Shepherd Express August 2022

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So, Are The January 6 Hearings Important?

They are also impressed that it is a successfully functioning bi-partisan committee with Rep. Liz Cheney, former Chair of the House Republican Conference and the daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, co-leading the committee with Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson. This was how the Watergate Committee functioned back in 1973 and ‘74. Democrats and Republicans worked together to try to learn what really happened. When democracy is at stake, this is what a bi-partisan committee should look like. Being bipartisan doesn’t mean one side stacking the committee with partisan street fighters like Representatives Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, or Majority Taylor Green. The job of these congresspeople on this committee is to put democracy first not try to win at all costs for your team. Representatives Thompson and Cheney have put together a very compelling story of what really happened on January 6, 2021 and who were the major players both at the scene and behind the scenes. They have been very careful not to overreach. The story is almost exclusively told by Republicans and Trump supporters, appointees, or staff.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO DRILL DOWN AND GET ALL THE FACTS? Obviously, we never had a president who lost an election orchestrate a violent attack against the Capitol and refuse to accept the loss. This is part of the story we proudly tell the world that America always has a peaceful transition of power and that is why our democracy has lasted 235 years. It is important that these hearings

create a record of what happened so the public understands how close we came to perhaps losing our democracy and to try to ensure that it never happens again. This is not a fight over an issue. Debate over issues is how a democracy works. This was an attack on the foundation of our democratic system. People describe this as an attempted coup. I bristled at first when I heard this called an attempted coup, but now after the hearings, I don’t feel that description is an exaggeration. According to the surveys, a lot of Americans are watching some if not all of the hearings, and people are moved. The hearings are very well done. The committee has made them interesting and fast moving to hold people’s attention. Other Americans who are in the Trump sphere barely know that the hearings are happening because the news sources they listen to are either completely ignoring the hearings or are downplaying their significance as another attack by the liberal left. During the Watergate Hearings, there were three major television networks and PBS, and they all were covering the hearings. Today, of course, you choose the news source to give you what you want to hear. And then there is social media and the internet which has both accurate news, but also a lot of misinformation and outright lies including the Big Lie. Our U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, for example, who admitted on video that Trump lost Wisconsin because 51,000 people who voted Republican down ballot did not vote for Trump, continues to spread the Big Lie. But even after this video went viral, Johnson can continue to spread the big lie that Trump won Wisconsin because of the help from Fox News and other rightwing media and, of course, social media and the internet. Amazing.

in the range of 25-30% of the population that are Trump true believers who will support him no matter what he did. As Trump stated back in 2016, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?” But for the Republican and independent voters we know who are open to facts, we need to bring them along with questions. For example, if Trump is right that he won and won by a landslide, and he was the president and commander in chief who controlled most of the levers of power and not simply the challenger, why couldn’t he have just set the record straight and show the world that he won? Or if this was a big conspiracy against him, why is it that it is his appointees and staff that are explaining to the committee that he lost the election and he promoted the insurrection? If you talk in declarative sentences that end in a period, you are apt to get into an argument. If you talk in interrogative sentences that end in a question mark, you might begin to get a person thinking so you can have a rational discussion. If we can get decent, honest Republican voters to begin to question, American democracy will have a strong future. Louis Fortis

Louis Fortis is Editor/Publisher of the Shepherd Express, and formerly taught Economics/Political Economy at Smith College and served three terms in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

SO, WHAT NOW? First, the committee needs to continue to drill down on what really happened and continue the hearings as long as more information keeps coming to light and more key witnesses become willing to speak. We need the truth. We also need to understand that there are somewhere

Photo by Tyler Nelson


hen I talk to the few very partisan Trumpers I know, they will call the January 6 hearings another “witch hunt,” a total waste of money, nothing new, or it’s just a coverup to obscure the fact that Donald Trump won, possibly by a landslide. Others are surprised that they are learning that January 6 is much more complicated and much better planned than they realized. We learned that Trump was told he lost in December 2020 by his Attorney General, top level White House staff and even his campaign staff, so he knew the “Big Lie” was a lie.

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NEWS 08 Fostering Health & Safety in Urban Spaces 13 This Modern World 14 Ron Johnson's a National Joke as a Senator and an Insurrectionist — Taking Liberties 16 Warning: Disturbing Content Describing Violence — Issue of the Month 18 Mariana Rodriguez Built a Space for Latinas to Thrive — Hero of the Month 20 Common Council President Jose Perez: 'I Willl Always Listen' — MKE SPEAKS: Conversations with Milwaukeeans


FOOD & DRINK 24 For a Happier Wallet Try Happy Hour Instead

PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Louis Fortis (ext. 3802) GENERAL MANAGER: Kevin Gardner (ext. 3825) MANAGING EDITOR: David Luhrssen (ext. 3804) BUSINESS MANAGER: Peggy Debnam (ext. 3832) EVENT COORDINATOR: Jan Bruder (ext. 3810)

28 Hakurei is the Caviar of Turnips — Flash in the Pan

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES: Bridgette Ard (ext. 3811) Petra Seymore (ext. 3828) Tyler R. Klein (ext. 3815)

30 Your Summer Idyll With Cachaça — Beverages

SALES MANAGER: Jackie Butzler (ext. 3814)

SPECIAL SECTION 32 40th Anniversary: Sports 32 County Stadium vs. American Family Field 35 The 1982 Milwaukee Packers?! 36 From One Mecca To Another 40 Looking Back at 40 Years of Bucks Basketball 44 State Fair Preview

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER: Chuck Hill (ext. 3822) IN MEMORY OF DUSTI FERGUSON (OCTOBER 18, 1971 – NOVEMBER 20, 2007) WEBMASTER: Barry Houlehen (ext. 3807) DIGTAL STRATEGIST: Allen Halas (ext. 3803) STAFF WRITER & CIRCULATION COORDINATOR: Blaine Schultz (ext. 3813) EDITORIAL INTERN: Elizabeth Lintonen

What to See, Hear and (Most of All) Eat at this Year's State Fair

CULTURE 52 Tolkien Exhibit Brings Middle-Earth to Marquette University 54 This Month in Milwaukee


44 62

60 The Ups and Downs of Anti-Depressants — Out of my Mind 62 Rooms with A View — Open House 64 Trending Downward: Marijuana Repression Eases Up Across the SPONSORED BY U.S. — Cannabis


68 Have an Artsy-Fartsy August — Dear Ruthie 70 Who Are This Year's LGBTQ+ Progress Award Winners? — My LGBTQ POV

ART FOR ART'S SAKE 74 From the City that Always Sweeps



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Cover: Illustration by Ali Bachmann.

Shepherd Editorial Group Endorsements for Aug. 9 Primary


he U.S. Senate race in Wisconsin could have an impact not only on the United States but also the entire world. If the Democrats don’t lose any incumbents and pick up two seats in the Senate and hold the House of Representatives, some important changes like passing climate change legislation, expanding voting rights, or protecting a woman’s right to control her own body could become law. The Wisconsin U.S. Senate race is viewed as one of the most competitive in the country. There are eight candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. They are all qualified individuals with different experiences and strengths. This race has gotten a lot of coverage including televised interviews and a nationally televised debate. Senator Ron Johnson has become national news for all the wrong reasons. He was video recorded when he admitted that Donald Trump lost the 2020 election but continue to lie to his constituents that Trump won. His fealty to Trump is embarrassing. He tried to send an illegal, false electoral college delegation of electors to Vice President Pence to try to help Trump steal the 2020 election. Johnson has been on the other side of a majority of his constituents when he would not help to bring 1,000 high paying manufacturing jobs to Wisconsin, saying we have enough jobs. He voted

to increase the deficit by supporting the over one trillion dollars in tax cuts with the vast majority of the benefits going to the top one percent. He supports denying a woman’s right to an abortion, does not support reasonable climate change legislation, supports every extreme piece of gun legislation, and supports voter suppression laws to name just a few. So rationally, this should not be a competitive U.S. Senate race in November, but it will be. Johnson will have virtually unlimited money especially from the billionaires who have saved hundreds of millions of dollars so far from Johnson’s tax amendment benefiting pass-through corporations that personally benefitted Johnson’s favorite campaign checking writing Wisconsin billionaires. We need to win this election in November. As this publication goes to press on Monday, July 18, there are four candidates who are polling over 5% for this primary in alphabetical order by last name: Mandela Barnes, Sarah Godlewski, Alex Lasry and Tom Nelson. In the debate at Marquette University on July 17, Steven Olikara also participated. It will be a very close election in November. We ask that you to please vote strategically for the person who you believe could win this primary and be the strongest candidate to take on Ron Johnson in November.


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Photo courtesy of VISIT Milwaukee.



s we inch out of the COVID era, public health and safety remain compelling concerns. Among pandemic takeaways are the essential roles that nature and social connections play in promoting health. To that end, Milwaukeeans continue to turn to public spaces to foster individual and collective well-being. Public spaces, such as parks, libraries, schools, playgrounds, swimming pools, senior centers and community gardens, are what sociologists call “social infrastructure.” Community organizations, including churches and civic associations, also serve as social infrastructures when they have an established physical space where people can assemble. So do ongoing community events such as outdoor markets and free concerts. Milwaukee Public Schools hosts Summer Twilight Centers with free-drop-in programming and extended hours at select schools as safe places for young people to go in the evening. Although government and community agencies generally manage such places, residents often help ensure that they meet current human needs. Activities in the public realm increase “eyes on the street” and neighborly interactions. In places that welcome everyone people can freely meet and mix with others, which decreases social isolation. 8 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

Residents throughout Milwaukee are engaging in initiatives promoting health, safety and community bonds, often collaborating with wide-ranging agencies. Here are some of the diverse opportunities.

EXERCISE TOGETHER Gathering to exercise outdoors offers many benefits. It can be motivating and stimulating to walk, run or bike with one or more workout buddies. Some senior centers and community groups organize clubs for walking and other outdoor activities. Other community-promoting options abound to meet up in public to stay fit and socialize. Alice’s Garden Urban Farm (2136 N. Garfield Ave.) hosts free yoga classes on summertime Tuesdays at 6 p.m. This is one of many programs held in the community garden during Artisan Markets, held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays through August. Vendors offer prepared food and other wares, and people mingle in the picnic shelter. Check the garden’s Facebook page for updates. Free yoga classes are also conducted in Johnsons Park, directly across from Alice’s Garden (1919 W. Fond du Lac Ave.) on Sundays at 10 a.m. through August 28. Embody Yoga teachers

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Photo courtesy of VISIT Milwaukee.

welcome everyone. Class is cancelled when it is raining or below 60 degrees. Co-sponsored by Alice’s Garden and Friends of Johnsons Park. Lakeside at MAM offers a roster of free events for all ages on several weekends from late July through August, on the lawn south of the Milwaukee Art Museum. In addition to hands-on art-making and live music, free programs include classes in yoga, dance and sound healing. The November Project is a free, open-to-the-public exercise group. Workouts are designed for anyone and everyone, according to their Facebook page. “At November Project we are all about growing communities through free fitness! Wednesdays at 6:03 a.m. at O’Donnell Park (AKA Museum Center Park). Fridays at 6:03 a.m. See social media for location. We'll be there rain, shine, or snow!” Body Verve: Mindful Movement, Sweaty Style offers dance workouts in various parks, weather permitting. Barb Wesson, a


certified Somatic Movement instructor with a Ph.D. in natural health, leads the workouts, which are accessible for people of any fitness level. Body Verve also offers classes by Zoom. Donations are welcomed. Ecstatic Dancing is held year-round on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Riverwest’s Kern Park, near the tennis court. Sarah Moore of the Pink House Studio organizes the sessions, with ever-changing eclectic play lists for free dancing. Open to people of any age, with donations accepted, and held in most weather except rain.

PARTICIPATE IN NEIGHBORHOOD CLEAN-UPS. BIG Clean MKE is a year-round effort to continuously maintain cleaner, healthier neighborhoods and reduce litter. To promote sustainability, Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful provides buckets to groups for litter pickups and a limited number of garbage bags. Neighborhood groups doing regular cleanups may retain buckets. KGMB also lends cleanup tools from March 1 through October 31.

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Photo courtesy of VISIT Milwaukee.

ENSURE SAFE ROUTES TO PUBLIC PLACES. Parks and libraries, essential to healthy civic life, diminish in value when access to them by foot or bicycle is difficult. Residents in the Washington Park neighborhood have voiced concerns about the challenges presented by street layouts and reckless driving, especially on the east and north sides of the park and nearby library. As the anchor agency of the Washington Park neighborhood, United Methodist Children’s Services (3940 W. Lisbon Ave.) has made it a priority to improve access to these civic spaces, said Adrian Spencer, Director of Neighborhood Engagement at UMCS. Other projects include participating in the city’s “Active Streets” program on Galena Street, and efforts to install Bubbr Bike stations in Washington Park. UMCS is also collaborating on other traffic-calming strategies and have placed “Slow Your Role” signs to encourage drivers to follow speed limits on Lisbon Avenue. Spencer said that future plans include exploring Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design to enhance access into Washington Park, in partnership with the Urban Ecology Center and neighborhood residents.

FORM A BLOCK WATCH. Block watches, also known as block clubs, help strengthen bonds among neighbors and promote community safety. A block captain coordinates activities, including meetings where neighbors establish goals and ways to communicate with each other. With guidance from a law enforcement agency, members are trained in home-security techniques, observation skills, and crime reporting. Residents also learn about the types of crime that affect their area. The City of Milwaukee provides online information to assist in the creation and success of block clubs. According to the city’s website, “The Watch concept is adaptable and can be organized around any geographic unit such as Apartment Watch, Business


Watch, School Watch, [and] Utility Watch.” Safe & Sound, a nonprofit organization with a mission to “unite residents, youth, law enforcement and community resources to build safe and empowered neighborhoods” works in five neighborhoods to assist with block watches and other efforts.

