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Arts & Entertainment

Best of Milwaukee 2012

Nov. 13, 2012
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Milwaukee Art Museum


Art Gallery

Tory Folliard Gallery

233 N. Milwaukee St.



Tory Folliard Gallery has been busy for around a quarter-century and was one of the pioneers in the Third Ward renaissance. In addition to representing outstanding national and regional artists, owner Tory Folliard also focuses on Wisconsin artists such as Patrick Farrell, Mark Mulhern, Bill Reid, Jan Serr, Fred Stonehouse, Richard Taylor and Tom Uttech. Recent exhibits in fine art glass, photography and video installation, along with debuts by painters Sofia Arnold and Craig Blietz, have continued the gallery’s commitment to excellence. (Peggy Sue Dunigan)



Carte Blanche Studios

Rogues Gallery


Art Museum

Milwaukee Landmark

Milwaukee Art Museum

700 N. Art Museum Drive



The Milwaukee Art Museum’s Santiago Calatrava addition, a sweeping structure suggesting a clipper ship at dock or a huge gull nesting on the shore, has become the architectural symbol of our city. Calatrava’s gleaming white interior encompasses an extensive gift shop as well as a café and gallery space for major recent exhibitions on Rembrandt, Frank Lloyd Wright and Art Nouveau French posters. The old section of the museum houses an impressive permanent collection with works by Warhol, Rothko, Chagall and Kandinsky and artifacts from earlier eras. (David Luhrssen)



Charles Allis Art Museum

Harley-Davidson Museum, Grohmann Museum, Haggerty Museum of Art (tie)


Dance Company

Danceworks Performance Company

1661 N. Water St.



Danceworks Performance Company members are genuine culture workers, changing lives as teachers in an array of physical disciplines, hosting experimental laboratories for professional and emerging artists, making dance available to people who wouldn’t otherwise have it, and inviting audiences to test with them what’s possible in dance. As collaborators, they’re on a pioneering roll right now. “Serendipity,” their February 2013 concert, should demonstrate again the way they help each other clarify their different visions. The season will end in a co-creation with Milwaukee Opera Theatre and Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra, their collaborators last year on the sensational Maria de Buenos Aires. (John Schneider)



Milwaukee Ballet

Trinity Irish Dancers


Local Filmmaker

Frankie Latina

Frankie Latina has long roots in Wisconsin; his great-grandfather, Alex Jordan, built one of the state’s most architecturally interesting tourist attractions, the House on the Rock in Spring Green. Latina maintains those Badger State ties, shooting his latest film, Modus Operandi, in Milwaukee and Tokyo with a cast including Mark Borchardt (American Movie). As a gritty genre homage to seedy spy movies and political thrillers, Modus Operandi was favorably compared to Quentin Tarantino’s work. Kino released it earlier this year on DVD and VOD. (D.L.)



Arthur Ircink

Derek Dehart


Local Radio Personality

Bob & Brian 

Outside of family feuds and political beliefs, few things in life drive a passionate debate like our choice of morning radio. For Shepherd readers, the love affair continues with Bob Madden and Brian Nelson, hosts of “Bob & Brian Mornings” on 102.9 The Hog. With their love of the Packers and Brian’s view that “90% of everything is crap,” Bob & Brian have established themselves as the go-to guys for the morning time. The show is available for online streaming, too, so you can enjoy their banter even when you’re away from our great city. (Robbie Hartman)



Mark Belling

Marcus Doucette


Local TV Personality

Ted Perry

Intuitive, caring and a proud supporter of Milwaukee, Ted Perry always has a refreshing take on current topics, boldly stating his mind on matters that are important to southeast Wisconsin. His daily opinion piece called “Ted’s Take” may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he definitely invites viewers to think critically about how Milwaukeeans fit within the bigger picture of the world and reminds viewers that their voices really do make a difference. (Amanda Sullivan)



John McGivern, Katrina Cravy, Nicole Koglin (tie)



Chris Ivanovich



Self-described "conjurer, impossibilist, brewer, banjo player and geeky nerd" Chris Ivanovich is a Renaissance Faire regular and a Safe House institution. The industry veteran (pro since 1981) is a member of the Academy of Magical Arts (since 1997) and performs in character as a pirate scalawag. Says Penn Jillette (the talking half of Penn and Teller): “He is a commando magician. He does cool, funny, smart magic perfectly and he does it anywhere. Nothing can stop him." (Willy Thorn)



