It's the small things that make Milwaukee such an easy city to love.
Milwaukee PBS’ Great TV Auction
Each year for half a century, the local public television station holds a televised auction in which viewers can bid on a wide variety of items, like Sprecher soda six packs, Around the Corner with John McGivern single episode DVDs and pastoral art prints, to name just a few. The process sounds kind of mundane and tedious, but it’s easy to get sucked into the low-budget pageantry and shambolic nature of the live broadcast. And in the end the fundraiser supports a local public good.
The Oriental Theater
Hands down the best place in the world to catch a sold-out movie on opening night. Many of my favorite film-going experiences have been at this majestic movie palace.
The Dousman Street Bar Crawl
There’s an isolated section of Dousman Street in Riverwest that spans Meinecke Avenue to Clarke Street. This two-block stretch holds perhaps the three greatest dive bars in Milwaukee (and maybe the country): The Squirrel Cage, The Gig and Gee Wilickers. While two of them only accept cash, you can have a great night with just $10 in your pocket.
This 24-hour bike race through Riverwest is unquestionably the party of the summer. Spectators line the 4-ish mile route through the neighborhood, cheering riders on and handing out water, Twizzlers and if you’re lucky, a PBR.
Hanging out in the city’s beer gardens (especially Estabrook and Humboldt parks for me) has become such an integral part of the Milwaukee summer that it’s hard to remember how people used to spend lazy weekend afternoons before they started popping up six years ago.
It’s not as embarrassing to proclaim your professional wrestling fandom now as it was 10 years ago. That’s thanks in part to local promotion Mondo Lucha, which takes out much of the puffed-chest machismo in favor of the sport’s more ludicrous shenanigans.
I had never heard of pull tabs before I played my first one when I was 18. I won $49. I was hooked. I haven’t won more than $5 on a pull tab since. That must mean I’m due for a winner. I sure have been trying.