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Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012

Boris and Doris On the Town

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Top Picks: Nearly 1,200 Shepherd Express fans poured into the InterContinental Milwaukee Hotel’s grand ballroom for the newspaper’s annual Best of Milwaukee celebration. Editor and Publisher Louis Fortis, spiffy in a silk sports jacket purchased while on a bike trip through Vietnam, welcomed everyone before Mayor Tom Barrett proclaimed it Shepherd Express Day. Proceeds went to St. Ben's Scholarship Fund, accepted by Milwaukee Chapter President Arbedella Browning. Others from St. Ben’s were Marjorie Stribling and her daughter, Angela Stinson, plus Wesley Graham and Mamie Thurman.

Cheers erupted as winners were announced. Barnacle Bud’s Gene “Homer” McKiernan and his wife, Victoria, celebrated their victory for best outdoor dining, while Oakland Gyros’ John Karampelas captured his 10th straight as top Greek restaurant. Bo Johnson snared a double-header as best stage actor, while his group Random Maxx garnered top cover/tribute band and Shepherd readers named its lead singer, Jamie Schlecht, their favorite female vocalist.

The crowd grazed on such delicious offerings as scrumptious cupcakes from Shorewood’s Miss Cupcake Boutique Bakery. Owner Ashley “Miss Cupcake” Weber was assisted by her pal, freelance makeup artist Jess Espinosa from Stella’s. Pizza vendors included Zaffiro’s and Bryan Belmer and Tim Rohlfs from Tazinos, while beverage bubbled from the Horny Goat Hideaway’s tappers. Faithe Colas, the Salvation Army’s community relations director, handed out information, as did Tony Miller of Raven Sports, designer of all the event’s graphics.

Katelyn Berens, the Shepherd’s Best of Milwaukee 2012 cover girl, partied with Brian Kiesner and Allie Hawley; attorney Jeralyn Wendelberger stopped by after Judge Tom Donegan’s retirement party; the ubiquitous Dave “Cookie Dave” Bielawski ran into pals Jackie May and John Henry Miller; and MSOE’s Eric Gardner attended with his father Kevin, the Shepherd’s creative director.

Arts to Business: Led by Robert Mauro, the director of Boston College’s Irish Institute, 11 Irish and Northern Irish arts experts met with Milwaukee’s civic, cultural and corporate leaders to learn how the city blends its cultural and business worlds. They stopped in at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, where the organization’s President and CEO Ellen Gilligan and her staff greeted the contingent. Milwaukee Ald. Michael Murphy addressed the group.


Among the visitors were Mary Blake, the tourism development officer with the Derry City Council, and Alan Hayes, publisher of Arlen House, one of Ireland’s oldest literary imprints. Hayes also attended the launch of his firm’s On American Literature and Diasporas by the late Irish-born poet and UW-Milwaukee faculty member James Liddy. The reception and readings at the County Clare Irish Inn & Pub drew many of the city’s literati, such as poet Susan Firer and Marquette professors Pam Nettleton and Tim McMahon. Waxing eloquent about the irrepressible Liddy were UWM’s José Lanters and John Gleeson, there with his wife Meg, soon to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary.

Another Tome: At a Boswell Books signing, historian Bobby Tanzilo headed back to the classroom with his latest tome, Historic Milwaukee Public Schoolhouses. A roomful of listeners tuning in to his tales about the buildings and their architects included current and former MPS teachers, including Bettie Zillman and one of her former students, Kate Retzlaff.

Others there were filmmaker/musician Mark G.E., whose Soul Chamber was shown at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival; musician Eric Blowtorch; Ed Heinzelman, a veteran Milwaukee musician and erstwhile school board candidate; and Yance Marti, author of Missing Milwaukee: The Lost Buildings of Milwaukee and creator of OldMilwaukee.net. MPS media manager Tony Tagliavia also stopped in to get his signed copy.

Wine Uncorked: Jacques Chaumet of Chez Jacques, the Shepherd’s readers’ top French restaurant, went through 85-some bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau at his annual Fête du Beaujolais Nouveau. Sparking the revelry, chanteuse Robin Pluer belted out her playlist of beautiful chansons, joined by mandolin maestro Tom Schwark, Gary Hofstad channeling crooner Nat King Cole, guitarist Keith Watling and Jim Sambeau on squeezebox.

Among Pluer’s fan club were her boyfriend, designer Dirk Urban, Jean-Claude and Claire Kortleven, designer Frank Ullenberg and Judy Worm. Spotted in the wall-to-wall café crowd were sisters-on-the-town Megan and Mary Anderson and Nancy Turtenwald, snazzy in a fancy lid from Citi Trends.

Dining on cassoulet and other French delicacies in Jacques’ cozy back room was a contingent of dentists, Wisconsin Dental Association (WDA) staffers and their significant others. Among les amis du vin were doctors Angela Lueck from Riverwalk Dentistry, John Moser from Third Ward Dental, Monica Hebl of Burleigh Dental, and Kent Vandehaar, who also heads The Purple Tooth Society. From WDA were president Dr. Steve Stoll and associate executive director Lani Becker.

Congratulations: The recent Voces de la Frontera People’s Gala, held in UWM Union’s Wisconsin Room, honored hard-working activists. The Palermo Workers Union was presented with the Joe Rody Worker Rights Award as the crowd chanted “Sí, se puede,” Ray Vahey and Equality Wisconsin garnered the Community Leadership Award, Jackie Boynton and Peter Earle were among the Civil Rights Awards recipients, and Sean Orr and Kennia Coronado captured the Richard Oulahan Youth Activist Awards.   

If you have any tips for Boris and Doris, contact them at borisanddorisott@aol.com. Their next column will appear in the Dec. 13 issue of the Shepherd.