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Vol VII • Issue 8 • September 2008

inside vital

September 2008 | vol. 7 issue 8 |


VITAL’S 2008 FALL FINE ARTS PREVIEW 6 ready for the new World premieres, commissioned originals and first-time-ever collaborations abound this season >> A my Elliot t 8 nEW fACES Why they’re here, what they bring and what they’re excited about >> P eggy S chulz


Charles Dwyer graduated from the Milwaukee School of Art, now MIAD, in 1984. A painter, printmaker, photographer, and environment-builder, he just finished a project for the newly-opened Iron Horse Hotel and is currently building a set for a photo shoot entirely from cardboard. His solo exhibitions have sold out in New York City and his work is in galleries all over the world.

11 100 Years... MacDowell Club prepares to celebrate its centennial >> P eggy S ue D unigan 14 behind the curtain Community-based arts initiatives provide invaluable training and education >> A my Elliot t 22 beneath the gold sticker A visual arts preview >> J udith A nn M oriart y 24 companies, art spaces & venues VITAL’s comprehensive guide

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

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

PLUS >> Fascinating blogs! REEL Milwaukee: the blog >> Howie Goldklang takes on film Dem Bones >> All things art from Stella Cretek Gray Matter and The Free Speech Zone >> Politics as unusual with Ted Bobrow and Michelle Tucker

Between Stages >> Russ Bickerstaff between scenes in the performing arts Please Send Help >> Matt Wild’s nightlife/publicity stunt/weekend music reports Love Letters >> Wanderings and wonderings from Amy Elliott

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VITAL CULTURE 17 REel milwaukee Milwaukee filmmakers you need to know >> H owie G oldklang 19 cinema Peek-a-boo: a first look at the 21st LGBT Film Festival >> R uss B ickerstaff 20 stages Big fun >> R uss B ickerstaff 34 music reviews Calexico, Static Thought, Stereolab, The Silent Years, Emiliana Torrini 36 record releases New Kids on the Block, Young Jeezy, Nikka Costa, Kings of Leon and more

NEWS+VIEWS 4 the editor’s desk Chances are >> J on A nne Willow 37 the funny page


28 eat this Back to school >> C atherine M c G arry M iller 29 Slightly crunch parent Let’s talk about (child) sex (uality) >> L ucky Tomaszek 30 Vital’s Picks Where VITAL will be in September >> Erin L ee P etersen

38 Subversions If you’re in love with value, I’m in love with you >> M at t Wild 39 Puzzles Plus August crossword answers

Vital Source | 3

Vital source The editor’s desk Chances are In America, life is dangerous. We hear ominous factoids all the time about the ways we’re in danger every time we eat, breathe, talk on our phones or walk down the street. In a very general way, we all have a sense that something bad could happen at any time. And it’s true! To illustrate, I’ve created a quick “Chance Chart” which is by no means complete but which gets the point across: Incident Chance it will happen A man will develop cancer: 1 in 2 A woman will develop cancer: 1 in 3 A woman will be sexually assaulted: 1 in 4 A man will be sexually assaulted: 1 in 33 You’ll die from heart disease: 1 in 3 You’ll have a stroke: 1 in 6 You’ll be the victim of a serious crime: 1 in 20 You’ll lose a child this year: 1 in 5,000 Kind of puts things in perspective, don’t you think? All I’m saying is that there’s a lot out there to genuinely worry about, but I’ll make a gentleman’s bet with anyone that on a daily basis, we worry about a whole lot of stuff that’s a lot less important. Take, for example, our recent stress over what the rest of the world was going to think of us for throwing up a statue of Fonzie on the Riverwalk. It wouldn’t have been my choice, but then again I’m not the one who got my butt in gear and made an attention-garnering piece of public “art” happen. Love it or hate it, it brought in the national morning news shows and a handful of 20th century TV actors who wouldn’t have dropped in for breakfast otherwise. And in the end, how many New Yorkers are going to pass by Milwaukee for their summer vacation next year because our city has lame taste in bronze statues? The other day I was enjoying a cup of coffee at Anodyne and indulged myself in eavesdropping on two women who spent almost 15 minutes worrying (loudly, hence the indulgence) about what kind of First Lady Michelle Obama will make. According to them, Obama comes off as cold, bitter, even unpatriotic and racist. Seriously? Did either of them take the time to read her “controversial” Princeton thesis? And the “whitey” comment supposedly caught on video? Doesn’t exist. Here’s why some people really don’t like her: she’s Condoleezza Rice’s doppelganger, only

Pablo Picasso Mehrdad Dalamie

Rene Magritte Russ Bickerstaff

Frida Kahlo Jon Anne Willow

Georgia O’Keefe Lucky Tomaszek

Brandon Bird Bridget Brave

Bob Ross Matt Wild

Titian Amy Elliott

Mary Cassatt Catherine McGarry Miller

Artemesia Gentileschi Ryan Findley

George Wesley Bellows Zach Bartel

Andy Warhol Pete Hammill

Margaret Kilgallen Dwellephant

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

>>by jon anne willow

younger and with better hair. And everybody – even Republicans - is scared of Condi, for more established reasons. But here’s my favorite. When VITAL published its August issue with Nikki McGuinnis’ contest-winning photograph of a little boy nestled on the shelf of an open refrigerator on the cover, we received a veritable blizzard of calls, emails and even real live letters on the subject. Some were positive, with remarks ranging from the issue’s general attractiveness to our “artistic daring.” Needless to say, there was also negative feedback. One, obviously written by an elderly woman, went so far as to ask what I was smoking when I allowed it. “THE 50+ YR. CRUSADE TO AVOID KIDS DYING IN EMPTY REFRIGERATORS,” this letter read, “+ YOU CHOSE THIS AS YOUR WINNER.!?!?!” All the correspondence we received by email we replied to respectfully. But this one, for some reason, (maybe because it came in the form of pages cut from the magazine and marked in red felt pen) really got the intrepid Amy Elliott fired up. She hopped on the web to look for information on the danger of refrigerators, and learned that only iceboxes manufactured before 1958 had the mechanical latches that cause kids to get locked in. Turns out that as these gems have been retired in favor of the much safer magnetic seal models, refrigerator death has become just one more sad footnote of a bygone era. In fact, the last known reported death of a child inside a refrigerator was in 2003 – in Guyana (it’s assumed that the refrigerator in question was the mechanical latch type), and there are no U.S. deaths reported past 1984. So you – and the nice woman for whom this was once a very real concern – can stop worrying about this, too. Also, poisoned Halloween candy. Not one case of it ever happening randomly, though a couple of sick parents have poisoned their children this way. As winter edges ever closer, bringing with it the promise of record energy bills for consumers, a U.S. currency-bolstering scheme that could either steer us out of the worst of this recession or make things a hell of a lot worse and a sea change in the presidential administration with unknowable ramifications, we have plenty to be concerned about. Up to half of us will contract cancer. One in three of us will die from heart disease. But thankfully, none of our children are likely to die in refrigerators. VS Philip Guston J. Swan Paint-by-numbers Troy Butero, Peggy Sue Dunigan, Charles Dwyer, Howie Goldklang, Jason Groschopf, Dane Haman, A.L. Herzog, DJ Hostettler, Erin Landry, Judith Ann Moriarty, David Rees, David Schrubbe, Peggy Schulz, Erin Wolf The Ashcan School Amber Herzog, Erin Petersen, Nick Schurk Distribution Each month, 20,000 copies of VITAL Source are available free at over 600 metro locations. Additional copies $2 each. Send request, with check or money order made to VITAL Source, at the address below. Call to ensure avail-

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

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Vital Source | 5

Ready for the new

World premieres, commissioned originals and first-time-ever collaborations abound this season >>By Amy Elliott, Introduction by Jon Anne Willow It’s often the case that when performing arts budgets are tight, new work by emerging artists finds its way to more stages more readily. It can be less expensive to license and easier to obtain, and it’s uncommon for a company to collaborate directly with the author, choreographer or composer. The results can be heady stuff, born of constrained circumstances but giving birth to artistic expression of great imagination.   But there is another reason an abundance of new work might be seen in one community in one season: the patrons are ready for it. It’s a promising mark of Milwaukee area audiences’ evolving tastes that so many well-established companies are eager to offer more never-before-seen programs. What follows is just a sampling – listed alphabetically by company – of the premieres awaiting adventurous lovers of theater, dance, music and art.

Danceworks Have a Seat November 7 – 9, 2008 This eclectic evening of dance features choreography by Guest Artistic Director Janet Lilly, including “The Weight of Skin,” based on a poem by Milwaukee Poet Laureate Susan Firer. The show includes work by Isabelle Kralj choreographed for members of the Slovenia National Ballet, as well as a solo premier by New Delhi-based performer Navtej Johar. The Bra Project January 23 – February 1, 2009 Danceworks’ Resident Choreographer Kelly Anderson presents an irreverent evening of dance dedicated to the history, design, social influence and pop-culture significance of that bust-loving bane and blessing, the bra. A Guy Thing March 6 – 8, 2009 Ah, the male dancer: a rare bird indeed, and this performance celebrates them in all of their perplexing, complicated and handsome glory. See guest dancers from the Milwaukee Ballet, collaborations and partnerships between dancers, solo and group works. Choreographed by Ed Burgess and friends – all of them men.

First Stage Children’s Theatre Gossamer September 19 – October 5 This landmark collaboration between Lois Lowry, First Stage Children’s Theatre and Portland’s Oregon Children’s Theatre is Lowry’s first attempt to adapt one of her novels for the stage – though audiences may remember Eric Coble’s 2006 adaptation of The Giver. The show premieres in Milwaukee this monthThe imaginative story follows a young dream-giver who helps a troubled child and a lonely woman overcome nightmares. Jeff Frank directs.

The MacDowell Club   For more information on the decorated past of one of Milwaukee’s most historic arts organizations, check out our feature on page 11 - after you avail yourself of this impressive season calendar. We’re especially excited for the April 19 performance of a song cycle by Paula Foley Tillen based on poems by Wisconsin’s first poet laureate, Ellen Kart. Farruca for Cello and Guitar By Peter Baine November 9 – Cardinal Stritch University Poem for Cello and Strings By Minh Tam Trinh December 14 – Cardinal Stritch University Song Cycle for Tenor and Piano By Paul Fowler January 25 – Cardinal Stritch University The Road to Emmaus for Voices and Organ By Hildegarde Fischer February 1 – St. Matthew’s Church Essay for Harp By Cary John Franklin March 8 – Cardinal Stritch University Everything is Love is Near at Hand By Paula Foley Tillen April 19 – St. Joseph Center Auditorium

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Song of Ecclesiastes for Baritone and Piano By Michael Torke May 19 – Woman’s Club of Wisconsin, 7:30 pm

Milwaukee Art Museum Act/React October 4 2008 – January 11, 2009 Guest-curated by George Fifield, founder of the Boston Cyberarts Festival, and coordinated by MAM up-and-comer John McKinnon, Act/React brings together, for the first time, six artists whose work is not just interactive, but immersive. There are no interfaces here – no keyboards or touch screens – just the viewers, who by their participation, create the art they are seeing. The centerpiece is a commission by Brian Knep, whose computer graphics software appeared in Jurassic Park. Milwaukee is your only shot to see it – the show won’t be traveling. Jan Lievens: A Dutch Master Rediscovered February 7 – April 26, 2009 It won’t be a world premiere – the show opens at the National Gallery – but it’s being spearheaded by MAM Curator Laurie Winters and organized in conjunction with Arthur Wheelock at the National Gallery and Lloyd DeWitt at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Like Winters’ Biedermeier in 2006, Jan Lievens pulls an oft overlooked period of art history to light – and, like Biedermeier, the show is traveling internationally, this time to the Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam. It’s the first to present a full overview of Lievens’ career and promises to draw significant scholarly attention to Milwaukee. The Artistic Furniture of Charles Rohlfs June 6 – August 23, 2009 Rounding out a full season of original, in-house main-gallery shows at MAM, Charles Rohlfs presents over 40 pieces of early 20th-century naturalistic and Art Nouveau furniture by the pioneering craftsman. It’s the first major show for the Chipstone Foundation, which has been under MAM’s wing since 2001, and after premiering in Milwaukee, it will travel to Dallas, Pittsburgh, California and – the big ticket – the Metropolitan Museum of

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Art in New York City. It’s kind of a big deal.

