It's been a while since I've paid close attention to the political world of the United States, let alone the local government here in Wisconsin. I lived in Italy during the last election season. On the night of the most recent presidential vote, a group of American ex-patriots and I gathered together to refresh the homepage of CNN.com hundreds of times until it was simply too late and we resigned ourselves to the surprise on the following morning.
Originally, I had no plans of gluing myself to the tube this past Tuesday night. In general, I am rather disgusted with the visceral nature of political pundits, so I decided ahead of time to vote during the afternoon and patiently wait until Wednesday to hear who had won.
All that changed when I was invited to not one, but two state senate candidates' victory parties. (By the way, is it not cruel that these events are referred to as "victory" parties, given that inevitably someone will lose and the only victorious thing about the evening will end up being the bartender's tip jar?) Apparently, neither candidate was aware of my political standing because both beckoned for my presence via Facebook invites. Intrigued by the prospect of viewing both parties' reactions while the results poured in, I decided this was a political vantage point I surely could not miss.
Not surprisingly the parties, like political standings of their guests of honor, were quite disparate. First up, Blackthorn Pub and Grill at 750 N. Jefferson St., hosted an elegant buffet of perfectly orchestrated cheese platters and silver chafers. The guests mostly dressed in black suits and anxiously refused to sit. I diluted some of the tension with an extra helping of Kalamata olives and a few big gulps of my Pinot Noir.
It was still early in the night and on the numerous hanging TV sets the local coverage of the election was repeatedly interrupted by "Glee" and "Dancing with the Stars." Without the news stations reporting the opening results, the guests scoured their smart phones for any trace of who may be in the lead.
Eager to see how the next party was evolving and to excuse myself from the level of stress that slowly heightened as the first candidate began to lose, I drove to Bay View's Bold Yet Original Studio at 2246 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
From the second I walked into this art studio turned ultra chic bar and lounge, I felt relieved – this was more my style of party. The heterogeneous bunch of guests mingled around a small table where pizza lay still in delivery boxes with a pile of napkins. The bar itself is small and warm with brick walls that feature local artwork. There is a randomness to the light fixtures and seating areas, but it sets a comfort level that after the original party, I enthusiastically adore.
The final numbers trickled in and the crowd erupted into whistles and cheers as the candidate arrived in a pullover sweater covered in campaign stickers. A sense of joy filled the tiny room and I am happy that I unknowingly chose to end the night with the triumphant victory party.
Although (probably due to my lack of personal competitiveness) a little trace of melancholy passes through my mind as I know that the elation of this party subsequently means that across town there is a room full of elegant, but nonetheless highly discontented individuals. But I suppose that was the point of my plan – to see both parties, no matter the outcome.
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.