The Pfister Narrator

Games People Play

There’s a clattering sound that breaks into the still, Sunday afternoon quiet of the lobby lounge.  It’s startling, but muted enough that nobody else turns to look.  When I do look, I see wooden blocks, scattered over the top of one of the lobby tables, as three young…

29 Jul 5:44 PM 0 Read More...

Things That Make You Go "Mmmm!"

I’m standing with one of the bellmen at the main entrance when a hotel events coordinator approaches to let the young man know about an important arrival: 30 boxes of cookies that will need to go immediately into a refrigerator, so she needs to be notified as soon as…

23 Jul 9:32 PM 2 Read More...

writersblockwritersblock...or, not.

Recently, I got to sit down and have a thoroughly engaging conversation with several people about the nature of art and creative economy, of how to meld creative non-profit ventures with for-profit results – as it pertains to the artist (and now writer) residencies that the Pfister hosts.

One…

21 Jul 6:28 AM 0 Read More...

Making Music

A couple recently told me that playing cribbage was part of their secret to a long, happy marriage.

After being married for thirty years, “there are only so many TV shows you can share,” said Tim and B.C. as we sat with crisp, cool drinks in hand, waiting out…

11 Jul 10:27 PM 0 Read More...

Coming Together

Floating around the room, dressed in white linen, her red curls a striking contrast to the layers of turquoise, jade and green crystal beads that encircle her neck and dangle from her ears.  She slices pieces from two birthday cakes, after being serenaded by a gallery full of friends, new…

08 Jul 7:39 PM 3 Read More...

Summer in the City. . . of Festivals

It’s summer in Milwaukee.  Finally.  We know the calendar has said it’s summer for some time now, but the weather simply hasn’t cooperated, as evidenced by the city’s wavering between the wet, cold of March and the hottest, most humid dog days of August.  Not only…

02 Jul 8:09 PM 2 Read More...

A World Away (or, just down the hall)

While the lobby bar hosts an array of Monday night businessmen having a casual beer and some mixed nuts with colleagues, buoyed by a soundtrack of classical and jazz piano tunes, just down the hall and through a set of doors is the entrance to the Mason Street Grill. It…

30 Jun 10:05 PM 1 Read More...

Lost and Found

“Hey! Keyser Soze!”

The guest at the other end of the bar shouts towards me.  He’s referencing a conversation the entire bar was having earlier that led into someone trying to describe Gabriel Byrne, and ultimately referenced the film, The Usual Suspects.  I’m a huge fan of Kevin…

23 Jun 5:13 PM 2 Read More...

Little Things

From the brass knocker that indicates a guest’s room number to the matching brass plate on the electronics charging box inside; from the intricate patterns of the stair railings to the wallpaper stripes; from the ever-changing flowers in the front hall to the roses on the carpet – the…

18 Jun 2:54 AM 2 Read More...

Beethoven Meets Gershwin Meets Albrechtson

Dan Albrechtson is slight of stature, stooped as though permanently shaped to sit on a bench and let his shoulders lead dancing fingers across a black and white striped musical floor.  A retired math and computer teacher, his spectacles echo the days of computer programming gone by: large, square rims…

12 Jun 12:28 AM 1 Read More...

Piano for Three: Sunday Snapshots

Where: Parking garage
When: 7:30pm
What: Power-washing of the parking ramps. Motors running, water streaming, hoses draped across the cement. Cars with license plates from Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee all sport bike racks. Perhaps for people taking part in the UPAF Ride for the Arts which went on…

07 Jun 5:03 AM 1 Read More...

Grand Cafe Mornings

He sits by the window, the only person wearing a t-shirt amidst suit jackets, colorful ties, and stylish vacationers.  Looking around, he says “I like the way it feels in here. It’s nice, but casual.” He glances up, gesturing to the red, brown & cream striped awning where…

