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Labor Day Weekend: the last hoorah

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August 27, 2014

By Cesar Gomez
Public Relations Intern

A couple on Milwaukee's lakefront

Summer 2014 sure has treated Milwaukee well.

Brew city celebrated the summer with many festivals, concerts, incredible food, and more than enough family and friends to keep us all in high spirits.

Fortunately, it isn’t over yet.

Let’s take advantage of this three-day weekend and close out the summer the right way: with good ol’ Milwaukee fun.

Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

Spend a day with the Milwaukee Rally, the Midwest’s largest free motorcycle rally. Taking place at various Harley-Davidson Dealers in Metro Milwaukee, swing by to celebrate hours of live entertainment, street parties, FREE concerts, tattoo contests and the largest Harley-Davidson Museum Bike Night of the year! Join the fun at the Harley-Davidson Museum, which will host several of the events all weekend long.

While you’re there be sure to catch the American Road exhibit, which closes September 2nd. Then, head over to the Art Museum for the Kandinsky exhibit. The series will also close Labor Day weekend.

Diners at Milwaukee Athletic Club

You can’t be caught wearing white after Labor Day according to some, so glam it up with your fanciest white attire on Friday’s Wear White Party presented by Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Milwaukee. Grab a few friends and enjoy drinks as you hit the dance floor. Afterwards, bring the party over to the Koss Lunar Music Series at the Milwaukee Athletic Club. This party doesn’t hold anything back - three bars, a sweet DJ, and a killer view of the city will get you up and moving.

End the weekend with a trip to Cedarburg for Maxwell Street Days. Browse through 800 vendors for a varied selection of antiques, fresh produce, flea market items and more! Don’t forget to close out summer with one last grill out. Round up the gang and enjoy some brats with a cold brew in hand.

Whatever the weekend brings your way, remember to sit back and relax amongst good company. After all, it is Labor Day. You’ve earned it.


Take a Walk (and Learn Something Too!)

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

By Jennifer Posh
Content & Copywriting Specialist

I’ve always heard that city dwellers don’t look up – the best way to spot a tourist is to see who’s gaping up at the sky. But after taking my very first tour of the city, I’d like to suggest that everyone spend some time checking out what’s going on over their heads…there’s a lot of cool stuff up there!

Historic Milwaukee offers a variety of walking tours throughout the week, with neighborhood-specific tours on weekends, specialty tours that occur once a year and even a skywalk tour that runs through the winter. I decided to take the “Downtown Thru the Eras” tour that’s offered every day to get a closer look at some downtown buildings. Since I work (and play) downtown, I drive or walk past historic buildings every day. Some of them I’m familiar with, but others are mysteries to me. I was excited by the opportunity to learn a little more about what’s around me.

The tour gathers in the Plankinton Arcade, the first-floor lobby of the Shops of Grand Avenue in front of the statue of John Plankinton – you don’t have to make a reservation beforehand, but booking online helps the tour guide know what to expect (you also are able to pay by a credit card there – guides can only accept cash or check in person). For a while, it looked like I might be the only attendee of my tour, but as nice as it would have been to get my own private tour of downtown, I was glad when two couples showed up to join us. They were all visiting from out of town, so I was the lone local on the tour!

We started off with some history on the Plankinton Arcade itself (did you know there was once a club in the basement with 60 pool tables?) then set off into the city. I don’t want to spoil too much of the tour, but let’s just say there were shout-outs to Gertie the duck, tales of the city’s founders and a look at some of the most gorgeous skylights you’d never suspect were hiding inside local ceilings. Our guide pointed out the flat roofs, rounded gables, intricate detailing and cuppolas that distinguish different architectural styles – see, I told you there was interesting stuff happening up there! The tour ends just in time to watch the wings of the Milwaukee Art Museum flap at noon. It would be the perfect time to go check out the museum or stop at Café Calatrava for lunch before heading back to your car or hotel.

I had a lot of fun on my tour (it didn’t hurt that the weather was stunning), and even as a local who’s pretty involved in Milwaukee I felt like I learned a lot. It’s always great to take a stroll downtown in lovely weather, and if you’re anything like me you’ll cherish having a new stable of fun historical “did you knows” to casually toss out to impress your friends and astonish your enemies (am I the only one who does this?). Whether you’re a visitor or a local, the Historic Milwaukee walking tours are a great opportunity to get to know the city better. Don’t forget to look up!


