Milwaukee’s Shops of Grand Avenue will get a second life as ‘The Avenue’

Milwaukee’s Shops of Grand Avenue will get a second life as ‘The Avenue’

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The Avenue, Milwaukee, Grand Avenue

In addition to the food hall, engineering firm Graef will relocate its headquarters to the third floor of the mall, formerly the food court of the Shops of Grand Avenue. According to the Business Journal, the new headquarters will bring 170 jobs to The Avenue and occupy 35,000 square feet of space.

3rd Street Market Food Hall

3rd Street Market Food Hall

During the press conference, they announced the first round of food vendors to locate to the food hall named 3rd Street Market includes Stone Creek Coffee, Milk Can (a startup concept by Milwaukee chef Kurt Fogle and the team behind Muskego’s Bass Bay Brewhouse), Funky Fresh Spring Rolls, Donut Monster, Char’d and Waterford Wine & Spirits.

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These cute Milwaukee park maps designed by local artists make a perfect gift

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Southshore Park

South Shore Park By Dwellephant

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Instead of waiting in Black Friday lines, shop these Milwaukee small business sales

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Celebrate the other Record Store Day

Exclusive Co. in Milwaukee

Shop Milwaukee’s great independent record stores for great sales, deals and special Record Store Day releases on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Here’s a list of special releases for Black Friday and a list of the Milwaukee record stores participating.

#BuyBlack Friday at Bronzeville Collective

This year, you should #BuyBlack and #ShopSmall with Bronzeville Collective’s series of holiday sales from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. On Friday, enjoy sales from all its anchor brands: Papyrus & CharmsFlyBlooms by Funky Fly FlowerChildDistinctive Designs by Tomira and from Jasmine Barmore, the artist in residence.

Other Friday specials include: a free tote grab bag to the first 40 shoppers with a purchase over $25, a free glass of your favorite wine as you shop and more.

Shop Milwaukee Startups

Startup Milwaukee’s TANGIBLE program is celebrating the launch of the Nest Pop-up shop on Small Business Saturday. This new retail establishment run by Marquette students features products from local entrepreneurs from throughout the community and some who have participated in past TANGIBLE events. Most importantly, all will be offering great gifts.

The shop will open for Small Business Saturday at 10 a.m. and there is a celebration until noon, however the store will remain open until 6 p.m.

Here are the companies participating in the pop-up shop:

Drink Beer

Drinking is always a reliable backup plan in Milwaukee—and Black Friday (or should we say blackout Friday?) is no exception. In 2012, Lakefront Brewery started a Milwaukee tradition when they released a specialty beer on the day after Thanksgiving. This year, 33 breweries and other businesses across the city will have special releases available on Black Friday. Here’s a complete list of the events.

Give back on Good Karma Friday

On Black Friday, some Milwaukee shops are participating in Good Karma Friday where a portion of the proceeds of your purchase go to select charities.

Participating stores include:

Stroll around the Third Ward

Almost all the shops in the Third Ward are participating in Small Business Saturday. Skip the mall and walk the sidewalks instead to support these local businesses and find something unique. Here’s a list of all the stores participating and the deals they’re offering.

Support local businesses on Small Business Saturday

Shop all the other small and local shops in Milwaukee on Saturday. Here’s a list of shops with links to any details about their deals:

This list is just a start, we recommend scoping out all the shops in your neighborhood on Saturday.

Get generous on Giving Tuesday

Right after Cyber Monday is one shopping holiday you might not know about—Giving Tuesday, a day to make donations and give to charity. If you’re feeling generous, or would like to donate on someone’s behalf as a gift, consider giving to one of the many great Milwaukee charity organizations and non-profits. (We’re one of them, by the way.)

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In one weekend, these developers created apps using hacking for a better Milwaukee

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The group


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Are this year’s Bucks alternate jerseys hideous or historic?

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bucks new jerseys

The alternate versions of 2018-2019 Milwaukee Bucks uniforms (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Bucks’ 2018-19 City Edition uniform celebrates the bright colors that became synonymous with NBA basketball in Milwaukee during one of the franchise’s most successful stretches from the late ’70s through the mid ’80s while at the MECCA.

mecca floor

MECCA floor, completed in 1997

The Bucks will wear the daring and striking uniform 12 times during the season: six times at Fiserv Forum on all remaining Milwaukee Mondays and on two late-season Sunday games, in addition to six times on the road. The uniform will make its debut on Monday, November 19 when the Bucks host the Denver Nuggets at the Fiserv Forum.

