Get ready for some heavenly beds at The Westin Milwaukee, opening next June.
Get ready for some heavenly beds at The Westin Milwaukee, opening next June.

A quick look at the in-progress Westin Milwaukee

Check in early and stay late during OnMilwaukee's "Hotel Week" sponsored by VISIT Milwaukee. The next seven days will be packed with stories about historic area hotels, reviews, history, food and drink, staycations and more. Find out what it's like to be a tourist in this town (chocolate on your pillow not included).

There's doesn't to seem to be any lack of exciting new buildings and hotels popping up around Milwaukee – and The Westin Milwaukee hotel, moving in right behind the U.S. Bank Center, is one of them.

Progress is moving fast on the new hotel – which will hold 220 rooms, including seven suites, and an Italian steakhouse-inspired restaurant when it opens in June 2017 – and as evidence, this morning, The Westin hosted a special ceremony and celebration inside the neighboring U.S. Bank Center for the beginning of the final concrete pour on the structure. Investors, visitors and media members looked up through the Galleria level's skylight to watch as a crane carried a beam – decorated with an American flag on one end and a Christmas tree on the other – and the final concrete pour over to the hotel. 

"The Westin won't just be a destination for leisure or business travelers; it also will serve as a hub for everybody who lives in our city and works and plays within Milwaukee at any time," said The Westin's general manager Jeff Hess. "Milwaukee will continue to evolve, and we're happen to be a part of that evolution."

"This is unprecedented in the history of the city of Milwaukee; there has never been a real estate boom like we're seeing right now – and it's not building for the sake of building," said Rocky Marcoux, commissioner for the Department of City Development, adding later, "If there are investors that are willing to put their money into these hotels, keep 'em coming, because this is a great sign of growth for us and it's a great sign of growth for Milwaukee as a fantastic business destination."

But the most exciting part of Wednesd…

Disney released a new trailer today for next year's "Beauty and the Beast" live-action remake.

Watch the ravishing trailer for Disney's live-action "Beauty and the Beast"

Death. Taxes. Disney making live-action remakes of its classic animated hits. These are the only guarantees in life. Cynicism toward Hollywood's lack of imagination aside, though, Disney's done a pretty respectable job with their live-action rehashings ("Cinderella" is still a genuine enchantment) and today's newly released "Beauty and the Beast" trailer would only seem to solidify that. 

Basically, if you like the 1991 original animated movie, you'll probably love this trailer, which visually looks a whole lot like the Best Picture-nominated hit just recreated in beautiful, ravishing reality. 

My only gripe: Dan Stevens (poor, poor Matthew Crawley on "Downton Abbey") should be Gaston, not The Beast. If anyone's seen "The Guest" (you should!) or even "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" (you can pass!), you know he'd be absolutely perfect for a deviously charismatic and handsome ham. And while Luke Evans could be perfect for the cruel and vicious Gaston of the back end – and I have hope he can pull off the preening ego of the first half – I'm worried he's too intense and obviously sinister.

Also: Why cast Dan Stevens if you're just going to bury him in a mo-cap suit and unrecognizable voice modulation? You could've hired me for like a 10th of the price!

These, however, are just silly gripes based on exactly two minutes of footage, so I look forward to being proven completely wrong when the movie comes out (and makes an ocean of money) on March 17. I still would've taken that paycheck, though, Disney. You could've at least asked. 

"Beware the Slenderman" will have its HBO premiere on Jan. 23.

"Beware the Slenderman" finally gets HBO premiere date and trailer

Who's in the mood for a horrific true crime story about children, a brutal stabbing and a faceless nightmare monster from the internet – all based in Wisconsin?


Well, at least you'll have some time to get ready, as HBO announced (after a surprisingly long wait since its SXSW debut last March) that "Beware the Slenderman," Irene Taylor Brodsky's documentary about the 2014 Slenderman stabbing case in Waukesha, will premiere on Jan. 23. 

As a bonus, HBO also finally released a trailer for the upcoming doc, which tries to unpack the power of the Internet and the Slenderman phenomenon – all while also following the families of the two then-12-year-old assailants as they trying to cope and fathom their childrens' unfathomable acts. I caught the movie when it showed at this year's Milwaukee Film Festival, and it's a lot to tackle – maybe too much for a single two-hour-and-change documentary – but there's no denying it's a compelling and fascinating story. 

Stay tuned for more thoughts as the HBO premiere gets closer – and in the meantime, check out my recent interview with the director.

Summerfest 50 is coming - which means so are some big announcements soon.

End the week on a high note and get pumped for Summerfest 50

Sigh. This has been quite the week, hasn't it? So let's try to end this thing on an inarguable, undebatable good note: Summerfest 50 is coming, slowly yet surely, and according to a press release today from Summerfest, the fest will start making some big announcements next week. 

What those announcements will be, we don't know yet. But there is the above video, which ... no, doesn't contain any announcements, news or hints either. It's basically an announcement for an announcement, similar to how there are now movie trailers for movie trailers and teaser ads for ads. It's typically an annoying trend, but the GGOOLLDD-scored clip is fun and happy, and, damn it, who's not down for something unreservedly fun and happy right now?

Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for any upcoming Summerfest 50 updates and announcements – and feel free to throw around some guesses and wishes for the lineup. I think I speak for us all when I say I've got fingers crossed for the return of DJ P Hilty