“The Painting” By Joe

Mr. Joe Charney, cialis Pfister lobby lounge frequent visitor, has already been written about by the two hotel narrators before me. And much of what he told me was also accurately described in those blog posts. But not everything! Here you will see why Mr. Charney needs a third story, my story. Since quality journalism was demonstrated by both narrators Molly and Jenna, find this time Joe is getting an authentic free verse poem story thingo!

Once, before Joe knew this opulent palace,

or his European voyages

before, before all that

he was a boy with a painting in his room

well, it was a good reproduction of a painting

depicting horse riders

kicking up dust and pointing

perhaps to Joe’s own distant quests:

to attain commercial real estate

to acquire 18th century artwork, cheap

because like an omen

it all turned out to be true

when he came to the Pfister

he saw his own painting

well, the real one

hanging above the front desk.

That’s how he knows he belongs here

“in the warmth of a hug”

as he puts it.

“this is pure unadulterated perfection,”

as he puts it.

 

The moment is interrupted,

as Senator Kohl gets up from his chair and leaves the lounge.

Valerie, the mixologist calls after him, “I love you.”

Senator Kohl wears a green baseball cap.

 

“If you’re feeling low,

this is the place to go,”

continues Joe,

he gestures towards Valerie and tells me,

“She is much more advanced than a bartenderess,

she’s a… she’s a mixologist!”

I tell him I have never heard a woman bartender called a bartenderess before.

Says Joe,

“Well, it would be apropos,

she’s really a good looking female

and you must distinguish between the two.”

Joe cuts the fluff,

the nice fluff,

but enough

and goes into an hour long description

of the blog post he wants me to write

one day

but not today

about the cover up of the banking industry by the government.

I stop taking notes

because this is not for today

and he tells me I should change my name anyways

before I write the story he says he has for me

about “necessary evil.”

Joe asks me a lot of questions:

“Do you know what we’d have without the banking system?”

“Have you heard about getting on the merry-go-round?

“Commercial loans?”

He draws me a picture on a napkin.

“Do you understand now?

You never get to pay the loan back.”

He tells me a story and he even starts with a title.

I transcribe.

“The Painting

Mr. Marcus was standing in the lobby as the bank turned him down for a loan. The bank told him, ‘You must proceed to have investors with you and then you can come back to buy the hotel.’ Another man who happened to be in the lobby pointed to a painting and said, ‘Mr. Marcus if you buy this hotel I will give you a large sum of money to buy that painting.’ Mr. Marcus knew that in a locked room in an upper floor was a bunch of paintings, secure and waiting for a buyer to come along.

The room was full of appraisers and insurance people all contemplating the worth of these 18th century paintings. Mr. Marcus with papers in hand and the grand total entered into the bank, proceeded to tell the head of the bank he had enough equity from the paintings alone without a single dollar of his that would satisfy any loan that was given to buy the hotel.

This was circa fifty years ago when the paintings were worth more than the hotel. He really saved an iconic piece of architecture, which could not be reproduced today. This is also an evolution of great taste. Each renovation is better than the last.”

This is the whole problem with commercial loans.  You never get to pay back the principle.
This is the whole problem with commercial loans.

“Pfister Mary” Reigns Supreme

Valerie and the Pfister Mary

On Saturday October 15th the Pfister Hotel participated in the East Town Associations, ed “Heat It Up:Milwaukee’s Bloody Mary and Chili Challenge,” taking place during the Farmers Market inCathedral Square.  With over 20 local restaurants vying for the coveted award, participants took in all the different offerings during the crisp Saturday Morning.

In the Chili competition, awards were given out in two different categories.  “Best Veggie Chili” and “Best Beef Chili.”  Chef Andronico Guzman Rivera of the Pfister Café entered with his Signature White Bean Chili.  While his Chili was enjoyed by the masses, Chef Andronico took honorable mention.

In the coveted Bloody Mary competition, participants were judged by two specific criteria, “Bloody Mary Display,” and “Best Tasting,” both scores combined for one Grand Champion.  Taking that award was Valerie from the Pfister Lobby Lounge with her signature “Pfister Mary.”  Val had the longest line of all competitors with people actually getting a cocktail from other competitors, so that they could drink it while they wait in line for the Pfister Mary and it’s cornucopia of accoutrement.

We are very proud of our two participants. They were a great display of sportsmanship and healthy competition for theMilwaukeearea.  Congratulations again to Chef Andronico and Valerie on their Pfister Spirit!

The Pfister Hotel’s Holiday Glögg [VIDEO]

As old man winter slowly enters our lives for his winter visit, Valerie has got something to warm you right up and help you beat the winter blues.

It is called glögg. A traditional Sweedish Holiday wine based drink served warm. But our Valerie has put her own spin on it, compete with everything sugar, spice and everything nice.

Including:

–       Infused honey

–       Fresh apples and oranges

–       Great seasonal spices blends

–       A bit of apple cider

So come down to the lobby, enjoy the holiday decorations, and sip on a glass of glögg by our warm fire.

