Sherman Park youth release unvarnished LP of deeply personal songs

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It has been just over three years since the unrest in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood. Talk to many residents in the neighborhood now, and they’ll point to how the community has rebounded.

But it was raw three years ago.

Sherman Park the day after the 2016 unrest.

I remember going there right after it happened. Broken glass studded the sidewalk, yellow hazard tape clung to buildings, flailing in the wind that still carried the smell of smoke and gasoline.

It was devastating.

As an outsider, I couldn’t help but wonder what it was like to live right there when it was happening. The sadness and terror residents surely experienced. The turmoil the rest of Milwaukee watched on TV. 

A charred car on the site of the BP gas station that was destroyed by fire.

“The riots were something that hit close to home to me,” says lifelong resident Donte Daughtry. “It tugged at my heart strings, I just was wondering what I could do.”

Daughtry lived through it. As a program manager at the Boys & Girls Club in Sherman Park, when he walked into work the next day, the kids were looking to him for answers.

“They were wondering what they could do. They hadn’t been entrenched in something this vital before. It was literally a life or death situation,” Daughtry says.

He did his best to talk with the kids, to set a positive example and to help them work through their feelings. But he wanted to do more. He wanted to make art.

Now, after years of dreaming and planning, he helped the youth from the Sherman park Boys & Girls Club put out an LP.

“It’s titled ‘Listen to the Kids, Vol. 1.’ And it’s a journey through our youths’ lives,” Daughtry says.

Youth work on their music at the “Best Buy Teen Tech Center” at the
Mary Ryan Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee. Photo via Facebook.

The album features eight deeply personal tracks tracks in total, a mix of songs and poetry.

Cutting the ribbon at the new tech center. It opened in March 2019 and offers a complete music studio for students. Photo via Facebook.

I talked with high school students Nairobi Ware and Deanna Campbell. Both worked on the LP, and I asked them both what they hope Milwaukee takes away from their music.

“The title is ‘Listen to the Kids’ so listen to the kids! I hope you guys take that away,” says Campbell.

“I think the reputation that us young folks have around the area like ‘they’re savages, they don’t listen.’ But once you come into the [Boys & Girls] Club, all that’s gone. You have to understand you’re not the only one here,” she added.

Ware says his favorite track on the album is “Fadeaway.”

“One, I produced. And there’s different flows and verses on the song. It’s a versatile track,” he says.

“It’s a salute to them for them to even be able to be so transparent and so vulnerable on these tracks,” Daughtry says.

Listen to the album below, and Donte says keep an eye out for volume two. He says hopes to release it in the near future.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

What 88Nine DJ are you? Take the quiz!

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We’re trying something new during the Fall Membership Drive. Every day, the 88Nine DJs are counting down their essential artists of all time, live on the air.

Which 88Nine DJ are you?

New music, Milwaukee music, deep cuts from your favorite artists, we play it all. But which 88Nine DJ are you most musically compatible with? Whose personal playlist could you jam to without skipping a beat? Take our quiz and find out!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Milwaukee Film Festival comes to Cedarburg’s Rivoli theater

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Movie lovers will have a new theater to enjoy during this year’s Milwaukee Film Festival.

Cedarburg’s Rivoli Theater is joining the lineup, playing films in the program throughout the 15-day festival, running Oct. 17-31.

The vintage movie house has deep roots in the community and looks the part. First-time visitors will be charmed by its art-deco facade.

Cedarburg’s Rivoli Theater. Photo: Bobby Tanzilo / OnMilwaukee.

Converted from a dry goods store to a movie theater in 1936, the one-screen auditorium offered 400 seats and an upscale experience. According to original advertising, unearthed by OnMilwaukee’s Bobby Tanzilo, those seats were “full-upholstered velour which are extremely modern.”

The opulence continued with “heavy carpeting of a unique design … light fixtures … ultra-modern in design, giving the patrons a colorful hue of lighting effects.”

Photo: OnMilwaukee.

After years about 20 years of independent operation, the Rivioli was leased to Marcus Theaters, which ran it for several decades, until 2006. But when the lease eventually lapsed, its future was uncertain.

