Elvis Costello returns to the Riverside Theater in July. He's seen here during a 2014 solo performance at the theater.
Elvis Costello returns to the Riverside Theater in July. He's seen here during a 2014 solo performance at the theater. (Photo: Benjamin Wick)

Elvis sets up his "Imperial Bedroom" at the Riverside in July

While each Elvis Costello record felt like a new and immediate masterpiece when it arrived – think "This Year's Model" or "Get Happy!!!" or "Trust" – everyone could tell there was something extra-special about the baroque Beatles-esque pop of 1982's "Imperial Bedroom."

The record sits at No. 166 in Rolling Stone's top 500 albums of all-time list, with the explanation, "Costello wanted his music to be as complex as his lyrics (which increasingly documented marital tension). So for his seventh album he and Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick experimented with an adult sonic palette (accordions, Mellotron, horns) that highlighted grown-up stress and sorrow."

Since it's all the rage to tour a classic LP, why not do it with "IbMePdErRoIoAmL" (sorry, Elvis geek alert)? The tour arrives at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee on Sunday, July 16.

Tickets range from $55.50 to $99.50 and go on sale this Friday, March 3 at noon.

The same venue hosted Costello's amazing solo performance a few years back.

Alas, trainspotters, The Attractions – who made the record with Costello – will not perform it with him, though 66.67 percent of the group will: drummer Pete Thomas and keyboardist Steve Nieve. Because bassist Bruce Thomas has long since been replaced by Davey Faragher, you'll get The Imposters, instead, and that's just fine. Also on tap will be backing singers Kitten Kuroi and YahZarah.

The "Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers" tour kicked off last year and the Milwaukee date is part of another 23-date leg.

"We never intended to recite this book from cover to cover," says Costello. "Listen to our new arrangement of 'Tears Before Bedtime,' it gets straight to the real meaning of that song, the way we hear and feel it today. Back in 1982, I might have been a step or two ahead of our crowd in the tragic, romantic stakes but I sense that they've all caught up with me now."

As for the "Other Chambers," Dec sez: "You never know who or what you are going to encounter down the …

Music educator and professional harpist Jeanne Henderson died Feb. 12 at age 94.
Music educator and professional harpist Jeanne Henderson died Feb. 12 at age 94.

Celebrating MPS music innovator Jeanne Henderson, who has died at age 94

Earlier this month, when Jeanne Margaret Henderson passed away at the age of 94, Milwaukee lost not only one of its premier harp players, but also a tireless advocate for music education in public schools.

Henderson, who was born Jeanne Bergeim in 1922, died on Feb. 12. The funeral was held on Wednesday.

"For a woman born in 1922, she was miles ahead of the wave of feminism that would come during her daughter and granddaughter’s time," says her granddaughter Tracy Henderson.

"She headed to NY at 18, with not a fear in her head, then dyed that head (of hair) blonde and headed across the U.S., into Central and South America with her crazy harp quartet, and, when she did come home, changed the face of city."

After attending the prestigious Juilliard School of Music in New York City, Tracy says her grandmother had an amazingly varied career as a musician. She played with Latin legend Tito Puente, and that "crazy harp quartet" that wended its way around the globe featured – wait for it – a contortionist. Clearly, Jeanne Henderson was not one to be bound by the rules.

Here in Milwaukee she performed "The Nutcracker" with the Milwaukee Ballet and played with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. She also entertained diners at The English Room in The Pfister Hotel and The Immigrant Restaurant at The American Club in Kohler.

"If you listened to harp music at a wedding from 1960 to 2010, you also probably heard her performance," says Tracy Henderson, adding that Jeanne continued to give harp lessons until she was 90 years old. Despite the fact that Pat McCurdy’s mom was Jeanne’s best friend, the singer/songwriter did not study with Jeanne. His loss.

Perhaps most importantly, and most far-reaching, was Jeanne’s work in Milwaukee Public Schools, where she created the largest public high school harp program in the country in its day.

For a quarter of a century Henderson traveled among all MPS high schools sharing her love of and skills on the harp with Milwau…

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For some of us, there's a Usinger's Day once a week.
For some of us, there's a Usinger's Day once a week.

10th annual Usinger's Day means free sausage for you!

There is nothing that is more classic Milwaukee than Usinger’s Famous Sausage and once again, Usinger’s neighbor, the Old German Beer Hall, 1009 N. Old World 3rd St., joins the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County in celebrating Feb. 23 – today! – as Fred Usinger Day.

Of course, for some Milwaukeeans – guilty as charged – there's a Usinger's Day nearly every week. I suspect restaurateur Hans Weissgerber is in the club, too.

"Usinger ‘wurstmachers’ have been making superlative quality sausage on Milwaukee's Old World 3rd Street since 1880," said Weissgerber, owner of the Beer Hall, in a statement.

"The site of the original store is located directly across the street from the Old German Beer Hall. The original family recipes have never been altered in order to meet a competitive price. To the Usinger sausage makers, it is a matter of pride to maintain their tradition of excellence."

This 10th annual celebration includes free Usinger’s brats from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m., and a gratis beer sample (21 and older, of course) at a 6 p.m. keg-tapping, while supplies last.

There will also be live music by Ferdinand Buchel & Ken Brandt at noon and the Brewhouse Polka Kings from 5 until 8 p.m., as well as a variety of specials on brats, wieners, Braunschweiger, chicken sausages, sauerkraut and more from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

And, seriously, you’ll be right across the street. Don’t miss an opportunity to stop in the one-of-a-king Usinger’s retail store, where you can get the full range of Usinger’s treats – encased or otherwise.

Say hi to Fritz for me.

Valerie June met the kids at MPS' Lancaster Elementary in September. She'll see them again today before her gig at Turner Hall.
Valerie June met the kids at MPS' Lancaster Elementary in September. She'll see them again today before her gig at Turner Hall.

At Turner Hall, Valerie June reunites with friends from MPS' Lancaster School

Folk-blues singer/songwriter Valerie June plays at Turner Hall Ballroom at 8 tonight as part of the tour for her anticipated new record, "The Order of Time."

But I’m pretty sure the best moment of the day will come when she welcomes about 15 kids from MPS’ Lancaster Elementary School to the venue at 4:30 p.m. to watch her soundcheck and then spend some time at a meet-and-greet.

The event was organized as part of the Turnaround Arts program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Four MPS schools – Lancaster, MLK, Sherman Creative Arts and Roosevelt Middle School of the Arts – participate in the program, which integrates art, dance, music, theater and more across other subject areas.

The meet-and-greet will be something of a reunion because June visited Lancaster Elementary, a K3-8 school near 68th and Hampton, in September. That’s when the photo you see above was taken.

At the school, June performed and talked to kids, who had been researching June and her music for a couple weeks – drawing pictures of and writing essays about her.

June’s connection to Lancaster via the Turnaround Arts program is expected to last two years, during which time she will continue to visit and connect with kids whenever possible.