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MAY 2021



that Famous Light at the End of the Tunnel? W

e are finally beginning to see some light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, so we just have to be patient for another month or two so more people can be fully vaccinated. Vaccines are now available in abundance and free, of course, to everyone over the age of 16. Wisconsin is doing an excellent job of getting vaccines into arms and as of the writing of this item, Wisconsin ranked second among all states in the percentage of COVID-19 vaccines administered. We are starting to receive press releases about venues planning to open, events being scheduled and vacation tours taking reservations. If we can avoid another surge and another highly contagious variant, we should be in very good shape. Will our society emerge more compassionate and caring after having seen how fragile a life can be? Hopefully the experience of the last year will help us understand what is important in life and we emerge kinder and more generous to our neighbors and people across the world.

NOT ALL OF US ARE PULLING IN THE SAME DIRECTION Unfortunately, there are some who refuse to get a vaccine claiming personal freedom. If they lived alone on an island that would be their personal right, but they live in a community. With highly efficacious vaccines on one side and a highly contagious and deadly virus that can mutate and create a variant on the other side, a person’s private decision is really a societal issue. If people get COVID-19, it not only directly affects those around them, but it can literally have a major impact if their COVID-19 virus mutates. It’s like, yes you have a right to get drunk out of your mind, that’s your personal freedom, but once you get in your car, it becomes a societal problem. This leads to an issue that we will be facing and that is, can a business like a restaurant, a sports stadium, a music venue or an airline refuse your business if you can’t show evidence that you are fully vaccinated. Is that a form of discrimination if a free and safe vaccine is available to everyone? The law protects people from discrimination in what are called protected classes who suffer discrimination by simply who they are. Not being

vaccinated is something one can change with a simple shot in the arm. Would you be willing to fly if you might end up sitting next to someone for eight hours on a flight to Europe who is not vaccinated? Is requiring proof of vaccination somehow an infringement on one’s privacy? Can a state or local government prevent a business from refusing to serve someone who chooses not to be vaccinated? This will be interesting to watch.

WILL WE SEE A MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE BILL BECOME LAW? Despite, the fact that March saw 916,000 people added to the employment rolls, we are currently still 8.4 million jobs down from our pre-pandemic levels. Getting back to our pre-pandemic normalcy is good, but we need to move our country forward. As we know, President Biden is proposing a $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill that would be paid for by raising taxes on corporations and on the very wealthy. The bill would both provide the crucial stimulus our economy will need to build back the almost eight and a half million jobs while at the same time rebuilding or enhancing our deteriorating infrastructure. Infrastructure is more than the narrow 1950s definition as simply, roads, bridges, ports and airports. It is the physical and organizational structures necessary to a well-functioning society. Most infrastructure by its very nature is a public good. Currently, our infrastructure of all kinds has deteriorated, is outmoded, or was never created in the first place as we see in some rural areas. We will not be able to continue to compete and succeed in the world economy when our infrastructure including some of our broadband in many parts of the country is a decade behind other countries. We can’t live a 21st century lifestyle when we refuse to spend the public dollars to bring our infrastructure into the current century.

SO HOW DID WE GET HERE? Starting about 45 years ago, the radical right-wing of the Republican Party heavily funded a campaign to starve the public sector and cut various taxes on the wealthy. It was called trickle-down economics and it

was passionately promoted by the Reagan Administration. The theory went like this, dramatically cut taxes on the corporations and the wealthy and that will stimulate massive business investment and regular working people will end up with good jobs. To most serious economists it was ridiculous from the start, but with a heavily funded propaganda campaign championed by a popular president, it got legs. It was also known as the horse and sparrow theory. Feed the horse well and the sparrows will dine. The promoters of this discredited theory coerced mostly Republican elected officials to sign a no tax pledge declaring they would not under any circumstances vote to raise taxes.

DEVASTATING EFFECT When you cut taxes on the large corporations and the wealthy, there is no money available to support and expand our infrastructure. After 40 years of underfunding infrastructure, including educational infrastructure, it is no surprise that we find ourselves with deteriorated and obsolete infrastructure and lower- and middle-income families unable to pay for higher education without going heavily into debt. After World War II, it was government funding that expanded our higher education infrastructure throughout the country along with the GI bill that built the most sophisticated labor force the world had ever seen. That’s what propelled us into being the leader in innovation and the wealthiest country in the world. That claim to fame may be in question as we refuse to support our society’s infrastructure. The recent polling shows majority support for the Infrastructure proposal, but less support than the president saw for his COVID Relief Bill. Interestingly, the support for the infrastructure bill increases when the question states that the bill would be paid for by increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy. There is bi-partisan support for the bill among the voters. Will the opposition party still vote in lockstep against it as they did with the even more popular COVID Relief Bill? Louis Fortis Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

MAY 2021 | 3

20 NEWS 06 ‘An Environment of Hate’? 10 Republicans Free Biden to Act on His Own to Rebuild America Taking Liberties 12 Why Wisconsin Needs to Expand BadgerCare — Issue of the Month

Illustration by Ali Bachmann.



14 Rafael Smith is Helping Restore his North Side — Hero of the Month 16 Restoring Democracy in Wisconsin Off the Cuff 19 This Modern World


Photo by ksushachmeister/Getty Images.

20 Drive-in Dining

Photo Courtesy of the Milwaukee County Zoo.

22 What to Know About Your Rice Flash in the Pan


24 Slake Your Summer Thirst with Riesling Beverages

SPECIAL 26 Domicile Take Your Yard from Ordinary to Extraordinary — Home & Garden 28 Local Greenhouse Takes Organic Gardening to New Levels Home & Garden

Photo by Sean Pavone/Getty Images.

30 The 2021 Summer Festival Guide PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Louis Fortis (ext. 3802)

42 Zoo Guide

CULTURE 44 WMSE Celebrates 40 Years 48 This Month in Milwaukee

MANAGING EDITOR: David Luhrssen (ext. 3804) ASSISTANT TO THE GENERAL MANAGER: Blaine Schultz (ext. 3813)

LIFESTYLE 50 Why is May the Highest Month for Suicides? — Out of my Mind 52 Milwaukee’s DA Takes a Stance Against Prohibition, Releases 10 Years of Marijuana Data — Cannabis


GENERAL MANAGER: Kevin Gardner (ext. 3825)


EVENT SALES COORDINATOR: Carrie Fisher (ext. 3823) ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES: Bridgette Ard (ext. 3811) Andy Roncke (ext. 3806) EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE SALES DIRECTOR AND PUBLISHER: Jackie Butzler (ext. 3814)

54 Let’s Get Physical ... Or Not Dear Ruthie


56 LGBT Community Center Latest Move Means Back to Court Street My LGBTQ POV


ART FOR ART'S SAKE 58 From the City That Always Sweeps

WEB EDITOR: Tyler Nelson (ext. 3810) WEB WRITER: Allen Halas (ext. 3803) BUSINESS MANAGER: Peggy Debnam (ext. 3832) CIRCULATION COORDINATOR: Blaine Schultz (ext. 3813)


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‘An Environment of Hate’?



n March 16, a young white gunman went on a killing spree in suburban Atlanta. Six of his eight victims were Asian American women. Police were hesitant to declare it a hate crime; the gunman denied racial motivation and claimed sexual obsession as his reason, yet he chose Asian women. The Atlanta murders are among the latest in a sequence of deadly, highly publicized crimes that targeted specific groups. On October 27, 2018, a young white gunman slipped into a synagogue during morning services and killed 11 worshippers. On June 12, 2016, a young Muslim inspired by ISIS entered a gay nightclub in Orland, Florida and killed 49 clubgoers. On June 17, 2015, a young white gunman entered a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina and killed nine congregants. And on August 5, 2012, a white gunman killed six Sikhs worshipping at their Oak Creek, Wisconsin temple. Although hate crimes have always occurred and few become headlines or are even reported, the verbal and physical abuse of groups targeted by white supremacist and other violent movements rose disturbingly after 2016. Official hate crime tallies are slow in coming and never record the full extent of the problem, yet they provide a useful measure. According to the FBI, although the total number of hate crimes dipped slightly to 7,120, violent hate incidents reached a 16 year high in 2018 with 4,571 assaults. In 2019 numbers for violent and other hate crimes climbed again, totaling 7,314, including 51 murders. Many hate crimes are never reported to the FBI. Most don’t end in homicide, and many acts of hate against targeted groups aren’t crimes at all. “Often to the victim, it is difficult to distinguish between hate crimes, bias and prejudice while it is


happening to you—I would use the example of a Native woman being called in public a ‘Pocahontas,’” said Marin Webster Denning, a member of the Oneida Nation and lecturer at UW-Milwaukee’s School of Continuing Education. “We use the language of hate violence rather than hate crimes because not all hate is prosecutable and we do not want the focus to be on law enforcement,” explained Kathy Flores, anti-violence program director for Diverse & Resilient, a nonprofit dedicated to the health, safety and wellbeing of Wisconsin’s LGBTQ population. But the headline-grabbing hate violence seen on television news is usually criminal, and over the past year, much of it has been directed against at people whose heritage is identified or misidentified as of Chinese.

ASIAN AMERICANS In 1889 Chinese immigrants in Milwaukee were targeted by a race riot spurred by a Milwaukee Sentinel report of white girls lured into sex trafficking by Asian entrepreneurs. It was one of many anti-Chinese riots that occurred in cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles and across the U.S. during that period. The Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism recently compared anti-Asian hate crimes (as reported to the police) in America’s largest cites. According to the report, hate crimes fell in some cities from 2019 to 2020 but soared in others. San Jose, Dallas and Houston saw numbers rise dramatically since the arrival of COVID. “There is a long history of anti-Asian racism in the United States,” said Alexa Alfaro, spokesperson for the AAPI Coalition of Wisconsin. “It is not new, and this is not the first time Asian Americans have been used as scapegoats during medical, political, and economic crises… We saw similar attacks on the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in 2003 during

the SARS outbreaks. The previous administration’s rhetoric only amplified longstanding biases towards Asian Americans.” Did the election of Trump result in the immediate rise of prejudice against Asian Americans—or did the rise in hate crimes begin in 2020 in response to the idea that COVID “came from China”? “The number of recorded incidents has increased significantly since the beginning of the pandemic, but prejudice against Asian Americans has long persisted,” Alfaro continued. “Part of the problem is that racism against Asian Americans goes largely unacknowledged and widely tolerated. It is rarely explicitly confronted. The diversity within the Asian American community can make it hard to capture the nuanced racism. However, with the pandemic paired with the politician’s rhetoric, we saw an unprecedented scenario where all the different Asian communities were equally affected by the racism… Words matter, especially those of the president. Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric helped fuel racist attitudes toward Asian Americans and created an environment of hate.” Alfaro cites growing reports of harassment since the beginning of the pandemic. “Lucky Liu’s, a local restaurant, shut down temporarily due to growing xenophobia and verbal attacks toward their staff members,” she said. “We also know that harassment and hate incidents in the AAPI community go underreported. Several factors have contributed to underreporting. One of the most significant issues is the lack of adequate and accessible reporting and tracking systems. Communities don’t always know where to report and language barriers can make reporting inaccessible. Some communities do not have trust in the authorities and don’t see reporting as particularly useful.”

What can Milwaukeeans—and Milwaukee’s civic leaders—do to combat the problem? “Name it as a hate crime and publicly condemn anti-Asian racism,” Alfaro said. “Report anti-Asian incidents that you personally witness, rather than turning a blind eye… Support legislation that includes the teaching of Asian American history. Similar to many non-white communities, our history has been left out of Wisconsin public school curriculums. Take the time to personally learn about the depth of anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S., such as the invisibility of the 19th century Chinese railroad workers, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the murder of Vincent Chin by Detroit auto workers in 1982, up to the present, where the ‘model minority myth’ has resulted in Asian Americans being positioned against other communities of color.”

JEWS Jews were the original “others” in Western civilization. Jews were expelled from some nations, forced into ghettos on others. Wild charges hurled against them in medieval Europe included spreading the Plague as a way of killing Christians and murdering Gentile children as part of Passover rituals. America became one of the refuges for Jews fleeing persecution, but Old World bigotry had migrated ahead of them to the New World. By the middle of the last century, Jews were comfortably established in the U.S., yet prejudice against Jews never entirely abated. According to Rabbi Hannah Wallick, the Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s vice president for outreach, anti-Semitism has remained a steady factor in American society, but anti-Semites have become more emboldened over the past four years. Citing a recent Anti-Defamation League study, she said, “overall antisemitic attitudes have not changed significantly but the recent uptick in incidents shows that more of these individuals feel more willing and comfortable expressing it openly and through acts of violence and hate speech.” Wallick does not pin responsibility directly on Trump but sees the situation in the U.S. as part of global trends. “Hate is on

the rise here in our country and throughout the world,” she said. “One reason may be antisemitic groups use of social media to subtly spread their conspiracies and consequently, their followers feeling emboldened to speak their hate more freely. Even a person who would never join a hate group will begin to repeat some of their arguments and talking points after enough exposure.” She added, “Hate is a larger issue than any political administration or figure. We are seeing a worldwide pendulum swing and we need to work together and stand up for one another and to combat it.” Milwaukee’s Jews have been confronted by the spike in anti-Semitic incidents. The 2020 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents by the Jewish Federation’s Community Relations Council show “an overall increase in incidents and some troubling trends,” in Wisconsin, including “99 reported and corroborated incidents, a 36% increase in from 2019.” Some online comments quoted in the audit include “Jews are responsible for organizing violent protests all over the country” along with the usual rants that Jews control the country’s banks and media. Wallick explains: “Over the past several years we have seen the largest increase in outward expressions of antisemitism, especially online. This has included harassment of Jewish political and community leaders and organizations. We have seen vandalism of Jewish organizations and synagogues, often including swastikas and references to the Holocaust. In our schools, we have seen an overall upward trend of Holocaust jokes and harassment of Jewish students through hateful comments.”

LATINOS In 2016 on Milwaukee’s South Side, a white man opened fire on his Puerto Rican neighbors after shouting at them to “go home.” He killed a father in front of his son and continued shooting, killing a Hmong couple. He was charged with three first degree counts of intentional homicide but not with a hate crime. The hate crime statistics for Milwaukee appear to be low. According to FBI records, compiled from reports by local

law enforcement agencies, only two hate crimes based on race or ethnicity were committed in Milwaukee in 2019. For Christine Neuman-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, a community organization focused on immigrant and workers’ rights, “one problem is getting hate crimes recognized as hate crimes.” In 2017, Voces helped organize Milwaukee’s “Day Without Latinos” to protest Sheriff David Clarke’s Trump-inspired plan to crack down on immigration. Regardless of official numbers, Neuman-Ortiz has witnessed “an increasing trend of emoldenment of racism that occurred under the Trump administration” She links the issue to America’s worsening problems with guns and mental illness. “Trump’s rhetoric emboldened people who are unstable and armed to act on their racism,” she continued. “The problem was there but Trump ginned up his base by explicitly inviting violence, by explicit approval of white nationalism and white nationalist violence, by the forced separation of children at the border and the delight in cruelty. The administration’s attacks and degradation of Black Lives Matter, immigrants and refugees goes hand in hand with hate crimes. His administration was relentless.” As for Joe Biden, “there is a difference, clearly, in attitude and rhetoric on immigration, on Black Lives Matter, and his condemnation of anti-Asian violence,” Neuman-Ortiz said, “but we need to keep organizing and recognize the weakness of Democrats with corporate leanings that allow the status quo to go on.” One positive outcome from four years of Trump is that his rhetoric is that various social justice “movements have intersected,” Neuman-Ortiz said. “The critical fight ahead is to hold the Biden administration accountable to his promises on institutionalized racism and immigration reform. He has good policy answers but needs to be courageous and get the job done.”

