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Get Ready for Your Close-up

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By Jeannine Sherman
Director of Public Relations
VISIT Milwaukee

What about Milwaukee inspires you? How has living here changed your life or changed you? What about Milwaukee would surprise someone who doesn’t live here? What about your city makes you laugh, makes you hopeful, has meaning?

It could be a place, a building, a group, a person – it could be anything. It just needs to be Milwaukee. You know you love it, now’s your opportunity to tell the world why!

Now through October 12, 2012 (note: deadline has been extended from original date of August 24, 2012), VISIT Milwaukee and 88.9 Radio Milwaukee are giving people who love Milwaukee an opportunity to share their stories and four lucky winners will have a chance to be part of the Dear MKE Film Series. The Series includes a short film about Milwaukee and 12 documentaries about the people, places and things that make Milwaukee special.

Entering is easy and creativity is key! You can share your story or idea via a one-minute video, a photo with caption, or 250 words of text at DearMKE.com. Just upload your content from a desktop - there is no limit to the number of submissions so get going! This cool, interactive web site gives visitors the opportunity to “like” entries, and to share them directly from DearMKE.com with Facebook and Twitter.

I could tell you more, but I’ll let Hollywood producer, Jack Turner, tell you instead. Jack grew up here, and he’s back now overseeing the Dear MKE Film Series. The films he has been involved with have garnered more than 20 Golden Globe nominations and 25 Academy Award nominations – including four for Best Picture!

If your idea or story is selected for a documentary you’ll win one of four Milwaukee prize packages, valued at up to $1,000. Prize packages include tickets to local attractions, restaurants, and hotel overnight stays. As an added bonus, just by entering you’ll be eligible to win a one-year Featured Farm Coffee Subscription from Alterra Coffee, valued at $245.

Why is this important? Because, Milwaukee, it’s our chance to tell our story, the way only we can. It’s an opportunity to send a message to the world about who we are, what’s important to us, and why people should care. At the end of the day, it’s all about image and putting your best foot forward – when we do that, and especially when we do it together, we can change misperceptions about Milwaukee and show the world what a great city we are. A great city to live, work and play in, and visit. And it’s time to remind locals why we embrace the essence of what makes life good here – to stop taking everything that makes Milwaukee awesome for granted. So stop crabbing about the winters and take that video, snap that photo or write that story.

The introductory film in the series will premiere at the Milwaukee Film Festival this fall, and the documentaries will premiere monthly at DearMKE.com. They will also be made available to businesses and organizations throughout Milwaukee, to spread the story far and wide. Think how cool it will be when your idea lands a starring role! So get going and put together a love letter from the heart, to a city that’s “dear” to yours – Milwaukee!

Details:
DearMKE.com

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Wheel-like Genius

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By Zack Zupke
Creative Services Manager
VISIT Milwaukee

We are the city of festivals. Irish to German, Summer to Brady, our fests are the best. Milwaukee is also known as Brew City. World-famous brewers Miller, Pabst, Schlitz and Blatz paved the way for modern crafters at Milwaukee Brewing Company, Sprecher Brewing Company and Lakefront Brewery. Hmmm, festivals and beer…festivals and beer. Wouldn’t it be great to combine the two?

Two years ago, the geniuses at Inferno Marketing Group did just that and Milwaukee Brewfest was born. This Saturday at the old Coast Guard Pavilion at McKinley Park along Milwaukee’s lakefront, Brewfest turns three with unlimited (well, from 3 p.m. – 7p.m. anyway) samplings of over 200 craft beers (no, the fest gates won’t be pearly, but they should be) and micro brews from over 70 breweries from across the country.

For just $40 in advance; $45 at the gate, the beer AND festival fan in you will be treated to live music, the crowning of the 2012 Milwaukee Brewfest Queen (insert your best parenthetical here), tons of food available for purchase (and a solid amount of free samples) from local restaurants and vendors. Food, festivities and over 200 craft beers on a sunny (it’s just a guarantee this summer) afternoon along the incredible shores of Lake Michigan? How did it take until 2010 for this to be concocted?

I guess it makes no nevermind. After the wheel came along, they probably didn’t waste too much time lamenting its long-overdue inception, they just rolled with it. I’m gonna hop on four wheels (and plan ahead for a safe ride home) and roll down to Milwaukee Brewfest and enjoy the two best things I think Milwaukee has to offer the world.


Details:
2012 Milwaukee Brewfest
Saturday, July 28
Coast Guard Pavillion in McKinley Park
1600 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.
 

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Fleming’s Symphony No. 4

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By Zack Zupke
Creative Services Manager
VISIT Milwaukee

Pulling off the perfect dining experience seems to be much like conducting a perfect symphony performance. Servers and chefs work in unison like cellos and violins. Hosts and bartenders team like flutes and English horns. Cocktails to appetizers, entrees to desserts, a perfect meal requires coordination, perspiration and inspiration from everyone involved. Every time. And that’s what we’ve received from Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Brookfield. Perfection, every time.

Our recent visit began with a warm greeting from two very friendly hostesses. A tap-tap-tap on the conductor’s podium, and we were seated and told Kimberly would be our server. Most dining experiences begin this way, then continue with a server arriving five thumb-twiddling minutes later. Kimberly arrived within seconds. This would be the theme of our dining experience. Flawless timing. Oh, and incredible food and beverages.

