MAGAZINE short pieces

Milwaukee Magazine
414 774-4296

If it’s true that your odds of finding an affordable gem in a used book store go down in relationship to its tidiness (I’ve heard bibliophiles attest to this), the peculiar organization and visual chaos of Schroeder’s Books & Music (7629 West Greenfield) make it a decent bet for success. The place certainly has character: various life-sized stuffed dogs populate the shop, and behind the counter is Alma, as helpful as she is visually eccentric (and by that, I mean she is very helpful). Allot yourself a decent chunk of time (it’s a big space with lots of nooks, and books are often shelved two-deep), avail yourself to Alma’s guidance (Performing Arts sections “A” and “B” are separated by the width of the store), and you’ll not leave empty handed.

Potawatomi Times
See and be Seen:
Bar 360

The exciting new Bar 360 truly lives up to its name—it’s located in the heart of the gaming floor and slightly elevated, offering a view of the entire gaming floor from which to enjoy the sights and sounds of the casino while creating sparks of your own.

A full bar with six beers on tap, bar-top slots, a great selection of wine, and live entertainment, Bar 360 creates a spectacular nexus of exciting people and vibrant casino energy, a great place to rendezvous with your friends when the night is young—or the perfect spot from which to see and be seen!

Milwaukee Magazine

Aficionados lined up for hours when the APPLE STORE at Mayfair Mall opened in late August, waiting patiently as store staff added groups of five and ten at a time—the better to maintain optimal browsing comfort and the all-important visual aesthetic, no doubt. For those who claim that Mac users prize form over function, the stylish wood floors and clean white surfaces that dominate Apple’s retail spaces around the country (the Mayfair location is one of 37 and counting) do nothing to dispel the notion. Still, the Apple Store is enormously effective as a tool for capturing hearts and minds; Mac fans come to touch (and often caress) their objects of desire, and the uninitiated bear witness with the help of a blessedly low-key staff. It’s a browser’s paradise, and kids have a place of their own where they can pling and ding through an array of children’s software.

An APPLE STORE is a look-and-feel propaganda environment; frankly, they could care less if they ever have to ring up a sale. Stylish wood floors, indirect lighting, and clean white surfaces are all about making present users feel good about their Mac-dom (upgrade, upgrade, upgrade) and swaying new users who are on the fence (our moms who want to get into email and eBay). Put a newbie in front of a real iMac and they're aboard. It works - I've seen it. Aficionados lined up for hours when the APPLE STORE at Mayfair Mall opened in late August, waiting patiently as store staff added groups of five and ten at a time—the better to maintain optimal browsing comfort and the all-important visual aesthetic, no doubt.

Milwaukee Magazine
6913 W. Oklahoma Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53219
414 328-4651

A visit to the vast LOST WORLD OF WONDERS comic and gaming store (6913 W. Oklahoma Ave.) is a journey to your pulp-reading past, albeit one updated to include $50 bound treasury editions of Silver Age Flash comics, action figure depictions of everyone from MAD Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman to Tomar-Re, the Green Lantern of Xudar (if you have to ask….), and an incessant sound effects loop emanating from the in-store Street Fighter machine. LOST WORLD's 7000 square feet also boasts a knowledgeable staff, reasonably priced back issues, a gaming room, models, and more anime, manga and fantasy card paraphernalia than you can shake a pair of 12-sided dice at. (Old-timers who remember picking up a copy of Batman for two bits should be forewarned, however: the average new comic goes for $2.50.)

