From the inescapable Milwaukee Home shirts to the nothing-says-Milwaukee-like-a-Corona-sunrise “People’s Flag” apparel, it’s practically a crime not to show your love for the Brew City via T-shirt. Likewise, with delightful Facebook groups like Old Milwaukee, it has never been easier to bask in the glow […]

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It has never been easier to flaunt your Milwaukee pride. From the inescapable Milwaukee Home shirts to the nothing-says-Milwaukee-like-a-Corona-sunrise “People’s Flag” apparel, it’s practically a crime not to show your love for the Brew City via T-shirt. Likewise, with delightful Facebook groups like Old Milwaukee, it has never been easier to bask in the glow of Milwaukee’s hazy, half-forgotten past. Put the two together and what do you get? Probably something like Remember The Tees.

Co-founded by former Milwaukeean Peter Litzau, Remember The Tees focuses on gone-but-not-forgotten Milwaukee businesses—many of them East Side icons—and commemorates them on new-vintage T-shirts. Ever feel like sporting an Oriental Drugs or Frenchy’s shirt and getting nods of recognition from other Milwaukee lifers? Now you can.

“I grew up on the East Side of Milwaukee on Shepard Avenue,” Litzau says. “I have a lot of nostalgia for that time, which was during the ’70s and ’80s. As kids we would venture around the East Side where we would see and experience places that became familiar and dependable. Places like Riegelman’s, Hayek’s, and Oriental Pharmacy ended up being favorites where we could buy stuff and socialize. You could see familiar faces and new faces with every visit.”

Litzau left Milwaukee for college in the late ’80s, but memories of old Milwaukee haunts still take up residence in his mind. With new designs coming out each week, Remember The Tees is even extending its reach to long-lost places that Litzau never got to experience firsthand.

“Remember The Tees is a passion project,” he says. “As you get older, you start to reflect more on the experiences that shaped you and the community you came from. We chose some of the places because we experienced them directly and they gave us life-long memories. Others we choose by discovering old mementos and research, and question if we would like a shirt of the venue. If the answer is yes, we go for it. All of the places we consider vintage because they had a significant impact on the local culture for an extended period of time.”

Currently, Remember The Tees’s catalog includes shirts of Riegelman’s Downer Pharmacy, the recently closed Hayek’s Pharmacy in Shorewood, Oriental Drugs, Oriental Pharmacy, Century Hall (which burnt down in 1988), Frenchy’s, Heaven City Hotel in Mukwonago, Brass’ Hi-Fi Lounge in Brookfield, Independent Milwaukee Brewery, and the Milwaukee Elks Club “Wonder Lodge.” Though T-shirt companies are a dime a dozen these days, it’s safe to say Remember The Tees focuses on a rarely mined niche.

“We thought the idea was kind of silly when we first drummed up the idea because there are a lot of shirt companies out there,” Litzau says. “Then we realized no one had a shirt of our favorite places, so we decided to make some. No one is doing what we want to do either, which is look back at vintage venues, dust off their stories, learn more about how they contributed to their communities, and remind people of them.

“You could say you are wearing comfortable nostalgia when you put on one of our shirts,” Litzau continues. “It is a little corny, but when we want to relax and get in a good mood, we remember the tees and put one on.”

Check out Remember The Tees’ website here, and its Facebook page here. Each shirt is $26, plus $4 for shipping. Delivery is 7-10 days after ordering.

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Vote today, because the NRA endorses one of the candidates for Wisconsin Supreme Court http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/vote-today-nra-endorses-state-supreme-court/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/vote-today-nra-endorses-state-supreme-court/#respond Tue, 20 Feb 2018 06:10:17 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=46314 Hey! Milwaukee and Wisconsin! Quite the dystopian nightmare world we’re living in these days, eh? If only there was something we could do about it… Well, there is! Today, February 20, Wisconsinites will exercise their civic duty by voting in the spring primary election. At stake is an opening in the Wisconsin Supreme Court: Madison […]

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Hey! Milwaukee and Wisconsin! Quite the dystopian nightmare world we’re living in these days, eh? If only there was something we could do about it…

Well, there is! Today, February 20, Wisconsinites will exercise their civic duty by voting in the spring primary election. At stake is an opening in the Wisconsin Supreme Court: Madison attorney Timothy W. Burns, Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Dallet, and Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Michael Screnock are all vying for the soon-to-be-vacated seat of Justice Michael J. Gableman. The top two vote-getters will advance to the general election on Tuesday, April 3.

