Vote for your favorite: The Pfister Hotel Names Finalists for Artist-In-Residence Program

Home to more Victorian Art than any other hotel in the world, the historic Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee for the past two years has hosted an artist-in-residence program. A selection committee, consisting of members of the local art community, has announced the six finalists for the 2010—2011 term of the program. This year’s finalists are Shelby Keefe; Stephen P. Ohlrich; Jeremy Plunkett; Kate Pfeiffer; Anthony Suminski; and Jim Zwadlo.

“We’ve received an overwhelming number of applications for the program this year,” says Joe Kurth, general manager of The Pfister Hotel. “With great consideration, the selection committee has chosen six outstanding artists who remain in the running. Now it’s time for the public to help us decide who will be moving into The Pfister next spring.”

Public Voting Begins

Beginning today, members of the public will be able to log on to The Pfister’s Aritist In Residence voting page, to select the artist they’d like to see as the next Artist In Residence. Votes can also be cast via twitter (#ArtistInResidence) or by texting 22333 by responding with the name of the artist you’d like to cast your vote. Voting will end Feb. 14, 2011. The selection committee will announce the next artist-in-residence soon thereafter.

Take a look at this year’s finalists.

Anthony Suminski

Kate Pfeiffer

Stephen Ohlrich

James Zwadlo

Jeremy Plunkett

Shelby Keefe

January Gallery Night

Work by the six finalists will be displayed at Gallerie M, inside InterContinental Milwaukee, for January Gallery Night, Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, where the public will be able to vote via ballet box, in addition to the other methods.

The current Pfister artist in residence, Katie Musolff, will be hosting her final Gallery Night at The Pfister Hotel the same evening. In addition to her work, guests will be able to view a slideshow of images from the six finalists for next year’s program and invited to vote on their favorite.

The Pfister’s Artist-In-Residence Program

Entering its third year, The Pfister’s Artist-in-Residence program features a working art studio and gallery that is open to hotel guests and visitors. The program encourages the public to interact with the artist and witness the evolution of each piece first-hand. The artist chosen for the 2010—2011 term will move in to the studio space in April 2011, replacing Musolff.

The Pfister is already gaining a reputation for supporting great artists. Tonette Walker, the wife of Governor Scott Walker, recently commissioned the program’s first artist in residence, Reginald Baylor, to create a portrait of him, which was presented earlier this month at his inaugural dinner.

For more information on The Pfister’s Artist-In-Residence program, visit The Pfister can also be found on Facebook and  Twitter.

Friday Night Fever

I laugh at the character Charlotte on Sex in the City, here the popular HBO television series. When she’s single, she grows frustrated when she doesn’t have plans on Saturday night. “But it’s date night!” she wails when others suggest things for her to do.

I don’t think date night is solely Saturday night in Milwaukee. Friday night in the Pfister is full of roaming young men, cialis sale wrapped in cashmere scarves and the latest fashions and the slight hint of a few beers warming them to the evening. As the night grows late, a certain drive seems to ignite within them as they hunt for the dates they originally set out to find.

When a friend and I tumbled out of the elevator from the parking garage, prostate we were met by Shay and his entourage. Three mid-20s men, handsomely dressed and alight with energy at the late hour, they had already had drinks in the lobby bar and were headed upstairs to Blu to meet with friends for more. Two women arriving together without any male chaperones lit up the men and we were smothered in attention. Where had we been, where were we going and please join us at Blu was the conversation theme and it made me smile to remember girls’ nights out that are fueled with the same contagious energy.

We felt like we were watching a coming-of-age story when two of the crew cheered on a third as he said he was headed back to Mason Street Grill “talk to that girl again, see if she’s still there.” The hope in his eyes and his friends’ encouraging grins, made slightly raunchy by drink, made us smile.

While we watched so many others crawl into the wee hours together in the lobby bar, conversations stumbling across the bar top and lobby tables, we saw endless streams of young men who could have each been Shay and his posse. All dressed in the latest fashions, braving the scene without coats, hair gelled to perfection and walking as if auditioning for Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, packs of young men on the prowl moved through the lobby into the frigid streets.

