Day two of my trip to Milwaukee started quite early. Breakfast is served between 6 and 10, so we had to set the alarm at 8.30am – just one hour later after I normally get up for work.
We were met in the dining room by the owner, who sat us at a table, decked out in fine china and crystal – it’s all quite girly and Victorian, so it felt like we were in a doll house. Breakfast was something apple-like – it was bread pudding with apples, with a strawberry sauce. The owners’ corgi came waddling into the living room and begged for scraps, but as I didn’t want to be responsible for doggy puke, I had to refuse his silent entreaties.
We decided to go to the Milwaukee Art Museum which is on the lake – a pretty famous feature of the museum is the architecture of the place – it has wings that open u. In fact, the minute we stepped into the museum’s foyer, an elderly volunteer docent appeared and pushed us out of the building to see the wings open.
We dashed out and ran across the bridge and turned around, expectedly and waited. Nothing happened. We shrugged and walked back into the building – the docent came back toward us and apologized, telling us that because of the windy weather, the museum runners decided to keep the wings down.
I guess she was feeling bad about shooing us out to look at nothing, she started telling us about the museum. I hate this portion of museum-visiting. I like discovering things on my own, and I love not looking at stuff that I hate. But, I was forced to smile and act graciously, as she kept insisting we see the various exhibits I was planning on anyways…
So, the Milwaukee Art Museum has an excellent exhibit: Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec & His Contemporaries. Lautrec is famous for his posters that he made for dance halls and bars in
turn-of-the-century Paris. The famous poster of the black cat – I’m sure you’ve seen it on place mats, tote bags or t-shirts is one of his most famous/iconic works. It’s interesting when I get to see really famous works of art in real life.
The rest of the Milwaukee Art Museum also had some great works – specifically by this new young artist – Tara Donovan, who uses things like pins or drinking straws in her work. One of her works – Haze is a huge, wall-sized installation, that is made from what’s got to be hundreds of thousands of drinking straws – the effect looks slightly snowy – but up close, you see the straws. Initially, it’s pretty impressive, but upon looking at it for a bit, I started getting a creepy feeling that Donovan might be a little nuts for putting this huge thing together.
The kids stuff was cool – there was a room with Disney animation and how the great works influenced Disney cartoon characters and settings – that was pretty neat.
The only part of the museum I found a bit boring was the bottom floor with old furniture – though, there was a wiry guy sporting a haunting mullet, unironically.
Afterwards, we went out and did some shopping – I’ll do a book shopping post after this one…We went to TJ Maxx, as well – not sure if we have any of these in Chicago…
Finally, we wanted to eat, so we went to Mo’s Irish Pub and I had something called a reuben boxty - which is basically what would happen if a quesadilla and a reuben sandwich had a baby – it was okay…The partner had chicken piccata which he reported as being too dry and disappointing. Still, the staff is very friendly. We watched little league baseball on ESPN, as well as coverage of the London Olympics.
So, now I’m at home – exhausted. We couldn’t get a cab on the street, so we had to order one. The driver was very nice, and because the neighborhood the B&B is in is a little sketchy, it was nice to be dropped off right at the front door.
So, day 3 is still in the air – maybe the state fair, maybe the zoo – maybe another day in Downtown Milwaukee…
P.S. – my partner bought a mug - an “awesome” mug called a handwarmer mug, because the way it’s designed, your fingers slip inside a pocket on the side. It’s neat-looking. You can also choose if you want a left or right-handed mug.