Saturday, September 20, 2008

Retro Blog: Kevin’s Milwaukee Visit

It’s amazing how much cooler siblings get with age. Last month I had the privilege of hosting my brother, Kevin, on his first vacation in two years. I took Friday off too, so it was sort of my vacation as well.

He arrived Thursday morning on a red-eye from Portland, so after picking him up from the airport (thanks Adam for letting me borrow the car!), I dropped him off and headed to work. Later that afternoon he took the bus to meet me, so he could see where I worked. (The past two times he visited Milwaukee I was in—or just out of—college, so I didn’t have a “real job” yet.) Unfortunately the co-worker who really wanted to meet him was out sick, but he got a solid tour of the office.

We left work and drove to pick up my CSA share for the week. Kevin was impressed by the spread of veggies, which were particularly colorful that week.

After dividing up shares, we headed over to Jazz in the Park. Kevin had some déjà vu there, and reminded me that I took him there when he visited at 19, so that he could drink. Whoops! It was still a good opportunity for him to meet quite a few of my friends and former co-workers. Plus always solid people watching.

Becky also joined us there before heading home to Minnesota for her high school reunion, so it was nice for Kev to see a familiar face, even if it was from six years ago.

We had to cut out of Jazz early so I could take Kevin to see The Pabst Theatre. He wasn’t too excited about seeing Bon Iver, but luckily it was an incredible show in an already incredible setting and he thoroughly enjoyed himself. The only downside was that we did miss most of AA Bondy, the opener, but we definitely did not miss out on the amazing mostly acoustic amazingness that is Bon Iver. The band is from rural Wisconsin too, so it made for an interesting audience of hipsters and family.

After the show I had to take the bro to Buckley’s for half-price beer night. He got a Manhattan though and claimed it was the best ever. Thanks Britt.

Smart move on taking Friday off. We slept in a bit before biking to Alterra on the Lake for lunch. Phil went out of town for the weekend but lent Kevin his mountain bike, which lasted for a day (more on that later), but it was very kind of him. After lunch we hit up the now-closed Gilbert & George exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Outstanding. We looked at the fascinating photo exhibit in one of the smaller galleries, which compares contemporary quirky portraits by a Wisconsin team to portraits throughout the last century. We also hit up the Sensory Overload installations, which I’d yet to experience. A quick turn around the Bradley Collection, folk art, Georgia O’Keefe and decorative arts (including the Chair Park!) and we were done. Didn’t realize how much was new since 2002 when I took him last time. The building may be cool, but the museum as a whole is a true gem to Milwaukee.

After we finished, we headed over to Discovery World. I saw my friend Wren on the way in but she was with a vendor, so didn’t see me. Kevin didn’t believe she was my friend. Pretty funny, especially as the two of them spent the rest of the weekend bonding over comics and art. The brother and I walked through the Les Paul House of Sound exhibit and the aquarium. There were a few too many kids for us to play with too much, but we still had a fun time.

A quick ride through Lakeshore State Park and we found ourselves entering for free at Irish Fest at 4 p.m. This was Kevin’s first Irish Fest (and the reason Mom shipped him out here), so we took our time going through the grounds. Brooke and Craig met us shortly after, which was another familiar face for Kevin. Wren, her friend Diane, and Grant all joined the party and we all got to watch the parade before we hit the beer stands. Lovely evening, spent most of it people watching, until 8 p.m. when the Quigleys started their bartending stint. Met another group of my friends down there and hung out until we had to skip back to MAM for Cedar Block’s What Do You Get? – a local artist interpretation of the G&G exhibit.

Totally had not thought through the outfit for the day, but proudly rocked my “Smart & Sassy Irish Lassie” t-shirt amongst the throngs of hipsters. Kevin was impressed at the lacking of judgmental gawking by the scenesters at the affront to fashion. Made me want to give Milwaukee a hug.

Event was fun times. Saw Monica and her bf Joe, and my friend Mario’s gf Jess was volunteering there. Jess coerced us into making an art project, which we have big plans for later this year.

Though Monica and Joe tried to convince us to accompany them to Comet, Kevin and I decided it would be best to turn in as we had a big day ahead of us.

Saturday morning we hit up the Plaza for breakfast before heading to the Lakefront Brewery Tour at 1. Of course coordinating a large group for the tour never works as planned, so we ended up on the 2 p.m. A nice group of my friends – Jason, Lars, Marcella, and her roommate Mary came out for the tour. We had a very dry guide, but Kevin had a great time and we biked over to Wolski’s after where we met up with Ben.

Kev and I had to split though to get down to Bradford Beach to meet Jane, Ralf and Mar. We were a little late due to bike troubles and missed most of the festivities down there. Had a nice visit though and headed back to my apartment for dinner and naps. BUT FIRST, we did have to cram ourselves in the car with two bikes and four adults. Hilarity ensued.

I scraped up a dinner out of CSA veggies and after we were fed and rested, Mar scooped us up to go to Bryant’s. Marcella, Wren and Grant all met us there. Poor Kevin did not enjoy it thoroughly as too many drinks were recommended to him, but we had a good time nonetheless. I had to get up early the next morning, but en route home we learned everyone was at Bad Genie, so we stopped so I could have some water and Kev could have a Scorpion Shot. He actually ended up staying out with my friends as I headed home early.

Got up early the next morning to bus down to Warnimont Golf Course for my last golf “mini-lesson.” Did terribly, but learned how to play on an actual course. Not as terrifying as expected. Thanks to Olivia, Hakan and George for their patience with me.

Our gang went to “celebrate” with brunch at Sheridan’s afterward. By the time I got home I desperately needed a nap. Poor Kevin just watched some DVDs while I caught up on rest. When I woke up we headed down to Irish Fest where we explored the grounds a bit more, caught a couple bands and waited for the Scattering at the end of the night. Whilst there, Phil returned to town, so we took a cab up to Jamo’s to meet him afterward.

Kevin volunteered to take the bus to the airport in the morning, so I headed off to work one tired sister, but glad I got some sibling bonding in over a jam-packed weekend, as well as got to highlight my awesome adopted city.

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