Behind the headlining comic, dots of light slowly change color, a hypnotic alternative to the brick wall of many other comedy clubs. Long tables stripe the dim room, giving guests plenty of space to savor a menu of burgers, salads, steaks, and other pub grub. But what makes the cabaret of Jokerz Comedy Club really stand out is its gallery of larger-than-life caricatures. Lushly rendered and outlined by shimmering gold frames, the portraits of some of the biz's most legendary names serve as muses for the up-and-comers taking the stage: Sam Kinison, Jerry Seinfeld, the Blues Brothers, and even Cheech and Chong's iconically smoky joyride are immortalized in the baroquely rubber-faced paintings.
Actor and comedian Russell Brand frees chortles from belly prisons with his unique style of manic, irreverent humor. Riffing on the nature of fame and celebrity, Brand regales audiences with edgy observations and outsized characters to delight audiences grown bored with tamer comedians and telephone time-of-day services. Visiting a series of colleges, the tour filters the eccentricities of American universities through Brand's singular wit. George Mason University's recently renovated Patriot Center contains the glee in arena-style seating, ensuring everyone has a clear view of both Brand and the cricket whispering jokes in his ear.
For those who have never owned a radio, read a newspaper, or heard an angel sing, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons are the rock 'n' roll hall of famers responsible for 29 top-40 hits that toe the line of doo-wop, rock, and pop. Spanning half a century of musical history, this fun-loving bunch of rockers who love having fun bring their well-rehearsed act to the stage at Festa Italiana. Opening for the legends will be the hybrid musical comedian Pete Barbuti, who is known for tickling ivories and tickling people's throats in order to induce laughter across the globe.
Summerfest is the pride and joy of Milwaukee's music scene, attracting between 800,000 and 1,000,000 people a year with bands playing on 11 stages. The first day of the festival features a variety of general-admission shows, with the first Groupon listening opportunity kicking off at 4:15 p.m. with the Mechanical Kids on the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage. Headlining acts that begin at 8 p.m. include Tokyo Police Club and Colbie Caillat. At 10 p.m., the big hitters emerge from the bullpen with the sultry rhythms of Sheryl Crow, the smooth jamz of The Wailers, the electro-fun of Passion Pit, and more, creating a musical-chairs game of concert options. Check the Summerfest website to view the full music schedule for June 24 (please note that your general-admission ticket does not get you into the Tim McGraw performance in the Marcus Amphitheatre).
Bremen Café's cadre of sandwich sages heap hearty portions of veggies and deli meats onto hoagie rolls to round out an inventive menu. Silence maundering appetites with meal-prefacing portions of mini Pit-Zas ($4), which set zesty pizza fixings atop 10-foot wide pitas before a shrink ray zaps them down to a more manageable size. The Turkey Delight unites italian hoagie halves with a stack of smoked turkey, pesto mayonnaise, and muenster cheese ($6.50). Instead of staying dry—like cities during prohibition and squirt guns during groundings—the Bremen Beef sandwich anoints tender roast beef, peppers, and onions with piquant chili butter ($6.50). Achieve meatless munching by choosing vegetarian options such as the Burn Mama, Burn ($5.75), which ferries grilled cabbage and giardiniera peppers into mouths on a hoagie roll to launch surprise attacks on taste buds.
Prohibition did more than halt the production of beer in America for 14 years. It also signaled the end of small brewing operations and resulted in a more limited range of lagers once Prohibition ended. But in 2004, a team found a recipe scribbled down in a logbook that dated back to before the 18th Amendment. So the team decided to brew it, and thus Batch 19 was born. Their namesake lager is a pleasantly hoppy beer at 26 IBUs, combining Hersbrucker and Strisslespalt hops to create herbal and black currant notes.