The Search for the Next Pfister Narrator

With Julie’s time as the current narrator coming to a close, it’s time to select her replacement.

With over twenty wonderful applications submitted this time around, it was a difficult decision for our esteemed panel.

After several hours of deliberation, the six finalists were chosen.

Thank you to everyone who entered and congratulations to the six finalists.

– Nancy Camden
– Judy Garty
– Lacy Kutz
– Annette Mertens
– Ellen Warren
– Stacie Williams

For an inside look at the Pfister Narrator selection process, visit Judith Ann’s feature on ThirdCoast Digest.

The Pfister Hotel Receives AAA Four Diamond Award, Gives Away Diamond Pendant

The historic Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee has received more precious diamonds—and also has given diamonds away to a lucky winner! The Pfister was recently awarded the AAA Four Diamond award for the 35th consecutive year. Leading up to this year’s announcement, the hotel held a contest in which one contestant was awarded a diamond necklace.

“We are honored to have been recognized again with AAA’s Four Diamond award,” says Joe Kurth, general manager of The Pfister. “We are proud of the high level of consistent service we offer our guests and are committed to maintaining this critical focus in the years to come. It is a privilege to be ranked among the top four percent of all hotels in the country that have received the esteemed Four Diamond award.”

Last year, The Pfister was one of only 14 out of more than 50,000 properties recognized with the honor for 34 consecutive years—since the inception of the ranking itself in 1977. To qualify as a AAA Four Diamond hotel, applicants must undergo an intensive evaluation process that assesses the hotel’s cleanliness and condition; management and staff; exterior, grounds and public areas; guestroom décor, ambiance and amenities; bathrooms; and guest services.

“The Pfister certainly knows the meaning of customer satisfaction, as it consistently delivers premier experiences, complete with superior personal service, first-class amenities, and impressive surroundings,” said AAA Wisconsin Regional President Tom Frymark. “To uphold the Four Diamond rating for 35 consecutive years is a testament to their commitment to providing the absolute best experience for their guests.”

On New Year’s Eve at The Pfister Hotel, Cortnie Pfarr of Racine, Wis. was announced as the winner of a 14K white gold, black and white diamond pendant from Kloiber Jewelers for participating in the “Find a Diamond, Win a Diamond” contest held by the hotel, which was held to celebrate the previous 34 years The Pfister had received the award.

Built in 1893, The Pfister Hotel has been the premier downtown Milwaukee hotel for more than a century, and continues to celebrate a tradition of gracious service and impeccable style. Home to the largest collection of Victorian art of any hotel in the world, The Pfister is a member of two of the industry’s leading organizations: Historic Hotels of America and Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

Located at 424 East Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee, The Pfister can be found online at www.thepfisterhotel.com, on Twitter (@Pfister_Hotel) or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thePfisterHotel.

Ryan Seacrest on 99.1 The Mix [AUDIO]

On January 26 on 99.1 The Mix, Ryan Seacrest reflected about his stay in Milwaukee and how much he enjoyed his time at the Pfister Hotel.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: The Pfister: 1.26 Ryan Seacrest

Did you watch American Idol’s visit to Milwaukee?

The Pfister Hotel Announces Search for Next In-House Journalist/Storyteller

The historic Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee is helping another talented local writer develop his or her passion for writing, while enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The hotel has announced the search for its second-ever in-house storyteller, known as the Pfister Narrator. He or she will spend time in the hotel’s lobby, interviewing visitors and guests and sharing their stories through a blog on the Pfister’s Web site.

“The Pfister has displayed its dedication to the arts for many years,” says Joe Kurth, general manager of The Pfister Hotel. “The addition of the narrator program is an extension of that commitment, which also is exhibited in our expansive collection of Victorian art, as well as our celebrated artist-in-residence program.”

The person chosen for the position will be replacing current narrator, Julie Ferris. She has been blogging from the hotel since November 2010. Her stories can be found at blog.thepfisterhotel.com.

The idea of having the opportunity to share the tales and experiences of people as they wondered and wandered through Milwaukee’s historic Pfister Hotel appealed to me in many ways,” explains Ferris. “The idea of capturing in words the experiences of people breathes life into not simply the hotel, but the city as well.”

The Pfister Narrator will work a minimum of 10 hours per week over the course of a six-month period and will publish a minimum of two blog posts per week. In return he or she will receive his or her choice of a $1,000 monthly stipend, scholarship for continuing education or donation to a charity of his or her choice in his or her honor, in addition to complimentary parking and meals within the hotel’s cafeteria.

To be considered, applicants will need to submit an application form, current resume, 2-3 writing samples of recent work, a 200-word proposal, cover letter and two professional references to pfisternarratorapps@thepfisterhotel.com. Deadline for submissions is March 1, 2011. The Pfister Narrator will take his or her post May 1, 2011, and will remain the hotel’s storyteller through October 2011.

A review panel will evaluate the applications and ultimately choose the Pfister Narrator. More information and the application form can be found at ThePfisterHotel.com/Pfister-Narrator.

