Monday, May 30, 2011

Goodbye, Old Girl

Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend I was making space in the basement.  An old rust-petrified Rollfast Bicycle - time to admit to yourself that Someday would never come.

I'd never suddenly become a walking Swiss-army knife of mechanical acuity, completely re-build the lowly machine into a restored American classic, and pedal my way to Adonis-hood, with women swarming all over my awesome body every time i stopped at an intersection.  Maybe it won't happen.  I put the pathetic bicycle out in the back alley, in two trips, and within 1/2 hour, the scrappers had snapped it up.

Then I faced a question that I'm sure every homeowner I'm sure has asked himself:  What do I do with 75 hula hoops?  Well, see above, it wasn't likely that I'd be doing the hula.  So, noticing that Randy was open next door, I went over to Heavenly Kidzz, his emporium of children's resale.  I made a win-win offer, and there was another precious cubic yard of space.

Sadly, back in the corner, crouching down hoping I wouldn't see her, but I did...  You're next, Old Girl.  A wringer washer from the 1940s.  When I lived in a 10-room apartment ($110.00/mo) in Watertown, I had wheeled her up to the sink every week to do my wash.  Fill with a hose, and wring and drain into the kitchen sink.  It did the job, and it went well with the 1920s decor of the apartment.

Then, I moved to Milwaukee.  She came with me, although my new place had a new-fangled automatic washer, with a dryer above.  So, she went into the basement.  But her moment of Glory was still to come.  I began to write and produce plays.

My old Kenmore had a starring role in one of my favorite creations - "Lyle and Shirley at the Foot Farm".
Equipped with Christmas lights and a smoke generator, my Kenmore sharing the stage with Marian Ziemienski, one of the most talented Milwaukee actresses.  Marian played a wise old women from the hills, and used the wringer washer to process her cherished recipes for elixer.  Here, she demonstrates her craft to her granddaughter, played by Joyce Radtke.   This was the Kenmore's finest hour.

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Alana's Poster-Child

This picture hangs on the wall of the studio where we hold our concerts.  It is a blown-up newspaper clipping of a modeling series my wife Joyce was doing a few years back at Villa Terrace, a local millionaire-mansion turned museum/concert hall.  At the time, she was working as a photo model for Boston Store and Marshall Fields, but I believe this particular photo was done by a reporter, as a story on Joyce rather than the clothes she was selling for her employers.

This year, she started her own clothing store, Alana Women's Apparel, in part of a shopping center that we have been creating in a rehab space.  She was wondering if the photo, one of her career favorites, could be incorporated in abstract terms into her store logo.

She posed the question to Tom Hoffmann, a Bay View artist acquaintance from her fitness gym, and Tom came up with the following rendition, based on the photograph.
 Also a sleek black-and-white version: 
And so, another legend is born.  I love you, Joyce.
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