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

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Park and county representatives accept a check for $500,000 from MillerCoors, dedicated to fixing South Shore Beach.
Park and county representatives accept a check for $500,000 from MillerCoors, dedicated to fixing South Shore Beach.

South Shore Park on tap for clean up

Late Wednesday afternoon, representatives from MillerCoors, Milwaukee County Parks, UWM's School of Freshwater Sciences and Milwaukee County held a press conference at South Shore Park, announcing new initiatives – and namely a new $500,000 contribution from MillerCoors – to clean up the park's beach. 

The Bay View park features several recreational areas and hosts several events, but its sandy beach has often been closed in recent years due to E. Coli contamination. As a result, the beach has earned a national reputation as one of the worst in the country. In fact, earlier this summer, the Natural Resources Defense Council named South Shore one of 17 repeat offenders, meaning that its water samples have been worse than the public health benchmarks since 2009.

"As you can imagine, this designation ... we're not proud of it," said John Dargle Jr., parks director for Milwaukee County Parks, "but to many of our partners, we are committed to change that – forever – and get off this list."

Dargle Jr. and the rest of the speakers mentioned Bradford Beach several times throughout the press conference, hopeful to recreate the successful work that the city has already seen in action at the now revitalized Milwaukee hotspot. 

"I remember being around in 2008 and an incredibly enthusiastic witness to the announcement then, again from Miller, of their commitment to clean up Bradford Beach," said County Executive Chris Abele. "We expect huge crowds now, but at the time, we didn't have anything like that, and there hand't been for a long time. Anybody who isn't clear about how much of a transformation can be impacted by a partnership like this need only drive down – as we all have – on a hot summer day and just see thousands and thousands of your community enjoying an incredible asset and a clean beach. That's what we're going to get now."

The $500,000 donation and commitment from MillerCoors is a strong start in that direction, but obviously there is much work…

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CZAR collection that will be shown this weekend at Aversa.
CZAR collection that will be shown this weekend at Aversa.

New York fashion meets Milwaukee's Broadway

World-class fashion designer Cesar Galindo lights up the biggest runways in New York. These days, he’s center stage on Broadway in Milwaukee’s Third Ward.

Skylight Music Theatre’s salon was packed last night as Galindo unveiled his original designs for Skylight’s upcoming production of Gioachino Rossini’s "Cinderella." He also offered an intimate fashion show of his latest contemporary line, CZAR, which was recently featured in Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

Personal ties bring the Bravo Television fashion star to Milwaukee. Skylight’s artistic director  Viswa Subbaraman met Galindo years ago through a mutual friend. Every time they crossed paths, Galindo would ask when they could collaborate on a production. They found the perfect project, in a modern adaptation of Rossini’s opera "Cinderella (La Cenerentola)," in which the evil stepsisters are obsessed with fashion and Cinderella’s big night out is based on Truman Capote’s 1966 real-life Black and White Masquerade Ball.

"So here I am," Galindo said, "standing in front of you, commissioned to do the opening opera for the new season in Milwaukee. The synergy is fantastic. I can’t wait to see the production unfold."

According to the theatre's marketing director Jennifer Samuelson, it’s a storybook pairing for the Skylight.

"None of us could believe it," Samuelson said. "Then his sketches starting coming in, followed by boxes and boxes of shoes and clothes from his studio and warehouse, and we knew it was real." 

Skylight’s production of Cinderella runs Sept. 19 through Oct. 5. For more information on the upcoming production, go to the Skylight's website

In the meantime, you can meet Galindo this weekend. He’ll be at the CZAR trunk show at Aversa at Bayshore Town Center in Glendale on Saturday and Sunday.

"I just love to make beautiful clothing, " he said, "and my muse is you, as a woman." 

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Milwaukee's Dogs in Ecstasy played at the New Music KNE stage on the last day of Summerfest.
Milwaukee's Dogs in Ecstasy played at the New Music KNE stage on the last day of Summerfest.

Dogs in Ecstasy helps close out Summerfest

Milwaukee grunge/punk trio Dogs in Ecstasy is only a year and a half old but has quickly created a strong presence on the local music scene through plenty of shows and active social media accounts (mainly Twitter).

Despite a crowd that was a little sparse Sunday evening at Summerfest's New Music KNE Stage, the band played a high-energy show that featured most of the music it has released so far.

Songs like "Buzz," "My Brain is Killing Me" and "E-cig" all have pithy, clever lyrics that on this night were lost to a poor sound system. That muddy mix was the show's only downfall.

The band's stage presence was laid back with attention focused on their instruments rather than the crowd. That isn't to say that the show wasn't enjoyable; the band's rhythms are instantly engaging and addictive.

Despite the sound issue, Dogs in Ecstasy's musical skills can carry it wherever it goes. And anyway, sometimes you just need to hear a song called "My Brain is Killing Me." 

R&B and soul legend Bobby Womack died last week at the age of 70.
R&B and soul legend Bobby Womack died last week at the age of 70.

Remembering R&B/soul legend Bobby Womack

A true R&B and soul legend, Bobby Womack died last week at the age of 70.

Womack played African World Festival here in Milwaukee maybe 18 years ago. It was a hot muggy night, not unlike tonight.

That year, I was lucky enough to cover concerts by both Otis Rush and Womack on successive evenings. As I recall, there had been some trouble at Summerfest that year with young people and guns. Eventually, Summerfest bought in metal detectors at the entrance gate (to be fair, historically Summerfest has an incredibly low number of incidents).

By this point, Womack had been off the charts for a while, but his legacy was very much intact. His early hits with his brothers, as The Valentinos, under the wing of Sam Cooke (he would later marry Cooke’s widow after the soul superstar was murdered) and later collaborating with Sly Stone secured his place.

On that night, other stages featured acts ranging from smooth-groove oldies to urban contemporary. As Womack was working his magic on the crowd, whose median age I would guess at well above 40 years old, there came a series of loud pops at a nearby stage. My guess is Womack never heard this onstage.

As a wave of young people came toward us, rapidly surging toward Womack’s audience, what struck me was the look in the eyes of older folks who feared what may be happening as they tried their best to get out of the way. Many could not move very fast. If you have never been in a crowd situation like that is, it really is helpless.

It was hard to tell if the young folks really knew what happened as some appeared to be fleeing while others were running and laughing. But the look in the eyes of those around me said, "This is real."

Sensing that something serious was going down, Womack brought the band to a halt and gently began playing Sam Cooke’s hymn "A Change is Gonna Come." The chaos peaked and then the audience realized the song Womack was playing. A church-like calm came over the audience as order was restored. We owed …

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