Milwaukee Ballet Peter and the Wolf September 6 – 14 Sergei Prokofiev debuted Peter and the Wolf in 1936, but the Ballet’s production is notable for Ballet Director Michael Pink’s original choreography and for the landmark collaboration between some of Wisconsin’s mightiest youth arts organizations: First Stage, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Milwaukee Ballet Academy. First Stage Associate Artistic Director John Maclay and MYSO Conductor Carter Simmons team up with some of the area’s best high school dancers, actors and musicians to capture the imagination and spirit of a young audience. Unique to this production is the expansion of a single role into a trio of narrators – one performs in English, one in Spanish and the third in American Sign Language. See it at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 325 W. Walnut Street.

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Warmth and Nobility September 26-28, 2008 Celebrating its 50th Season in 2008-2009, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra has a tremendous performance calendar including Maestro Andreas Delfs’ valedictorian year and big-ticket guest artists like Itzhak Perlman and Reneé Fleming. The MSO rarely performs world premieres on the simple fact that the vast majority of symphony repertoire was composed by people who are currently dead. But this is a special season, and accordingly, some special work will be performed. During opening weekend, hear a onetime only world premiere, “Festival 50: Fanfare and March” by composer and MSO bassist Maurice Wininsky.

Present Music Present Past September 6 The Present Music squad attempts a radical reimagination of everything Turner Hall is and has been, with a focus on the venue’s “proclivity for a vigorous mind, strong body and appreciation for the arts.” The season opener starts with ballroom dancing demonstrations by the Milwaukee Turners Ladies Auxiliary and showcases the Midwest premiere of John Adams’ “Son of a Chamber Symphony,” with supplementary pieces by Caroline Mallonee, Sofia Gubaidulina, Stravinsky and Present Music stalwart Randall Woolf. Catch performances by choreographers Luc Vanier, Elizbaeth Johnson and Milwaukeebased group Your Mother Dancing, for “an overthe-top explosion of music, gymnastics, fencers

and dancing.” Thanksgiving November 23 – St. John’s Cathedral Present Music’s biggest concert of the year showcases the world premiere of In Beauty May I Walk by young New York-based composer Alexandra du Bois, written for a women’s and children’s choir. The piece will be performed by Milwaukee Choral Artists and the Milwaukee Children’s Choir. Sound Brain February 21 – Discovery World Ryan Carter has been praised by the New York Times as “imaginative … like, say, a Martian dance party.” He world-premieres a new technology-inspired work at Discovery World in conjunction with tours of their technology-based exhibitions. Synthesis… get it?

Theatre Gigante The Perfect Candidate October 30 – November 1 In 2008-2009, Theatre Gigante – formerly Milwaukee Dance Theatre – will premiere a brand-new season of work, the first under its new name. Don’t despair: Mark Anderson and Isabelle Kralj are still committed to producing multidisciplinary, original work. In 2007-2008, the company’s performance of Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell made waves, and this year, just in time for the biggest national election in eight years, try The Perfect Candidate, written by Kralj and Anderson and described as “a fun romp through the world of politics.” And really, what romp through the world of politics isn’t fun?   Another Theatre Gigante world premiere you may not be able to attend happens on October 19 – in Slovenia. But if you’re free November 7-9, catch Isabelle Kralj with Slovenian dancers in the Danceworks concert, Have a Seat.

Windfall Theater When I Give My Heart February 20 – March 7, 2009 Windfall has promised a season of “Fearless Theater,” and this season the courageous can look forward to a brave world-premiere production of When I Give My Heart by Wisconsin playwright Thomas Rosenthal. The show focuses on Alana, a college woman who has disappeared in Northern Wisconsin, and Jason, the boy who finds her. The show, a poignant, mysterious drama about love, solitude, outcasts and media attention, will be directed by Windfall’s Producing Director Carol Zippel. Not to be missed.

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New Faces

Why they’re here, what they bring and what they’re excited about this season >>By Peggy Schulz

Arts groups in Milwaukee are used to dealing with turnover – it’s the nature of the beast. But the 2008-2009 season will introduce even more fresh faces than usual. Along with a handful of smaller-scale galleries and museums (see Judith Ann Moriarty’s visual arts preview on page 22), at least five major arts institutions in Milwaukee have new leaders on board as a sixth, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, prepares to welcome a new Music Director and a new Pops Conductor in 2009.

Roll call Perhaps the most familiar new face to the Milwaukee arts scene is one known worldwide for composing, conducting and arranging – Marvin Hamlisch, the new Principal Pops Conductor for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Hamlisch’s distinguished career is notable for any number of reasons; he has won virtually every music award that exists, including three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony Marvin Hamlisch and three Golden Globe awards, plus a Pulitzer Prize for his groundbreaking show, A Chorus Line. Hamlisch is an enthusiastic advocate of the power of music to bring people together. “Music can make a difference,” he says. “Music is truly an international language, and I hope to contribute by widening communication as much as I can.”   To further propel the momentum for its upcoming 50th anniversary season, world-renowned conductor Edo de Waart will assume his position as Music Director of the MSO with the 2009-2010 season, but Edo de Waart anticipation of his ar-

rival is already feverish. de Waart has conducted every major orchestra in the world, and Time Magazine called him “one of the world’s most accomplished and sought-after conductors.” He is currently Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and Conductor Laureate of the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Holland.   Wisconsin is not totally new to de Waart: he currently lives in Middleton with his family. But it was far from a default decision. Before de Waart would commit to the MSO, he had to conduct them. “I rehearsed with the orchestra in December for two days. I had a ball. It was fantastic.”   de Waart is excited to begin work with the MSO in 2009, but for Milwaukee audiences salivating to see the man in action, he’ll conduct two upcoming concerts: October 31 - November 2 and November 7 and 8, 2008.   Like de Waart, Daniel Keegan, recently installed CEO of the Milwaukee Art Museum, has ties to Wisconsin – he grew up in Green Bay. Prior to joining the Art Museum in February, Keegan served as Executive Director of the San Jose Museum of Art in California for seven years, and he was Executive Director of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City for three years before that. Daniel Keegan   According to Keegan, “The chance to work here was an offer I couldn’t refuse.” Part of the attraction of the Art Museum is that it’s “an internationally recognized, fabulous collection, and a very talented staff. The opportunity to lead this institution is tremendous.”   Keegan already is impressed by the level of public involvement with the visual arts in Milwaukee, especially that of young people. “I think the Milwaukee arts scene has a critical mass and a lot of momentum,” he says. He’s hopeful that VITAL’s readers will check out the new late-night hours at the Art Museum – they’ll be open until midnight on the third Friday of every month, beginning October 17.   Eric Dillner, new Managing Director of the Skylight Opera Theatre, comes to the Milwaukee arts scene from the southern United States, where he served for seven years as General and Artistic Director of the Shreveport Opera in

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Shreveport, Louisiana. The Skylight is the latest benefactor of Dillner’s management skills in a career that has spanned 20 years.   Dillner was drawn to the Skylight for a number of reasons, but says the breadth and depth of the Skylight appealed to him. The Skylight owns the Broadway Theatre Center, which is a Eric Dillner two-theater complex with four resident theater companies. Those companies, Dillner says, “are doing many different art forms – Shakespeare, straight plays, Renaissance, Broadway and opera.” The Skylight’s very full spectrum of the performing arts is “what really drew me here.”   According to Dillner, this season the Skylight stages the perfect opera for someone just discovering the arts in general or opera in particular – La Boheme, which runs from September 12 through October 5. “It’s the lush beautiful music of Puccini and a very romantic story, but also it’s been brought up to date and in English,” Dillner says.

The back office Arts-supporting administrative leadership is just as important as artistic management in any vibrant arts community, which is why it’s good news that the United Performing Arts Fund welcomes Cristy Garcia-Thomas as their new President. Garcia-Thomas brings an extensive history in the business community, having served in a vari- Cristy Garcia-Thomas

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ety of roles at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, including her last position as Vice President of the Specialty Media Division.   The move to her current position at UPAF in the spring was appealing to Garcia-Thomas for two main reasons: the ability to run a large business at the age of 39 and to play a vital role in an organization with a strong and successful history. “The arts can engage the mind, lift the spirit and be a positive influence on the community,” Wade Hobgood Garcia-Thomas said.   Garcia-Thomas notes from September through June, on almost any night of the week, a young adult can find a theater, music or dance performance to experience. UPAF’s nationally-recognized members offer pre- and post- performance opportunities to learn more about the production, engage and even meet with the artists.   Meanwhile, outgoing UPAF President Christine Harris was named President and Executive Director of the Milwaukee Cultural Alliance in February of 2008. It was a natural move, given her previous work on the Alliance’s founding steering committee and Christine Harris Board of Directors.   Harris is no newcomer to the arts; she’s been in arts administration in Milwaukee since 1984, when she joined the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra as its Marketing Director. Other leadership opportunities followed, including a stint as Executive Director of the Milwaukee Ballet.   Harris talks of the prospects for arts and culture in Milwaukee: “I believe we have a distinctive and well-managed cultural sector that is in a fragile fiscal state.” To “fix” that problem, she describes a comprehensive community plan for arts and culture, including a private-public funding partnership, “so our cultural community continues to be a strategic asset for our region.”

Other notable newcomers Wade Hobgood was recently appointed dean of UW-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts. A former Professor of Mass Communications at the University of North Carolina – Asheville, he also previously served as Chancellor at North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem and as dean at the College of the Arts at California State University - Long Beach and College of Fine Arts at Stephen F. Austin University. According to Rita Hartung Cheng, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Hobgood “has extensive experience in fund raising and has developed many successful partnerships with donors, business sponsors and potential supporters. Wade has also served as a consultant with international, national and regional arts clients and several universities, helping them develop new curriculum, policies and/or procedures.”   Late last fall, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre hired David Todd as the company’s new Managing Director. Todd, a Milwaukee native, returns to his hometown after serving as Director of Marketing and Corporate Giving for the Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and earlier as Affiliate Marketing Manager for FOX Broadcasting in Los Angeles. Prior to his work in California, he worked in local David Todd media and on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. By all accounts a dynamic, high-energy presence at MCT, Todd is thrilled to be back in his hometown.   “My heart has always been in Milwaukee,” he says. “This is an amazingly dynamic city full of culture and people who have a vested interest, like me, in seeing it become even better.”   In early July, Renaissance Theaterworks (RTW) welcomed Lisa Rasmussen as Development Director. Rasmussen holds a B.A. in both Theatre and Psychology from Cardinal Stritch

University. While attending Cardinal Stritch, she worked her way around virtually every aspect of Stritch’s reputable theater department.   Prior to joining RTW, Rasmussen worked in marketing for a local commercial real estate group. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Young Nonprofit Professional Network (YNPN), and a newly coined Certified Tourism Ambassador. Lisa Rasmussen

Help wanted The Milwaukee Art Museum is looking for a new Chief Curator following the resignation of Joe Ketner in August. And WUWM’s morning news show Lake Effect is still looking for a host to replace Jane Hampden, who left the show last month to return to academia. The new host might not be part of the performing arts community per se, but the position will certainly require a comfort and familiarity with Milwaukee’s art scene. Our tarot readers are predicting announcement in the fall.   In June, Elly Pick was named Executive Director of Charles Allis Art Museum & Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum. By July she had resigned, leaving the position open. Laurel Turner, who is leaving to return to academia, will stay on in the interim until a new director is chosen. VS

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From the archives of the MacDowell Club: the prestigious women’s performance group in the 1920s.

