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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Boris and Doris On the Town

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Happy Anniversary: The inimitable Rip Tenor (aka Art Kumbalek) was honored by the Uptowner Bar and Charm School for his 25 years of yeoman's duty at the Shepherd Express. Fans poured in to pay respects and hear the Brewhaus Polka Kings, featuring Tenor on sax, accordionist Grant Kozera and drummer Steve Brunton, with special guests Jack Grassel, playing banjo, and his wife, vocalist Jill Jensen.

Celebrating Shepherdites included Kumbalek's co-columnist for sports, Frank Clines, copy editor Robbie Hartman and his wife, Rebecca Schlei, account executive Bridgette Ard, promotion manager Ashley Beyer, music editor Evan Rytlewski and graphic designer Dave Zylstra. Arts and entertainment editor Dave Luhrssen showcased his impressive polka skills with Shawnette Smart, a friend since 1978 and Uptowner's co-owner with her husband, Steve Johnson. Their daughters Mary and Martha Johnson stopped by, as well as their son Charlie, in from the South Bronx.

The dog-friendly tavern welcomed Shelby, a diminutive Min Pin, and owner Carol Jordan, and Max, an 11-year old Bichon poodle, with his owner Linda Blecke. Circulating were Whispering Jeff Platt of the Riverwest Beer Appreciation Society, electrical engineer David Golon, Renaissance man Richard Yahr, Jeff Schultz and Kathy Falk from Racine, and Steve (Bad Leave Steve) Wroblewski, noted for his nearly perfect Uptowner pool-win record. Alderman Nik Kovac came by, doing last-minute doors prior to Tuesday's election.

Fabulous Fish:
In the mood for a traditional Friday fish fry, B&D stopped by Klinger's East and found it worthy of its rave reviews. This is a true family affair, beginning decades ago at the first Klinger's, near the old American Motors plant, run by the late patriarch/matriarch Glen and Patricia Klinger. While son Glen was on break from his seven-day workweek as chef, his wife, Sue, greeted guests and their son Kyle waited tables.

Co-chefs were Susan Lemke and Nick Pritchard and tending taps were Sue's brother Bobby Schneider, noted for his dynamite Sunday brunch Bloody Marys, along with Frank Olson, Roxanne Goodman and Debbie Niedzwiecki. Cousin Ryen Schneider also helped out, while manager Mike Contrino orchestrated.

Devoted diners included Chuck Banks and Eddie Sanchez; Alfredo and Lucy Lopez; electrician Tom Hoppe and wife Kathy; Michael Mastroianni, his fiancée, Liz Kremer, and their pal Tina Graziano; plus Tom Nelson, Keegan Ford and Amanda Bushmaker.

Saying Bye:
Shelby Keefe concluded her yearlong stint as the Pfister Hotel's artist-in-residence with a great send-off in the Red Room. The Pfister's general manager, Joe Kurth, welcomed the assemblage, prior to Keefe reviewing her tenure. Keefe gifted the Pfister with her Reflecting on the Day, an urban landscape of Wisconsin Avenue at dusk. Her artwork also inspired a decadent chocolate cake sliced at the soiree. Applauding were Keefe's parents Shirley and Charles Scharine; her brother Marcus and his wife, Shelly; her boyfriend, Richard Dorbin, a photographer soon moving to Milwaukee from Maryland; and her sons Kaleb and Noah.

Former Pfister “narrators” Julie Ferris and Stacie Michelle Williams read from their published works about the fabled caravansary. The current Pfister narrator, poet and Foundation Tiki Bar bartender Ed Makowski, read his poems, including the clever “Bad Memories of Poverty and Wet Dreams.” His partner Susan Scott and their children, Edmond V. Sensei and Una, were among his fans there.

The room overflowed with well-wishers, including fellow artists Thea Kovac, Sandy Pape and Anita Burgermeister, plus Kristin Urban, performing with Urban Empress and The Urbanites, and Nate Kraucunas, currently maintaining the Hank Aaron State Trail for the DNR. Mingling were developer Bob Boucher; Chris Zapf and Trish Miller from Therapies East Associates; Susan Palmieri, a doctor of integrative energy medicine; Patricia Corrigan Culotti and Michael Culotti from Enhancing Balance; Draga and Steven Libbey, CEO at iNET Computers; musician/photographer/poet Rick Ollman; and Skip Forrest, whose “wine”-themed pillows are sold at Keefe's studio.

Fingerstyle guitar master Michael (Bootz) Bootzin, a self-described “musical gardener,” entertained. Concierge extraordinaire Peter Mortensen observed the festivities, while banquet bartender Luther (The Voice) Wray slung drinks and assistant manager Emily Rizzo peddled bottles of Stone's Throw wine with labels featuring Keefe's artwork.

Not for the Faint of Ears:
Bawdy, scatological, profound, raucous, clever and great fun was Shel Shocked by Shel Silverstein, better known for his innocent children's tales. Adam White, co-owner of Carte Blanche Studios, made his full-length production directing debut; he also designed the sets and performed in the 19-thespian cast. Ten short plays kept the audience chuckling, with actors including the hilarious Sally Marks, along with the director's wife, Michelle White, Greg Ryan, Andrew Parchman and Peter Smith. Liz Whitford was Silverstein's eternally precocious Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout, still refusing to take out garbage.

In the audience was Sally Marks' husband, Robb, along with Greg Ryan's wife, filmmaker Brooke Maroldi, and her friend Angela Jacobi; Jake Anderson, set assistant; Amber Smith; and Alchemist Theatre co-owners Aaron Kopec and Erica Case. Carte Blanche's artistic director, Jimmy Dragolovich, director of more than 25 of the company's plays, doubled as the evening's mixologist.

If you have any tips for Boris and Doris, contact them at borisanddorisott@aol.com. Their next column will appear in the April 19 issue of the
Shepherd.
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