Viva La France via Milwaukee
We had the kids with us, and before we caught a bit of the Florida Yard Dogs, Marcus Monroe, fire juggler extraordinaire, captivated Sammy (as Sammy loves anything to do with fire). Monroe is a great Gen X/Y street performer with that Jim Rose Sideshow smirk but yet an amazing act. His schtick is simple: he juggles, but he starts out with the standard juggling pins, moves on to machetes, smokes us out with fire sticks, and his master finale is him, on a 6 ft unicycle, juggling knifes attached to torches (He called them a knorches!) while wearing a helmet with a roman candle on top. Cracking jokes along the way, and definitely worth the dollar I dropped in his Tony Danza-adorned bucket. ("If you don't like me," he explains, "Everybody loves Tony Danza, so give him a buck.")
sported the Milwaukee-based ol' Baldoni imprint. (Hey, what's Ivo doing these days since they closed their Brady street shop?) Stella and her best friend snacked on chicken tenders and the waffle fries were the best darn waffle fries I have ever had -- perfectly crisp, flavorful, but not over or underdone. I had the pecan chicken sandwhich, which overflowed from its bun. Sammy enjoyed a garden variety sausage. We ran into Paul Cotter and eldest daughter Cecelia, fresh from a little girl haircut, enjoying a real crepe that looked delicious, but was too rich for my post-triathlon tastes.
Pluer pretty much developed this act for Bastille Days, and its grown bigger than both of them -- she now does the Edith Piaf thing in other venues and she's moved from a side stage novelty to the main event stage at the prime time on opening night where she/it belongs. Basking the shadow of the MSOE-constructed Eiffel tower (so much better than that blow up thing, which miraculously enough is still there!), she really is a personification of how well Bastille Days brings a little bit of Paris to Milwaukee every year, as the Strom The Bastille 5K runner go milling about, the grownups drinking their wine, and the kids running about. My Sammy found a "Girlfriend" to dance with all night, and Stella and her Friend had a glorious time dancing -- sometimes jazzy, sometimes ballet. Its a vibe I get a few of the other ethnic festivals, probably because it's truly on the street, and it celebrates a time when the disenfranchised claimed their streets back. There were no bands in particular I came to see. I just knew if I showed up, something good would run by me, and i was right.