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Vol VII • Issue 7 • August 2008

inside vital

August 2008 | vol. 7 issue 7 |


Random exposure The winners of VITAL’s 3rd annual photography contest >> I ntroduced by B ridget B rave




16 stages Turn, Turn, Turn >> R uss B ickerstaff

heartbeat city New life pulses in the Menomonee Valley >> B y A my Elliot t + P hotos by Erin L andry

18 REel milwaukee Breaking Dolly Lemke >> H owie G oldklang 19 cinema The Wackness >> R uss B ickerstaff

interview 10

20 x 20 Pecha Kucha returns to Milwaukee >> By A.L. Herzog + Photos by Dane Haman

27 music reviews Beck, Cordero, The Scenic, The Melvins, The Faint 29 record releases The Faint, Conor Oberst, Jonas Brothers, David Byrne, The Verve and many more


VITAL congratulates our 2008 Best of Show winner, Nikki McGuinnis of

4 the editor’s desk I want to believe >> J on A nne Willow

Milwaukee, for “Keep Refrigerated”

23 the funny page

ONLINE @ VITALSOURCEMAG.Com All of VITAL, every month, plus...

Reviews, feature stories, local events, RSS feeds, interactive widgets, weather, news headlines and so much more. Make VITAL your homepage!

PLUS >> Fascinating blogs! REEL Milwaukee: the blog >> Howie Goldklang takes on film

Dem Bones >> All things art from Stella Cretek

Gray Matter and The Free Speech Zone >> Politics as unusual with Ted Bobrow and Michelle Tucker

Please Send Help >> Matt Wild’s nightlife/publicity stunt/weekend music reports

Between Stages >> Russ Bickerstaff between scenes in the performing arts

Love Letters >> Wanderings and wonderings from Amy Elliott

REMEMBER! Subscribe to eNews for important updates, monthly party invites and fabulous prizes more at &

VITAL LIVING 20 eat this Wrap and roll >> C atherine M c G arry M iller 22 Slightly crunch parent Good for baby, good for the Earth >> L ucky Tomaszek 24 Vital’s Picks Where VITAL will be in August >> Erin L ee P etersen 30 Subversions Sing out, Milwaukee! >> M at t Wild 31 Puzzles Plus July crossword answers

Vital Source | 3

Vital source The editor’s desk

>>by jon anne willow

I want to believe A couple of weekends ago I painted my back landing. When I bought my house in early 2001 almost every wall was a flat white – supposedly to attract buyers – and I’ve been meaning to remedy this ever since. But time does have a way of slipping into the future and over the ensuing years my interior has devolved from boring to shabby through the hard wear only a young family can deliver. I was finally motivated to start with the hall by the relatively narrow scope of the project, seven years of little handprints that would no longer wash off and the unexpected acquisition of a cute storage cabinet rescued from my neighbors’ curb. In a fit of largesse, I also bought curtains, rugs and hanging shelves. Forty labor hours and a hundred bucks later I had the sweetest little entryway you can imagine – charming, really, in robin’s egg blue against dark wood, white and brushed stainless accessories showing off my vintage coffee pot collection to perfection. Most people enter my home through the back door, so it’s a great first impression. But now when you walk through to the kitchen, its flaws are immediately evident. Ugly, faded wallpaper peels from more than one corner, the cabinet bases are chipped, the ceiling fan is grotesque and the top of the fridge doubles as cereal box storage. The table and chairs are all wrong and there’s nowhere to put everything away. Frankly, the whole thing is a disaster and it’s making me crazy. Meanwhile, the kitchen continues to be the center of our home, piles of papers and crowded counters be damned. The peeling paper, dust in the corners and imperfect linoleum don’t seem to deter everyone from gathering there, leaving the typically tidy (and much more attractive) living room to gather dust. I’ve tried pointing out the kitchen’s flaws, but no one else seems concerned, suggesting that some well-chosen color would fix it right up. I’m less optimistic: it’s not as simple as throwing down a coat of paint when you have the organizational issues innate to an 83-year-old kitchen – a tiny, counter-less mess with (somehow) three doorways and two windows, plus ancient, energy-sucking appliances. To make any true functional improvements would cost at least a thousand bucks. And that wouldn’t even get me a dishwasher. I feel stuck. I recently opened a home equity line of credit to have my roof fixed, and there’s still plenty left to borrow on, but I’m worried about the payments. I’m not as over-extended as some people, but my apple cart could certainly tip over with a stroke or two of severely bad luck. In other

words, I’m just like you, your neighbor and just about everyone else: I’m anxious about what’s still to come and have no idea how bad it’s really going to get. For now, at least, Milwaukee doesn’t have it as bad as many other cities. There’s little comfort there, I know, but at least the current 4.6% unemployment rate has been fairly consistent since 2001, and is lower than its five-year peak of 5.9% in 2003. And while housing foreclosures are up by about 40% over last year in Milwaukee County, Dane County is facing a 69% increase, which even blows away the national average of 53%. It’s not very shiny as far as silver linings go, but it’s what we’ve got. To add to our trepidation, skyrocketing food and fuel prices are this season’s newest wild cards, with banks and speculators keeping the price of energy futures even higher than predictable factors would warrant. And while this might be more detail than you typically carry around in your head, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. Recession or no recession, it’s nervous times. Even those lucky enough to have decent credit and a steady income are thinking twice before ponying up for stainless steel refrigerators. I’m trying to think ahead: if it comes down to a choice at some point between heat and a sweet kitchen, I’m banking my equity against a future gas bill. In the meantime I think I really will clean my kitchen well and paint it a nice, soft yellow as I’ve been threatening to do for years. Maybe I’ll get my brother-in-law to build me a little white cupboard with a glass door to go above my stove and store my cereal, put a cloth on the table and be happy with what I’ve got. I’ll pray I don’t have to borrow against my house to pay the gas company and that this collective crisis spurs a larger awakening that ultimately leads to some of the really smart, innovative thinking that made the western world a powerhouse in the first place. I want to believe the Answer is out there, gathering dust at the Patent Office, waiting to revolutionize modern civilization. I also want to believe in ghosts, karma and guardian angels. No one can prove that the latter three don’t exist, so I’ll file “finding the Answer” with spirits and the Golden Rule. Maybe in a recipe card box in my yellow kitchen. VS

The Statue of Liberty Mehrdad J. Dalamie

Mount Rushmore Russ Bickerstaff

The Space Needle J. Swan

Field of Dreams Jon Anne Willow

The Corn Palace Lucky Tomaszek

Hell, Michigan Amy C. Elliott

The Bronze Fonz Matt Wild

The Arch Bridget Brave

House on the Rock Catherine McGarry Miller

The Mystery Spot Ryan Findley

Route 66 Zach Bartel

Wall Drug Pete Hammill

Niagara Falls Dwellephant

4 | editor ’s Desk | Vital Source | news+views

The Cabazon Dinosaurs Lynn Allen, Troy Butero, Howie Goldklang, Jason Groschopf, Dane Haman, A.L. Herzog, DJ Hostettler, Erin Landry, David Rees, David Schrubbe, Erin Wolf Carhenge Amber Herzog, Erin Petersen, Distribution Each month, 20,000 copies of VITAL Source are available free at over 600 metro locations. Additional copies $2 each. Send request, with check or money order made to VITAL Source, at the address below. Call to ensure availability of requested materials, or email inquiries to:

Most material herein belongs to Vital Publications, LLC, and cannot be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Reprint and copyright inquiries must be made in writing. Subscriptions are available for $27 per year. Send check or money order, attn: Subscriptions, to address below. VITAL Source Magazine 133 W. Pittsburgh Ave., Ste. 409 Milwaukee, WI 53204 Phone: 414.372.5351 Fax: 414.372.5356 On the Web

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Random Exposure o quote Ansel Adams, infinitely more knowledgeable about photography as art form than I: “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good T photographs.” For the third annual Random Exposure photography contest, VITAL’s judges honored that exact notion, finding in each of our winners something striking, something amazing. Photographs capture a certain moment in time, and thereby capture the emotion behind that moment. Joy, despair, victory,

heartbreak – a well-timed photograph can place the viewer inside the moment, freezing it forever in time. Whatever that image might make you feel, the fact that it makes you feel something is a testament to its power. That power is what distinguishes a picture from a great picture. Each of the selected winners brought one of those amazing moments to light. Children frolic and play; we see beauty, isolation, adoration. Amateur photographer next to professional, the images on the following pages were created with similar purpose: to record an instant in time that forces a response. Black and white and color photographs were judged in each category: action, abstract, landscape/still life, portrait and motorcycles, with a separate winner for amateur and professional in each. We’d like to extend our eternal gratitude to the distinguished panel of judges who carefully evaluated nearly 300 entries: Tim Abler, Chair of the undergraduate department of art at Cardinal Stritch University; Scott Krahn, a veteran Creative Director at BVK; and highly accomplished commercial photographer Scott Ritenour. Many thanks also to Cori Coffman, Executive Director of the Eisner American Museum of Advertising and Design for doing so much to ensure that both the judging and the upcoming celebration maintain the highest possible standards and for providing oneyear Eisner memberships to all of our winners. To experience and respond to these photographic moments firsthand, please join VITAL at the Eisner on Thursday, August 14 for Random Exposure: The Show. The winners, jury selections, and VITAL’s staff picks will be on display, and you’ll have an opportunity to vote for your favorite as well as win prizes. Complete details are available at, on MySpace or on Facebook. >>Bridget Brave BEST OF SHOW Best Portrait – Amateur Nikki McGuinnis, “Keep Refrigerated” Nikki McGuinnis began by watching. Then she took to documenting what she saw – or imagined. She has studied shape, symmetry and balance through drawing, painting and most keenly through photography and image manipulation. She is most moved by saturation and intimacy and works to recognize opportunities to capture images that offer the brightness of life with the promise of pain – a bruised beauty.

