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All that remains of Skelly's four dining rooms and century of pastries is this sign.
All that remains of Skelly's four dining rooms and century of pastries is this sign.

6 photos of disappeared Milwaukee

About a month ago, I posted some random photos of Milwaukee and the response was such that I decided to share a few more with you. This time, I realized as I looked through my previously un-mined selection of photos, there's a bent toward disappeared streets and ghost signs, with a dangerous hobby tossed in for good measure. 

So, let's consider this a look at "disappeared" Milwaukee, if that's even possible...

1. Disappeared streets, part 1 



Now sitting beneath Columbia St. Mary's Hospital, the Catholic Home and the Lutheran home are the former Hydraulic Avenue and Sheridan Avenue (which ran parallel to the north of Hydraulic and is not shown on this map -- it would be just above the words "State Ind. School"), along with a stretch of Summit Avenue that no longer exists (and had previously been called Third Avenue). South of Hydraulic and parallel to it was a street that had previously been called Reservoir for a while, too, back when there was, well, a reservoir on the site. Hydraulic ran along the northern side of the reservoir.

2. Disappeared streets, part 2

Where the Milwaukee County Transit System complex now sits, there were a few short streets called Tomah, Neenah and Paradise Alley. A bit northeast there was also Jesper. Thanks to what was likely a typo on the 1910 Sanborn map, Vine Street was briefly renamed Wine, making us wish there had been an intersection of Paradise and Wine.

3. Disappeared streets, part 3

The Milwaukee Public Library's Krug Rare Books Room has an incredible bound map of Milwaukee drawn by Increase Lapham in 1836. There, in Kilbourn's neck of the woods (or more appropriately, his tamarack swamp) west of the river, there are some waterfront streets like Point, Basin and Cape that can no longer be strolled. Basin appears to be platted in the river as it slips between the west bank and an island, tracing a channel later apparently filled in.

4. Ghost signs, part 1

Skelly's Restaurant is no longer serving breakfast, lunche…

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Yalimar Borges, from Hayes Bilingual School, will be the first WAMI Showcase performer to sing a song in Spanish.
Yalimar Borges, from Hayes Bilingual School, will be the first WAMI Showcase performer to sing a song in Spanish.

WAMI event at Summerfest showcases young local talent

Summerfest will host the 10th annual WAMI Youth Showcase, a two-hour event featuring blossoming young musical talent, at on Tuesday, July 1 on the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage.

The event will feature a dozen singer/songwriters, vocal groups and bands chosen by a panel of WAMI judges who work in the music business.

"This year's group of performers includes a total of 10 MPS students," says event organizer Barbara Wagner, who is also a teacher in the district. "We have one solo performer, Yalimar Borges, from Hayes Bilingual, who at 13, will be the first-ever WAMI Showcase performer to sing one of her song choices in the language of her heritage, Spanish."

Wagner says the performers cover a wide variety of ages and styles.
 
"We have two ensemble groups this year, of 10 and 11 students, respectively, and between those two groups, nine are MPS students," she says, "(but) our performers this year range in age from 8-year-old Lucy Thomas, from Bayside, who accompanies herself on guitar, to several 17-year-olds.
 
"We have a number of solo vocalists, performing everything from the blues to Broadway showtunes. A number of our young people will feature songs they wrote themselves."
 
There will also be three teenaged bands from Oregon (Distant Cuzins), Sheboygan/Cleveland (Karmah) and Grafton (Society of Someone), says Wagner.
 
"Because it is our 10th anniversary, we're also bringing back 13-year-old Alyssa Casarez who'll open the show with the national anthem, and an award-winning bluegrass band, The Burie Family, will be back for an encore performance.

"We have some of the most outstanding talent I've seen in years."
 
Among the other performers are Stephanie Erin Brill, Kelly LeTart, Jonah Roth, Skai Academy and Spotlight Youth Theater. 

The show will also include an award presentation by WAMI president James McMahon to a community group which emphasizes music education.

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Milwaukee's Yipes! headlined a three-band reunion extravaganza Thursday night at Summerfest's Johnson Controls World Sound Stage.
Milwaukee's Yipes! headlined a three-band reunion extravaganza Thursday night at Summerfest's Johnson Controls World Sound Stage. (Photo: David Bernacchi)
The band was so solid you'd hardly believe these guys haven't really played together in more than 30 years.
The band was so solid you'd hardly believe these guys haven't really played together in more than 30 years. (Photo: David Bernacchi)
Frontman Pat McCurdy was animated throughout the set.
Frontman Pat McCurdy was animated throughout the set. (Photo: David Bernacchi)

Yipes! has it been that long?

