On Monday, April 7, 2014, Milwaukee Record became a thing. Following months of planning, fretting, and drinking at the BBC for some reason (R.I.P.), former A.V. Club Milwaukee city editor Matt Wild and former A.V. Club Milwaukee writer Tyler Maas hit “publish” on their new venture. The internet would never be the same.

Okay, that’s a bit much, but our launch did go pretty well! Here’s Matt’s typically terse personal journal entry from that day:

Up at 5 a.m. to open and test the site. Goes off without a hitch. Huge response. Work all day. We did it. Go figure.

Go figure indeed. Now, exactly five years later, we’re bigger and better than ever. We’ve published more than 5,000 articles. We’ve created a long-running music video series. We’ve put on and sponsored countless concerts, events, and movie screenings. Hell, we’ve even gone back to our print roots with our Colectivo-sponsored “Off The Record” publication/crossword puzzle. And we couldn’t have done it without the incredible support of our many, many ad partners (thank you, thank you, thank you), our many, many talented contributors (thank you, thank you, thank you), and our many, many loyal readers (thank you, thank you, thank you).

So, to celebrate our five-year anniversary, here’s a trip down memory lane in the form of the best 125 (!) stories we’ve published in the past five years. Again: thank you to everyone who has supported us, thank you to everyone who has written for us, and thank you to everyone who has read us. (A special thanks to our Director of Advertising, Josh Hoppert, for being the best.) The past five years have been great. We think the next five will be even better. Go figure.

2014

Off Base: Putting down Hank The Dog
Akin to Family Matters bringing on cool kid “3J” when ratings dipped and Richie was trucked by puberty, the Brewers’ opportunist and incessant incorporation of Hank into all facets of the team is a move of desperation. It all smells of a team that’s more fixated on hitting its annual goal of three million people through the Miller Park turnstiles than a team concerned with winning more than 81 games. [Tyler Maas]

The cheap buzz of “Bring PBR Home”
To call last night’s “Bring PBR Home” town hall meeting at Best Place a stunning waste of time would be an insult not only to legitimate wastes of time—staring at a wall, checking your phone while taking a dump—but to the concept of time itself. In the hour or so I was able to stomach the world’s most glorified college-activist-“Let’s take down the system, maaaan!”-coffee-shop meeting, time slipped away. Minutes passed like hours. The Earth stood still. I walked out. I wasn’t alone. [Matt Wild]

Brewers translator Jay Hsu speaks for himself
Whether or not Wang takes the mound, his translator Jen-Chieh “Jay” Hsu is always working, serving as the linguistic intermediary between the foreign pitcher and his new team. Like the player for whom he communicates, Hsu also made the rapid jump from rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League to the big league over the winter. [Tyler Maas]

Brett Newski is at home on the road
“I ended up getting work doing commercial work,” Newski says. “That was my best job, my highest paying job—making music for tampon ads. There was other stuff too, but it was a lot of tampon ads.” [Tyler Maas]

VISIT Milwaukee’s “You Gotta Be Here” video is hilariously awful
There’s something so fundamentally shitty about this video, something so cosmically dreadful, that it’s impervious to criticism. It’s the tourism-video equivalent of not screening a movie for critics: Why bother when you know that the popcorn-swilling masses will lap it up no matter what? [Matt Wild]

I failed Red Rock Saloon’s “Unforgiven Challenge”
As I was wiping grease off my hands and forearm, Maria resurfaced to check my progress. “Wow! You’re pretty far,” she said, obviously dulled to the gluttony by this point. With a look and tone I hope conveyed, “Please believe this isn’t the person I actually am!” I said, “Uh…thanks.” [Tyler Maas]

Review: Pre-Recorded Music at JoJo’s Martini Lounge (Summerfest)
As this was all happening, Michael Bolton’s “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You?” was halfway over. Between being the only person in the dim and drafty tent-lounge (who wasn’t working, at least) and the lovelorn soft rock classic, I took a couple sizable chugs of my dark brew and thought, “So this is my life.” [Tyler Maas]

Sylvan Esso’s Nick Sanborn talks breakout year, coming full circle
Nick Sanborn and Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso have just landed at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport. “A preemptive apology: We might have to stop and restart this interview,” Sanborn says. “We’re waiting in the airport to be picked up by my mom.” Sure enough, Sanborn’s mother arrives moments later. “Give me 10 minutes to get on the highway, and I’ll call you right back.” [Matt Wild]

Cash grab or unfinished business? Examining Outkast’s (temporary?) return
“If you don’t know us by now,” Andre 3000 yells, from underneath his alien sunglasses and silver wig as his horn section vamps behind him, “You probably never will.” [Andrew Winistorfer]

Postmodern dance, heavy metal, and venturing outside one’s comfort zones
Like many people, I often experience a crippling fear when approaching an unfamiliar type of art. There’s a worry that I won’t “get” it. How could I possibly appreciate something as niche and daunting as postmodern dance (and/or fine art, classical music, poetry, etc.) without being previously steeped in it? What business would I have blindly dropping in on this art without first knowing its history and complexities? Better to ignore it and stick to the stuff I already know, like guitar rock, B-movies, and “Weird Al” polka medleys. [Matt Wild]

On living in Milwaukee for half your life and never wanting to leave
Beginning this fall, I will have lived in Milwaukee for half my life. I moved here in 1996, an incoming UWM film student with a part-time job and a questionable haircut. I played in an equally questionable rock and roll band with my friends who had moved here the year before, and dated a girl who had done the same. I was 18 years old. Now, at 36, I’m a business owner and a publisher, a full-time writer, a husband and a father. My band played its final show in 2005. I still have my original hair. I still live in Milwaukee. I’ve lived here for 18 years and, barring the unforeseen, I will never leave. [Matt Wild]

Milwaukee River, four ways: Making the most of the city’s urban waterway
To show some love to this forgotten stepchild of natural water sources, we recently traveled along the Milwaukee River four different ways: by pontoon, group boat tour, kayak, and foot. If nothing else, exploring the river from whichever vessel you choose helps fill a weekend day in Milwaukee after festival season as closed, but before the city retreats indoors, never to see the light until the following May. [Rachel Seis]

Mike Brenner vs. Milwaukee
“Nobody is coming in and saying, ‘Oh, you’re starting a business? How can we help you?’ There are all these groups, and they’re like, ‘Oh, join our group! And pay a bunch of fucking membership fees!’ And they don’t really do anything. You go to a meeting and there are 10 people trying to sell you ad space, and 10 people trying to sell you credit card processing equipment. And you’re like, ‘What am I doing here?’” [Matt Wild]

Faith in progress: Marriage equality, religion, and random rooming assignments
As the fate of so many was (and still remains) suspended in uncertainty, I solicited an impromptu college reunion with the minister. After our discussion, I’m now realizing that, despite sharing a cramped concrete bunker with him for a year, I didn’t really know my first roommate at all. I came to learn the small town Wisconsin kid whose lofted bed was not two feet from mine in that dorm room was dealing with some heavy, unfair, faith-testing shit, and I had no idea. [Tyler Maas]

Gotham’s green and gold: Where NYC backs the Pack
It’s a green and gold beacon shining for New York’s weary cheeseheads. Every good Wisconsin expat finds his or herself there at one time or another—maybe for the beer, the summer sausage, cheddar cheese and crackers. Especially for the blazing ’Sconnie accents. Or if you’re like me, you go because descending into the subterranean Manhattan tavern of Christmas lights is like a Packerland time warp. The effect can be so severe the ladies restroom bears a warning: “Watch your belongings. This IS New York.” [Kate Briquelet]

We ordered Burger King delivery because that’s a thing you can do now in Milwaukee
We settle in. We eat. It tastes like Burger King, but better. We feel like we’re living in the future. We feel strangely young again. Maybe a world in which fast food delivery exists isn’t so bad. Maybe a world in which fast food delivery exists is a world of convenience, a world of happiness, a world of peace. Maybe. We continue eating. We savor it. We devour it. We have it our way. [Matt Wild]