LGBTQS Under the 1964-1984 regime of Chief Harold Breier, the Milwaukee Police Department operated on a color-coded system. The MPD patrolled a sharply segregated black-white city; the department’s Red

MAY 2021 | 7


Squad kept tabs on leftists and its vice squad maintained an extensive set of “Pink Cards,” mini-dossiers on people suspected of being gay. Milwaukee’s gay bars, subjected to periodic police raids, were located in the Third Ward and Walker’s Point, industrial districts in those years that were otherwise desolate after sundown. The MPD compiled some of its Pink Cards by taking down license plate numbers from cars parked in those neighborhoods at night. If you got pulled over for something, they might ask, “What were you doing parked on Broadway and Erie?” In recent years social acceptance of LGBTQ people has risen dramatically, but so have acts of homophobia. Diverse & Resilient Kathy Flores blamed Trump for encouraging the spike. “Words matter. Policies and actions matter, too,” she said. “The former administration used disparaging language against marginalized community members that fueled followers to act in horrendous ways. This was evident all throughout the Trump administration and after the election of a new administration. One only has to watch footage of the January 6 insurrection to see the presence of Confederate flags to see the white supremacy on display. Those who uphold the Confederate flag are often not just racist and antisemitic, but they have proven time and time again to be anti-LGBTQ as well.” She added that that hate violence against the LGBTQ community—especially people of color—“rose as the rhetoric from this administration rose.” However, exact figures remain impossible to establish. “The statistics in Milwaukee are reported by the FBI and local law enforcement. However, those numbers are vastly underreported,” Flores said. “In a one year period alone, when the FBI released its numbers of anti-LGBTQ hate violence, those numbers did not include all the survivors we have worked with because most of our survivors do not wish to report to law enforcement for fear of racism and anti-LGBTQ sentiment that sometimes come from Milwaukee Police.” According to surveys compiled by PrideFest, 34% of respondents answered that


they had experienced hate violence, a number that rises to 86% for trans people. “The strain of hypervigilance is seen in negative health and mental health outcomes,” Flores continued. “General stress theory in addition to minority stress theory demonstrate that toxic levels of stress— when the stress is chronic and exceeds an individual’s coping capacity—leads to higher levels of physical illness, depression and anxiety, and suicidal ideation. Actual violence against Trans people and the constant threat of violence is debilitating and directly impedes Trans individuals from showing up in their homes, in schools and workplaces and in the community as their whole complete selves.”

MUSLIMS Islamophobia became noticeable in Milwaukee during the Iran hostage crisis (1979-1981) when resentment against that country’s theocracy spilled over into resentment against Muslims. Islamophobic incidents rose and fell with geopolitics in the last century and spiked with 911. Bigots identified Muslims as well as Southern and Western Asians of all faiths as culpable for the fall of the Twin Towers. The situation levelled under President Barack Obama. According to Janan Najeeb, president of the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, Obama “stood out against hatred and the broad brushing of an entire faith or ethnicity, however he did not visit mosques and was careful not to be seen with Muslim crowds because he had been labeled as a ‘closet Muslim’ by many of the extreme Republicans. I do wish he had instead responded to their bigotry. The only reason they called him a Muslim and pushed the idea he was not born in the U.S. is because they could not come out and say, ‘We will not accept a black man as president,’ whereas no one called them out for spewing Islamophobic rhetoric.” The rise of Trump changed the situation, with Muslims across the country and in Milwaukee reporting a rise in Islamophobia. “Under Trump, there have been times it has surged past the levels of anti-Muslim sentiment experienced right after 9-11,” Najeeb said. “The irresponsible rhetoric of both Trump and many of those he put in

power—such as well-known Islamophobes like Steve Bannon and others—lead to real acts of violence. The Muslim Ban added to the ‘othering’ of Muslims.” Trump “was absolutely responsible for the spike,” she continued. “He ran on an anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant platform, he used it to deflect attention from all of his corrupt and shameful behavior. He rewarded his base, the ‘Armageddon Christians’ and the anti-Muslim Jewish extremists, with policies they wanted such as the Muslim Ban and declaring Syria's Golan Heights and Palestinian East Jerusalem as now owned by Israel—as if it is his to give away. His supporters believe in a racist god, a god that hates the same people they do, and Muslims, blacks, immigrants, etc. are their main target, so he catered to them.”

THE VERBAL AND PHYSICAL ABUSE OF GROUPS TARGETED BY WHITE SUPREMACIST AND OTHER VIOLENT MOVEMENTS ROSE DISTURBINGLY AFTER 2016 Muslim women wearing the hijab (headscarf) have especially been targeted and, Najeeb added, “make up 85% of the victims of anti-Muslim hate because they are obvious. Followed by Sikh men who wear a turban,” even though Sikhs are not Muslim. “There are some Muslim women that stopped wearing hijab out of fear of attacks.” It may be too early to tell, but has Joe Biden’s election changed the situation? “It is clear that President Biden is much more presidential, I think many people feel the potential for change is there. President Biden has appointed some Muslims to his administration, and he is clearly aiming for a more representative government. I hope he really works with progressives because they were instrumental in helping him win. However, as Muslims we encourage everyone to remain vigilant, Islamophobia is real. If the insurrection at the Capitol taught us anything, it is that because of Trump, there are thousands of radicalized white supremacists who have become mainstreamed.”

Background Image by TothGaborGyula/Getty Images.

NATIVE AMERICANS During the 19th century the U.S. brutally expelled the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) and Ojibwe native to Wisconsin and forced them onto reservations in Minnesota and Nebraska, actions that today would be called ethnic cleansing. However, many Native Americans kept returning to the homeland, living as fugitives until reservations were established, diminished and remote parcels of land whose treaty rights were often ignored. “People can even take a gun and shoot at us with no repercussions,” said Denning. He’s not referring to incidents from 150 years ago but to a 2021 decision by a Vilas County judge. Last year in northern Wisconsin a white man opened fire on Ojibwe spearfishers. He was allowed to plead guilty to use of a firearm while intoxicated and handed a modest fine.

“I cannot speak for all Natives in Milwaukee but can only represent my experience in the larger community,” Denning continued. “One issue is that municipalities self-report hate crimes to the FBI,” inevitably leading to underreporting. “As a person, in the late four years I had my life threatened and home threatened to be burned down. This according to the folks that uphold our laws is free speech.” Denning’s most recent encounter with white supremacists occurred during the debate over changing the Menomonee Falls High School “Indian mascot,” and was enabled by the internet. “Someone took drone footage above our home, listed the address and invited people to engage in their hate,” he said. What role did the Trump factor play in acts of physical or verbal abuse against Native

Americans? “That one person like former President Donald Trump be held accountable for hate crimes today, or the past five years misses the point,” Denning answered. “Hate has always been here, and we have always been targets of hate since 1492. The contribution the president made was to commodify the racial divide, leverage it for a transactional vote based in fear. The final movement was to provide a social environment that would allow for existing hate to be seen and owned by the perpetrators with little consequence—and even when it was clear that white terrorism became a clear threat to American democracy and the foundation of our country—there is complicity at the highest levels.” David Luhrssen is Managing Editor of the Shepherd Express and author of Hammer of the Gods: Thule Society and the Birth of Nazism.

MAY 2021 | 9



to Rebuild America BY JOEL MCNALLY


here’s a certain freedom that comes with being a competent Democratic president eager to do all the right things for a nation in crisis immediately following an incompetent Republican president who did all the wrong things. Republicans are giving President Joe Biden even more freedom to act on his own by refusing to do anything at all to help Democrats clean up the multiple messes left behind by his Republican predecessor. Not a single Republican Senator and few Republican House members voted to support Biden’s popular emergency relief bill speeding mass vaccinations to end the world’s deadliest, uncontrolled national pandemic and providing direct payments to most Americans for economic relief that simultaneously helps revive the U.S. economy devastated under the former president. Now, most Republicans are opposing the American Jobs Plan, Biden’s second major legislative effort to continue that national revival by building the economy back better over the next 10 years. It would create millions of construction jobs to repair the nation’s crumbling infrastructure of roads, bridges and commuter systems and


add millions of brand-new, well-paying, high-tech jobs that every industrial nation will need in the economy of the future.

WHERE WAS TRUMP’S PLAN? The irony of Republicans opposing Biden’s infrastructure plan is throughout Donald Trump’s presidency Republicans kept claiming he was about to launch Infrastructure Week to announce his comprehensive plan to restore the nation’s infrastructure, which both parties agreed was long overdue. Infrastructure Week never came because their all-talk, no-action president was too busy watching himself and his gushing sycophants on Fox News and tweeting insults denigrating everybody he hated. Now that Biden is ready to act, Republican leaders no longer consider upgrading the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure an important bipartisan issue. The real reason they suddenly oppose infrastructure spending, of course, is they don’t want to do anything to help Biden succeed in restoring a robust, thriving American economy out of the smoking ruins their own president created. That immediately puts Republican leaders in conflict with the overwhelming majority of the American people.

A Morning Consult poll found 85% of Americans, including 82% of Republicans, agree that U.S. infrastructure was desperately in need of improvement. In fact, a Hart poll found large majorities of Americans supported Biden’s infrastructure plan whether they were told the actual 10-year cost of $2 trillion or double that amount. Geoff Garin, president of Hart Research, said Republicans have a problem identifying specific elements in Biden’s plan they oppose because “nearly all the investments in the plan are popular in their own right.”

HIGH-SPEED BROADBAND An especially popular one with Republicans is a major modern-day investment in something their leaders don’t even consider “real infrastructure”—$100 billion to “bring affordable, high-speed broadband to every American.” Wisconsin would receive about $4 billion under the program expanding high-speed internet and access providing new job and educational opportunities to many of the nation’s most economically depressed Republican counties. Universal broadband would propel small town and rural America into the 21st century, the same way President Franklin Roosevelt’s rural electrification brought

Photo by LUNAMARINA/Getty Images.


those folks into the 20th century. Both urban and rural communities would benefit from $110 billion to upgrade U.S. water systems, finally replacing aging lead pipes that still risk poisoning the drinking water in 10 million homes, causing brain damage to young children in America’s oldest neighborhoods. A big reason Republicans oppose Biden’s infrastructure spending is he would finance part of it by rolling back Trump’s only Republican achievement, his multitrillion-dollar 2017 tax cut that overwhelmingly went to multimillion-dollar corporations and wealthy individuals. That proposal is one of Biden’s most popular supported by nearly 70% of Americans who say corporations and the wealthy pay far too little in taxes, according to Gallup. They’re right, of course. Fifty-five of the nation’s largest corporations didn’t pay any federal income taxes last year on more than $40 billion in profits. Twenty-six of them have paid no federal income taxes since 2017. That’s one reason Forbes’ annual list of billionaires grew last year from 660 to 2,755 while tens of millions of working Americans were losing their jobs. With Republicans refusing to help restore normal American life, Biden and elected Democrats will gladly accept credit for every popular measure they can pass. It won’t be easy since Biden can’t afford to lose a single Democratic vote in the Senate, but it’s not impossible. Democrats know they all win if they can stay united. Biden remains willing to negotiate on details. It’s easier to negotiate within your own party than with Republicans who want you to fail. The reason infrastructure jobs bills used to be considered bipartisan, before Republicans stopped believing in democracy, was such bills are chock full of expensive building projects for every state. Successfully passing Biden’s could determine the outcome for Democrats in the elections of 2022 and 2024. In politics, that’s called too big to fail. 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.



Expand BadgerCare BY EVAN GOYKE


he most important single issue in the current state budget debate is again the decision to expand BadgerCare. This is not a new issue, and many readers will be familiar with the policy. However, the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan Act in Washington has increased the urgency of this decision. Here’s how it all works. Passed back in 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has cut the number of uninsured Americans in half. One way the ACA accomplished this was through incentives to states to expand Medicaid eligibility to cover more people. States that expand eligibility for Medicaid, called BadgerCare in Wisconsin, receive a larger share of federal funds to administer the program. Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have taken advantage of this to date.


This decision is specifically about “childless adults”—individuals between 18-64. We currently cover a single person earning about $12,500 a year. The expansion would cover a single person earning about $17,700 a year. These are working people, but still living in poverty. This is not a welfare program; it’s a health insurance program. Roughly 90,000 people would become newly eligible for the program and about half of those currently have no health insurance at all. Increasing the federal government’s share of this program is a big deal. Over the next two years it is estimated that expansion will save the state roughly $630 million. When the federal share goes up, the state’s goes down, which frees this money to be used elsewhere. Governor Evers’ proposed budget reinvests these savings within our healthcare systems in ways that benefit all Wisconsinites.

INCENTIVES TO ACT NOW That’s more than enough to get my vote, but Congress has upped the stakes. As part of the American Rescue Plan Act, the 12 states that have not yet expanded Medicaid eligibility will receive an even larger incentive if they do so now. This larger incentive comes again in the form of an increased federal share of the program and is estimated to reduce the state’s share by roughly $1 billion over the next two years. This is one time money, available only now and only through expanding BadgerCare. And while this is one-time money, it is our money and we are free to use it, save it, or invest it as we see fit. Add those numbers together and the single decision to expand BadgerCare is a $1.63 billion decision. That’s $1,630,000,000.

Photo by wutwhanfoto/Getty Images.


Republican states have expanded Medicaid, including Indiana in 2015, when former Vice President Mike Pence was governor. Missouri and Oklahoma both passed statewide ballot initiatives to expand in the summer of 2020. In Oklahoma, the measure narrowly passed with 50.5% of the vote, despite opposition from the state’s most prominent Republicans. A few months later, former President Trump carried Oklahoma with 65% of the vote, meaning there were pro-expansion, pro-Trump Republicans in Oklahoma. Wisconsin is an island in the Midwest. The 11 other states that have not expanded Medicaid include South Dakota, Wyoming, and the Confederacy. Even Republicans in Wyoming’s Assembly passed expansion and they hold a 51-7 majority. I thought I had it bad in Wisconsin’s 60-38 GOP State Assembly, but even the much deeper red Wyoming Assembly gets it. Despite the widespread popularity and success of expansion throughout the country, it appears legislative Republicans will again stand in the way. Immediately, they labeled the decision an expansion of welfare and some have vowed not to support it.

Despite the rhetoric, federal action offers us a new opportunity to find compromise. The scale of state savings gives us a once in a generation opportunity to cover more people and put ourselves in a stronger fiscal position. The savings could be set-aside in an interest earning account, like an endowment, for future budgets. Or it could be used to pay down state debt to free cash in the future. Or it could be used to reduce taxes. Frankly, it could be used to do all three. This is a win-win. Reducing the number of uninsured people helps everyone by reducing uncompensated care. Expanding BadgerCare will help close that gap and provide eligibility to working people living close to the federal poverty line. It saves the state an enormous amount of money that we are free to do what we please with. All of these things are contained within one item in the state budget, making it the most important single item in our current budget debate. Evan Goyke represents District 18 in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

MAY 2021 | 13


Rafael Smith




y passion comes from being a Black

man born in the city of Milwaukee during a period of time where deindustrialization was destroying all our institutions that we held dear,” says Rafael Smith, the Civic Engagement Program Director at Citizen Action of Wisconsin. Smith is deeply committed to moving Milwaukee forward on climate action and equity by helping his North Side community understand how climate change impacts their lives.


For Smith, taking action on climate is personal—it’s not just about saving the planet, it’s also about building back an economy and restoring middle class jobs to areas, like the North Side, that were left behind when the industrialization boom ended.

