By Angela Damiani Special to Published Nov 09, 2010 at 12:54 PM

I will admit that while I do have a passion for Milwaukee, there are wavering moments when I glance through a photo album of a friend living abroad or I hear of someone’s new opportunity to travel for work, that I do experience a sense of longing to be somewhere, anywhere, just not here.

This sensation intensifies with the final sweep of the leaves from the street and when wearing a coat at night changes from an optional accessory to a mandatory necessity.

Normally, I spend a little time scouring for the fastest and cheapest way out of Dodge, and after a few searches I succumb to the fact that I am here now -- for better or worse.

Last Saturday, while wallowing in one of these moods, Milwaukee and its brilliance slapped me upside the head once again during the Made in Milwaukee Special Edition event held at Turner Hall, 1032 N. 4th St.

Honestly, I was in such a funk, I debated attending most of the day, trying to find excuses to maintain my sourpuss disposition. But the abounding energy of my friends on the cab ride Downtown reassured me that the $15 spent would at the very least serve as a destination for the evening and all the proceeds of the event would go to the Turner Hall Preservation Trust, which I wholeheartedly support.

Five minutes before the show began I trudged up the flight of stairs and bought my ticket.

Within half a second of crossing the threshold into the ballroom, I remembered why it is I love Milwaukee so dearly. The energy of the hall buzzed as Milwaukee’s culture and life exuded from every corner of the room. Local artists painted live along the side of the gallery. People lingered with drinks in hand as Milwaukee-based art unearthed itself before their own eyes.

The stage performance began with Evan Christian, who bared his soul to the nearly 300 audience members. The power of his song and the expressiveness of the Friction Dance Company modern dancers, who join him on stage, set the tone for rest of the evening.

With the show underway, a blur of entertainment crossed the stage one after the next, with performances by The Celebrated Workingman, the Rusty Ps and MC OneSelf, a turntable battle between DJ Madhatter of 88.9 FM and DJ Kid Cut Up -- all of which was interspersed with a break-dance dance-off Motion Disorderz. At this point I had positioned myself up against the main stage, dancing like a fool in some moments and in others standing in complete awe of the constant stream of live video deejaying (by VJ Brye) that aired behind the musicians.  

The final act, Codebreaker, played as the soundtrack of the MiM fashion show which exclusively showcased local designers: Boutique Revolution, Madam Chino, Mink, and Myrica von Haselberg. I was blown away by the caliber of designs and quality of high fashion that walked the runway.

I could not applaud hard enough at the end of the show, feeling full of resentment for the ease with which I had forgotten all of the splendor that resides right in front of me. One of the founders of Made in Milwaukee summed the night up perfectly in his opening remarks, the organization acts as a mirror for Milwaukeeans, to reflect back the beauty and wealth of the culture that exists here.

Needless to say, I’m back to feeling more than grateful to be here and for organizations like Made in Milwaukee who continue to remind us of all that Milwaukee has to offer.

Angela Damiani Special to

Angela returned to Milwaukee after living on both coasts and overseas. Filled with uncertainty about the move, she quickly discovered the hidden gem that is Milwaukee. The caliber of arts, music and culture as well as the ease of accessibility to it all, make Milwaukee one of a kind.

After a year of acclimating to life in Milwaukee, she is now surprised she ever doubted the return home in the first place. Exploring the different facets of Milwaukee has been an adventure she never expected and is what you'll mostly read about in this blog.