James Randi tells the truth about An Honest Liar
“I have a hard time reading that, really. But I must say, when you get a handwritten letter like that from Johnny Carson…it gets to you. You know that you’ve got a really valuable friend there. By the way, when I read, ‘I hope the enclosed will help to educate them both,’ that was a very, very large check from Johnny Carson. He helped our foundation get off the ground, and he kept it going for quite some time.” [Matt Wild]

Bar Rescue turned Y-Not III into a ’70s-themed bar called Nick’s House
From there, time passed slowly. The Packers kept kicking the shit out of the Vikings, and the School Yard kept blaring “Bang The Drum All Day.” Touchdown shots began to feel like work. Then, around 9:30 p.m., the announcement was made: everyone with pink wristbands needed to report to the sidewalk across the street from Nick’s House III. We were thrilled. Taffer was so close we could almost feel his spittle lightly spotting our face like so much morning dew. [Matt Wild]

Field Report goes all in on Marigolden
“When we did this record, I didn’t intend for it to be a sobriety record. I didn’t, but that was where my head was at,” Porterfield says. “I think about drinking every day. I think a big theme on this record is that you’re never on the other side, and you just have to keep wrestling with it.” [Tyler Maas]

A Monday in Cudahy: My third-shift bar crawl
After shaking off the now-expected “Who the fuck are these assholes?” glare of the five grizzled-looking guys on the end of the bar, Adam and I ordered a whiskey sour and a gin and tonic respectively. Two minutes and a combined total of $5 later, we were watching a local morning show on mute. It showed a guy reporting from what appeared to be a fish hatchery. He and I were two men both submerged in unfamiliar waters. The absurdity of this endeavor was starting to set in. [Tyler Maas]

Ramie Makhlouf: From sports talk to stand-up
The majority of Makhlouf’s material is far from FCC sanctioned. From pointed bits about being of Palestinian descent (complete with hilarious impersonations of his father), self-effacing items about his struggle to meet women, and jokes about drugs and pornography, his brazen and intense on-stage style wouldn’t play on terrestrial radio waves. [Tyler Maas]

Everything you need to know about the two-woman Home Alone remake, Abode Solo
“I played Macaulay, mostly because throughout my whole life people have told me I look like him, which I always take as high praise, regardless of intent.” [Matt Wild]

Jayke Orvis returns to Milwaukee on his own
“We had punks living downstairs, punks living upstairs, punks in the back,” Orvis says. “We had two killer basements. We put shows on constantly. There were always like 30 people at the compound for years. Pretty much every night, if we weren’t having a show, we were hanging down at Quarters or Mad Planet. It was a really good time. Also, I don’t remember a lot of it.” [Jared Blohm]

Johnny Beehner brings his homegrown humor out on the road
“Whether he realizes it or not, he’s inspiring another generation of comics. They look at somebody like Johnny who’s had really amazing opportunities opening for people and featuring. I think a lot of people are aspiring for that and can see that it is attainable if you work hard and you keep at it.” [Tyler Maas]

Tracklist: 12 Bar Rescue takeaways
This was a bad episode, even by Bar Rescue standards. Sure, the half-assed ’70s concept and misrepresentation of Milwaukee each played small parts in the unsavory episode falling flat, but Y-Not III owner Nick DePalma is the person primarily to blame for this letdown. You see, this show thrives on detestable and stubborn know-it-all bar owners butting heads with the equally detestable and stubborn know-it-all host. It’s what makes the viewer feel morally and intellectually superior despite watching a formulaic fake reality show play out on Spike-fucking-TV. Nick DePalma didn’t play his part. [Tyler Maas]

2015

The longest brunch: Bottoming out on bottomless mimosas
If we didn’t already feel bad about pushing a very, very good restaurant’s deal too far (even if it was a freezing Tuesday during an otherwise dead day shift), I would’ve questioned Ashley’s use of the word “bottomless,” or simply ponied up $6 to get to number 10. But, really, I was relieved for it to be over. Leanner told us nobody had ever stayed this long before…and that Ashley’s all-you-can-drink policy was going to be changed. [Tyler Maas]

Messed up: The short, troubled history of Space Heater
“I had a plan to go home after the show and just end it…it’s terrible,” Tony later says. “That day I bought two bottles of alcohol, because fuck it, right? So we’re making our set list, and I started crying. I thought, I’ll make this show a good one, but during the show I couldn’t think about the songs or anything and I ended up not really playing the show and just standing there in self-loathing because I forgot the bass lines to songs that I wrote. It made me feel awful.” That awful feeling turns to drunken rage and Tony takes his $300 bass guitar and smashes it repeatedly against the basement wall of Scarn Manor, destroying it.” [Tea Krulos]

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I saw 2 Live Crew at a strip club in 2015
During verses belonging to the long-since-departed Luther Campbell, Marquis just let the CD play and either wandered aimlessly around the stage or drank water. Las Vegas style showmanship, it was not. However, the 50-something rapper pulled out the big guns during 2 Live Crew’s biggest song, repeatedly screaming “Me So Horny” off-key and a fraction of a second too late. Having worked himself into a lather with that inexplicable hit and the six songs he’d done prior, Brother Marquis showed a more sensitive side of 2 Live Crew. Kidding again, the deaf-guy yelled portions of “We Want Some Pussy” and abruptly walked off the stage he’d taken less than 20 minutes prior. [Tyler Maas]

I was a guest on The Morning Blend and I feel pretty good about that
But never mind that, because moments later, in walked Ogle (shorter than I expected) and Fay (taller than I expected). Actually, “walked” wouldn’t be the right word—”exploded” would be more like it. Laughing, hooting, and hollering, like they had just downed three Bloody Marys each and stepped off a cruise ship, they instantly lit up the already lit-up studio. “Hi, Matt!” exclaimed Fay as she walked by. I was beside myself. [Matt Wild]

Taco Tuesday of Reckoning: I ate at every Milwaukee Taco Bell in 8 hours
With every arduous and grease-coated bite, I said a silent goodbye to a milestone from my (potential) child’s life that I’d surely miss. “Happy, graduation, little guy or girl,” I lamented internally with every bubbling, viscous morsel I reluctantly placed in my maw. I broke my months-long soda fast in attempt to dull the taste with a small Baja Blast…which I soon found had a black speck in it. Duffy’s “Mercy” blared in the background. I echoed her cry with each bite. This had finally become difficult. [Tyler Maas]

I hung out with the mayor of West Allis
Having just decided my tour would have a nightlife focus, we ambled on to Walleye’s Saloon a few blocks away. Our entrance was welcomed by a wave of awful nu metal (the first of many, many encounters we’d face on this excursion) and what looked to be a bar fight percolating between two hammered 20-somethings (that ultimately wouldn’t occur). The combination of the two and the nice weather drove us and our $3 pints out to the rear patio, where we met a nice woman named Jody and played two games of horseshoes. Mayor Devine (right) and I won both games. One of Bart’s (left) horseshoes took a crazy bounce and nailed me in the kneecap as Keith Sweat’s “Twisted” played on the patio speakers. Upon learning more about her opponents, Jody said, “I didn’t even know West Allis had a mayor.” Beyond the horseshoe hobbling, this was probably the highlight of the night. [Tyler Maas]

I finally saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show with a live cast at the Oriental Theater
So, on a fateful Saturday night, following a few beers at the aforementioned Landmark, we found ourselves standing in line outside the Oriental with a bunch of theater kids dressed in fishnets. Go figure. It wasn’t long before a cast member approached us. Was this our first time? Yes, yes it was. “VIRGINS!” he cried, whipping out a marker and branding our faces with red ‘V’s. For the rest of the night, we were marked, our scarlet letters acting in the exact way Hester Prynne’s didn’t. “Look for me before the movie,” our new friend said. “You’ll be on my team for the virgin games!” Erin and I exchanged a glance. We stepped inside. [Matt Wild]