His understanding shifted when he got to Citizen Action and met Executive Director Robert Kraig. “I realized we are a frontline community and we’re already dealing with the effects of climate now—we just don’t understand it,” says Smith.

Smith’s story starts with his grandfather, who has a similar story to many Black men in Milwaukee. His grandfather came to the city when he got a manufacturing job at the historic A.O. Smith plant, which still sits on 27th and Hopkins as an ominous reminder of what the neighborhood used to be. He worked there for 35 years before retiring in the ‘70s, but tens of thousands of other workers lost their jobs in the early 2000s when A.O. Smith shut its doors and left families in the surrounding neighborhoods with a broken economy. “What was left was what I grew up in,” says Smith. “I grew up sharing this deep grief, this loss of what was.”

Countless studies have shown that “climate change disproportionately affect[s] communities of color—particularly Black Americans,” as stated in the recent study published by the Nelson Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since 2018, Smith has been at the center of the climate justice movement in Milwaukee, ensuring that communities of color have a seat at the table as the city makes plans to improve the climate and build new jobs.

Similar to many people in his community, Smith never felt strongly about climate change because he was focused on, what he thought, were more pressing needs like housing and utility disconnections.

He was there for the initial discussions that established the City-County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity, which the City and County of Milwaukee created to meet the goals of the Paris Accord. When he came to Citizen Action, he helped establish the North Side Rising Co-op, which is an initiative that works with Milwaukee’s North Side residents to encourage engagement in climate initiatives. Having grown up on the North Side, Smith understands the message that resonates with residents: “We are connecting the lost history of what used to be to what could be again.” Smith and his growing team of organizers are meeting with residents to learn how they want their future to look. The Citizen Action team is providing resources to help the community give their input on the City-County Task Force plan and show them other ways they can get involved in the climate movement. Over the last few years working with his community, Smith says he has been awed by the resilience in his community. “Even in the middle of a pandemic and the George Floyd protests, people still found time to care about other people… I think we got deeper in community.” It seems the challenges of 2020 only made his community stronger and their efforts to build back the neighborhood are only just beginning. Learn more about Rafael Smith’s current work with the North Side Rising Co-op. Erin Bloodgood is a Milwaukee photographer and storyteller.

All Photography by Erin Bloodgood.


Restoring Democracy



isconsin was the leading progressive state for a century until the 2010 election of Scott Walker, GOP majorities in both houses of the legislature and the most gerrymandered districts in the country. A three-judge federal panel, with two judges appointed by Republican presidents, ruled our legislative districts to be unconstitutional. Law Forward is a non-profit, non-partisan, impact litigation firm focused on advancing and protecting democracy in Wisconsin. Off the Cuff spoke with Law Forward’s founder Jeff Mandell. A graduate of the University of Chicago law school, Mandell moved to Madison with his wife in 2015 because it “was a place where we could raise our kids that reflected our values.” Tell me about your work. There is no analog to Law Forward anywhere else in the country right now. Wisconsin has been over the last 11 years the primary testing ground for the most reactionary and radical ideas on how to change governance and turn back the clock in this country. Just like conservatives and right-wingers used Kansas as their testing ground for extraordinary and extreme fiscal policy, they decided to use Wisconsin as the place where they try out all their nutty, revanchist theories on democracy. They’ve chosen Wisconsin because it was the beacon in this country—the model laboratory of democracy with open and transparent government that worked with people who had divergent opinions and looked for solutions to the problems that faced people in the state. There’s so much innovation that came out of Wisconsin from unemployment insurance, social security to vouchers and school choice, to using bipartisan nominating commissions to limit the amount of patronage in appointing federal judges and other federal positions that served in the state. Law Forward is stepping in to say that we’re going to fight back in an organized, coherent, strategic way. We are going to protect Wisconsin’s democracy and try to make sure the state continues to function for people. Who is the “they,” as you see it on the other side, that is crippling our democracy? It can be difficult to tell at some point but the primary vehicle for this has been the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL)—a conservative law firm, essentially a non-profit created in 2011, that for a decade has basically run amuck and unchecked in this state, doing the bidding of a right-wing donors. They work from a potentially blank check and unlimited funding from the Bradley Foundation and other highly conservative interests in Milwaukee. The Koch brothers have helped fund WILL. And that's what I mean about national interest stepping in and using Wisconsin as the example. The Bradley Foundation was the beginning of this, but they have recruited people from all over the country to bring the money here and use Wisconsin as their testing ground. Because if it works, if it could work in Wisconsin, they can show it can work anywhere.


Photo by Sean Pavone/Getty Images.

What they're trying to do is break democracy in Wisconsin. They’re trying to revitalize long discredited theories of the Constitution, things that we left behind as a nation more than a century ago and see what would happen if they brought those Gilded Age policies into the cyber age. There are two in particular I want to highlight. One is something called the Nondelegation Doctrine: The idea that executive agencies essentially have no power at all and that if we want to regulate the private conduct of the economy, that has to be done by the legislature. The way it works right now is if the legislature finds that there is a dangerous chemical, an industrial byproduct, and it is harming people, the legislature says, “OK, Department of Natural Resources, bring your expert scientists to bear and you figure out what the right level of pollution is that we can live with, and you regulate above that.” The theory of the Nondelegation Doctrine is that the legislature has to make that choice. The legislature has to decide how many parts per billion, and it can’t change unless the legislature changes, but they have neither the knowledge nor the political will nor the time to deal with all of these things. This is an effort to paralyze the administrative state and make sure that there’s no regulation. The non-delegation doctrine was accepted on the federal level until the New Deal. The second doctrine that they want to bring back is in some ways even scarier—a doctrine that freedom of contract controls everything that is a matter of individual liberty and anything that anyone is willing to contract for should be constitutionally protected. This theory was thrown out in the early 20th century, because it was initially used to strike down minimum wage laws, worker safety laws, child labor law. They want to bring this back. Not only Rick Esenberg and the other folks at WILL, but there are a number of people on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. When we had the arguments just about two years ago—in the cases that challenged the lame duck extraordinary session where the legislature kneecapped Governor Evers and Attorney General Kaul before they took office—one of the national lawyers at the end of the argument said to me, “You know, I expected this to be tough sledding,

but what I didn't expect was that there would be serious people who really believe the Nondelegation Doctrine is correct and were going to argue that with me today.” We’ve made a little progress in the last couple of years with the election of Justice Jill Karofsky, but for a couple of years we were one vote away from being the only place in the country that in a century has taken this idea of Nondelegation seriously. Even as we step back from that brink, we’ve seen the last year during the coronavirus pandemic incredible skepticism from our Wisconsin Supreme Court of the ability of government to function and protect people’s lives in crisis. When the governor tried to make sure that people didn’t have to go out and vote as the public health pandemic was reaching its first crisis stage, the court told him to get lost. The court has repeatedly said it has to go through the legislature, even as the legislature has showed itself, completely uninterested and unwilling to respond to this crisis in any meaningful way. This is scary. Democracy is about making sure that government works for people. And governance is always about trade-offs and democracies are making sure that those trade-offs protect people, work for people and protect their liberties too. I think civil liberties are vital, but we have to remember the civil liberties of the majority as well. If we say that every individual's civil liberty to not wear a mask trumps everything, then what about the rest of us having a right to live our lives and be able to go out in public? This is a scary time in Wisconsin and that's why Law Forward has come in to try to fight back. Where does Law Forward fit in in addressing this and how? On the right, you’ve got WILL, which serves as a central clearing house and a strategic home base for these radical theories. They have brought lawsuit after lawsuit. One thing we have to remember is that this kind of using the courts to alter policy takes time. It is not something that happens in one fell swoop. We all remember the landmark cases, right? Brown vs. Board of Education, the Obergefell decision that legalized same-sex marriage, but those cases did not come on a blank slate. It takes a strategy and a series of stepping-stones to transform the law across time. What we’ve seen in the last decade is that on the

one side, we have WILL with a big strategy laying out those stepping stones. And on the other side, we had individual lawyers at different firms or different parts of the government who were taking on these cases as one-off opportunities and litigating those cases to the best possible outcome they could. But without seeing the bigger picture, we were treating each one as a tree and ignoring the forest. And we can’t do that. We don’t have that luxury because we're going to lose. The purpose of Law Forward is not to push other lawyers or organizations out of these debates. The purpose is to create the space where we all come together and talk about the forest and think about how we’re strategically going to move in the right direction, both in playing defense against this endless litany of cases that WILL and others are bringing, but also in thinking about how to play offense and lay down some stepping-stones so that across time, the law moves in the right direction. As a former state legislator, I see redistricting as the most important issue coming before us as a state. Where do you see this going and what do you see happening with redistricting? There’s going to be a no-holds-barred fight. Redistricting is absolutely the most important thing happening in this state this year. It’s one of the reasons we launched when we did—we have to be ready for the redistricting and we have already lined up clients. We have lined up experts, we have lined up co-counsel ready for this fight. You might have heard some talk about whether the legislature could redistrict without the governor? As you know, the way that redistricting usually works is the legislature draws new maps and present them to the governor. More often than not in this state, when we have split control, as we do right now, where one party controls the legislature and the other party has the governor’s office, they can’t reach an agreement. And we wind up in court. There’s another mechanism called a joint resolution which the two chambers of the legislature pass. It’s not the law, it’s a piece of paper that explains what they want to accomplish and does not require the governor’s signature or veto. There was some talk last year about whether the legislature

MAY 2021 | 17


might try to redistrict by joint resolution. This is not a new idea. It was tried in the 1960 cycle. And at that point, the Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously said you can’t do that. You’ve got to do this by actual legislation. I think that there’s a significant possibility that the legislature might try to do this, to go around the governor, and think that they have a Supreme Court right now that is amenable to their interests and might let them get away with it. But one of the reasons that Justice Hagedorn showing an adherence to precedent is so important is that would suggest he will not let them get away with it. And if he doesn’t, where does that leave us? Will the legislature operate in good faith and try to strike a deal with a governor on what reasonable districts would look like? Nobody really believes that's going to happen. More likely the legislature passes an extreme map that perpetuates and extends for another decade the gerrymander that they currently have—a gerrymander that is the most extreme partisan gerrymander in the United States and is one of the top five most extreme partisan gerrymanders in American history. A nonpartisan democracy index study at Harvard looks at how governments work all around the world and scores them on a democracy index of zero to 100. Zero is bad. 100 is good. Wisconsin got a three. Countries we think of as repressive regimes scored higher than a three. And this is what the legislature wants to perpetuate. They’ve already hired at taxpayer expense lawyers to litigate this before the census data is even in—we can’t draw the maps until the census data shows up. They’ve already spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars paying lawyers to prepare for litigation premised entirely on the idea that they will fail to do their job. Their job is to draw new maps that they can compromise with the governor on, but they’re convinced that they can’t possibly do that or that they won’t possibly do that. We filed a brief this week. There’s a case pending in the Dane County circuit court saying that those contracts are illegal and that they can’t pay those lawyers using taxpayer dollars. These are private partisan interests. There is no lawsuit right now. 18 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

There is no reason for these contracts. But we’re going to wind up fighting this out in court. And it's not clear yet whether we’re going to fight it out in state court or federal court. It’s not clear yet exactly what the issues are going to be. Is it going to be about technical issues about how they drew the districts? Is it going to be about the consequences of those districts for our racial minorities and linguistic minorities? It may well be all of these things. In the last cycle, after the gerrymander passed, there were three separate lawsuits, one in state court, and two in federal court challenging them. Two of those lawsuits succeeded, one in state court and one in federal court. The third lawsuit, which was about the extent to which the legislature had rigged the maps so that they could get a minority of the votes and control an outsized [GOP] majority, went to federal court. My colleague at Law Forward, Doug Poland, led the litigation. They convinced a three judge panel, including appointees by Republican presidents, that this was unconstitutional. On appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court, however, the court sent that case back to Wisconsin on a technicality and asked them to take another look at this technical issue. Then the next year in a case out of North Carolina, the U.S. Supreme Court—after Justice Kennedy had retired and been replaced by Justice Kavanaugh—decided that partisan gerrymandering, as distasteful as it is, as contrary to our democratic values as it is, is not something the U.S. Constitution provides a remedy for. And on that basis, the partisan gerrymandering case here in Wisconsin was dismissed. That makes it a lot harder to fight specifically against these anti-democratic efforts to ensure that we have uncompetitive legislative races. The consequence of that is really stark. You think about all the things that have tremendous amounts of public support in this state, whether it is some common sense gun safety and background check legislation, whether it is expanding Medicaid and taking advantage of the billions of dollars in federal aid that can flow to Wisconsin and help people, whether it is medical marijuana, whatever your issue—even the mask mandates.

The current [GOP] legislative leadership is afraid of these issues and is afraid of letting their members vote on them. When the governor calls special sessions, they gavel it and gavel out immediately. And the only reason they can do that, the only reason they can thumb their nose at the public and the will of vast majorities of Wisconsinites, is because of the gerrymander—because they know that there's no possibility that any of these folks are going to get voted out because they’ve set it up. That’s a fundamental breakdown of American democracy. That’s not how it should be, regardless of what your politics are, regardless of which party you prefer, we should all want our democracy to be working so that we have actual robust discussions of ideas and elections that matter. What do you see as reason to be optimistic going forward in Wisconsin? Do you see us ending up with fair districts? What do you see that should leave our readers feeling like there’s some real hope for a better future? I do see reason for optimism. We have already seen in the last year better things happening in our courts. We have seen the [Wisconsin Supreme] Court pushing parties to follow regular order and to, to litigate in a sensible way. And we have seen the court having fewer decisions that follow predictable partisan fault lines—Justice Hagedorn cutting against predictable partisan fault lines voted to protect Wisconsin’s elections last fall in cases Trump and his allies brought, trying to overturn those results and hijack the electoral votes in Wisconsin. There were a bunch of those cases. I represented the governor in all of them, and I know how many there were, and Justice Hagedorn was steadfast. In federal court— the Eastern district of Wisconsin—we got a big win from, from Judge Pam Pepper. And we got a big win from Judge Brett Budwig, a Trump appointee. We went up to the Seventh Circuit and had a panel that was mostly appointed by Republicans. We are seeing real signs of hope and believe that the rule of law is holding, and the basic premises of our democracy are sound—but we have to be willing to stand up and fight. I do believe we will get fairer districts this year than we’ve had for the last decade. That doesn’t mean we’ll

have the fairest maps in the country. As you know, as a former legislator, there are almost unlimited ways to draw maps and the technical technological advances and computer processing power that can go into this now makes it so easy to tweak them in a million ways. We can put in data and we can get tens of thousands of maps that meet various legal criteria within a matter of hours. But I think we're headed in the right direction. And I also think that one of the reasons we should be hopeful is I think that our democracy at the national level has just sustained a truly unprecedented attack.

And people care, even people who voted for Trump, even people who are unhappy with some of the election outcomes, they believe in democracy, not all of them, but many of them and democracy continues to pull well. And people are paying attention to these issues in a way as never before two years ago, when I was first starting to think about Law Forward, and I would go to people and I would say democracy of Wisconsin is under assault. Most people, even people who agreed with me on a lot of issues, would give me a skeptical look. Now, everybody sees it. It’s out in the open and people do really believe in the importance of in Lincoln’s words—democracy of

the people by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth. People care about that around the country. People care about that in Wisconsin, and that gives me hope.

