Milwaukee Ballet artistic director Michael Pink poses with BMO Harris regional president Kara Kaiser  and students of the Milwaukee Ballet School and Academy.
Milwaukee Ballet artistic director Michael Pink poses with BMO Harris regional president Kara Kaiser and students of the Milwaukee Ballet School and Academy.
Michael Pink addresses media after BMO Harris' sponsorship of "The Nutcracker" was announced.
Michael Pink addresses media after BMO Harris' sponsorship of "The Nutcracker" was announced.

"Nutcracker" nabs new corporate sponsor

BMO Harris Bank will bring some Christmas cheer to Milwaukee audiences this December. The bank announced today that it will sponsor the Milwaukee Ballet Company’s annual production of "The Nutcracker."

The announcement was made at noon in Red Arrow Park, with students from the Milwaukee Ballet School in attendance wearing costumes from "The Nutcracker."

Kara Kaiser, regional president at BMO Harris Bank, said that this sponsorship will ensure that "this important holiday tradition for many Milwaukee families will continue on," calling the production "the premier family-friendly holiday tradition in Milwaukee."

Milwaukee Ballet Artistic Director Michael Pink told OnMilwaukee.com that BMO Harris’ support, "is the difference between us being able to maintain the performances in terms of the price of tickets."

He said that ticket revenue covers at 50 percent of the expense of staging "The Nutcracker" but that for the rest, the company must rely on philanthropic giving and corporate sponsorship.

"Our main objective, as a family production, we've got to make sure it still fits within people’s wallets. Because it is our single largest production and we perform 16 performances over two and a half weeks, so the overheads are astronomical," he said.

"We hope many other organizations will follow in BMO Harris’ example and come and join us, because we don’t just have to have one sponsor for one performance. We need as many people as we can to help us reach larger numbers of people."

"The Nutcracker" has been performed at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts for over 35 years. It was previously sponsored by MillerCoors, which announced last month that it would withdraw financial support. It runs Dec. 14-27. For more information, visit milwaukeeballet.org.

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Come twerk in Milwaukee, Miley.
Come twerk in Milwaukee, Miley.

5 best spots to twerk in Milwaukee

A lot of us remember Miley Cyrus from her Disney Channel heyday, when she graced the backpacks, notebooks and lunch boxes of fifth graders the world over.

But Billy Ray’s baby girl is now 20 years old, and in case we forgot, she reminded us last night at the VMAs by stripping down to her underwear – literally – and getting all up in Robin Thicke’s business. Hannah Montana got her dirty dance on by twerking across the stage to her song "We Can’t Stop" (and she couldn’t, it seemed).

And when she did, we were all like:

In case any of you don’t know what twerking is, here’s UrbanDictionary’s definition (because really, it’s too good not to share):

"The rhythmic gyrating of the lower fleshy extremities in a lascivious manner with the intent to elicit sexual arousal or laughter in ones (sic) intended audience."

So today, the editorial staff here at OnMilwaukee.com began to wonder: where are the best places in Milwaukee to gyrate your lower fleshy extremities? Which spots would make some really awesome twerk-pics? Here’s what we came up with. Because it’s our city, and we can twerk where we want to.

Twerk on the Bronze Fonz

Because if he were around today, the Fonz would probably be pro-twerking. Heyyyyyy.

Twerk on the Edelweiss

It takes a special twerk to twerk on water.

Twerk on City Hall scaffolding

Just watch out for that crumbling facade. Twerk safely, people.

Twerk at Red Arrow Park

Extra points if you do it on skates.

Twerk on the Pedal Tavern

But be careful. It’s been known to tip over.

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Michael Ring, TD, Irish Minister of Tourism and Sport, is attending Irish Fest this weekend.
Michael Ring, TD, Irish Minister of Tourism and Sport, is attending Irish Fest this weekend.

Why Milwaukee Irish Fest matters to Ireland's economy

Michael Ring, TD, Irish Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, visited the Wisconsin Club today to speak to local media about the important role North American tourism - and by extension Milwaukee Irish Fest - plays in his country's economy.

Tourism accounts for 4 percent of the nation's GNP and about 185,000 members of the workforce are employed in the industry throughout the nation. And since Milwaukee Irish Fest is the largest Irish festival in the world, in a region populated by descendants of Irish immigrants, it makes perfect sense that it is also a huge part of Irish Fest. You can’t miss the Travel Ireland booth located prominently just inside the Main Gate, offering pamphlets, information and package deals on air travel, lodging, tour companies, car rental and just about anything you need to plan the perfect vacation to the Emerald Isle.

Dignitaries from Ireland make a habit of visiting Irish Fest, and it’s an opportunity for Mr. Ring to reach tens of thousands of people who will be planning a trip to his homeland over the next twelve months, probably spurred on by an increase in flights to Ireland and the affordable travel options offered at Irish Fest.

Ring said that the first six months of 2013 have seen a 17 percent increase in tourism to Ireland from North America, making this the biggest year for tourism since 2007.

"It’s brilliant for us," he told OnMilwaukee.com. "Presently, we have almost a million people coming from America to Ireland, and that creates a billion dollars’ worth of business for us. So it’s a very important market, it’s a market that’s growing for us, and we’re really delighted about it. And also with the new carriers coming in from Aer Lingus and United Airlines and Delta and all the other airlines offering more capacity in our way – we have about 26 percent more capacity than we had, that actually makes it easier for people to get into Ireland."

Mr. Ring also spoke about the advent of the Wild Atlantic Way,…

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Screamin' Sicilian hopes to be to frozen pizza what craft beer is to the suds market.
Screamin' Sicilian hopes to be to frozen pizza what craft beer is to the suds market.

Screamin' Sicilian aims to be "craft beer" of frozen pizza

Do you feel like there’s just never enough topping on your pizza? Check out Screamin’ Sicilian, the new "craft pizza" brand from Palermo Villa, Inc. – maker's of Palermo's – that just entered stores in Milwaukee and Wisconsin a few weeks ago.

"It came about as we sought to deliver a frozen pizza that was as good as, if not superior to what is available from the best pizzerias," said Mike Pytlinski, director of marketing. "Simply put, we wanted to develop the absolute best frozen pizza on the market."

Screamin’ Sicilian offers five varieties (with more to come): Bessie’s Revenge (cheese), Boss Hog (Italian Sausage), Holy Pepperoni!, Mambo Italiano! (Italian Combination) and Supremus Maximum (Supreme). The frozen pizzas retail for $8.99, and for now they’re only available in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, though a national distribution may be on the horizon.

OnMilwaukee.com was offered an exclusive tasting of Screamin’ Sicilian yesterday, and the "overtopped" pizzas were a hit (Bessie’s Revenge seemed to disappear particularly quickly – there were whole slices of mozzarella melted on top).

Pytlinski said that, just like the popularity of craft beer is on the rise, so is "craft pizza."

"We think that the taste of this product vs. mainstream frozen pizzas is analogous to how much better many craft beers taste vs. mainstream beers."

To see (or taste) for yourself, find out where to buy Screamin’ Sicilian here.