Home / Archive / Cover Story / The Shepherd’s 2011 New Year’s Eve Picks

The Shepherd’s 2011 New Year’s Eve Picks

Dec. 22, 2010
Google plus Linkedin Pinterest
You can always TiVo the giant ball and watch it drop later. As always, Milwaukee offers plenty of reasons to leave the couch on New Year’s Eve, with an assortment of concerts, dance parties and destinations for every demographic and budget. For readers still trying to determine where to enjoy their complimentary champagne toast, we’ve rounded up this sampling of some of the city’s most prominent New Year’s Eve events.


Family Friendly

Harlem Globetrotters @ The Bradley Center, 1 and 6 p.m.

It’s anybody’s guess as to why for the past several decades the Harlem Globetrotters have opted to spend New Year’s Eve in Milwaukee—as opposed to, say, Harlem—but their annual appearances are one of Milwaukee’s oldest New Year’s traditions. The Harlem Globetrotters are on an impressive hot streak, not having lost a game since 2006—though to be fair, theirs isn’t the most challenging schedule. The Bucks should be so lucky as to have that many games against the hapless Washington Generals to help pad their record.


MSO Pops—A Fabulous ’50s Celebration @ The Marcus Center, 8 p.m.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Pops and conductor Marvin Hamlisch have compiled a program of popular hits of the 1950s, some of which they’ll perform with the retro rock group Sha-Na-Na. Expect a “Happy Days” reference or two.


Party Under Glass @ Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory Domes, 6-10 p.m.

The Mitchell Park Domes host a particularly kid-friendly party, with live music, magic, juggling, clowns and improv comedy from ComedySportz. There will also be a bike raffle and food and drink available for purchase. Admission is $15 for adults, $5 for children.


Ice Skating @ Red Arrow Park, 11 a.m.-2 a.m.

Unfortunately, Milwaukee won’t be hosting its usual Downtown fireworks this New Year’s Eve. On the bright side, however, Red Arrow Park will still be open for free ice skating. The neighboring Starbucks will serve up hot chocolate and coffee.


Concerts and Performances

Jim Gaffigan @ The Pabst Theater, 10:30 p.m.

Though he’s a distant second right now, comedian Jim Gaffigan appears to be mounting a challenge against the Harlem Globetrotters as the touring act with the most consecutive Milwaukee New Year’s Eve appearances. For years he’s been enjoying a cozy annual gig at the Pabst Theater that allows him to spend time with family in the area and perform for a Midwestern crowd he clearly relates to. Expect plenty of jokes about junk food and Gaffigan’s pale complexion.


The Hold Steady w/ Jaill @ The Riverside Theater, 9 p.m.

Brooklyn classic-rock enthusiasts The Hold Steady don’t need much of an excuse to raise a glass—they begin most of their pub-friendly songs on a default setting of “jovial”—but New Year’s Eve should give them particular cause for good cheer. Milwaukee garage-poppers Jaill have double the cause for celebration: They’re closing out their most successful year yet, having released their first album for Sub Pop Records this spring to national accolades. The $29.50 general-admission tickets for this bill include free admission to the Get Down dance party at Turner Hall Ballroom.


Pezzettino @ Stonefly Brewery, 9 p.m.

Milwaukee’s quirky, accordion-squeezing songwriter Pezzettino left the city for New York this summer, but she’s made good on her promise to return regularly. If there’s any musician who can be counted on to mark the holiday with flair, it’s Pezzettino. She’s assembled a lively little bill tonight, with the experimental-pop band Antler Antennas, the Figureheads side project Plight of a Parasite and DJ Tarik Moody of Radio Milwaukee 88Nine. There will also be a champagne toast and raffle prizes.


KingHellBastard w/ AUTOMatic and Analog Todd @ The Cactus Club, 10 p.m.

There’s nothing overly New Year’s Eve-y about this concert at the Cactus Club; it’s just a great local hip-hop bill, featuring Milwaukee rappers KingHellBastard and the hip-hop duo AUTOMatic, two groups that released strong records in 2010.


Dancing and Clubbing

Stellar Spark 8: Girl Talk @ The Rave, 8 p.m.

