The perception of pole dancing is changing. When Maureen Metzger and her business partner DJ Hamilton started Blush Pole Fitness & Dance six years ago, Maureen says, "people thought [the instructors] were strippers." Since then, she's seen attitudes adjust as pole dancing went from taboo to a possible Olympic sport. Maureen equates pole dancing with aerial arts, on par with performances seen in shows such as Cirque du Soleil. She leads a series of classes and workshops that focus on upper-body and core strength or hone in sensual spins and dances. "You can be sexy and sensual," Maureen says, "and it doesn’t have to be tasteless . . . I watch Dancing with the Stars, and I think that is way more sexual than anything we do."
Occasionally, she still has to spend some time fighting inaccurate stereotypes, including an episode in early 2012 that involved inviting Jim Stingl of the Journal Sentinel to studio for a fact-finding mission. But mostly, Maureen and DJ concern themselves with empowering women to be "strong physically and emotionally." There comes a time, she says, when "you stop feeling sexy, you age, you gain weight, you get so busy with other parts of your life. . . I think we lose [that] and [pole dancing] reminds us to be women." She credits pole dancing as a vital ally in boosting her self-esteem during a double mastectomy in her battle against breast cancer.
And though Maureen is the first to tout the power of pole dancing, she is also one of the first to undercut some of its weightier connotations, much like a doctor who uses a stethoscope that squeaks. "[We're] totally willing to laugh at ourselves," she says. "Nobody is taking this too seriously." The lighter mood, in particular, helps welcome shy students, who Maureen and DJ witness transform into "strong, confident, sexy, and feminine [women]."
The 74-foot tower of North Point Lighthouse stretches to meet the neighboring trees of Lake Park. Attached to it are two-and-a-half stories of wood-frame keeper's quarters that once housed historic figures such as Georgia Stebbins, keeper for thirty years.
Renovated in 2007, the bright, airy building now acts as home to artifacts and lighthouse-related curios, including an original 1928 Fresnel lens that helped guide seafaring vessels. Additionally, a Chadburn telegraph, recovered from a sunken ship, pays homage to the orders that went to and from the ship's bridge and engine rooms.
Guests can browse both the quarters and the lighthouse, and explore the site's more than 120 years of history by perusing the artwork and photographs displayed throughout the galleries. Dedicated volunteers are also on hand to dispense fascinating information and history, and to give limited guided tours that lead visitors to the top of the tower, where they can catch views of the surrounding park and lakefront.
It's rare for museums to have cozy dining rooms, but the Charles Allis Art Museum wasn't always a museum. Earlier in the 20th century, it was businessman and arts patron Charles Allis's Tudor-style mansion. Allis bequeathed it to the public along with his massive art collection, though, and nowadays, visitors can stop by to see pieces that span 2,000 years. Some highlights? Works by Winslow Homer, Classic antiquities, a large collection of Asian ceramics, plus rotating exhibits by local Wisconsin artists.
The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum nestles in a historic mansion, too, albeit a different one. This one was built in the likeness of an Italian Renaissance villa in 1923, by architect David Adler. Its art spans a smaller period, from the 15th century through to the 18th. Visitors can browse wrought-iron work by Cyril Colnik, and explore a formal, outdoor Renaissance garden.
Horny Goat Hideaway crafts a menu of comfort fare and American fare with its private label of craft microbrews, Horny Goat Brewing Company. The recently built BFT (Big Fun Tent) spans 14,600 square feet and boasts a 20'x20' stage, a 10'x16' flat-screen video wall, and lounge furniture. The heated complex also includes sand-volleyball courts. When the aggressive yelps of an ignored appetite prove too bothersome, the eatery can provide empty stomachs with a Loaded Tots appetizer, topped with beer-cheese sauce and bacon, and the pulled-pork sandwich, served with apple coleslaw. On Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., the brunch menu fulfills diners' desires with savory options such as the Eggs Benny—an english muffin, canadian bacon, and hollandaise—or the crisp belgian waffle, served with strawberries and whipped cream.
Flashing lights and an orchestra of electronic beeps fill Blazzin Lazers' indoor arena, where warriors young and old plunge into battle against others who were friends mere minutes before. Amid a realistic military base and barrels oozing with faux-neon toxic waste, players flex their fingers around laser-gun triggers, dodge enemy blasts, and scan barcodes with superhuman speed as computerized vests keep track of scores. The laser-tag facility also hosts parties, offering packages for larger groups and a party room where groups can lower heart rates as they unwrap birthday presents and enjoy cake or food brought from home. Housed inside the space of a former haunted house, Blazzin Lazers also hosts haunted laser tage in October.
During Milwaukee Winter Fest, visitors of all ages can shake the snow from their sleeves inside a climate-controlled facility filled with festive lights and colorful decorations. There they can play in more than 50 attractions including inflated fun zones, carnival rides, and a 240-foot indoor zipline. Singers and musical acts take to the stage during scheduled events to inspire impromptu dance parties and prove once and for all that guitars can be used for more than just housing herb gardens.