PLANT A TREE Research has demonstrated that an adequate tree canopy correlates with positive individual health outcomes and environmental benefits. Shade trees help mitigate the “urban heat island effect,” and avert flooding. Plentiful trees have also been shown to correlate with lower crime. Urban tree canopies rely on plentiful shade trees on both public and private property. This requires that trees are cared for as they get established and are well-maintained over time. Ongoing attention is essential, including education and equitable resources that support tree health--not just tree planting. The Sherman Park Community Association is currently engaged with the Milwaukee Water Commons to address long-term urban forestry issues. A grant from Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources is supporting multi-pronged activities, including a neighborhood tree survey and assistance with tree upkeep. The association had already developed a relationship with MWC through its Branch Out Milwaukee program. Joe Fitzgerald, the program’s manager, said that it is essential that neighbors play a pivotal role in all decision-making about tree-canopy issues in their neighborhoods. These are just a few of the many ways that people are interacting to promote community health and safety.

Award-winning free-lance journalist Virginia Small often writes about environmental and community issues for the Shepherd Express.

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Ron Johnson’s a National Joke as a Senator and an Insurrectionist BY JOEL MCNALLY January 6, 2021 was supposed to be a big day for Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson. Johnson had already announced he would join other rightwing Republican senators in throwing out all the legitimate presidential votes cast in Wisconsin and six other states won by President Biden because Republicans in those states submitted counterfeit documents to the government fraudulently claiming to be “duly elected and qualified” electors casting those states’ electoral votes for Donald Trump. Now Johnson had a major role to play in Trump’s diabolical scheme to destroy American democracy once and for all by simply ignoring election results and allowing Trump to remain as president after he lost the election. Johnson’s assignment was to personally deliver to Vice President Mike Pence 26 fraudulent electoral votes from Wisconsin and Michigan for Trump even though Biden won both states.

PLOT AGAINST AMERICA The brazen, anti-American plot was concocted by Trump and a goofball law professor named John Eastman. Eastman claimed overthrowing the election was easy. All Pence had to do while presiding over Congress and counting the votes was either throw out the electoral votes 14 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

in states Biden won where Republicans submitted fake electoral votes for Trump or return the conflicting slates of electors to Republican legislatures in those states to decide which votes they liked better. Golly, which votes would Republicans choose—the legitimate ones Biden actually won in those states or the fraudulent ones for Trump? The reason Republicans corruptly gerrymandered those legislatures was to win elections. Trump’s plot was foiled when the previously servile Pence refused to violate the Constitution to steal the election for Trump. In a rage, Trump sent his heavily armed mob of supporters to violently attack Pence and Congress creating the bloodiest day of domestic terrorism in American history. Johnson was left holding his sad, little bag of fraudulent electoral votes.

WHO, ME? Johnson immediately began pretending he wasn’t part of the planned insurrection. Never mind just four days earlier Johnson enthusiastically joined the 10 most extreme rightwing Republican election deniers in the Senate to demand Congress delay certification of Biden’s election, get this, because of “unprecedented allegations of voter fraud.”

They didn’t mention they were the ones who had helped spread Trump’s unprecedented lies about voter fraud or that Trump’s lies were thrown out of more than 60 courts including his radical new Supreme Court because Trump has never produced a shred of evidence to support his lies. Congress reconvened late at night on Jan. 6 to complete its certification of Biden’s victory after the rioting by Trump’s vile supporters. Johnson quickly abandoned his announced plans to throw out Biden’s election victory in Wisconsin and in other states where Republicans tried to cast fraudulent electoral votes for Trump. Johnson voted to certify the electoral votes Biden won in Arizona and Pennsylvania, the only two states Republicans challenged. Congressmen Scott Fitzgerald and Tom Tiffany were the state’s only politicians voting to throw out the election results in those states. They said they would have done the same in Wisconsin if it had come up for a vote. Voters in their districts who want their votes to be counted should remember that in November.

IT'S MY STAFF’S FAULT! Johnson had to come up with a brandnew series of lies after the House Jan. 6

Photo by pat138241/Getty Images.


Committee publicized Pence’s refusal to accept the fraudulent state electoral votes from Johnson. Johnson kept jumbling together lies that conflicted with other lies. Ultimately, he blamed the whole incident on staff. That wasn’t very smart either because it called attention to his chief of staff Sean Riley connecting Johnson even more directly to Trump’s planning of the assault on the Capitol. Riley had worked for Johnson since 2015 as a legislative aide

rising to chief counsel from 2018-2020. Riley was gone for a year before rejoining Johnson as chief of staff just a few days before Jan. 6. Guess where Riley had been? He was special assistant for legislative affairs to Trump throughout the election year and during Trump’s increasingly lawless campaign to prevent certification of Biden’s election victory. Riley rejoined Johnson just in time to help Johnson lend a hand with the violent insurrection.

It’s long past time for voters to end their national embarrassment by replacing the state’s worst Republican senator since Joe McCarthy with a senator they know won’t ever threaten to throw out their votes.

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

It was just the latest embarrassment for Wisconsin from their constantly lying twoterm Republican senator who has become a Washington joke. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank began a round-up of recent lies by suggesting Johnson might be overindulging in the large-animal deworming medication he recommends instead of lifesaving covid vaccinations. Johnson also claimed the unvaccinated were being thrown “basically into internment camps.” Johnson spread so many of Vladimir Putin’s lies about fictional Biden family crimes in Ukraine on Trump’s behalf the FBI warned Johnson Russian military intelligence was feeding him disinformation.

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Photo by Josiah S/Getty Images.

They waited. Inexplicably, outrageously, inhumanely, they waited. Gunshots and more gunshots ringing out, and they waited. Time passing, panic rising, and they waited. The screaming of terrified children and the guttural, primal wailing of terrified parents, and they waited. Victims bleeding out; still, they waited. It is the tragic story of an inexcusably delayed response to an active shooter at Robb Elementary. But, read it again. It is also the horrifying story of the indefensibly delayed response to gun violence in America. We are right to be shocked that law enforcement officers waited minute after minute after minute, in the same way that we should be outraged about the ones who call the shots, the elected officials, who have callously disregarded the screams, the pleas, the wails, the unending trauma of a whole nation month after year after decade. Just like law enforcement’s too-little-too-late response in Uvalde, Congress finally responded, too. In June, Congress passed The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a modest set of gun reform laws. It’s a beginning. But, given the record-setting levels of gun violence and the ever-increasing numbers of mass shootings, much more is needed. Yet, Senator Cornyn, who had been heralded for shepherding this legislation, was recently asked if Congress would now be considering stronger, more effective legislation. “No, we’re done,” he responded. With all of us still in danger, John Cornyn and his colleagues are done; they’re resetting the waiting-clock.

BUT WE CAN’T WAIT Instead, we—you and I—must commit to action. First and foremost, we must not let lawmakers walk away from their respon-


sibilities. Let’s admit that nearly every politician in one of the major political parties in our country is madly, wildly besotted with the gun lobby. Just watch them. To prove their unadulterated “pro-gunniness,” they’ll create videos of themselves firing guns, big guns; send Christmas cards of their whole family posed with guns; fry bacon with guns; and do mock raids of the homes of their political opponents with guns. When the gun industry wishes for some new policy to help sell more guns to more people, Republicans, eager to please, will bend and contort and knock each other over, like too many players on a Twister mat. But this isn’t a game, and it’s our civic duty to remind them of that. We must reach out to every one of our elected officials and to every candidate for office and let them know that we expect them to prioritize the safety of people over the profits of the gun industry. If they can’t do what is in the best interest of their constituents and this country, we must vote them out. We will never be the land of the free and the home of the brave if we are the land of the armed and the dangerous.

PREVENTING GUN VIOLENCE IS WHAT PATRIOTS, REAL PATRIOTS, DO Next, we must stop accepting gun violence as a normal part of everyday life. There is nothing normal about it. No other high-income country in the world tolerates this level of gun violence. Among the 23 high-income countries, more than 80% of all of the firearm deaths occur in the United States. Relatedly, we must acknowledge and believe the scientific evidence, which shows that gun violence is preventable. This is a solvable problem! Taking steps, like requiring background checks on every gun transfer and giving families the ability to petition a court to remove firearms temporarily from a loved one in crisis, will save lives. Preventing gun violence is what smart people do. Moreover, we must understand the undeniable relationship between structural racism and gun violence. Dismantling racist

systems and ensuring adequate resources will improve the quality of life in many ways, including making neighborhoods safer. Preventing gun violence in every community is what decent, anti-racist people do. Finally, we must question our own choices. Overall, just owning a gun puts everyone in the home at higher risk, but those risks are not spread evenly. If you own a gun, do an honest assessment of the risks versus potential benefits. If you or anyone in your home has a history of violence, or severe depression, or alcohol or drug abuse, or if you have children in your home, now may be the right time to remove the guns, if only temporarily. Preventing gun violence at home is what loving people do. This is how we can prevent gun violence. It’s how we can save thousands of lives and spare families and whole communities from unbearable grief. Unlike the greed-driven, heartless gun industry executives and their marionette politicians, we refuse to ignore the cries and pleas reverberating across an entire country that is throbbing with heartache. All of us, working together, is exactly what is needed; it’s exactly what loving, decent, anti-racist, smart, patriotic people must do right now. Please, don’t wait.

Jeri Bonavia is Executive Director of the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE) Educational Fund.

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solutions and created real change for future generations. They wanted to make sure the children of victims were not falling into the same cycle and understood how to be advocates for themselves. So, they chose to focus on three main areas: financial solutions, legal help, and safety. For Rodriguez, this work has always been personal. Growing up, she experienced domestic violence in her home. “It impacted me as a young woman. As a young girl, I was trying to figure out relationships and I promised myself that things were going to be different for me,” she says. Now she has two daughters of her own and wants to make sure they understand how to have healthy relationships.

THE GROWTH OF THE CENTER Rodriguez brings her personal and professional experience to her work and has helped the center grow based on the input from the people they serve. “This was created by the community for the community, and I truly believe this is their work,” says Rodriquez.

Photo by Erin Bloodgood.

Mariana Rodriguez Built a Space for Latinas to Thrive “



think about my 20-plus years advocating for the safety and empowerment for women, and healthcare has always been core to everything we do,” says Mariana Rodriguez, director of the Latina Resource Center at United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS). “When women have resources and when they have options, they’re safer.” The Latina Resource Center serves victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking in the Latino community. Rodriguez has been with the center since


its inception in 2001 when there were no cultural services available for the Latino community—only general services that were harder to access. Immigrants and Spanish speakers who experience domestic violence and sexual assault face additional barriers when trying to get help—challenges like being undocumented, not speaking English, or finding legal representation. And now the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade only reduces the choices these women have when seeking refuge.

HOW IT ALL STARTED Twenty years ago, Rodriguez was part of a group of community members who came together to fill this need and provide Latins with more options. Thanks to the support of UMOS, those ideas became the Latina Resource Center, a separate space for the community now housed in the UMOS building on the south side of Milwaukee. That initial steering committee had a vision of a center that offered long-term

In addition to assisting with legal services, housing assistance, and answering crisis calls, the center now offers youth services to teach teenagers about healthy relationships and a program for children who witness domestic violence. All of these expanded services happened because of the center’s close relationship with the community. There’s no question about the impact the Latina Resource Center has made over the last two decades. “I’ve learned a lot about women’s determination. They’re much more courageous than we really truly understand,” says Rodriguez as she reflects on her time at UMOS. “When we think they’re vulnerable, they are very much in tune to what they need for themselves and for their children.” The center has shown, when women are given choices and resources to advocate for themselves, they will thrive.

Learn more about the Latina Resource Center at Erin Bloodgood is a Milwaukee photographer and storyteller. See more of her work on her website at

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Photo by Bill Arnold.

Common Council President Jose Perez:

‘I Will Always Listen’ BY TOM JENZ


n April 22, District 12 Alderman Jose Perez was elected President of the Milwaukee Common Council by his colleagues. Of Puerto Rican ancestry, he is the first Latino to hold this office. He replaced Cavalier Johnson, who had been elected the Mayor of Milwaukee. We met at City Hall in the common council president’s large, wood-paneled office. He never ducked a question. His answers were straight and on point.


Tell me your life story, your parents, where you grew up, the neighborhood you lived in and the schools you attended. I’m Puerto Rican and in the first generation of my family born here in the United States. In 1950-51, my grandparents migrated from Puerto Rico with my mother to Milwaukee. My grandparents were humble country folks, lived with dirt floors. Everything they owned they got from working for someone else, or bartering, or they

grew crops and sold them. My dad is from Puerto Rico and met my mom in Milwaukee. My dad could not speak English, but he got a job at Grede Foundries and worked there until he retired. My mother worked at the tanneries and then at Sobel Electric on 9th and National, which is now the MATC building. I’m a lifelong Southsider, grew up off Fifth and Pierce, tough neighborhood, a lot of drugs and gangs around us. I went to

St Matthew Grade School on 25th and Scott, then to Pulaski High School, but I ended up dropping out. Two years later, I got my GED and was working with young people and community organizations. I also did work through my church and for MICAH, (Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope). Eventually, I earned my college degree from Cardinal Stritch University.

