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Damien Jaques's Articles
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Dining - July 12, 2012
An educated food truck
When Heatherlee Muehlius' new food truck hit the streets a month ago, she most likely became the best educated restaurateur on wheels in Milwaukee. Known as Hattie, Muehlius has a culinary degree from Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac, and bachelor and master's degrees in education. For most of the year she is an English as a second language specialist in the Milwaukee Public Schools, but this summer she has become the owner and operator of Hattie's Truck.
Arts & Entertainment - July 12, 2012
My exit interview
Having spent the last 32 years watching theatrical characters make their exits, you would expect me to know how to get off my own stage. I'm retiring from journalism this week. No more deadlines and fewer opening nights. As of tomorrow, I am just another guy in the audience with an opinion, but right now I am trying to sum up more than three decades of being a theater critic in Milwaukee.
Arts & Entertainment - July 9, 2012
Cherry picking with German POWs in Door County
The things about Wisconsin we didn't learn in school, the American Folklore Theatre tells us with music, humor and poignance. For instance, the state hosted about 20,000 foreign prisoners of war during WWII, and most were German. Supervised POW projects ranged from Bayfield to Sturtevant, and some captured enemy combatants were even housed at State Fair Park. That is the context for "Victory Farm," this season's new American Folklore Theatre musical being staged outdoors in Peninsula State Park.
Dining - July 9, 2012
The Greenwood Supper Club dates back to John Dillinger
In a tourist destination containing restaurants with breezy patios, festive summer plantings and sparkling water views, it is easy to overlook the Greenwood Supper Club. Located in the interior of the Door County peninsula, at the intersection of County Roads A and F, the low profile business has none of those. But Door County regulars know the Greenwood isn't just another restaurant.
Arts & Entertainment - July 5, 2012
Two Door County performing arts groups operate with new management this summer
The performing arts have been steadily expanding in Door County during the past 20 years, and two organizations are operating with new management this summer. Door Shakespeare had an abrupt change of leadership during the winter. Sturgeon Bay's Third Avenue Playhouse now has a professional stage company being run by two theater artists with Broadway on their resumes.
Dining - July 2, 2012
Good Eggs: Breakfast on a surfboard
Joel Bremer describes his thriving Door County business as "half the day, half the year." That fits with his Good Eggs breakfast restaurant being, in his opinion, more of a lifestyle achievement than a corporate triumph. "Keep it real, keep it simple," has been the motto since Good Eggs opened 11 years ago. That means omelet-filled burritos, ordered and delivered at a counter and served in a plastic basket daily from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., May through October.
Arts & Entertainment - June 28, 2012
Shakespeare in the park misses the mark
Heavy metal Shakespeare. Loud, fast and violent. That is the style the Optimist Theatre is giving us with its free outdoor production of "Macbeth" that opened last week on the Alverno College campus. The approach may work with "Titus Andronicus," but it misses the points in "Macbeth."
Dining - June 25, 2012
Prime by the pounds: Ward's gets national attention for its portion sizes
When Brian Ward opened Ward's House of Prime, he had no intention of presiding over a nationally publicized eating competition. The veteran general manager simply wanted his own upscale restaurant with a beefy flair. But this is Milwaukee, the land of large appetites, and the affable Ward finds himself in the middle of something big. Like serving a hunk of prime rib weighing more than 10 pounds to a single customer.
Arts & Entertainment - June 21, 2012
Milwaukee theater gets involved with the world
We certainly go to the theater to be entertained, and the lord knows, we need our diversions from politics and the news these days. But the juice that energizes theater, keeping it vital and fresh, is found in plays that enthusiastically engage tough issues. Our local stage groups have shown admirable awareness of the world around them in programing their 2012-13 seasons. It will be a year of substance.
Arts & Entertainment - June 18, 2012
Wisconsin actress opens on big stage tonight
With a resume that includes Broadway, major national theaters and the Skylight Music Theatre, Madison native Tari Kelly has a thriving career. She opens in the title role of "Thoroughly Modern Millie" at the legendary St. Louis Muny tonight.