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In search of Milwaukee’s most authentic Mexican restaurants
Still there is valor in the hunt, the one for the genuine article. So why simply settle for Bel Air and their two-hour waits over and over? How could a recent Shepherd Express Readers Poll show Qdoba and Chipotle as runners-up for Milwaukee’s “best”? Sure, Café Corazon is fresh and fine, and yes, we too love Guanajuato more than our cholesterol test says is healthy. But why be placated when there’s such a wealth of tacos, tortas, tripas, tamales, empanadas, sincronizadas, sopas, and sesos well beyond the usual Milwaukee run of familiar joints? So we set out to create a culinary roadmap, pointing west and south, and as far away as possible from the processed cheddar, the salted glasses, the lettuce and tomato taco fillings, and the over-publicized parrillada of gringo-land Mexican. [Todd Lazarski]

Review: Taped Music at JoJo’s Martini Lounge (Summerfest)
I eased into the idea that people might not show up. After all, it was opening day and, like, actual live music would be starting elsewhere very soon. Suddenly, a guy wearing all orange stepped out on stage and played a modern cover of the unmistakable Michael Jackson tune. He introduced himself to the audience (me) as Flux and said, “It’s all about having a good time. I do music videos! It’s all a big party.” I’ll be the judge of that. I’ve attended upwards of five parties in my life, so I’d like to think I know a rager when I see one. [Tyler Maas]

Hating Summerfest, loving Summerfest
Sometimes you hate Summerfest. Sometimes you get to the grounds on a late Sunday afternoon and note that there are more people waiting to see Paris Hilton in four hours than there were to see Public Enemy all of Thursday night. You make the requisite Summerfest lap and see nothing but doofuses smoking cigars and wearing PornHub T-shirts. You’re not in the mood for a beer, so you walk to JoJo’s Martini Lounge and get a fruity cocktail, which is $11. A cover band at JoJo’s is doing Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” Somewhere in the distance, another cover band is limping through a tepid Queen medley. You want to go home. [Matt Wild]

We went to Scott Walker’s presidential announcement and this is what we saw
The Waukesha County Fair opens its gates tomorrow, and similar to how the Stones warmed up the Summerfest grounds, Scott Walker—now an official 2016 presidential candidate—drew the masses to the fairground’s Waukesha County Expo Center Monday night. Described by CNN as a “Republican enclave just outside of Milwaukee,” Waukesha hosted thousands of Walker supporters who waited for hours in the hot, humid weather for a seat. “Enjoy this momentous occasion,” an elderly volunteer told us as she fastened our entry wristbands. [Tea Krulos, Wendy Schreier]

I tented out inside Miller Park and it was fun and weird
Oh, and the tour also included a trip to the holiest of holy Miller Park locations: Uecker’s booth. Yes, we were allowed inside Mr. Baseball’s (and Joe Block’s) inner sanctum, which was smaller and less covered in Mr. Belvedere paraphernalia than I expected. Nevertheless, I tried in vain to contain myself as Wayne talked about Ueck’s broadcasting career (Nearly at the same level as Vin Scully and Mel Allen? Surely you jest, Wayne.) and tried to not get weirded out by the middle-aged woman standing next to me, who looked suspiciously like the middle-aged woman who stalked Bob Uecker a few years back. Now, I’m not saying it was her (her name tag didn’t match up, for one), but she did look like a slightly older version of that woman’s mug shot. [Matt Wild]

The 15 best things my 14-year-old cousin said at Vans Warped Tour yesterday
6. On how every booth is made to appeal to teens, and meant to sell things to teens: “I don’t think about how they’re marketing to me directly. Because those people need to make money, too. Who cares how they get their money? Exploit teens!” [Andrew Winistorfer]

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50 Cent vodka signing at Oak Creek Woodman’s: A minute-by-minute recap
7:40 p.m. – It all comes down to this. I’m next in line. Suddenly, I’m hustled in front of the backdrop. There he is. 50 Cent. At the Oak Creek Woodman’s. He looks tired and bored. He looks like 50 Cent. I stand next to him with my bottle. I struggle for something to say. “Thanks for coming to Oak Creek!” is all I can muster. He says something—well, “mutters something” might be more accurate. “Hey.” A woman takes a picture. A man leads me away. My encounter with 50 Cent—an encounter I’ve been waiting almost five hours for—is over in no more than three seconds. [Matt Wild]

I floated in a sensory deprivation tank at Float Milwaukee and, well, it was something
That’s when it hits me: This tank is quiet. Really quiet. To paraphrase Douglas Adams, you just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly quiet it is. There’s nothing. Absolutely nothing. In fact, when I occasionally glance to the left and right I can hear the sound of my eyes moving in my skull. This experience is almost worth the price of admission alone. Imagine your eyes as heavy wooden marbles slowly rolling around in a heavy wooden box and you’ll get the general idea of what it sounds like. It’s wonderfully weird and vaguely unsettling. [Matt Wild]

Opening AND closing Wolski’s: A supposedly fun thing we’ll never do again
This is the worst that I feel all day. Waist deep in High Life, I am left to contemplate the meaning of this, and the meaning of life as we know it. Why am I doing this? Why did I think this was a good idea? Anyone willing to spend 14.5 hours in the beautiful cave that is Wolski’s Tavern with me on one of the last days of summer is worth having in my life. Friendships like this are hard to come by. I’ll cheers to that. But hey, at this point I’ll cheers to most anything. [Rachel Olson, Mark Flehmer, Danielle Dahl]

I climbed to the top of City Hall and it was awesome and kind of terrifying
I’m climbing to the top of Milwaukee City Hall and there’s only one thing on my mind: death. Death, death, death. Not “lose-my-balance-and-plummet-to-Earth” death, though there’s that, too. Measuring 353 feet tall (393 if you count the flagpole on top), the downtown beacon may not look like much from the street, but try winding your way up it via a sparse spiral staircase on a hot summer day. My palms are sweating. One hand is white-knuckling the staircase while the other is death-gripping the iPhone I’m using to record the running commentary between my tour guide, Roger Davidson, and Doors Open Milwaukee program manager Amy Grau, who has arranged today’s excursion. My knees are somewhere between “shaky” and “buckling.” I’m thinking about calling it quits. [Matt Wild]

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Return to Haunchyville
Five years ago this past June, I made a trek to Haunchyville and wrote about it for the now-defunct A.V. Club Milwaukee. I found…well, something. Not a bustling burg of pissed-off circus folk hell bent on keeping outsiders away, and not a crumbling community of gone-to-pot loners and their grizzled caretaker. Instead, I found a woodsy and secluded section of suburban acreage littered with countless NO TRESPASSING and KEEP OUT signs. Oh, and some creepy-ass stone huts. [Matt Wild]

I went to Chicago to (try to) get drunk at Taco Bell
Though I made a treacherous, Andy DuFresne-like crawl through a figurative sewer of refried beans, Fire Sauce, and inorganic beef substitute only a few months ago, the recent announcement that a Taco Bell in Chicago was the first in the world to offer alcohol was a signal from above…or below (?) that my work was not done. I had to temporarily return to the prison of my worst self. Like a bank robber throwing caution to the wind for one last score or the grizzled veteran police detective—clearly too old for this shit—postponing his retirement to put away one more perp, I had no choice but to do this. I had to get drunk at a Taco Bell. [Tyler Maas]

A Friday on the “Fruit Loop”: A straight man’s gay bar crawl
As Hot Tyler, Jacob, and I looked at the screen (and Jak looked away), DJ scrolled through a photo album that showed him being tortured, having a rope tied around his balls yanked, being suffocated by…other guys in pretty graphic ways, and enough dick pics to make Brett Favre blush. As DJ scrolled on, Jacob rattled off different kinks and asked whether Mister Harbor Room was into them. Eventually, Jacob asked about piss play. “I love water sports,” DJ said. “If any of you have to go, just let me know.” Now on my sixth drink in three hours, I never had to pee less in my life. “Is there anything you say ‘no’ to?” Jacob asked, as the list grew exceedingly more intense. “Women,” DJ quipped. Around then, Jak handed me my half-full pint and told me to chug because we were leaving immediately. As I was finishing, Jacob was yanking a leather strap attached to DJ’s testicles, hard. [Tyler Maas]