The American Road Exhibit Evokes Personal Vacation Memories

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Thursday, August 6, 2014

By Jill Hauck
Marketing Assistant

It’s time for a trip down memory lane, everyone! The Harley-Davidson Museum’s exhibit, The American Road, is a chance for you to take a road trip without leaving home and remember the good old days when the family packed up the car and headed out for its annual summer vacation.

The exhibit celebrates the rise of the road trip as an American ritual, starting in the 1930s when it became a popular vacation choice for many families.

My Dad, Bill Parrish, was a firm believer in mixing it up for our summer road trips. Over the course of my childhood, my family hit about 47 states. The trips were filled with games, songs and picnics at road side tables. I remember seeing all the billboards along the road in Arizona, which drew everyone into the tourist arena at Tombstone to witness the re-enactment of the shoot-out at the O.K. Corral.

When I walked into The American Road exhibit, the memories all came back to me. It was like walking back in time to my childhood. There were cars that looked like the ones my father owned, license plates that resembled the ones we counted on our trips and giant billboards that I recognized from the open road.

Harley-Davidson’s brand is based on strong family values and the importance of America’s open roads. The American Road exhibit is a great reminder of the importance of family, making memories and always being up for an adventure.

The exhibit runs through Sept. 1 so be sure to check it out!


Guest Blogger Kyle Cherek Talks Milwaukee Food Scene

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

By Kyle Cherek
Host of Wisconsin Foodie

There was a time, many decades ago, in Milwaukee's culinary history, when—much like America’s culinary reputation at-large—a comment about its depth and relevance would elicit a smirk. (Mind you, though the classics weren't always classics, Milwaukee did them well. It was a man from Milwaukee who invented the supper club; this unassuming city gave the world the fish fry as a Friday institution; and it “pioneered” beer pairings—wink, wink.) However, aside from a few high-style dining options, courtesy of its grand hotels and its strong German heritage, Milwaukee didn't paint too far outside the lines when it came to gastronomic variety, interest, or excellence.  

That all changed as the 1980s became the 1990s, when three nice Italian boys opened their eponymous restaurants. Sandy D' Amato (former chef/owner of Sanford) as well as Joe and Paul Bartolotta (brothers/owners of Ristorante Bartolotta) gave Milwaukee the spark which, in the course of a generation, has encouraged an inferno of creative cooking and transformed this city into an epicurean destination. 

Summer is one of my favorite times as a foodie to engage every corner of our city and its delicious fare—from elegant French to BBQ. The summer of 2014 heralded a “Best Chef: Midwest” James Beard Award-win by the current chef/owner of Sanford, Justin Aprahamian. To be lauded nationally, just as the summer season began, is simply more evidence of Milwaukee's ascendant dining scene. 

With the exception of Los Angeles and New York City, Milwaukee has opened more successful restaurants per capita during the recent economic downturn than any other city. The national press has become aware of our heat. It seems that every other week, friends from my favorite restaurants or bars tell me that the New York Times, Travel Channel, or Esquire has paid them visit and a compliment.  

Of course we have known just how good the eating is here for a long time. As good Midwesterners, I think we are apt not to brag much. My adage is that we don't wear our hearts on our sleeves, as other folks do; we just roll them up and go to work. And now the ‘other folks’ are noticing. 

With this kind of momentum, no doubt, the dining scene is only going to get better. There are more than a dozen interesting new restaurants slated to open in the next six months alone. Our neighborhoods are enlivened with great boutique chef/owner restaurants, and the fabric of our city is becoming ever more colorful. We are glad that the world at-large is catching on, but we are going to keep doing it here, for us, and make the rest of the world feel welcome when they come.


Raise a glass to Gemuetlichkeit at German Fest

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

By Jennifer Posh
Content & Copywriting Specialist

This weekend is my favorite weekend of the whole summer – it’s time for Milwaukee’s Original Haus Party: German Fest!

German Fest has been a tradition in my family since the very beginning – my parents got engaged at the third German Fest in 1983, so I guess it’s my family’s very first tradition! They’ve gone every year since, except for the year I was born (my birthday falls on or around the festival dates) – not a bad track record! I grew up loving German Fest, and even though I’ve since experienced a variety of other local festivals, this is still the one that holds my heart.

First, let’s talk about the food. Every year, German Fest fans chow down on more than 20,000 Usinger’s Brats, 5,000 chickens, 10,000 pounds of sauerkraut and five tons of potatoes made into delicious potato pancakes. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to delicious traditional foods! My top pick is always and forever spanferkel. When you see whole pigs roasting in a tent just outside the stand, you know that’s the place you have to stop. I only ever get my spanferkel fix at German Fest, so it’s the treat I go back to year after year.

