After Dark: Red Light Ramen by Ardent

Milwaukee seems to be developing a tradition of people lining up at night to enjoy the sumptuously seedy underbelly of the city’s best institutions. From Rocky Horror at the Oriental, to adult sleepovers at the Public Museum, to clandestine missions at the Safe House, we’re a city of night owls. And nothing appeals more to midnight wanderers of the East Side than a good, hot bowl of ramen. Enter the city’s latest culinary success story, Red Light Ramen.


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Contact your Alderperson, Milwaukee!

There has been a lot of controversy regarding the decision of the People’s Flag of Milwaukee contest and its final flag selection; now that a candidate has been selected, the real work must follow. Here is a Facebook post I wrote to my alderman, Nik Kovac, 3rd Aldermanic District, Milwaukee:

Dear Nik,

As you know, I’ve been passionately observing the People’s Flag of Milwaukee contest for some time, and today, only after the announcement of the final decision, I see all kinds of haters and belittlers crawling out of the woodwork, and even more saying how little they care. Changing the flag is SECONDARY to solving this bigger problem. We NEED to be proud of our city.

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The People’s Flag of Milwaukee

The votes have been counted, the decision has been made. Today, June 14, is Flag Day. The People’s Flag of Milwaukee has been chosen.

Last year, Roman Mars, podcaster and member of the North American Vexillological Association, published a TED Talk in which he called out North American city flags for being poorly designed. The absolute worst in the North America? None other than yours truly, the City of Milwaukee.

Hearing this, Steve Kodis, a Milwaukee resident and graphic designer, initiated a contest to determine a new flag for the city, one that would make Mr. Mars and the rest of NAVA proud, as well as represent Milwaukee to its citizens and admirers. Over 1,000 entries were submitted at, and a panel of judges including local graphic designers, Milwaukee historian John Gurda, and NAVA member Ted Kaye, determined the 5 finalists out of 1,006 submissions. Through an online poll of over 6,000 voters, the winning flag design, by a very slim margin, was Robert Lenz’ “Sunrise Over The Lake”.


Now, this may have been the city’s choice (or, all 1% of Milwaukee’s population that voted, that is), but it is far from a replacement for Milwaukee’s current, love-it-or-hate-it flag. However, the flag is being submitted to the Milwaukee Common Council for a vote, to determine whether it will replace the official Milwaukee city flag. You can find your local alderman or alderwoman here, and petition them to adopt the flag (or ditch it).

Either way, this is an exciting time for Milwaukee, as we finally are getting some attention drawn to the city flag. Whatever the outcome, this discussion is good for the city and its people, and will result in a unifying symbol of the city which will serve as a reference point for future discussions and growth.

Like the flag? You can purchase it for $50 as soon as the store is open, and fly it yourself. Don’t like the flag? I’ll be keeping an eye out for Original Milwaukee flags available for purchase, and post a link when I find one (if I find one).

Oriental Theatre – Keep Milwaukee Weird

So, in my last post, I announced that I would be starting my own little “Keep Milwaukee Weird” series, and as promised, my first post would be covering the historic and beautiful Landmark Oriental Theatre in Milwaukee’s Lower East Side. Voted “One of the 10 Best Movie Theaters in America” in 2005 by Entertainment Weekly, the Oriental is a landmark of Milwaukee’s “alternative” East Side.

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Keeping Milwaukee Weird

Milwaukee is a pretty weird city. We’re a bastion of liberal hippy feel-goodness in the otherwise excessively conservative state of Wisconsin, a conglomeration of food, art, music and design, and a gathering place for students, professionals, and other city-dwelling folk. Yet for some reason, unlike cities like Portland, OR, Austin, TX, and Santa Cruz, CA, we don’t seem to have a Keep Us Weird-style campaign. Heck, it’s been three and a half years since OnMilwaukee posted an article about it, and we still haven’t banded together to come up with anything. What gives, my fellow freaks?

Milwaukee’s got plenty to celebrate in terms of the wacky and the weird, and some of it is definitely at risk of disappearing. I’m going to be doing an ongoing series on some of the coolest oddities in this grand city, and it’s not going to be limited to food (although I’ll definitely be covering some quirky local grub stops along the way). If anyone has any suggestions for things I should cover, use the power of the Internet and tag your posts #keepmilwaukeeweird. I’ll try to monitor things on my end, and if I see a suggestion that’s worth covering, I’ll add it to my list.

The first place I’ll be covering in my reviews is somewhere very dear to me: the East Side’s beautiful and historic Oriental Theater (2230 N Farwell Ave). Stay tuned, folks!