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JUNE 2021

PATIO DINING GUIDE SUMMER MEANS EATING OUT

Our annual list of outdoor restaurant and bar accommodations for a season of food and festivities under the spectacular summer sky.

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PUBLISHER'S LETTER

We're Almost There The COVID money that went to our city and county is being used judiciously. We now have both our city and county governments focused on doing what’s good for our citizens and not being hampered by a lot of petty politics. For the first time in the past 20 years, we have a county executive who is not either positioning himself for higher office or is terribly insecure and trying to win friends by doling out county favors. County Executive David Crowley and County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson work well together and have the county’s elected officials all pulling in the same direction. That’s refreshing to see.

On an individual level, many people who abided by the COVID-19 restrictions and stayed COVID-free over the past 15 months are still a little reluctant to step out. Medical professionals find this very normal, so you can gradually ease into your individual comfort level. As the science has shown, the vaccine is safe and highly efficacious, but, of course, it is not 100% protection. However, if you do contract COVID after having been fully vaccinated, the medical community says you should not end up hospitalized in critical condition. Some COVID vaccines have as high as a 94 and 95% efficacy whereas in comparison, the annual flu shot that most of us get has about a 50% efficacy in a good year, but it still provides tremendous protection.

ADDRESSING THE REAL PROBLEM

THE FEDERAL STIMULUS MONEY IS WORKING In addition to the loss of nearly six hundred thousand fellow Americans over the past 15 months, the pandemic has caused a lot of damage to almost every part of our community. The COVID-19 Stimulus Package signed into law in March 2021 provided monies to states, counties and cities to try to mitigate some of the damage done. Some of this money given to the local units of government, for example, went to help the very small businesses that received little or no money from the PPP dollars and are hoping to stay alive until most of their customers return. Unfortunately, we did lose some of our beloved small businesses including some of our favorite restaurants, bars and coffee shops.

The federal stimulus money is limited and must be spent by the middle of next year. When this money is spent, both the city and county government will be back to its untenable financial situation. The residents of the city and county want more services including simple things like filling potholes, and this costs more money. In Wisconsin, most of the tax dollars such as our income taxes and the majority of the sales taxes go directly to the state. In return, the state is supposed to send money back to communities on a formula basis. Over the past dozen years, the state has been cutting back on the shared revenues it sends to local government and at the same time, hindered the ability of local units of government from raising its own taxes even if their voters want to raise their own taxes. We now need the state legislature to pull in the same direct as the voters and quit listening to a small group of rightwing campaign check writers, many of whom don’t even live in Wisconsin.

MILWAUKEE AND DANE ARE MAJOR DONOR COUNTIES Why are the Republican legislators always trying to punish Milwaukee and Dane counties? Instead of appreciating the tax revenues that Milwaukee County and Dane County send to state government, they attack. They conveniently set aside the traditional Republican tenet of local control and pass laws that prevent both the city and county of Milwaukee from doing what their voters want. Milwaukee is not asking for money from the state, as much as they are asking to raise their own local sales tax by a penny to repair the streets and parks and pay the police and fire fighte‑rs as a majority of the Milwaukee voters want. This money is desperately needed since the city and county see all their costs going up and their revenues remaining basically flat. Milwaukee City and County governments have gotten their acts together. They are well functioning local governments. What we need now are honest legislative districts for next year’s November elections so the voters can elect legislators that are responsive to what most of our state residents want not what their rightwing check writers tell them to do. Louis Fortis Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

With redistricting before the 2012 elections, the legislative districts were gerrymandered so that even when Democrats win hundreds of thousands more votes for legislative districts statewide, the Republicans still get 60% of the legislative seats. As a result of the gerrymander, our state legislature is currently controlled by Republicans who are trying to strangle their golden geese, Milwaukee city and county, along with Madison and Dane County, that disproportionately fund much of the rest of the state. These two counties are the major engines of the state’s economy.

Photo by Tyler Nelson.

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he past month has seen some major steps forward toward re-opening of our state. The efforts to vaccinate our population over the past four and a half months has been impressive. Then the CDC’s new, less restrictive guidelines were promulgated which was welcome news, albeit done in a rather clumsy manner that caught many mayors, small business owners and parents off guard. Businesses that were seriously hurt by the restrictions and shutdowns—including restaurants, bars and coffeeshops—are now struggling to find employees as their businesses begin to grow.

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Shepherd Express Upcoming Events 9.25 x 11.125

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NEWS 07 Wisconsin’s Local Funding Model Is Broken: Why Milwaukee Struggles to Keep Public Services Running 10 What I Learned about Police Reform at the Milwaukee Police Academy 14 Our County Parks are in Trouble — Issue of the Month 16 Jilly Gokalgandhi Works for Equity in Education — Hero of the Month

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18 Independent Bookstores and a People-Powered Future — Off the Cuff

HEAR ME OUT

SPONSORED BY

22 Pride Flags Still Fly High — Dear Ruthie 24 Queer Artists Plan a Public Spectacle of Billboard Art 28 LGBTQ Progress Awards In Person at Saint Kate — My LGBTQ POV

ART FOR ART'S SAKE 30 From the City that Always Sweeps

FOOD & DRINK

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31 Patio Dining Guide 38 The Joy of Oatmeal — Flash in the Pan 40 It's the Summer for German Beer — Beverages

HEALTH & WELLNESS 42 Milwaukee's LGBTQ Health Care Services 44 Get Healthy in Milwaukee's Great Outdoors

CULTURE

PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Louis Fortis (ext. 3802) GENERAL MANAGER: Kevin Gardner (ext. 3825) MANAGING EDITOR: David Luhrssen (ext. 3804) STAFF WRITER: Blaine Schultz (ext. 3813) EVENT SALES COORDINATOR: Carrie Fisher (ext. 3823) ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES: Bridgette Ard (ext. 3811) Andy Roncke (ext. 3806) SALES MANAGER: Jackie Butzler (ext. 3814) BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER: Chuck Hill (ext. 3822) 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) CIRCULATION COORDINATOR: Blaine Schultz (ext. 3813)

49 Return of the Granville Blues Festival 52 Memories of Milwaukee's Downtown Movie Houses

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56 This Month in Milwaukee

LIFESTYLE 58 Learned Helplessness and Personal Power — Out of my Mind 60 Marijuana Reform May Be Slow Going Under Biden — Cannabis 62 Meet the Pro Who's Organizing Milwaukee One Home at a Time — Domicile

Distribution: Shepherd Express is available free of charge. The Shepherd Express may be distributed only by authorized distributors. No person may, without prior written permission of the Shepherd Express, take more than one copy of each monthly issue. Mail subscriptions are available. No refunds for early cancellations. One year (12 issues) via First Class mail: $100.00

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Wisconsin’s Local Funding Model Is Broken: Why Milwaukee Struggles to Keep Public Services Running

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BY JEAN-GABRIEL FERNANDEZ

s Gov. Tony Evers is defending his budget proposal for the 2021-2023 period, one change to local taxation is driving debate about Wisconsin’s unique system to fund local governments.

to levy income tax and general sales tax is exclusively reserved to the state government, which then redistributes a portion of the money to smaller units of government through a shared revenue program.

In Wisconsin, only the state government is allowed to collect income tax, as well as the 5% sales tax statewide. Under current state law, counties have the ability to impose an additional 0.5% sales tax that stays in the county. Evers’ proposal would allow counties another 0.5% sales tax increase, and larger cities like Milwaukee would be able to add their own 0.5% sales tax if approved by referendum, as well. If that budget proposal is approved and a referendum is successful in the City of Milwaukee, local sales tax could go from 5.5% currently to 6.5% in the near future.

Currently, the City of Milwaukee receives most of its revenue from three main sources: state aid, property tax and charges for services delivered. A study by the Wisconsin Policy Forum found that property taxes represent about half of the tax revenue of any American city comparable to Milwaukee, while it represents 96% of Milwaukee’s tax income. State aid is a relatively minor source of income for peer cities—the median for comparable American cities is that state aid represents only 14% of the intergovernmental and tax revenue, while it represents 48% of Milwaukee’s revenue.

This proposal has been received with a clamor of approval from local elected officials. “We are very appreciative of the Governor’s efforts and his recognition that we need to hit the reset button in our fiscal relationship,” said Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, adding that increasing local taxation would mean “placing Milwaukee in control of its own future.” That is a sentiment mirrored by Madison mayor, Satya Rhodes-Conway, who applauded efforts to balance local budgets and support services delivered by local governments. “For years, the state has restricted our ability to raise revenue and preempted local control, which has harmed our communities,” she added.

The city’s budget highlights the fact that “Milwaukee is unusual” because “most cities with a population of 300,000 or more have a more diverse revenue portfolio. While Milwaukee’s total revenue per capita is significantly less than that of most comparably sized cities, Milwaukee’s unusually narrow revenue portfolio results in relatively higher property taxes.”

WHY IS THE CURRENT SYSTEM FAULTY?

Wisconsin’s taxation system is unlike the norm seen in other states because it is top-down and stacked against local governments. By Wisconsin law, the ability

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WHY THIS RELIANCE ON THE PROPERTY TAX IS A PROBLEM

The reliance on relatively high property tax to fund Wisconsin municipalities introduces major difficulties: It largely increases the property tax burden on residents, which itself is limited by state caps on property tax, which leads to a degradation of public services provided by local governments such as public safety, drinking water, sanitation and infrastructure. This is especially true for Milwaukee, which has uncommonly high expenditure needs and runs its own pension system.

This unreasonable reliance on property tax is largely due to the failure of state aid to keep pace with the budgetary needs of localities. From 1975 to 1997, state aid provided more revenue to cities than property taxes did; today, property taxes account for more than double the revenue provided by state aid. “The fundamental problem is that shared revenue is not even growing with inflation,” explains Rob Henken president of the Wisconsin Policy Forum. “No matter where you stand, it makes sense that the local government needs to be able to see at least inflationary growth in order to continue to provide the services that it has been providing. If those revenue sources are not growing, there needs to be service cuts. You can’t have it both ways. That has been the fundamental problem for the city of Milwaukee.” “Milwaukee receives a shared revenue payment of about $230 million a year, but that amount is not growing like it should.” Henken continues. “The amount of state aid that the city received in 2020 was roughly the same amount it received in 1995.” In 1995, that shared revenue from the state could pay for the city’s police and fire departments with millions of dollars to spare. In 2020, it did not even cover the budget of the police department alone. “It takes a lot of money every year just to keep pace with police salaries and costs. Essentially, any revenue growth that the city does see needs to be put into the police department, now,” Henken adds. If the shared revenue from the state had kept pace with inflation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Milwaukee should be receiving nearly $400 million today—but that amount has remained

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NEWS

frozen at $230 million for more than two decades. Not only did the shared revenue program not increase Milwaukee’s income, the program has in fact been distributing less money in absolute terms, while the importance of shared revenue in Wisconsin’s state budget, in relative terms, continues to dwindle year after year. As tax revenue has grown for the state government, it has refused to share that growth with local governments.

WHY THE CITY OF MILWAUKEE HAS A DIFFICULT CHALLENGE CREATING A BUDGET “When the city’s budget team gets together to determine next year’s budget, in an ideal world, that conversation ought to be about which are the areas in our community where we would like to make greater investments,” says Henken. “It should be about determining what programs seem to be having an impact and where we should be expanding strategically. However, because of the situation that the city of Milwaukee has found itself in, the starting point for budget deliberation is, as always,

where we are going to cut next year. You can never get into the conversation about whether we should be investing.” There are potential solutions to this issue. In its award-winning report On the Money?, the Wisconsin Policy Forum identifies several models that could provide Wisconsin cities with the required funding to provide services that all citizens expect while potentially lessening the reliance on property tax. Options range from establishing an entertainment tax, or income or parking or local service tax, or a diversified portfolio of several smaller taxes that could spread out the tax burden further while fortifying Milwaukee’s budget. It would also draw more income from people who live outside of Milwaukee, and therefore don’t participate in the property tax that the city relies on, but who work and entertain themselves in the city.

needs of our local communities. Fundamentally changing the taxation system would be a massive undertaking that remains impossible as long as the Republican-controlled state legislature refuses to cooperate. However, experts agree that there are potential solutions that could be introduced by Evers, who has demonstrated willingness to work towards that goal. Starting in July 2021, if his budget proposal is accepted, Wisconsin communities could start seeing new flexibility allowing them to be more in line with other states.

Jean-Gabriel Fernandez is a journalist and Sorbonne graduate living in Milwaukee.

Wisconsin cities currently have a funding system that is unreliable and frankly not enough to meet the basic expenditure

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POLICE REFORM NEWS

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Image by Getty Images/hansslegers.

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What I Learned about Police Reform at the Milwaukee Police Academy

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he conviction of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the violent murder of George Floyd witnessed by millions on video has raised the hopes of decent Americans of all races their country might finally be ready to end the deadly police tactics routinely killing unarmed African Americans for minor crimes in Black communities that would never be tolerated if those deaths occurred in white communities. But we all should know how difficult systemic police reform will be. Police officers say civilians can’t fairly judge their actions until they’ve walked in the shoes of the police. More than 20 years ago, I tried. I spent a summer attending weekly classes at the Milwaukee Police Academy taught by the same instructors who trained new officers. During the Chauvin trial, it was obvious little in policing has changed. The problem is training that continues to go very wrong in practice on the streets in the same parts of town victimizing the same group of citizens.

BY JOEL MCNALLY they’re the only ones who can prevent a dangerous situation from escalating out of control. Otherwise, there could be far more disastrous consequences. That’s why police often treat everyone aggressively until they sort out what’s happening. But anyone aware of the disparities in American policing recognizes that’s also an opening for abuse by officers already prone to violence against those they’re policing. We now have an unforgettable image of an officer establishing total dominance over a Black man suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill. He’s staring impassively at a racially diverse group of witnesses with one hand in his pocket to demonstrate his indifference to their shouts he’s killing the man by pressing his knee on the man’s neck until long after the victim has lost consciousness and a pulse. Throughout that course, a running theme was innocuous police encounters with the public can turn violent at any time, but it’s

not their fault. We experienced life-size training videos of traffic stops in which we had to make split-second decisions whether to fire a weapon showing us how easy it was to misinterpret motorists’ actions and kill innocent people. At that time, modern technology hadn’t been developed to keep our streets under constant video surveillance or we might have asked why armed police were needed to raise civic revenue by writing traffic citations that could more efficiently be issued after the fact.