Today’s primary is technically non-partisan, but, because nothing is truly non-partisan, it’s totally partisan. (Currently, our seven-person state supreme court has five “conservative” judges and two “liberal” judges.) Dallet is described as a “liberal-leaning centrist,” while Burns “has broken with convention by openly running as a Democrat and progressive.” The conservative Screnock, meanwhile, has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association. A recent press release explains:

The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is proud to endorse Judge Michael Screnock for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

“Judge Screnock is a committed judge who will interpret the Constitution the way our Founding Fathers intended,” said Chris W. Cox, chairman, NRA-PVF.

Screnock is described as an “avid hunter and outdoorsman” in the press release, and…you know what, if you’ll forgive some quick editorializing here: I’m an avid hunter and outdoorsman, too, and fuck the NRA. Fuck the NRA forever.

Anyway, depending on your district, today’s election may also feature some races for County Board Supervisor. Fun! Find out more about those candidates and the Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates here. Find out what the Shepherd Express thinks here. Find out where and how to vote here. JUST VOTE.

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Stormy Daniels (of allegedly-had-an-affair-with-Donald-Trump fame) is coming to Milwaukee http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/stormy-daniels-allegedly-affair-donald-trump-coming-milwaukee/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/stormy-daniels-allegedly-affair-donald-trump-coming-milwaukee/#respond Mon, 19 Feb 2018 18:48:19 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=46384 It’s hard to keep up with President Donald Trump’s alleged affairs with adult film stars and Playboy models, so here it goes: Adult film star Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, is slated to appear at Milwaukee’s Silk Exotic Saturday, June 9. This according to an update to Daniels’ tour schedule, posted today to Twitter. Daniels […]

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It’s hard to keep up with President Donald Trump’s alleged affairs with adult film stars and Playboy models, so here it goes: Adult film star Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, is slated to appear at Milwaukee’s Silk Exotic Saturday, June 9. This according to an update to Daniels’ tour schedule, posted today to Twitter. Daniels will also appear at the Madison Silk the night before.

Daniels came to national political fame when Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, acknowledged paying her $130,000, just before Election Day, to remain mum on an alleged sexual encounter that happened “many, many, many years ago” (a.k.a. 2006). Daniels has since spoken about the payment and the encounter, and recently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Daniels’ tour took her to a strip club in Tampa Bay, Florida last week, where, according to the Tampa Bay Times, she danced for 10 minutes and then signed photos for $20 a pop. Per the Tampa Bay Times:

“That was quick,” said Pete, who would only identify himself as a 69-year-old retiree from New Jersey. “I guess it’s all about the money. It was really raining on her. But she is beautiful though.”

Daniels isn’t currently listed on the Silk website, so details on ticket prices, dancing times, autograph opportunities, and Trump revelations remain up in the air. [h/t Daniel Bice]

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Mandatory Milwaukee: Boswell Book Company keeps the reading light burning on Downer Ave. http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/boswell-book-company-reading-light-downer/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/boswell-book-company-reading-light-downer/#respond Mon, 19 Feb 2018 18:18:19 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=46359 Some places come and go, while some places become icons. Mandatory Milwaukee is all about the latter. Join us as we revisit beloved and well-worn local staples with fresh eyes, and explore how they might figure in the city’s future. ookstores, you may have heard, are dying. To be more specific, bookstore chains are dying; in fact, they […]

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Some places come and go, while some places become icons. Mandatory Milwaukee is all about the latter. Join us as we revisit beloved and well-worn local staples with fresh eyes, and explore how they might figure in the city’s future.

Bookstores, you may have heard, are dying. To be more specific, bookstore chains are dying; in fact, they may already be dead. Barnes & Noble, the nation’s biggest bookstore chain, is currently in its death throes. The Wisconsin-based Book World, once the fourth-largest bookstore chain, shuttered late last year. Books themselves are doing just fine—sales of e-books have leveled off in recent years—but the physical stores that sell them are not. The culprit behind it all? Amazon, of course.

Enter Milwaukee’s Boswell Book Company (2559 N. Downer Ave., 414-332-1181), a shining example of perhaps the final hope for bookstores: the independent, neighborhood bookstore. Feeling cut off from the rest of humanity? Tired of staring at a screen all day, wondering when the end will finally come? Want to buy the latest Christopher Moore novel and a coffee table book on Milwaukee beards? Look no further.

Boswell opened its doors in April 2009, but its history stretches back much further. The Downer Avenue store was originally one of the four remaining locations of the famed Harry W. Schwartz Booksellers, itself a Milwaukee institution for nearly a century. (The titular Schwartz opened his first store, then called Casanova Booksellers, one block away from Boswell’s current location.) The lowest-volume store of the bunch, the Downer Avenue location was reborn as Boswell Book Company just three days after the Schwartz chain closed for good on March 31, 2009. It was named after 18th-century British biographer James Boswell, whose image had long served as the Schwartz logo.