During the years when you went through your formal education, were you working? I was single through these years and working for the Social Development Commission. I also did other part time jobs. I also learned an important thing, that internships are very important. During my college years, I did a summer internship in Washington D.C., did another summer internship in Constituent Services for Milwaukee Mayor Norquist, and my final summer in college, I worked in city hall in the communications section in the city clerk’s office. I have fond memories of coming into this council president’s office where we are presently sitting.

And now you are the president. Yours is an inspiring American story. Back then as a young man, you got to know a number of important people. I’m fortunate because of my involvement in internships, the leadership in my church and also from my work at MICAH. I learned a lot about church-based and community-based organizing. I found out there is value in relationships, understanding people’s needs and opinions.

You have been the Alderman of District 12 on the South Side for the past 10 years. How did you get that job? In January 2006, I went to work for the Department of City Development, then did six months in the Community Block Grants Office, then in 2010, I resigned to start my own business with a childhood friend. We were in real estate and construction. I learned about the difficulty of being an entrepreneur. It’s easy to start a business but it’s difficult to maintain it. In 2012, I decided to run for alderman and got elected by 86 votes.

What’s changed in your district from when you were a boy in that neighborhood up until now? There has been more development. The building up of the east side over to Walker’s Point has made that area a good place to live and work and play. Those newer apartment buildings are good smart developments, and we did not displace anyone or any residential unit. The library on Ninth and Mitchell has been a success. More success has come from the El Rey Market Empire investments in stores, from Pete’s Fruit Market, and also Cermak Fresh Markets. We do have very dense and crowded neighborhoods. When residents complain to me about lack of parking, I say, “Hey, that’s a good problem to have, means people want to live here.” The biggest change in my lifetime is the diversity. We are predominantly Latino in my district, but we also are seeing more African Americans in our neighborhoods. If you want to see what Milwaukee looks like, come to the South Side.

What exactly is the job of the common council president? Each person who takes this job has a different approach. Since I got elected president in April, I’ve spent a lot of time building relationships and talking to my colleagues, the other 14 aldermen. As council president, I get to decide who chairs the committees. I’ve pretty much kept the committee chairmen who were already there. But I did move a few folks around, wanted to keep a balance. Currently, there are two alderman vacancies because of Mayor Johnson leaving and Alderman Kovac becoming Budget Director. My goal is to keep each of us aldermen talking and coordinating. I try to engage my colleagues.

From what I’ve read, you seem to be a uniter, a good listener. Here is a comment from you regarding your new job at council president: “Serving in this position is impossible without us being together. We won't always agree, but I promise you we will talk and we will agree to disagree sometimes. And I will always listen.”

Can you expand on this philosophy? The risks you take when surrounded by good people you trust, those risks are calculated. You need confidence when going down that road, working together to get unanimous votes on things. This takes time and energy, people talking to one another. It’s also about not making a promise you can’t keep. My colleagues want to be engaged through honest conversations, which may mean disagreeing, but we still need to move forward. Folks ask me about my agenda. I think the council is forming the agenda as we go forward. The alders want to have an impact on public safety, investing in neighborhood development and delivering on those investments—and of course, making hard decisions about our budget.

Another quote from you: “You don’t make assumptions about people. You sit down and learn what is important to them. You go on the road with someone and build that relationship, and then you ask them to either trust you or figure out how you can work together.” What do you mean by this? With all the communication techniques we have at our fingertips, Google, internet news, email, Zoom, we still have lousy information about each other. We need to sit down with one another and have conversations and get to know each other. Folks have some similarities and can create understandings. When you understand a person’s self-interest and passion live and in person, you have the most valuable way to get their commitment. If you are passionate about public safety or education, I will work with you in those areas. I don’t want to waste your time on subjects you aren’t committed to.

Probably the biggest challenge facing Milwaukee currently is stopping the violence—homicides, shootings, reckless driving, domestic violence, assault and theft. The common council oversees the Office of Violence Prevention. I believe the OVP has been allocated more than $11 million in federal and state COVID relief funds spread over five years. That money is in addition to the OVP’s regular budget of $3.7 million. Alderman Bob Bauman recently said that he had AUGUST 2022 | 21


no idea how that money is spent. Alderman Scott Spiker said that the Office of Violence Prevention will never be an article of faith for him, that he wants evidence that it works. How does the council plan to oversee how these OVP funds are spent? Some South Side alders including myself are engaging the Office of Violence Prevention. We’ve been discussing with them specific efforts to solve problems on the South Side. We’d like the OVP to have a location where residents can go to for information and training. We are committed to getting them a South Side presence. Monitoring the OVP doesn’t happen in committee. It happens in the parks, on the streets and in the neighborhoods. I think the OVP should be engaging people, building relationships with residents and community organizers, using their money to work with on-the-ground leaders and volunteers in troubled neighborhoods. We will try to help the OVP personnel to be on the streets and working with the organizers.

From my experience with the community organizers on the North Side, it seems that they don’t get enough help from city government in terms of involvement, funding, or even of being heard. I understand that some of these organizers are feeling triaged, ignored, not appreciated. There are a lot of unsung heroes in our community that get no recognition. We sometimes don’t know who they are. We have to make connections with them. They aren’t getting paid. When we talk about public safety, we need to engage families and parents to give them help dealing with lawbreakers. We encourage them to call us because we want to be able to help.

Another challenge is Milwaukee’s infrastructure. There’s been great success in building up the Downtown for residents to work and live, but those residents are mostly white and have good-paying jobs. But improving neighborhoods surrounding the Downtown has been challenging, if not neglected. All you have to do is walk the streets in the heart of the central city, 35th, 27th, Fond du Lac, Atkinson, Hopkins, and you will see vacant houses, stores and buildings. Many of them are owned by the city including a number of public school buildings. Any thoughts on what to do about this crucial issue? We’ve been working with the Department of City Development. We need to be investing in these neighborhoods and rehabbing houses and blocks one at a time. I might have 100 foreclosed properties in my district, and only 35 are city owned. The bank-foreclosed houses and buildings may not be paying their taxes, but the city still has to clean up the yards. We can’t take possession of these properties until after the owners stop paying property taxes and that can take up to three years. So they sit empty. This problem is much larger on the North Side, those alders having up to 600 foreclosed properties.

Can you donate any of these foreclosed city-owned houses to needy residents? I get that question now and then, but the amount of work and cost to rehab an abandoned house is prohibitive, not to mention other costs like property taxes and utilities.

Sounds like you are invested in building up the infrastructure of neglected neighborhoods. Yes, I am, and we also want to make sure the streets, alleys and sidewalks are safe. Lighting is a big deal. If there is a grid of lights not working, people don’t feel safe. Are the parks kept well lighted, clean and safe? We also have to make sure the landlords are keeping their properties up to code.

Do you work closely with Commissioner Lafayette Crump and his Department of City Development? The City Development Department has been allocated more funds for legal aid


to make sure residents are not unjustly being evicted. We work with the development people on avoiding any foreclosure process. We also have programs that help fixed-income residents repair their homes.

In Milwaukee, the police have often been controversial. In the coming years, does the council plan to add more police officers or reduce the police force? A timely question. Right now, we are going through an extensive study on police department staffing. It’s called the Matrix Study. We want sworn officers to do regular police work, but we want civilians to do administrative type work in the department. This is a similar approach to 2006 when we hired parking checkers to issue parking tickets, not the regular policemen. Over the years, we’ve gotten way too comfortable expecting the police to fix everything. They should be doing police work, not be social or mental health workers.

I interviewed Police Chief Norman a while ago, and he was open to making changes. Yes. Chief Norman has been a very open book and willing to take our ideas and listen to strategies. The alders are not trained in law enforcement, but we can tell you what does not work or when our constituents are not getting good service or when the wait times for police help are far too long. We are waiting to hear from the Matrix Study on the right number of police to serve on the ground per capita.

Is there an end date as to when this Matrix Study will be completed? I think by the end of the year come budget time. It’s complicated. The council controls the budget. The Fire & Police Commission controls the Police Chief and police policy, and that includes wage bargaining. An experienced police sergeant told me he was having difficulty getting police officers to work on weekends. This is the kind of problem we face. We have to coordinate these types of issues better.

Tom Jenz writes the Central City Stories column for

AUGUST 2022 | 23


DUKE'S ON WATER Photo by Michael Burmesch.

MASON STREET GRILLE Photo by Cory Zimmermann. Courtesy of Mason Street Grille.

For a Happier Wallet Try Happy Hour Instead BY SUSAN HARPT GRIMES



hile many of us have been laying low these past two years for health and safety, most of us are ready to get back out there and enjoy some society. Unfortunately, the sticker shock of inflation-ravaged food and drink costs may quickly cool that desire. Looking for a simple solution to stretch your dollar further? Take advantage of happy hour deals at bars and restaurants all around the city. There are many places that offer specials, typically 4-6 p.m., but we’re going to focus on the following four places, the finalists and winner as voted by our readers in the Shepherd Express 2021 Best of Milwaukee contest. Duke’s on Water (158 E. Juneau Ave.) was our fan-chosen winner for 2021. Sort of a cross between a sports bar and a college hangout, Duke’s is the place to go for amazing drink deals on weekdays from 3-9 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Meet up with friends and score $1 domestic taps, $5 domestic pitchers, and $2 rail drinks. Loads of bar games like beer pong, dice games, darts and pool are available, as well as seasonal sports on all the TVs. Centrally located to most downtown event sites, Duke’s is a great place to grab a couple of drinks before the show or game and save a few bucks. One of our 2021 Best of Milwaukee finalists, Mason Street Grille (425 E. Mason St. offers a classy, upscale vibe. From 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, you can enjoy a $5 glasses of wine, $5 rail drinks, $4 draft beers and $8 bar snacks. If you’re familiar with the delicious food available on Mason Street Grille’s full menu, you’ll be happy to discover their bar snacks are also excellent. Try the house specialty Fried Surf Clams ($8 during happy hour), perfectly fried and served with tartar sauce. Or go for the ¼ Rack BBQ Baby Back Ribs with French fries ($8 during happy hour). When you head out, you’ll feel like you had a tasty drink and a satisfying light meal. The “happiest” part is that you’ll have saved about $5 per snack and $2-$4 per drink. Another finalist, Maxie’s (6732 W. Fairview Ave.) is always a fun place to stop in for happy hour deals. From 4-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday you can fill up on $1 freshAUGUST 2022 | 25


MORAN'S PUB Photo by Dee VonDrasek Photography. Courtesy of Moran's Pub.

MAXIE'S Photo by Nolan Ekstrom. Courtesy of Maxie’s.

shucked oysters and $1 off your drink of choice. Standout drinks at Maxie’s include a zippy Jalapeño Margarita ($7 during happy hour) and a wonderful Kentucky Sidecar ($8 during happy hour). The laidback Southern hospitality vibe of Maxie’s is great for raising your spirits and is a wonderful way to begin an evening out. Special note: because it can get busy during that happy hour time frame, take advantage of Maxie’s online reservation service and you’ll thank yourself as you stroll past throngs of folks waiting patiently for a table. If you’re looking for a friendly Irish pub to kick off your evening visit our final 2021 Best of Milwaukee finalist, Moran’s Pub (912 Milwaukee Ave., South Milwaukee). Offering happy hour specials from 4-6 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, including $3 pub lagers, $5 Mules, $5 Pimms' Cups and a $1 off everything else. Moran’s is a great place to pull up a stool to catch live soccer games, engage in friendly banter, and enjoy a well-poured Guinness. Special events include trivia nights, an in-house pool league, occasional live music or DJ, and discount nights for educators. So, gather with friends, bend an elbow, all while saving a buck or two during happy hour.

Susan Harpt Grimes is a veteran food and features writer for the Shepherd Express.


AUGUST 2022 | 27


Hakurei is łhe Caviar of Turnips BY ARI LEVAUX

Photo by Ari LeVaux.


he main purpose of a turnip is to feed hungry people, and the hakurei (pronounced like “samurai”) turnip is no exception. We aren’t talking about the kind of hunger when you wonder when dinner will be ready. To eat most turnips, you need more of a “Little House on the Prairie”-during-an-extra-longwinter of hunger, when the carrots and onions and flour are gone and there is nothing else to eat. Turnips are dense, nutritious, and can outlast almost any other type of fresh vegetable in a nonrefrigerated storage situation but aren’t usually the tastiest root in the cellar. Also known as the Tokyo Turnip, the hakurei was developed in the 1950s, when Japan was desperate to feed itself after being destroyed by World War II. The hakurei plant grows fast—about a month from sowing to harvest—and can handle a light frost and other forms of adversity. As a bonus, this bright white globe of a taproot has culinary properties that were previously unheard of among turnips, earning the hakurei the honorary title, “caviar of turnips.” But really, calling the hakurei a turnip is like calling the jalapeno a fruit. Technically true, and a cool party trick, but so what? We all still know a jalapeno isn’t really a fruit because it doesn’t taste like one. At the same time, many classic fruit characteristics, like sweetness and juiciness, are most present in the hakurei.


