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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Boris and Doris On the Town

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Art Champions: Three of the city's outstanding art supporters were honored by Milwaukee Public Theatre and the Milwaukee Mask & Puppet Theatre at a Turner Hall blowout. Receiving the Champions of the Arts awards were Brad Bernard, an artist, Mount Mary assistant professor and Community Arts & Funk Festival director, introduced by artist Mutope Johnson; Mario Costantini, the civic activist who, with wife Cathy, launched the citywide Mad Hot Ballroom competition, introduced by Deborah Farris, Danceworks executive director; and Julia Taylor, president of the Greater Milwaukee Committee who doubles as an art photographer, introduced by Christine Harris, past CEO of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Milwaukee.

The hall had nonstop entertainment, including the juggling antics of Gypsy Geoff and music by Slovenian button-box king Tony Gorenc and harpist Dorothy Walsh. Telling fortunes were Azeeza Islam and musician Adekola Adedapo, mother of Milwaukee's “American Idol” finalist Naima Adedapo. Kathleen Dunn, with WHAD-FM for 17 years, emceed the evening, aided by Barbara Leigh, founder of Milwaukee Public Theatre.

The adorable Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap Phase II dancers showed their smooth moves in a salute to Costantini, in sessions choreographed by Jacqui Lefebvre, Kelly Drake and Faith Mitchell. The always-exuberant Caché Latin Music Ensemble was also showcased.

Circulating were Milwaukee County Supervisor and MPT board member Willie Johnson Jr., head puppeteer Max Samson of the Milwaukee Mask & Puppet Theatre and his wife, Nancy Pinter, poet/human rights activist Daisy Cubias, Leah Fiasca and Rachael Glaszcz from the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and Jackie Harcourt from the United Community Center. Also seen were Katie Jesse and Jill Haas; master puppet maker Michael Pettit; Eileen Schwalbach, president of Mount Mary College; Lynn Sprangers; and Rhonda Nordstrom, the latter working nonstop to unseat Sen. Alberta Darling through We Are Wisconsin.

In the Pink:
A kickoff celebration for “A Triple Touch of Pink Ball,” to be held Oct. 14 at the Pfister Hotel, was hosted by the new Ellipse Fitness branch in Mequon. The event was organized by Anna Zuckerman, owner/designer at AC Zuckerman Jewelers, pretty in her pink Lorena Sarbu dress, with her hot-pink-clad assistants Antonia Sendik and Lauren Wilhelm. LeRoy Butler, former Green Bay All-Pro safety, also greeted guests. His breast cancer foundation is teaming up with Flippin to a Cure, founded by Dr. Regina Flippin, there with her husband, Eric Bland, a Department of Veterans Affairs rehab specialist.

On the Ellipse team were President Lisa Welko, general manager Angela Pitts and assistant manager Kylie Formanek. Nashville-based country/pop singer Erica Hoyt stopped by to belt out tunes, her appearance organized by K-Nation Entertainment's Neil Willenson. Helping with the ball's PR is Jean Thalman McNamara, owner of Thalman Marketing Services.

Final Feasts:
A weekend of exquisite Italian cuisine celebrated the closing of Osteria del Mondo after a 17-year stint of award-winning dining. Owners Marc and Marta Bianchini reminisced as friends poured in throughout a weekend of food finales. The main extravaganza was a remake of the Bianchinis' 1998 wedding dinner, sans cake. But there were perfect lobster claws, veal tenderloin, cookies and pastries flown in from Brooklyn and what seemed to be barrels of prime vino.

The Bianchinis presented a retrospective PowerPoint show and thanked devoted patrons, hinting about an Osteria redux. Longtime fans were 88Nine Radio Milwaukee's Mary Louise Mussoline and Dr. Jim Cope; Gail Buenger and Paul Ek; Katie and Jeff Commer; Kendall (The Weld Guy) Polster; Benji and Rachel Wagner; Judge William Phillips; ophthalmologist Richard Davenport; Planned Parenthood's Laura Emir and her husband, Mustafa; Isa Valdes; Paula Christensen; Ali and Imon Khan; Holly Davis; and Suzanne Litwicki.

Oldies and Still Goodies:
Milwaukee's musical icons from 40 years ago reunited at Shank Hall for a “once in a lifetime” musical extravaganza. For the “The Last Polka,” starring The East Side All Stars, producers Mike Kappus and Bob Dickey pulled together a rave revue with Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads fame; Jon Paris, of The OX and Dynamite Duck; along with Bob Metzger (who has toured with Leonard Cohen) and Brad Seip, picking up his drumsticks after 25 years.

A version of fabled Short Stuff included originals Jim Liban and Junior Brantley, plus James Solberg, who went on to play with iconic bluesman Luther Allison, plus drummer Jimi Schutte. Also on stage were Fred Bliffert, Sam Friedman, Mark Saichek, Tony Brown, Randy Monaghan and Bob Knetzger. Emceeing was the eccentric Fritz Bluebottom (Kim Jorgenson), the bandleader, theater chain owner and film producer.

In the packed house were Tony Machi, who owned Teddy's, where many of the musicians got their start; Poco Loco owner Dean Gardner; blues fan Barb Smith; 5 Card Studs drummer Matt Liban with his wife, Katie; and Greg Koch, who said, “I think we're the only ones here who don't remember where they were when Kennedy was assassinated.”

If you have any tips for Boris and Doris, contact them at borisanddorisott@aol.com. Their next column will appear in the July 28 issue of the
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