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Die Kreuzen is back, for one night only.
Die Kreuzen is back, for one night only.

Lest We Forget, there's a 13-band extravaganza to remind us

If you thought the Lest We Forget Deceased Milwaukee Scene Facebook page was a passing fad, the fact that page creator Mike L. Podolak (yes, he of Sacred Order fame) has parlayed the uber-active group into a live musical extravaganza suggests that it's still going strong.

The dozens of daily posts is also testament to its ongoing popularity.

The Lest We Forget Milwaukee Music Scene Memorial Reunion concert, an idea floated by Ron Faiola and produced by his Push Button Gadget, promises to be a massive reunion with 13 bands Saturday, May 26 at 5 p.m. at Turner Hall Ballroom.

On the bill are Die Kreuzen, Tense Experts, Sacred Order, 3XCleavers, Rock-A-Dials, Blackholes, Dominoes, 3 on Fire, Lubricants, Xposed 4Heads, St. Bernard, Dummy Club and Liv Mueller.

Faiola – director of the documentaries "Fish Fry Night Milwaukee"  and "Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old Fashioned Experience" will show old video clips of bands like The Oil Tasters and The Haskels between performances.

It'll be great to see all of these blasts from the past, but folks seem to be especially hepped up to see Die Kreuzen, who will perform without guitarist Brian Egeness, who has other commitments. In his stead will be the inimitable Jay Tiller.

Watch this space as Molly Snyder will do a full-on D.K. story before the gig.

The show is a benefit for the American Liver Foundation. Tickets are $20 and go on sale Friday, March 2 at noon.

Medford's Matt Razink received a functional prosthetic hand last week on "Anderson."
Medford's Matt Razink received a functional prosthetic hand last week on "Anderson."

An uplifting story on a depressing news day

On a day filled with the sad news of a fatal school shooting and a tragic Wauwatosa train accident that left an 11-year-old dead, I did hear one uplifting story Monday.

Maybe you've already heard about Medford's Matt Razink, who lost his lower left arm in a work accident almost six years ago. Last week he was on Anderson Cooper's eponymous TV show to get a prosthetic arm that was handmade for him by Advanced Arm Dynamics.

The arm uses the body's own electrical impulses to control what appears to be a fully functional hand.

The moment the arm was strapped on, Razink – who moments earlier told Cooper he missed playing catch with his son Dustin – was able to control the fingers. It's pretty amazing to see.

"Just to be able to have a functional hand that looks like a hand is awesome," Razink told Cooper.

The technology was developed for wounded soldiers and Razink is the first civilian to receive the prosthetic.

You can see a video of the segment here.

Also on the emotional episode, Cooper gave Razink basket full of Brewers swag, including an autographed ball that Matt was immediately able to grasp.

And live on camera from Maryvale, Ariz., Brew Crew hurlers John Axford and Randy Wolf invited Razink and his family to Spring Training – thanks to Southwest Airlines and Double Tree Hilton in Phoenix – and suggested he start warming up to throw out the first pitch at Miller Park on June 3.

Wolf said, "it'd be my pleasure if I could catch you. From one lefty to another."

"I'm very up for that," said Razink. "I'll be practicing. I'll put my long johns on and start practicing."

A Youth Peace Rally was held Saturday at Washington High.
A Youth Peace Rally was held Saturday at Washington High. (Photo: Milwaukee Public Schools)

Thornton: Where is the outrage?

Last month, the Milwaukee Board of School Directors meeting began with a moment of silence for four students who had died in the previous weeks. Again. Four kids – school-age kids – dead.

This weekend, MPS student leaders, Mayor Tom Barrett and Peace for Change Alliance gathered for a rally against violence on Saturday, and in a newspaper op-ed piece, MPS superintendent Dr. Gregory Thornton asked why we are not angry at the violence in Milwaukee?

"I am outraged because the community is not outraged," he wrote. "Has everyone simply accepted that this is life in Milwaukee now? No other community in this state would stand so quietly in the face of our grim statistic: four children dead in seven weeks. If four boys had died of the same illness, we would cry out for the vaccine."

He is right that we should be outraged. We should be outraged at the violence. We should be outraged that we are one of the most segregated cities in America. We should be outraged at the level of unemployment among African-American men in Milwaukee.

We should be outraged that the overwhelming majority of children attending our public schools live in poverty and that more than 2,300 MPS students are homeless.

Like all children, these kids set out filled with wonder and awe at, and curiosity about, the world around them. They can learn just as well as any child anywhere and are eager to do so.

But the burdens they carry from home and from the streets between home and school do not get checked at the schoolhouse door. There is no hallway locker big enough to contain this baggage.

When you see funds siphoned off the public schools, these are the children being left behind even further.

These are the kids that don't always have access to health care outside school and feel the burden the most when nurses are cut.

These are the kids that need to be fed at least twice a day at school in order to be able to concentrate and work hard.

These are the kids that are the future. They are not re…

Student from MPS' Bethune Academy get a first look Thursday at the new Kohl's Education Center at Milwaukee Art Museum. (MPS photo.)
Student from MPS' Bethune Academy get a first look Thursday at the new Kohl's Education Center at Milwaukee Art Museum. (MPS photo.)

Bethune Academy kids inaugurate Kohl's Education Center at MAM

A 5th grade class from Milwaukee Public Schools' Mary McLeod Bethune Academy was the first to check out the new Kohl's Education Center at the Milwaukee Art Museum, 700 N. Art Museum Dr.,  today.

The kids were at the museum from 10 a.m. until noon creating art projects and interacting in the the news spaces that are designed to spark creativity and instill an appreciation of art into kids.

In the center, children and families enter the world of art via interactive games and exhibits, and can also create their own art.

Bethune student Chris Letizke worked at a video station creating animations.

"It’s awesome," Letizke said. "I love it. When you touch it, there it is."

The center is the latest step in the Kohl's Art Generation program, now in its fourth year, and funded with a $3.7 million grant from Kohl's Department Stores and Kohl's Cares to the Milwaukee Art Museum. It opens to the public on Saturday, Feb. 25.

The program can help schools provide art education at a time their budgets for the arts are threatened.

The center comprises three spaces:

  • The Kohl's Art Generation Studio hands-on art studio, open to public on Sundays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Children and families can select from a variety of activities and projects, with options changing each month.
  • The Kohl's Art Generation Gallery, open during regular museum hours, is a kid-focused gallery that introduces the fundamentals of art. The first show, "Animation: Art Goes to the Movies," traces how today's animators draw inspiration from works of art.
  • The Kohl's Art Generation Lab, also open during regular museum hours, is allows families to explore what happens behind the scenes at a museum! They can X-ray a painting, change frames on artworks, ask questions of curators and more.