100 Years of Beautiful Music MacDowell Club prepares to celebrate its centennial >>By Peggy Sue Dunigan

Gracious. Elegant. Gifted. Enthusiastic. These classical characteristics describe Thallis Hoyt Drake, recording secretary and publicity chair of the MacDowell Club of Milwaukee, and the prestigious organization itself, celebrating its centennial in May 2009.   Drake, a past president and member of the MacDowell Club for 50 years, describes the vision of the first 38 women who were strong minded, talented, and desired a stage to perform and display their musical skills back in 1909, well before women achieved the right to maintain property or to vote. As Drake says, “It wasn’t considered proper for a woman to perform in public,” but these women signed the charter for the club on May 19th of that year, which provided them with a new venue to use their abilities and education.   Following through on this original charter, the MacDowell club initiated an all-female chorus and orchestra, conducted by a woman, which presented a series of yearly concerts at the Woman’s Club of Wisconsin, still a historic presence in contemporary Milwaukee. Members either performed or supported the club by attending the productions free of charge. Guests were allowed to listen for a 25-cent admission fee. The concerts, student organiza-

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

tions and musical study groups that developed in the succeeding decades illustrated the MacDowell Club’s mission statement: furthering musical interests in Milwaukee, providing incentive for progressive work for both professional and amateur musicians and acquainting the public with the number and excellence of local musicians.   This includes Drake, an excellent violinist and founder of Early Music Now, along with hundreds of music teachers over these years. The club offered an opportunity and outlet for these musicians to enhance their own artistry and a platform to continue performing. Drake believes that the club saved her performance skills and helped her find long-standing friends and colleagues with exceptional gifts who all shared a passion for performing classical music. Membership throughout these years was earned through a blind audition, which continues to the present day. Annual dues now require a $25.00 check instead of three dollar bills as in 1910, but still include free admission to all the performances given in public places and private homes by the members. Today, the Club welcomes members of both genders, but still embraces the mission it was founded upon: the inspiration of the wife of Edward A.

MacDowell.   Edward MacDowell is one of the first American composers to receive international recognition for his career. After his death in 1908, Marion MacDowell played private piano concerts in people’s homes to raise money for the MacDowell Colony, now based in New Hampshire, which provides sabbaticals and housing for all artists to dedicate solitary study time towards their chosen area of expertise. The MacDowell Colony flourishes, as do numerous MacDowell Clubs throughout the country, all as a result of Marion MacDowell’s efforts.   In 2008, Milwaukee’s chapter focuses on their 99th season, leading up to their centennial on May 19, 2009. Drake enumerates the club’s special events for this 100th year. Erin Biank, a graduate student in Musicology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has compiled the club’s history into a book, The MacDowell Club of Milwaukee: A Century of Music (1909-2009). Recently edited and sent off to press, the release date is set for this month and the club anticipates the book will be available by their opening luncheon on September 14. That event inaugurates the upcoming season with a presentation by Dr.

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Timothy Noonan illuminating the life and work of Edward A. MacDowell.   The MacDowell Club will also feature eight concerts this year, all free of charge to the public – and seven of which are commissioned world premieres. These selected composers, all with ties to Milwaukee, each donated an inventive musical composition for the performances, including one composed by a 14year-old Whitefish Bay youth. Together with these remarkable compositions, the chapter commissioned a significant choral arrangement by Michael Torke of Wauwatosa for the May 19, 2009 evening performance. Written especially for Milwaukee’s own Kurt Ollmann, Torke will accompany the singer on the piano for this premiere performance of “Song of Ecclesiastes: A Song Cycle for Baritone.”   In addition, the club announced in March their First Young Composer Competition for nascent Wisconsin composers 25 and younger. The response was excellent, and with 14 applications now in their hands, a three-judge jury will select the winning composition in March of 2009. The winner will receive a cash prize of $1,500 and the composition will be performed at a spring recital. Additional place prizes of $1,000 and $750 will also be awarded.   A new logo, a fundraising campaign and the club’s first professionally-printed season brochure finish this ambitious program of centennial celebration events. While the members wait for their melodious exertions to be applauded, untold hours of time and decades of tradition uphold this portrait of an organization that first encouraged women, then students, and eventually men to pursue the pleasures and contributions classical music brings to any community, especially Milwaukee.   Thousands of artistic musicians emulating Drake’s classical profile of exceptional commitment and performance over the last 100 years influenced the city as they instructed future generations – generations that will sustain this vital musical heritage, which can dwindle to nothing in the beat of several short measures without the support of organizations to foster their continual growth.   Drake herself is a true believer. “The arts are so transforming. Somehow we’ve managed to stay together the last 100 years, especially the last twenty, which have been more difficult.” The words of this gracious and powerful musician and missionary herald a challenge to all of us to keep these classical portraits resilient and strong. VS

Historical briefs and events through ten decades of the MacDowell Club May 19, 1909: Thirty-eight women sign charter for the MacDowell Club of Milwaukee with an inaugural concert in October at the Women’s Club of Wisconsin. 1911: The club forms the first all-women chorus and orchestra to play in private performances. 1920s: With over 600 active members, the war effort focuses the club on playing for Wood’s Veteran Center and Hospital while selling war bonds. 1930s: Study groups are added to the program for voice, piano, strings, piano ensemble, and piano repertory. 1940s: A student component is added, and auditions are held for their membership. 1950s: A performance features the premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Charles Ives at the Milwaukee Art Institute. 1960s: The club performs an Appalachian nativity chorale, Wondrous Love, and commis-

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sions Louise Talma to compose an orchestral piece, The Tolling Bell, played by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. 1970s: Acquired and dedicated new Steinway grand piano for the club’s continued presentations of original classical programs by Milwaukee talent. 1980s: Acceptance of male members into the MacDowell Club in 1981 and the sponsoring of a biennial scholarship competition in 1985 as it celebrates 75 years with the commissioning of a piano trio by Dr. John Downey. 1990s: Though membership decreased, the concerts and other opportunities still exist for musicians to perform classical music to the public in individual presentations and recitals. May 19, 2009: The approximately 100 current members of the MacDowell Club celebrate their 100th anniversary by commissioning Michael Torke to compose a song cycle for a male voice in Song of Ecclesiastes performed at the Women’s Club of Wisconsin.

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Behind the curtain

Community-based arts initiatives provide invaluable training and education >>By Amy Elliott

This month, to an even greater extent than usual, you can leaf through the pages of VITAL and find calendar listings, phone numbers, websites and profiles of the people that power the ships, as well as evidence, photographic and otherwise, of creative output. With a little imagination you can envision a setting: a proscenium stage, a row of footlights, dusty makeup rooms and wardrobes stuffed with spangled costumes. You might think about musical instruments or ballet shoes, or you might imagine the barely-controlled chaos of ticket offices and sales departments.   But what else happens inside a performance company? And how wide of an audience do arts groups reach? What is their relevance or value to the wider world?   The truth is, with public schools more strapped for cash than ever and cultural resources dwindling, arts organizations are sometimes a community’s most powerful force for education, outreach and enrichment resources. Members and affiliates of the United Performing Arts Fund alone touch over a million people every year, including more than 400,000 area children, according to UPAF Vice President of Community Relations and Marketing Linda Edelstein. Here, four major Milwaukee arts institutions share their most compelling initiatives for the coming season and the value they’ve brought to the city. Training and growth It’s a big year for the Milwaukee Ballet, whose acclaimed Ballet School is rated among the very best in the nation. In late August the School opened its largest branch at the Sendik’s Towne Centre in Brookfield, and this fall, the ink should be dry on the accreditation forms sent in to the National Association of Schools for Dance. If accredited, the Milwaukee Ballet School – established in 1975 – will be the only dance institution in the region that has met the NASD’s standards.   But the Ballet’s outreach programming extends beyond sprung dance floors, lofty studios and kids in tutus. Their education programs alone reach over 20,000 kids a year through in-school performances, workshops and collaborations with

other arts organizations.   Merging training, performance, enrichment and the continuity that a successful arts education program requires, Relevé, an inner city youth dance program, provides ballet training to over 175 students at four MPS elementary schools: Allen-Field, Dover, Maple Tree and Vieau. Children start small with once-a-week, in-school ballet classes in 3rd grade and advance through 4th and 5th grade with training at the Milwaukee Ballet studios in the Peck Center. All of their dancewear is provided for free, and their study is enriched with free tickets to shows at the Ballet, in-school performances, meeting with company dancers and end-of-the-year recitals.   “Relevé allows us to work with girls – and boys – who wouldn’t otherwise see these same kinds of opportunities,” says Alyson Vivar, Director of Education at the Ballet. “They really learn so much more than ballet – they learn discipline and self-confidence, and they have fun.”   Training young people doesn’t have to stop with school kids. Art depends on fresh faces and the collision of new ideas with established practices to stay vital. In the Florentine Opera’s 75th Anniversary Season, the company launches its Studio Artists Program, a residency designed to nurture promising talent by providing experience, training and growth opportunities to emerging artists. The studio artists will sing supporting roles during the regular season and perform at special functions.   They’ll also be driving the engine of the Florentine’s in-school touring opera program, an initiative that brings classical opera – sung in English – into schools all over Metro Milwaukee. This year, the singers perform Pinocchio by arts educator John Davies, with the classic story set to the familiar music of Mozart, Donizetti, Offenbach, Pergolesi, Sullivan and Verdi.   This year’s studio artists are soprano Greer Davis-Brown, mezzo Colleen E. Brooks, tenor Rafael Luquis and baritone Todd von Felker. The program runs from October 2008 through April 2009; catch an early glimpse of the emerging artists in a showcase concert at the Wilson Center on October 19.

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Dynamic collaborations Through Art Aloud – a collaborative program between the Milwaukee Public Library and the Milwaukee Art Museum that is 16 years in scope – kids come together to learn, play, make art and hear stories from librarians, teachers and local artists. Each week for nine weeks, more than 125 students participate at six different libraries around the city.   After the program, the students have “more of an interest in reading, in art projects, more interest in creativity … and social skill growth [like] self-esteem and confidence and working with other people,” says Sylvia Peine, Family Programs Coordinator at MAM.   Art Aloud serves a broad cross-section of the population; each semester, the program generally serves two libraries on the south side and four on the north side. Some libraries are located in communities with dense populations of homeschoolers, whose entire families participate.   “The kids learn to work with other people who are different,” says Peine. “[And] it allows them to be creative within a structure.”   Every Art Aloud student is invited to come to the Art Museum for a free tour with their family, and at the end of the program, they’re hosted at a Family Sunday where the art they’ve created during the semester is on display.   The Art Museum awards scholarships to two children in each program that they can use to take a class or attend art camp.   “We try to give [the children] as many opportunities to come to the Museum as possible,” she says. “It’s a really successful, well-received program. The kids love it, the parents love it, the teachers love it, the librarians love it.”   Danceworks’ anchor educational program similarly fosters creativity, confidence and scholastic achievement and bridges diverse communities. The Intergenerational Multi-Arts Project (IMAP) was in the works for years before it was officially branded three years ago.   IMAP brings together local fourth-throughsixth grade students with elders from senior centers. “It helps the kids, it helps the elders and

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Left and center: Art Aloud @ MAM/MPL; right, IMAP @ Danceworks.

it connects communities that would otherwise be isolated,” says Janet Lew Carr, Community Programs Coordinator at Danceworks.   The program invites children and seniors to explore their communities, life histories and interpersonal connections through a variety of creative mediums, including movement, painting and sculpture. Throughout the school year, the Danceworks staff works with students and seniors separately and in synthesis to build a curriculum of trust, investigation and expression.   “We use the tools of art to touch as many individuals that we can,” says Carr. “Not everyone is into creative movement, not everyone can do

visual art, but somehow we all come out at the same place.”   IMAP culminates with Wide Sky, a “community dance documentary” that uses stories and experiences from the program as inspiration for the choreography, as well as multimedia features like video and photography.   In 2008-2009, IMAP’s theme is “Falling,” and the various forms falling can take – falling in love, falling asleep, falling from grace, the idea of fallout. Look for pieces exploring the climate of fear in the 1950s that some of the elder participants in the program may have lived through, as well as explorations of the fallout after the Vietnam

war that Hmong participants in the program experienced.   Almost every local established arts group offers some enrichment programming or community-based outreach beyond its performance calendar. There are many incredible stories being written every day, right here in our own backyard. We would love it if you would share your account, either on behalf of your arts organization or from your personal experience. Write me at and we’ll post your story on our website with this one. We can’t wait to hear from you! VS

