A couple days ago, we did a story here at OnMilwaukee.com about where to take out of town guests when they come to visit Milwaukee and I've had more guests than normal lately and it reminds me that although Milwaukee has its talking points (MAM, etc.), Brew City is big enough and has enough on offer that any tourist itinerary can really be focused on the guest's interests.
For instance, a friend from Italy with an interest in emigration and labor history, loved our drive up to Harrington Beach State Park to see the former quarry where many Italians and other emigrants worked in the first two decades of the 20th century. I wouldn't, however, likely take most people there. Nor would I take everyone to see the historical photos that line the walls of the Italian Community Center. But he went.
He is also a devourer of books and therefore visits to Downtown Books, Renaissance Books and the Central Library went down very well indeed. When I take him to see Bay View, where a lot of labor and immigrant history was set against the backdrop of the now-disappeared steel rolling mill, I know he'll love it more than a stroll beneath the wings of the Calatrava.
Another friend is an avid golfer and his visit occasioned my only trip to the Golf Galaxy store in Greenfield, where he was like a kid in a candy store. A cousin visited, too, and even though the stadium was dark, he jumped at the chance to eat at Friday's Front Row so he could get a glimpse inside the stadium. Both loved these little treks - which might seem ho hum to some - more than a day at Summerfest or a Miller Brewery tour.
These have all served as reminders that although there are things in the city we want to show off, they're not always the things every visitor wants to see. Luckily, Milwaukee has a wealth of options.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.