Plein Air Office Space

I try not to write about the staff. They’re an easy target—each is polished, ampoule professional and full of juicy bits of knowledge. They’re the eyes and ears. But we, the “in-residencers” are also staff in a way, but with the very specific charge to engage and make the hotel colorful.

So, what I’m trying to say is, pilule I have to tell you about hanging out with Shelby Keefe, the new Artist in Residence. A program different (and longer) than the narrator, Shelby’s work life will live at the Pfister for a full year. She has a giant, glass-walled fish bowl to work in and be ogled, which is why I thought it was charming when she said “Where is your office?”

And thus began the explanation of how I don’t have walls to paint or works of art to hang…and only for a minute did I feel a bit strange explaining my office was in the bar…because truly, it is. Have notebook will travel…but that’s not all that different from this woman who also conducts most of her art work in the outdoors.

Shelby was moving into her new studio and it’s a world apart from the life Katie brought to the space. You’ll notice immediately the change in subject matter and color. Shelby chose the same direction for her easel and stool, however, and I wondered if it was naturally feng shui or just the most convenient corner of the space.

What you need to know about Shelby, however, is how ready she is for this gig. She’ll be there late. She’ll be there often, she’s not afraid of the people, she can’t wait for them (or, so she thought until she gulped and realized the very next day they’d be arriving). Her work is full of color and the day we chatted her shirt matched at least three of the paintings on the wall, which made it feel like when I stepped in to introduce myself amid her hammering and unpacking, I had fallen into a color palette. She laughed at what I noticed, given what I suspect was a talented artist’s version of “oh, this old thing?”

She’s eager. She’s also ready to show you what her art means; she was bursting with energy as she explained how she enjoys people watching her art demos and what her performance painting would be like. (I got to see the special brushes. I’d say you could be jealous, but you can see them too—just stop in her studio).

Shelby was a lot like me. I felt that vibe, that readiness. I hope she knows just what she’s gotten into, because what she’ll get out of it is more than she’ll ever know.

In honor of Shelby, who I found has a friend in common with me—another unique performer in the Milwaukee area—I think I may adopt some plein air writing to match her painting. I end up having the best conversations with guests on the elevators and in the parking garage, why not out in front of the hotel on warm spring days? Come find me there next week and we’ll capture the open air joy of the Pfister and its amazing and colorful staff, and welcome, Shelby!

Meet ‘n Greet Monday! Do you know Jessica?

Jessica ~ Assistant Front Office Manager

Well it’s Meet ‘n Greet Monday! While the Pfister Hotel has housed many celebrities over the years, the true stars are our staff. Every week you will meet a member of our staff, and have your chance to share your memories and interactions with them. Today, it’s the traveling girl, Jessica, our Assistant Front Office Manager.

Name – Jessica

Position – Assistant Front Office Manager

How long have you worked at the Pfister Hotel? – 2 years this summer.

Why do you like working at the Pfister Hotel? –  I love the interaction.  Giving guests a high energy, warm welcome and helping them to be sure they know they made the right decision in choosing the Pfister.  It’s a fun, personal challenge that I get to relive all day.  I love having a lobby full of guests and clearing it out in 10 minutes when there had just been a line to the door.  I love making celebrations more special, getaways more relaxing, business trips more tolerable, and the guest experience more personal overall.

What’s your favorite Pfister memory? – I have many fun memories even during my short time here, so it is difficult to choose.  One of my favorite memories was the tour I took with one of our engineers, experiencing both roof top views, fun ghost stories from one of our storage areas that house old furniture and art, and all the fun hidden closets and rooms that come with a historic building.  The highlight was when we accidentally locked ourselves in one of the storage closets and were incessantly mocked by a few colleagues. All in good fun, of course.

Tell us something we don’t know about you? – During my two years living abroad in Asia I hitch-hiked across the Laos/Cambodia border, and the Laos/China border.  I also probably should have died in at least one of the motorcycle accidents I was in during that time.

What is the oddest/weirdest request that you have ever gotten from a guest? – After having ordered room service, a guest called fro thir left-overs to be picked up.  They asked that I please find a homeless person, or a stray animal to give them too.  They did not want it to go to waste.  Always such nice people staying with us here.

Thank you Jessica for being a participant on Meet ‘n Greet Monday.

Have you met Jessica before?  Tell us a story about meeting her.  Thank you so much for being fans of the Pfister Hotel, and look forward to a new person to meet every Monday.

Scaling Forward

I’m a Libra. Some of you may have already guessed as much. One of our best qualities is indecision. Our symbol is the scales because we try to be fair and just.

