Hoppy Easter

Happy Easter!

No, no, I’m not a day late and a dollar short on the classic Easter greeting. This might be old news to most of you reading or listening to this since I know you’re all pure of heart and wise beyond measure, but Easter Sunday is special not only for the abundance of delicious hard boiled eggs and jelly beans, but also because it is the actual start of the Easter Season. I was a late learner about the actual Easter Season kicking off with Easter Sunday, something I was gently advised upon by a kind liturgical guide who never, ever admonished me for years of being an unrepentant heathen. Now I embrace the full majesty of the Easter season as it trails forward from that Sunday in spring when an industrious bunny rabbit litters carpets in homes with fake plastic grass while making deliveries of milk chocolate to good boys and girls across the land.

No trails of fake plastic grass were apparent in the Pfister lobby as I recently met a young rabbit kicking up her heels with her doting parents. My introduction was less than smooth, and this is where I embrace the fact that Easter is all about redemption and renewal.

“I couldn’t help but notice your pig ears,” I said as I introduced myself to Lindsay.

Smiling from the deepest place in her heart, Lindsay corrected me.

“These are my rabbit ears. For Easter.”

I tried to avoid turning a deep shade of red from embarrassment, and think I might have contained my humiliation to the sort of bright pink you might see on a newly dyed egg ready to be put into service for a hunt. Lindsay and her folks Joanne and Paul had come to the Pfister because Lindsay had faired particularly well in a weekend competition. Lindsay, it seems, is a dancer.

“In our competition we do tap, jazz, modern, hip hop…” The list continued on and on. Lindsay’s feet clearly have never failed her and her recent accomplishments had been awarded with a trophy. Her many achievements were now being enjoyed with her family at their favorite spot—the Pfister.

“This is a special place for us,” said Joanne, Lindsay’s mom. “It’s a place that has meant a lot to us over the years, and we come here as a family because everyone welcomes us so warmly.”

“The Pfister is a spot where we as a family can come and everyone can feel real comfort. Everything is good here,” added Paul. “We have become friends with so many of the staff…Mr. Roc, Mr. Peter, Ms. Helga.” Paul told me of the many tales the Pfister’s esteemed concierge staff have shared with his lovely family over the years, the sort of stories you share with friends near and dear to your heart.

I asked Lindsay what her favorite sort of dance was and she seemed to grow a few inches taller as she beamed back at me and said, “I love ballet.” Though she doesn’t perform ballet in her dance competitions, ballet is the basis for all she does as a dancer, the foundation upon which she builds her talents. It struck me on the cusp of Easter that this young woman wearing the set of floppy bunny ears had at an early, early age understood a very important fact of life. When you have a strong foundation, everything else in your life has a chance to flourish and grow.

I was curious about Lindsay’s long-term dreams as a dancer, but also the place where she would most like to take a few spins in the Pfister. I hope I get to see the answer to both of those questions come to life in years to come.

“I want to be a dancer for the Milwaukee Ballet, and dance through the Imperial Ballroom here at the Pfister,” said Lindsay. Her proud and loving parents looked on as this confident and charming young lass smiled from rabbit ear to rabbit ear. Ballet may be a good foundation for Lindsay’s future dreams, but it’s clear that she has any even stronger foundation in life. Their names, as you might have guessed, are Paul and Joanne, and they love their little bunny very, very much.

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The Napper

Hello, sir! Well you look like you worked real hard this week. You don’t say? This is the kick off for your vacation? Time for a break. Welcome to the weekend.

Snuggle up and nuzzle into a comfortable chair. Maybe you’d like to sit at one of the café tables across from our registration desk, and watch all the people come by. You can stay for as long as you like. Go ahead, take a load off.

No? That’s not quite the right spot? Well, how about a table in the Café? A nice afternoon latte and a scone? Have you tried the cake? We’ve got really great cake.

Oh, you’ve had your coffee for the day? Absolutely. Totally understand. If you’d like, I could have your bags taken to your room so you can get settled in. How’s that sound?

