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"Take a book, leave a book" is the motto of the Little Free Library. Ahem. (Photo taken quickly, hence a bit blurry.)
"Take a book, leave a book" is the motto of the Little Free Library. Ahem. (Photo taken quickly, hence a bit blurry.) (Photo: Erik Lee)

Is it stealing if you empty a Little Free Library?

In 2013, my family and I built a Little Free Library (LFL) and installed it in front of our house. For two years, it was a beautiful thing. People took books, people left books – just like the concept requires.

We bought books at the The Bookseller, a used book store and coffee shop inside the Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave. Over the past two years, friends donated books and we put some of our own in the structure. We make a point to offer Spanish language books as well as books in English. 

However, in the past month, our Little Free Library has been completely cleaned out three times.

I saw a photo on Facebook (used as the main photo in this blog) of another LFL on the Riverwalk allegedly being emptied by a couple with a garbage bag. This weekend, I saw two more empty Little Free Libraries and another with a sign asking people not to take *all* the books.

I contacted the organization, asking for thoughts on this or strategies to prevent it, but did not hear back. The group did, however, respond to this blog with a Tweet.

Of course, Little Free Libraries are free, but c’mon. Emptying out the entire thing is just jerky. Is our Little Free Library being emptied in order for the books to be sold? If people really need the money, it’s almost justifiable, but I have sold enough used books in my life to know that the mostly-paperback ones I am putting in my library are worth very little to nothing at a book shop.

I started writing in black Sharpie on the front of the LFL books "From A Little Free Library, No Resale." I kinda hate marring the cover of a book, but so far, this seems to be working.

Any insights or thoughts on this? I have read posts about this happening in Chicago and Portland as well. Is this a sign of the times or is this another example why we can’t have nice things?

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Fresh from Bonnaroo: Shakey Graves.
Fresh from Bonnaroo: Shakey Graves. (Photo: Abe Van Dyke)

Shakey Graves delivers powerful jams despite sound obstacle

The OnMilwaukee.com Summer Festivals Guide is presented by Pick 'n Save, Where Wisconsin Saves on Groceries. Pick 'n Save is Wisconsin proud, and excited to help promote and feed the great Milwaukee summer that includes festivals and fun nearly every day. Click to save here!

It was, most likely, sheer coincidence that Shakey Graves wore a bright red shirt on the day that love became legal for all, but for me it was a sign of passion and intensity – one that the musician / singer maintained throughout his 75-minute performance on the BMO Harris Stage at Summerfest tonight.

Unfortunately, the sound ranged from muffled to fuzzy and, eventually, to merely average. At one point he even stopped, looked around and started over on a song. The vocals needed to be louder and the lyrics were, for the most part, indecipherable.

However, that didn’t stop fans from identifying and responding to their favorite songs, particularly those that made it to radio waves within the last year since the release of "And The War Came."

Born Alejandro Rose-Garcia in Austin, Texas, he received his stage name "Shakey Graves" when friends jokingly assigned him an "Indian guide name" over a campfire.

His style of music is a blend of country, blues and rock and roll. Rose-Garcia started out as a one-man band, and most of his debut album "Roll The Bones," is a solo effort. In later albums he included a band.

Tonight, he was alone on the stage – at times behind a podium draped with a Texas flag – with a small band and also sang two songs – "Big Time Nashville Star" and radio hit "Dearly Departed" – with PHOX’s Monica Martin. The two clearly had a connection – at one point she was whispering secrets in his ear and at the end of the second song she embraced him warmly. PHOX will play the same stage on Thursday, July 2.

During the set, Shakey Graves also played "Family and Genus," "The Pansy Waltz," "Hard Wired," "Roll The Bones," "Tomorrow," "Once In A While," "House Of Windsor…

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Chuck D (left) and Flavor Flav fight the power while praising Milwaukee.
Chuck D (left) and Flavor Flav fight the power while praising Milwaukee. (Photo: David Bernacchi)

Public Enemy kill it again

The OnMilwaukee.com Summer Festivals Guide is presented by Pick 'n Save, Where Wisconsin Saves on Groceries. Pick 'n Save is Wisconsin proud, and excited to help promote and feed the great Milwaukee summer that includes festivals and fun nearly every day. Click to save here!

It’s been 33 years since Public Enemy first rallied in Long Island, N.Y.

A quick Google search on the number 33 informs us that the number is the temperature at which water boils on the Newton scale, the degree at which all points of the universe collide and is the numeric equivalent of the word "amen." (1+13+5+14=33.)

Metaphorically, these facts describe what happened on stage tonight when Public Enemy played a 90-plus-minute show that started at 10 p.m. on Summerfest's Miller Lite Stage.

Prior to tonight's performance, the bar was already high – the 2010 Summerfest show has become legendary for many who attended and affirmed that neither age nor fame were stunting nor clouding PE’s message.

Tonight, Chuck D, Flavor Flav, DJ Lord, The S1W group and Professor Griff were, once again, loud and clear. The group delivered an extremely high-energy show during which Chuck D and Flavor Flav were as interactive, prolific and connected as ever with one another and with the audience.

The show opened with "Miuzi Weighs A Ton" and PE went on to deliver "911 Is A Joke," "Welcome To the Terrordome," "Bring the Noise," "Don’t Believe The Hype," "Can’t Truss It," "Do You Wanna Go Our Way," "Fight The Power," "31 Flavors," "Time Bomb" and show closer "Shut ‘Em Down."

Throughout their career, Pubic Enemy defined and redefined hip-hop through their political lyrics that both criticize American culture – as well as the media– and provide a voice for the frustrations of African Americans.

Despite the recent tragedies and outrages in America, during tonight’s show the group made it clear, for the most part, that their message was of peace and connectedness.

"From the bottom of my he…

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Spice up your Summerfest experience.
Spice up your Summerfest experience.

"FanMatch" is like Tinder for Summerfest goers

The OnMilwaukee.com Summer Festivals Guide is presented by Pick 'n Save, Where Wisconsin Saves on Groceries. Pick 'n Save is Wisconsin proud, and excited to help promote and feed the great Milwaukee summer that includes festivals and fun nearly every day. Click to save here!

Wanna hook-up with a special or not-so-special someone at the Big Gig? There’s an app for that now.

FanMatch – which has been called "Tinder for music fans" – is a new mobile app that gives people the chance to browse, chat and meet up at music festivals this summer and fall.

Available in beta on Apple and Android, FanMatch allows users to select from a list of festivals they are attending – including Summerfest. Similar to Tinder, it has a "like" function that matches people based on mutual interests and attraction. 

Chatting with matches is free. VIP features like unlimited chatting is $3.99 for seven days, one month is $9.99 and three months is $19.99.

"Until now meeting new people at concerts has pretty much been left to chance in the beer line," says FanMatch co-founder Ellona Ferson. "Dating apps like Tinder aren’t wired to show you who else is attending specific events, or to make plans in advance. FanMatch is designed to do exactly that."

And in Big Gig speak, it might make your Summerfest smile even wider.