Best Action – Amateur Nikki McGuinnis – “Lennox”

6 random exposure | Vital Source | covered

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Best Action – Professional Nathaniel Davauer – “The Main Event” Born and raised in the countryside of southern Wisconsin, Nathaniel Davauer spent his formative years working on the family farm. He left the cows behind to earn an art degree at UW Madison in the 90s. His love for photography developed while living and working in China. He photographs people, weddings, sports and kids but his passion still lies in fleeting, mysterious moments captured while traveling. He lives with his wife in Milwaukee where he works as a freelance photographer.

Best Abstract – Amateur Nicole Bennett – “Your Body is a Battleground”

Best Abstract – Professional Hannah Scott – “All Dogs go to Heaven” Photography is Hannah’s drug of choice. She has been ‘using’ ever since she could pick up a camera. Originally she wanted a camera solely because the different colors in SLR lenses were appealing to her. Now, a little more mature and not as amused by different colors or shiny objects, she uses her camera as a tool to show others life from her perspective. She photographs what fascinates her and is interested in the viewer’s reaction to the picture, not the explanation.

Nicole Bennett is 19 and just beginning. She lives with her bike-boy loverman, takes everyone’s photo, writes zines and loves dresses. She wants her work to be something bigger than a simple photograph; she wants to make living her art.

covered | Vital Source | random exposure | 7

Best Motorcycle Photo Tasha Kertscher – “Michaelcycle” Tasha is an art therapy student at Mt. Mary College and will finally graduate this December. She lives in Riverwest with her fiancé and their three kitties. Tasha enjoys coffee, writing and photo-taking. She is an avid collector of all things owls. She hopes that someday she will get a real job and buy a fancy camera.

Best Portrait – Professional Tom Julio, “she EXIST(s)” Tom Julio has been a nuclear physics teacher, filmmaker, radio personality and corporate computer hacker. Over the past year, “macro-femininity” has been a core focus of his photographic exploration – capturing real women and emotions, the duality of light and shadow, soft and hard, strength and vulnerability. After a year on the road capturing Americana, with stays in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Tom now resides in Milwaukee, a place he truly loves to call home.

Best Still Life/Landscape – Amateur Marie Angela Günther, “Sweet Tooth” Marie is fond of writing whimsical love letters via pen, photographs and her violin. When it comes to photography, she has been teaching herself over the last few years, and tends to shoot from the heart, not from the book.

8 | random exposure | Vital Source | covered

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Best Still Life/Landscape – Professional Julia L. Elsner, “Keep Out!” Julia L. Elsner is a local Milwaukee artist, photographer, and student. This August, Julia will start her second year at MIAD toward earning her BFA in Photography. Julia credits MIAD Professor Larry Chatman with pushing and encouraging her to stay true to herself through her photography. This encouragement led to a series of strong, thought-provoking photographs, including this piece.

covered | Vital Source | ran dom expo sure | 9

20 20 x

Pecha Kucha is chit chat for a purpose

pecha kucha (n) /puh-CHAH-kuh-chah/ Japanese origin. 1. the art of conversation; 2. noisy chatter; 3. coming August 26 to Milwaukee.

>>By A.L. Herzog + Photos by Dane Haman


magine if, before facing the auditorium on your big presentation day, you could – without inhibition or shutting your office door – swig from that desk-drawer bourbon flask? Exchange auditorium for watering hole, bourbon swig for beer break and big presentation for a brief one, and what’s left is even better: Pecha Kucha Night (PKN), an idea devised by two Tokyobased European architects in 2003 that gives the projector + presenter + audience equation a novel twist. Though liquid courage is encouraged, PKN is not about the booze; it’s an opportunity to meet, show ideas to the public, and network — with rules. In other words, “productive socializing,” says Jon Mueller, who teams up with 800-CEO-READ (8cr) colleague Kate Mytty to manage Milwaukee’s only official Pecha Kucha franchise.

MEET A bulk bookseller 25 years in the business and a division of local independent shop Harr y W. Schwar tz, 8cr “works directly with business authors to help them customize books, organize events, and write about the current and best ideas in business thought.” Clearly much more than merchant, they also print reviews and essays in their quarterly magazine and feature manifestos for change from diverse, yet optimistic, perspectives on their culturally-conscious ChangeThis website.   “8cr follows business thought and how it changes people’s lives, and Pecha Kucha follows people’s ideas in action,” says Mueller. “There is really a fine line between the two.” Logically, 8cr and have PKN aligned, and Milwaukee is now among a worldwide network of 129 (and growing) participating cities. “The amount of work that’s involved would turn many people away from organizing it,” says Mueller, “but we think it’s an important thing to do and we have a lot of fun with it.”

SHOW Trademarked and copyrighted by inventive founding architectural firm Klein Dytham, the Pecha Kucha format requires that all slideshows displayed are a standard “20x20” — 20 slides, programmed to automatically advance after 20 seconds on screen — a style that keeps both the speaker and the audience alert and captivated. Synchronizing flow to a fixed timetable is a challenge that is comfortably limiting. “The simplicity is what makes it really effective,” says Mueller.   Do the math and that’s 6 minutes and 40 seconds a pop in PowerPoint heaven. But this brevity “can still become an eternity in the wrong hands,” explains Mueller. “Someone basically giving a six-minute commercial, using nothing but charts and graphs, or other typical business type mumblings, doesn’t do much good in any setting,” Brady Street’s stylish Hi Hat Garage included.

10 | interview | Vital Source | vital culture

“I immediately thought the Garage would be perfect,” says Mueller of the space where PKN #1 was held in June of this year. The space offers A/V equipment, a capacity for 160, and an ambiance that most hotel conference rooms lack. The bar’s co-owner, Scott Johnson, whom Mueller has known personally for many years, was keen on the Pecha Kucha concept and was “excited to get involved.”

NETWORK To raise awareness for the not-for-profit organization and establish a forum that unites innovative Milwaukee minds are two humble goals Mueller and 8cr are aiming to achieve. At PKN #2, attendees can expect “to hear new things, to meet new people, and to learn about some surprising things going on in our community.” Though he remains hesitant to reveal the specifics, he does share a taste of the upcoming event’s provocative scheduled topics: “how an obscure children’s cartoon can benefit us today; the effect of bad music; the adventures of first time boating; the idea of home, and others.”   If the list sounds random, it is. There is no presenter selection process and anyone can register online with confidence. “I’m keeping it open as possible. I don’t really want to turn people away,” says Mueller. “If someone is passionate about something, there are usually great reasons why, reasons that other people can be inspired by.” The ten inspirers scheduled for PKN #2 include Broadminded sketch comic Megan McGee, MIAD Director of Institutional Galleries Mark Lawson and Ministry Health Care CIO Will Weider. Ask Mueller what has changed between Milwaukee PKN’s maiden voyage and their second go, and you might receive an evasive reply. “We’ve got a couple ideas in mind,” he says. “We want to change what we can while still keeping in line with the Pecha Kucha regulations.”   If its sold-out precedent is any indication, what you can predict are head scratches and smiles. Anticipate doing both in the company of fast, wellconnected new friends. VS Pecha Kucha Volume #2 will be hosted by Hi Hat Garage on Tuesday, August 26 at 8 pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Visit for related links and more information.

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Jon Mueller, co-manager of Pecha Kucha in Milwaukee.

vital culture | Vital Source | inter view | 11

Heartbeat city New life pulses in the Menomonee Valley >>By Amy Elliott + photos by Erin Landry “If you were standing in this spot 150 years ago, you might have been run over by a train.”   On a cul-de-sac on the Hank Aaron State Trail – fish leaping in the Menomonee River below, the breeze carrying the scent of summer wildflowers – this interpretive sign is hard to swallow. Before its industrialization, the Menomonee Valley was a natural wild rice marsh, an almost inconceivable place to build industry.   “It was like building on oatmeal,” says Corey Zetts, Project Director for the Menomonee Valley Partners. The land was so swampy that the first rail tracks Byron Kilbourn laid sank into the marsh overnight.   But engineering and ingenuity persevered, and Kilbourn’s Milwaukee & Waukesha Railroad spent years filling the valley with earth and timber to firm up the ground. By the Civil War, the Milwaukee Road had turned the city into an agricultural and industrial powerhouse. In 1895, the Falk Corporation was established in the Valley after Herman Falk’s failing family brewery, built in the Valley in 1856, burned down.   Together, Falk, the Milwaukee Road and the dozens of other breweries, stockyards, mills, packing plants and factories in the Menomonee Valley would become Milwaukee’s heart center for almost a hundred years, supplying thousands of jobs to a growing metropolis and bringing citizens from all sides of the city together in labor. But by the time sprawl and technology began to suck the wind out of the Valley’s sails after WWII, what was once a thriving channel of wilderness and wildlife was left polluted, smelly and blighted.   There are stories in the Valley that exist beyond the industry triumphant/industry defeated dialectic. Natural history, of course, goes so far back as to render human history irrelevant. In Miller Park’s lot is a wall of 400 million-yearold rock – a Silurian reef, actually, dating from before the time the city was above water. And a huge part of the Valley’s story is a narrative largely omitted from our national history: the site of Miller Park was a gathering place for native tribes, who would meet during the rice harvest. At the top of that hill, the limbs of a tree are bent to point the way to the marsh. The word “Menomonee” means wild rice; when Potawatomi Bingo Casino, in 1991, chose the Menomonee Valley as the site of their development, they were choosing to return to the ancestral homeland.   “The history is incredible,” says Melissa Cook, manager of the Hank Aaron State Trail, which cuts through the Valley like a vein. Her mother’s

