Pop tart in Easy A

September 30, 2010

By Mary and Larry Sussman

Mary: Emma Stone stars and shines as Olive Penderghast in Easy A, a well-written and witty “teen” movie that explores the landmined terrain of adolescent sexual mores.

Like Emily Page in the movie Juno, Stone’s Olive is independent and stronger than dirt. Olive provides a foil for the kind of callous conformity that can turn insecure teenagers into a mindless mob that excels at finding a vulnerable object to bully and ostracize (e.g., Sissy Spacek’s Carrie). Unlike Carrie, however, director Will Gluck’s Easy A is a comedy of manners, with lots of laughs to soften the horror of a high school rumor mill run amok. Ample text messaging and social media fuel the brushfire.

Olive’s reputation is tarnished after she lies to a friend, boasting that she lost her virginity over the weekend. But her lie is overheard in the girls room and amplified in the rumor mill echo chamber. Olive avoids a potential witch’s pyre by playing into her stigmatized role in an effort to put out the fire. She starts wearing bustiers festooned with red A’s, inspired by her reading of The Scarlet Letter.

Larry: I had trouble believing that a teen with no help from her parents or peers could effectively counter unfounded rumors that she was a slut and profit from her infamy. The movie’s writer, Bert V. Royal, does have Olive do some stupid things. She is not infallible. Still, Olive is a high school student who is worldly well beyond her years, far wiser than I remember Betty and Veronica being in Archie comics, or the young women I remember from high school. But Olive made me overcome my disbelief. I laughed out loud at least five times during the movie, and I particularly liked Olive’s wise monologues. No doubt she is taking Advanced Placement courses.

Mary: I don’t think Olive is a realistic teen, but like you, I do believe in her. She is an idealized heroine who has the guts and brains to defy the teen masses. Yet she is a vulnerable, sympathetic character. A real teenager probably would not have been able to stand up to the rumor mill with such aplomb. Easy A is teenage escapist fantasy where the outcast triumphs over social bullies. Recently, a Massachusetts teenager committed suicide because of cyber-bullying. That’s real. That’s tragic. Olive isn’t that girl.

Larry: I credit the movie’s secondary characters for making it memorable, although not altogether plausible. Stanley Tucci as Dill, Olive’s father, never seems to know that his daughter has been branded. If he does know, his laissez faire attitude is unrealistic. Dan Byrd as Brandon, Olive’s gay friend, is too open about the indignities he faces. That is hard to swallow. The high school principal, Malcolm McDowell, is funny, but seems like a throwback to Blackboard Jungle. And yet, Olive plays well off of these characters.

Mary: I’m not troubled by the lack of realism. Often, the unrealistic touches are exaggerations that fuel the humor. I like Dill and Rosemary (Patricia Clarkson), Olive’s eccentric, intelligent, and loving parents, though clearly they are caricatures of laidback ’60s types, much more “hands off” than most parents today. Yet they trust in Olive’s ability to solve her own problems and help give Olive a historical context for understanding her predicament. Easy A is PG-13, and its appeal is transgenerational.

Larry: 3.5 stars

Mary: 3 stars

Looking for Eric

September 27, 2010

Looking for Eric, directed by Ken Loach, is a selection at the Milwaukee Film Festival.  The last showing of the film at the festival will be on October 2, 2010 at 6:30 p.m., Ridge Cinema.

Eric’s coworkers and supervisors at a Manchester, UK post office can see Eric’s stooped shoulders and sense danger in his alienated eyes. They secretly conspire to combat his listless apathy.  With the help of a psychological self-help manual, Eric’s post office supervisor makes an endearingly ridiculous and sincere attempt to set Eric on the road to spiritual recovery. In Eric’s chaotic living room, which has years of undelivered mail spilling out of the bookcases, Eric’s supervisor conducts a therapy-for-laymen group session straight out of the self-help book. The supervisor asks the affable postmen to imagine a loving father figure.  Eric emerges from the therapy session with an imaginary sage to look after him.  Eric’s guru takes the form of his youthful hero, soccer superstar Eric Cantona.  Cantona, who most surely has very big balls and deep French wisdom, can see right through the real man trapped inside Eric’s broken spirit.  A highly imaginative madcap plot unfolds (one which may be too loopy for some) and Eric eventually reclaims his dignity and purpose after much travail.  Steve Evets as Eric Bishop and Eric Cantona as himself are brilliant. The supporting cast is wonderful as well. Paul Laverty’s script is robust and refreshingly unrepressed.  One word of caution: a willing suspension of disbelief is necessary for ye who enter here.  If you buy in, you will take a wild ride through the tough streets of working-class Manchester, share in the grim reality of Eric’s home life and take a magic carpet ride with Eric every time he lights a joint before his frequent tête à têtes with Cantona, the Jean-Paul Sartre of the soccer world.  You might not expect such a tender hearted film filled with magic and charm to emerge from such harsh, goofy and improbable premises but here you have it.

