By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Oct 22, 2006 at 9:40 PM
It was another event-filled weekend in our downtown neighborhoods, so I thought I’d reflect a bit.  Indulge if you will, please, in this weekend review. 

I realize that there are some artists and art groups that think Gallery Night and Day has jumped the shark a bit.  Some say it doesn’t sell enough art and some claim that most who attend are just there to socialize.  I say, who cares?!  The quarterly Gallery Nights are huge events for Downtown and attract a wide variety of people from all over the metro Milwaukee area.  On Friday night, the Historic Third Ward was buzzing and most places, big and small, were packed.  The event has expanded into many neighborhoods in its 18 years (much of the expansion has happened in the past 5-7 years) and it’s become a true creative showcase for our city.  Don’t diss it, and don’t miss the next one.  Winter Gallery Night is Jan. 19.  Mark your calendar.  

After Gallery Night Friday, we hit the new Irish Pub, 124 N. Water St., in the Third Ward.  It’s nice, roomy and inviting.  Yet, even with brand new smoke eaters, by midnight, the place was one huge cloud of smoke.  With nearly every major city in America now smoke free for bars and restaurants; it’s time for Milwaukee to follow.  I have nothing against cigarette smokers, but truly feel that banning smoking in bars and restaurants only brings more business and more activity as it forces smokers to activate patios, streets and beer gardens, even in the winter months.  If Ireland can do it, we too can do this smoke free thing, Milwaukee.  

Almost forgot, for you star gazers, Milwaukee Bucks forward/center Dan Gadzuric and his girlfriend strolled the Third Ward on Friday night for Gallery Night. The late night out didn’t hurt him as he scored 9 points in 17 minutes in Saturday’s Bucks victory over Denver.  

On Saturday, we helped organize and promote the Downtown Yard Sale at the East Town Market at Cathedral Square.  The weather kinda sucked and it rained on and off for the first few hours, but -- all in all -- it was a success.  Many downtown dwellers hawked their stuff and thanks to Goodwill Industries, they also got to donate what they didn’t sell.  Big thanks to East Town’s Kate Borders and June Jarmen, and volunteer extraordinaire Katie Heldstab, for all of their hard work.  

While at the East Town Market on Saturday, a woman from Indianapolis came up to me and said, “I just want to tell you how nice Milwaukee is.”  It was pretty cool.  She said she had “been hearing so many great things about Milwaukee” that she just had to come for the weekend.

On Saturday night, my wife and I went to see our Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.  Hilary Hahn was featured on violin and 30-year-old Vasily Petrenko conducted.  It rocked.  The nearly two-hour performance was dramatic, delightful and energetic. The final piece, Grieg's “In the Hall of the Mountain King” soared and it was wonderful to see the 26-year-old Hahn perform.  She also signed autographs at intermission.  If you’ve never seen the MSO, go.  No matter what your taste in music, classical music is the foundation for it all.  You’ll hear something that you like and no matter who the composer, one piece will always move you.   

It was the one-year anniversary of the Milwaukee Public Market this weekend.  It’s one of my favorite places.  It does everything that a good development should do.  First and foremost, it builds community.  It was packed on Sunday.  Even during the Packers game.  Hats off to all the vendors and the staff.  There’s room for improvement at the market, of course.   I’d love to see earlier hours.  It should open at 7 a.m. or, at least 8 a.m. and more prepared foods and full meals would drive additional shoppers.  But, like all businesses, the market will continue to grow, learn and adapt.  For us as Milwaukeeans, it’s our duty to give them feedback and continue to support the local businesses that work hard there every day (not Mondays, though, as the market is closed.)   

We ended Sunday by seeing “Black Gold” at the Milwaukee International Film Festival.  The 7:15 p.m. screening at the Oriental was packed.  The film was powerful and exposed how international commodities markets are rigged against nations like Ethiopia and how subsidies to farmers can hurt world trade.  It wasn’t political, it wasn’t forced.  It will, though, make us think twice about our morning coffee.  And, it also made me more mindful of free trade and somewhat more grateful for the economic freedoms that we enjoy and often take for granted.   You may have a different view or may just want to learn more about fair trade coffee.  So, on Monday at the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Lubar Auditorium you can hear directly from the film’s main character, Tadesse Meskela.  Meskela is the general manager of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union in Ethiopia, in East Africa.  He’ll be joined by the owners of Alterra Coffee at 7 p.m. for a discussion on the movie and its impact.  It’s $5 ($3 for Milwaukee Art Museum members).  
Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.