Incredible began with the aptly-named STARTERS: salt and pepper shrimp accompanied by crispy French (I swear I heard horns) green beans, caper-mustard sauce and fried lemon wedges. We each indulged with a Blood Orange Fizz – exotic Solerno blood orange liqueur, Stoli Vodka, fresh lemon juice and a splash of club soda – my new favorite summer drink.

“Check please!” would have been apropos as this beginning truly could have been the end, but we knew further harmony was in store in the form of FIRST COURSES: seared ahi tuna (Did you ever have tuna that melted in your mouth? We did.) on a fresh vegetable salad with spicy mustard sauce teamed with fresh summer greens dotted with sliced strawberries, Danish blue cheese crumbles, candied walnuts and red wine vinaigrette.

The Fleming’s staff teamed each course with pure synchronization. A different server would accompany Kimberly with each new offering with Chef Partner Ryan presenting our SECOND COURSES: Porcini rubbed filet mignon and prime New York strip. The center cut filet is Fleming’s Beethoven. Once you experience it, you will compare all other steaks to it. The New York strip, served with a Jamaican jerk rub, chimichurri sauce and roasted pineapple salsa is a classic in the making. New to their Summer Lovin’ Steak & Sangria menu (we’re going back to try prime New York strip with crispy Gorgonzola and a Sailors Sunset Sangria for our August wedding anniversary), it was paired with a Silver Sun Sangria.

The sun was setting on Brookfield’s western edge (we could spy the horizon just beyond Fleming’s outdoor dining patio) and our symphonic dining experience was nearing its delicious finale. DESSERT: chocolate lava cake and chilled white chocolate almond soufflé. I guess that’s two finales, if that’s possible, to a wondrous night of sights, sounds (Coldplay’s “Paradise” began just as our steaks arrived and I thought, “Agreed.”) and tastes.    

It was our fourth night out at Fleming’s and the fourth time we left applauding their efforts. More than 100 bottles of wine on hand. Impeccable service and superb attention to detail. Cuisine that is second to none. Perhaps even more important is their ability to treat you like a friend, not a customer. We feel so comfortable there, whether it’s an engagement dinner, a private 60th birthday celebration or a spontaneous night out for steaks and Sangria. It’s always music to our ears…and our mouths. 


Details:
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
15665 West Bluemound Road, Brookfield

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Hidden Gems

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By Zack Zupke
Creative Services Manager
VISIT Milwaukee

In today’s “I-just-got-up-and-yawned-and-now-I’m-tweeting-about-it” lifepace (lifestyle is just too slow and narrow-minded), it seems no stone is left unturned, no matter how disinteresting its size, shape or color. Someone has a sniffle and you’re one of the first 1,287 “friends” to find out what her favorite brand of tissue is. Another person changes his screensaver to a picture of his niece on a brand-new trike and he just has to share “Lil Melanie’s first ride!” with everyone on the World Wide Web.

Are there no longer boundaries and protocol to keep sacred moments safely shared to far less than 1,287 people? Are there no longer special places only we know? Stressfully, I had thought not. Refreshingly, I heard otherwise during a recent tour of Sprecher Brewery – a little brewery nearly hidden on a quiet, residential street in Glendale, Wisconsin.

A friend of mine and I heard all about Sprecher’s past (founder Randy Sprecher changed his major from something to do with the ocean to fermentation science – a man to look up to) and Sprecher’s present (award-winning Black Bavarian and popular Special Amber beers and sodas like Ravin’ Red and the world-famous Root Beer) on the regular tour. For a mere $5 you see the brew house, aging cellar, bottling line and warehouse, then spill out into an invention just a fermentation less great than beer itself – an indoor beer tent.But, instead of heading to the beer tent with the regulars, we and a handful of tasters started the Reserve Tastings (see full menu) portion of our tour, a private beer and cheese (Wisconsin’s version of yin and yang) tasting. Ten Sprecher beer samples plus 10 cheeses = “I think even I need to start tweeting!”

Around beer and cheese number five, we struck up a conversation with the couple next to us. Matt and Michelle were young professionals from Iowa City who make a yearly pilgrimage to Milwaukee. They love Summerfest. Love-love The Iron Horse Hotel (and so do their dogs) and especially love that, seemingly, Milwaukee is quite hidden from the rest of the world. And, for one week each year, they’re on the inside looking out.

“Milwaukee is such a hidden gem and I like it that way,” confessed Matt, who, along with Michelle, used to be a traveling nurse, so they know a thing or three about traveling the U.S. “I hate the touristy feeling in cities like Chicago. Milwaukee is just awesome and seems like such a great secret. We want to keep it that way – our secret.”

As we sipped and nibbled our way through the five remaining beers and cheeses (Hefe Weiss with White Cheddar and Cranberry and the Chameleon Hop on Top with Great Midwestern Habanero Jack were tops), I thought about Matt’s desire to keep Milwaukee just as it is and my struggles with our “social” media society. If something is great, should we not tell as many people as possible? But, if everyone knows, then does no one really know?

All I know is Milwaukee and Sprecher Brewery are great as they are. If there were 75 people at our tasting, it would’ve tasted very crowded. If everything was sold out months in advance in Milwaukee, I wouldn’t see much of Milwaukee. Pins, status changes and re-tweets will come and go and maybe the Unsocial Media Era is just around the web. Either way, Milwaukee and its Sprecher Brewery will sparkle. Just bright enough for Matt and Michelle to find them again next year.


Details:
Sprecher Brewery
701 W. Glendale Ave.
Glendale, WI 53209

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