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APRIL 2021



Will the Pandemic Change Some of Our Views?


e are beginning to see some light at the end of this dark pandemic and the havoc it caused our physical and mental health and our economy. Americans looked to the new administration to come to the rescue and that’s happening. In the first hundred days, our government set a reasonable goal of 100,000,000 vaccines administered and now we are hoping to see that goal double to 200,000,000 shots. Our economy has been devastated with millions of people unemployed and millions more who dropped out of the labor force and didn't get counted. A year ago, many small businesses were forced to close, some are now permanently out-of-business, and many of those that stayed open worked at partial capacity and lost money. Last month, the federal government passed a massive and comprehensive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that will address these issues. The COVID relief package was strongly supported by the American public across the political spectrum. There are emergency times when the “right thing to do” should transcend politics like in a war, depression or a pandemic.

WILL THE PUBLIC’S VIEW OF GOVERNMENT CHANGE? Hopefully, people are beginning to see that the government with all its issues is a positive force in their daily lives. Big institutions are clumsy and inefficient whether in the public sector, the private sector or the nonprofit sector. Government institutions are more difficult to manage because democracy is messy. You need to listen to all voices, and you need to be transparent. Also, in a democracy there will be some parties, including some media, that are cheering for the government to fail. We might need to remind ourselves that we are the government, but, unfortunately, what has been sold to us is that government is an alien force out to hurt us. It wasn’t always this way. In the Great Depression of the 1930s, Franklin D. Roosevelt—through a variety of programs—saved our democracy and dramatically improved American’s lives. He was elected four times. Government was viewed as a force for good. After World War II, the GI bill educated America. The Kennedy-Johnson administrations expanded education, reduced poverty, Image by ysuel/Getty Images.

expanded civil rights and voting rights and created Medicare—to name just a few of the many efforts that improved the lives of the average Americans. These acts enabled tens of millions of our fellow citizens to experience their version of the American Dream. Even the discredited Nixon administration promoted legislation that created the Environmental Protection Administration. This legislation did much to give us cleaner air and water.

SO WHEN DID THIS CHANGE? It began to change in the late ‘60s with the misinformation about the Vietnam War coming from the government. It then significantly changed when Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980. When Reagan was elected, a majority of the population still had a favorable view of government. Reagan changed all that. His famous statement that the nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help” began the process. When he left office the number of people who had a favorable view of government fell to about 20%. Reagan was definitely “the great communicator” and he used his skills to turn America against their government. Protecting the health and safety of the average citizen was rephrased as unnecessary or oppressive government regulation. Legislation that helped give opportunities to low income children through early education and nutrition programs was labeled unnecessary and counterproductive welfare that stifled initiative. Policies that protected our air and water were relabeled burdensome job-killing regulations. Laws protecting our health and safety were declared unnecessary because the unfettered free market would force chemical companies and food processors to take care of those issues.

WHO BENEFITS WHEN WE DISCREDIT GOVERNMENT? The businesses that want to lower their costs by irresponsibly discharging waste and polluting our air and water. The businesses that want to sell us dangerous and unhealthy products and doesn't want the government showing that these products cause cancer and a variety of other illnesses. Big Pharma that sells you opioids that are addictive and can eventually kill

you. Finally, the companies and the billionaires who want to cut back on government benefits so they can lower their taxes. However, it’s interesting that during a crisis like our current pandemic, where do even these government-haters run to save themselves? Who were some of the largest beneficiaries from the three COVID relief bills? The airlines, for example, along with other big industries were first in line, and they received billions.

IS THERE A SILVER LINING? Hopefully, some good things will come out of this pandemic. Joe Biden’s plan is to “Build Back Better”—to do more to improve the lives of the average American beyond what it was in January 2020 before the pandemic. One thing that we are seeing is the generosity of Americans to their neighbors and their understanding that “we truly are all in this together.” We are in awe of the heroic efforts of our frontline workers from the medical workers who are literally touching the patients to the individuals who keep the hospital clean and sanitary. Others who have been heroic are the bus drivers, the grocery store workers, the teachers and the first responders and many more who go to work each day to take care of the rest of us. Hopefully, Americans will re-discover the fact that we are the government, and the government has the capacity to improve our health, safety, and general well-being. Democracy only works if you have a well-informed citizenry, so we need to spend more time trying to stay informed and questioning the sources of our information. We need to have patience with people we disagree with and gently try to have civil discussions and ask questions rather than preach at them. And finally, remember who in government was looking out for the average person rather than the special interests. As this pandemic begins to wind down, this should be a moment of optimism for our nation and the world. The Roaring Twenties followed our last pandemic. We are going through a tough time, but tough times are when you have a real chance to question assumptions and grow. We are never too old to learn and change. Louis Fortis Publisher/Editor-in-Chief APRIL 2021 | 3


Photo by Zoe Finney.

48 NEWS 06 Honoring Earth Day All Year

14 It’s Time to End Qualified Immunity in Wisconsin — Issue of the Month 15 This Modern World 16 Reform the Senate Filibuster and Restore American Democracy Taking Liberties 18 Nelson Soler Makes Business Learning Accessible to the Latino Community Hero of the Month 20 Why Shopping Local Matters Off the Cuff


FOOD & DRINK 24 Best of the Wurst at Bay View’s Vanguard

Photo courtesy of Vanguard.

Photo by Mitch Keller.

Illustration by Popmarleo-Getty Images.

10 Lakefront Improvements Will Welcome Visitors

24 38

26 Turning Frozen Spinach into an Indian Delight — Flash in the Pan 28 Things You Didn’t Know About Sherry Beverages Photo by boonsom/Getty Images.

SPECIAL 30 Organic Gardening Made Easy Home & Garden

PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Louis Fortis (ext. 3802)

32 Spring Cleaning Made Simple Home & Garden

GENERAL MANAGER: Kevin Gardner (ext. 3825)

CULTURE 34 Brewers Will Mix and Match Players This Season 38 Trapper Schoepp Seeks Renewal on His New Album, ‘May Day’ 42 This Month in Milwaukee


MANAGING EDITOR: David Luhrssen (ext. 3804) STAFF WRITER/COPY EDITOR: Jean-Gabriel Fernandez (ext. 3818) ASSISTANT TO THE GENERAL MANAGER: Blaine Schultz (ext. 3813) EVENT SALES COORDINATOR: Carrie Fisher (ext. 3823) ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES: Bridgette Ard (ext. 3811) Andy Roncke (ext. 3806)

46 Marijuana Is Not Opioids, Comparing Them Is Dishonest — Cannabis


48 The Danger of Catering to Your Audience — Out of my Mind




50 Homophobia in Her Hood — Dear Ruthie 52 Observing National Day of Silence, April 23 — My LGBTQ POV

ART FOR ART'S SAKE 54 From the City That Always Sweeps


IN MEMORY OF DUSTI FERGUSON (OCTOBER 18, 1971 – NOVEMBER 20, 2007) WEB EDITOR: Tyler Nelson (ext. 3810) WEB WRITER: Allen Halas (ext. 3803) BUSINESS MANAGER: Peggy Debnam (ext. 3832)

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CIRCULATION COORDINATOR: Blaine Schultz (ext. 3813) Cover: Solar panel photo by Bilanol/Getty Images. Coral photo by Tunatura/Getty Images. Tree sprout photo by maxsattana/Getty Images. Beehive photo by atali_Mis/Getty Images. Isolated honey bee photos by DanielPrudek/Getty Images. Monarch caterpillar photo by JasonOndreicka/Getty Images. Monarch butterfly photo by thawats/Getty Images. Ocean wave photo by Bogdan Khmelnytskyi/Getty Images. Rhino photo by AOosthuizen/Getty Images. Soil photo by Marina Fedorova/Getty Images. Wind turbine photo by Stephen Barnes/Getty Images.



Earth Day ALL YEAR

Individuals and groups can foster environmental sustainability BY VIRGINIA SMALL


arth Day was born in Wisconsin at a time when the Badger State was one of the most progressive states in the nation. The first Earth Day in 1970 drew national attention to the

widening environmental crises. Soon after, new governmental agencies and regulations helped revitalize polluted lands and waters, conserve natural resources and regulate toxic substances. Nevertheless, today we face even greater challenges due to the global climate crisis. That includes the irreversible melting of glaciers and loss of species and habitats. Most critically, if Earth’s temperature continues to rise, its ability to support life becomes uncertain. Climate scientists concur that human activities contribute to extreme climate events. Conversely, people can work to halt and reverse those effects. A key mandate is to reduce the levels of carbon dioxide released into our atmosphere. Conscientious individual actions can help increase climate resilience. As environmental activist and author Joanna Macy says, “Active hope involves taking action in support of a future we hope for.” Positive actions counter futility, despair and inertia. Also, grassroots efforts provide ballast for climate-informed policies. In 2020, it became increasingly clear that comprehensive “systems thinking” is essential to holistically tackling intertwined challenges involving public health, racialized inequities and ecological sustainability. We can honor and celebrate Earth Day on April 22 and every day. Beyond the basics of recycling, composting and environmental cleanups, there are far-ranging options for environmental stewardship.


Photo by llvllagic/Getty Images.

Photo by DiyanaDimitrova/Getty Images.



This can happen with any site visited often enough to observe seasonal rhythms, landscape changes over time, as well as flora and fauna. Conservationists say that “biophilia,” the desire to commune with nature, encourages thoughtful stewardship of specific places. Children need ready access to green spaces and opportunities to learn about them, a goal addressed locally by the Urban Ecology Center, “Green Schoolyards” and other projects.


Sustainable growing projects enable direct caretaking of the Earth. Gardening and greening can focus on supporting birds, bees, butterflies and other insects; replacing sod with native plantings; reducing runoff into common waters; cultivating food; and other goals. Local resources include Alice's Garden, Groundwork Milwaukee, Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District, UW's Extension Milwaukee County, Victory Garden Initiative and community gardens. Also, planting shade trees benefits community health on many levels (see page 8).

There is no Plan B when it comes to potential climate catastrophe, since there is no "Planet B."


STUDY Books and films about climate issues abound. The nonprofit 350.org, a worldwide science-based organization with a Milwaukee chapter, works to address climate crises. Online resources include guides, templates and creative toolkits for studying and organizing. Learning about our local watershed can heighten awareness of how individual acts affect the health of our waters and overall environment.

The World Economic Forum warned in 2016 that plastic by weight will outpace fish within our oceans by 2050, if unchecked. The amount of plastic that enters Lake Michigan alone each year is equivalent to 100 Olympic-sized pools full of plastic bottles, a Rochester Institute of Technology study reported. The Plastic-Free MKE Coalition—a collective of community members, local nonprofits, government agencies and small-business owners— works to eliminate single-use plastics in greater Milwaukee. Its website offers resources and activities to help end reliance on plastics. Visit plasticfreemke.org. APRIL 2021 | 7



PLANTING TREES YIELDS BIG DIVIDENDS Investing in trees and other “green infrastructure” are investments in public health, community resilience and sustainable employment opportunities, says a plan by the nonprofit Milwaukee Water Commons (MWC). Environmental benefits of trees include improved air and water quality and decreases in heat vulnerability and flooding. The presence of trees also correlates with reductions in the likelihood of respiratory or cardiovascular disease. Branch Out Milwaukee, coordinated by MWC, is a “collectively organized campaign to maximize the benefit of Milwaukee’s canopy by focusing on equity, public health, environmental health, climate resilience and workforce development.” Through collaborative efforts to plant and maintain trees, “the organizations engaged in Branch Out Milwaukee are committed to working throughout Milwaukee to ensure that tree-canopy goals also deliver on neighborhood priorities,” said MWC's Joe Fitzgerald. Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources website also cites research that indicates “a strong correlation between higher levels of tree canopy and lower levels of crime, regardless of socioeconomic factors.” Studies in Baltimore and Chicago found 12% to 56% decreases in crime following increases in the presence of shade trees and green space. Greening Milwaukee is a nonprofit organization focused on making Milwaukee greener by showing people how easy it is to plant trees. The group even provides complimentary trees. Their website offers abundant information about choosing appropriate trees, where and how to plant them, and how to care for them.