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Video: We conduct a blind taste test to find the least terrible Wisconsin-made pumpkin beer
All beers were ranked on a scale of 1-5 on four criteria: pumpkin-ness, level of spice, drinkability, and overall taste. The results were highly unscientific and highly unexpected (math started to go out the window around beer number five), but amusing nonetheless. At one point, Tyler creeps everyone out by talking about a beer’s “mouth feel.” Oh, and there are plenty of awful/wonderful puns. [Matt Wild, Tyler Maas, Maggie Iken, Cal Roach, Rachel Seis]

I tried (and utterly failed) Zaffiro’s first “Big Z Challenge”
By the 30-minute mark, I had 28 slices down. By this point, I came to terms with the fact I wouldn’t be finishing, but I wanted to make my performance in this absolutely shameful endeavor the least embarrassing I possibly could. But first I needed a break, or a “Za-bbatical” if you will. I sipped my third pint of water and strolled around the restaurant (that was now thankfully devoid of Mequon milfs) in a futile effort to collect myself and find a second wind that would not blow my way. After a few minutes, I returned to the booth, but remained standing as I meekly ate laughably small bites of jalapeno and mushroom pizza. Pepperoni was dead to me now. The last two-plus pieces were incredibly difficult. My mouth watered—in the puke preparation way, not out of hunger—as I nibbled my way towards a goal that, at 63 minutes, was decidedly out of reach. [Tyler Maas]

Are there really anti-Semitic messages hidden in a Shorewood sculpture?
To my eyes, there are plenty of problems with the “hidden messages.” For one, seeing “Bad” requires you to lose the “Z” between the “B” and the “A.” And the “P” in “Cheap” isn’t a “P” at all, but a connected “N” and “D.” And you need to do some serious spacial gymnastics if you want to see “Dead.” With that logic, you can see “Fry Bad Jew” if you want, or, you know, “Frqb Zeanp.” [Matt Wild]

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Better vape than never: One man’s epic pre-ban e-cig smoke sesh
I meekly approached the counter where an incredibly friendly middle-aged guy named Bill helped me navigate the intimidating abundance of e-cig implements and the dozens of flavors, including everything from fruit flavors to a bunch of animals with the “Blood” suffix, traditional tobacco scents, and more. The guidance from Bill—who told me he was a massive smoker for more than 30 years before weening himself off completely thanks to e-cigs in the last four years—helped me settle on the cheapest cig they had ($24) and a vial of Banana Nut Bread vaping juice ($12) that purportedly yields the same amount of puffs as two cartons of traditional grandpa cigarettes. [Tyler Maas]

Malled by bears: A review of the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra at the Shops of Grand Avenue
In all, the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra plays the Christmas songs you know. For any performer, this is no great surprise, with the average age of the most frequently played holiday songs hovering around 61 years, according to the December issue of Harper’s. Compared with the brand new, slick, and highly processed Homo Sapien Christmas songs pumping through the TJ Maxx on the other end of the mall, who can blame Leonard and his fellow Ursus for sticking with the classics? As the plugged-in maestro put it in a transcendent bit of banter: “Who knows where music really comes from?” [Justin Kern]

2016

Could a cat change the trajectory of the Milwaukee Bucks’ season?
Even if none of these scenarios pans out (a highly dubious assumption), we’re hoping that as the league grows enlightened of the joys, life longevity, and general good times keeping a cat around entails, our Bucks will come forth off the hardwood to proclaim their fondness for felines. As @NBACatwatch has assured us all, we’re inching closer, ever closer, to the first Buck to reveal himself. In the offseason we may have been coerced to “Own the Future,” but today, couldn’t we all agree it’s sufficient to paw at it instead? [Rachel Seis]

Here’s what was changed to make that non-anti-Semitic Shorewood sculpture even more non-anti-Semitic
So yeah, unless we’re missing something, they changed an “E” into a “B.” After all the drama and headlines, after all the people claiming it was statistically impossible for random letters to form these particular words even though it’s extremely possible when you get to decide which letters you use and discard, they changed an “E” into a “B.” So there you go. [Matt Wild]

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Milwaukeeists: 1996-2006 or: What Made Milwaukee Famous
What is a “Milwaukeeist?” If one quality set this particular group of artists and venue-makers apart, it was seeing various lacks common to mid-sized, off-center cities for their positive potential. Not enough places to show or perform? Well, open one yourself! It was clear no one was going to do it for us. There wasn’t enough money in town to flow beyond the bigger institutions, and the city’s funders weren’t interested in homespun experimentation. All this only took the pressure off. Not much was at stake, but we who made the work readily admitted this, and saw it not as an obstacle but as freedom from the normal pressures of success and failure. We could readily embrace our sense of marginalization and turn it into fool’s gold, shifting the definitions of value. [Nicholas Frank]

Parents: It’s cold and the Domes are closed, so take your kids to the Shops of Grand Avenue
And go nuts she did. She squealed in delight as she trotted up and down the empty halls. She laughed as she explored the nooks and crannies of the old Radio Shack, the old GAP, and the old Old Navy. She guffawed as she dicked around in the lonely doorway of what used to be that pen store (it’s now a temporary tax return place or something). She marveled at the hidden basement wishing well, right next to the offices of TRUE Skool, NEWaukee, the Underground Collaborative, and the terrifying ghost of the International Clown Hall of Fame. Remember that scene in Vanilla Sky when Tom Cruise is running around an empty Times Square? IT WAS TOTALLY LIKE THAT. [Matt Wild]

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We went to every George Webb in the world on February 29
When we’d finished up in New Berlin, we weaved through back roads and wound up on North in Tosa. I was feeling a bit better, so I had a regular hamburger with nothing on it. Josh had a double cheeseburger. The smiling George Webb logo was beginning to taunt me with each unnecessary bite I took. As a thing people eat once every now and then (usually when lack of time, shortage of money, or after-bar desperation to sober up are involved), George Webb is passable as food. When eaten more than once a month, let alone SIXTEEN times in a day, it becomes abundantly clear that 1. Nothing on the menu is actually good, and 2. There’s probably no god. [Tyler Maas]

Grand Ave. barber Tony Pullara wants to cut your hair (and be your mayor)
“I want to bring back Milwaukee in the most positive way,” he explains. “The best way to get to that point is to go back to simplicity in life. Many years ago, when I was a little boy, kids could touch the police officer, or the priest, or the teacher in a positive way. Now, you’re being chased by the police officer with a gun. It’s wrong.” [Matt Wild]

We checked out the Trump rally in Janesville and it was a shit show
Presidential candidates were running every which way through the state on Tuesday: Sanders was at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, Clinton was cruising through La Crosse and Green Bay, Kasich and Cruz arrived in Milwaukee for a CNN Town Hall session at the Riverside Theater with Anderson Cooper. Trump would join them later, but not before making a pit stop in Janesville. Thousands of Trump supporters, a couple hundred protesters, and hundreds of police showed up at the Janesville Conference Center (attached to a Holiday Inn Express). It was sure to be the most exciting rally in Janesville since that time in 1992 when Geraldo Rivera showed up at a white power rally and punched a Nazi. [Tea Krulos, Wendy Schreier]

Another often overlooked demographic, Cats 4 Trump.

Another often overlooked demographic, Cats 4 Trump.