This week on Urban Spelunking, we talk about how the Cedarburg community came together — on a mostly volunteer basis — to save the vintage theater.

Since, the Rivioli has been completely remodeled, complete with new projection and sound systems, improved lighting and new seating. (Hey, the velour couldn’t last forever.) And it stays true to its small town heritage; it doesn’t show rated R movies and offers regular, family-friendly showtimes.

During the festival season, however, the lineup will surely shake up the usual format. Within reason.

Photo: Bobby Tanzilo / OnMilwaukee

Check out the full lineup here and read Bobby’s complete story at OnMilwaukee. And while you’re listening to podcasts, check out Cinebuds, 88Nine and Milwaukee Film’s weekly podcast.

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Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

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Salam Stars challenge stereotypes in female athletics

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The topic of hijab, a headscarf worn by Muslim women, has always resulted in a variety of opinions. If we add wearing a hijab while competing in a sport, the focus becomes on the attire of the athlete rather than the skillset.

At Salam High School, 4707 S. 13 St., Coach Martie Budnowski says the high school varsity volleyball team is currently in the works of changing the perception around Muslim female athletes that wear a hijab.

“We are right in the middle of changing culture when it comes to female athletics here at Salam,” said Budnowski. “Salam is just starting to get into the ‘It’s okay to win and we can fight to win to win’ mentality, which still needs to grow as opposed to ‘we’re just so glad we get to play.’”

Salam Stars during a volleyball match

This the first season with Coach Budnowski, and with her addition on the team, Salam Stars had a significant victory against Tenor High School with a five-set match. 

Some girls on the team expressed that having a win under their belt gave them confidence and ignited a spark to continue giving it their all, even when sometimes facing bias for wearing a headscarf. 

I can’t lie and say I never felt discrimination because I wear hijab,” said Ameera Jaber, student-athlete.  

 Although some students recognize that facing prejudice on and off the court is prevalent, another student-athlete Phareda Be says that’s not always the case. 

“I would go to parks and practice there,” said Phareda Be. “Some girls, I have no idea who they are, they just see me play volleyball and are like, ‘can I join?’ and stuff like that, so I have a positive view when playing volleyball.”

Women that choose to wear a hijab and also participate in a sport shouldn’t be seen as something out of the norm yet the act is treated as such. 

For instance, if we take Ibtihaj Muhammad, a 2016 Olympics bronze medalist for fencing, she’s notably known for being the first Muslim American to wear a hijab while competing for the Olympics. Najma Abdi, student-athlete, says that what one decides to wear shouldn’t be a relevant factor when playing volleyball.

“People don’t understand that there is a difference between my skills and what I represent,” said Abdi.  “I represent Islam and my skills have nothing to do on whether I’m wearing a scarf or not.”

Coach Martie with a few student-athletes and their assistant coach

With every practice and every game, Salam Stars are dismantling the idea that wearing a hijab can be limit one’s ability. The team symbolizes self-acceptance and resilience. At the end of the day, this is a story about a high school volleyball team learning to be better teammates, making friends and practicing to win matches. Just like any other sports team. 

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

‘111 Places in Milwaukee That You Must Not Miss’ resembles a love letter to the city

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111 Places” is a worldwide guidebook series that originated from Cologne, Germany. You might think the number 111 is random but it isn’t accidental.

In the city Cologne, the number 11 is considered a lucky number. There is even is a carnival celebration every year that begins on Nov. 11 at 11:11 a.m. Since a book that highlighted 11 spots isn’t enough to be considered a guidebook, they added another one, making it a total of 111 places. 

This year, the guidebook unraveled some known and possibly hidden gems in Milwaukee in their new book, “111 Places in Milwaukee That You Must Not Miss,” written by Michelle Madden.

According to Madden, the book is intended to be enjoyed by both tourists and locals.

“A fun way to use this book if you’re a tourist would be, read it on the plane before you get here because it’s all these little pieces that kind of make up the character of Milwaukee,” said Michelle Madden. “If you’re a local, I know so many of my friends have said, ‘I keep it on my bedside table, I read a place a night and I’m so thrilled. I just drove by the Morris Pratt Institute for the millionth time in my life and I now know what that is.’” 