Louis Fortis is Publisher of the Shepherd Express and served in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

MAY 2021 | 19


Illustration by Ali Bachmann

Drive-in Dining



n this age of social distancing, our primary dining “out” experiences have mostly been limited to delivery, curb-side and drive-thru. Thankfully there is another option, one that isn’t limited to summer, but definitely enhanced by longer, warmer days: drive-in restaurants. A sort of communal dining experience is created at drive-ins, but close proximity is unnecessary. For some, drive-ins may conjure up childhood memories of piling into the back seat of Dad’s car for a late night custard run—or bring nostalgia for gathering with friends on a hot summer night to flirt over burgers and fries. The truth about the success of today’s drive-in may be more about our desire for good food, served simply. The following represent just a few of the great drive-ins in our area.



830 E. Layton Ave. 414-483-2524 | niteowlmke.com

3131 S. 27th St. 414-383-1784 | www.leonsfrozencustard.us

Since 1948, the Nite Owl Drive-in, owned and operated by the Roepke family, has been turning out some of the best burgers Milwaukee has to offer. Handmade patties of the freshest beef, sets a limit on the number of burgers they can serve in a day, so come early to ensure you get yours. A few other sandwiches, crispy fries and onion rings, along with luxuriously creamy shakes, malts, and ice cream sundaes round out the menu. The Nite Owl diverges from many other drive-ins in that they use ice cream, not custard, for their frozen treats. Place orders at the window and remember to bring cash as the Nite Owl doesn’t take cards. Some limited indoor seating is available. Open seasonally from roughly mid-March to November.

Leon’s is the gold standard for drive-ins in our area. Owned by the same family since it opened in 1942, generations of Milwaukeeans have flocked to Leon’s for their fantastic chili dogs, incredibly rich custard-based shakes and sundaes, as well as their tasty old-fashioned soda fountain flavors. Order at the outdoor counter and make note that while they used to be cash only, Leon’s does take plastic these days. Happily, Leon’s is open year round, so you can get your drive-in fix anytime.


WAYNE’S 1331 Covered Bridge Road, Cedarburg 262-375-9999 | waynesdrivein.com For nearly 25 years, Wayne’s has been delighting North Shore diners with their buttery burgers, deep fried tots, and silky smooth shakes. In addition to burgers, a few sandwiches, hot dogs, and an excellent Friday fish fry round out the menu. Traditionally, Wayne’s has Classic Car Nights, Corvette Nights, and other themed events for family fun. Wayne’s uses locally made Cedar Crest ice cream, instead of custard for their frozen refreshments. Plan to order at the indoor counter, or outdoor window when open. For those who don’t care to eat in their car, limited indoor seating and outdoor picnic tables are available. Cash and cards accepted. Open seasonally from April to November.

THE KILTIE N48W36154 E Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc 262-567-2648 | kiltie-drive-in.business.site Dating back to the 1940’s, The Kiltie offers a very classic drive-in experience as they still maintain car hop service. Simply drive up to an empty spot under the canopy, stay in your car to order, and one of the hardworking servers will bring your food right to your car window. The Kiltie goes beyond burgers and fries with their food offerings, branching out with full chicken, shrimp, and fish dinners, as well as several sandwiches and a long list of fried goodies for sides. Decadent frozen custard malts, shakes, and floats go great with your meal, or go just for dessert alone as the sundaes, and cones are excellent. Also, don’t forget your cash as plastic isn’t accepted at the Kiltie. Open seasonally, typically April thru mid-September.

THE SPOT 2117 75th St., Kenosha 262-654-9294 | spotdrivein.com Like so many of the drive-ins featured here, The Spot has its origin story begin in the 1940s. Operated by the same family for generations, ownership changed hands in 2019. While so much has stayed the same at this historic establishment, like their phenomenal burgers, outstanding homemade root beer, and dynamite ice cream based treats, it’s some of the new developments that set them apart. The new owners have thoughtfully added vegetarian burgers and wings, as well as adding online ordering for take away orders. On-site, the car hops will still take your orders, and dining is limited to your car, all year-round. Only cash is accepted, but there is an ATM available. Also, they are a legitimate late night dining destination, as they don’t close until 2 a.m.

Susan Harpt-Grimes writes about Milwaukee food and culture for the Shepherd Express. MAY 2021 | 21


What to Know


Image by mescioglu/Getty Images.


have nothing but tough love for those who claim they can’t cook a pot of rice. Quit acting so helpless. Cook the rice. If you screw it up, consider what went wrong and adjust. Like you do when making a sandwich. Which is much easier to screw up than a pot of rice.

Not mushy, sticky or starchy, neither crunchy nor burnt, my rice is perfect. Sure, once in a while you face-plant. Heck, I can screw up a box of macaroni and cheese. But it’s easier than baking bread, or making your own noodles from scratch. The variables in rice-making are manageable: heat, time and moisture. To these laws of the physical universe, the rice abides.

Take note of what you did each time and make adjustments. You’ll quickly run out of variables to tweak, and learn what not to do, like stir the rice, which would be like stirring a cake while it’s baking. It would kill the living, breathing structural integrity of a pot of rice. As you understand the finite universe of factors and tricks, your confidence will rise.

Nobody wants too many learning experiences along the way, but rice is a journey, not a single meal commitment. It’s about learning where you want to go with your rice and figuring out how to get there. Do you like it al dente? A little soggy?

Too many cooks have never felt confidence in their rice. So they buy rice cookers, even though they only make rice once every six months, which is part of the problem. If you cook it every day, sure, buy a rice cooker. It will make perfect


rice every time. But if you know your rice, you don’t need to measure, or watch the clock. Just watch the rice, preferably in a heavy-bottomed pot. Eventually, your observations will become understanding. I prefer white rice, which is often starchy, like jasmine or sushi rice. If it makes the water milky I’ll rinse it several times, dumping and replacing the cloudy water and stirring in between loads, and sometimes letting it soak for a minute, which reduces the cooking time, not that I keep track. I learned about rinsing, among other things, in sushi class, 35 years ago, and still do it.

I think it’s this rinsing practice that got me away from measuring and timing, as the rice absorbs water during rinsing, which makes it impossible to keep track. So I simply wash the rice until it rinses clean, then cover it with about an inch of water, and cook it until it’s perfect. That’s not what we did in sushi class but whatevs. With a tight-fitting lid, place the pot on high. Don’t stir it. When it boils, turn it down to low. Don’t stir it. After about 15 minutes you can turn it off and forget about it. And don’t forget to not stir it. If the rice burns, perhaps because you forget to turn it off, then you must act quickly, as with any burn. If it’s merely a pleasing shade of brown, turn off the heat, give it a splash of water, replace the lid and forget about it for a while. When you remember, it will be perfect. It’s magic. But if you smell actual blackened burned rice, dump and remove it as quickly as possible, transferring it into a different pot or a bowl. Don’t scrape the bottom or move any burnt material to the new vessel. As long as the burned aroma has not impregnated the clean grains, you’ll be fine. If the rice is a bit crunchy add what looks like the right amount of water, the exact feel of which you can only learn from experience, by feeling the rice and adding what you think it needs. Just be nice to those grains of rice, and they’ll be nice to you. Most of the time, everything goes smoothly, and I end up with perfect, no stress rice. Some will judge me, but my loosey goosey process includes a peek along the way. I’ll even insert a knife if I suspect low water, and scrape the bottom, and perhaps taste a grain of rice from the top. If it’s chewy that means you’re close and can turn it off and let it sit until mealtime, slowly puffing up. If the rice on top is too crunchy and seems in danger of drying out, add a tablespoon or two of water and replace the lid. I know that getting thrown off into the deep end isn’t always the best teaching method for everyone, so I want to offer the stubbornly helpless this painfully specific recipe for baked rice. It comes from my mother-in-law. It’s not only fool-proof, it’s smart-aleck-proof, is most customizable, and most impressively breaks not one but two of my cardinal rules. She not only gets away with both infractions, but they probably even help make it the dish that it is. She rinses not a single grain of rice, which is admittedly something of a rice-snob’s practice. And she stirs it just before serving—which technically isn’t an infraction, as stirring is only prohibited during the cooking process, but still. At the very least this recipe bends my rules, which you can do if you know them by heart.


BAKED RICE I once had a basketball coach who liked to remind us that, “practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.” In that spirit, this recipe will get you accustomed to making good rice. And will make you totally intolerant of a single mushy grain of rice. Each gloriously flavored and supple batch of this rice is so decadent you could binge on it plain like a tub of vanilla ice cream. I like to throw a handful of fast-cooking veggies and maybe some prepared proteins on top. It’s very customizable. But try to keep it simple. • 1 cup long grain white rice, such as jasmine • 1 ¾ cups boiling water or chicken stock or veggie stock • ¼ pound onion, finely minced • 2 tablespoons butter or oil Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Gently sauté the onions and butter in a bakeable vessel with a tight-fitting lid. Stir in the rice. Add the boiling water or stock. Bake for 20 minutes with the lid on. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes. Fluff before serving, if you wish. Or perhaps, turn off the oven and let it rest there, where it can slowly develop a delicious golden bottom. Don’t burn it, but let it get close. Why stop at breaking just two rules at once?

Ari LeVaux has written about food for The Atlantic Online, Outside Online and Alternet. Photo by Gingagi/Getty Images. Illustration by Ievgeniia Lytvynovych/Getty Images.

MAY 2021 | 23


Slake Your Summer Thirst WITH RIESLING

Photo by barmalini/Getty Images.



ou’ve dated Riesling. I know you have.

You may be with Riesling now. When things began between the two of you, you’d say to friends, “Riesling is sweet and simple. Nice and easy.” But you weren’t taking Riesling seriously, were you? And maybe you still aren’t. Are you? If you aren’t, then set down your glass of froufrou Rosé—or ho-hum Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or Chardonnay—and listen to me. The Riesling you know is sweet, simple and easy because that’s the kind of Riesling your neighborhood bars and wine shops serve you. While many Rieslings are sweet, more are dry or off-dry. Sweet Rieslings are simply one side of Riesling’s labyrinth character. 24 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

You may slake your summer thirst with boring Sauvignon Blancs—made with factory yeasts to taste like every other Sauvignon Blanc you’ve ever tasted—dull Pinot Grigios—made with muted aromas, flavors, and acidity—and blousy, louche and lusty Chardonnays—made to taste of oak, butter, and alcohol—or you can explore the world of Riesling. You can have the same summer wines you’ve always had, or you can make the Riesling you don’t know your new wine of summer.

WINE OF MANY FACES Riesling has an otherworldly alchemy. Like the Greek god Proteus, it has as many faces as there are kinds of nature. Riesling is light in alcohol, delicate in texture and high in fruity, natural acidity. These are the qualities that make Riesling a refreshing summer wine. And the flavors and aromas of Riesling are rich palettes of terroir—the soil, topography and climate of a wine region. These are the qualities that make Riesling magical.

Begin your Riesling summer with the classical style from the north German valleys of the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer Rivers. These Rieslings are delicate and structured, refined and racy. They taste of the slate in their vineyards’ soils. Then explore the richer Riesling styles from the German regions of the Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Nahe and Pfalz. Journey to the Rieslings of the Alsace region in the east of France, which yields dry wines, with aromas and flavors of minerals and flowers. Travel to the Rielsings of the Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal regions of Austria, which make dry, rich, round wines. And voyage to the Rieslings of the Clare and Eden Valleys in the south of Australia, which offer dry, citrusy, tropical wines. You may have dated Riesling. You may still be with Riesling, but you don’t know Riesling yet. This summer, why not discover what Riesling really is?

Photo by Rostislav_Sedlacek/Getty Images.

AN ABRIDGED GUIDE TO QUALITY GERMAN RIESLINGS The best place to begin your Riesling summer is with quality German Rieslings. These wines are divided into two categories: Qualitätswein and Prädikatswein. Qualitätswein are also listed on labels and referred to as QbA. They have to originate in one district of the 13 German wine growing regions, which has to be declared on the label. They range from trocken—dry—to halbtrocken and feinherb—half dry or off-dry—to süss—sweet. Prädikatswein are superior quality wines. They have to originate in one district of the 13 German wine growing regions and are divided into six sub-categories. These subcategories are defined by the ripeness (or must-weights) of the grapes at the time of harvest. Like Qualitätswein, they range from trocken—dry—to halbtrocken and feinherb—half dry or off-dry—to süss—sweet. Kabinett: Made from fully ripened grapes picked at the time of normal harvest. The lightest style of Prädikatswein. Dry to half-dry. Spätlese: Made from ripe grapes picked after the normal harvest. (Spätlese means late harvest.) A more concentrated wine, with more concentrated flavor. Often but not necessarily sweet. Auslese: Made from very ripe, select grapes. (Auslese translates to select harvest.) High concentration, intense flavor. Usually sweet. 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. Background Image by phokin/Getty Images.



Ordinary Extraordinary TO

Photo by KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images.


10 EASY IDEAS THAT TRANSFORM OUTDOOR SPACES The higher the mercury rises, the more anxious Cream City homeowners are to jazz up their outdoor living spaces. Sprucing up the backyard doesn’t have to cost a lot or monopolize your entire weekend, however. If you’re looking to beautify your yard in a hurry, consider these fast (and fabulous) hints.

Let Your Light Shine. From patio string lights to solar-powered spotlights, outdoor lighting brings drama to your yard. Start by illuminating any interesting architecture your house might have. Next, move on to archways and gates, as well as walkways, decks and porches.

Up, Up & Away. One of the quickest ways to makeover your yard is to add height. This can be as involved as installing a pergola or as simple as planting a tree. If time is really short, add a few hanging baskets to help draw the eye and break up the landscape.

Throw in Some Throw Pillows. Never underestimate the power of a throw pillow. These little guys instantly breathe new life into outdoor spaces and dress up tired patio furniture. Get creative with colors, patterns and textures, and you’ll be amazed at the speedy makeover.

Make a Colorful Entrance. A splash of color is a surefire way to add interest to drab exteriors and increase curb appeal. Home enthusiasts understand the benefits of an inviting front door, but don’t forget to dress up the back and side doors too. A bright orange or brilliant blue patio door, for instance, quickly adds whimsy to backyards.

“Man Cave” the Grill. You’re the grill master at your home, aren’t you? Let everyone know you’re a flame-broiled fanatic by creating a spot for your grill. Whether you have an elaborate smoker or your dad’s rusty old Weber, think of this new area as the man cave of the backyard. Lay pavers for your grill, add a small table to hold food and utensils and hang a few patio lights and you’re good to go.

It’s a Lounge, Baby! With its flashy umbrella and ample seating, the focal point of nearly every backyard is the dining table, but don’t let your patio set steal the show. Carve out another spot that beckons friends and family to kick back and relax. The additional seating area makes any yard feel a bit more special. Set a bistro table in a corner of the yard or deck out an open space with a comfy sectional


and candlelit coffee table. Your goal is to create a cozy spot to read a book, take a nap or share a bottle of wine with a few friends. Dress Up Your Deck. Don’t have time to re-stain your deck? Lay down an outdoor area rug instead. Add a few planters and a brightly colored sun umbrella for a pop of fun. Set flower arrangements on dining or end tables to really put your deck over the top. Too “Mulch” Is Never Enough. Actually, you can have too much mulch, but you get the point. Fresh mulch keeps yards looking clean and crisp. Consider adding a basic mulch pathway through the garden or from the side yard to the back for added flair. Fountains, Fire and Festivity. Water features and fire pits instantly enhance backyards. Freestanding water fountains as well as small tabletop fountains bring serenity and interest to spaces. Similarly, fire pits and outdoor fireplaces make yards feel special…and the spot where everyone wants to party. Belly Up to the (Outdoor) Bar. Outdoor bars are more popular than ever, adding convenience, interest and even a bit of kitsch to today’s backyards. Big-box stores and web sites offer these bars in a wide range of sizes, materials and prices, but why not get creative? Hit secondhand and antique stores for bar carts as well as bookcases or furniture pieces that work just as well.