FEAR FOR THEIR LIVES White drivers never want to see flashing lights behind them on the highway either, but at worst it’s an annoyance they’ll be late somewhere. They never fear for their lives. With the frequent police killings of unarmed African Americans for minor traffic violations now being reported by the media and recorded on cellphones, Black drivers have to fear that possibility.

The class consisted of members of both print and broadcast media as well as representatives of neighborhood associations concerned about public safety. It was a public relations effort by the department to improve the image of the police in the community. We were aware the department was putting the best possible face on policing, but some of the most disturbing things we learned couldn’t have been intentional.

PROTECT YOURSELF That was especially true of what one instructor called the top priority for beginning officers to understand when responding to a public disturbance. Was the first priority to protect the public, possible victims or potential perpetrators? Put that way, most of us said protection of the public. It was a trick question. He said the top priority was protection of the police officers themselves. Police had to immediately establish dominance because Image by Getty Images/z1b.

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NEWS

Opponents of police reform distort it as defunding the police. Long overdue reform is really intended to improve policing in all neighborhoods by eliminating minor duties like writing tickets that don’t require armed police and others including intervening in mental health crises they’re not professionally trained to handle. Fear of police armed with deadly weapons can escalate violence in such situations rather than reduce it.

Wells vehemently disagreed with anyone excusing violent or illegal actions by police as a natural consequence of dealing with the worst of humanity. He said police dealt far more often with the vulnerable people living in the poor neighborhoods that were most victimized by crime. Lenard believed police officers who failed to feel empathy for people they were hired to protect couldn’t adequately fulfill the requirements of the job. He was right. 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.

Image by Getty Images/IPGGutenbergUKLtd.

In the past year, Milwaukee lost a good friend to COVID. Lenard Wells was an historic figure in pulling the Milwaukee Police Department into the 21st century. He was an activist with the League of Martin, the small group of African American officers filing a successful lawsuit challenging discriminatory hiring, assignments and promotions by racist Police Chief Harold Breier. Wells fought for racial justice and

progressive police reform throughout his professional career and beyond.

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NEWS ISSUE OF THE MONTH

Our County Parks are in Trouble

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BY SHELDON WASSERMAN

ilwaukee County Parks are on life support. We are six years away from the parks receiving no taxpayer support. County Executive David Crowley predicts that in 2027, every dollar of current revenue will need to be dedicated to services mandated by the State of Wisconsin. In 1989, 23% of the county’s tax levy went to our parks. By 2019 that number had dropped to 5%. Without new revenue sources, there will be nothing left over for our parks. Milwaukee County Parks are defined by the State of Wisconsin as a “non-mandated service.” State government mandates that Milwaukee County provide a variety of services to support courts, the jail and certain social services. Parks and other cultural amenities are not included.

PARKS NEED REVENUE So how do we save the patient? Milwaukee County Parks needs revenue. Governor Tony Evers included a provision in his proposed budget that would allow counties and municipalities to increase their sales tax by 0.5% if voters approve it in a referendum. This additional revenue wouldn’t fix every problem we’re facing, but it would provide some funds our parks system desperately needs. In an ideal world, state government would increase the revenue shared with all counties. Each year, Milwaukee County sends tax revenue to the State of Wisconsin. The amount of money sent to Madison has increased steadily over the last decade, but

Image by Getty Images/ ArdeaA

Now, 60% of the Parks Department budget comes through funds that the department has raised itself. Concessions, golf courses, beer gardens, rentals and marina fees are included in this “earned revenue” category. Milwaukee County Parks funding formula relies more on this revenue than any other similarly sized parks system in the country. As a result, our Parks Department is focused on revenue generation. If they didn’t focus on bringing in these funds, the county could not maintain splash pads, pools, trails, bathrooms and other parks essentials.

Historically, this overreliance on earned revenue was not the case. The Parks Department once relied upon direct revenue to make up only 20% of their budget. In the 1980s, the county had over 1,300 full time Parks employees. Parks now has only 240 full time employees and a fraction of the seasonal staff we had in the past. It is impossible for one employee to replace five people in full time positions and maintain the same level of service. With so few staff and so little money, deferring maintenance and cutting services is the only path for parks to follow. This impossible situation is being managed with a first aid kit. We need a modern hospital to save the patient.

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the amount returned as shared revenue has remained flat (and decreased when inflation is considered). The state legislature has used these funds for their own political purposes. State income taxes were created so that revenue could be shared with local governments across Wisconsin. This original intention has been corrupted as this revenue has been shifted away from its purpose of holding down property taxes and providing local communities with revenue. Our Parks Department has worked with friends groups, corporate partners and individual donors in every way possible. We have applied for grants from the federal government, state government and private foundations. Milwaukee County is also working with the Wisconsin Policy Forum and looking to other parks systems for options we may have missed. We have exhausted every avenue to generate revenue and keep our parks alive.

This 0.5% sales tax is the only short term fix that Milwaukee County has. Contact your state senators and representatives (especially if they are in the Republican Party) and let them know that you would like this local sales tax referendum kept in the budget. Let Milwaukee County voters decide the future of our parks system. As the Parks, Energy and Environment Committee Chair, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask if you would like to donate to help our parks. Contribute to the Milwaukee County Parks Foundation and learn about other ways to help at loveyourparksmke.com.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman is Chairman of the Parks, Energy and Environment Committee.

Acceptance • Inclusion • Joy

Sharing good food with our family, neighbors and community since 1970.

4 stores in greater Milwaukee to serve you. w w w . o u t p o s t . c o o p

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NEWS HERO OF THE MONTH

Photo by Erin Bloodgood.

Jilly Gokalgandhi Works for Equity in Education

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BY ERIN BLOODGOOD

ewly elected to the Milwaukee Public School Board representing District 5, Jilly Gokalgandhi has big plans for her new role. Committed to following through on her campaign promises, she is determined to make policies centered around equity, which include funding for special education, multilingual education, and working on restorative justice practices. As an immigrant, she brings a unique lived experience to her role and cares deeply about creating an education system that is inclusive for all students. Born in Mumbai, Gokalgandhi moved to the United States with her family at the age of three and continued to go back and forth between India and America throughout her childhood. “I have this understanding of culture and how the world works from two perspectives: South Asian and American.” she explains. She was inspired by the Indian freedom fighters who helped India win its freedom from the British (only 74 years ago), as well as the many other activists who fought against the establishment. That fascination with the country’s history sparked her interested in government and democracy.

This year, Gokalgandhi decided to run for office for the first time after years of working in public education. “What motivates me to run is we need people who have seen first-hand what’s going on in our community and who have stories like mine and like our students,” she says.

RETHINKING DISCIPLINE She’s most excited about working on ways to rethink the disciplinary systems in our public schools and repairing harm with students rather than punishing them when they do something wrong. “Our kids don’t need to be spending an afternoon in a juvenile detention facility,” she says. “Our kids don’t need police in the building. They are children.” Gokalgandhi heard story after story from families during her campaign telling her that the current system doesn’t work – punishing students doesn’t solve the problem. Instead, Gokalgandhi explains, we need to repair relationships between students and staff and establish policies that teach staff and students how to resolve conflicts.

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“Our kids don’t need police in the building. They are children.”

This work starts by taking a deep look at the current theories around restorative justice in the school district and partnering with the people that have already been doing this work like the organization Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT). She says we need to “understand how we can further champion and fund that work, so that it’s given the importance it needs to be given.” Gokalgandhi says she’s learned so much from the people she met across the city on her campaign trail and she’s using those stories to fuel her work in her new role. “This campaign has reminded me that there are amazing people in our community who are really committed to making sure that we live in a thriving place.” With a fresh set of eyes and diverse experiences, she brings a passion to Milwaukee’s school board, fighting to make sure students of all backgrounds have equal access to education.

Erin Bloodgood is a Milwaukee photographer and storyteller. For more of her work, visit bloodgoodfoto.com.

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NEWS OFF THE CUFF

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n 2009 Milwaukee’s Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops closed after 82 years in business. At that moment the U.S. economy had fallen into the Great Recession, techno-nerds were all atwitter over Kindle and the rising tide of the internet was already threatening to sweep away anything made of brick and mortar. Defying the futurists and scarcely missing a day of business, longtime Schwartz book buyer and manager Daniel Goldin opened Boswell Book Company (2559 N. Downer Ave.) in Harry W. Schwartz’s East Side venue. Despite changes in society and technology, printed books endure. Goldin spoke to Off the Cuff about the challenges and rewards of bookselling. It seems as if there was only a short gap between the closing of Schwartz and the opening of Boswell. What was your plan at the time? Did people think you were crazy for opening a bookstore in the 21st century? Whereas now we are seeing new bookstores opening every week around the country, the mood was more somber in the late aughts. Pundits were saying we would stop seeing printed books by 2013. As is the case with all punditry, nobody ever did a “Why-were-you-so-off?” news story. Regarding the short time between the Schwartz closing and our opening—less than a week—the [Schwartz] family worked with both us and Next Chapter in Mequon so there would be as little gap as possible after we did our asset purchase. We worked out a timetable to close our store before the final markdowns at the other locations. Eventually [Schwartz’s] Shorewood and Brookfield became bookstores—Open Book and a branch of Half Price—but those opened later. I’m the kind of person who can’t handle going out of business sales for stores that I love. I was happy that Schwartz didn’t immediately start discounting after their announcement, giving their loyal customers time to say goodbye where they could see the store as it was. If the store transfers to a liquidator, you might get a deal, but the experience isn’t going to be pleasant. I just got to say goodbye to The Soup

House, which I’d been regularly visiting for 21 years—an average of one visit a week— and I got to have my favorite soup, chicken tikka masala, one last time, plus I bought another quart for my freezer. Remember when between Downtown, the Third Ward and Walker’s Point, there were something like five soup places? At a time when most anything can be purchased on Amazon, what purposes do brick and mortar bookshops serve? What is the value to readers for buying from a shop rather than online? I have bookseller colleagues who actively fight the good fight. Danny Caine at The Raven in Lawrence, Kansas put together a zine that was then turned into a book called How to Resist Amazon and Why: The Fight for Local Economics, Data Privacy, Fair Labor, Independent Bookstores, and a People-Powered Future! and it’s a hit! It’s selling well at Boswell and I’ve noticed it’s out of stock at several of the wholesaler warehouses we shop. He’s really got all the arguments lined up. I’m a little more soft sell—I’m just not a podium kind of person. I like to say “We’ll be there as long as you want us,” and at least until now, folks have responded to that. There’s a sense of pride in a lot of our customers about the store, and you can see that in the way that so many of them bring friends and relatives from out of town to visit. I don’t think people respond well to shaming, and I also am well aware of my and the store’s own faults and shortcomings. The book business is not set up with enough margin to pay people what they deserve unless you cut out the service and selection, and free shipping make it even more difficult for us. That said, there is a trend with plenty of shoppers that they buy a lot of other things on Amazon, but then shop at an independent bookstore for books. I wish we could transfer some of that mindset to other kinds of retail. If I could ask you as customers to do a couple of things, it would be to think about what you say to front line retailers, bookstore or otherwise. When you say, “I’ll just buy it at Amazon” or “I love looking at books here but I only read on a Kindle” or “Amazon’s cheaper—will you match the price,” it’s

like punching that front liner in the face. I’m not talking about me here, but that person at the front register. Please try to think about what you say. I’ve actually tried to take that lesson with me when I’m a consumer. Over the years, we’ve also worked to diversify our author program, our displays, our selection. Representation really should be everywhere. Fortunately, we’ve been lucky to work with a lot of partner organizations so that we could bring BIPOC authors to the community. We’ve also tried to work with nonprofits to help get books in the hands of folks who might not be able to get them on their own. Could we do better? Of course we could. I also know that everyone is chasing after the same programming and the hot authors—so my game plan is to discover great authors of color that are a bit under the radar. What I’m saying is that if you haven’t read Everywhere You Don’t Belong by Gabriel Bump, Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford, Lakewood by Megan Giddings or my new favorite, The Five Wounds by Kirstin Valdez Quade, you should. Oh, and Punch Me Up to the Gods, by Brian Broome. That’s an amazing memoir. I understand that there was a resurgence of independently owned bookshops across the U.S. in the last years before the pandemic. How has COVID impacted booksellers nationwide? Has there been a significant number of closures? There have been some closures and plenty more sales. But even that’s good news. Ten-15 years ago, it seemed like it was much harder to sell a bookstore… We wound up opening for limited browsing last September. Some of my friends at other bookstores are just opening now. Sidewalk pickup, putting all kinds of items on our website that we formerly didn’t, pivoting to virtual events and book clubs, it was crazy. For the six months we were closed to browsing, we learned what it was like to be an inefficient warehouse. By summer, many of us were longing for browsing just so we could interact with people in a positive way.

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NEWS OFF THE CUFF

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Describe the average Boswell customer— or is there no such thing? I don’t think there’s a typical customer, though we can definitely sell some books better than others. If someone lives five blocks away, the odds are that we’re going to see them more often than someone 20 miles away. One thing that was interesting about COVID was there were pockets of customers that we didn’t expect—I particularly noticed this when I was doing deliveries in spring and summer. I’d like to give a shout out to a few concentrations that were a bit unexpected—thank you East Tosa, Tippecanoe (especially right around the library), and the small but loyal gang in Germantown. While some of these places did not make logical sense for me to deliver, every so often I’d make a run when I saw a good amount of geographically adjacent packages, just to surprise people. Plus, it was nice to get out in the world, which was hard to do. At one point, I was carrying my essential worker note from the Milwaukee Health Department, just in case a police officer flagged me down.

