Greg Borowski has written a book that traces the inaugural season of a football team that combined players from Shorewood and Messmer high schools. First and Long: A black school, a white school and their season of dreams is set to be published in February by Badger Press and touches on themes from overcoming differences and standing up to adversity to growing up and getting along. Borowski, who grew up in Riverwest, graduated from Messmer High School and is a member of St. Casimir/Our Lady of Divine Providence Parish. As a reporter for the Journal-Sentinel, he was given full access to the team during its first year of combined play in fall 2001, from the sidelines to the locker room. The book includes a Foreward by Vince Lombardi Jr., and is endorsed by Steve Rushin of Sports Illustrated, NFL great Willie Davis, and Jim Dent, author of The Junction Boys. First and Long is Borowski’s first book. To find out more, check out www.firstandlong.com.
Calling all writers and those who appreciate fresh writing: Woodland Pattern Book Center at 720 East Locust will open its doors on Saturday, January 31, for the 10th Annual Poetry Marathon Fundraiser. A Riverwest tradition, the Marathon showcases the talents of local artists of prose, poetry, music, or performance art and brings in funds for the center. Last year, over 300 people came to enjoy more than 100 artists and contributions totaled almost $10,000. Here’s how it works: each artist agrees to perform for 5 minutes and to raise at least $25 in pledges. A slate of artists is scheduled for each hour, beginning at 1 p.m. and running until after midnight. As program manager Stacy Szymaszek points out, “There are excellent writers in our area and this is the only event where you can hear so many of them.” If you want to treat yourself to the literary smorgasbord of the Marathon, mark January 31 on your calendar. If you want to perform at the Marathon, call Stacy at 263-5001 to see if there are any available slots.
Riverwester Jeff Poniewaz will be teaching “Literature of Ecological Vision” at UWM again this Spring. The class meets Thursday nights from 6-8:40 p.m. beginning January 29 and running through mid-May. This survey of key enlightening and inspiring eco-visionary writing carries three college credits or can be simply audited for enjoyment. For further information, phone 229-6209.
Mark your calendar for Friday, January 30th — come out to Linneman’s to help celebrate the Riverwest Currents second anniversary! With three bands filling the night with music, and fantastic food provided by Chef Pat’s Catering, there will be something for everyone to enjoy. Just $5 gets you food, music, and supports your neighborhood newspaper. Here’s to another great year!
Linneman’s hosted their annual “A Nod to Bob” tribute to the music of Bob Dylan on Thanksgiving eve. The back room filled early and the overflow crowd strained to hear how local musicians interpreted songs from Dylan’s catalog. Milwaukee’s omnipresent dancing lady made an appearance in front of the stage, but the focus remained on the impressive “who’s who” collection of musicians. The event included John Sieger, Terry Vittone, melaniejane, Matt Hendricks, Joey Leal, Tim Goss (who doubles as organizer), Jim Linneman and his companion, Marti Hacker, and Mrs. Fun, just to name a few. One of the many highlights of the night was a jaw-dropping rendition of “Gotta Serve Somebody” by John McCarty, who wowed the crowd and sent at least one woman’s heart a-flutter. If you’ve got your 2004 calendar handy, mark next year’s “A Nod to Bob” down as a can’t miss event. Recently, Frank Says Fuck It (F.S.F.I.) opened for Bottle Rockets at Point’s East Pub, where the dust had hardly settled on some backroom remodeling. Sparing no expense or time, the plywood bar was finally nailed into place just minutes before F.S.F.I. took the stage. Ignoring (or perhaps thriving on the makeshift nature of the venue), F.S.F.I. displayed their quirky, self-deprecating songs that emphasize their punk and cowpunk influences. Also appearing on the bill were Moonshine Sway. Local band Koala released “Rescue Me from TV” this month. The band’s single, “Super Satellite,” was nominated “Best Pop Single of 2003” by the L.A. Music Awards and the single has received airplay on Lazer 103. “Super Satellite,” the first track on the CD (at least on the advanced copy), is the highpoint of an otherwise bland, derivative album. The songs on “Rescue Me from TV” are power-pop ballads that attempt to channel hair bands from the 80s while providing little substance for the modern-day listener. Pondering the overwrought and occasionally hokey lyrics of this album reminds one of the words of Oscar Wilde: “All bad poetry is sincere.” At times, voices and instruments are distorted – which provides at least some relief from the music – but the songs continue to drift along as each one melds into the next with no end in sight. Listening to “Rescue Me from TV” is a trip down bad memory lane that can only end by pressing the eject button. — Thomas Durkin Want to see a review of your favorite local band? Do you want us to check out a live performance, CD or demo of your own band? Send vital information, music samples, etc. to Riverwest Currents, c/o Thomas Durkin, 733 E. Clarke St., Milwaukee, WI 53212, or email
UWM’s Visual Art department and Gallery Paradiso present El patron Santiago: cuentos y colaboraciones, a Christopher Davis-Benavides Collaborative Project, from January 16 to February 21. The opening reception at Gallery Paradiso, 816 West National Avenue, is on Gallery Night, Friday, January 16, from 6-9 p.m. The show is also open Gallery Day, January 17, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participating artist are from the USA, Ecuador, and Peru. Davis-Benavides says the show grew out of his interest in “the hybrid nature of iconography.” His interest in the history of the iconography of Santiago, Patron Saint of Spain, is the focal point of the project.
MINDFACTORY is on exhibit at the Jody Monroe Gallery, 631 E. Center St., 2nd floor, through January 17. The exhibit features work of artist Tamar Efrat, Takahiro Kaneyama, Hoon Kim, Hyeonjin Kim, and Juan Recaman and was curated by Soon-Hwa Oh. For more information, call 414/372-3304.
Alleluia Erotique, a double bill of one-act French comedies from the avant garde of the mid-twentieth century, opens New Year’s Day at Theatre X. The featured plays are The Apollo of Bellac by Jean Giraudoux and The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco. Theatre X is collaborating with the Milwaukee Mask and Puppet Company to produce the comedies. The show continues through January 25; for information call Theatre X at 414/278-0555. For reservations call the Broadway Theatre Center Box Office at 414/291-7800.