My weekend in Milwaukee

40814_10100229089374873_2243997_58533650_2805292_nI’ve spent the last several days in Milwaukee, visiting museums, eating deep fried cheese curds, touring incredible breweries, attending fish fries, and absorbing local culture by the pint-full. I’d like to break everything down, and give you a minute-by-minute recounting of my activities in this, one of my favorite cities in America, but my memories are a bit fuzzy.

What I can tell you is that I hit eight bars on Friday night alone, with my favorite being Wolski’s – a little neighborhood bar a few blocks off of Brady Street, owned by a man named Dennis Wolski, whose grandfather opened the bar in 1908. (And, yes, I liked it even better than the German place where the waitresses wore short plaid skirts and knee-high black socks… Authenticity trumps fetish once again.) If you’re ever in Milwaukee, I’d highly recommend it, and not just because Dennis bought me and my friend Dan shots of whiskey, and sat down to talk with us about everything from the pollution in Lake Michigan to the ways in which his grandfather got around prohibition. It’s a damned cool little bar, that’s been in the hands of a single family for over 100 years, and I think that, in and of itself, deserves at least a pint. (Dan and I tried to buy a pint each, but Dennis up-sold us to a pitcher, by running through the economics of it.) Anyway, you should add it to your list of places to see before the U.S. implodes.

Oh, and the above photo, if you can’t figure it out, is of me embracing Milwaukee’s bronze Fonzie. I know it sounds dirty, like a taboo sex act you’d find outlined in graphic detail in the Urban Dictionary… Like, “Yeah, last night, I got Frank drunk and gave my him a ‘bronze Fonzie’“… But it’s actually kind of sweet to see that tiny, bronze Arthur Fonzarelli waiting for you along the Milwaukee river walk, which is itself quite beautiful. (I’m imagining our Iggy Pop statue here in Ypsi to be somewhat similar in proportion, if not coloration.)


[This last photo, taken at the Milwaukee Public Museum, shows what I’d look like, in the opinion of historians, in the face of terrifying buffalo stampede.]

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  1. Knox
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Not to be gross, but a “Bronze Fonzie” would have to involve two thumbs and the smearing of poop.

    I’m glad that I could contribute something meaningful to this conversation.

  2. Edward
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Did you also have you picture taken with the Laverne fashioned out of shellacked bratwurst?

  3. Beer Tech
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Cities that straddle rivers are the best cities in the world.

  4. Kim
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    A “Bronze Fonzie” would involve “thumbing” someone in a tanning bed.

    And I love the hell out of Milwaukee. If Detroit were one-tenth as vibrant, I wouldn’t be trying to sell my home.

  5. DRich
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Give me one other example of authenticity trumping fetish, please.

  6. Stephen
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    My appreciation for a fine, hand-crafted piece of ceramic far outweighs my lust over, shall we say, girls dressed in mascot outfits. It’s a fetish. It’s just not mine.

  7. Posted August 10, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    We missed the Laverne of brats, but we did see the giant cheese curd Squiggy.

    And I don’t know that I could give you an example, Dan. I don’t know that I’ve ever been forced to choose between fetish and authenticity…. But, I can tell you with some certainty that if a young Myrna Loy was standing outside Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House, in a revealing swimsuit, I’d still go in for the fried chicken.

  8. Posted August 11, 2010 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Mark Maynard, why are you silencing our voice? We demand that our message of interconnected harmony be distributed across all the major local media, here on the most trusted source of ypsilanti news and information as well as on live talk show Dreamland Tonight and TV show This Week in Pajamas. Mark Maynard, are you part of the problem or part of the solution? We reject taxonomy as arbritrary construct of the fatally flawed human psyche! Bacteria in the soil convert hydrogen and nitrogen from the air into metabolizable form for vascular roots!!! Mark Maynard, we will never be silenced!!!

  9. Tess
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    So, did you piss off some bacteria in Milwaukee?

  10. Michael
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Got me a leathery tuscadero after too many Bronze Fonzies.

    It hurts but in a good sorta way.

  11. Posted December 5, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Did you get to have a fish fry when you were in Milwaukee? Besides beer and cheese it is THE thing to do on a Friday night here. Make sure if you pass through here again, you have a fish fry at one of the local bars or restaurants. Some are still all you can eat but those are disappearing as fish prices rise.

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