Monday, July 29, 2013

Stay Confused: A Letter From The Lake

Dear Lovers,

I just wanted to say hello. Between constantly hugging you and vanishing into the distance, it's been a busy summer.

I've been reading the hieroglyphs scrawled on the break wall. When you're eyes stretch 22,300 miles and your guts are made of dinosaur dust and dead sailors you tend to be in the know.

So, I already knew the Desmond was gay.  But I'm glad you told me anyway.

Have you ever laid on your back and watched the white buoy tummy of a duck float by without a sound? That's the best. And it doesn't matter how many times they slip in--

the sailboats still tickle.

The precipitation has been constant: Plastic bag jelly fish. Driftwood limbs. Naked bottles.

I know when you've been to visit. It's always good to see you. I can hear you holding hands up there.

You've grown and I'm proud of you.

I just wanted to let you know that nothing and everything changes forever. You can put that up on your human fridge if it helps you remember. And I mean, the fridge you use for human food, not a fridge you keep humans in. That'd be weird.

I'm a lake. I don't have appliances. It's complicated.

But nature is complicated. And complicated is Beautiful.

That's math.

Stay confused, Lovers.

The Lake

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Milwaukee Movies: On The Verge

An excited crowd gathered outside of the Times Cinema this week for a screening of On The Verge: a crass and endearing chronicle of a tight knit trio of depraved poop-obsessed nymphomaniacs with hearts of gold.

It is a hilarious RomCom. If that RomCom was kind of like a porn you made with your friends.

Do not be mistaken--this is not to belittle the quality of the film. (It would be a high budget porn...) I just can't think of an awkward experience comparable to a group of embarrassed platonic friends watching pantomimed blowjob after pantomimed blowjob.

Get ready to squirm. And laugh. Hard.

As an unapologetic feminist, some of the expletives made me cringe. (So, don't see this movie with your grandma...unless your into that kind of thing). However, I truly appreciated director Pete Balistrieri's portrayal of female characters: these women are not delicate flowers. They are just as kinked-out and disgusting as men.

If dildos and rubber gloves aren't your bag don't fret, there is plenty of Milwaukee eye candy to enjoy. The film is sprinkled with beloved hangouts: Brady Street, Bay View, glittering vignettes of downtown and the lakefront blanketed with snow.

The momentum is maintained by a killer soundtrack of champion local bands: The Celebrated Working Man, Revolush and The Mellismatics to name a few.

Check out the On The Verge facebook page for more info and happenings.

Here's to shit getting weird. xo

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tips for Music Haters

"I HATE classical music."

A friend posted the statement on Facebook a while back, and I scrunched up my nose so hard it became part of my forehead. HATE classical music?  If classical grinds your gears, perhaps baroque or romantic tunes would tickle your fancy.  Do you hate classical music or orchestral music?

The proclamation drifted back into my transom while I was taking in a performance by the Florentine Opera Company at Alterra. Iced coffee? Check. Moon? Check. Cool breeze touching the leaves on the trees? Check. Charming company? Check. Selections from Carmen? Check.

Not wearing pants? Double Check.

In the warm fuzzies of my sensory euphoria I wondered, How could someone hate this sublime moment?

Growing up, the house had a soundtrack. We picked out music for everything: doing chores, dancing around half dressed, making dinner, sorting socks...

I have a vivid memory of my mother holding my little brother up like Superman and "flying" around the house to Ride of The Valkyries. (With a dust rag. Clever woman.)

There was squealing. And it was great.

We were extraordinarily lucky to have our first symphony experiences while we were in the single digits. I recall sitting in my velveteen seat in Uihlein Hall and being in such awe of the sonic tidal wave that is  The Great Gate of Kiev that all I could do was cry.

I have awesome parents.

Bonus fact: As a kid, I had a major crush on the principal violinist, Frank Almond. Total Music Babe.