Dining - June 18, 2012
Pandl's brunch memoir gets national publisher
The Sunday brunch at Pandl's in Bayside attracted thousands of diners over four decades, but few knew the nine Pandl children were peeling the shrimp and working the pancake griddle for their colorful father, George. The baby of the family, Julie Pandl, wrote a warm and funny recollection, "Memoir of the Sunday Brunch," and self-published it last year. Algonquin Books recently acquired it and will republish the memoir in November.
Arts & Entertainment - June 14, 2012
Full of "Rent," "Wicked" and "Glee," Idina Menzel comes to the Marcus Center
She created major characters in two musicals that inspired feverish followings. She has starred in three hits, each with a single word for its title. She is charmingly candid about things many celebrities don't discuss. She likes to perform barefoot. And she is coming to the Marcus Center.
Dining - June 11, 2012
Drinking for success
Here is an intriguing formula for being a successful small businessman. Drink a lot in college.
Dining - June 7, 2012
Paris catches up to Milwaukee
The last few summers in Milwaukee and Paris. We are gobbling cheese steaks, falafel and Korean barbecue tacos from food trucks. Parisians are eating stinky cheese, molar-cracking bread and sauteed snails in bistros. Who do you think is having more fun?
Tagged with: food trucks, Paris
Arts & Entertainment - June 7, 2012
Actor profile: Brian Mani of the American Players Theatre
The 2009 opening of the 201-seat Touchstone Theatre on the American Players Theatre grounds in Spring Green has enabled the company to produce the intimate plays too small to be effectively presented on its much larger outdoor stage. Veteran actor Brian Mani co-stars in the intellectually rigorous and emotionally intense "Skylight" in the Touchstone this summer.
Dining - June 4, 2012
Milwaukee's cheesiest shop, bar and cafe
For most of its 74 years, the Wisconsin Cheese Mart was a sleepy little shop on Old World Third Street. Originally in the old Metropolitan Block building, across an alley from Usinger's, the store moved a half block north in 1976 after its historic edifice burned. The mart ran through a succession of owners, and at times seemed to be as much a deli as a cheese retailer. Enter Ken McNulty, who bought the business in 2003 and woke it up.
Arts & Entertainment - May 31, 2012
A green and gold saucer, hovering over the Marcus Center
Before we dismiss "Packer Fans from Outer Space" as the goofy title of a silly musical, we must consider this. In the spring of 1952, the superintendent of Door County's Peninsula State Park spotted a strange object hovering in the sky. Fifty years later, "Packer Fans from Outer Space" debuted on the American Folklore Theatre outdoor stage in Peninsula State Park. A fresh production, containing two new songs, opens June 8 in Vogel Hall at the Marcus Center.
Dining - May 28, 2012
A needed Outpost of healthy eating
Last week's debut of the Outpost Market Cafe at the Aurora Sinai Medical Center is great news and I hope the start of a trend. The cafe, located in the Aurora Sinai main lobby, is being operated by Outpost Natural Foods, the co-op that owns supermarkets in Bay View, the East Side and in Wauwatosa. At only 225-square feet, the eatery is small, but it is giving hospital visitors, staff and the surrounding neighborhood the opportunity to grab Outpost's made-from-scratch soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees and baked goods. Hallelujah!
Dining - May 28, 2012
Eating my way through the Milwaukee Public Market
Name the biggest and most eclectic food court in the Milwaukee area. I bet you didn't think of the Milwaukee Public Market in the Historic Third Ward. The market has dramatically remade itself since its 2005 debut, becoming a large and lively restaurant and bar that also offers coffee, candy, wine, baked goods, frozen custard, grocery items, flowers, tee shirts, packaged spices and kitchen gadgets.
Arts & Entertainment - May 24, 2012
A fun day in the park with George
Now in his 80s, Stephen Sondheim has been taking victory laps the last few years. His genius is deservedly appreciated, and I doubt I will get any argument by calling him the greatest living composer of musical theater. With its exquisite production of "Sunday in the Park With George," the Skylight Music Theatre is taking that further. It is showing us that Sondheim belongs in the discussion about America's greatest theatrical writers, along with O'Neill, Williams, Miller, August Wilson and Edward Albee.
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