by Tess Reiss

Tis the Season to sprinkle holiday cheer by your generous patronage of local shops, crafts, and global fair trade products in Milwaukee’s hometown neighborhoods. On New Year’s Eve try a round robin with friends at local bars while sampling the live music, food, party favors, and champagne toast at midnight. Merry & Happy!

Riverwest Shops

Riverwest has a selection of quirky and unique shops that are all locally owned and operated. Your support of neighborhood businesses helps keep the coin of the realm circulating within the community well into the New Year. Cheers!

Beginning Dreams Forever
Burke’s Candy (open Saturdays in December)
Burleigh Glass
Fischberger’s Variety (new shop on Holton St.)
Glass Aquatics (new shop on Locust St.)
Hotcakes Gallery
Industry Records
Lotus Land
Mia Putia
Riverwest Co-op
Riverwest Film & Video
Scarvaci Florist
Tool Shed
Vision Eye Art (new shop on Center St.)
Woodland Pattern
And of course! Holiday Herring from Ma Baensch. Check for recipes, to locate a store, or to order online.

Global Shopping

Peace Action
1001 E. Keefe Ave.
Give peace a chance with gifts that support peace. Many items are available including Putamayo world music CDs, Indonesian dragon mobiles, Guatemalan purses, Tibetan prayer flags, fair trade coffee, honey & Palestinian olive oil, great t-shirts, mugs, books, peace flags, dozens of calendars, and 100’s of buttons and bumperstickers. A Peace Action membership is a gift that lasts all year.

Four Corners of the World
5205 W. North Ave.
TU-F 11AM-6PM, SA 10AM-4PM
Do some fair trade holiday shopping at Four Corners of the World. This is new, non-profit shop features jewelry, clothing, gifts, and decorative items from more than 30 different countries. All products are made from organic or recycled materials. Fair trade coffee and chocolate are also available.

Deck The Halls

Holiday Wreaths & Garlands
Weekends in December
Beans & Barley, parking lot
1901 E. North Ave., 278-7878

Ferrante’s Christmas Trees
Daily, until Christmas
Water & Brady St.

Real Christmas Trees
Daily, until Christmas
National Ace Hardware
1303 N. 4th St., 414-274-3800

Holiday Fairs
Riverwest, East Side & Harambee

Very Merry Holiday Sale
Fri, Dec 1, Noon-9PM. Sat, Dec 2, 10AM-4PM. Sun,
Dec 3, Noon-4PM.
Murray Hill Pottery
2458 N. Murray Ave., 332-8828

Christmas Cookie Sale Sat, Dec 2, 9AM-2PM
Our Lady of Divine Providence
At St. Casimir site, 924 E. Clarke

International Gift Shop Sat, Dec 2, 9AM-4PM
Milwaukee Friends Meeting House
3224 N. Gordon Place

Tamarack Holiday Fair Sat, Dec 2, 10AM-4PM
Tamarack Community School
1150 E. Brady, 277-0009

Winster Solstice Art Event Sat, Dec 2, 9AM-5PM
Fri, Dec 8, 5PM-9PM. Sat, Dec 9, 9AM-5PM. Sun, Dec 10, 11AM-5PM.
Beginning Dreams
833 E. Burleigh, 562-3037

The Exchange Alternative Gift Fair Sun, Dec 3, 1-4PM
Urban Ecology Center
Riverside Park, 1500 E. Park Place

Greer Oaks Holiday Bazaar December 8 – 17
Fridays, 10AM-6PM. Saturdays, Noon-9PM. Sundays, Noon-6PM.
Greer Oaks Gallery
2463 N. Palmer St., 264-2049

Riverside H.S. Holiday Bazaar Sat, Dec 9, 9AM-3PM
Riverside University High School
1615 E. Locust (in the gym – pool entrance)

Holiday Bazaar Sat, Dec 9, 11AM-7PM. Sun, Dec 10, 1-6PM.
Unique Art & Design
2131 N. 6th St.

East Side Artists Boutique Fri, Dec 15, 5-9PM. Sat, Dec 16, Noon-5PM.
UWM Kenilworth Building, 1925 E. Kenilworth

Book Shelf

For local history buffs, there are several books available about the city of Milwaukee, its neighborhoods, and ethnic groups. These also make great gifts for family and friends who have moved away but still like to keep in touch with the “old neighborhood.” Most are available at Schwartz Books, Woodland Pattern, Riverwest Co-op, or at
The Making of Milwaukee by local historican John Gurda.
A Liberal in City Government by former mayor Frank Zeidler.
Bronzeville, A Milwaukee Lifestyle by local cultural anthropologist Ivory Abena Black. Milwaukee’s Bronzeville by local community activist Paul Geenen.
Latinos in Milwaukee by UW-M professor Joseph Rodriguez, Ph.D. and Walter Sava, Ph.D. of the United Community Center.
Riverwest: A Community History by Milwaukee reporter Tom Tolan.
Milwaukee County Street Names, Street Games by lifelong resident Pat Pollworth.
No Bad News and Friends and Neighbors, two children’s books by Kenneth Cole and Riverwest photographer John Ruebartsch.


Live at the Uptowner. Jazz superax guitarist Jack Grassel has been playing at the Uptowner for 10 years. The CD contains live performances with guitarist Kirk Tatnall and drummer Ernie Adams. The tunes were all composed by Grassel who plays only his compositions every third Sunday of the month at the Uptowner. Available at www.jackgrassel.comfor $10 or directly from Grassel during the Uptowner gig.

Riverwest Currents online edition – December, 2006