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Milwaukee filmmakers you need to know The good, the bad and the Van Halen >>By Howie Goldklang

Time to do a quick roll call of Milwaukee filmmakers doing their thing, on their own dime, completely outside of the Film Wisconsin Tax Bill hype (is that even news anymore?) – just creatives being creative. Please link up and let us know about your fave Brew City filmmaker on our REEL Milwaukee blog that lives at Sona Voice – This dude means business. His documentary, Behold Something Bigger than Tupac, is a tale surrounding the life of a man (THE VOICE) from a different continent who sees himself as being greater than (in his opinion) the greatest rapper ever, Tupac Amaru Shakur. That’s a whole lotta greatness being addressed. Check their website for screenings and throw your hat into the being greater than the greatest rap debate. Buckley Brothers – The jury is still out on these guys. To their credit, they produced and shot a feature film called Jake’s How-To right here in ole Milwaukee. It seems like they are doing the whole “go to LA, come back to Milwaukee on a white horse, shoot a feature film for peanuts, premiere it at the Oriental, soak up praise, hit up Northshore parents for money, go back to LA” thing. Bully for them. But wait! In an August 13, 2008 interview with, co-director Vincent Buckley said “Milwaukee isn’t a film town. Most here don’t understand how the film business works. Not to mention there are not many talented people here.” I know I’m not your PR agent but let’s have our first and last meeting right now. Douchebag Brothers, when you are trying to

feed off the hometown, root for the underdog vibe, don’t look down your nose and insult the city’s intelligence and its art/film talent pool in one arrogant, self-important swoop. Way to shit the bed, dude. The jury is back. Verdict: You Suck. Caroline Kastelic – I’ll just put this out there: I have a thing for chick animators. It’s the same reason I still play guitar along with the entire Weezer blue album, dig Harry Potter books, love the internet, and seeing ads for (not going to mind you, just the ads for) the Renaissance Faire – it’s my inner dork guiding my pop culture compass. Caroline recently graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a BFA in Film (with a focus on motion animation) and teaches a class at UWM called “Concepts in Media Arts Production.” She is currently working on a music video with the Wisconsin band Hired Geeks (show at Turner Hall September 12 - for their new song “Here We Are.” The video is scheduled to be completed in the next month. Cool. Josh Rosenberg – This fella graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee in 2006. He wrote and directed the awardwinning documentary Civilian Soldiers, which won the Student Category of the Detroit Docs International Film Festival. It also was shown at the Wisconsin Film Festival. He spent summer 2006 working directly with filmmaker Niels Mueller (Swimfan, The Assassination of Richard Nixon) in Los Angeles. In just three weeks he wrote the screenplay for the feature film Tracks, which includes songs from Dove-

man, an artist Pitchfork gives an 8.0, so you know its kinda the shit. Milwaukee Itself – Sorry. Just had to add this in. Go to You Tube, search Milwaukee, scroll down and you’ll find this little gem: Eddie Van Halen Solo 1980. Just the sick ‘80s metal hair and signature Jackson Pollack taped-up guitar is enough include it in this article. Behold. Howie Goldklang – Yeah, that’s me. Hey, I’m a filmmaker too, so you bet your ass I will self-promote at the stroke of a keyboard. I won Best Local Filmmaker Awards in 2004 and 2005 from Shepherd Express although it is not exactly clear why; my short film God Knows Your Lonely Soul was shot on a budget of $99 and won some awards and screened at a whole mess of film festivals; I was hired by the Violent Femmes to shoot a documentary covering their 25th anniversary tour and about six months into project the bass player freaked out when “Blister In The Sun” was in a Wendy’s fast food commercial so he sued the singer for royalties dating back 25 years and our little film got stubbed out like a cigarette. There is a cool trailer floating around on YouTube somewhere called American Music – An Acoustic Punk Documentary. Currently, I am in preproduction on a feature film I’m writing and directing called Ask Me Tomorrow, which is slated for a July 2009 shoot in Milwaukee. Holler! Now someone lend me $500,000. VS

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>>By Russ Bickerstaff

cinema Vital culture

Peek-a-boo: A first look at the 21st annual LGBT Film Festival A JIHAD FOR LOVE Written and Directed By: Parvez Sharma First Run Features Not rated As in Christianity, there is little in the sacred text of Islam that directly condemns homosexuality. Like the King James Bible, the Koran doesn’t have much to say on the subject. However, as in the traditional Christian world, there is little acceptance of homosexuality in most Islamic cultures. Parvez Sharma takes an exhaustive look into homosexuality in the Muslim world in his documentary, A Jihad For Love. A work spanning five years, 12 countries and a handful of stories from gay practicing Muslims, Sharma’s concise and engaging treatment cascades across the screen in less than 90 minutes. A Jihad For Love explores the bewildering nature of Islamic morality in depth, with few pulled punches. Cameras catch a moment between two women openly embracing at an apparently progressive mosque, juxtaposed with people speaking calmly about traditional Islamic punishment for the perceived sin of homosexuality –stonings, cutting the hands off of offenders, throwing them from cliffs. We see young Muslims debating exactly what it is the Koran does say about homosexuality and are shown that, as tenuous as the argument is against gay men in the holy texts, there’s even less of an argument against gay women. Throughout, the viciousness of human emotion contrasts with beautiful images from the many countries touched by one of the world’s most powerful religions. And this is the film’s great strength: Sharma’s knack for capturing equally the beauty and brutality of the Muslim perspective on homosexuality. Early in the film we meet Muhsin Hendricks, a homosexual Islamic scholar living in South Africa who was “practically born in a mosque.” Hendricks married and had kids in order to conform to the church. Now, having embraced his true sexuality, he is estranged from his wife and only sees his children occasionally. Sharma captures a moment between Hendricks and his children in a park filled with tiny penguins. The faces of his children are blurred. As they interact, one of the penguins rushes away from them. In a clever bit of Sharma humor, the penguin’s face is blurred as well. It’s scenes like this that exhibit the strength of the documentarian’s voice in letting moments speak for themselves. A Jihad for Love is thoughtfully edited documentary work that doesn’t shy away from the inherent complexity of living in a morally challenged world. A Jihad For Love plays Tuesday, September 9 at the UWM Union Theatre.

WATER LILIES (Naissance des pieuvres) Starring: Pauline Acquart, Luie Blachere, Adele Haenel, Warren Jacquin, Christel Barras, Marie Gilli-Pierre Written and Directed by: Celine Sciamma Balthazar Productions Not Rated French with English subtitles Water Lilies, the centerpiece of this year’s Milwaukee LGBT Film Festival, is an all-too-real coming of age love story wrapped in impressive, earthbound visuals. Pauline Acquart stars as Marie, a 15-year-old girl attracted to Floraine (Adele Haenel), a beautiful young synchronized swimmer. After a long spell of admiration from afar, Marie finally musters the courage to spend time with the popular Floriane under the guise of an interest in synchronized swimming. Gradually, the two girls become friends, but Floraine’s interest in boys amplifies the distance between them. Marie must come to terms with her feelings for Floriane, even as it taxes her relationship with her best friend Anne (Louise Blachere). The intricacies of romance and friendship are explored in striking detail in an intimate story focused almost exclusively on these three characters. For a story this emotionally complex, Water Lilies has remarkably little dialogue. Writer/Director Celine Sciamma renders the story in a million shades of unspoken ambiguity. In fact, if there were any less dialogue, the film would come across as a more superficial, surreal art house piece. Instead, Water Lilies speaks volumes in few words. Moods and emotions drift across the screen at a steady pace as relationships develop in relative silence.   The glances Acquart and Haenel share capture an artful expression of complex emotion that’s often elusive to even the most experienced screen actors. As daunting as it is to deliver important details in casual movements, Acquart and Haenel make it look exceedingly easy, even natural. Blachere does most of her best work on this film alone without saying a word. Her story is such a departure from the film’s arc that it almost seems extraneous in places, but as the story progresses, it’s clear that her character plays an important role in the emotional center of everything. Like the water that buoys everything in this film, the plot moves through moments at a clip, providing enough time for the audience to think without slowing anything down. VS Water Lilies plays Wednesday, September 10 at the Oriental Theatre. The 21st annual LGBT Film Festival, sponsored by VITAL Source, runs September 4 -14 at the Oriental and UWM Union Theatres. Details at

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Vital culture stages

>>BY russ bickerstaff

jeffrey siegel 9/24

robin williams 9/28

itzhak perlman 9/8

BIG FUN The 2008-2009 Performing Arts whirlwind begins this month with a fury of original shows, regional premieres and some very promising ensembles. Off The Wall’s production of Gypsy includes the talented Alison Mary Forbes in the lead role and a well-balanced supporting cast. Milwaukee Shakespeare calls in a cast of seasoned theatre professionals to open its season with the romance Love’s Labour’s Lost. Next Act Theatre’s Artistic Director David Cecsarini makes a notable appearance onstage as Vince Lombardi this

THEATRICAL PREVIEWS I AM MY OWN WIFE Talented actor Michael Gotch stars as over 30 characters in the acclaimed Doug Wright drama about a German transvestite who lives through the Third Reich and Communist-ruled post-WWII. At the Milwaukee Rep’s Stiemke Theatre September 1 – October 5. 414-224-9490 or THE WONDER BREAD YEARS John McGivern returns to the Marcus Center with another run of Pat Hazell’s popular baby boomer monologue laced with McGivern’s own memories of growing up in Milwaukee. September 2 – 21. 414-273-7206 or THOSE CRAZY LADIES IN THE HOUSE ON THE CORNER The Sunset Playhouse opens it season with the Pat Cook comedy about three fiercely independent widowed sisters who are tricked by a local doctor into accepting the help of a nurse. September 5 -27. 262-782-4430 or LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST A talented ensemble including Wayne T. Carr, Kevin Rich, Molly Rhode, Angela Iannone and Norman Moses bring the classic Shakespearian romance to life as Milwaukee Shakespeare opens its season September 6 – October 5 at the Broadway Theatre Center Studio Theatre. 414291-7800 or

season while Michael Gotch takes on numerous roles in the Milwaukee Rep’s production of Douglas Wright’s one-man drama I Am My Own Wife. Big names make a splash this month, including Robin Williams, Itzhak Perlman, Second City, the Rat Pack (sort of) and former Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Pops Director Doc Severinsen. And the UWM Dance Department celebrates nearly half a century in existence with one of the largest assemblies of local dance talent we’ve seen in years.