Ah, I see, you’re not staying with us. No, no problem at all. Happy to have you joining us here for the day while you wait for a friend. I’m glad to help make you welcome and enjoy the full experience of being here at the Pfister.

Have you been to the Artist-in-Residence and Pop-Up Gallery? Yes, yes you have. Oh, wonderful. So glad you enjoyed it. Take a look at all the rest of the art hanging around the hotel. We have an extraordinary collection.

I could arrange for a haircut at the spa? Or a massage? Ever have a pedicure? They’re great…try one sometime. Sure, next time when you have more time.

What about a late lunch? I can get you a table at Mason Street Grill. Oh, great, you’re eating there tonight. Sure, savor it until then, I get it.

Now, you say you’re on vacation, so how about an afternoon cocktail? I won’t tell. Our little secret. Might I suggest The Derby? It’s a little different than you might be expecting, but, boy, or boy, is it good.

Of course, that makes sense—wait for your friend and celebrate together. It’s always more fun when you have someone to toast. Would you like to have a seat in the lobby lounge then?

You would! Excellent! At the bar? No. How about a table? No table? Okay, well, there’s always the sofas.

The sofas—you want to sit on the sofas! Our pleasure. Please, please have a seat. Relax, let all the cares of the world wash away and please let us know if there’s anything you need. I’ll have a server bring you some bar snacks right away.

Oh, and, sir…just so you know, those sofas are pretty darned cozy. If there’s anything you need…

Sir, sir?

Nighty night.

Sleep tight.

All in the world seems good and bright.

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The Pinch Hitter

I have nothing but the highest of regard for the estimable talents of Dr. Jeffrey Hollander, the legendary pianist who reigns supreme over the musical gifts regularly given in the Pfister’s Lobby Lounge. As any of his fellow musicians might say, “That cat has some big chops.”

My fawning admiration for the Pfister’s king of the eighty-eight keys is great for sure, but I bow to my Narrator predecessors who have lauded and praised Dr. Hollander’s work in better words and phrases than I could even dream of weaving together. They’ve said it well, and anything I could add would only pale in comparison to their prose.

Instead, I would like to talk about what happens when Dr. Hollander decides he needs a night off. That’s when he looks to the bench and calls someone up to make sure the big leagues are expertly covered. I speak, of course, of the pinch hitter.

In talking about a piano pinch hitter, a little moonlight and music seems appropriate, right? I hope you’re listening to this on the Pfister Narrator podcast right now, because all of a sudden, you’re about to receive an ear massage.

There’s a distinct difference about the pinch hitter that stepped in for Dr. Hollander this past Wednesday. When you talk about this sub ivory tickler, don’t use the male pronoun. Switch it over to the she. Carolyn Wehner has recently joined the ranks of the substitute pianist list in the Pfister Lounge, a rogue’s gallery of the kind of swells you like to have around because they’re cool, charming, and talented as all get out. In doing so, Carolyn adds a bit of an X factor as well as an added chromosome to the time honored tradition of spanking good-time entertainment in our lobby lounge.

The night I was able to hear Carolyn, she was hitting all the cabaret classics. And her eye splits its time between the keys and the guests relaxing over a cocktail or evening bite. As a young lady came into the lounge, Carolyn shifted into some Disney tunes to herald her entracnce. In the middle of a set, she modulates between swinging smiley cabaret tunes and melancholy “pour-me-another-Joe” sort of sad sack ballads. She’s also got a bit of a vinegar wit, and she might sprinkle a ditty like the Mel Brooks’ classic “Springtime for Hitler” into a series of seasonal tunes with a devil-may-care effortless that ends up being a fun little Easter egg for anyone listening real hard.

But what does the pinch hitter think about the job she’s got to do? Modest as any second stringer might be, she’s a true team player.

“Why wouldn’t I love being here? It’s a beautiful room, and gorgeous instrument, and I get to back up a legend like Jeff Hollander. It’s heaven on earth.”