10 or so ticketed events from spring were refunded by Brown Paper Tickets. There is now a court order for them to refund the tickets, but they have seven months to do so, so we expect that some of our customers will be waiting for a while. We spent a lot of time figuring out what we should do about this, especially after Brown Paper Tickets cut off our communication with our customers. We had downloaded the contact addresses, but I can’t do a bulk mailing and it’s more complicated than you’d think to send 300+ emails to give folks an event update.

Event pivot took a little longer—really it was about five weeks before we had our first virtual event and it wasn’t really until June that we stopped canceling events and started pivoting. In retrospect, I wish I’d done that earlier, but I didn’t know what I was doing. The biggest problem we had were our ticketed events. Only three of our

When do you anticipate returning to business as normal? I take each day as it comes…And with a lot of Americans not wanting vaccination and a lot of countries not able to vaccinate, that means the variants are going to have a lot of opportunities to be fruitful and multiply, so to speak. But it seems like scientists still don’t really have a handle on herd immunity either. So it seems I don’t have an answer. We really don’t know what will happen with touring either. I’m sure a lot of publishers are thinking, “Why bother?” They had been cutting out funds for author travel anyway. But lots of authors are itching to get out on their own, and certain kinds of authors who generally broke out through touring (mystery and thriller series notably) don’t seem to be breaking out in the same way.

Tell me about the various steps you took to keep Boswell alive during COVID, including curbside sales and the shift from live author events to Zoom presentations. Regarding the sidewalk pickup, all the bookstores we know pivoted at once, and the difference was how much we were actually allowed [by state restrictions] to do—less on the coasts, more inland. We moved to a touchless system with a cart after trying a few options, and that’s pretty much still in place. When we opened for browsing, we started with a 10-person limit, then 15, and we’re hoping when the staff has their second shots that we’ll raise it again. It’s actually draining for staff to be continually counting.

I also love that most of our events are now archived online. We’re still trying to figure out how to do this when we go back to in-person programming.

I have customers who love virtual events and other who hate them. I love that we can host authors who’d normally never come to us—Kazuo Ishiguro! Obscure authors who live abroad!—and I love how intimate the events are. The authors are generally home, and they are so relaxed! That said, there are certain things that don’t work as well, like the larger ticketed events. I find that we’ve pivoted more to chasing events for books we love, which is something that’s much harder to do when you have to get that author to Milwaukee. But even more than that, if it’s some obscure fiction book we’re excited about (like most recently Leonard and Hungry Paul, what a phenomenon for us!), we can often get folks to buy the book but it’s harder to get them to come out for someone they don’t know, particularly for fiction. But it’s easier to get them to turn on their laptop or phone to watch.

And of course, we have several new bookstores opening in Milwaukee, from Niche Book Bar to Lion’s Tooth to La Revo Books (I don’t know if they have a plan for a physical space). We looked regional trade association list and saw a Milwaukee Bookstore and Bar and we’ve still not been able to figure out what or where it is. One thing that’s been nice is that with virtual events, we’ve been able to work with other bookstores. We have a monthly program with Books & Company and a more-orless quarterly one with InkLink in East Troy. We’ve also been able to host events with Outwords and some of the new stores. So normal? What is normal anyway? Is normal even a good thing? What I can be sure of is that there is no constant except change.

David Luhrssen is Managing Editor of the Shepherd Express and participated in several author events over the past 10 years at Boswell Book Company.

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HEAR ME OUT DEAR RUTHIE | SPONSORED BY UW CREDIT UNION

Pride Flags S t ill Fly High DEAR RUTHIE,

DEAR PAULY,

For years I celebrated Milwaukee Pride. It was one of the highlights of the year for me. I’m upset that we’re still not coming together as a community this June. I get it; between the desire to contain the covid spread and the need to reserve venues, get permits and book acts early, it makes sense to hold off another year of Milwaukee Pride; but all that doesn’t stop me from feeling disappointed, upset and even a bit lonely. Is that crazy?

Being a self-proclaimed Pride nut, I completely understand what you’re going through, sugar. I’m glad you understand the need to hold off on large, organized Pride events this year, but I also think it’s normal to feel disappointed and bummed. There’s comfort and happiness in celebrating on a big scale with your community, and missing out on that over the years might lend a feeling of loneliness.

WHAT DO YOU THINK,

Prideful Paul

That said, you can still celebrate Milwaukee Pride! Remember, the feeling of pride comes from within, so celebrate Pride your own way this year. Have a barbecue with a few friends, enjoy a homespun LGBTQ+ movie marathon or read a book by a favorite community author. I’llSCACZCXZC make it even easier on you! Check out the extended list of events on my Social Calendar this month, many of which are Pride related. So mask up, step out and celebrate Pride your way all month long.

XXOO

Ruthie

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DEAR RUTHIE BROUGHT TO YOU BY

Ruthie's Social Calendar JUNE 3 THROUGH JUNE 6 Pride Weekend at This Is It (418 E. Wells St.): Milwaukee’s landmark LGBTQ+ bar kicks off June 3 with “RuPaul’s Drag Race” darling Jasmine Masters and a 9 p.m. meet-and-greet. See the bar’s social media pages for details regarding other guest appearances throughout the weekend, including Widow Von Du, Nina West and Jake Dupree. Nab tickets at www.thisisitbar.ticketleap.com. JUNE 4 Jukebox Bingo at Walker’s Pint (818 S. Second St.): A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, and a whole lotta fun, this name-that-tune mash-up takes bingo to a new level. Every night is ladies’ night at this friendly downtown hot spot, but guys are welcome anytime as well. Check out the game night that has all of Milwaukee talking. JUNE 9 Virtual FAB (Older Adult) Support Group: The team at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center hosts this free Google discussion for those 50 and older. Come talk about your week, topics of concern or simply listen in and make a few new friends. The discussion begins at 6 p.m., but a facilitator is online at 5:30 to help with technical problems. Log onto www.meet.google.com/emg-vgwe-nrp. JUNE 13 Pride Bingo at Fluid (819 S. Second St.): Join Miss Fluid, Shannon Dupree, for a Sunday Funday that includes bingo, prizes, drink specials and more. Be sure to check out the beer garden, enjoy the friendly bartenders and yuck it up with my gal pal Shannon. The games start at 4 p.m. JUNE 16 “Gayme” Show Night at Hamburger Mary’s (730 S. Fifth St.): Join me as I host a kooky evening of fun and games at Milwaukee’s burger palace. Swing by for the 7:30 p.m. night, and you could walk away a winner! Best of all, the hosting charity is Bombshell Theater, Milwaukee’s hottest new theater company. Reserve a table at www.hamburgermarys.com/mke. JUNE 19 Juneteenth Day Celebration at Alice’s Garden Urban Farm (2136 N. 21st St.): You’re invited to join the celebration of self-determination and liberation during this 5-9 p.m. event. A great night is sure to be had when you enjoy the music, food, beverages, marketplace and activities all promising to make this event one for the books. JUNE 27 Mr. and Miss LaCage Pageant at LaCage Niteclub (801 S. Second St.): Someone’s about to get a new hat ... and it’s loaded with rhinestones! After a long shutdown, the city is popping for pageant season to start, and what better place to kick things off than LaCage? This exciting competition will take time out to honor local legends Betty Boop and Chris Steele. Doors open at 7 p.m. Have a question for Ruthie? Want to share an event with her? Contact Ruthie at dearruthie@shepex.com. Follow her on social media, too! Dear Ruthie | RuthieKeester | @DearRuthie JUNE 2021 | 23

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HEAR ME OUT | SPONSORED BY UW CREDIT UNION

Queer Artists Plan a Public Spectacle of Billboard Art

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BY PAUL MASTERSON

aughan Larsen, a 2019 Nohl Fellow, recently announced Milwaukee’s first outdoor queer art show using billboards throughout the city as its medium. Curated by Vaugh as an extension of That Way, an Instagram account and printed zine featuring weekly takeovers of LGBTQ+ artists, “Queering the Cream City” promises to “add contemporary LGBTQ+ art to the streets of Milwaukee.” The exhibit will be on display from July 23 through August 23. A parallel exhibition takes place at the contemporary art gallery, The Alice Wilds, located in Walker’s Point. Selected works will be displayed in either the gallery setting or on a billboard. Joining Vaughan as curators are T.J. Dedeaux-Norris and Laurence Philomene. Both have been featured artists on the That Way page. The trio is inviting LGBTQ+ artists in all media to submit their work for consideration by June 7. “Queering the Cream City” adds an LGBTQ angle Milwaukee’s tradition of summer plein air art established in 2017 by Sculpture Milwaukee. That annual event transforms the downtown cityscape with three-dimensional art. As the first ever queer billboard art exhibit featuring local artists, it also becomes part of Milwaukee’s storied LGBTQ art history. That history goes back nearly a quarter century. During the waning years of the 20th century, I was curator for the gallery I established at the LGBT Community Center. The gallery intended not only to give LGBTQ artists a queer friendly outlet but also, through participation in the Third Ward Gallery Nights, to introduce the queer art genre to Milwaukee’s greater art world. The only restriction imposed by the center at the time, ironically enough, was no male nudity.

The creation of Milwaukee Gay Arts Center (MGAC) followed in 2005. MGAC’s art shows, theater and musical performances as well as its varied outreach programs intended to deliver the message, “Art is life. Queer art is queer life.” Sadly, a decade later after its founding, gentrification of the gayborhood resulted in MGAC’s closure. For its part, the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) has brought queer art to the discerning viewer over the years with major exhibits featuring LGBTQ identified artists such as Gilbert & George, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol and, most recently, transwoman Jamie Nares. “Oranges on Fire,” a MAM billboard art installation in 2015, promoted the museum’s retrospective art exhibition of the works of photographer Larry Sultan. The Pfister Hotel’s current artist in residence, transman Nykoli Kuslow, represents another moment of the integration of LGBTQ art into the mainstream. Meanwhile, renegade street artist Jeremy Novy has made his mark throughout the city with his famous koi and queer themed stencils. Interestingly, while not presenting art per se, billboards have provided the medium for communicating LGBTQ awareness. Both Cream City Foundation’s “Gay Neighbor” in 2008, and, a year later, Diverse & Resilient’s “Acceptance Journeys” campaigns were designed to predicate dialogue, positively impact attitudes and, by extension, alleviate HIV+ stigma. This summer, the “Queering the Cream City” project adds to the ever-expanding narrative of Milwaukee’s queer art history. Artists will find submission information at saveartspace.org/milwaukee. Background photo by Getty Images/ ElizavetaLarionova. Color wheel photo by Getty Images/Laures.

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HEAR ME OUT MY LGBTQ POV | SPONSORED BY UW CREDIT UNION

LGBTQ Progress Awards IN PERSON AT SAINT KATE BY PAUL MASTERSON

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lthough the lingering pandemic forced the cancellation of this year’s PrideFest and Pride Parade, the Shepherd Express is moving forward with the 2021 LGBTQ Progress Awards. This year the Progress Awards will return as a live event, scheduled for August 5 at Saint Kate-The Arts Hotel. For more information, visit shepherdexpress.com/shepherdevents. As in past years, a committee of activists chose the winners based in large part on their pioneering struggle for social justice and inclusion. Here are the recipients of the 2021 LGBTQ Progress Awards.

FORGE

Robert “Bim” Florek

GALANO Recovery Club

Jennifer Murray, MPH

Progress in Equality

LGBTQ Pioneer

Progress in LGBTQ Health

Progress in Education

For over three and a half decades, FORGE, Milwaukee’s transgender advocacy organization, has pursued its mission to build strength and resilience in our transgender and non-binary communities. It accomplishes this through training and assistance for professional service providers, resources and support for individuals, and connection and awareness for the general public.

Like many in the mid-1980s when AIDS struck Milwaukee’s gay male population, Robert “Bim” Florek volunteered to help confront the crisis. Bim (as he prefers to be called) selected a most challenging role as hospice grief counselor at the time when AIDS victims, many abandoned by their families, were left to die alone. His first patient, an 18-year old man, died in his arms. Bim continued there for 11 years.

Addiction has always been a human weakness. Founded in 1973 in response to high rates of addiction within the Milwaukee LGBTQ community, the GALANO Recovery Club has served the mental health needs of its members for nearly half a century.

Jennifer Murray once wrote, “I am here for all the queering of consciousness, connecting with higher purpose, and showing up to be present to the work of finding new ways of learning, knowing, and being!” It is in apparent fulfillment of that purpose that she has been engaged in LGBTQ higher education since 2004. As the Director of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center, a position she has held since 2007, as Co-Chair of the UWM Chancellor's Advisory Committee for LGBT+ Advocacy, and lecturer, she has established herself as a major contributor to Milwaukee’s LGBTQ progress through education.

In 1994, FORGE began its work as a resource to connect trans masculine individuals. The organization later merged with the Transgender Aging Network. Over the following years FORGE expanded to include anti-violence research, work with sexual violence victims and the cultural competency of those who provide care to them. In 2007, FORGE hosted the FORGE Forward Conference. Over 500 trans individuals from across the country attended. Two years later, FORGE received two major grants to address the needs of sexual assault survivors and their service providers. Today, FORGE continues to contribute to LGBTQ progress, not only locally, but as a nationally recognized leader in its field.

Once begun, Bim’s volunteerism knew no bounds. Among his many roles, he has served as Stage Manager for the Vivent Health (formerly ARCW) AIDS Walk for over 30 years and as Fest City Singers artistic director in the late 1980s. As President of GAMMA since 2012, Bim has inspired that organization to increase membership and broaden its activities, including the philanthropic “GAMMA Gives.” He also leads the group’s annual Pride Parade contingent as his alter ego, Liberace.

With its staff of volunteers, and providing a safe space for its members, GALANO meets those needs through its fellowship and broad range of 12 step programs. GALANO Club facilitates recovery for its members who are confronting addictive behaviors including alcoholism, drug abuse and sexual compulsive behavior. It also has an Al-Anon program for supportive families and friends of those with a drinking problem. Meetings are conducted in person, online or via video and phone, allowing members anonymity and easy access. The GALANO Club also provides networking for a range of related addiction resources. GALANO Club’s contribution to LGBTQ progress is reflected in the hundreds of lives improved and saved by its dedicated service.

