Gallery Night: Interpreting the Textures in Our Lives
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Gallery Night: Interpreting the Textures in Our Lives

It is what it is.  Perception. It is what it is not.  Metaphor. My mother used to like to recount how one day in preschool, a classmate approached me and asked me, “What are you?”  Yes, “what” not “who.”  As my mother and teacher eavesdropped, I’m told that I (and this is all my mother, […]

Synergy: Performance, Art, & Service (Part III)
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Synergy: Performance, Art, & Service (Part III)

PART III This is Part 3 of “Synergy: Performance, Art, & Service.”  In the first two parts, I recounted my experiences at 371 Productions live performance of their radio/podcast show Precious Lives and how their call to stem the tide of gun violence intersects with the Origin8 abstract art show in The Pfister’s Pop-Up Gallery […]

“It Takes a Village to Raise a Dentist”
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“It Takes a Village to Raise a Dentist”

I was sitting at my little bean-shaped Narrator table on the lobby landing today, finishing another story, when I noticed the tell-tale signs that a graduation had just occurred: flat black boards and flowing black gowns.  Then the inevitable hat hair (only on the guys, of course).  I couldn’t tell if they were high school […]

15 Simply (But Often Difficult) Courageous Goals for Charging Our Hearts
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15 Simply (But Often Difficult) Courageous Goals for Charging Our Hearts

This month, I’m teaching Homer’s Odyssey for the last time in a great while.  My freshmen know the Hero Journey, the Greek hospitality code of xenia, and the value of nostos (or homecoming), and are learning life lessons about survival and courage from the adventures of Odysseus, his son Telemachus, and his partner Penelope, each […]

What Did You Create Today?
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What Did You Create Today?

Everywhere I turn in this cozy room, I encounter a new artist.   Pamela Anderson, The Pfister’s new Artist-in-Residence, is on the west coast during this event, and her fellow artist, Melissa Dorn Richards, has taken up temporary residence in the studio, carving the thick white paint on her square canvases to re-imagine industrial mop […]

Under the Spreading Chestnut: Mother’s Day Brunch, Part IV
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Under the Spreading Chestnut: Mother’s Day Brunch, Part IV

In this final installment of lunch with Mercedes’ clan, we write a poem together, inspired by Nick and Liza’s story about the loss of the stack of love poems decades ago.  Or was the flurry of words that were floating and flinging across the table seeking a resting place?  Whatever the reason, I pulled a […]

My Door Was Always Open: Mother’s Day Brunch, Part III
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My Door Was Always Open: Mother’s Day Brunch, Part III

Continued from the previous post entitled “We Are a Corporation”: MERCEDES, who now lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, has been coming to the Pfister for many years since her daughter MARIA moved to Milwaukee from the South Bronx almost twenty years ago.  This winter, she came to Milwaukee to support MARIA through back surgery, […]

We Are a Corporation: Mother’s Day Brunch, Part II
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We Are a Corporation: Mother’s Day Brunch, Part II

Set in the Grand Ballroom of the historic Pfister Hotel, in present day Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Two gigantic chandeliers divide the room, which is framed in gold, with walls covered in Victorian art.  A Puerto Rican family with American roots in the South Bronx and Manhattan’s Lower East Side dominates a table toward the back of […]

Thirteen Blackbirds: Mother’s Day Brunch, Part I
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Thirteen Blackbirds: Mother’s Day Brunch, Part I

In the days leading up to the Pfister’s famous Mother’s Day brunch this past Sunday, I began wondering why we brunch in the first place. I knew that the word was a portmanteau of “breakfast” and “lunch.”  And I remembered gorging (I mean, feasting) on scrumptious delights in Las Vegas–filling plates with eggs benedict, haricot […]

We Are The Sesame Street of All Hotels, People
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We Are The Sesame Street of All Hotels, People

I am a man of a certain age who is able to proudly claim to have been raised in part through the counting, alphabetizing, and sharing lessons regularly doled out on the standard bearer for all great children’s programming, good old Sesame Street. Even into my forties, I still have bold images of the residents […]