The Pfister Narrator

To Tell Our Truth, pt. 1

It’s like hearing a song from your past in the car speakers beside you at a stoplight, or when a favorite book cover winks at you from behind the fingers of a fellow traveler.  An artificial familiarity, but comforting just the same.

A table of professional African American women…

29 Aug 6:07 PM 0 Read More...

To Tell our Truth, pt. 2

…continued from “To Tell Our Truth, Part 1″

 

“We have to do more of this!” new Michelle says, gesturing to our tabletop of appetizer plates and empty glasses. We nod and toast in agreement.
 A 2007 American Bar Association report titled “Visible Invisibility” describes how black women in the…

29 Aug 6:06 PM 0 Read More...

The Student Whisperer

By all accounts, Timothy Westbrook is a cheerful guy.  He’s beaming whenever I see him: showing one of his fabrics to a guest, chatting with staff, carrying a cup of coffee through the halls or waving from behind the sewing machine in his studio.  Beaming.

His good mood radiates…

17 Aug 6:36 AM 0 Read More...

Bravery

I spotted the boy first.  A fair-headed toddler with the ambition –if not the arm extension—to reach the hand towels all by himself.  Up on his tiptoes, he wiggled and stretched his fingers toward the sensor. His small grunts only rumbled out as giggles.

His mother and I…

10 Aug 10:47 PM 0 Read More...

Incognito

 

“So, who’s going to read this? Where will it be published?”

I suppose this is what it’s like to talk with a spy or an undercover agent.

 

“Do you have to use my real name?”

Or a fugitive from the law.

 

“You’re not going…

08 Aug 4:16 PM 0 Read More...

Good Genes

Zoom in close. The young performer engages every facial feature to deliver this song.  Pan out slowly, take in her full frame.  She’s comfortable at the microphone and at home behind her guitar.

Her singing is inspired and sincere. The lilt and texture of her voice is an appealing…

03 Aug 11:50 PM 0 Read More...

So Fast

… and then it was over.  More than a year of searching, planning, budgeting and finger crossing, reduced to a memory in an instant.

“Everyone tells you it will go by fast,” said Ashley, “but I remember thinking ‘it’s a whole day, how fast could it go?’”

I’m with…

27 Jul 6:19 PM 0 Read More...

Quietude

The first thing seized is the nose. The smell is, at once, familiar and exotic: chocolate, ginger, hyacinth, grandma’s house and ocean breeze. This must be the scent of ambrosia.

Next, the eyes take in the organic symmetry of the room: open and clean lines, recessed nooks and uncluttered…

23 Jul 4:41 AM 0 Read More...

... and One to Go

Tom and Marge are almost there. One kid is halfway through college and the other has just vacated the guest room.

“You’re not off duty when your kids turn 18,” says Tom. “Not even when they’re out of college. A good friend warned me long ago that 30…

19 Jul 11:19 PM 0 Read More...

Optimization

“I don’t have the personality to keep asking questions that someone doesn’t want to answer,” Dustin says.  “I’m not imposing enough and I don’t like to make other people uncomfortable.”

Coupled with a dawning shrinkage of the newspaper industry, Dustin abandoned plans for a journalism career…

13 Jul 11:51 PM 1 Read More...

Rocks in their Pockets

They were like the prologue for a coming of age film, an assuring glimpse at how adulthood will frame their childhood adventures. John, with his salted hair, and Perry, with laugh lines softening his eyes, fell into the couch beside mine talking and laughing with the fluid shorthand of longtime…

11 Jul 2:40 PM 0 Read More...

Co-Conspirator

Co-Conspirator

I’m on a stakeout.  Granted, I’m not disguised as a delivery person or hiding behind a newspaper. There are no binoculars or dark shades involved. No two-way radio tucked into my sleeve.  Although the excitement tickling my gut might suggest that I’m crouched behind…

06 Jul 4:18 PM 0 Read More...

The Society

There are rules, and there are rules. The first kind, we largely agree to be hard fast: stealing is wrong, kindness is good, unhealthy eating creates an unhealthy body, and cutting off someone in traffic fills your rear view mirror with crude hand gestures.