German Fest Group of Friends Eating

Oh right – there’s also bier! Grab a boot and enjoy the special German Fest Bavarian Weiss Beer or an assortment of Miller on draft. If you’re not a beer fan, there’s also Schlink Haus wines, specialty liqueurs from Niche Wine & Spirits and freshly brewed European-style Kaffee (coffee). Whatever you choose, make sure you have a glass in hand to wave for a rousing rendition of “Ein Prosit”!

If you’re a polka fan, this is your moment to get up and join the dancing crowd (watch your step – some of these people look like polka professionals, and they can really move!). There’s nothing quite like a polka or some yodeling while at German Fest (I myself happen to be a proud third prize winner in the German Fest yodeling contest), but you’ll also hear a fun mix of fan favorites and modern cover songs from German “party band” Chikeria. New this year is the Jams on Tap concert series  – your ticket to see Three Dog Night ($15), Bret Michaels ($20) or Plain White T’s ($15) headline the BMO Harris Pavilion Stage also includes admission to German Fest.

German Fest Dachsund

Music and food aren’t enough for you? Get ready to say “awww” at the Dachshund Derby und Wiener Dog Costume Contest. Adorable dachshunds racing on their stubby little legs? Too cute. For those interested in German culture, the options are, unsurprisingly, vast. The Glockenspiel is a live performance that brings a German cuckoo clock to life – you won’t want to miss this crowd favorite. The Mardi Gras Royalty are also a highlight; you can catch them in the German Fest Parade or the Mardi Gras Show (both on Saturday) or just enjoy the stunning costumes as they wander the grounds. Plus, enjoy shows of traditional clothing and handcrafts, a genealogy exhibit and more.

See you on the lakefront for German Fest, 7/25-27. Prost!


Get your pong on at Evolution Milwaukee Gastro Pong!

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Tuesday, July 11, 2014

By Stephanie Castillo
PR Intern

For being born and raised in Milwaukee, I feel like I’ve experienced a lot of what the Cream City has to offer. I’ve been to the Domes. I’ve tailgated at Brewer games. I’ve even danced up on stage at Irish Fest. But Milwaukee, being the quirky city that it is, always has a way of surprising me with hidden gems. For example, Evolution Milwaukee Gastro Pong – Evo for short – a table tennis facility, bar and restaurant located in the city’s trendy Third Ward, 233 E. Chicago St.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to see what Evo is all about, when my boyfriend and friend were in town. The unique artwork on the building’s exterior immediately grabs your attention from the street and fits seamlessly with the artsy, stylish vibe of the Third Ward.

Evolution Milwaukee Gastro Pong

Upon arrival, I was seriously impressed by the sheer size – Evo has nearly 17,000 square feet of space, featuring 13 top-notch table-tennis courts, two bars, three private rooms, a pro shop, lounge and a full-service restaurant.

Evo Milwaukee Gastro Pong table

If this all sounds a bit familiar, you’re probably remember Evo under its former name, SPiN Milwaukee, which was part of the New York-based SPiN franchise. Evo changed its name back in February, when owners Scott and Susanne Mayer decided to take the business independent, so it could evolve with the community and become more Milwaukee-focused.

If you loved SPiN, don’t be alarmed – much of Evo’s offerings have remained the same. But now, they’ve amped up the menu to include more local food, and changed the walls to warmer colors to make it a bit less New York club-like.

Pro tip: you absolutely must check out the Wild Boar Rueben sandwich. Or, if you’re feeling something lighter, the Matzo Ball soup is also a fantastic dish.

Evo Milwaukee Gastro Pong jenga

My friends and I had a great time checking out the ping pong action, as well as playing with the giant Jenga set. We were also super pumped to find out that they have live music/DJs weekly – major bonus!

Evo Milwaukee Gastro Pong ping pong

Whether you’re a hardcore pong enthusiast, recreational basement player, foodie or just looking for a less awkward place to take that girl you met at the bar on a date, Evo’s got you covered. What are you waiting for, Milwaukee? Get your pong on!


9 Reasons why you need to visit Kandinsky: A Retrospective, today.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

By Chelsie Layman
Communications & Social Media Assistant

The Milwaukee Art Museum has opened its latest feature exhibition, “Kandinsky: A Retrospective”, which runs through Sept. 1, 2014. This exhibition features many works seen for the first time in the United States, including the massive Juryfreie Murals on display.  I had the pleasure of seeing the exhibition (five times, but who’s counting?) and here are the nine reasons why you need to visit today.

