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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, July 26, 2014

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In Tandem Theatre performs "A Cudahy Caroler Christmas" Nov. 30-Jan. 5.
In Tandem Theatre performs "A Cudahy Caroler Christmas" Nov. 30-Jan. 5.

Coming soon: "A Cudahy Caroler Christmas"

It will probably never replace "A Christmas Carol" as a Milwaukee tradition, but "A Cudahy Caroler Christmas" comes close with a legion of loyal followers.

The musical, by Anthony Wood, opens Nov. 30 at In Tandem Theatre in their lovely church basement space at 628 N. 10th St., at Wisconsin Avenue.

The musical has been performed by In Tandem six times, and will warm the holiday season with one sold-out show after another.

The story is about Stasch Zielinski, who tries to restore the spirit of the holiday season by reuniting the disbanded members of the Cudahy Carolers. Needless to say the play is an homage to bowling, beer, friendship and forgiveness.

The nicest thing about this play is that while it has bawdy and riotous comedy, it also has a warm heart.

Tickets can be purchased by calling (414) 271-1371, and more information can be found at intandemtheatre.org.

Dave Begel may be the only columnist in the world who still holds Favre in a reverential place in our sports history.
Dave Begel may be the only columnist in the world who still holds Favre in a reverential place in our sports history. (Photo: shutterstock.com)

Taking the time to say "thanks"

Thanksgiving is a time when most columnists write about all the things they are thankful for and what we should all be thankful for.

I am going to switch it up a bit this year and nominate people and institutions that ought to be thankful for me.

I know this may sound a bit like an out of control ego, but really it's not. I play a part in the lives of many people, and they really ought to thank me for it. This is their chance.

Fans of Mixed Martial Arts: I have made no secret of my utter contempt for this so-called sport. I think it's just a step removed from the days when we put gladiators in an arena and let tigers and lions loose while the crowd worked itself into a frenzy calling for blood. If it wasn't for me, who Milwaukee MMA fans hate? Glad to be of service, boys.

Brett Favre: I am probably the only columnist in the world who still holds Favre in a reverential place in our sports history. I still believe all the post-Packers shenanigans were not his doing, but were caused by other people. I still think he's the most magnetic football players I've ever seen. Everybody else seems to hate him. Brett ought to be giving thanks today that somebody is still on his side.

Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors: Because I keep pointing out how irrelevant and petty these people are, they can now unite in their defense of what they do. Without me, they would be torn by partisan bitterness. Because I'm around, they can act as one body. A ridiculous body, but a body nonetheless.

Ma Fischer's Restaurant: I've been going to this place since it was just a counter and three tables. I have probably eaten more here than any other place, with the possible exception of Solly's. It's not gourmet food, but they have about the best breakfast in town and the price is always right. Without me at least one waitress would be out of work and they likely wouldn't be open 24 hours a day. They'd have to drop to 22 or 23 hours a day.

My family: If it wasn't for me…

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Buckley's used to be a bar and restaurant on Keefe in Riverwest. The present site on Cass Street used to be Benjamin's Too
Buckley's used to be a bar and restaurant on Keefe in Riverwest. The present site on Cass Street used to be Benjamin's Too (Photo: Buckley's/Facebook)

Buckley's story is pure small-town Milwaukee

We all know that Milwaukee has hopes of growing and becoming a major metropolitan center.

But as we think of things to sell, we may well want to consider what a small town this city is. The truth was driven home over the weekend when my wife and I had a wonderful dinner at Buckley's, a great restaurant on Cass Street Downtown.

I talked with one of the owners, Brit Buckley, about the path to his restaurant.

Buckley's used to be a bar and restaurant on Keefe in Riverwest, where I now live. I visited the place when it was there.

Their present site used to be a restaurant called Benjamin's Too. It was owned by the ex-wife of Werner Benjamin, the legendary owner of Benji's Deli in Shorewood. She got it in a divorce settlement.

Mr. Benjamin and I grew to be friends and many times during his divorce we'd sit at the counter, sharing some of his iconic corned beef and talking about his world, my world and the world around us, including his impending divorce.

Small world.

Youngblood Theatre brings "Cartoon" to life Nov. 30-Dec. 15.
Youngblood Theatre brings "Cartoon" to life Nov. 30-Dec. 15.

Coming soon: "Cartoon"

Leave it to the boys and girls at Youngblood Theatre Company to continue their mission of bringing offbeat, challenging and colorful theatre to Milwaukee audiences.

They opened their season with "(sic)," which may well be the funniest play I've seen this year.

Now they are set to test and entertain us again when they open "Cartoon" Nov. 30 for a couple-week run.

Written by Steve Yockey, this play has quite a reputation around the country. It's funny and daring, but it has a dark allegoric underside that some reviewers have said may well have something to do with our political system.

The performances will be at a place called the Milwaukee Fortress, 100A E. Pleasant St., in Brewers Hill. You know it, it's that big red building across the street from Schlitz Park that looks, well, like a fortress.

The story of this play is enough to make your head swim.

Incredible chaos arises when a character named Trouble steals the giant hammer bratty dictator Esther uses to maintain a monotonous but peaceful order. Their mismatched cartoon world is sent spiraling into a violent free fall in which friendship is betrayed, romance is twisted and no one is safe – including the audience.

"I am both excited and terrified by 'Cartoon,'" says director and Youngblood Artistic Director Michael Cotey. "It's a big machine of play. In addition to each actor playing stylized cartoon stock characters, we have musical numbers, stage violence and live animation while trying to find a balance between the wackiness and severity of the play.

"We live in a culture of violence that Wisconsin has seen its fair share of this year," says Cotey. "We picked 'Cartoon' long before any of those tragic events occurred, but it will be interesting now to see how the play's take on violence resonates with our audiences in the midst of this twisted cartoon world."

"Cartoon" features actors Alexandra Bonesho, Lindsey Gagliano, Jordan Gwiazdowski, Sydney Ruf-Wong, Jessie Mae Scibek…

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