While thinking on "hating classical music", of course it occurs to me that not everyone has a 26 year long flip book of incredible memories to tie to the experience of orchestral music.  

 I firmly believe it's perfectly okay for you to not like something you come into contact with.
This is America.

However,saying you hate classical music without ever really trying it is like saying you hate pizza without ever taking a bite.

And we know pizza haters are communists.

Milwaukee has some amazing opportunities for you to experience the arts. The Florentine Opera has been kicking out the jams for 80 years. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra blows the minds of 200,000 patrons every season. The Milwaukee Ballet is one of the best companies in the country--not to mention Michael Pink is a total bad ass.

The good news is you can use earth dollars to see ALL of it.

Before you spit it out and decide it's not for you, here are a few quick tips for the haters to make your orchestral music experience bearable...perhaps even pleasurable:

Spark Notes.
Listen to the selections before you go. Read up on the composers. You wouldn't see a movie without reading a synopsis, would you?

Protip: most of the guys who wrote this stuff were bat-shit crazy. There is some good reading out there.

It doesn't have to be expensive.
If you're worried about making an investment in something you won't like, try out some free shows.
Don't forget to embrace the power of the student discount!

 It's okay if you don't understand.
Not everyone in the audience is an expert in romantic languages or a music historian. It's cool if you don't understand everything that's happening. If you're worried about heavy or overly conceptual arty farty content, don't be.

It's the same stuff that's on the  radio: sex, infidelity, sex, partying, sex, death and sex. 

Humans are notorious for making art in an effort to get laid--this work is no exception.  You'll be fine.  

Make a movie.
I like to make mental music videos while I listen. Think about paintings or places that the music reminds you of. It could be fields of color or even weather you associate with the score. I always imagine a gentle snow falling on the audience when I hear this piece.

If you want to imagine a swarm of spider monkeys on a trampoline or two monks in a shoot-out, you can. 

There's no wrong way to enjoy it. And my final tip:

Don't be a wuss.
Try it. You might like it.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

costume of the week

In case you haven't heart, it's 100 degrees. So naturally, we put on war paint and ruin our clothes. It was a good week for the freak business, eliciting high-fives from strangers on the side walk. This weeks costume was assembled for a little lake side Opera on the surface of the Sun.

The ensemble: metallic pink blouse (Topshop) patterned bedazzled shorts (by me) gold sandals (Mossimo) dream catcher earrings (Parsons Trading Post) tortoise shell sunnies (Grandma)

Wildest Denim Dreams, how I covet thee. If their shorts were food, I'd order them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. But I'd have to sell one of my kidneys on the black market to afford a pair of jean underwear.

So I bedazzled that shit myself. Project total: $4.

Feeling utterly naked without stockings (I'd never actually seen my legs until recently),  I decided to balance the hippy-dippyness of this costume with a dramatic lip. This look was achieved with a coal eyeliner and plum gloss.

What are you wearing?

It's hot out there, kittens--
If it's nothing. I won't tell.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cake Whore: Favorite Desserts in Milwaukee

I am an Sweets Destroyer--A Junkie so utterly in Love with cake that I use it to mark time.

Most events in my life are linked to brilliant desserts:

Moms perfect brick of chocolate mousse for Mother's Day.
Glazed bunt gingerbreads for Christmas.
Grandmas famous blueberry studded Fourth of July Flag Cake.
Boston Cream Pie for Dad's birthday.
Cheesecake for my Sister's bachelorette soiree.
Fudge brownies for New Years Day and funerals.

All names for pets and people eventually turn into baked goods.

Drop-style strawberry shortcakes with real Chantilly whipped cream on hot nights.
Chilled rice pudding for breakfast.
Trophy-worthy layer cakes mounded with shredded coconut.

Every get-together was a smorgasbord for my habit. My mom deserves a medal.