LINK CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ISSUES Research shows that communities of color and Indigenous peoples are impacted most directly and deeply by environmental and climate-crisis challenges. “Building a Multiracial Environmental Community” is a new initiative launched by Hummingbird (coordinated by environmental activist Mandi McAlister) in collaboration with Milwaukee Environmental Consortium and Nearby Nature Milwaukee. It offers ongoing tracks for study, connection and action “to address racism in the environmental community and work toward environmental justice.”

ACT LOCALLY Both grassroots and governmental initiatives to address climate issues are growing. The Milwaukee Equity and Climate Alliance (MECA) is a coalition of organizations “working to persuade the City of Milwaukee to adopt and implement a comprehensive plan to move City operations and the community as a whole to 100% renewable energy.” The City-County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity, founded in 2019, is co-chaired by Ald. Nik Kovac and Milwaukee County Board Chair Marcelia Nicholson. It issued a preliminary report last year and commissioned a Milwaukee Greenhouse Gas Inventory & Forecast, available at the City's Climate and Equity Plan webpage (milwaukee.gov/climateplan). The public is invited to attend task force meetings, including those of topical work groups.

ADVOCATE FOR SUSTAINABLE POLICIES Countering a climate catastrophe will require sustained governmental policy initiatives. The City of Milwaukee's Environmental Collaboration Office (ECO) has established an agenda of climate-related policy goals, accessible at milwaukee.gov/climate, along with other resources.

ACKNOWLEDGE AND IMAGINE In terms of the climate crisis, we are all in this together. On Earth Day and beyond, we can ponder who and what has helped preserve the natural resources upon which we and other beings depend. One starting point is to acknowledge the Indigenous peoples on whose lands we reside, as well as traditional Native wisdom about resource management. We can research, ask and imagine what will support our planet's survival and health. We can honor the Earth, individually and collectively, day in and day out.

Virginia Small was senior editor for a national magazine, staff reporter and cultural reviewer for several newspapers and a contributor to many national and regional publications.

Soil photo by Marina Fedorova/Getty Images. Plant photo by ovelyday12/Getty Images. Wind turbine photo by Jezperklauzen/Getty Images.

APRIL 2021 | 9


Lakefront Improvements WILL WELCOME VISITORS

Wide-ranging Projects Focus on Green Solutions, Comfort and Accessibility


BY VIRGINIA SMALL isitors to Milwaukee’s Downtown lakefront will see multiple improvements this spring and summer; others are on the drawing board.

One project under construction is a redo of the parking lot north of the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center. The landmark modernist building was designed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen and dedicated in 1957. Recent exterior refurbishments included restorations of the facade and “birdcage stairs,” restoration of the deck area, the addition of a granite monument ring and green-roof plantings, as well as replacement of the “eternal flame” sculpture with upgrades to the reflecting-pond monument. Now, the building’s surroundings are getting attention.

What began as a routine resurfacing project evolved into a more comprehensive and transformative undertaking according to the project’s manager, Julie Bastin, a Milwaukee County senior architect and engineer. Planners decided this was a “perfect opportunity for Milwaukee to feature the lakefront with a high-profile ‘green infrastructure’ project” to address multiple needs, said Bastin. Through extensive collaboration and planning, the county leveraged $500,000 allocated for the overlay project into improvements that will total about $3 million. The expanded project received funding support from the Fund for Lake Michigan, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation–Save Our Great Lakes. UW-Milwaukee's School of Architecture and Urban Planning also consulted on the project.



The War Memorial upgrade is a central component of Greenprint: Milwaukee Shoreline Vision Plan, which incorporates numerous strategies to promote the lakefront’s long-term health. Stormwater management techniques include permeable pavers that decrease runoff, a system of bioswales to capture rainwater, native landscaping and a dry-rock channel that conveys stormwater during rain events. These enhancements will help capture, slow and filter water from surrounding pavements before it drains into Lake Michigan, according to a description by The Sigma Group, the project’s designer. The prairie plantings will also enhance the lakefront’s ecological habitat and serve as a scenic buffer between the parking lot and the lakewalk, which is part of the Oak Leaf Trail. This project builds upon Milwaukee’s role as a national leader in green infrastructure, an approach originally initiated by Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District to reduce reliance on costly sewer expansions. Green infrastructure economically manages stormwater while also improving water quality and Photo by Sean Pavone/Getty Images.

habitats. Projects often create more green space to serve community needs. Phase one should be complete by early summer, said Bastin. Phase two of the project, still being designed, will add other improvements to War Memorial and Veterans Park entrances, including more pedestrian-friendly walkways and a renovation of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial plaza.

PLANS FOR LAKESHORE STATE PARK Attracting more visitors than ever is Wisconsin’s only state park located in the heart of a downtown urban environment. Attendance at Lakeshore State Park, which is always free of charge, rose from 405,000 in 2019 to 418,000 in 2020. Angela Vickio, the park manager and naturalist who also manages the adjacent Hank Aaron State Trail, said attendance rose despite the pandemic-related cancellation of all educational tours and special events. On a recent walk along the 1.7-mile paved trail through the 22-acre park, Vickio pointed out places where projects are APRIL 2021 | 11



underway or planned. The park’s fishing pier, which juts into the lagoon between the park and the Summerfest grounds, will be repaired this spring. Two new native-plant prairies have been installed near the park’s south entrance. Demonstration gardens at the north end serve as models for home gardeners. In February, the Friends of Lakeshore State Park (FLSP) publicly launched a request for proposal (RFP) for a capital campaign consultant to raise funds for the park’s Visitor and Education Center. Kubala Washatko Architects’ “high-yield, low-impact design” for the 2,500 squarefoot center is “the culmination of several years of planning for a much-needed building to complete the park’s master plan,” a friends-group brochure says. “The park lacks any indoor amenities; an abrupt change of weather or the need for facilities can significantly alter educational programming and limit usage of the park during Wisconsin’s long winter.” The exceptionally green building may include solar-energy panels mounted on a shade structure over an outdoor plaza with room for 300 visitors. Other exterior features could include a fireplace, stormwater green infrastructure and native agricultural gardens. The interior elements are preliminarily set to include restrooms 12 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

that are open year-round, an atrium gathering area, a meeting room, interactive educational displays, an office and showers for boaters docking overnight at the marina's reservable slips.

consin’s Department of Natural Resources and others to enhance ecological habitats in the park’s lagoons.

Vickio said that early conceptual plans for the one-story building have been vetted through various review processes. The design has been developed collaboratively and is compliant with the existing property master plan. She said that the site for the center, in the middle of the park, will make it more accommodating for all visitors, including school children and those wishing to experience the park year-round.

The former children’s stage at Henry W. Maier Festival Park (Summerfest grounds) is being transformed into the Northwestern Mutual Community Park. To be completed by June, the children’s playground and theater area will welcome all families yearround, whenever the grounds are not hosting a festival, according to a statement by the Northwestern Mutual Foundation. Project planners intend to make it one of Wisconsin's most accessible playgrounds.

A longtime board member of FLSP also shared one of his dreams for the center. David Holmes, an environmental scientist and the national brownfield technical leader for Stantec, hopes to “bring more awareness of the underwater portion of Milwaukee’s lakefront,” not just its onshore life. “I’m hoping we can figure out how to install some underwater cameras in the lagoons—perhaps near fish nests or other habitat attractions—which could then potentially be viewed on display screens inside the center. Making the underwater habitat more visible could help promote its importance and result in a more holistic appreciation of the lakefront.” He said it could also support ongoing efforts by Wis-


The playground will serve multiple age groups and include soft-surface flooring for safer play, recycled materials and shaded seating for parents. More than 4,000 square feet will be devoted to flexible spaces available for nonprofit organizations to produce interactive programming. The performance area will feature a permanent covered stage, accessible seating and a viewing area for 500 people. An 1,800-square foot, air-conditioned family services building will include a quiet space where mothers can nurse their children. Three wheelchair-accessible, air-conditioned quiet rooms will offer a

Photo Courtesy of the Friends of Lakeshore State Park.

calm environment for children who may be overstimulated from the noise and environment of the festival grounds. Other renovations to the grounds will support the reconfigured Summerfest, now scheduled for three weekends in September, as well as ethnic fests and other events. North of the Summerfest grounds, the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) completed updates to its Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion. Thanks to Donna and Donald Baumgartner, Joel and Caran Quadracci and the Windhover Foundation, the museum made renovations throughout the pavilion. Completed projects include refinishing the marble floors in Windhover Hall and the wood floors in the Baker/ Rowland Galleries. The hydraulic cylinders that help operate the Museum’s Burke Brise Soleil (the exterior “wings”) were also recently repaired, according to Josh Depenbrok, MAM's public relations manager.

IN THE WORKS? Something significant is not coming to Milwaukee’s lakefront—so far. Milwaukee

County Parks is reviewing proposals for small-cell wireless facilities (SWFs), which can be visually intrusive within a scenic landscape such as the lakefront. Three recent applications have been rejected for such towers to be placed within Milwaukee's northern lakefront, in Veterans and McKinley parks and along Lincoln Memorial Drive at the north end of Bradford Beach. Nonetheless, applications for 5G technology have been approved for installation along other county parkways. Milwaukee County Park’s planning page says, “The streamlined application process allows the department to ensure limited negative impact to parklands.” A county workgroup was formed last fall to develop guidelines. As defined by a county board resolution, guidelines will seek to limit SWFs to areas that “do not impede upon historically designated locations, do not interfere with aesthetics in highly valued park spaces, do not obstruct views, are as minimally invasive as possible and result in the highest revenues possible to the county.”

A transit concourse north of the lakefront along Lincoln Memorial Drive is still on the drawing board. “The City of Milwaukee continues to work with the other stakeholders… regarding the future of this project,” said Brian DeNeve, marketing and communications officer for the City of Milwaukee’s Department of Public Works. Collaborators include Milwaukee County, the Federal Transportation Administration and the developer of a planned tower with luxury rental units. “We look forward to The Couture development so we can connect our existing tracks on Michigan and Clybourn streets to the planned transit concourse. Providing streetcar service to the lakefront will further enhance the overall connectivity of the downtown and its many amenities for all of the city’s residents and visitors to enjoy,” said DeNeve. Virginia Small was senior editor for a national magazine, staff reporter and cultural reviewer for several newspapers and a contributor to many national and regional publications.