Dr. Hollander, you can rest easy. Carolyn and all your other pinch hitters are hitting it out of the park.

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Coffee Guy Gets Tea-ed Up

Almost exactly one year ago, I spent six long weeks denying myself coffee. I did it as part of a dietary change, and as a substitute for coffee, I was allowed to drink green tea. That’s sort of like replacing 100 pounds of the world’s finest Swiss chocolate with a pair of damp sweat socks. After six weeks, the first thing I did was drink three pots of coffee. I have not turned back since then and couldn’t be happier or more jittery.

The effect that this period of coffee abstinence has had on my appetite for tea is brutal. That’s why, approaching my recent planned outing for afternoon tea at the Pfister I had one anticipatory feeling.


Oh, what a silly fool I was. “Meh” was simply the wrong feeling to be hanging onto as I got ready to have the full Pfister tea experience. “Meh-gnificent” would have been a more apt expression of brewed awakening, for I now know that the Pfister tea ceremony has the power to wash any taste of indifference out of the mouth of even the hardest core java Joe or Jane.

Ever since I have taken on the role of Pfister Narrator I have imagined what a sweet experience it would be for my daughters and wife to enjoy afternoon tea. It’s just the sort of thing they like. They actually really enjoy tea. I’ve seen them drink it many times, always with smiles on their pretty faces. I also have it on good authority that they like desserts that you can pick up with your fingers and pop easily into a mouth. Basically, afternoon tea is firmly in their wheelhouse, so I knew even though tea wasn’t my thing, it would be a rare and wonderful treat for them to enjoy.

The day in question of our recent tea experience was something of an occasion for gluttony for me. In fact, I had chosen this day to have afternoon tea with my family expressly because I was intentionally keeping things on the light side in terms of caloric consumption during the day. In my mind I was warmly planning to back off the tea service so my wife and daughters could really lean into it. My calendar was booked with an annual dinner with friends later in the evening, the sort of thing that you prepare for by not eating for about fourteen days prior. I would leave afternoon tea with my family and order a 72 oz. steak covered with buttered mushrooms. So, attending tea with my girls, something that I wasn’t particularly on the edge of my seat to drink or nosh upon, seemed like the perfect diversion where I would easily back off on sating myself.

Believing full well that I would demure from more than a nibble and sip at tea, I ordered an appropriate amount of sweet and savory treats for the four of us. I remember actually saying to my family, “I’m sure that I won’t actually eat anything…you know, I have to eat all that beef later.”

That statement set me up to prove one very important fact about my culinary leanings. When I am presented with food that is glorious to gaze upon and seeping pots of delicately and colorfully flavored aromatic beverages, I have absolutely, positively no restraint. Those tea sandwiches, scones, and last drops of hot tea never knew what hit them.

I now understand from first hand knowledge that there is nothing more genteel than enjoying afternoon tea at the Pfister. My family and I arrived at the 23rd floor and were escorted to the sofas arranged in front of the fireplace in Blu. I looked around at a roomful of graceful, happy people with arched pinkies sipping piping hot cups of tea. A pair of ladies sat behind us lingering over a long conversation.

“You ladies look like you’re having a wonderful afternoon,” I said, noting that there was the air of celebration about their mid afternoon clatch.

“It’s her 70th Birthday,” said one of the women, as she slipped some leftover treats into a carry out container that the attentive staff has provided her. “We get to take some of these treats home to keep the memory of a perfect afternoon going.”

My family wished these two charming women well as they gathered their belongings and made their way out into the afternoon sunshine. I thought it sweet that the women had taken a tea-time doggy bag home, but as we launched into tea, I also felt safe knowing that there would be plenty of treats for my ladies, perhaps even a skosh too much since I had plans to keep my hands to home and my lips pursed.