How did Boswell take up residence so quickly? That would be thanks to Daniel Goldin, a New York native who had worked his way through the Schwartz ranks for decades, and who quickly purchased the 8,000-square foot Downer location and made it his own. A 2012 profile on Boswell explains:

No stranger to the book business, Goldin worked for Schwartz Bookseller owners Carol Grossmeyer and Rebecca Schwartz for 23 years in various capacities (including new book buyer, backlist buyer, store manager, and general manager) at almost all of the retail locations. Goldin chose the Downer Avenue space because of the historical connection and because he thought it perfectly suited for an independent bookseller.

Today, Goldin’s Boswell continues to thrive in a harsh brick-and-mortar climate. Yes, the store carries a ton of contemporary and classic fiction along with a quality selection of specialized nonfiction books (history, science, music, urban planning, etc.), but it’s the “neighborhood” part of “neighborhood bookstore” that sets it apart. Walk into Boswell and you’re not only greeted by the latest books-turned-films (André Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name, for instance), but by titles from Milwaukee- and Wisconsin-based authors writing about Milwaukee- and Wisconsin-based things. Books on Wisconsin supper clubs, Milwaukee’s civil rights history, and the city’s ’70s and ’80s punk scene abound.

In the nearby “locally bound” section, one can come across books of poetry by former Milwaukee Poet Laureates Susan Firer and Matt Cook, and the delightful Shady Hollow books by former Schwartz booksellers Jocelyn Koehler and Sharon Nagel. Barring a private audience with tireless Milwaukee historian John Gurda, Boswell’s local section is the best place to brush up on the history and flavor of the region.

Staff recommendations are prominently displayed. Here you’ll find curated picks that range from history books to graphic novels to the latest buzz-worthy tomes. It’s like the employee recommendations at a record store (another endangered-but-still-holding-on physical shop), but with less Beta Band and more Lincoln In The Bardo. The intricately decorated recommendation cards are works of art in their own right, and rival the wacky hand-drawn images at American Science & Surplus.

Author readings—held in the cozy back area of the store—are also keys to Boswell’s success. The front entryway is loaded with flyers for upcoming events—both at Boswell and elsewhere. Aciman will make an appearance tonight, while more left-field authors like former reality star Lauren Conrad and comedian Dave Hill have all dropped by in the past.

For parents who have grown weary of Goodnight Moon and Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus!, a lovely children’s section is tucked away in Boswell’s back corner. It speaks volumes about the store’s thoughtful approach to children’s literature that when you ask if they have a copy of, say, The Little Prince, an employee will ask, “In English or French?” (Don’t worry: there are plenty of copies of Goodnight Moon and Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus!)

Boswell’s charm and personalized stamp of quality haven’t been lost on the rest of the country, either. Here’s best-selling author Ann Patchett in a 2016 travel piece for The New York Times:

I went on my first book tour in 1992 when I was 28, and I have been going on book tours ever since. I have made it a point to go to bookstores in every town I’ve ever driven through. I go both as a writer and a reader, for business and for pleasure, and I have been in love with too many to make a comprehensive list here. Still, I have to call out some of my favorites, like Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee, lit by the internal fire of one Daniel Goldin, a stupendously great bookseller.

In the end, however, Boswell’s continued success in the era of Amazon is thanks to its dedication to the city and neighborhood it calls home. Here’s Goldin himself, quoted in yet another New York Times piece, from last December:

“The age of the physical chain of bookstores is behind us—unless you don’t need to be profitable,” said Daniel Goldin, the owner of Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee, the sole surviving descendant of a local chain that began in 1927.

“You can never save enough money through centralization to be able to compete with Amazon,” he said. “Instead, you have to go in the other direction—be so rooted in your community you can turn on a dime.”

Boswell is indeed rooted in its community. It’s synonymous with the East Side, synonymous with Downer Avenue. And in a time when the simple act of walking into a store and buying a book can seem revolutionary, it’s synonymous with the light and intelligence of “local” in the darkness and confusion of the world at large.

