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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

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It's been a long time since the Dandy Warhols played in Milwaukee.
It's been a long time since the Dandy Warhols played in Milwaukee.
"This is a secret beautiful city," Courtney Taylor-Taylor said at the top of the show.
"This is a secret beautiful city," Courtney Taylor-Taylor said at the top of the show.
Performing a solo version of "Every Day is a Holiday."
Performing a solo version of "Every Day is a Holiday."
The band played 90 minutes of inspired music.
The band played 90 minutes of inspired music.

Dandy Warhols, fans share secrets of good music, great city

I’ve been lucky enough to see the Dandy Warhols live several times over the last few years. But each time, I’ve had to travel to Chicago or Madison to hear them, which is a small sacrifice for one of my favorite bands over the last 15-plus years.

So the opportunity to see the Dandys at Turner Hall was a welcome one, and as usual, provided for a great venue to see the Portland-based band Saturday night. If these four rockers are getting mellower with age, it’s only a welcome change, as their 90-minute set felt neither dated or sleepy. From glam to trance to electronic dance, it felt just right.

By far, this band’s best work came from 2000’s "Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia," and last time I saw them, they played that whole album in order to celebrate its 13th anniversary.

But the Dandy Warhols are much more than that incredible album. I love the album before, "The Dandy Warhols Come Down," and the one after, "Welcome to the Monkey House," and bits and pieces of other records, too.

Fortunately, the Dandys touched on all these records, old and not so old, sending the medium-sized, but knowledgeable crowd into a trance-like state with "Be-In," "I Love You" and "The Last High," sprinkling in the higher-energy singles like "Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth" and, of course, "Bohemian Like You."

After 2010’s "The Capitol Years," (and really, from "Dig"), fans learned there are two versions of the Dandy Warhols: the over-produced, radio friendly one and the under-produced band’s preference. We got both tonight, but more of the stripped down experience with "We Used To Be Friends." Courtney Taylor-Taylor performed a beautiful solo version of "Every Day is a Holiday," which I’ve heard at each of the last four shows – and it doesn’t get old.

Taylor-Taylor, of course, never got too excitable, but that’s his style. He sounded just a little raspy at times, but gave it his all, even if some of the songs were a little slower than on the records. H…

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Apple picking: a great family activity.
Apple picking: a great family activity.
Follow the yellow brick road.
Follow the yellow brick road.
Pick peppers, too.
Pick peppers, too.
Lots and lots of apples.
Lots and lots of apples.

Picking, grinning

I just wanted to pick some apples with my family. So last weekend, I abandoned my normal go-to fruit picking farm, Barthel’s in Mequon, to take a gander at Apple Holler in Sturtevant.

Big mistake.

I probably should’ve looked at the 500 cars with Illinois plates and kept on driving to the Mars Cheese Castle. But I stood in line long enough to realize that the cost of entry for picking apples for a family of three was $60 (not counting apples, of course). I couldn’t bring myself to pay that, so I instead plunked down $24 to pet some baby goats and wander around a playground with my wife and 6-year-old.

Sunday morning, we regrouped and headed back to Mequon, although not to Barthel’s. On a friend’s tip, we visited R-Apples (Roesch Farm), right next door at 12422 Farmdale Rd. What a wonderful, low-key experience.

Not only was it peaceful and quiet, we picked apples and pears of many different varieties. Then we headed to their vegetable garden, and picked peppers and raspberries.

The cool summer has delayed all of these crops, so tons are still available – and will be for weeks. As usual, my child’s short attention span meant we only stayed for an hour, but had we continued, we could’ve also picked tomatoes, potatoes, onions, cucumbers, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, pumpkins, dill, parsley, basil, chives and mint. This farm has it all.

Best of all: I used the peppers we picked to cook chili on Sunday night, and it was easily the best chili I ever made.

We left with lots and lots of produce – at a cost of only $18.25. This is how fruit picking is supposed to be. Not just a folly for wealthy Chicagoan suburbanites who put on flannel shirts to show their kids what the country looks like.