Finding Yourself at the Pfister

Often, look people aren’t used to being a tourist in their own town and in Milwaukee, I come across the phenomenon often. When was the last time you took the Miller Brewing tour? Or had lunch at the Safe House? Or, like the woman I met at the Pfister lobby bar, doctor when was the last time you had a staycation in Milwaukee? Micki (not her real name, of course, but she was nervous to be written about, so I’ll change her name here and bear the pressure of giving her a name she’d like. I think of a “Micki” as energetic and as having a fun, there infectious laugh, and this woman did, so she’s become Micki to me).

Micki and her mom were taking a time-out at the Pfister for the weekend and it was working its magic. Caught between celebration and desperation, Micki is one of the many who had been downsized when our economy so dramatically shifted. Out of work for more than a year, she finished her bachelor’s degree and was proud of her accomplishment, but the celebration was tinged by her job hunting priorities and the pressure of work.

A massage, haircut, great dinner and drinks in the hotel and she still wasn’t comfortable. She bemoaned the fact that she couldn’t even quiet her mind during her relaxing massage at Well Spa because the stressors of unemployment were so great.

I think as a culture, we need to become attuned to this. Two years of people’s lives shifting so dramatically has taken a collective mental toll on us. This summer, I met a suburban couple who lived in a utopia of a neighborhood with expensive homes and two-car families. When the husband lost his job, the wife explained, the neighbors treated them “as though it was catching.” She was confident and strong when she explained they lost most of their friends because they were “infected” with unemployment.

Micki was feeling the same pressure. A young 42 and a clearly vibrant woman, she confided in Valerie (the Pfister’s bartender) and me about how troubled she was that her work life had so profoundly affected who she was. “Getting back to my old self” was her mission and it was pretty inspirational that she kicked off the journey with a staycation at a local hotel and some bonding time with her very supportive mother.

We often forget how many human connections we need and have and how often those come from our work. I was happy to be a connection to Micki at the hotel while she talked through how she was feeling. It was clear she was seeking out confirmation and conversation and it was easily found in those she interacted with at the Pfister.

It’s a reminder to us all to recognize the people in our world as not simply unemployed, but rather, without the support of daily work routines and colleagues. If our culture has been treating unemployment like a disease or sickness, then the recovery metaphor is clearly apropos here. We should start a conversation about how to support each other emotionally because our nation’s “recovery” isn’t only a recovery of spending and saving and index rates. Like Micki, the need to recharge, recalibrate and reinvent yourself demonstrates that many  need emotional recovery as well.

Bunny Tales

Meet seasoned Pfister staffer Valerie…

Ask any seasoned staffer at the Pfister to talk about what they’ve seen, but only if you’re prepared to be awed. Some of the greatest moments include an era where “clubbing” took on a different notion than it does today. Balking at a $5.00 cover charge to see the infamous Joan Rivers is something Valerie, a seasoned bartender of more than 35 years, remembers. Valerie started at the Pfister when she was just 18 and by 19, she was behind the bar, “critiquing” (her favorite word for quality assurance) her drinks and cocktails until each was perfection.

Valerie’s work ethic is the first thing you notice about her. During our entire conversation, she never stopped moving, yet, she’s never hasty. Step by step she assembled the famous Pfister Marys that she says are as local as you can get. “Klement’s sausage, Wisconsin cheddar, Miller Lite chaser and sometimes even the local Rehorst vodka.” Valerie doesn’t tire of each patron who responds, “This could be my dinner!”

An assemblage of vegetables and snacks adorn the glass, but the contents of the cocktail are what go unmatched. Valerie pulled jar after jar of ingredients from her secret stash below the bar. The small round jar was filled with her special mix, the base, as she calls it. “But if you want it more spicy, I have these infusions…” and she reveals to me various samplings of flavors, spices (including the most recent with habanero peppers). I ask her, “Valerie, will you make a book of all your recipes and secrets?” Without hesitating,  she replied, “I don’t know, will you write it?”

She moves methodically, but never misses a beat. The equivalent of a former Playboy Bunny who worked at Blu before it was Blu, (“We had the collars, the cuffs, the same sort of outfit”), Valerie has seen celebrities come and go. Over time, however, her exactitude for her product hasn’t waned.

It’s not just the drinks Valerie takes care of. In the course of a hectic evening, I watched her attend to guests who were undecided on what to order, guests who were return clients, guests who needed to talk, reminisce and confide, fellow workers who had questions on drinks, patrons who may have left with their tab and me, prying with all sorts of questions. She did it all flawlessly and while in constant, careful motion.

Earlier this month, another list of Milwaukee’s top/coolest/hottest people emerged and the list was heavily sprinkled with bartenders. I remember working in the restaurant and hotel industry and always encountering new hires who wanted to be a bartender—they all thought pouring the booze and making the tips would be a great gig. What they didn’t understand is the panache, grace and sense of duty it requires. All fledgling bartenders should have a seat at Valerie’s lobby bartop to watch and learn how to be a “people-tender.” 35 years of service is hard to replicate, but the lessons it offers are plentiful.

The Pfister Bloody Mary from PfisterHotel on Vimeo.