One element that makes “111 Places” unique from other guidebooks are the photographs. Every chapter is accompanied by a full-page photograph taken by Janet McMillan. One notable feature within the images is that they haven’t been retouched or edited. McMillian said she had one thing in mind when capturing the perfect moment.

“I tried to look for the pretty light,” said Janet McMillan. “ I was often going out early in the morning or I was looking at that golden hour just before the sun was setting if I was outside looking for a place.”

When meeting both Madden and McMillan, I couldn’t resist asking about a recommendation for the fall season.

“Definitely Bridge Lane Footbridge is a spectacular spot,” said Michelle Madden. “It offers a beautiful view of Lake Michigan in one direction and a ravine of all kinds of wild creatures and beautiful foliage there, I think that would be a spectacular spot way to spend a couple of hours.” 

Like all guidebooks, it’s marketed for anyone and everyone visiting the city but truly at its core its a love letter to Milwaukee and the people who influence it. Even so that “111 Places” invites and challenges readers to visit the locations and recreate images from the book.

I teamed up 88Nine’s Afternoon Drive host Ayisha Jaffer and 88Nine’s video producer Lucas Seidel and visited a few locations that were featured.

Historical Society Library

Koppa’s Fulbeli Deli

Plankinton Arcade

St. Joan of Arc Chapel

Swing Park

You can find more information on how to be a part of the challenge here.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

There’s a good reason Water & Wells has always been a Milwaukee crossroads

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It’s one of the most iconic intersections in Milwaukee — Water and Wells streets.

On one corner sits City Hall, on another The Pabst Theater. And one corner is currently under construction as crews work to complete a new and modern 25-story office tower, fitted with all the latest amenities.

But underneath all of it, going all the way back the 1830s, is where the first wooden frame house was built in Milwaukee.

Home to gunsmith Mathias Stein, it stood at the base of a giant hill (where City Hall is now), surrounded by unspoiled nature and indigenous settlements. The 1838 house predated Milwaukee itself — and photography — and the only remaining visual memory are artists portraits, uncovered by OnMilwaukee’s Bobby Tanzilo.

An artist’s rendering of the intersection of Wells & Water and the 1938 Stein home. Photo via Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear / OnMilwaukee.

The nearly two centuries of history came up as Tanzilo was researching the area around the new BMO Harris office tower at 790 N. Water St.

In this week’s Urban Spelunking podcast, Bobby tells his journey down that rabbit hole, plus a few other memorable inhabitants of that iconic Milwaukee intersection.

Be sure to read Bobby’s complete story at OnMilwaukee.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

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Ex Fabula hosts Deaf story slam to kick off awareness week

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This week, Sept. 20 – 29, is Deaf Awareness Week. It’s a chance to elevate stories from the Deaf community, to celebrate Deaf culture and build a deeper understanding of a historically underserved community. It is observed around the world.

On Sunday, a Milwaukee nonprofit helped to kick off the week at Mitchell Street Library.

Ex Fabula hosted a Deaf Story Slam. The free event invited seven deaf individuals to share personal stories from their own lives, on the theme of “labels.”

Seven Deaf storytellers took the stage Sunday at the Mitchell Street Library.

The storytellers signed to the audience while their stories were interpreted into spoken English by certified ASL interpreters. A Spanish interpreter was also available to further translate the English stories for those who speak Spanish.

During the opening remarks, Ex Fabula co-founder Megan McGee said this event is just one of many “radically inclusive” events it on puts on throughout the year.

The audience, which filled the main community room and overflowed into the library area, was comprised of deaf and hearing individuals. All were invited to ask questions at the end of the program.

Leading the discussion were Mayra Castrejón-Hernandez and Jose Barraza. They were trained to become Ex Fabula Storytelling coaches, as well as take part in organizing the event

“We are the Deaf and hard of hearing community of Milwaukee. We hide because no else recognizes us. We want to tell our stories,” says Castrejón-Hernandez.

