The Best Things to Do This Week, According to Our Editors: Nov. 29

Get yourself a burger, see a live show and more this week in Milwaukee.

1. Crush a Burger at Gilles


This Wauwatosa shop doesn’t get a lot of run in the perennial debate over the best custard in town, and while I think it’s very good, I’m not here to sway you on that. I’m here to bring you into the fold of the fantastic burgers they’re flipping on the grill there. The juicy quarter-pound patty is deliciously beefy, the bun is sturdy, soft and otherwise perfect, and the fixins are all top-notch. I got the double with American cheese ($9.50), a nicely restrained portion of fried onions, ketchup, mustard, lettuce and three crispy, tangy slabs of sliced pickle. The curly fries on the side ($3.75) were Arby’s-delicious. I ate every bite even though I was full two-thirds of the way through, then entered a food coma for the night. (7515 W. Bluemound Rd., Wauwatosa)

2. Watch The Ritual


Liquor store robberies, long forgotten Swedish woods, insane witchcraft cultists worshipping old gods, twisted Wendigo beasts – the flick is perfect for family movie night. I’m joking. Don’t watch this with your kids. The Ritual, which follows a group of four male friends as they hike the Swedish countryside, is worth watching for any horror fan. As you might imagine, things don’t go well for the four fellas, who encounter an ancient evil in the forest. The movie’s atmosphere is killer, with a great soundtrack and moody shots of the landscape. The actors all deliver quality performances. And the movie’s final act goes all-out in a way you might not expect from the restrained, atmospheric first half.




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3. See a Show at the New Bradley Symphony Center


I visited the new Bradley Symphony Center (212 W. Wisconsin Ave.) over Thanksgiving weekend and, wow, what a space! Home to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the center was restored to its 1930s splendor, as the former Warner Grand Theater (which closed in the 1990s). From the lobby to the performance hall, it’s just an incredible venue. And acoustically impressive, as well. I was there for the film-orchestral concert combo of 1983’s Return of the Jedi and the MSO. I’m not a rabid Star Wars fan but it was a treat to watch a movie I last saw when I was a kid, accompanied by our gem of an orchestra. This weekend, the MSO will perform the soundtrack to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, while the film plays on a large screen. The Potter performances will be held at the Riverside – also an awesome venue. Check it out!

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s Bradley Symphony Center; Photo via Doors Open Milwaukee

4. See First Stage’s A Charlie Brown Christmas


The movie, A Charlie Brown Christmas, holds a very dear place in my heart and I always watch it twice per holiday season. This year, I had the good fortune of being able to get my first watch of the year in with a live production by the talented team at First Stage. The cast was delightful, the set design was impressive and the music transported me into the Christmas spirit. I love this story because it reminds us all of the true meaning of Christmas. And as a bonus, it’s just 60 minutes, no intermission with a short Q&A afterward – perfect for families with younger children. 

Alice Rivera and Nolan Zellermayer in A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, First Stage, 2021; Photo by Paul Ruffolo

5. Read The Unfortunates by B.S. Johnson


The Unfortunates is unlike any book you’ve read before. Literally. It comes in a box, and inside that box are a bunch of little pamphlets. This literary experiment chops up a story into pieces, each a few pages long, and then tosses them willy nilly into the box for you to read in whatever order you choose. What makes this more than just a silly little bit of messing around is the quality of the story. A sportswriter covering a soccer match in an English town finds himself remembering an old childhood friend’s bout with cancer. The fragmented narrative, read in any of 15.5 septillion possible combinations, is meant to capture the broken way memories return to the mind, absent the linear structure of a conventional book.