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Milwaukee Record’s comprehensive guide to Mama Tried http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/milwaukee-records-comprehensive-guide-to-mama-tried/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/milwaukee-records-comprehensive-guide-to-mama-tried/#respond Mon, 19 Feb 2018 06:07:52 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=46301 Later this week, throngs of local riders and motorcycle enthusiasts who have been cooped up since fall and whose choppers have been in storage for months will enjoy a brief escape from the cold, dark, dull bikelessness of winter. Mama Tried is a long weekend of motorcycle-related fun that features an indoor race on a […]

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Later this week, throngs of local riders and motorcycle enthusiasts who have been cooped up since fall and whose choppers have been in storage for months will enjoy a brief escape from the cold, dark, dull bikelessness of winter. Mama Tried is a long weekend of motorcycle-related fun that features an indoor race on a track covered on Friday, an indoor invitational that showcases an amazing array of custom-built bikes, a “Motorcycle Film Festival,” and an ice race on Milwaukee’s lakefront on Sunday as well.

Beyond the cycle-centric stuff, a wealth of Milwaukee bands, bars, restaurants, and venues are getting in on the Mama Tried fun, with pre-show performances and after parties (of both the official and unofficial varieties). If you’re looking to add more entertainment to your Mama Tried experience this weekend, here’s literally everything we know about what’s going on this weekend.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22

Mama Tried Bike Night @ Harley-Davidson Museum
The weekend starts early at MOTOR Bar & Restaurant in the Harley-Davidson Museum. There, Wild The Coyote & Badd Wolf and Mikey Fast Life will play a pre-show mixer. There will be Flat Out Friday racers on hand, as well as beer and rum specials, chainsaw-cut ice sculptures, gunpowder art, and vintage mini bikes.

Official Mama Tried Pre-Party @ Fuel Cafe On 5th Street
Down the road, the festivities officially kicks off at the spanking new Fuel Cafe on 5th Street. There will be specials on Solemn Oath beer, Jim Beam, and Rizoma. There will also be a Q&A session with Mama Tried Motorcycle Show builders and a DJ on site.

Mama Tried After Party @ Cactus Club
Capping off the Thursday action, Cactus Club has lined up three consecutive nights of Mama Tried after parties. The first show features Then Lizzy (a Thin Lizzy cover band), Tuff Pupps, Ratt Trap, and DJ Mike Gamm.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23

Flat Out Friday Pre-Race Concert with Holy Shit!, Beggar, and Twelves @ BMO Harris Bradley Center Lobby
As you file into the Bradley Center to watch motorcyclists race on a surface covered in Dr. Pepper syrup (more on that later), hang in the lobby for a while to take in the sweet sounds of Holy Shit!, Beggar, and Twelves. We had you at Holy Shit!, didn’t we?

Flat Out Friday @ BMO Harris Bradley Center
Okay, so we said “more on that later” earlier. That was a lie. Motorcycle racers ride on top of Dr. Pepper syrup and it’s fucking awesome. Need we say more?

Mama Tried Pre-Party @Nick’s Anvil Inn
A bar in South Milwaukee is having a gathering that’s tangentially (but not officially) related to Mama Tried. Now you know!

Mama Tried Pre-Party with The Atomic Punks, Oozing Wound, and DJ Dripsweat @ Turner Hall
Like early Van Halen? Then Los Angeles-based The Atomic Punks might be the tribute act for you! Don’t like early Van Halen? Oozing Wound isn’t a tribute band and they’re pretty goddamn amazing.

Mama Tried After Party with Low Roma, Miguel Corazon, Big Brother, Mikey Fast Life, and Kenny B. Wagin @ Cactus Club
The second Cactus show is aptly called “Da Shit Show” on account of tunes supplied by Low Roma, Miguel Corazon, Big Brother, Mikey Fast Life, and Kenny B. Wagin.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24

Mama Tried Motorcycle Show @ The Rave/Eagles Club
Behold a sprawling indoor invitational that showcases an amazing array of more than 100 custom-built bikes on Saturday. It’s the first year at The Rave, so expect big things from the event’s largest venue to date.

MTMS Motorcycle Film Festival @ Eagles Club
This year, Mama Tried is branching out to a film festival. Admission for the official motorcycle show also includes entry to the one-day celebration of chopper-focused cinema. Take a break from the main event to watch Supermoto, Out Of Nothing, Hogslayer, and Sugar & Spade. The closing film also includes a Q&A with the movie’s main characters.

Mama Tried After Party with Weedeater + One, Bleed, Happyneverclear, Sex Scenes, and Mom’s New Boyfriend @ The Rave
As both the first day’s official show and the film fest are wrapping up, The Rave will transition into a traditional venue once more. Weedeater headlines a show that also includes One (a Metallica tribute band), a reunion by Milwaukee’s own Bleed, Happyneverclear, grimy rock from Sex Scenes, and Mom’s New Boyfriend. Yes, your Mama Tried ticket gets you in for free.

