Kim and Scott Collins, the Smoking Flowers, perform at the Down and Over Pub tomorrow night.

Six questions for The Smoking Flowers

Nashville duo Kim and Scott Collins, known as The Smoking Flowers, are bringing a heady melange of rock, blues, country and some serious Southern Gothic attitude to the Down and Over Pub, 2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., tomorrow night.

The husband-and-wife team of singer-songwriters aren't just talented: they've also been through a lot together. Kim was diagnosed with breast cancer last year just before the release of their new album "2 Guns," which was put on hold while they faced the illness together.

Now that Kim is thankfully in remission, the couple talk with about their music, their love - and, of course, "Laverne and Shirley." How did you guys meet and start playing together? Were you a couple first, or the other way around?

Scott Collins: Definitely a couple first. In a whirl-wind kind of way. We were engaged the night before I had ever even seen Kim perform live on a stage. We'd played for each other acoustically around the house, that sort of thing, but not together nor were we involved as musicians. Shortly after we were married, though, that changed quite drastically, as Kim joined the alt-country-rock band I had with my brother. Being the multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire that she is, and unparalleled as a harmony singer, it was a dream. We quickly realized that it was good for our relationship to be able to tour together, as well. Not having to be apart like some musician couples deal with. After years of casually playing pretty acoustic songs together around the house, at parties (and) amongst peers, and getting responses like "Why aren't you guys doing THIS?" we finally took the plunge. And from the first live show we ever did as The Smoking Flowers at The Basement in Nashville, we and the audience both knew there was some deep stuff going down. There was both spark and fire.

OMC: How does your relationship as a married couple translate into your music?

SC: In more ways than you can count. Our art, relationship…

Apparently, it's good to rent in Milwaukee.
Apparently, it's good to rent in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee named 10th best city for renters

Unfortunately, I know way more than I would like to about renting in the Milwaukee area ‚Äď as, I am sure, many of you can understand. Yearly moves due to rent hikes, sold properties, new jobs or other disruptions seem to be getting more and more commonplace in this economy.

Luckily, real esate blog Zillow recently ranked Milwaukee the 10th best city for renters looking to get the most bang for their buck, with a median rent list price of $807, which translates to roughly $.91 per square foot.

You can see more of the list here and learn about how criteria used by Zillow here.

Jazz in the Park...does it even need to be said?
Jazz in the Park...does it even need to be said?

19 things Milwaukee millenials love

We Milwaukee millennials have plenty of time to love things, because most of us can't get jobs.

1. "Bridesmaids"

And when we get pulled over, we're sad the cop doesn't have an Irish accent.


2. Cupcakes

It's so little. And it's locally made. That means it's good for me, right?


3. Brady Street

See also: scarves and fedoras. 


4. Instagramming photos of our morning lakeside run

#nofilter (Also, a sly way of letting all your social media followers know that you work out.)


5. 88.9

Also, we all claim to never listen to KISS FM anymore...but we do. Every morning. Wes, Rahney and Alley, man.


6. The Pabst Theater's Ten Buck Shows



7. "Man From Milwaukee" by Hanson

OMG! Hanson knows where I live!


8. Chicago

But then we're happy to come back to a downtown we can actually drive around in.


9. Yoga

Because there's that awesome part at the end where we just get to lie there with the lights off.



Look at those happy people. They probably have dental insurance.


11. Mike Gousha

No one will ever read the news like you, Mike. Please come back.


12. Skateland

We pretend to go there for an ironic nostalgia-fest, but really, we just want to skate around to "Bye Bye Bye."


13. Dirty Girl Mud Run

 All my ladies say heyyyyy.


14. Signing gubernatorial recall petitions

Also, that Wisconsin-as-fist picture. We love that. 


15. Camping drunk

Because doing it any other way doesn't make a whole lot of sense.


16. Target Free First Thursdays

Free air conditioning!


17. MAM After Dark

Like a club, with culture. A culture club. (Yes, we know what Culture Club is.)


18. Old Economy Steve meme



19. The Lakefront Brewery Tour 

Because we get to drink during the day, but we feel like we earned it.

Attendance at Summerfest was up this year.
Attendance at Summerfest was up this year.

Summerfest by the numbers 2013

Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. released preliminary data regarding Summerfest attendance for 2013.

Summerfest claimed 840,356 attendees over the course of the 11-day festival. That's an increase of 4.3 percent over last year, when the heat kept many at home.

Festival-goers hailed not only from Milwaukee and Wisconsin but from 49 other states and 40 countries including Australia, Brazil, France, Spain, Mexico, Germany, Uganda and Poland.

Summerfest claims that 78,445 patrons took advantage of free entrance promotions like Johnson Controls Stop Out Hunger Day. Unsurprisingly, there's no data on how many patrons were admitted for free on nights like June 29, when crowds swarmed the gates in such bloated numbers that festival staff was obliged to grant free admittance to everyone and security screenings allegedly all but stopped.

More Summerfest figures released today:

  • Over 800 acts gave over 1,000 performances.
  • Food and beverage sales increased by 7 percent over last year.
  • 59,947 cheeseburgers, 22,300 brats, 13,605 eggplant strips, 41,584 mozzarella sticks, 41,978 ears of corn, 167,796 mini donuts and 33,728 ice cream cones were consumed.
  • Patrons took 4,105 paddleboat rides and 4,181 zipline rides.
  • The Verlo Mattress Skyglider provided 92,566 one-way trips.
  • 4,101,600 feet of towel was used along with 972 gallons of hand soap (good to know people were sanitary).
  • 80 sponsors and media partners participated in the festival.
  • 140,000 hours were worked by nearly 2,000 employees as well as¬†875 volunteer shifts from 400 volunteers and drivers.
  • Summerfest photographers captured over 15,000 digital images.

And we're going to do it all over again next year. Summerfest 2014 will take place June 25-29 and July 1-6 and will be closed on June 30.