Then Juan showed up. If you have the chance to enjoy tea service at the Pfister, you have a great opportunity to be guided to the tea bar by an expert. Juan is the resident tea butler, and as he presented 15 different choices for tea to my family and me, I felt all tea inhibitions melting away. If Juan had told me to drink tea out of my elbow, I’m sure I would have done it, because his description of the body, fragrance and luxurious notes of every flavor of tea presented was better than the next.

I chose to have a pot of Earl Grey tea because I came to understand it had the most caffeine, therefore I took the leap to translating this fact into, “It’s the most like coffee.” My wife and daughters, true warm-blooded tea drinkers chose adventurous and fruity herbal varieties. They weren’t trying to cover anything. It was tea they had come for, and it was tea they were getting.

When the tea came in stunning sterling silver pots, I felt my knees weaken. This tea looked pretty good. What would it hurt to try a cup, right?

You’ll understand this if you have the beautiful chance to enjoy afternoon tea at the hands of the Pfister’s masterful staff, but after the first sip of perfectly brewed tea you are presented, your taste buds open and you immediately desire some delectable snack. There is no problem in this regard, of course, because at afternoon tea service on the 23rd floor of the Pfister, treats appear before your eyes and they are as pretty as jewels and as scrumptious as anything you’ve ever put in your mouth.

My tower of gut busting destruction.

How I know this, me, the one who had such heavy resolve going into this event to not partake of too much that was put in front of me so I could save room for all the steak in the world later on in my day, has to do with the fact that I have what you can call a true lust for life. In other words, I’m a pig of the highest degree.

The gateway food to my ultimate demise on the tower of treats presented to us was a beautiful little crab salad finger sandwich. My family does not like crab, so they suggested I take those for a little snack. I obliged, wanting to be polite, but half an hour later I lost all sense of time and space as I was lathering mascarpone cheese on my third scone and my daughters were realizing that there would be no carry out containers to take home like the lovely women we had met earlier in the day.

My youngest daughter, Carmela, had been watching me lap up my tea and recognized something in each sip I took. She said, “You look just like you do when you drink coffee, Daddy. Like an old man with a scrunched up face.”

Carmela mirrors my tea face, but much more cute, of course.

The little tea hugger was right, of course. Because of my trip down the tea road at the Pfister, I now see no difference in the pleasures of a good cuppa, be it coffee or tea. And, oh, if you’re wondering, no fears–I ate all my steak later that evening, and washed it down with a nice hot cup of black coffee.

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My New Favorite Perfect

I have considered coloring the following story about Anu and Cindy with grandiose flourishes, unhealthy exaggerated “aw shucks” sort of exhortations, and adjective rich descriptions of two ladies reeking of the delectable charms of deeply realized kin and kithness.

But, instead, I’m going to just tell this lovely tale of friendship the way it should be told. Simply. Because it has become my favorite sort of perfect.

(And, yes, feel free to erase my first overblown paragraph from your memory…I promise it’s my last ounce of hyperbole for at least 400 words.)

Anu and Cindy were seated in the Pfister Lobby sharing a bag of potato chips. Each woman was focused on writing a postcard. They looked unrushed, calm, and serene. I admired the great smiles they each had on their faces.

The ladies were resting in the lobby on day two of a friendship retreat. Both women told me that they were 50-years-old, though that was hard to believe looking at faces radiating with health and warmth. They had come to the Pfister to celebrate this special shared birth year because of the bonds of their important and lifelong friendship.

The ladies explained that 40 of their 50 years had been shared as the best of friends. Seeing the light of love surrounding them as they sat together enjoying the afternoon, I imagined that they had to have been adorable when their bond was sealed at the tender age of 10.

Anu told me the past year had been a difficult one, and this time with her friend was a significant acknowledgement of looking forward. The outing had been arranged by Anu’s husband and children, and I understood that affairs of the heart must hold a special place within her family as I noticed the greeting she had written on a postcard that was headed back home. It read, “I love you infinitely.”