Watch her story below, and be advised the English audio is slightly delayed due to interpreter processing time. Raw video courtesy of Ex Fabula’s videographer Eric Kleppe-Montenegro.

The Ex Fabula event was hosted as part of Milwaukee Public Library’s “Gathering Art, Stories and Place” project. It aims to “empower Historic Mitchell Street neighbors to create, share and celebrate diversity through storytelling and multi-media art, specifically engaging youth in the process at the Milwaukee Public Library Mitchell Street Branch.”

How to get involved

Here are few ways to participate in Deaf Awareness Week, regardless of your ability to hear, according to

  • Teach and learn sign language
  • Reach out to companies and governments to encourage them to fulfill their legal obligations to the deaf population
  • Encourage, advocate and promote deaf people as one-of-a-kind
  • Support Deaf businesses
  • Emphasize the importance of sign language as a key part of human rights for deaf people

Castrejón-Hernandez offers one more thing she wants the public to know: stop saying “hearing impaired.” Instead, she encourages people to simply say deaf or hard of hearing.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Your complete guide to apple and pumpkin picking near Milwaukee

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The school year is in full swing, the nights are getting cooler and pumpkin spice lattes have made their return, which can only mean one thing: Fall has arrived! The crisp smell of fall always makes me nostalgic – bringing me back to my childhood and some of my favorite fall activities, like picking apples straight from the tree and carving pumpkins I meticulously picked out from the pumpkin patch.

Over the years, the offerings at many fall picking locations have expanded to include things like face painting, giant slides, apple cider donuts, corn mazes and petting zoos. Depending on what you’re looking for – a day out with the kids or a quiet stroll through the orchards – here is your guide to fall picking locations.

Please note that because of our wacky Wisconsin weather, some locations may not be offering pick your own options. Be sure to check their website before you head out as many of their offerings change on a weekly basis.

Apple cider donuts at Harvest Time Orchards

Apples and Pumpkins (for those of us who like to pick both in one day)

Apple Barn Orchard & Winery

Apple Holler

The Appleberry Farm

Appleland Farm Market

Barthel Fruit Farm

Basse’s Country Delight Farm Market

Basse’s Taste of Country


Harvest Time Orchards

Jelli’s Market

The Little Farmer

Pieper’s Fruit Farm


Wikimedia Commons

Awe’s Apple Orchard

Door Creek Orchard

Elegant Farmer

M&T’s Gibbsville Orchard

The Orchard Store at Old Homestead

Patterson Orchards

Peck & Bushel Fruit Company

Rim’s Edge Orchard


Wikimedia Commons

The Barn at Buechler Farms

Busy Barns Adventure Farm

Cedarburg Creek Farm

Creekside Valley Farm

Jerry Smith Country Store & Pumpkin Farm

Jim’s Pumpkin Farm

Land of the Giants Pumpkin Farm

Lindner Pumpkin Farm

Meadowbrook Pumpkin & Farm Market

Nieman Orchards

Schuett Farms

Simon’s Sunnyside Produce and Pumpkins

Spieker’s Pumpkin Farm

Swan’s Pumpkin Farm

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Doors Open Milwaukee is this weekend. Here’s where you should visit

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If you’re interested in Milwaukee history or architecture, this weekend is sure to dazzle you.

It’s Doors Open Milwaukee, and nearly 200 buildings will be open to the public that normally aren’t open to visitors. The two-day event is hosted by Historic Milwaukee Sept. 28 and 29, 2019.

On this week’s podcast, we run through our “10 Must-See Doors Open Milwaukee Locations.” Think you’ve got your plans set? Take a listen to our list to make sure you’re not missing anything.

The Fortress in Downtown Milwaukee is one of our must-see stops.

Here’s the bird’s-eye view of the list. Make sure to listen to the special, extended podcast above for in-depth discussion about each of the following locations.

