Culver’s CurderBurger returns for more than 10 minutes this time

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Limited-edition food offerings. Most aren’t worth their salt. The McRib? A pork patty in subpar BBQ sauce. Shamrock Shake? It’s mint, people. Chew some gum the next time you drink melted ice cream. Pumpki … I can’t. I just can’t.

But the Culver’s CurderBurger? I can. And this year, I might even get the chance to eat one.

The April-Fool’s-Day-joke-turned-actual-menu item sold out in 10 minutes last Oct. 15. And while I appreciate a well-executed promotional stunt you can eat, standing in line and waiting for a blue-clad Culver’s employee to unlock the door was a bridge too far for me.

This year, the place my 8-year-old lovingly refers to as “The Blue Sign Store” will require no such patience. Because according to a story in this morning’s Capital Times, the CurderBurger will return next Wednesday, Oct. 12, and hang around until Oct. 31. At least that’s the plan.

A promotional image for Culver's CurderBurger shows one full burger and one cut in half, with a hamburger patty topped by a flattened cheese curd.
Culver’s CurderBurger, in all its gooey glory. (Photo courtesy: Culver’s)

“I think everybody agreed that doing it for a longer period of time allows our guests to kind of pick and choose when they want to come to the restaurant,” Culver’s Director of Menu Development Quinn Adkins told the Cap Times. “It certainly makes things a lot easier on our restaurant teams. We’re very good at managing that process, and making it more aligned with our usual methodology just made sense.”

He added that the recipe will get a slight tweak to the burger curd’s breading, making it easier for their team members to whip them up for us. But each restaurant will only make 1,000. So while we won’t need to wait in line on day one, I wouldn’t wait until day 20, either.


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Milwaukee music icon Paul Cebar adds knighthood to his honors

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Paul Cebar — the man, the legend. If you’re a Milwaukeean, you’ve either heard (or at least heard of) him and maybe even been lucky enough to talk to him out on the music scene. So it was a happy surprise when the Milwaukee Press Club bestowed upon Cebar its “Knight of Bohemia” honor last week in the city where he’s shared so much music. 

Cebar’s voice has warmed Milwaukee’s ears while on stage and on the airwaves at WMSE, where he regularly hosts a Wednesday morning show featuring an eclectic, all-vinyl mix. His bands The Milwaukeeans and Tomorrow Sound — as well as his earliest project, The R&B Cadets — have garnered plenty of well-earned attention.

He’s worked with notable musicians like Jon and Mike Sieger, Willy Porter, Robyn Pluer, Peter Mulvey, Juli Wood, Mike Fredrickson, Reggie Bordeaux and Bob Schneider, serving up soulful sounds infused with worldly appeal. 

That’s the kind of resume that earns someone the title “Knight of Bohemia,” which the MPC traditionally issues to “exceptional community members and friends of the club.” According to the club’s website:

“Alonzo Burt, who was president of the Wisconsin Telephone Company, was the first to be designated a Knight of Bohemia (and apparently the first non-journalist to join the Press Club). That was in 1909. By 1922, the ranks of the order had grown to 10 people, and stayed at that number for many years.” 

Milwaukee music legend Paul Cebar signs a rectangular chalkboard in front of a Milwaukee Press Club banner and a wall with historical press clippings.
Paul Cebar adds his signature to the wall at the Newsroom Pub. (Photo courtesy: Jeff Bentoff)

Over the next 100 years, the hallowed list of honorees grew to more than 50 and includes:

  • Joe and Jennifer Bartolotta of The Bartolotta Restaurants
  • Peter Feigin of the Milwaukee Bucks
  • Acclaimed historian John Gurda
  • Capt. James A. Lovell, test pilot and NASA astronaut
  • Fred and Gustave Pabst of Pabst Brewing Co.
  • Julie Pedretti of Children’s Hospital
  • Vel Phillips, Milwaukee Common Council member and Milwaukee County judge

Speaking about the honor, Cebar said, “I was decidedly unaware of what a Knight of Bohemia might be. Sharing this distinction with the likes of Vel Phillips, Frank Zeidler, John Goethe and James Lovell is a pleasing juxtaposition. In my induction, I was charged to formally fight evil and to defend the honor of the disenfranchised — through singing as best I can, I presume. I’m hoping to rise to the occasion.”