Friends of 40 years tend to finish one another’s thoughts. Anu and Cindy filled in all the empty spaces that remained in the story that I found myself leaning in to hear. For 25 years, the friends had been separated by great distance. Their friendship didn’t miss a beat when they found themselves both living back in the same state a few years ago. They told me with moist eyes that for the past 24 hours, through moments of great pampering at the hands of the Pfister staff, every one of their thoughts had been fiercely connected to each other. And even after 40 years, they discovered that they were able to learn new things about the person sitting across the table. Friends forever, for sure. Forever discovering each other, a sure bonus.

I wanted to honor this great pair of friends by doing something remarkably against my nature—to leave them alone. As a writer I constantly want to know more about a subject, hoping to draw out intimate stories and surprising admissions. But my awe over the real and profound affection I witnessed in the simple and loving regard each woman had for the other made me thank them for their time and step away. Anu and Cindy deserved their space.

A bag of chips, two postcards, and friends for life. In a year of seeing and writing about all kinds of extraordinary at the Pfister, this could be the perfect I adore the most.

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Things Are Looking Up for Love

Long ago, decease when dinosaurs and rotary dial phones roamed the Earth and I had a thick head of hair and longed for a girlfriend, a buddy gave me some good advice about how to be more successful with the ladies.

“Chin up,” said my happily dating friend. “Nobody likes a whiner.”

His no nonsense advice worked. There is nary a reasonable explanation for why my wife, generic a woman of great intellect, charm and beauty really ever should have accepted my invitation to lunch, dating, marriage, and having a couple of kids other than the fact that I tend to smile a lot. As lives go, I’ve got absolutely nothing to complain about. I remember my good fortune by sporting an upturned mouth as much as I possibly can.

A “chin up” attitude to life has profoundly affected my relationship with all the people I come across in the course of a regular day. A smile and upturned eyes go a long way towards quickly letting someone know, “Hey, I think you’re great. Let’s get to know each other a little better.” For certain and for sure, I’m a big advocate of the chin up posture.

I have applied this head-in-the sky attitude to the full physical world around me. I like to remind friends and family that when visiting a new city or entering a building, it is always best to take a moment to look up. You will very often be surprised at gifts of whimsy that architects leave for great visual explorers in the world’s upper altitudes. I’ve caught goofy giggling fools’ heads cast in stone, soaring ornamental birds of prey, and ribald frescos gracing a ceiling just because I took a moment to arch my head towards the heavens.

It’s with that joyful upturned eye that I made a recent and most gratifying discovery in the already lustrous Pfister lobby. One of the ceiling cherubs bouncing on puffy clouds and celebrating our Salve motto is, and has been for several days, clutching a bright red balloon.

There are plenty of plausible reasons why a crimson colored Mylar balloon is stuck on the Pfister ceiling. We’ve just come off a busy Valentine’s weekend at the hotel, where lovers aplenty shared roses, glasses of champagne, snugs, and a happy helium balloon or 47. I can imagine that as some dreamy eyed sap reached out to take the soft hand of his or her beloved in a tender embrace, that love balloon floated from a once clutched paw now open for hand holding business. You know what they say, “A hand in hand is better than a balloon in the bush.” Or something like that.

Let’s put practical thinking aside for a moment, though, and just fixate on the fanciful. That’s what happens when you move your gaze from a lower perch to an elevated pose. You start to dream bigger. Everything looks riper and more full of possibility. You are suddenly able to imagine that its certainly possible that one of the cherubs in the Pfister lobby ceiling scene was gifted that balloon by some other dancing spirit with a mad crush.

Could happen, right? If you believe it, than anything is possible. Me? I’m just happy to look up and watch that balloon gently float above the crowds of happy visitors as the days go by. That balloon will probably have to come down to earth someday soon, but for now its opened the heavens and my heart in ways that make me believe there’s a little more love to go around an already glorious hotel.

