The Pfister Narrator

The Turk's Head

Jimmy McManus sits at a table in the lobby bar, having a beer.  He’s heavily bearded, gruff and scruffy, in a t-shirt featuring a skull & crossbones, drinking a nice pint of beer.  His appearance indicate you might not want to run into him in a dark alley…

16 Sep 6:50 PM 0 Read More...

Feeling Famous

When hearing a front desk employee greet a savvily dressed guest, it’s hard not to wonder, “who is that?” and lunge for a newspaper, cross-referencing  to see if it might be a celebrity.  It’s no secret that the Pfister is one of the hotels of distinction for…

10 Sep 9:37 PM 0 Read More...

Made in Milwaukee, Found in the Pfister

A foursome of guests was querying Roc, the concierge, about what to check out nearby the Pfister today.  He shared with them a few restaurants and then suggested they check out a little festival in its third year, called “Made in Milwaukee.”  Featuring local bands, local food and libations, as…

03 Sep 10:46 PM 0 Read More...

Honor

The sort of gentleman who would be described as “distinguished,” John Harris is 67 years old, though I told him he doesn’t look a day over 61. Straight-backed, and impeccably dressed in a tailored suit for the wedding he’s here to attend, John drapes both his hands…

31 Aug 11:20 PM 0 Read More...

Fall Right Through

Gwen and Adam are seeing their daughter off to college at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. They’re in town to help their daughter settle in to her new life here, as well as renovate a cottage near Oconomowoc for future visits.  Originally from Waukesha, Gwen met Adam, an Ohio…

26 Aug 9:38 AM 0 Read More...

Who Let the Dogs In?

One morning as I enjoyed breakfast with a writer friend in the Café, talking books and playing cribbage, I watched a compact car pull up to the valet; hanging out the back window was the enormous, shaggy, tri-color head that’s signature to the Bernese Mountain Dog. A little…

23 Aug 5:36 PM 0 Read More...

To Walk or To Ride?

There was a steaming mist in all the hollows, and it had roamed in its forlornness up the hill, like an evil spirit, seeking rest and finding none. A clammy and intensely cold mist, it made its slow way through the air in ripples that visibly followed and overspread one…

19 Aug 2:53 AM 2 Read More...

Something borrowed, something blue

Summers in Milwaukee are made for weddings, with blue skies, light lake breezes and sunshine peering through drifting white, fluffy clouds.  Any picturesque historic locale books up far in advance, even in a mid-size city like Milwaukee.  There’s a lot of competition  options for weddings in this town…

15 Aug 6:25 PM 0 Read More...

Something Old, Something New

I recently got to get acquainted with a freelance marketer, sports journalist and travel blogger from Texas named Jayme Lamm, who I met at the Pfister because Jayme was connected with the Astros and had heard about how wonderful it was from both the tour and booking managers for the…

12 Aug 1:43 AM 2 Read More...

History in the Air (Pt. 2)

<continued from Part 1>

“Every Sunday – it was a must – they’d take walks together, down to the lake.  There wasn’t a house or building there, it was all grass.  Just imagine how beautiful that was.  One time they were walking through an alley together, as a…

06 Aug 3:16 PM 4 Read More...

History in the Air (Pt. 1)

“Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”  -Theodore Roosevelt
I park in front of the Bay View home of Eleanore Hinich, admiring…

05 Aug 3:18 PM 2 Read More...

9 o'clock on a Saturday

While the evening was waning for most of Gallery Night attendees in the Third Ward — and elsewhere around the city — in the main ballroom off the Pfister lobby, Rouge, the party was just beginning.  In the center of the room, quite literally taking main stage, was a set-up ready…

30 Jul 11:20 PM 1 Read More...

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...
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