Murray has been instrumental in making UWM an LGBTQ+ welcoming institution, creating programming based on her extensive experience in the development of transformative policies and programs. These are based in her dedication to the ideals of inclusion, diversity and equality. Her efforts have brought UWM nationwide recognition as a “Top 25 LGBT friendly campus.”

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Broderick Pearson

Erv Uecker & Ross Walker

Walker’s Pint

Progress in Activism

Progress in Philanthropy

Progress in Business

Coming out in the late 1990s, Broderick Pearson followed a triple path as entertainer (Montell Infiniti-Ross) in the drag pageant scene, HIV activist and social justice advocate. The positive impact he continues to make, particularly in the Black LGBTQ community, can be attributed to those intersecting realms that allow Pearson his inspiring success as a messenger.

Erv Uecker and Ross Walker recognized November 30, 1957 as the official beginning of their relationship. Since then, they have worked tirelessly both in building their personal lives together and, through their combined efforts in contributing to the progress of their LGBTQ community. In 2014 they married after the introduction of marriage equality.

Beginning in 2001 at the House of Infiniti, Pearson engaged young gay Black men, promoting HIV prevention through intervention and outreach. His passion ignited, in 2011 he became a Medical College of Wisconsin Medical Research Associate and volunteer cochair for the Wisconsin Action Planning Group for HIV.

Moving to Milwaukee in 1983, they immediately became involved with local LGBTQ life. They both served as officers on the board of the BestD Health Clinic, Uecker as treasurer and Walker as president. They are credited with bringing stability and sound leadership to that organization.

Located in an 1885 storefront, and a fixture in the heart of the Walker’s Point gayborhood, Walker’s Pint is not only Milwaukee’s longest running lesbian bar but also one of the few remaining ones in the entire country. Opened in the traditional Milwaukee gayborhood by Elizabeth A. “Bet-Z” Boenning in 2001, the establishment’s motto “Every Night is Ladies’ Night” belies its universal and inclusive appeal, welcoming patrons of any persuasion and gender identity. That embrace of diversity has certainly contributed to Walker’s Pint’s longevity.

Then, in 1996, the duo became involved with the establishment of the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center. As the initial planning evolved, Uecker and Walker pledged $120,000 over the following decade to underwrite the new center. Their contribution significantly advanced the project and lead to the Center’s opening in 1998.

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. JUNE 2021 | 29

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Image by Getty Images/-strizh-.

His political advocacy is best documented by his leadership in organizing the 2020 Pride March for Black Lives Matter. Pearson’s motivation: “I do it because there needs to be a voice for our community. It has to be present always, whether social justice, trans rights or BLM. For me, I am committed to have that voice. Regardless under what umbrella, we are going to stand together.”

Although the award winning “Pint” enjoys a reputation for its classic and down-home sports bar ambiance, it also boasts a two decades’ long history of community engagement. It has fielded a softball team, the Uhaulers, in Milwaukee’s LGBTQ league, SSBL, hosted for numerous fundraising events for Milwaukee’s LGBTQ organizations, and owner “Bet-Z” has served as a member of the Milwaukee Pride Parade board of directors.

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ART FOR ART'S SAKE

From The City That Always Sweeps

It will be all the time too noisy no matter where you go, now that social gatherings are once again getting the thumbs-up. Makes it difficult for a guy like me to collect his thoughts. And the weather? Forget about it. On those days that could even make Satan suffer (in my book, anything above a nice 73 degrees), I suppose I could echo the party line and agree that “it’s not the heat; it’s the humidity.” But I won’t. Because it is the heat. And it’s the stupidity, of you’s who spent the quiet winter months indoors in climate-controlled comfort whilst all-the-time longing to feel like a focking pig hoist on a spit and rotated over a steam-furnace flame come the summer, what the fock. So as I was saying, here we are in the month of June, that favorite time of year for young ladies to become new brides; and their boyfriends to become new grooms, whether they like it or not. And so June, as the years pass, does become the month for anniversaries, the remembrance pleasant, or bittersweet, as in this little story:

rode your stomach lining. Chinese food is loaded with MSG. High-fat diets can be destructive, and none of us realizes the long-term harm caused by the germs in our drinking water. But there is one thing that is the most dangerous of all and we all have, or will, eat it. Can anyone here tell me what food it is that causes the most grief and suffering for years after eating it?” After a period of silence, an elderly man in the front row raised his hand and softly said, “Wedding cake.” Ba-ding!

And as for me, yes, then, of fathers, of sons, this time of year, I’ll be seeing you, as the song goes, in all the old familiar places, in every lovely summer’s day; I remember you, ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek, and I told you so.

And let’s not forget that June also brings us Father’s Day on the 20th, and here’s an idea I had a while back for what you ought to do come Father’s Day if you’re too focking cheap to spring for a gift for the old fart. Hey, how ’bout at least make a nice homemade card. I even got a nice sentiment you can write down in it. It’s a quote from no finer writer there ever be again than dear Mr. Yeats from near Dublin, who will celebrate his 156th birthday, June 13, as best he can: I have certainly known more men destroyed by the desire to have a wife and child and to keep them in comfort than I have seen destroyed by drink and harlots. A-focking-men. Happy Father’s Day. And if that doesn’t cheer dad up, then relate to him the following little story on the phone when you call him up to tell him you can’t stop by on the Sunday ’cause you got more important things to do:

So this guy goes to the Wizard to ask him if he can remove a curse he has been living with for the past 40 years. The Wizard says, “Perhaps, but you will have to tell me the exact words that you believe were used to put the curse on you.” And without hesitation, the man says, “I now pronounce you man and wife.” Ba-ding!

So this foursome of guys are on the first tee. As the fourth guy is smack in the middle of his backswing, a funeral procession passes by on the road that runs alongside the first tee. The guy drops his club, takes off his golf cap and places it over his heart until the line of cars recedes from sight.

Or this one:

The other three guys can’t believe it and are besides themselves in awe and admiration. After the round was over, one of them says to Mr. Respect-for-theDead, “Jeez louise, Hank, that was an honorable thing you did back there on

A doctor at a health conference said, “The material we put into our stomachs is enough to have killed most of us years ago. Red meat is awful. Soft drinks cor-

the first tee.” Hank says, “You mean when the funeral passed by? Yeah, thanks, but what the fock, I figured it was the least I could do, after all, I was married to her for 32 years.” Ba-ding!

Photo by Getty Images/EpicStockMedia.

I

’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So listen, I hear another Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, which means we’re now into that time of year where my two most favorite words are “cold front” as pronounced by our TV weather guys and gals, I kid you not. I’ll tell you’s, these next couple, three summertime months during which a guy can’t even blow his nose without some fockstick wanting to put on an outdoors festival about it, do definitely not comprise my favorite time of year, no sir.

BY ART KUMBALEK

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Patio Dining Guide I

t’s hard to remember but for many years, restaurants with outdoor seating were rare in Milwaukee. Since the ’90s patio, dining has exploded and there’s no going back. This summer as the world returns to normal, Milwaukee’s patios may well be busier than ever before. Here are a few of our favorite places to eat outside.

Photo by Getty Images/thanakornsra.

Aperitivo

(Pritzlaff Building) 311 N. Plankinton Ave. 414-276-4400

aperitivomke.com FOOD: YES FULL BAR: YES

At Random

2501 S. Delaware Ave. 414-481-8030

atrandommke.com

Bavarian Bierhaus 700 W. Lexington Blvd. 414-236-7000

thebavarianbierhaus.com FOOD: GERMAN FULL BAR: YES

BelAir Cantina

Locations in Milwaukee (Downer Ave. and Water St.), Brookfield, Oak

Creek and Wauwatosa

FOOD: SOME CONSIDER ICE CREAM FOOD FULL BAR: COCKTAILS

belaircantina.com

The Backyard

The Beer Garden

2155 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. 414-751-4087

FOOD: MEXICAN FUSION FULL BAR: YES

1133 N. Old World Third St. 414-908-0401

thebackyardmke.com

thebeergardenmke.com

FOOD: PIZZA FULL BAR: YES

FOOD: ORDER FROM MECCA SPORTS BAR OR CREAM CITY CLUCKERY FULL BAR: YES

Balistreri’s Bluemound Inn

6501 W. Bluemound Rd. 414-258-9881

balistreris.com FOOD: ITALIAN FULL BAR: YES

Balzac

1716 N. Arlington Pl. 414-755-0099

balzacwinebar.com FOOD: SMALL PLATES, MODERN FULL BAR: YES

Barnacle Bud’s 1955 S. Hilbert St. 414-481-9974

barnacle-buds.com FOOD: PUB FARE, SEAFOOD FULL BAR: YES

Best Place

Boone & Crocket

Bottle House 42

Burnhearts

bestplacemilwaukee.com

boonemilwaukee.com

bottlehouse42.com

burnheartsbar.com

FOOD: NO FULL BAR: BEER ONLY

FOOD: TACO TRUCK IN PARKING LOT FULL BAR: YES

FOOD: MODERN COMFORT FULL BAR: YES

FOOD: NO FULL BAR: YES

The Brick Pub & Grill

Cactus Club

901 W. Juneau Ave. 414-847-1330

818 S. Water St. 414-212-8115

Black Husky Brewing

Botanas

blackhuskybrewing.com

botanasrestaurant.com

909 E. Locust St. 414-736-4141 FOOD: OCCASIONAL FOOD TRUCK NEAR PATIO FULL BAR: BEER ONLY

Blue Bat Kitchen & Tequilaria 249 N. Water St. 414-431-1133

bluebatkitchen.com FOOD: YES FULL BAR: YES

816 S. Fifth St. 414-672-3755 FOOD: MEXICAN FULL BAR: YES

Botanas II

1421 E. Howard Ave. 414-489-0529

botanas2onhoward.com FOOD: MEXICAN FULL BAR: YES

1130 N. Ninth St. 414-988-1550

6343 N. Green Bay Ave. 414-797-0710

thebrickpubandgrill.com FOOD: PUB FARE FULL BAR: YES

Buckatabon Tavern & Supper Club

7700 Harwood Ave. 414-271-7700

thebuckatabon.com

2599 S. Logan Ave. 414-294-0490

2496 S. Wentworth Ave. 414-697-0663

cactusclubmilwaukee.com FOOD: SEMI-REGULAR FOOD TRUCK SERVICE FROM FRIDA’S COCINA FULL BAR: YES

Café Benelux 346 N. Broadway 414-501-2500

cafebenelux.com FOOD: EUROPEAN FULL BAR: YES

FOOD: FAMILY STYLE FULL BAR: YES

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FOOD & DRINK

Café Corazon

Camp Bar

2394 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. 414-544-2774

4044 N. Oakland Ave. 414-962-5182

corazonmilwaukee.com

campbarmke.com

FOOD: MEXICAN FULL BAR: YES

FOOD: YES FULL BAR: YES

3129 N. Bremen St. 414-810-3941

Café Hollander

2608 N. Downer Ave. 414-936-6366 7677 W. State St. 414-475-6771

6600 W. North Ave. 414-763-3793

Capri di Nuovo 8340 Beloit Rd. 414-543-5510

capridinuovo.com

cafehollander.com

FOOD: ITALIAN FULL BAR: YES

FOOD: YES FULL BAR: YES

Casablanca

Camino

728 E. Brady St. 414-271-6000

434 S. Second St. 414-800-5641

17800 W. Bluemound Rd. 262-261-6000

caminomke.com

casablancaonbrady.com

FOOD: MODERN COMFORT FULL BAR: YES

FOOD: MIDDLE EASTERN FULL BAR: YES

Centro Café

808 E. Center St. 414-455-3751

centrocaferiverwest.com FOOD: ECLECTIC CONTEMPORARY FULL BAR: YES

City Lights Brewing

2210 W. Mt. Vernon Ave. 414-436-1011

citylightsbrewing.com FOOD: PUB FARE, FISH FRY FULL BAR: BEER ONLY

Cloud Red

4488 N. Oakland Ave. 414-231-9660

cloudredmke.com FOOD: COMFORT FOOD TO VEGETARIAN OPTIONS FULL BAR: YES

Crossroads Collective

2238 N. Farwell Ave. 414-736-9081

crossroadscollectivemke.com FOOD: SEVERAL RESTAURANTS WITH DIVERSE MENUS FULL BAR: YES

Draft & Vessel

4417 N. Oakland Ave. 414-533-5599

draftandvessel.com FOOD: NO FULL BAR: BEER ONLY

Dorsia

1307 E. Brady St. 414-539-6826

dorsiamke.com FOOD: ITALIAN FULL BAR: YES

Eagle Park Brewing Company 823 E. Hamilton St. 414-585-0123

S64 W15640 Commerce Center Pkwy.

eagleparkbrewing.com FOOD: PUB FARE FULL BAR: MAINLY BEER, MUSKEGO LOCATION HAS DISTILLERY

Eddie Martini’s 8612 W. Watertown Plank Rd. 414-771-6680

eddiemartinis.com FOOD: FINE DINING FULL BAR: YES

Elwood’s Liquor & Tap

1111 N. Water St. 414-810-1436

Facebook.com/elwoods-liquor-tap-2208890662491536 FOOD: NO FULL BAR: YES

Explorium Brewpub

5300 S. 76th St. 414-423-1365

exploriumbrew.com FOOD: ECLECTIC PUB FARE FULL BAR: YES

Fink’s

1875 N. Humboldt Ave. 414-226-5882

finksmke.com FOOD: NO FULL BAR: YES

5 O’Clock Steakhouse

2416 W. State St. 414-342-3553

fiveoclocksteakhouse.com FOOD: STEAKS, SUPPER CLUB FULL BAR: YES

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Good City Brewing

333 W. Juneau Ave. (Fiserv Forum area) 414-539-4173 2108 N. Farwell Ave. 414-539-4173

goodcitybrewing.com

La Merenda

125 E. National Ave. 414-389-0125

lamerenda125.com FOOD: GLOBAL FULL BAR: YES

Leff’s Lucky Town

FOOD: ECLECTIC BAR FOOD; PIZZA, BURGERS, SALAD, VEGETARIAN OPTIONS FULL BAR: BEER, WINE, CIDERS

7208 W. State St. 414-258-9886

Great Lakes Distillery

Lost Valley Cider Co.

