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 tiniest of details come together to create the Pfister experience.  Most people come inside and are so mesmerized by how it all comes together in its final tableau, nurse the details are easily overlooked.

For example, the grand elegance of the lobby with its varieties of Italian marble, pink and gold coloring, wide-open space ringed by impressive pillars, and lofty ceilings that rise over two stories above to a colorful mural, store may be one fabulous picture.  However, stop to take a closer peek: See how the carpet at the main entrance is blue and gold, but there’s a rug over it that has veins of aquamarine, cranberry and mauve outlining the dueling blues – all populated with verdant patterns of decorative botanic designs that mimic those ringing the pillars and wrought into the railings along the staircases.  See how the gold is then subtly trimming the edges and knobs on the two black wood tables that proudly display petals and blooms of all kinds and colors.

Certainly the Victorian art that adorns the public spaces is noticeable, discount but it’s good to stop and examine them more closely, catching the way a painter labored over the softness on the chiffon sleeves that cloud the arms of the angelic model in Adolphe Piot’s The Rose.  Or, catch how much a cherub looks like one of the Pfister employees*.

When walking the halls where the rooms are located, simply look up.  While you may take note of the lighting’s luminescence, have you considered the luminaries themselves?  These brass fixtures with white shades also mirror the rounded, petaled designs strewn throughout the entire hotel’s décor.  However subtle and simple, their classic appearance hearkens to that lamp you remember from your grandmother or great-grandmother’s parlor room, the electrical wires woven through golden chain links.

Each guest room door (even they vary in style—look for some with oval, some with rectangular cutouts, some with trim and some without) features a golden knocker with the room number etched into the brass in a deep, contrasting black.

Take the elevator to Blu.  Notice the numbers?  What’s missing?  Ah, yes, the superstitious “thirteen.”  I, of course, always think that just makes floor 14 really 13, and so on up to the top until the 23rd floor really becomes only the 22nd.  But, I do love it when a building skips the thirteenth floor when numbering their levels.  It creates a bit of a literary history note, some flair that creates a connection to the time when the building was erected.

Of course, the carpet outside of Blu is…well, BLUE!  An exquisite navy blue is primary, overlaid by more contemporary floral patterns of the palest shades, bordering on cream or white.  Braided throughout are curlicues – as if an artist patiently drew their finger in linking circular patterns while the carpet was being dyed, and this solo-digit trail was all that was left behind.

Speaking of the elevators, have you seen the star-shaped compass design that is inlaid into the marble outside the 7th floor doors?  With forest green, pale mauve, and white points set on a cookies-n-cream ice cream floor, it stands out while being stood upon.

And, standing out is precisely the purpose of every one of these minute details.  Each tiny component of aesthete sets out to complement its neighbor in a way that renders each nearly invisible.  Take the time to stop, look closer, and you might be even more astounded by what you find.

*Which painting and which employee isn’t a secret, but you’ll have to come visit and ask around to find out!

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.

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.

Search for Next Artist-In-Residence

Tradition inspires tradition at Milwaukee’s Pfister Hotel. Home to more Victorian Art than any other hotel in the world, medicine The Pfister is currently seeking its next Artist-in-Residence.

Entering its third year, The Pfister’s Artist-in-Residence program features a working art studio and gallery that is open to hotel guests and visitors. The program encourages the public to interact with the artist and witness the evolution of each piece first-hand.

Since its inception, cialis the program has gained significant popularity and attracted national attention. Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, visited the program during a recent trip to Milwaukee.

“The Pfister Hotel is the only hotel I know of that has an artist in residence,” Landesman said. “We met the artist—painter Katie Musolff—and she is a very accomplished young woman. She actually works at the hotel, so you can go into her studio there and watch her work and see the finished product. She keeps certain office hours so people can come in and observe what she’s doing. It’s a pretty neat thing to see a hotel make that kind of commitment to the arts.”

“For decades, The Pfister has hosted the much acclaimed Victorian Art Collection,” adds Joe Kurth, general manager of The Pfister. “We want to expand on our reputation as a destination hotel for art connoisseurs by offering our guests and the public a glimpse into the world of art as it is being created – in real time, by amazingly talented artists.”

Each year, The Pfister’s Artist-In-Residence is chosen to fill the role from a pool of highly qualified candidates based on artistic process, personality and a public vote. The next artist, replacing Musolff, will move into the studio space April 1, 2011 and will continue working at the hotel for a one-year period.

The deadline to apply for the program is Dec. 1, 2010. Interested artists can download the application form at www.thepfisterhotel.com/artistinresidence.

Fall Gallery Night

Hello-Hello

So, this Friday is Gallery Night again, and once again you are invited to come and see the progress made in my studio at the Pfister Hotel.  Then, after all of the galleries close down, come to the Rouge Ballroom, just off of the lobby of the hotel for the after party. There will be a cash bar and complementary food.

Work by Milwaukee artists Eriks Johnson and Chris Miller will be the featured in the ballroom.

Here’s the schedule.

Oct 15, Friday: Open studio 5-10pm

After party in the Rouge: 9-11:30pm

Oct 16, Saturday: Open Studio 10-4pm

Come on by, and hang out after seeing all of your favorite shows.  I’d love to see you.

Katie Musolff

East Town Elegance feature on WISN Channel 12

Great News everyone! WISN-TV will be doing a live shot inside the Pfister Hotel lobby tomorrow for the East Town Elegance Tour. What a privilege!

Reporter Kidd O’Shea will be interviewing Anna Opgenorth from Historic Milwaukee starting at 7:15 a.m. within the historic walls of the Pfister Hotel.

If you’d like to see the story, it will be airing on channel 12 – WISN from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m.

We’re looking forward to seeing the story.

Be sure to let us know what you think?

Historic Happenings

The Pfister Hotel has been a historic destination in Milwaukee since its grand opening in 1893. This vision by Guido Pfister and his son Charles has been viewed as the “Grand Hotel of the West” and a welcoming and luxurious meeting place. At its opening, help the Pfister hotel boasted groundbreaking features such as fireproofing, electricity through the hotel and thermostat controls in every room. Continue reading “Historic Happenings”