Ode to Joy: The “Sound and Fury Sonnet Slam” was a delightful evening of readings—Shakespearean, original or otherwise—that were bawdy, uber-bawdy, romantic or downright funny. The event raised funds for the Optimist Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park at Alverno College, this year presenting Macbeth.
Some 15 actors and related notables held court at Transfer Pizzeria on Kinnickinnic and Mitchell, hosted by master of ceremonies Tom Reed, Optimist’s associate artistic director. Artistic Director Ron Scot Fry, in a Shakespeare-as-Che-Guevara T- shirt, delivered a sonnet, “Mistress,” to the amusement of his wife, Susan Scot Fry, the troupe’s managing director.
Additional readers included “the grand sire of Milwaukee theater,” Jim Pickering; plus Andrew Voss, Youngblood Theatre Co.’s co-founder; Optimist board member Jean Collins; Dragonwolf Wordsmithing’s David Muller; and actor/Random Maxx guitarist Bo Johnson. Tom Nowalis read his own sonnet about stuttering, and Bunny Gumbo’s James Fletcher announced that he and his wife are expecting.
The best line in Richard Runkel’s sonnet about turning 60 was “I still love my boxer briefs. I’m not ready for Depends.” Towering Bill Jackson was the tallest sonneteer, orating Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 101,” while Alverno’s Carole Barrowman lobbed in a hilarious naughty-naughty. Local actress Beth Monhollen, who has lived in Milwaukee for 23 years, reverted to her native Tennessean for a hysterical rendition of “Sonnet 29.” Transfer Pizzeria co-owner Russell Rossetto offered the evening’s concluding “Mad (Lib) About You, aka DIY Sonnet.”
Juli Kwakenat, there with husband Steve (Scotty) Covey, was the raffle winner of a Macbeth script signed by Optimist’s cast, with its special “Forward” by dramaturg ML Cogar. Meanwhile, live tweets by Lucky Tomaszek and Rosy Ricks kept the outside world abreast of the proceedings.
Ethnic Eaters: “The Ethnics” have been meeting for the last six years at each other’s homes for a creative potluck from a designated country such as Vietnam, Brazil and Japan. The group met recently at the abode of Jackie Boynton and Peter McAvoy, one of the founders, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. From cactus salad to flan, no one went home hungry. Other originals were Leo Ries and Marie Kingsbury, Patrick Curley and Anne DeLeo, Jennifer and Tom Williams, and John Gilligan and Janice Ereth. Added to the list were attorneys Jeralyn Wendelberger and Sue Gramling, Amy Stone, Paul and Holly Nannis, Dan Gilipsky and Jill Fox, and Mary Louise Mussoline and Jim Cope. Newbies there were Jeanne and Eric Christiansen.
Eat, Drink and Enlightenment: Artists Working in Education (AWE) is on the move. Its new headquarters is on Vliet Street, its Truck Studio will soon be rolling, and its “bring out your inner artist” series includes a Milwaukee Art Museum tour with Barbara Brown Lee, walking tours with John Gurda and E.J. Brumder, cheese-making with Katie Hedrich and hands-on workshops with textile designer Susan Peterson, from Dermond Peterson, and artist Barbara Manger.
After delicious dining at Guadalupe Mexican Restaurant with a group including Bruce and Janine Smith, a fund-raiser for the AWE series, B&D checked out “The Dove and The Elephant,” an evening with art historian Natanya Blanck, at the United Community Center. Blanck, associate professor at MIAD, enlightened the crowd about artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
Margaritas and Blanck’s deliciously decadent tres leches cake added to the evening’s charm. AWE’s new executive director, Beth Haskovec, welcomed attendees.
Board member Liza Frolkis hosted the event, enjoyed by board president Lynn Rix and board member Ann Bowe, along with Colleen Mortenson, artist Barbara Kohl-Spiro and Blanck’s ex-pats Claudia Mayer, Adriana Gonzalez and Patricia Wood from Mexico, plus Alice Carrothers from Puerto Rico and Venezuelan native Natalia Golis.
Ducking In: Ross Bachhuber and Melissa Buchholz’s new Odd Duck restaurant in Bay View is a perfect combination of an eclectic, delicious menu, charming ambiance and an interesting crowd. B&D stopped by for a quickie of bubbly and hors d’oeuvres. Perched barside were Heather Wojner, owner of the amazing online fashion store BonaDrag.com, and her sister Sarah, just completing a photo shoot with model Courtney Stone. The trio was joined by Faythe Levine, Sky High Gallery curator, working with Sam Macon on a new documentary about sign painters. Julie Solochek was tableside nearby with Floridian pal Linda Palmer. Bartenders Courtney Kelley and Guthrie Neumann, each sporting a fabulous ’do, kept the thirsty happy.
Dynamic Duo: Boswell’s Stacie M. Williams, announcing it was the bookshop’s 1,133rd day in business, introduced UW- Milwaukee professor Glen Jeansonne, author of The Life of Herbert Hoover, and David Luhrssen, pen man for Hammer of the Gods: The Thule Society and the Birth of Nazism. On this return Boswell reading, these often-collaborators attracted an overflow crowd. In the audience were Sarah and Richard Kimball, writer Judith Ann Moriarty, Gregory Francis Bird, Lenore Lee, Philo and his wife, artist Colleen Shoop- Kassner, Jungian psychoanalyst Ashok Bedi, Peck School’s rocking lecturer Martin Jack Rosenblum, attorney Yvonne Ochilo and MATC’s Julie Wichman.
If you have any tips for Boris and Doris, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Their next column will appear in the May 31 issue of the Shepherd.
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