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Look out, Fonz. Mike Brenner doesn't like you.
Look out, Fonz. Mike Brenner doesn't like you.

This guy will close his gallery, leave town if Fonz is bronzed

Local gallery owner and head of MARN (Milwaukee Artist Resource Network), Mike Brenner, is angry as hell --  and ready to leave town if a statue of the legendary TV icon Fonzie is erected in Downtown Milwaukee.

In a mass e-mail to local media and in response to a story that OnMilwaukee.com broke on Monday, Brenner says that he "hereby SWEARS if that stupid Fonzie sculpture is put up on the corner of Water and Wisconsin in front of the Chase Bank" he'll take action.

Brenner, who was a graphic designer at OnMilwaukee.com from 2000-'02, said he will: 

  • Close (his) art gallery, Hotcakes.
  • Resign as executive director of the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network
  • Stop all efforts to promote Milwaukee
  • Not spend another penny or second to help Milwaukee or its artists
  • Make a serious effort to find work in another city and leave Milwaukee

Brenner also writes that he'll also "close all of his accounts with JP Morgan Chase," since "JP Morgan chase has the largest corporate art collection in the U.S. and if they will stand for this and the people of Milwaukee stand for this, I NEED to leave Milwaukee."

The rest of the scathing e-mail reads:

"Milwaukee is barely surviving and if the leadership of this city
think Fonzie will save us, they need to be replaced. this is an us
versus them situation (those with common sense and taste versus the douche bags)

  •  the Blue Shirt was killed making us an international joke
  • the Bamboo Park was replaced with a parking lot for a seafood restaurant
  • Now the plan is to put a giant statue of Fonzie on the busiest corner  in the entire City of Milwaukee?"

You are all insane!"

Visit Milwaukee's Dave Fantle, one of the champions of the Bronze the Fonz effort, sent this response to Brenner, and cced the dozens of recipients of his original e-mail:

Dear Mike,

I'd be happy to talk with you about the project over a cup of 
coffee and clarify some of the missperceptions you have on the 
project. For example, it was never planned for Water and Wisconsin. 

It's essentially a Riverwalk project and therefore will have its 
home along the Riverwalk, preferably between Wisconsin and 
Michigan. It is far from a "giant" project. Mr. Winkler is about 5' 
7" and the sculpture will be life-like in size recognizing both an 
iconic TV character and an outstanding humanitarian. Also, the 
local artist we have selected, Jerry Sawyer, has worked in 
sculpture for almost 40 years and is highly respected in the art 
community. Lastly, all the money raised will be recirculated into 
the local economy - for the artist, foundry, etc.

Again, more than happy to chat with you in greater detail on the project as I certainly think you will find that you can peacefully 
co-exist with the Fonz.

Talkbacks

Hckyboy00 | Dec. 2, 2007 at 9:07 p.m. (report)

re: re: blues brothers
thats funny, i coulda sworn that was the First Wisconsin building that goes flying by as the naziwagon drives off the end of the not yet constructed lake front interchange between 794 and 94 West.

our little not quite built freeway in a major motion picture is something to be proud of.

I'll agree to the whole fonz jumping the shark with skis and campaign button, so on a d so forth, if and only if there is a button on the bridge that when you press it, the fonz goes "ehhhhhhhhh!" like the cow buttons at the old cub foods.

Milwaukee has, will, and will continue to waste $85,000 on a lot more trival things than a statue on the riverwalk. I'm 25, and i know the fonz, i know archie bunker, the jeffersons, TGIF (when it was good) hell i even remember hangin with Mr. Cooper. Who does and doesn't know shouldn't be a standard for anything. Kilbourne, Boener, Juneau, Walker, Maier, are all famous Milwaukee ames, most of whom nobody knows about, but i know where the Solomon Juneau statue is, i know who George Walker was, i know who the Summerfest grounds are dedicated to. Just because a bunch of young adults don't know who the fonz is, he ceases to exist? Pop culture more than ever is a signature of American History, and i think it's important to take those things thta made milwaukee famous, and keep them close to our heart, weither it was the coolest guy on TV, or Schiltz, Blatz, Miller, Pabst, or Milorginate for all icare.

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mbiggs | Dec. 1, 2007 at 8:29 p.m. (report)

re: blues brothers. that movie was filmed in chicago and surrounding locations. with cameos from many chicago personalities, neighborhoods, and references. the money given to chicago alone for filming, not to mention revenue from people wanting to go to the windy city afterwards has been phenominal. the same can be said with ferris bueller.

what may i ask has "happy days" done for milwaukee? other than use the name for location only. not til "lavergne and shirley" was milwaukee even shown by the network.

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mbiggs | Dec. 1, 2007 at 8:23 p.m. (report)

this whole thing "the fonz" is a waste. $85,000, are you serious? and you people who bach this. come on. there is so much more this city needs long before this.

i was talking to a few younger people (25- younger). they had no idea who fonzie was. one said, "yeah i've heard of him." in a matter of a short time you babyboomers will be gone, with that you'll leave standing a figure of something forgotten. pop culture come and goes. if we do this we might as well put up a statue of liberace, atleast he's from milwaukee,and real.

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Observer | Dec. 1, 2007 at 4:23 p.m. (report)

Can we compromise here and get a Bronze of La Fonz jumping over a Mike Brenner who's clad in a traveling Blue Shirt that sports a Scott Walker campaign button?

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butterbuns | Dec. 1, 2007 at 2:47 p.m. (report)

Good. Leave. Chicago has statues of the Blues Brothers, kind of the same thing. I do agree that Milwaukee misses the boat, i.e. the blue shirt would have been fine in my opinion. But to take one thing and demonize the city, is simply ridiculous.

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