Lake Effect

Simon & Schuster Publishers

There are some movies people just love to quote.  For many of them, the film mirrors something in real life, but some movies are just so eminently quotable that they seem fit to use in just about any occasion. Case in point, "The Princess Bride," the classic 1987 Rob Reiner film.

The film, about the hero Westley's attempt to rescue Princess Buttercup, is a whimsical fairytale that attracted only spotty attention in theaters 29 years ago, but has proved a lasting winner for filmgoers - and for the people who made it. 

Bonnie North

The harp has been around for millennia. There is evidence that people were making and playing some form of the instrument throughout Africa, Europe and Asia from at least as early as 3500 BCE.

The instrument we generally think of as a modern harp, however, is a relatively new addition to the fold - it’s only been around since the late 17th century. The concert harp has a series of pedals that enable the performer to change the pitch of individual strings – allowing them to play all the notes in a western musical scale.


In the wee hours of the morning on July 1, 2015, Valencia Laws decided it was time to take a walk around Wilson Park. Her water had broken the night before and after eight hours of contractions she set off, accompanied by her husband and her doula, DeAnna Tharpe.

“There were people walking their dogs and I would have a contraction and have to stop,” she said. “They would be looking at me like ‘I don’t know if she’s supposed to be here.’”

But with Tharpe by her side, Laws knew she was exactly where she needed to be.

Since You Never Asked: 'Nothing to Complain About'

Oct 4, 2016
jovannig / Fotolia

From time to time, Lake Effect essayist Jonathan West likes to weigh in on what's going on in the world. Often, it's pontificating on some of the simpler things in life, like the over-availability of breakfast foods or the etiquette of re-gifting. But a recent trip to a local school left him thinking about some bigger issues:

Since you never asked...

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Tuesday afternoon, UWM welcomes an award-winning scientist, writer and educator from across the state for the annual Dean’s Distinguished Lecture in the Natural Science.

Michael Brosilow


When Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947, it was a huge step forward in the role of African-Americans in professional sports. But big-time, professional sports had a much earlier story of integration in this country.


Every month, Lake Effect talks with contributor Robert Cohen, the cellist for the Milwaukee-based Fine Arts Quartet, about the life of a working and touring professional musician.

It can be a uniquely challenging occupation. There are a lot of variables that can either help or hurt a musician's performance. And unfortunately when things go wrong, they seem to leave a bigger impression. 

Essay: Ball Games on the Radio

Oct 1, 2016
Peter Kim / Fotolia

For the majority of Major League Baseball teams (including the Brewers), the season comes to an end this weekend. Players will go home to their families, and sports fans will turn their full attention to the playoffs, or to football. Many people will miss watching the games on television, but Lake Effect essayist Jim Spangler is not among them. 

“Why don’t you come up stairs and watch the baseball game on TV?” my wife asked during a recent Milwaukee Brewers broadcast.

Halfway Film, LLC

It's hard being from the city and trying to figure out rural life. It's even harder when you've just gotten out of prison.

Sergii Mostovyi / Fotolia

All year, Milwaukee singer-songwriter John Sieger has joined us in the studio for a segment called The Monthly Beatdown.

This month, harmonica player Steve Cohen joined Sieger in the studio to play, "The Royal Flush."

Siegar notes that he has a guitar in his powder room, where he's written several songs. This song, despite being written in a bathroom is "not about what you think it is," Sieger jokes. "It's about the card hand, and I'm thinking that possibly I'll be able to sell it to Kenny Rodgers because he did 'The Gambler,' so maybe he'll like this."

Noel Spirandelli

In an 8 month series, WUWM looked closely at the issues surrounding mass incarceration of African American men in Milwaukee. The problem affects the community at large, but probably nowhere more so than the people who live in one particular Milwaukee zip code.

Susan Bence

This year's Milwaukee Film Fest will feature the documentary Almost Sunrise, which chronicles the journey of two Milwaukee area natives as they struggle with deep emotional scars after tours of duty in Iraq.

Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson set off from the Milwaukee County War Memorial on October 30, 2013 to walk across the country.

Mark Frohna

The Civil Rights era was a defining time in American history, and the reverberations are still being felt today.

A contemporary musical, Violet, explores those early days of the modern civil rights era through the eyes of a young woman – Violet – traveling through 1964 America.

Next Act Theatre / facebook

Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except all those others that have been tried." That sentiment that democracy is beautiful, messy and worth the fight is at the core of Lauren Gunderson’s 2013 play, The Taming.

The play opens Friday at Next Act Theatre, and features an all-woman cast that travels back and forth between present day and the 1787 Continental Congress.

Courtesy of Todd Barnett

For the past couple of weeks, our Precious Lives series has reported on a Milwaukee summer recreational basketball league. We’ve learned how the Warning League, as it’s known, has been affected by gun violence, and how it has served as a stabilizing force for young people.