They weren’t intimidating nor drunk; they seemed, from our vantage point, sleepily ending our evening in girl talk, emboldened and electrified. In some ways, we were flattered and wooed, even though the men weren’t there for us. We happily bore witness to the energy they put in their evening and the John Travolta hitch in their steps. Realizing it was all part of the performance they put together to help them make Friday night date night, to help them capture the attentions and affections of the women they’d meet, we couldn’t help but smile encouragingly and, just as Shay and his friend did, wish them all good luck out there.

Pfister Artist-in-Residence: The Commissioned Work of Art [VIDEO]

As a legacy within the Pfister Hotel, Katie Musolff, the current Artist-in-Residence, prepares her commissioned work; a portrait of Dr. Jeffrey Hollander, the Pfister’s renowned concert pianist.

Stop by Katie’s gallery inside the Pfister to check on her progress with this work of art.

2011 Artist In Residence Finalist [VIDEO]

The Pfister Hotel is known for its wonderful collection of Victorian art and its commitment to the Artist In Residence program.

Now going on its third year, generic the committee reviewed 21 excelllent submissions and have choosen the six finalist. One of them will be chosen to be the next Pfister Artist In Residence.

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Congratulations to our six finalists:

– Jim Zwadlo
– Anthony Suminski
– Jeremy Plunkett
– Kate Pfeiffer
– Stephen P. Ohlrich
– Shelby Keefe

And thank you to our fantastic committee members.

– Lisa Hostetler, capsule Curator of Photographs at the Milwaukee Art Museum
– Kate Wilson, The Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts
– Melissa Dorn Richards, Director of Cultural and Alumni Relations at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design
– Jon Anne Willow, Publisher and Editor and Chief of ThirdCoast Digest
– Tonya C. Smith, FLMI, Corporate Art Specialist from Northwestern Mutual
– Tim Smith, General Manager of the InterContinental Milwaukee
– Joe Kurth, General Manager of the Pfister Hotel
– Cassy Scrima, Area Director of Marketing for Marcus Hotels and Resorts

Celebrity BLUtender – ESPN Milwaukee Broad Side Battle – Trenni Kusnierek & Jen Lada

ESPN Milwaukee radio personality Trenni Kusnierek and Fox 6’s Jen Lada step behind the bar at Blu to slinging drinks to raise money for the Hunger Task Force.

Watch for more Celebrity BLUtender Battles coming soon!

Pit yourself against a friend or rival in a Celebrity BLUtender competition with a part of the proceeds going to a charity of the winners choice.



To nominate a Celebrity BLUtender, give Adam Jones a shout at

Seating for One

There are so many corners to lose yourself in at the Pfister Hotel. Just when I think I’ve found the perfect nook, doctor I realize, there’s already a soft chair or couch there waiting for me—a clear demonstration that the staff at the Pfister know that cozy corners are a commodity.

The thing is, as part of my role, I am often at the Pfister alone. Many women may tell you they rarely go out alone. Maybe we go shopping, generic where it’s expected, or to a movie, where once the lights are down, it’s harder for people to see that you’re alone.

Male friends have laughed when I have said I wouldn’t stop in a bar for a drink alone. Women friends simply nod knowingly. So when at the Pfister, occasionally it’s nice to slide into a comfy cushion in an obscure corner and simply take in my surroundings.

I hope I don’t betray an entire group of people here, but occasionally, women deploy little tricks to ensure that they don’t get bothered, hit on or intruded upon when they’re cultivating their solitude in a glass of red wine at a bar.

First, I must recognize (and applaud) those who bravely venture out to fulfill their own relaxation or winding down techniques, whether friends have agreed to join them or not. And second, I need to let you know it happens far more often than you think.

I sat down in the lobby bar next to a couple who easily engaged me and we had a great time together. One of the stories the gentleman wanted to share was of the young woman who had warmed my chair not thirty minutes prior. The man said he’d offered her a drink and she said, clutching her wine, “No, I’m waiting for someone, thank you.”

After the wine was gone, the woman left. The gentleman’s wife returned and he said, as she sat, “Huh, poor girl, her friend stood her up.” The wife questioned his details and laughed. “Oh, she didn’t have a friend coming.”