Transition film tonight at Unitarian church

September 24, 2010

Source: Transition Milwaukee.

Time: September 24, 2010 from 6:30pm to 8pm
Location: First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee
Organized By: Terry Wiggins

Event Description:
On September 24, we’ll screen “In Transition.” A film about change, about hope, In Transition shows a practical vision for creating a post-consumer society. One where ordinary people make a difference, transitioning from oil dependency to local resiliency. The Transition Movement is made up of communities worldwide that are responding to peak oil and climate change with creativity, imagination and humor and rebuilding their local economies and communities. This is the first in-depth movie about this growing movement filmed by those who know it best as they make it happen on the ground. Transition Milwaukee is a vibrant Transition group that includes several First Church members, who will participate in the post-film discussion.

Free snacks and socializing will start at 6:30 p.m., and we’ll press play at 7:00 p.m. $5 suggested donation. Childcare available with 48 hours preregistration, call 414-333-2537.

Where — First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee, 1342 North Astor Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212

When — Friday, September 24, 2010; socializing & snacks at 6:30, film at 7:00, discussion to follow. Film last 50 minutes, and if the audience agrees, we may show some of the extras on the disk.

Fourth Friday Films at First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee will offer an inspiring series of films focused on solutions to current issues. Each will educate, spark conversation and stir the conscious viewer to act on issues of social justice, ecological responsibility, politics and more. This is an opportunity to see that social actions really can—and do—work in the real world.

Local children’s author signing Sept. 29

September 24, 2010

South Milwaukee children’s author Janet Halfmann will host a book signing Wednesday, Sept. 29 6-7:45pm at the South Milwaukee Public Library, 1907 10th Ave.

Her titles published this fall include Fur and Feathers (Sylvan Dell Publishing) and Good Night, Little Sea Otter (Star Bright Books).


Retribution Gospel Choir tonight at Cactus Club

September 24, 2010

Source: Battlecry Milwaukee


Retribution Gospel Choir brings epic rock to Cactus Club’s stage Friday, September 24th…Alan Sparhawk, guitarist and vocalist of Low takes slowcore elements of his former band and brings even more dynamism and horsepower to the formula Low wrought on pure rock minimalism.
Once considered his side-project, Sparhawk’s Retribution Gospel Choir has lead itself to the forefront of his musical projects, joining up with bassist Steve Garrington (also of Low) and drummer/vocalist Eric Pollard, to write windy and beautiful compositions. Since 2007, the Duluth, Minnesota trio has released tour EPs, a self-titled full-length [2008], and their latest album, 2 [Sub Pop], which has had made Low fans happy and kept critics satiated. PopMatters says of 2, “anyone who likes harsh, squalling garage rock could find something to keep them happy…[and RGC] confidently slip out of the realm of the side project. This album is…fuller, louder and more anthemic.” Indeed, Retribution Gospel Choir brings every once of squalor they can muster to their head-bangingly gorgeous rock songs. Better yet, their live performances don’t leave any stone unturned; Retribution Gospel Choir is one of those bands whose sound is just as good as the produced album. Maybe better.

Friday, September 24, 2010
The Cactus Club
(2496 S. Wentworth, Milwaukee, WI, 53207)
21+/9pm doors, 10pm show
$8 ADV/$10 DOS

tickets may be purchased at:

Also performing:
The Celebrated Workingman (MKE): www.myspace.com/thecelebratedworkingman
Conrad Plymouth (MKE): www.myspace.com/conradplymouth

BV Business Map published today. Stop @ Compass booth at Bash for your copy!

September 18, 2010


Click map above to download two-page PDF.

Map is on second page of the PDF.

Or click here.

Watch Sept. 2 Larson/Plale debate

September 14, 2010

Bay View resident Heather Ryan taped the Larson/Plale debate that BVNA presented at the Humboldt Park Pavilion and posted them last night.  Here are the links:

Part 1 of 7

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

IMPORTANT PRIMARY TODAY—polling station & registration info

September 13, 2010

Let’s deomonstrate how great the civic spirit is in Bay View with really high numbers at our local polling stations.

