Here’s What You Missed in Wisconsin This Week: June 3

Tiki Bars, Republican National Conventions, Festas and more

A Tiki Bar is Coming to Hotel Metro’s Rooftop

Tiki Bars are bright places of merriment, where whimsical drinks in funny-shaped glasses rapidly test a fella’s masculine insecurity. And now Milwaukee has a new one – PufferFish, which used to be at Bay View’s Lost Whale, is moving to Hotel Metro’s rooftop starting June 23.

PufferFish, when it ran as an extended popup on the patio of Bay View’s Lost Whale.

The Birth of a Giraffe

Marlee and Bahatika – a love story for the ages. The two wild lovebirds (well, more literally they’re in-captivity lovegiraffes) live in the Milwaukee County Zoo, and this week saw the birth of their female calf, who literally on the day she was born was already taller than me. Seriously – the baby giraffe girl is six feet tall.

Is it weird to be jealous of a giraffe? I don’t think so. You want to hear a joke?

What do women call guys under 5’8’’?

Friends.

Five separate people have told me that joke. I bet the freakin’ giraffe’s never going hear that joke.

The Common Council Approves a Framework for the RNC

Let’s start out by quoting Jesus: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

Now let me just make a few humble edits to that quote: ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, you best show these losers who they’re messing with. If anyone promises to hold a giant convention in your city and then it doesn’t work out, turn to their sworn rivals and give the convention to those guys instead. Then do a little a dance. Ha – suck on that.”

Milwaukee’s Common Council has followed that second quote, by this week approving the framework to hold the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee in 2024. This is a significant step that puts us quite a bit closer to winning the RNC. After the Democratic National Convention debacle in 2020, it’ll be pretty cool if we get a chance to actually hold a real convention here. But once bitten, twice shy.

Festa Italiana Is Back

In April, the Italian Community Center announced that Festa Italiana would be canceled for the third year in a row. This was pretty depressing news, as the ICC noted that financial pressures meant they could no longer hold the event. But this past week, things took a positive turn – Festa is now happening Sept. 24-25 at the ICC in the Third Ward. The organization announced that the event will be smaller than previous festivals, but it will still have the essentials: bocce, art, Catholicism, and of course, Italian food. As an Italian-American, I’m immensely happy to see Festa back in action. I’ve been going since I was a baby, and in fact, I’ve even written about it before.

When I was fourteen, I wrote an eight-season television show about the mafia in Kenosha. The main character was named Artie Aiello. He was a depressed enforcer for a low-level mafioso. I will admit, the show had problems. Primarily that is was just a really poorly written rip-off of “The Sopranos.” But for just a moment, let’s turn to Season 4, Episode 7, in which Artie, his drug-addicted best friend, Frank and his fellow enforcer Carlo (who’s in a wheelchair after his attempted assassination at the end of season 3), attend Festa Italiana in order to track down a business owner who’s been dodging his payments. I went back into my old files and tracked down the exact dialogue:

Carlo
Always liked Festa.

Frank
Same.

Artie
Calamari was always good.

Frank
You got any issues with the commodification of Italian culture?

Artie
You know the word ‘commodification?’

Frank
Yes. I also know the word ‘[CENSORED]’, you [CENSORED].

Carlo
This ain’t commodification. This is honoring heritage. It’s like, Olive Garden’s just some suits making money off sauce that ain’t theirs. Festa’s real Italians making money off honest salesmanship, like we do.

Frank
Fair enough

Artie
There he is. Frank, you got the bat?

Frank
Sure do

You can probably see why the show never took off. Also, it was called “Sea of Matches” and I have no idea where I came up with that, or what it’s supposed to mean. Anyway, Festa’s back.


 

 

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McCarty Park Trashed on Memorial Day

There’s a scene in “Mad Men,” in which Don Draper, his wife and kids have a family picnic at a park. Afterward, Don picks up their blanket littered with beer cans and wrappers and other refuse and just tosses it all on the grass. The scene is meant to illustrate how no one cared about throwing trash in New York public parks in 1961. None of the characters even mention it – the modern viewer is expected to realize how odd that behavior is through today’s lens. But apparently “Mad Men” didn’t know what it was talking about, because that scene could just as easily be set in Milwaukee in 2022. This Memorial Day weekend, McCarty Park was left trashed with balloons, cups, beer bottles, wrappers, etc. Cleanup crews from the County got to work Monday evening and Tuesday morning cleaning up the mess.

Seriously – People Are Tossing Trash Out in Milwaukee County Parks Like Crazy

This story flows pretty perfectly with the last one. An article in the Journal Sentinel this week revealed that people are illegally dumping trash in county parks at a rapidly increasing rate. Workers will clean up one day and then return the next to find more refuse scattered in the trees. It’s mostly carpets, mattresses and furniture and appliances, but they’ve also found hazardous medical supplies.

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Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.