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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

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Gretchen and the Pickpockets is a family affair.
Gretchen and the Pickpockets is a family affair.

Gretchen and the Pickpockets on tap at Jazz Estate

Tossing the van keys in the trash at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere is just one of the notches in the "first national tour" belt of Gretchen and the Pickpockets. While it may not be the typical tour debauchery of bygone days, it’s just one anecdote this band is collecting along the way.

The Jazz Estate will host the up and coming group on Thursday, July 3 at 9:30 p.m. The band was chosen as New England’s no. 1 best new band by the Hard Rock Café’s Battle of the Bands. Its unique blend of rock, pop, jazz and Motown will provide a Summerfest alternative for those looking for a musical option outside of the Big Gig.

Wallet chains can safely be removed. Vocalist Gretchen Klempa and her bassist brother, Mike, hail from Pick Pocket Woods, N.H., hence the group’s name. They both attended the University of New Hampshire where they met and formed the rest of the group two years ago. 

The sibling element doesn’t necessarily make for a Partridge Family experience on the road. Guitarist Richie Smith had a messy run in with some dog waste departing from his house to the tour van, but the band sees these sorts of little mishaps as "a good omen."

According to Matt Turner, manager of The Jazz Estate, audiences can expect to be wowed by the show, which is in support of the Pickpockets' recently released self-titled debut LP, out now.

Turner continues, "We are excited to be adding to the music in Milwaukee during Summerfest time! It's also our weekly "Jazz In The Dark" Thursdays, partnering with Lakefront Brewery, so the first 15 paid get a free Riverwest Stein."

The band has become accustomed to packed houses in venues both big and small but they are especially looking forward to the intimate environment The Jazz Estate offers because, "engaging and connecting with the crowd lets us give a unique, energetic and memorable performance every time we play."

The tour will be the band’s premiere beyond the borders of New England. Mike Klempa says they are especia…

What's the skinny on wearing shorts?
What's the skinny on wearing shorts?

Do you wear shorts?

It is presumably is summer, although the prevalence of precipitation appears to be questioning whether the climate really wants to commit to the season. But, with temps in the 80s and humidity hanging like a wet comforter in the air, a fashion topic has reared repeatedly in my conversations with friends.

The issue seems to be whether the female homo sapien will wear a certain article of clothing in summertime – and specifically, in public. This garment is seemingly so innocent, yet extremely controversial. It’s maybe even more contentious than the "Itsy" due to its mainstream prevalence and longtime presence in the modern-day wardrobe.


When I say "shorts" I mean "above the knee" lower half-covering garments. Going into Abercrombie / Daisy Duke shorts territory would never be a reality for me, so I am truly referring to a conservative, nice pair of summer shorts that reveal an inoffensive stretch of leg. No booty cleavage top or bottom revealed. 

Shorts elicit opinions from those who may not have a strong viewpoint on anything else. Try even saying the word, "shorts" without the corners of your lips curling downwards and nostrils flaring. 

Will the weather get hot enough for you to wear shorts?

This is one of those questions that have a very black or white answer. The reply is usually either "yes" or "no." And the "No"s have a sea of reasons they won’t be showing off their legs, mostly fueled by the terror of self-image gripes. 

I am ashamed to admit that I am one of those women. I can’t. I won’t. And 9.9 times out of 10 – I don’t. The moment I slip into a pair of abbreviated pants, the self-critic starts yapping.

I will wear activity appropriate short-shorts to a hot yoga class, cutoffs at the beach or around the house, but not in public while say, shopping, being social or working.  My self-consciousness about my perceived flaws prohibits me from what may be more comfortable than a long dress, skirt, leggings or jeans in 100 degr…

Work it, work it, work it.
Work it, work it, work it.

Train like a Milwaukee Brewers prospect, part 2

In Part One of this series, the Nashville Sounds’ athletic trainer Aaron Hoback gave some insight into how the players stay healthy in preparation for making the transition to The Milwaukee Brewers. He even gave his prescription for the number one exercise any athlete should be performing for health, functionality and athleticism – the Turkish Get Up. 

Have you been doing them? I even showed you a non-weighted, beginner version in a video on my Instagram account!

In this installment, we get to the specific details included in the daily training regime of a professional baseball player prepping to one day play at Miller Park. My biggest takeaway from this particular interview was that 80 percent of a professional athletes’ program is sport specific. That leaves 10 percent for strength and 10% for "everything else." 

This is a great theory to apply to your athletic endeavors. So, if rock climbing is your thing – spend 80 percent of your time focusing on direct rock climbing skills, but make room for that other twenty percent of strength training and "other stuff" like flexibility and cardio.

Below, you’ll find my conversation with The Sounds’ strength and sonditioning specialist, Andrew Emmick, who gave me that piece of golden advice. 

Emmick is responsible for designing and implementing precise training programs for the entire team. Emmick gives unprecedented insight here into what really goes on in a pro-athlete’s day and drops tons of valuable training information anyone interested in being and staying active will gain from. Reading Emmick’s daily schedule is fascinating. Try not to get vicariously exhausted, considering the agenda he and the team must adhere to. 

Baseball enthusiasts and fitness fanatics alike will obtain inspiration from this super interview. Find out more about the future Brewers by following the Sounds on Facebook and Twitter. And be sure to look for the final installment in this series, which will be a workout from Em…

Regina Erickson with her son, Dylan, and SSgt. Chad J. Simon.
Regina Erickson with her son, Dylan, and SSgt. Chad J. Simon.

Fisher House to provide care and space for injured soldiers' families

On June 3, 2014 at 1 p.m., ground will break on a very special place for the families of our country’s injured soldiers. Fisher House of Wisconsin will be located on the VA Medical Center grounds and will provide a "home away from home" for family members while a soldier receives medical care. 

Fisher House Wisconsin has been in the works since 2006 and is slated to open in the summer 2015. 

A joint effort of public and private entities, there is a dire need for this organization in the Milwaukee area. Over 8,000 Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans travel to The Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center on an ongoing basis for treatment of their wounds and injuries.

Housing for loved ones while a wounded soldier is healing can be one of many logistical concerns, as well as a huge financial stress. The Fisher House removes this burden while providing a comfortable environment close to the where the injured soldier is being treated, so as to remove any excessive daily travel expenses as well.

Regina Erickson, a Milwaukee resident, stayed at Bethesda and Minneapolis / St.Paul Fisher Houses from November 2004 to March 2005 while her husband, SSgt. Chad Simon was being treated. She says the proximity of Fisher House to the hospital "was a godsend because I did not have my car there."

Fisher Houses provide a very unique level of emotional support to families, too. 

"Being able to stay in the houses provided a community that you could access at your level of interest or need," says Erickson. "I connected with a woman whose husband was fairly severely injured. She was close to my age, so we shared a couple of meals together and as fellow Marine wives, we were able to share some of our experiences."

Erickson feels the resources that were provided to her and her family by Fisher House were vital.

"We needed to be able to be with people who knew what we were going through," she says. "It is a great place to stay for comfort and being able to quickly get to other resourc…