Ah, To Be There Again, And Twenty

Summerfest 2021 in Milwaukee announces lineup, with Jonas Brothers, Chance The Rapper, Miley Cyrus, 100 other headliners

You can get a good look at the big acts announced so far at the official site.

For a brief period that was a lot of my life at that point, say from 1987 to 1995 or 1996, I went to Summerfest every year, several times a year many years. Tickets were ten bucks then, but you could win tickets or otherwise get in free in a variety of ways, and then you would have to carefully plot your day so you could catch the best bands. Oh, the dilemma of some of the headliners: Queensrÿche or REO Speedwagon? Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers, or Ani DiFranco? ZZ Top or Living Colour? Not to mention the individual stage lineups that ascend from local bands to regional bands to national bands before the headliner.

Although, to be honest, looking at the lineup announced so far, I could have seen the bands that I would want to see in 2021 in 1995. Which clearly means they need a metal and a jazz stage.

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That Dolphin Show I Saw In Milwaukee

Last night, I was telling my oldest child about how my grandmother used to take my brother and I out of school for a day once a year, and she would take us different places in Milwaukee. She took us to the Milwaukee Art Museum, but she did that more than once and more than on the day with Nana because she managed the gift shop at one point and could get us in without charge. She took us to the Milwaukee Public Museum which had the Streets of Old Milwaukee exhibit. She took us to the downtown library, where you could check out an Atari 2600 and a game cartridge for blocks of an hour (and I foolishly picked Space Invaders, but my brother picked E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, so you can guess that was a long hour for us).

And one time she took us to see the dolphin show at the Public Natatorium. In Milwaukee. Probably in the winter.

We didn’t actually see the dolphin show; as it was a school day and we were the only kids in the audience, the dolphin trainer had us come help with the show. So we held up fish whilst the dolphins leapt and held up the hoops the dolphins darted through. Although after the end of the show, I was feeling comfortable with the dolphins and reached for it, but the dolphin chattered in a way that scared me, so I backed off.

I told my son the story, and then I went to the Internet to back me up on this.

OnMilwaukee has stories about the public natatoria built in Milwaukee in the latter part of the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries which include the first indoor pool in the United States. The Old Milwaukee blog has the rest of the story about how entrepreneurs briefly turned the last of the natatoria into a destination restaurant with the dolphin shows.

The dolphin shows. In a restaurant. In Milwaukee.

The past is an unbelievable place.

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A Classy Joint Brian J. Shall Probably Not Visit

Sip & Purr cat cafe opening June 1, and you’ll have to pay to cuddle with kittens:

The first cat cafe in Milwaukee, Sip & Purr, has set its opening date.

Customers will be able to cuddle with kittens, if that’s what you’re into, starting June 1. The cafe at 2021 E. Ivanhoe Place will have coffee, wine, snacks and, obviously, cats.

The cafe itself will be cat-free. Felines will stay in the Cat Lounge, where customers can choose to bring their small bites and sweet treats. Cats at Sip & Purr will be available for adoption from the Lakeland Animal Shelter.

Honestly, I don’t suppose it will last until my next trip home. And I’m not sure I’d want to explain to my beautiful wife about my visiting a cathouse. And even if I did, she’d be mad if I went without her.

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Another Summerfest Missed

In a stretch from high school to beyond college, I attended every Summerfest, the ten-day musical festival in Milwaukee. Most years I went multiple times. I saw a number of acts there, including Richard Marx, Warrant/Trixter/Firehouse, Poison, Steppenwolf, the Turtles, and so on.

However, I haven’t been back since because I’ve been at least 400 miles away and playacting at being an adult since then.

Every year, though, I look at the lineup and think, man, to be in Milwaukee again. And twenty.

This year, I’m torn as to which act I’m sadder to miss. As befits my musical taste, one is a hard rock act and one is a songbird.

