Books, Bartolotta's, basketball and Baumbach being a bit bubbly are all big with the OnMilwaukee bunch in this latest batch of recommendations. Also big with the staff this week: aprons, but that messed up the alliteration.
"Humans of New York" by Brandon Stanton (St. Martin's Press) – Even though folks had seen it all before, the first book-length compendium of Stanton's daily blog and Facebook postings of photographs and quotes from people the former Chicago bond trader met on the streets after moving to the Big Apple in 2010 was a bestseller by the time it hit bookshops. It doesn't matter; seeing these dozens of images in one place makes them even more powerful.
My favorites are the images without commentary. They let you draw your own inferences. Next, I enjoy the ones accompanied by quotes from the subject. I'm a less a fan of Stanton's own, often surprisingly pedestrian titles for specific images.
Regardless, like the ongoing online series, "Humans of New York" is addictive for its quirky personalities, its man on the street imagery, its touching moments and its universality. My conundrum now that I have the book: Do I gobble it all down in one go, or do I savor a few pages and put it aside for another measured dose tomorrow? Either way, I'll enjoy it for a long time. – Bobby Tanzilo
Mr. B’s – My wife and I went to dinner with another couple. It was our anniversary, and when I made the reservations, they asked if it was a special occasion. I said no, not wanting to make a big deal of it. We had dinner, with the wonderful steaks at Mr. B's.
Then, after dinner, our server arrived with a giant hot fudge sundae for all of us to share. I asked him how he knew. He said he had overheard us mention it briefly and thought that the sundae would be a good way to say congratulations. It was the kind of classy service that makes Mr. B's a standard that other restaurants should try to match. – Dave Begel
BMO Harris Bradley Center Basketball – It's all about basketball this weekend in Milwaukee. Find a way to live at the BMO Harris Bradley Center today, beginning with one of the top college basketball games of the weekend when No. 10 Ohio State visits No. 17 Marquette University at noon. Then, you've got Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook leading the Oklahoma City Thunder in to face the Bucks at 7:30 p.m. Well, the staff at the BMO Harris won't let you stay in between games, so head around the corner to Ugly's Pub to grab a bite to eat between the two contests. – Jim Owczarski
"Frances Ha" – Fair warning: Prepare to fall in love with "Frances Ha." This joyful little black-and-white comedy, cut straight from the cloth of some of Woody Allen's early films, follows Frances (Greta Gerwig, absolutely delightful) as she wanders about New York, trying to figure out what she's doing with her utterly aimless life.
What could've been yet another coming-of-age arrested development indie comedy feels buoyant and fresh in the hands of Gerwig and writer-director Noah Baumbach. Baumbach's made a career out of viciously honest and biting films ("Greenberg," "The Squid and the Whale") that couldn't cut deeper unless they came wrapped in barbed wire, so his brisk, light and sweet touch here is as surprising as it is funny and satisfying.
I already wrote a review for "Frances Ha" back when it was at the Downer this summer (it also had a brief run earlier this month at some Marcus Theatres as a part of their Theatre Entertainment Network program). However, it just recently popped onto Netflix Instant, giving me another excuse to recommend it and giving you no excuse to miss it. Additional warning: Prepare to have David Bowie's "Modern Love" playing on repeat for at least a week afterward. – Matt Mueller
Flirty Aprons – I have been a collector and lover of aprons for more than a decade now. Most of mine came from relatives and thrift stores, but my new favorite came from Flirty Aprons. The site has more than 50 styles for women, men and kids, and they have some of the cutest aprons I have ever seen. Most are under $30. They are also comfortable and functional, but seriously, look at these styles. Adorbs. – Molly Snyder