I was happy to share indecision Thursday with my colleagues at the Pfister as we looked at the six finalists for the Narrator position to begin in May.

Choosing your replacement is a difficult task. Many of us would choose…well, medicine us.

But I’ve heard, and believe it’s true, that “if you’re not replaceable, you’re not promotable.” But of course, this is where our debate formed. Who is promotable? All of the candidates were writers, storytellers and engaging people, illness in a word, all could narrate. Who should get promoted to Narrator, however, was the big question.

There were so many amazing things to see and read. I loved the videos of the candidates, not just for their film quality (thanks April and Pete; and by the way candidates, they made you look fantastic) but because for weeks, we’ve only known these people on paper. We’ve conjured images of them in the lobby, we’ve envisioned them drinking one of Val’s bloody Marys, retelling (or trying to) her amazing recipe. We’ve seen them on the threshold of a summer wedding gala, documenting it all.

But we never saw them in person. Here they were, up close, chattering, nervous, excited and to their credit…bursting with ideas. That alone became a fantastic qualifier for each of them. Do we choose based on who is bringing profile-writing experience, literary experience or pure unadulterated energy to the position? Or should we evaluate based on how they talked about the hotel? Do they like the art, the history, the beauty or the things it houses?

I think the committee members should each be responsible for a blog too, or we should have been filmed (I’m cringing as I say this… unsure if I’ll keep my new friends when this gets published). Facial reactions, oohs and ahhs, “great idea” “I didn’t think of that” “oh, I like her” and more resonated from our select corner of the newly remodeled café where Starbucks flowed among us but the really energy came from drinking in the vibrant options before us.

We just couldn’t choose.

That’s a compliment, candidates.

For me, listening to their plans and ideas was rejuvenating and hard—there’s so much left to tell and my time is growing short. That’s the beauty of it though, there’s no shortage of stories. The Pfister provides: in every guest a novel, in every event a sense of scene.

We did choose. We chose well; and we considered the charming smile, the great colors, the wonderfully themed sample piece, the pictures, the youth, the wisdom, the experience, the salesmanship, the recommendations, the effervescence, the technology, the reading list, the Pfister favorites, the drive, the energy…the embodiment of a Narrator.

This Libra is proud to say her scales of indecision, out of balance all afternoon, finally teetered into agreement. Soon, you too will meet our Narrator and see just how decisively she will compliment the hotel and document its story.

Artist-in-Residence: Katie’s Farewell Reception

With Katie’s time with us at the Pfister Hotel coming to an end, we’re sad to bid her adieu. But not without the proper send-off.

Watch as Katie shares the legacy she leaves with us at the Pfister Hotel with her commissioned piece of Dr. Jeffery Hollander and provides some valuable insight for the next Artist-in-Residence, Shelby Keefe.

Thank you for gracing us with your presence this past year, Katie!

The NASA Game

I’ve done a lot of organizational consulting and training. Among the structures for company retreats and more is a ropes or games course. Every one I’ve ever done says start small–ice breakers and get to know you type work.

One of the games my organization and later, I, used in classes was the NASA game. There are a million versions of the activity, but this one reads that NASA has to populate the moon. Earth is on its last legs and we’ve got a 2001-type opportunity to go intergalactic. The game provides a list of various people and things and then gives you a limited number to select to bring. The exercise forces team members to hash out which person gets to go–and who you have to leave behind… Much like the “you’re stranded on a desert island and can only bring three things, what do you bring?” exercise friends may play, the game forces hard choices.

I feel like I’m leaving the Pfister for the moon. I don’t have time enough left to do all I want and I have to make choices about what to take with me. I feel certain I’m taking it all with me, make no mistake, but what stories do I use to propel out of this atmosphere?

There are hundreds of ways to eat and drink and enjoy the space. Business meetings to wedding affairs, romantic dates to happy hours…I know what I see and I’m selfishly cataloging all of it–but which should I be sharing that I haven’t yet? Is it the jilted lover? The proposing young man? The road weary Miller-esque traveler? Just as Hal asks, “will I dream?” I’m here to tell you I already do, and in the last month I want to be sure I’m sharing the right ones with you.

Comment below and tell me what stories you think have floated through the hotel and have yet to be captured.

Celebrating 100 posts! Comment Lottery Winners

Thank you to everyone who participated in our comment lottery on the Pfister Blog.

We received a lot of great comments and appreciate the fantastic feedback and personal stories involving the Hotel. Julie, our Pfister Narrator was thrilled to see the great comments on her stories.

And now the winners.