APRIL 2021 | 13




n 2014, Shaniz West came to her Caldwell home in Idaho with her children to find the house surrounded by five police officers. The officers informed her that they were looking for her ex-boyfriend, who was wanted on firearms charges and whom they believed might be inside the house. In response, West told the officers that it was possible that he was inside the house, and they were welcome to check—she left them the keys to the house and left in a friend’s car. Instead of using the keys that she had left them to search the house, the officers decided to call in a SWAT team. What ensued was an hour-and-a-half long standoff between the SWAT team and what they would eventually realize was an empty house, which they would have learned if they had just used the keys that West had given them. Instead, over the course of that afternoon, the SWAT team bombarded the house with tear gas grenades, breaking windows, destroying her possessions, rendering the house uninhabitable and leaving West and her children homeless. In compensation, the city gave Ms. West $900 and provided a hotel room for three weeks; not nearly enough to cover the massive amount of damage and disruption to her home and life. But when Ms. West filed a lawsuit against the police department in order to cover the damages, the case was thrown out. How could this have happened?


Well, because in 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court made a mistake. That year, the Court decided to expand and codify an obscure legal doctrine that had first been outlined 15 years prior: “qualified immunity.” In one fell swoop, the Court transformed what had previously been a reasonable protection for public officers acting in good faith and transformed it into a vague, near-catch-all defense that could be used by public officials to violate the constitutional rights of everyday people with virtual impunity. How did it get to that point? The umbrella concept of “qualified immunity” was first laid out by the Supreme Court in 1967, in the case Pierson v. Ray. Responding to a case wherein a group of 12 white and three black civil rights-aligned Episcopal priests were arrested in Mississippi for “breach of peace” when they refused to leave a coffee shop while waiting for a bus. Ultimately, although the U.S. Supreme Court found the Mississippi law under which the clergymen were arrested was unconstitutional, they determined that the arrest-


ing officers were not liable for civil damages, because they “...act[ed] under a statute that [they] reasonably believed to be valid, but was later held to be unconstitutional, on its face or as applied.” In Pierson v. Ray, the Supreme Court established a defense for public officials, and for law enforcement specifically, that would protect them from civil liability in cases where it was clear that they were acting in good faith. Fifteen years later, in the case Harlow v. Fitzgerald, things took a turn. In that case, the Supreme Court chose to amend and expand qualified immunity. Instead of relying on an affirmative, “good faith” defense that would be presented at trial, the Court chose to base qualified immunity claims on the legal concept of “reasonableness,” and, critically, shifted the burden of proof onto the claimant rather than the public official. Effectively, the Court decided that requiring officials accused of trampling on individuals’ constitutional rights to stand trial and defend their actions was too high a burden, and so officials should be further protected “insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.”


With that, the Court chose to codify a version of qualified immunity that broadened its protections of public officials in all but the most egregious cases, to the detriment of everyday people. The decision made in Harlow created a new version of qualified immunity that, by the Court’s own admission a few years later in Malley v. Briggs, granted “ample protection to all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law.” But, as we’ve seen in the years since, even officials who show incompetence or a willingness to violate the law have been protected by qualified immunity. One need not look very hard to find stories such as those of Alexander Baxter, a homeless Tennessee man who was subjected to a vicious attack by a police dog even after sitting down with his hands in the air and surrendering to police, or of Malaika Brooks, a seven-months pregnant Washington state woman who was tased three times in front of her 11-year-old son after speeding on their way to her son’s school, not to mention countless other instances of police brutality over the years—in all of these cases, qualified immunity was used to dismiss civil suits over personal injury, constitutional rights violations and even wrongful death.

Luckily, voices from across the political spectrum are beginning to realize the error of the qualified immunity doctrine and are coming together to say that it is past time this harmful doctrine is abolished. Although this concept has been cast as a partisan issue in recent years, the facts show otherwise. Organizations as ideologically diverse as the Cato Institute, the ACLU, the NAACP, the Institute for Justice, Americans for Prosperity and more, as well as both conservative and liberal jurists and legal scholars have made the case that it is time to reexamine and end the outdated, legally shaky and harmful doctrine of qualified immunity. Earlier this month, my colleague State Senator LaTonya Johnson and I took measures to add Wisconsin to this

Background photo by Evgen_Prozhyrko/Getty Images.

growing coalition of voices saying enough is enough and demanding an end to this mistake. Along with 18 of our colleagues, Sen. Johnson and I have introduced LRB-1942, a bill to end qualified immunity for law enforcement officers in Wisconsin. The people of Wisconsin deserve public officials who will be fully held to account if they violate the constitutional rights of the people they are sworn to protect and serve. The people of Wisconsin deserve an end to qualified immunity in our state.

Jonathan Brostoff represents the 19th District in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

APRIL 2021 | 15



and Restore American Democracy BY JOEL MCNALLY


ast month, President Joe Biden passed the first major legislation of his presidency creating a massive national vaccination program to end an uncontrolled pandemic and pouring money into the U.S. economy the deadly virus destroyed. It was celebrated as exactly what Biden was elected to do. Unfortunately, Biden’s first piece of vitally needed legislation also could be his last. That’s a shocking statement to make in the early months of a popular president elected with the largest vote in American history. It’s also the harsh reality of the vicious, anti-democratic tactics of today’s Republican Party. The word “democratic” in this case, is spelled with a capital D or a small d. Consider the vote on Biden’s desperately needed recovery plan. If anything can bring Democrats and Republicans together for the good of the country, it’s


legislation supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans, right? Wrong. Three days before the Senate voted, a Morning Consult poll found 77% of voters supported Biden’s plan, including 59% of Republicans. That didn’t stop every Senate Republican from opposing it just as every House Republican did a week earlier. Elected Republicans really don’t care what the majority of the Americans want. Having lost the presidency, all that Republicans really care about is preventing Biden’s presidency from being successful. That’s just the opposite of what the majority of Americans want. The cruel Republican calculation is that, if Biden fails to return American lives to normal, voters will take it out on Democrats in the midterms and Republicans could regain power. Midterms usually attract fewer voters, and Republicans know they do better when fewer Americans vote.

SACRED PRINCIPLE? Here’s the scariest part. With the razor-thin Democratic control of the Senate—a 50-50 split with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking tie votes—Republicans have a wicked, undemocratic (small d) Senate rule that could destroy Biden’s presidency. Republicans never describe the Senate filibuster rule that way, of course. They call it a sacred constitutional principle designed to protect minority rights in a democracy. That’s just another Republican lie. Our nation’s founders never heard of the filibuster. Their basic principle of democracy was after robust congressional debate, a vote would take place and the majority would prevail. That’s just the opposite of the present-day tyranny of a minority that’s transformed the Senate into a legislative graveyard preventing popular bills from ever coming to a final vote. It’s the

latest undemocratic chapter in the filibuster’s mostly shameful history. The first rudimentary Senate filibuster was invented in the 1840s by South Carolina Sen. John C. Calhoun to defend slavery from northern abolitionists as a “positive good” civilizing Africans into American life. But Calhoun’s filibusters could only delay the inevitable with long-winded speeches leading up to the Civil War.

KILLING LEGISLATION The irony is that it was a successful, two-day, anti-war filibuster in 1917 led by Wisconsin’s progressive Republican Sen. “Fighting Bob” LaFollette, Calhoun’s polar opposite, that created the weaponized, modern-day Senate filibuster now used by a rightwing Senate minority to kill progressive legislation. For the next half-century until passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the primary use of the filibuster again was by racist southern senators to block civil rights legislation including anti-lynching laws. LaFollette’s was one of the few filibusters ever used for a progressive cause.

Photo by dkfielding/Getty Images.

LaFollette prevented President Woodrow Wilson from arming American merchant ships that were being harassed by German U-boats, a pacifist attempt to keep America out of World War I. The short protest worked because the Senate faced a legal deadline for adjournment. But U.S war fever was so high, it prompted a fierce, national backlash burning mock senators in effigy. Wilson demanded the Senate reconvene and change its rules, leading to a 76-to-3 vote passing Rule 22.

The only reason Biden could pass his recovery plan with a simple majority vote was through a budget reconciliation process. Democrats can only use that process two more times for budget measures before the midterms. Democrats shouldn’t expect to pass any other legislation in the Senate until they rewrite the filibuster rule. Ten Republican senators didn’t even vote with Democrats to prevent a deranged president from ever sending another raging mob to the Capitol to murder them.

Rule 22 has now been corrupted beyond recognition in the modern Senate, turning it upside down. It originally required a supermajority of two-thirds of the Senate (later lowered to three-fifths, today’s 60 votes) to shut down minority filibusters. But senators are no longer required to debate during filibusters. That made the filibuster an even stronger weapon for the minority to thwart the majority. Senators on the losing side simply announce a filibuster. Unless the majority can pass a bill with 60 votes, it loses without another vote taken. Sixty votes are now required to pass most major Senate legislation.

After living through a president who has tried to destroy American democracy, it’s always a good idea to start restoring some of democracy’s basic principles like majority rule in the Senate and the right to vote even if you don’t vote Republican.

Joel McNally was a critic and columnist for the Milwaukee Journal for 27 years. He has written the weekly Taking Liberties column for the Shepherd Express since 1996.

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Nelson Soler



or Latino entrepreneurs in Milwaukee and around the state, barriers exist that simply make it harder for them to start a business than it is for their white counterparts. Until Nelson Soler founded his consulting business called the Multicultural Entrepreneurial Institute (MEI), there were no business trainings available in Spanish in the area and no trainings that took into account the cultural values of Latinos. “We are working hard to ensure that Latinos in the region are in power and they have access to the same resources that everybody else gets,” says Soler. The company was founded with the goal of filling this need and providing business training, courses and resources that take into account the language barriers and culture for Latinos and refugees. Founded in 2006, the organization started small by answering calls from entrepreneurs who were asking for help. Over the past 15 years, it has grown into an all-inclusive training institute that teaches entrepreneurial skills at all levels. From basic computer literacy skills to courses on accounting, marketing and scaling a business, Soler has established these tools to meet the needs of any aspiring business owner. It’s not enough to provide state-run courses on business training, Soler explains, the state has to specifically target and reach out to groups that don’t have the means to find these resources. To truly make resources accessible to all races and ethnicities, the tools have to be offered in their language and with their cultural practices in mind. The MEI resources are “always in a format that’s culturally relevant for [our clients], that are respectful of their cultural differences, and we incorporate that into everything we do,” states Soler.

GRASSROOTS CULTURE He explains that the Latino culture in Milwaukee is very grassroots-oriented, and they tend to interact in person or by phone. Therefore, his clients tend to be less computer literate and learn better in person or with their phones. To work with this issue, Soler often uses WhatsApp to communicate with his clients and has spent a lot of time developing courses that teach his students basic computer skills. COVID provided a new challenge, making it harder to work within cultural norms. Soler’s trainings were often in person, but the pandemic forced the company to adapt and teach courses using

Learn more about the Multicultural Entrepreneurial Institute at multiculturalinstitute.com.