TROLLENBERG Video and Collectibles
6762 West Beloit Road
West Allis
414 327-9040

Who could have foreseen a time when reanimated corpses, disfigured madmen, and blood-hunting ghouls represent “comfort food?” The psuedo-goth storefront of West Allis’s TROLLENBERG VIDEO AND COLLECTIBLES (6762 West Beloit Road) belies the wealth of boomer-era goodies stocked within; a teeming selection of horror and sci-fi DVDs, models, action figures, video tapes and books, all depicting wonders and monstrosities beloved to those of us who stayed up late as kids to catch warm and fuzzy chills with Karloff, Chaney and Lugosi. Trollenberg Collectibles concentrates on nostalgia-tinted classics: Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolf Man, various mythic Ray Harryhausen beasties, and owner Daniel Stern’s favorite, the Creature From the Black Lagoon. The small shop distinguishes itself from its pop culture-retailer brethren with well-lit, tasteful displays, a non-smoking environment, and a jaw-dropping selection that brings in the faithful from all over the Midwest.
M Magazine

When Tony Bree began teaching ballroom dancing ten years ago at the age of nineteen, he surely had no idea that somewhere down the line NFL greats Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice could positively affect his livelihood. But that was before anyone had heard of reality TV.

“No question about it—‘Dancing With the Stars’ is my biggest and best advertising,” Bree admits. The popular TV series, with its emphasis on amazing costumes, impressive athleticism, and featuring contestants like Rice and Smith, has made ballroom dancing appealing to people whose sole prior experience may be limited to “The Chicken” at cousin Ruthie’s wedding.

Tony and his wife, Lindsey—they met during a night out dancing with friends, of course—competed on the national Dancesport circuit for a few seasons before deciding to open a dance studio of their own. In September of 2006 they opened the Main Street Ballroom in downtown Waukesha, just in time to benefit from ballroom dancing’s TV-fueled resurgence in popularity.

Tony’s story sounds like copy from the old “You Can Learn to Dance” ads from the back of comic books: he was the shy kid who never approached anyone or had anything to say until a female friend took him to one of her dance classes. “I was hooked after my first lesson,” Tony remembers. “Dancing gave me all the confidence in the world.” Before long, he mastered the basic steps and moves to the extent that he started teaching as well.

The Brees’ current clientele adheres to no particular demographic: they see young and old; men and women. Their youngest student is three, and their oldest is still twirling at 87. Tony finds that the competitive element of ballroom dancing as promoted by the popular television show manifests itself among the male students. “When couples sign up, it’s usually the woman’s idea,” he notes. “But once they get started, it’s the men who end up getting very serious about it.”

And why not—who says dancers aren’t athletes? “After swimming, dancing is really second best exercise that there is,” Tony says. “You’re using every piece of your body.”

M Magazine


Sometimes you can go home again—at least, that is, if your home is Oconomowoc, that well preserved, lake-bejeweled enclave which has managed to maintain so much of its charm while evolving into the new millennium.

Writer Mary Kane is an Oconomowoc native whose new book on the city’s early days is part of Arcadia Publishing’s Postcard History Series, an intriguing format wherein a city, town or region is explored through hundreds of vintage postcard images, all accompanied by well-informed commentary.

Ms. Kane brings exceptional experience to her role as virtual tour guide. She began her journalistic career as three-time yearbook editor while still at Oconomowoc High School, then spent a decade working full-time for weekly and daily newspapers after graduating from Ripon College in 1974.

“A book is something I think many journalists over time want to do,” Ms. Kane says. “In my case, it was a happy convergence of influences that brought this project about. While I was living in Williams Bay, I wrote a freelance article about two women who did a book about Lake Geneva for this same series from Arcadia. Then, within a matter of six months after that, I had moved back to my hometown of Oconomowoc.”

That’s when it occurred to Ms. Kane that Oconomowoc would lend itself well to the Arcadia format. A few inquires led her to Rae Kinn, who generously offered her extensive postcard collection for the project. She was able to finish the book, the royalties for which Ms. Kane is donating to the Oconomowoc Area Foundation, in about six months.

“Oconomowoc” tells a picturesque tale of millionaire’s mansions (beer barons and department store tycoons built 50-room “cottages” on the lakeshore) and brushes with history (both President Garfield’s assassin and Prince Henry of Prussia once stayed at Draper Hall).

Of many discoveries made while assembling the book, unearthing one treasure in particular had Ms. Kane “tickled pink.” A picture on page 102 shows victorious soldiers marching down Wisconsin Avenue following World War I. In the first full row, farthest to the right, proudly strides Ms. Kane’s father.