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Phase one of the park should be completed by the end of June.
Phase one of the park should be completed by the end of June.
This park is definitely not just for kids.
This park is definitely not just for kids.

"Pop-up park" swings back into action

Last fall, the park underneath the Holton Street bridge, often referred to as the "pop-up park," "swing park" or "marsupial swing park," was dismantled. Recently, one of the swings returned and soon the park will be completely back in action.

"Construction of ‘phase one’ starts next week and should be completed by the end of June," says Steph Salvia, the executive director of the Brady Street Business District.

Phase one will include new swings – belt swings, tire swings, a baby swing and an ADA-approved swing – as well as the removal of some of the concrete benches. The gravel will be replaced with repurposed tire rubber.

"The goal is to make the area more versatile," says Salvia.

Phase two of the project will, hopefully, include the build out of a skateboarding area.

"We’ll see how phase one goes," says Salvia.

The effort is a collaboration between the City of Milwaukee, Brady Street Business Development, Bike-In Movie Series and Keith Hayes from beintween, who envisioned and developed the original pop-up park.

The space will be used for many community events, including the Urban Flea Market on Sunday, June 22 and Friday night movies sponsored by the Milwaukee Bike In Movie Series starting on Friday, June 20.

"The park is a great way to connect different parts of the city," says Salvia.

Turr-iffic. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)

13 magical Milwaukee turrets

After years of marveling at the majestic beauty of houses with turrets – small towers that project vertically from the outside wall of a building – I've recently enjoyed helping to scout out these palatial architectural features.

Originally, turrets were incorporated into the design of castles for defensive purposes. Turrets were later built solely for decoration.

Turrets are usually, but not always, circular, and may or may not extend past the peak roofline of the building. Some contain staircases, but most are rooms that can be walked into.

I once made an offer on a house, primarily, because it had a turret. The offer was refused, and to this day, I sometimes drive by the "princess house" (as the kids referred to it) just to think, "I almost lived there."

Milwaukee has so many homes and businesses with turrets – particularly in Historic Concordia, Muskego Way, Forest Home Hills, Harambee, Riverwest and neighborhoods of the East Side, including Yankee Hill, Murray Hill and Northpoint.

My partner shot these photos – along with about 200 more – and will, hopefully, showcase the prints in a gallery someday.

For now, our new hobby is driving around "turret hunting" as my son calls it. And the search continues, so if you know of any spectacular turrets in the city of Milwaukee, send me an email.

Here are 13 of my favorite Milwaukee turrets.

1. Harambee

2. Harambee (I made an offer on this house)

 3. East Side

4. Riverwest (Linneman's Riverwest Inn building)

5. Concordia

6. Bay View (White House building)

7. Lincoln Village

8. East Side

9. East Side

10. Riverwest

11. Riverwest (weather vane!)

12. Concordia

13. East Side (grand finale!)


Can't touch that. Actually, you can.
Can't touch that. Actually, you can.

5 memorable art pieces in Milwaukee eateries

Of course, the art / decor in restaurants is not as important as the food and drink, but it does often have a lasting impression on us. Hence, here are five notable creations at local restaurants and cafes. 

The big coffee cup atop Stone Creek Factory

Every time I see this, I think of the "Leave It To Beaver" episode when the Beav climbs into a big ol’ steamy cup of soup that’s part of a billboard advertisement. And that thought makes me want to climb inside the Stone Creek cup. Kind of like how I got to stand next to the Wisconsin Gas Light flame – only more life threatening. 

Mader’s suits of armor

According to a sign in the German bar and restaurant, these suits are worth $20,000 and were worn by the Silver Knight of Augsburg in the 1500s. I wonder if anyone’s attempted to try them on after a few boots of bier?

The La Perla pepper

The quarter-eating pepper was created by celebrated Milwaukee artist Demitra Copoulos. Just don't jump on after too many margaritas or you might un-swallow into your sombrero.

The spoon and cherry at Kopp’s

This is a classic custard-shop creation that, unlike the pepper, is not ridable. Or climbable. Or a usable utensil. (Unless you're a giant or a Jumbotron.) It’s just there for your viewing pleasure.

The Burt Reynolds’ photo at the Safe House

In the ladies room of this spy-themed bar and restaurant, there’s a large, porno-style photo of Burt Reynolds with a metal heart covering his cannonballs. It seems like you can peek behind the heart, but if you try, well, let’s just say the entire restaurant will know. But do it anyway. Gently.



Lav Grad '14 is on at UWM.
Lav Grad '14 is on at UWM. (Photo:

Lavender Graduation turns five

For the fifth year, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee LGBT Resource Center will celebrate its annual Lavender Graduation ceremony. 

"Lav Grad ’14" will take place on Wednesday, May 14, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Union Wisconsin Room on the UWM campus.

The event will unite more than 25 graduating students to reflect upon and celebrate their academic and personal experiences at UWM. 

"For many students walking into the LGBT Resource Center, UWM became the first place – or even the only place – where they could safely grow and explore their LGBT+ identities," says Jen Murray, LGBT Resource Center director.

Two-time Lavender Graduate Gary C. Cooper of the university’s African American Student Academic Services will be the keynote speaker.

Also during the ceremony there will be a recognition of distinguished guest Joseph R. Pabst whose donations made the university’s first Lavender Graduation possible in May 2010.

"Joe Pabst's support of this annual ceremony has meant giving voice and recognition to students who may, at times, have felt they were invisible or who may not have enjoyed a broad web of support during their academic careers," says UWM Dean of Students Timothy Gordon.

Graduating students can self-identify as a Lav Grad, or can be nominated by a member of the UWM community. 

Nominations also are received for the annual Interactive Student Award, Cheryl Kader Distinguished Service Award, Eldon Murray Legacy Award, LGBTQIA Research Award and Dr. Jeff Merrick Leadership Award. Winners will be announced at Wednesday evening’s ceremony.

Graduates and winners will receive desserts, certificates and mementos of their time at UWM. Joseph R. Pabst will be honored for his five-year partnership with the UWM LGBT Resource Center at an invitation-only reception sponsored by The Private Client Reserve U.S. Bank from 6 to 7 p.m.

The first Lavender Graduation in the country took place in 1995 at the University of Michigan. 

"Programs such as Lave…