Remembering the world’s largest Pac-Man tournament at County Stadium in 1982
“I remember getting there and they had the [PM Magazine] crew following me around in the stadium. A lot of the kids were cool. The one who was expected to win was the Asian guy in the video. He was the oldest player [28 years old]. He was really cool. He talked to everybody. The person I beat in the first round, he was really cool. But the person who actually ended up winning was the least sociable one. I mean, it was some guy I crossed paths with for an hour, so I don’t want to say too much. He was the one that all the other contestants…I don’t want to say it was jealousy, but no one really talked to him that much. It didn’t seem…I want to say he had some arrogance to him. This guy seemed a little standoffish, and not in a computer geek, ‘I’m shy’ way. I think we were all disappointed that he ended up winning.” [Matt Wild]

A Milwaukee Day ode to Bob Uecker
If you’ve followed this website over the past two years, you’ve seen plenty of Uecker gracing its digital pages. Personally speaking, my love for Uecker is deep, unequivocal, and without irony. His is the voice of my childhood summers, my teenage drives to the next town over, my current-day afternoons with my daughter. Long before I became a baseball fan, I was a Uecker fan. Against all odds and reason, I was a member of the Mr. Belvedere Fan Club, which, yes, was a real thing and not just a fitfully remembered SNL skit with Tom Hanks. Later, in college, I cut my teeth on web design by creating a Mr. Belvedere site. (I’ll never reveal its location, but it’s still possible to dig it up on the UW-Milwaukee servers.) All of that because of Uecker. Why? I’m honestly not sure. For me, Uecker is a foundation. Uecker is a pillar. Uecker is a fact. [Matt Wild]

A different kind of Purple Rain: Prince’s damp message to a Milwaukee fan
Your own office parties can carry an air of forced interaction. Attending someone else’s office get-together removes one layer of humanity from this equation and in its place slaps on all the enjoyment of applying for a grocery store rewards card. Sometimes, at some parties, there is that great reveal or incident which eradicates drab conversation. Butt-cheek photocopies or the acknowledgement of a dishonorable discharge from the Eagle Scouts, those types of things. And sometimes there is a nasty, first-hand story about Prince. [Justin Kern]

The last (alleyway) picture show? Paul’s Alley Cinema and the dying art of renegade showmanship
Paul Dorobialski saw the light. The blaring white light from a city utility pole, to be precise, the one that had been burned out or smashed or painted over since the early 1990s. The existence of this light meant Dorobialski could not go on with his theater in the true spirit of “showmanship.” No matter that Dorobialski’s theater was a half-paved outdoor alley with a few rows of folding chairs and a film rear-projected onto a slat of discarded screen hung from a loading dock. A fresh city light bulb: such a flimsy thing to end this theater’s run, Dorobialski thought, mulling the discovery during caretaker rounds at the warehouse next door. “I came out to do my janitorials, then out to the loading dock, and I looked up and said, ‘Where the hell did all that light come from? Oh no!’ And there it was, bright as could be,” Dorobialski says. “Oh shit.” [Justin Kern]

Photo: Paul Dorobialski

Photo: Paul Dorobialski

I humiliated myself in front of one of the dudes from Cherry Pie
Trouble starts to brew, however, when one of the musicians, the boyfriend of one of my mom’s friends, spots me in the crowd. “Hey, is that Matt Wild?” he asks into the mic as the final notes of a CCR song or whatever ring out. “Get up here and play something!” My mom and her friends look at me, beaming. “Yeah! Get up there!” they say. “No, that’s not a good idea,” I say. “Oh, come on!” they say. “I’m not very good,” I say. They all laugh, as if to say, “Don’t be ridiculous! You’re great!” [Matt Wild]

I ate Dave Begel’s “Top 10 Milwaukee foods to eat while you are driving” while I was driving
While I respect his long career in Milwaukee media and his theater criticism is normally insightful, OnMilwaukee columnist Dave Begel’s culture columns can sometimes be so rife with stodgy takes and sloppy wordplay that I can’t finish them. But why do I routinely check out his work when I so often disagree with what he says and how he says it? It’s not because I willfully disregard the tenets of internet culture. No, it’s because I’m hoping Dave Begel writes something nearly as great as when he stumbled upon what I consider the best listicle of all time: “Top 10 Milwaukee foods to eat while you are driving.” [Kevin Mueller]

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We tried (and failed) “Wisconsin’s Largest Pizza Challenge” at Pizza Shuttle
The since-discontinued challenge tasks two participants with taking down a 12-pound, 28-inch diameter hand-tossed pizza (which is still available for purchase on the menu) in just 45 minutes, without being able to leave the table or drink more than a single cup of water. Those who have the intestinal fortitude to finish this imposing pizza in the allotted time take home $500 and, perhaps more valuable, glory. Wanting a chance at the distinction of doing something only a select few people have done (and a bunch of free Pizza Shuttle), Milwaukee Record co-founders/editors Tyler Maas and Matt Wild, and Director of Advertising Josh Hoppert tried, then absolutely failed, “Wisconsin’s Largest Pizza Challenge.” [Milwaukee Record Staff]

I got a Milwaukee flag tattoo
On June 1, I went to Shogun Tattoo in Bay View and sat in a chair across from Meredith Hall, who gussied up my right forearm with the principal-bucking and highly debated symbol of the city I love. I asked her for one minor modification: to swap out the Native American that, justifiably, has upset some for a Milwaukee Record logo. Hey, I never said the flag was perfect as-is! After about three hours and minimal discomfort, I was left with my first tattoo, zero regrets, and a timeless emblem of what Milwaukee means to me. [Tyler Maas]

I hung out with the mayor of Cudahy
“People say Cudahy stinks,” Hohenfeldt said, inhaling deeply mid-thought and cracking a smile. “Sure do!” [Tyler Maas]

I used Summerfest shuttles as my personal taxi service
I paced back and forth down shuttle row, debating where I would go with my few remaining trips. The stupidity of this endeavor had set in hours ago. There was still time to forget this self-assigned joyless ride. “Should I go into Summerfest and see some bands?” I pondered. Suddenly, I overheard a cover band playing Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” To quote the band, “Never mind.” Maybe this bus thing wasn’t so bad after all. Finally, I settled on a shuttle shared by Nomad, Malone’s Club Brady, Hi Hat, and Garage. Dope Folks co-owner John Kuester walked off that same bus and asked me what I was there to see. “The shuttles,” I said, embarrassed. [Tyler Maas]

I beaned Milwaukee Brewers great Geoff Jenkins with a wiffle ball
Our first match-up was against Major Goolsby’s 1, which was naturally the first of two teams fielded (carpeted?) by the downtown sports bar. A potential Goolsby’s 1 vs. Goolsby’s 2 match-up had the crowd salivating, but with Gumby and Jenks waiting, we were poised to send these guys down Canal Street crying. [Mark Flehmer]

Lake Park’s Pokemon Go meeting was boring, livid, and gloriously absurd
Then came the Q&A. Oh dear, the Q&A. It was a Q&A that Peltz introduced with the kind of wariness and caution usually reserved for scenes in movies where someone walks someone else through a bomb diffusion over the phone. Peltz asked for calm. She asked for respect. She asked for concise questions. She asked for questions, period. She got none of it. [Matt Wild]

The “Milwaukee Fuck It List”: My city through my mom’s eyes
Beverages and burgers in our bellies, we made our way to Veterans Park to…yep, fly fucking kites. Our group of grown-ass adults gathered between a jogging path and a fenced off area where a car show was taking place to try to fly cheap kites on a hot and humid day that was utterly devoid of anything resembling wind. It sucked. My mom tried to make the most of it, as puzzled strangers looked on. My sister scolded me for complaining. I think we all hated it. After one awful hour, we gave our kites to kids in our vicinity and got the fuck out of there. [Tyler Maas]

Expire bow out with love, not regret
“I know what hardcore did for me, being a kid that didn’t know what was going on,” Dear says. “If we potentially were that band for just one kid every night, a band that turned them onto the music and showed them something new, I couldn’t ask for anything more.” [Sahan Jayasuriya]

St. Francis needs to step up its bench game
Given its pious past, the small southeastern Wisconsin city has only recently come around to making a concerted effort to add amenities like bars, restaurants, a brew pub, and retailers. Though quiet, this saintly suburb is home to some of the most striking views of Lake Michigan metro Milwaukee has to offer. It’s home to lush, untouched landscapes. It hosts quaint tree-covered neighborhoods. Of course, most of those views can only be enjoyed whilst standing or with necks craned at unnatural angles. You see, St. Francis needs to step up its bench game. [Tyler Maas]

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Hey Milwaukee: If we want to save the Domes we should probably start going to the Domes
The doors to the still-closed Desert Dome, meanwhile, were blocked off with some plants. No matter—after my daughter pushed the automatic door button (kids love these things), one of the doors simply swung open. Huh. Nearby was a bulletin board filled with “Desert Dome Observations” and pictures of blooming cacti. “Since you can’t experience the cacti this season,” a sign read, “we’re bringing their flowers to you! (In pictures, anyway!)” It was the kind of delightfully adorable and vaguely heartbreaking display that perfectly summed up the ever-so-quaint and kitschy Domes, and a bit of DIY craftiness that reminded me of my daughter’s day care project where her class took a walk in the woods and some kid saw a worm or something. [Matt Wild]

