OMC Recommends: Cool stuff we like right now
Blackjack Fireworks -- I've finally come to terms with the fact I'm a complete pyro. However, I only indulge my inner-redneck's penchant for starting things on fire twice a year: the 4th of July and New Year's Eve. But whenever it's sparky time, I head straight for Blackjack Fireworks in Racine and load up on sparklers, Roman candles, fountains, snakes, spinners, screaming bees, flying saucers and my personal favorite, "the friendship pagoda." -- Molly Snyder Edler
Minute Maid Light Cherry Limeade -- I can't say I was jazzed when I saw this in the fridge, but it was hot outside, I was parched and the drink was surprisingly refreshing. Made from a blend of grape, lime, pear and cherry juice concentrates and a few other ingredients I can't pronounce, the thing was zesty and refreshing and only had 10 calories. The next can I open may just be used as a mixer. -- Drew Olson
Spoon's "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" (Merge Records) -- Sure, the name leans toward obnoxious, but this album -- the band's sixth -- is a gem. It's as charmingly menacing as 2005's "Gimme Fiction," but carries with it -- from start to finish -- a more genuine (perhaps "classic" is a more accurate adjective?) rock and roll sincerity. It officially comes out July 10, but if you live in Milwaukee -- and I hope you do -- you can hear the album's best and brightest ("Don't you Evah" and "Black Like Me") when the band takes the U.S. Cellular Connections Stage at Summerfest at 10 p.m. July 5. (Or, hit up the ever-so-gracious Merge Records' Web site for lucrative streaming opportunities.) -- Julie Lawrence
Rhys Coiro -- You probably know this actor as eccentric director Billy Walsh (porn name: Wally Balls) on "Entourage" or Vincent Bianchi from "Ugly Betty." Either way, his turns are unforgettable. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, Coiro seems headed for big things. -- D.O.
Premier kites -- For $10, you can buy an awesome kite for your kid at Gift of Wings, the kite shop at the McKinley Marina. There are a variety of cheap kites to choose from, but the nylon kites made by Premier Kites, Inc. easily take flight -- and stay swirling in the sky -- for a super fun kiting experience. Plus, it has a nice long tail (wait, did I just say "nice tail?") and fiberglass poles that allow this kite to endure strong winds or unexpected nosedives. -- M.E.
Chris Whitley's "Living with the Law" -- A recent conversation about Summerfest headliners reminded me of Tom Petty's somewhat adventurous streak when it comes to opening acts. At various times, I've seen the Georgia Satellites, Bo Diddley, Del Fuegos, Lenny Kravitz, Black Crowes, Blind Boys of Alabama, Roger McGuinn, Pete Droge and Whitley open for the Heartbreakers. I hadn't thought about Whitley since hearing about his death from lung cancer about two years ago. I grabbed his 1991 debut CD off the shelf, popped it in and was once again thrilled by his haunting lyrics and slide steel pyrotechnics. If you've never heard of Whitley, go to the download center and purchase "Phone Call from Leavenworth," "Big Sky Country" or "I Forget You Everyday." You'll feel like you've discovered a relative of Robert Johnson. -- D.O.
Henna tattoos -- I have 20 or so permanent tattoos, but these days I prefer the pain-free, temporary "henna" tattoo which lasts about a week. Henna tattoos are traditionally used in Indian ceremonies -- most commonly to decorate the hands and feet of a bride -- and they have gained popularity at festivals over the past few years. However, I say buy your own henna on the Internet, or hire Milwaukee henna artist Luna Simone (email@example.com) to adorn your body with cool doodles. -- M.E.
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