The Pfister Holiday Tree

The holiday tree is our exquisite tradition at The Pfister. Every year, store we look forward to the holiday season, where we turn our lobby into a winter wonderland.

But we could not do it alone. All of this is made possible because of our friends at Interiorscapes. Their elves work to makes sure our lobby is magical, thumb festive and full of holiday cheer. Stacy will take you behinds the scenes and show you where all holiday preperations begin.

For more information about holiday activities at The Pfister please visit our holiday page.

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The Pfister Holiday Tree from PfisterHotel on Vimeo.

Not So Lonesome at the Pfister

* Note: At the Pfister, we typically do not disclose the identity of entertainers who stay at the hotel. In this case, we’ve received express permission to do so.

There are many memories I have of my dad that keep me close to him.  Lonesome Dove, the character-driven cowboy novel I read at my dad’s direction, is one of my favorites. We were in love with Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall’s perfect portrayals of the lead wranglers we’d befriended.

I thought of dad Thursday night in the Lobby Bar at the Pfister where I watched the crowd wind up for the weekend. The infamous Gus McCrae (Robert Duvall) walked through. He embodied the same calm, calculating pace of his characters. I wanted to shake his hand and tell him how much he meant to me—he breathed life into a character that linked a teenage girl to her father at a time in life when daughters and fathers lose touch.

He ended up on a couch next to me and this man, who to me symbolizes so much, proceeded to discuss where to find a great steak (and to the Pfister’s credit, noted that Mason Street Grill was a top pick). I was mesmerized with this larger than life character living as a regular man—a patron waiting for his table.

More impressive was how we, the Milwaukee community, sitting in the lobby having our drinks, respected this legend. No one caused a stir. Many recognized Mr. Duvall, but most seemed to recognize him as a fellow client of the hotel, they were in good company and that was enough.

When I later told friends about the encounter, everyone had a connection to the actor. A best friend even explained the funeral of a grandfather buried with the Lonesome Dove VHS.

I am thankful for the night’s education. I learned that there is a character to the Pfister and when you join the crowd, you become a part of making that character real. It’s a classy character, one who observes but doesn’t disturb. It’s a character who knows its value and merely nods politely to its parts.

My adventures with Mr. Duvall and his group also confirmed for me that everyone has an impact. The retelling of the tale affected so many close to me that it reminded me how important we are to one another—and we often underestimate that. You can never fully realize how much meaning you have as you pass through and I am fortunate to have been there to capture it.

Meet Julie Ferris: The Pfister Narrator

The Pfister Hotel is proud to introduce Julie Ferris as our first-ever Pfister Narrator. Julie is a wonderful talent and we are glad to have her capture some of the wonderful stories that take place within our hotel each day. So if you see Julie in the lobby, search please say hi and start up a conversation. Julie will be posting her stories on the Pfister blog twice-per-week over the next six-months. Check back often and see what exciting and unique experiences she shares with the rest of Milwaukee and beyond.

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Meet Julie Ferris: The Pfister Narrator from PfisterHotel on Vimeo.

ThirdCoast Digest: The Pfister names a Narrator: Welcome, Julie Ferris

By: Judith Ann Moriarty of ThirdCoast Digest

Link to Original Article.

I’ve never met Julie Ferris face to face, buy viagra though I did watch a video tape of her answering questions about how she might best fit into the Pfister Hotel’s Narrator residency. The scene was in a private room just off the mezzanine area, where five review panelists met over a period of two weeks, the endpoint being one writer, selected from a field of twenty, who would serve as Narrator for six months.

The quality of the applications was impressive, and as a panelist I spent hours reading each and every word.

My choice was not Julie Ferris. But I was only one panelist. The other three felt strongly that she should emerge as the winner. And that’s fine with me. She graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. I hate to brag, but my grandpa graduated from the U of I in the 1870’s.

You certainly made a good impression during the taped interview: good eye contact, a big smile and no hesitation in your presentation. I was startled, perhaps because I expected the stereotypical writer, you know, someone shy and introspective…the tweed and horn-rimmed glasses type. Were you ever that person?

Yup. I sure was. Maybe not horn-rimmed, but definitely awkward… I always felt introverted, but no one would believe that. I’m open and energetic with friends and family, but I can be shy. I’ve just learned that functioning in this world means walking up to someone when you want something and offering a handshake.

Though I always feel shy and awkward, I am that person who will tell you that there’s mustard on your lip or something on your teeth. I’ve just learned over the years it’s better to push yourself to engage other people. Life is too short to always be afraid of what they’ll think of you.

You work in City Hall, a politician’s throw from the Pfister where you will conduct 10 hrs of interviews (per week) and then shape and post on the Pfister Hotel blog two takes on your experiences. I’ve sat in that lobby recently and noticed that most of the lobby loungers are busy gazing into their cell phone screens. Will it be a problem getting people interested in being interviewed? To them, you’ll be a stranger. Right? How are you going to handle that?

