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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tue
Hi: 78
Lo: 58
Wed
Hi: 72
Lo: 59
Thu
Hi: 78
Lo: 63
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Los Angeles-based indie rock band Rilo Kiley played a sold-out show at The Pabst Theater Friday.
Los Angeles-based indie rock band Rilo Kiley played a sold-out show at The Pabst Theater Friday.

Short 'n' sweet Rilo Kiley show worth the wait

Friday's Rilo Kiley show at The Pabst Theater started at 8 p.m. with a performance by Nik Freitas. At 9:15, The Spinto Band took the stage. By 10:15, the audience was clearly ready for Riley -- yelling out their name and walking out on the opening act for restroom and beverage breaks.

By 10:25, I wasn't sure we were going to see Rilo Kiley at all. But at 10:35 p.m., we finally, finally did.

And it was definitely worth the wait.

The sold-out show lasted a little over an hour, followed by a two-song encore, but it was a Jenny Lewis love fest from start to finish.

Lewis, the lead singer of the band, was dressed in a signature sparkly leotard and tights. She was clearly the coolest and sexiest girl in the room -- she even laid on the stage in a bedroom lounge pose at one point -- but her demeanor was sweet and friendly. (Translation: She's the girl other girls would love to hate, but just can't.)

Lewis said few words to the audience, but what she didn't offer in conversation, she made up for with the quality of her voice.

Inspired by strong, country female singers like Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Patsy Cline, Lewis' voice is clearly flavored by her favorite ladies. Prior to Rilo Kiley's 2004 upbeat, indie rock release, "More Adventurous," Lewis had more of a melancholy country sound than today, but those influences remain.

Half of the material performed during Friday's show was from the August 2007 release, "Under the Blacklight." The band opened with "Close Call," and went on to deliver "Moneymaker," "Dreamworld," "15" (dedicated to the 15-year-olds in the audience) and big hits "Breaking Up" and "Silver Lining."

"Silver Lining" featured massive, confetti-filled balloons dropped on the audience.

Rilo Kiley dished up deeper cuts, too,  like "Absence of God," "With Arms Outstretched," "Ripchord," "It's A Hit" and, in the encore, "Portions for Foxes."

The band's songs have appeared in "The O.C.," "Da…

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Sometimes, mommy feels much better after blowing her stack.
Sometimes, mommy feels much better after blowing her stack.

Top seven mommy guilt trips

I received an interesting e-mail today from babycenter.com about the top seven reasons why moms feel guilt. In fact, according to its survey, 94 percent of the moms polled said they feel guilt or shame over some aspect of their child raising. 

Here are the top reasons why moms feel guilt, according to babycenter.com:

1. Feeding your baby formula
2. Using TV as a babysitter
3. Being environmentally unfriendly
4. Feeding your kids junk food
5. Leaving your child with another caregiver
6. Yelling at your kids
7. Not being able to afford all the extras

Susan Firer plans to distribute a version of the letter to her Shorewood neighbors.
Susan Firer plans to distribute a version of the letter to her Shorewood neighbors.

UWM profs call for chem-free grass

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee adjunct assistant professor Susan Firer and her husband, writer / instructor Jim Hazard, wrote a letter to Kate Nelson, the university’s first campus sustainability coordinator, requesting that the university stop using TruGreen chemical lawncare on campus green space.

Firer and Hazard co-wrote the letter after hearing "UWM bragging about its green ethic" on WUWM.

Here is the letter:

Dear Kate Nelson,

I heard on WUWM today UWM bragging about its Green Ethic.  However, the recent spraying of the campus by TruGreen has no place in anyone's Green Ethic. Reliable studies have linked pesticides to a six-fold increase in childhood leukemia (Journal of the National Cancer Institute and American Journal of Public Health), have shown that dogs exposed to lawn pesticides are four to seven times more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer (Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association), and have demonstrated the link between long-term exposure to pesticides and neuron damage that triggers Parkinson's disease (UCLA study reported in Chicago Tribune).

This glaring contradiction between public relations statements and university actions is a very serious matter, affecting anyone who sets foot on the campus grounds and the surrounding community.  Its effects extend beyond the immediate locale since the run off of pesticides and fertilizers does great harm to Lake Michigan's water quality and contributed to the dangerous presence of E. coli on area beaches: a strange policy given the information to that effect UWM's Great Lakes Water Institute has researched and published.

I hope the university will reconsider this irresponsible social behavior, change its policy toward harmful lawn treatment chemicals, and assume community leadership in this serious public health matter.

Susan Firer and Jim Hazard

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"How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight" is one of the featured reads at the next Sprout book club.
"How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight" is one of the featured reads at the next Sprout book club.

Sprout offers book club for kiddos

This weekend, my monthly book club met to discuss "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen -- which, overall, I enjoyed -- and the very next day, I got an e-mail from Sprout about a book club it hosts for kids.

Sprout's next book club meeting is Saturday, May 31 at noon, and it will focus on "How Do Dinosaurs say Goodnight" by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague, and "Grandma's Feather Bed" by Christopher Canyon.

It's free, and includes milk, cookies, popcorn and balloons, to boot. Plus, anyone who wears pajamas gets a free gift. This sounds like a lot of fun, although vastly different from my book club, which usually just includes copious amounts of wine.

Subsequent book club dates at Sprout are June 14 and June 28. Check the Web site for more info.