Boris and Doris On the Town
Bloomin’ Fun: The Milwaukee Chamber Theatre (MCT) once again pulled off an A-plus event at its recent “MCT in Bloom” gala at the Florentine Opera Center in the La Lune Collection, hosted by board member Cathy Costantini and her husband, Mario, along with MCT Artistic Director C. Michael Wright. Servings by Antigua, with an empanada recipe by Mario’s mom, Yolanda, were hits. Matt Daniels, who portrayed MCT’s Jeeves in Jeeves in Bloom, demonstrated his ukulele skills.
Celebrating his birthday, Board President Keith Anderson was surprised with a song. Partiers included Jonathan West, now with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and his wife, Paula Suozzi, a personal trainer; music masters Ann and Will Schmid; Dan Schley and Barbara Haig; a kilted Vince Milewski, owner of Macski’s Highland Foods; attorney Tom Maltese; and board member Mickey Ripp and his son, Jess. Helping out were actors Amanda Hill, Liz Mistele, Karen Estrada and Marcy Kearns, with April Paul and Jessie Moffat, sporting an amazing self-made rose hat, on hand.
New Looks: The Iron Horse Hotel’s Smyth showcased its marvelous new price-friendly menu and restaurant redo with a delicious reception. Hotel owner Tim Dixon hosted, with his wife, Leslie, and youngsters Emily and Henry, his right-hand ladies Ally Nicol and Claudia Ciske, and new Director of Food and Beverage Jason Cotton. Also nibbling and sipping were Brigette Breitenbach, owner of Company B Brand Marketing, and her boyfriend, Keith Harenda, owner of KPH Construction; wine columnist Kristine Hansen; radio host Elizabeth Kay; MSO’s Maiken Knudsen; photographer Jessica Kaminski and her boyfriend, tattoo artist Ryan Manske; and VISIT Milwaukee’s Kerry Burke and Margaret Casey, who will perform in the Alchemist Theatre’s King Lear.
Celebrating Magic: Blue Lotus Farm and Retreat Center in West Bend celebrated its 10th anniversary with a “Big Fat Greek Fundraiser.” In diaphanous attire, executive director Susan Bliffert and her husband, musician and “lumber baron” Fred Bliffert, presided. Guests enjoyed nonstop music, dancing, dining and touring the spectacular grounds.
More than a dozen musicians performed with Bliffert, including his daughter, Kaita, plus Mark McHale, Mark Saichek, Robin Pluer, Chris Miota and Mary Broad. Spotted in the crowd were their program director, Becca Fondriest, and her fiancé, Andrew Stringer. His family there included parents Chip and Joy Stringer, grandparents Ginger and Bill Browne, Terry and Connie Stringer and brother Tim. Dr. Barbara and T.J. Harkness, Blue Lotus neighbors Bill Wiedner and his fiancée, Marcie Hoffman, and former Milwaukeeans Tom Herman of Boston, Trenny Robb from Vermont, and Evanston’s Cinda (Bartlett) Alberts also circulated.
Honors Due: The 98th annual meeting and awards presentation of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation was held at the Harley-Davidson Museum’s Garage, bringing in more than 450 attendees. CBS 58’s Mike Strehlow emceed, followed by Board Chair Peter Bruce greeting the crowd and CEO Ellen Gilligan reviewing GMF’s year. Awards Committee Chair Judy Jorgensen presented honors to Dan Bader, president/CEO of the Helen Bader Foundation, Fix Development’s Juli Kaufmann and Victor Barnett, Running Rebels’ founder.
We ran into Cream City Foundation’s Paul Fairchild in his signature Bermuda shorts, then headed off to a going-away party for Jason Burns, who’s leaving Equality Wisconsin to join Congressman Mark Pocan’s team.
Poets on the Go: The annual Boulevard Theater’s Verse and Vino blowout at Zimmerman Architectural Studios went on despite Company Director Mark Bucher’s last-minute bronchitis attack. Actor David Flores stepped in as a delightful substitute, assisted by Holly Blomquist, the new board president. Organizers Sue Brewer and Karen Ambrosh ran a tight ship. Donna Moss and Kate Vannoy orchestrated the food, prepped by Audubon High School pupils.
Reading highlights included Laura Gray’s poem by her dad, Joe Gray; a capella renditions by “openly tall” Bill Jackson and Nigel Wade; Artist of the Year Bill Theisen; Michelle Waide reading Barb Weiss’ poems; plus Mark Anderson and Isabelle Kralj, getting ready for their Theatre Gigante season finale by accordionist Guy Klucevsek. Enjoying the verse were Robb Marks, sporting a new earring inspired by his late wife, Sally Marks; the Skylight’s Lisa Schlenker; and Pam Frautschi. A brisk silent auction included a platter of cheesecake chocolates by Lorri Reinhardt, which B&D couldn’t resist bidding on and ultimately won.
Hold Yer Hosses: The glory days of the Great Circus Parade were relived in a documentary film at the Oriental Theatre with a viewing of A Circus Life, directed by Gene Gamache. Among the film’s narrators was the late Chappie Fox, founder of the Circus World Museum. Speaking after the film were Fox’s nephew Bill Fox and Jack McKeithan, co-directors of the parade.
Futball Memories: Friends of Milwaukee Kickers met at the home of Jock and Linda Mutschler to reminisce and celebrate the 45 years of its parent organization, the Milwaukee Kickers Soccer Club (MKSC). President Janet Crosby discussed the future of the club, one of the country’s largest with more than 14,000 youth players on 650 teams. Also on hand were Friends VP Sheila T. Isakson, secretary Kathy Geiger and treasurer John Sweeney.
Others at the party included Steve Harris, president of the MKSC board, and his wife, Shelly; Alvaro Garcia-Velez, MKSC executive director, and his wife, Mary; and Nancy Ziaja, MKSC membership services manager. Among MKSC founding members present were Aleks and Helga Nikolic and Lorenzo and Carol Draghicchio.
Federal Die-In: Fifty-some members and friends of Organizing for Action (OFA) and Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE) held a “die-in” outside the old Federal Building on the six-month anniversary of the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn. Outlines of bodies, named for shooting victims, were chalked on the sidewalk underneath U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s office, in an effort to raise his awareness about the horror of gun violence in America. Among those who “died” were Bill Sell, Jim Gramling, Michele Goldstein, Kathleen Hart, Dar Fehrman, Aria Duax, Margret Ollis, Joelle Worm, Bill Windle, Kristina Paris, Heidi Rose, WAVE Executive Director Jeri Bonavia and OFA team leader Paul Geenen.
Coming Home: More than a hundred Russells and relatives flocked to a reunion hosted by Dr. Tom Russell at his home, nicknamed Tara. Catching up on their Irishness were Russell sons Dr. Joe and his wife, Heather, Tom and Constance from San Francisco, and Dr. Jim and his wife, Laura, a dentist. Also there were Russell’s former exchange student, Dr. Mustafa Ugurlu, and his wife, Caroline, now living in Connecticut, and Michael Gral and his wife, Julie, daughter of Nancy Russell Gebhardt.
Good Eats: B&D dined at the newish restaurant The Bay, greeted by James McMahon, primary owner/general manager. McMahon is also WAMI president, lead singer in The Form and runner-up at the recent National Beard and Moustache competition in Las Vegas. Executive chef Erik Hansen, recently of Distil, has created an appealing menu.
If you have any tips for Boris and Doris, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Their next column will appear in the July 11 issue of the Shepherd.