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When Thinking of Being Sued, Consider These Two Legal Eagles

They have smiles. Neither or them are buttoned up in dour looking suits. There’s not a briefcase to be seen at their cozy table. They are conducting themselves with civility and class, pharm responsibly lingering over an afternoon glass of wine as they chat about big ideas and wise notions.

I for one can’t imagine a better pair of lawyers to sue me.

Alec and Melissa are partners in a successful law firm near the Pfister. Alec works out of Milwaukee, remedy and Melissa is based in Madison. Today is a catch up day. The lobby lounge is neutral territory. It also has a better selection of Cabernet than either of their offices.

It occurs to me that getting a few tips on the law might be handy. You never know when the Feds are going to swoop in and get you in some raid, patient right? It seems like a fine idea to seek out some basic law tips from these two mighty legal types. They have a cool and casual look that makes me think that I won’t be bored by torts and evidentiary motions…whatever that means. As I siddle up to Alec and Melissa, I feel like I’m stepping into an episode of THE GOOD WIFE, without all the sex and lies, of course.

Instead of jumping into some sort of barroom barrister lesson, Alec and Melissa open the kimono (or the judge’s robe if you will) and give me a glimpse into the inner working of snap legal minds.

Alec’s legal mind is apparently underscored by an ever-changing musical soundtrack. Alec has just seen the Broadway musical HAMILTON, and he is happy to share every detail of the hottest ticket in New York with me as the self-described musical theatre super fan he is. It’s not every partner in a Milwaukee law firm that decorates his office walls with Broadway show posters. Alec may be the only guy in the history of local attorneys to hold that title.

Melissa kind of shrugs her shoulders about the whole HAMILTON thing. She doesn’t need kick lines and 11th hour numbers. She’s a sports girl. She has name full of z’s and y’s. She’s good solid people and is able to dissect the most recent Superbowl with the best of them. She does admit, however, that she likes to call upon Alec to do a lot of their dirty work, like hounding clients to pay overdue bills. That’s smart armchair quarterbacking, if you ask me.

Alec is the chattier of the two, a charmer with plenty of good stories. He mentions the time he sang a song at a fundraiser dressed in a chicken suit. Melissa makes a mental note to remember that for the law firm’s next company Christmas party. I bet Alec will kill in that chicken suit. And something tells me that if Alec sued me while dressed like a clucker with Melissa as his second chair checking the box scores, that wouldn’t be a half bad day in court.

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My Lips Will Never Tell…Nah, I’m Just Kidding

I would like to begin this Valentine flecked story with a public declaration that my lips are promised to one lady, viagra and one lady alone-my wife Paula, the hardest working lady in show biz.

It’s important for me to stress that so there is absolutely no confusion about how I came to land a really good smooch on the cheek of Val, the Pfister’s daytime lobby lounge bartender.


Val is a looker, purchase no doubt, but my heart belongs to another lady.

The kiss in question had a global purpose. Val and I understood that my lips on her face meant nothing more than the two of us being captured for all time so we could add our images to a constantly growing art project that is a heart lifter of the highest degree. I’m not very good at downplaying things when I find myself kissing women other than my wife in public, sovaldi as you can probably tell.

If you were in the lobby of the Pfister yesterday you would have noticed that pink and red signs were beckoning you to spend a moment or two with a smiley woman named Bonnie helping her with something called The Smooch! Project. She and her charming volunteer Patti were on hand to make you feel comfortable right before Bonnie pushed the shutter button on her camera as you and someone (or something) you have great affection for were drawn together for a sweet lip smacker. I dare you to discover a more dreamy way to spend a moment or two during your day.

The Smooch! Project is Bonnie’s baby, one that she has cared for with tenderness and joy for over a decade. The easiest way to describe it is as an online archive of kissing fools. But it’s better to think of The Smooch! Project as a movement, an artistic expression of love, joy and healing.

“The whole thing came about as an accident,” explained Bonnie. Twelve years ago Bonnie was taking a look at a picture that had been snapped of she and her sister caught in a sweet smooch moment.

