Appropriate, non-jazz theme music. I chose it because I went to Milwaukee and because I dig the follow your dreams/go get ‘em spirit of the song.
Let me just preface my comments by saying I enjoyed every minute of my
trip. I say that because I’m about to post a few wacky misadventures
and I wouldn’t want to leave anyone with the impression that I was
I have no sense of direction. I need Mapquest
and an experienced Sherpa to find my own bellybutton, and even then I
need to use both hands. Thank heavens I have GPS! Mine was making my
trip smooth and worry free right up until the point where it nearly led
me off a cliff! Okay, maybe not a cliff but it was a GIANT hole where
the street leading to my hotel should have been. The construction had
just started and GPS gods had not been notified. Did I mention I have
no sense of direction? The drive to Milwaukee took just under 2 hours.
The last .2 miles from the “canyon” edge to the hotel door took an
extra 45 minutes!
My hotel looked exactly like you’d expect a $30 a night hotel to look. The construction in the front only added to the ambiance. But, the rooms were quiet and clean, the beds were comfortable and the staff was amazingly friendly and helpful. After I spent 40 adventure-filled minutes trying to find a way onto the hotel property myself, I finally broke down and called the front desk. The wonderful man who answered the phone never lost his patience explaining and re-explaining the directions to me. He even offered to sit on the phone with me while I drove to the hotel! That friendly service with a smile even made up for the fact that my “continental breakfast” was actually two mini donuts and a pack of instant oatmeal. (I’m not kidding.)
I got to Milwaukee early but not terribly early so I didn’t really have the time or inclination to do anything touristy. What I really wanted was a book store and food court lo mein. I asked the poor brave man at the front desk to direct me to the nearest mall. He was able to simplify the instructions into a few crude grunts and hand gestures that even I could follow so I got there with nary a mishap. I couldn’t find a parking space but I spotted a Borders nearby with plenty of parking so I popped in there. They were having a sale! I spent a couple of happy hours doing my favorite kind of shopping. (sitting and reading) I never did get my food court lo mein though.
I still had an hour or so before time to leave for the show so I figured I’d get my stuff ready and then grab a quick nap before I left. My plan was to have my book signed and to get non blurry individual photos with the everyone. So I look in my bag and… I forgot my book at home on the coffee table! But I did manage to remember my camera. So I took that out, put it next to my purse, and settled in to read myself to sleep. I woke up just in time to grab my purse and head out the door to the show.
The Pabst Theater is about 7 miles from my hotel. Since there was no traffic to speak of, I decided to give myself an hour get there. You may have missed my subtle hints earlier in this post but, the thing is, I have NO sense of direction. So an hour and a half later,
after several wrong turns down many a quaint and curious dead end
alley, I arrived at the theater. I found great, cheap parking just a
stone’s throw from the venue.
Pabst Theater is quite a lovely historical building. I spent
several chilly minutes standing outside it reading all the plaque
dedications and peering through the windows at the posters of coming attractions. I’m glad I got a chance to see it. But here’s the thing: It turns out, my show wasn’t playing there. They were playing about 9 blocks over at the Turner Ballroom. Here’s the other thing: I have no sense of direction.
The nice thing about downtown Milwaukee is that people are very
friendly to befuddled strangers. I had to stop someone for
directions every 8-10 feet on my walk from Pabst to Turner, but
everyone was nice and helpful. Luckily the weather was nice-ish and I got a great look at some of the wonderful architecture in the downtown area. Even with all the wackiness, I still managed to make it to Turner Ballroom just in time for the box office to open at 6. It was the best show ever!