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I watched American Movie for the first time: A minute-by-minute recap
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. [Maggie Iken]

Hot ‘n Now or never: Driving thru the edge of extinction
As we were taking our last bites, a funeral procession passed. As the motorcade slowly rolled by, I came to realize this entire trip—sobering and disappointing as it was—was a four-state, 500-mile funeral procession of sorts. In a way, I was saying farewell to one of the few pieces of my youth that, until that very moment, didn’t have the chance to have its flavors, smells, associated feelings, and augmented memories marred by adulthood. While I’m ecstatic for Nick and his wife, I think I was also saying goodbye to the carefree friendship we built when we had our whole lives ahead of us. [Tyler Maas]

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2017

Watch the Johnson’s Park dinosaur get broken down, taken to its new habitat
“It didn’t like the move, and we kind of lost a leg, and the body is crushed pretty good, and we had to remove the tail, but I already have a plan for spring on how to rebuild him and get him some fresh paint and get those eyes to light up again. All I need is a name, so maybe your followers can help me there.” [Matt Wild]

A comprehensive guide to finding cats at Milwaukee Art Museum
Milwaukee Art Museum’s uppermost level is also its largest and most eclectic collection of microgalleries. Boasting a veritable maze of walls with European art, American works, a vast grouping of modern art in The Bradley Collection, and an alternating exhibition in the Bradley Family Gallery, Level 2 saved its best for last…at least in regard to the quality of kitties. While the volume of cats paled in comparison to what Level 1 offered, felines were featured more prominently in the still-respectable sum of cat art. Drossos P. Skyllas’ 1955 oil painting “Young Girl With A Cat” was a purrfect (sorry again) start. [Tyler Maas]

Remembering The Bomb Shelter (and Greg Landig) 5 years later
“Greg had the idea for the bar and there was no changing that idea. His vision was absolute. When we were putting the bar together, we would frequently discuss some of the ideas he had, and you would just get this glare from him. No compromise,” Bomb Shelter bartender Josh Merline says. “This bar had to be like an up north bar where he spent so much time when he was younger.” [Tyler Maas]

Hey now, Smash Mouth’s guitarist gave a one-star Yelp review to a Milwaukee dry cleaner
Hurwitz’s Yelping career appears to have been short-lived. Beyond his withering appraisal of Avenue Fabricare’s customer service, his only other Yelp reviews are for Dr. Mike’s Natural Health & Chiropractic Center in North Hollywood (“They the THE best in town :-)”) and Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara (“I travel for a living and this was by far one of the best resorts I’ve EVER been to.”) [Matt Wild]

Power chords, snacks, and glitter: My weekend at Ladies Rock Milwaukee
I went into Ladies Rock expecting to learn a thing or two about playing an instrument. I didn’t think I’d be leaving the camp with tears of joy running down my face. I felt more empowered than I had in a long time. I accomplished things I never thought I would. Over the course of three days, I gained a new confidence I hadn’t felt before. I made new friends and had the privilege of spending a weekend with some of the most inspiring and badass women in Milwaukee. [Lauren Keene]

I watched 8 hours of the Milwaukee PBS Great TV Auction
The auction itself moves quite swiftly, which most likely generates the constant confusion. The host throws to someone standing at a table full of biddable items and this person goes through these eight items with a guest “table captain”—usually a volunteer plucked from answering phones and put in front of the camera. While the former reads flowery pre-written copy on each item (the word “arresting” is invoked excessively here), the table captain models each offering, usually running their hands along the edges of the item. But sometimes the model engages in more cavalier gestures like caressing or pointing, and in extreme cases, accidentally knocking the item over. [Kevin Mueller]

When the night is at its darkest, just remember that Milwaukee has a polka escalator
Walk through the 6th Street entrance of the downtown Wisconsin Center (née Midwest Express Center, Midwest Airlines Center, Frontier Airlines Center, and Delta Center), hang a left, hang another left, and you’ll come across an escalator leading to the Hilton Milwaukee City Center skywalk. This is the polka escalator. You can tell because, at the top and bottom of the escalator, there’s a small black plaque with a button, and the words “PUSH TO PLAY POLKA!” Heed the plaque’s instructions and you’ll never guess what happens next. [Matt Wild]

Finding Milwaukee’s number one No. 1 Chinese Restaurant
Anyone who has driven enough in greater Milwaukee has likely happened upon a Chinese restaurant that boldly claims to be number one (or “No. 1”). At one point, Milwaukee and its neighboring suburbs had eight restaurants with “No. 1” in their name. Currently, the pool features seven such places, including a New No. 1 Chinese Restaurant, a Super No. 1 Chinese Restaurant, and five businesses called No. 1 Chinese Restaurant. Some are part of a franchise and some are unaffiliated. All claim to be No. 1, but only one actually is. [Tyler Maas]

The Gyros Stand sign is a daily, special reminder of Milwaukee’s charm
More than its quirkiness, though, The Gyros Stand’s promotional tactics stand out because they’re perplexing. Each day, an employee is tasked with putting in the work to replace a message on both sides of a sign. Yet the message on that sign is usually vague, confusing, rarely accompanied by a price, and not really all that directly beneficial to business. Passersby are left to wonder if the Greek Burger is a new menu item. Is it on sale? If so, how much does it cost? Is it even good? None of that seems to be all that important to The Gyros Stand. At its core, the sign simply seems to be a daily tool to let Bay View know they’re still there, they still have food, and they will make that food for you at a cost you weren’t aware of until you walked inside the restaurant. [Tyler Maas]

Restaurateur’s Don Majkowski holiday results in Don Majkowski visit, drinking with Don Majkowski in Sheboygan
“We just had some beers and talked about what was going on in all their lives,” Bodow says. “Obviously, everyone is long retired, but what are they doing now? I heard all about Marco Rivera’s new business selling plastics.” [Tyler Maas]

I saw Corey Feldman play the show of his life, knock his tooth out, and then look for his tooth
But let’s not bury the lede: At last night’s show, Corey Feldman accidentally smashed himself in the mouth with a microphone and totally lost a tooth. And then he spent a good chunk of time looking for said tooth. The GG Allin-style #toothgate occurred roughly 30 minutes into the show, somewhere in the midst of a scorching take on the Dream A Little Dream track “Something In Your Eyes” (co-written by “Rock On” cover singer Michael Damian). I live-streamed the whole show, spending much data in the process. (Hey Mikey, gotta go to the bathroom?) Here’s the moment in question. [Matt Wild]

Review: Taped Music at JoJo’s Martini Lounge (Summerfest)
With no beer or food stands open, I walked aimlessly in the few remaining minutes before Taped Music was to start. I happened upon Dori Zori from 88Nine, who asked who I was here to review so early in the day. Upon telling her my plan (for the fourth year running) she said something along the lines of “Oh, right. You do that.” Yep, that’s me! Not growing as a person or improving in any way over time. Wet and wondering why I was even there, I wanted to go back home, but I now heard music coming from the Martini Lounge, so I figured I may as well stay and write about it. I sat down alone. [Tyler Maas]

We used UberEats to get McDonald’s delivered to weird and hard-to-find places
The Chase Avenue Wendy’s location isn’t exactly weird or hard-to-find, but we wanted to see if UberEats would dare breech the border of a far superior fast food franchise to make a few bucks. Even entering “Wendy’s” into the location field didn’t deter McDonald’s or the delivery app from possibly inciting a burger beef. We eased the driver’s mission by adding the make and model of our vehicle in the Wendy’s lot, and within 15 minutes, the driver (Erik) parked beside our car and handed off the goods. [Milwaukee Record Staff]