LOMBARDI: THE ONLY THING Next Act Theatre opens its season with the Eric Simonson tribute to one of the most enduring legends of the NFL. Artistic Director David Cecsarini stars as the Packers head coach in an era long before Favre and McCarthy. September 11 – October 12 at the Off-Broadway Theatre. 414-278-0765 or RIPPER! Alchemist Theatre Productions presents writer/director Jackie Benka’s new twist on the old story of one of history’s most notorious serial killers. Mark A Lonten stars as Detective Abberline with a cast including Liz Schipe, Alice Wilson and Emmit Morgans. September 11 - 27. 414-426-4169 or DOUBT Spiral Theatre presents a unique environmental production of the John Patrick Shanley drama about a priest who is accused of “interfering” with a school’s only black student. Starring Sandra Stark, Peter Gavin, Jenna Wetzel and Ericka Wade. September 12 – 27 at Plymouth Church. 414-248-6481 or LA BOHEME The Skylight opens its first full season with new managing director Eric Dillner with this classic opera by Giacomo Puccini. September 12 – October 5 at the Broadway Theatre Center. 414-291-7800 or

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STATE OF THE UNION The Milwaukee Rep presents this Pulitzer Prizewinning drama about the ill-fated 1946 presidential campaign of Republican Grant Mathews. September 16 – October 12 at the Quadracci Powerhouse Theatre. 414-224-9490 or THE CONSTANT WIFE The Boulevard Theatre continues its twentythird season with the Milwaukee premiere of this Somerset Maugham comedy, directed by Mark Bucher. September 17 – October 5. 414-744-5757 or GOSSAMER First Stage Children’s Theatre has collaborated with the Oregon Children’s Theatre on this exploration into the origin of dreams by awardwinning author Lois Lowry. A young dream-giver is assigned to help a troubled child and a lonely woman battle nightmares. September 19 – October 5 at the Marcus Center. 414-273-7206 or SECOND CITY The venerable improv group’s touring company comes to the similarly esteemed Turner Hall Ballroom September 19 for an evening of comedy. 414-286-3663 or

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stages Vital culture GYPSY Off The Wall Theatre presents a production of the classic Stephen Sondheim musical featuring Alison Mary Forbes in the title role, with an impressive cast including Liz Misetle, Kristin Pagenkopf, Lawrence Lukasavage, Tom Welcenbach and more. September 25 – October 11. 414-327-3552 or

PROMETHEUS TRIO Consisting of cellist Scott Tisdel, violinist Timothy Klabunde and pianist Stefanie Jacob, the classic chamber group embarks on its 9th season with a concert featuring the works of Liszt, Schubert and Lajtha. September 15 and 16 at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. 414-276-5760 or

MOON OVER BUFFALO Debra Krajec directs this Marquette University production of the 1995 Ken Ludwig comedy. September 25 – October 5 at the Helfaer Theatre. 414-288-7504 or

ITZHAK PERLMAN The legendary violinist performs with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in a September 18 concert that will probably sell out before we go to press. The MSO inaugurates its 50th anniversary in style at the Marcus Center’s Uihlein Hall. Those looking for a miracle can call 414-291-7605 or visit

THE VAST DIFFERENCE Windfall Theatre present the ‘90s comedy by comic actor/playwright Jeff Daniels September 26 – October 11 at Village Church Arts. 414-3323963 or ROBIN WILLIAMS The massively famous 57 year-old actor/comedian comes to the Milwaukee Theatre September 28 on first national stand-up tour in over half a decade. 414-908-6092 or

MUSIC OF NOTE ISN’T IT ROMANTIC? The Milwaukee Rep opens its season at the Stackner Cabaret with this David Koch tribute to the prolific, enduring musical careers of Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart and George and Ira Gershwin. Featuring solo performer Jimi Ray Malary. September 6 –November 2. 414-224-9490 or AN EVENING WITH KATE WILSON Mrs. Wilson performs an evening of works pulled from the great American songbook September 5 at The Wilson Center. 262-781-9520 or PRESENT PAST Present Music’s season opener features a new John Adams chamber symphony, Sofia Gubaidulina and Your Mother Dances. September 6 at Turner Hall Ballroom. 414-271-0711 or A MUSICAL MONTAGE The Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra performs an evening of music including works by Hayd, Reger and Nielson September 13 at the Cavalry Presbyterian Church. 414-881-9900 or

DOC AND MARIACHI PRESENT: EL RITMO DE LA VIDA Longtime Milwaukee Symphony Pops conductor Doc Severinsen returns home for a concert featuring Spanish music with a jazz flair. September 19 -21 at the Marcus Center’s Uihlein Hall. 414-291-7605 or THE RAT PACK IS BACK! This traveling show recreates one of the classic quartet’s “Summit the Sands” shows. The nearest available approximations of Frank, Sammy, Dean and Joey come to the Milwaukee Theatre September 19 and 20. 414-908-6092 or HAYDN AND MOZART: HUMOR AND HEARTACHE Acclaimed American pianist Jeffrey Siegel returns to his ever-popular Keyboard Conversations concerts with an evening featuring the work of two of the greatest composers of all time. September 24 at Wisconsin Lutheran College’s Schwan Concert Hall. 414 443-8802 or THE PHANTOM’S LEADING LADIES Three women who have played Christine in Broadway productions if The Phantom of the Opera perform an evening of Broadway classics and more September 24 at The Wilson Center. 262781-9520 or WARMTH AND NOBILITY Andreas Delfs conducts the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and guest pianist Andre Watts in a concert featuring Brahms’ Third and Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5. September 26 – 28 at the Marcus Center’s Uihlein Hall. 414-291-7605 or

PARAGON RAGTIME ORCHESTRA The world’s only year-round professional traditional ragtime band performs a one-night concert September 27 at Wisconsin Lutheran College’s Schwan Concert Hall. 414 443-8802 or BUTTERFLIES, BIRDS AND BEASTS The Wisconsin Conservatory of Music piano faculty plays Saint-Saens’ Carnival of Animals and other music in this interactive family concert on September 28. 414-276-5760 or THAT MAKES CENTS The Festival City Symphony opens is season with music honoring the Centennial of Milwaukee’s MacDowell Club. The concert features a number of works by early American composers including the tone poem Lamia and the Overture on the Star Spangled Banner. September 28 at the Pabst Theater. 414-286-3663 or

DANCE FALL DANCE FESTIVAL Celebrating 45 years, the UWM Dance Department welcomes some of the best dance groups in town including Danceworks, Ko-Thi Dance Company, Nancy Einhorn, Milwaukee Ballet II Program, Wild Space Dance Company and Your Mother Dances in a performance at UWM’s Mainstage Theatre on September 12, followed by a program of new an innovative works by department alumni the following evening. 414-229-4308 or

Comprehensive, thoughtful performance reviews Stage and visual arts features and videos Russ Bickerstaff’s “Between Stages” blog Stella Cretek’s “Dem Bones” art blog and more! Updated all month long at

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BENEATH THE GOLD STICKER A visual arts preview By Judith Ann Moriarty   September: this is the month when writers, editors and sometimes readers in massive polls are asked to pick winners from the tsunami of venues, programming and promising stars careening toward the shore. I have to say it reminds me of scratching off a gold sticker, a sticker that perhaps conceals THE winning number, which you already know isn’t likely to be yours, or if it is, blame it on dumb luck! If I’ve learned anything about the arts over the years, it’s that sublime moments are seldom hidden beneath gold stickers: in fact, I would venture to say that the more the sticker glitters, the duller the “win.” When swamped by hype, I cast a wary eye.   Should I desire the sublime, I stick with civilized, tried and true venues simply because they don’t shout or tout like shills at a circus. And no local gallery fills the bill quite like Dean Jensen, an informed survivor with a logo resembling something stamped from steel. Jensen’s shows rarely disappoint, and the man himself, though a poetic writer at heart, is no-nonsense in his approach to art. Should you care about what art “is,” he’s available to share thoughts. Jensen is cut of the cloth I admire: grey flannel, neatly tailored and forever admirable. On fall Gallery Night – October 16 – stop by for Newspaper House, an installation by former Milwaukeean (and current Brown professor) Joan Backes that is just what it sounds like: a space made from newspapers that visitors can walk through and explore.   Tory Folliard Gallery also takes a subtle approach, and the staff doesn’t posture in order to outshine the art. Fat chance that would happen, anyway, with the likes of glorious painters Patrick Farrell, Fred Stonehouse and the many other luminaries who will return in 2008-2009. On September 12, Folliard opens a new exhibition by Milwaukee artist Mark Mulhern, featuring the artist’s abstractly naturalistic and softly-lit works, and come February, Folliard will mount their first-ever Photography Showcase highlighting some top (and up-and-coming) state photographers. Folliard gives generous consideration to Wisconsin-based artists, which in turn gives Mark Mulhern @ Tory Folliard lie to the myth that artists from our state get screwed when it comes to gallery shows. Come on. Can you think of a single gallery or museum that eschews Wisconsin-based artists just because they’re from Wisconsin? The loudest screamers are probably those artists whose works aren’t yet (and perhaps never will be) up to snuff.   Time was when I r ar el y v isi t e d t he Charles Allis Art or the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museums; if

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I did, it was to enjoy the summer gardens and a few moments of quiet contemplation. However, their recent shows have been on the upswing, due at least in part to the efforts of Ms. Laurel Turner, a young curator who will be leaving the institution (dang!) to return to academia. But I look forward to the coming season and their competent ongoing Wisconsin Masters series. While a bit uneven in quality, the series is still a step in the right direction, though who is going to guide the two venues is anyone’s guess. Recently-hired Executive Director Elly Pick, who came to Milwaukee from the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, resigned in June after just weeks of employment. Ms. Turner will stay on until a successor is chosen.   Several of our art museums have new directors and it’s safe to say that all are faced with All Tied Up @ RAM budgetary problems in a sagging economy. The aforementioned MWA is trying to grow while continuing to focus on regional art. Their leadership is solid and their expansion plans have a fair shot at success if they can keep the attention of, and raise funds from, the folks in the Kettle Moraine area.   A particular joy is the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. “But!” you say, “They must have a huge budget.” Yes, they do – but they could have frittered it away and left viewers with nothing but pretty stuff plastered to walls. Not this institution: the Kohler is just the best. Exhibitions by Renee Lotenero and kathryn e martin open in October; both artists build delicate, elegant and challenging structures from unexpected materials, dismantling the architecture of the sensory world.   The Inova/Kenilworth gallery, spacious and new (and part of UW-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts), forges its hopes on little or no budget. The Peck School also has a new Dean, Wade Hobgood, but what the future holds for the Kenilworth space is anyone’s guess. The trio of stalwarts guiding it – Polly Morris, Bruce Knackert and recently-appointed permanent Curator Nick Frank – are obviously stretched to the max, and speculation continues to swirl about monies enough to keep the place alive. But I refuse to give up on the possibilities of this space. Everything takes time and these times are hard, though hard times can be beneficial when directors and curators are forced to think about what they’re doing.

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What would I like to see in that space? Big, glorious paintings, carefully curated. Elegant soaring sculptures. Perfected drawings, not uber-hip scribblings pinned to walls and full of “messages” attempting to indicate that the artist is really, really into timely concerns. Photographs with major impact. One perfect installation. One perfect video, rather than many spewing nonsense.   Marquette’s Haggerty Museum of Art (under Executive Director Walter Mason) recently re-configured their entire collection – and wow! If the photographs of Stephen Shore are an indication of things to come, I’m pumped. In conjunction with the Shore show, I was pleased to see the Milwaukee Art Museum’s photography curator Lisa Hostetler and astute photographer/writer/ UW-Milwaukee educator Tom Bamberger on the roster of speakers. Does this signal a fresh era of cooperation (rather than dissention) between venues essentially competing for attention?   I fret about the number of venues who haven’t fully shaped their plans for the 2008-09 season. It gives me the creeps to imagine they’re hanging by their toenails, cobbling things together at zero hour. Perhaps this is the result of our warp-speed online world, where anyone can peck and grab at whatever listings are available, whatever attracts one’s twitchy attention on any given day. Why read previews of the coming season with so much saturated information available? Have we reached the point where arts writers are used goods? Young gallerists, ever on the prowl, have established intriguing websites and some have stacked the cards by featuring “reviews” of their shows – reviews which are rarely in-depth, and perhaps serve more as marketing tools than anything else.   In shaping this piece, I spoke with Elaine Erickson, who has been in the art biz for 18 years. I expressed my concerns about how difficult it is to get a full schedule of planned events from October through the spring of 2009. Tom Hoffmann had a nifty show of his quirky “portrait” paintings at her gallery, and I asked her when he’ll return. “I generally rotate artists about every two years,” she said, adding that because of scheduling conflicts she is sometimes left scrambling. As the chief cook and bottle washer at her Third Ward space, she’ll stick with what she knows best: paintings, sculptures and drawings. She told me she knows nothing about “interactive art” (the next big thing at MAM?) and admitted she isn’t even interested in it. Katie Gingrass Gallery (another survivor) is east of Erickson’s, with a heavier focus on crafts; one of my 2008 thrills was the work of young photographer Jeffrey Kenney, who works at the gallery. These are the thrills that keep me writing. Gallery 218, a co-op in the Marshall Building, rarely gets press these days, but it was there I saw the work of West Allis artist Thomas Kovachic. A modernist to the core, his paintings are quietly sublime – another surprise when least expected. The Racine Art Museum is modest in size, but when it comes to thoughtful shows, they’re worth the trip south. Squeezed in between Milwaukee and Chicago, they’ve carefully carved out a niche for themselves, doggedly so. From the get-go, they were in it for the long run. They’re especially esteemed for their craft and decorative arts collection, so look out for excellence with their winter knot and knitting show, All Tied Up.   As I prepare to forward this to the VITAL Source editorial team, the 1955 words of a college professor ring in my head: “Judith,” he said, “do you believe everything you read?” At age 18, ever eager to please in a dumb bunny kind of way, I said, “Yes!” The professor replied, “No! Never believe everything you read. You need to learn to think.” It is advice we all can heed when considering the lady or the tiger, the gold sticker or the gold standard. Fifty-five years down the road, I’m still learning. VS