If you are new to the area, use this link to find your polling station: http://itmdapps.ci.mil.wi.us/electedreps/electrep.jsp.

If you are not a registered voter, you may register at the polling station.

More voting info:


Wisconsin law requires every qualified voter to complete or maintain a current voter registration before voting in an election. Therefore, you must complete a voter registration application if you are a new Wisconsin voter or your name and/or residential address has changed since you last registered to vote.

If you are uncertain of your voter registration name, address or status, you may click this link https://vpa.wi.gov/ and select option one.

The City of Milwaukee provides four opportunities for completing and updating your voter registration: by mail, at any Milwaukee Public Library, at City Hall and at your voting site on Election Day. Take a picture ID with you and a utility bill, lease, or other official document that proves your place of residence.

Registration by mail and at Milwaukee Public Libraries ends 20 days prior to each election (or the third Wednesday before each election). This is referred to as the “close of registration” date. You may still register to vote at City Hall during the 20 days before an election, or at your voting site on Election Day. 2010 election and close of registration dates are as follows:

Election Close of Registration
Fall Primary, September 14, 2010                                                            Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Fall General, November 2, 2010                                                               Wednesday, October 13, 2010

2010 Bash Music Schedule—Saturday, Sept. 18

September 12, 2010

Bands of the Bash

August 29, 2010

By Cara Slingerland

For the seventh year, Kinnickinnic Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic from Potter to Clement avenues for the Bay View Bash. An entire day of musical entertainment fills the void left by the constant whirr of cars, and grunts of strongmen competitors replace car horns.

On Sept. 18, 17 bands take to three Bash stages, in addition to a children’s stage. Promoters seemed to side-step scheduling “headliners” last, as worthy music is interspersed throughout the day. Some of the highlights follow, arranged by stage name.

OnMilwaukee.com & The Shepherd Express Stage – (South)

11:30am – 1pm BSG
1:30 – 2:30 BSG
3:00 – 4:00 Joyride / World Minus One
4:30 – 5:30 Joyride
6:00 – 7:30 Brandon James
8:00 – 10:00 Bad Boy All-Stars w/ Steve Grimm and Scotty B.
Gruber Law & The Wisconsin Gazette Stage – (Middle)

11am – 12:30pm David Drake
1:00 – 2:30 Annie B.
3:00 – 5:00 Rachel and Cole Waters
5:30 – 7:30 Jimmy @ the Prom
8:00 – 10:00 Herman Astro
Groppi’s Food Market & 88.9 Radio Milwaukee Stage – (North)

12:00pm Happy Talk Band
1:15 Lovanova
2:30 When Water Turns to Air
3:45 Wild Ghosts
5:30 1956
6:30 Dick Satan Trio
8:30 Aqua Nauts

North Stage – G. Groppi Food Market & 88.9 Radio Milwaukee Stage

Noon – The Happy Talk Band

Outside of Rush Mor, The Happy Talk Band makes a local stop amid their national tour. The band has as many influences as the miles it traveled from New Orleans, but it’s definitely steeped in a Southern flavor. Older material embodies the more country side of Graham Parsons, while newer material features jazz licks on “Answer Me” and moody piano on “Muggers Waltz.” The band performs later this night at Club Garibaldi with the honky-tonk Western Starlanders and country God’s Outlaws.

1:15pm – Lovanova

Seeing Lovanova is like seeing 10 Milwaukee bands in one. Each member of the four-piece is in at least one other band, the best of which include The Lackloves, Willy Porter, Fever Marlene, and Beatallica. However, the electric jazz they produce, which largely relies on a Hammond organ, is more a departure from these bands than a fusion.

Middle Stage – Gruber Law Office & The Wisconsin Gazette Stage

11am – David HB Drake

Most of David HB Drake’s 25 years of touring as a folk musician have been spent singing about Wisconsin’s history, set to a slide show. Drake leaves the slides at home for festivals, but still expect sing-alongs and accompanying stories. If fans are lucky, Drake will play some of his original sea songs, such as “The Bratwurst Pirates.”

7pm – Jimmy at the Prom

A relatively new band on the scene, Jimmy at the Prom mixes Jeff Buckley-like vocals with an equally ’90s Temple of the Dog instrumentation. Long songs like “Skin Deep” allow the band to explore its straightforward rock sound.

South Stage – OnMilwaukee.com & The Shepherd Express Stage

3pm and 4:30pm – Joyride

Not quite your requisite festival cover band, Joyride covers everything from Black Crowes to Weezer, but makes sure to give each song a unique interpretation.

