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Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009

Boris Doris ON THE TOWN

Picture Perfect

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Picture Perfect: With extraordinary style, Film Wisconsin celebrated the grand opening of RDI Stages’ new facilities in St. Francis. The site is expected to be instrumental in transforming Milwaukee into the film industry’s “Third Coast.” The top-notch event was a sybarite’s delight, with abundant caviar, shrimp and fresh oysters.

Libations included endless martinis by Art Below Zero and flowing Rehorst vodkas. In a sea of creative talent, even “Monk” TV personality Tony Shalhoub, a Green Bay native, showed up. The beaming RDI hosts were Janine Sijan Rozina, Tom Davenport and Darrick Dysland.

Film Wisconsin Executive Director Scott Robbe was also there, with his right-hand person, Melissa Musante. A background film showcased Wisconsin’s tourism highlights, reminding attendees that there would be a winter’s end despite the evening’s frosty weather. The crowd toured RDI’s state-ofthe art facilities, including dropping in at the Creative Spurts studio, hosted by cofounders Darrell Hines II and Brandon Williams, along with Creative Director Michael Shank. A group of young filmmakers there included Heidi Spencer, Lilly Czarnecki and Ross Nugent.

Counted among the crowd was a VISIT Milwaukee contingent led by Doug Neilson, with Dave Fantle and Margaret Casey; and actors Mark Flagg, Sharon Nieman-Koebert, Dan Mooney and Eamonn O’Neill. Event sponsor MATC was represented by associate dean Jim MacDonald and board members Fred Royal Jr., Thomas Michalski and Lauren Baker.

Traipsing around Milwaukeewood, now one of Wisconsin’s largest filmmaking complexes, were entertainment attorney Dan Kattman; PR wiz Jeff Remsik from Bottom Line Marketing; PA Staffing’s Bret Stepke; “the world’s first motivational mind reader,” Rex Sikes; artist Francisco Mora; filmmakers Maxine Wishner and Brad Pruitt; 22nd Assembly Representative-elect Sandy Pasch; UW-Milwaukee film instructor Carl Bogner; film producer Dan Wilson; DPW’s Cecilia Gilbert; and Kim Montgomery of the mayor’s office, soon off to Obama’s upcoming inaugural extravaganza with a gaggle of fellow Milwaukeeans.

An aprs party at Tim Dixon’s Iron Horse Hotel was jammed, with a number of thirsty latecomers from the RDI blowout turned away due to a space crunch. Part of the gridlock resulted from an overlapping gathering there—FUEL Milwaukee Talent Network’s monthly meet-’n-grin, attended by more than 300 young and midster up-and-comers and those-already-there. Manning the desk were FUEL Executive Director Shelley Jurewicz and colleagues Kara Thompson and Corry Joe Biddle. Helping out were Toby D. Baker, an MATC student who works for the Bucks, and Becky Schermer of ITT Technical Institute.

Post-FUEL real estate experts reveling at the always-hopping hotel bar were Roberta Van Duyse from First Weber; Relocation Specialist’s Derse Smith; Trans Union’s Destina Ragano; and Melanie Romas of Cooper Power Systems.

Go, Joni: The Coffee House held a fundraiser for the Food Pantry with a tribute to Joni Mitchell, emceed by the everentertaining Brett Kemnitz. Singers Julie Kane, accompanied by Tom Plutshack; Francesca Brown, with the “single and available” Jerry Danks; Craig Siemsen, who has a new CD, One Person; and musician/poet Sandy Weisto, transported the crowd to an earlier era with their music.

The packed room included fellow musicians Chris Straw with the Moxie Chicks; folk singer and Siemsen’s wife, Patty Stevenson; John King; and Mary Wacker with the J.T. Bandits. Enjoying the show were Janine Arseneau with Grandmothers Beyond Borders; UW-Milwaukee researcher Steven Yeo; poet/singer JoAnn Chang, who organizes Poets’ Monday at Linneman’s; and Joe Holland.

Bar-B-Que and Bluegrass:
On a tip from Mud River Lee, B&D also checked out Conway’s Smokin’ Bar & Grill, where he and his Bluegrass Orchestra were jamming. Packing the stage for a fun performance were MPS teacher/fiddler John (Silver Dollar John) Losiniecki; George Bauer on harmonica; Mike Greylak on banjo; bassist Wilson Brown; and vocalist Sherry Dobson; and Barbara Meyer- Spidell, who added smokin’ auxiliary percussion with a washboard and red-hot spoon action.

Conway’s owners are Debbie Thatcher, who doubled as sound system manager, and the chef, her husband Gary Johnson, who dished out delicious wings, magnificent smoked ribs and beef brisket. At the show were Evonne Carr, Peter Lee, who later performed on the autoharp, and the ever-rollicking Cayuse Cowboys, who also played.

Thinking Spring: Called “A Frosty Affair,” Milwaukee Urban Gardens met at Coffee Makes You Black on Teutonia to see the award-winning documentary Good Food and discuss sustainable gardening.

Coffee Makes You Black owners Laurie and Bradley Thurman and his brother, Eugene, were also thrilled that the Michael Fields Cooking School is moving into their building and that an urban garden adjacent to the coffeehouse will be developed.

Among the group there were the Urban Garden’s staff: Erin Kanuckel, Jacki Walczak and Katy Kujala-Korpela and green activists Marcia Caton Campbell, Mary Lou LaMonda and Jim Godsil.

If you have any tips for Boris and Doris, contact them at borisanddorisott@aol.com. Their next column will appear in the Jan. 29 issue of the Shepherd.

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