Needless to say, I am often in need of a fix. I wanted to share the Cream City Dreamsicle's Guide to Desserts in MKE. Check out the map for a few of my favorite places to nibble:

CommunityWalk Map - Favorite Desserts in MKE

Click on the tags to check out the treats! Or follow the link to a more detailed treasure map.
Where are your confections of choice?

Dreaming of Sweets,

Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy Days: F*ck You

I had planned to craft another list of gorgeous things that occurred this week to share with you, but after stumbling across this condescending article by Traveler Extraordinaire Mary Ann Anderson of, I couldn't help but share.

Mondays are perfect for a little fresh hate.

"Before my first visit to Milwaukee, which was originally a side trip from windy Chicago just a short drive to the south, I had preconceived notions of the city. Breweries, beer, bratwursts, factories, "Laverne and Shirley" and funny accents.

But I was proven wrong. Well, except for the accents."

Doesn't it give you a warm fuzzy feeling in the cockles of your heart to know not only are 'Travel Authorities" basing their hypothesis about a city on TV shows from 40 years ago, but are being paid to write this?

It gets better. She waxes philosophical on the state of our fair city:

"Who knew Milwaukee would evolve into one jammed with culture, world-class restaurants and perhaps the ultra-coolest museum on the planet?"

Ultra-coolest. Congratulations on your discovery of the art museum. Yes, we here in Chicago's suburbs managed to used our cretin monkey hands to build buildings. We can  also tie our own shoes, make a decent sandwich and often make it to work on our own.

We are then given a insightful tour on par with a tri-fold brochure made for an 8th grade book report.
Seriously though, have you been to the art museum?  
Also, Cheese.

We complete our whirlwind tour with the shit syrup on the pretentious pancake stack:

"Nemetz even led us past a statue of one of Milwaukee's coolest fictional residents: Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli of "Happy Days" fame...While I may not have found Laverne and Shirley in Milwaukee, all those preconceived notions of the city were whisked away, and I give this Midwestern gem a Fonzie-cool two thumbs up."

As an ambassador of MKE, I am filled with joy to know that despite your utter misinformation, you managed to get drunk in my city.
Who's got two cool thumbs up and thinks you suck?

This girl. 


Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Costume of The Week

I get stopped by strangers all the time. I'm usually doing something extra glamorous like eating a hotdog, shopping for tampons or walking to work.  

"Where did you get that?" "I love you're hair!" "What are you supposed to be?" or my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE:

"I love your costume."

I do to! I thought it would be fun to show you my favorite costume from the week. I've had this "Beetlejuice Jacket" for about a million years and decided to give it a whirl.  Perfect on a summer night out for coffee and a rock show.

Beetlejuice Jacket and Jaguar T Shirt (F21) Leather and Chain necklace (Madam Chino) 
Denim Shorts (massacred Goodwill jeans) Bamboo Earrings (Parsons Trading Post) Doc Martins (Second Hand) Studded Purse (Second Hand Chicago) Shades (Brian Atwood via Fashion Farmboy)

What are you wearing?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Lost Journal: You Are Mine Now

Hundreds of bits of cottonwood fluff floated in the late day sun, suspended and protected from the flow of traffic beneath the bridge. Utterly serene. A perfect afternoon for a jog on the Oak Leaf Trail.

While plodding along, pink and sweaty,  I found treasure: a soggy open field note book. 

Without breaking pace, I scooped it up and continued down the path. A little rush of panic bloomed at the thought of losing my own journal and then my thoughts scuttled to remembering its exact location.

What if it's a list of people to kill? 
Or the beginnings of a novel? 
Last Will and Testament? 
Or the Kobainesque confessions of a mad genius living with a brutal disease?

I decided not to open it until I was in the privacy of my home, just in case there was something truly odious inside.

 I opened the cover, disappointed to see that the author hadn't scribbled their name in the line provided beneath the words "In the Event Of Misplacement Contact:".

It was mine now. This is lawless frontier. 