8pm – Bad Boy

In the early ’80s, Bad Boy broke out of Milwaukee with two albums that reached the top 100, including The Band That Milwaukee Made Famous. For two hours, the WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) Hall of Famers will take the audience back to the late ’70s, early ’80s heydays of hair bands. The band had different permutations throughout the years, but this performance reunites original member Steve Grimm with Scotty Berendt and Xeno, Cheap Trick’s original singer. Bad Boy has some recent material, but will hopefully draw from older material and crowd pleasers like the guitar-drenched “Disco” and the multi-part harmonies of “Thunder and Lightning.”

Copyright 2010 by Bay View Compass. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Seaway to the rescue — grain shipments up 51% through St. Lawrence Seaway compared to Aug. 2009

September 10, 2010

Source: Press Release from Marine Delivers

Note: Ron Johnson, who is mentioned in narrative below, is not the same individual who is challenging Russ Feingold  (U.S. Senate D-Wis.)

Grain shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway increased by 51 percent to 830,000 metric tons in August compared to the same period last year as international demand began to ramp up in the wake of production shortages in Russia.

The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that American grain shipments reached 303,000 metric tons in August, an increase of 62 percent compared to the same period last year, while Canadian grain shipments increased by 45 percent to 527,000 metric tons. Year-to-date numbers, however, reflect an 18 percent increase to 743,000 metric tons for U.S. grain shipments and a 15 percent decrease to 2.8 million metric tons for Canadian grain shipments from March 25 to August 31compared to the same period in 2009.

Commercial vessels carried a total of 18.7 million metric tons of cargo through the Seaway from March 25 to August 31 – an increase of 22 percent over 2009. The overall numbers were also helped by strong increases in iron ore, coal and steel shipments.

“Robust demand for our services during the month of August suggests that our key markets are continuing to improve, approaching in some instances the levels that we witnessed in 2008 before the onset of the recession,” said Richard Corfe, President and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. “On a year-over-year basis, we note that ocean vessel traffic has risen sharply given a resurgence in the movement of steel products. The prospect of strong demand for grain exports to overseas markets leads us to believe that tonnage will continue on the positive side for the rest of the season.”

By mid-August, one quarter of Russia’s grain crops had been destroyed. Drought, followed by devastating fires, led their government to ban exports of grain through the end of the year in order to conserve supplies for domestic food production and animal feed. This situation has caused an unexpected boon for U.S. grain exporters.

One of the key Great Lakes grain ports, the Port of Duluth-Superior, has noted this uptick with vessel agent bookings up 25 percent from this time last year. Executive Director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Adolph Ojard, confirmed that 14 ships were at the port last week loading product for international markets. “Grain is a world commodity and the U.S. not only grows high-quality spring wheat, we have been fortunate this year to have a bumper crop. That provides an opportunity to move the agricultural bounty of North America through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway navigation system to benefit those in need around the world.”

The United States is the world’s top exporter of wheat. Media reports indicate U.S. wheat exports could reach their highest level since 1996, with future demand strong. And American farmers are poised to capture new market shares overseas. David Torgerson, executive director of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers explained, “We are located about as far away from our export customers as any farmers in the United States. But, with the Seaway and the Port of Duluth-Superior, we have a direct water link to markets around the world (in particular Europe and North Africa), which keeps transportation costs competitive and enables North Dakota and Minnesota farmers to compete globally. The farmers really rely on the Seaway to provide that service.”

Late last week Germany reached out to the United States for grain, an export they’ve not purchased from U.S. farmers for three years. The bulk load represents 20,000 metric tons of spring wheat. According to Ron Johnson, trade development director at the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, “Grain buyers in Turkey and Egypt, likewise, are sourcing spring wheat from Duluth-Superior. Not only are we seeing new customers this year, we’re seeing increased purchases from existing customers. We also expect to export feed barley to countries we haven’t shipped to for 15-20 years.”

This increase in business serves to emphasize the strategic value of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway navigation system. Without the benefit of this water highway, the United States could not be as nimble in moving product to international markets. Canadian Lakers, which have been the backbone for bi-national movement between the U.S. and Canada, play an integral role in that process.

Allister Paterson, President and CEO, Seaway Marine Transport (SMT) based in St. Catharines, Ontario stated, “The Seaway provides a critical safety valve in being able to rapidly respond to sudden shifts in trade patterns. From a Canadian carrier’s prospective, there is no doubt that U.S. wheat bookings are on the upswing. Before the Russians announced their ban on grain exports, SMT had planned to lay up ships in August and September. With that announcement, we were able to book enough U.S. wheat cargoes to keep all of our ships sailing. In addition, we are spending significant dollars to mobilize one full seaway-size bulker from inactive status to provide additional capacity for another 150,000 metric tons of U.S. grain this season. In total, we have found capacity to move an additional 300,000-400,000 metric tons of U.S. export grain on short notice.”

