Hoppy Easter

Happy Easter!

No, no, I’m not a day late and a dollar short on the classic Easter greeting. This might be old news to most of you reading or listening to this since I know you’re all pure of heart and wise beyond measure, but Easter Sunday is special not only for the abundance of delicious hard boiled eggs and jelly beans, but also because it is the actual start of the Easter Season. I was a late learner about the actual Easter Season kicking off with Easter Sunday, something I was gently advised upon by a kind liturgical guide who never, ever admonished me for years of being an unrepentant heathen. Now I embrace the full majesty of the Easter season as it trails forward from that Sunday in spring when an industrious bunny rabbit litters carpets in homes with fake plastic grass while making deliveries of milk chocolate to good boys and girls across the land.

No trails of fake plastic grass were apparent in the Pfister lobby as I recently met a young rabbit kicking up her heels with her doting parents. My introduction was less than smooth, and this is where I embrace the fact that Easter is all about redemption and renewal.

“I couldn’t help but notice your pig ears,” I said as I introduced myself to Lindsay.

Smiling from the deepest place in her heart, Lindsay corrected me.

“These are my rabbit ears. For Easter.”

I tried to avoid turning a deep shade of red from embarrassment, and think I might have contained my humiliation to the sort of bright pink you might see on a newly dyed egg ready to be put into service for a hunt. Lindsay and her folks Joanne and Paul had come to the Pfister because Lindsay had faired particularly well in a weekend competition. Lindsay, it seems, is a dancer.

“In our competition we do tap, jazz, modern, hip hop…” The list continued on and on. Lindsay’s feet clearly have never failed her and her recent accomplishments had been awarded with a trophy. Her many achievements were now being enjoyed with her family at their favorite spot—the Pfister.

“This is a special place for us,” said Joanne, Lindsay’s mom. “It’s a place that has meant a lot to us over the years, and we come here as a family because everyone welcomes us so warmly.”

“The Pfister is a spot where we as a family can come and everyone can feel real comfort. Everything is good here,” added Paul. “We have become friends with so many of the staff…Mr. Roc, Mr. Peter, Ms. Helga.” Paul told me of the many tales the Pfister’s esteemed concierge staff have shared with his lovely family over the years, the sort of stories you share with friends near and dear to your heart.

I asked Lindsay what her favorite sort of dance was and she seemed to grow a few inches taller as she beamed back at me and said, “I love ballet.” Though she doesn’t perform ballet in her dance competitions, ballet is the basis for all she does as a dancer, the foundation upon which she builds her talents. It struck me on the cusp of Easter that this young woman wearing the set of floppy bunny ears had at an early, early age understood a very important fact of life. When you have a strong foundation, everything else in your life has a chance to flourish and grow.

I was curious about Lindsay’s long-term dreams as a dancer, but also the place where she would most like to take a few spins in the Pfister. I hope I get to see the answer to both of those questions come to life in years to come.

“I want to be a dancer for the Milwaukee Ballet, and dance through the Imperial Ballroom here at the Pfister,” said Lindsay. Her proud and loving parents looked on as this confident and charming young lass smiled from rabbit ear to rabbit ear. Ballet may be a good foundation for Lindsay’s future dreams, but it’s clear that she has any even stronger foundation in life. Their names, as you might have guessed, are Paul and Joanne, and they love their little bunny very, very much.

Follow me on Twitter @jonathantwest for more smart remarks and snappy retorts.

It Is Never Too Late for the Wrap Party

Leda raises a glass of white wine to her lips and smiles as the crisp, advice cold vino finally makes its way down her throat. It’s been a long, long wait, and she is savoring the moment as the glimmering lights of the Milwaukee skyline serve as her backdrop.

Leda is a stage director who bounces from job to job. Tonight she has taken a break from packing up her life for a summer gig directing a couple of Shakespeare plays. She has foregone a much desired trip to a local custard stand because friends of hers redirected a last in-town evening of mischief to Blu for fancy libations. The switcheroo allows Leda to have a long overdue celebratory drink.

“I directed a play here, no rx ” says Leda. “No, actually, two plays.” One play deserves a slow clap at the very least. Two plays? Definitely a glass of Zinfandel.