ESTEEMED DINNER COMPANION Hakurei translates to “esteemed companion,” a name that, like “salad turnip” is entirely appropriate. The entire plant is edible, from green tip to root tip. You can do anything you want to a hakurei, including nothing. You don’t even need to peel its delicate skin. Each bite is a sip of sweet, buttery water, with a hint of horseradish. They are often called salad turnips — two words you rarely see in the same sentence — because while most turnips must be cooked into edibility, hakurei are completely delightful when they are completely raw. Just eat it like an extra-juicy apple with no core. They are great in salads for many reasons, including their crisp, juicy texture and the fact that they go very well with acid. Since they look like scallops, I like to feature hakurei turnips in a ceviche-like presentation, with a dressing and sliced onions and hot peppers, with or without actual fish. But you can definitely cook the hakurei. Some people add them to the jus in the final half hour of roasting a chicken. The hint of horseradish in its mild flavor makes it a great accompaniment to beef. Most of the recipes I’ve encountered for cooking these next-level turnips remind the cook to use the stems and leaves too. One involved blending cream cheese into a pot of gently boiled turnips

and greens. I didn’t like the finished product that much, but the intermediate step of boiled turnips in a little bit of stock was pure, satisfying sustenance, decadent in its simplicity. My favorite way to cook hakurei is in a miso butter with garlic, white wine and a bit of sugar. The flavors of the hakurei and miso taste like they are made for each other, and with support from the other ingredients create a quick, easy and glorious dish. Getting your hands on some hakurei can be the hard part. But luckily, they are fast becoming a favorite among farmers and their clients at the farmers’ market. And if you can’t find any, you can always plant the seeds, all summer long. With food like this at your fingertips, you won’t be hungry, or malnourished.

HAKUREI TURNIPS IN MISO BUTTER GLAZE Salty, meaty, earthy and sweet, with umami aplenty, it’s almost impossible to eat this gentle dish with your eyes open. However much you prepare, it won’t last long enough to see the inside of your Tupperware. Two servings • 1 bunch of hakurei turnips – there should be about 6-8 in a bunch • 2 tablespoons butter • 2 teaspoons sugar • 1 tablespoon miso • ¼ cup vermouth or white wine • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped coarsely • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds • Salt Trim the thin, spindly taproot that extends from the bottom of each turnip. Cut the stems about half an inch above the turnip and chop the stems and leaves. Cut the turnips into slices, which cook faster and absorb more glaze, or quarters, which look prettier. No need to peel them. Boil two quarts of water with a teaspoon of salt for the greens. If you’re making soba noodles to serve it with, you can cook the greens in the leftover soba water. Either way, boil them for five minutes. Drain, plunge into a gallon or so of cold water, and drain again. Add the butter, miso, sugar and a cup of water to a pan. Turn the heat to medium and stir as it heats. When it reaches a simmer, add the vermouth and garlic, and then the turnips. Allow the liquid to cook down and thicken, about ten minutes. Season with salt if necessary – the miso may contribute enough. Flip the pieces and turn the heat down to low, so the turnips can brown but not burn. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve with soba noodles or rice.

Ari LeVaux has written about food for The Atlantic Online, Outside Online and Alternet. AUGUST 2022 | 29




n the bloom of May, summer stretches before you, an idyll of possibility. In the leaves of August, you look for ways to make your summer last, a memento of your idyll to carry you back to May.

Many producers add less than six grams per liter of sugar to their cachaças before bottling them. (Producers that add more classify their cachaças as adoçada). Dishonest producers add caramel color to their spirits to make them look aged.

It was a Bradford Beach summer party, where Maud and John of Maryland Avenue served their guests espetinhos de queijo de coalho (skewers of grilled curd-like cheese) with molho de alho (garlic sauce) and Caipirinhas, Brazil’s classic cocktail, made with Brazil’s most popular spirit, cachaça. The sun set. The moon rose. We lost perspective of where we were. It was a great party. It felt like Copacabana or Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro, where, at the height of summer, people go to the beach in the evening as well as the afternoon.

If you’re looking for aged cachaça, you’ll find these two categories:

Six months later, in the depth of winter, Maud and John threw a party at their Maryland Avenue apartment. They served feijoada à brasileira (a black bean stew) and Caipirinhas. The moon set. The sun rose. We lost perspective of where we were. It was another great party. It felt like a night at the botecos in the Vila Madalena of São Paulo.

• Premium: Cachaça aged in a wood vessel of 700 liters or less for at least one year. • Extra Premium: Cachaça aged in a wood vessel of 700 liters or less for at least three years.

CACHAÇA COCKTAILS With a bottle of cachaça, you’re ready to enjoy your summer idyll every day of the year. Brandon Reyes, General Manager of Bittercube, and Anthony Valenti, Bar Manager of Bittercube Bar at the upcoming North Avenue Market, show you how.


What rum is to the islands of the West Indies, cachaça is to the country of Brazil. Cachaça is like rum, but it isn’t. Both are distilled from sugar cane, but cachaça can only be made in Brazil from fresh sugar cane juice, which is fermented and distilled. Rum can be made anywhere, and is typically distilled from molasses, a byproduct of refining sugar from its cane. (Rhum agricole, which is distilled from sugar cane juice on the French island of Martinique, is closer to cachaça.) The tastes of cachaça and rum are also distinctively different. Where rum displays aggressively, cachaça displays gently. Where cachaça shows herby, grassy, fruity aromas and flavors, rum shows carmel and spice. Artisanal cachaça, which is made in small batches in pot stills, tastes even richer and more sensuous than industrial cachaça, which is made in large batches distilled in column stills.

Curated by Brandon Reyes • 2 or 3 lime quarters, cut lengthwise (two if a medium to large lime, three if a small lime) • 2 tsps. granulated or turbinado sugar • 2 ozs. Cachaça Branca • 1 dropper or dash Bittercube Orange Bitters • Glass: Rocks CLASSIC CAIPIRINHA

CACHAÇA LEXICON The first step in your summer idyll is acquiring a bottle of cachaça. You’ll find two styles: • Branca (White), also called Prata (Silver): Unaged cachaça. This is the style you want for mixing drinks like Caipirinhas. • Amarela (Yellow), also called Ouro (Gold): Cachaça aged in barrels made of oak or wood native to Brazil (e.g., peanut, zebra, balsam, amburana, amendoim bravo). The color of the style derives from its aging in wood barrels. This is the style you want for drinking straight up. 30 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

Photo by Anthony Valenti, Bar Manager of Bittercube at the upcoming North Avenue Market.

• Garnish: Spent lime shells Instructions Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker, muddle and then fill with ice. Shake briefly until chilled and pour into glass without straining.

MANGO CAIPIRINHA by Anthony Valenti • 2 or 3 lime quarters, cut lengthwise (two if a medium to large lime, three if a small lime) • 8 freshly cut mango cubes (one-quarter inch cubes) • 2 tsps. granulated or turbinado sugar • 2 ozs. Cachaça Branca Photo by Anthony Valenti, Bar Manager of Bittercube at the upcoming North Avenue Market.

MANGO CAIPIRINHA Photo by Anthony Valenti, Bar Manager of Bittercube at the upcoming North Avenue Market.

• 1 dropper or dash Bittercube Orange Bitters and/ or Cardamom Extract (optional) • Glass: Rocks • Garnish: Mango cube skewer and mint sprig Instructions Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker, muddle and then fill with ice. Shake briefly until chilled and pour into glass without straining.

BATIDA ROSA by Brandon Reyes • 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice • 3/4 oz. pineapple juice • 1 oz. grenadine • 2 ozs. Cachaça Branca • 1 1/2 ozs. seltzer • 1 dropper or dash Bittercube Bolivar Bitters • Glass: Collins with ice • Garnish: Lemon twist BATIDA ROSA

Photo by Anthony Valenti, Bar Manager of Bittercube at the upcoming North Avenue Market. Photo by Anthony Valenti, Bar Manager of Bittercube at the upcoming North Avenue Market.

Instructions Add all of the ingredients except seltzer to a cocktail shaker and then fill with ice. Shake with a fluid, strong motion. Add seltzer to the shaker and strain into Collins glass over fresh ice.

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. AUGUST 2022 | 31


Photo courtesy of MillerCoors Milwaukee Archives and Jim Cryns.




une 22, 1975 was literally a watershed moment in the history of Milwaukee County Stadium. That evening, during Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon tour, an unforeseen rainstorm halted the show four times. Dubbed a “metaphysical event” by one publication, near the show’s end, the rain clouds parted to reveal a clear waxing moon. Wet fans listened on a ridge, a favorite gathering spot for concerts, halfway up a bluff from the Milwaukee VA Hospital. Benches atop there overlooked the stadium outfield and gave patients a view to enjoy the main action: baseball. That view is now of a parking lot, where the stadium once stood, used for its successor, American Family Field. From 1953-2000, County Stadium was home to the Milwaukee Braves and their championship teams until 1965, a traveling home for the Green Bay “Milwaukee” Packers, college teams, and numerous music events. In 1970, the Seattle Pilots moved to town and became the Milwaukee Brewers, bringing back major league baseball.

“When I was in eighth grade, I had a friend whose family had season tickets, her Mom would drop us off at the VA, and we’d walk down,” said Cathy Markwiese, at a recent Brewers game. “One of things I love about this place, AmFam Field, is that little ballpark (Helfaer Field, built near County Stadium’s infield) in the parking lot—it’s the greatest thing for kids to encourage their baseball dreams.” County Stadium started with a 36,000-seating capacity and eventually grew to more than 53,000. Still, it had the feel of intimacy and was something that was uniquely part of Milwaukee. It was a beacon for baseball. “My kids were part of the ‘Pepsi Fan Club’ and I would drop them off for games,” said Kathie Pluta-Waranka. “They would take the bus back to the Mayfair Shopping Center. I loved County Stadium, the character and architecture. But this new place is … not bad!”

Photo by Jen Harbold. Courtesy of Jim Cryns.

Photo by Jen Harbold. Courtesy of Jim Cryns.

Photo courtesy of Jim Cryns.

Photo by Marty Wellskopf. Courtesy of Jim Cryns.

AUGUST 2022 | 33


Photo by Jen Harbold. Courtesy of Jim Cryns.

BUILDING MILLER PARK During the early 1990s, Brewers primary owner, Bud Selig unveiled plans for a modern facility with luxury boxes and a color video-scoreboard. The nearby Miller Brewing Company entered into a 20-year sponsorship deal, and construction of Miller Park started in 1996, next to County Stadium, as the team played. The most distinctive difference between the two facilities was the introduction of a retractable roof. “You can always play a game here,” said Don McCauley. “I loved County Stadium, and yes, it was darn cold in April. This (the roof) is pretty good. When you live in Eau Claire, you come down, you’ll see a game … no rainouts, get a hotel, reschedule, and maybe not even see a game. It’s good for the Brewers.”

last row in the top terrace level’s Section 422. Still, it is the beauty and architecture of the park with its converging structural lines and the excitement of waiting for the roof to open or close. “This is beautiful,” said Jennifer Ashley. “I love it. It really makes me hopeful to think of what people are capable of. Man can conceive of designing and building something this awe-inspiring and yet, we still find ways to destroy each other. I haven’t figured that out.”

Gregory Harutunian is an Illinois writer who has spent a lifetime crossing state lines to support the Brewers.

The roof came at a cost, when a crane hoisting a roof panel collapsed, and killed three construction workers—Jeffrey Wischer, William Degrave and Jerome Starr—in July 1999. Their memories are not forgotten. The last game in County Stadium was on Sept. 28, 2000. Solemn, yet celebratory, Warren Spahn tossed the ceremonial first pitch. Home plate and the pitcher’s rubber were dutifully carried and placed in the new park, which opened in 2001. Madison-based American Family Insurance took over naming rights last year when the Miller agreement expired. With a capacity of nearly 42,000 seats, the ballpark is hailed as having no bad sightlines, even in the “Bob Uecker Seats,” at the Photo by Jeff Hammer. Courtesy of Jim Cryns.




e all know and love the Green Bay Packers and the storied tradition of football played at Lambeau Field. Forty years ago the players went on strike mid-season to demand better pay, which resulted in five weeks of games being cut from the season. Back then, the Packers usually played three “home” games a year in Milwaukee’s County Stadium, all of which took place before and after the ‘82 strike, so only one of the regular season home games were played at Lambeau that season. Many memorable names were on the roster in 1982. The team was coached by Bart Starr, whose one playoff run as a coach occurred in the ‘82 season. The often interception prone, Lynn Dickey was at quarterback, pro bowler and future longtime Packer radio announcer, Larry McCarren played center, and NFL Hall of Famer and wide receiver, James Lofton was nearly at the pinnacle of his career in ‘82, averaging 19.9 yards per catch. The truncated season would lead to only nine regular season games being played. Green Bay was enjoying a 2-0 start to

Photo by 33ft/Getty Images.

the season when the strike began. They wound up qualifying for a Wildcard berth with their 5-3-1 regular season record. Sadly, the Packers were eliminated from the playoffs a week after their Wildcard win. It would be eleven years before the Packers made it back to postseason play when they returned with Brett Favere at the helm in 1993. A lot of Wisconsin football fans were embittered over the player’s strike, and less stalwart Packer fans chose to celebrate the Brewer’s journey to the World Series that year instead of watching football. Looking back, it must have been a great year for County Stadium considering how much extra use it had hosting both baseball and football well into autumn.

TODAY’S TEAM In the intervening 40 years, the Packers have made the long journey to the Superbowl three times, returning with the Lombardi trophy twice. The team has had serious stability at quarterback too with only four primary players for that position in all that time, which is quite rare in the NFL. Another rare feat is having only nine losing

seasons during those forty years. That consistency likely explains the reason for the “modern era” Packer’ successes and solid record of extending most seasons into the playoffs, often with a real chance to win it all. Unfortunately, there have been all too many heartbreaking near misses during postseason play, keeping Green Bay from making it back to the Superbowl more times than most fans would like to think about. However, hope springs eternal, and once again the Packers are poised for greatness ahead of the 2022 season. Reigning MVP and future Hall of Famer, Aaron Rodgers, will be back to lead the team again. Several returning key players like running back Aaron Jones, and wide receivers like Randal Cobb and Allen Lazard are locked in and ready to work with the new additions to the team, all with a united goal to bring the Lombardi trophy back to Titletown once again. Go Pack!