The story behind Kaszube’s Park: Milwaukee’s smallest, strangest piece of public land
At just 0.15 acres (or 610 square meters), Kaszube’s Park is Milwaukee’s smallest piece of public land. It can also be considered to be among its weirdest. Nestled tightly between a road salt storage silo and a shipping depot that’s reminiscent of The Wire‘s second season, and set across from one of the five sets of rail road tracks that weave through the apocalyptic industrial wasteland, the odd and almost impossible to find park is the last remnant of a once-thriving fishing village. Driving past the desolation on Jones Island—which is actually a peninsula at this point—today, its hard to imagine the area surrounding Kaszube’s Park was once home to as many as 2,000 people, and that the settlement’s last remaining resident was forced out less than 75 years ago. [Tyler Maas]

A couple had sex in the State Fair bleachers, and FOX6 talked to a mom and son unwittingly sitting in the same bleachers a few days later
And yet…and yet…that air again. That heat. Would it really be so strange—so wrong—to surrender to such base animal instincts here, in this modern day Gomorrah of lumberjack contests and bacon-wrapped shrimp tempura on-a-stick? No. No it wouldn’t. Let’s do this, the crowds mouthed to themselves between bites of day-old cream puffs. Let’s have it out. Somewhere in the distance—maybe near the poultry barn, maybe near the big pavilion where you can buy new shingles for your garage for some reason—OnMilwaukee quietly updated its list of “100 things to do at the State Fair”… [Matt Wild]

I saw a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend for $20 at the Racine Zoo
I am trying to think of a better way I have recently spent $20, but nothing comes to mind. I didn’t turn around a lot to see if other people were getting into the concert, but I was dancing in my seat; being that I was in the front row, it felt like maybe I was hanging out in Booker T.’s backyard. Booker T. did seem to look out at the crowd to see people’s reactions, though, with that same smile and charm that you can see him wearing in footage from the 1960s. His face pretty much is saying, “I’m bringing that funky soul blues groove. Forever.” [Caleb Westphal]

Let’s ask the Uecker 8-Ball about the changing face of Milwaukee’s East Side
But instead of asking the Uecker 8-Ball typical questions like “Will the Brewers have a winning season?” or “What’s the deal with the Audrey scenes in the new Twin Peaks? She’s in a coma, right?” we decided to ask it about a hot Milwaukee topic: the ever-changing face of the city’s East Side, and the ongoing changes in the North Avenue bar district in particular. Fun! [Matt Wild]

Hear the “Sounds Of Bay View” with this late ’50s record
Another longstanding neighborhood staple is Bay View High School. While the school, too, has experienced its fair share of changes through the years, it has stood prominently since 1925. Recently, a reader stumbled upon a record called Sounds Of Bay View at a yard sale and was kind enough to share it with us. Based on the names of the faculty and students mentioned, the red LP was likely recorded in the late 1950s, during one of Dr. Bernhard Korn’s final school years as principal. [Tyler Maas]

We ate Taco John’s with Har Mar Superstar
“I love this. This is one of the best interviews ever because you brought me Taco John’s and all I had to do was talk about Taco John’s.” [Tyler Maas]

If you go to WWE Smackdown at the Bradley Center, don’t flip off the talent: A cautionary tale
I’d had it. This predetermined, choreographed result was a catastrophic outrage! It was paramount that I make my displeasure known, so as Goldberg celebrated on the turnbuckle facing our direction, new title belt in hand, I did what any red-blooded American wrestling fan who went to college during the Attitude Era would do: I flipped him off. I flipped him off so hard. With both fingers. I just knew I’d bum him out if he saw me. (There is zero chance he saw me.) [DJ Hostettler]

The 9 inexplicable Gatorade displays at Cudahy’s Pick ‘n Save, ranked
Everyone knows that Cudahy has a lot of streets named after meatpackers. Oh, you didn’t know that? Well, yeah, there are a lot. Anyway, did you also know that the Pick ‘n Save in Cudahy has a lot of Gatorade? Yeah! A lot. We’re regular visitors to the Packard Avenue grocer, and we’ve noticed that in recent months, this particular store always seems to have an unusual amount of Gatorade on display. Why? That’s not our responsibility to figure out. [Josh Hoppert]

I spent the night at Milwaukee’s haunted cigar bar and things got emotional
The first thing I thought of when I held my daughter for the first time was death. It had been a harrowing delivery, sure—there was an hour or so when I was convinced I would be leaving the hospital alone—but it wasn’t that. It was the sight of new life that made me think of death. New life that would grow old itself, new life that would leave everything dead in its wake. I started crunching the numbers: When my daughter turned 30 my parents would be in their 90s, dead or dying. When my daughter turned 50 my wife and I would be in our 90s, dead or dying. She, too, would eventually be dead or dying. Her children, her children’s children, on and on. Unrelenting. Impossible to escape.

I’m still pacing. I’m never falling asleep. I should have brought sleeping pills. Why am I thinking about any of this? Where are the goddamn ghosts? [Matt Wild]

Watch Andrew W.K. go shopping at American Science & Surplus
Yes, now you, too, can watch Andrew W.K. explore the magical aisles of AS&S, picking up everything from oversized rubber “man hands” and miniature “party huts” to lemon-scented candle birds and miniature teddy bears. How about some firecrackers? How about a flask? How about a paint-it-yourself dog head that may or may not be a spaniel? The man knows how to assemble a party pack. All in a Princess Cruises tote bag, no less. [Milwaukee Record Staff]

Confessions of Non-Binary Fieri, Yokohama’s fourth-place karaoke team
Karaoke finals reminded me of childhood dance recitals, but with a lot less hairspray. Thank God. We had custom-made, hand-sewed costumes. We had perfectly planned choreography. We practiced not once, but TWICE to ensure our third-place win. We wanted that fucking $50 gift card. I don’t even like ramen! Most of all, we wanted to know our efforts meant something. We wanted to know we meant something. [Lauren Keene]

We tried to eat a Wendy’s Go Wrap at every Milwaukee Wendy’s during ‘The Wendy’s Big Show’
At 2:01 p.m., we tackle the first $2.01 wrap of the day. It’s open at both ends, which is unusual, but it hardly matters as it exists for all of about 10 seconds. Should we just order 11 right away at this first stop and call it a day? On-air, Ramie declares that there will be quite a bit of Badger Football coverage to go along with Packer coverage today. We’re still a little sore about Bucky’s recent loss so we’d rather not hear a bunch of Badger talk, but whatever. Wraps. [Josh Hoppert]

2018

Milwaukee women DJs play out, speak up, and take over
“People think I’m going to come in with my laptop and play something fluffy or funny, like Journey or something,” Norton says. “They assume that, just because I’m a girl, I don’t know how to use needles and a headphone.” [Catherine Jozwik]

My cheesy valentine: A romantic, $150-per-couple dinner at Mars Cheese Castle
The kitchen ran out of food in the middle of serving our table, so I sat there for a while looking hungry as everyone else at the table ate. There was a sense that the entire restaurant staff was straining to level-up for this formal dining experience, accustomed as they were to casually spilling burgers and fries into plastic baskets and calling it a day. My husband made use of the gap by handing me a Valentine’s card with the note, “Thank you for curating our beautiful life.” This struck me as sarcasm, frankly. [Zach Brooke]

Milwaukee neighborhood posters, ranked
From 1983 to 1990, Milwaukee Department of City Development had a local graphic designer named Jan Kotowicz design a neighborhood poster for a variety of different Milwaukee neighborhoods. With funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant Program, the illustrator joined forces with local historian John Gurda to create a total of 27 dazzling posters with neighborhood history on the poster’s reverse side. Each address in a specific neighborhood was mailed that region’s poster free of charge as part of what Gurda called a “city-building initiative.” [Tyler Maas]

Bowling In Place #2: Holler House
We walked into the first floor bar at Holler House around 2 p.m. and received a warm reception from all 25-ish people filling the cozy space. There were two TVs above the bar, with the Brewers game on one and the Bucks game on the other. Four generations of Milwaukeeans in the room nearly spilled their chicken and scalloped potatoes after Giannis’ Game 4-winning tip-in. And, bras. There are hundreds of signed bras hanging all around the bar, left lovingly by past visitors. [Josh Hoppert]