A point of order for those of you unfamiliar with Summerfest: It opens at noon and the music starts shortly thereafter on ten or more stages scattered around the grounds. Bands play sets from then until about midnight. At seven or eight, the big show starts at the ampitheatre. Everything else is just a stage with some benches, picnic tables, and bleachers. Both of the aforementioned international acts are in those smaller stages. It’s not like the ampitheatre, where on July 9, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, and a host of smaller acts will take the stage.

So I’ll just have to console myself with YouTube videos.

Continue reading “Another Summerfest Missed”

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More National Attention, They Mean

Fate of Mary Nohl’s ‘witch’s house’ gets national attention:

The fate of Mary Nohl’s art environment in Fox Point, referred to be generations of Wisconsin teenagers as the “witch’s house,” made national news over the weekend.

An essay by Debra Brehmer, a gallery owner in Milwaukee and one of the leading scholars on Nohl’s work was published Friday at Hyperallergic, a widely read art site, the art world’s equivalent of The Huffington Post. The story went viral over the weekend. It has been “liked” more than 4,000 times and by Monday morning was listed as the site’s top story.

Well, how do you like that? Here at MfBJN, we’ve been writing about the Witch’s House since 2006 (see The Milwaukee Witch’s House, Whitney Gould on the Nohl House, and It’s Just As Well They’re Moving It; I’ve Forgotten The Way), and do I get accolades for drawing attention to this unique landmark? Of course not! I am no la-di-dah art critic writing for a niche publication.

Also, it is fair to say, I’ve not received 4000 likes in the eleven years I’ve been blogging.

But, to sum up: They’re still probably moving it; there’s not a lot of news on that front, although it has been reported on a niche art site.

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The Place My Paychecks Went To Die

On Milwaukee has a tour (from 2012) of an old, closed mall: Inside a ghost mall: Northridge sits quietly, unknown future ahead:

If you grew up in Milwaukee or have lived here for some time, you certainly remember Northridge Mall.

The 800,000-square foot former shopping center on the corner of 76th St. and Brown Deer Road sits just 10 minutes from River Hills, one of Milwaukee’s most affluent suburbs. Built by Herb Kohl and his partners, it opened in 1973, a virtual carbon copy of Southridge. And after a slow decline, it finally shut its doors 30 years later in 2003.

Back when I was at the university, my job was on 76th Street, so it was easy after clocking out on a Friday night and cashing a paycheck to hop on the number 67 bus to Northridge, where I could spend my less than a hundred bucks at Suncoast Video, Sam Goody, Babbage’s, Waldenbooks, and B. Dalton’s (yes, children, there were two bookstores in the mall in those days before Amazon.com. Sometimes, my friend Doug and I would walk a block to Camelot Music, which was a store in itself and larger than Goody. And at the end of the evening, I’d spread the loot on my bunk and enjoy all the prospects of the weekend to come. What first? The music? The books? The video games? The videocassettes?

It’s funny, now that I’m older and I can just get what I want if I want it that nothing really captures the anticipation I got from that.

Looking through the pictures of the empty mall, I can still tell where things were and where the pictures were taken.

(Link seen on Facebook.)

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Undoubtedly, The New Colors Will Be Silver And Black, And The New Logo Will Be A Deer Skull

The Milwaukee Bucks are getting a new owner a new look:

Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry said Friday in a radio interview that he and co-owner Wesley Edens are strongly considering a change in the team’s traditional colors of red, green and silver.

Lasry did not say what a new color scheme would be but said, “We’re definitely looking at doing that (making a change). It does need a little bit of help.”

The most drastic change is how Milwaukee’s going to be spelled Seattle.

(The title refers to a grudge I hold for the owners of the Milwaukee Admirals who bollixed the team’s colors and logo eight years ago.)

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It’s Just As Well They’re Moving It; I’ve Forgotten The Way

The Milwaukee Witch’s House is going places:

After more than a decade of sometimes acrimonious debates about its fate, the Mary Nohl House — the Fox Point cottage sometimes called “the witch’s house” — will be dismantled and moved piece by piece from its affluent neighborhood to a site in Sheboygan County, where the public can have ready access to it, the house’s owners said Thursday.