Facebook Live or teach through plexiglass at their office. This made learning harder, but Soler made sure to change his practices based on the feedback of his community. To date, Nelson Soler has helped more than 4,000 clients build their business through MEI trainings. He has shown pre-existing business training programs that it is possible to be inclusive when offering resources for the entrepreneurial community by considering the cultural and linguistic differences that hold back minority groups. “We became an aggregate builder between those worlds,” Soler says, “and it has worked for the last 15 years.”

Erin Bloodgood is a Milwaukee photographer and storyteller. Visit bloodgoodfoto.com to see more of her work.


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Off the Cuff with Local First Milwaukee’s Nancy Quinn BY LOUIS FORTIS

NANCY QUINN IS A VOLUNTEER AND BOARD MEMBER OF LOCAL FIRST MILWAUKEE. SHE IS ALSO DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS AT SCHLITZ AUDUBON NATURE CENTER. What is Local First Milwaukee? We’re a business alliance made up of over nearly 175 truly local businesses in the Greater Milwaukee Area—businesses created and owned by your neighbors for our community. We started in 2006, when a small group of independently owned businesses got together to discuss how to showcase the businesses that make Milwaukee the place where we love to work, live and play. Among those around the table were Outpost Natural Foods, Lakefront Brewery, the Pabst Theater and Schwartz Bookshops, where I worked at the time. We’ve been working hard since then to both support our member businesses and to educate Milwaukeeans about the importance of thinking local first. 20 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

Why does supporting and shopping local matter? Local businesses create a more sustainable community. Studies show that independent retailers respend two to three times more of each sales dollar locally than chains, resulting in more jobs and other community benefits. Our members are engaged in their community on a deep level. They are also more likely to choose local providers in the daily running of their businesses. They’re truly expanding the multiplier effect, which results in a stronger local economy. How do you help your member businesses? One of the benefits that members seem to appreciate most is the network of fellow local business owners and the authenticity of that network. They know that when they have questions about how to approach an issue in their business, they can call up another Local First member because that person understands what it means to run a small business. Member businesses are quick to share solutions. We love to see each other grow and succeed. In-person events provide opportunities to engage and learn and are vital to our organization. So, this is something we have all been missing the last year and can’t wait to get back to! Fortunately, our informal member coffee and conversations have continued to take place over Zoom. Our February event, "When Women Lead", was started to support and strengthen our local,

women-owned businesses. While we couldn’t host the event in 2021, anyone interested in utilizing women-led businesses can find a resource guide on our website. The member directory on our website and social media pages help the community learn about our members—I encourage your readers to think local first and to visit these pages. We also like to have fun! We hosted signature events that showcase our member events to the community, like Food Fright—a food-tasting event complete with a costume contest—and our Buy Local Gift Fair at the holidays. How has the pandemic affected your members? It varies among our members, for sure. But it is safe to say that it has been a challenge. Some have seen a substantial loss in revenue and have had to lay off staff. Some were able to get support to stem the losses. But of course, our members are entrepreneurial in nature, which has helped them during this time. Many have created new business models and new products that they will continue to implement and offer after the pandemic. The change in your publication is a great example—I love your colorful, glossy monthly magazine and website redesign! Fortunately, many businesses that had reduced staff are beginning to rehire as they anticipate a more normal summer.

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Independent retailers respend two to three times more of each sales dollar locally than chains, resulting in more jobs and other community benefits. What’s ahead for Local First? As we begin to transition out of this pandemic, I am excited about our future and how we can support and help grow Milwaukee’s local businesses. I think that this pandemic has allowed people to pause and think about what matters to them. That includes their favorite places that they can’t wait to visit, as well as a vibrant community. As an organization, we’re ready for our members to see each other in person again, whether that is at our morning get-togethers, our events, or in each other’s businesses. Something new for us is a local business online gift card auction that will take place April 8-14. During this time, anyone can log on and bid for gift cards to a variety of local businesses including Beans & Barley, Funky Fresh and Milwaukee Kayak Company, to name just a few. We’re launching a new podcast series, Milwaukee Together, with our board member Elzie Flenard of Podcast Town, which will feature members’ businesses. We’re also working with the BIPOC community and inviting their businesses to be part of Local First, so that our organization reflects all of Milwaukee. So, as you can see, we’re looking forward to helping our member businesses flourish in the coming year, knowing that independent businesses give communities economic strength and stronger civic connections. How can our readers get in touch with you? The easiest way is to visit localfirstmilwaukee.com and use the Contact Us form. We’ll be sure get back to you quickly. Our membership is open to any independent, local business or nonprofit. Louis Fortis is the publisher of the Shepherd Express. 22 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

Photo by Weedezign/Getty Images





n a town well known for excellent sausages, it’s quite an achievement to become the go-to place for truly spectacular sausages. In pre-pandemic days, happy Vanguard diners would settle in at the bar for a tasty cocktail and a quick nosh. After a brief closure last spring at the onset of the pandemic, Vanguard re-opened in the summer of 2020 without late bar hours and eliminated in-person dining altogether, opting to embrace a carryout and delivery model. Hopefully, as we get closer to that herd immunity we aim for and restrictions are lifted, Vanguard diners will be able to enjoy that live, in-person dining experience again. For now, though, ordering by phone or online is a pretty smooth system. Perhaps more importantly, from a dining perspective, is how well the food travels. A recent carryout experience yielded very positive results. While some items may not be as piping hot as they are when received directly from kitchen to table, sausages travel pretty well.


While basic house-made hot dogs ($5) and bratwurst ($7) are available, more adventurous palates will be sated by the creative sausage options on the menu. You can’t go wrong with one of the world cuisine-inspired variations like the Thai Breaker ($9), a pork sausage seasoned with lemongrass, cilantro and zippy ginger, topped with shredded lettuce, carrots, “crunchy bits” and peanut sauce. If you like a simple Italian, try it prepared as the Sartorelli ($10), which features the delicious Vanguard Italian sausage, paired with pepperoni slices, red and green peppers, onions, marinara sauce and mozzarella. You can also send your taste buds to Spain with the Don Flamenco ($11), a Spanish chorizo sausage served over a bed of fried potatoes, topped with romesco and garlic aioli. And, even though Vanguard has a lot of meat on the menu, vegans and vegetarians should not feel left out, as many of the specialties can be recreated with meatless alternatives.

BURGERS AND SIDES If you’re not feeling up for a sausage-style meal, check out Thee Durty Burger ($9), a super juicy burger topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, Velveeta cheese and OK sauce. This burger was, somehow, almost better as a carryout item than during the dinein days. Perhaps the extra travel time from restaurant to home really gave the Velveeta an opportunity to melt even more fully with the other ingredients, adding an extra level of decadence. Either way, it is a fantastic burger. Keep in mind, while sausages are the star of the show at Vanguard, the side options are also pretty spectacular. A delightful classic version of the Canadian delicacy, Poutine ($6), features French fries and fresh cheese curds dressed with a lovely caramelized onion gravy. The Baked Potato Balls ($5), crispy fried mashed potato balls topped with bacon, sour cream and old school Cheez Whiz, are out of this world. And don’t overlook the two newest sides, Those Beans ($5) and the bacon-topped Mac

and Cheese ($5). Both are wonderful additions to the menu and will round out any meal at Vanguard perfectly. For anyone who feels they need Vanguard on their own time or lives too far away for convenient carryout, it is now possible to pick up 4-packs of most of their sausages ($20), or a full grill pack which includes sides and buns ($34), for cooking at home. 2659 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. 414-539-3593 | vanguardbar.com $-$$$ Susan Harpt Grimes is a longtime restaurant and features writer for the Shepherd Express.

(Left Image) The Vanguard Grill Kit. (Middle) The Vanguard. (Right) Chicago-Style Hot Dog. All Photos couresty of the Vanguard. Background photo by tarczas/Getty Images

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have been celebrating the arrival of spring with helpings of palak paneer, an Indian dish of spinach and homemade cheese. The spinach, puréed, has a thrilling flavor thanks to ginger, serrano peppers and Indian spices. This green sauce envelops the sweet, nutty cheese, creating a contrast that’s almost as lovely as it is delicious. Frozen spinach is in season too, as food processors must clear freezer space to accommodate the new crop and liquidate last year’s leftovers. The same principle applies to many vegetables. During corn season, look for a sale on frozen corn.

I know that freezer technology has come a long way, but years of trauma are complicated to undo. Standing in the frozen vegetable section, I shook a bag of spinach, and I could feel a loose mass of irregularly shaped material inside. I imagined ice

crystals and freezer-burnt spinach and did not have a good feeling about it, but my recipe called for frozen spinach, so I was going to go for it. At home, I was happy to see bright green, frost-free nuggets of rolled spinach. Palak paneer is often mistaken for saag paneer, a popular Indian restaurant dish. The difference is that saag paneer can contain mustard greens and other greens like radish and turnip, in addition to spinach, while palak paneer contains only spinach. It is a dish you might find anywhere in India, which means there are variations. I can’t say I’ve tried them all, but I would if I could. Of those I have tried, my favorite comes from the blog Feasting at Home. It uses cashews, which add a subtle but rich creaminess, and it calls for frozen spinach—but notes you can also use fresh.

Freezing cooks the spinach in a way, so all you have to do is thaw it in the hot pan in the sautéed flavorings, and then we don’t have to wait for it to cool down before it goes into the blender. And who wants to cook and blend a bunch of baby spinach? But if you are inundated with more spinach than you can handle from your garden or CSA, go for it. While you’re at it, make a big batch and freeze the leftovers, with or without cheese, and save it for later. But if your spinach is limited, save the fresh spinach for raw use, and make palak paneer with frozen spinach. The paneer, aka Indian cheese, is delicious and surprisingly easy to make. You get a grapefruit-sized ball of paneer from a gallon of milk, and you press the ball into a disc and then cut into cubes, which some cooks fry in ghee (clarified butter) before adding to the palak. A certain innocence is lost upon frying, but a distinct crunchiness is gained. Whether or not to fry the paneer cubes is a personal choice. Unfried paneer is cloudlike, softer and decidedly creamier than fried, and it blends blissfully with the creamy spinach sauce unhindered by hard boundaries. The fried cheese, meanwhile, is stiffer, nuttier, sweeter and of course crunchier, like a dense, chewy mascarpone with an exoskeleton. I’ve modified the recipe, as surely the blog’s author Sylvia Fountaine did to the recipe from wherever she got it. Compliments to whoever added the cashews.

Ari LeVaux has written about food for The Atlantic Online, Outside Online and Alternet.


Photos by bhofack2/Getty Images. Background image by Matthieu Tuffet/Getty Images.



This flavor-packed dish needs no condiment or garnish, and it is lovely atop jasmine or basmati rice. For a vegan version, substitute tofu for the cheese and oil for the ghee.



PANEER • 1 gallon milk • 6 tablespoons vinegar + 2 cups water • ½ teaspoon salt • Cheesecloth

1. Pour the milk into a thick-bottomed pot. Heat on medium, frequently scrubbing the bottom with a rubber spatula to prevent buildup, until it is foaming and about to boil, which takes about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Measure out the vinegar and mix with the water.

2. Add the salt and vinegar water, a splash at a time in as dispersed a manner as possible, stirring the pot in a slow circle. It should take about 2 minutes to sprinkle in all of the vinegar.