Mama Tried After Party with Moon Rats + Brother O’Brother, and Static Eyes @ Company Brewing
If you seeking more fun after the sanctioned celebrations on Saturday, head to Company Brewing for a stacked assemblage of local and touring bands. Fresh off their new single, Moon Rats top an impressive bill that also features Indianapolis-sired rock outfit Brother O’Brother and the always wonderful likes of Static Eyes.

Mama Tried After Party with Banditos + Dusk, and Easy Habits @ Cactus Club
In other late Saturday news, Cactus Club has saved its best for its last Mama Tried after party. Birmingham, Alabama’s own Banditos bring their Bloodshot Records-approved catalog to the Bay View bar to head up a bill that also features Dusk, and Easy Habits.

Screws, Brews, Dews, and Tattoos @ Fuel Cafe On 5th Street
After a long and fruitful first day of official Mama Tried action, return to Fuel on 5th to talk about the bikes you saw over some brews and Tullamore Dew. If you haven’t had too much of either type of libation, you can also get some ink on site from Walker’s Point Tattoo Company. DJ WhyB will provide the soundtrack to your flesh augmentation.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 25

Mama Tried Motorcycle Show @ The Rave/Eagles Club
Day two, baby!

Slippery Sunday Ice Ride @ McKinley Marina
In addition to the final day of the Mama Tried show at The Rave, organizers have saved their best for last. Bundle up and head to McKinley Marina to see racers take to the ice for the Slippery Sunday ride.

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Remembering the time (this past Monday) when we all freaked out about a nonexistent Riverwest strip club http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/remembering-time-freaked-out-non-existent-riverwest-strip-club/ http://milwaukeerecord.com/city-life/remembering-time-freaked-out-non-existent-riverwest-strip-club/#respond Fri, 16 Feb 2018 06:20:09 +0000 http://milwaukeerecord.com/?p=46288 Every Friday, Off The Record looks to other Milwaukee publications (and beyond) for bits of news we missed throughout the week. • If a week in Milwaukee goes by without some sort of strip club drama, is it really a week in Milwaukee? Here are the bare facts of this week’s dustup: On Monday, news broke […]

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Every Friday, Off The Record looks to other Milwaukee publications (and beyond) for bits of news we missed throughout the week.

• If a week in Milwaukee goes by without some sort of strip club drama, is it really a week in Milwaukee? Here are the bare facts of this week’s dustup: On Monday, news broke that hole-in-the-wall Riverwest bar Tha Circle, 2221 N. Humboldt Ave., had tacked on “adult entertainment/strippers/exotic dancers” to its Class B Tavern and Public Entertainment Premises license renewal. Adult entertainment in Riverwest? Across from the Pick ‘n Save? Surely not! Everyone lost their shit (the Riverwest Neighborhood Facebook page was a delight), and a public hearing was planned for the next day.

But, before the public had time to weigh in during that hearing, Tha Circle owners Christina and Daryl Carter withdrew their “adult entertainment” application, claiming the whole thing was a big misunderstanding:

“We never asked to open a strip club, so we want to withdraw that,” [Carter] told the aldermen.

Carter and his wife, Christina, said that when they applied to renew their business license, they asked about the possibility of renting out the space for bachelor parties. They said a city employee suggested they check a box on the application marked for “adult entertainment.”

So there you go. Former OnMilwaukee writer Dave Begel, meanwhile, could not be reached for comment following the devastating news. [WISN12]

• Ahead of this Saturday’s big Bon Iver/For Emma 10-year anniversary concert, Justin Vernon and friends (including former bandmate and current Field Report frontman Chris Porterfield) played a secret show at Mad Planet. [Breaking And Entering]

• Milwaukee firm Eppstein Uhen Architects will design Summerfest’s new American Family Insurance Amphitheater. The 23,000-capacity venue is set to replace the current amphitheater in 2020. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

• The list of semifinalists for the 2018 James Beard Awards include a lot of Wisconsin and Milwaukee names. [88 Nine]

• Lauryl Sulfate And Her Ladies Of Leisure have a new song, “If You Want Me To,” and it’s incredible. Catch the band tonight at Company Brewing[Soundcloud]

• BREAKING: Milwaukee businesses sometimes use memes and pop-culture references to market themselves! [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

• A donut shop is opening in Bay View. [OnMilwaukee]

• A vegan eatery is opening on the East Side. [OnMilwaukee]

• Have a great weekend, Milwaukee!

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