Around the Corner

“Cooperative” Riverwest • Featured in MPTV Series 

Wonderful  preview  at linnemans read the story and watch the  video on MPTV – Schedule at the end of article 

by Suzanne Zipperer

With Riverwest’s strong identity, it comes as no surprise that when Milwaukee Public Television embarked on their “Around the Corner” series, our neighborhood would be on the list.

The project involved two Milwaukee celebrities, John McGivern, storyteller/actor known for his “hit the nail on the head” descriptions of growing up Milwaukeean; and John Gurda, local historian who has devoted his life to documenting and sharing the city’s rich history.

MPTV Producer Lois Maurer shared information about the project with the Riverwest Currents. The segment on Riverwest will air on MPTV Channel 10.1 and 36.2 on Thursday, February 9. A preview was shown on January 31 at Linnemann’s Riverwest Inn.

Whose idea was the series?

Lois Maurer: John McGivern and I worked together on two previous MPTV programs and wanted to work on a long-term project together. John always wanted to do a series, so we started brainstorming. We set our objectives – a totally positive message show that is never scripted and features John as John, not as a character or one-man storyteller. We really liked the behind-the-scenes theme because John can get into places most of us can’t. And people love to talk to him. MPTV General Manager, Ellis Bromberg, suggested that we frame our content around geographic locations. From there, it was a short trip “Around the Corner.”

How were the neighborhoods chosen and by whom?

LM: Choosing only 13 communities was really tough. We had only one parameter: we had to stay in southeastern Wisconsin. So John and I sat down and compiled a list of communities that we thought would be good TV or places that we simply wanted to know more about. We took that list of probably 30 communities to John Gurda, who helped us look at them for historic and geographic diversity. 

Then we started researching by driving around and meeting people, and changed the list about three times. The 13 communities that we cover in season one are a great mix. Each location evoked a different adjective, which John (uses) at the end of each episode.  Mind you, those adjectives are our opinions. But I think they are all spot on.

By the way, including John Gurda in our show was one of the best decisions we made. We knew we wanted to share the history and some current statistical information about each place, but that kind of research takes time. There’s really only one person that we could think of who already knows just about everything – John Gurda.  We invited him for coffee, told him about our new show idea, and asked if he would join us. I don’t know if it was the coffee or the laughter, but he was kind and thoughtful, and said he was up for some fun. Great chemistry between the Johns, both on-camera and off.

The project was underwritten by the Acuity Charitable Foundation and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Edward and Florence M Schocke Fund.


If You Watch

Around the Corner  •  with John McGivern  


MPTV Channel 10.1 and 36.2

Bay View Jan. 26, 7:30 p.m.

Riverwest Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m.

King Drive March 1, 7:30 p.m.

Brady Street March 8 at 8:15 p.m.