Susan Harpt Grimes is a Milwaukee writer and longtime contributor to the Shepherd Express. AUGUST 2022 | 35



Photo by Michael Burmesch.



Photo courtesy of Hunzinger Construction Archives.


Photo courtesy of Hunzinger Construction Archives.


ame day atmosphere can mean everything, and there were certainly drastic differences between venues where Milwaukeeans watched their teams in 1982 compared to today. By the start of the 1981-82 winter sports season, the Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee Admirals, and then-Marquette Warriors men’s basketball team were playing their home games at the MECCA Arena, known today as the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. By that point, the building was 32 years old, and was regularly utilized for college basketball, IHL hockey, and the NBA, as well as a robust entertainment schedule. A 1980 renovation put the MECCA at 11,052 seats, then the second-largest capacity for the building since it opened in 1950. At that time, the most expensive seat offered to the public for a Milwaukee Bucks game would cost $11, and you could get in the


Photo courtesy of Fiserv Forum.

door for just $4.50, or a dollar less on “bonus nights” throughout the season. Milwaukeeans took some interest in the team, as the Bucks finished 11th out of the 23-team NBA in attendance that year. Glass seats at an Admirals game went for just $6, and the team’s season was proudly presented by Pabst Blue Ribbon. The city certainly got their money’s worth, as well, seeing franchise legends like the Bucks’ Sidney Moncrief, the Admirals’ Danny Lecours, and Marquette’s Marc Marotta and Doc Rivers suit up. Even the floor at MECCA Arena was an attraction, with the vibrant paint job from pop artist Robert Indiana, transforming the basketball court into two “M” shapes that connected at the center circle. The aforementioned names, and many more, currently hang from the rafters at either the UW-Panther Arena, or the current home of the Bucks and Marquette men’s basketball, Fiserv Forum. AUGUST 2022 | 37


FISERV FORUM Photo courtesy of Fiserv Forum.

A NEIGHBORHOOD OF ITS OWN Fast forward to today, and the sprawling nature of Deer District has become more than just an arena, but a neighborhood of its own. Fiserv Forum will enter its fifth NBA season this fall, with the Bucks finishing 12th of 30 NBA teams in terms of attendance this past year. What was introduced to Milwaukee as the “live block” of Fiserv Forum’s campus, now known as Deer District, recently announced plans to build over the lot that housed the MECCA Arena’s successor, the Bradley Center. In addition to the arena itself, Deer District is home to four bars and restaurants, a beer garden, rentable event space, and a plaza, where roughly 65,000 fans gathered to watch the Milwaukee Bucks win the 2021 NBA title. Needless to say, the neighborhood has transformed immensely, and is well utilized.


The capacity of Fiserv Forum is approximately 7,000 seats higher than the UW-Panther Arena, depending on the configuration, and has already hosted professional and college basketball, college hockey and much more. The newest addition to Milwaukee’s array of venues has been designed for the best acoustics possible, which aide the Bucks and Marquette when it comes to crunch time in a close game. The building is considered amongst the gold standard for NBA arenas and is a core part of Milwaukee’s growth as a city overall. While the Bradley Center was razed, the building once known as the MECCA still stands, often as a reminder of the roots of Milwaukee’s sports culture. Currently, the Milwaukee Admirals, Milwaukee Wave indoor soccer, Brew City Bruisers roller derby, and naming rights holders UW-Milwaukee Panthers men’s basketball utilize the building, which underwent its own $6.3 million renovation in 2016. One thing is unmistakable; the atmosphere of taking in a game at either Fiserv Forum or UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena is something truly special, with a city that has backed its teams in good times and bad. No matter the setting, Milwaukee sports fans have the privilege of seeing their city’s past and future represented just blocks apart in the heart of Downtown.

Allen Halas is digital strategist and Bucks columnist for Photo courtesy of Fiserv Forum.


AUGUST 2022 | 39


Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Bucks.




hen looking at the Milwaukee Bucks in both 1982 and 2022, you would notice some similarities on paper, but some drastic differences show up off of the stat sheets. The 1981-‘82 Bucks season was just about as successful as the 2021-22 slate of games. Both teams were solid contenders to bring another title to Milwaukee, with a solid core lineup. Rather than a commanding presence in the lane that Giannis Antetkoun40 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

mpo provides, this version of the Milwaukee Bucks was focused on offense around point guard Sidney Moncrief, as well as current Bucks’ announcer Marques Johnson. The 2021-22 starting five for Milwaukee was also considered very strong, with a big three of Giannis, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, bolstered by fan-favorite Bobby Portis and outside shooter Grayson Allen.


Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bucks’ lone draft pick for the season was center Alton Lister, who played five seasons in Milwaukee before being traded. The team was fairly set with a deep starting lineup, which mainly consisted of Moncrief, Johnson, Bob Lanier, Quinn Buckner and Mickey Johnson. The bench was led by Junior Bridgeman, and also featured Bobby Dandridge, who was in the final year of his playing career. The power forward spot was generally held by Mickey Johnson, a 6’10” combination forward and center out of Chicago, in his eighth season. That spot now belongs to the “Greek Freak,” a 6’11” combination forward and center, who just completed his ninth year in the league. Johnson weighed in at 190 pounds, whereas modern training has helped Giannis dominate his position with an extra 50 pounds of mass, much of that likely being muscle. Stat-wise, Antetokounmpo has already surpassed Mickey Johnson’s totals for his 12-year playing career, with no signs of slowing down.

COACH OF THE YEAR Coach Don Nelson was at the helm for Milwaukee, in his sixth season with the Bucks. He would follow the 1981-82 campaign by winning Coach of the Year for the first of three times in 1983 and remained with Milwaukee until 1988. Following his tenure with the Bucks, he held a successful career in front offices around the league and was ranked in the Top 15 coaches in NBA history at the league’s 75th anniversary celebrations this past season. In 2012, Nelson was also inducted into the Naismith Memorial AUGUST 2022 | 41




Basketball Hall of Fame. Like Nelson, current Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer was named Coach of the Year, in 2014 with Atlanta and 2018 with Milwaukee.



Coincidentally, both teams also won the Central Division title in the regular season but were bounced in the Conference semifinals to a team that would go on to represent the East in the NBA Finals. In 1981-82, Milwaukee lost to a Philadelphia 76ers team led by Julius “Dr. J” Irving and Daryl Dawkins, before Philadelphia would ultimately concede the title to the Los Angeles Lakers. In 2022, Milwaukee would be eliminated in a tough series with the Boston Celtics, who were later beaten by a dominant Golden State Warriors team in the midst of a championship dynasty. The true difference in Bucks seasons, though, is the reception within the city of Milwaukee. For the 1981-82 campaign, Milwaukee was a decade removed from their first NBA title and had lost the Conference Semifinals the previous two years. Keep in mind that when the Bucks won their first title, there wasn’t even a championship parade. Fast forward 40 years, and the story is much different. Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the faces of the NBA, let alone the Bucks franchise, and you would be hard pressed to go out to a major event in town without seeing at least some element of Milwaukee Bucks merchandise. In four decades, the franchise has undergone massive change, and brought along the entire city for the ride.

Allen Halas is digital strategist and Bucks columnist for 42 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

Photos courtesy of Milwaukee Bucks.

AUGUST 2022 | 43


What to See, Hear and (Most of All) Eat at this Year’s State Fair BY CATHERINE JOZWIK

The 11-day long Wisconsin State Fair, presented by UScellular, is a quintessential slice of Wisconsin leisure and culture and a beloved summer tradition. “What’s special about the State Fair is that there is something for everyone,” said Tess Kerksen, the public relations

manager for Wisconsin State Fair Park. “The Wisconsin State Fair features dozens of free music stages, thrilling attractions, incredible agriculture, and amazing eats— all bringing people from our great state together to celebrate.” Below is a brief visitor’s guide to the Fair. Photo courtesy of Wisconsin State Fair.


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PRACTICAL INFORMATION When: August 4-14; Sunday-Wednesday 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-Midnight Where: Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis Admission Prices: $17 for adults 12 and over; $12 for seniors 60 and over; $12 for military and veterans with ID and youth ages six to 11. Admission is free for children five and under. Tickets can be purchased online or at the admission entrances. Note: Admission entrances are now cash-free, although some Fair vendors still accept cash.

FOOD State Fair is the perfect place to indulge high-calory food cravings. Fairgoers will find nearly every kind of festival and bar fare, as well as desserts, with a deep-fried twist. Held August 2, the annual Sporkies competition gives local vendors the chance to compete for the sought-after Golden Spork. Try these foods from the eight Sporkies finalists Black Bean Burrito Balls - Lakefront Brewery Beer Garden; Brandy Old Fashioned S’more on a Stick - Freese’s Candy Shoppe; Cinnamon Toast Crunch Latte - Slim McGinn’s Irish Pub; Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Chicken on a Stick - Bud Pavilion; Fried Pickle Cheese Curd Tacos - Richie’s Cheese Curd Tacos; Peno Pretzel Popper Brat - Gertrude’s Pretzels; Surf & Turf Sliders - Tropics; The Sconnie Slugger (beer brat and cheese curds dipped in cornmeal batter) - Miller Lite Sports Bar & Grill.


Photos courtesy of Wisconsin State Fair.

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7:30PM, AUG. 4 JAMEY JOHNSON WITH ALEX MILLER Eleven-time Grammy-nominated singer/ songwriter Johnson showcases his passionate pipes at the Main Stage. The show also includes American Idol alumnus Alex Miller as the opener.

FM classic rock radio mainstays Kansas, paired up with ‘80s arena rockers Asia, team up to perform hits such as “Dust in the Wind” and “Heat of the Moment.”



Comedian/ventriloquist Dunham brings the guffaws to the Main Stage with his stable of bawdy characters, including newest member Url.

Hosted by Happy Together hit makers The Turtles, this show will include classic songs from a mix of ‘60s pop artists: Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, The Association, The Vogues, The Cowsills and The Buckinghams.


7:30 P.M. AUG. 9 KIDS BOP LIVE 2022

Christian rock musician Williams melds Southern rock and country in his songs about faith.



Join the party with KIDZ BOP as the youthful group performs family-friendly renditions of popular hits.

Photos/Main Stage Entertainment graphics courtesy of Wisconsin State Fair.




The Wisconsin native, Manitowoc Minute creator, Emmy-winning journalist and comedian Berens, brings his hilarious “Midwest Survival Guide” tour to the stage.

Get ready to rock like it’s 1986 with hard rock’s Tesla, and opener, ‘90s band Fuel.

7:30 P.M. AUG. 12 NELLY


Rapper Nelly, known for hits “Country Grammar” and “Hot in Here,” teams up with ‘90s R&B sensation Ginuwine for an evening of ‘90s/early-aughts hip hop nostalgia.

Preceded by up-and-coming singer/ singer-songwriter Adam Sanders, country artist Brett Young sings his performs his folksy hits at the main stage.

6:00 P.M. AUG. 14 THE OAK RIDGE BOYS WITH LEE GREENWOOD The Main Stage shows come to a powerful conclusion with classic country group The Oak Ridge Boys. Renowned singer/songwriter Lee Greenwood opens the show. Photos/Main Stage Entertainment graphics courtesy of Wisconsin State Fair.

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AGRICULTURE AND EXHIBITS Head to Ag Village to see thousands of farm animals, demonstrations on milking and renewable energy, textile, horticulture and culinary competitions, and more.

SHOPPING Hundreds of State Fair vendors sell home goods, T-shirts, jewelry, accessories and much more. The Wisconsin Products Pavilion features Wisconsin-made products.

RIDES No fair would be complete without rides. From the Sky Glider to the Giant Slide, kids of all ages can blow off steam at State Fair.

For more, visit Catherine Jozwik is a Milwaukee writer.


Photos courtesy of Wisconsin State Fair.

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Tolkien Exhibit Brings Middle-Earth to Marquette University BY DAVID LUHRSSEN


o one was more astonished by J.R.R. Tolkien’s popularity than Tolkien himself—except perhaps for his contemporaries, Edmund Wilson and other highbrow critics, who condemned him and all literature that stood apart from modernism. Tolkien’s major work, The Hobbit (1937) and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy (1954-1955), were published to slight acclaim and gained readers slowly by word of mouth. During the 1960s his realm of imagination, Middle-earth, was embraced by the counterculture. Since then, Tolkien’s popularity has only grown, even before Peter Jackson’s movie adaptations, along with academic appreciation. Marquette University’s Haggerty Museum of Art and Raynor Memorial Libraries are mounting an exhibition, “J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript,” featuring more than 120 items created by Tolkien, many of them previously unexhibited, including manuscripts from The Hobbit and “The Lord of the Rings.” Marquette’s long relationship with Tolkien began during the author’s lifetime. The Tolkien Collection’s curator, William Fliss, credits library director William Ready for acquiring Tolkien manuscripts in the 1950s as part of his project to house the papers of Roman Catholic writers. The author’s son and literary executor, Christopher Tolkien, fulfilled his father’s wishes by delivering additional material to the Marquette library in the 1980s. “The working drafts of Tolkien’s canonical texts are the strength of Marquette’s collection,” says Fliss’ cocurator, UWM art history professor Sarah Schaefer. “Our aim with this exhibition is to examine multiple levels of Tolkien’s work through the manuscripts.”

