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Treat yourself to booze, mamas.
Treat yourself to booze, mamas.

Five places I'd like to drink on Mother's Day

Last week, I posted a blog listing five local restaurants I plan to revisit in the near future. Apparently, my brain is now in list mode because on my way to work this morning, I thought of a bunch of places I would like to have a cocktail with my "mom friends" on Sunday after I thoroughly enjoy the breakfast my sons plan to buy me. (Hopefully at one of the places on my list from last week.)

Anyway, if I should be so lucky to break away for a couple of hours, I know two things. One: I will wear my "Mommy Needs A Drink" T-shirt. Two: I will be at one of these establishments:

1. Paddy’s Pub, 2239 N. Murray Ave. -- I did not make it there for St. Patrick’s Day this year, and I’ve had a hankering to go ever since. Sure, I can drink my Guinness anywhere, but there’s something about drinking a Guinness at Paddy’s that makes me feel like I’m a few blocks closer to Ireland.

2. Sugar Maple, 441 E. Lincoln Ave. -- With 60 beers to choose from, chances are every beer-drinking mom in the city can find a pleasing libation. Plus, those moms far more sensible than I -- those who don’t suck down a smoke with their suds -- will appreciate the airy, smoke-free environment.

3. La Perla, 734 S. 5th St. -- Drinking margaritas on the rooftop patio sounds like a lovely way to spend a kid-free afternoon. The key is to indulge in no more than a couple of drinks. Otherwise, the scene might quickly deteriorate into a "Moms Gone Wild" scenario starring drunken MILFs and a mechanical pepper.

4. Art Bar, 722 E. Burleigh St. -- Since Cafe Corazon opened just a block to the east, I frequent Art Bar less than I used to. However, it is still one of my favorite Riverwest watering holes and I have yet to have one of its mojitos this season. Hence, I just might swing by for something muddled.

5. Hi-Hat Lounge,  1701 N. Arlington Pl. -- I always appreciate the mix of fancy and casual at the Hi-Hat and it has been a while since I drank one of its Bloody Mar…

A taste of New Orleans in 'Stallis!
A taste of New Orleans in 'Stallis!

Five places I need to revisit

Like most people, I find myself going to many of the same places for food and drink. This week, however, I checked out two establishments -- both of which I will write about for in the next few weeks -- and remembered how much I enjoy going to new digs.

Later, I thought about places I have been to, but not in a very long time. Here's a list of five places I remember liking a lot, but need to check out again to reform an opinion.

1. Miss Katie's Diner, 1900 W. Clybourn St. I remember eating a fantastic omelet at this ‘50s- and ‘60s-style diner, but that was about a decade ago. This seems like a place that would be kid-friendly, too. Anyone wanna weigh in on that?

2. Blu, 424 E. Wisconsin Ave. I love everything about this place, including the fact it's on the 23rd floor of the historic Pfister Hotel, features a spectacular view of Brew City and the bowls of cashews. Please tell me they still have the free cashews; it has been about five years since I last visited.

3. Crawdaddy's, 6414 W. Greenfield Ave. I love Cajun and Creole food and had a great experience at Crawdaddy's about six years ago. It's high time to get back over there for that blackened chicken sandwich (I still remember it!) and a massive boozy hurricanes.

4. McBob's, 4919 W. North Ave. My coworkers went to McBob's last spring after the Morrissey show at the Eagles Ballroom, but I split. Ever since then, I meant to go back for their satisfying bar fare, so I put a visit to McBob's on my list of my summer resolutions.

5. Ginger, 235 S. 2nd St. I have very little experience with tapas eating -- I went to La Merenda once -- so I'm ready for more small-plate dining. I plan to write a guide to ordering tapas in the next few weeks, so I'd better get over there soon.

They look the part, but they don't act it.
They look the part, but they don't act it.

No need to run to "The Runaways"

I might have busted an E string in excitement when I first heard that a movie about The Runaways, an all-girl ‘70s punk band featuring Joan Jett, was in the works. Although the band was long dissolved by the time I got my hands on a warbly cassette of their music in the mid-'80s, I spent an entire summer listening to almost nothing but their second album,"Queens of Noise."

Needless to say, when "The Runaways" finally made its way to Milwaukee last Friday -- it's on the main screen at The Oriental Theater -- I was extremely stoked.

The film is loosely based on lead singer Cheri Currie's memoir, "Neon Angel," and I assumed the screenplay would dish up all the gritty details of the band's rise and fall, allow viewers to find out more about these raunchy punk rock pioneers and deliver hot, artistic girl-on-girl action between Jett and Currie.

Unfortunately, none of the above happened.

A weak script and spotty acting nix any chance for character development. We have no idea what Jett -- played by the Kristen Stewart -- is thinking or feeling. Visually, she looks like Jett, but we are only privy to her stereotyped shell reinforced by scene after scene like the one with she jumps wildly on her bed in her underpants, guitar strapped to her skinny, teenaged body.

The character of Currie, played by an all-grown-up Dakota Fanning, is a little better. We see her transform from a troubled suburbanite in a dysfunctional family to a sex pot struggling with drug addiction, but still, we have little access to her thoughts and feelings.

Also, the film pays almost no attention to the rest of the band, which includes guitarist Lita Ford (Scout Taylor-Compton), bassist Jackie Fox (Alia Shawkat) and drummer Sandy West (Stella Maeve.) This dismissal of band members -- along with the presentation of very few Runaways' songs except "Cherry Bomb" -- is the crux of the film's downfall.

The indie flick attracts primarily diehard fans of The Runaways and ‘70s …

Fold one today!
Fold one today!

Nothing's cuter than a paper hat

Like all parents, I have moments with my kids that I want to freeze forever. It’s interesting, because, for me, they rarely occur during the milestone moments.

Maybe that's because when my sons graduated from preschool or passed their swimming test, I had my camera with me, but the moments that are the most real to me -- the epitome of witnessing a kid being a kid -- are completely random.

Plus, I’m usually not quick enough to document them, other than mentally. Consequently, I have stacks of mental photo albums that are even less organized than the thousands of digital photos waiting patiently on my external hard drive for  my attention.

I had one of these "epitome of a kid being a kid" moments last week. And I was driving, hence taking a photo wasn't an option. So, here I am, fumbling to preserve it through words.

I picked up my sons from school, loaded them into the back seat of the car and started driving toward the grocery store. I heard my younger son unzip his backpack, but didn’t think much of it. About a block later, I looked in my rear view mirror and noticed he was wearing a large, paper "The Cat In The Hat" hat that he made at school.

He was looking out the car window, contently, just rocking his slightly crumpled school-made hat. He had made the decision to retrieve it from his backpack and wear it during this car ride. The thought process touched me the most, but the visual of him came in a close second.

I remembered his paper hats from the past: the pirate hat, the newspaper-folded hat, the police hat. He wore them all with pride and, on some level, believed he was truly a pirate or a policeman while wearing it.

Paper is enough to fuel his imagination. How do I photograph that? I want to capture this; I want it to stay.

"That’s a cool ‘Cat’ hat," I finally said.

"Guess what?" he said. "I made it!"