Story & photos by Tim Lambrecht

If you are strolling down the east end of Brady Street and something seems different, you’re right, it is. The stylized “V” which was mounted above the entrance of Vucciria’s restaurant has been taken down. The restaurant has been re-named Coco Bella. Mimma & Joe Megna still own the restaurant as well as Mimma’s in the next block. A temporary Coco Bella banner is in place until the new sign arrives.

In other sign news, Yellow Jacket has installed a new retro-style electric sign outside their new home on Brady Street. Looks good. The store’s owners Jennifer and Todd Rau designed the sign.

Travelling further west on Brady Street, the old Giovanni’s signs have been reworked and now read DigiCopy (with room left for a tenant to be named later). I visited the DigiCopy at 1683 N. Van Buren St. recently and found everyone friendly, helpful and knowledgeable.

Production manager Martje Wetherall says the store prints everything from flyers and college term papers to banners for large events. They work with the United Way, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Museum and the Art Museum. The Milwaukee Admirals use DigiCopy for their banners and signs. (If you go to a game you’ll see a DigiCopy logo on the ice.) On their opening week, the store donated a percentage of their revenue, totaling $2,500, to the MACC Fund.

Originally based in Stevens Point, the Brady and Van Buren Street store is DigiCopy’s first in the Milwaukee area. Martje says “It’s an interesting job. You never know what kind of work a customer might come in with.” True enough. The night I stopped in, someone came in and wanted to restore some large black and white photos of Milwaukee street scenes from the early 1970s. DigiCopy can print your photos and blow up your favorites to poster size. They use both Macs and PCs, and have computers available for rent, all loaded with most current software. The staff is comprised of many art and design students from MATC and MIAD. Students with a valid ID get 10% off any service or purchase. The parking lot is a nice break from Brady Street congestion, and they offer a pick-up and delivery service as well.

Or better yet, as Martje suggests, “Drop off a print job while you grab a bite to eat at one of Brady Street’s restaurants and pick it up on your way back”…

In addition to shoveling and blowing snow, Jim Searles has been busy at the Astor Street Performing Arts Center in the Brady Street Pharmacy. The Theater just hosted their second Noisefest on March 21 and held their Mis-Directed Film Festival showcase and awards on the 25. In April, look for Pink Banana Theatre’s production of Titanic. No, not the ship. It is 13 short plays all written by local playwrights. Show dates and times: Fri Apr 13, Sat Apr 14, Fri Apr 20, Sat Apr 21. All shows start at 8 pm. Admission is free to capacity. No holds or late-arrivals. For more information, go to

The future home of Unique Pizza at 1016 E. Brady St. is still being renovated. The pizza and sub sandwich shop should be opening soon.

Anomaly Design, at 816 E. Brady Street, held a drawing on St. Patrick’s Day for $1,700. The winner of the drawing was Beth S. (So, if you know Beth S. this would be a good time to hit her up for a loan or at least a belated St. Patty’s Day drink.) Sarah at Anomaly tells me they just got in some new items for Spring. And they’re always working on some of their own stuff. Check out their plates with sayings on them.

I have recently noticed a number of broken car windows in the area. These are often the result of smash-and-grab theft. Smash the window, grab what you can, run. The best way to discourage this is to keep your car interior clean – don’t leave anything of any value in your car where it can be seen by someone walking by. Also, if you witness a crime, call the 5th District police department at 935-7253. If you work on Brady Street, put the number in your cell phone, just in case you need it. Also, if you spot new graffiti in your neighborhood, call the Graffiti Hotline at 286-8715. I have recently noticed a police presence in the Brady Street area. That’s good to see. Hopefully they can be a deterrent to crime just by their presence.

Spring is just around the corner. Another sign of Spring – Brady Street True Value Hardware putting away the salt and shovels and replacing them with gardening tools, (like The Garden Claw!), seeds and everything you need for yardwork. It won’t be long before there will be tomato and pepper plants, flowers and herbs out in front of the store as well. So hang in there, all signs point to Spring coming soon.

If you have a story idea or item for Brady Sreet Beat, contact Tim at 374-7772.

Riverwest Currents online edition – April, 2007