You can watch a video of Cebar’s induction below and enjoy the fact that, in classic Cebar style, he sings his acceptance speech.


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Homeowners bring Beetlejuice to Bay View for a good cause

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There’s something special about Halloween. Maybe it’s the changing of the season. It could be the trick-or-treating and pumpkin carving. Or perhaps it’s the giant sandworms.

That last one is specific to anyone who makes an annual appointment to watch the 1988 movie Beetlejuice around this time of year. Or anyone who lives near South Clement Avenue in Bay View and a house that looks like the film burst from its foundation.

Every year at 2943 S. Clement Ave., homeowners Andy Reid and Jamie Beauchamp-Reid turn their abode into A&J’s Halloween House. And this year, they recreated some of the most iconic scenes from the classic comedy-horror movie — just the latest of their yearly Halloween décor choices.

A house in Milwaukee displays scenes and characters from the movie "Beetlejuice" to raise money for local charity Pathfinders.
A&J’s Halloween House at 2943 S. Clement Ave. in Bay View. (Photo courtesy: Jennifer Ellis)

“Sometimes the concept is picked randomly,” Andy said, adding that this year’s theme started with the purchase of a 10-foot inflatable sandworm and an animatronic Beetlejuice they’ve waited a year to use.

Along with the movie’s star and the creature that (spoiler alert) ultimately led to his demise, you’ll see a few memorable scenes and characters if you take a spin past the house:

  • The afterlife waiting room, complete with the chain-smoking smoldering corpse, the shrunken-head safari hunter and the sawed-in-half magician’s assistant. 
  • The dinner party scene where Lydia’s parents and guests sing and dance to Harry Belafonte’s “Day O!” while possessed before being pulled into their dinnerware by cocktail shrimp. 
  • The corridor of the afterlife that takes you to the front porch, where the Maitlands wait to greet you.
  • The end-credit scene where Lydia levitates over the staircase performing Harry Belafonte’s “Jump in the Line” with a choir of deceased football players. 
  • Crowning the display, atop the balcony, is the carnival barking Beetlejuice with two elongated arms and mallets for hands. 

Fans of the film will appreciate the eye for detail. The cast of mannequins have an uncanny resemblance to the actors in the film, and each scene and prop hold something special.

On top of everything else, this good clean fun supports a good cause: Pathfinders, an empowerment and support organization for homeless and abused youth. A collection box is located on site, and you can also make a donation online.

You can see A&J’s Halloween House any time. But after being there myself, I can tell you that at night — and in the words of Beetlejuice himself — “It’s show time.”


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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Cactus Club’s new organization adds to the city’s creative momentum

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Cactus Club has long been a big plus for the Milwaukee community, particularly under Kelsey Kaufmann’s leadership. This Saturday, it’ll be official as the music venue launches Cactus+.

It’s pretty much what the name implies: the Cactus Club you’ve grown to love, but more — the more in this case being a new arts and education organization, plus an even sharper focus on inclusivity.

“The organization will broaden the scope of our youth-centered industry assistantships, guest curation and multimedia arts community building,” Kaufman said in a statement. “In addition to programming, we are working to improve accessibility on-site with the addition of a ramp to the front door and accessible bathrooms.”

