Tour de Fat and PBR Street Party mesmerize Bay View
Photos by Brian Jacobson and Jennifer Bartel
It was a fine Fourth of July weekend in Milwaukee, and one of the highlighted bits of fun was the Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing Company’s Tour de Fat. Imagine a bunch of young neo-vaudevillians and carnival musicians spreading a gospel of two wheels and green living to folks on a thirteen-stop weekend tour dates in eco-friendly towns such as Austin, San Francisco, Portland and Milwaukee.
It began with leisurely bike “parade” around the neighborhood involving hundreds of Milwaukeans, many dressed up in a Mardi Gras spirit. Back at the Humboldt Park band shell area, the adults partook of the brewery’s ale while the kids played giant Connect Four, tried out experimental bikes in a corral, and listened to music by Dovekins and the bombastic Mucca Pazza.
In between acts, game shows called Americain Stupide and acrobatic comedy by Honey Moon Cabaret held the crowds. One of the greatest attractions was a contest in which the best bike storyteller won the badass-looking Cruiser bike that hung suspended from the stage during the day. Later in the day, during a faux-finish, an Elton John impersonator sang “Hold me closer, Tony Danza” while the giant arms of a giant Tony Danza doll embraced the audience.
Just about six blocks away, a more laid-back music and modern Bay View event was slowly taking shape. Fueled by the response of the last two years, the PBR Street Party held on Potter Ave. between host Burnhearts Bar on South Logan and Hi-Fi Cafe at KK promised to be bigger and better than ever. However, most attendees seemed to be satisfied with keeping things as low-key as the first year.
Main stage shows involved J. Todd and Lunaversol 9 as Def Harmonic, White Mystery, Call Me Lightning and the indefatigable Mucca Pazza. A side stage — two microphones, a couple of speakers, and a generator to power the equipment — was the scene for a special songwriters showcase featuring local figures such as Chris DeMay and Mark Waldoch.
Vendors included local stalwarts Satellite Crepes, Honeypie, Luv Unlimited, and Classic Slice (who appeared to have fresh pizzas biked over by their delivery guy). There was a t-shirt screening lab and a box-building contest that never really found its footing but we hope will return next year.
Shown here is some of what we saw. It’s a little hard to spend 14 hours in Bay View without a clear plan of consistent beer drinking — and that makes for blurry, blurry photographs. We would promise a full report on South Shore Frolics this coming weekend, but as we just said…things may get a little fuzzy.
Tour de Fat:
PBR Street Party: