5 ways to enjoy Milwaukee Day (without getting arrested)
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The rain of confetti falling from the sky and the river of cheap beer flowing through the streets can mean only one thing: This Saturday is Milwaukee Day. Yes, April 14 (4/14) has been designated as a day to celebrate everything good and righteous in the 414 area code. Parties have been planned, shows have been booked, and drinks have been procured. Because if there’s one thing Milwaukee desperately needs, it’s another excuse to get shitfaced during the weekend.
Created two years ago by Brent Gohde, Sam Macon, Justin Kay, Timm Gable, and Toby and Andy Silverman, the holiday began as nothing more than a clever idea and a Facebook page. But in 2011, plans were put into place that would make April 14, 2012 the first official Milwaukee Day. “This year the events are in the real world, and are coming together in a citywide celebration of everything positive about Milwaukee,” Gohde tells The A.V. Club. “Some we’ve organized ourselves, but there are plenty of others who are passionate about the city and making it a day to remember with bands, film screenings, community cleanups, discounts, specials, and much more.”
But before you slip on your Zubaz and shotgun a beer with Danny Gokey or whatever, please consider The A.V. Club’s list of safe, non-life-threatening Milwaukee Day activities. And let’s do this.
See some shows
Much of the Milwaukee Day action takes place on Russell Avenue in Bay View. Cactus Club will feature The Cave Singers, Absolutely, Greatest Lakes, Icarus Himself, and Slow Walker. Meanwhile, across the street at Club Garibaldi, Sat. Nite Duets, Northless, Moon Curse, Across Tundra, and Hearts Of Stone will kick out the jams. (A $15 wristband can be purchased that’s good for entrance into both Cactus and Garibaldi.) Just up Kinnickinnic, Ivy Spokes and Zoo Animals will be dusting their brooms at Tonic Tavern.
On the East Side, Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound will get down at Shank Hall. In addition, Cans is advertising a decidedly un-Cans-like day of “outdoor festivities celebrating local art, apparel, and music,” and a lineup including Hugh Bob And The Hustle, Boy Blue, and The Delta Routine. The Hotel Foster will also be screening a host of local films beginning at 6 p.m., including Missed Connections and the video for Altos’ “Sing (For Trouble).”
Over in Riverwest, the Public House is waving the Milwaukee Day banner above Altos and Brooklyn, New York’s In One Wind. At Linnemann’s, Union Pulse, This Is Indian Land, and Kevin Crafton will take the stage. There will also be a fair amount of fuzz rolling out of the amps at Circle-A Cafe and Quarters, with The Book Burners and The Hussy, respectively, headlining those venues.
You probably don’t need another reason to steer clear of big-box stores, but 4/14 gives you even more incentive to shop local. According to Gohde: “Whether you get your morning coffee at Stone Creek or Alterra, your lunch at Glorioso’s or Speed Queen, or your funeral from Krause or Church And Chapel, nothing says Milwaukee Day like supporting our local economy.” He also recommends “casting your squirrel underwear dollar votes at Art Smart’s Dart Mart, and making sure that the person sticking needles in you is from our fair city at Milwaukee Community Acupuncture.”
Steal from other holidays
A young holiday like Milwaukee Day will experience some growing pains as it finds itself. One good way to bring a yearly celebration into maturity is to appropriate traditions from other holidays. Amid the rocking and the drinking, don’t forget 4/14 is also the feast day of Saint Lidwina, the patron saint of ice-skating and the chronically ill. The 15th century Dutch saint garnered fame not only as a magic healer but also for her continually shedding body parts including flesh, bones, and intestines. Take time during Milwaukee Day to celebrate her remarkable life by eating a feast, which requires that you not picture any part of that life while eating.
April 14 is also Black Day in South Korea, a celebration of singledom and yin to Valentine’s Day’s yang. The forlorn get together and eat a dish of white noodles and black bean sauce, a pretty good runner-up to having meaningful intimacy or regular sex.
Ponder the (Ted) Perry
Whenever the powers-that-be in the Vatican get around to canonizing a patron saint of Milwaukee Day, they’ll undoubtedly look to Fox 6’s Ted Perry. The local news anchor is an island of class in a sea of schlock, and when Milwaukee Day was in its prepubescent planning stages in April 2011, he was kind enough to give it a shout-out on air. (He was also nice enough to provide The A.V. Club with a list of his favorite Perrys.) That’s the kind of awesomeness you just don’t get from your Mike Jacobses, Kent Wainscotts, and whoever is on CBS 58.
Milwaukee Day is meant to celebrate everything that makes the 414 unique—the Bradley Center, Bronze Fonz, and Morning Blend included. But when the party is over and the streamers are being swept away, it’s time to return to reality and be critical. Just because it’s local doesn’t mean it’s automatically awesome. So make sure to hold our music, our food, our nightlife, and our bronze sculptures up to a high standard. Leave the blind cheerleading (and the non-constructive hating) to the kids. That’s how we’ll do this, Milwaukee.
For a full and ever-evolving list of Milwaukee Day activities, visit the holiday’s website here.