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VITAL’s Guide to Companies, Art Spaces & Venues Who they are and how to find them COMPANIES ACACIA THEATRE COMPANY 414-744-5995 AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHILDREN’S THEATRE 414-461-5771


IN TANDEM THEATRE 414-444-2316





MACDOWELL CLUB 414-771-5832





CREAM CITY CHORUS 414-276-8787


DANCECIRCUS 414-277-8151


DANCEWORKS, INC. 414-277-8480

BAY PLAYERS 414-299-9040


BEL CANTO CHORUS 414-481-8801








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TENTH STREET THEATRE 414-271-1371 season.htm


U.S. CELLULAR ARENA 414-276-4545

PABST THEATER 414-286-3663




This guide is updated and available year round directly from our home page at

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Vital living eat this Back to School: Father & son lunchbox specials >>By Catherine McGarry Miller + Photos by Dane Hamas Vanessa Goodman and Erick Fisher met at the The Trellis in Williamsburg, Virginia, where they worked long hours for chef/owner Marcel Desaulnier, a James Beard Award winner and chocolatiere known as “The Guru of Ganache.”   Fisher apprenticed at restaurants while still in school in his ethnically diverse hometown of Long Beach, California. Devon Seafood Grill lured him to Philadelphia and then to Milwaukee in November 2006. Of their three children, Charlee, Erick and Chancellor, it is Chance, the youngest at 6, who has developed a passion for cookery.   When time allows, father and son are working on a cookbook together. Says Erick, “It’s his idea. He’ll ask me a question about something and I’ll make him go look it up and then we’ll make it together. He’s really into this cooking thing, no matter how hard I try to dissuade him. When I push him away, it just increases his hunger for it. This is a business that takes me away from my family a lot so you can’t be in it halfway – you have to be really good at it.”   To Chance, who started working with food at his Montessori school in Philly, it’s simple. “I just created stuff and didn’t use a recipe – it turned out pretty good!” He is still thinking of a title, but he does believe that his wraps are “very tasty.” VS

Chancellor FISHER’s Favorite Lunch Cucumber & Cherry Tomato Salad 5 medium cucumbers 1/2 cup sour cream 3 T mayonnaise 1 bunch fresh dill, stems removed 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes Salt & pepper to taste Peel each cucumber and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and slice each half into 1-inch sections (half moons). Place cucumbers in large bowl and add sour cream and mayonnaise and stir until blended. Add dill and blend well. Add cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper. Chill for about an hour. Bologna & Cheese Wrap – makes 4 wraps “Chance likes Lebanon Bologna – it is a tangy & tart beef sausage from Lebanon, PA. It goes really well with Swiss cheese and mustard. We haven’t been able to find it since we left the east coast, so you can substitute your favorite lunchmeat and cheese combination,” says mom Vanessa. 1/2 lb. Lebanon Bologna or Roast Beef 1/2 lb. Swiss cheese 1/4 cup low-fat ranch dressing 4 t mustard 4 leaves of Romaine lettuce 1 kosher dill pickle, sliced thinly Wash lettuce and let dry. Spread thin layer of ranch dressing and mustard on each wrap. Add meat and cheese, then lettuce and pickles, and roll tightly. Finish off this great lunch with a bunch of washed fresh grapes.

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Erick Fisher’s Grilled Veggie Chicken Sandwich Next time you’re grilling on the weekend, throw on a couple extra chicken breasts and the veggies for this weekday lunchtime repast. Use the veggie relish as an accent to any grilled meats. 1 5-oz. chicken breast, grilled 2 slices smoked mozzarella cheese 2 slices sourdough bread, grilled or toasted Grilled veggie relish to taste For Grilled Veggie Relish 1 zucchini, seeded and sliced 1/2” thick 1 yellow squash, seeded and sliced 1/2” thick 1 red onion, sliced 1/2” thick 1 tomato, seeded and sliced 1/2” thick 1 red pepper, cut in half Olive oil as needed 1/4 t Montreal seasoning (available in grocery stores) 1/2 t freshly-ground black pepper 2 t chopped fresh parsley 2 t Balsamic vinaigrette 1/8 t table salt 1/4 t granulated sugar Season each of the sliced vegetables with olive oil and Montreal seasoning. Place veggies on a hot grill to mark each side, 30-45 seconds per side. Place on sheet pan to cool. Dice cooled, grilled vegetables to half-inch dice. Place in mixing bowl. Add seasonings and vinaigrette and toss gently to coat. Place in a suitable storage container and chill.

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Let’s talk about (child) sex (uality) My oldest daughter turned 13 this summer, and she looks very much like she’ll look until she enters college. She may get a little taller and her figure a little fuller, but her features are all there now. Not one trace of baby roundness touches her anywhere. Lena is a beautiful young woman who turns the heads of young men everywhere she goes.   I see her watch herself in the mirror frequently, and remember doing the same thing at her age. She smiles, frowns, flips her bangs up and back down again. Turns to the side, looks at her tan lines from the summer. Stands on tiptoe to see if the back pockets of her jeans look good. Turns back around to make sure she’s just right before leaving the bedroom for the morning. She is blooming – it is apparent in everything she does. Clearly, she’s feeling the hormonal shift of the early teen years and trying to find her place in a world that suddenly seems supercharged with sexual energy.   Many adults believe that this is the beginning of sexuality in children – the early teen years when suddenly boys have leg hair and girls have breasts. But that’s simply not true. Human beings are sexual creatures from the beginning of their lives. It’s just that this is the first time their sexuality is immediately visible to the outside world. Birds do it, bees do it …   I know that it makes some adults uncomfortable to acknowledge that young children, even infants, are already sexual (though certainly not ready to be sexually active for a very long time). But it makes sense, biologically speaking. Though humans have socially, economically and intellectually evolved to a place where baby-making isn’t the primary goal for many, it is our most basic biologic function. Like every creature on earth, we were put here to propagate.   That’s why it feels good to touch and be touched. Just ask any fivemonth-old baby who manages to grab at his or her genitals during a diaper change. This isn’t an early perversion showing itself. It just feels good. Babies in utero are seen touching themselves frequently during ultrasounds. The drive to reproduce is deep in every race, including ours.   Toddlers, preschoolers, kindergartners and grade schoolers are all, to some degree, exploring their own physical selves, and sometimes the physical self of someone else, too. (“Wanna play doctor?”) This discovery process is normal and healthy. It gives our children the ability to claim their bodies for themselves, so that later, when it’s time to share with someone else, they feel a sense of ownership and therefore the right to say “No” when they don’t want to be physical.

healthy, appropriate limits as our child is able to understand and comply. With self-exploration, this is usually in the early toddler years. It’s not so hard to say in a positive voice, “We only touch ourselves in private. You should go do that in your bedroom.” It’s an early boundary, but an important one.   There is another really important boundary to set early. Tell your child exactly who is allowed to touch their genitals and why. This can be done in a positive way, too. “It’s your body. Mommy and Daddy can touch you there to clean you up, and the doctor can touch there if you’re hurt. That’s it.” While your 22-month-old probably won’t understand all of that, she will by the time she’s three. And she will have heard it for so long, it will already be a written-in-stone law of the house. Stay positive   Of course, there might be times when that law gets broken during the normal sex play that most kids engage in. At some point during the grade school years, it’s likely that your child will explore their body with another child.   As long as it’s clear that both/all children were consenting, there is no need to be angry. As a matter of fact, anger will likely just instill shame or fear about sex. Instead, firmly restate the family rule about only touching ourselves, and only in private. Assuming the kids involved still want to play together (there’s no reason they shouldn’t!), plan activities where you’re directly participating. Craft or baking projects, trips to a wading pool or park and family games are all fun things you can do together.   It seems like there are so many things to teach our children, all the time. When they reach adulthood, we want them to like vegetables and work hard and volunteer for social organizations and vote responsibly and be happy and make other people happy and floss every day and keep their first apartment clean and, and, and … Teaching our children about positive sexuality and to love and respect their bodies is one more thing on a very long list, but it’s a very important thing. VS

House rules   So, what’s a parent’s part in this process, aside from being the dismayed mother or father who really can’t have Jimmy playing with himself in the living room during a dinner party? It’s tough. I have tried hard to give my children a sense of positive sexuality without shame. Still, there were a few months during potty training when I thought I might explode if I saw my son leading himself around by the penis one more time!   Just like with most things in child-raising, we have to start placing

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Vital’s Picks  >> By erin lee petersen

Milwaukee LGBT Film Festival September 4-14 – Various Locations The Milwaukee LGBT Film Festival is finally legal: for 21 years, it has brought scores of brilliant documentaries, shorts and feature films made by and about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community. The 11-day festival opens at Milwaukee’s dreamy Oriental Theatre with Tom Gustafson’s Were the World Mine, a magical film about Timothy, a young gay man trying to stay sane amidst the “heterodrudgery” of high school life. The film takes a whimsical turn when Timothy is cast as Puck in the school’s adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and conjures up a love potion that gives him the power to make the most of his world. Described as a mixture of “gay longing, antic comedic complications, romantic fantasy and a certain John Waters naughtiness”, this film promises to be an intriguing, fantastical start to the rest of the festival. 414-2294758 or Oktoberfest Weekends, September 5-21 The Bavarian Inn Germans take their beer very seriously. In fact, they cherish it. And they know their stuff – Germany has the world’s third-largest annual beer consumption rate per capita (behind the Czech Republic and Ireland). Since 1516, brewers have strictly followed the Reinheitsgetbot, a purity law that allows only the ingredients barley, water and hops to be used in the creation of beer. Though minor changes have since been made to the law, the quest for quality remains. Come to Oktoberfest and taste for yourself! This annual event, held at lovely Heidelberg Park, is three weekends of authentic German cuisine, dancing, singing and of course copious amounts of that refreshingly frothy brew. At last, an excuse to wear your lederhosen in public - not that you needed one. 414-604-1000 or Indian Summer Festival September 5 – Henry Maier Festival Park Gosh, is it autumn already? Though it seems the summer flew right past us, you can still take advantage of these last few blissful days at Milwaukee’s own Indian Summer Festival. Sidle down to the lakefront for three days of fun in the sun at North America’s largest American Indian festival. This year’s theme honors our neighbors to the North, focusing on the indigenous peoples of Canada with tribal music and performances. The main attraction is, of course the Pow Wow, which takes place each

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day of the festival. This age-old tradition allows you to experience the richness of American Indian culture through tribal dances, songs and storytelling while members of different tribes compete for top honors in a variety of categories. Take a walk through the “Natural Path” area of the park to learn about traditional healing methods and herbal medicines used in Native American culture, plus see live demonstrations of practical and artistic skills like beadwork, basket weaving, pottery and bow and arrow making. If all that fails to entice, then we’ve got one word for you: frybread. Top it with honey and thank us later. Le Cirque: 9th Annual Fundraiser for Alliance Francaise September 7 – Charles Rollins Manville Mansion An evening of Cirque du Soleil-inspired fun awaits at the Alliance Francaise’s 9th annual fundraiser. The event takes place at the historic Charles Rollins Manville Mansion and features music from the world-famous circus, along with a selection of fine wines paired with cuisine from award-winning North Star Catering. The live auction includes a one-week stay at a private Italian villa overlooking Lake Como (which just happens to be across from George Clooney’s house – yowza!) or a week-long stay at a stately mansion in the beautiful English countryside. Scoring a ticket to this event will run you $125, but promises an evening nothing short of spectacular. 414-964-3855 or Women of the Book: Mirta Kupferminc and Shirah Rachel Apple September 10 – Inova Gallery Books are seemingly simple objects, collections of printed or blank pages held together in one neat package. As new technology replaces some of our more organic routines, one wonders whether the book is becoming an archaic medium, whether it has the chops to stand up to the wave of the future. And yet for many, books – especially scripture and scriptural texts – are central to daily life. Women of the Book pairs two artists from opposite ends of the Western Hemisphere and explores the symbolism and power of books through the conduit of Jewish life and culture. Mirta Kupferminc is an internationally known printmaker from Argentina and Shirah Rachel Apple is a Milwaukee-based mixed-media and installation artist. The show focuses on Kupferminc’s elegantly made artist’s book Borges and the Kabbalah: Paths to the Word, which features original etchings and aquatints. Apple’s work is