Mark Hagen is an award-winning gardener, former caterer and Milwaukee lover. His work has appeared in Fresh Home, Birds & Blooms and Your Family magazines.

Photo by bernardbodo/Getty Images.


Local Greenhouse



he Milwaukee garden shop Plant Land has been a family owned and operated business since 1968, but there’s more to this greenhouse than a sense of family and community. It’s an unwavering commitment to organic gardening that keeps Plant Land a perennial favorite for local gardeners. “Organic gardening is better for the environment because it helps keep bees and beneficial insects from being harmed,” says Plant Land co-owner Karen Matt. She owns the business with her brother, Mark Jorgensen, both of whom believe organic practices help make Plant Land different from large garden centers. “In our greenhouse, we grow vegetable plants starting with organic heirloom seeds,” Matt says, “We grow them organically until they’re sold, unlike some businesses that simply purchase mature plants [to] sell.” Matt believes she gets better results from organic heirloom vegetable plants as opposed to hybrid-plant counterparts. “Heirlooms survive better without human intervention, particularly when it comes to insect problems and disease,” she explains. Home gardeners have depended on Plant Land’s expertise for years, but it’s the company’s organic soil treatment that truly sets the greenhouse apart.


ORGANIC VS. REGULAR SOIL What’s the difference between organic soil and regular soil? It’s actually pretty simple. Organic soil is made of decomposed plant materials, creating a nutrient- and mineral-rich base. The nutrients and minerals support microorganisms that continuously feed the soil. In addition, organic soils often contain acids that help roots take in more water which ultimately leads to stronger plants. While many greenhouses take advantage of organic soils, Matt and her team take things a step further by heating their planting soil to 180°. “This eliminates harmful bacteria and viruses while keeping beneficial bacteria and organisms intact,” she says. “We’ve been sterilizing organic soil this way since our parents, Estelle and Tom, first opened the center.” Matt notes that some businesses accomplish this step through chemical sterilizing, something she refuses to do at her greenhouse. “Too many plants can die from chemicals used to sterilize the soil,” she adds. “Best of all, sterilizing by heat is the organic way.” Plant Land starts off all of its plants with the sterilized soil, and home gardeners are following suit. The greenhouse sells the heat-treated soil, in addition to organic soil and mushroom compost, for home potting. The greenhouse’s mission is to provide customers with a reliable, friendly garden shop. Due to its popularity, it seems Plant Land should add “organic expertise” to that statement as well. See for yourself by stopping by Plant Land at 6204 S. Howell Avenue or by visiting the Plant Land page on Facebook. Not only will you take your gardening to a new level, but you’ll be helping the environment as well. Mark Hagen is an award-winning gardener, former caterer and Milwaukee lover. His work has appeared in Fresh Home, Birds & Blooms and Your Family magazines. Photos by Melissa Johnston.

STERILIZE POTTING SOIL AT HOME It’s easy to sterilize soil yourself. Start by preheating the oven to 200°. Scoop purely organic soil into a glass or metal oven-proof baking dish to measure about 4 inches deep. (Reserve this dish specifically for this purpose in the future.) Cover dish tightly with foil and bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in the center of the soil reads 180°. Let the soil cool, and then use it in flowerpots and planters around your home and yard.

MAY 2021 | 29


THE 2021


Festival GUIDE

The pandemic was still up in the air when we went to press with this year’s Summer Festival Guide. Many annual events in the early season were cancelled for 2021. Others are marked postponed, meaning a probable later start date than normal. The good news is that the summer of 2021 is shaping up to be closer to normal than last year.

MILWAUKEE MAKERS MARKET May-September milwaukeemakersmarket.com Event hours are 10 a.m-4 p.m. on May 16 at The Ivy House and June 20, July 11, August 22 and September 26 at Discovery World. BONSAI EXHIBIT Opens May 8 Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W. Brown Deer Road The garden will be open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. There will be a Bonsai for Beginners Workshop on June 12, 2021.

FALLS MEMORIAL FEST May 29 Main Street at Appleton Avenue, Menomonee Falls 262-251-8797 www.menomoneefallsdowntown.com/ falls-memorial-fest.html The Village Centre of “Wisconsin’s largest village” is anchored at Appleton Avenue and Main Street. To celebrate Memorial Day Weekend, Main Street will be closed to traffic and become the venue for a car show, marketplace vendors, activities for kids, Lucky Ducky Derby and more.

MAY BAYSHORE ART & ARTISAN FESTIVAL May 15 5800 N. Bayshore Drive, Glendale

WILDE SUBARU FAMILY KITE FESTIVAL Postponed Veterans Park, 1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive JAZZ IN THE PARK Planning on hold through August Cathedral Square Park, 520 E. Wells St. 414-271-1416 | easttown.com



June 6, 13 and 27

Canceled Village of Brown Deer

414-276-RIDE | events.upaf.org Support the arts (and take a bike ride) during this safe, physically distanced event.

414-371-3000 | browndeerwi.org


Canceled Hart Park, 7300 Chestnut St., Wauwatosa

Postponed Brady Street

414-272-3978 | bradystreet.org



414-422-9235 milwaukeescottishfest.com

BAY VIEW GALLERY NIGHT Postponed bvgn.org BAY VIEW JAZZ FEST Postponed mkejazzvision.org OLD FALLS VILLAGE DAYS May 29-Sept. 18 Old Falls Village Museum, Pilgrim Road and Hwy. Q, Menomonee Falls 262-250-3901 | oldfallsvillage.com The historical museum’s grounds feature antique farming equipment and steam engines, hands-on pioneer activities and gas machinery demonstrations, old-fashioned children’s games, country market food vendors and live music. A beer garden is open Saturdays starting May 29. Civil War Encampment and battle re-enactment (June 17-18); WWII Days (June 19-20) with re-enactments and skits; and Old Falls Village Car Show (Sept. 18).

PAINT CEDARBURG June 5-12 cedarburgartistsguild.com The Cedarburg Artists Guild hosts the 20th anniversary Paint Cedarburg, perhaps the largest gathering of artists in Wisconsin. More than 150 national and local artists will paint in the open air, rain or shine, June 5-10. June 11-12 brings a gallery exhibition and sale at the Cedarburg Cultural Center of all paintings produced.



See dozens of artists from around the country exhibiting fine art in a variety of media. The Racine Heritage Museum will also showcase two vintage cars produced in Racine in 1927. GREEN LAKE FESTIVAL OF MUSIC June 11-August 5 Live music at various locations. Visit info@greenlakefestival.org. SUMMERSTAGE Canceled Kettle Moraine State Forest, Lapham Peak Unit W329 N846 County Highway C, Delafield 262-337-1560 | summerstageofdelafield.org CAFÉ SOPRA MARE Postponed Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum villaterrace.org CHILL ON THE HILL Canceled Humboldt Park, 3000 S. Howell Ave. bayviewneighborhood.org PRIDEFEST Canceled for June, hoping for October Henry Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Drive 414-272-3378 | pridefest.com COLECTIVO’S MÚSICA DEL LAGO/FLORENTINE OPERA CONCERTS June 6–August 15 1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive colectivocoffee.com

The free concert series at the Colectivo Lakefront Café highlights some of Milwaukee’s finest Latin music groups on selected summer Thursdays at 7 p.m. In addition, free performances by the Florentine Opera singers will take place on many Wednesday (6 p.m.) and Thursday (7 p.m.) evenings in July. MILWAUKEE PRIDE PARADE Canceled South Second Street from Greenfield Ave. to Florida St. 414-607-3793 | prideparademke.org TOSA GREEK FEST OPA TBD Saints Constantine and Helen Church, 2160 N. Wauwatosa Ave. 414-778-1555 | stsconstantinehelenwi.org OKAUCHEE LIONS DAYS FEAST AND FESTIVAL June 11-13 Okauchee Lions Park, N49 W34400 Wisconsin Ave. okaucheefun.com This is the Okauchee Lions Club’s three-day festival of carnival events, live music, baseball, barbeque and eats from area restaurants to raise funds for the park and local charities.


MARGARITA FEST June 12 Bottlehouse Forty-Two, 1130 N. Ninth Street shepherdexpress.com/shepherdevents Come taste all varieties of margaritas from local businesses. Patrons will vote and we’ll crown a winner. MILWAUKEE FIRKIN BEER FEST TBD Cathedral Square Park, 520 E. Wells St. milwaukeefirkin.com HAITI FEST Canceled Washington Park Urban Ecology Center, 1859 N. 40th St. youthaiti.org LOCUST STREET FESTIVAL OF MUSIC AND ART Canceled East Locust Street between Holton Street and Humboldt Blvd. 414-899-2302 | locuststreetfestival.org RIVER RHYTHMS Postponed Père Marquette Park, 950 N. Old World Third St. westown.org WASHINGTON PARK WEDNESDAYS Postponed Washington Park Bandshell washingtonparkneighbors.com CATHEDRAL SQUARE MARKET Saturdays starting June 12 – October 9 Cathedral Square Park easttown.com CAPUCHIN WALK FOR THE HUNGRY June 12 & 13 414-374-8841, ext. 41 capuchinsrunwalkforthehungry.org Pick your favorite park or neighborhood for a fundraising walk. POLISH FEST Canceled Henry Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Drive 414-529-2140 | polishfest.org KIDZ DAYS AT THE MARCUS CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS Canceled 929 N. Water Street marcuscenter.org

JUNETEENTH DAY PARADE AND FESTIVAL Canceled Martin Luther King Jr. Drive (between Burleigh and Center streets) 414-372-3770 juneteenthdaymilwaukee.com COMMUNITY VIBES! Canceled Brown Deer Village Park, 4800 W. Green Brook Drive, Brown Deer 414-371-3000 | browndeerwi.org LEVITT AMP SHEBOYGAN MUSIC SERIES TBD Sheboygan’s City Green The John Michael Kohler Art Center hopes to bring free concerts on Thursday nights in summer 2021, but the schedule has not been set. HARTFEST Postponed Hart Park, 7300 Chestnut St., Wauwatosa hartfest.com GREEK FEST Canceled Wisconsin State Fair Park, 640 S. 84th St., West Allis 414-461-9400 | annunciationwi.org BUDWEISTER WEDNESDAY NIGHT LIVE June 16 through September 22. State Fair Park

A ROUND FOR RHINOS: CHARITY GOLF OUTING FOR RACINE ZOO June 21 Meadowbrook Country Club, 2149 N. Green Bay Road, Mt. Pleasant www.racinezoo.org Proceeds from the nine-hole charity outing go to help the rhinos at the Racine Zoo with daily needs and veterinary care. MILWAUKEE TACO FEST Postponed milwaukeetacofest.com SUMMER SOULSTICE MUSIC FESTIVAL TBD North Avenue (between Oakland and Prospect avenues) theeastside.org The East Side Business District hosts this annual celebration of the first day of summer, providing a free showcase of local bands, artists and craftsmen, family friendly activities, local restaurants and special events. CEDARBURG STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL June 26-27 Downtown Cedarburg 888-894-4001 | cedarburgfestival.org WAUKESHA CARL ZACH CYCLING CLASSIC Canceled 379 W. Main St., Waukesha tourofamericasdairyland.com

Wednesday Night Live is a free weekly summer concert series held at the Budweiser Pavilion on the Wisconsin State Fair grounds.

LIVE @ PECK PAVILION TBD Marcus Center for the Performing Arts 414-273-7121 | marcuscenter.org

LAKEFRONT FESTIVAL OF ART June 18 Virtual again this year 414-224-3856 | lfoa.mam.org

SHOREWOOD CRITERIUM CYCLING CLASSIC Canceled Oakland Avenue and E. Lake Bluff Road 414-534-4501 tourofamericasdairyland.com

HOME: WORLD REFUGEE DAY June 20 Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W. Brown Deer Road World Refugee Day will be observed with an interfaith blessing at Lynden and activities including a concert featuring refugee musicians. Lynden will then offer a series of HOME Days focused on different aspects of the refugee experience: July 10, HOME Fashion Day; July 25, HOME Dance Day; August 7, HOME Music Day; August 21 and September 18, HOME Craft Market

DOWNER CLASSIC Canceled 2608 N. Downer Ave. 414-534-4501 tourofamericasdairyland.com Event to be back in 2022.


FIREWORKS AT THE LAKEFRONT TBD Veterans Park, 1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive 414-257-7275 | county.milwaukee.gov

WHITEFISH BAY ART FEST July 10-11 Downtown Whitefish Bay along Silver Spring Drive amdurproductions.com

BRISTOL RENAISSANCE FAIRE July 10-September 6 Saturdays, Sundays & Labor Day 10am – 7pm renfair.com/bristol

GRANVILLE BLUES FEST July 15, 16, 17 and 18 8633 W. Brown Deer Road granvillebusiness.org

MUSICAL MONDAYS IN LAKE PARK Postponed Lake Park Summer Stage lakeparkfriends.org SKYLINE MUSIC SERIES Postponed Selig-Joseph-Folz Amphitheater in Kadish Park coa-yfc.org/skyline BEYOND VAN GOGH MILWAUKEE July 9-September 19 Wisconsin Center, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave. vangoghmilwaukee.com In an immersive presentation crafted for our times by audiovisual designers, Beyond Van Gogh uses cutting-edge projection technology to create an engaging journey into the world of a great artist. BASTILLE DAYS Canceled Cathedral Square Park, 520 E. Wells St. 414-271-1416 | easttown.com GATHERING ON THE GREEN July 9-10 Rotary Park, Mequon, 4100 W. Highland Road 262-242-6187 | gatheringonthegreen.org This festival aims not only to entertain families but also to educate children with music, ballet, opera and art activities plus country star Trace Adkins and classic rock’s Cheap Trick. SISTER WATER BEER GARDEN July 10 St. Joseph Center, 29th St. at Orchard St., Milwaukee sssf.org The School Sisters of St. Francis support earth-friendly ministries with this drive-thru beer garden offering craft beer, root beer, and more. Live music on site 10 a.m.-1 p.m. as you pick up your pre-ordered beverages.


Granville’s annual event is evolving into a local mecca for the original American artform that is the blues with a lineup that includes including Toronzo Canon, The Cash Box Kings, Nu Blu Band, John Primer, Cheryl Youngblood and more. RIVERWEST SECRET GARDEN TOUR July 18 riverwestsecretgardentour.com Masks will be required at this year’s garden tour and participants will begin the neighborhood walk from different points to maintain distance. SOUTH MILWAUKEE HERITAGE DAYS July 18-25 smheritagedays.org WILD ONES: VINTAGE MOTORCYCLE RALLY Postponed Harley Davidson Museum, 400 W. Canal St. 877-436-8738 | harley-davidson.com WAUKESHA COUNTY FAIR July 21-25 County Fairgrounds, 1000 Northview Road, Waukesha 262-544-5922 | waukeshacountyfair.com FESTA ITALIANA Canceled Henry Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Drive 414-223-2808 | festaitaliana.com PORT FISH DAY Canceled Port Washington Lakefront portfishday.com

MIDSUMMER FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS July 17-18 John Michael Kohler Arts Center jmkac.org This family friendly event, set amidst the gardens of the arts center, is the largest multi-arts festival in east-central Wisconsin. Visit the artists’ booths and enjoy live music, good food, art-making workshops and free admission to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. ARMENIAN FEST July 18 St. John the Baptist Armenian Orthodox Church, 7825 W. Layton Ave. 414-282-1670 | armenianfest.com What began in the 1930s as a summer picnic for Milwaukee’s Armenian community has grown into a popular attraction for Milwaukee festival goers seeking alternatives to hamburgers and bratwurst. Food includes kabobs, bureks, samras and unique Armenian dishes and flavors. The Fest offers live Armenian music and cultural information about a nation at least as old as Mesopotamia. Admission is free. EAA AIRVENTURE July 26-August 1 Wittman Regional Airport, 525 W. 20th Ave., Oshkosh 920-426-4800 | airventure.org Travel to Oshkosh for an international gathering of some 800,000+ aviation enthusiasts. Attend a workshop or catch a lecture from a notable flight pro, then take in the daily afternoon air show with top-flight pilots dazzling onlookers with aerial acrobatics. WASHINGTON COUNTY FAIR July 20-25 Washington County Fair Park, 3000 Pleasant Valley Road, West Bend 262-677-5060 | wcfairpark.com PRAIRIE DOG BLUES FEST July 30-31 St. Feriole Island, Prairie du Chien 608-326-0085 | prairiedogblues.com Lineup to be determined. GERMAN FEST Canceled Henry Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Drive 414-464-9444 | germanfest.com

MILWAUKEE BREWFEST July 31 McKinley Park, 1600 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive 414-321-5000 | milwaukeebrewfest.com

MILWAUKEE AIR AND WATER SHOW July 24-25 Milwaukee Lakefront from Bradford Beach to Veteran’s Park mkeairwatershow.com

BRADY STREET FESTIVAL TBD Brady Street 414-272-3978 | bradystreet.org

Wisconsin’s largest free event for the general public features a daily variety of aircraft aerobatics, a daily water show, a performance by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and plenty of food and beverages along the Lakefront.