leffs.com FOOD: PUB FARE FULL BAR: YES

616 W. Virginia St. 414-431-8683

408 W. Florida St.

greatlakesdistillery.com

FOOD: POPCORN, DELIVERY OPTIONS FROM NEIGHBORING RESTAURANTS FULL BAR: BEER, WINE, CIDER

FOOD: SMALL PLATES, WINGS, SANDWICHES, COMFORT, PUB FARE FULL BAR: YES

Harbor House 550 N. Harbor Dr. 414-395-4900

bartolottas.com/harbor-house FOOD: FINE DINING FULL BAR: YES

The Harp

113 E. Juneau Ave. 414-289-0700

theharpirishpub.com FOOD: PUB FARE FULL BAR: YES

Indeed Brewing Company 530 S. Second St. 414-216-9007

indeedbrewing.com FOOD: LIGHT SNACKS, PIZZA FULL BAR: BEER ONLY

lostvalley.com

Lost Whale

2152 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. 414-249-3188

lostwhalemke.com FOOD: NO FULL BAR: YES

Mader’s

1041 N. Old World Third St. 414-271-3377

madersrestaurant.com FOOD: GERMAN FULL BAR: YES

Martino’s Hot Dogs

1215 W. Layton Ave. 414-281-5580

martinoshotdogs.com FOOD: HOT DOGS FULL BAR: NO

Kegel’s Inn

McGillycuddy’s

kegelsinn.com

mcgillycuddysMilwaukee.com

FOOD: GERMAN FULL BAR: YES

FOOD: IRISH, PUB FARE FULL BAR: YES

Kruz

MECCA Sports Bar & Grill

5901 W. National Ave. 414-257-9999

354 E. National Ave. 414-272-5789

facebook.com/kruz.kruzbar FOOD: NO FULL BAR: YES

1135 N. Water St. 414-278-8888

1134 Vel R. Phillips Ave. 414-908-0401

themeccamke.com FOOD: BURGERS FULL BAR: YES

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FOOD & DRINK

Merge

1932 E. Kenilworth Ave. 414-226-5160

mergemilwaukee.com FOOD: KOREAN FULL BAR: YES

Milwaukee Ale House

233 N. Water St. 414-226-2337

O’Donoghue’s Irish Pub

Rock Bottom Brewery

odonoghuesirishpub.com

rockbottom.com

FOOD: IRISH, PUB FARE FULL BAR: YES

FOOD: BURGERS, PIZZA, PUB FARE FULL BAR: YES

13225 Watertown Plank Rd. 262-641-2730

O’Lydia’s

338 S. First St. 414-271-7546

ale-house.com

olydias.com

FOOD: BURGERS FULL BAR: YES

FOOD: IRISH, WINGS FULL BAR: YES

Milwaukee Sail Loft

Oakland Gyros

649 E. Erie St. 414-223-0100

milwaukeesailloft.com FOOD: SEAFOOD FULL BAR: YES

Motor Bar & Restaurant at the Harley-Davidson Museum

530 W. Layton Ave. 414-744-2555

facebook.com/oaklandgyros FOOD: GREEK, BURGERS FULL BAR: NO

2491 S. Superior St. 414-747-1007

palominobar.com

600 S. Sixth St. 414-488-9146

FOOD: SOUTHERN, BRUNCH FULL BAR: YES

hotelmadridmke.com

Pizza Man

8933 S. 27th St. 414-304-0300

mulliganson27th.com FOOD: IRISH, PUB FARE FULL BAR: YES

Nomad World Pub 1401 E. Brady St. 414-224-8111

nomadworldpub.com FOOD: BURGERS FULL BAR: YES

FOOD: LATIN FULL BAR: YES

Sabrosa Café

3216 S. Howell Ave. 312-834-1929

sabrosa.cafe FOOD: LATIN FULL BAR: YES

saladining.com

Palomino

Mulligans Irish Pub & Grill

sabortropicalmke.com

oscarsonpierce.com

1712 W. Pierce St. 414-810-1820

motorrestaurant.com

FOOD: SPANISH FULL BAR: YES

2258 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. 414-988-8030

SALA

FOOD: BURGERS FULL BAR: YES

Movida

Sabor Tropical

Oscar’s Pub and Grill

401 W. Canal St. 414-287-2778

FOOD: BURGERS, PUB FARE FULL BAR: YES

740 N. Plankinton Ave. 414-276-3030

2613 E. Hampshire St. 414-964-2611 FOOD: ITALIAN FULL BAR: YES

Santino’s Little Italy

352 E. Stewart St. 414-897-7367

santinoslittleitaly.com FOOD: ITALIAN FULL BAR: YES

2597 N. Downer Ave. 414-272-1745

pizzamanwi.com FOOD: PIZZA FULL BAR: YES

Public Table

5835 W. National Ave. 414-488-2948

public-table.com FOOD: PUB FARE FULL BAR: YES

Red Lion Pub

1850 N. Water St. 414-431-9009

redlionpubmke.com FOOD: ENGLISH, BURGERS, BRUNCH FULL BAR: YES

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Uncle Buck’s

1125 N. Old World Third St. 414-988-0355

unclebucksonthird.com FOOD: BURGERS, PUB FARE FULL BAR: YES

Uncle Wolfie’s Breakfast Tavern 234 E. Vine St. 414-763-3021

The Saucy Swine (Redbar)

2245 E. St. Francis Ave. 414-509-5390

thesaucyswine.com FOOD: BARBEQUE FULL BAR: YES

Saz’s State House 5539 W. State St. 414-453-2410

sazs.com FOOD: BARBEQUE FULL BAR: YES

Skyline Bar & Lounge

1037 W. McKinley Ave. 414-226-6516

nostudios.com

Tavolino

2315 N. Murray Ave. 414-797-1400

tavolinomke.com FOOD: ITALIAN FULL BAR: YES

Tenuta’s

2995 S. Clement Ave. 431-1014

tenutasitalian.com FOOD: ITALIAN FULL BAR: YES

Tess

2499 N. Bartlett Ave. 414-964-8377

tess2499.com FOOD: CONTEMPORARY FULL BAR: YES

FOOD: NO FULL BAR: YES

Three Lions Pub

South Shore Terrace & Beer Garden

threelionspub.com

4515 N. Oakland Ave. 414-763-6992

2900 S. Shore Dr. 414-617-1147

FOOD: BRUNCH, PUB FARE FULL BAR: YES

southshoreterrace.com

Toast

FOOD: BURGERS, APPETIZERS FULL BAR: BEER ONLY

Sportclub

750 N. Jefferson St. 414-808-1588

sportclubmke.com FOOD: PUB FARE FULL BAR: YES

Station No. 6

6800 W. Becher St.

stationno6.com

FOOD: APPETIZERS FULL BAR: YES

Stubby’s Gastropub 2060 N. Humboldt Blvd. 414-763-6324

231 S. Second St. 414-539-4179

toastmilwaukee.com FOOD: BRUNCH FULL BAR: YES

Tre Rivali

200 N. Broadway 414-291-3971

trerivalirestaurant.com FOOD: MEDITERRANEAN FULL BAR: YES

Twisted Fisherman 1200 W. Canal St. 414-384-2722

twistedfisherman.com FOOD: SEAFOOD FULL BAR: YES

unclewolfies.com FOOD: BREAKFAST FULL BAR: YES

Von Trier

2235 N. Farwell Ave. 414-272-1775

vontriers.com FOOD: GERMAN FULL BAR: YES

Weissgerber’s Golden Mast Inn

W349 N5293 Lacy’s Lane, Okauchee 262-567-7047

weissgerbergroup.com FOOD: GERMAN, AMERICAN FULL BAR: YES

White House

2900 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. 414-897-0495

whitehousebayview.com FOOD: FINE DINING FULL BAR: YES

The Wicked Hop 345 N. Broadway St. 414-223-0345

thewickedhop.com FOOD: BURGERS, PUB FARE FULL BAR: YES

Wonderland

732 E. Burleigh St. 414-372-7880

artbarwonderland.com FOOD: ECLECTIC CONTEMPORARY FULL BAR: YES

Zocalo Food Park 636 S. Sixth St. 414-433-9747

zocalomke.com FOOD: BURGERS, MEXICAN, APPETIZERS FULL BAR: YES

stubbyspubandgrub.com FOOD: BURGERS FULL BAR: YES

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FOOD & DRINK

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FOOD & DRINK FLASH IN THE PAN

“You have to eat oatmeal or you’ll dry up. Anybody knows that." The above claim has never been disproved. It was authored by Kay Thompson and uttered by a 6-year-old girl named Eloise, who lived in The Plaza Hotel in New York with Weenie the dog and Skipperdee the turtle. Ever since I first saw that quote, in the margin by the oatmeal raisin cookie recipe in the Silver Palate Cookbook, I’ve wondered what she meant.

the recipe. Or so I thought. A few days later, while working on my project, I stumbled upon the actual patent that Oatly had filed. As I scrolled through US patent no. 6451369B1, titled “Non-dairy, ready-to-use milk substitute, and products made therewith,” I quickly found this passage: “The disclosed cereal suspension is prepared by treating a suspension of oatmeal with beta-amylase, which has no glucanase and proteinase activity, in a first enzyme treatment step, which specifically generates maltose and maltodextrin units.”

Perhaps young Eloise understood that oats absorb a lot of water as they cook, such that when you eat oats you’re eating mostly water. Or maybe she meant “dry up” as a euphemism for “slow down.” Certainly, oatmeal has a reputation for keeping you going all day like the Energizer Bunny, thanks to the slow release of sugars from the complex carbohydrates in whole oats. BY ARI LEVAUX Whatever she exactly meant, she was right to cast oatmeal in a positive light. Superfoods and supplements get all the hype, but water and fiber are two of the biggest missing elements in a healthy diet, according to dietitians. And you’ll find both of those in a bowl of oatmeal. Nowadays, more and more people reach for oat milk when they want their oats and water. It’s a rising star in the non-dairy milk category, especially among coffee drinkers looking for a dairy substitute. It has a creaminess other nut- and grain-based milks don’t, despite being made from the cheapest raw ingredient of any of them. It’s no wonder the oat milk sector has a target on its back, with its fellow vegan milk makers taking aim. Regulators are too, though not out of jealously. In 2019 the USDA asked several oat milk makers to disclose added sugars in their nutritional labels, even though technically there are none. But manufacturers have figured out how to use enzymes to release sugar that had been locked up in oat starch. This adds sugar without adding sugar. I wanted to try my hand at enzymatic oat milk, so I reached out to Oatly, the undisputed leader in the oat milk industry, hoping for some clues. An Oatly representative declined to share which enzymes they use, so after a bit of research I ordered my best guess of some good candidates, including amylase and beta-glucanase. A few weeks later, when my wife acknowledged that my latest batch of oat milk was not awful, I knew I was getting close to

In English, it says that amylase enzyme—which I had been using—is indeed responsible for generating sugar from oat starch. I celebrated this moral victory with one of my favorite late-night snacks: dry oats with canned whipped cream and maple syrup. Eloise would not approve, and this treat probably won’t make it onto any dessert carts, but I really like the juxtaposition between the moist, fatty whip and plain dry grains. I also enjoy the esoteric contrast between wholesome oats and trashy canned whipped cream. Most canned whip is quite sweet, but the syrup takes this dish over the edge, which is what a midnight snack is all about.

The next morning, I made oatmeal for breakfast, and realized my morning bowl of oats is almost as much of an indulgence as my midnight snack, and with a lot more water. There may be less glory in a bowl of oatmeal than a fresh-squeezed glass of oat milk, but there is ample joy, and plenty of room for artistry.

Oatmeal is a personal thing. Some like it soupy, others firm. I prefer mine with a custard-like consistency that vibrates like Jell-O when you slap the pot, with a creamy, frosting-like layer on top that results from my special process. Getting to the bottom of a bowl of my oatmeal is hardly a grueling experience. And after years of enjoying it, I’ve yet to dry out. Eloise’s law remains intact.

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

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Custard-style Oatmeal

(patent pending)

This is how I get oatmeal to the consistency of custard. The key is to cook it slowly, and once everything is added, no stirring! The butter and cream form something of a frosting on top, while the lower level of oats is drier. Although the active time for this recipe is barely two minutes, allow an hour for the oatmeal to properly simmer and rest. Serves two • 1 cup whole oats • 3 cups water • 1 tablespoon salted butter • 1 tablespoon heavy cream • ½ cup frozen blueberries (or the fruit or berry of your choice) • Syrup to pour on top Add the oats, water and butter to a pan and set it on high until it boils, about four minutes. Turn down to medium for about two minutes while you add the cream and blueberries and stir them in. As you stir this final time, feel the bottom with your implement and scrape it well if anything happens to be sticking. Turn it down to low and cook with the lid off for 20 minutes, not stirring. Then turn it off and let it rest another 20 minutes, covered. Serve with maple syrup.

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FOOD & DRINK BEVERAGES

It’s the Summer for German Beer

I

t’s sometime o’clock on a warm summer night in the German city of Cologne. The facade and twin spires of the city’s Gothic cathedral—der Kölner Dom—cast their silhouette against the summer sky. You’re at a plein air table of a brewery on the square in front of the cathedral. You can’t remember when you and your friends arrived at the brewery or how many of these delicious 200 milliliter Stangen of the local refreshing and flavorful Kölsch beer you’ve had. Ein Köbes—a waiter in

BY GAETANO MARANGELLI the characteristic blue apron and jacket—arrives with the regularity of a rush hour subway, taking away your old, empty glasses, leaving new, full glasses of Kölsch in front of you. “This,” you say to yourself, “is everything that beer on a summer night should be.” In the two-and-a-half years Susan and I rented an apartment in the north German city of Bremen, we drank delicious beer in every part of the country. But our favor-

ites were the many kinds of local beer we drank in Germany’s summer halls and summer gardens—and at that brewery with summer tables on der Kölner Domplatz. Why while away your summer drinking the same old styles of German Pilsner? Why not explore the many styles of German beer which are also ideal for summer? Here’s a guide to begin discovering them.