For its eighth New Year’s Eve event, the electronic-music blowout Stellar Spark has nabbed a headliner any city would be jealous of: Girl Talk, the Pittsburgh mash-up DJ nearly as well-known for his wild concerts as his copyright-skirting records. He’ll have a hard time topping his New Year’s Eve concert last year at Chicago’s Congress Theater, where he gave his most ambitious show yet, performing in a full-scale house constructed specifically for the show. Among the more than two dozen acts that will join him on this year’s New Year’s Eve bill are Milwaukee spaz-rapper Juiceboxxx and Chicago house legend DJ Funk.


The Get Down @ Turner Hall Ballroom, 9 p.m.

Spinning some of the rarest funk and soul 45s from the ’60s and ’70s, The Get Down regularly packs Mad Planet with its twice-monthly dance parties. For the holiday, the Get Down will turn the Turner Hall Ballroom into one of the city’s largest dance floors, and regular DJs Andy Noble, Brent Goodsell and Opiated Black will be joined by guest DJs. Admission is only $10 and includes a food buffet.


NYE 2011 and After Party @ Decibel

General admission to the upscale East Side dance club/lounge Decibel is $20 on New Year’s Eve; $25 includes an open bar until midnight. There are also $500 and $800 VIP packages for parties looking to spend up. At 3 a.m., the club begins its service-industry after-party with complimentary food and music from DJ D-Mega.


NYE @ Suite

The $40 cover to Suite’s New Year’s Eve party includes an open bar from 9 to 11 p.m. Chicago DJ KJ will spin, while go-go dancers and body-painted models provide some spectacle. VIP packages are available.


Rage in 3D @ MOCT

Why-B, Chris V and James Dece will DJ this 3-D-themed party. The $20 admission includes a pair of 3-D glasses, a buffet and a midnight champagne toast. VIP packages begin at $100.


MKE-NYE 2011 @ Wherehouse

The basic $75 cover to this blowout includes an open bar until 1 a.m., free Miller beer until 2 a.m., free gated overnight parking, midnight and 2 a.m. champagne toasts and complimentary 1 a.m. appetizers. The lineup is one of the night’s biggest, and includes DJ Madhatter, DJ Fortune, MC Oneself, Marc Ballini, a video DJ, and go-go and hip-hop dancers. Latecomers can creep in after 1 a.m. for $10.

2011: A Crisp Odyssey @ Crisp

The Brady Street pizza parlor/dance club hosts a huge bill of dubstep, house and electro for the holiday, with sets by Bluetech, DJ D1, DJ Mythos, Chris Grant, Horse Force, CrisGo Disco and Lady ShamPain, Dela, Direwolf, Thrasher, Juan Bucio and Kris Kleinbeck.


Retro Dance Party @ Mad Planet, 9 p.m.-4 a.m.

Every Friday, at Mad Planet’s signature weekly event, DJs resurrect the pop and dance hits of the ’80s and ’90s. Each New Year’s Eve delivers a longer, sweatier edition of that dance party, with free party favors, food and a champagne toast. At $12, it’s a budget-friendly alternative to Downtown dance clubs.



New Year’s Eve Celebration @ The Pfister (starting at $465 per couple)

One of the city’s most decadent New Year’s Eve packages, the Pfister’s night includes a five-course gourmet dinner, hors d’oeuvres, a black-tie optional reception with ballroom dancing lessons and a live band and gourmet chocolate and candies.


New Year’s Eve Overnight Package @ InterContinental ($325 per couple)

The InterContinental’s luxurious evening begins with champagne and strawberries, followed by a five-course meal with wine at Kil@wat; the $325 per couple includes a room and parking. The Jake Paul Band will be playing in CLEAR, while a DJ will spin all night at zenden, where bottle service will be available.

New Year’s Eve @ Potawatomi Bingo Casino

The Potawatomi Bingo Casino’s many restaurants will go upscale for the holiday. Dream Dance Steak is offering four- and five-course meals (including filet served with a lobster truffle cream sauce), while the buffet will host a surf-and-turf meal. Elsewhere in the casino, there will be music from the Jamit Duo and Eddie Butts Band.


Would white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan pose the same threat they do now if a mainstream Republican were president instead of Donald Trump?

Getting poll results. Please wait...