MIDWEST FIRE FEST TBD Westside Park, Cambridge midwestfirefest.com

OZAUKEE COUNTY FAIR July 28-August 1 W67 N866 Washington Ave., Cedarburg ozaukeecountyfair.com 160 years old and billed as one of the last free fairs in the Midwest, it has all you’d hope for in a county fair, including a full midway, fair food, multiple stages of live entertainment, magic and kids’ shows, animal judging, truck and tractor pulls, lumberjack show, demolition derby and fireworks.


RACINE STARVING ARTIST FAIR August 1 Lakefront Park on campus of Gateway Technical College racineartguild.com/safracine WISCONSIN STATE FAIR August 5-15 Wisconsin State Fair Park, 640 S. 84th St., West Allis 800-884-FAIR | wistatefair.com Our great Wisconsin State Fair boasts 30 entertainment stages featuring local and national acts, a host of exhibits and enough food and shopping to keep you busy for days. Did we mention the cream puffs? Ants On-A-Stick? Almost anything on a stick!? BLACK ARTS FEST MKE August 7 Henry Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Drive blackartsfestmke.com Black Arts Fest MKE is the largest celebration of African and African American culture in Milwaukee. There’s live entertainment, a children’s play area, food vendors, purchasable merchandise in the market square and an exhibition of black artists of the Milwaukee area at the Fine Arts Pavilion. PENINSULA MUSIC FESTIVAL August 3-21 Door Community Auditorium, 3926 WI-42, Fish Creek 920-854-4060 | musicfestival.com The 69th Peninsula Music Festival features nine symphonic concerts of major classical pieces. WAUKESHA ROTARY BLUESFEST August 13-14 Naga-Waukee Park, 651 Highway 83, Delafield 800-366-1961 | waukeshabluesfest.com SISTER WATER BEER GARDEN August 14 St. Joseph Center, 29th St. at Orchard St., Milwaukee sssf.org The School Sisters of St. Francis support earth-friendly ministries with this drive-thru beer garden offering craft beer, root beer, and more. Live music on site 10 a.m.-1 p.m. CENTER STREET DAZE FESTIVAL TBD East Center Street between Holton Street and Humboldt Boulevard 414-502-9545 centerstreetdazefestival.com 38 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

HANK AARON STATE TRAIL 5K RUN/WALK August 12-15 414-840-1710 | hankaaronstatetrail.org The 5K Run/Walk is a hybrid event this year with both in-person and virtual races available. MILWAUKEE DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL TBD Lakeshore State Park, 500 N. Harbor Drive 262-853-8018 milwaukeedragonboatfest.org LUXEMBOURG FEST August 13-16 548 Park St., Belgium MORNING GLORY FINE CRAFT FAIR August 14-15 Plaza alongside Fiserv Forum 262-894-0038 morninggloryfinecraftfair.com Enjoy a premier contemporary fine craft fair in its new location outside the Fiserv Forum in Downtown Milwaukee. The 40+ year-old fair features 130+ juried fine craft artists exhibiting art to wear and art for the home in ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, painting, photography, wood, metal and mixed media. METRO JAM August 20-21 Washington Park, S. 12th and Washington Streets, Manitowoc 414-852-5718 | metrojam.org IRISH FEST Aug. 20-22 Henry Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Drive 414-476-3378 | irishfest.com Irish Fest may limit the number of tickets sold at the gates and online to accommodate the potential capacity limit. Organizers advise people to get their tickets in advance for a guaranteed entry to North America’s largest Irish festival. MOWA ART AND CHALK FEST August 21-22 205 Veterans Ave., West Bend artchalkfest.com GRANVILLE BID 2021 CAR, TRUCK & BIKE SPECTACULAR August 22 8301 N. 76th St Join us in our seventh year celebrating antique cars, hotrods, classic sports cars, Corvettes, food vendors and a Battle of the Bands. Look for more info and print ad in Shepherd Express July issue.

INDIAFEST MILWAUKEE TBD Humboldt Park, 3000 S. Howell Ave. 414-243-9397 | indiafestmilwaukee.org MEXICAN FIESTA August 27-29 Henry Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Drive 414-383-7066 | mexicanfiesta.org Mexican Fiesta is much more than three days of tacos, tamales, tostadas, Mariachi music and dancing. It’s an education in Mexico’s rich culture and history. It encourages people of all ethnic backgrounds to share in the beauty of Mexico’s art, music, dances and crafts. BEER BARONS’ WORLD OF BEER FESTIVAL August 28 Bavarian Bierhaus, 700 W. Lexington Blvd., Glendale wobfest.com WALK FOR WISHES August 28 Henry Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Drive 262-781-4445 | site.wish.org Gather your friends, family and coworkers to walk for wishes. Proceeds from the 5K or one-mile run/walk will benefit the Make-AWish Foundation of Wisconsin and grant the wishes of children with critical illnesses. WINE AND VINE, ETC. Canceled Clare Hall, 3470 S. Illinois Ave. 414-744-1160 | winenvineosf.com MILWAUKEE FRINGE FESTIVAL August 28 Marcus Center’s Wilson Theater, Todd Wehr Theater, Peck Pavilion and grounds 414-436-5302 | mkefringe.com Alongside the in-person festival, there will be opportunities for artists to participate virtually by supplying video performances. KEGEL’S INN OKTOBERFEST TBD National Avenue between 58th and 60th streets Get a jump on Oktoberfest at this eighth annual event.


HARLEY-DAVIDSON MUSEUM CUSTOM BIKE SHOW Canceled Harley-Davidson Museum, 400 W. Canal St. 877-436-8738 | harley-davidson.com LABORFEST MILWAUKEE Canceled Henry Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Drive milwaukeelabor.org SUMMERFEST September 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18 Henry Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Drive 414-273-2680 | summerfest.com The world’s largest music festival is a bit scaled back this year but will offer an impressive list of headliners. In addition to national and local music, enjoy a nearly overwhelming variety of eats from Milwaukee’s best food vendors. Did we mention the beer? There’s beer, too! THIRD WARD ART FESTIVAL Tentatively scheduled for Labor Day weekend Broadway between St. Paul and Menomonee streets, Downtown Milwaukee 847-926-4300 | historicthirdward.org This free family friendly art festival fills the streets with live music, food and art in a neighborhood already bursting with galleries, theaters, restaurants and pubs. More than 140 juried artists, 36 from Wisconsin, will show work this year. There will be games and activities for kids. OLD FASHIONED FEST September 10 Turner Hall shepherdexpress.com/shepherdevents Toast that Milwaukee classic—the Old Fashioned. It will be a whiskey vs. brandy showdown you won’t want to miss. Sample classic and reimagined Old Fashioneds and at the end of the night, we’ll crown a winner. TOSAFEST TBD Hart Park, 7300 Chestnut St., Wauwatosa tosafest.org Tosafest is a community festival with live music, art, food and children’s activities including pony rides, a petting zoo and face painting. All proceeds go to area charities.


SILVER CITY INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL Postponed West National Avenue between 33rd and 35th streets

GREAT LAKES BREW FEST Postponed Racine Zoological Gardens, 200 Gold St., Racine 262-636-9312 | greatlakesbrewfest.com

This family friendly festival celebrates the cultural diversity of the Silver City neighborhood, one of Milwaukee’s most ethnically diverse. Stroll the street and enjoy the cuisine, music and art of countries spanning the globe, along with activities for kids.

Featuring an unlimited sampling of more than 250 craft beers and sodas from nearly 100 brewers on the shore of Lake Michigan, this festival raises funds for the internationally acclaimed Racine Kilties Drum and Bugle Corps.

TOMATO ROMP Postponed East North Avenue theeastside.org

CEDARBURG WINE AND HARVEST FESTIVAL September 18-19 Downtown Cedarburg 262-377-3891 cedarburgfestival.org/wine-and-harvest

OKTOBERFEST CELEBRATION September 12 St. Joseph Center, 29th St. at Orchard St., Milwaukee sssf.org The School Sisters of St. Francis invite you to our beautiful southside campus for an Oktoberfest featuring craft beer, wine, food, live music and games. Proceeds support our sisters’ local and global ministries. BRIGGS AND AL’S RUN AND WALK FOR CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL OF WISCONSIN September 16 (tentative) 12th Street and Wisconsin Avenue to Henry Maier Festival Park 414-266-1520 MAKER FAIRE MILWAUKEE September 24-26 Location TBD milwaukee.makerfaire.com Part science fair, part county fair, Maker Faire entertains, informs and connects attendees in a family-friendly environment that celebrates technology, education, science, arts, crafts, sustainability and more.

This festival fills the historic town. Sample food and wine, much of it locally made, as you enjoy many family activities and live musical performances. Live music on the Gruber Law Office Main Stage on Saturday until 8:30 p.m. SCENIC SHORE 150 RIDE September 18-19 Lake Michigan Shoreline from Mequon to Sturgeon Bay 888-557-7177 | events.lls.org The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society sponsor a two-day, 150-mile, fully supported cycling event open to riders of all ages and abilities along the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline. The goal is a cure for blood cancer; please visit the website to register. DOORS OPEN MILWAUKEE TBD, usually fourth weekend in September 414-277–7795 | doorsopenmilwaukee.org More than 150 buildings open their doors in this annual citywide celebration of history, architecture and neighborhoods organized by Historic Milwaukee. Expect performing arts events and children’s activities. The list of sites and programs will be posted on the event’s website in July.


ZOOSoutheast GUIDE Wisconsin

Since the 1950s, zoos have shed their old format of caged animals in favor of placing their residents in settings that resemble their natural habitat. Visiting the surprising number of zoos near Milwaukee is both a fun day trip for the whole family and a lesson on the other creatures that share our world.



702 S. Randall Ave., Madison henryvilaszoo.gov

10001 W. Bluemound Road, Milwaukee milwaukeezoo.org

Open year-round, Free Admission

Admission through October 31:

Animals have been inhabiting the Henry Vilas Zoo since 1911, and it continues to be one of 10 admission-free zoos nationwide. The zoo has an array of environments, from the Tropical Rainforest Aviary, Big Cat Exhibit, Arctic Passage and more. The zoo also features a children’s area, train, carousel and many more features to keep the whole family entertained. No matter why you love going to the zoo, you can experience it all in Madison.

LINCOLN PARK ZOO 1215 N. Eighth St., Manitowoc manitowoc.org/766/lincoln-park zoo Admission: Free. Adults suggested donation of $2. Children suggested donation of $1 Residents: Aardvarks, otters, birds of all kinds and primates. Home to around 200 animals, Manitowoc’s Lincoln Park Zoo is a small one on the Little Manitowoc River, which provides a great place to watch cranes and other wild birds that don’t call the zoo home. Run by the Lincoln Park Zoological Society, whose mission is to maintain an ethical, high-quality public zoo, educate visitors and provide Manitowoc County with a diverse array of native and exotic animals in a healthy habitat.

Adults $16.75 Children (ages 3-12) $13.75 Children (age 2 and under) Free Seniors (age 60 and over) $15.75 Residents: 2,100 animals in 348 species, including bonobos, flamingos, black bears, jaguars, penguins and pandas. The Milwaukee County Zoo has a history dating back to the 19th century, but opened in its current, 200-acre green-space location in 1961. At the time, it was a pathfinding sanctuary for animals who were housed in settings that mimicked their natural environments. Among the popular attractions are Monkey Island, the forest-themed Apes of Africa Primate facility, the Children’s Zoo and the Aquatic and Reptile Center with a 28,000 gallon aquarium. Stop at the café for a snack and some coffee before making the trek.

OSCHNER PARK 903 Park St., Baraboo cityofbaraboo.com/parksandrecreation Open year-round, Free admission Residents: More than 30 species of animals, including Canada lynx, wolves, black bears, owls, pigs, snakes and many more. Operated by the City of Baraboo, Oschner Park Zoo is a free attraction that welcomes more than 40,000 visitors annually. The park has operated since 1926, when it opened with a pair of bear cubs as the main attraction. The zoo now features a variety of wildlife that includes both native animals to the northern portion of America, as well as ambassador animals like pigs and snakes. The park is open year-round to the public, so you can see all of the animals no matter the weather.

RACINE ZOO 2131 N. Main St., Racine racinezoo.org Admission through October 31, 2021: Adults $10 Children (2 and under are Free) $8 Seniors $9 Military ID $5 Residents: Amphibians, birds, invertebrates, fish, mammals and reptiles. Established in 1923 by Racine businessman and politician Jacob Stoffel Jr., the Racine Zoo is a nonprofit that educates and 42 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

Photo by GlobalP/Getty Images.

Residents: 650 animals spanning 115 species, including penguins, alligators, tigers, snakes, bears, orangutans, giraffes and more.

entertains over 125,000 visitors annually. The 28-acre park on the shores of Lake Michigan is home to over 75 different species of animals from around the world, including many that are part of the Species Survival Plan, which was developed in 1981 by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to help ensure the survival of selected species, most of which are threatened or endangered in the wild.

TIMBAVATI WILDLIFE PARK 2220 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy., Wisconsin Dells timbavatiwildlifepark.com Admission (Advanced reservation may be required) VIP Behind the Scenes Tour: $299 for up to five guests, $50 for each additional guest Residents: Pygmy goats, lions and an array of creatures from Africa and Australia. This 25-acre wildlife park in Wisconsin Dells is home to hundreds of exotic animals from over 75 different species. The park was started in 2001 and is still owned and operated by mother and son, Alice and Matthew Schoebel. The Schoebels are fourth generation authorities in global wildlife education and conservation. Once the general park is open, guests can walk the grounds or take the Safari Train Ride and tour the park in style.

WISCONSIN DEER PARK 2183 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy., Wisconsin Dells wisdeerpark.com Admission (Memorial Day through Labor Day): Adults – 12 years old: $14 3-11 years old: $10 children under 2 years old: Free Residents: Five unique species of deer, as well as goats, game birds, llamas, horses, emus, lemurs, elk, bison and pigs

FARMERS MARKET GUIDE For a complete guide to this summer’s farmers markets in the Milwaukee area, visit shepherdexpress.com.

Photo by Teamjackson/Getty Images.

