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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, July 31, 2014

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The Janitor photo bombed by an Art Museum colleague.
The Janitor photo bombed by an Art Museum colleague. (Photo: Milwaukee Art Museum)

The Janitor's back, but not for long

Despite the absence of its most beloved and discussed "staffer" -- and the one that just might be the creepiest for kids and the faint of heart -- Milwaukee Art Museum has remained quite clean lo these past months.

Maybe it’s because Duane Hanson’s life-size 1973 "Janitor" sculpture doesn’t actually do much anyway. He’s the ultimate slacker, leaning there against the wall, staring at the floor, letting his more animated co-workers pick up the slack.

But despite his lack of productivity, folks noticed the Janitor was gone.

In 2012, he was loaned to the Walker Art Center for its "Lifelike" show. Before that, the museum's conservation team gussied him up for his trip, which also took him out west as the exhibition traveled to Phoenix this year. He was back in Milwaukee for a while in between. 

The show ended its run May 18 at Phoenix Art Museum and the Janitor came home and was put in storage. He’s back out in Gallery 1 now with a range of other collection favorites but only briefly as in October the museum will send him back to his closet for a year while the galleries are renovated.

See him -- but don’t touch him -- while you can.


What in East Town is this? And where?
What in East Town is this? And where?

A Downtown quiz

In honor of Downtown Employee Appreciation Week -- and the start of State Fair -- I offer up this little quiz. Be the first to post a talkback with correct answers to the questions accompanying all five images and you'll win a pair of State Fair tickets.

A hint: folks working in East Town have a leg up, because all of these images, taken in the heart of Downtown, are east of the Milwaukee River.

1. Cut limestone motif. Where is it?

2. Old street number system. What's the current address?

3. What and where is this?

4. Downtown coffee. Which cafe?

5. Chinese. What and where is it?

Should Tony LaRussa's Hall of Fame plaque be marked in the same way he feels steroid era players' should be if they get in?
Should Tony LaRussa's Hall of Fame plaque be marked in the same way he feels steroid era players' should be if they get in? (Photo: Aspen Photo / )

Should managers get a Hall of Fame asterisk, too?

This morning, I heard retired baseball manager Tony LaRussa on NPR's "Morning Edition" talking about his induction this weekend in the the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

LaRussa managed the White Sox from 1979 to '86, the A's from '86 to '95 and the Cardinals from '96 until his retirement in 2011. He won three World Series, including one with Oakland in '89 and two with the St. Louis in 2006 and 2011.

Love him or hate him -- and folks seem to vehemently do one or the other -- there's no denying LaRussa boasts an impressive resume and obviously Hall of Fame-quality credentials.

But his comments this morning about the players who would clearly be in the Hall were it not for the steriod-era scandals -- Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds were named by LaRussa -- especially caught my attention. LaRussa didn't hedge. McGwire, he said, should be inducted.

"The only thought I have is that you acknowledge that there's that one period, that there's a lot of questions — not just about the poster boys, but about other guys," he told Steve Inskeep. "And if you had Hall of Fame credentials, then if you get in, there's an asterisk on your plaque that says, 'Look, we have a question.'"

This got me wondering. As a guy whose World Series-winning A's team, for example, was fueled at least in part by McGwire (who hit 33 homers that year, though batted only .231), is LaRussa's record as a manager tainted in any way by players' steroid use?

If a player's success deserves an asterisk as being potentially inflated by drug use, does that suggest that the team and its manager also benefited from that drug use? On one hand, it seems obvious that if top players' performance is enhanced and their numbers have lifted a team to the World Series, that ring is at least a little tarnished.

Then, add in the fact that baseball numbers crunchers have suggested that a manager's own effect on a team across a 162-game season is small:

"Sabermetrics tells us that most dugout deci…

Take a quick tour up through the Milwaukee Public Library dome.
Take a quick tour up through the Milwaukee Public Library dome.

9 pictures of the Central Library dome: inside and out

Today, I visited the Milwaukee Public Library's beautiful Central Library to do research for a couple upcoming stories. While I was there, I asked to see the dome.

The stately and ornate library building, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave., was built between 1893 and 1897 and was designed by architects Ferry & Clas. It's made of Bedford (Indiana) limestone and the interior has incredible tile work, marble and many other eye-catching details. 

At the top of the Classical Revival gem is a low, wide dome flanked by eagles. Follow me...

This is what the dome looks like on the outside and from the roof to the east:

There's one of the eagles, with one of Downtown's ubiquitous gulls perched atop its head:

This is what the dome looks like if you're in the lobby:

Everything's more fun if you circle up to it:

First, they decorated the ceiling, then they bashed a hole through it for the staircase:

The inside of the dome:

It's quite spacious:

There appears to be another spiral staircase in pieces:

Watch your step on the way down:

Want to see it for yourself? The dome is open during Doors Open MKE, Sept. 20-21.