3. Let it cool to room temperature. It will separate, as the sheets and fragments of PALAK • 5 tablespoons ghee • 1 onion, minced • 2 serrano peppers, chopped • 2 garlic cloves, chopped • 2 tablespoons ginger root, chopped • 2 teaspoons cumin • 2 teaspoons coriander • 1 teaspoon mustard seed • 2 teaspoons garam masala • 1 pound spinach, fresh or frozen • ¾ cup yogurt • ½ cup cashews

curdled milk find each other and cling together as if responding to a curd-specific field of gravity.

4. While it’s cooling, ladle yourself a cup of curds and whey, a soothing and satisfying snack, and lay out a double layer of cheesecloth over a colander, set it over a pot or bowl to catch the whey for ricotta cheese or homemade protein powder or whatever.

5. Carefully pour the curds through the cheesecloth, pull the corners together and use them to tie up the hunk of cheese so it can drain for an hour. Then untie it and press it between two plates with a weight on top, draining the water that squeezes out.

6. While the cheese presses, toast the mustard, cumin and coriander seeds on medium heat for 4 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of ghee and the garam masala, onions, garlic, ginger and serranos. When the onions are translucent, about 12 minutes, add the spinach and a cup of water.

7. While frozen spinach simply must thaw in the hot pan, fresh spinach should cook down—about 5 minutes. Then, add the cashews, yogurt and spinach mixture to a blender and blend.

8. Cut the disc of cheese into cubes and fry them in a tablespoon of ghee until they are brown on all sides. At serving time, heat the palak in a pan, diluting with water if it’s too thick. Add the cheese cubes and let them heat up with the spinach.

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Things You Didn’ t Know About Sherry BY GAETANO MARANGELLI


e Americans don’t have an approving image of you.

"You Americans don’t understand me," says Sherry. But we could say to Sherry: "You aren’t exactly making the best choices for yourself. Why are you showing up on wine shop discount shelves? Why are you going to stodgy country clubs? And what were you doing with Niles and Frasier Crane?" Thing is, Sherry doesn’t care who you are or what you do or where you’re from. Sherry just wants to hang out with you. If you really give Sherry a chance, you’d discover Sherry is a wonderful friend. I first met Sherry at 10 o’clock on a summer night at a Madrid bar for tapas—Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes served with aioli), Gambas al Ajillo (garlic shrimp) and Ajo Blanco (chilled almond soup). After tapas, there was dinner with Sherry at a restaurant. And then there was dancing with Sherry at a club. It was the night I began to discover how much fun Sherry is.


Sherry has two primary styles: Fino and Oloroso. Because the Fino style is light and bright, it’s what the spring and summer seasons want from us right now. (We’ll leave the Oloroso style for the darker sides of the equinox.)

its barrels. The flor prevents air from prematurely oxidizing the alcohol, while also partly oxidizing the alcohol to the nutty tasting organic chemical compound acetaldehyde.

Fino Sherry is a fortified, dry, white wine. The name Sherry is Anglicized from the name of the Spanish city of Jerez de la Frontera in the province of Cádiz in the region of Andalusia in the south of Spain. The wine region of Jerez is hot and dry, with 300 sunny days a year. Its primary grape is palomino, which thrives on the region’s chalky albariza soils. The sun on the rolling hills from Jerez de la Frontera to the Guadalquivir River makes the region’s albariza vineyards reflect a dazzling white. The region’s bodegas are warehouses where Sherry ferments and ages. Bodegas ferment Sherry to an alcohol of 14%, then evaluate the wine. If the Sherry is light and delicate, it’s classified for the Fino style. Fino Sherry develops a floating yeast called flor, which is primarily composed of Saccharomyces beticus, and which caps the wine in

(Top) Photo by MarquesPhotography/Getty Images. (Bottom Right) Photo by barmalini/Getty Images.

After classifying a Sherry as Fino, bodegas lightly fortify the wine with neutral spirits to about 15%. They then blend the new Fino Sherry with Fino Sherries of older vintages. The practice of blending fractions of Sherries of various vintages creates a reliability of quality and style. The Spanish call their fractional blending system solera. Bodegas age Fino Sherry in their soleras for about three to five years, then bottle the wine. The qualities of a Fino Sherry’s flor shape the Sherry’s character and style. Because the seaside town of Sanlucar de Bar-

rameda has a cooler climate than Jerez de la Frontera, the flor of its soleras are active every month of the year. The way Sanlucar flor behaves yields its Finos a more delicate texture and saltier tang than the Finos of Jerez. It also designates Sanlucar Fino Sherry with the distinctive name of Manzanilla. Because the flor of quality Fino Sherry is critical to its character, it’s best to shop for unfiltered Finos, which are typically labeled as en rama. It’s also best to drink Fino Sherry cool, not cold, and from white wine glasses, not copitas.

(Top) Pattern by horizon2531-Getty Images. (Background) Illustration by panom/Getty Images.

And you should always drink Fino Sherry with food, not—like Niles and Frasier Crane—without it. As an aperitif, Finos go with classic tapas of olives, Marcona almonds, fried fish, seafood, Jamon Serrano and light cheeses. But please, don’t be shy! Finos are up for whatever you are. And please don’t be judgy. Sherry just wants to hang out with you. Gaetano Marangelli is a sommelier and playwright. He was the managing director of a wine import and distribution company in New York and beverage director for restaurants and retailers in New York and Chicago before moving to Wauwatosa.

Photo by boonsom/Getty Images.


Organic Gardening Made Easy By Mark Hagen


hether you call it chemical-free gardening, earth-friendly planting or natural farming, it all comes down to the same practice—organic gardening. But what exactly is it?

In a (biodegradable, all-natural) nutshell, organic gardening relies on tools and techniques that do not involve synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Instead, organic gardeners turn to natural and plant-derived options to improve the quality of the planting soil, fight insects and disease, and strengthen the quality of the plant. An organic garden is a tiny part of nature’s overall system. And today’s gardeners are flocking to the concept.


Because they lack the use of pesticides and synthetic additives, organic gardens are kind to the water table and the planet overall. Many organic fans believe that foods grown organically taste better, and while some scientists disagree, there is mounting evidence that organically grown foods are more nutritious. Regardless of scientific fact, many people simply feel better about consuming produce from organic gardens. Interested in giving organic gardening a shot? You’d be surprised how easy it is, and it all starts with getting your hands dirty.

PREPARE THE SOIL. Because you won’t be gardening with synthetic fertilizers, you’ll want to give your veggies a great start, and that begins with the soil. Work plenty of compost into the soil to add nutrients and keep it moist. In general, treat the soil well, and it will reward you all season long. Some choose to avoid planting in the ground altogether, using raised beds instead. Not only do these beds allow you to best control the nutrients in the soil, but the soil warms up faster in spring, extends the growing season, and it saves some wear and tear on your knees. Just be sure the wood hasn’t been chemically treated if you’re going for a pure organic garden. GET PLANTING. Select plants suited to your garden’s conditions. In other words, don’t plant sun-lovers in the shade or water-cravers in sandy soil. When buying seeds and starter plants, you may need to do a bit of research. For instance, many plants are nurtured with chemicals and pesticides before being shipped to garden centers. Consider purchasing plants from a farmers market, where you can ask the seller directly about organic farming practices. Try to plant a few flowers nearby that attract bees. Pollination is key to healthy plants, so encouraging bees to stop by your garden is a popular hack for today’s organic gardeners. Another trick? Leave enough space between the plants to allow air to circulate. Plants that are too close together can lead to fungus issues, which can be difficult to control without chemicals. Once your plants are set, toss on a layer of mulch. Adding an inch or two over the topsoil helps retain moisture, suppresses weeds and keeps the soil healthy. Make your own organic mulch with grass clippings, dried leaves, pine needles or portions of your very own compost heap. Depending on the mulch you use, you may have to replenish it throughout the season. REAP WHAT YOU SOW. Now’s the fun part! Simply maintain your organic garden and enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you do need to buy a fertilizer, plant booster or mulch, be sure to buy organic. Be wary of labels boasting claims such as “natural” or “nature’s favorite.” While these descriptors sound lovely, they could be marketing ploys. When in doubt, ask a garden center employee or do a bit of online research to find the organic products that are right for you.

Mark Hagen is a décor enthusiast whose home has been featured in numerous national publications. His work has appeared in Fresh Home and Your Family magazines.


Spring Cleaning MADE SIMPLE by Mark Hagen

Keep these tips in mind for a quick and easy refresh of your home… inside and out!


iving in Wisconsin, the slightest sign of spring can be exciting. After months of being stuck at home (first the pandemic and then the winter), many Milwaukeeans are chomping at the bit to usher in warm weather and all the glory that comes with it. This month, why not revive, renew and refresh with a little spring cleaning? Keep these deep-cleaning strategies in mind to spruce up your place and give the winter blahs a final sendoff.




You’ll feel less overwhelmed if you create a spring-cleaning game plan. List the rooms you want to deep clean, starting with those you’ve neglected the most this winter. Stick to the plan, not allowing yourself to move onto another room until the room you’re focusing on is completely done.

Nothing refreshes a room quite like getting rid of clutter. Whether you’re clearing your office desk or kitchen pantry, divide items into four buckets: organize, store, trash or donate. Organize or store things on the spot. Keep a trash bag handy to quickly discard things, and pile donate items in a laundry basket.

Another quick way to freshen up a room is to dust it. Wipe down baseboards and closet doors as well as window blinds and windowsills. Dust ceiling-fan blades by wrapping them with an old pillowcase. As you pull the pillowcase off the blade, the dust will fall inside the pillowcase and not all over your furniture and floor. Spring


Image by evgenyatamanenko/Getty Images.

Take It Outside!

is also a great time to clean curtains— which are a magnet for dust. If the curtains are in decent shape, simply remove any dust with a lint roller; otherwise, give them a tumble in the dryer with a damp towel or two. (Rehang the curtains immediately afterward.)

Keep your spring cleaning momentum going by sprucing up the outside of your home. Start prepping your yard for summer with this checklist. 

Remove the winter debris from rain gutters.

Inspect the roof for damaged shingles, issues with the chimney and other signs of deterioration.

Wash out trash and recycling bins.

Sweep decks and balconies. Note any damage that needs repair.

Wash awnings and windows.

Clear leaves and other debris from gardens.

REMEMBER THE LITTLE THINGS Deep cleaning means paying attention to every nook and cranny, particularly when it comes to the kitchen. Don’t forget little things such as wiping down refrigerator shelves, cleaning out the toaster or running a few lemon quarters through the garbage disposal to sharpen the blades and eliminate odors. Now is a good time to remove any lime buildup from the coffee maker, too. See the manufacturer’s cleaning directions or simply run the maker with a mixture of vinegar and water.

comforters to the cleaners and air out pillows by setting them outside for a bit. Launder all sheets, pillowcases and blankets. Swap out heavy winter blankets for lighter varieties.



If you’re really looking for deep clean, kick things up by washing carpets or giving them a steam clean. Renting cleaning equipment might appear to be a hassle, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run, particularly when it comes to your home’s high-traffic areas.

Don’t let the brunt of spring cleaning sit solely on your shoulders. Recruit the family to help by assigning age-appropriate tasks to the kids. Turn on some great music and challenge everyone to get things as clean as possible. After a day of cleaning, reward the family (and yourself) with a special dinner or dessert!

