Monday, March 30, 2009

Music and Art Show follow-up

Carson's art show opening was a kick. Everyone loved his and Tina's work, kids big and little had a good time, Doc & Joe provided excellent tunage, we sold 8 or 9 pieces, and we are thinking of having a second opening in two or three weeks just because we didn't really have time to announce this one properly (we'll see how energetic I feel, and how energetic Carson and Tina feel too...but it was fun and I don't mind repeating fun).

Friends of the artists turn out. Carson w/ little guy on the right.

Jim and Tina view critically but Eric gets the Oscar.

Don expresses dismay to Jane that that piece was sold, threatens to kneecap buyer.

Tina overseeing rugrats' dominoes construction.

Jess and Glen

Fun time Saturday night with Doc & Joe and everyone who came to hear them. Great stuff from those two guys, and they're dang good people too. A darn nice double whammy (they performed both Fri & Sat night). Gotta do that kind of whole weekend gig with them a little more often I think.
Nothing but pure aural goodness.

Larry, Peggy, Pat and Jayne

Carrie, Roy, Lisa, Dale and Glen

Jackie, Wencel, Debbie and Brian

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Saturday night, March 28 at 7pm Live music with Doc Every-Day's-A-Holiday.
Mike "Doc" Retzinger with his lackey Joe LaForce.
(kidding, of course, about the lackey thing...har!...Joe's really more like Doc's roadie...ouch!, seriously, these two are as smooth together as, oh, I don't know, Simon & Garfunkel...or Seals & Croft...or Burns & Allen...or Captain & Tennille...or Abbot & Costello...or Keith & Mick...or Sacco & Vanzetti...or Ren & Stimpy...or Bill & Ted...or Angry Beavers...or...I could go on forever...
Dang good guitar work and singing by these gents...always excellent.
Doc & Joe were here last night (they were really rather amazing) and they demanded that they be allowed to return tonight...truthfully, I had to scramble to fill the slot tonight and pretty much begged and groveled asking Doc & Joe to play tonight too. Doc, being the more thoughtful and better looking half of the duo, readily agreed, while Joe tried to leverage my predicament to his favor and demanded more pay. I begrudgingly agreed, and had a contract quickly drawn up and will be paying the guys each a buck-&-a-half tonight (we don't hardly pay anyone anything anyway).

Seriously, you would do yourself a favor by seeing Doc & Joe perform...they truly are outstanding and a lot of fun.

Last night (Fri) This piece of Carson's isn't in the show, but it gives you an idea of his talent.
The Carson Kugler Art Opening. Most of you know that I love Carson and Tina Kugler's art, and they are such wonderful people too. I'm not exaggerating, this stuff is truly skillful, surreal, whimsical, humorous and fun. Had a very fun runnin' aroun' everywhere, plenty of artsy fartsy types acting like they know what they're talking about, arguments over which pieces were favorites, small bidding wars, plenty of "harumphs" and "what is art?" jibberish, wedgies for the nerds, the old art vs illustration debate, etc, etc... Carson and Tina sold eight pieces...sweet. Might have a second opening in a few weeks even.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pat DiNizio follow-up/Hopscotch Wonder/Madison

Ok, we're back from Madison and am trying to get caught up now on all of the blogging, Flickr, YouTube, Scat, online updating that needs doing.
Pat DiNizio at Stumpjack. photo by Nate Walkner
A brief follow-up to Pat DiNizio's performance here last Friday night. In a word, it was fabulous. Another word: fun. Another: fantastic. You get the idea. Check out some of the comments on the other, earlier post "Dinizio is the real deal" from people who were here. I haven't seen a guy put as much of himself into singing songs like Pat does. The guy sang his guts out and was just freaking amazing with his passion, sincerity, and ability to connect with people. Maria was talking about it this morning, about how Pat made her feel like he was singing to her. He's both a showman and a regular joe who truly cares about doing the very best he can and giving people something to remember.
Pat under the spotlight. Image by Nate Walkner.
We're hoping to catch the whole band, The Smithereens, in Naperville (outside Chicago) in June, and Pat asked that we get ahold of him beforehand if we do and that we may be able to hook up for dinner or something. I'm hopeful of being able to get The Smithereens here to perform. It'd be more than the shop itself could handle but Greg (Buckley, TR City Mgr) has expressed his support for events like that and I'm sure we would have city support and may even be able to block off main street for a full blown street party. Keep your fingers crossed. Like my friend Brian Powell said to me the other day about getting to meet Pat and have him perform here, "You realized one of your dreams. Make sure to enjoy the moment." Truth. Thanks, Pat, for a totally awesome performance, giving us all something to yack about for a while, and for being a good bloke all around. What a trip.
Signing a CD for Maria. Image by Nate again.
And thanks to all of our friends who came and helped make the night fun too! I'll have some Flickr pics and a youtube video or two up soon. Marty and Nate also each have a set of images from the night on their own Flickr sites:
Nate Walkner Flickr Set
Marty's Planet Neon Flickr Set
Stumpjack Flickr Set

