Spazz in the Dark

I was on the phone today with the fabulous jazzscattin' diva Deirdre Fellner, and by coincidence noticed a hot topic on Twitter: coincidence because the last time I wrote about either Deirdre OR Jazz in the Park I was writing about both at the same time. And, well, since everybody else in the Milwaukee Music blogosphere is writing about this today, I might as well throw my $.02 in.

If you haven't heard already, broke the story today that there will be no more carry-ins to Jazz in the Park. Compujeramey then followed up with his take on the situation in a very level-jeaded way, but I have to agree with the Accidental Wisconsinite's headline for her blog entry, Jazz In the Park Shoots Itself In The Foot.

Quick sypnosis: Jazz in the Park holds a license to serve liquor -- but only from its vendors. Thus, the only people who can technically BRING liquor there ARE the vendors. This law's been on the books forever, only today did they decide to enforce it.

Part of the coolness of JITP is packing a picnic basket, and (as I wrote two summers ago) filling it with elegant treats such as cheeses, lovely little wines, or as this family is enjoying, jumbo margaritas. Then you sit back, hang with your peeps, and enjoy jazz (and that's debated, but on a given night, it is jazz) and muse about how urbane this town can be when it wants to be. Indianapolis has a similar night, like Milwaukee, it's an unexpected surprise in towns not known for their urbanity.

I have to agree with compujeramey in that this probably has to do more with revenue-raising, and with accidental wisconsinite that it's really shooting itself in the foot. Maybe JITP is getting too crowded and this is a way to drive people away. I'm seeing comments everywhere from Twitter to onmilwaukee that basically say "Great, JITP was a place to have a nice bottle of wine or premium beer without having to pay $7 for it."

I'm unclear as to why it's still perfectly OK to bring a bottle to the Concerts in the Gardens at Boerner, or to Chill on the Hill at Humboldt Park. Maybe the rule is still there, but simply not enforced. Or maybe the sponsoring organizations don't have a vendor license that forces them to control all alcohol consumption. Either way, I don't need a bottle of vino to enjoy an evening of music with my family, but it's goes beyond that. It's put a damper on one of the things that make Milwaukee livable. Think of it -- JITP wasone of those things that showed we weren't all about brats and beer all the time. (Not that we're not that some of the time, but we had our artisan cheese side, too.) It was genteel, it was classy.

Well, I'll just start compensating. JITP, as I wrote two summers ago, was getting too crowded anyway. And it was starting to get predictable. They haven't brought fabulous Deirdre back anyway. And parking was getting to be ridiculous anyway.

No, I can't compensate for this. It still sucks. The bright side is that maybe more folks will venture out to the other places in town where Milwaukee County sponsors free music in the parks during the summer: the aforementioned Humboldt and Boerner locations, along with Washington Park, Jackson Park, and even Lake Park. This might even encourage more neighborhood-based gatherings, and spread that livability factor to more neighborhoods, while people who are tired of a $7 cup of swill (especially in this economy) can bring a schpack of their favorite (cheap) brew and still hep it up with the cool cats on stage.

In other news on this cold, cold day, Trolley wasted no time in getting a tribute to the recently departed Ricardo Montalban up on their site. Great dangerous surf tune that had me hollering "KHAAAAAAANNNNNN!" at the computer.

And while you already know I've been buzzing about the Ekko Galaxie and the Rings of Saturn show this Saturday at Liquor Sweets (a night of glam, Bowie style), I totally forgot that I'm going to have to brave the cold tomorrow (Friday) for Winter Gallery night. Mary Lousie Schumacher in the Journal Sentinel will have good picks, to be sure, as well as Mike Brenner picking some cream for you in the Decider. Here's a couple they may have missed:

  • Philo will have a solo show at Soup's On -- that joint on Water Street in the Third Ward with a gallery in the front, and good food in the back. He's been around shooting photos for almost two decades, and this is his first solo show.

  • The Bay View Arts Guild will be right across the street at the Pyramax Bank -- and that includes favorites of mine including Linda Beckstrom (painting on silk) and Amy Olson (last time I saw her work, she was using oil on canvas). The BVAG comes downtown! Woo!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to pop open a bottle of Two Buck Chuck and drink to Jazz in the Park of Seasons Past.


truejules said…
Vron, I'd like to thank you for supporting local music, specifically for announcing my shows and coming out to see my projects. I am almost done with grad school so after this spring semester I will be able to get out more again. I am following you on twitter now, so I can keep updated on your events.

Julie B

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