“That picture lifted my heart, it just made me so happy looking at it.” Bonnie decided that if this one picture gave her so much joy, other people needed the chance to feel what she was feeling. From there, The Smooch! Project was born.

Bonnie takes a mobile back drop, lights and camera to art fairs, shopping malls and other public places and has captured thousands of photos since the project began ten years ago this coming April. Her goal is to have an archive of 10,000 smooch photos, with the hope being that all 50 United States will ultimately be represented.

“I’ve got a lot of pictures of Minnesotans kissing. They’re my people!”

Bonnie has curated the project through her website The Smooch! Project. Before you start clicking around the site, a warning…you should be prepared to smile, cry and just feel good about being a part of what makes this planet tick. The set up for each Smooch! Project shot is basically the same. The smooch receiver stares straight ahead into the camera while the smoocher is caught in profile landing one on the receiver’s cheek. Though the composition is similar from shot to shot, each image tells a different story of discovery, wonder, love, and great joy. The subjects include gents, ladies, adorable kids, pets, and even some treasured items that people adore.

“Guys like kissing their guitars,” said Bonnie. “It’s a thing. Who knew?”

You can check out The Smooch! Project at thesmoochproject.com and look at a schedule of upcoming events so that you can add your smooch to the archive. I’m proud that Val and I made it in as representatives of the Pfister, but I hope the love of my life Paula and I make it into the archive someday soon. We’re world-class smoochers who know that practice makes perfect, and we’ll keep trying over and over until we get it just right.

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No Rest for the Wicked Show Tune Lover


I knew two important things about the lady next to me in the lobby bar. First, there she loved her some Andrew Lloyd Weber, for sure. Second, her love of THE PHANTOM was only slightly stronger than her love of chardonnay.

When someone is literally screaming about THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA in the Pfister’s Lobby Bar you could say that my interest is slightly piqued. Full disclosure…I’ve never seen the entire musical. I’ve seen half of it. About seven times. I have that notch in my belt because I’m a guy who went to college in New York City and, search with few resources but lots of love for the theatre, successfully “second acted” a lot of Broadway shows. Second acting for those of you who are honest, forthright and true, the type of people who would never tangle with the natural order of buying tickets for a play, is when you wait outside a theatre during intermission and wander back in with the real audience, ailment plopping yourself in an open seat or standing-room position. In my case, wearing a suit helped me blend in nicely with the throngs of theatregoers out on the town. Other friends I knew who were successful in second act circles could get by with no more than a clean pair of jeans.

As the lady in question got up to stuff a handful of cash into the jar of the lobby lounge evening’s pianist, I doubted she was a second acter. She wanted her PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and damned if she wasn’t going to pay cash money for it.

As she made her way back to her seat next to me in the bar, I stopped her. I figured someone this passionate, this in love with PHANTOM could help me out.

“Excuse me,” I said. “I’m curious about the PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and…”

Before I could finish my sentence, one in which I had planned to ask the woman to explain the first act plot to me, zeal took over and filled the lady’s mouth with a swell of musical notes on the subject.

“PHANTOM…I’ve seen it four times. One time in New York City, one time in Detroit, and two times here. It is my favorite. My favorite, you hear, my absolute favorite.”

She gushed about the grandeur of the music, the opulence of the sets and costumes, and about how it was the greatest musical of all time. And just as I opened my mouth to ask her to explain the salient plot points I had missed during all those first acts gone by, another voice pulled her attention and she leaned back into her table.

“Can I get you another?” There was no turning back for PHANTOM OF THE OPERA lady. Our conversation was over

Over the next several minutes with my unanswered question dangling in my head, I listened to the lady organize the folks at her table, reminding them despite the late hours they were keeping there was a morning gathering that they all needed to get to.

“9:30. AM. That’s when everyone needs to be down here in the lobby. Dressed. Ready to go. 9:30, and not a minute later.”