Pat also signed some CDs for us to sell, his solo work and a couple of Smithereens albums. We've got 20 left. They're brand new but we had to remove the outer wrap so that he could sign the sleeves. Get 'em while we got 'em.

Saturday Night
Busy Saturday night w/ Hopscotch Wonder
Crazy busy night with Bethany and Hope from Hopscotch Wonder. Man, it was like a couple busloads of folks pulled up in front and everyone just piled into the shop. For an hour and a half Kim and I were like coffee makin'/beer poppin'/wine pourin' cyborgs. Unbelievable, and it was all due to those two super-sweet and talented young ladies Beth and Hope. We didn't really even get to enjoy their performance because we were sweating it behind the counter up until they I called for an encore and heard at least one tune. Very, very nice. Gotta have them back soon.
Hopscotch Wonder (Hope & Bethany Lindemann). Image by Brian Powell

I'm going to post with images our little two-day trip to Madison over on the Stumptoons blog, which you can also access at the top of the page by clicking on that link

Friday, March 20, 2009

DiNizio is the real deal

Here I am, lying in bed at 2:00am Saturday morning, laptop on my belly, totally exhausted from several days of little sleep and way more to do than time in which to do it. I'm just home from a long, exhausting and wonderfully weird day and night with Pat DiNizio playing at the Stump. Pat arrived at around 1:00pm today, in a car smaller than I expected and with so little gear that I couldn't help but be impressed at the economy of it.

Pat was great from the word hello, greeting Kim and I with hugs and a smile, some silly jokes, and a sense of purpose and pride in what he is doing with this surreal Living Room Concerts Tour that he is in the middle of.

His performance this evening was stellar, filled with humorous stories and anecdotes between songs, and musically a real ball buster as he delivered each tune with what seemed like every ounce of energy he could muster. This was no laid back, loosey-goosey affair. No hesitation or uncertainty. He knew exactly what he was doing, and played every song with a certainty and confidence that you would expect from someone who owns a gunny sack full of hit songs and more "war stories" from life on the road than you can shake a stick at. The guy is a pro, plain and simple, but one who's also able to mix it up with folks and display a genuine gratitude for those who appreciate his work. And there were plenty of people at the coffee shop tonight who did indeed appreciate what Pat has accomplished in his career and what he was putting out on the stage tonight.

I'll write more about the show itself tomorrow (today); right now I want to say a couple of things about Pat's Living Room Concert Tour before I pass out. I just finished reading his post from the road titled PAT DINIZIO: Notes From the Road #1 "NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD" off his website This is a thoughtful, somewhat melocholy, and well written essay about growing older and trying to find meaning in what one does. This tour he's on makes me wonder. It's got to be weird, running into all sorts of people and situations, up close and personal, in the homes of fans and people you're meeting for the first time, performing in front of them without the "protection" of distance or bandmates. I'd think you would need a good sense of humor, a little bit of "hard-assness" and a fair amount of both humilty and healthy ego.

Frankly, I find it to be an astounding undertaking. I'm bone tired myself right now...I can't imagine how Pat feels at the end of a week of driving hundreds of miles and performing several shows with the intensity that he showed tonight. I find myself feeling concerned for him on this tour, hoping that the people who see him perform appreciate what this guy has done and what he's doing with this adventure. It seems both magical and ridiculous, ridiculous in the sense that he's even doing this, putting this kind of thing on all by himself, and magical in the sense that we're experiencing this amazing and wonderful music, that many of us dug so much when we were younger, live with Pat himself at a local coffee shop or in a friend's living room. Wild stuff.