So now I know: the best fruit picking in the area is in Mequon. Barthel’s and R-Apples. With picking running through the end of October, I may even go back again. You should, too.

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In 2011, fan enthusiasm was through the roof. Where did it go?
In 2011, fan enthusiasm was through the roof. Where did it go? (Photo: Eron Laber of Front Room Photography)

Defensive indifference

Entering play tonight, the Brewers are 1.5 games out of the playoff picture. Right now, all of Milwaukee should be very excited about the Brewers, starting with me.

Yet, for some reason, we’re not.

This was a team that, even as it sat alone in first place for most of the season, we expected it to come crashing back to Earth. Something seemed fishy as it raced to 50 wins. As it slowly fell apart, culminating with a 10-game losing streak, we all smugly and vindictively said, "We told you so."

Still, the Brewers are very much in the hunt, and winning the division isn’t even out of the question.

So what’s wrong with us? Well, I can’t speak for you, but I’ll tell you how I feel.

It’s not that I’ve become used to success. When I really got into the Crew in 1994, the team was was bad, and for most of the seasons since then, I’ve supported the Brewers during these very lean years.

I think – at least what I’m telling myself – is that this year’s Brewers just aren’t great, and if they sneak into the playoffs, they’ll quickly be exposed and beaten. It will be like 2008’s postseason again; except we won’t have the excitement of getting there for the first time in 26 years. I tweeted that very idea a week ago, and more than a few people told me they had the same sinking feeling.

Maybe the team isn’t the likable group of overachieving, excitable players it used to be. Don’t get me wrong: Carlos Gomez is everything we could ask for, but Ryan Braun is an always-injured fallen angel, who has turned into a .273 singles hitter. Jonathan Lucroy remains a fan favorite, but gone are characters like Nyjer Morgan and John Axford. I still love Lyle Overbay, but who gets excited over Matt Clark or Gerrardo Parra? Even Aramis Ramirez acts and plays like he’s 50 years old.

Or maybe I just don’t believe the team is really that good. Yes, K-Rod has an incredible 41 saves, and Mike Fiers has been lights-out, but this team has only one player (Lucroy) …

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Happy birthday to us!
Happy birthday to us!

OnMilwaukee.com's sweet 16

If OnMilwaukee.com was a child – and it many ways it feels like one to me – Milwaukee’s Daily Magazine would be getting its driver’s license today.

It would be a junior in high school. Hopefully listening to the Violent Femmes and not Justin Bieber.

It’s pretty amazing to me, even as a parent of a real human, that anything I created could be 16-years-old, but OnMilwaukee.com is just that now. And every one of our 15 full-time employees, one part-timer and another dozen freelancers has raised it, watched it grow and nurtured it into the well-mannered teenager it is today.

I’ve said this many times before, so I won’t repeat myself (too much), but I didn’t know that when we "flipped the switch" on Sept. 1, 1998, that we’d still be doing this – and growing – all these years later. But like my business partner, Jeff, and like many of our employees – some who have been here almost since the start – this company has become a big part of my identity. Calling it our baby really isn’t a huge stretch at all.

This week, we all worked on our Editor & Publisher’s EPPY Award application, a prize we took home in 2012 for the country’s best entertainment website. Obviously, we hope we win again, but in writing it all down, it reminded me that we have a special business here no matter what accolades are bestowed upon us. Sure, I feel that every day I come to work, but seeing it in front of me reinforces that our lofty business plan, pre-Google, pre-Facebook, was not just good for us and the people who we’ve employed, but also good for Milwaukee.

So please indulge me and take a look at a portion of our application. And thank you for your continued support of our almost-grown-up baby. We expect 2014 to be our best year ever in lots of ways. I believe the best is still yet to come.

Founded in 1998, OnMilwaukee.com is a full-service digital media company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with more than 16 years of award-winning publishing experience. …

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