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“This,” you say to yourself, “is everything that beer on a summer night should be.” KÖLSCH AND ALTBIER

WEIZENBIER AND BERLINER WEISSE

KELLERBIER

The two primary styles of beer are ales and lagers. Ales are made with yeasts which ferment at warm temperatures, while lagers are made with yeasts which ferment at cold temperatures. Ales are conditioned— which is to say, carbonated—at warm temperatures, while lagers are conditioned at cold temperatures. Kölsch is a hybrid style of beer. It’s brewed at warm temperatures like an ale, but conditioned at cold temperatures like a lager, which yields a beer with the best qualities of both ales and lagers. Kölsch has a straw color, with lightly fruity, yeasty aromas and flavors and a light, hoppy bitterness. It’s brewed with light barley malt and has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 4.8%.

If you don’t know Weizenbier and Hefeweizen— styles of wheat beer which are called Weißbier in Bavaria and Witbier in Belgium and the Netherlands—please promise yourself you’ll try them this summer. A favorite of south Germany, Weizenbier is made with both barley and wheat malt. Hefeweizen is a style of Weizen that isn’t filtered, which suspends the yeast in the beer. (Hefe is German for yeast.) With aromas and flavors of banana and clove, Weizen and Hefeweizen are rich yet refreshing, with a moderate 5 to 6% alcohol. Both styles should be served in vase shaped Weizen glasses.

Kellerbier, which means cellar beer, is an unfiltered, unpasteurized, yeasty, malty lager style from the south German region of Franconia. It’s a favorite in the region’s summer beer gardens, where locals drink it out of earthenware mugs.

Less than 50 kilometers north of Cologne and downstream along the Rhein River, the city of Düsseldorf makes its own warm-fermenting, cold-conditioned hybrid style of beer called Alt. Altbier is made with dark barley malt, has a darker color, and is slightly more bitter than Kölsch. As well as echt German brands of Kölsch and Altbier, better local beer shops stock American styles of both kinds of beer.

An alternative to Weizenbier is a wheat beer called Berliner Weisse. The style is mildly sour, with a light, fruity character and less than 2.5% alcohol. Napoleon’s troops referred to Berliner Weisse as “The Champagne of the North,” but the style won its local popularity in the Berlin summer beer gardens of the middle 19th century. The tart quality of Berliner Weisse owes to its fermentation with brewer’s yeast and lactic acid bacteria. Berliners commonly flavor the beer with extracts of raspberry or Woodruff, a sweet, earthy, hay-like herb. Berliner Weisse is a style made for guzzling from goblets on hot summer days. A plethora of German and American styles of Weizen and Hefeweizen are at shops and bars across the state. Look for American styles of Berliner Weisse at local craft breweries.

Kellerbier, which refers to the cool temperatures at which the beer is brewed and conditioned, has an amber color, an aromatic, hoppy flavor, and an ABV of about 5%. If true to style, Kellerbier has little effervescence because it matures in wood casks without bungs. As yeast ferments the sugars in the beer and converts them to alcohol and carbon dioxide, the gas dissipates through the bung hole. As well as in their summer beer gardens, natives of Franconia like their Kellerbier as dinner aperitifs. Neither German nor American styles of Kellerbier are easy to find in the state, but they’re worth searching for.

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.

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SPECIAL HEALTH & WELLNESS

Milwaukee’s LGBTQ

Health Care Services: FROM A SINGLE CLINIC TO NATIONAL MODEL.

It was also at a time when revealing one’s sexual orientation and gender identity to a family physician risked possible denial of service, outing or even institutionalization. The patient’s fear, coupled not only with the unfamiliarity with specific LGBTQ needs among health care providers but also their potential animus, contributed to a lack of care and treatment for this segment of the population.

The earliest community response to this dilemma was the establishment of a small VD clinic in the Third Ward, then a neighborhood of neglected warehouses and many of the city’s gay bars.

Photo by Getty Images/Lordn.

During the decades that followed, Milwaukee’s LGBTQ health care services have grown exponentially. They now span a comprehensive spectrum of medical and mental health, anti-violence and, since the intuition of marriage equality, family related services. They are provided by ma-

jor health facilities, support agencies and individual private practices. Milwaukee Pride has recently launched a comprehensive listing of LGBTQ health and wellness resources as a digital directory. A virtual version of its popular PrideFest Health & Wellness Area program, it supersedes all previous service online listings, providing an online “yellow pages” of services. The platform allows users to search through over a dozen categories that include local and statewide resources for specific health needs. Included are legal, medical and mental health care providers, senior and youth services, pregnancy and transgender specialists, and many others. The directory may be found at pridefest.com.

Photo by Getty Images/Ljupco. Background photo by Getty Images/ Sono Creative.

M

ilwaukee’s history of LGBTQ health services began nearly half a century ago. In 1974, community leaders recognized the necessity to provide targeted medical and mental health care to a demographic with very specific needs. Beyond general health care, certain health concerns were integral to LGBTQ life. Rates of obesity, substance abuse and other mental health issues were always higher among people identified as LGBTQ.

BY PAUL MASTERSON

Among the medical health care providers and support agencies, the following represent the leading resources for LGBTQ needs.

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Brady East STD Clinic: Opened in 1974 as the Gay People’s Union VD Examination Clinic, BESTD Clinic now offers a broad range of no-cost, high quality sexual health services for walk-in patients and by appointment. Services include HIV/STD counseling and testing, STD treatment, PrEP discussion and referral. BESTD Clinic is trans affirming. Diverse & Resilient: Recognizing anti-LGBTQ discrimination as the cause of health care disparities, Diverse & Resilient’s mission is to “achieve health equity and improve the safety and well-being of LGBTQ people and communities in Wisconsin.” It offers HIV and STI testing, consulting and training in areas of mental and sexual health, as well as anti-violence, substance abuse and leadership programs. FORGE: Founded in 1994, FORGE has become a national leader in transgender awareness and trans wellness, providing resources, training and tools to address anti-trans and sexual violence. GALANO Club: For nearly 50 years, the GALANO Club has provided anonymous services for those dealing with drug, alcohol and sexual addictions and their families. Inclusion Health Clinic, Sargeant Health Center: Recognized by the Human Rights Campaign as “Top Performers in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality,” Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin Inclusion Health Clinics are designed to meet the LGBTQ community’s myriad health care needs. They offer HIV, reproductive, OB/GYN, psychiatric, and other comprehensive primary, preventive and specialty services. Sixteenth Street Community Heath Centers: With numerous clinics throughout Milwaukee, Sixteenth Street delivers culturally sensitive HIV services as well as other LGBTQ relevant health resources with a focus on addressing the needs of people of color, seniors and youth. Veterans for Diversity: With its focus on “helping those who served, are serving, and their families,” Veterans for Diversity provides a range of resources for former and current LGBTQ military service members. It assists them in accessing Veterans Administration benefits and programs, holds healing retreats and offers mental health support. Vivent Health Medical Center: Formerly known as the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW), Vivent Health is the largest and fastest growing HIV health care system in the country. It offers full medical, dental and mental health clinics, a food pantry, legal and social services as well as innovative HIV prevention programs.

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SPECIAL HEALTH & WELLNESS

Get Healthy

in Milwaukee’s Great Outdoors BY BLAINE SCHULTZ

A

s if dangling a carrot on a stick, the pandemic offered an opportunity to remain socially distanced and enjoy the local outdoors many of us take for granted. Opportunities for biking, hiking and kayaking are closer than you think. Once again, the weather is perfect for outdoor activities. Here are some local suggestions.

Photo Credit: dimarik/GettyImages.

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Biking

In the mid 1960s an idea took hold to convert abandoned or unused railroad corridors to into public trails. Today, the national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy offers more than 21,000 miles of rail-trails providing a place for millions of people to walk, run, hike, skate and cycle each year. Southeast Wisconsin is home to 340 miles of existing trails. Another resource, Wisconsin Bike Fed has its office in Wheel & Sprocket’s Bay View location (187 E. Becher St.) and works to “unite a strong community of residents as well as business and political leaders to move bicycling forward in Wisconsin—through education, legislation and involvement.”

EAST TO WEST AND SOUTH TO NORTH If you are ambitious, with some planning, you can trek from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River. Locally, cyclists can begin on the Oak Leaf Trail riding through Estabrook and Brown Beer Parks to connect to the Ozaukee Interurban Trail. This 30-mile paved trail connects with the Sheboygan Interurban Trail in the north and passes through Belgium, Port Washington, Grafton, Cedarburg, Thiensville and Mequon

GLACIAL DRUMLIN TRAIL Another option is the Glacial Drumlin Trail. Stretching 52 miles, the beautiful route offers views of farmlands and glacial topography, from Waukesha to Cottage Grove. “Since it’s one of those trails that used to be a railroad, I enjoy it most as a cyclist,” says Milwaukeean Veronica Rusnak. “It’s long and straight, and since it historically needed to accommodate trains, the few escalations are long and steady so you're not out of breath from a climb.” She says what makes the trail special is its roots in its history, both natural and commercial. “You’re riding through varied scenery—past lakes and ponds, from the top of a drumlin for vast vistas—and through little towns that sprung up and

Kayaking and Canoeing Photo by Michael Pereckas/Flickr.

served the farming community because of their proximity to waterways and roads. This railway connected them all. Since it isn’t a difficult ride, you have the energy to take it all in.”

Hiking

LAKESHORE STATE PARK

In 1998, Governor Tommy Thompson announced the plan for a state park created with debris from the Deep Tunnel Project. In 2007 Lakeshore State Park opened in the Milwaukee harbor off the eastern shore of Summerfest. The park offers two miles of trails that host over 70 species of indigenous and migratory birds. At dusk, foxes can be seen hunting. If you are lucky some summer evening, you might find yourself in the midst of a squadron of dragonflies. Elsewhere in our area, the Milwaukee County Parks System boasts over 125 miles of paved trails.

HAVENWOODS STATE FOREST Want to get lost in the middle of the city? Located just off Sherman Boulevard and Silver Spring Drive, Havenwoods State Forest is Wisconsin’s only urban state forest. It features 237 acres of grasslands, woods and wetlands and six miles of trails within the city of Milwaukee. On any afternoon Havenwoods offers a respite from urban life. If you care about protecting our natural resources, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources offers volunteer positions.

Three rivers, the Menomonee, the Kinnickinnic and the Milwaukee all flow through our city before reaching Lake Michigan. The Algonkian Indians named the place Millioki—“gathering place by the waters.”

Today these urban water trails offer miles of views of the city from unique vantage points. As early as 1894, the Milwaukee Rowing Club was founded for recreational and competitive sport. For those looking for a more relaxed experience, Milwaukee Riverkeeper offers maps and other resources for kayakers and canoers. Just want to get your feet wet? The Urban Ecology Center can help get you started. In the year when everything changed, many of us took to the water. Lesley and Dave Zylstra found a way to combine their love for concerts with kayaking. Brew City Kayak (818 S. Water St.) offers rentals and began a weekly Wednesday evening River Roundup for those who love paddling and live music. Bands performing live on the pontoon included The Funk Club, Armchair Boogie and The Erotic Adventures of the Static Chicken were joined by a parade of fellow water travelers. “It was such a great response during quarantine to help people get outdoors, hear live music and stay physically distanced for safety, says Lesley Zylstra. Photo Credit: Blaine Schultz.

A wary Canada goose stands guard atop a muskrat den at Havenwoods State Forest.

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SPECIAL HEALTH & WELLNESS

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W

hen not playing with their band Testa Rosa, Betty Blexrud-Strigens and Damian Strigens can be found kayaking though the city. “It forces you to slow down and really take notice of the architecture, skyline, cool design and appreciate the city for its beauty,” Damian says. “When you're moving through the downtown area on foot, you're often in a hurry to get somewhere and surrounded by people moving around you, but the river provides a different perspective that forces you to quietly take in the detail of the surroundings.” Betty likens the perspective to a “secret tunnel,” and the historian in her takes over. “I used to study historical photos of downtown for work, and from the river, much of old Milwaukee is still so recognizable. Kayaking, you see these little pockets of historical evidence and I find myself wondering, How many people have sat in that spot or traveled over this railroad bridge?” She also reminds us that paddling by the Beerline District, you might see evidence of the Rock River Canal that was meant to unite Lake Michigan with the Mississippi River. It was filled in to become Commerce Street. “It is hard to imagine that big ships used to sail up-river past the Holton street bridge.” Milwaukee Kayak Company also offers rentals for kayaks, tandem kayaks (built for two) and paddleboards. They also offer weekly guided tours during the summer months. Milwaukee Kayak has two launch locations, Jerry’s Docks (318 S. Water St.) and Schlitz Park (1555 N. RiverCenter Drive).

Photo by Getty Images/Willard.

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CULTURE | SPONSORED BY THE MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM

TO ADVERTISE ON THIS PAGE, contact BRIDGETTE at 414.292.3811 or bridgette@shepex.com

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Return of the

Granville Blues Festival NATIONAL ACTS TOP THE BILL AT THIS SUMMER’S NORTH SIDE EVENT

G

BY DAVID LUHRSSEN

ranville was a largely rural township in northwest Milwaukee County until its annexation by the City of Milwaukee in 1956. The area saw a building boom from the late ‘50s through the early ‘70s including Northridge Mall, the jewel of the district until its decline and closure.

Waters and Willie Dixon and remains a mainstay of the Chicago blues scene. The Cash Box Kings draw from Mississippi Delta as well Chicago blues in songs that speak to contemporary concerns. Guitarist Toronzo Cannon brings rock-inspired energy to the blues.

