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Unique fun for kids of all ages.
Unique fun for kids of all ages.

Maker Faire concocts geek-chic DIY fun

Maker Faire rolled into Milwaukee this weekend with a stop at Wisconsin State Fair Park.

Running along Harvest Fair, kids of all ages were treated to all sorts of science projects, maker projects and DIY culture. Some 175 vendors participated, and organizers said more than 45,000 attendees visited the show.

As for me, I took the opportunity to shoot my first 4K video with my new iPhone 6s. Unfortunately, my MacBook Air won’t export in that resolution, nor will YouTube accept it yet. So for now, you’ll have to tolerate my work in pedestrian old 720p.

Becky Banks has been a vet since 2008. Before that, she worked as a filmmaker.
Becky Banks has been a vet since 2008. Before that, she worked as a filmmaker.

9 cat questions my 7-year-old asked our vet

Welcome to OnMeowaukee Cat Week, a meowsome bunch of articles, photos, videos and an Instagram contest celebrating all aspects of Milwaukee cats. Sponsored by Bark N' Scratch Outpost, these seven days are dedicated to those creatures with nine lives who make our lives more paw-sitive.

My 7-year-old daughter is a big fan of cats, and not coincidentally, she’s a big fan of our veterinarian, Dr. Becky Banks, from the Small Animal Hospital.

Interestingly, I met Becky when I, too, was about 7 – we went to elementary school together, and she’s one of the kindest, smartest vets I’ve ever met. Small Animal Hospital has been taking care of our pets from some 15 years.

Both Becky and I are delighted that little Mara has taken such an interest in animal welfare, raising money for the Wisconsin Humane Society with her own bake sale, and also that she’s connected so strongly with the vets who care for her two cats.

In honor of OnMeowaukee Cat Week – and Becky and Mara’s friendship – my daughter prepared nine questions about cats for Dr. Banks, which I shared with Becky over coffee. Here they are, in Mara’s own words:

OnMilwaukee: Is milk bad for cats’ stomachs?

Becky Banks: I give my cat milk every so often. It shouldn't be a lot. Mara, if you picture Barbie, and two gallons of milk for her size – a gallon in each hand – and that's how much milk I would say is probably OK for most cats, once a week. It should be an infrequent treat.

OnMilwaukee: Is there a such thing as a cat toothbrush?

Banks: In theory, a cat toothbrush would be like a small rodent, because if you have not domesticated them it would be a natural thing, crushing up bones and all that. However, since most of our cats don't have free-range mice, with the exception of mine in my house, I would say that there are a lot of products now that help you to do it. Dental hygiene in cats is super important, and they don't get that with most of their diets, so they have these little finger p…

This year's event runs until Oct. 10.
This year's event runs until Oct. 10.

Hanging onto summer at the South Shore Farmers Market

There may not be much summer left in Milwaukee, but cooler weather isn’t not keeping people away from the last few South Shore Farmers Markets. This year, it runs until Oct. 10.

On a beautiful, crisp Saturday morning, I captured a little video to savor the waning days the season along with a few hundred of my neighbors and friends.

Tom Wopat says he returns to Wisconsin often.
Tom Wopat says he returns to Wisconsin often.

7 questions for Wisconsin's own Tom Wopat

It’s been more than a decade since OnMilwaukee spoke to Tom Wopat, best known as Luke Duke from the hugely popular ‘80s series, "Dukes of Hazzard," but his career is still going strong. Wopat, of course, is from Lodi, just outside Madison, and in his career he’s done a lot more than the Dukes.

A Tony-nominated Broadway actor, he’s also released a number of successful albums in different genres. Now, Wopat is coming home (or close to home, anyway) to open the Oconomowoc Arts Center’s Main Stage Series on Saturday. He’ll be performing jazz-inspired renditions of contemporary classics from his album, "I’ve Got Your Number."

We caught up with Wopat by phone this week in advance of his Saturday show.

OnMilwaukee: I think a lot of people would be surprised about how diverse your career has been. People know you for different things but now you're doing a show that’s pretty different very different. How did you pick this genre?

Tom Wopat: My first job with this type of material when I was doing "Annie Get Your Gun," and we recorded the cast album, and they asked me if I wanted to do a Sinatra-ish record. So I did, with a guy named Russ Titelman, who's a two-time Grammy award winner. Since then, I've been doing this type of material where we kind of mix the American Songbook stuff with some more contemporary material, more pop material, we have a jazz treatment, and then we mix in a couple of original tunes as well. I write a little bit, too.

OnMilwaukee: Still, this is a pretty big departure from acting on TV or your first country album. Do you like this more?

Wopat: You can make space for all of it. That Broadway stuff definitely translates into the American songbook a lot. I mean, up until the '60s or so, a lot of the top 10 music was Broadway solos. So it was a fairly easy transition there. We have some awesome stuff that's got a country feel to it, but it's pretty individual, it's highly musical. I bring a trio from New York with me, so we've got …