12 | heartbeat city | Vital Source | featured

family lived on 39th and Michigan in Merrill Park; her relatives worked for Falk and the Milwaukee Road. The neighborhoods surrounding the Valley were built by investors in the railroad shops; today, they are some of the most diverse and densely populated districts in the state.   The Menomonee Valley – “borrowed” from its native residents and the natural order – provided the backbone for Milwaukee’s livelihood. Now, after more than 20 years of vision, planning and development, some of what was borrowed is being returned. What’s really amazing? It’s not at the expense of economic health or industry. In fact, the Valley’s health has been improving steadily for years. Radical regrowth Today’s Menomonee Valley is a testament to the power of synergy, synthesis and purposeful harmony. Melissa likes to tell the story about the time she saw a man in a business suit walk to the river’s edge, pull on a pair of waders and go fishing on his lunch break.   “I asked him what he’d do if he caught any fish,” she says. “He said, ‘I’ve got a cooler in my trunk.’”   In 1999 – after several years of private-sector development and public-sector initiatives – the Menomonee Valley Partners, a non-profit corporation, was founded to bring together major Valley players, promote shared interests and facilitate sustainable redevelopment. It’s a time-tested formula for success: when everyone gets involved, everyone feels a sense of ownership, and things get done. Businesses are active in the planning and restoration of the Valley, and there’s proof of it everywhere: the state trail is bedded with crush from the Marquette Interchange; Sigma Environmental offers a public river trail on its property; there are even vestiges of the Valley’s past life, with picnic tables recycled from the old-growth oak that was used to build stockyard pens a century ago.   The Valley Partners embrace “sustainability in things big and little,” Corey says. The dedication to smart growth and adaptive re-use shows in everything from the park benches – half-buried concrete pipes – to the recycled, handcrafted stained glass panels that dot the railings, made by new Valley business Badger Railings, along the sidewalk.   Sixty acres of the Menomonee Valley’s west end make up a community park that serves as storm water treatment space, absorbing rainfall and preventing flooding and run-off pollution. The

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rest is set aside for industry, but the land is owned by the city; businesses moving into the Valley must pay their employees a living wage and comply with zoning laws that require an energy-efficient site layout, sustainable materials and construction and native landscaping.   Since the plan’s inception, 4,500 new jobs have been created and 12 new businesses have sited in the Valley, and the muscular collaboration mediated by the MVPs includes the Valley BID, the Business Association, representatives from the city, county and state, the MEDC, the Forest County Potawatomi Community, WE Energies and the Friends of the Hank Aaron State Trail.   The Valley provides a built-in value for its employees – immediate access to fishing, biking, hiking, scenic picnics on the river landing. Corey tells me about a P&H employee who lost 70 pounds after adopting a lunchtime speed-walking regimen. Employees of all sorts of Valley businesses – including Proven Direct, Sigma Environmental, Palermo’s Pizza and Cargill – organize stewardship crews, who have adopted segments of the trail.   Meanwhile, almost ten acres of the Menomonee Valley have reverted to their natural habitat. Birds have returned – kingfishers, great blue and green herons; turtles and deer are often spotted from the banks. The trail is seeded with dozens of native species – prairie clover and wild bergamot, spiderwort and hop sedge, red dogwood and goldenrod – many of them donated by Growing Power and planted by students from nearby schools, many of whom return to the Valley with their families to show off their work. The Valley’s vein   From the steam arch at the 6th Street bascule bridge, the Hank Aaron State Trail runs along Canal Street to 25th, where it bends with the river and runs along its banks to Miller Park. The trail continues on surface streets to Lakeshore State Park on the east and connects to the Oak Leaf Trail on the west. continued on page 14

featured | Vital Source | heartbeat city | 13

continued from page 13   Dave Schlabowske, Milwaukee’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force Coordinator, rides the trail from Washington Heights to work almost every day – even though it’s a little out of his way.   “It makes the commute to work really enjoyable,” he says. “The entire way you’re smelling wildflowers, you can see salmon swimming – I don’t seem to tire of it, even though I take the same route all the time. Maybe because the seasons change, the flowers change – it’s a really pleasant way to get back and forth.”   Dave is a member of the Friends of the Hank Aaron State Trail, which holds its largest fundraiser on August 9 – the 5K run/walk that funds trail advocacy, safety, signage and special projects like a planned trail art initiative.   There’s already art on the trail, much of it installed to attract people to the secluded stretch that snakes along the water at 13th Street. A local school contributed student work and sidewalk paintings, and murals along the fence commemorate the 40th anniversary of Civil Rights March across 16th street. At a bend is a cornerstone with gears from an old bridge, lying in the grass like handsome sculptures.   The smell of industry greets visitors to the Valley on the east end, but by the time the trail curves to meet the river, the air is lush and fresh. Cars bang across the towering bridge, but below, at river’s edge, crickets and evening bugs thrum in the brush. The water is cool and translucent. Three times per year, the trout migrate upstream from the lake.   “You can almost walk across the river on their backs,” says Schlabowske. The Menomonee River is one of the top urban fisheries in the world.   “I just got back from Montana, where people are out in crystal clear mountain streams fishing for trout,” he says. “I recognize the difference, but there’s something to be said for not having to go to Montana.”   And there’s something to be said for not having to leave Milwaukee. If you live or work near the center of the city, you can be on the trail in a half-hour or less. From there, you can kick off your shoes, walk down the flat slabs of salvaged rocks along the river’s banks, soak your ankles in the cool water and watch the birds. In the Rust Belt, where abandoned buildings, crumbling smokestacks and the legacy of industrial collapse are part of the landscape, the Menomonee Valley is genius – an example of regeneration and new vitality on an almost epic scale. VS Visit for more on this story, including future plans, more stunning photos and a video tour – on bikes! Or check out or

14 | heartbeat city | Vital Source | featured

Vital culture stages

Terence Blanchard 8/1-8/2

>>BY russ bickerstaff

broadminded 8/7 & 8/9

The Gentleman’s Hour 8/7 & 8/9

TURN, TURN, TURN Forecast for August: warm and sunny, with a light precipitation of comedy and a breeze of the coming fall fine arts season. Before we’re even thinking of shedding the swimsuits for sweaters, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre opens its fall season August 7 with Well, a Milwaukee premiere. Just a few blocks away, the Off Broadway Theatre keeps summer alive with the Third Annual Sketch and Improv Festival. The following week, The Boulevard Theatre begins its season with a classic comedy by Moliere. Take a musical destination vacation to Edgerton, Appleton or Manitowoc as

THEATRICAL PREVIEWS WIDOWER’S HOUSES The American Players Theatre presents George Bernard Shaw’s engrossing look at the ethics of money. Matt Schwader stars as a young doctor who is bequeathed a questionable inheritance. August 1 – October 4 in Spring Green. 608-588-2361 or HANSEL AND GRETEL Missoula Children’s Theatre returns to the Schauer Center August 1 and 2 with an original musical adaptation of the Brother’s Grimm tale about the wayward brother and sister. 262-670-0560, ext. 3 or COCK ‘N’ TOAST Late night improv returns to Comedy Sportz August 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30. The late night show is bereft of referee, which means there are no rules. 18+. 414-272-8888 or

ambitious productions of Fame, Annie and Suburb: The Musical open across the state, or stay in the city for Chicago presented by Milwaukee’s own Soulstice Theater. The Marcus Center offers plenty of close-to-home entertainment this month for those concerned about autumn storms as they present the touring production of The Color Purple, a visit from the Trinity Irish Dancers and Healing the Inner City, a theatrical dance presentation. In graceful movements elsewhere, Danceworks closes the summer with a fascinating cross-genre dance project at the beginning of the month.

