Advertise on
A gallery goer at Studio Deep End poses with Freddie, Milwaukee's most famous reptile.
A gallery goer at Studio Deep End poses with Freddie, Milwaukee's most famous reptile.

Tortoise steals the show at Third Ward gallery event

It's a Saturday night film screening in the Third Ward and the standard elements are all in place: trendy hipsters with well-placed scarves and purposefully mismatched accessories, austere gallery walls with bright lighting, a step repeat backdrop for the who's-who to have their photo taken and then, there's the tortoise. Yes, as in a live reptile, amidst the gallery-goers.

Studio Deep End, 315 N. Plankinton Ave., hosted an event centered on the local reptile sensation, Freddie, a tortoise recently featured on National Geographic's series, "My Dog Ate What?" After being pursued by the producers of the show for some time, the Franklin-based pet owners agreed to share the story of their tortoise's misadventures with over 50 non-edible items as well as his recovery following several unprecedented veterinary procedures.

Upon entering the gallery, all guests were invited to pose with the lucky tortoise, who seemed more than content to crawl along the floor and mingle with the crowd. Freddie is just over 20 pounds, which I wasn't prepared for when taking my turn in front of the camera. According to his owners he is only a fifth of his potential weight. I smiled for the snapshot and quickly passed him off, fearing I'd be the klutz to accidentally drop the star of the evening.

Following the photo shoot, homemade wine and beer was offered to guests as they lingered near the DJ, who spun classic funk. I sampled the strawberry rhubarb wine while sitting on handcrafted benches made of planks of wood and milk cartons.

Before long, one of the pet owners introduced the clip of the National Geographic program with an explanation of how Freddie became a member of his family. Following the screening, the vet technician who worked on Freddie's case held a short question and answer session about the surgery and its historic relevance for modern veterinary medicine.

The ardor this family has for their pet shone through the presentation and visibly wore off on the attendees of the e…

Angela marveled at the fire dancers performing at Art Milwaukee's Art Jamboree.
Angela marveled at the fire dancers performing at Art Milwaukee's Art Jamboree.

Art Jamboree a good fit for casual art fans

Inspired by two distinct passions, art and nightlife, the founders of Art Milwaukee have taken on a new challenge of exposing art to the masses. With the intention of expanding the traditional perception of what art is, this collective of artists hosts an event called Art Jamboree on the first Thursday of every month to showcase local art in an unconventional forum.

I attended the Art of Beer event in November at Stubby’s Pub and Grub located at 2060 N. Humboldt Ave. Since its recent opening, Stubby’s has quickly created a name for itself due to its vast selection of tap beer. The venue itself looks out over the Milwaukee River and with warmer weather the expansive deck is an excellent vantage point to enjoy the downtown skyline.

Inside the large circular bar overwhelms patrons with its more than 50 varieties of beer. Luckily, the staff is well-versed in the language of beer and gladly makes suggestions based on your palatal preferences. The event encouraged guests to explore beer and the nature of its craftsmanship as an art form.

Originally, I had assumed that the Art Jamboree would simply be an exhibition of local artwork for purchase in a bar setting. While several artists do have their work on display and for sale, the organizers take all forms of art into account. Throughout the night, live local talent played music. In one corner of the room, small cakes could be decorated reminding guests that the culinary arts require extreme precision and skill. I tried my hand at frosting and sprinkling a small chocolate torte, but it tasted much better than it looked.

Mid-way through the night, despite the coolness of the evening, a group of people gathered onto the patio to watch a fire dancer twirl flames effortlessly around her body. Her two performances shocked an awed the crowd. Without any fear, the dancer twisted and spun flaming batons to the rhythm of the music.

Prior to arriving, I had secretly feared that perhaps I was not "artsy" enough to fully…


Angela discovers Milwaukee through Newaukee

Prior to my move to Milwaukee, I had spent a very limited amount of time in the city as an adult. I would return home from college or later on from my job abroad and occupy most of my time with my family in the suburbs. So it is really no wonder that upon my arrival, I was blatantly ignorant of Milwaukee's many offerings of entertainment.

My lack of awareness quickly dissipated when I stumbled upon Newaukee, a group of young professionals dedicated to traversing Milwaukee's many bars, restaurants, county parks and other hidden gems under the pretense of a happy hour. The informal gatherings attract 200 people who despite their many different professions and backgrounds have one thing in common – they love Milwaukee. With the simple goal of meeting new people and exploring Milwaukee's many facets, this group often travels to the newest venues and establishments – allowing members to venture out of their comfort zones and discover Milwaukee as it evolves.

This past Thursday evening, Newaukee held one of its bi-weekly events at Replay Sports Bar located on 2238 N. Farwell Ave. Previously Twisted Fork, the establishment has reopened as the East Side's newest sports bar. I felt compelled to check out thIS addition to the North Avenue bar scene as well as to check in with the Newaukee crowd.

Let me be frank, I am not a fan of sports of any kind. In fact, Newaukee has single-handedly exposed me to my very first game in every professional sport Milwaukee hosts. As pathetic as this is, I had never even been to a Brewers' game prior to Newaukee's tailgate at Opening Day this year.

Not surprisingly, it was news to me that the Bears would play the Dolphins on Thursday night, but it didn't take long for me to catch on with the dozens of televisions broadcasting the game at Replay and the hundreds of cheering spectators wrapped around the bar. In spite of my lack of knowledge (or interest) of the game, the crowd's energy was invigorating. Before long I caught myself poun…

People mingle at Whiskey Bar at 788 N. Jackson St. for the Party for the Parks calendar release event.
People mingle at Whiskey Bar at 788 N. Jackson St. for the Party for the Parks calendar release event.

Party for the Parks event inspires service

Wednesday evening I ventured out to Whiskey Bar at 788 N. Jackson St. for the Party for the Parks event hosted by the Park People of Milwaukee County Inc., an organization that champions projects directly for the Milwaukee County Park System.

I initially heard about the event through Facebook. The invite described it as a 2011 calendar release party and fundraiser for the Park People. Never previously aware of the organization, but intrigued by idea of raising funds for the Milwaukee County Parks, I arrived punctually at the start time of 5:30 p.m.

Whiskey Bar has several distinct spaces for guests to enjoy. This party set up in the back bar area with a band on stage and several high-top tables scattered about for people to indulge in the spread of appetizers without having to ungracefully balance a drink in one hand and a plate in the other while networking with a stranger.

Having been to Whiskey Bar a few times before, once for a magazine issue release party (which is a similar concept to the calendar release), I immediately noted how very well-attended the event was so early in the evening.

Typically I find, despite how many have clicked "attending" on a Facebook invite, the standard practice is to show up at least an hour late and even then, only about a third of the amount that intended to come actually arrive. But then again, the majority of those in attendance fell within a demographic that perhaps does not regularly check (or know how to check) their Facebook event invitations.

The demographic of the attendees is specifically what I found most striking. Not that there were too many middle-aged individuals working passionately to preserve our beautiful (and by the way, gold-medal award winning) county parks, but that there were not enough young people in attendance.

I do not at all mean to lay blame on the Park People, who clearly had every detail of the event orchestrated to appeal to a younger crowd: trendy bar, drinks specials, free f…