David Seebach

Sir Pinkerton


Milwaukee Author

Lois Ehlert

Milwaukee author and illustrator Lois Ehlert has designed numerous inventive and celebrated children’s books. She is perhaps best known for Color Zoo, which won the Caldecott Honor Award. Ehlert, who brings a distinctive collage style to her work, is also the creative mind behind the best-selling picture books Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Rrralph, Crocodile Smile and Leaf Man. Ehlert, who graduated from UW-Madison, attended Milwaukee’s Layton School of Art. (Jenni Herrick)



John Gurda

Shauna Singh Baldwin


Movie Theater

Oriental Theatre

2230 N. Farwell Ave.


Even people who seldom go out to movies have been to the Oriental. It became a landmark long before it became part of the Landmark cinema chain. The Oriental is not Milwaukee’s longest-running movie theater, but it is the only functioning movie palace from the 1920s and it features an impressive mélange of Near Eastern and Far Eastern ornamentation. Although it makes room for blockbusters, the Oriental is still one of the few big screens in town to devote most of its time to foreign, indie and non-Hollywood films. (D.L.)



Marcus South Shore Cinema

Marcus Majestic Cinema


Museum (Non-art)

Milwaukee Public Museum

800 W. Wells St.



With “The Streets of Old Milwaukee” and its soaring totem pole, immense dinosaurs and American-Indian diorama, the Milwaukee Public Museum has been a fixture for weekend family outings and school field trips for decades. Recent years have seen new attractions amid the old favorites, including the installation of an IMAX cinema and gilt-edged exhibitions focused on crowd-drawing themes such as Cleopatra, the Titanic and the Dead Sea Scrolls. (D.L.)



Harley-Davidson Museum

Discovery World


Outdoor Festival


Milwaukee prides itself on its abundant outdoor festivals, but none of them defines the city like Summerfest, an 11-day marathon of music, food, shopping and fireworks at the lakefront. In recent years the festival has upped its entertainment budget considerably, bringing in more top-tier headliners than ever, and this year it unveiled its new $13.5 million amphitheater, the 5,000-seat BMO Harris Pavilion. Those kinds of investments should ensure that hundreds of thousands of attendees from around the country continue to visit the festival each year. (Evan Rytlewski)



Irish Fest

Wisconsin State Fair


Radio Station

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Unlike the similarly formatted “adult album alternative” stations in other cities, which stick to a safer mix of “World Café”-friendly cuts, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee peppers its set lists with a bold dash of hip-hop and vintage funk and soul. It also places a strong emphasis on local music. It’s the only station in Milwaukee that might conceivably play The Lumineers, De La Soul, Wilco, Tom Petty and Maritime all in the same hour, and the station’s advocacy of local arts and causes has earned it one of the city’s most loyal listenerships. (E.R.)



WMSE 91.7 FM

WUWM 89.7 FM


Stage Actor

Bo Johnson

It’s an immense delight to congratulate Bo Johnson on winning the award for best local stage actor. I first saw him act some 20 years ago as a member of the brilliant comedy team The Dead Alewives. At Theatre X, he was funny and endearing as Peer Gynt in our 1995 production Gint. We worked together in the “Hotel Milwaukee” radio show at Café Melange and the Great Wisconsin Vaudeville Show at the Pabst Theater, as well as at First Stage, a company that often benefits from his warm humanity and fearless comedy. He’s a natural actor, immediately sympathetic on stage, and a smart director, too. (J.S.)



Jordan Gwiazdowski

John McGivern


Stage Actress

Emily Craig and Amanda J. Hull (tied)

This year's favorite actresses come from small, intimate theater stages. Emily Craig performs with Carte Blanche Studios, where her captivating and shrewdly whimsical stage presence has served the theater well in roles ranging from straight-ahead drama to musical comedy. Amanda J. Hull, after emerging from UW-Milwaukee's theater program, has been making memorable impressions. Most recently she showed grace and poise as a 19th-century femme fatale sparring with Sherlock Holmes in Reconstructing Grimm's live theater debut. (Russ Bickerstaff)



Angela Iannone and Amber Smith (tie)


Theater Company

The Milwaukee Repertory Theater

108 E. Wells St.



Though it is established as a major regional theater company, the Milwaukee Rep continues to evolve. Earlier in 2012, the Rep reached out to new audiences with interesting offerings that included a motorcycle-based production of Othello and a play about the early days of the vibrator. This season has seen the Rep reach for further diversification through the staging of a musical about presidential assassins and a play about Martin Luther King Jr.’s final night. (R.B.)



First Stage Children’s Theater

T.I.M. (The Improvised Musical)



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