HIT THE SHEETS Spring is the perfect season to give your bedroom a deep clean. The bedroom should be your private retreat, so keep it clean and fresh. Rotate or flip the mattress and use a vacuum attachment to vacuum the mattress as well. Take

Image by ferlistockphoto/Getty Images.

Mark Hagen is a décor enthusiast whose home has been featured in numerous national publications. His work has appeared in Fresh Home and Your Family magazines.

 Sweep or power wash the front porch. 

Clean the front door. Clear away any cobwebs.

Wipe down or wash outdoor furniture.

Wash or clean outdoor pillows.

Organize the garage with summer chores in mind.

APRIL 2021 | 33


Illustrations by Ali Bachmann.




n 1929, the New York Yankees introduced the concept of putting numbers on the back of players’ jerseys. The numbers corresponded to each player’s spot in the batting order, hence Babe Ruth’s #3 and Lou Gehrig’s #4. In the century since then, players’ positions in the daily batting order have become much less certain. In recent years, their position on the diamond isn’t guaranteed, either.

defensive position. Nine of them played three positions or more. Two different Brewers played positions they’d never played professionally before doing so in a major league game last summer. One of them, Mark Mathias, had never played the outfield at all before being called upon to do so 11 times.


Baseball has always had utility men, players who could fill in at multiple positions and provide flexibility for their managers. The Brewers are no strangers to this phenomenon: During his time in Milwaukee, Hernán Pérez played every position but catcher (and wanted to play there, too). Before him, Bill Hall played all over the infield and outfield, and Craig Counsell and Mark Loretta both appeared regularly at nearly every infield position.

The Brewers have developed a recent track record of asking players to try out new positions on the fly. In 2018, they moved Travis Shaw to second base, a position he had never played before, after acquiring Mike Moustakas during the season. In the spring of 2019, they signed Moustakas again but instead moved him to second base. This winter, they necessitated another sudden position change when they signed former Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong, moving incumbent Keston Hiura to a new position at first base.

In recent years, however, the kind of flexibility required for a utility role has become a more common expectation for most players, a phenomenon commonly referred to as “positionless baseball.” Eighteen position players (15 non-catchers) appeared in at least 10 games as Brewers in 2020, and 12 of them played more than one

For infielders, at least, it’s worth noting that defensive positioning is in a near-constant state of flux anyway due to the advent of the shift. Baseball Savant’s data shows that the Brewers shifted their infield, playing a third defender either to the left or right of second base, on more than 44% of their opponents’ plate appearances in

2020. That’s the fourth most often in all of baseball and represents nearly 1,000 plays. The Brewers shifted their infield in nearly two-thirds of all plate appearances where they were facing a lefty batter, as compared to an MLB average around 50%. That trend makes it increasingly important that infielders are used to fielding and throwing from all over the diamond, as they’ll likely be asked to play in and make plays from traditionally unusual places over the course of a season. It also makes it increasingly plausible to “hide” or reduce the number of defensive opportunities for a defender that is playing out of position, as the Brewers were widely credited with doing with Shaw in 2018.

BUILDING FLEXIBILITY The Brewers’ interest in continuing to build upon this flexibility was apparent nearly immediately this spring: On March 2, both Orlando Arcia and Daniel Robertson were in the starting lineup, but Arcia was playing third base, a position he’s never played in a regular season game, and Robertson was playing short, a position he’s only played sparingly. Two days later, Robertson was back in the lineup in left field, a position he’s played even less often.


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getting appropriate rest and playing time; being able to cover all the positions with limited bench players can free up a roster spot for an extra reliever.

Increased defensive flexibility also has an offensive impact, as it makes it easier for managers to mix and match their batting order to play matchups and get more left- or right-handed batters into the lineup on a given day. Having several players who can play any given position makes it easier to ensure players are


The Brewers’ additions this winter and spring showed a clear commitment to mixing and matching their lineups again in 2021: In addition to adding Wong and moving Hiura to first base, the Brewers signed a former Gold Glove-winning center fielder in Jackie Bradley Jr. and added him to a roster that already included another Gold Glove winner at the same position in Lorenzo Cain. With Christian Yelich clearly expected to receive regular playing time and the Brewers already committed to Avisail Garcia, Craig Counsell is left with an outfield that should provide excellent production but will also require consistent attention to manage playing time. This

also isn’t new: Counsell was similarly tasked with dividing three outfield roles among four players when the Brewers had Cain, Yelich, Ryan Braun and Domingo Santana to start the 2018 season, at times while also juggling Eric Thames and Jesus Aguilar at first base. Not that long ago, baseball fans could have a reasonable expectation that a manager would set a batting order and lineup on Opening Day and, barring major changes or injuries, trot something similar out there every day for the next six months. This year, for most clubs but especially for the Brewers, a lot of attention will be paid to an Opening Day lineup, but the lineup on April 2 will almost certainly be different, and it will likely change nearly every day between then and October. Kyle Lobner writes the weekly column “On Deck Circle” for shepherdexpress.com.


Trapper Schoepp


Photo by Vivian Wang.



artway through the music video for Trapper Schoepp’s “River Called Disaster,” the Milwaukee songwriter passionately plunks away on a rustic, wooden piano entrenched in the middle of a river. Suddenly, the piano is set ablaze, a striking contrast of fire and water. Schoepp, however, continues playing his heart out. For the video shoot, the singer used a Baldwin spinet piano he had bought on Craigslist. He says it was “ceremonial and therapeutic” to set the piano ablaze. That searing image is a metaphor for not only the song, but the past year in general. It refers to the destructive desires that people can get swept into, something that’s more visible lately with the pandemic. The song appears on Schoepp’s new album May Day, which is out Friday, May 21.

Photo by Mark Costanzo.

That lyrical message is indicative of the album’s themes— ghosts and rebirth, springtime and renewal, calm and the raging storm. He was intrigued by these different contrasts and juxtapositions and felt it was the right time to release an album. “I think there was a sense of urgency,” says Schoepp of creating the album. “After all we've been through and after this winter, we found a lot of solace making an album that would come out in the spring.”

Photo by Mitch Keller.


May Day refers to the ancient holiday that marks the arrival of spring, putting new seeds in the earth to grow, as well as the international workers’ rights day. To that point, the album’s cover is a doctored photo of women dancing around the maypole by the Washington Monument. The image is even more fitting for him after “the disaster of a presidency that we all went through” and the lack of social interactions the past year. “We wanted the album to represent a bit of the light at the end of the tunnel,” he says. “I think right now, people want to see people. So, we thought putting people together on the album cover was symbolic.”

SAFETY PROTOCOLS Schoepp and his bandmates recorded the album last year at Wire & Vice in Wauwatosa with the help of Ian Olvera. Sessions revolved around following COVID-19 safety protocols set by the Recording Academy.


Only a certain amount of people could be in the studio at once, and everyone needed to be masked unless they were singing in an isolation booth. They also ate outside and got regular tests. “It was important to keep everyone safe and give everyone some peace of mind,” he says. The sessions also happened to occur during the citywide protests for racial equality. “It was surreal and scary for the people taking it to the streets to stand up against police brutality, and definitely wild to walk outside, between vocal takes in my surgical mask, and see the National Guard rolling by with a fleet of Humvees,” says Schoepp. “That was something that I don't think I’ll ever forget. Chilling would be the right word for it.” Like other local musicians, the past year has been a challenging one for Schoepp. All his shows, including a lengthy European tour were canceled. He made the most of

his time to keep up the “muscle memory” by performing livestream concerts for “socially conscious organizations” such as Milwaukee Guitars for Vets and The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. He also performed private Zoom concerts for fans around the world. “They kind of start off a little bit awkward,” he says. “And then everyone gets a drink in them or two, and stories start opening up, and we begin kind of sharing the energy that way.” Schoepp also used the time to write new songs (he has another album of material ready) and learn how to play piano on his Yamaha upright. “River Called Disaster” was the first song that he’s written on piano. “The pandemic allowed me the time to home in on my piano skills a little bit. I'm not a piano player, I will admit that, but I got to play [it] on this album,” he says. “The pandemic gave a lot of time for me to recalibrate after all of the touring on the last album.”

TIME TO REFLECT He used his time to reflect on the past few years. For example, “Astor Hotel” refers to the time he stayed at Hotel Astor in 2019—around the time of his previous release, Primetime Illusion—and went on the Ghost Tour of Milwaukee. He says the hotel is beautiful and has “the air of a haunting Stephen King novel.” After hearing the tour guide’s story of a 1935 fire at the hotel, which took the lives of a nurse and her deaf patient “who didn't wake to the nurse pounding at the door,” he decided to turn it into his own song. “I took some creative liberties, and I re-imagined their story,” Schoepp says. “[It] starts a little bit slow, and timid, and quiet, and then sort of bursts into flames with that guitar solo and experimental part.” Other songs have a more radio-centric inspiration. After hearing a report on Background image by tuk69tuk/Getty Images.

NPR about people reaching out to their ex-lovers, he wrote “Solo Quarantine.” “It’s about a late-night call between a guy who is rather desperate and an old flame of his. He's the classic guy who's talking too much,” says Schoepp. “It’s sort of tragic and humorous at the same time.” “I Am a Rider,” meanwhile, was inspired by hearing the phrase “aviate, navigate, communicate” on the radio. It refers to how a pilot learns to fly, and he saw parallels in daily life, especially touring life. He’s inspired by the current “age of anxiety” and reflected lyrically on “all the time I've spent on the road for the last record.” While more livestream concerts are likely, he’s eager to play some in-person shows. That could include drive-in and socially distanced concerts. “One thing that you really miss during these Zoom concerts is that kind of magic and that exchange of energy that you get from seeing people

or hearing people, feeling the wind blow by at Summerfest or whatever,” he says. “You miss all the kind of atmospheric elements.” While not usually one to look back, Schoepp’s proud of the catalog he’s compiled the past decade since the release of Run, Engine, Run. “Some of it would be hard to script,” Schoepp says. “It’s a lot of twists and turns, ups and downs, highs and lows. There’s a magic that songs offer. That feeling when you write another song, it's sort of a strange magic. So, I think that's what keeps me going.” He hopes his latest “offers a bit of an escape for people.” Joshua Miller is a music writer and frequent contributor to the Shepherd Express.

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THROUGH MAY 2 SAINT KATE—THE ARTS HOTEL “RAFAEL FRANCISCO SALAS: IN FLOWERED FIELDS” Midwesterners feel overlooked and disregarded—until politicians start calculating electoral votes. Ripon College art professor Rafael Francisco Salas is part of a long tradition of regional landscape painting but brings a dark and evocative contemporary twist to his work. Says Museum of Wisconsin Art curator Tyler Friedman, “The exhibition is sure to initiate discussions about the Midwest—its overlooked beauty, contemporary conflicts and the sins that remain inscribed on its soil.”



ACA MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT’S ACA LIVE ACA Music & Entertainment have been producing regular weekly live streams to keep artists playing during the pandemic. Every month, local artists take the stage at ACA’s production studio to perform via livestream with proceeds benefitting the artists. The April slate of shows includes Peter Thomas & Steve Vorass and Swing Explosion featuring Pete Sorce. The shows start at 7 p.m. on Facebook Live.