You can get your hands on this City Edition jersey and additional merchandise on Thursday, November 8 exclusively at the Bucks Pro Shop inside Fiserv Forum and at

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Hey Milwaukee! It’s Election Day. Here’s everything you need to know

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As far as the candidates, we’ve created a comprehensive voter guide to help you prepare to make your decisions at the polls.

Pioneer Press: Liam James Doyle

In it, you can find more details about the candidates and races, read recent media coverage, watch videos of candidate statements and debates, review campaign contribution information, learn each elected official’s responsibilities and duties, then use all the information to complete your custom ballot and go confidently to your polling place on election day.

Explore the guide here.

And don’t worry if you’re not already registered to vote—Wisconsin lets you register on the day of the election at your polling location (which you can also locate in our guide).

If you need to report any problems at the polls, such as voter ID problems, problems with proof of residence, etc. you can call 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683), to resolve any issues with Wisconsin Election Protection, a non-partisan voting rights group.

Now go get that sticker, Milwaukee!

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Milwaukee’s Mazorca will celebrate its one year anniversary with a Harvest Fest

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Mazorca tacos

The fest will feature Mazorca tacos, tortas and beer along with sweets from Algo Dulce. In addition to the tasty bites, there will music from local artists like Brown’s Crew. Attendees will also have the opportunity to shop the work of local artists.

Mazorca will also host a beat battle featuring special guest judges, CameOne, MAG and Ordinary Freaks from Milwaukee. The winner will receive the title of Mazorca’s Beat King and a $100 Mazorca gift card! If interested, you can contact Mazorca via their Facebook page.

Mazorca’s mission is to experience food, art and culture through their eyes, the offspring of Mexican immigrants who surrendered to calling Milwaukee home.

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Why hip-hop encourages voting, according to Kennita Hickman of Our City, Your Vote

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Hickman is the creator of the hip-hop powered voter engagement initiative Our City, Your Vote. The initiative aims to utilize hip-hop culture to encourage millennials to become socially and politically aware and to bridge the gap between Milwaukee artists–particularly of the hip-hop, spoken word and R&B genres–and local nonprofits. Our City, Your Vote takes a nonpartisan stance on politics–the goal is to get as many people to the polls as possible, regardless of their political beliefs. The long term goal is to have 2500 digital pledges signed by the November 2020 election.

Photo courtesy of Kennita Hickman

Kennita Hickman, founder of Our City, Your Vote.

“[The word] initiative is really important because this is really about building relationships in millennial communities and communities where hip-hop is the culture and is the language to engage people in local elections,” Hickman says.

The show on Sept. 25 marked the first live music event organized by Our City, Your Vote. Hickman sees the initial turnout as a success. Aside from the 50 people in attendance, an additional 40 were watching the event via livestream. It has her fired up about the upcoming election in November and the elections that will follow up until 2020.

“Here we go, numbers are moving,” Hickman says. “Now let’s increase those numbers.”

Hickman notes that the idea of “moving the needle” is what sparked her interested in voter engagement. Her work with hip-hop culture prior to Our City, Your Vote involved freelance writing for various publications. She began losing interest in writing album reviews and got into the artist management business, but decided to take a break from that as well. Hickman ultimately determined that she wanted to be able to make a tangible impact with her involvement with hip-hop.

“I wanted Our City, Your Vote to be a thing that had measurable metrics to see if we’re actually moving the needle – that’s very important to me,” Hickman says. “I think that’s something we’re missing in independent music – we’re just so thirsty to move, move, move that we have nothing to measure it against.”

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A brief history of socialism in Milwaukee and where you can still see its remnants today

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Berger, Seidel, Hoan and Zeidler

Emil Seidel, Dan Hoan and Frank Zeidler

Victor Berger

Known as the “Moses” of Milwaukee Socialism, Victor Berger was instrumental in the emergence of the Social Democrats in the 1890s. Berger pushed for change not through demonstrations and marches, but through the polls. Through his printed newspapers, the Milwaukee Leader and Forward (not to be confused with the Wisconsin state motto) and the “Bundle Brigade,” a group of volunteers distributing leaflets, Berger worked to spread the word of socialism.

The “Sewer Socialists”

This printed media highlighted socialist candidates and their commitment to clearance of blighted areas of the city, increased employment opportunities, more cultural experiences for residents and cleaning up Milwaukee’s public works units. The Socialists’ commitment to public works like sanitation, water and power earned them the name “Sewer Socialists,” a title that members of the party embraced. After gaining traction and support from Milwaukee residents, the Socialists began to infiltrate the political arena in a big way.

Emil Seidel, Milwaukee’s first Socialist mayor

Running on the platform of standing up for the working man, the first Socialist mayor in Milwaukee and in the U.S., Emil Seidel, was elected into office in 1910, along with 21 Socialist aldermen, 10 county supervisors and two judges.