Confused, the husband was then schooled (and then again by me after his retelling of the event) in woman-alone-at-the-bar logic. We tell lies like that to make ourselves feel comfortable, to ward off unwelcome advances and to feel socially secure in our aloneness.

Since that lesson, I’ve paid special attention to all the single ladies in the house at the Pfister and I must say—there are a great many of us. Just the other night, during those immediate post-work hours at Blu, I spotted a woman enjoying a glass of wine and clearly winding down. Oblivious to those around her, she faced her chair outward toward the city and calmly enjoyed her surroundings. There were a number of men seated alone as well, perhaps parts of conferences or folks traveling for work, but not a one of them approached her or disrupted her serenity. It could have been because most of them had their chairs facing the skyline as well and as the sun set  it was a pretty irresistible view, easily one that no pick-up line could compete with.

So I continue to applaud the brave women who, by whatever means necessary, whether it’s an amazing view, stellar confidence or a little white lie, secure for themselves a cozy nook to enjoy some time to themselves. I may notice you when I’m there, but I promise, I will not disturb.

Be a Part of History: Volunteer!

Milwaukee may be known as the City of Festivals, but they don’t just happen by themselves; many dedicated residents and volunteers preserve our culture and promote the heritage of the city annually. The Pfister Hotel hosted the United Ethnic Festivals board holiday party and the volunteer organizers of each of our summer festivals gathered to celebrate the season.

Early in the evening, I met the vice president of German Fest and his wife and while we talked, the celebration of heritage became more important than simply celebrating. The couple (Mr. and Mrs. Rudi Wolf) started to express their concern over how these traditions would carry on.

As the couple remembered concerts and shows they’d seen at the Pfister in the past and compared those stylings to today’s music and the bands they recruit for German Fest, they talked as much about the music as our interest in it…who will continue to appreciate such specific genres? Mrs. Wolf noted, “We hope the young people will come, but…” she ended with a shrug of her shoulders.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard these concerns from long-standing local organizations. Though the Pfister carries with it a rich history, passed on through tenured staff members, other groups and volunteer organizations in the area carry a similar historic burden. Yet, with volunteerism and resources both on the decline, some of the traditions that have supported Milwaukee’s unique “Little Big Town” feel could be at risk.

Wolf talked of the Austrian club her family is a part of and the routines she established for her children—gently keeping them tied to the group through events and duties, hoping they’ll carry on a dedication to these organizations. Though she was concerned for who will contribute these all-important cultural histories to our city when the current volunteers have moved on, I am curious if she realizes just what a success she has already been. She told of her youngest daughter, the one who learned to yodel at a young age (through the association with the club, of course) and continues to do so. Or, if the tales of her four grandsons, who each participate in German Fest and the Austrian club impacted her as much as they did me—all of these young men are clearly an invested part of the heritage and value their role in it.

It made me wonder if it’s just natural to worry about how you pass on traditions to later generations, how you give up power and control in hope of keeping histories alive. And where is the line between ensuring that we keep even the smallest of organizations pulsing through our city—known for its variety of festivals and cultures—and pushing too hard to sustain the traditions of the old at the expense of the potential of the new?  German Fest’s website, clearly a vestige of the new, asks visitors to “BE A VOLUNTEER, help keep German traditions alive and introduce a whole new generation to the German culture of today and traditions of yester year.” Perhaps this technological mingling of spaces young leaders inhabit and ideas and traditions historic families seek to preserve is one step in bridging the gap.

Some of my questions were answered when I returned to look in on the gathering later that night and saw the incredible intergenerational mix that had assembled. Young professionals mingled among seasoned veterans of the city and it was clear that leadership and trust was being passed along, and more importantly, it was clear that worries about “the next generation” having the same passions for tradition may be unfounded as so many gathered on a Monday night to keep the past very much in the present.