One of the original attractions of the Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin Deer Park allows visitors and animals to share 40 acres of land. Families can feed the deer, as well as wander nearly four blocks of trail, observing both Virginia White Tail Deer as well as European Fallow Deer. In addition, there’s also several other species of animals that inhabit the park roaming about. The facility serves as a supplier for other zoos throughout the country, with many of the animals on the younger side.



By David Luhrssen


cross a faint crackly signal came the soft roar of The Clash. It’s 1979, and I was sitting in the East Side house of an edgy band called Ama Dots—and everyone in the room was amazed at what we heard. FM radio had become a preprogrammed behemoth of boredom, but here it was—this wavering signal carrying the music of our lives. We identified the source soon enough as WSOE, a student radio club at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. The weak signal found at 91.7 FM wasn’t supposed to be heard off campus but could sometimes be picked up in other neighborhoods. Finding it was a bit like hearing Radio Liberty behind the Iron Curtain—a broadcast from another world of possibility with the message that alternatives existed to the status quo. Before long, the student radio station became a magnet for fans of punk and other new music. They flocked to its digs in a church basement on the MSOE campus with satchels of their favorite LPs, volunteering to be DJs. In 1981 the station was rechristened as WMSE and its signal

boosted to 1,000 watts, enough to reach across Milwaukee. Forty years later, the station can be heard around the globe streaming on the worldwide web. A few of those volunteer DJs are still on air decades later and one of them, Tom Crawford, eventually became station manager, part of WMSE’s paid staff of five full-timers and three part-timers. Crawford must have been listening the same night I discovered the station. “I was sitting down with my stereo receiver trying to figure out what I’m going to listen to on the radio—just rattling through the dial. All of a sudden, I came across The Clash on the radio,” Crawford recalled. “I lived in a second floor. I ran my antenna out the window, had it nailed to the house and I was able to pick up WSOE. I was blown away. I listened for a while. I heard a student announcer say the call letters W-S-O-E. I needed to know more.” Although WMSE is owned by MSOE, the resources the college devoted to the station were always slender. Much of the studio was built or rigged together by volunteers. “I worked in the Music Department. I started helping out

S C H U LT Z : " M U C H O F W H AT I L E A R N E D A B O U T T H E L O C A L S C E N E C A M E F R O M D J S A N D T H E I R S H O W S O N W M S E ,"


Photo by David Peperkamp/Getty Images.


doing promotions as well,” Crawford said. “There was a period of time where a number of pieces of equipment broke and we did not have the funds to fix them, so we started to hold a couple of benefit concerts to raise money. Soon I was helping out with program underwriting to help raise money for the station. Eventually, was able to convince MSOE to bring me on board to raise money for the station.” WMSE is entirely funded by local business underwriting, on-air fund drives, fundraising events and support from its membership organization, the Sound Citizens. The events and other pitches are tailored to the hipster sensibility of WMSE’s core audience. “We started doing community events as a way to raise money for the radio station outside of the traditional ways public media fundraises,” Crawford explained. “Shortly after the turn of the century we started the Rockabilly Chili Contest and throughout the years added other events.”

Technology has changed during the station’s long run. At the beginning, DJs spun vinyl and played cassettes. CDs became dominant and then, in the new century, vinyl made a comeback. Along the way, online sources became another option during airtime. The means of distributing music may have grown, but WMSE’s ethos has been consistent. “I’m glad it hasn’t changed,” said longtime volunteer DJ Paul Host. “Tom Crawford has kept the progressive FM spirit, charm, openness and purity intact. One example is that recently I’ve been having Downstairs Dan as a guest programmer [on his show]. He was there on WSOE when I started there. It’s a blast for me because he was one of my early influencers. My favorite improvements are that we are now worldwide and you can see our playlists [online].”

P A S S I O N AT E A B O U T M U S I C WMSE DJs play the widest possible gamut of styles with shows devoted to big band and blues, dance and metal, punk and classical, jazz and hip-hop. Like the radio

hosts of long ago FM rock and jazz stations, each DJ sounds thoroughly committed, even passionate, about the music they chose to play. Milwaukee artists have always been vital to the sonic mix. The first song played when the station became WMSE was a track by local fusion band Sweetbottom. “Much of what I learned about the local scene came from DJs and their shows on WMSE,” says local musician and writer Blaine Schultz. He adds that for many of the DJs, programming a set of music is an artform involving continuity, counterpoint and telling a story through the song selection. He cites the memorable former Saturday afternoon show, Mickey Mouse Club, as “a blueprint in proving you don’t need a blueprint. The program connected the dots musically or geographically or sociologically or chronologically in ways that were not always apparent until a few songs later. His show could also be a lesson in listening to the end, and at that point having a ‘Aha!’ moment.”

The station has also had an impact on concert promotion in Milwaukee. “Eighty percent of the acts we book are only played on WMSE,” said Peter Jest from the East Side music club Shank Hall. “They always mention the shows or do interviews with musicians. It’s a true community station. The doors are open for everybody. It would be very hard for Shank Hall to exist without WMSE.” And where better locally than WMSE to observe International Clash Day? The virtual event was launched on February 7, 2013 by a community-supported sister station, KEXP Seattle, to honor a band that stood for “anti-fascism, anti-violence, anti-racism and pro-creativity.” The Clash and its ideals were on the air at WMSE from the beginning, David Luhrssen is Managing Editor of the Shepherd Express and co-author, with Eric Beaumont, Clancy Carroll and Steve Nodine, of Brick Through the Window: An Oral History of Punk Rock, New Wave and Noise in Milwaukee, 1964-1984.

(Top) Photo by On-Air/Getty Images. (Bottom) Photo by Talaj/Getty Images.


This Month in Milwaukee

12 THINGS TO DO FROM MAY 5 THROUGH JUNE 3 BY JEAN-GABRIEL FERNANDEZ, ALLEN HALAS, DAVID LUHRSSEN AND TYLER NELSON WEDNESDAYS NON-POP! RWB MILWAUKEE (9 P.M.) Non-Pop! is a weekly event at RWB Milwaukee (1044 N. Old World 3rd St.) that features live artwork creation and a variety of DJs playing music apart from the mainstream top 40. Curated by DJs Moses and Tista, artists Lisza Battikha and vjBrye and more, Non-Pop! 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. Find out the May lineup at Facebook.com/YoNonPop. MAY 6-20 MILWAUKEE FILM FESTIVAL “See the world, even from your couch” is one of the festival’s slogans as it proceeds into its second virtual year before next year’s expected return to live programming in local theaters. One big and probably enduring change for 2021 is a shift in seasons, moving the festival from its usual fall slot to spring. Of course, Milwaukee Film fills the months between each festival with a wide range of interesting, socially-driven cinematic content. FRIDAY, MAY 7 LITTLE MAHAGONNY FLORENTINE OPERAUIHLEIN HALL, MARCUS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER Kurt Weill will always be remembered for his remarkable collaborations with poet Bertolt Brecht. Their Three Penny Opera (1928) and Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (1930) introduced the biting rhythms of jazz, social satire and the irony of pop into the classical palette. Weill fled Nazi Germany steps ahead of the Gestapo and enjoyed a successful American second act in musical theater. The Florentine’s Baumgartner Studio Artists will explore Weill’s 25-semi-staged cabaret cantata in German and English. “Mahagonny is the Las Vegas of dreams, until you arrive and it doesn’t live up to the hype” the press release aptly states. SATURDAY, MAY 8 KASE SAINT KATE-THE ARTS HOTEL Live music returns to downtown Milwaukee as the fusion of jazz and turntablism come together with KASE’s 7 p.m. performance at Saint Kate Arts Hotel. With the addition of local hip hop veteran DJ Madhatter, aka Jordan Lee of 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, KASE brings a unique sound that will only be enhanced by Madhatter’s cuts to create a unique experience. Per safety protocols, limited seating will be available. More information can be found at SaintKateArts.com.


MONDAY, MAY 10 MILWAUKEE NOVELIST TODD LAZARSKI Could there be an autobiographical element in the novel by Todd Lazarski, whose highly personal food writing appeared in shepherdexpress.com? The protagonist of Spend it All is a “half-hopeful novelist, reluctant food journalist, and football fanatic.” Some of the prose echoes his food writing (“Sometimes you want a really blue cheesy bite, sometimes a more hot saucecentric”). His sarcasm is well placed: on private college students, he writes, “the kids are smart, but only kind of.” Lazarski will speak with Justin Kern, editor of The Milwaukee Anthology, via Zoom in a 7 p.m. conversation sponsored by Boswell Books. FRIDAY, MAY 21 MID COAST THE COOPERAGE Mid Coast is a monthly online music showcase being 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. With an overarching goal of unifying the different facets of Milwaukee’s music, art and charitable circles, Mid Coast is building a bridge through all of the city’s neighborhoods. All shows are currently only available to watch online. Find out more information as well as the May lineup at Facebook.com/MidCoastMKE. SATURDAY, MAY 22 HAVANA NIGHTS DINNER ABOARD THE EAST TROY RAILROAD All aboard the East Troy Railroad for a Havana-themed dinner ride from East Troy to Phantom Lake in Mukwonago. Featured food includes bacon-wrapped plantains, a Cuban avocado and pineapple salad, grilled mojo marinated pork and Rum & Coke cupcakes for dessert. Starting 5:30 p.m. from the East Troy Railroad Museum at 2002 Church St. For information, visit easttroyrr.org. THROUGH MAY 23 FIRST LADY OF SONG: ALEXIS J. ROSTON SINGS ELLA FITZGERALD MILWAUKEE REP Alexis J. Roston, the star of the Billie Holiday tribute Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, returns to the Rep as Ella Fitzgerald, First Lady of Song. Fitzgerald was all ears with a natural talent honed by experience. She came of age in the swing era and marched in the hit parade before gravitating to bebop. Capable of dispensing with words, Fitzgerald took off on tearaway solos, quoting half a dozen melodies within the span of a few minutes. She kept pace with the bop trumpeters and saxophonists for speed and agility—maybe even outpaced them.

MAY 23-JUNE 6 “KOHL’S FAMILY SUNDAYS AT HOME: SCULPTURE” MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM With the decline of arts education in many primary and secondary schools, other institutions have filled the gap. Among the inventive programs in Milwaukee, allowing kids and families to explore art in three dimensions, is the “Kohl’s Family Sundays at Home: Sculpture.” Through June 6, visitors can learn about inventive methods and materials in the museum’s sculpture collection—and get inspired to make their own creations. MAY 27 THE WORTH OF WATER VIRTUAL SCREENING WITH URBAN ECOLOGY CENTER The Worth of Water: A Great Lakes Story is a documentary that follows two documentary filmmakers as they walk 343 miles from Milwaukee to the shores of Lake Superior on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The two filmmakers, Julia Robson and Alyssa Armbruster, interview politicians, activists and educators along the way to help bring clarity to the problems the Great Lakes are facing. Register at MilwaukeeRiverkeeper.org. MAY 29 – 31 FAMILY FUN DRIVE OLD WORLD WISCONSIN Get the family in the car and head to Old World Wisconsin for a drive-through tour. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the open-air museum from the comfort of your vehicle on this roughly 45-minute driving tour. See lambs, calves, budding gardens and other vignettes of Wisconsin’s past to spark family stories and create new memories. Guests can order a snack pack filled with cookies, cheese curds, Usinger’s summer sausage and more. Wisconsin Historical Society members receive 10% off of $25/car admission. THROUGH SEPTEMBER 26 “VILLA INCOGNITO: LATENT NARRATIVES IN THE PERMANENT COLLECTION” VILLA TERRACE DECORATIVE ARTS MUSEUM Villa Terrace has reopened under COVID guidelines with online reservations with an exhibition that examines the mansion and its collection, “showing how various forms of imitation, synthesis and symbolism are at work, and how these strategies work to create an idealized environment,” according to the museum. Villa Terrace’s collection focuses on decorative items that invoke history and luxury. It’s also the chance to explore one of Milwaukee’s most unusual pieces of architecture, an Italian-style villa with a gorgeous Renaissance garden flowing down into Lake Michigan.

Background Image by Lan Zhang/Getty Images.



Highest Month for Suicides? BY PHILIP CHARD


he month of May is spring’s overture when nature’s rebirth manifests in color, youth and vigor. Flowers reach full bloom. Trees leaf out. The soil, revitalized by winter’s slumber, pushes shoots of green toward the Sun. Our fellow animals conduct their daily tasks with renewed vigor, while the birds sing their lilting melodies. This riot of sensory delights is the coming out party for new life. And it heralds the peak season for suicides. Contrary to conventional wisdom suggesting the dark, cold winter pushes many to a new emotional low, more people take their lives in spring than any other season, and May is often the worst month in this regard. This paradoxical phenomenon is global. Spring in the southern hemisphere exhibits

the same troubling trend. In the United States and many other northern regions, December, when daylight tanks, usually records the fewest suicides, and January, in turn, often tallies more deaths overall than any other month of the year. But suicides do not follow suit. What gives? Theories abound, but no definitive, evidence-based answer has emerged. Some neuroscientists propose that seasonal fluctuations in brain chemistry are to blame. Increased exposure to sunlight activates the release of more serotonin, a feel-good neurochemical that those with Seasonal Affective Disorder strive to ramp up during winter by using light boxes exuding solar rays. Folks who suffer suicidal thoughts through the winter may be “activated” by this bump in serotonin,

becoming more aggressive and impulsive. This, in turn, may spur them to act on their self-destructive ruminations rather than just endure them. The strongest evidence supporting this theory comes from a Canadian study showing that suicides occurring during the spring are more violent and, therefore, lethal than those attempted in the winter. At least by correlation, this bolsters the link between increased serotonin and greater aggression; in this instance, aggression toward one’s self.

CONTRAST EFFECT Alternatively, viewing the spring surge in suicides through a psychological lens offers another explanation, albeit, like the neurochemical hypothesis, an unproven one. A former client I’ll call Bill (not his real name) lent anecdotal credence to

what some researchers call the “contrast effect” hypothesis. A white male in his forties beset by family, financial and health problems, he suffered through the winter months with nagging “What’s the use?” thoughts but kept them from translating into action. When he showed up at my door in April, his suicidal ideations were morphing into impulses, ones he found increasingly tough to keep at bay. “I feel dead inside, but during this past winter, it didn’t feel as hopeless, if that makes any sense,” he struggled to explain. The cloak of winter, which conveys a dead-like or dormant ambience to many of us, was in sync with his state of mind. His inner world and the external one seemed in harmony, albeit in a depressing way. “With spring, everything outside is coming back to life. But inside, I still feel

that deadness, that hopelessness,” he continued. The contrast between Bill’s internal state mind and the external realm of spring’s rebirth made his emotional condition seem all the worse. The power of nature’s seasonal rhythms to influence our mindsets and moods is too often overlooked. Mesmerized as many of us are by the techno-mechanical environments we inhabit, we forget that we are embedded in the natural world and subject to its powerful influences. As spring approaches, we too are genetically programmed to “come to life” and experience new beginnings and the hopes they engender. For Bill, and those like him, this deep knowing creates a subconscious expectation that, with spring, the dark clouds of depression and angst will dissipate. When that fails to

occur and the inevitable disappointment sets in, this only intensifies their distress, too often tipping them over the edge toward self-destruction. So, which hypothesis about causation is correct? We don’t know. Perhaps both, in some fashion. Regardless, if you know a loved one or friend who seemed despondent and downcast during the winter, don’t assume that spring’s light and warmth will provide a healing elixir. Ironically and sadly, it could prove the opposite. For more, visit philipchard.com.

