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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

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This map shows you exactly where to go to see the explosion. Spectators are promised a great view.
This map shows you exactly where to go to see the explosion. Spectators are promised a great view.

Flipeleven will blow up car near 6th Street Viaduct

Love Milwaukee? Love movies? Or just want to see something huge go BOOM?

Head to the 6th Street Viaduct tomorrow morning and watch the film crew at Flipeleven Creative blow up a car for a scene in its new film "The Nugget."

The permits just cleared yesterday after the group successfully reached its fundraising goal on Oct. 4 via its Kickstarter page. The explosion will take place in The Reed Street Yards.

Spectators are advised to arrive prior to 8 a.m. "You'll have a great view," promised the crew in an email. "But if you want a super close-up view, bring your binoculars or (for you photographers) that 400 mm lens!"

Screenwriter Lisa England, director Kyle Buckley and producer Chad Halvorsen sat down with OnMilwaukee.com last month to talk about the explosion.

It's actually a bold move to draw attention to Milwaukee's underutilized film community. The explosion will be filmed using a RED camera that Flipeleven won the opportunity to use when it took Best Film in the Milwaukee 48-Hour Film Project for its movie "Until Death."

The crew wants to show that Milwaukee is a vibrant community for filmmakers and a great place to shoot a movie.

"We still have the ability to make $20 million Michael Bay explosions for $10,000 in Milwaukee," said Buckley at the time. "It's not just because of tax incentives that you should come here to create something on a national scale."

Regina Spektor wowed at the Riverside Theater Saturday night.
Regina Spektor wowed at the Riverside Theater Saturday night. (Photo: CJ Foeckler)
Spektor felt the love from an adoring crowd.
Spektor felt the love from an adoring crowd. (Photo: CJ Foeckler)
She rarely got up from the piano.
She rarely got up from the piano. (Photo: CJ Foeckler)
A full house turned out to see Spektor.
A full house turned out to see Spektor. (Photo: CJ Foeckler)
Spektor has been a piano player since her childhood in Moscow.
Spektor has been a piano player since her childhood in Moscow. (Photo: CJ Foeckler)

Regina reigns supreme at the Riverside

The song "Samson" is Regina Spektor’s "Freebird."

Fans called out for it constantly during her show Saturday night at the Riverside Theater. At first it was endearing. Then it got downright demanding.

"Hey! Regina! Samson! Sam. Sonnnnn."

Well, good things come to those who wait: Spektor closed out the show with the powerful ballad off her fantastic 2006 album "Begin to Hope" and the crowd sang along.

But who knows why they were being so demanding – nearly every song Spektor played this evening was warmly met by an audience that clearly knows and loves the piano-pop chanteuse. It was the largest and most enthusiastic crowd I’ve seen since Summerfest. I’d wager that even the Bieber Fever-stricken tweens who will rock the BMO Harris Bradley Center to its foundation Sunday night don’t have anything on Spektor’s throngs of loyal and adoring fans.

Spektor’s dynamic piano-playing punched up her quirky songs; she pulled her own musical weight and rarely got up from the piano, although she was accompanied by a cellist, drummer and keyboardist.

The Russian immigrant is proud of her roots and many of her songs contain references to her homeland. She was born in Moscow and emigrated with her family in 1989 (kudos, perestroika). Her nationality was proudly on display tonight. She performed "The Prayer of Francois Villon (Molitva)" by Serbian singer Marija Serifovic to great acclaim (a member of the audience called out to her in Russian and she answered in kind).

The classical influences of her early years as a piano prodigy are evident in songs like "Oh Marcello" (from her latest album, "What We Saw From the Cheap Seats") and "Blue Lips," a delightfully subverted hipster ballad.

If there is one complaint to be lodged against Spektor, it’s that she sometimes gives in to the mellowness of her own sound. Her anti-folk vibe often threatens to transform into coffeehouse music. She is to be commended for employing an impressive arsenal of unconventional tricks to…

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Luz San Miguel and David Hovhannisyan play doomed lovers Mimi and Rodolfo in Michael Pink's "La Boheme."
Luz San Miguel and David Hovhannisyan play doomed lovers Mimi and Rodolfo in Michael Pink's "La Boheme." (Photo: Courtesy of Milwaukee Ballet)

"La Boheme" is chic and sublime

Coco Chanel famously said that each time before leaving her house, a lady should look in the mirror and remove one piece of jewelry.

In other words, don’t gild the lily. Less is more.

Milwaukee Ballet artistic director Michael Pink clearly took this approach when creating his latest piece, "La Boheme," which premiered this evening at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. The three-act work shies away from excess in all its forms, instead stripping bare one of the world’s most famous love stories and showing ballet as it should be: chic, simple and clean.

Operatic works are so often weighed down by their own grandness that they cannot move. In contrast, Pink’s "La Boheme" is light, airy and youthful - both visually and theatrically. Puccini’s legendary tale of starving artists and doomed love is allowed to breathe and blossom by keeping the lens tightly focused on the foursome of Mimi, Rodolfo, Musetta and Marcello. The corps de ballet is used sparingly but appropriately for street and party scenes. Otherwise, it's a boldly unpopulated stage.

The two couples’ parallel choreography perfectly juxtaposes their different fates: Mimi and Rodolfo are emphatic in their movements and they have pas de deux that are sweetly affectionate and even adoring. They fawn over one another; Rodolfo supports Mimi and literally carries her through their scenes. In contrast, Musetta and Marcello’s interactions are rife with tension. They are the couple who has a more vigorous, life-filled romance – fittingly, since theirs is the relationship not complicated by terminal illness as Mimi and Rodolfo’s is.

The role of Musetta is danced by Cuban-born Annia Hidalgo. If "La Boheme" has one breakout star, Hidalgo is it. Her interpretation of Musetta is lusty and dynamic; her powerful, pointed movements made it impossible to watch anyone else while she was onstage. Costume designer Paul Daigle gave her a particularly compelling bateau-necklined cocktail dress during Act I…

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Eagan's on Water was always great for a post-show drink or dessert.
Eagan's on Water was always great for a post-show drink or dessert.

Five Milwaukee restaurants I miss

For the sixth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com, presented by Concordia University. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2012."

I had awful table manners as a child. In middle school my mother had had enough. She decided to launch an assault on my loud, hasty chewing and my fondness for putting large wads of butter in my mouth.

I think this etiquette initiative came about in response to a comment made by my grandfather, who asked, upon hearing I was to dine at a friend’s house: "You let her eat in front of people?"

The best way to turn me into a lady, Mom thought, was to take me to where Milwaukee ladies eat – the places her mother had "lunched" at, when genteel housewives still did such things. In an elegant environment with elegant food, she thought, I could not help but become elegant.

I’m not sure if it worked – I still eat too much and too quickly, my elbows are always on the table and I always manage to get crumbs everywhere. But God bless my mom for trying, because now I have some wonderful memories of several great Milwaukee restaurants that have since closed their doors or reincarnated themselves.

These are the ones I particularly miss.

Boder’s on the River

I was only there twice and I can’t remember anything about the food, but my mother seemed to think it was the kind of delicately rustic place Jackie Kennedy would dine. The beautiful setting sticks out in my mind – quiet, calm and rural. The 1840 farmhouse was bought by the Boder family in 1929 and converted into a seasonal tea room. In 1954 Jack and Dolly Boder opened it for year-round dining and operated the restaurant with their children until it closed in 2001; the family was also involved in the Woolen Mill Inn in Cedarburg, Chalet on the Lake and Wuff’s Island Inn in Mequon and the John Ernst Café in Milwaukee. The family publ…

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