03 Jun 4:57 PM 0 Read More...

Pool With a View

“It’s a marvelous night for a moondance,” croons Marcell Guyton, guest musician at the Blu.  This sweet Van Morrison melody happens to be one of my favorites.  Despite the fact that the moon isn’t out tonight, it is, indeed a marvelous night.  The sky is clear, the lights…

28 May 10:57 PM 4 Read More...

Safe and Sound

I can’t see Beth and she can’t see me.  Even if we weren’t talking on the phone, she still wouldn’t be able to see me.  Blind since 1985 when she was only 26 years old, Beth Finke is a mother, NPR commentator, and author of two…

25 May 2:51 PM 3 Read More...

Rick Week

A blond, a brunette, and a redhead sit at the bar.  But this isn’t a joke.  They’re lifelong Rick Springfield fans, in town for his shows at the Northern Lights Theater.

“It’s not just a show,” says Jeanne, the most outgoing of the trio, “It’s also…

21 May 8:49 PM 4 Read More...

Business Casual

Two men casually sit in the lobby lounge, amidst a loud, chattering crowd of entrepreneurial salesmen and women converging for an annual gala.  They sit in facing chairs with an immense, dark walnut coffee table between them, each mirroring the other’s physicality and body position.  Perhaps it’s their…

18 May 2:19 PM 0 Read More...

May I Suggest…

The art of the recommendation. It’s a skill born of the preternatural ability to read people and an intimate knowledge of available options. It’s why you go to your local bookstore or record store: the clerks who enthusiastically love what they stock and sell are guaranteed to connect…

12 May 2:59 AM 1 Read More...

All the Colors of the Rainbow

The weather in Milwaukee was (briefly) exquisite this week.  Temperatures soared into the low 60′s, the breezes indicated Spring was finally here with their combination of warmth and lakeside coolness, and the sun was brightly shining.  Perfection.  The daffodils and tulips are in full bloom on, what feels like…

08 May 3:24 AM 1 Read More...

(re)Writing History

~
“No single man makes history. History cannot be seen,
just as one cannot see grass growing.”
~

When I told a writer friend of mine about this unique position, she launched into an interesting bit of historical trivia she had learned while living in Russia.  In the old hotels there, during…

05 May 6:56 PM 0 Read More...

Passing of the Pen

That’s what we’re calling it. The official sign-off, hand-over and next phase of the Narrator position. I’m not eager to give it up, but when I see Stacie again today, I realize “how can I not?”

Standing in the middle of the hotel lobby, she…

03 May 1:09 AM 2 Read More...

The Walls Did Talk

People watching is a skill. If you’re good at it (and I really want to believe I am) you can master blending in, even if you’re taking notes and keeping your eyes up, about and above your coffee. People often sit, trying to go unnoticed, and to do…

29 Apr 11:15 AM 0 Read More...

Personal Baggage

         Sometimes I forget the Pfister is a hotel, meant for housing travelers and providing room and board. So much else happens there that it becomes its own community of comings and goings, drinks and dinners, events and celebration. So of course it struck me when I was headed out through…

25 Apr 12:25 PM 1 Read More...

The Inner Circle

So, I got to meet her: my replacement. There are so many lessons in life out there waiting for you and only a few you’re fortunate enough to catch. I am lucky enough to have started a project and to have the opportunity to hand it off. I’m…

20 Apr 2:17 PM 2 Read More...

Promenading Through History

Everyone spotted them immediately (and I hope I don’t embarrass them by saying so). The young couple, he matched her with a colorful vest and tie under his tuxedo, she was in the most amazing shade of teal green. Her dress fluttered against the floor and I was in…

16 Apr 4:20 PM 5 Read More...

Anatomy of Giving

        My after work cocktail turned instantly into a lesson in event coordinating and I learned there’s no better school than the prep hour before a celebrity Blu-Tender event at the Pfister’s Blu. 

        I arrived very early and witnessed an incredible transformation. See, I’m a part of…

13 Apr 12:51 PM 0 Read More...
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