JACKIE ROBINSON: A GAME APART Mike Wiley stars as the legendary athlete in a one-man show August 6 at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point. 608-987-3292 or MILWAUKEE SKETCH COMEDY AND IMPROV FESTIVAL In its third year the Sketch and Improv Fest finds an upscale home in the Third Ward. Participants include local ensembles Broadminded and The Gentleman’s Hour and a healthy smattering of groups from Chicago, Portland, Minneapolis and Louisville. August 7 – 9 at the Off-Broadway Theater 414-698-8991 or THE LIFE AND TIMES OF VINCE LOMBARDI John Pinero is the legendary Green Bay Packers coach in this stunning one-man play. August 7 at the Schauer Center. 262-670-0560, ext. 3 or

THE GENTLEMAN’S HOUR If you couldn’t get enough of the local improv group at the Sketch Fest, you can find them at the Alchemist Theatre August 3 and 17. 414-426-4169 or

ANNIE The Wartman Endowment for the Performing Arts presents a cast of 60 people in the popular Broadway play. August 7 –17 at the Edgerton Performing Arts Center.608-884-9402 or

STAGE COMBAT AND COMEDY SHOW New York stage actors Blake Bradford and Matt Klan exhibit the fine (and entertaining) art of stage combat August 3 at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point. 608-987-3292 or

FAME The Peter Quince Performing Company in Manitowoc presents the classic musical August 7 -10 at the Capitol Civic Centre. 920-683-2184 or

16 | stages | Vital Source | vital culture

WELL Milwaukee Chamber Theatre opens its ‘08-‘09 season with the Milwaukee premiere of Lisa Kron’s comedy about a young performance artist and her family. Directed by Laura Gordon, the play stars Marti Gobel, Angela Iannone, Bo Johnson, Travis A. Knight, Ruth Schudson and Tami Workentin. August 7 – 24 at the Broadway Theatre Center’s Cabot Theatre. 414-291-7800 or THE BELLE’S STRATEGEM After 30 years in the business, the American Players Theatre presents its final opening of the season – its first-ever production of a work by a female playwright. Better late than never. August 8 – October 3. 608-588-2361 or SHINY THINGS The Broom Street Theatre in Madison presents a shiny new play written and directed by Heather Renkin about living with Attention Deficit Disorder. Featuring Vaudeville-inspired dreams – probably worth the trip west. August 8 – September 14. 608-244-8338 or THE COLOR PURPLE The Oprah Winfrey-produced touring production of the Broadway musical comes to the Marcus Center August 12 – 17. 414-273-7206 or THE MISANTHROPE

stages Vital culture The Boulevard Theatre in Bay View begins its season with a production of Moliere’s classic. Cesar Gamino, David Flores and Beth Monhollen star. August 12 – 24. 414-744-5757 or STUCK Wisconsin theatre is undeniably influenced by the mighty and largely unsung UW-White water Theatre Department. In Tandem Theatre showcases that influence with an offbeat comedy by UW-Whitewater grad Neil Haven. August 14 at the Tenth Street Theatre. 414-271-1371 or DEFENDING THE CAVEMAN The longest-running solo play in Broadway history comes to the Marcus Center August 21 -23. 414-273-7206 or HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING The Fireside Dinner Theatre in Fort Atkinson presents the cheeky ‘60s musical August 21 – October 19. 800-477-9505 or

MUSIC OF NOTE THE CANDLIERS The local rock/pop/honky-tonk group performs live at the Wilson Center as a part of its free Starry Nights Outdoor Concert Series. August 1. 262-781-9470 or SUMMER SIZZLE Terence Blanchard and Steve Cole headline a free jazz festival in the Historic Third Ward. August 1 and 2 on Broadway. For a complete line up, visit FAMILY BEACH PARTY Theatrical kid’s entertainer David Rudolph performs a free concert at the Marcus Center’s Peck Pavilion at noon on August 6. 414-273-7206 or AHVANT SOUL The local soul group comes to Jazz in the Park August 7 at Cathedral Square Park. 414-257-8005 or

The prominent Milwaukee musician performs August 8 at the Wilson Center as a part of its free Starry Nights Outdoor Concert Series. 262-781-9470 or GAELIC STORM Newly-renovated Hart Park in Wauwatosa now boasts a snappy band shell, and you can see the popular Irish ensemble for free August 13 as part of the Tosa Tonight summer concert series. 414-708-2415 or BACK ALLEY BAND The WAMI-nominated blues band comes to Jazz in the Park August 14 in Cathedral Square Park. 414-257-8005 or ORQUESTA VENENO The Milwaukee merengue group performs a concert at Alterra on the Lake August 14. 414-223-4551 or single/alterra_summer_concert_series MADISALSA The spicy Latin group performs August 15 at the Wilson Center as a part of its free Starry Nights Outdoor Concert Series. 262-781-9470 or

DANCE ART TO ART Danceworks hosts an art-to-art between choreographers, musicians and poets featuring experimental new works and inspired multi-modal fusion in the style that has come to define the company. Featuring work by Shira Fagan, Ashley Johnson, Keri Koepke, Diana LeMense, Steve Moses and Sarah Wallisch. August 1 and 2 at the Danceworks Studio Theatre. 414-277-8480 ext 6025 or HEALING THE INNER CITY Janie Boston and In The Dance Café present a story of freedom expressed through song and dance featuring dancers, a psalmist and musicians from all over the Midwest. August 8 at the Marcus Center. 414-273-7206 or TRINITY IRISH DANCERS The eerily appealing perfection of traditional Irish dancing returns to the Marcus Center for a pair of free performances August 13. 414-273-7206 or

THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE Madison’s Four Seasons Theatre presents its production of the hit Broadway musical August 15 and 16 at the Wisconsin Union Theater. 608-251-6607 or CAPITOL STEPS Just in time for election fever, political humor comes to the Pabst Theatre August 16. 1-800-511-1552 or THE MR. LUCKY SWING SYNDICATE The local swing band comes to Jazz in the Park August 21 in Cathedral Square Park. 414-257-8005 or REVEREND RAVEN AND THE CHAIN SMOKING ALTAR BOYS Jazz in the Park rounds out its penultimate month with a concert featuring this classic Midwestern blues band August 28 in Cathedral Square Park. 414-257-8005 or

FLORENTINE AT THE LAKE Members of the classy Milwaukee opera company perform their last pair of free summer concerts outside the Lakefront Alterra August 7 and 21. 414-223-4551 or single/alterra_summer_concert_series/ PAUL CEBAR TOMORROW SOUND

vital culture |Vital Source | stages | 17

Breaking Dolly Lemke >>By Howie Goldklang Dolly Lemke is a poet. And not your chainsmoking, sad-just-because poet. I’m talking artist-writer-organizer-real-deal-poet. So, why is she in the film section of VITAL? We’ll get to that. Stir in your Splenda and read on.   Since 2002, Lemke has been deeply involved in the Milwaukee arts scene. Be it film work, coordinating with artists on Gallery Night or thinking up ‘zine ideas with friends, Dolly is there. Lemke’s resume is totally take-her-hometo-meet-the-parents: she was recipient of the Howard A. Jansen Scholarship (2002-2006), poetry editor for FURROW Magazine (which she helped revive after a four-year hiatus), reader on the Wave Poetry Bus Tour, organizer for UWM’s Visiting Writers Series and contributor to locally-pressed lit publications Blue Canary and Burdock. She also somehow managed to find time to study abroad at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, England.   Reviving poetry magazines? Who does that?! Herst-wha Castle? I’m not even going to Google that castle place – I’m afraid it will find out I’m questioning it and cast a spell on me. This fall, Lemke will attend graduate school at Columbia College in Chicago to fine tune her poetry and move toward starting her own Milwaukeebased press. Dolly is the kind of girl Morrissey has been writing about all these years. (Or is it a guy? Morrissey, you 80s juggernaut of sexual ambiguity! Anyway, you tell me on our REEL Milwaukee blog at   So, why the film section? Film is poetry in motion. And in addition to Dolly’s serious turns as a writer, she’s been on-set for more than a few guerrilla-style, super-indie short films shot in and around Milwaukee. It should be required by law to interview people like her. Below is a pie slice of our conversation:

VS: What film breaks your heart? DL: Tideland, by Terry Gilliam. I felt this instinctual force in me to take care of this little girl lost in her own fantasy world of fucked-up people and underwater pandemonium. [She] grew up not understanding real familial love, not understanding death, [she was] alone when her father overdosed. Although her imagination was stunning and beautiful – making for an excellent film – she didn’t understand the boundaries of being a child; she was destined for a dysfunctional existence. It really got to me. VS: What writers break your heart? DL: There is this poet named Peggy Munson who just came out with a book, Pathogenesis (Switchback Books). Her words represent something so painful and personal, [so] vivid and poignant. I empathize – and more importantly want to write as profoundly as she does; I want to know myself as sharply as she does. It is truly magnificent and heartbreaking, but not in a sob-story, memoir-bullshit kind of way. It’s completely human and real. VS: Briefly describe the 48 Hour Film Project. How were you involved? DL: The 48 Film Project is a chance for local filmmakers to bust ass for two days and create a work of art within limited means. I was a bystander, supporter, actor-on-demand, and PA; I held a clipboard and looked important. The team I worked with is called Guyshouse Productions and they have been active for several years doing comedy skits [and] short films. The main dudes are Ryan Spiering and Patrick Vitrano, Jacob Liptack, Bob Villareal, Justin Krushas, and Nadia Husain. It’s not like you can be strictly a filmmaker in Milwaukee, but you can have a very versatile existence … Ryan is a 3-D modeler for an architect firm, Bob works

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at Masteq, Patrick and Jacob work for Milwaukee County Parks, Justin has been painting his mom’s house for three years and Nadia works in NYC for Big Star Motion.   During the filming all I could think was “hurry up” and “what the hell is that for.” Everything just takes so long: changing shots, lighting, sound, getting the right take. [But] it really comes together in the end. It made me think about the steps in producing a book of poetry; a manuscript is taken into consideration, and with editing and finishing touches it can become a published book, but with far fewer time restraints. VS: What about Milwaukee inspires you? Or not? DL: My main gripe about Milwaukee is the lack of a thriving literary scene … one where every night there are readings all over the city. There is a lot going on, but it’s spread out, and the poets don’t live here – they come through here. Commuter poetry. There is a lack of small presses, independent publishers, literary publications, and again, I know they are here, but not enough to satisfy my future career goals. I hope to [return to the city] and start my own press or literary publication after grad school. So that lack of something inspires me to make something happen. I love Milwaukee and I know it like the back of my hand, but I am excited to expand the back of my hand and be able to come back and re-vamp the literary scene. VS To read the full interview of Dolly Lemke, go to and click on REEL Milwaukee’s blog.

