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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

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Wed
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I got the Tofurkey blues.
I got the Tofurkey blues.

A totally ungrateful blog

Despite the fact it’s the season of gratitude and thankfulness, I seem to be complaining a lot. So much so that I actually made a list of my "first world problems" that have been the subject of my griping this week.

Here are my Griefs of The Week and more so, here’s to me finding some gratitude at the turkey table tomorrow. Sheesh.

My refrigerator. I hate the layout of it and I can never find anything. Either that, or the jar of pickles is effing with me. Also, the crisper door is cracked and so it’s "hard" to open and close. I’m not sure what I was expecting, considering someone gave it to us for free because it was his former raw dog food fridge and he got a new one.

My cell phone bill. I am addicted to my iPhone and yet the cost of it makes me want to replace it with a banana. Or maybe one of those phones that you plug into the wall that's shaped like a hamburger. Then I think about not having a smart phone and my heart starts getting a little skippy and my eye says, "don’t make me bring that tick back because you know I will."

The cost of Tofurkey. When I went to buy a Tofurkey this week, I almost fell over. $15-$32 for a ball of tofu? Is there a Target gift card stuffed in the middle? And who invited the vegetarians to Thanksgiving? (Ahem.) They had better bring booze.

Snow and cold. I usually love winter (weird, I know) but not when we just tore the porch off the front of our house and then the weather immediately went from creepy tornado warning to unseasonably cold and snowy. I hope to have it rebuilt by Cinco de Mayo.

The kids' homework. A Facebook friend said it best: he might have gotten a vasectomy 15 years ago if he knew how much time he would have to spend helping his kid with his math homework. My little-ish people are in middle school now and I really miss the days of having our evenings free just to hang out as opposed to hunkering down with partial fractions. I may or may not be complaining because their math is getting to the point…

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The Pfister illuminated.
The Pfister illuminated.
Party on Jefferson Street!
Party on Jefferson Street!

Pfister Hotel lights up for the holidays and beyond

The Pfister Hotel – where I am the current Pfister Narrator / writer in residence – celebrated its 120th anniversary on Thursday, Nov. 21. Although a 120-candle birthday cake might have been fun, The Pfister decided to go with something more permanent and less flammable. 

"We wanted to do something special for the 120th anniversary. We previously had never lit the exterior of the building, but after a little experimenting, realized how strategic lighting could really help highlight the building's architecture," says Cassy Scrima, director of marketing for the Marcus Hotels.

Hence, the historic section of the building now features white lighting and the tower side will change colors in conjunction with various holidays and special events hosted at the hotel. 

The new lighting was switched on during a special ceremony which took place on Thursday evening at 6:45 p.m. on Jefferson Street  – which was blocked off to traffic. During the ceremony, The Pfister’s general manager Paul Ohm spoke for a few minutes before Greg Marcus took over the mic and later flipped a massive switch to illuminate the building and tower.

These lights, which took about four weeks to install, will remain throughout the year.

The illumination ceremony was tied into the Historic Hotels of America’s annual conference which took place Nov. 19-21 at The Pfister. The event brought more than 75 historic hoteliers from across the country to Milwaukee.

During the conference, the Marcus family was honored with the Heritage Award in recognition for their exemplary historic hotel and leadership practices.

Since 1994, The Pfister has been a member of Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which identifies quality hotels that have maintained their historic integrity, architecture and ambience.

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Antigua Latin Restaurant will cater the first Milwaukee Lunch Club event.
Antigua Latin Restaurant will cater the first Milwaukee Lunch Club event.

Milwaukee Lunch Club to soon launch

The Milwaukee Lunch Club – which launches next month – gives Downtown professionals the chance to try food from restaurants primarily in the suburbs while networking with dozens of other people.

Hosted by Gravity Marketing, the Milwaukee Lunch Club will take place the second Tuesday of every month, starting Tuesday, Dec. 10, at Rail Hall, 131 W. Seeboth St. Antigua Latin Restaurant, 5823 W. Burnham St., will cater the first lunch.

The lunches run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the cost is $25 at the door or $20 in advance. 

So why do the lunches come from the 'burbs?

"The reason is to provide a taste of something different to the Downtown lunch crowd and help restaurants outside of Downtown raise some awareness," says Mike Kuharske, president of Gravity Marketing. "There are so many amazing lunch choices in Downtown, but it’s nice to mix it up a little."

One-year and six-month Milwaukee Lunch Club memberships are also available.

"If someone joins the club by paying upfront then the cost of the individual lunches drops as low as $15 each," says Kuharske. "Plus, each restaurant also provides $10 off a future visit."

Gravity is an outsourced marketing company for small and medium sized businesses. It also offers a free coffee shop for local professionals and owns /rents the afore mentioned Rail Hall, a renovated warehouse space in Walker’s Point, for business events, weddings, parties and more.

All together now ...
All together now ... (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
Do bears really have fingers like that?
Do bears really have fingers like that? (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
Side view.
Side view. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
Soul bear.
Soul bear. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
Solo time.
Solo time. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
The eyes. Oh, the eyes.
The eyes. Oh, the eyes. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
Lots of mall for the big bear sounds.
Lots of mall for the big bear sounds. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)

Creepy or cute: mechanical Christmas bears at the mall

Every holiday season for the past 11 years, these musical, mechanical bears return to The Shops Of Grand Avenue, and every year I ask myself the same question: are they creepy or cute?

There is no right or wrong answer to this. If you focus in on the auto-blinking eyelids or the fact someone actually took the time to name all of them – little name cards reveal their monikers are Clive, Bentley, Hornsby, etc. – then they might tweak your creep-o-meter.

But if you stand back – particularly with a believer child in tow – and you behold the band of baby grizzlies belting out "Here Comes Santa Claus," suddenly they are a little less eerie. 

Furthermore, if you allow your mind to wander back two or three decades to that mall your mom or dad liked and the happiness you felt being there during the holidays, well, suddenly those bears are really kinda adorbs. 

Until their hinged jaw flaps.

But regardless of  your thoughts on the yuletide teddies, keep this in mind: according to former Grand Avenue Mall assistant manager, Tracy Korpela, the bears will get dressed in Packers gear when the Pack plays the Bears on Dec. 29.

And, once again, we’re back to the original question.