Pro tip: If you are tight on cash, or just looking to save some money the museum offers free admission the first Thursday of each month, thanks to Target.


9 Reasons why you need to visit Kandinsky: A Retrospective, today.

Buzzfeed has proven that everyone loves a good list, so here you go.

  1. “Kandinsky: A Retrospective” is an in-depth look at the career and life of Wassily Kandinsky, in addition to the works of some of his contemporaries.

    Wassily Kandinsky

    Wassily Kandinsky’s staff identification card from the Bauhaus, Dessau, 1926
    Photograph on board
    4 3/4 × 3 1/2 in.
    Centre Pompidou - MnamCci - Bibliothèque Kandinsky

  2. The exhibition features Kandinsky’s massive Juryfreie Murals for the first time in the United States. These murals were brought in on massive canvases and then unrolled and pulled to fit the walls of the room in the exhibition.

  3. Fun Fact: Kansinsky was said to have Synesthesia, meaning he heard colors. Many of his abstract works were inspired by symphonies and the colors he heard within them.

  4. COLORS! All of the colors

    Wassily Kandinsky art

    Wassily Kandinsky
    (Russian, 1866 – 1944)
    Small Worlds I (Kleine Welten I), 1922
    Color lithograph
    9 3/4 × 8 9/16 in.
    Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée national d'art moderne, Paris
    Bequest of Mrs. Nina Kandinsky in 1981
    AM 81-65-714
    © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI/ Philippe Migeat / Dist.RMN-GP
    © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

  5. Wassily Kansdinsky is credited with creating the first purely abstract works.

  6. Let’s be honest, you’ve probably heard Kandinsky’s name at least once in that required art appreciation class. Well, now is the time to go see his works up close and personal. While you’re at it, make it a guided tour and refresh your knowledge so you can school your friends on art.

  7. The exhibition includes a video of Kandinsky painting, which is a treat to watch (tip: try to imagine the colors if the video had been filmed in color)

  8. After taking in all of the amazing artwork, you are bound to be hungry. That means it’s time to head downstairs to the Cafe Calatrava to check out the menu coordinated to the exhibition, this food is almost too pretty to eat, almost.

    Cafe Calatrava

    © Milwaukee Art Museum



Fourth of July in Milwaukee

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Monday, June 30, 2014

By Stephanie Castillo
PR Intern

Brats on the grill, fireworks in the sky and red, white and blue everywhere – all these signs point to everyone’s favorite summer holiday, the Fourth of July! Whether you’re barbecuing ribs and enjoying sparklers in your backyard or taking in one of the many neighborhood parades, Milwaukee offers up countless options for celebrating Independence Day.

Kick off the weekend by taking in the Fireworks Kite Festival at Veterans Park on July 3. This fun festival will feature the Giant Kites of Yves LaForest. Families can enjoy flying kites from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. up until the fireworks start at 9:30 p.m.

You won’t want to miss the Downtown Milwaukee Fireworks later that night at Veterans Park, along Milwaukee’s beautiful lakefront just north of the War Memorial Center. Fireworks begin at dusk, approximately 9:30 p.m.

Looking for some good old-fashioned Independence Day fun? Check out Wauwatosa’s Fourth of July Celebrations. The parade begins at 9:00 a.m. from 80th & North Avenue and proceeds west to 104th St. Family activities and fireworks will take place in Hart Park.

If you’re not around Wauwatosa, look at this ultimate Milwaukee guide to find out when and where your local Fourth of July festivities are taking place.

You won’t want to miss this – world-class volleyball pros duking it out at Bradford Beach July 3 – July 6 for the AVP Milwaukee Open! Olympic stars Kerri Walsh Jennings, Phil Dalhausser, Todd Rogers, April Ross, Sean Rosenthal and Jake Gibb will all be there for a fun Fourth-of-July weekend of beach volleyball, music, food and other interactive activities. General admission is free.

Step back in time for the Old World Fourth of July at Old World Wisconsin from July 4 – July 6. Three days of old-fashioned fun, games and patriotic activities, like climbing the greased pole, ice cream making, pie-eating contests and tug-o-war – what could be better? Admission is $16 for adults, $9 for children, $14 for students and senior citizens and $43 for a family of four.

Calling all rockers! Spend your Fourth of July with iconic rock ‘n roll band Motley Crue as they give a concert at the Marcus Amphitheater during Summerfest. Don’t miss their Final Tour – grab your tickets now from the Summerfest box office, Ticketmaster or Walmart. Concert starts at 7:30 p.m.


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