Back in the early 1990s, we’d cruise by that place late on a Saturday night and see the installation eerie by moonlight. But it’s been so long, I might not be able to find my way there any more. But there is going somewhere else.

(Read my essay on the Witch’s House and its story from 2006.)

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St. Louis Presumes Too Much

The city of St. Louis is about to hand the keys of its kingdom to some out-of-town company promising to make St. Louis just like a Real City by having music festivals, and some writer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch dares, DARES compare the music festivals to be named later to Summerfest in Milwaukee.

Friends, Summerfest in Milwaukee is the best music festival in the known inhabited planets of the galaxy. It has twelve hours of music daily for ten days in the summer, and it has, what, ten? A dozen? stages with acts running almost constantly from local bands in the early afternoon to regional bands in the early evening to a national act headlining each stage at night. And there’s a major national act at the Marcus Ampitheatre with attendant opening acts every evening.

How dare does a St. Louisian compare anything St. Louis and its out-of-state lackeys can produce to Summerfest?

Brothers and sisters, here is a potential list of national acts likely to play Summerfest this year.

Note that this list comprises the headline acts for the ground stages at the musical festival. Not the major acts booked to the Marcus Ampitheatre.


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Cannons Across The River

In the frontier days, before the American Civil War engulfed the entire nation and after the Revolutionary War turned Tories against Patriots, a smaller conflict erupted into violence between settlements in southeastern Wisconsin. Riots burned bridges that connected Kilborntown and Juneautown, two rivals on separated from one another by a single river. Tensions rose over the course of several years, culminating in the mustering of a cannon prepared to fire upon the enemy. Only a cool speaker with convincing eloquence prevented the neighbors from firing artillery upon fellow Americans.

The land at the meeting place of the three rivers had been visited by the white man for centuries, but by the early 1830s, the remaining Native American tribes had signed treaties to cede the lands. In 1835, these lands sold at an auction in Green Bay to land speculators. Two of the men, Byron Kilbourn and Solomon Juneau, created settlements on opposite banks of the river.

From the start, the two men and their towns were at odds as each tried to promote his settlement and land holdings at the expense of the other. No bridges connected the two towns, and Byron Kilbourn owned a number of vessels that brought trade and settlers to his side of the river—but nothing to Juneautown. The residents east of the river rankled as they were isolated. The founders of the towns even laid their settlements out such that the streets didn’t align to make bridge building easy.

In 1840, the territorial legislature decreed that the ferry system wasn’t adequate, and that bridges should be constructed to join the settlements. The settlements, though, didn’t want to join nor to spend their own money to make travel and trade easier for the enemy. Tensions rose even as the frameworks for the bridges did. By 1845, the simmering rose to a boil called the Great Bridge War.

In early May, a vessel on the river destroyed the Spring Street Bridge. In retaliation, residents of Kilbourntown destroyed the west end of the Chestnut Street bridge. An angry mob in Juneautown brought out the cannon, loaded it, and aimed it for Byron Kilbourn’s house on the other side of the river. As the ruffians were to light the fuse, a level-headed orator amongst them prevented them from striking the tinder, as Kilbourn’s recently-dead daughter lie in state in the home at the time. He prevented the firing, but not further violence. Other riots ensued, and the cannon made another appearance on May 28, 1845, as the Juneautown irregulars destroyed a bridge over the Menomonee River. Again, the east siders didn’t fire, but their efforts continued to impede the bridge builders.

For much of 1845, the two settlements and their ruffians used riots and skirmishes to make points. One crossing the river in either direction needed to be wary and often carry a white flag to pass safely. But the currents of progress carried the settlements downstream, to eventual agreement. In 1846, a greater city charter was ratified. The city of Milwaukee arose from the two warring settlements that had come but one impassioned plea from firing artillery at each other.

The effects of this dispute remain visible today. Bridges and drawbridges cross the Milwaukee River at odd angles to link streets built by two warring settlements in the middle of the nineteenth century, and the people from the West Side think the people from the East Side are crazy (and vice versa).