We went to the Oak Creek IKEA opening at 5 a.m.: A minute-by-minute report
6:23 a.m. – Everyone in line has run out of stuff to talk about, so we all start showing each other pictures of babies we know. Half the crowd sits on the ground. More people in IKEA dress shirts show up. TMJ4’s Shaun Gallagher casually twirls his microphone like a cool drummer would as Naughty By Nature’s “O.P.P.” plays over the speakers. We’ve been here about 90 minutes and we realize that there are still twice as many people in front of us in line as there are behind us in line. [Josh Hoppert]

Our kingdom for the story behind this sad/weird squirrel grave we found in Lake Park
The sign—which, yes, was nailed to the log—read: “Directly beneath this log is a squirrel. He didn’t have a name, but he was alone [in] this ravine and I didn’t want to see flies and bugs eat his fucking corpse. R.I.P.” [Matt Wild]

Shot For Shot With Chefs: Watch us have 17 shots and a pleasant discussion with Goodkind’s Paul Zerkel

The catnap coziness of all the cats at the new Sip & Purr cat cafe, ranked
We arrived a bit early to sign our waivers, and grabbed a couple glasses of rose and a cheese board with seasonal fruit, candied nuts and bread. The young men behind the cafe bar were attentive, friendly, and more than ready to answer our rapid fire questions (Yes, they love cats! Yes, they’ve been busy! Yes, 11 cats have been adopted so far! Yes, they’ll take our picture by the sign that says “Eat. Drink. Pet Cats”!) [Erin Frank]

We asked Randy from ‘Trailer Park Boys’ to eat, evaluate Vanguard’s “Durty Burger”
“I’ve never had a burger like this, but I like it because it’s spicy and moist. I love the pickles, lettuce, onion, sauce. It’s perfect. It’s the perfect burger in my mind. I approve. That’s a Randy-approved burger right there. If it’s Randy-approved, it’s gotta be good.” [Tyler Maas]

New East Side poke place is literally a stone’s throw from other East Side poke place. Let’s demonstrate

Review: Nothing (formerly known as “Taped Music” and “Pre-Recorded Music”) at JoJo’s Martini Lounge
How pointless has it all become? As you’ll notice in the image above, I found out that Summerfest doesn’t even bother to list Pre-Recorded or Taped Music on its daily lineups anymore. Once symbolically reviewing an event that added nothing to the Big Gig, I was now actually reviewing something that didn’t exist. Anyway, here’s what I heard! [Matt Wild]

Honor, Service, Love: Remembering the life and heroics of Milwaukee’s Lance Sijan
“In this time where individual pursuit is attempting to replace the values of family, commitment, service, integrity, and honor, this story must be told,” Sijan Rozina says. “He became a beacon of light to people as they connected with him in his life, and 50 years later, we’re still talking about him.” [Tyler Maas]

We went to Kwik Star, the bizarro version of Kwik Trip that only exists in Iowa
No, this successful hometown gas station isn’t the first company to operate under two separate identities. Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. have existed in regionally-specific harmony for decades now, just as the Hellmann’s and Best Foods mayonnaise brands have long before that. But was a name the only difference between Kwik Trip and Kwik Star? In an effort to answer this question that consumed us, we gassed up at a Kwik Trip and drove almost 200 miles to the closest Kwik Star in the Iowa border town of Dubuque to find out for ourselves. [Tyler Maas]

No dull moments: Exploring the two sides of the Horicon Marsh
It’s easy to get sentimental about the Marsh. I grew up in Mayville, population 5,000-ish, and the Marsh was almost literally in my backyard. Thinking about it now brings back a rush of memories: fishing at my grandfather’s hunting cabin with buckets full of bullheads, building ridiculously elaborate forts with my friends, sitting on my father’s lap and steering the car as he took our family for a drive. Growing up, the Marsh was a simple fact of life, a place where generations of my family lived and played. It’s still there today, as vast and immovable as ever. [Matt Wild]

The kids are alright: A look inside the curious practice of goat yoga
Sure, you have to be welcoming to the wildness around you, but that’s what you signed up for. The goats will gnaw at your mat and nibble on your sandals alongside it. They’ll step on your toes—they may even bound onto your back. You’ll giggle initially as the first one relieves itself inches from your face, but, strangely, you get used to it. You may even wish it would have been you who went home with the day’s prize—even if it’s the byproduct of a pile of pungent pellets deposited squarely on the center of your mat. [Rachel Seis]

We tried and ranked all the State Fair’s Milk House flavors…on the bleachers where those people had sex last year
Whether mixed with another flavor or consumed all on its own, we thoroughly enjoyed the Milk House’s take on chocolate milk. We didn’t even mind that we were drinking it during a mule show while sitting on the very same spot where two people boned in public a year ago. [Tyler Maas]

We visited the last Blockbuster video store in America
On one display stand near the cash register there were Red Vines and Reese’s Pieces and all that stuff, just as we remembered. On the next stand there were Clearance Sale DVDs available for purchase, also as we remembered. Then, of course, there was aisle after aisle of classic flicks available for rent. Titles like The ‘Burbs and Cabin Boy and Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas brought us right back to 1999. Ah, nostalgia. This felt juuuust right. [Josh Hoppert]

Just a man and his squirrel: The story of “Peapod”

We spent the day playing vintage video games at every vintage video arcade in Milwaukee
For those of us who came of age around that magical 1983 calendar year, the arcade resurgence has provided something for everyone, all wrapped in a fuzzy warm glow of cathode-ray nostalgia. Certainly someday this craze will fade again, consoles will fall back into disrepair, and a sick Sinistar cab will be as rare as a magical white buffalo. But until then, we’ll be hoarding quarters and tokens the way we did back when we accepted our paper route money in coins, visions of light cycles and ghosts dancing in our heads. [DJ Hostettler]

Battle of the ‘Boygans: Sheboygan, Wisconsin vs. Cheboygan, Michigan
We recently travelled by Lake Express to Cheboygan, and by old Toyota Camry to Sheboygan, to record data and ultimately determine, once and for all, who’s the better ‘Boygan. The winner received a Milwaukee Record T-shirt, and the loser had to change its name to Alewife. All decisions here are final, so don’t go trying to change our minds with Duke’s Dogs or Schwarz Fish Company smoked salmon. No, wait—absolutely do that. [Josh Hoppert]

25 not-that-interesting facts about Milwaukee
8.
“Uecker seats” is an anagram for “rescue steak.” [Josh Hoppert]

We buried a free George Webb burger in a time capsule in the woods and will unearth it one year from now
We felt good about our impromptu time capsule. It had a picture of Uecker on the top and some Milwaukee Record stickers on the outside. We dated it. We sealed the burger in a ziplock bag. We double-bagged the entire box. We wrapped the thing in packing tape. We had failed to track down a shovel, so we dug a hole in the ground using the ice scraper from our car. We buried our free George Webb burger in a time capsule in the woods. [Matt Wild]

The streetcar’s “Grand Hop-ening”: A minute-by-minute report
11:19 a.m. –
Apparently on break from harassing people at Planned Parenthood, a random dude accosts us with some hilarious anti-streetcar literature. We especially like the Rocky Horror-esque call-and-response sheet he’s prepared for Mayor Tom Barrett’s speech. “The streetcar will attract more millennials to the city. BOO!” [Matt Wild]

Deeper Than Rap: The beat goes on for Adebisi Agoro after his son’s passing
“We have our time. I was hurt, crying, in a rage, but I had to channel it,” Agoro says. “My son was all beauty. He was great. I can say with all my heart that I had the best child. I love him so much.” [Tyler Maas]

Requiem for a reluctant deer hunter
Oh god. There it is, dead, no more than 30 yards in front of me. What follows is a confusing, heady cocktail of emotions that blurs my vision and leaves my head swimming. Disbelief. Excitement. Confusion. Excitement again. Regret. Regret. So much regret. For the briefest moment, a harebrained scheme presents itself: When my brother inevitably calls wondering about the shot, I’ll tell him I missed. I’ll leave the deer where it is. Maybe I’ll cover it up with some branches. Maybe I’ll cover it up with some snow. I didn’t do this. It didn’t die. This didn’t happen. [Matt Wild]

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