Inside were scribbled lists of comic book titles, three sentence synopses of stories, area-code-less phone numbers with no indication of who they belonged to, and anxious contours of the same panda again and again...

"90% of Bands never make it. the other 10% also never make it."
 Written at a 45 degree angle, melting off the page.

"I admit it, not a week goes by when I don't think about buying a skateboard. Now, I have insurance. But no insurance will make up for brushing your teeth."

This was my favorite drawing:

It was between this drawing and a doodle of a dinosaur with a mustache, but it's drawn in blue ink.

And blue ink is wrong.

Perusing the choppy lists of movie titles, books and authors, I looked them up one by one. While imagining owner and investigating their love of dark science fiction and the psychedelic, there was a twinge of shame in exposing them this way. But the excitement of a secret squashed it quickly and I went on snuffling about in their transom.

And then: nothing. Pages of static.

Until the very last page, the author gifts us a knock-knock joke ending.

A fudge recipe.

A fudge recipe that I will make in honor of the Owner.

Wishing you a Sweet and Scandalous weekend,

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bay View Maker Market Treasures

My sister and I bumped down to Bay View on what felt like the first Real Day of Summer to scope out the Maker Market at Alterra.

This is not a craft fair for the faint of heart-- this is an excellently curated collection of some of the best craftspeople and artisans the area has to offer. Bonus: this shindig happens monthly.

While sipping your favorite caffeinated beverage you can peruse a lovely collection of calligraphy, ceramics, prints, accessories, apparel, boutique body care and specialty foods. (No ironic Popsicle sticks here.)

I was particularly excited to bump into one of my favorite friendly faces and  the reigning Craft Queen of Milwaukee: Madam Chino!

Vanessa is as a triple threat: talented artist, educator and organizer, making her one of my favorite local clothiers. I don't think there is anything she can't make--she should be knitting for NASA.

We had difficulty selecting our treasures as everything at the Madam's buffet was tempting. (I'll be sure to show you my finds in an upcoming post!) You can peep more of her work here.

Another vendor that tickled my fancy was Michael C. Veon of Alchemy Earrings. He offers an array of untreated rough gemstone jewelry. I loved the option of mixing and matching stones, but I was smitten after finding these wild and delicate coyote teeth earrings.

I put them on immediately.

You can find more of Michael's inspiring work here. It's exciting and encouraging to see all of the talent your community has to offer. It's even better when the company is good, the coffee is strong and you can carry it home.

Do you have a favorite local designer?

Wishing you much Love and Craft Power,

Friday, July 5, 2013

10 Tips To Keep Your Summer Party Suck Free

I realize this post comes a little late as we are in the process of recovering from Independence Day hangovers-- but running around in Milwaukee's Largest Kazoo Band occupied a majority of my time. More on that later...

Better late than never, kittens.

As a party professional and event planner I wanted to share a couple of SUPER simple tips to make sure your summer parties don't suck.

We've all been to that party--awkward pecking around the yard with half strangers and assessing the best way to make an escape.


Being a Host Ninja is easy peasy!

1) Introduce your guests to one another. And that bullshit " Everyone, this is Stacy, Stacy this is This is Everyone" garbage doesn't count. There is nothing more uncomfortable than standing in a room full of strangers watching you eat.

Be a dear and make your guests feel welcome by introducing them LIKE AN ADULT.  Include a fact about that person when introducing them to someone else, in a sea of new faces it makes them easier to remember.

2) Straws make everything better. Stick them in bottled soda, glasses of lemonade, and bottles of champagne. They also make a handy proboscis for stealing sips of other peoples drinks...

3) Soundtracks make or break the mood. Deafening silence makes people feel self conscious. Make sure there is a little background noise to set the tone. Give your party momentum by letting your guests choose their own DJ adventure.

