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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Boris and Doris On the Town

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Bravo! Next Act: Celebrating Next Act Theatre's first anniversary in its beautiful new theater space, the company's fans poured into the sold-out “Bravo, Next Act” event. The retro-summer theme encouraged '50s attire, with Laura and Jeff Hanson getting our nod for best garb. The evening's activities included John McGivern's Summer Stories, oodles of champagne, an impressive silent auction, “Actors at Work” led by Artistic Director David Cecsarini and music by the Jeff Krumbein Trio. Libations included a signature Mellow Chartreuse and the infamous Cherry Bark Sour.

Mingling were Next Act's development manager and event coordinator, Heidi Boyd, there with her husband, Joel, in a spiffy period chapeau; board president Steve Marcus and his wife, Karin, from Footlights; board member John Menzel and Kathy Nusslock; marketing director Matt Kemple, founder and producer of the Milwaukee Comedy Festival; costume designer Aria Thornton, wearing a self-designed brim; stage manager Jessica Betts; lighting designer Alan Piotrowicz, and writer/producer Maria Petrella, who was snapping photos.

Helpful volunteers included Dave Glenn (aka “volunteer Dave”) and photographer/usher/fan Steven Alexander. Enjoying the evening were Skip and Ildy Poliner, Larry Dalton and Lisa Berman, Robb and Sally Marks, the latter soon performing with Pink Banana, and NML's Ray Manista and his wife, Dawne.

Grand Reopening:
Grafton's Slow Pokes Local Food, offering fabulous natural and organic produce, has expanded to its second floor with a beautiful kitchen and school space. To celebrate, local vendors served tastings. Todd Richards offered his Fox Valley Berkshire smoked brats. From the Little Red Hen & Co., Mary Thomas and daughter Hannah presented samples of their delicious kombucha tea, Doris' new addiction. Joe Alioto showcased his trellis designs.

Owner Kathleen McGlone greeted guests, with Sarah Philipp, a nutrition coach and owner of Abundelicious, and chef Linda Vatovetz holding court upstairs. Loyal patrons and cooking students included Connie and Dave Durham; Gary Sapiro; Michelle Winkler and Maggie Schmidt; plus Josh Moore, a gluten-free meat distributor, and his wife, Mindy; and Michele Sarnoski and her mother Frances DeNicola.

Another Decade:
The Milwaukee Athletic Club was the scene of Info* magazine's 10th anniversary release party and ART Milwaukee's May ART Jamboree. The evening was awash with nonstop frivolity, including a charity casino orchestrated by Bill Finn's Vegas on Wheels, with celebrity dealer Matthew Gorski. The Jeanna Salzer Trio performed. Fashions by Chelsea Stotts, owner of Moda Muneca, were modeled by Andrea LaPinske, Melissa Tomczyk, Trisha Maier, Jennifer Kirkpatrick and others.

Among artists creating oeuvres were Scott Hatton, Nico Grasset, Ivan Herrada, Sherman Pitts and airbrush maestro Elias Vallejo.

Making the rounds were writer Jordan Dechambre and pal Tony Davis; and, from Flux Design, President Jeremy Shamrowicz in his signature utility kilt, Liz Syrrakos and Dave Bobrowicz; plus the Safe House's Dave Baldwin and his wife, author Shauna Singh Baldwin, excited that her novel The Tiger Claw has been optioned for a film. Other cavorters were Scott Blum, Rockstar Design owner and Info* creative director; Felicia Pope and Beth Anne Gleason; designer Libby Quail; Drew Muth; the Rep's Cindy Moran and Todd Broadie; and Taylor's Dan Taylor.

Spotted at the gaming tables were the Skylight Music Theatre's Madeline Cope and Rose Hebein, Miles and Marla Fabishak, Shindig founder Brendon Thomas, and Wisconsin Innovation Network's Molly Lahr. Later in the evening, a flood of folks wound up partying on MAC's star-touched rooftop.

Glad Bags:
More than 150 women partied with purses at the annual Gilda's Club Southeastern Wisconsin Wine, Women & Purses fundraiser. This year, the group was hosted by Marta Bianchini at her COA Restaurant. Baseball scribe Tom Haudricourt, husband of Gilda's Club Executive Director Trish Haudricourt, gifted Marta with a Brewers' Chorizo Man statuette.

Donating auction items were companies, boutiques and individuals, including Investment Designers' Tom Nackers, who honored his late wife, Kathy. Gilda's board president Ann Homstad and special events manager Wendy Lund encouraged the bidding. Television personality Kim Murphy acted as honorary hostess. Patty Riordan, UW-Milwaukee's Mariann Maris, Anne Catalane and Anne Tremel chatted at the bar.

The Kass family was there in force: patriarch Stan Kass and his sons Lenny, Mike, and Mark with his wife, Kaye, and daughter Abby. Volunteer helpers included Justine Murray, Judy Austin, Silvia Cisneros, Helen Lambron and Loring Talsky. Designer Carol Carr arrived with pals Susie Tweddell and Maria Fenske.

East Greets West:
Boulevard Theatre closed its 26th season with the Midwest premiere of the fun and poignant Cowboy Versus Samurai. The packed opening had co-directors Mark Bucher and Jaime Jastrab shuffling chairs to accommodate the full house. Board members Richard Ippolito and Tom Gauthier announced the Boulevard's annual “Verse and Vino” blowout on June 11.

Applauding were Door Shakespeare's Debra Babich; Windfall Theatre's Carol Zippel; and UWM ESL instructors Valerie Chamberlain and Mark Sondrol with students Hanna Kim, Shikan Zheng, Jianmei Liu, Phong Do and Xinhao Liang. Also on hand were Boulevard enthusiasts Maureen Kilmurry and Elaine and Marty Schreiber.

If you have any tips for Boris and Doris, contact them at borisanddorisott@aol.com. Their next column will appear in the June 14 issue of the
Shepherd.