On Saturday, we get our first look at what Cactus+ might entail at an event the club has called, “a soft launch.” A few local organizations will be hand, including Girls Rock MKE, Planned Parenthood WI, Back to Earth Tones and Thrift.Green. Plus, as you’d expect, they didn’t skimp on the music:

  • All-ages outdoor lineup — DJ Gramma Matrix (4 p.m.), Old Pup (5 p.m.), Bug Moment (6 p.m.) and B8R (fka Ruth B8r Ginsburg, 7 p.m.)
  • 18+ indoor lineup ($10 suggested donation) — Tru West, Graham Hunt Band and Summer Birth (starts at 8 p.m.)
  • Nighttime DJs — DJ Auntie / XxUltraVioletxX

Head over to the Cactus Club website for more information about the event, including the artists scheduled to perform.


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New mini-docs show us how artists try to create a better Milwaukee

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How does Milwaukee shape its most creative people? How do those people use their creativity to shape the city in return?

Answering big questions like that requires a big effort, which is exactly what you get in a new series from Nō Studios, the collaborative workspace and community founded by Milwaukee native and Oscar winner John Ridley.

For “Creating Milwaukee,” the Nō Studios production team partnered with Milwaukee Magazine on mini-documentaries focused on the city’s musicians and other artists. The official synopsis is below, but jump down a little farther to watch the premiere episode, and it won’t take you long to see what this series is all about.

Rising reggaeton duo Gego y Nony step into the spotlight first, giving you a chance to get to know the two brothers before they jump on stage Saturday for Radio Milwaukee’s 15th Birthday Party. Plus you get a few cameos from our own Kenny Perez.

Find 10 minutes in your day to watch. It’s well worth it.

“Creating Milwaukee” synopsis

Milwaukee is a complex historical tapestry. Within concrete wastelands, amidst cream city brick rises our city of today. Business sprouts in the factories of yesteryear. Old haunts become new destinations. In this series, we speak to artists whose work was woven by this landscape and trace the thread back to this new Milwaukee.


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One of Wisconsin’s Avengers made their television debut this week

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There’s a subset of people (Martin Scorsese for one) who think this whole superhero thing has gotten out of control. Movies, TV shows, podcasts — they’ve taken over popular culture and destroyed everything in their path like the Hulk (original recipe, not Professor Hulk).

I have terrible news for those people: We’ve barely scratched the surface.

Very quickly, I should note I’m a Marvel fan of the new-media variety. I don’t recall having ever bought a comic book, although I deeply appreciate and respect anyone who has and would never disparage them or fail to recognize the foundational role of print media in the current landscape of superhero properties printing money as fast as metahumanly possible. Also, I did my level best to gather accurate information for the following in the limited time available. Please don’t yell at me online.

So, how deep does this superhero thing go? So deep that, at one point, Wisconsin had its own team of Avengers. Not in a tangential reality or multiverse situation. In the main continuity of Marvel Comics. And their headquarters was in Milwaukee.

This came to my attention during this week’s episode of She-Hulk (spoiler alert I guess?) in which a guy named Craig Hollis, aka Mr. Immortal, needed legal representation for defrauding nine people. How? He wriggled his way out of nine marriages by using his ability to resurrect himself almost immediately after dying.

Mr. Immortal from Great Lakes Avengers (2016) #3 cover art by Will Robson. (Courtesy: Marvel Database)

If you’re thinking, “This is exactly the kind of weird-ass character Marvel would send if evil forces attacked Hales Corners,” you’re right.

Because this is a comic-book situation, there are a lot of ins and out and what-have-yous. But the short version is that Mr. Immortal founded the Great Lakes Avengers with other heroes possessing … similarly unique skill sets:

  • Flatman can flatten and stretch his body
  • Doorman can create an entrance to any structure
  • Leather Boy has no superpowers and was pretty quickly kicked off the team
  • Dinah Soar is a humanoid, pterosaur-like species who speaks a language nobody can understand except Mr. Immortal because they’re soul mates
  • Big Bertha (cringey name, yes) can manipulate her tissue and uses the power to be both supermodel and superhero

Did they meet for the first time in a YMCA? Yes, they did. Did they get in trouble from the real Avengers for using that term without permission? You betcha. Did they once fend off a holiday attack from a forest of evil pine trees sent by a villain named Dr. Tannenbaum? Absolutely.