4) Keep hot stuff hot and cold stuff cold. Would you care for a delicious sweaty deviled egg? Or perhaps some room temperature mystery pasta goop? Would a luke warm hot dog strike your fancy? Or my personal favorite: rubbery practically composted crudités.

Borrow a hotplate from your mom, and don't forget the ice.

5) Seriously, don't forget the ice.

6) It's okay to decorate! A little pageantry let's your friends know you're excited to have them. As a party goer, a little pageantry on your part lets your host know you appreciate them too.

7) Making your friends slink through the house with a leaning tower of baked bean-sullied plates and trying to jam them into your office-sized waste basket under the sink is a no-no.

Put out a garbage can. Bonus: If your guests see where to get rid of their own garbage, it means less empty can corralling for you later.

8) Give people something to do. Sidewalk chalk. Bubbles. Disposable cameras. Photo booths. Lawn Twister. Squirt guns. Guitars. Build your own dessert. Make a fort. It gets conversation going and gives anxious guests some relief.

On that note...possibly the most important Tip:

9) Do NOT force your friends to participate in games if they don't want to. Block parties and backyard gatherings are hard enough for some people to endure: chastising them for not wanting to play volleyball with your Harlem Globe Trotter friends isn't helping them "out of their shell"--

It's helping them to find a way to hurt you.

10) Enjoy your party! Yeah, it sounds like a cop out tip, but it's true!
If you are having a great time, your guests will follow your lead.

What are your tricks for ensuring your guests are making merry?


Monday, July 1, 2013

Welcome to Hell: MKE Fashion District

We are all aware that Milwaukee has appeared on several lists as the Worst Dressed City in the Known Universe.

Yes, I realize that this gathering of information to make a totally unimportant and entirely subjective statement is bogus.

But even as someone who lives in this apparently abhorrent Fashion Hell, I must ask, How can you prove that?

It's just like a tabloid cover, "Such and Such is the Sexiest Malebot on Earth". How do we come to this conclusion? Do we conduct a complicated series of rigorous and expensive experiments to cull the candidates for Hottest Malebot?

I like to imagine a council of elders deliberating the ratio of visible 'Taco Meat' to 'Pant Cupping' to determine the best elected Highlander of Sexing. (There can only be one you know...)

The organizations responsible for this highly scientific deduction claim to have used the number of "high end retail stores" and enrollment in fashion programs as their measuring stick.

 However, I think the measuring stick is far more interesting than the Smelly Kid of Fashion claim.

This funny study says that high end equates only to expense.
That style directly relates to money.
The more money you have, the better you look.



Using this math, we can also prove that expensive means tasteful. Anyone remember that hideously racist "primitive candle stick holder" that Anthropologie was pitching for $398.00? 


It is strange to be the a citizen eeking out existence in the Frump Dump of The Nation, yet you can't go a weekend without an invite to a fashion show, or some excellently creative group is opening a boutique that offers something of quality off the beaten path, or a local designer is releasing a new product and most recently, the expansion of Milwaukee's Fashion District.

New banners are flying, inching out of their designated Third Ward boundaries: popping up on Water Street with the intention to migrate to Milwaukee Street and Wisconsin Avenue. Plans for new storefronts are also in the works.

So what does this mean?

Will Milwaukee eventually escape is penniless miserable fashion fate? Will Nordstrom (2015) bestowing designer selections upon us be our salvation?

No. Probably not. And it doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter because pricey options do not automatically translate to stylish solutions-- just as expensive paint in the hands of an sloppy artist doesn't guarantee a masterpiece.

Fashion is what you buy. Style is what you do with it.

Third Coast style isn't about the doubloons-- it's about making a statement by making it work.

And the expansion of our Fashion District is exciting not because of its luxury options, but because it means more opportunities for Milwaukee's creative class to push, express, kick some ass and break the rules.

Which is always good news for our Fair City--

For any city.

Milwaukee, I think you look really nice today.
And you too, muffin.

Much Love from your favorite Fashion Wasteland,