But Granville moved on without the mall and for the past several years—except 2020 during the pandemic—it has been the site for a long weekend of free music. This year’s Granville Blues Festival features three headlining acts, the Otilia Donaire Band (July 15), John Primer (July 16), Cash Box Kings (July 17) and Toronzo Cannon (July 18).

In previous seasons, the event was called the Granville Blues and Jazz Festival. As explained by Mary Hoehne, executive director of the Granville Business Improvement District, “This year it is the Blues Fes-

The four headliners represent a cross-section of contemporary blues and blues rock. San Francisco’s Otilia Donaire is a vocalist in the gritty mode of Koko Taylor and Janis Joplin. John Primer played with Muddy

"OUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE IS THE ATTITUDE OF OTHERS WHO FORGET ABOUT THE AREA AND DO NOT INCLUDE IT IN THE CONVERSATION."

tival because it’s the appropriate music and feel for coming out of the pandemic.” After all, blues isn’t simply about sadness and deprivation but is all about the strength to turn troubles into celebration. Local acts including Only Tonite and the Lloyd Stephens Band will fill out the bill. Food booths and pop-up retail vendors will also be on hand. “We aim to bring regional and national acts to Milwaukee without charging people for the opportunity to hear great music,” Hoehne says. “We bring the music you don’t normally get to hear without a trip to a blues club, a concert or another fest in another state.”

JOHN PRIMER

The much-publicized decline of Northridge put the district in a bad light. “Granville’s biggest challenge is changing [people’s]

OTILIA DONAIRE BAND

perspective,” Hoehne continues. “It’s one of the safest places in the city. It has a wonderful diverse population. Many people have lived there for years. We are surrounded by lovely homes and condos and apartments. We are diverse in all aspects, which gives the area wonderful character. We have hundreds of jobs. Nestled behind the commercial corridor are beautiful homes, with lovely landscaping, caring neighbors, and nature. It’s a lovely place to raise a family.”

Photo by Marilyn Stringer.

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TORONZO CANNON

Could Granville be the face of Milwaukee in the future? Says Hoehne, “Our biggest challenge is the attitude of others who forget about the area and do not include it in the conversation. The economic machine forgets that if you want to be inclusive, invest in an area that is already showing you that inclusiveness works. People talk diversity and inclusion, write mission statements, change up their marketing pieces and ignore areas like Granville where it already exists.”

Aside from the music, the Granville Blues Festival is an opportunity to show people from around the Milwaukee area what Granville is all about. The Granville Blues Festival runs July 15-18 at 8633 W. Brown Deer Road. Headlining acts take the stage 8 p.m. nightly. For more information, visit granvillebusiness.org.

David Luhrssen is Managing Editor of the Shepherd Express and coauthor of The Encyclopedia of Classic Rock.

CASH BOX KINGS

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CULTURE | SPONSORED BY THE MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM

Memories

of Milwaukee’s Downtown Movie Houses

Photo by Getty Images/jetcityimage.

BY RICHARD G. CARTER

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F

A single block of North Third Street from West Wells to Wisconsin Avenue was home to three, with seven others on Wisconsin Avenue between the Milwaukee River and North Sixth. After World War II, these theaters—White House, Princess, Miller, Telenews, Alhambra, Strand, Wisconsin, Palace, Warner and Riverside—featured Hollywood’s best and worst. As Black North Side kids, my cousin Tommy Gee and I loved them all. Although Milwaukee neighborhoods were largely segregated, I don’t recall ever being segregated or feeling unwelcome by Downtown movie house management. But then, as a kid, it could have happened without me or my cousin understanding it.

CATCH THE STREETCAR

This striking, yet homey venue—next door to the bawdy Empress live burlesque show theater—was touted as “The House That’s Different.” Before being torn down in 1955, its name became the Atlantic and then the Mid-City. In the decade before its demise, the White House changed films daily. This unique venue also featured the memorable “March of Time” newsreel shorts, each episode ending with a thunderous “Time marches on!” The White House also led the way for cowboy pictures featuring the Cisco Kid, Gene Autry and others. Adding to its charm for me and Tommy were the big posters of coming movies in the hallway outside the downstairs men’s room. Hours later, we would cross the street to the Princess (built in 1909) which came to be known as “Milwaukee’s Home of Action Pictures” specializing in “B” double features. An unlocked door to the right of the Princess box office main entrance—out

Photo by Getty Images/jetcityimage.

On many Saturday and Sunday mornings, we’d catch the streetcar at the corner of Third and Vine and ride down Third to our streets of cinema dreams. Very often, we‘d visit two or three theaters the same day. Our first stop usually was the White House (739 N. Third St.) with its gleaming alabaster exterior. This three-story structure attracted passersby with flashy photos of second-run films festooned all over its huge, recessed, outside lobby.

Photo by Getty Images/7713Photography.

rom 1945-1955, 10 movie houses operated in Downtown Milwaukee. Each one admitted kids under 12 for 12-cents, and adults for 50-cents before 6 p.m. Those large, resplendent venues were architecturally unique, fun and far superior to latter day multi-screen boxes in shopping centers. Sadly, all but one has disappeared.

of sight of the ticket-taker—allowed some kids to occasionally enter without paying. Before being razed in 1984, the theater sadly was given over to X-rated films.

CLASSY THEATER My cousin and I sometimes crossed the street again to the Miller (717 N. Third St.), built in 1917, which offered “A” list fare. A strange aspect of watching movies at the Miller was the aroma from a Chinese restaurant next door. Remodeled in the early ‘50s to become the posh Towne, this classy theater boasted of the city’s first “push-back seats.” It was demolished in 1979. The Telenews around the corner (310 W. Wisconsin Ave.), erected in 1947, was the last Downtown movie house built. Designed in a modern mode, it specialized in news footage and documentaries and sponsored radio shows. In the early days of television, the Telenews had a large TV set mounted in the lobby for current news coverage and another in a downstairs lounge outside the rest rooms. It was not unusual for many people to gather around the downstairs TV as movies were being shown. Renamed the Esquire, this neat, friendly venue remained popular with a steady flow of second-run films before being razed in 1981. To the west, the huge, stately Alhambra (334 W. Wisconsin Ave.), built in 1896, specialized in suspenseful film noir, Technicolor shoot-‘em-ups and second feature Warner Bros. offerings. Designed in lavish fashion, it contained private boxes, rich draperies and countless, mood-enhanc-

Photo by Getty Images/Archive Holdings Inc.

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CULTURE | SPONSORED BY THE MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM

ing lights. Before sadly expiring in 1960, the Alhambra fell into a run of low-budget horror flicks. The Strand (510 W. Wisconsin Ave.) was touted as “the largest exclusive photoplay house west of New York” when built in 1914. Our favorite theater on the avenue, its mixed bag of films gave it a neighborhood house atmosphere before closing in 1978. One year, during a W. C. Fields film festival, the Strand achieved a public relations coup by offering free admission to kids under 12 with four freckles. Tommy and I were among the hundreds—Black and white—who showed up. A few doors west was the Wisconsin (530 W. Wisconsin Ave.), an enormous, double-balconied structure. Built in 1942, the Wisconsin had 3,275 seats, a huge columned lobby, chandeliers, ornate ceilings, gargoyles and marble statuary. Twinned in 1963 and renamed Cinema 1 and 2, the theater later lapsed into weekend-only operation before bowing to the wrecker’s ball in 1986. Directly across the street (535 W. Wisconsin Ave.), the imposing Palace—built in 1915 as the Orpheum and demolished in 1974—showed Cinerama and 3-D films during the 1950s. Tommy and I often got in free via its only black usher, father of close friend, Joe Barnes.

WATCHING MUHAMMAD ALI Just east of North Third Street, the art-deco-style Warner (212 W. Wisconsin Ave.),

later called the Grand, was built in 1931 as Warner Bros.’ Milwaukee flagship cinema. On Sundays during football season, the theater flashed Green Bay Packers’ scores on a lighted display left of the big movie screen. During the ‘60s, I attended several closed-circuit television championship boxing matches at the Warner, including the 1965 Muhammad Ali-Charles “Sonny” Liston rematch. Empty for many years, the Warner Grand was expensively rehabbed as the Bradley Symphony Center, the new home of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Further east, standing majestically on the west bank of the Milwaukee River, was, and still is, the Riverside. Built in 1929, this French baroque theater boasted bronze doors, marble halls, gold-leaf, grand chandeliers and plush wall draperies. In its heyday, the Riverside presented blockbuster first-run films. The Riverside also was known for many first-rate stage shows featuring 1940s and ‘50s names such as Abbott and Costello, Red Skelton and Jack Benny, as well as the popular, big swing bands of Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman.

appearing at the Davidson included civil rights activist-singer Paul Robeson as well as stage and screen stars such as Katherine Hepburn, Edward G. Robinson and Van Heflin. My most personal memory of the Davidson was when Juanita Carter—my NAACP secretary mother who later narrowly escaped the bombing of its West Center Street office—took me to a matinee by Blackstone the Magician. And I still recall him dedicating his performance to magician Harry Houdini, who spent his childhood in Milwaukee.

Richard G. Carter was a Milwaukee Sentinel reporter, Milwaukee Journal columnist and local radio commentator, a New York Daily News columnist, and has appeared on “Larry King Live” and “Donahue.”

Finally, not to be forgotten, was the legendary Davidson Theater (621 N. Third Street) between Wisconsin Avenue and West Michigan Street. Built in 1890 and razed in 1954, it showed movies in its early days but was better known for quality live stage fare. Big box office names

Photo by Getty Images/Bet_Noire.

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CULTURE | SPONSORED BY THE MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM

This Month in Milwaukee 10 THINGS TO DO FROM JUNE 5 TO JULY 2

BY ALLEN HALAS, JENNIFER HERRICK, DAVID LUHRSSEN AND TYLER NELSON WEDNESDAYS

JUNE 18

Non-Pop! at RWB Milwaukee (9 p.m.) u Non-Pop! is a weekly event at RWB Milwaukee (1044 N. Old World 3rd St.) featuring live artwork creation and DJs playing music outside of the Top 40. Curated by DJs Moses and Tista, artists Lisza Battikha and vjBrye and more, NonPop! is expanding Milwaukee’s cultural horizons when it comes to dance music. Events are free to attend, and also streamed live on the Non-Pop Twitch channel as well. Get June’s event information at Facebook.com/YoNonPop

Mid Coast at The Cooperage q (Facebook Live) Mid Coast is a monthly online music showcase held at The Cooperage, featuring a diverse lineup of artists and a charity element to every event. The events not only serve as a fundraiser, but a platform for local artists and awareness of local organizations.

Photo by Getty Images/Semen Salivanchuk.

JUNE 5

JUNE 11-OCTOBER 3

Ride with Pride 2021 t House of Harley-Davidson All motorcycle riders are invited to the world’s largest LGBTQ motorcycle run. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Greenfield House of Harley-Davidson, 6221 W. Layton Ave., and ride out at 11 a.m. past Milwaukee landmarks that have been missed over the last year.

Americans in Spain: Painting and Travel, 1820-1920 q Milwaukee Art Museum In White Anglo-Saxon Protestant America, Spain was an exotic place. Interest only grew with the success of storywriter Washington Irving’s Tales of the Alhambra (1832) with its intriguing description of the elaborate Moorish palace in Granada. “Americans in Spain” displays the work of 19th century U.S. artists who studied immersed themselves in the culture when they weren’t studying the masterworks in the Prado. The exhibition includes work by William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri along with John Singer Sargent’s Carmencita and a newly discovered Mary Cassatt painting found in a private Madrid collection.

JUNE 10 Lyndsey Ellis q Boswell Books Lyndsey Ellis’s debut novel, Bone Broth, is an intergenerational family saga rooted in the American Midwest but universal in its message of struggle and survival. At a time when more people are looking for compelling narratives that deepen the understanding of the Black experience, and as stories of police violence swirl around a growing number of Midwestern cities, Bone Broth traces one family’s history in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s 2014 killing in Ferguson, Missouri through the linked perspectives of an aging social activist and her adult children. Boswell Books will welcome Ellis for a virtual event in conversation with Wisconsin Poet Laureate Dasha Kelly Hamilton.

Each Mid Coast event looks to bring together a group of performers from each neighborhood within Milwaukee, as well as benefit a different organization with each event. While this event is currently onlineonly, it will eventually grow into an in-person performance. View the June lineup and charity of choice at Facebook.com/MidCoastMKE

JUNE 12 Margarita Fest u Bottle House 42 Margaritas have become one of America’s favorite beverages to accompany Mexican food, but dining out or not, the combo of lime juice and tequila is a refreshing drink during the long hot nights of Milwaukee’s short summer. Back after a one-year absence (that pandemic!), Margarita Fest brings together a variety of margaritas from an array of local vendors for you to sample. It’s amazing—what creative bartenders with a familiar favorite. For more information, visit shepherdexpress.com/shepherdevents. Photo by Getty Images/karandaev.

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THROUGH JULY 17

Photo by Getty Images/Vladislav Zolotov.

“Shane McAdams: Yes, and…” q OS Projects, 601 Sixth Street, Racine Shepherd Express art critic Shane McAdams received the Visual Arts Achievement in Arts Writing award from the Wisconsin Academy of Arts and Letters.

JUNE 19

Photo by Getty Images/master1305.

Movies in the Glen – Mama Mia! p Richard E Maslowski Community Park, 2200 W. Bender Road Come out with the family and bring the picnic blankets to sit on the lawn of the Johnson Controls Outdoor Amphitheatre for a free movie, the popular ABBA-powered musical Mama Mia! Popcorn and other treats will be available for purchase at the Sprecher Outdoor Oasis. If there is a rain delay, the movie will be played the next night. Showtime is 8 p.m.

He’s also a painter with a solo show. “The pandemic offered an unexpected opportunity to disengage from the needling distractions of a lot of day-to-day obligations,” McAdams said. “As the reality of our situation set in, I retreated further into the studio. This creative escapism was initially a psychological defense mechanism that led organically into a fruitful period of alternative production. This new body of work, all of which took shape over the past year, was shaped by a hyperactive period of creativity, in the shadow of a global calamity—a bittersweet set of influences.”