The original lineup of the Great Lakes Avengers. (Courtesy: Marvel Database)

The team has a long and complex history. They changed their name about 74 times, added and subtracted members (including Squirrel Girl, who has a delightful podcast miniseries), became the government-sanctioned protectors of Wisconsin, and relocated to Detroit (boo). 

But if you like your superhero teams more off-beat and closer to home, it’s worth looking them up. Then, in 15 years, when Marvel Studios is really scraping the barrel for intellectual property, you can say you knew them before they were famous.

(Special thanks to everyone who contributed to the Marvel Database that I ferociously clicked around to gather information until my Chrome browser caught fire and exploded.)


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Downtown mural of Grace Weber is an ode to music and the 414

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Back on April 14 of this year, also known as “414 Day” in Milwaukee, singer Grace Weber debuted the aptly titled “414,” a song featuring Mudy that rang out through a capacity Opening Day crowd at American Family Field later that night.

The song quickly latched on as a Milwaukee anthem, primarily in an audio format, obviously. But more recently, it took on a new form as a mural in the heart of downtown.

Located in an alleyway on the back side of the Plankinton Loft Apartments (the former Grand Avenue Mall) on North 2nd Street between Wisconsin Avenue and Michigan Street, the groovy three-story mural depicts Weber dancing with a pair of headphones on. The back of her jacket in the painting shows a 414 patch and the phrase “city raised us,” a lyric from her song.

You’ll also find familiar landmarks and symbols like the Milwaukee Pierhead Light, “The Calling” sculpture, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and the Rockwell Automation clock tower.

A mural in downtown Milwaukee commemorating Grace Weber’s song, “414.” (Photo courtesy: Dan Reiner)

More lyrics from the song’s chorus cover the adjoining three stories of walkways that connect the building to a parking structure: “Hometown love is what we’re made of.”

Milwaukee Downtown Business Improvement District No. 21 worked with Weber — a Milwaukee native and the namesake of Radio Milwaukee’s Music Lab — and local artist Sid Ylagan on the design.

“We wanted it to celebrate everything we love about the city, and its amazing art and music scene,” Weber said. “I’m so excited this celebration of ‘414’ and Milwaukee is a part of the downtown landscape and can’t wait for people to check it out.”


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Milwaukee-based artist Sid Ylagan working on a three-story mural of Grace Weber. (Photo courtesy: the artist’s website)
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Marquette seniors split $93,000 prize on ‘Beat Shazam’

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We all have those moments when a song comes on and you know the words but can’t think of the title or artist. So we pull out the old smartphone to give us the answer in seconds. But the FOX show “Beat Shazam” keeps it old school, challenging contestants to know the song within a few beats.

Marquette students Alex Mirsberger and Stephen Poorten proved to be just about as good as the song-knowing app, taking home $93,000 as the grand-prize winners in the episode that aired Monday.

“Are you guys old enough?” host Jamie Foxx quipped during the introductions. “These guys look like they could be in ‘Stranger Things’ or something.”

Poorten told Foxx that he and Mirsberger met through Marquette’s athletics department. Poorten is a former cross-country runner, while Mirsberger still plays on the men’s soccer team. Mirsberger revealed that — at the time of taping — the pair would graduate from the university in five days.

Mirsberger, a redshirt senior and 2021 all-conference performer, graduated from Brookfield Central High School, while Poorten hails from Sycamore, Ill.

Marquette students Alex Mirsberger and Stephen Poorten with host Jamie Foxx. (Image courtesy: “Beat Shazam” on FOX)

Competing against two other teams, the youngsters squeaked into the second round by knowing “Sucker” by the Jonas Brothers and “Right Round” by Flo Rida quicker than the others.

In a $12,000 hole entering the final head-to-head round, the Marquette friends stormed back by knowing the instrumentals to The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” and LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem.” On the deciding song, Mirsberger and Poorten were faster in knowing the beats to “You Should Be Dancing” by the Bee Gees, moving on with $43,000 in the bank.

