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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014

Wed
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Fri
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Frank (center) and some Brady Street buddies.
Frank (center) and some Brady Street buddies.

"Pepperoni-cannoli guy" Frank passed away

According to a reliable source, Frank Pecoraro – the East Side's "Pepperoni Cannoli" guy – has passed away.

A Facebook post revealed that a visitation will be at St. Rita's church, 1601 N. Cass Street, on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m.

In 2009, Pecoraro won the "best street food" in OnMilwaukee.com's Best Dining contest.

The iconic, sometimes surly, former-butcher-turned-cooler-toting-senior sold pepperonis and cannolis to late-night drinkers. He was a Brady Street fixture and he will be missed.

Frank’s family includes his wife, Rosaria; children, Rosalia (Franco) Barbara and Salvatore Pecoraro; three grandchildren; one great-grandson; and many other relatives and friends.

For me, there never was an East Side drinking scene without Frank. I think I only bought a pepperoni from him twice, but seeing him always gave me a "God, I love this city" moment.

Do you have a Frank story? Feel free to share it via the Talkback feature. And say it with me: "Pepperoni! Cannoli!"

 

The bejeweled Harley bedazzles.
The bejeweled Harley bedazzles.
Willie G.'s watercolors will be on display until April 15.
Willie G.'s watercolors will be on display until April 15.

A great return trip to the Harley-Davidson Museum

It had been a while since we rolled into the Harley-Davidson Museum. The last time we went was in 2010 during the Evel Knievel show.

This weekend, we did the museum differently. My kids are a little older now, 8 and 9, so we decided to participate in the scavenger hunt, an option offered to little folks upon their arrival. It was fun. They ran around trying to find various motorcycles based on provided clues and then recorded them on a sheet of paper. (At the end, we brought the completed sheet to the gift shop and exchanged it for temporary Harley tattoos and stickers.)

The aspect of the museum that impresses me the most is the layout and the use of space. It's so fluid, easy to walk through and creatively designed. A motorcycle is suspended from the ceiling, others are displayed on ramps and tracks that jut dozens of feet into the air. It all feels modern, spacious, clean.

The current temporary show is "Watercolors by Willie G.," which runs through April 15, 2012. Willie G. Davidson is Harley's chief styling officer and the grandson of one of the founders. Many people are familiar with his motorcycle design contributions, but few were aware that the guy painted so skillfully.

Most of the paintings are not bike related. Instead, the subjects include a barn, shed, canoe, stump and one of a portion of a building that's cryptically called "rehab." Willy is clearly interested in shadows and paints them well. I imagine shadows are something most avid bikers see a lot of when on the road, mainly of their own and their motorcycles.

Some of the items in the paintings are on display in their actual form, like a chunky silver bracelet, as well as the sketches that inspired the watercolors. Having visual access to his process makes the exhibit more interesting.

I enjoyed his Native American watercolors the most. "What fascinates me is their intrinsic design ability which I think is an ultimate form of folk art," reads Willie G.'s words next to the cluster of paintings.

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It's a tough space to keep going, but it sounds like Oak could be the right fit.
It's a tough space to keep going, but it sounds like Oak could be the right fit.

Oak lounge takes root in BTW space

"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee.com – brought to you by Hornitos, OR-G, Party Armor, Red Stag, Absolut, Fireball and Malibu – is back for another round! The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs – including guides, the latest trends, bar reviews and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!

 A new lounge called Oak will open in the Third Ward this March or April in the former BTW space, 231 E. Buffalo St.

Jared Siemers – who co-owns the bar with Vic Usaj – worked at Fanatics Sports Central and the Ale House prior to opening his own place.

"I definitely know the neighborhood," he says.

Oak will be a comfortable, ambient and upbeat lounge with an emphasis on high-end cocktails, live music / DJs, happy hour specials and community involvement. The plan is to quietly open at the end of March and celebrate a grand opening in early April.

"We're going to be all about atmosphere," says Siemers. "So comfortable that you come for an hour but stay for five."

Sounds dangerous to me. In a good way, of course.

Heartless Bastards featuring Erika Wennerstrom
Heartless Bastards featuring Erika Wennerstrom

Interview with a Heartless Bastard

I got to chat on the phone today with Erika Wennerstrom, the lead singer and guitarist for the alt.country-garage rockers Heartless Bastards.

The band will play a show at Historic Turner Hall tomorrow night – Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m.– and then release their fourth album, "Arrow," on Valentine's Day.

Tickets are $15.

Wennerstrom claimed to be  "a little out of it" during our conversation because she doesn't sleep well on the tour bus, but I thought she was funny and easy to talk to.

OnMilwaukee.com: Where did your band name come from?

Erika Wennerstrom: I used to play bartop trivia games when I was a bartender – the kind with the touch screen – and one of the questions was, "What is the name of Tom Petty's backing band?" One of the choices was "The Heartless Bastards" and I found humor in that name and decided I would name my band that someday. Some people think (the name) is crass, but personally, I think it's funny.

OMC: You are from Cincinnati, which is where the band started out, but now you live in Austin. Did you move for more music opportunity than you were finding in the Midwest?

EW: Cincinnati is a very creative environment and a great place for musicians to live. I didn't move for musical reasons. I was in a nine-year relationship and when we split up I needed to start over. I really don't think you need to move to Los Angeles or New York or Austin; great bands come out of anywhere as long as you're willing to tour and reach out to people.

OMC: How do you kill time on the bus or before and after shows?

EM: This tour is pretty hectic. We've been doing radio interviews and in-stores in most towns so there isn't much time, but I like to walk around every city we visit. Especially after being in a car or bus all day. I like to get the blood flowing. And I like to read.

OMC: Read any good books lately?

EM: I'm reading a good biography of Dr. John right now, but my recent favorite was a biography of Che Guevara. I don't know if I agree wi…

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