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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, July 31, 2014

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Kenn Miller and some of the many students he inspired.
Kenn Miller and some of the many students he inspired. (Photo: Mike Petersen)

Nicolet's Miller moves on to life's next act

Theater achieves the ultimate ruse.

The art form uses scripted words to tell a story, facades to suggest location and costumes to transform actors into characters; all of which conspire to take the audience member to another time and place, to experience something outside of the banal. It’s a deception that culminates with applause.

It takes a team to accomplish this charade and at the top of it all is a master illusionist, the director.  

Since 1982, Kenn Miller has dazzled audiences as head of the Nicolet Theater Department. He has acted not only as director of multiple yearly productions, but also as educator, faculty member, mentor, friend and "father figure" to the family of thespians he has nurtured.

Seeing as theater is his trade, Miller was a hard guy to pull one over on. He’s the king of orchestrating every detail, so when the Nicolet High School Administration and Performing Arts Committee plotted to surprise Miller with a tribute to honor his retirement following the curtain call of his final staging of a "Midsummer Night’s Dream" on Saturday, May 10, the challenge was steep. 

Keeping the surprise under wraps became a whole other "production" since it was to include a ceremony, a scrapbook (put together by current student Sarah Rosenthal), a video (edited by former student Maury Loeb) and the announcement of the Kenn Miller Performing Arts Chair, a program that will bring guest artists in to do "Master Classes" intended to give students "real world" understanding of  working in the performing arts.

Planning was top secret and according to Ferne Hecker, assistant to Dr. Robert Kobylski, Superintendent of the Nicolet UHS District, there was much comedy involved in keeping the lid on the surprise.

Miller, who is notorious for staying out of the spotlight, is so deeply involved in every aspect of a production’s details that much effort had to be made to prevent him from discovering the big reveal.

She said, "Some of the things (that went…

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The itsy is a little too bitsy for Lindsay.
The itsy is a little too bitsy for Lindsay.

Does the Itsy belong on you?

The appearance of the Victoria’s Secret catalog in my physical mailbox brings up a bevy of thought bubbles in my all too chattery mind.

"What a waste of paper! I already get all the emails!"

"Resist the temptation to use the coupon!"

"Boobs."

But, the back cover of the "Bring on Summer – Swim 2014" edition brought on a whole new inner dialog.

A lovely, blond model, her front side facing the serene ocean so as to give us a good look at her backside, gazes over her shoulder, eyes in the signature VS come–hither stare, lips seductively parted, beachy-hair spilling over her shoulders. She is clad in a salmony-peach lace midriff top and the tiniest slip of an aqua bathing suit bottom. The image is captioned with, "This bikini bottom right here? It’s called the Itsy and it belongs on you." 

Um. I don’t think so. NOT. ON. ME.

The "Itsy" is Victoria’s Secret’s latest effort to clad the masses in sexy this and sexier that. It is essentially a "Brazilian" bikini bottom, in the thong style – meaning that about half- to three-quarters (depending on the size of your rump, I suppose) of the underside coverage is missing. The fabric travels into the nethers of the "cheeks" and is accented by strategically placed ruching to accentuate curves.

Although I have seen this style displayed on the beaches of Maui the past couple of years, there is something about the prospect of seeing this at Bradford Beach that makes my own lips curl into an Elvis-like snarl. 

On a personal level – although I wish I had the parts and confidence to pull it off, I know that this would not be my most flattering choice in swimwear. Until there is a way to airbrush my fanny in real life (or it miraculously decides to lift and plump itself into CoCo Austin territory) I will choose a bit more coverage. 

And although functional (these suckers actually do stay put during athletic endeavors such as surfing and swimming hence the toned, tanned Chaka-broads rocking these on the island…

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Linda Lenz's mission is to stop children from trying heroin even once.
Linda Lenz's mission is to stop children from trying heroin even once.

Mom gets active after losing son to heroin

Linda Lenz has got a message for heroin: your days are numbered taking hold of our children.

Lenz, a Muskego resident who lost her son Tony to a heroin overdose in February 2013 is amassing an army to defeat heroin through education and open forum discussion.  She is in part reluctant to accept praise for her efforts and the inspiration she provides.

"If you had told me four years ago that this would be my life, I would have said I would have been catatonic or dead after these tragedies. But, I keep going because I hate injustice and it puts me in warrior mode. It is an energy we have all fallen under and we have to see it through," she says.

Lenz is on the panel of an upcoming summit to highlight the "Heroin Crisis in the Burbs" that will take place on Wednesday, May 7, at The New Berlin West Performing Arts Center and on Monday, May 12, at The Muskego High School Performing Arts Center.

Both programs feature a resource fair that begins at 6:30pm and a presentation at 7 p.m. The purpose is to educate parents about the growing danger of prescription opiates and heroin addiction children face.

For more details be sure to visit Lenz’s StopHeroinWI Facebook Page. (Pre-registration is suggested but not requiredand walk-in availability may be limited, so to sign up – please click HERE.)

Below is a transcript of a conversation I had with Lenz that should be required reading for all parents, but also for anyone concerned about themselves, family members or friends. Lenz generously and extensively answered five questions that will at the very minimum stimulate a quest to know more.

Lindsay Garric: Your Facebook Page "Stop Heroin WI" has 6,506 likes and is constantly growing. The mission is to "Stop children from trying heroin – even once." You have clearly hit a nerve. Please give me a little background information on why this mission is your passion.

Linda Lenz: We lost our older son, Canton, on  Aug. 10, 2010 to a genetic disorder called Vascular Ehlers…

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The blood moon's comin'!
The blood moon's comin'!

Get out your crystals and buckle your celestial seatbelts

Tuesday is not only formidable for the obvious tax deadline, but for a far more cosmic reason too. 

The nighttime sky will reveal the "blood moon" or orange "pink full moon" on April 15. This visual phenomenon can be attributed to the beginning of a series of eclipses, each six months apart that will go on through 2015. 

For those of you who don’t follow or buy into this universal "hocus-pocus" like I do, let me please begin to make you aware of what I think is the real power of the moons to exert changes on your energy. (Stars and Moons! Unicorns and Fairies! I sure did just go there. Stop reading now if you don’t want to know why you feel wonky around the full and new moon, or why perhaps you or people around you are feeling anywhere on the spectrum of "out of sorts" to  "charged up" right now.)

For those who require a little more of an expert perspective on this impending astrological happening, this information (well, the "Blood Moon" eclipse and moon cycle info, that is) is available to you on NASA.gov.  If that’s not credible enough for you, you can go back to reading your horoscope and doing the word games in the "Good Morning" section now.

I first became aware of the energetic effect of the full and new moons on the physical human body and for those more sensitive – on the emotions, through my practice of Ashtanga Yoga. This style of yoga prescribes rest days on both full and new moons due to the energetic extremes the moon’s gravitational pull exerts on the body.

Since the human body is comprised of up to 70 percent water and water is affected by the moon’s relative position to the sun, it is only natural that we should "feel" something when the two most visible objects in the sky, which both exert gravitational pull, change positions. 

During full moon, most people tend to generally feel more energetic due to the upward and expansive force occurring. When the new moon is the sky, the feeling is typically the opposite – calmer and mo…

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