Monday, June 18, 2012

A Very Good Time in Brew City

I took Friday off to visit Milwaukee and the Lakefront Festival of Arts with Ben. This is a semi-annual trip for us, although it has been at least three years since we've made it up there. Occasionally I've bought a piece of art; this year I just felt delighted to make the trip and eat a nice lunch and pay admission without nervously checking my bank balance! I wore my yellow Kohl's dress and my sensible new Clark's.

Milwaukee is a really great place for a day trip. An easy hour and a half drive, inexpensive parking, friendly folks, great food, and one of my favorite museums:
Who wouldn't love the breathtaking Brise Soleil by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava? Some years we have stayed until evening to watch it close. This year the Milwaukee Art Museum had (has) an exhibit of French fin de siecle posters, by Toulouse-Lautrec and others.

The art festival is pretty remarkable, too. The work is very high quality (not "local" in any negative sense), but also quite reasonable - this isn't the Bienniale. I was very tickled to talk to Jill Bedford, from whom I bought a large photograph almost eight years ago. That piece has given me so much satisfaction over the years. In Skokie it was the last thing I saw before I fell asleep at night (and the first thing I saw waking up) and now it hangs by my desk so I see it every day. I wanted to tell her that.  :-) She shows all over the Midwest, and in fact will be in Evanston this coming weekend at the Fountain Square Art Festival.

We saw beautiful photography and digital work, painting, metal, ceramics, etc. I stay out of the jewelry booths entirely because I can't afford anything there. I'd rather have something on my wall anyway. I hope that next year I will be able to buy something.

Or maybe I'll come back and buy a pair of shoes! Because Milwaukee is also the home of Shoo, chock full of Fluevog, Camper, Miz Mooz, Bed-Stu and more fabulous shoe friends.
Those are the cutest black and white pumps from All Black to the right. I had to have Ben hold my credit card.

There is also the Eisner Museum of Advertising and Design, right up the street from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, though sadly closed when we were there. Their windows had quips like "Without advertising, "what's in your wallet" is just an awkward question". I am a little suspicious that the museum may be more than temporarily closed, as the website appears kind of broken too, but I sincerely hope not.

We had lunch in the Historic Third Ward, which has a pretty riverwalk and a lot of appealing boutiques, businesses and restaurants. And of course, everywhere you go the service is so pleasant and so friendly. Much like these fellas, playing outside the Museum:
The Viking on the right is playing a saw.
They were AWESOME.

There's also a very cool new-to-me Public Market about five blocks from everything. We stopped there on our way back to our car, scoped out the bakery and chocolatier (Ben shopped here), bought a couple bottles of wine, picked up a few things for the pantry at The Spice House, chose delicious carryout from Aladdin's, and then jumped in our car.

Why do we only go once a year? Oh yes, because it was a $150 day and I didn't even get any SHOES.  But what a fun, fun day it was.


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