JUNE 26 Milwaukee Comic Con p Wisconsin State Fair Park Products Pavilion Boasting over 200 tables of “geeky goodness,” Milwaukee Comic Con is back at State Fair Park for 2021 in a 10 a.m.-4 p.m. event. Presented by a local group, Mighty Con, Milwaukee Comic Con has everything nerd culture has to offer from toys, comics, card games and more. Admission for children is free.

Slice illustration by Getty Images/Iuliia Kanivets.

THROUGH AUGUST 1 “Mandela: The Official Exhibition” u Milwaukee Public Museum Presented in collaboration with the Black Holocaust Museum, the Milwaukee Public Museum is the site for the U.S. debut of this traveling exhibit. “Mandela” is a visual chronicle of one of the last century’s most remarkable and ethical figure in struggle for human dignity. The exhibit includes rare photos and footage along with 150 historical artifacts associated with Mandela’s life and work.

Photo by Getty Images/wildacad.

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LIFESTYLE OUT OF MY MIND

Lea rned Helplessness AND PERSONAL POWER

R

ecall when you felt and exercised your mettle, your personal power. Maybe you spoke your truth despite the risks, addressed a challenge by giving it your all, or made a courageous decision others felt was ill-advised. Then, recollect when the opposite was true, when you felt mentally small in the face of adversity, ineffectual in pursuing a goal, or intimidated by others. All of us have experienced both these states of mind. However, with few exceptions, most folks want to feel they are making a meaningful impact, something that matters. It’s built in to who we are, so when it ebbs, one’s well-being is in jeopardy. From a very early age, children learn to manipulate their environment. They discover that certain actions will elicit desired reactions from physical objects or persons around them. Gradually, they learn to elicit what they want and need—food, touch, play, warmth, etc. Slowly but surely, they become someone who can make things happen. However, when deprived of the ability to influence their world and demonstrate personal efficacy, which sometimes stems from severe neglect, a youngster may sink into withdrawal and what psychologists call “learned helplessness.” In different ways, the same destructive dynamic can and often does occur with adults. In other words, personal power is not just some glib self-help nostrum or a rung on the ladder to career success. It’s a foundational human need. When we no longer feel capable of moving the levers in our lives, at least to some consequential degree, we tend to bifurcate into one of two groups; those who

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BY PHILIP CHARD withdraw into passive helplessness and those who desperately lash out in anger. Now, some folks stave off helpless feelings by never giving up. They’re called “realistic optimists,” and I’ve written about them previously. These persons persist despite repeated failures or disappointments because they focus more on effort, on doing their best, rather than the desired outcome. They don’t think, “I must succeed.” Instead, they believe, “I must do my best.” This “push on regardless” mindset proves an effective barrier to learned helplessness.

BEYOND OUR CONTROL Of late, the pandemic has eroded a sense of personal power for many. The majority of us have felt under the thumb of forces beyond our control. When the outside world frustrates our need for effectiveness and influence, many of us retreat into managing as much of our private lives as possible. Ramping up self-care behaviors is a common example in this regard. However, when our sphere of influence keeps shrinking and a sense of helplessness invades all or most aspects of one’s life, there’s trouble ahead. We psychotherapists see folks with learned helplessness frequently. Some of these souls exist in a sort of suspended animation. The spark is gone and a gloomy overcast inhabits their psyches. Many a person enduring depression is suffering a form of learned helplessness. Others in this conundrum trend the opposite

way, funneling their impotent feelings into resentment, anger and even rage. Physical violence can be, and often is, a futile and destructive attempt to re-establish one’s sense of power through brute force. We have long recognized that the antidote for learned helplessness consists of actions, often small ones to start, that restore a sense of personal power. When we have demonstrated to ourselves that we can make a difference in the world, even if just our small cubby of that world, then self-worth rises, confidence reawakens and a positive feedback loop ensues. To be effective, these actions must be meaningful and aligned with one’s personal values. For example, if one of my values is a love of other animals, I could volunteer at the Humane Society or Wildlife in Need. Or, if one highly values being a positive force in people’s lives, thoughtful and supportive outreach to others provides a way to be helpful rather than helpless. These kinds of tangible “make a difference” actions stave off learned helplessness and renew a sense of usefulness. Deep down where we live, personal power is what we seek, and, provided we have a moral compass to wield it humanely, we should. Learned helplessness can be unlearned, and it must be if we hope to be a force for good, both in our own lives and those of others.

Philip Chard is a psychotherapist and author with a focus on lasting behavior change, emotional healing and adaptation to health challenges.

Profile image by Getty Images/OSTILL. Background image by Getty Images/mouu007.

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LIFESTYLE CANNABIS

Marijuana Reform May Be Slow Going

Under Biden.

BY JEAN-GABRIEL FERNANDEZ

O

self has a well-documented, self-confessed which does not include any form of legalizan the campaign trail, Joe Biden was history of marijuana use, giving the image tion. This came as Jen Psaki confirmed that the only Democratic candidate of an administration that will apply a difBiden’s opposition to the legalization of who refused to support the federal legalization of marijuana, but he did support ferent set of rules for regular people and for marijuana remains unchanged. elected officials. Transportation Secretary decriminalization. His now-vice president, Despite the promise to make cannabis Pete Buttigieg has also admitted to using Kamala Harris, was a proponent of full marijuana, but he will not see consequenc- reform a priority, especially to facilitate the legalization, and she admitted to using expungement of hundreds of thousands of marijuana in the past. This led to an overall es for it. individual records and release thousands optimistic expectation of how Biden’s White of nonviolent prisoners, Harris stated that House would handle cannabis cases—and “We still have a very uneven response” to marijuana in the White House, said Rep. marijuana has taken a back seat because subsequently to the surprise of several Earl Blumenauer, co-chair of the Congresthere are more pressing priorities. This White House staffers fired for past marijuasional Cannabis Caucus. He added that goes against her personal pledge to pass na use. this is an “antiquated response” and shows cannabis reforms as part of COVID-19 relief efforts when Donald Trump was still in the Despite marijuana use being legal in Wash- that Biden’s White House is “out of touch” regarding marijuana policies. He hopes White House. ington, D.C., marijuana is federally illegal, this will be “a thing of the past very soon.” yet Biden did promise to adopt a more flexible policy. Despite this, five people were Blumenauer led an action to denounce Joe At the time, the Democratic establishment rallied behind the idea that marijuana summarily fired in March 2021 for marijuana Biden’s failure to live up to expectations reform should be part of the government’s use. They were not the only ones: The Daily regarding unfair marijuana policies. COVID response, as legal weed would help Beast, which broke the news, revealed that raise funds through taxation; legal banking “dozens” of staffers and applicants to the for pot businesses would greatly alleviate new Biden administration were punished the need for in-person contact with cusfor disclosing past marijuana consumption tomers; and it would significantly reduce during the interview process—many were “Those in the upper ranks of your adminisinteractions between the police and low-insidelined, suspended or even assigned to tration won’t face consequences for their come public. This stance has seemingly remote locations to be kept away from cannabis use, and nor should they, but the been abandoned entirely. “Honestly, right the president. same standard should be applied across now, we’ve been focused on getting people In response to this news, White House press the administration,” reads the letter, which food, helping them stay in their apartments was signed by 30 congresspeople. “Reper- or in their homes, getting kids back to secretary Jen Psaki announced that the new administration established policies “to cussions for cannabis use have always been school, getting shots into arms,” Harris said. unequal and those with the most power “That has been all-consuming.” ensure that past marijuana use wouldn’t automatically disqualify staff from serving have always faced the fewest consequences. We ask that you don’t allow that pattern One aspect of Biden’s plan is to reschedin the White House,” insisting that “only” ule marijuana, moving it out of Schedule to continue within your administration.” five staffers were indeed fired for past I—which is reserved to highly dangerous substance use. The White House did not drugs like heroin, and where cannabis is deny that measures other than firings were FAILING TO LIVE UP TO CAMPAIGN PROMISES mistakenly classified—and into Schedule employed to punish cannabis consumption Leading up to the inauguration, hopes were II. Cannabis advocates have decried this among employees. high among the cannabis community that decision, as Schedule II drugs are still vionot only would Biden allow marijuana relently repressed and highly illegal. Cocaine, A candidate’s personal drug use history, form simply because it is exceedingly pop- crystal meth and opium are all Schedule II with the exception of past convictions, reular, but also that Harris would influence drugs, meaning that the White House would lies on the candidate’s honesty to proacthe president to adopt a more sensible and treat marijuana as if it were as dangerous tively disclose it. The staffers who were modern view on minor drug offenses. The and addictive as crystal meth. punished for marijuana use had all revealed that information following the White opposite seems to have happened, with Harris instead walking back some of her This scheduling promise comes with anHouse’s promise that it would not be used more progressive statements on marijuana. other caveat: Biden promised that on the against them, which was then betrayed. A According to Bloomberg, Harris’ position campaign trail that “nobody should be central point of contention has been the fact that Vice President Kamala Harris her- on marijuana is now “the same as Biden’s,” in prison for marijuana,” a promise that

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Column image by Getty Images/Galina Shafran. Tape image by Getty Images/martijnmulder. Marijuana image by Getty Images/Azure-Dragon.

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cannot be fulfilled if marijuana is kept highly illegal on the federal level. When questioned about the promise made by the president to offer mass clemency to nonviolent marijuana offenders currently in prison, Psaki lied twice about the potential for mass expungements in an America where cannabis is still an illegal Schedule II drug, claiming that it “moves things forward,” which it does not. Outside of the White House, the effervescence surrounding cannabis reform has not died down. Congressional Democrats, led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have dedicated themselves to passing marijuana laws with or without the president’s approval. If Biden had demonstrated willingness to simply be passive on the topic and sign cannabis bills approved by a Democratic Congress, there would be high hopes to see significant reform in the immediate future. However, Biden won’t say whether he will sign or veto such a bill if it comes to his desk. When questioned on the topic, his press secretary dodged the question, indicating that Biden’s stance is at odds with what the majority of Americans and Democratic lawmakers have been supporting. When asked whether the president would allow federal legalization if Sen. Schumer’s legalization bill were to be approved by Congress, the White House press secretary stated that “the president supports leaving decisions regarding legalization for recreational use up to the states,” which does not sound good for people hoping that a Biden administration would finally end Prohibition.

Jean-Gabriel Fernandez is a journalist and Sorbonne graduate living in Milwaukee.

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Image by Getty Images/Everyday better to do everything you love. Background image by Getty Images/AlexeyVS.

LIFESTYLE DOMICILE

HOME CLEANING MADE EASY

Meet the pro who’s organizing Milwaukee one home at a time. BY MARK HAGEN If you’re anything like me, your experience with the COVID-19 lockdown included grandiose plans to organize closets, design picture-perfect rooms, and shine floors, windows and countertops to a sparkling glow. After all, I believed I’d surely make the most of this obligatory free time, right? Fast forward a year, and few of my lofty goals came to fruition. In fact, my fantasy of a Martha Stewart-like abode faded the more I surrendered to the daily temptation of “soft clothes.” Talking to friends, I realized I wasn’t the only Mr. Clean wannabe. Now faced with the need for an extreme (albeit late) spring cleaning, I wondered, “Where do I even start?”

MILWAUKEE’S CLEAN QUEEN Enter Angie Vine, owner, executive organizer and designer of The Nitpicky Home Collective. “There has definitely been an increased need for household services since the beginning of the pandemic,” she says. The Nitpicky Home Collective offers homeowners several organizing, design and cleaning services. “The biggest benefit of using our professional household service is that it tremendously reduces stress, especially now that people are in their homes more than they’re used to,” Vine explains. “It’s much more common to outsource these services than people realize,” she adds. “Our lives are so much busier and chaotic than before, so it becomes almost a necessity. There is no shame in valuing your time and allowing yourself to enjoy that time with your loved ones.”

DIY CLEANING & ORGANIZING If your home needs sprucing up but you’re not able to hire a professional, Vine offers a few steps for quick, easy cleanups. “Start by planning how you’ll approach things,” she says. “Which room will you begin with? What tasks absolutely need to be done? When cleaning, we like to start with the hardest room. We typically start on the left and work our way to the right or vice versa.” She also suggests getting the entire household involved. If cleaning becomes a family affair, things will go faster and lessen the load. “Anyone healthy and over the age of 3 can pitch in,” she says with a smile. When it comes to organizing, Vine and her team rely on what she calls the C.A.S. method—clarify, align and style the space.

u Clarify. Vine suggests evaluating the area you’d like to organize. “Start by assessing your space,” she says. “Write down and clarify your goals.”

u Align. “Break large spaces into smaller zones, then sort items into categories,” says Vine. “We typically divide (items) into five categories: keep, toss, donate, relocate to another room and rehome. Separate the ”keep” items into subcategories, aligning these items with the areas in your home where they make the most sense.

u Style. Finally, measure out the space where you think you may want to install shelving, closet organizers and the like. “Put everything together, and style the space,” Vine says. “To stay organized, you have to keep up with the space, oftentimes forming new habits within your household,” Vine notes. Start with the C.A.S. method and repeat, but give yourself some grace along the way, too. Keep things up and you’ll eventually find post-pandemic, squeaky-clean success.

GOING ECO-FRIENDLY AT HOME Using all-natural cleaning products is at the core of Angie Vine’s The Nitpicky Home Collective. ”Not only do we use microfiber cloths to eliminate paper-towel waste,” says Vine, “but we make our own all-natural cleaning products—Nitpicky Naturals.” If you’re looking to clean your home in an eco-friendly manner, Vine recommends making your own cleaners such as the one she shares below.

ALL-NATURAL CLEANER • 15 oz purified or distilled water • 2 Tbsp Liquid Castile Soap • 30 drops lemon essential oil • 15 drops lavender essential oil Combine all ingredients and store in a glass spray bottle. Always test cleaners on an inconspicuous area or surface. For more information, visit www.thenitpickyhome.com.

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.

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