  1. Sonia Zilvitis
  2. JoJo Sook
  3. Brenda Esselman
  4. Rosie
  5. Shelly
  6. Feisty pfister
  7. Tim R.
  8. Wendy
  9. Tina 2284
  10. Andy Tillman

You’ll be receiving a message shortly with instructions on how to claim your prize.

Thank you again for participating and we hope you visit us again soon and read the great stories from the hotel.

Meet ‘n Greet Monday! Do you know Jeff?

Well it’s Meet ‘n Greet Monday! While the Pfister Hotel has housed many celebrities over the years, the true stars are our staff. Every week you will meet a member of our staff, and have your chance to share your memories and interactions with them. Today, it’s the man of day is, Jeff, our Security Supervisor.

Name – Jeff

Position – Security Supervisor

How long have you worked at the Pfister Hotel? – For 19 years, since 1991.

Why do you like working at the Pfister Hotel? –  Interacting with amazing and interesting guests ~ working within a wonderfully historic building.

What’s your favorite Pfister memory? – During the Centennial event ceremony held in 1993, the GM asked me to place the cover on the time capsule in the lobby.  It’s to bad that I won’t be here on May 1, 2093 when someone opens the capsule.  Well maybe my grandsons will be here.

Tell us something we don’t know about you? – Even though I am a mere 5′ 5″ tall, I coached freshman, junior varsity, and varsity high school basketball for several years.

What is the oddest/weirdest request that you have ever gotten from a guest? – We offer in-room safes so guests can protect valuable property. They are bolted to a cabinet.  A guest asked me to move it, because he wanted more room to hang his slacks.  Needless to say, we provided him with a secondary rack.

Have you met Jeff before?  Tell us a story about meeting him.  Thank you so much for being fans of the Pfister Hotel, and look forward to a new person to meet every Monday.

Pfister Hotel’s Comment Lottery: Celebrating 100 posts!

We’ve hit a milestone; 100 blog post from the Pfister Hotel. Since its launched on August 6, 2010, our blog has been the home for the latest videos, insider stories from the Narrator, information on upcoming events and much, much more.

To celebrate, we’re holding a Pfister Hotel’s Comment Lottery!

Just make a relevant comment on any post from the Pfister Hotel and include a valid contact information on the form. From all the comments on the Pfister Blog, we’ll select ten random winners to receive a $25 Food & Beverage gift card to the Pfister Hotel.

Since its launched on August 6, 2010, we’ve been able to share great stories from within the hotel and the community.

  • 40 stories from the Pfister Narrator
  • 21 videos from the Pfister Hotel
  • 11 stories about the Artist-in-Residence
  • 2 photo galleries with behind the scene photos from the Pfister Hotel

This is your opportunity to share your thoughts with us. We encourage everyone to do so.

Details:

Who: Anyone can participate!

What: Leave us a relevant comment between now and 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, March 23.

Where: On the Pfister Blog.

How: Winner’s will be announced on the blog on Thursday, March 24 at 12:00 p.m. Following the announcement, winners will be contacted via email for additional information on how to claim their prize.

Pfister Artist-in-Residence: Dr. Jeffrey Hollander [VIDEO]

As a legacy within the Pfister Hotel, sovaldi sale Katie Musolff, pharmacy 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.

Meet ‘n Greet Monday! Do you know Roc?

Well it’s Meet ‘n Greet Monday! While the Pfister Hotel has housed many celebrities over the years, the true stars are our staff. Every week you will meet a member of our staff, and have your chance to share your memories and interactions with them. Today, it’s the man of a thousand stories, Roc, one of our fine concierges.

Name – Roc

Position – Concierge

How long have you worked at the Pfister Hotel? – For 12 years, since 1998

Why do you like working at the Pfister Hotel? –  I like the opportunity to see and to have interactions with this representative selection of the world’s population – from royalty, billionaires and presidents to local families out for a special weekend to people from the street, just wandering through

What’s your favorite Pfister memory? – This could go on for pages, but I will, for the moment, mention two: 1. The evening I waltzed with Sarah, Duchess of York, from front entrance to the elevator.  2. Visiting with former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Tell us something we don’t know about you? – Years ago, at slow times during summer break while I was teaching, I made my living as a handwriting analyst and playing he horses at Arlington Race Track.

What is the oddest/weirdest request that you have ever gotten from a guest? – To rent a submarine, Did it too!

Thank you Roc for being a participant on Meet ‘n Greet Monday.

Have you met Roc before?  Tell us a story about meeting him.  Thank you so much for being fans of the Pfister Hotel, and look forward to a new person to meet every Monday.