Seidel was successful in raising the minimum wage for city workers from $1.75 to $2.00 per day, standardizing the eight hour work day, promoting the use of local businesses, supporting adult education through the establishment of the Milwaukee Vocational School (now known as Milwaukee Area Technical College) and creating a city parks system that was one of the best in the nation. 

Victor Berger

In 1911, shortly after Seidel’s election, Victor Berger was elected as a member of Congress. Vehemently opposed to World War I, both Berger and Seidel’s first stints in the political arena were short-lived. Victor Berger would go on to be indicted by the Espionage Act for his spoken and written opposition to the war—calling it the rich man’s war, but a poor man’s fight—and was unable to take his seat in Congress despite being elected in 1918. By 1922, Berger’s conviction was overturned and he went on to serve three successive terms in Congress.

Daniel Hoan

In 1912, Emil Seidel was defeated in Milwaukee’s mayoral election by Gerhard Bading, a nominee supported by both the Republican and Democratic Parties. After Bading’s four years in office, during which he successfully repealed many of the reforms that Seidel worked to put into place, including the eight hour workday, one of the Milwaukee’s most notable figures, Daniel Hoan, was elected in 1916 and served 24 years as the Mayor of Milwaukee.

Daniel Hoan’s tenure in office can partially be attributed to his ability to make socialism more digestible for the average citizen, using compromise and strict adherence to legal processes as his main tactics. For example, while many members of the Socialist Party opposed World War I, Hoan compromised with local supporters of the war by creating the County Council of Defense, which coordinated defense work by local industries, bond drives and war relief efforts. His hands-off support of war efforts allowed him to gain the backing of cross-party voters, allowing him to remain in office.


Hoan brought national attention to Milwaukee by creating the country’s first public housing project and first public transportation system and fought for municipal ownership of several divisions of public works—the city’s water system and power plant. Hoan also vehemently blocked attempts by the Ku Klux Klan to host events in the City of Milwaukee during the 1920s, gaining him the city’s African American vote. While some of his actions made him less popular in the eyes of members of Milwaukee’s Socialist Party, his 24 years of public service as the Mayor of Milwaukee demonstrates the faith that Milwaukee residents had in him.

Frank Zeidler

By 1940, the political and economic state of Milwaukee was very different. Voters were ready for a change. Daniel Hoan was replaced with Democratic mayoral candidate, Carl Zeidler, who resigned to join the United States Navy during World War II. He was succeeded by nonpartisan candidate John Bohn, who served 6 years until Socialist candidate, Frank Zeidler, Carl Zeidler’s brother, captured the hearts of Milwaukee voters.

Mayor Frank Zeidler was elected on the platform that he would not add any debt to Milwaukee’s exceptional credit rating. However, with mounting pressure to keep up with other cities’ downtown development, to clear “blighted” areas and to create a highway to connect the suburbs to the city, Zeidler borrowed over $55 million from the federal government. Urban renewal efforts defined the bulk of Zeidler’s tenure in office. Though many saw these efforts as progressive, in reality, they masked the displacement of thousands of individuals and families, a large majority of whom were African American. Lack of adequate and affordable housing in the central city became more and more problematic as the population of African Americans in the central city grew exponentially.

Restrictive housing covenants, redlining, housing discrimination, labor market discrimination and social perceptions of race dominated the conversation around central city housing and urban renewal efforts during Zeidler’s 28 year tenure. Although Zeidler did make some effort to uncover and expose these issues, Milwaukee continued, and continues to this day, to struggle with the balance between central city development and protecting access to quality housing for all residents.

Racial tensions in Milwaukee and failing health prevented Frank Zeidler from running for the mayoral office again in 1960. However, following his stint as Mayor of Milwaukee, Zeidler was instrumental in the resurgence of the Socialist Party on a national scale and was the party’s Presidential Nominee in 1976, receiving just over 6,000 votes.

The past and present of Socialism in Milwaukee

milwaukee socialist history

The history of socialism is cemented in the idea that government should be a representation of us all. While there are strong examples of this idea in many reforms that socialists pushed for, there is also clear backlash from other political parties and institutions where suggested reforms did not fit into their ideals.

Though the era of Milwaukee’s Socialist mayors is over, their legacy is still all over Milwaukee. Here are a few more places where you can still see remnants of our socialist past:


After visiting Germany’s Oktoberfest, Mayor Henry Maier proposed the “Milwaukee World Festival,” which eventually became Summerfest. While Maier was a Democrat, he succeeded Frank Zeidler, the last of Milwaukee’s Socialist mayors, entering into a political climate with a heavy socialism influence, making it hard to ignore how socialist the idea of “the people’s festival” is at its core.