MILWAUKEE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY “CAPTAIN FREDERICK PABST: BEYOND THE BREWHOUSE” As one of Milwaukee’s greatest beer barons, Frederick Pabst was a legendary character beyond the brewhouse. The Milwaukee County Historical Society hosts a free talk by historian John C. Eastberg on the life of the Pabst founder, from his days as a cabin boy on a steamship to working his way up to captain in his early twenties. After the success of his brewery, Pabst was able to pursue other interests like horse breeding, art collecting and promoting Milwaukee as the “German Athens of the West.” 7:30 p.m. on the Historical Society’s Facebook and YouTube pages. APRIL 12

EVERY WEDNESDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY MILWAUKEE DJS ON TWITCH On any given night, Milwaukee’s vibrant DJ scene is hitting the virtual club, broadcasting sets from the comfort of home. DJ Bizzon has been producing live streamed sets every Wednesday and Friday night on his channel, as well as Sunday afternoon’s R&Brunch streams. DJ SnackDaddy every Saturday night. Milwaukee-born DJ KidCutUp is also regularly live on Thursday and Saturday nights.

LYNDEN SCULPTURE GARDEN WOMEN’S SPEAKER SERIES STEPHANIE DRAY Three wars as experienced by three powerful women are the heart of the novel The Women of Chateau Lafayette, the latest historical fiction by The New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Dray. “I love to immerse the reader in time and place,” she says. “I also love to explore the moral dilemmas, difficult choices and heartbreaking sacrifices that shaped these women’s lives.” Dray is coming to town virtually as part of the Lynden Sculpture Garden’s Women’s Speaker Series. Admission is $5 for the 7 p.m. talk. Visit lyndensculpturegarden.org.

THROUGH 2021 MILWAUKEE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY “WHERE WATERS MEET” Historian John Gurda put it well in the title of one of his books, Milwaukee: A City Built on Water. The confluence of three rivers and a useable harbor made Milwaukee an industrial and transportation hub and spurred UWM’s School of Fresh Water Science to take a leading role in research. The year-long exhibition “explores the role water played in the city’s history through geography, commerce and recreation, and highlights the reasons that Milwaukee is considered a water-centric city today.”




To advertise on this page, contact BRIDGETTE at 414.292.3811 or email her at bridgette@shepex.com

Illustration by Scott Radke

This Month in Milwaukee APRIL 16 CARTHAGE COLLEGE “SINGING OPERA WORKSHOP” Still trying to find that hidden talent during the pandemic? Maybe opera singing is for you! The Carthage Music Department presents the Spring Opera Workshop in the A. F. Siebert Chapel. Only students, faculty and staff will be allowed to attend the performance, but external patrons can still participate in the live streamed event from home. The workshop has a long tradition in the music department and have included original compositions from Professor Greg Berg.

APRIL 16-MAY 29 WALKER’S POINT CENTER FOR THE ARTS “IS/ISN’T” Milwaukee artists Kate E. Schaffer and Zina Mussman investigate the traditions of abstract painting and the prison of binary thinking through their joint exhibition. “Contemporary American culture frames existence through oppositions, through “either/ors” they explain. Their intention is to “redirect and focus on gray areas in order to expose the artificial, constructed theater of reality.” Opening reception is Friday, April 16, 6-8 p.m. Masks required. APRIL 20

APRIL 16-18 RIVERSIDE THEATER “GHOST TOUR” Back by popular demand, the Riverside Theater will host 60-minute ghost tours in hot spots of paranormal activity not normally open to the public. The bar will be open for service before and after tours. The tour will be complete with historical tidbits about the theater from haunted historians and spine-tingling tales from past ghost hunts. Late Night Ghost Hunts will also take place for limited guests on Friday and Saturday nights from 11:30 p.m. - 2:30 a.m. These tours will begin on the stage with a séance led by a medium who’s no stranger to the spiritual energy of the theater. Limited to groups of 10 or fewer.

SUGAR MAPLE PATIO MILWAUKEE AUTHOR ZHANNA SLOR Set in part in Riverwest, the debut novel by Milwaukee author Zhanna Slor, At the End of the World, Turn Left, is a mystery about a pair of Russian sisters in Milwaukee who get tangled up in their father’s questionable Soviet past. The novel is a complex musing on immigrant and Jewish identity. “The idea of ‘home’ has always been, to me, a confusing, complex and interesting one—I have spent a lot of time trying to understand what it means,” she explains. “I think it’s an important thing to understand, in this modern, globalized time. Even after writing this book, I’m still not entirely sure that I do!” APRIL 22-MAY 2 MILWAUKEE BALLET “RE.GEN” Outstanding one-act ballets that premiered in Genesis, Milwaukee Ballet’s internationally acclaimed biannual choreographic competition, are revisited here. Italian choreographer Enrico Morelli’s The Noise of Whispers embodies the tender, slow movement of Chopin’s First Piano Concerto. Brazilian Maria Oliveira’s

Pagliacci tells a heartbreaking love tale with classic commedia clowns. BoleroLet There Be Light is the first dance Australian Timothy O’Donnell made for company dancers after winning Genesis 2009. Now, he’s Milwaukee Ballet’s resident choreographer and leading character dancer. The show is available at the Baumgartner Center for Dance and by video on demand. APRIL 23-MAY 9 COOPERATIVE PERFORMANCE THUNDER DOMESTIC It’s like a sophisticated video game. Zach Byron Schorsch’s Thunder Domestic is an interactive dance theater experience, which because of its interactive nature (audience chooses the next character to follow or the next scene to go to) can be viewed many times with a new narrative each time. Thunder Domestic features five performers from several states who rehearsed virtually, including Milwaukee expat Selena Milewski. It streams on demand with tickets and information through Cooperative Performance's website. cooperativeperformance.org APRIL 27-MAY 23 MILWAUKEE REPERTORY THEATER “ALEXIS ROSTON SINGS ELLA FITZGERALD” When Ella Fitzgerald debuted in Harlem, she was a homeless 16-year-old in a dirty dress. She went on to become one of the world’s most recognized names in jazz—even among people who never listened to her music. After swing and bebop, Fitzgerald’s career took her to concert stages singing from the Great American Songbook. She could bat words around like the ball in an especially vigorous tennis match but could also draw deep meaning from the lyrics of romantic ballads. Actress Alexis Roston (last seen at The Rep playing Billie Holiday) will sing Duke Ellington, Cole Porter and George Gershwin in Fitzgerald’s style.

(Top Image) by cla78/Getty Images. (Left Image) by Bubbers13/Getty Images.

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obin Vos’ position is a mix of intellectual dishonesty and outright lies, but the fact he chose to put marijuana legalization on the same level as the opioid crisis is the most harmful lie of all.

Today, at least 128 Americans die every single day from opioid overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). One does not even need a source to affirm that not a single person died today—or yesterday, or tomorrow—from marijuana overdose, simply because it is impossible to die from consuming weed. Not a single death from marijuana overdose has ever been recorded in all of human history. Despite this, marijuana is illegal; opioids are largely legal. 46 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

“In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. This subsequently led to widespread diversion and misuse of these medications before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive,” NIDA explains. “In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose, [and] an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers.”

NIDA has more to say on the topic: Up to 29% of people prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them, and between 8% and 12% of users develop a serious opioid use disorder. An estimated 4-6% of


them will then transition from prescription opioid to using heroin. Most horrific of all: “About 80% of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids,” says NIDA. If there is one real “gateway drug,” it is legal opioids, which have been demonstrated to lead directly to heroin and, ultimately, to death. Opioids, unlike marijuana—which is not physically addictive—are extremely addictive. They are prescribed legally to deal with the same host of issues that marijuana has been well-documented to address, specifically reducing chronic pain. Marijuana is one of the world’s most efficient painkillers, it is not addictive, entirely harmless, and it is pleasant to use with virtually no drawbacks. The fear mongering from the conservative, anti-weed faction points to “drawbacks” of legal weed such as the possibility of increased car accidents due to a driver being impaired. This ignores the fact that, in reality, car crashes did not increase significantly in states that do have legal weed—and as demonstrated above, the accessibility of marijuana does not change much before and after legalization. Someone who would drive while impaired is not someone who would wait for legalization to buy weed, when it is equally accessible before. In fact, legalizing marijuana only ensures that the people arrested for it—more than 600,000 per year—do not end up stripped of their basic freedoms in the name of an unfounded fear of cannabis. Marijuana is nothing but a safe, non-addictive, benign alternative to deadly, addictive but legal opioids who lead unsuspecting patients to heroin abuse. Marijuana also happens to be extremely cheap to produce, and it can be grown at home entirely for free by the patients themselves.

Jean-Gabriel Fernandez is a journalist and Sorbonne graduate living in Milwaukee. He writes about politics, cannabis and culture for the Shepherd Express. Photo by RomoloTavani/Getty Images. Photo by SageElyse/Getty Images.

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care too much about what other people think,” Gina confessed.

“How does that show up in your behavior?” I asked. “It pretty much runs my life,” she replied. A 40-something businesswoman with a track record of success and popularity, she still felt like an imposter. In a very real sense, she was just that. “So much of who I am is shaped by my need to play to my audience,” she explained. “And who exactly is your audience?” I inquired. “Colleagues, friends, acquaintances, even some of my family,” she answered.

DEEPLY EMBEDDED MENTAL SCRIPT Gina exhibited an overly developed sense of social awareness, which emerged as an intense sensitivity to the thoughts and feelings of others. This was challenging enough, but she also harbored a deeply imbedded mental script instructing her to be who others wanted her to be, rather than who she actually was. Not a good combination.


“I find myself smiling when I would just as soon frown, or saying 'yes' when I’m thinking 'no', or sounding upbeat when I’m actually bummed,” she elaborated. “Whatever mood or demeanor I sense people want from me, I give them.” Psychologically, it worked pretty much like this: Gina read her audience, formulated a mental construct of who she surmised they wanted her to be, and she then attempted to fulfill that role. So, her characterization of her work and social groups as an “audience” was spot on. Like an actor on stage, she played the part she assumed they came to see, hoping this would gain their approval. “Do you ever just be yourself around others?” I asked. “Just with one very close friend, and if she thinks I’m playing a part for her, she calls me on it,” she replied.

NEEDING PERMISSION That was indicative of her problem. Gina needed someone else’s permission before she felt entitled to display her authentic self, and, even then, she was at risk of pandering to her audience. “I want to change this, but how do I start?” she asked.