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highly informed and inspired by books and words, and she is also creating site-specific installations that respond to Kupferminc’s etchings and bookwork. This is definitely a must-see exhibit, as UWM is the only current U.S. institution to house this work. 414-229-5070 or Global Union Music festival September 13-14 – Humboldt Park This two-day event brings musicians and artists from around the globe right to our own backyard, turning Humboldt Park into a who’s-who of world music. One of the last great (and FREE) parties of the summer, Global Union showcases an eclectic mix of performances, including Carnatic-style guitar tributes to Jimi Hendrix, traditional Russian music and village vocals with a tinge of American folk, and a Cuban jazz flutist, to name a few. Bring the whole gang (young and old), a lawn chair and a picnic lunch. You can even bring your dog (leashed, of course). Don’t like to plan ahead? The festival features food, beverage and arts and crafts vendors aplenty, and dancing is strongly encouraged. VITAL Source is a proud sponsor. Need we say more? Frank Mots International Kite Festival September 13-14 – Veterans Park Don’t be alarmed when you see two humongous octopi looming over the lakefront this weekend. For 30 years, the Frank Mots International Kite Festival has been lighting up the skyline with graceful kites from around the world. The fest kicks off on Saturday afternoon with the mass launch of 500 kites, and professional kite teams (we think it’s awesome that there are professional kite teams) will be in the park all day staging dazzling aerial performances. Sometimes, the simplest pleasures are the most fun, so what are you waiting for? Go fly a kite! 414-305-3145 or Ride on the Wild Side September 14 – Milwaukee County Zoo Grab your wheels and scoot down to the zoo for a good-old fashioned ride. Bring the kiddies for a 2.5 mile ride or try one of two distance rides (17 or 27 miles) that start in the zoo and continue along the Menomonee River Parkway. The entry fee scores you breakfast, lunch, a long-sleeve t-shirt and zoo admission, and proceeds go to taking care of all the beloved animals housed within the Milwaukee Zoo. Plus, you get to ride your bike IN THE ZOO. How awesome is that? 414-771-5500 or

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Lions, tigers and ... octopi? Kite Fest 9/13

Hidden River Art Festival Sep tember 19-21 – Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts Over 80 Wisconsin artists will feature their work at this third-annual arts festival. Bring your family and friends out to Brookfield’s Mitchell Park to support regional artists and peruse local photography, sculpture, textiles, jewelry and ... well, the list goes on and on. If you’ve been bitten

Milwaukee River Challenge by the creative bug, this three-day festival lets you explore your own artistic tendencies with September 20 – Milwaukee and workshops, artist demonstrations and hands-on Menomonee Rivers activities. A highlight of this year’s fest is their Once again, Manpower Inc. brings us a rip-roaring first-ever Emerging Artists gallery, featuring work race up Milwaukee’s rivers. Olympic, US National by Wisconsin’s best and brightest up-and-comers. Team, collegiate and club rowers from across the Check out our video interview with Seventh Floor nation will convene in Milwaukee for a 2.5-mile Studios in Milwaukee at 262- race on the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers that passes under 16 bridges in the heart of our 781-9470 or city. These bridges, downtown restaurants and the 2008 Tomato Romp River Walk offer spectators a spectacular vantage September 20 – East North Avenue point to view the race and get an up close look at Since they were first cultivated by the Aztecs, the passion of these dedicated rowers. milwauketomatoes have been touted as the world’s favorite fruit. Packed with Vitamin C and loads of antioxidants, these delicious berries – that’s Center Street Daze right, they’re berries – are even known to help September 20 – Riverwest fight cancer. This month, we salute the tomato in For the past 10 years, Center Street Daze has helped true Milwaukee fashion with the East Side Tomato us bid a fond farewell to summer with a ridiculously Romp and Bloody Mary competition. Bars and ven- fun street party. This year promises the same with dors will be on site selling their tomato-related a day full of bands, beer and so much more. The wares, plus there will be street performances and highlight of the day is undoubtedly the infamous a giant tomato fight! How many shaky weekend Art Cart Race, a “thrill-a-minute” dash to the finish mornings have you spent looking for the perfect line featuring hand-made human powered go-karts. Bloody Mary to cure what ails you? Look no further, Last year’s race lit the streets on fire – literally. boozy friends: area bars will be on hand offering Stick around after the races to peruse the street their take on this delicious hangover cure for your where you’ll find art, crafts, books, food & drink, live sampling pleasure. This is an all-ages event and bands playing all day long and general tomfoolery. tickets for the Bloody Mary competition are only It’s worth the short jaunt to Riverwest and a great way to spend the last few days of summer! 5 bones!

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Briggs & Al’s Run & Walk for Children’s Hospital September 20 – Marquette University Over the past 31 years, this hallmark event has raised over $9 million to benefit Children’s Hospital. Choose from an 8k run, a 3- or 5-mile walk or wheelchair event. It’s a great way to get some exercise and show your love for an important cause. 414-266-1520 or Art in Flux September 20 – 811 E. Vienna The creative minds at Flux Design have been making their mark on Milwaukee for over eight years, transforming the city’s hottest spots into works of art. Catch their distinctive style at local haunts like Water Buffalo, Eve and the wonderfully organic Roots Restaurant and Cellar. Co-founders Jeremy Shamrowicz and Jesse Meyer share the love with this annual benefit, creating original art and then auctioning the pieces off in support of MIAD’s academic programs. The event features large-scale steamroller prints created on-site, while MIAD alumni fabricate mixed media sculpture live for your witnessing pleasure. All art created at the event will be offered in a silent auction throughout the evening, with delectable eats (courtesy of Water Buffalo) and a cash bar! 414-906-1990

Milwaukee Noise Fest September 25-27 – The Borg Ward The name says it all. A slew of Milwaukee (and surrounding area) bands bring you Noise Fest 2008, three days of experimental music to blow your mind – or at least create bubbles in your brain. Expect the unexpected when you head down to the Borg Ward for music that crosses genres from psychedelic to ambient, metal to industrial. Each day is sure to sate your discordant cravings, put you in a trance and most likely make your body move like it’s never moved before. Highlights of the fest are a reunion show by Boy Dirt Car and a performance by the one-woman noise act Nummy. She’s not even 18, but she rocks pretty hard. Tickets are $10 per day or $21 for a three-day pass. milwaukeenoisefestival. Mondo Lucha September 27 – Turner Hall Ballroom What do you get when you combine swingin’ rockabilly, burlesque dancers, acrobats, carny madmen and luchadors performing aerial wrestling stunts? Take a deep breath, Milwaukee, and prepare yourself for Mondo Lucha, a one-nightonly vaudevillian extravaganza! During this three hour show at historic Turner Hall Ballroom, you’ll see live performances by our very own Uptown Savages, psychotic stunts and skits courtesy of

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Lucha libre in the heart of Milwaukee 9/27.

the Dead Man’s Carnival and burlesque acts from across the Midwest shakin’ and shimmyin’ all night long. But wait! There’s more! Throughout the night there will be high-flying lucha libre-style wrestling matches – masks and all! Word on the street says that the Brew City Bruisers might event step into the ring, but you’ll have to find out for yourself. Save the date!

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Vital culture music reviews Calexico • Carried To Dust Quarterstick Records • Someday, the members of Calexico will be considered trailblazers. While they travel through the terrain of Latin, folk, indie, country, western, film score and rootsy rock, they possess the uncanny ability to pick up pieces of these landscapes and simply bring them along to their next destination. They also possess a profound gift to weave all of these sonic threads into wonderfully cohesive textures, and Carried To Dust, their sixth collection proper, is their most ambitious tapestry yet.   Opening with the Latin sprite of “Victor Jara’s Hands,” they deftly ease into “Two Silver Trees,” the first song to offer a faint whisper of vocal delivery. Unfortunately, this voice is used too much throughout the rest of the songs. “Inspiracion,” upbeat with bountiful horns, is a highlight among many, and “Contention City” is a beautiful lullaby soaked in melancholia. The production and instrumentation are exceptional, and a multitude of guest musicians – including the stellar Pieta Brown, Iron and Wine’s Sam Beam, and Willie Nelson sideman Mickey Raphael – add tastefully plaintive touches that pique the emotion.   Erstwhile travelers, explorative craftsmen, and artisan weavesmiths: Carried To Dust is the embodiment of genuine expression that proves Calexico is all of these. It’s a recording of the highest caliber, featuring gales of dusty ruminations sun-steeped in experience and empathetic storytelling. – Troy Butero

Static Thought • The Motive for Movement Hellcat Records • Here’s a secret about music reviewers: a lot of them are incredibly lazy. It’s easy to understand sometimes; there are only, for example, so many hardcore and street punk bands one can hear before one reads a press release with quotes like “this album is ultimately about unity [and] deals with a lot of important topics such as sexism in the punk scene” and automatically assumes that they’re in for a cast-off from the glory days of Maximumrocknroll. Heck, why bother to listen to the CD when the review writes itself?   That’s part of why The Motive for Movement, the second album from (MRR homebase) Bay Area punks Static Thought, comes off as surprisingly

34 | music reviews | Vital Source | vital culture

refreshing. Instead of sounding as musically predictable as their politics, the album leads off with a blistering sub-two-minute jam (“Faces”) that evokes the Rollins Band (if Hank had done time in Fugazi first), then ends by referencing early (Bay Area predecessors) Metallica on the shredtastic “Conquest of Saints.”   The two tracks bookend a mish-mash of punk-centric musical styles (even throwing in an appropriate ska outro on “Third World”). At times Static Thought seem to be throwing every genre at the wall to see what sticks, but effectively enough to hold the listener’s attention during the few times the album veers dangerously close to stale punk riffs and shout-alongs.   The album clocks in at a brisk 30 minutes, long enough to make its point, throw the kitchen sink at you, and get the hell out. The Motive for Movement is a solid take on punk rock in an age where its conventions have nearly been exhausted. It’s engaging, intelligent, thought-provoking rock ‘n’ roll. Good thing we reviewers actually sometimes listen to the CDs, eh? — DJ Hostettler

Stereolab • Chemical Compound 4 AD • The avant-garde has always been the comfort zone for Stereolab, the lounge-y, psychedelic pop/rock outfit whose ardent fans are enamored with the untraditional krautrock sound, blending odd ‘60s-style department store music with fuzzy guitars, the famous ‘motorik’ time signature and the uninflected English/French vocals of Laetitia Sadier.   Sadier and co-writer Tim Gane have paired with string and brass arranger Sean O’Hagan (High Llamas) for this release – an odd melding of styles that is even more symphonic, pastoral and spritely than ever. Still, there’s not much differentiation from prior albums. Like a run-on sentence with a giant semicolon after 2004’s Margerine Eclipse, Chemical Compound jumps back into the same subjects and the same quirky song titles (“Cellulose Sunshine,” “Daisy Click Clack,” “Vortical Phonotheque” and “Neon Beanbag”) – a tribute to Gane’s eccentric, electronic, surrealisticdreamland mind.   Chemical Compound might be telltale, but it’s solid, with the excellent “Neon Beanbag” leading off the set, its fidgety organ buzzing insect-like in the background, the tempo uplifted into airy and snappy heights. The more voluptuous, brass-induced follower, “Three Women,” is a brain re-charger after the nervous energy of the lead track. The rest of the CD equalizes itself in similar fashion, and its middle track “Valley Hi” possesses enough energy to carry the rest of the album, with bell-like guitars, uptempo percussion and a warbling but sturdy piano layer. Stereolab shouldn’t be faulted for not being innovative, but perhaps could be chastised for creating their own sticky mess by being too clever before their time and all too happy to stay put. Good for them that it doesn’t seem to be a conundrum, and good news for those who appreciate consistency. – Erin Wolf