DEEP SOURCES FOR FANTASY Tolkien was an accomplished scholar at Oxford University of the Anglo-Saxon and Old English literature that was one of the deep sources for Middle-earth. The Marquette exhibit is prefaced by some of the medieval material, including the manuscripts Tolkien studied, which formed part of his literary as well as academic world. “The key point is how those scholarly materials informed the stories and legends he developed,” Schaefer explains. “The Art of the Manuscript” isn’t just words on paper. There will also be maps and calligraphy that Tolkien developed to richly endow Middle-earth with a palpable sense of history. Tolkien created entire languages for the mythical inhabitants of his imaginary


world. “You’ll see how the appearance of his languages developed, the way he created a complex chronology and conception of space,” Schaefer says. Tolkien created manuscripts in medieval style as part of his literary project. On display is a text referenced in “Lord of the Rings,” the Book of Mazarbul, drafted in pen and colored pencils with three painted pages (on loan from Oxford’s Bodleian Library). Tolkien was the late product of a medieval revival whose exponents included William Morris and a host of writers and artists who turned their back on industrialized modernity, the “dark Satanic mills” decried by William Blake. And yet, the vividness of Tolkien’s vision was honed under fire as a lieutenant during World War I. His learned experience of the tragedy of war, the danger of tyranny, the reality of evil and the difficulty of making good are as integral to Middle-earth as his readings of Beowulf. Tolkien’s themes and moral values are embodied by characters who embark on an inner journey of self-knowledge as well as a quest to defeat Mordor, taking them through a sentient landscape of enchantment. He dressed universal archetypes in the language and costume of Anglo-Saxon sagas. Why has Tolkien endured when the bestsellers of his day are forgotten and high literary classics are seldom read outside the classroom? “How to begin to scale that question?” Fliss says. “Tolkien is that rare author who wins new readers as the generations unfold. Fans who read him had children who read them and they in turn had children. ‘Why’ is the big question? He created a world that suspends our disbelief populated by memorable characters. The values at the heart of the stories— friendship and loyalty—come through strongly and resonate with readers of all ages.” “J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript” will be on display Aug. 19-Dec. 12 at the Haggerty Museum of Art. For more information, visit

David Luhrssen is the author of several books on film and music history and is managing editor of the Shepherd Express.

Old paper texture by ke77kz/Getty Images. Flame cloud image by gschroer /Getty Images. Leather texture by Lava4images/Getty Images..

J. R. R. Tolkien. English, 1892–1973. Earliest sketch of Minas Tirith, late 1944. Ink and pencil on paper. 10 3/8 x 4 1/8 in. (264 x 105 mm). Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University. MS. Tolkien, Mss-3/1/23/5a. Credit: © The Tolkien Estate Limited 1990, 2015.

J. R. R. Tolkien. English, 1892–1973. The King’s Letter, third version, early 1950s. Ink on paper. 9 x 7 in. (229 x 178 mm). Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University. MS. Tolkien, Mss4/2/25/2a. © The Tolkien Estate Limited 1992, 2015.

J. R. R. Tolkien. English, 1892–1973. "The Shores of Faery," 10 May 1915. Watercolor, ink, and pencil on paper 10 15/16 x 8 1/2 in. (278 x 216 mm). The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford. MS. Tolkien Drawings 87, fol. 22r. Credit: © The Tolkien Trust 1995.

J. R. R. Tolkien. English, 1892–1973. “The Short Lay of Earendel, Earendillínwë,” Version K, ca. 1949–53. Ink and colored pencil on paper. 95/16 x 71/4 in. (236 x 184 mm). Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University. MS. Tolkien, Mss-3/1/19. Credit: © The Tolkien Estate Limited 2022.

AUGUST 2022 | 53


This Month in Milwaukee 13 THINGS TO DO IN AUGUST


AUGUST 2-20 Peninsula Music Festival, Ephraim The 70th season for this Door County summertime Symphony Series features several guest conductors and soloists in a repertoire that changes daily. Among the featured composers are Beethoven, Saint-Saens, Bruckern, Richard Strauss, Mendelssohn, Gershwin, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Shostakovich—masterworks spanning the symphonic traditions of the 19th and 20th centuries. AUGUST 5 Telethon: Grand Spontanean: A Tale Told in Five Acts X-Ray Arcade There are ambitious projects, and then there is the grandiose piece of local music that indie rockers Telethon have created. Grand Spontanean, a one-night only performance from the band, tells of an apocalyptic rock opera, in the style and flair for the dramatic with the quirkiness that only Telethon can provide. The band has already become mainstays on the local scene for their irreverent songwriting and high-energy performances, but this could very well take things to a new level at Cudahy’s X-Ray Arcade. This special 90-minute performance also marks the five-year anniversary of the self-proclaimed “very famous” all-ages venue. THROUGH AUGUST 7 Newsies Sunset Playhouse Newsies, the 1992 Disney film turned 2011 Broadway musical, promises a spectacular production with its nonstop, high-flying energy featuring a talented cast of young people. They sing, dance and tap their way across the stage, moving Newsies in joyful leaps and bounds, defying gravity. Newsies is based on a real-life event: the 1899 newsboys strike in New York City. The newsboys or “hawkers” that sold newspapers on the street fought back against wealthy publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. Fereshtini #9 (#4 of 4 in series), 2007 © Siona Benjamin, courtesy of Jewish Museum Milwaukee

AUGUST 7 Happy Together Tour Wisconsin State Fair Main Stage As the ‘60s ended and the ‘70s began, Top-40 radio was filled with an unending rotation of succinct, catchy hits. For anyone wishing to relive those memories live and outdoors, the Happy Together Tour returns this year to the State Fair. With The Turtles’ founding members Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman (aka Flo and Eddie) as hosts, the show rolls out members of Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, The Association, The Buckinghams, The Vogues and The Cowsills for an evening of tuneful nostalgia.


AUGUST 8 Motel Breakfast & Bug Moment Cactus Club A pair of young, buzzing bands will take a long weekend into a Monday night show at Cactus Club. Motel Breakfast blend elements of indie rock, pop, and Americana in a way that could best be described as non-denominational drinking music for your pub of choice. Previous shows around Milwaukee have drawn big crowds, who often become livelier as the band’s set goes on. They’ll be joined by emerging pop act Bug Moment, who are quickly getting their name spread amongst the city’s music scene with regular shows following 2021’s Bugs LP.

Gradient background by Sophie Yufa.

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Photo courtesy of Waukesha Rotary Blues Fest.

Photo courtesy of Waukesha Rotary Blues Fest.


Waukesha Rotary Blues Fest p Naga-Waukee Park, Delafield This years’ headliners, the Duke Robillard Band and Sue Foley, are nationally known performers keeping the blues alive. Robillard is a veteran of Roomful of Blues and The Fabulous Thunderbirds; Foley has released 15 albums since debuting in 1992. The bands perform under a big tent, but you’re welcome to bring your own blanket or folding chair if you want to sit further back. Music runs from 1-10 p.m. daily.

The Toasters, Something to Do, Highball Holiday X-Ray Arcade Put on your dancing shoes. Generations and waves of ska will converge in Cudahy when legends The Toasters come to the venue on their “Four Decades of Ska” tour. They’ll be joined by local ska act Something to Do, who have become standouts in their own right as part of the next generation of ska acts. Highball Holiday round out the bill, fresh off of the release of their self-titled debut LP this past January, as well as several subsequent singles.



Center Street Daze Set in the heart of Riverwest, one of Milwaukee’s most diverse neighborhoods, this funky street festival returns for 2022. Since 1997 Center Street Daze has showcased businesses, artists and other vendors of the neighborhood and beyond. Set on Center Street from Humboldt to Holton Avenues, the community-oriented one-day event includes the Art Cart pushcart race, a classic car show, outdoor billiards, over 30 bands on eight stages and more than 100 vendors.

David Maraniss t Milwaukee Public Central Library An underdog story of loss, triumph, and sportsmanship, David Maraniss’ The Path Lit by Lightning is the true story of the Olympian, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe was the first Native American to win an Olympic gold medal for the United States. Join Maraniss as he shares his book and with it, the story of a reputation lost and found. The two-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist will be presenting his work 6:30 p.m. in the Central Library’s August 17 in the library’s Centennial Hall.

AUG. 12-13


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AUGUST 18-21 Milwaukee Irish Fest u Summerfest Grounds It’s still hard to believe and it’s still true: the world’s largest Irish music festival isn’t in Dublin or at Donegal Bay but on Milwaukee’s lakefront. This year’s lineup includes acts from around the globe as well as the Cream City, including We Banjo 3, Socks in the Frying Pan, Finbar MacCarthy, Frogwater, Atlantic Wave and the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance. AUGUST 20 Ayre in the Square Catalano Square The 2022 Ayre in the Square concert series wraps up its season on August 20, with a free outdoor show in the Third Ward at Catalano Square. In the final concert of the year, three bands will take the stage, headlined by a special double set from Funk Summit Bass Team. They’ll be joined by indie rockers Ben Harold & the Rising, as well as Oh Geeez, a pop band that has amassed a following online during the pandemic for crafting songs inspired by children’s series Duck Tales, amongst others.

MILWAUKEE IRISH FEST Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Irish Fest.

THROUGH SEPT. 3 Dad’s Season Tickets Northern Sky Theater, Fish Creek If the thought of bacon-wrapped cheese curds makes you salivate, perhaps you’d better get a ticket to Northern Sky’s production of Dad’s Season Tickets. The tale focuses on the plight of a recent widower, Frank Kosinski (Jonathan Gillard Daly, a Milwaukee theater stalwart for more than 20 years). The white-haired Frank, who lives in Green Bay, is agonizing over which of his three daughters will inherit his Packers tickets when he dies (yes, this is a real thing in Wisconsin). THROUGH SEPT. 25 “Beyond Borders: The Art t of Siona Benjamin” Jewish Museum Milwaukee Siona Benjamin’s paintings conjure universes of multiplicity where the myths of many nations cohere and inspire. One dominant recurring image is a woman in blue, representing both the artist and Lilith, the first woman and Adam’s legendary first wife. Blue is also the color associated with many deities in Hindu iconography. “Beyond Borders” contains a multitude of sources, including angels from Persian miniatures, the flames and arrows of Christian martyrdom, Hindu mandalas and many-armed goddesses, amulets common to the Islamic and Jewish Near East and a mix of alphabets (Lilith in Hindi) as well as Indian comic books, illuminated medieval manuscripts and ‘60s American pop art. Finding Home #33 Dia, 2000 © Siona Benjamin, courtesy of Jewish Museum Milwaukee.


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The Ups and Downs of Anti-Depressants



n recent years, the use of antidepressant medications has soared in the United States. At any time, roughly 18% of women and 9% of men use these drugs, a far greater number than just a few decades past. The pandemic hasn’t helped, as overall prescriptions for these psychotropics rose by almost 9% since it began, while the number of adolescents taking these medications has soared by a whopping 41%. Why so many? Most of these folks are simply trying to improve the quality of their lives by reducing emotional suffering. And most of them have been told by big pharma that these pills will do the trick. But do they? Not long ago, the use of these drugs was largely confined to folks with major depressive disorder, meaning those with debilitating depression (think can’t get out of bed). Today, these concoctions are applied to a wide array of mental health conditions including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD and a host of others. The operating premise is that depression is caused by neurochemical imbalances in the brain, but this theory remains just that . . . a theory. Do they work? Researchers have probed that question for years. The initial studies on their efficacy, largely funded by the pharmaceutical industry, characterized these drugs as game changers. However, subsequent research challenged this rosy picture. In fact, there is evidence big pharma practiced its own version of confirmation bias by emphasizing favorable outcome studies while downplaying others showing limited benefit. A recent, large-scale review comparing depressed folks who use antidepressants with those similarly afflicted who do not found minimal differences in quality of life between the two groups.

GARDEN VARIETY BLUES What’s more, there is growing evidence that using these medications to treat mild to moderate melancholy is no more effective than placebo, the proverbial sugar pill. Regular exercise, particularly cardio, appears more beneficial than a pharmaceutical approach, except when it comes to severe depression. Translation? Those suffering garden-variety blues may be better served by lifestyle changes rather than popping these pills, while those severely depressed should seriously consider taking them. 60 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

Another fly in the ointment is that the original research on antidepressant effectiveness and safety focused on short to moderate term use. Most folks, however, take these drugs for years, even decades. In part, this reflects the allure of the medicinal approach. After all, how much effort is required to swallow a pill versus hitting the gym, optimizing nutrition and practicing good self-care? But this “quick and easy” approach often falls short. Antidepressants take weeks to kick in, often come with side effects, and can be difficult to get off. What’s more, there’s no way to know in advance if the chosen variety will prove helpful, so it’s primarily trial and error, and, too often, just plain error. On the provider side, big pharma has made huge profits off these medications, which they openly advertise to healthcare consumers. Their feel-good messaging suggests that even mild and temporary emotional downturns are reason enough to take antidepressants. The implication is that being upbeat and welladjusted is the normal condition of Homo sapiens, and if you don’t feel that way, well, we have a pill for that. But emotional suffering is an inescapable part of existence, so learning to rely more on one’s own efforts and agency to address it constitutes a vital life skill. Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-medication. In my practice, I’ve seen many seriously depressed folks benefit from a course of antidepressants. However, I’ve also witnessed many with mild to moderate melancholy who turned things around without these drugs. Interestingly, the preponderance of research in this area suggests pairing antidepressants with psychotherapy yields better outcomes than the medications alone, leaving open the question of which has the greater influence. If one wants to address depression without hitting the pharmacy, the best combination appears to be exercise (cardio is optimal), psychotherapy, nature time and an anti-inflammatory diet.