“You start small with a few select folks. Conduct some low-risk experiments with being authentic, and then expand from there,” I offered. “You make it sound easy,” she said. “It’s not. But the hard part isn’t changing your behavior. You’re already good at that, given how you play different roles for various audiences anyway. No, the tough thing is finding the courage to be who you are regardless of what others might think,” I continued. At its core, Gina’s conundrum was based on fear—of disappointing others, causing conflict, or being seen in an unfavorable light. Consequently, what she required was more than behavioral engineering or cognitive reframing. To master her fears, rather than allowing them to reign over her life, she needed to face them. We shrinks call this “exposure therapy.” Basically, it means intentionally recreating the situation that frightens you, enduring it, recalibrating your emotional and behavioral response, and coming out in one mental piece. When we conjure what might happen if we do what we fear (for Gina, being herself around others), the imagined consequences are usually far worse than the actual ones. “You don’t lack the smarts or flexibility to make this change,” I told her. “This isn’t about the way to do it. It’s about the will to do it.” Being inauthentic creates expectations in others. They expect us to continue displaying the masquerade they’ve grown accustomed to. After all, we have trained them to rely on the whole made-up countenance—pasted on smile, pleasant exchanges, feigned interest and the rest. When one removes the contrived social mask and frees the real person inside, it almost always causes concern and pushback from one’s social, collegial or family circle. Most folks don’t like change. It messes with their comfort zone. The need to be accepted by others and the accompanying fear of social rejection are powerful forces shaping human behavior, meaning, at times, most of us cater to the expectations of one or more social audiences. But when we consistently stifle who we are in deference to others, we are saying that our real self is unworthy or unacceptable. Then, we violate the Shakespearean adage, “To thine own self be true.” For more, visit philipchard.com. Philip Chard is a psychotherapist and author with a focus on lasting behavior change, emotional healing and adaptation to health challenges. Illustrations by Popmarleo/Getty Images.


Homophobia IN HER HOOD DEAR RUTHIE, My husband and I live in a cul-de-sac in a Milwaukee suburb. Our neighbors get along well, and we have block parties in the summer, a round-robin at Christmas and a Super Bowl party. Last fall, a gay couple moved in and became a fun part of the neighborhood. Everyone welcomed them and looked forward to their company—or so I thought.

SCACZCXZC I was surprised they weren’t at the Super Bowl party. When I asked the hostess where “the guys” were, she said she didn’t invite them. She explained that since children were present, she didn’t invite the couple due to their “lifestyle,” as she put it. I was speechless. “Think about it,” she added. “Just think about it.” She walked away, and I stood in her kitchen, shocked. My husband and I left her party early because I was pissed. I don’t want to ignore her blatant homophobia, but I don’t want to start a war either. Is it even my war to start? Any suggestions on what I should do? Our neighborhood block parties will start up again soon.


Social Justice Sue DEAR SUE, I’m pissed, too! I’m mad because of what this dame thinks about gay people, but I’m also mad that you and your neighbors held an indoor, multi-family party during the pandemic! That was in February, right? What were you all thinking? Maybe the gay guys were just too friggin’ smart to attend a potential super-spreader event. All that aside, your neighbor lady sounds like a major itch in your ass, and there’s only one way to scratch it. Quietly, calmly and privately, let her know that you were surprised and disappointed with her reason to not invite the new neighbors. Give her a chance to explain. (You may have misunderstood her altogether or she may have changed her view since then.) If she still expresses a homophobic attitude, let her know that you will not attend neighborhood events in which the gay couple is not included. Then, have your own damn party with the guys. It’ll likely be more fun anyway!




Ruthie's Social Calendar APRIL 7 “BINGO GAME SHOW” AT HAMBURGER MARY’S (730 S. FIFTH ST.): Charity bingo is back at Hamburger Mary’s with this all-new night! Join me and Sylvia Nyxx every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. for an evening of bawdy bingo and zany audience-participation games. That’s right! This new show gives you more chances to win than ever before! Arrive early and grab a burger and cocktail before the fun begins. See hamburgermarys.com/mke for reservations. APRIL 11 DRAG BRUNCH AT CENTURY PUB & EATERY (5511 SIXTH AVE., KENOSHA): Mix up your brunch routine by driving south for a Sunday you won’t soon forget! This 12:30 p.m. event promises to put a spring in your step with performances by some of the state’s favorite performers. APRIL 17 MADISON ODD MARKET AT CRUCIBLE (3116 COMMERCIAL AVE., MADISON): Featuring drag, burlesque and cosplay, Crucible was already a hip hot spot, but it’s about to get even more interesting with this change-of-pace market. Featuring a collection of “odd, curious and wonderful vendors from Illinois and Wisconsin,” the marketplace is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. APRIL 24 NAME AND GENDER CHANGE (ONLINE) CLINIC: The team at Trans Law Help Wisconsin offers this free, informative, two-hour seminar. At 1 p.m., legal experts walk you through the process of obtaining name and gender marker changes. An interactive Q&A session follows the presentation. Participants can also meet (virtually) one-on-one with an attorney, but you must attend the entire presentation to meet with a lawyer, so RSVP at eventbrite.com/e/138101873421. APRIL 25 “MATINÉE DRAG SHOW” AT THIS IS IT! (418 E. WELLS ST.): Want to attend a drag show but don’t feel like a late night? This Is It! has a show for you! This weekly 4 p.m. event brings on the queens early enough for you to hit the ground running come Monday morning. There’s no cover charge for the Sunday show, but you must be at least 21 to attend.

Have a question for Ruthie? Want to share an event with her? Contact Ruthie at dearruthie@shepex.com. Follow her on social media, too! Facebook: Dear Ruthie | Instagram: RuthieKeester | Twitter: @DearRuthie APRIL 2021 | 51


Observing National Day of Silence, APRIL 23



he 25th anniversary of the National Day of Silence takes place on Friday, April 23. First organized by GLSEN (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, pronounced like “glisten”) in 1996, traditionally, the Day of Silence is a high visibility event highlighting the pervasive bullying, harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ students in the nation’s schools and universities. Barring a return to the classroom before the date, this year’s observance, just over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic with many schools still functioning online only,


will lack the usual expressions of the Day of Silence. Normally, these would include the requisite silence itself, themed apparel, buttons and signage, as well as concluding silence-breaking rallies held at the end of the school day. This year, it seems, students and allies will tailor their actions to accommodate the prevailing conditions and participate virtually. The importance of the observance, no matter how it is expressed, reflects the reality of school life for a large part of the LGBTQ student population. Surveys taken as recently as 2020 indicate a pervasive

culture of bullying and discrimination targeting that group specifically. As a result, LGBTQ youth rates of anxiety, depression and suicide are significantly higher than their heterosexual schoolmates. For students of color, the rates are even higher. This year, the strain of the restrictions required in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have increased loneliness and isolation faced by youths. That also adds to their stress due to the lack of social outlets through in-person school activities, access to Gay-Straight Alliances and other support resources.


CONFRONT THE BULLIES It is one thing for LGBTQ youth to confront their bullies and respond accordingly with actions such as the Day of Silence. However, perhaps more importantly, it is teachers and parents who must develop an understanding of the problem and buttress the campaign by supporting it. For that, it would be worthwhile to turn to YouTube and search for “Day of Silence” videos. In recent years, GLSEN has produced and posted a series of videos that not only promote the event but, much more importantly, present LGBTQ youth personally telling their stories. They are gripping and well worth a watch. However, seemingly, as a motto of one support campaign goes, it gets better. Remarkable news that came out in late February was that, according to recent research, the number of people now identifying as LGBTQ has noticeably increased. According to Gallup, it is now 5.6% of the population, up from 4.5% in 2017. Not surprisingly, younger respondents were more likely to embrace their identity than older. No doubt this is in part due to the advances made in LGBTQ rights under the Obama administration and now continuing under President Joe Biden. On the local level, too, advances continue to be made. Up North in Wausau, that city’s Public Health and Safety Committee, with the support of Mayor Katie Rosenberg, has unanimously supported a resolution to ban conversion therapy. In the Wisconsin State Assembly, a resolution recognizing Transgender Day of Visibility was introduced by that body’s LGBTQ caucus. Still, the Day of Silence is itself a target of the Christian Right that sees the one-day event as propaganda and a liberal plot. It is part of their unrelenting attack on LGBTQs. Just a few weeks ago, Mississippi passed the nation’s first law banning transgender student athletes from competing on female teams, and, in a Florida school district, an anti-LGBTQ discrimination policy sparked clashes between homophobic parents and those supporting equality. However we observe the National Day of Silence, we should reflect on the message and be supportive of our LGBTQ youth. Their continuing struggle is ours as well. Paul Masterson is an LGBTQ activist and writer and has served on the boards of the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center, Milwaukee Pride, GAMMA and other organizations.

Photo by nito100/Getty Images.



That Always Sweeps BY ART KUMBALEK


’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So listen, as you bid adieu to the April edition of the Shepherd’s print monthly via this last page, I gosh darn hope you haven’t forgotten to become a member of the “Friends of the Shepherd Express.” I’m coming up on 35-years’ service to this outfit, and without this free and independent platform, cripes, I’ve got nowheres to go. So let’s get friendly, here: shepherdexpress.com/support and help maintain a roof over Art’s head, thank you kindly. Anyways, I hear the springtime is here to stay. We’ll see about that. I’ll tell you’s, mine own two personal signs that spring is truly here are when the first member of the Brewers’ mound crew blows out his soupbone and parks his butt on the DL for the rest of the season/career, and when I blow off writing my expected essay to appear right around Easter Sunday because more pressing for me than slapping a boatload of palaver together is hooking up with the guys and gals (socially distanced these days, ’natch) over by the Uptowner tavern/charm school—where today is always at least a day before tomorrow, and yesterday may gosh darn well be today. So come along if you’d like, but you buy the first round. Let’s get going. Julius: Any you’s guys know if any local radio stations play 24-hour continuous Easter music this time of year? Ernie: Good focking question ’cause I believe Easter ought to be a way bigger holiday than Christmas. What’s such the big deal with Christmas? For christ sakes, a lot of really important guys get born all the time, but how many guys actually rise from the dead? Now that’s something to write home about, ain’a?


Little Jimmy Iodine: Jeez, off the top of my head, I can only think of two other guys who got up from the dead—Richard Nixon in 1968 and that John Travolta actor after he made the “Pulp whatcha-call-it.” Emil: Easter will never be bigger than the Christmas because every year they dick with the goddamn date it’s supposed to be on. Is that because Easter comes in spring and the Pope likes to check the weather forecast in the Farmers’ Almanac first before he chooses the exact date to make sure the people have a nice day for their Easter parade? Julius: You talk like a sausage, Emil. Emil: Baloney. Herbie: You focking bunch of nitwits. We go through this every year. How many times I got to tell you’s the exact date when Christ became resurrected has nothing to do when Easter comes. Easter comes the first Sunday after the full moon, also known as the paschal moon that comes after the vernal equinox. Now, if the paschal moon—deduced from a system of golden numbers and epacts and does not necessarily coincide with the astronomical full moon—occurs on a Sunday, Easter day is the succeeding Sunday. Thus, unless you’re a focking idiot, you know that Easter can fall anywheres between March 22 and April 25. Ray: Thank you, Mr. Bri-focking-tannica. What the fock, I never heard Sister talk meshuggah like that when she explained the Easter to us. But I tell you, when it comes to religion and they try to figure a date by using B.S. like full moons, equinoxes and golden numbers, it makes a guy feel like instead of going to the Pick ’N Pocket for the Easter ham, he ought

to go buy a whole pig somewheres and slaughter it right there on his front lawn for the sacrifice. And maybe a couple of goats to boot. Little Jimmy: Hey, Artie! Over here. Put a load on your keister. Art: Hey gents, what do you know, what do you hear. Emil: I hear Easter falls on a Sunday this year. (Hey, it’s getting late and I know you got to go, but thanks for letting us bend your ear, ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.)

Profile for Shepherd Express

Shepherd Express: April 2021 issue