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music reviews Vital culture The Silent Years • The Globe Defend Music • Maybe it’s time pop music got a little more contemplative. It’s all in good fun to keep the party going, and no one wants to be a walking rain cloud, but maybe the only frontier left for the genre lies in the gap between metallic truth and blinding possibility. To muster all your courage and face up to your existence, greeting it with “Hello, I don’t believe we’ve met,” seems a task for the theologians and philosophers. But The Silent Years make this a mission for the common folk, binding melody to wonder with their most recent release, The Globe.   There’s depth in the simplicity and quirky straightforwardness here that will no doubt invite comparisons to Nada Surf or the Shins. Lead singer Josh Epstein makes bizarre observations and realizations that evoke everyday conversations without sounding like a burnt-out Malkmus-ian knock off. Whether in the sunny bounce of “Someday” or the almost withdrawn folk of closer “Lost At Sea”, The Silent Years present an outlook of comfortable uncertainty, never pressing agendas and always looking for input.   And for all its accessibility and spunk, there’s not a single note played to be a selling point. There’s a candor in the songwriting and a purpose in the band’s delivery that’s undeniable. The Silent Years are the real deal, and they invite us all to search for meaning beyond our doorsteps. “May we all find something in this. Hallelujah!” Amen, dude. – Kyle Shaffer

breathy almost-barks and hostile finger snaps carry it and give it edge. Likewise, “Jungle Drum,” a scat about the thrill of new love, and “Ha-Ha,” a scoff at a washed-up former lover, are extravagant originals that make it apparent that Torrini is not in denial about her onomatopoeia obsession.   Less extreme opener “Fireheads” and the sexy island-vibe title-track still show Torrini in good form, but “Big Jumps,” which plays like Jack Johnson, is too radio-friendly. If she wants to keep her cred, and comparisons to Björk, Torrini should dial down the pop and keep barking, snapping, scatting and scoffing though her next release. – A.L. Herzog

Emilíana Torrini • Me And Armini Rough Trade • Icelandic songstress Emilíana Torrini is not Björk, but she certainly sounds like her. It’s not just her heritage or soprano, but her irreverence and eclecticism, too. Torrini’s voice is quirky and youthful, yet emanates street-smarts, which also brings anti-folk singer Regina Spektor to mind. Unfortunately, Torrini is best known for contributing a track for the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers ending credits.   Not a Peter Jackson fan? Then Torrini has probably already slipped two full-length critically acclaimed releases over your head. Hopefully her third release to the U.S., Me And Armini, will reach an audience beyond geek.   To the effect of “Gollum’s Song” from LOTR, “Birds” and “Bleeder” are moody and stunning, but what makes Torrini worth listening to is her affinity for the weird and witchy. Though “Gun” features a riff so close to the O’Jay’s “For the Love of Money” that it sounds like Donald Trump is at the door, its

vital culture | Vital Source | mu sic reviews | 35

Vital culture record releases September 2 Apollo Sunshine Shall Noise Upon World’s Fair New Kids on the Block The Block Interscope Underoath Lost in the Sound of Separation Tooth & Nail UNKLE End Titles … Stories for Film Surrender Brian Wilson That Lucky Old Sun Capitol Young Jeezy The Recession Def Jam

September 9 Joan Baez Day After Tomorrow Bobolink/Razor & Tie Eric Benét Love & Life Warner Calexico Carried to Dust Touch & Go Kimya Dawson Alphabutt K Fujiya & Miyagi Lightbulbs Deaf, Dumb + Blind Recordings LL Cool J Exit 13 Def Jam The Lovely Sparrows Bury the Cynics The Rebel Group

Magic Slim & The Teardrops Midnight Blues Blind Pig

Inside Recordings Cold War Kids Loyalty to Loyalty Atlantic

Metallica Death Magnetic Warner

Nikka Costa Pebble to a Pearl Stax

Joan Osborne Little Wild One Plum

Kings of Leon Only By the Night RCA

The Sound of Animals Fighting The Ocean and the Sun Epitaph

Koufax Strugglers Doghouse

Dar Williams Promised Land Razor & Tie

September 16 Marc Broussard Keep Coming Back Atlantic George Clinton Gangsters of Love Shanachie Lindsey Buckingham Gift of Screws Reprise James Hey Ma Decca Portugal. The Man Censored Colors Equal Vision Darius Rucker Learn to Live Capitol Nashville The Veronicas Hook Me Up Sire

Jenny Lewis Acid Tongue Warner Leona Naess Thirteens Verve Forecast Plain White T’s Big Bad World Hollywood The Pretenders Break Up the Concrete Shangri-La Music

September 30 Ani DiFranco Red Letter Year Righteous Babe Dressy Bessy Holler and Stomp Transdreamer Ben Folds Way to Normal Epic Jennifer Hudson s/t Arista

September 23

Taj Mahal Maestro Heads Up

Elvin Bishop The Blues Roll On Delta Groove

Mercury Rev Snowflake Midnight Yep Roc

Jackson Browne Time the Conqueror

Todd Rundgren Arena Hi Fi Recordings

36 | september releases | Vital Source | vital culture

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funny page news + Views drawing from memory

get your war on

>>by dwellephant

>>by david rees

vital source | news + views | funny page | 37

wild >> words by matt

If you’re in love with value, then I’m in love with you What happens when two of Milwaukee’s best bands decide to play a Saturday afternoon show at 7 Mile Fair? Turns out, not much. Items discussed in the following column: ridiculous flea markets, drugs, top-flight dental insurance, the unashamed prolonging of youth. It’s a gorgeous day at 7 Mile Fair and I’m staring at a Scarface beach towel that looks like it could cover half the city of Miami. I’ve just come from a productive visit to the helpfully named House of Socks, and before that, a booth offering not only pony rides, but a chance to have your picture taken with a real live monkey. Zack Pieper – of local rock outfit the Trusty Knife – walks up beside me, sipping a beer and smoking a cigarette. His band has just finished setting up on a small outdoor stage located between the bathrooms and a building offering everything from old slot machines to alligator-skin cowboy hats. Surveying the scene, Zack shakes his head and sighs. “This is what happens when a joke goes too far.” Ah, 7 Mile Fair, a place where the joke always goes too far. (Note: I have no idea what that means, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?) Outdoor booths bursting with fresh produce and grilled corn-on-the-cob sit peacefully next to tables full of used auto parts and off-brand electronics that would make even Radio Shack blush. Live animals dot the sprawling grounds here and there, as well as stands up to their proverbial eyeballs in assorted junk and strangely ubiquitous Scarface merchandise. The brainchild of Michigan-born entrepreneur Charles Niles, the Fair is a place that – according to the official website – built in 1961 on a foundation of “simple trust and a hearly [sic] handshake.” Forty-seven years later, I’m here to witness the Trusty Knife and fellow Milwaukee funsters Crappy Dracula play on a whim to a diverse and unsuspecting crowd. A proud tradition of trust and hearly handshakes hangs in the balance.

The Knife, the Vampire and Matt Wild’s hand at 7 Mile Fair

As expected, there’s not exactly a ton of interest in lo-fi psych rock (Trusty Knife) or abrasive, Dead Milkmen-inspired snot rock (Crappy Dracula) from the 7 Mile crowd. The few people lingering near the area walk off with a shrug as the music begins, while the occasional passerby gives nothing more than a raised eyebrow and a puzzled glance. An old woman appears early on and politely asks if the darn racket can be turned down a little. A Hispanic couple takes a short breather near the stage while their daughter jumps to the music. All in all, it’s an enjoyable and ultimately uneventful afternoon, just a bunch of Milwaukee indie-rock goofballs (myself included) entertaining themselves at the largest outdoor junk store in the Midwest. After sneaking off to the parking lot for a quick, um … breather, I wander through the fairgrounds, wondering just what in the hell is really going on. Here I am, a 30-year-old man (gulp), spending the day with my friends as they play music at a goddamned flea market. Is this somehow irresponsible of me, somehow shameful and embarrassing to be stretching a lost and misspent youth this far? No, I quickly decide, it is not. While this past summer has certainly seen me engage in an alarming amount of reckless behavior, I’ve always gone in with the protection of a wide-reaching safety net that only adulthood

38 | subversions | Vital Source | vital Living

can provide. Yes, I recently went ahead and got my front tooth knocked out (a story for another time, perhaps), but only with the knowledge that I had a solid dental plan waiting for me at home, as well as a life-saving friend willing to drive me to the dentist’s office a few days later. Isn’t that the sort of mix we’re all after: the idiocy of youth tempered by the rewards of responsibility? Adulthood with benefits? I don’t know, maybe I’m just kidding myself. But for now – pleasantly buzzed amongst miles and miles of jeans and mufflers and records and junk – I am decidedly unashamed. Making my way back to the stage, I arrive just in time to hear the Trusty Knife perform the final number of the afternoon, a 7 Mile Fair theme song written especially for the occasion: If you’re in love with value/ then I’m in love with you/ You can find it/ at the tables/ at 7 Mile Faaaaaiiiiir… Sure, the whole thing feels silly in the end – pointless, even – but as the bands pack up and get ready to leave, there’s a faint hint of victory in the air, a feeling that something has been accomplished, that an unspoken and unarticulated point has been proven. And if that sounds like the biggest load of bullshit you’ve ever heard, well, at least I got a good deal on some socks. With the last of the gear stowed away, Zack takes one final look around at the slowly emptying fairgrounds. “It feels like we just lost a bet,” he says. Funny, I was thinking the exact opposite. VS Matt Wild is in love with value. And he’s in love with you.

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puzzle page Vital source

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


Across 1 After name or price 4 Pitcher’s stat


7 Theater sign 10 Hat 13 Balloon filler 14 Henpeck

15 Bath location 16 Beer relative 17 Gem State tuber 20 Sucker

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

Clues: A=R Q=U 21 Bird’s home 22 Goddess of wisdom 24 Roman love god 26 ___ Lanka 27 Do as directed 30 Yarn 31 Colorful veggie 34 Coach Parseghian 35 Fodder 36 Baby Face ___ 37 Train track 39 Eye amorously 40 Somber 43 Buddy 44 Number cruncher, for short 47 Large red fruit 49 Temporary debt 50 Johnson of Laugh-In 51 Harvest goddess 52 Arm bone 53 Sad (Fr.) 56 Statuesque 58 Flightless bird 60 Yellow veggie with hard skin 64 Pouch 65 Negative joiner

66 Vichy water 67 Bemoan 68 Summer on the Seine 69 Roadsign abbrs. 70 Lingerie item 71 Family room Down 1 Clavell’s ___-Pan 2 Assist 3 Rolled oats with dried fruits and nuts 4 1961 space chimp 5 Absorbed 6 Back, in a way 7 Radio noise 8 Comic Buzzi 9 Wind instrument 10 Winter melons 11 Chicken ___ king 12 Gusto 18 Roll call answer 19 Late 23 Stately 24 Sweetsop 25 Disfigure

26 Navy commando 28 Conceit 29 Strong desire 31 Zoo heavyweight 32 ___-Saxon 33 Actress Barbara ___ Geddes 37 Direct elsewhere 38 Quantity (Abbr.) 39 Feedbag fill 40 Biz group (Abbr.) 41 Over (Poet.) 42 Salad starter 43 Writing material 44 Kale variety 45 Prospector’s need 46 Literary collection 48 Auto parts 49 Buell cartoon character, Little ___ 54 Authors Fleming and McEwan 55 Highlander 56 Romanov ruler 57 Water 58 Compass pt. 59 “Welcome” site 61 Beak 62 Take to court 63 Egg protector

august Crossword Answers

vital Living | Vital Source | puzzle page | 39

VITAL Source, Vol. 7, issue 8, September 2008  

It's VITAL's Fall Fine Arts Preview. Visually stunning and overflowing with everything you need to know to guide you through Milwaukee comin...