Celebrity BLUtender – Jason Wilde [VIDEO]

GreenBay Packer beat writer and ESPN 540 radio personality Jason Wilde stepped behind the bar at Blu to become our inaugural Celebrity BLUtender. After a quick training, from BLU manager Adam Jones, Jason was turned loose to sling drinks to the crowd at BLU and took to it like a pro. His hard work and efforts behind the bar helped raise money for the MACC Fund.

Now it’s your turn. Nominate, delegate or simply embarrass your coworkers, boss, birthday girl–or anyone for that matter–to be a Celebrity BLUtender!

They’ll jump behind the bar for a quick tutorial in the fine art of bartending. Then watch as they display their skills and serve drinks for you and your friends for the next hour.

But the Celebrity BLUtender will not go home empty handed. To reward their hard work and effort, each Celebrity BLUtender will receive $25 bar tab and a plaque to commemorate the experience!



To Nominate a Celebrity BLUtender, contact Adam Jones at

The Pfister Hotel’s Holiday Glögg [VIDEO]

As old man winter slowly enters our lives for his winter visit, Valerie has got something to warm you right up and help you beat the winter blues.

It is called glögg. A traditional Sweedish Holiday wine based drink served warm. But our Valerie has put her own spin on it, compete with everything sugar, spice and everything nice.


–       Infused honey

–       Fresh apples and oranges

–       Great seasonal spices blends

–       A bit of apple cider

So come down to the lobby, enjoy the holiday decorations, and sip on a glass of glögg by our warm fire.

Chef Robert Ash on WISN-TV: Making Meals with Marcus Restaurants

Chef Robert Ash did an excellent job this past weekend on WISN-TV. Chef Ash shared two great recipes using chicken. In case you missed it, sickness find his recipes and links to his video demonstration on WISN below.

Chicken Anticuchos


1 lb chicken breast (cubed), recipe 1 lb shucked Peruvian corn, 2 tbsp lime juice, 2 tbsp granulated sugar, 2 tbsp unsalted butter, 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, 10-12 6” bamboo skewer (pre-soaked in cold water)


Cube the chicken into 1-inch pieces and toss with enough marinade to coat them evenly. Place 3 pieces of chicken on each skewer season and grill. While the chicken is grilling prepare the corn, cheap in a warm sauté pan heat some vegetable oil and place the corn into the pan, cook until slightly browned. Add the granulated sugar and limejuice cook until slightly caramelized at the end add the butter and the fresh chopped cilantro. Place the corn into a serving dish and when the chicken is finished place the skewers on top of the corn and sprinkle with sliced scallions. These can be made ahead of time and kept frozen for a couple of months. They make great meal starters or just a quick snack.

Marinade Ingredients:

2 whole yellow bell peppers, 2 tbsp aji amarillo paste, ¼ c rice wine vinegar, 2 tbsp limejuice, ½ cup grape seed oil, TT kosher salt, TT fresh ground black pepper


Slightly rub yellow peppers with oil and roast until charred over a grill or an open stove burner. Place into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam for 30 minutes. When done remove the outer charred part and the seeds. Place all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.

Chicken Smoked Pasta


1 lb chicken breast (smoked and shredded), 1 lb cooked pasta of choice al dente, ½ cup red cherry tomatoes (halved), 1 cup baby spinach (cleaned), ¼ cup fresh basil pesto, ¼ cup chicken stock, TT salt and pepper, 3 tbsp fresh grated or shaved parmesan cheese.


In a deep sauce pan or sauté pan over medium high heat, place a touch of olive oil, and then add the spinach, chicken, tomatoes and the pasta. Cook for one to 2 minutes then add the basil pesto and enough chicken stock the thin slightly more or less is needed based on personal likes and al dente of the pasta. Cook until the pasta is warmed through and sauce had thickened slightly, pour into serving vessel and top with grated parmesan cheese.

Fresh Basil Pesto Ingredients:

2 cups fresh basil leaves packed, ½ cup fresh grated parmesan-reggiano or romano cheese, ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts, 3 garlic cloves, minced TT salt and black pepper


Combine the basil, pine nuts and pulse in food processor, add garlic and pulse a few more times. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant steady stream while the processor is on. Scrap down the sides with a rubber spatula, add the grated cheese and pulse again, add the salt and pepper to taste.