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Growing up in the Tanzilo household was perfect practice for being in a working band.
We never flew – always drove – when we’d visit family in North Carolina or Milwaukee. And we never stayed in hotels. Once in a while, we’d stay in a motel, but even that was pretty rare. More often we pitched a tent or slept anywhere there was space at the home of the folks we visited.
That was fine. I know that despite working hard, my parents had to be careful with money. We were a working class family and I’m proud of that. And, like I said, it was perfect practice for the years I’d spend riding around the Midwest in a van on the way to gigs, crashing on floors along the way.
Picking up my grandparents at the airport was an amazing adventure ... as if I was growing up in the 1930s, not the '70s.
I can remember my first flight. I was going back to New York City to visit for the first time since I’d moved here a couple years before. I was probably 18 or 19. It was winter and the slippery touch-down set me on track to forever dislike the landing process.
What I can’t really remember is the first time I stayed in a hotel, but I suspect it was at a Hyatt, either in New York City or Chicago, and I can assure you I was already an adult.
Even now that I’ve stayed in hotels in America, Canada, England, France and Italy, I still feel a bit like an outsider – like the kind of person who doesn’t stay in hotels.
When I stay at a place like The Peninsula Chicago or The American Club in Kohler, I half expect a knock on the door and an eviction notice for being an imposter.
My kids are getting a much different experience. Sure, we sleep in a spare bedroom or whatever when we visit family, but we also stay in hotels of all shapes and sizes and star-ratings, from former Italian castles to luxury Chicago digs to waterpark properties around the state.
They enjoy them all, and I can relate. Like them, I’m excited to be there – a kid in a candy store – spending a day or two or three away from the pressures, just lounging around and enjoying life and the amenities that seem better than home.
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Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published Oct. 2, 2015
With such a burgeoning dining scene, it can sometimes take some effort to keep up, much less think back about how Milwaukee has become such a diners' delight. But OnMilwaukee's own dining guru, Lori Fredrich, has made it easy. Fredrich has written the first real in-depth book about Milwaukee's exciting dining scene and how it got that way.
Published Oct. 2, 2015
Milwaukee is a city rife with associations, from beer to brats, Hogs to "Happy Days." But for devoted fans of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Milwaukee means only one thing: the bomb scare show - that Thursday night in October 1975 when the band's Cream City concert was halted by a bomb threat and resumed three hours later, resulting in a high-energy show unlike any other the band would ever perform. Are you loose?!
Published Sept. 29, 2015
With a string of three shows by unrivaled country megastar Garth Brooks on tap at the BMO Harris Bradley Center last week, the postponement of an anticipated 50th anniversary tour concert by The Who at the venue, and the drive to build a replacement for the BC clearing its final hurdle, it seemed like the perfect time to sit down with the Bradley Center's Director of Booking Doug Johnson to talk about the past, present and future.
Published Sept. 25, 2015
Our first stop on a long road trip east? A 15-minute drive to Bay View to board the Lake Express Ferry. The two-and-half-hour trip not only saved us navigating Chicago on a Friday morning, but was also great fun in itself. And there's definitely something to be said for arriving in Michigan ready to go with a full tank of gas.
Published Sept. 22, 2015
Milwaukee's City Plan Commission yesterday approved architects' Engberg Anderson's plan to rehab and add onto the former First German Methodist Church - later dubbed Building 23 after Pabst purchased it - at 1037 W. Juneau Ave. That means the project can now officially move forward.
Published Sept. 21, 2015
Though Kenny Baldwin was a drummer with local bands like Colour Radio and Locate Your Lips, he was most influential behind the scenes at his family's club, The Starship, and for his many years of production work at Summerfest. Beloved by everyone who knew him, Baldwin lost a long battle with cancer on Friday.
Published Sept. 18, 2015
We've all seen the Milwaukee neighborhood posters. Decades after their first appearance, these images endure. These iconic 1980s posters were created by then-city employee Jan Kotowicz and featured a long essay by historian John Gurda on the reverse. The posters have now also served as an anchor for a weighty new tome published by Historic Milwaukee Inc. The 472-page book, "Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods," was written by Gurda and includes 11 new poster images created by the now-retired Kotowicz.
Published Sept. 17, 2015
When Milwaukee artist Ariana Huggett started to leak out images of the paintings for her upcoming show, "Old Schools" - on view Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19-20, in conjunction with Doors Open Milwaukee, at the Material Studios + Gallery in the Third Ward - a lot of folks took notice.
Published Sept. 16, 2015
Last night, Milwaukee Public Library upped the number of Wisconsin Writers Wall of Fame inductees when it added Increase Lapham to the Badger State pantheon.
Published Sept. 16, 2015
Though the newly buffed Streets of Old Milwaukee won't open to the public until Dec. 11 - work is currently on schedule, according to museum staff - I got a peek inside this week, along with MPM's Director of Exhibits Julian Jackson.