2011 picks: Jeff Sherman
Another great year is almost behind us. So, allow me please to chime in with a few of my favorite things from 2011.
Event: What an amazing first year event Doors Open Milwaukee was. Two days of super cool access to buildings, offices, spaces and places that many of us have never had official access to. Hats off to Historic Milwaukee, Inc. for not only getting thousands of people to care enough to come Downtown to sight see but for their months of coordination and passion. Let's hope this event grows and builds on its stellar first year.
Disappointments: I don't let a ton of negativity into my life, but it's hard not be disappointed by a few things in 2011. My short list: needless and costly recalls, continued unwillingness for political compromise, drawn out protests, lock outs in pro sports, scandals at major universities and simple, stupid things like people who continue to litter, ignore problems in their own neighborhoods and bash others for their beliefs or votes. OK, off my soap box I go.
Concert: Jason Aldean at Summerfest. I thought it was funny when many questioned Aldean's headliner status at Summerfest. But, his show rocked and look at the summer the guy had. Aldean won the CMA Country Album of the Year as well as the Musical Event of the Year for his duet, "Don't You Wanna Stay," with Kelly Clarkson. Even the Brewers used his "My Kinda Party" throughout their playoff run. If you missed this show, you missed one heck of a great time.
Television show: "Friday Night Lights" ended its run this year. Its finale was heartfelt and darn near perfect television.
Best new TV show: "Boss," on Starz, is political drama at its best. It's more than worth the premium channel's monthly cost. Set and filmed in Chicago, it's gripping, gritty, sexy and at times surreal. The acting is tight and driven by the huge presence of a seasoned Kelsey Grammer. "Boss" is great TV.
New restaurant: Cafe Benelux came into the Historic Third Ward this summer and filled its roof with drinks, good times and great food. It's established itself as a neighborhood anchor and continues to get better and better as the months go on.
Book: "Today We Are Rich" was easily my favorite read of the year. Tim Sanders' book is simple, thoughtful and valuable.
Milwaukee change: Wells Street goes two-way. Many worked for years on this, and truth be told I "fought" for this since about 1990. This year, the stars aligned and we helped turn a city street that was essentially a highway into a calmer, more viable connection through our ever growing Downtown. Some feared the changed, but it's been embraced and even helped generate new business in the area.
As a chance to really establish itself as a major player in the local news market, I hoped that OnMilwaukee would have kept the heat on Marquette for its poor handling of two sexual assaults by members of its athletic teams. The Journal Sentinel treated it with kid gloves - likely because MU spends a great deal for advertising. It's sad that the Chicago Tribune has continued to follow this story while local media turns a blind eye. I think OnMilwaukee could be so much more.
Not to nitpick, but I think that people still litter when they throw their Jimmy John's wrappers out the window on Wells Street now that they can flee downtown Milwaukee that way after a night out.
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