I’m starting an advertising campaign with Marcus Promotions, placing ads in some of its Footlights programs – the in-theater programs you get at plays and shows in and around Milwaukee. I’d like to thank Angie Mack for helping me get this campaign under way, and the Marcus Promotions design staff for its great work on these ads.
Hopefully, we’ll be able to spread the word about Buddy Schumacher’s story around the Milwaukee area in the next few months. I believe the first Footlights we’re scheduled to run in is the “Groucho: A Life in Review,” the story of funny man Grouch Marx, at Next Act Theatre in Walker’s Point, Nov. 14 to Dec. 8.
My wife and I love to attend live theater. There are so many great productions, something for everybody in the family. I encourage you to check out the huge variety of great shows you can see in the Milwaukee area by clicking right here!
Below is an excerpt from the first draft of the book I’m currently working on. Note that this is only a first draft, the names may be changed to protect the guilty, and it’s a kids book, nothing like “Murder in Wauwatosa.” That book was nonfiction; the new one is fiction all the way, albeit with many incidents based on real events of my childhood and the childhoods of others who may or may not have grown up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.
I’m bandying about titles and place names and people names and such. But the story will focus on a slightly awkward boy whose family moves to a new town. There, he encounters a bully, an unlikely friend, a first romance and a haunted house. I shall attempt to negotiate said boy through all his obstacles in one piece and perhaps allow him to mature just a teeny little bit along the way.
Standing a foot or so to my left was a roly, poly boy, a little shorter than I was, with glasses and a shirt with horizontal stripes that looked like they used to be fairly colorful and was about two sizes too small for him. He had a couple books clutched to his chest. And they weren’t school books either. They were books you read for fun.
“He’s actually Clark Ludington the third,” the boy deadpanned. “He’s named for his grandpa and his dad.”
“That make sense, since he’s ‘the third,’” I said, rolling my eyes in a slightly different way than when I rolled them a minute before. This was more like a rolling of the eyes that said “Well, duh! I know that.”
“Oh, yeah,” the boy said, forcing out a little “ha ha” afterward.
He took a step back from me and was about to move away, when I stopped him by introducing myself.
“I’m Donnie Hart. I just moved here.”
I figured if this kid knew who that jerk was, and was willing to tell me about him, he might come in handy. I could pump him for information.
The boy’s eyes opened wide. His slightly chubby cheeks all of a sudden were separated by a big smile, teeth full of braces.
“I’m Warren,” he said with more enthusiasm than I’d heard out of anyone in a long time. “People call me ‘Woody,’ because my last name is Underwood.
“We live on 81st Street. Where do you live? Cause if you live near 81st Street, maybe you can come over sometime.”
He kept talking really fast one sentence after another, like he didn’t want me to give him an answer he didn’t want to hear. I just kind of folded my arms and stared at this boy who others called “Woody” and let him ramble.
“My mom and dad are kind of weird and I have a younger brother. But he won’t bother us. I can make him stay in his room when you come over.”
It’s like this was the first time anybody had ever talked to him and he was going to say each and everything he’s had on his mind since he started bottling everything up in kindergarten. “Go for it, dude,” I thought to myself. “I want to see how long this can go on. Maybe you’ll set a world record.”
“Are you in Mr. Hopper’s class? I’m in Mr. Hopper’s class. He’s kind of weird, but OK for a teacher, I guess. He tells really bad jokes.”
I shook my head.
“Your name’s Donnie, huh? I have an uncle named Don. He’s OK. He makes really good steak on the grill. It’s really good. You should try some sometime.”
Woody paused for a second, only a second, as he went into thought. The silence lasted barely a second or two before he muttered, almost to himself, “Actually, Uncle Don lives kind of far away.”
He immediately launched his monologue in a completely different direction.
“I like bubble gum, but I’m not supposed to have any because I have braces. But sometimes I still chew a little bit. You can do it if you’re real careful to chew in little bites and not blow bubbles. Do you like bubble gum?”
So, there you go. Hopefully, that’s not horrible. And if it is, it can be fixed.
My friend and high school classmate, Art Mellor, took some photos of me at his Milwaukee studio last week. Some were serious, some were silly and some were done so he could test out some lighting and other technical photo things.
One of the things we did was a series of shots with my book and a magnifying glass. I couldn’t find the Sherlock Holmes-style hat we were looking for, but since I didn’t have a Sherlock Holmes-style pipe or cape either, I think we managed just fine without it. Art picked out his favorite pose, then added various backgrounds to them. I think they turned out quite nice.
Here they are:
My wife and kids and I spent some time Saturday dropping off business cards for “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher” at several Wauwatosa businesses on Saturday. Everyone was very cordial, and I found out that there are some very cool businesses in town that I hadn’t visited before.
We hit The Village area, the downtown section of town where Buddy Schumacher lived. Along the way, I met some very nice business owners and employees. One young lady working at Noodles and Co. seemed pretty excited to see the author of a book she had been interested in purchasing walk into the restaurant.
I also bumped into the Wauwatosa city attorney at Be Spectacled. He said he’d read the book. I asked him if I was going to get sued, and he said I would not (whew!) and also said that he enjoyed the book.
I love going into some of my old favorites down in The Village like Robertson Hardware, The Chancery and Baskin Robbins. We like to take the girls to Yo Mama frozen yogurt in the old Drew’s building when we’re in town. I’ve got to get back to Café Hollander, too. And, of course, there’s the Little Read Book store, which has been selling “Murder in Wauwatosa” from the beginning. Make sure to stop by and support the local bookstore! We were also able to walk into The Little Red Store, the oldest commercial structure in the city. It always seems to be closed when we come to town, but this time we got there just as it was closing and were able to take a look around.
Later, my wife and I took on North Avenue, scattering our efforts from 92nd Street down to 68th Street. There are so many neat restaurants and stores on this street. From The City Market Café to Alterra Coffee to Rocket Baby Bakery, this area has baked goods and gourmet coffee nailed.
We also found some neat restaurants that were not there when I was growing up in Tosa. Ono Kine Grindz is full of Hawaiian food and drink. I can’t wait to go back and try it out. The new BelAir Cantina at 68th and North is in an old Audi dealership and looks very cool.
My wife found a neat little consignment shop, we came across a store featuring handmade items from Africa and Asia called Fair Trade for All, I ran into a gentleman who runs a store called Candy Bouquet whose father taught with my dad in the Wauwatosa School System for eons, and we love the Rosebud Theatre (formerly Tosa Theatre), where I’ve presented a program on the book.
And I haven’t even mentioned the cool Italian deli … Fattoni’s where Johnson Bicycle Shop used to be. Wow, did the food in there look good!
There are so many other neat places in Wauwatosa. This is just a smattering of the cool places in those two districts. There are many more. I plan to sample some more of them next time I’m in town.
We’ve worked out a few of the details for my Monday, August 19, presentation on “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher” at the Yes Cinema in Columbus, Indiana.
This event will be a fundraiser for the Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Care Center, a nonprofit agency helping out folks in central Columbus. As such, we will be charging the paltry sum of $1 to attend. All proceeds from the price of admission will go to the center.
Additionally, $1 from every book sold will go to the center. I’ll be signing/selling books after the program.
And … yum, yum… the Yes Cinema will be selling concessions. Hot buttered popcorn, warm pecans, theater-style candy and drinks. Oh boy! Proceeds again will benefit the center.
Next up … find some guests to speak about aspects of society (then and now) that this book touches on.
And … work on the updated, newfangled presentation.
Check back for details or sign up to follow this website, so updates will come straight to your email. Just go the home page and click on the link at the lower left.