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cinema Vital culture

Mary-Kate Olsen and Ben Kingsley in The Wackness.

THE WACKNESS >> by Russ Bickerstaff Starring: Josh Peck, Sir Ben Kingsley, Famke Janssen, Olivia Thirlby, Mary-Kate Olsen, Jane Adams, Method Man and Aaron Yoo Written and Directed By: Jonathan Levine Sony Pictures Classics Rated R Those of us who graduated from high school in the mid-90s are now in our early 30s. Thirty-two year-old writer/Director Jonathan Levine wears this generational designation on his sleeve as he presents The Wackness—a retro coming of age, pseudo-romantic, cross-generational buddy comedy/drama set in the summer of 1994. Bit actor Josh Peck (Drillbit Taylor, Mean Creek and a whole bunch of TV) debuts on center frame as Luke Shapiro. Luke is a kid living in New York with his parents for one last summer in 1995 before heading off to college.

Luke funds his college savings plan by selling weed out of a refrigerated street vendor’s cart that he wheels all over Manhattan. One of his most prominent clients is Dr. Squires — a baby boomer psychologist played with typically magnetic poise by Sir Ben Kingsley (Gandhi, Sneakers, Sexy Beast). He and Luke trade pot for therapy, and the two strike up an unlikely friendship even as Luke harbors an intense attraction to Squire’s stepdaughter Stefani (played by relative newcomer Olivia Thirlby).   Aside from the engaging milieu of Manhattan in the very specific summer of 1994, little is truly unique to this film. While it’s interesting to see nostalgia for the heyday of mix-tapes and beepers, The Wackness is merely a simple coming of age story and the period window dressing does nothing to enhance it. Thankfully, at least one twist keeps the ancient formula from tiresome redundancy – both Luke and Dr. Squires are coming of age. While Luke deals with the stresses of entering the real world for the first time, Dr. Squires deals with the stresses of entering the real world for the first time again as he deals with a divorce and the emotional trauma of life outside marriage once more.   Ben Kingsley – as expected – holds up his end of the dramatic bargain with thrilling precision. We see him as both wise and childish, messing things up and doing drugs while still providing much of the backbone for the compelling cross-generational friendship at the heart of the film. But it’s not enough to make the film satisfying. Peck’s performance is impressive, but he’s not established enough as an actor to make an uninteresting character appealing, and while Thirlby’s acting is natural and organic, much of her performance pivots on her silence. There is so much her character isn’t saying that it seems at times as though she walked out of an entirely different film. When she exits the frame, it’s not difficult to imagine her just strolling into some other movie – one that is perhaps better executed than The Wackness, but possibly just as far away from satisfying. VS

vital culture | Vital Source | cinema | 19

Wrap and roll

eat this Vital living

>>By Catherine McGarry Miller + Photos by Lynn Allen Wraps are perfect for summertime – they require little cooking and pack up easily for boating, picnics and other excursions. Don’t be put off by Christopher Miller’s (no relation) lengthy instructions and ingredients – it’s all quick and easy to do! My recipe has just a few ingredients and has always been a crowd pleaser for me. VS

REFRESHING GRILLED FUSION AHI TUNA WRAP Christopher Miller General Manager and Executive Chef Sake Tumi 714 N. Milwaukee St. 414-224-7253 Christopher Miller, General Manager and Executive Chef of Sake Tumi, came into the Asian food market as fresh clay. He had lots of experience with Italian food working for the Bartolotta’s, the Balistrieri’s and Johnny Vassallo, but had to learn the aesthetics of Asian cooking when he moved into his current position. To learn how to wrap and roll the Japanese way, he studied with Ken Sung at Yokaso in Brookfield. Beyond the food, working at Sake Tumi has been a cultural awakening for Miller, who has learned “a whole new way of communicating” with an emphasis on respect for age, gender and hierarchy. It’s a sensibility that will no doubt follow him into his next adventure and beyond. 4 10-inch flour tortillas 1 8 oz. Ahi (yellow fin) tuna steak (#1 plus/sushi grade) (any protein may be substituted) ½ cup cooled prepared rice of choice (long grain, instant, jasmine, etc – leftover take-out is fine!) ½ whole pineapple or 16 oz. can sliced pineapple 2 jalapeño peppers 2 vine-ripened tomatoes 1 small head of iceberg (your favorite, more nutritious variety may be substituted) 1 small sweet onion 10 springs cilantro 1 lime 1 thumb-sized lobe of ginger ¼ cup soy sauce Salt and pepper PREP Clean skin off tuna. Mince ginger and mix with ¼ cup soy sauce. Marinate tuna in mixture for one hour.

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While tuna marinates, skin, core and slice pineapple. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. For the lettuce mix, finely shred lettuce and onion and chop cilantro. Mix with lime juice and add zest from lime for extra kick, if you wish. Season with salt and pepper. (My signature mix: goes good with anything! Burgers, tacos, sandwiches etc) GRILL Grill tuna rare to medium rare. Slice into thin slices and let cool. Grill pineapple, cut into chunks and let cool. Grill jalapeños until blackened. Soak in ice water until cool. Peel off skin. Slice in half, clean out seeds and Julienne. (Great technique to add flavor without lots of heat!). Grill tomatoes using same technique. WRAP Grill 4 tortillas. Layer with tuna slices. Load with rice, pineapple, jalapeño, tomatoes and lettuce mix. Wrap it up, eat and enjoy! Makes 4 wraps. MIDWEST MIDEAST WRAPS Catherine McGarry Miller Event planner, author, book editor and VITAL columnist This recipe comes from my love for Mideastern food, which I was introduced to as a ten-year-old by my aunt and uncle. It is part of my cookbook in progress called The Gutless Gourmet. 1 8-oz container prepared hummus, any flavor 8 tortillas or sandwich wraps, any flavor 1 large eggplant, cut in 1/2 inch wide disks, lightly salted and peppered Olive oil or olive oil-flavored cooking spray Brush or spray eggplant on both sides with a thin coat of oil and arrange in a single layer on cooking sheets. Bake in a 450-degree oven until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes, then let slices cool. Spread hummus on wraps about a quarter-inch thick. Layer eggplant slices over hummus, leaving a several inch-strip of wrap for to seal the wrap. Roll ‘em up and eat ‘em! Makes 8 wraps.

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Good for baby, good for the Earth


veryone who knows me is well aware of my fervent and ongoing lactivism. I have written about the supremacy of breastfeeding every August for the last five years. It might seem like I would eventually run out of fresh material, but it simply can’t happen. The subject is so broad, so deep and so full of political and cultural implications that it’s a bottomless well of topics. This year seems like a good time to talk about breastfeeding and the environment.   For decades, breastfeeding advocates, lactation consultants and La Leche League leaders have been saying “Breastfeeding is good for the environment.” It’s on almost every “top 10 reasons to breastfeed” list I’ve ever seen.   First, there is no discernable negative environmental impact from breastfeeding. It’s an almost perfect system with no by-products to dispose of, no waste, and very few resources used. This can’t be said of feeding artificial baby milk (ABM) from a bottle. Pollution The most obvious effect of ABM feeding on the planet is massive pollution. Our landfills are clogged with empty formula cans, baby bottles and lids, rubber nipples and nipple rings. In this country, there are four million live births per year. About 40 percent of our babies are never breastfed. One study estimates that babies fed from a bottle use an average of 12 bottles during their first year. This means that on average, the U.S. consumes and disposes of nearly 20 million baby bottles per year. Each ABM-fed baby needs about two cans of powdered formula per week, for a total of over 167 million cans per year. Just in the United States. That’s a lot of garbage.   But pollution is more than throwing out our used-up stuff. ABM manufacture creates a lot of industrial pollution. Water is polluted with sewage from dairy cows, fertilizers used to grow cattle feed and through the dumping of waste at the manufacturing site. Air is polluted, as the production of ABM requires the milk and additives to be heated and cooled several times.

