By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Oct 06, 2004 at 5:30 AM

{image1}A brisk downpour wasn't enough to keep people from hitting the town Friday night. Although the grand opening party for Bay View's new Highbury Pub wasn't until Saturday, co-owner Joe Katz seemed more than pleased with Friday night's turnout. In fact, he personally thanked each of his customers for coming out to the new bar, which he describes as an "English hacienda." Have no idea what that means? Go see for yourself; former Bangkok Orchid/Thai Joe's owner Joe Ryan did. Maybe it was his sense of camaraderie with the next generation of Milwaukee bar owners that brought him out, or perhaps he was ensuring that the ex-Thai Joe sound system was safe and secure in its new digs. By the sound of things, it was doing just fine.

Meanwhile in Riverwest, Onopa's stage offered a local line up eclectic enough to tempt the palate of just about anyone looking to rock, dance or even relax. Among performers and spectators were self-navigating Signaldrift (aka Franz Buchholz) creating dreamy ambient sounds from behind his laptop and other plug and play gadgets; WMSE DJ Bts.Wrkng; and the bringer of hip hop charisma, Anacron. Epicenter teamed up with Lunaversol for an impressive candle-lit set which gave way to an awesome night cap by New Sense, an indie-pop outfit featuring several familiar faces, including Decibully front man William Seidel and ex-Citizen King-er Kristian Riley. Local artist Davey Noble and fashion designer Christina Perez, who you can find selling her well-crafted wares at Detour, were among the many that knew this was a show not to be missed.

The only reason you should have gotten out of bed before eleven on Saturday was to brave the chill of an autumn morning and make your way to the Bay View Bash. One dollar Point beers, complimentary massages and Henry Matamoros' team of jui jitsu guys taking each other out in the middle of the street. This is Bay View at its best. Eric Uecke, owner of area favorite, the Cactus Club, was out in obvious support for the community that his small but vital venue calls home. Along a four-block stretch of Kinnicinnic Avenue, vendors such as designer Areka Ikeler of Fashion Ninja, and Sage Schwarm and Becky Heck of the new trading company Luv Unlimited (and formerly of the Hi-Fi Café) were more than happy to chat it up with curious customers.

Is there any better way to show your support for the city's best radio station than by eating some of the city's best food? Music fans, scenesters and some just plain hungry people didn't seem to think so as they packed the Eisner Museum in the Third Ward Saturday for WMSE's Food Slam. The fourth annual fund-raiser offered tasty samplings of dishes from a couple dozen area eateries. In addition to WMSE personalities like Tom Crawford, Brent Gohde and DJ Melissa Ryan, we also spotted a slew of local noise makers. Atomic Records' Rich Menninger; banjo slinger Ted Jorin of The Mighty Lumberhorn and New Harmony Indiana; Josh Modell, a former Atomic Records employee and founder of Milk Magazine (who now writes music articles for The Onion); Burst Collective's Daniel Holter and amp repairman to the stars Jon Blick, were among the guests. We also spotted Red Bull's Mary Henschel having a great time and man about town Kevin Kennedy, too.

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”