Further reading:

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A Very Cudahy Story

This is the Milwaukee I knew:

According to a police report Newsradio 620 WTMJ obtained, Darrell and Michelle Jaskulski walked in to Rollie’s Tap Tavern on South Packard Avenue in Cudahy late Saturday night.

The Jaskulskis claim that Eder started yelling at them and called them scum of the earth before ordering them to leave the bar.

Eder, however, claims the Jaskulskis became belligerent when they were asked to sign the recall petition and said they wouldn’t leave. Eder then asked the other people in the bar if they wanted the Jaskulskis to leave, and they said they did.

At some point another man, Brian Wachowiak, who was sitting nearby, told the couple that they needed to leave. Darrell Jaskulski approached Wachowiak and a fight started.

Michelle Jaskulski ran over and got into a fight with Wachowiak’s girlfriend Michelle Wirth. Police arrived a short time later and broke it up.

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Remembering Albert

Not Pujols, Albert the Alley Cat.

When I saw this LP Cover Lover post, I immediately recognized Albert the Alley Cat.

Albert the Alley Cat record cover

He was still appearing on WITI-TV, Channel 6, in Wisconsin when I was a kid, a throwback to the 1950s.

Here’s a Web page with his history, including a Real Audio version of the songs on the record.

It’s nothing important, but sometimes one does find a bit of his youth out there in the Internets.

(Unrelated link to LP Cover Lovers courtesy Dustbury.)

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One Of These Things Is Like The Other

Federal budget axe could fall in St. Louis, eventually:

The city of St. Louis could feel the burden of such a failure in cuts to community development block grants, relied on to provide a host of services from safety to streetlights to housing for the elderly and homeless. The city already is anticipating diminished funding for roads, as less federal money flows to states.

Also, a dramatic reduction in money for new rail projects has dimmed hopes of extending MetroLink any time soon. For the next two years, barring the unforeseen, the debt compromise this week provides a measure of stability for existing services. Anything beyond that, observed James Brown, who lobbies in Washington for the city of St. Louis, “is precarious.”

Report: State budget pushes Milwaukee County deeper into fiscal hole:

The new state budget has pushed Milwaukee County more than $21 million deeper into a fiscal hole, increasing the chances that massive service cuts could be needed to fill the gap, a nonpartisan local think tank says in a report being released Wednesday.

Transit, parks and social services all could be chopped, while layoffs and benefit cuts could be ahead for county workers, the Public Policy Forum report says in its preview of the challenges in crafting the 2012 county budget. For revenue, the county has one last chance to raise property taxes by $10 million, in addition to boosting fees and imposing a controversial wheel tax, the report says.

In both cases, Republicans at higher levels of government are trying to make the higher levels of government at the Federal and state levels spend closer to what they take in, and as a result we’re getting the opening notes of the penury that local governments run by Democrats will have to live in as a result.

Expect this particular symphony in a minor key to swell.

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Gun Control Advocates Were Right!

They said if Wisconsin got legal concealed carry, the blood would run in the streets. And they were right!

A 29-year-old social worker who has lived in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood for 10 years said he was punched in the face, a 28-year-old census worker said he suffered a black eye and a 28-year-old man who has also lived in the area for a decade saw a female friend thrown to the ground, beaten and her backpack stolen.

All three were among a group of friends at Kilbourn Reservoir Park Sunday night who say they saw a group of young people running in the park. They say the group threw bottles and beat several people.

Mark Peterson, 28, who owns a home in Riverwest, said he saw a female friend beaten.

“I saw her get thrown to the ground. There was blood all over her face. A guy swooped in and grabbed her bag she dropped when they threw her to the ground,” said Peterson, who said he was punched in the back of his head and his jaw.

Although turning Milwaukee into the Wild West, where law abiding citizens can strap on big iron to defend themselves and their town from the thugs who prey upon them, might actually represent a step up.

Also, it provides an experiment group to the Illinois control group. If these sorts of incidents decline in Wisconsin when people start getting concealed carry licenses, but continue at the same level or increase in Peoria and Chicago, it might prove something.

Global Warming, no doubt.

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