The second kind of rules, even…

28 Jun 8:59 PM 0 Read More...

Prizes

It’s like a Couples Wonderland in here tonight.  Practically every chair in Blu is filled with someone’s better half or, perhaps, better halves to be.

Beyond the south wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, a starlit and indigo sky stretches across the view, mirroring the dim hues and…

18 Jun 4:24 PM 0 Read More...

Widgets

This isn’t what I expected at all. Where’s the fast talking guy with the water purifiers? What about the charming woman in the quilted vest with the doggy spa? The tall, awkward man in a bowtie who brews “savory” beer?

When the elevator doors slip open onto the…

12 Jun 7:44 AM 0 Read More...

Going Somewhere

It’s early evening. The downtown streets are still basked in sunshine and summer dresses. Bursts of citrus colors, flirty fabrics and bare shoulders breeze past the open patio windows of Mason Street Grill.

Inside, the lounge hums with an eager energy. Friends fill the space with animated banter. The…

06 Jun 7:18 PM 0 Read More...

Laws of the Ladies Room

“I’ve lived in Milwaukee my whole life and never been to the Pfister.”

This is how Dana and I became best friends.  Okay.  Not really. We were more like Spontaneous BFFs, the kind you experience at intimate intersections, such as the ladies room.  What begins as a comment about…

29 May 3:21 AM 1 Read More...

Chatter

The steady pacing is a ruse.  They navigated easily through an obstacle course of more than a dozen cardboard boxes outside the Imperial Ballroom.  I’ve orchestrated large events and will confess that set-up never runs this smoothly without precision planning. I was, most certainly, observing a pro team…

23 May 3:54 AM 0 Read More...

Pink Frosted Dreams

I sensed them before I saw them.  A carbonated excitement that pushed aside the steady hum of the front lobby.  It was a gaggle of girls, perhaps 10 or 11 years old.  They had tote bags on their shoulders and duffle bags dropped to their feet.  Their small group, roughly…

16 May 10:40 PM 0 Read More...

Candlelight Vigil

As the minute hand makes its incremental sweep toward five o’clock, the atmosphere on the main floor swells with anticipation for the weekend.  A boisterous cluster of men greet one another near the lobby bar.  A young co-ed rushes to the concierge for directions.  A preschooler fingers the…

11 May 10:00 AM 1 Read More...

People Watching

I feel enchanted tonight.  Maybe it’s the night air, the saucy décor of Blu, the nighttime glitter of city lights or, maybe, it’s my first Narrator assignment.  Yes, let’s go with that last one.

Excited, I take a seat at the bar and begin to survey…

09 May 4:46 AM 4 Read More...

The Experience Only a Concierge Can Craft

 

It is the people who are the best at what they do who are the most difficult to write about. How do you document the seam which is so well constructed that it appears seamless? I’ve been trying to figure out a way to explain the concierge position…

01 May 3:46 PM 0 Read More...

Like Chocolate Cake For Breakfast

 

That’s the best way I can describe this Narrator experience. My last few posts will be going live over the next couple of days and my successor will be at work getting acquainted with the speed and rhythm of this sparkling old gal on Wisconsin Avenue. From an…

01 May 2:36 PM 0 Read More...

Dancers Sparkle Across the 7th Floor

 

 

This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of the Wisconsin Dancesport Championships. The company has a long history with the hotel as they’ve held the annual event at the Pfister all these years. This high-heeled party brings dancers from across the country to compete at their specialized…

28 Apr 10:51 PM 0 Read More...

Joe, The Rookie

“I’m going to be 22.”

That was Joe’s answer when I asked how old he was. His response was shared with a grin in that adorable way that only people up to a certain age are excited to tell you how old they’re going to be.

Joe…

27 Apr 10:12 PM 0 Read More...
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