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

GETTING HELP: If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or impulses, or know a friend or loved one who might be, there is immediate help available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, text the Crisis Text Line at 741741, or visit: suicidepreventionlifeline.org.





nder the direction of Milwaukee’s District Attorney (DA) John Chisholm, the DA’s office recently released 10 years of data regarding marijuana possession arrests and convictions. “The Milwaukee District Attorney’s Office supports the transition from criminal enforcement of possession of marijuana to the administrative regulation of marijuana in Wisconsin,” the DA’s office announced. “Our office had for many years previously committed to only narrowly issue charges for possession of marijuana in cases with the presence of guns or violence.” This exclusive data paints the picture of a Wisconsin divided between its metropolis, Milwaukee (and Madison to a much smaller extent), and the rest of the state. While data in Milwaukee reflects changing times where marijuana possession is not a serious offense anymore, the rest of the Badger State seems frozen in the 20th century.

WHAT DATA TEACHES US In order to give a wide view of the situation in Milwaukee County and the rest of Wisconsin, the District Attorney’s office released no less than 17 datasets distinguishing the city from the state in terms of arrests, convictions and demographics.

Arrests fell in Milwaukee but are unchanged in the rest of the state In 2010, there were 14,355 arrests in Wisconsin for simple possession of marijuana, of which Milwaukee accounted for nearly 5,000. In 2019, Milwaukee saw fewer than 2,000 such arrests, while the rest of the state remained above 14,000. While statewide arrest trends remain above 14,000 per year, the total has actually significantly increased between 2015 and 2018, going as high as 17,400 in 2018. “2018 saw the highest amount of arrests in 10 years—a 21.4% increase compared to 2010,” the DA announced. Milwaukee, on the other hand, cut its arrests by half in the same timeframe. The county used to be vastly overrepresented compared to the rest of the state—Milwaukee County made roughly one out of three marijuana-related arrests in the state in 2010, far more than could be expected given the county’s population. That number is now less-than-proportional, making Milwaukee County a relatively safe place for marijuana users in the state.

CONVICTIONS FOR POSSESSION DROPPED BY MORE THAN 95% IN MILWAUKEE. There are four types of marijuana convictions: it can be either a misdemeanor (for a first offense) or a felony (subsequent offenses), and it can be either a marijuana possession conviction alone or include a non-possession charge. The DA’s data teaches us that nearly half of the recorded convictions with an additional charge include resisting arrest, bail jumping or possession of drug paraphernalia—which can be as benign as owning a lighter or grinder to smoke weed. Convictions that include no other charge have seen the greatest decrease, in large part due to the District Attorney’s outspoken stance that only violent offenders should be charged. In Milwaukee County, they fell more than 95% in 10 years,


Photo by viennetta/Getty Images.


from 1,129 convictions in 2010 to just 51 convictions in 2019. That same year, there were only 47 misdemeanor marijuana convictions and only four felony convictions in Milwaukee. The rest of Wisconsin, however, did not follow this trend. Convictions for simple possession, with no additional charge, went from 3,688 in 2010 to 2,422 in 2019—a 34% decrease, a very long shot from Milwaukee’s 95% decrease. “We focused on diverting or declining cases, like possession of marijuana, away from the justice system when appropriate,” the DA explained. “This practice informed a D.A. policy implemented in 2015 to not prosecute non-violent individuals who possess 28 grams or less of marijuana.” This translated to a much higher arrest count per conviction in Milwaukee County: In 2010, one in every four arrests for marijuana possession led to a conviction; in 2019, it was only one out of 20 arrests.

BLACK PEOPLE ARE MORE THAN THREE TIMES AS LIKELY TO BE ARRESTED FOR MARIJUANA POSSESSION IN MILWAUKEE. “Milwaukee County's arrest disparity is lower than Wisconsin, but Black people are 3.2 times more likely than White people to be arrested,” says the District Attorney, as opposed to 4.2 times in the rest of Wisconsin. In Ozaukee County, the worst county in Wisconsin in regard to this disparity, Black residents are 34.9 times more likely than white residents to be arrested despite a similar rate of marijuana use.

Photo by ksushachmeister/Getty Images.

It is when it comes to convictions, however, that the rest of Wisconsin is put to shame. Statewide, Black people are 4.3 times more likely than white people to be convicted, which is still better than how it used to be: In 2010, Black people were 9.5 times more likely than their white counterparts to be convicted for marijuana possession. “This decline in Black marijuana possession convictions is driven entirely by Milwaukee County,” the DA reveals. Outside of Milwaukee, which saw a 95% drop in convictions of Black residents for minor marijuana possession, the Badger State is failing to address racial equality questions relating to marijuana. “In 2019, Milwaukee's Black conviction rate is 1.7 per 10,000— considerably lower than the statewide rate of 14 convictions per 10,000,” the DA explains. However, “despite this large drop overall, absolute disparities between White and Black convictions are larger in 2019 than in 2010.” There are striking disparities in Black marijuana possession convictions outside Milwaukee County. In 2019, Milwaukee County had 69% of the state's Black population, but only 8% of its marijuana possession convictions. 92% of Black marijuana possession convictions occur outside Milwaukee County. Jean-Gabriel Fernandez is a journalist and Sorbonne graduate living in Milwaukee. He writes about politics, cannabis and culture for the Shepherd Express. MAY 2021 | 53



Physical ... Or Not DEAR RUTHIE, I’m hot for my trainer. When I saw him at my gym, I purposely sought him out because I wanted him so bad. I’m gay and he’s straight, but I don’t care. He’s married and I’ve been in a relationship for eight

months. I love my boyfriend, but this trainer has my heart even though he’s given me no signs that he shares my feelings. How can I end this infatuation?


Physical Phil DEAR PHIL, This is exactly why I don’t work out! I don’t need hunky men with zero body fat slobbering all over me. But ... back to you. If you love your boyfriend, put down the weights and take your tight tush to another gym. The personal trainer isn’t interested in you. He’s straight! You’re wasting your time, my little gym bunny, and you’re putting your real relationship in jeopardy. Pack up your gym bag, end it with the trainer and move on, sugar. Now, let’s hit the showers! XXOO

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



Ruthie's Social Calendar MAY 7 JUKEBOX BINGO AT WALKER’S PINT (818 S. SECOND ST.): Cap off fish-fry Friday with this popular night where bingo meets “Name That Tune.” Five rounds of fun, music, laughs, drinks and prizes make this 7 p.m. party a great way to start the weekend. Every Night is Ladies Night at Walker’s Pint...but men are always welcome to join the good times! MAY 8 PET PALOOZA AT HISTORIC DOWNTOWN GREENDALE (5680 BROAD ST.): Grab your furry friend and head over to this charming spot between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Let your four-legged buddy run the agility course, visit the pet psychic or take in the animal fashion show. There’s plenty for humans to enjoy, too, including food vendors, a marketplace and more. MAY 9 M&M CLUB ALUMNI REUNION AT TIED HOUSE (124 N. WATER ST.): The M&M Club was a much-loved staple in Milwaukee’s LGBTQ+ community for decades. Even though the cabaret bar/restaurant closed shop, its spirit of friendship lives on. Relieve the good old days, reconnect with familiar faces and celebrate “the place where everybody knows your drag name” during this noon to 5 p.m. bash. MAY 13 PROJECT Q VIRTUAL HANGOUT VIA THE MKE LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER: If you’re between the ages of 13 and 24 this online program might be for you. The virtual drop-in serves as a supportive, affirming safe haven for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allied youth. Contact dwilliams@mkelgbt.org for the link so you can attend the 3-5 p.m. hangout. MAY 15 BLOODY MARY FEST AT RACINE ZOO (2131 N. MAIN ST., RACINE): Leave the kids at home and spend a Saturday at the lakefront with live music, food and lots of Bloodies! Your $30 ticket gets you a Mary from each of eight vendors, two beer chasers and a ballot to cast your vote for best Bloody. Swing by www.racinezoo.org for tickets to the 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. festival. MAY 16 AIDS WALK WISCONSIN LIVE AT HOME: The largest HIV fundraising event in the state goes virtual this year, asking folks to pledge a donation before hitting the streets for a 5K walk of their choosing. See www.aidswalk.net to see how you can get involved, then visit the website on May 16 for a national broadcast featuring speakers from coast to coast, celebrity guests, special performances and more. MAY 21 THROUGH MAY 23 SPRING HOME IMPROVEMENT SHOW AT STATE FAIR PARK (8200 W. GREENFIELD AVE.): Whether you’re looking for a contractor or simply need a little home makeover inspiration, the Wisconsin Expo Center is the place to be. See www.narimilwaukeehomeshow.com for hours, a list of exhibitors and ticket starting at $10. MAY 30 BRUNCH WITH THE BRUNCHETTES AT HAMBURGER MARY’S (730 S. FIFTH ST.): I host two seatings of silly, family-friendly fun during this drag-a-licious brunch. Join my guests and me for the noon show or make it a Sunday Funday with our 2 p.m. pancake party. Just be sure to book a reservation at www.hamburgermarys.com/mke. Let’s eat, drink and be Mary, honey!



Means Back to Court Street BY PAUL MASTERSON


he Milwaukee LGBT Community Center announced its upcoming move from its current Downtown location on North Market Street to a new site on West Court Street. That address was previously occupied by the Center for nearly a decade prior to its relocation to North Market Street a dozen years ago. According to the announcement, the decision was made in part based on a survey. “Feedback generated by the survey showed that the Center needed to be centrally located, reachable via public transportation, physically accessible and have a visible presence.” The statement includes an enthusiastic quote from Amy Orta, the Center’s executive director, celebrating Court Street as the Center’s “original home”. The Center’s original home is actually a space in a warehouse storage building on South Second Street. I volunteered there myself. Opening with great fanfare, the historic lease signing was captured in a photo from fall of 1998. It shows founders and members of Center’s original board of directors. Among them is Stephanie Hume, a well-known activist and long term Center advocate. Asked what she thought of the latest move back to Court Street (the Center actually moved there in 2002). Hume does not share the enthusiasm of the Center’s official statement. Reflecting on the question of the Center’s position in 2021, Hume evaluated the move in the context of the realities LGBTQ community faces. “It’s not a step forward. We should be working to move the organization forward. It represents a reality of LGBT centers across the country facing issues of relevance. The issues are varied, some financial, changing demographics, activist burn-out and the complexities of negotiating modern LGBTQ life,” Hume said. “The Center has to come up with a plan to both serve the community and participate in it. In its early years that discussion of purpose was put to the community with thousands of responses to a survey that 56 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

asked the obvious question, what should the center look like? Some wanted a swimming pool. But the main push was to address the needs of diversity,” Hume continued. She noted that she was unaware of any recent, community wide assessment of the Center’s role.

COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION? However positive the official fanfare for the upcoming move seems to be, similar concerns had already been raised by LGBT Center supporters. The announcement mentions community participation in the decision making, such as the passing mention made with no discussion about the move at the organization’s annual meeting in June 2020 and a follow-up “Town Hall Meeting” held on November 2. While those meetings are cited as supposedly garnering community support, having attended both, I can say the idea of returning to Court Street was not well received. During the hour-long Town Hall Zoom meeting (ostensibly held to hear community input for the move but with only a dozen in attendance of whom most were Center staff or board members), John Griffith, a long term Center volunteer and Senior Advisory Council member as well as

Department of Aging commissioner, pointed out the negatives of Court Street’s isolated location and steeply graded street as an issue of accessibility for seniors. His concerns went unanswered. By the end of the Town Hall meeting, however, it was clear that the decision to move to Court Street was already a fait accompli. In a recent conversation I had with Griffith, he was sanguine about the move, remarking “when given lemons, you make lemonade.”

One hopes for the Center’s success, of course. However, the retreat to Court Street seems to accomplish precious little to fulfill those touted community expectations of central location, accessibility or visibility. Transparency throughout the decision making process would have helped answer the question, “Why?” 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.

Background Image by Jag_cz/Getty Images.



That Always Sweeps BY ART KUMBALEK


’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So listen, hard to believe that it’s already the so-called “merry” month of May—the month with plenty to honor/celebrate, what with your International Workers’ Day, Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, Miles Davis’ birthday and Mother’s Day, which reminds me that if you’re looking for a nice champagne toast at your COVID group-limited Mother’s Day brunch, how ’bout you serve up some Oscar Wilde: All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his. O-Wilde, you be the man still to this day, what the fock. And on a personal knot of note, yours truly has an anniversary to consider during this very May of flowers, which is that I’ve been snookered into being part of this Shepherd Express empire now for 35 years (take 2021, subtract 35, and you ought to get 1986, I’m guessing.), I kid you not. Cripes, 1986, the same year that Microsoft had its first public offering of stock on March 14. I wonder what I had to do that was so goddamn important that day that I couldn’t pick up a couple, three shares so’s to be a millionaire on Easy Street presently, lo, these my waning days. Yes, May 1986, back when “conservative” Ronald Reagan was pumping the federal debt through the roof while the Milwaukee Bucks were coming off a 57-25 season on their way to be swept by Larry Bird’s Beantown Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. And 1986 was the year the great songwriter Harold Arlen died. You betcha, he’s the guy, with Yip Harburg on lyrics, who wrote what really ought to be 58 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

my theme song if I needed a theme song, “If I Only Had a Brain,” what the fock. But after 35 years of whipping out brain-jarring essays from off the top of my head, I could abso-focking-lutely pony up to a new challenge: Chief editor and correspondent of the “science section” this publication so sorely needs for the enlightenment of its readers. For christ sakes, the discipline of science has been getting crucified by Christian and Republican nutbags for some time, and I say it’s high time that “The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation and theoretical explanation of natural phenomena” (i.e. “the criticism of myths”) gets some ink spewed from an objective source, like me, ain’a? Cripes, I’d never run out of material, and I’d make sure to craft my coverage nice and lively if not dang near practical, to boot. It wouldn’t at all be like the butt-boring science they tried to cram down your throat in school ’til you could barf lunch’s pigs-in-a-blanket, no sir. I’d give you “who’s hot/who’s not” on the latest Periodic Table, photos with captions on anatomy, cutting-edge info on the science of statistics you could use on your next Vegas junket. Or take a branch like entomology, the scientific study of insects. I’d like to delve into reasons why on the TV pest control commercials, the bug guy driving the snappy van wears a white shirt and tie on the job. Is this some kind of weird-ass psychological ploy? Do bugs dish up extra respect to a guy in a shirt and tie and sim-

ply vacate a premises on their own accord so that Herr Death won’t feel the need to unleash his secret chemical vapor storm right there in the kitchenette—a storm that could otherwise reduce a Southeast Asian rain-focking-forest to pure pud for the next two, three millennia? And I’d give you top dollar botany coverage, you betcha. Jeez louise, I read a comment on some website that shoveled on about the reason ancient peoples were so groovy was because “they practiced animism—the belief that everything has a soul: people, animals, plants, trees...” Plants have souls? What next? I’ll tell you “what next.” I remembered hearing of an English doctor who said he had recorded the “screams” of plants when they get chopped, diced or minced. Now, the conclusion I reach here is that those people who do not eat the meat for soulful reasons should now also not eat the vegetable and rather acquire a taste for paste as some of us youthful gourmands did back in first grade. Bon appétit! And naturally, there’s “political science.” The old-fart Greek Aristotle wrote, “Therefore, the good of man must be the end (i.e. objective) of the science of politics.” Hey, nice try, Ari. But simple observation has surely proved you were full of crap on that one. I never bought the term “political science.” Combining something so foul with something so pure always sounded like bullshit to me, but of course if “politics” is involved, what the hell else could it sound like? You tell me, ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.

Photo by cyano66/Getty Images.

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Shepherd Express May 2021  


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