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

Illustration by Michael Burmesch.

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Rooms with A View



hen Todd Richards and I decided to purchase a home, landscaping was the last thing on our minds. We were young and living it up in a spacious apartment a few blocks from Cathedral Square. Adulting came calling, however, and soon we wanted dogs, a yard and all the Martha-Stewart-inspired charm we could muster. It was time to buy a house, and the moment we walked into a 1931 English Tudor in West Allis, we knew we found our home. We quickly started painting, decorating and setting things up room by room. I loved the idea of giving each room its own flair yet creating a cohesive feel throughout the house. Little did I know how well this concept worked outdoors. As a first-time homeowner landscaping overwhelmed me, but by thinking of outdoor spaces as “rooms,” backyard design seemed doable (and fun!).

TAKE IT OUTSIDE We wanted to carve out areas of the backyard for entertaining, dining, gardening and relaxing. We started by tearing down the house’s small deck and building a much larger outdoor living space. Our new deck is big enough for two spaces. Half the deck is for dining, the other half, a relaxing sitting area. 62 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

We also took the tiny balcony off the primary bedroom and replaced with a balcony that stretched across the back of the entire house. Adding planters and a bistro set made it a spacious “room” to enjoy morning coffee or relax at sunset. The side of the house was perfect for a garden. This area has changed over the years—from a salsa garden to a cut-flower garden. Today, the hideaway features yellow roses, flowering bushes and low-maintenance greenery. I added a Hosta-lined walkway, leading to a charming gate. Even though the area has a “secret garden” appeal, we call it Rocco’s Garden because our West Highland Terrier, Rocco, loves spending time in this quiet, private area of the yard. Our unattached one-car garage had a significant presence in the backyard, so when the time came to expand it into a 2-car space, Todd worked closely with the builder to design the back of the garage (that faced the backyard). Featuring double doors, coach lights and a decorative window, it looks less like a garage and more like a quant guesthouse.

Photos by Michael Burmesch.

The team at Emerald Gardens Landscape and Garden Design installed a flagstone patio at the back of the lot. The perfect spot to entertain a small group of friends, it’s surrounded by blackeyed Susans, coral bells, Astilbe, hydrangeas and Golden Spirea. It truly stands on its own as a separate space.

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER To me, it’s key to tie outdoor “rooms” together visually. You can do this several ways but accenting the yard with a cohesive color pallet makes things easy. For example, every summer I plant several container gardens and hanging baskets, and I try to maintain a color pallet in the flowers I choose. This year, I focused on yellow, red and orange blooms with a few bursts of deep blue. Similarly, nearly all of my containers are the same color—brick red—with a few blue pots that carry the eye from spot to spot. Texture is also a great way to create consistency between areas of a yard. I use a lot of outdoor pillows that match the yard’s color pallet, but you could do the same with throws, outdoor carpets, and garden knick-knacks. Outdoor lighting is also a smart way to keep backyard areas cohesive. My back patio is accented with cream and purple lights, the deck features golden hues and the side garden is subtly lit in emerald green. Because the entire backyard has accent lighting it all works together while visually sectioning off each area. Guests love it and so do we … and that includes little Rocco.

Mark Hagen is an award-winning gardener whose home has been featured in numerous publications. He’s written for Birds & Blooms, Fresh Home and Your Family magazines.

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ederal marijuana arrests have been reduced significantly as the cannabis legalization movement is continuing to spread, according to new data by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

In 2010, marijuana accounted for more arrests by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) than all other drugs with the sole exception of cocaine. Ten years later, in 2020, marijuana accounted for the least number of arrests, completely inverting the trend. “During that period, arrests declined an average of 11% for marijuana each year,” the DOJ’s report reads. The report does not include the year 2021, during which there was an unexpected uptick in marijuana-related arrests and busts by the DEA, bringing the number of arrestees from less than 5,000 to 6,606. That year, the DEA’s enforcement zeal ran counter to all other metrics, which clearly show a rapid and consistent decrease in prohibition of cannabis. The U.S. Sentencing Commission revealed that marijuana cases shrank quickly among federal drug cases, with less than 1,000 federal marijuana charges filed in 2021. The FBI’s arrest data shows a sharp decline in arrests for cannabis: Just between 2019 and 2020, cannabis-related arrests declined 36% throughout all of the United States and every level of law enforcement. Interestingly, even after such a precipitous decline in arrests over a period of nearly 10 years, arrests for minor marijuana offenses, mainly simple possession of personal use amounts of weed, are still more numerous than arrests for all violent crimes combined.

SIMPLE POSSESSION “The data from the FBI’s report revealed that police arrested 545,602 people for cannabis related crimes in 2019. That arrest rate is 9% higher than the 495,871 people arrested for violent crimes the same year,” Forbes reported. “And those being arrested for cannabis aren’t just those making money from selling, growing or manufacturing the drug—they are mostly just people who use cannabis. The vast majority of these arrests (92%) were for simple possession of the drug. 500,395 of those arrested for cannabis were simply found in possession of cannabis. Even if we take out all the arrests for being involved in unregulated cannabis commerce and just focus on arrests for cannabis possession, the numbers still outpace arrests for violent crimes.”

In Wisconsin, the trend is proving true, as well. Like the rest of the U.S., Wisconsin saw a modest uptick in arrests for possession of marijuana in 2021 following a clear downward trend. In 2017, more than 17,000 Wisconsinites were arrested for possession. Two years later, the Shepherd Express celebrated the fact that “only” 14,700 Wisconsinites had been arrested for simple possession, the lowest number since the 1990s. And after two more years, there were “only” 11,700 such arrests in 2021. The downward trend has proven reliable, and unwarranted arrests keep diminishing despite the best efforts of anti-weed regressives. When he was elected, President Joe Biden stirred up fears among cannabis reform activists due to his refusal to support any form

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of legalization no matter how modest. Biden had been the only Democratic candidate to the presidency who did not endorse some form of cannabis legalization. What Biden promised instead was the federal decriminalization of cannabis. He announced that “nobody should be in jail for smoking marijuana,” and his campaign promises explicitly include justice reform, the decriminalization of cannabis, the automatic expungement of all prior cannabis convictions, as well as cocaine reform and putting an end to all incarcerations for drug use. It’s interesting to note that the marijuana and cocaine reform promises are considered to be “for Black America” in the president’s platform, showing an understanding that unfair drug laws disproportionately impact non-white Americans.

ATTEMPTED REFORM Have those promises been kept? The Biden Administration certainly made attempts, notably with the MORE Act, a bill aiming to federally decriminalize marijuana and championed by Vice President Kamala Harris, which passed the House repeatedly but was killed in the Senate each time by obstructionist Republicans. However, Biden has not yet used any other lever of power to push legislation or executive orders to follow up on his campaign promises. Under President Barack Obama, states’ rights to legalize marijuana were protected by the Cole Memorandum, a notice issued by the Department of Justice and which guaranteed that the federal government could not intervene with state-legal cannabis. The Cole Memorandum was rescinded by President Donald Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions and was not reinstated by the current administration. However, Attorney General Merrick Garland signaled friendliness toward the memo. He did not make it official policy, but he announced that pursuing people who are complying with state laws is not worth the DOJ’s time or resources, effectively making the Cole Memorandum apply again, although with a less stable basis. The biggest source of hope regarding the potential progressive measures we can expect is Biden’s drug czar, Rahul Gupta, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Before accessing his current position, Gupta worked in the cannabis industry, and he has signaled an understanding and willingness to work on the unique issues of cannabis prohibition.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA “In the case of chronic pain, cannabis can be efficacious,” Rahul Gupta said on record on Monday, June 27. It is notable, as the U.S. government had routinely denied the medical value of marijuana medicine before that. “The president has been clear about decriminalization ... It is clear the policies we have had in this country in regards to marijuana have not worked,” he added, before promising that the Biden Administration intends to “follow the science” regarding future cannabis reform. Two weeks prior, during an interview with the Financial Times, Gupta had brought up the strategy of the Office of National Drug Control Policy to bide their time while observing the fallout of state-level policies where marijuana was legalized. “We are learning from those states ... we’re monitoring the data and trying to see where things go. But one thing is very clear, and the president has been clear about that: The policies that we’ve had around marijuana have not been working. “For the first time in history, the federal government is embracing the specific policies of harm reduction,” Gupta said. Although it does not relate directly to marijuana—which is entirely harmless—it represents a massive shift for the U.S. government, which has so far violently repressed all forms of drug use. The Biden Administration has not yet lifted the existing ban on supervised injection sites where people with addictions can safely consume drugs, but Gupta has already announced that lifting this ban is on the table; and the administration allowed the opening of two still-illegal supervised injection sites in New York and defended their positive results. “We are literally trying to give users a lifeline,” said Xavier Becerra, Biden’s Secretary of Health and Human Services. After one year and a half in power, Biden’s record with marijuana is moderately positive. Activists may deplore his lack of radical action, but his administration used soft levers of power to reduce the harm caused by the War on Drugs, be it on cannabis or harder drugs, thus complementing legal states’ efforts towards reform. Despite a rocky start, results are undeniable, and hundreds of thousands of Americans were spared unjust arrests for simple possession. If Gupta is to be believed, activists can expect the downward trend to continue and new reform proposals to be brought forth in the remainder of Biden’s term.

Jean-Gabriel Fernandez is a Milwaukee journalist with a Ph.D. from the Sorbonne, France’s top university. 66 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

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HAVE AN ARTSYFARTSY AUGUST DEAR RUTHIE, I need Relationship 101 advice. Here goes: Met a guy. Totally fell for him, and things got hot quick. We’re still dating but cracks are showing; mainly in the things we like to do outside the bedroom. I like theater, concerts, gallery nights … artsy-fartsy stuff. He likes pub crawls, watching TV, sports bars … guy stuff. We were willing to try one another’s likes, but that’s wearing thin. Should I pull the plug? The physical attraction is strong but no longer enough.


Confused Carey

DEAR CARE-BEAR, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that there are many artsy-fartsy events in the city for you to enjoy. (See my August social calendar!) The bad news is that it sounds like your relationship is on a highway to hell. If you want more than a physical relationship, try new things, hoping to spark shared interests: Take a cooking class, go bowling, brew your own beer, volunteer together. Otherwise, it might be time to put a pin in this relationship. After all, you both deserve to find “your person” and be happy!



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Ruthie's Social Calendar AUGUST 6 BLACK ARTS FEST MILWAUKEE AT SUMMERFEST GROUNDS (100 N. HARBOR DRIVE): From art and poetry to music and dance, this year’s Black Arts Fest has it all. Join the celebration from noon to midnight where there will be plenty of food, beverages and fun. See for lineups, tickets and more.

AUGUST 6-7 FIREFLY ART FAIR AT WAUWATOSA HISTORICAL SOCIETY (7406 HILLCREST DRIVE): A $10 admission allows you to stroll the Victorian gardens of the KneelandWalker House amid dozens of artworks and a silent auction. Food and drinks are available for purchase, so it’s a snap to make a day of the 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. affair. NORTHALSTED MARKET DAYS (HALSTED ST.-BELMONT TO ADDISON, CHICAGO): It may be August but the LGBTQ+ community is still celebrating pride with this Boy’s Town bash. The half-mile street fest includes six stages, 250 vendors, eats, booze, DJs, dancing and so much more. Stop by for information.

AUGUST 13-14 MORNING GLORY ART FAIR AT FISERV FORUM DEER DISTRICT (1134 N. VEL R. PHILLIPS AVE.): Considered one of the Midwest’s top art shows, this free fair runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 130 professional artists share their talent in paint, ceramics, jewelry, photography and other media. Check out to learn about the must-attend fest.

AUGUST 17 HERE AND NOW YOGA AT MILWAUKEE LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER (315 W. COURT ST.): Join yogi Luis Perez for this 6-7 p.m. class sure to bring you the relaxation you crave. Bring a water bottle and your own matt to the classes that meet the second, third and fourth Wednesday of the month.

AUGUST 20 BRADY STREET ART WALK (RANDOM LOCATIONS THROUGHOUT BRADY ST.): Check out this noon to 4 p.m. afternoon where local artists, makers, crafters and vendors line Brady Street, selling their best. Grab a meal or a drink at one of area’s restaurants or bars and relish the last bit of summer.

AUGUST 21 OUTREACH MAGIC PRIDE FESTIVAL AT WARNER PARK (2930 N. SHERMAN AVE., MADISON): Pride season lasts all summer in Wisconsin. Just ask our Madison peeps! Mad City’s pride party includes entertainers, dancing and a marketplace in addition to family-friendly activities. The park will be hopping from 1-6 p.m.

AUGUST 26 OPENING DAY OF MEXICAN FIESTA AT SUMMERFEST GROUNDS (100 N. HARBOR DR.): Savor the sounds, flavors and culture of Mexico during this popular event. From mariachis and margaritas to art and awards, the festival offers a little something for everyone. Stop by for tickets before the fest’s closing date of August 28.

