Every Friday, Off The Record looks to other Milwaukee publications (and beyond) for bits of news we missed throughout the week.
• Hot off pondering the great teenage-Redditor question of why a woman can hit a dude but a dude can’t hit a woman, sportscaster Bill Michaels sounded the Twitter alarm this week that the Bucks arena deal is all but dead. “Just got off the phone with a WI state senator who told me, the Bucks arena deal, ‘It’s a no go.’ Another told me, ‘It’s on life support,’” said Michaels in one tweet. “I was just told….JUST NOW by a state rep: ‘They need to realize this is dying. And they need to call their rep AND their senator. Now,’” he says in another. (Ald. Robert Bauman issued a similar “life support” statement earlier this month.)
If Michaels is correct, it would likely spell the end of…ugh…really? Is this thing going to fall apart? Are we going to lose the fucking Bucks? Yeah, giving money to billionaires is shitty and the UW system is being cut and blah, blah, blah, but welcome to the real, shitty world. And Jesus Christ, the state portion of the deal is fucking 0.001 percent of the annual budget. Again, yeah, it sucks that we’re being held hostage by billionaire owners or whatever, but boo-fucking-hoo. Life’s unfair, isn’t it? Want to think of it in terms of another controversial project, the streetcar (OH GOD THE STREETCAR)? You can’t. In that case, if we had rejected the plan nothing would have happened. We just wouldn’t have a streetcar. But here, if we do nothing we will lose the Bucks. And what do you think will happen if we lose the team? That the BMO Harris Bradley Center will become a stirring monument to social justice and peace and education in Milwaukee? That it will somehow be anything but an empty shell at best, and a smoking crater at worst? Jesus, think of all the Newaukee “placemaking” shit we’ll have to put up with if the thing is empty. Ugh.
Anyway, Bruce Murphy at Urban Milwaukee has the scoop on the “real” cost of the proposed arena (which will probably be more than advertised, duh), while Rich Kirchen at the Milwaukee Business Journal has details on where the deal stands now. The biggest sticking point, it seems, is whether the deal will be part of the overall state budget (good for the arena) or spun off into a separate bill (bad for the arena). The state Legislature is expected to vote on the matter, well, sometime, For fuck’s sake, people.
• Safe House, Milwaukee’s iconic spy-themed bar and tourist/parent magnet, was sold this week to Marcus Corp. According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, the new owners plan to stay true to the downtown bar’s beloved cloak-and-dagger theme, and will only make changes to the menu and drink list. The secret password, of course, will remain intact and as non-secret as ever.
• The story of the Milwaukee man who has “WELCOME TO CLEVELAND” painted on the roof of his house went viral this week, even though said man has had said sign on said roof for 27 years. Journal Sentinel writer Jim Stingl visited with the man (“nearly retired photographer” Mark Gubin) to find out why he’s been fucking with airplane passengers for nearly three decades.
• The always-awesome Gloss Records, home to local acts like NO/NO, Rio Turbo, GGOOLLDD, and Soul Low, released its first digital-only single this week. “Hell Of A Time” is the debut song from Shae And Joha—a.k.a. Light Music’s Shae Lappen and New Boyz Club’s Johanna Rose. Fans of Sylvan Esso take note.
• According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, the Milwaukee Art Museum will decide next month whether it wants to purchase O’Donnell Park from Milwaukee County. The county rejected a similar offer on the park by Northwestern Mutual this past April. No word yet on whether a MAM-owned O’Donnell Park would feature a Newaukee-themed ferris wheel or, you know, just a beer garden or whatever.
• In a Tuesday vote, Milwaukee County Transit System bus drivers and mechanics authorized their union leaders to call for a strike, if necessary, later this month. The Journal Sentinel reports that the hypothetical strike is due to an impasse in contract negotiations, and that it would coincide with Summerfest. Reserve your bar shuttle seating now, we guess.
• Country-folk crooner Hayward Williams released a gorgeous animated video for “Under Control,” a standout track from his 2014 album The Reef. Utne Reader has the premiere.
• The popular Bike-In Movie Series, in which films are projected on an outdoor screen at the swing park underneath the Holton Street viaduct, is scheduled to kick off tonight at 8 p.m. with Coming To America. Never mind, the whole season has been canceled. Wait, never mind, it’s back on. Wait, never mind, Coming To America is back for sure, but the rest of the season is up in the air. OnMilwaukee.com has more on the on-again, off-again event. (It’s back on, at least for right now.)
• Summerfest’s 2015 lineup is stuffed with Milwaukee acts opening for top-shelf national acts. The Fatty Acids are opening for The Flaming Lips, and Field Report is playing ahead of The New Pornogrpahers. Hell, 5 Card Studs are opening for “Weird Al” Yankovic. Tap Milwaukee talked to another deserving local artist, WebsterX, about his pre-Lupe Fiasco slot July 3 on the Miller Lite Oasis stage.
• Milwaukee rapper Reggie Bonds released a new single this week, “Ugly Truth,” from his upcoming Menace II Society album. Evan Rytlewski at the Shepherd Express has more info on the “mighty cold” track.
• Mary Louise Schumacher of the Journal Sentinel has the scoop on the Milwaukee Art Museum’s acquisition of “Eggs Benedict,” a controversial portrait of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI created from 17,000 condoms. The portrait was created by Milwaukee artist Niki Johnson.
• And finally, the Journal Sentinel reports that Brewers radio broadcaster/Milwaukee Record spirit animal Bob Uecker suffered a mild concussion earlier this week after being hit in the head by a ball during batting practice. The 81-year-old legend has been sitting out the past few games, though he’s expected to rejoin the team next week. When he does, expect plenty of quips, tons of approving laughter from Joe Block, and endless theorizing on what other crazy shit can happen to Uecker this season.