I scratch my head, wondering if somehow I’ve missed a secret underground theater here at the Pfister. Is there some sort of speakeasy entertainment venue hidden within the inner core of the hotel? Do I need to whisper, “Swordfish!” along the walls so I might find a hidden secret passage? Leda is required to stop drinking to give me the dope.

“We did these plays in the ballroom…I think it’s on the 7th floor,” she says. I confirm that there is indeed a ballroom on the 7th floor at the Pfister, but it’s news to me that a fella might catch a production of DEATH OF A SALESMAN at the Pfister if he’s in the know.

Leda corrects my aspirational thinking that I might snag a ticket for a rouge 7th floor production of THE BOOK OF MORMON. Her theatrical debut at the Pfister was part of the Young Leaders’ Academy Discovering Our Destiny Gala. As a member of Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s artistic staff, Leda worked with female students from this charter school affiliated with the YMCA on writing and producing an original play. The girls from the school presented their final results as part of an end-of-year celebration. I couldn’t have gotten a ticket if I had tried. The show was for families and all the boys at the school.

“The girls were all dressed in white and did this grand presentation. We did our play after the girls did a dance that they had worked on with the Milwaukee Ballet.” Leda advises me that if you have the choice, never be the follow up act to the Milwaukee Ballet. Especially when you’re a middle school play. It’s a tough spot.

I ask Leda is she ever made it past the 7th floor during her days directing the young ladies.
“Nope. But I brought a lot of props up in the elevator in my shorts and t-shirt. I felt a bit underdressed.”

Tonight Leda is decked out in a cocktail dress, and the spiffy friends at her table raise a glass to toast her past openings at the Pfister. It’s not quite like winning a Tony Award, but the view sure is swell.

Pints, Pointes and Pfister Narrator

There are certain perks to being the Pfister Narrator and having the opportunity to interview Milwaukee Ballet Company dancers is one of them. Last week, I attended a rehearsal at the Milwaukee Ballet to learn about the upcoming Genesis performance and international choreography competition. This competition only comes around every other year and brings some of the best talent from around the world right here to Milwaukee.

Because the Third Coast Digest shares the same commitment to the arts in Milwaukee as the Pfister Hotel, we partnered up to bring you a preview of the three dances that will premiere at Genesis on February 7-10. The winning choreographer will return to create a second dance for the Milwaukee Ballet’s 2014 series at the Pabst. Because of my affiliation with RadioMilwaukee, I will also be DJing the Pints before Points party this Thursday at 6 p.m. at the InterContinental (the modern step-sister to the Pfister) before the opening night of Genesis. See what the dancers have to say in the video below and hope to see you there!

UPAF Artists Among Us – Day 14 Milwaukee Ballet

We are proud to announce Shelby Keefe is on Day 14 of 16. Today, the Milwaukee Ballet is the center of Shelby’s fourteenth UPAF Artist Among Us piece. The photo from this piece was taken at one of this year’s performances of “The Nutcracker.” Shelby loved the colors from the photo, mainly the warm pink tones from the costumes and the cool blue color in the background. She said the challenge for this piece is the integrated nature of the two central dancers. They form one unit and therefore it will be difficult to distinguish who is who.

This is day fourteen of a sixteen-day project to be completed on March 16th. We invite you to observe and follow Shelby’s creative process at her studio or online. Please check back frequently to see Shelby’s progress.

Day14, MILW ballet by pfisterhotel

The Pfister Recommends: A Pfister Holiday Tale [VIDEO]

Milwaukee is a wonderful city with a great story to tell, especially during the holiday season.

Take a seat in the Lobby Lounge, relax, enjoy a glass of the Pfister Hotel’s signature glögg, and watch a Pfister Holiday Tale.

Peter captured some wonderful moments and activities in our fair city of Milwaukee. We’d love to know what you love to do in Milwaukee during the holiday season.

What’s your favorite Milwaukee Holiday tradition? Be sure to cast your vote on our Poll on the right hand side of the Pfister Blog.

  • Milwaukee Ballet’s Nutcracker
  • The Milwaukee Rep’s Christmas Carol
  • Annual Holiday Parade
  • Pfister Tree Lighting Ceremony
  • Leonard Bearstein and the decorations at the Shops of Grand Avenue Mall
  • Jingle Bus and the holiday decorations around the city

Don’t see your favorite on our list? Comment below and tell us what we missed.