AUGUST 27 MISS CLUB WISCONSIN 2022 AT FIVE NIGHTCLUB (5 APPLEGATE COURT, MADISON): One of the state’s favorite pageants is back! Bryanna Banx$ hosts the 8 p.m. competition that promises to crown the top drag talent in Wisconsin. Who will take home the crown? Find out for a $5 door charge. AUGUST 2022 | 69


Who Are This Year’s LGBTQ+ Progress Award Winners? BY PAUL MASTERSON


stablished in 2015 by the Shepherd Express, the LGBTQ+ Progress Awards recognize individuals, businesses and organizations that have contributed to Milwaukee’s progress towards equality, human rights and quality of LGBTQ life through long-term community engagement, activism, philanthropy, arts and culture, health and education. In addition to veterans of the struggle, activists of more recent generations have been recognized as well. Each has contributed to the cause of LGBTQ progress towards achieving the rights and equality of their community.

THE FOLLOWING ARE THE 2022 RECIPIENTS: PIONEER OF LGBTQ PROGRESS: As founder and former director of Milwaukee’s capacity building organization, Diverse & Resilient, Gary Hollander advanced the cause of LGBTQ health, focusing on underserved and marginalized Black, brown and indigenous communities. In 2002, in a city with a long history of racism, and additionally, with further cultural obstacles created by attitudes towards LGBTQ people within communities of color, Hollander took on the task of addressing social justice and health disparities in that underserved demographic.

Photo courtesy of Gary Hollander.

His success can be measured by the impact made by Diverse & Resilient. His strategy was all-encompassing. Diverse & Resilient collaborated with 20 networking agencies to create evidence-based HIV, tobacco, substance abuse, STI and partner violence prevention programs that reach thousands of youth and adults annually. It also devised marketing campaigns that contributed to significant reductions in new HIV cases and reduced anti-LGBTQ stigma in Milwaukee’s communities of color. In collaboration with Milwaukee’s PrideFest, Diverse & Resilient launched the Health & Wellness Area that assembled dozens of organizations, groups and agencies to promote healthy lifestyle choices.

PHILANTHROPY: The philanthropic power couple of Robert Starshak and Ross Draegert has, over several decades, supported major LGBTQ community, social service and political projects. Their efforts in underwriting major community efforts have helped create, support or develop such institutions as the LGBT Community Center and PrideFest. Since 1982, Starshak and Draegert have been involved with the Cream City Foundation with Starshak serving as its vice president.

Photo courtesy of Robert Starshak and Ross Draegert.


The Birch Lodge Fund was established under the Cream City Foundation’s donor advised funding program. Over the years it has funded many (if not most) of the LGBTQ’s community’s high-profile organizations. In 2003, when PrideFest faced near bankruptcy, that fund provided the parachute that saved and revived that event. Thanks to their generosity and insightful awareness of the needs of the community, today PrideFest remains one of the nation’s most respected LGBTQ celebrations. Most recently the couple has helped launch a new LGBT milWALKee app offering historical walking tours through the city’s LGBTQ history, a history they themselves have helped make. Whether as philanthropists or board members of community organizations, Starshak and Draegert have made an indelible and immeasurable mark on Milwaukee’s LGBTQ progress.

ACTIVISM: Trans advocate, consultant and activist Elle Halo has become a prominent leader in Milwaukee’s BIPOC struggle for social and racial justice. In 2020, just weeks after the killing of George Floyd, she was instrumental in helping organize the Pride March for Black Lives Matter. Already recognized for her activism in 2019 with a PrideFest award, her leadership has also been immortalized on a Milwaukee mural.

Photo courtesy of Elle Halo.

Especially within the BIPOC trans community, Halo’s commitment to social justice issues encompasses a broad spectrum of roles. These include the Black Trans Advocacy Commission as Empower HER Summit facilitator, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin as inclusion health program specialist consultant as well as field organizer for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, Equal Rights Commission-MKE as inclusive restroom working group member / WI Out For Biden Committee, and the Movement for Black Lives as a member of the Black National Convention 2020 WI All Black Womxn’s Delegation. She has also served as a member of the Statewide Planning Group for HIV/AIDS of Wisconsin, ACLU of Wisconsin, as well as member, facilitator or consultant with numerous other health and advocacy groups. She currently serves on the Diverse & Resilient board of directors.

ARTS & CULTURE: Coming out in 1978 Michael Johnston immediately became engaged in the LGBTQ community. Over the ensuing decades Johnston has worn many hats (and wigs) as a press columnist, fundraiser, philanthropist, volunteer, chorus member, bartender, mentor and, of course, as drag icon Karen Valentine. Because his impact on Milwaukee’s LGBTQ and broader cultural progress has been made by the cumulative effect of all his many roles, saying Johnston is best known for a particular accomplishment would be an impossible task.

Photo courtesy of Karen Valentine.

His career in the arts began as an entertainment writer in 1999 and continued to this day. His journalistic style is a tad gossip with a touch of critical wit and, with a flourish, always focused on Cream City’s cultural and theatrical assets. Named after his drag persona Karen Valentine, he also directs the Cream City Foundation’s Karen Valentine Fund dedicated to the promotion of the arts, LGBTQ and otherwise. As drag diva Karen Valentine, he often appears as an M.C. or host of a spectrum of events from fundraisers for all manner of causes to the Pride Parade. Of course, his many cabarets and shows have long part of Milwaukee’s drag landscape, earning his recognition in the recently published coffee table book entitled Legends of Drag.

EDUCATION: Greta Voit is a Waukesha School District physics teacher. In 2011, as vice president of her school district union, she found herself embroiled in then Gov. Scott Walker’s union bashing campaign, fighting against a bill that would deprive teachers of collective bargaining rights, reduce benefits and break their union. A decade later, she was again in a fight for social justice, this time against her school district that had implemented a ban on classroom signage deemed divisive, controversial and political. That signage included LGBTQ rainbows, inclusive symbols and Safe Zone/Safe Space signs declaring “This space RESPECTS all aspects of people including race, ethnicity, gender expression, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, age, religion and ability.”

Photo courtesy of Greta Voit.

With the Alliance for Education in Waukesha, a parent and teacher advocacy group, she promoted an “Equity and LGBTQ+ Rights Under Attack in Waukesha Schools” petition that would garner over 4500 signatures. A recent recipient of the Wisconsin GSAFE (Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools) Educator of the Year Award, Voit has long been involved with LGBTQ+ equity as a Gay Straight Alliance organizer and has worked with the Waukesha Community Equity Team. In a recent interview, Voit stated her educational philosophy: “I recognize that creating a safe learning environment is critical in allowing students to thrive as learners and individuals.”

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HEALTH: Since 1983 the nonprofit community health service, Holton Street Clinic, has conducted awareness and outreach programs and has provided evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV in Milwaukee’s LGBTQ community. Having expanded its services over the years, HSC now serves over 1200 individuals annually. Its programs include Outreach to the city’s LGBTQ bars and clubs where HSC offer free testing and resources for treatment to patrons. Partnering with and providing medical staff to such organizations like Diverse & Resilient, HSC expands its service range, affording access to health care that might not otherwise be available. Its social media page updates information on prevention programs as well as health care awareness. HSC also provides free PrEP consultations and services to those who qualify. Other programs focus on health issues like cervical health, offering HPV information and free vaccine. Photo courtesy of Holton Street Clinic.

BUSINESS: Corporate political activism usually takes the form of financial donations made without much fanfare and often with a degree of secrecy. Milwaukee based Penzey’s Spices, however, is deeply engaged and identified with their overt progressive political expression. In fact, due to its unapologetically politicized product advertising, Penzey’s has become not only an outspoken voice for social justice but also an industry leader in innovative digital marketing. That includes supporting marriage equality and calling attention to gay teen suicide and the Trevor Project. A group of its employees founded Theatrical Tendencies, an LGBTQ dedicated theater that would perform at the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center.

Photo by Michael Burmesch.

The strategy has not been without its pitfalls. Because of the universal reach of spices into every kitchen, Penzey’s politicking has been too sharp for some customers who felt personally addressed by such marketing campaigns like a recent MLK Day sale that decried Republicans as racists. Yet, for the many customers lost, far more have been gained. Indeed, Penzey’s impact on LGBTQ progress is not only in its positive depictions of the community but also in its broader leadership, proving that an embrace of inclusive values is good for business and for the community. CEO Bill Penzey once wrote “Cooks are amazing people. Their compassion and kindness and caring set a better future in motion for all of us.”

EQUALITY: Since 1989, the Lesbian Alliance of Metro Milwaukee has represented the Milwaukee lesbian community, advocating for lesbian visibility, rights and awareness as well as providing social, health and education support to its members and the community at large. Prior to the creation of the LGBT Community Center as a Milwaukee’s umbrella organization, lesbian activists recognized the need for a socially and politically focused women’s organization and founded LAMM. Over its history, it has sponsored and co-sponsored numerous community-focused cultural activities like the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival, History of Women’s Music Concert, an annual Valentine’s Dance, an art show at the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center, games nights, and picnics. It has also staffed a PrideFest Beer Pod and participated in its Health & wellness Area. It has been a tenant at the LGBT Community Center since its opening and remains so today.

Logo courtesy of Lesbian Alliance Metro Milwaukee.

Current LAMM chairperson Brenda Hanus reflected on LAMM’s current relevance saying, “With the recent Supreme Court ruling on women’s rights, and potential for future rulings that might affect the LGBTQ+ community, I feel the need for LAMM today even more so than before. Beyond the social connections, LAMM can provide a means of advancing the political activism within and beyond the lesbian community.”

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. 72 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

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From łhe Ciły That Always Sweeps BY ART KUMBALEK


’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So we’re here, August for crying out loud, the Dog Days—or diēs caniculārēs as they said in the ancient country of Latin before it sank to the bottom of the sea. Yes sir, it’s those days this time of year “marked by dull lack of progress,” as was my schoolboy study of Latin so marked, you betcha. But as a guy who said back in May that fall couldn’t come soon enough, the good news is that this ferkakta U.S. Supreme Court conservative majority can’t wreak hog-wild havoc ’til the first Monday of October on account they get some kind of extended summertime recess from squashing citizens’ individual liberty, what the fock. The bad news is that it’s August; so yet 31 more days to try my soul with the heat, stupidity, bugs and noise. And yes, a secondary translation of diēs caniculārēs means that for our young scholars, another summertime full of shoplifting, sneaking smokes, scoping internet porn and burning bugs with a magnifying glass soon comes to a kibosh but good. In a few scant weeks it’s back to the books—as long as Republican-controlled school boards allow any book in the classroom besides the focking Bible and a biography of Jerry focking Falwell—as the challenge of opening them as rarely as possible for the next nine months awaits.

getting any younger and wanted to settle down. So I got a job at an airport to do some undercover security work, which was mostly wandering near suspicious characters, sniffing butts and listening in on conversations. Well sir, to make a long story longer, I uncovered a score of nefarious dealings there and was awarded a bunch of medals. Settled down with some bitch, had a mess of puppies and now I’m retired.” Jimmy’s flabber is abso-focking-lutely gasted. He goes back to the farm house and asks the owner what he wants for the dog. Owner says, “Ten bucks.” Jimmy says “done deal” but asks, “This dog is in-focking-credible, so why the hell on earth would you sell him?” Owner says, “Did that dog talk about the CIA? Yeah, right. That mutt is so full of shit. You can’t believe a focking word he says and I’m sick of it.” Ba-ding! And August is the month of state fairs across the land, which reminds me of a story: Ed and his wife Edna went to the state fair every year and Ed would always say, “Edna, I’d like to take a ride in that there helicopter.” And every year Edna would say, “I know Ed, but that helicopter ride costs 20 dollars, and 20 dollars is 20 dollars.”

And speaking of dog days, my buddy Little Jimmy Iodine is up by his cold-water cabin there north of Hayward on the Upper Eau Claire Lake. And on his way up, he sees this sign near a farm house, “Talking Dog for Sale.” Here’s the story:

But one year Ed and Edna went to the fair and Ed said, “Edna, I’m 81 years old. If I don’t ride that helicopter this year, I may never get another chance.” And Edna said, “Ed, that helicopter ride costs 20 dollars, and 20 dollars is 20 dollars.”

Jimmy figures “what the fock,” so he rings the doorbell and a guy tells him the dog is in the backyard. So Jimmy goes out back and sees this mutt sitting there in a lawn chair. “You talk?” Jimmy asks. “Does a bear shit in the woods?” the mutt says. “You got to be jerking my beefaroni,” Jimmy says, “so, what’s the story?”

The pilot overheard them and said, “Folks, I’ll make you a deal, I’ll take you both up for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and not say one word, I won’t charge you, but if you say one word it’s 20 dollars.”

Dog says, “I discovered my gift as a pup and thought maybe I could help the government and earn some nice coin to buy my own food that’d be better than the crap-out-of-a-bag I’d get from some fockstick owner. So I got in touch with the CIA and in no time they had me flying from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, ’cause no one figured a dumb dog would be eavesdropping the conversations. I was their most valuable spy for eight years—that’s 56, my time. But flying around the goddamn globe all the time got old. I wasn’t 74 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

Ed and Edna agreed and up they went. The pilot did all kinds of fancy maneuvers but not a word was heard. He did all his tricks over again, but still not a word. They landed and the pilot turned to Ed, “By golly, I did everything I could think of to get you to yell out, but you didn’t.” And Ed said, “Well sir, I was gonna say something when Edna fell out, but 20 dollars is 20 dollars.” Ba-ding! Okey-doke, time to let the dog out, been asking too many questions I can’t answer; so, as the song goes, “See You in September,” when we can say “Go Pack!” ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so. Photo by demaerre/Getty Images.