By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Jan 06, 2014 at 2:36 PM Photography:

This is it.

No more delays. No more updated stories about learning new chords or trying to figure out a sound system.

Bucket list day is nearly here. I can smell my 70th birthday, it’s so close.

70 sounds old. Let’s face it. I know lots of people who have died in their 70s. When you read about someone in their 70s, it sounds like they are old people.

I am almost one of them.

But rather than mark the arrival of this milestone with sorrow and painful expectation, I have decided to use it as an excuse to check off one of the final items on my bucket list.

As you may know, Saturday night I will take the stage with a guitar in hand and a sound system set up, and play songs all by myself. I don’t promise good or high quality. What I promise is dedication and an earnest performance.

Aided and abetted by a number of people, I’m going to actually do this. That list includes – but is not limited to – John Sieger, Bill Dwyer, Phil Lee, Neil Young, Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, Leonard Cohen, Paul Williams, Kris Kristofferson, Tom T Hall, Alan Jackson, Susan Begel (my wife, who has had to listen while I tried to work out a troublesome chord progression) and finally, the ever-gracious Jim Linneman, who has provided the space, a sound system and misspelled my name on his monthly program, thereby assuring there is at least one more bad omen on the night.

I am as ready as I’ll ever be. I have 10 songs, all covers. Two by John Sieger, one by Phil Lee, and the others from a variety of eras of music. All of them great songs that I won’t do justice. But there we are.

I hope everybody comes. Music starts at 8 p.m. Seating is first come, first served. No presents allowed. Bring one, and you can’t get in. The doorman has his instructions.

For the guests, here’s what it is. A chance to watch someone either be a mild success or an absolute fool. There is no in-between. You will hear real music if you are there, because I promise at some point John Sieger will be on stage, along with his brother Mike (I think, although I haven’t heard from him).

The remaining few items on my bucket list include cooking a meal for Sandy and Angie D’Amato; having an intimate dinner with Howard Fuller and his wife Deborah McGriff (Fuller once fired me, but he is a man I admire as much as anyone); slow dancing with Christina Aguilera; and being in a play with either Norman Moses, David Cecsarini, Niffer Clarke or Gerard Nugent.

I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to check those off, so let’s make this a good one.

Happy new year. Happy birthday. Happy bucket list.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.