  1. Arts @ Large
  2. Railway Exchange Building
  3. Story Hill FireHouse
  4. Old Allis Station/Model Railroad Club of Milwaukee
  5. Reginald Baylor Studio
  6. Best Place
  7. The Fortress
  8. U.S. Federal Courthouse
  9. David Barnett Gallery / Henry H. Button House
  10. Wells Street Bridge House

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Botanica Galactica shines a spotlight on local entrepreneurs

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If you looked up the definition of the term Botanica, your search results would show you that it’s defined as a small store that sells herbal and traditional remedies. That definition doesn’t come close to scratching the surface of what Botanica Galactica truly is.

Botanica Galactica, 719 S. 5th St., is a shop that hosts a variety of local brands and specializes in all sorts of things such as vintage clothing to local skincare products.

The store space itself is charming and welcoming. It also plays a role in gathering the community through wellness and art. One of the ways that’s achieved is by hosting a night market.

Mariyam Nayeri, the owner of Botanica Galactica, says her love for markets originated from her grandparents being avid collectors. 

“We would often spend time at 7 Mile Fair, it’s not far from here,” said Nayeri. “Selling my grandmothers’ jewelry and cooking ware collection and my grandfathers’ baseball cards and it was really embedded in our lives.”

Botanica Galactica hosted the Bota Gala Night Market at the Zocalo Food Park. As visitors walk in they are greeted with the wonderful smells from the food trucks. The atmosphere is vibrant from the people and the music brought it back to the ’90s with DJ Nikki La Bomba and DJ Romke.

The central focus within the market were the vendors throughout the space. Nayeri says the market was a way to celebrate entrepreneurs. 

 “It’s a space where people can come together, meet new people, connect with old friends and just celebrate,” said Nayeri.

Mariyam Nayeri tabling at the Bota Gala Night Market

Here are some of the vendors that were present at Bota Gala Night Market

Fanana Banana

Mila Hakim representing Fanana Banana at the Bota Gala Market

Fanana Banana is an organization that aims to shine a spotlight on Muslim artists in Milwaukee. Some of the artists that have been highlighted from Fanana Banana art graphic designers, painters and poets.

Mila Hakim, co-founder of Fanana Banana, said it was her first time at the market but still felt included within the space.

“I love how it’s cozy enough for you to talk to people and meet with people but it’s large to walk around and just enjoy the experience without feeling lost or feeling like you’re out here on your own, kind of thing so I love it,” said Hakim. 

Check out Fanana Banana’s Instagram page.

Conxa Apparel

Taylor Herrada in the center with her business partners at the Bota Gala Market

Conxa Apparel is a street and lifestyle apparel company. Taylor Herrada, co-owner of Conxa Apparel, said they started the company because they felt there was a lack of Latino representation within the retail industry.

“I’ve seen a bunch of Latina businesses opening up but there is a lack of representation for men as well,” said Herrada. “So just making sure we are inclusive of men, women, non-binary, children, that they can be able to represent their memories from their childhood and feel good about what they are wearing.”  

Check out Conxa Apparel’s online shop.


Bisan Muna behind her table at the Bota Gala Market

Rumaneh is a local, traditonal and organic skincare line that is inspired by Palestinian remedies and heritage.

The brand name, Rumaneh, is the Arabic translation of pomegranate. Bisan Muna, the owner of Rumaneh, said the name is meant to honor her grandparents’ garden.

Check out Rumaneh’s online shop.

Made By a Sunflower Soul

Brianna Richmond showcasing her jewelry at the Bota Gala Market

Made by a Sunflower Soul is a brand created by Brianna Richmond specializing in local, handmade high vibrational healing adornments.

“I specialize in making wire wrap pieces,” said Richmond. “As I create, I create in a meditative state so everything always has its own different little flavor to it and always turns out different.” 

Check out Made by a Sunflower Soul’s Instagram page.

People standing in line at the Zocalo Food Park during the Bota Gala Night Market

I personally have a great love for markets. There is something special about gravitating toward an uncommon, beautiful item and meeting the person who created it. Maybe even taking that item home and allowing it to become part of your story.  The Bota Gala Night Market and even Botanica Galactica, in general, is a way that our city can collaborate and be apart of something.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee