By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Jul 17, 2007 at 5:45 AM

Someone once asked us, "If you could invite three people, living or dead, to your house for a barbecue, who would you choose?"  We thought that was a great question, but this being, we narrowed it down a bit for our purposes.

For this article, we decided that our picks didn't need to be Milwaukee natives or even current residents, but they did have to call Brew City "home" at least at some point in their lives -- and most importantly, they couldn't have already been to our house for a BBQ.

Which three Milwaukeeans would you invite over for a beer, a brat and some conversation?  Here are our choices, and why.  Please add your own using the Talkback feature below

Molly Snyder Edler
Staff Writer

1. Liberace -- It would be great to have this late, West Allis-born entertainer bang away on my tragically underused piano. The best part, however, would be seeing what he wore -- perhaps a rhinestone-studded cape in reds and oranges to symbolize the barbeque fire with a gargantuan sausage-shaped ring?

2. Oprah Winfrey -- I haven’t seen her television show in years -- or read her magazine -- but I still respect Ms. Winfrey and her “you go girl” attitude. Plus, her nutritionist would probably whip up something healthy and delicious to contribute to the spread.

3. John Kruth -- Although he lives in the Big Apple these days, John still gets back to Milwaukee to visit friends and play gigs. Kicking back in the yard with John, his mandolin and a couple of beers sounds like a great Sunday afternoon. The kids would dig it, too.

Julie Lawrence
Staff Writer

Milwaukee's history is dotted with colorful, notable characters -- some whose presence would be entertaining, others, educational. Molly snagged the "king of bling" for her backyard BBQ, so my limited guest list includes a former mayor, an inventor and, of course, some brewers who don't play baseball.

1. Former mayor Frank Zeidler -- Unfortunately, I never met Zeidler, nor heard him speak, before his death last summer, so I’d jump at any chance -- however fictional it may be at this point -- to sit down with the man who did so much during his 12 years as mayor to improve the city he loved.

2. Russ & Jim Kilsch -- I've been into brewing my own beer lately, so who better to invite to my BBQ than the brewers behind Lakefront Brewery? They've been brewing locally since the '80s and have helped Milwaukee retain its Brew City nickname, despite other major breweries closing or relocating over the years. Perhaps I'd chat with them about my haphazard idea to create a raisin beer called Raisinbrau ...

3. Christopher Latham Sholes -- Although his is a name I’ve only recently become aware of, it’s quickly become one I highly respect. Sholes was a Milwaukee printer responsible for designing and building the first typewriter, which was produced by the Remington factory in the late 1800s.

Drew Olson
Senior Editor

I found it very hard to limit this to just three people, but here it goes. I had to leave off stalwarts like Brian Ritchie, Greg Koch, Rick Majerus, Bob Voight, Solomon Juneau, Mark Attanasio, Johnny Logan, Phil Wittliff, Dick Bacon and others, but here is my final list.
1. Al McGuire -- I had only a handful of too-brief encounters with the late Marquette coach, but he was one of the more fascinating people I've ever met. He was a treasure trove of stories.
2. Bud Selig -- I've spent plenty of time with the commissioner of baseball over the past 15 years and always have a good time talking about sports, history, the history of sports, etc. I'd make sure to keep a supply of good champagne on hand to help "loosen" the commish when the talk turns to Barry Bonds or the stadium debate of the mid-1990s.
3. Bob Uecker -- I know he'd bring a giant serving of smoked fish straight from his boat. Plus, he's pretty dialed in with the guys at Miller and Usinger's, so I bet I could save some money in that regard. Plus, just think of the stories ...

Bobby Tanzilo
Managing Editor

OK, there's three chairs on the patio (not counting mine) and the grill is hot and ready. I want:

1. Sandy D'Amato or Juan Urbieto -- To cook up some tasty food for us all and to delight and amaze with their tales of culinary adventures.

2. Deb Usinger -- Because I know she won't leave us high and dry when it comes to good sausage, and because's she's fun to talk to.

3. Randy Sprecher -- I'm hoping he'll bring some new brew to test out on us. And, I've never met him, so, hey, why not?

Historically speaking, I'd invite Friedrich and Maria Holtz, my great-great-grandparents who settled in Milwaukee, along with my great-great-grandpappy Herbst, whose daughter married their son. I'd love to know about where they came from, why they left and why they came to Milwaukee. And I'd like to show them what I did with what they gave me.

Andy Tarnoff

Just three, eh? I'll avoid the overlap with Drew and leave out any Brewers broadcaster.  Instead, I'll go a different route with three people who don't currently live here but once called Milwaukee their home (if only for a short time).

1. Gene Wilder -- "Blazing Saddles" remains in my top three favorite movies of all time, and I've always been intrigued by the career and the life of this ex-Milwaukeean.  His dry wit and sensitive sense of humor seems to clash with the almost sullen photos and interviews I've seen. Since his wife, Gilda Radner, died, he's stayed almost completely out of the public eye.  I imagine Wilder to be a quietly hilarious guy who still has a ton of funny left in him, even if he's grown tired of the Hollywood scene.

2. Heather Graham -- This Whitefish Bay native first grabbed my attention in "Swingers," and delivered a great performance in the classic "Boogie Nights."  She showed her funny side in "Austin Powers" and continues to deliver.  I always thought she seemed like a cool person, and I imagine she'd have some great stories to tell at my barbecue about working with Vince Vaughn and Burt Reynolds.

3. Jeff Cirillo -- For much of his career (the good parts, anyway),  Cirillo represented everything right about the Brewers.  A hard-nosed, intense player, 'Rillo was willing to do whatever the team needed him to do to win. For me, he played for the Crew while I was a teenager , a twenty-something and a thirty-something.  I'd like to sit down with him and talk about the Brewers of old and new -- and to thank him for playing his heart out on teams that didn't care half as much as he did.  Of course, after my colleague Drew had Cirillo pose for the above photo, I'm sure the veteran infielder would decline my invite (thanks for nothing, Olson).