Here’s What You Missed in Wisconsin This Week: May 27

The World Naked Bike Ride will return to Milwaukee, a new brewery opens in West Allis, and Wisconsin’s newest baseball team has its opening day.

Willem Dafoe Comes to Milwaukee

Willem Dafoe, aka Jesus, came to Milwaukee this past weekend. (That’s not blasphemy – he played Jesus in Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ.) Dafoe spoke at UW-Milwaukee’s commencement and spent the weekend around town, exploring his old haunts from his time as a UWM student. The Appleton native is one of the most talented actors of his generation, and it was fascinating to hear him talk about his Wisconsin roots in the WUWM interview linked above. Also, this is a great excuse to re-use this amazing gif from The Lighthouse.

Gif via Cinestudio

A New Concert Venue Is Coming to the Deer District

In December of 2021, FPC Live, a Madison-based venue operation company announced that it was going to build a theater complex in the Third Ward. I wrote about it in this very column, which has been running for over a year now. Dear God. How did that happen? I was sure someone would have stopped me by now. But anyways, FPC scrapped that Third Ward concert venue and is now building a new 4,000-seat venue in the Deer District, partly where the Bradley Center once stood. This new $50-million dollar spot is planned to hold over 135 events per year. “We’re excited to add exponential value to the thriving Deer District, further enhancing the vibrancy of Downtown Milwaukee,” said FPC Live President Charlie Goldstone in the press release. As a big fan of further enhancing vibrancy, I’m interested.

Ope! Brewing Ope’ns

Ope! Brewing is the latest brewery to come to the area, “ope’ning” Friday in West Allis. Reading this story, I’m now realizing how many absolutely horrific “ope” puns are possible.

My girlfriend and I el’ope’d. Her puritan dad hates me because I’m a follower of the p’ope. So he got out his shotgun and said he would ope’n me up with some buckshot. So I said, n’ope and got out of their quick. My girlfriend found me at my apartment, and I told her that the angry dad was a pretty tired tr’ope. She said, “Stop it. These puns aren’t remotely funny, Archer. This is my life, not a mediocre forced joke for your column. You told me you loved me, but now that we’re facing real struggle, you turn and run. You’re a coward and a scumbag. I can’t believe I married you.”

And I said, “So what are you going to do, just m’ope?”

Wisconsin’s Newest Baseball Team Has Opening Day

Baseball’s magical.

Basketball might be faster. Football might be more hard-hitting. Soccer might be … more European, I guess? But none of those sports have the weird magic of baseball. If you grew up with it, you know what it’s about. The smell of a leather glove, the feel of those red stitches along your fingers, the crack of bat on ball, a disgusting black wad of chewing tobacco hitting the dirt. I couldn’t possibly care less about sports for the most part, but there’s something special about baseball that draws me in. In high school, I was a star slugger with a .333 batting average (I may have only had three at-bats, but it still counts), and I loved every minute of it. Well, I didn’t love when I ran for a pop fly, stood under it for what felt like 80 minutes, and then watched it hit the grass two inches to my right. But otherwise, great time.

Years later, I find that the memories that stick with me are all outside of the game. (That might just be because I sucked so bad, but that’s neither here nor there.) I remember an improvised four-man a cappella rendition of “Build Me Up Buttercup” sang with arms over the dugout fence, waiting for the first at bat. I remember devising elaborate and obscene pitch signals for our catcher. I remember that time we took Mike’s cup and filled it … you know, I probably shouldn’t share that one until I’m certain about some statutes of limitation. Anyways, that all goes to say that baseball’s about the experience of the ballpark just as much as it is the game. And for that reason, I’m glad to say that southeastern Wisconsin introduced its newest ballpark this week — Wisconsin Brewing Company Park in Oconomowoc, home of the Lake Country DockHounds. Opening day was a sold-out success. Great to see.

(You may be thinking, “Did this guy seriously just write two giant paragraphs about how he liked playing baseball in high school, and then write only three little sentences about the actual story?” The answer is, “Yes, I did. And I regret nothing.”)

Brewers Help With Reforestation in Milwaukee

Do you like forests? Do you want to “re” them? Well, boy do I have the story for you. Last weekend, a squad of Brewers came out to the Victory Garden Urban Farm in the Harambee neighborhood to plant trees. The squad included All-Star pitcher Josh Hader, with whom I once spoke on the phone for 15 minutes. He was cool.


 

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The World Naked Bike Ride Is Back

Naked people riding bicycles bareback are once again coming here for Milwaukee’s second annual World Naked Bike Ride on June 25. I have no further comment on this.

The Wall Street Journal Wrote An Article About Expensive Lake Geneva Homes

This week, the WSJ published a story about how Lake Geneva homes are super expensive as demand skyrockets, but many residents are refusing to sell. I only skimmed the story. In all honesty, I just included this in the column because I didn’t want the “Down” picture in the featured image above to be a naked person on a bike. Now that we have this second story in the “Downs” section, the photo can be of a nice house, or maybe a lake, or really just something not nauseating. How about a nice llama? Hey, art team, can we do that? Can you make it a picture of a llama? 

(Editor’s note: Yes, Archer, we can do that.)

But anyway — turns out lakeside mansions are super expensive.

These are the kind of can’t-miss insights you’ll only find in the weekly Ups and Downs.

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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.