Summerfest was treated to a three-band Milwaukee reunion extravaganza Thursday night that included performances by The Wigs, Bon Ton Society and Yipes!, under the roof of the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage.

Other than a WAMI Awards Show performance last year at Turner Hall, it's been more than 30 years since Milwaukee got to see the band.

Both The Wigs and Bon Ton Society played reunion shows at Shank Hall in 2009.

As I wrote earlier this week to introduce an interview with members of Yipes!:

The Milwaukee power pop quintet got together, fortuitously, right as labels were eager to snap up the best of the "new wave" and these five hard-working musicians – Pat McCurdy, Mike Hoffmann, Pete Strand, Teddy Freese and Andy Bartel – were primed and ready to go, having been rehearsing hard and performing even harder, racking up 250 to 300 gigs a year in Milwaukee, in Wisconsin and beyond.

Millennium Records inked Yipes! to a deal and the band recorded two LPs for the label. At the same time, the group toured with the likes of Jefferson Starship, Cheap Trick, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, among others.

Yipes! burned brightly but briefly. In 1981, the year after the group’s second LP, "A Bit Irrational," was released, Millennium dropped the band and its members dispersed. McCurdy to a successful career as a solo performer, Hoffmann as an active musician and producer and Strand as a music attorney in Chicago.

Last year, Yipes! was inducted into the WAMI Hall of Fame and performed a short set at the awards ceremony.

On Thursday night the band played for about 90 minutes, mixing tunes from its two records, and sounded like it's never stopped gigging – certainly not like one that hasn't really played together in 33 years.

Drummer Freese flew in from his home in northeast Italy to perform and the band spent a couple days rehearsing this week.

But perhaps I should have expected the intensive, well-executed set. Not long before the band took the stage,…

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The Loaded Twister Dog at Trinity Three Irish Pubs. I can't believe I ate the whole thing.
The Loaded Twister Dog at Trinity Three Irish Pubs. I can't believe I ate the whole thing.
Delicious lobster and shrimp BLT at Burke's Lakeside.
Delicious lobster and shrimp BLT at Burke's Lakeside.

Digging into Summerfest on day one

Did you know that despite closing its bricks and mortar place in Brookfield, The Venice Club is still rockin' at Summerfest? And this year, it celebrates 40 years on the grounds. Eggplant strips, we salute you.

But, today, when the gates when up I vowed to try some new-to-me and new to the Big Gig foods for lunch on the first day of Summerfest, a day when the air hung with fog and the Johnson Controls weather station read a balmy 62 degrees.

I went first to Burke's Lakeside, which has opened this year in the Ethnic Village, just west of the U.S. Cellular Connection and Johnson Controls World Sound Stages. At 12:10 p.m., it had the most activity of the numerous eateries in that area.

Folks could choose from a mac and cheese-topped burger ($8), a wild mushroom flatbread (also $8), bacon cheddar "frachos"  -- cheese fries and nachos -- ($6) and a number of other enticing looking items.

I'd heard about and was eager to try the lobster and shrimp BLT ($9), so I ordered one. What I got was half a lobster and shrimp BLT.

Don't get me wrong, it was a delicious half a sandwich. The bread was perfectly toasted, with a nice crunch. The seafood salad was delicious. But this is Summerfest. In Milwaukee. You gotta tell folks it's a half a sandwich. Then they can enjoy it properly.

On the far south side of the grounds, I stopped in a Trinity Three Irish Pubs, where I was determined to sample either the Loaded Twister Dog -- a spiral cut potato wrapped around a hot dog and doused with jalapeno pale ale cheese "whiz," Sriracha ketchup, mayonnaise and beer-candied bacon -- OR a chicken 'n' waffle cone with a rosemary waffle cone, bleu cheese cole slaw, battered chicken, beer candied bacon and on and on ($6 each)

But NOT both, for obvious reasons.

I went with the dog, figuring I'll come back for the chicken waffle during a future Summerfest 2014 visit.

Trust me on this, if you get the sinful thing that is the twister dog, grab a plastic fork and knife and don't try to eat it…

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