Barron County, Wisconsin. 1:12 a.m. The air smells of crime, and the crime smells of beans. “This county is a dame, and that dame ain’t got no underwear,” says Detective Rollo McTingting, smoking his eighth cigarette of the minute. “Used to be a time in this state, people cared about decency, neighborliness. Now it’s just dogs eating dogs, first to the beef stick wins.” Rollo takes another drag. On this dark, noir night of the soul, where crime runs rampant, misery is the only currency, and vice the only medicine, a Chevy Cavalier pulls to the side of the road. A couple of Barron’s County Sherriff’s Department deputies crunch the numbers and find a registration violation. This driver respects the law like a hound dog respects a bloody steak. The cops try to stop him, but the Cavalier speeds out of there faster than my wife got out of our marriage. Thirteen miles of high-speed pursuit. Burned rubber and cold justice. The Cavalier rides off into a field, and just when the 5-0 think they may have lost another battle to the forces of lawlessness, the heroes this broken state needs rise up as one. According to the BCSD’s Facebook page, a “moooving blockade” of cows block the Cavalier in the field and put an end to the chase. The driver, unable to escape through the wall of bovine, is arrested without further incident. And for once, this dark tale of crime and punishment has a happy ending. “The law’s like an impossible burger,” Rollo grunts, downing a slug of whiskey. “Never enough cows involved. Chalk this one up as a victory for the spotted crimefighters among us.”
The Night Market is Back
The last time I went to Wisconsin Avenue in the middle of the night and tried to peddle my wares, I ended up with a mark on my record that has turned into a delightful conversation starter at every job interview I’ve had since. But now, I guess everyone thinks selling on the street is perfectly fine just because it’s “legal” and “no one’s wearing a spandex onesie and flinging chunks of bloody steak at pedestrians.” Whatever, man — I’m an entrepreneur. So anyway, the popular Night Market is coming back to Downtown for its first time in over a year on August 8 from 5-10 p.m. The market’s a one-stop shop for food, drink, random crap, etc. Westown Association, which is taking over the market this year, is currently looking for new vendors to populate the market. I’ll be tossing my hat in, of course, but something tells me “The Mongoose King’s Fried Mystery Meats” won’t make the cut.
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The Biggest Outdoor Mural of All Time
Ok, it’s not the biggest outdoor mural of all time (that honor goes some stupid thing in Korea, according to the Guinness Book of World Records), but it’ll be the biggest in Milwaukee. Greg Gossel, who I like to call Double G, is a Wisconsin artist who was just tasked by the Milwaukee Downtown Business Improvement District with painting the side of a building on the Schlitz campus. He’s estimating 200 hours of work and 80-100 gallons of paint to cover the 10,000 square feet of mural, which will be 80 feet high and 120 feet wide. The mural’s design is still a secret. This worries me. What if we’re over here celebrating this awesome giant mural coming to our city, and then in a couple months it turns out to be, like, a gigantic and disturbingly erotic depiction of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Steve Buscemi. Then we’d all look like idiots. In order to avoid this outcome, I think we all need to keep a close eye on Double G’s live cam, which will be broadcasting his progress. If anyone spots any giant, erotic muscles be sure to notify your alderman immediately.
No Air and Water Show
The sky over Milwaukee is going to be less exciting than a 1998 Justin Bieber concert. (JOKE EXPLAINER: He would have been 4 years old at the time, so there probably wouldn’t have been many fans at the hypothetical concert, or much discernable music. Not really the best joke, I admit, but … yeah, all right, sorry, I’ll do better next time). Just after last week brought us the unwelcome news that the lakeshore fireworks were canceled, we now get word that the Air and Water Show is in the toilet. Just like the last time I ate at Taco Bell. (I promised I’d do better, not that I’d do much better). Last year’s show was canceled due to COVID, and this year’s fell victim to “several factors.” Well, at least it wasn’t “various factors.”
The Fall of the Doughnuts
Once upon a time, the editorial staff at Milwaukee Magazine went to their Third Ward offices every morning, ready for another day of work. Unshaven and disheveled, I stumbled past my co-workers to my desk and collapsed into my chair. “This city’s getting to me, man,” I muttered. “These streets, this journalism, it’s too much for a five-foot-eight English major like me to handle.” My boss stopped by to talk business. “Archer, we’ve spoken about this. You have to shower before you come in here. The people in the office upstairs are complaining.” But I wasn’t listening, too worn down with the weight of existence, but then, in the midst of my woe, I spotted something. It was on a table in the conference room. An unmistakably green box. No, I thought, it couldn’t be. I rushed to the conference room and opened the box. It was brimming with Holey Moley doughnuts. They ranged in flavors from the simple to the most miraculous, undreamt of in even my wildest Lynchian fantasies. I ate delicately, with the respect these creations deserved. “Archer, dear God, those were supposed to be for everyone. Stop!” Those doughnuts were a beautiful thing, and if you haven’t already guessed why I’m writing out this overlong story about them in this week’s Downs column, it’s because those doughnuts are dead. Holey Moley announced that its Third Ward location is closing permanently. R.I.P. my friend, R.I.P.