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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Boris and Doris On the Town

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Free Counseling: Got a problem? Perhaps it can easily be resolved at Hamburger Mary's monthly Shrink-N-Drink. Clinical psychologist Julie Helmrich, Ph.D., who is astute, serious and realistic, as well as clever and funny, fielded handwritten questions from the audience. Subjects included sex, family and relationship issues. Sidekick Lisa Brierton warmed up the audience, with Hamburger Mary's stand-in, Elle Cammarano, as the evening's hostess. Brandon Wright, who owns the Chicago and Milwaukee restaurant franchises with his twin brother, Ashley, showed off their new open-when-weather-permits outdoor lanai. A “Mary's” veggie garden is planned for this summer.

Catching the act were regulars Angela Cornejo-Kapuler and Jen Hansen taking a break from family obligations, plus Nick Schuster and pal Chris Krum. At another table were Alyssa Olson, Kristin Burbey of Regis Salons, Jesse Nelson, Lauren Brzeski, Ruthy Michals, signing interpreter Michael Mendoza and friends. Perched in a booth were the always-dashing Ron Manville and Roger Joerres, both single and available.

Playing Around:
It was a red-letter marathon drama weekend for B&D, with all the productions dealing with love and sex issues. First "stop" was the opening of Milwaukee Chamber Theatre's Bus Stop by William Inge. The delightful collaboration with UW-Parkside was the company's third piece in its University Collaboration Series. More than 55 UW-Parkside theater students, alumni, faculty and staff, many of whom helped with the show, were among those gathering for kudos and noshing in the Skylight Bar & Bistro after the standing-ovation-worthy performance.

UW-Parkside celebrators included beaming sponsor Donald Cress, dean emeritus of arts and sciences; director Lisa Kornetsky; Keith Harris, who created a perfect set à la 1955; cast members Jamie Cheatham, the university's acting program director; and students Anne Walaszek, Brenna Kempf and Ethan Hall. Front and center were Chamber Theatre's board president, “top dentist” Dr. David Paris, there with friends David Baldwin of the Safe House and his wife, Shauna Singh Baldwin, celebrating the completion of her latest novel, The Selector of Souls.

Board members included Cathy Costantini with her husband, Mario, and son Nick, a teacher; Marsha Sehler with Kal Lawler and Mayda Crites; Debbie Pavletich with her husband, Jim; and John Holland and Konrad Kuchenbach. The latter three are stepping down after nine-year Chamber board stints. Actors Ruth Schudson and Gladys Chmiel and theater junkie Josh Jaszewski also partied, with Miss Katie's Diner donating scrumptious pulled pork with trimmings. Ensuring that all went well were the Chamber's powers-that-be: C. Michael Wright, Kirsten Mulvey and Cara McMullin.

B&D then caught the final performance of Renaissance Theatreworks' Honour. The gripping, often-funny tale of a May-December affair was directed by Marie Kohler, whose husband, Brian Mani, was in the talented cast, along with veteran actor Laura Gordon, Greta Wohlrabe and Karen Estrada. In her welcome, producer Julie Swenson announced details of the company's upcoming 20th anniversary.

Also seeing the show were Kohler's sister Julilly and—flying in from Spartanburg, S.C.— their brother Michael, his new wife, Lilly, nephew Stephen and his wife, Michelle, plus members of the Milwaukee arts community, such as David Cecsarini, Chris Flieller, Mark Clements, Brent Hazelton, Sandy Ernst, Michael Cotey, Ray Jivoff, David Frank and Brenda DeVita. Applauding at the final show were Renaissance board members Paula Penebaker and Jean Bernstein, actor Nick Harazan and actor/dialogue coach Reva Fox, poet Louisa Loveridge-Gallas, Peter Goldberg and his cousin Sandy Lewis, guitarist Brett Kemnitz, and former Rep interns, director Geoffrey Bleeker and actor Giuseppe Ribaudo. Burke Candy donated chewy chocolates throughout Honour's run.

And finally: A delightful Milwaukee Rep production of In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) dealt with Victorian love and sexual repression. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin held a fund-raiser in conjunction with the play, including a reception and chat about the production and the history of the vibrator as a perceived remedy for hysteria rather than for sexual enhancement. Planned Parenthood CEO Teri Huyck introduced discussion leaders: the aforementioned Laura Gordon, who directed Vibrator, and Anne Brosowsky-Roth, Planned Parenthood's community education resource specialist.

Planned Parenthood supporters included special events co-chairs Lisa Remby and Sarah Fierek; Laura Emir, Linda Neff and board members Karen Campbell, Jackie Boynton, Edie Brengel Radtke, Andrea Taxman; and Harry Drake with his wife, Barb. Lynnea Katz-Petted, artist Jean Roberts Guequierre, Sandra Priebe, Jennifer Williams, Leslie Fillingham, attorney Alyce Katayama and Shirin Cabraal enjoyed the show.

Bookish Bent:
Three major Wisconsin authors discussed the “Importance of Locale and Setting in Their Writing,” presented by the North Shore Library and its Friends. Participants included Lauren Fox (Still Life With Husband and Friends Like Us), John Bolinski, writing as Mickey Polansky (Referendum for Murder) and Lesley Kagen, whose best-selling Good Graces is soon due out in paperback. The program, honoring the memory of longtime library board member Norman Gill, was hosted at Nicolet High School. From the library were Dick Nelson with his wife, Kathy, and board members Tessa Bartels and Venora McKinney, listening in with husband Lafayette. Hannah Johnson-Breimeier of Next Chapter Bookshop directed apres-panel book signings.

If you have any tips for Boris and Doris, contact them at borisanddorisott@aol.com. Their next column will appear in the May 3 issue of the
Shepherd.