The final round offered five songs valued at $25,000 per chance if they knew the exact song title, and the duo knew two: “Something Just Like This” by Coldplay and “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. They missed “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers, “Again” by Lenny Kravitz and “Could You Be Loved” by Bob Marley and the Wailers.

When asked what they’ll do with their winnings, both said they’d use some of the money to pay off student-loan debt.


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Oh joy, Malört Fest returns this weekend

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Jeppson’s Malört is the liquor that you either love to hate or hate to love.

The sickos lovers of Malört may find pleasure in pain, or a shot of the stuff may bring back memories of foggy nights at their favorite midwest college bar. Others (i.e., this author) think Malört tastes like dirty hand sanitizer. The point is, if you’ve tried this Chicago-borne booze, you certainly have an opinion on it.

If you enjoy sharing those opinions, we suggest heading to Malört Fest at Ray’s Growler Gallery this Saturday, Aug. 27, from 3 to 10 p.m.

Started in 2019 and returning this year after a COVID hiatus, Ray’s Malört Fest is just what it sounds like: a celebration of Chicago’s most infamous spirit. On the menu is a Malört-based “Chicago Citrus Slushie” and “Uncle Carl’s Happy Boilermaker,” which is a shot of Malört and a pint of Third Space Brewing’s Happy Place. There’s also free hot dogs and Jeppson’s “swag.”

The niche festival featuring a divisive Chicago product coincides with another divisive Chicago product coming to town for the I-94 rivalry, as the Brewers take on the Cubs at 6:10 p.m.

“While beer is the best olive branch we can extend as Milwaukeeans, Chicago will be represented by a spirit about as unique as their sports history, because in all the world there is no liquor quite like Jeppson’s,” the Facebook event page reads.

Want to see the pain a shot of Malört causes? Check out the gallery below. We also teamed up with the Milwaukee Record back in 2019 in advance of the inaugural fest to get 25 instant “Malört Face” reactions, but we didn’t want to subject their team to that awfulness again.


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Miller High Life and PBR take dive bars in new and exciting directions

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Would you rather sleep in a dive bar or taste a dive bar? Thanks to a couple creative partnerships from a pair of beloved Milwaukee beer brands, you don’t have to choose.

First up, we have Miller High Life: “The Champagne of Beers” featuring the whimsical Girl in the Moon neck label is now an ice cream bar. The new variety from New York’s Tipsy Scoop is called Miller High Life Ice Cream Dive Bars, and the location-inspired ingredients list is really something:

  • High Life-infused ice cream with a 5% ABV
  • Peanut swirl to account for the preferred floor-littering snack of dive bars everywhere
  • Hint of tobacco smoke flavor because some states still let you do that in bars
  • Caramel swirl to represent the sticky floor you forget about between bathroom trips
  • Sprinkle of carbonated candy for that “Champagne of Beers” bubbliness
  • Dark-chocolate dip because no self-respecting dive bar could ever be described as “well-lit”

Because human beings are a naturally curious bunch, the bars have oscillated between sold out and available during this writing. But you can try buying a six-pack (of course) here for $36 before shipping, which more than doubled the price after I entered the address here at Radio Milwaukee. Good luck, I guess.

(Photo courtesy: Miller High Life)

On the sleepier side of things, Pabst Blue Ribbon teamed up with the Grand Traverse Motel in Traverse City, Mich., to offer weary travelers and beer-lovers alike the chance to stay in one of three PBR-themed rooms.

The experience — which is somehow not called either a “PB-AirBnB” or “AirBnBnB” (the extra “B” stands for “beer”) — includes the Arcade Room, the Dive Bar and the Rec Room. The first two were sold out as of this writing, while the Rec Room still had availability because it seems sleeping in your grandma’s basement isn’t quite as enticing as the other options.

You can check out photos below, all of which are courtesy of the Grand Traverse Motel.


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