The Best Things to Do This Week, According to Our Editors: Sept. 13

We recommend a nice patio and some live music at Summerfest this week in Milwaukee.

1. Go see the Flaming Lips 


A little before 1 a.m. on Saturday, July 7, 2018, I returned home from the Flaming Lips show at Summerfest in a state of prolonged euphoria. What I’d just seen and heard was familiar – it was my third concert from the space-rockers from Oklahoma – but what struck me this time was the earnest and affecting message of love running throughout frontman Wayne Coyne’s spectacular showmanship and the band’s weird, beautiful tales of fighting robots, mystics and the like. After editing my iPhone photos of the show, I posted to Facebook, “I will never not go to another Flaming Lips show near me again.” Well, now’s my next chance: The Flaming Lips take the Generac Power Stage at 9:45 this Saturday.

Photo by Chris Drosner

2. Check for Cheap Flights at MKE Airport


You may have noticed that General Mitchell International Airport has been making a lot of headlines lately. Our little hometown airport has been getting new airlines, destinations, stores (welcome Spanx!) and even restaurants. All of this is great news for us, the consumers. More airlines lead to more competition, which means cheaper prices. For example, last week I was able to take a trip to Colorado on $90 round-trip tickets. That’s a steal! All that’s to say that affordable travel opportunities are available if you’re willing to hunt for them. I use apps like Hopper and Kayak to make the process even easier. 

Photo by Visit Milwaukee




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3. Have Happy Hour on the Patio at Iron Horse


Let’s be honest, there isn’t a lot of curiosity and mystique incited by your immediate family while staying home. Siblings or dating? Just doesn’t work in your own backyard. Quarantine really hampered the people watching, an activity I took for granted until I was able to observe my fellow Milwaukeans enjoy our abundant outdoor spaces this summer. This past Friday I met some friends for happy hour on the patio of the Iron Horse Hotel. The space is as lovely as ever, our service was excellent and the people watching absolutely delightful. Stay till the sun is low and they start lighting the fires!

4. Read Past Master by R.A. Lafferty


When this book was recommended to me, I read the synopsis and thought, “There’s no way this could possibly be good.” The basic story is this: Many years in the future, humans have left Earth for a new planet and established a utopian society, Astrobe. The society is in crisis, and they need a new president to inspire the people and lead them out of the mess. So … the leaders of Astrobe decide to go back in time and get Saint Thomas More to come lead them. And he does. Literally. This novel is about 16th-century Saint Thomas More traveling to the future to save a sci-fi utopia. But despite that absurd synopsis, I read the book. And it’s amazing. Not ironically amazing. It’s actually really, really good. It’s thought-provoking and exciting and intensely smart. If you have any interest in sci-fi, philosophy, civics, the failure of modernity, martyred Catholic saints, or just want to read a book that’s not like anything else you’ve ever read, check this out.

5. Read The New Yorker’s 2021 Food & Drink issue


This culinary compendium is a keeper issue full of great food writing beginning with M.F.K Fisher’s “Notes on Cravings” from 1968. There is also exquisite writing from Zadie Smith, Susan Orlean, Calvin Trillin and the late Anthony Bourdain. I’m reading and rereading for inspiration. You can, too.

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