L.A. singer Suzanne Jamieson is a Racine native.
L.A. singer Suzanne Jamieson is a Racine native.

Racine native releases "A Sun-Up Sky" in L.A.

Racine native Suzanne Jamieson hasn't slowed down for a second since leaving Wisconsin at the age of 18 to pursue her "show-biz" bug. Living in Los Angeles, Jamieson appears in several national commercials, writes the "Haute Health" food blog and just released her debut album, "A Sun-Up Sky."

Recently, we chatted with Jamieson about life after growing up in Wisconsin, her age-old love for music and her brand new album.

OnMilwaukee.com: What prompted you to release your debut CD?

Suzanne Jamieson: After finishing a cabaret called "Speak Low" in July 2007, I decided to record the songs just because it was something I had always wanted to do. I finished that about a year later and decided that I would submit it to Lee Lessack's record label, LML, which covers similar styles of music and is based out of L.A. You can imagine my thrill when Lee called me and told me he'd like to pick up the album ... but with some changes.

The songs made sense in the context of my cabaret, as it was a musical memoir -- but as an album it was not as cohesive as he would have liked. So, we took some songs out, put some new songs in, re-recorded several of the songs to capture the tone and feel of the new album, and we ended up with "A Sun-Up Sky," of which I am very proud. It was a dream come true for me to release a CD and I am honored and humbled to work with this great label.

OMC:  What draws you to American songbook favorites, Broadway and pop classics?

SJ: Well, I have always loved show tunes. And songs from the "Great American Songbook" grab me because, well, they're just really good. Beautiful, simple, soulful songs. There is a reason they're still around and still so beloved. "Don't Cry Out Loud," a song originally recorded by Melissa Manchester, is the only real pop classic on the album.

OMC: You attended Syracuse University for musical theater. Is that where your musical background comes from?

SJ: I've been singing since I was a little …

A custom bike owned by American rapper Shawnna is just one of many on display.
A custom bike owned by American rapper Shawnna is just one of many on display.

Film insiders talk Harleys in Hollywood

There’s always a sense of pride here in Milwaukee when a Harley-Davidson bike pops up on the big screen.

As part of the Harley-Davidson Museum's "Harleys & Hollywood," two movie industry insiders stop in Milwaukee to spill the scoop on the behind-the-scenes stunt and trick techniques in "Untold Stories."

Tim Woods, picture car coordinator, and Justin Kell, motorcycle coordinator, to hear all about movies, motorcycles and the actors who ride them. 

Woods' and Kell’s work can be seen in films such as "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," "Star Trek" and "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra." Together, Woods and Kell select vehicles, manage transportation scenes, coordinate builds and serve as bike technicians.

Stop by on Friday to see the bikes, watch the film clips and get inside information only these two have. Recently, I caught up with Kell to catch a preview of what’s in store for Friday night.

OnMilwaukee.com: Why is the Harley so often chosen as the bike to appear in film?

Justin Kell: Harley-Davidson motorcycles are what most people in America think of when they think of a motorcycle. In many instances, a director or production designer will request a Harley-Davidson based on a character’s "vibe." The Harley-Davidson brand certainly represents many things to the American public, and this runs true inside the film industry.

OMC:  Are stunts typically performed with the original bike or a modified version of the Harley?

JK: Generally, we will heavily modify a copy of what we call the "hero" bike -- the main bike seen in the finished movie -- to use for the stunt scenes.

Using "Indiana Jones" as an example, we set up the stunt bike very differently from the main hero bike. The stunt bike was tailored to the requests of the stunt rider, and we built it specifically to be able to handle the stunts that are performed. The bikes that are ridden by the actors a…

Karma's the spot to watch the big game-- they have 17 HD televisions.
Karma's the spot to watch the big game-- they have 17 HD televisions.

Rapid review: Karma Bar & Grill

"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee.com is back for another round!  The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs -- including guides, the latest trends, rapid bar reviews and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!

Karma Bar & Grill
600 E. Ogden Ave.
(414) 220-4118

Menu: The bar menu is classic; tap and bottle beer, liquor and the occasional wine pour.

Price: Inexpensive to moderate.

When to go: Head to Karma for the big game. With 17 HDTVs, they show all NFL, NCAA and MLB games plus select NBA, NHL, UFC and Nascar events. Stop in this month for constant Olympic coverage.

Dress: Casual. The setting is part sports bar, part urban trend. So wear your jeans, work clothes or sweats. Anything will do.

Don't miss: While you’re tipping back the beers, bulk up on Karma’s new "Karma-Que." The new barbeque menu pulled pork, ribs, beef brisket and roasted chicken. Not into grilled meats? Opt for the home-style gourmet mac 'n' cheese. 

Parking: Karma is surrounded by parking lots at the adjacent Pick N’ Save or just east next to Panera Bread Co.

You'll find valet parking at both fine dining and casual restaurants all weekend long.
You'll find valet parking at both fine dining and casual restaurants all weekend long.

The cost of valet in Milwaukee

You can find valet parking, mainly on Friday and Saturday nights, at nearly every fine dining restaurant in town. Bacchus, Mo’s Steakhouse, Hinterland, Milwaukee Chophouse, Sanford -- they all offer it.

It’s always an option, never a requirement when dining out, and the cost is determined by the contracted valet company based on the part of town and parking availability.

But, in a city obsessed with affordability, what’s the perception of paying for valet parking?

Unlike Chicago, more often than not, parking fees, even in Downtown Milwaukee, are limited by how much you can plug into a meter. Unless you work Downtown and rent a parking space, we all get by relatively cheaply on parking.

Take Downtown during a sporting event at the Bradley Center or in the Third Ward during theater season: street parking is limited, forcing many into structures for $5 or $10 charges. So, at what price level should valet enter the picture?

When it comes to valet, what’s the appropriate charge? There are only one or two restaurants in the city that opt to pick up the customer’s tab, and while many think it’s the restaurants job to do so, it’s not financially possible for most. What would happen? Well, you’d see the price of your entrée jump a few dollars to cover it.

So, what should it cost to have your car parked on a busy Friday or Saturday night?