I chatted with people at the shop tonight during the performance. It was so gratifying to hear all of the wonderful compliments that were being made about Pat, his music and his being there tonight. He was a hit. Again, more on the show later today. I gotta get some sleep.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Matt & Steph & Orly in 5,4,3,2,...

It's 5:20 now. In 40 minutes Matt & Steph Davies and their special guest Orly Bendavid will be stepping up to the invisible microphone to entertain us with soe mighty, mighty wonderful folk and indie music. Come on down! MATT & STEPH DAVIES
7:00pm tonight

Friday, March 13, 2009

Love live music in a little while

Chelsea Z. returns to the Stump tonight.

Tonight (Friday the 13th) at 7:00
Chelsea Z. & Becky Markvardt sharing the rug at Stumpjack.

Becky Markvardt joins the party.

Kim put some mixed drinks on the board for tonight...come on down and lift a glass with us.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Schlitz...go for the gusto?

Beer Review
While grocery shopping at the Piggly Wiggy yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to find near the back, center of the store a display of Schlitz beer. I have known about the
reintroduction of Schlitz and their "Classic 1960s Formula" for several months now and have been waiting for it to find its way into our area (why in the world "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous" wasn't immediately made available throughout Wisconsin is a mystery).
"It's ok...I saved the Schlitz!"
What a great advert from the 50s. How many couples go canoeing wearing their Sunday best? And the guy looks like he may have had a few before capsizing the canoe

I love the Schlitz marketing imagery, absolutely love it. Love what they've done with the Schlitz website to make accessible those vintage print and television commercials. Love the new commercials that embrace that vintage feel and buck the modern style of associating beer with big-boobed bimbos and partying on rooftops. Love the retro vibe that is associated with beers like Schlitz. Even love the Schlitz color scheme and the ornate, vintage font that says Schlitz on the bottles. Love everything about this product.

...well, almost everything.

I knew Schlitz was not an upper echelon beer like the craft and microbrewed beers I prefer. I knew it was a beer along the lines of your average watered down, flavorless, mass market, big brewery beers. I didn't however, expect it to be as bad as it is. I took the picture of the beer in this post immediately after pouring. That fizzy little head of foam lasted approximately 90 seconds. Any other fizziness (carbonation) that might have come from the beer underneath that fleeting head lasted even less than that. Within two minutes I had a glass of flat, yellowish tea that looked like it had been sitting undisturbed all afternoon. Worse than that was the flavor. Flat, uninteresting, a tad mediciney, and not unlike the tepid water that canned corn soaks in before you eat it. This was truly a boring, uninspired and almost flavorless beer (and what flavor it did have was not pleasing). I thought, "this is the beer that made Milwaukee famous?" Good grief. The 60-second head tops an equally uninspiring beer-like liquid. Cool bottlecap though!

Well, it's lousy beer. But, man, I do love the way they're marketing it. I'll probably drink one of these every now and then simply because I am such a huge sucker for great marketing and imagery (or maybe I'll pour the Schlitz out and refill the bottle with something drinkable, like a Leinies). The folks in the Schlitz PR department ought to all get raises and a free case of beer each week as a bonus...but not Schlitz beer. The idea is to reward them, after all.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Saturday night music and pizza

The Stumpjack acoustic queen with the angelic voice:
Becky Markvart
Saturday night at 7pm

Becky is always fun. There's a reason we have her come back so often to the Stump, and it ain't because of her sweet personality (well, that might be part of the reason). She's becoming one of the real reliable crowd-pleasers everywhere and every time she performs.

Come on out, listen to some tunes and try one of our new super-delish specialty pizzas...have a beer or glass of wine too.

PS: no live music scheduled for Friday night.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Cool City News

Two Rivers Main Street has a new blog, the "Cool City News." You can check it out from time to time by going to It will offer information about upcoming events and festivals, as well as recaps of those things, tidbits and other odds & ends about life in the Cool City. At this writing the current post provides links to a bunch of YouTube videos about Two Rivers, including a very cool one from a surf board point of view made during last year's Kite Fest.

Tell your friends about the new TR blog and don't be afraid to comment on the posts and offer your own opinions and suggestions about anything Two Rivers-related.