Deforestation Most of the dairy for ABM is produced in clear cut fields that used to be forest or rain forest land. Every two pounds of ABM uses just under 150 sq. ft. of pasture. From an agricultural perspective, it’s inefficient. From a global perspective, it’s hard to justify when there’s a better alternative available, for free, to almost every baby on the planet.   On a smaller scale, ABM use causes even more consumption of wood in less industrialized areas. In many parts of the world, the water to mix with the ABM concentrate and wash and sterilize the bottles is heated over cooking fires. In places where each family spends an hour or two gathering fire wood each day, this not only burns through precious resources, it increases the workload. And there’s even more… The environmental impact of ABM reaches even further into our everyday lives. When women exclusively breastfeed there’s a significant delay in the return of fertility. The same delay means that a woman menstruates fewer times during her lifetime. Fewer periods means less need for tampons and pads – products that also require industrial processes and disposal.   Clean water is needed to mix with ABM concentrate, and more is needed to wash and sterilize the bottles and nipples used to feed ABM. In most of the U.S. we take clean tap water for granted. In many parts of the world, clean water is hard to find and is considered a precious resource. In the end “We do not inherit the Earth from our parents. We borrow it from our children.” This is a Native American belief, one that I share. When looked at from an environmental perspective, breastfeeding is the only choice that makes sense for the 95% percent of women who can successfully do it. When you are holding that baby in your arms and wishing you could give him the whole world, remember: you can. Nursing your baby is the first step. VS

Natural resources Those 20 million baby bottles I mentioned are mostly made of plastic, a petroleum product. And as we know, petroleum is a limited resource. Most bottles are not recyclable, which means once we’ve produced the bottle, that petroleum is out of the cycle. Baby bottle nipples are often made from silicon, also not recyclable. Disposable liners require the user to consume even more plastic, as the liners aren’t reusable at all.   Even more petroleum is used as tanker fuel and gasoline. Most of the milk comes to us from third world countries. Once harvested from the cows, it is put on boats and shipped to the U.S. From there, it is trucked to various outlets for sale. Very, very often, it gets shipped back to the third world countries it came from originally.   Then there’s paper. Each year in the U.S., 600 tons of paper are used just to make the labels on the cans of ABM, and it’s estimated that for every 100 cans sold, 50 newspaper or magazine ads, mailers or coupons are produced. And the cans themselves use tin – 43,000 tons of tin annually in the U.S.

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funny page news + Views drawing from memory

get your war on

>>by dwellephant

>>by david rees

vital source | news + views | funny page | 23

Vital’s Picks  >> By erin lee petersen


Updated all month long at

Kathy’s Garden Party: light and shadow to suggest spacial relationships Way Beyond the Sea between objects found in the natural world. The August 2 – Mount Mary College result is an aesthetic rich in texture, connecting Since Kathy Chenoweth Colby’s death of cancer everyday things to a broader and more abstract in 1998, The Grace Foundation, established in her metaphor. The exhibition runs through September memory, has raised tens of thousands of dollars 21. 414-278-8295 or for cancer research, advocacy and therapy. Kathy’s Garden Party is a major annual fundraiser for the 6th Annual Rockerbox Motorcycle foundation, and this year, it’s a major art event. Show & Street Party “Way Beyond the Sea” features work created August 9 – Center Street, Riverwest especially for the event for by Gene Evans, Bridget Alright all you gearheads, greasers and daredevils Griffith Evans, Todd Graveline, Robin Kinney, Joy – August is your month to shine. Or ride. Rockerbox Harmon, Becky Tesch and Chris Poehlmenn – all is burnin’ rubber through Riverwest and bringing of it part of a dazzling runway show and up for an with it an eclectic mix of bikes from around the exciting live auction at the end of the night. With world. The party kicks off with an official 15 mile food, drink, music and (no joke) special effects, ride to Riverwest, where you’ll find a kick-ass bike you can be sure that Kathy’s Garden Party will be show with more choppers, street fighters and cafe just a little more spectacular than an afternoon racers than you can shake a stick at. Live bands walk in the park. Don’t miss it. 414-771-1578 or will play in the street all day long. Bikes! Bands! We’re totally there! The best part? These roughand-tumble bikers have a heart of gold: proceeds from this event go to the Steel Shoe Fund, a nonAt a Moment’s Notice: Photos by John Heyman profit organization that helps injured flat-track August 6 – Charles Allis Art Museum racers pay their medical bills. How awesome is Upon graduating from UW-Madison several that? decades ago, photographer John Heymann traveled east to Cambridge, MA to hone his craft. He JUICEBOXXX has since flourished as a fine art photographer. August 9 – The Borg Ward Collective He returns to his roots this summer with At a At the tender age of 21, Juiceboxxx is not your Moment’s Notice, a series of black and white pho- average white boy. He’s been performing his own tographs. Using this format, Heymann contrasts style of rap and hip-hop at basement punk shows since he was 15, taking cues from rap legends Juiceboxxx @ The Borg Ward - don’t bother showering, 8/9. The Juice Crew and adding an underground twist, delivering his unusual sound in true punk-rock fashion. Since then he’s performed for audiences all over the nation, each show a balls-out, sweatsoaked free-for-all. Juiceboxxx will be bringing the party back home to Milwaukee when he drops into the Borg Ward collective. Come with your dancing shoes or don’t come at all! Scratch that – you can still come without your dancing shoes, but we highly suggest you wear em’. Bon Iver August 14 – The Pabst Theater At the onset of winter, Justin Vernon moved to an isolated cabin in the woods of Northwestern Wisconsin seeking quiet, space and much-needed respite. Still reeling from a series of personal tragedies – the breakup of his band, the end of a relationship and a debilitating bout of mono – Vernon holed up in his father’s cabin for several months, enjoying the simplicity of his rustic envi-

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ronment and reinventing his own brand of folk. He emerged as Bon Iver, a purposeful play on the French term meaning “good winter,” armed with the soul-shaking indie-folk album For Emma, Forever Ago. Laced with beauty and sorrow, Emma was recorded entirely in the cabin on near-ancient equipment and layers Vernon’s haunting falsetto over acoustic melodies, light percussion and even the eerie creaking of the cabin itself to create a bold new sound. Secure your spot to see this innovative, home-grown talent. 800-511-1552 or Milky Moonlight Paddle August 14 – Milwaukee River The Friends of Milwaukee’s Rivers have one mission: keep our precious waterways safe. They work tirelessly to prevent runoff and other pollutants from entering the Milwaukee River, organize river clean-ups and keep the wild areas around the river safe and (hopefully) free of any new commercial and residential development. But it’s not all work and no play. These tireless folks know that one of their most important duties is to make Milwaukee’s rivers accessible and enjoyable, and they make good on their word with great events and activities each month. In August, take a dip under the stars at the Milky Moonlight Paddle, an organized canoe ride down the Milwaukee River. Groups will meet a central location and hit the river just as the sun goes down. It’s a fun way to enjoy the last days (and nights) of summer. Unmasked & Anonymous August 14 – Milwaukee Art Museum John Shimon and Julie Lindemann have been taking pictures together longer than some of us have been alive, capturing the heart, soul and grit of rural life in Wisconsin. Shimon and Lindemann rely on simple and traditional photographic techniques to convey the complex intricacies of their subjects, using antique cameras, miscellaneous lenses and even pinholes to recall the earliest form of the craft. Unmasked and Anonymous is the product of a two-year collaboration between the duo and MAM curator Lisa Hostetler, and the result is an exhibit that juxtaposes Shimon and Lindemann’s classic portraits with over 50 portraits from the Museum’s own collection, including work by Diane Arbus and Nan Goldin, among others. Placed together, these portraits encourage viewers to consider the anonymous relationship between photographer and subject

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There’s more to life than Harley - diversity @ Rockerbox, 8/9

and contemplate how each photo creates an indelible inscription of this connection. Through November 30. or 2008 Milwaukee Wine Festival August 22-23 – Milwaukee Art Museum There’s nothing quite as refreshing as an outdoor summer festival on Milwaukee’s beautiful lakefront – except an outdoor summer festival on Milwaukee’s lakefront featuring more than 150 fine wines for your tasting pleasure. Head down to the grounds of the Milwaukee Art Museum for this two-day wine festival and indulge your palate with exquisite wines from around the world. When you’re ready to take a break from the vino, you can enjoy live music and delicious edibles from local restaurants like Sanford, Harlequin Bakery and The Capitol Grille. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or just a fair-weather wino, you’re sure to find something you’ll like. 888-210-0074 or MPS Run Back to School August 23 – Wick Playfield, 4929 W. Vliet The words “back to school” are some of the most dreaded in our whole language, or most others, for that matter. We know. But it’s inevitable – so what better way to ease into the school year than with a fun run and walk? MPS wants their students to start the year off right by promoting healthy habits and establishing a culture of wellness within the community. Runners and walkers are invited to participate in a 5k run or 1.5 mile walk through Washington Park to remind everyone how much fun exercise can be. The event kicks off at Wick Playfield with warm-ups, refreshments and a ninepiece power-pop horn band. That’s right. A nine-piece power-pop horn band. ‘Nuff said. To register, go to What You Get When You Cross... August 25 – Milwaukee Art Museum The folks at Cedar Block are not your average party planners. On their resume you’ll find a series of science fairs for big kids, an artistic tribute to a selftaught manic depressive artist – created with little more than a few markers and crayons – and “Three Degrees of Francis Bacon,” among other things. Their successful collaborations with the Milwaukee Art Museum are especially exciting events, inviting local artists to create work that reflects upon and pays tribute to those featured in the current exhibit. Inspired by the bold, politically charged wit of Gilbert & George, Cedar Block invited Milwaukee artists to collaborate with a partner to make art based on puns and clever turns-of-phrase (all submitted by the public via email). This is a one night-only event that is sure to entertain and open up a fascinating dialogue among viewers and artists alike. or

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Harley Davidson’s 105th Anniversary August 28-31 – Milwaukee Lakefront Ready or not, Milwaukee: here they come. Hog riders will rumble into the city by the thousands for Harley Davidson’s 105th anniversary festivities, not to mention the opening of the brand-spanking new Harley Museum. It seems like only yesterday when the 100th anniversary filled our days and nights with the sounds of squealing tires and cracking pipes, when the streets were filled with hardcore bikers and weekend enthusiasts eager to show off their American metal, all of it topped off with the most, uh, surprising finale concert of the new millennium. The 105th is sure to be just as exciting, boasting three days worth of bike shows, demos, parades and a bitchin’ kick-off party. The cherry atop the weekend will be a live performance by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band right on Milwaukee’s lakefront! Unfortunately, only ticket holders get to see the show live, but we think maybe, just maybe, if we get close enough we might be able to catch of few bars of “Badlands.” Mark Chatterley and T.L. Solien Through August 30 – Tory Folliard Gallery Mark Chatterley’s large scale ceramic sculptures have been described as our “primitive counterparts from another time.” Chatterley’s hand-built figures are slightly cryptic; they seem to move and dance with one another and yet remain expressionless while engaging viewers with images both timeless and contemporary. The satirical works of Madison-based painter T.L. Solien are abstract and highly introspective. His paintings incorporate aspects of figural drawing, pop illustration and vintage animation to create a sort of self portrait, where the artist explores the concept of identity and consciousness. Shown in conjunction with one another, these exhibits make for an intriguing visit to the gallery. The show, which opened on Gallery Night in July (okay, my bad), runs through August 30.

august ethnic festivals, Maier Festival Park African World Festival August 2-3

Arab World Fest August 8-10

Irish Fest August 14-17

Mexican Fiesta August 22-24

Festival season is slowing down, but Milwaukeeans still have time to take a short trip around the world, sans the jet lag. African World Fest celebrates the rich history of African culture as well as African-American heritage. Check out the marketplace for unique jewelry and crafts, and be sure to come hungry and sample some traditional African cuisine and southern cooking. Don’t get too full, though, because Arab World Fest kicks off the following weekend. The entertainment lineup includes traditional dances, Arabic karaoke and camel rides! Fill up your plate with all the falafel and baba ghanouj you can handle, get your own henna tattoo and maybe even share a tasty hookah with a friend. Calm down, it’s only tobacco. Wait – there’s more! There are only two times each year that everyone is “a little bit Irish” – on St. Patrick’s Day and at Milwaukee’s Irish Fest. This four-day festival always packs a punch and this year is no different with the addition of the Jameson Lounge, where festival goers can participate in an authentic Irish whiskey tasting. Low on cash? Get in free on Thursday evening with a donation of school supplies! Mexican Fiesta closes out the month with three days of Mexican culture, food and music. If the promise of delicious food isn’t reason enough to make your way down, then we’ve got two words for you: salsarengue contest. We’re not exactly sure what salsarengue is, but it sounds pretty awesome. While you’re there, check out a stylin’ car and bike show and test your gastrointestinal fortitude in the jalapeño eating contest. Now that’s just good old-fashioned fun.

Milwaukee’s Ethnic Festivals

26 | august picks | Vital Source | vital living

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music reviews Vital culture Beck • Modern Guilt DGC Records •   Beck Hansen, indie/pop/rock’s most accomplished Cancer, has just created his most original – and perhaps most sophisticated – guise. From songwriting to production to subject matter, Modern Guilt has a subtlety that separates it from his other work and serves as its greatest charm, no doubt influenced by his full-on collaboration with Danger Mouse in its making. Examined next to his prolific, excellent, yet somewhat muse-on-sleeve output (which includes one of the greatest break-up albums ever, Sea Change), this one is certainly his most intangible. The funk, the folk and the sonic collage are all reserved by a measure from his norm, and it’s all the more intoxicating as a result.   True, lead single “Chemtrails” does carry more than a few strains of Serge Gainsbourg’s “Melody Nelson” chemistry in it, but it also has faint touches of Brian Wilson at the apex of his powers. “Youthless” is anything but, and with the title track and “Soul of a Man,” this trinity serves as a microcosm of the entire collection; within these touchstones, he’s searching for the soul of our times – today’s “meaning of it all.”   In the past, you could put on a Beck record and know, within the first few moments, what to reach for: your dance shoes, a handkerchief, perhaps even a spliff. This one has all the hallmarks of great Beck rolled into a fleeting 30 minutes, with exceptional songwriting and well-crafted production. But there’s a veiled something extra to it … within the jam, perhaps, is a gem. The fun this time around is finding it. – Troy Butero

Cordero • De Donde Eres Bloodshot • “Where are you from?” Brooklyn’s answer to Latin indie rock asks its listeners this question with its latest album, which encompasses guitarist/ vocalist Ani Cordero’s own personal musings on recent misfortunes. De Donde Eres, the quartet’s latest release, sheds the band’s former bilingualism and plays for keeps with Spanish, creating a deeper authenticity and a more appropriate platform for Ani’s sweet voice, paired with soft but poignant nylon-stringed guitars, horns and keys.

  De Donde Eres was born from difficulty, but most of these songs are anything but contrite. “Quique” is a bouncy, feisty bass-thumping song with brassy undertones, Cordero singing call-and-response style with her male band counterparts about fiestas and “bailando” over a bubbly organ line. The album transitions into introversion with “Guardasecretos,” its lilting guitar and plaintive trumpet pairing beautifully with Cordero’s husky alto.   The band doesn’t forget its indie-rock roots, churning out a boiler with “La Musica Es La Medecina” which, if sung in English, might be mistaken for early Denali. Cordero does it way better than Maura Davis ever could, though, breathing life, originality and culture into every square inch of each measure of her music, her band (including Chris Verene, formerly of The Rock*A*Teens) providing a gorgeously fitting soundtrack for Cordero’s tales of struggle and triumph. De Donde Eres is for Ani Cordero an affirmation; for her audience, it’s a testament to life’s ever-swinging pendulum, as pretty as it can be made. – Erin Wolf

The Scenic • Find Yourself Here Victory Records • A few months back, SPIN ran an article on what they dubbed “emo voice” – the nasal, artless vocal style of approximately 56,000 soundalike mallpunk bands whose sense of musical history goes no further back than Saves the Day and the Promise Ring. While Victory Records has been responsible for inflicting many a tuneless warble about a relationship gone bad on the music-buying populace, they’ve baked the whitest white bread to date with The Scenic, who have to be the blandest of the bunch by far.   Find Yourself Here brings all the standard junior-high target-market tropes to the table: slightly Weezerfied sensitive-boy harmonies (the opening “Lights Out” actually calls to mind Weezer’s far superior songs); that one “the guitarist is playing through a telephone” effect in the breakdowns; lyrical references to adolescent takes on love and obsession that would get normal people arrested — “I watch you from your bedroom/I’m liking what I see” (“Notice Me” — does that sound like a stalking reference to you too? Don’t people realize that MySpace stalking is safer, less obviously creepy – and legal?). Like most of these Warped Tour bands, their greatest crime isn’t that they’re untalented — it’s that they’re not particularly memorable. The Scenic could be swapped out onstage with any number of polite lip-pierced boys prepackaged for meeting Mom, and the teenage girls they’re singing to wouldn’t know the difference.   Find Yourself Here advertises itself as pop-rock, but this is a boy band with guitars, O-Town learning to play instruments. The Scenic are that first group your 30-year-old friend in the good local band was in right after high school. His old band gets nostalgic wisecracks; Victory hands today’s version record deals. Dare I say it? Kids these days. – DJ Hostettler

v i t a l c u lt u r e | Vital Source | music reviews | 27

Vital culture music reviews The Melvins • Nude With Boots Ipecac Records • The Melvins have done it again, folks. If you’re already an admirer of this legendary experimental band, which has spawned many a Cobain in its two and a half decades, this is a masterful return to the rock. If you aren’t a fanatic, but enjoy any percentage of the underground metal, alternative, hard rock, noise, punk, hardcore, post-core, ambient or art-wave bands inspired by these eternal originators, this recording is the perfect initiation to the fraternity of Melvinites.   Nude With Boots is easily up there with their incredible early ‘90s string of Bullhead, Houdini, and Stoner Witch. Since that holy trinity, the band’s creativity has spread past all previous horizons (read above), but here the emphasis is on nothing but riff and impact.   Lead track “The Kicking Machine” is a Zep-boogie riff with a buzzthroated vocal melody (that’s right, melody) that’s downright catchy (that’s right, catchy). Dale Cover’s drums are monstrous throughout, per usual. But he especially shines here with some nice footwork that keeps the beat firmly at the boundary of the pocket. After this opening salvo, they steer us into the noise-scape they do so well for a few songs. But they get in and get out seamlessly, and once they light into the title track, things are back at a locomotive sound and pace, slamming it all home. – Troy Butero

privilege and their unrestricted access to violent playthings. After beating a few dead horses, The Faint think cross-section and bring focus to relationships and memories.   Transforming a tree stump and a 12-foot-plank into a one-way transport to an alternate universe, tightly coiled “Fulcrum and Lever” draws flashbacks to terrifying 80s claymation short Inside Out Boy. “Psycho” (“Forget the words I said/I was not myself/I never really thought you were psycho”) enlists a rock bass-and-drums backbeat to create one pleasurably guilty spree – so guilty, in fact, methinks The Faint doth protest, but still check as regularly we do. – A.L. Herzog

The Faint • Fasciination blank.wav • Despite Omaha boys The Faint’s efforts to shock on 2004’s unsubtle Wet from Birth – an overzealous, not-so-scientific take on biology – it was the popularity of a subsequent internet game (allowing haters to dropkick the dance-punk five piece — for points!) that landed them on the cultural radar. Though the boys have shown strong stomachs in past releases in regards to, say, bodily secretions (“Fish in Womb” satisfies the gross quota here), their fifth full-length’s opener “Get Seduced” draws a clear line of disgust at tabloid mania, where “hot lights” are cast on celebrity hook-ups and cellulite snapshots can turn a pretty penny.   Steady single “The Geeks Were Right,” Chopsticks-esque “Mirror Error” and mechanical “A Battle Hymn for Children” concentrate on similar culture-obsessed ground. The first imagines a world dominated by pasty-legged eggheads; the second contemplates face trading (Travolta v. Cage, anyone?); the last satirizes American children’s sense of

28 | music reviews | Vital Source | vital culture

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record releases Vital culture August 5 Keith Anderson C’mon Columbia Nashville Brazilian Girls New York City Verve Forecast Darker My Love 2 Dangerbird The Faint Fasciinatiion blank.wav Mike Gordon The Green Sparrow Rounder Ernie Halter Starting Over Rock Ridge Music Hawthorne Heights Fragile Future Victory

Mike Mangione Tenebrae Oarfin Distribution Shannon McArdle Summer of the Whore Bar/None Randy Newman Harps and Angels Nonesuch Norma Jean The Anti Mother Solid State Conor Oberst s/t Merge Carrie Rodriguez She Ain’t Me Back Porch/EMI Trapt Only Through the Pain Eleven Seven Music

August 12

August 19

Clique Girlz Not Too Young Interscope

David Byrne Big Love: Hymnal Todo Mundo

East Village Opera Company Old School Decca

Caesars Strawberry Weed Astralwerks

Anya Singleton The Other Side Hybrid

Glen Campbell Meet Glen Campbell Capitol/EMI

Irma Thomas Simply Grand Rounder

The Dandy Warhols …Earth to the Dandy Warhols Beat The World

Michelle Williams Unexpected Columbia

The Duhks Fast Paced World Sugar Hill

Jonas Brothers A Little Bit Longer Hollywood

Juliana Hatfield How to Walk Away Ye Olde

Lykke Li Youth Novels Atlantic Amy MacDonald This Is the Life Decca Ra Ra Riot The Rhumb Line Barsuk Xavier Rudd Dark Shades of Blue Anit-/Epitaph Starling Electric Clouded Staircase Bar/None Uh Huh Her Common Reaction Nettwerk The Verve Forth RED

August 26 Cordero De Donde Eres Bloodshot Delta Spirit Ode to Sunshine Rounder B.B. King One Kind of Favor Geffen Little Feat Join the Band 429 LL Cool J Exit 13 Def Jam Raine Maida The Hunter’s Lullaby Klingnoise Motörhead Motörized SPV

vital culture | Vital Source | augu s t record releas es | 29

wild >> words by matt

Sing out, Milwaukee! My column could be your life! Or: We’re gonna build something this summer In the press release for their recently released album, Stay Positive, Brooklyn-based rock band The Hold Steady offer up this positively barfinducing nugget:   “A great American philosopher once said ‘Our band could be your life.’ We think that is true. But ‘Your life could be our band’ is also a true statement. We know this because we have lived it. These are our lives. These are your lives. This is our fourth record. Stay Positive.”

my words. These are your words. This is my fortieth column. SubVersions. Week 1 The Hold Steady “We’re gonna build something this summer!” So ends Stay Positive’s leadoff track, “Constructive Summer.” My summer – far from being constructive – has been all sorts of crazy, filled with enough drinking and general high schoollevel drama to cripple your average pre-teen. Fittingly, during the first week of my experiment, I got fucked up even more.   I drank. Christ, did I drink. I blacked out on two occasions and threw up on one. Most nights involved the Y-Not II, Jamo’s, The Social, Fat Abbey’s, Landmark, Foundation, and Jamo’s again. I passed out in the back of a pickup truck and did a fair share of ill-advised moped riding. I also took a lot of cabs.   I went to my second roller derby bout in as many months, and remained clueless as to what a “lead jammer” is. I continued drinking. I lost track of how I got home most nights and ended up blowing half a paycheck on Patty Burger. I alienated friends, family, and the occasional house pet. Like the album I was listening to, I was shameless, pandering, and more than a little bit embarrassing. The less said, the better.

  Christ, are they fucking serious? (In case you were wondering, that loud groaning sound you heard after reading the above paragraph was you.)   For those not in the know, The Hold Steady are a critically adored and rarely enjoyed band that fancy themselves the indie heirs to Bruce Springsteen. They’re indie-rock populists, you see, because they write songs about getting high in boring towns, getting drunk at all-ages shows, passing out and making out in “chill-out tents,” and a whole bunch of other dumb shit you probably forgot you did when you were 17. Their albums have titles like Boys and Girls in America, and they use the word “we” a lot – a lazy writing trick I admit to using in the past, and one that I vow to never use again. Promise.   Anyway, in the interest of science, I recently decided to conduct a wholly unscientific experi- Week 2 Decibully ment. I would listen to nothing but Stay Positive for a week – taking in all the songs about townies, cutters, and, um, staying positive – and Sing out America!, on the other hand, really surcompare it to a week spent listening to another prised me. I had neither seen nor heard Decibully seemingly indie-populist album, Decibully’s Sing before this shabby little experiment, yet I found Out America! Would I get drunk a lot and make their album to be extremely likable and even an ass of myself? Would I stumble across some downright brilliant, especially this passage from heartbreaking revelation that would define a gen- “Notes to Our Leaders”: eration? Would I just stay at home and decide to listen to some Allman Brothers instead? “We choose a different voice / we chew on our   Well Milwaukee, the results are in. These are choices / swallow the knowledge and the experi-

30 | subversions | Vital Source | vital Li ving

ence / that we make for ourselves”   Yeah, like The Hold Steady, there’s a lot of presumptive “we” stuff in the lyrics, and the presence of a goddamned banjo severely dates the album, but the overall tone strikes a deep, satisfying chord that stays with you long after.   Likewise, my week spent listening to it proved positively idyllic. I took a lot of walks. I went to a baseball game with my girlfriend and her parents, and cried during a Corey Hart homerun to deep right. I found a Pomeranian dog roaming alone on Farwell one humid night, and gave it some water provided by former Decibully bassist – and current Comet bartender – Justin Klug. I welcomed a new roommate, and embraced plans to move to a new place for the first time in six years. I saw my younger brother off to a new job in Montana and attended a “Friendship Party” thrown by a group of Riverwest acquaintances. I even decided to give roller derby another chance. Seriously, it was a good fucking week.   In the end, however, my strong feelings for both albums – and both weeks – were tempered by a few days worth of reflection. Gone were the initial highs and lows, only to be replaced by a more calm, reasoned appreciation. It’s like a lot of things, I suppose: a doomed summer romance, an accelerated new friendship, an unlikely coming together of tragedy and joy. I’ve experienced all these things at one time or another, have learned from them or not, have always made it out alive. Oh, who am I kidding? We all have. VS Matt Wild is still planning to build something this summer.

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puzzle page Vital source


The CryptoQuip below is a quote in substitution code, where A could equal R, H could equal P, etc. One way to break the code is to look for repeated letters. E, T, A, O, N and I are the most often used letters. A single letter is usually A or I; OF, IS and IT are common 2-letter words; and THE and AND are common 3-letter words. Good luck!

Clues: K=A R=B


Across 1 Double curve 4 TV talk show host of yore


9 Fuel 12 Listing 14 Idaho city 15 Furrow

16 Moon cycle 17 Receded 18 Historic time 19 60s TV western star-

To solve the Sudoku puzzle, each row, column and box must contain the numbers 1-9.

ring Barbara Stanwyck, with The 21 Besmirch 23 Tokyo, formerly 24 Droop 26 Present mo. 27 Actor Holbrook 30 First lady 32 Icelandic epic 34 Mentalist Geller 35 Gr. Letter 37 Deceptions 40 Statehouse VIP 41 Toothache problem 43 Rodent 44 Coiffure 46 Shade tree 47 Needle part 48 Astronaut’s insignia 49 Obese 51 Farm female 52 Jittery 54 Harbor craft 57 Ump 59 Center 61 Late 60s TV musicalcomedy starring Robert

Morse 66 Skater Midori 67 Mary of The Maltese Falcon 69 Claw 70 Sum (Abbr.) 71 Summit 72 Steeple 73 Word part (Abbr.) 74 TV husband & wife detectives 75 Convened Down 1 Ornamental pocketbook 2 Vocalize 3 Nat Turner, e.g. 4 Brother of Cain 5 Ear parts 6 Tripoli is here 7 Compass pt. 8 Beatty and Buntline 9 Classic 60s TV farm sitcom 10 Haloes 11 Begin 12 Priest’s robe

13 Barter 20 70s-80s TV seagoing sitcom, with The 22 Calf-length skirt 25 TV spy comedy that began in 1965 27 Actor Grant 28 Venezuela copper center 29 60s romantic sitcom with Robert Cummings & Julie Newmar, My ___ ___ 31 Aliens, for short 33 Hospital VIPs 36 High card 38 Boxing decision 39 Goulash 41 Commercials 42 North Pole toymaker 45 Beams 50 Exams 52 Gives out 53 Musical poem

july Crossword Answers

vital Living | Vital Source | puzzle page | 31

Vital Source August 2008  

Vital Source August 2008

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