Milwaukee County Parks 

In the words of John Gurda: Charlie Whitnall was the godfather of the park system as we know it today. He was a Socialist. He became this impassioned planner and advocate for green space. The system we know today—he was patient and persistent and smart. He worked at the public bodies at the city and county levels. They both had park systems, both city and county. They weren’t merged until the end of 1936.

The template for the park system that he published in 1923—the theory was that he wanted people to be within the influence of nature. Like many Socialists and others of that era it was believed that if you were in the presence of nature, that influence would be better on your personal life, as a citizen. If you overlaid the present park system with Whitnall’s map in 1923, it’s pretty close. He was the mastermind.

The lakefront

Up until 1929 when the lakefront development project was completed, the most precious part of the lakefront was owned by the richest people in the city. You can still see some of their mansions up on the hill. To create more public space, Milwaukee’s Socialists decided to build a new lakefront by filling in part of the lake to create more access.

Turner Hall

The first Turner societies in the United States were organized in 1848 by German immigrants and exiles carrying the torch of liberty and democratic reform. These “48′ers”, as they were called, created vigorous athletic, cultural, and social societies throughout the country in the tradition of the German Turnverein societies. The Turner motto, “Sound Mind in a Sound Body,” expresses their holistic vision for realizing human potential through the harmonious integration of intellectual and physical development.

The Milwaukee Turners formed in 1855 and built Turner Hall in 1883, complete with a gymnasium, restaurant/beer hall, meeting rooms and the grand two-story ballroom. Now the building is most popular as a concert hall and the Turners are best known for their focus on athletics and gymnastics, but the group used to be known for its political power and socialist ideologies too. Mayors Emil Seidel, Daniel Hoan and Frank Zeidler were all among its members.

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What Jeremy Tardy learned from Milwaukee’s First Stage theater, Julliard and Hollywood

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Walking through the quiet Milwaukee Youth Arts Center during business hours a day after the First Stage event, there’s still hardly anyone Jeremy Tardy doesn’t know. Everyone who passes by us in the community space is surprised and excited to see him and say hello.

Jeremy Tardy in Milwaukee

Jeremy Tardy at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center

These are some of the first people that got him on stage. He goes on to list people like Jeff Frank, John Maclay, Todd Denning, Brian Gill, Jim Tasse, Samantha Montgomery, Sheri Williams Pannell and Laurie DeMoon as teachers and influencers of his early acting career. He even talks about Jim Fletcher, whose energy and directing Tardy admired even though he never directly worked with him.

He also credits his mom.

Tardy can remember deciding he wanted to be an actor when he was five or six years old in a house on 2nd and Lloyd St., as he would sit watching shows like “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “In Living Color” and “Family Matters.” He felt inspired by the African-American representation and wanted to be in the TV too—literally.

“I asked my mom how people got inside the TV,” Tardy says. “I thought people crawled in, slept there and performed for us [laughs]. She explained, ‘No, they’re called actors’ and so on. And from that moment, that’s what I wanted to do.”

Knowing that, his mom enrolled him into the Elm Creative Arts School back in 1997. There, on a field trip with his class, he had his first introduction to First Stage—or any kind of stage—while watching the play, “Green Eggs and Ham.”

“I had not known there was such a thing as theatre. I didn’t know you could be in an audience with the performers right in front of you. You could touch them. It wasn’t like the TV. I was fascinated because I knew I wanted to be on the TV and somehow it would connect. So I was in the audience praying, actually during the show and after the show, to one day be able to step on stage and perform in something.”

Jeremy Tardy Milwaukee

Jeremy Tardy in a First Stage production of “The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963”

Years later, he was on that stage and he didn’t stop there. He joined the First Stage Theater Academy’s Young Company, which eventually led him to winning the first place junior award at the Shakespearean Festival and Competition in Utah at 17 years old. And that led to a friend in study hall telling him that he should go to The Julliard School. It was the first time Tardy had heard of it.

I might have gone to UWM or Marquette or somewhere in Chicago…there are a lot of fine actors who do that. But he told me about Julliard and so that night I remember going home and googling it, becoming introduced to the word ‘conservatory’ and realizing ‘Wow, I wouldn’t have to take another math or science class again! I wanna go here.’ That’s truly what got me interested.”

With a partial scholarship and a plane ticket that his friends at First Stage helped him buy, he studied at The Julliard School.

In the end, Tardy says he graduated Julliard with the same thing he came in with: work ethic. He talks about the rigorous schedule of memorizing lines from “Richard II” overnight for one class after coming home from a rehearsal at 11 p.m., only to sleep for 20 minutes before being back in class and off-book the next morning.

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