I took the Amtrak up to Milwaukee on Thursday to catch the Veruca Salt show at Turner Hall. I’m writing a separate post on the show, as I also saw them Saturday night in Chicago and they have been a favorite of mine for many years. Here I just wanted to document the amazing day I had in Milwaukee:
First of all, as you’ll be able to tell from the pictures, the weather was gorgeous. Mid 70s and just the occasional flirty cloud in the sky. Above you see the Historic Third Ward arch I snapped on my way over the Milwaukee River toward my first destination: lunch.
I stopped at Cafe Benelux, just a block or two East of the River. They had a great space, inside and out (check the pics on the linked website for an idea) and since it was such a nice day I enjoyed my salad on their beautiful rooftop patio. I recommend the Beet salad: rocket salad, beets, goat cheese, blueberries, avocado, lemon vinaigrette, and there might have been some kind of nut in there too. It was great. And although it was very busy, the vibe there was really chill, I ate my lunch leisurely and finished the first Saga book while enjoying the sights and sounds of the space.
After lunch I kept walking east for another ten minutes or so and I was at my second stop: the Milwaukee Art Museum.
I’d heard lots of good things about this museum from friends, so it was a must for my first trip to this city. I loved it: there was a rad Kandinsky exhibit going on, they had great little modern and contemporary collections, many little nooks to stop and sit and look out at the gorgeous view of Lake Michigan. On a Thursday afternoon there was almost no one there. So without further ado:
I find Kehinde Wiley’s work to be really outstanding. This painting is from his series, Iconic. From the artist’s website, “These intimately scaled portraits use the visual language and gestures of 15th century icons to depict contemporary subjects selected by Wiley from the streets of New York City. The portraits are presented in specially designed frames that are architectural and gilded in the style of their Byzantine forebears. The pose in the image above echoes St. Peter’s pose in his piazza in Rome. To learn more about Wiley, go here.
To give you an idea of the space these works are in:
The sweet little family above were the only other visitors on this floor besides me, and it was so nice to listen to the grandmother talk to her grandkids about art, as she clearly knew a thing or two about it. But also, it was nice to hear her give the kids silence too, some time to think reflect on what they were seeing and to form their own opinions. She would let them speak first, when approaching a new piece, and would help shape, not determine, the conversation.
After spending about two+ hours in the museum, I was ready to get outside and take a walk along the lake. Milwaukee has a great Riverwalk, one that unlike other major cities’ walk, preceded the genesis of its downtown area, and so in that walk the walk has a life of its own. On this trip, I chose to stroll on the just as impressive Lakefront path:
I was ready for a mid-afternoon coffee and some writing time, so I said see ya later to the Lake and crossed a bridge that led me to Brady Street, a lively commercial area in Milwaukee. The first viable spot for mocha and internet was, you guessed it, Starbucks, but I wanted something a little more local. So I asked the nice girl with the bull ring in her nose where I could get some Milwaukee coffee. She recommended Rochambo Coffee and Tea House. It was perfect.
There I spent a few hours passing the time working on this here blog site and drinking what is, to date, the best iced decaf mocha I’ve ever had. The spot was empty except for me, the owner, and two other people reading the paper and looking out the window. As the afternoon turned to evening, I was packing up my bag and heading over to Comet Cafe for dinner with some friends who drove up after their day for the show that night. Veruca Salt were one of my favorites in my early twenties, and so this show, more than fifteen years in the making, was something I hotly anticipated.
Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli