by Lee Gutowski
You don’t want to miss it, folks – be sure to come out for this year’s installment of the Riverwest Follies on Saturday, March 15 at the Falcon Bowl. If you haven’t yet done so, make sure to mark your calendar for this fun community event. Doors open at 7pm and the entertainment will get rolling by 7:30. There will be several lip-smackin’ edible treats made by Riverwest’s chef extraordinaire, Tess Kenney, available all evening for purchase and hearty consumption. And of course, the heart and soul of the shindig lies in bringing our community together to hang out with friends, make new acquaintances and enjoy the talents of your neighbors who’ll be taking the stage to entertain with diverse music and song, prose and poetry readings, and even the staged production of a radio show.
The Riverwest Follies is a family-friendly event, so the participants will aim to entertain folks of all ages, and kids get in for free. Since the main goal of the Follies (other than having a great time with our friends and neighbors) is to benefit the Riverwest Currents, donations will be happily accepted from you adults who come out for the fun.
“The first show was in 2006,” recalls Follies co-founder and Currents staffer Tess Reiss. That year, more than 400 people showed up to support and have fun with their neighbors in the Parish Hall at St. Mary of Czestochowa Church on the corner of Fratney and Burleigh. “It was a great success and people really had a ball.”
Successive years saw the show changing venues, eventually moving to Linneman’s and finally the hall at the Falcon Bowl, where it will find a home again this year for the ninth annual production.
Some of the acts in store for this year’s event include (not necessarily in this order): an original prose reading and a violin selection or two played by Riverwest native Erica Gottschalk; tunes sung by vivacious Currents contributor Ellen C. Warren (and Friends); original contributions by the ever-creative poet/musician Harvey Taylor (and fabulous partner Susie); amusing and heartwarming songs played on guitar and sung by long-time neighborhood artist Jim Hawley; a short video piece shot by local mainstay Ken Keen (of “Cooking with Ken” fame), and music composed and played by versatile performer and energetic educator Julie Brandenburg.
Back by popular demand: a selection from the “Quiet, Please!” series of radio plays that first aired in 1947. Currents publisher Vince Bushell is producing this installment, a 30-minute long staged reenactment of a radio play called “Bring Me to Life.” Directed under the capable guidance of UWM theater graduate Kristin Johnson, the characters are being played by Andrew DiMezza (as the Writer), Gretchen Peske (as his wife, Ruth), and John Gerlach (as the Escaped Convict). There are a couple other characters involved, including a typewriter and an imaginary pirate – but no spoilers allowed, so we’ll leave it at that for now. You’ll just have to come and check out the suspenseful plot and exciting twist ending for yourself.
The night won’t be over, though, until you get to dance it away with a set of music by Milwaukee’s genre-defying, barrier-breaking, worldly rock-n-rolling band Astral/Subastral. They’ve got new tunes they’ve been busy with in the studio that they’ll be breaking out live, and these folks do not disappoint, so be ready to whirl yourself into a dervish. All in the name of celebrating our neighborhood talent and friendships, the coming of spring, and this trusty ol’ community paper that you’ve helped grow since our first issue was published in February 2002. Can’t wait to see you all at the Falcon Bowl on March 15!
If You Go:
Featuring “Bring Me To Life”
A Staged Radio Play
Saturday, March 15
Doors Open at 7PM
Entertainment at 7:30
801 E Clarke St
Free Will Offering to Support the Riverwest Currents