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Youngblood Theatre Company will open its new season with "[sic]" Sept. 20.
Youngblood Theatre Company will open its new season with "[sic]" Sept. 20.

Coming soon: Youngblood Theatre's "[sic]"

Youngblood Theatre Company has been around a couple of years and is about to kick off its new season in keeping with the edgy reputation it's built.

Their production of "[sic]" opens Thursday, Sept. 20.

Nobody writes plays about happy victors in the game of life. The people who are the subject of great plays are losers, strugglers – those fighting to find their way in a world that doesn't have clear paths.

That's "[sic]," full of a wannabe writer, a wannabe composer and a wannabe auctioneer. The possibilities seem endless. This is a story about odd folks who find some common, and not so common, bonds.

Playwright Melissa James Gibson is an award winner who used language as a weapon or a pogo stick, and the one thing you have to do when you see "[sic]" is pay attention.

Jason Economus, one of the best actors Milwaukee has seen in recent years, returns from Chicago to direct a youthful cast that is sure to bring barbs sharpened by wit, love and dreams.

Performances are at Bucketworks, 706 S. 5th St. The play runs from Sept. 20 through Oct. 5. You can get tickets by email at or by calling (414) 368-2375.

Dig early '60s music? This series is for you.
Dig early '60s music? This series is for you.

New music series on the horizon

If you like music, especially music from the '60s, Sunset Playhouse has something that sounds interesting, along with a glimpse into the glorious past of great Milwaukee disc jockeys.

Monday, Sept. 17, the Musical Mainstage Series opens with music from 1960 to 64 and four great local singers: Tommy Hahn, Katy Johnson, Rana Roman and Neil Haven.

The music is bound together with a narration written by the talented Susan Loveridge. Normally there is a co-narrator, which is where the memories will really jump and grab you by the throat.

Bob Barry, who presided over Milwaukee radio when rock and roll began, will be the co-narrator.

Barry, who was billed as the fifth Beatle after introducing the famed quartet before its only Milwaukee appearance, was the star at WOKY, which battled WRIT every day for supremacy in the rock battle.

He is a very nice guy who never had the kind of ego we normally associate with on-air disc jockeys. He's a throwback to the days of the golden vocal chords and a mental warehouse of information about the world of music.

There are people around who say that nothing recorded after 1969 is really worth listening to. And there is truth that the music of the '60s has truly stood the test of time. Kids today know the lyrics and can hum along and dance to it.

That's why the Music Mainstage production should be on the calendar of everyone who loves the greatest rock and roll music ever written.

Give St. Francis Restaurant and Brewery a try.
Give St. Francis Restaurant and Brewery a try.

St. Francis surprises

I don't know if you will ever find yourself in the southern suburb of St. Francis, and I was pretty sure it would never happen to me.

I'm an East Side, Downtown, Riverwest kind of guy.

But I ended up in St. Francis for some theater over the weekend and found what might be the best grilled cheese sandwich I've ever eaten.

The place is the St. Francis Restaurant and Brewing Company located just off the Lake Parkway at Kinnickinnic and Howard Avenues.

It's a good sized place with a menu full of variety. In addition to food they have lots of beer and a wonderful beer sampler that brings eight different small glasses of beer to your table for sampling. If I drank beer it sounds like heaven.

But back to my sandwich.

I love grilled cheese sandwiches. I've had $1 grilled cheese at places like George Webb's. I've paid $20 for a grilled cheese at the Beverly Hills Hilton.

But the grilled cheese at this place stands right near the top of my list.

You start with a wonderful, fairly thick sliced sourdough bread. Then three cheeses, cheddar, a nice-aged Swiss and a mellow provolone. Then you add crisp thick sliced bacon, thin tomatoes and nice slices of avocado.

At $7.95 it's a real bargain and a treat that grilled cheese folks should not miss.

Like tapas? Try Espana.
Like tapas? Try Espana.

Trifecta of tasty tapas restaurants

They say that good things come in threes and I now have three favorite tapas restaurants in Milwaukee.

I have been a fan of both La Merenda and Odd Duck for some time, and I have now added Espana Tapas House to the list of great food places that deserve regular and repeated visits.

We were a Espana last week in advance of a play and I was surprised by how good the food and service were. Pleasantly surprised.

The restaurant, on the corner of Wells and Plankinton, has a nice and non-intrusive décor with a number of tables next to windows, which always makes for intriguing activity during dinner.

A meal of tapas, which are small plates of a variety of dishes, can be an adventure, if you are adventurous. The idea behind them is to try a little bit of many dishes and share them around your table.

We started the night off with Ko-Bat, a single skewer with charcoal broiled shrimp, pork, chicken, beef and lamb. The nicest thing about this dish is that each item on the skewer retained it's unique flavor. When broiling it is easy to make everything taste alike.

Also hitting the table was a dish called Gambas al Allio, jumbo shrimp sautéed in garlic, olive oil, chili flakes, lemon juice and fresh parsley. It was wonderful and with fresh, still warm, bread to sop up the sauce, it was a special treat.

Also on our menu were grilled asparagus and cold red potatoes with a homemade aioli.

The star of the night, however were dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in Serrano ham and grilled under a broiler. I marveled at the dish and couldn't help but wonder how easy or difficult it would be to make it at home.

We had a waiter, Tony Aleniz, who who was very attentive without being intrusive and he kept the dishes coming without any long delays. He was also very knowledgeable in his explanation of dishes. He complimented us on our choices and I asked if he had ever warned people off any items. He assured me he had.

A tapas meal is a lot like what Mark Twain said about t…