As the midnight bell tolled, the woman’s drive to schedule the lives of her friends and family punched through the synthesized baroque strains of “Music of the Night” and the “Masquerade.” It was late and that 9:30am summons seemed too near as the follow up round of drinks landed on tables next to me. Morning might be rough for everyone else, but the lady with the love of PHANTOM didn’t seem to care.

“Play it again! Oh my God, that was beautiful.” I may not know how the story begins, but bedtime be damned when THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is in the house.

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At 10pm on Friday Night

I love meeting new people in my role as the Pfister Narrator, viagra but there are some times when I’d rather fade into the wallpaper and listen; watching and admiring life passing by rather than having face-to-face discoveries.

Times like 10pm on Friday night.

This last Friday I had been at the Pfister early in the evening to see the new Teachers show in the Pfister’s Pop-Up Gallery that our Artist-In-Residence Todd has curated with his usual care and attention. I then had to dash off to some other social engagements for the evening that wrapped up a few hours later. At a few minutes to 10pm on Friday night I found myself alone on the streets of Milwaukee faced with the options of going home to lay my head on my pillow or swinging by the Pfister to see if I might run into friends who I had heard were out and about for fun and games. It was one of those moments when I really didn’t want the shank of the evening to fade too quickly. I still had the itch to surround myself with the buzz of people clinking glasses and chattering away before wrapping myself in my bedcovers and calling it a day. So, viagra at 10pm on Friday night, the Pfister it was for my final stop.

I made a full swing through the hotel to see if my friends were solving all of the world’s problems fueled by glasses of gin and champagne. Alas, they seemed to be somewhere else in the universe hatching plots, but at 10pm on Friday night, I sensed that I had the rare solo viewer chance to seek out the everyday magic that seemed to be tucked in every action filled nook and cranny of the hotel that has become my home away from home.

The lobby bar was filled to the brim with twenty-somethings dressed to the nines smiling and flirting their way to the promise of a dewey eyed Saturday morning pillow talk with someone kind of sweet. And at 10pm on a Friday night, a handsome man with a perfect tight and trim haircut lit up the chilly winter night by proving that his purchase of an electric blue suit was the best charge he had ever put on his credit card.


I popped into Blu on the 23rd floor and thought about staying around to listen to the melancholy songs wafting through the air, but I saw that at 10pm on Friday night there were no seats to be had and decided it was probably bad form to take a perch on someone’s lap. As I made my way to the ground floor with a group of white haired ladies cheeping at each other, I learned that Harriet, some far off friend, had taken up swing dancing, and her new hip was holding up just fine.

A pass through Mason Street Grill at 10pm on Friday night reminded me that I should absolutely consider eating more steak and listening to loads more jazz because everyone packed into the swank room brimmed with joy and the luscious perfume of Porterhouse.

At 10pm on Friday night I made my way past the Artist-In-Residence Studio to see that Todd was home and that creation was marching on with a guest humming along drawing and painting into the dark hours.


I like to think that at 10pm on a Friday night there should never be a question of whether or not art is happening at the Pfister.

It also pleases me to no end that at 10pm on a Friday night a young lady is allowed to stay up way past her bedtime so she can snake her way through a crowded room in her bathing suit after a starry sky swim.


The little yawn coming from my mouth told me finally that at 10pm on a Friday night there was no shame in submitting to the lure of cozy time with my lids snapped shut, so I buttoned up my coat and started to make my way to the parking garage to grab my car and head home. As I passed the Café at the Pfister I noticed that the occasion of a special Chef’s Table dinner was warmly bringing together a group of people for elevated food and inspired conversation. Peering into the darkness of the room, I looked past Dr. Hollander, the Pfister’s legend of the 88 keys, as he was taking a break from his piano set. I couldn’t tell if the shining light around his noggin full of well-tuned notions was coming from a simple light bulb or the glow of genius within his artist’s soul.


You see, at 10pm on Friday night there was indeed magic in every corner on this particular hotel, and I was lucky enough to be there to see it all in its everyday glory.

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