I spent the summer doing environmental theater at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. Granted, people who paid their entrance fee into the Faire were prepared to be approached by actors in funny costumes with bad accents…but still, it wasn’t as hard as you think to simply talk to someone. People want it and need it; sometimes they just don’t realize it.

I rode the bus one day sitting next to a quiet grandmother who stuck tight to her side of the seat. We watched a seemingly undisciplined teenage boy with drooping pants move out of the front seats to make room for an elderly man with a cane. The boy even helped the man to his seat. For all the attitude the young man had, we were both surprised.

The woman finally turned to me and patted my arm and said “Wasn’t that just so nice?” She just HAD to express something to someone about that moment and we had shared it so she turned to me to do it. I think people can engage. I’m banking on it.

So if you graduated from the great University of Iowa, you must have some fave writers who either attended the Iowa Writers Workshop, or taught at the university.Care to share?

I went to Iowa as a rhetorician. I had three other programs I was offered, but I am from the Midwest and Iowa was very close to home. It was also ranked the top program in the country so my father just said “Do it! If the number one school wants you, you should want them!”

In the back of my head, I secretly wished that in the five years I was there I’d meet John Irving. Plenty of other fantastic writers were a part of the university community and many more have gone on to earn great accolades, but I had grown up on Irving and in many of his books, he writes about his time at Iowa. I wanted to feel what he wrote and then meet him. Sadly, he never came through while I was there.

I did spend time with Pam Houston, my personal favorite, when she launched her first non-fiction memoir. That was a favorite moment.

Did you ever have ambitions to be a novelist, say in the manner of Joyce Carol Oates or any of the many other fine American writers?

I did and I do. I always wanted to be a writer, but also wanted many other things and followed those paths. When serving as an assistant professor, at conferences and more I would explain that my next career would be novelist. Another faculty member at a conference or some such said “Oh, yes, that makes you a true academic. We all think we have a fiction book in us.” And the people standing there all nodded in agreement. I didn’t like that moment, I wanted to feel that I was different.

I left academia and finally had the time to scratch out the book, which is about halfway finished and begs for my attention.

Six months, ten hours per week, $1,000 per month. Do you get free lunches? Did you know the café serves a sandwich named after Senator Herb Kohl? He dines there frequently, but a waiter told me the Senator never orders his namesake sandwich. Big couches and chairs, a blazing fireplace, an intimate bar. Sounds like a good gig to carry you through winter. But dangerous perhaps?

I think dangerous isn’t the word as much as “addictive.” I enjoy people. And the Pfister has so many events, nooks and crannies to find them in, and now in this role, I am official.  I’m like the Velveteen Rabbit—I’ve been made real. I’m no longer just some lady talking to a person—I’m supposed to be talking to people, it’s on my nametag! With that kind of sanctioning, I wonder if I’ll find myself addicted to the atmosphere and the people and the problem won’t be getting it done, the problem will be stopping.

The Pfister Narrator: Historic Hotel Selects First-Ever In-House Journalist

The historic Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee has named Julie Ferris as its first-ever Pfister Narrator. In the role, she will spend time in the hotel’s lobby, interviewing visitors and guests and sharing their stories on the Pfister’s blog. As Pfister Narrator, she will be posting blog entries twice-per-week over a six-month period.

“I am truly honored to have been chosen for the position and am very eager to begin,” Ferris says. “I look forward to all the meaningful opportunities before me to really experience both visitors and natives of our city, all linked to this one iconic space. I know everyone has a story to share and I’m ready to grow from each and every one of them.”

An established blogger, Ferris also has experience in teaching, management, public relations and media writing. She holds a Ph.D. in mass communications and journalism from The University of Iowa.

Ferris was chosen to serve as narrator from a significant pool of qualified applicants by a review panel, which included Jeff Sherman, president of OnMilwaukee.com; Judith Moriarty, a longtime local writer; and several representatives from the hotel.

“The success we’ve seen with our Artist-In-Residence program has encouraged us to focus even more on the interactive experiences guests enjoy at our hotel,” says Joe Kurth, general manager of The Pfister Hotel. “Our guests have a special connection to The Pfister and interesting stories to tell—we’re excited to share their unique experiences and backgrounds with the rest of Milwaukee and beyond.

“We’re confident the narrator program will be a huge success,” adds Kurth. “In fact, we’ve already received interest from writers from across the country who are interested in duplicating the concept of the Pfister Narrator in their hometowns.”

More information about the Pfister Narrator program and an application form for the next narrator position—due March 1, 2011—can be found at ThePfisterHotel.com/Pfister-Narrator.

The Pfister Narrator: Historic Hotel Selects First-Ever In-House Journalist from PfisterHotel on Vimeo.

Pfister Narrator: The review process has started!

In our previous post about The Pfister Narrator program, we mentioned how speechless we were about all the entries we’ve received. The review process has started.

Judith Ann Moriarty gives some insight in to the initial meetings with the selection panel. Check back for updates. We look forward to introducing our new Pfister Narrator soon.