Montreal-based Fednav Limited, the largest international marine bulk shipping company in Canada, has also noted an increase in its bookings due to the international demand for grain. According to Jean Lemay, Senior Vice President, Chartering, “We have noticed a substantial increase in inquiries for cargoes originating from the Great Lakes to Europe and North Africa, partly due to a bumper crop in the prairies and to crop failures in other parts of the world.”

The Seaway navigation system is undeniably efficient; it functions without affecting other modes of transportation, which are already overloaded. In terms of capacity, a single Seaway-sized vessel carries 26,500 metric tons of cargo. It would take 1044 trucks or 270 rail cars to carry the same load.  Additionally, in terms of fuel efficiency and environmental impact, a ship can travel 312 kilometers with one ton of cargo on one liter of fuel; a railroad car travels only 181 kilometers; and an 18-wheel semi-trailer truck goes only 75 kilometers. These efficiencies, in addition to the safety factor, make transport by water extremely attractive.

Marine Delivers is a bi-national, industry collaboration that aims to demonstrate the economic contribution and environmental sustainability of the shipping industry throughout the Great Lakes region. The Marine Delivers initiative is administered by the American Great Lakes Ports Association in the United States, and the Chamber of Marine Commerce in Canada. For more information, visit the Marine Delivers Web site at www.marinedelivers.com.

UWM’s digital library of Civil Rights in Milwaukee launches Sept. 16

September 7, 2010

A yearlong project that gives worldwide audiences access to UWM’s historical archive documenting the March on Milwaukee and the city’s civil rights struggle kicks off Sept. 16 at the Milwaukee Public Library downtown.

The March on Milwaukee Civil Rights History Project is a new digital resource that features primary sources from the UWM Archives and the Wisconsin Historical Society, including text documents, film footage, oral histories, and photographs.

The digital collection includes the selected papers of individuals representing a variety of positions on civil rights issues, photographs, unedited footage from the WTMJ-TV news film archives, and oral history interviews of individuals who participated in the movement. It also includes contextual materials, such as biographies of significant people, histories of organizations, timelines and maps.

“We really hope that area high schools and middle schools will use the archive in their curricula,” says Jasmine Alinder, UWM Associate Professor of History who headed the project. “The materials and the work came from UWM Archives at the UWM Libraries. But the Milwaukee County Library was the public partner, expanding awareness of the project.”

There is recently a trend, says Alinder, in taking the discussion of the Civil Rights era beyond the perspective of the experience in the South. She adds that the Library of Congress is interested in including material from the March on Milwaukee archive in its own digital collection of oral histories of the Civil Rights era, which is currently under construction.

Funding was provided by a grant from the Cultures and Communities Program.

The event is free and street parking around the Milwaukee County Library downtown is free after 6pm.
More info about the March on Milwaukee collection here.

Tour and talk about Waukesha water

September 7, 2010

Public tour to give overview behind proposed Great Lakes Diversion application
On September 21 and 22, the Senior Water Advocates Network (SWAN), a program
of Milwaukee Riverkeeper, will lead a group of citizens from the Greater Milwaukee area
on a tour to explain Waukesha’s water concerns and the effort to get fresh water from
Lake Michigan.

Community residents of all ages are invited on a bus tour of Waukesha’s water
geography, which will include talks from the major stakeholders involved in this volatile
issue. Speakers will include Waukesha Mayor Larry Scrima, Waukesha Water Utility
Director Dan Duchniak, DNR staff, and members of local environmental groups.

“Seeing Waukesha’s water landscape and hearing directly from the parties involved will
offer participants an up-close, inside view on the issues surrounding Waukesha’s water,”
says Dale Olen, coordinator of the event.

The Tour and Talk will include the bus ride, two lunches, snacks and drinks. Cost is
$40.00 per person. The first day, September 21, begins at 8:30 am at the Park and Ride at
Goerke’s Corners (I-94 and Barker Road) and ends around 3:30 pm. The second day,
September 22, begins at 9:00 am at the Machine Shed Restaurant (I-94 and Highway
164) and ends after lunch at 1pm.

Interested people can register online at milwaukeeriverkeeper.org/events or by calling Paul Schwarzkopf at 414-287-0207 x228, or e-mailing him at

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