Gateway to Summer

Bring on the heat – this weather trumps the slush-laden old-snow of February any day. Having enjoyed thoroughly hanging out with new friends and old at last weekend’s Street Eats and the venerable Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy, we are right-and-ready to see you at:

Silver Spring House

6655 N Green Bay Ave, Milwaukee WI 53209

(between Silver Spring and Good Hope on Green Bay Ave)

Saturday June 10

9pm to 11:30pm

A long-running favorite stop for those-in-the-know featuring full menu and well stocked bar in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Sit outside or in (or stand if you must). I’m thinking of debuting sumathose LED lighty-up thingies to wash drummer Andy in a weird glow – you don’t wanna miss that.

We’ll then be spending a few weekends in Alissa’s home town – Fond Du Lac Wisconsin. Kick things off with the Wine Walk ( at:

Annies Fountain City Cafe

72 S Main Street, Fond Du Lac Wisconsin

Friday June 16 (for the Wine Walk)

4pm to 8pm

We’ve got you morning people covered as well Saturday June 24 let’s stock up on fresh produce at one of the best farmer’s markets in the state

Fond Du Lac Farmer’s Market

Main Street – downtown

Saturday June 24

8am – noon

This culminates with the Rock for Hope event on Saturday July 1 featuring a number of artists and events supporting Salute the Troops.

Full details here:

Which brings us to this issue’s postlogue…

We find ourselves between the holidays Memorial Day and Fourth of July – a prime time to reflect on those whose sacrifice and service protect our republic. A sometimes imperfect union, it remains a nation built on uniquely sound principles and ideals worth striving for – and worth fighting for. I wager that each of us knows at least one veteran whose willingness to place their comfort, life and liberty in jeopardy such that ours be safeguarded is worthy of heartfelt thanks.

The J Ryan trio remains honored and humbled to support veterans through both our flagship charity the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative and the other charities we serve. These fantastic organizations working diligently to propel the Milwaukee and surrounding areas to a brighter future. Links to charities we have recently supported appear below. Check ‘em out – it’s worth the clicks.

Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative

Salute the Troops Wisconsin

Fisher House Wisconsin

HEAR Wisconsin

Going Home

Need some coffee to counterbalance a hard drinkin St Paddy’s day weekend? Why not join the J Ryan Trio at Brewed Cafe? An authentic Brady Street scene sporting great food complimenting a litany of coffee based creations.

Brewed Café

1208 E Brady Street

Saturday March 25

6:30pm – 9:00pm

I’ve read ‘You Can’t go Home Again’, been told I don’t gotta go home, but can’t stay here, and grooved to ‘Down Home Blues’. But the most fun was getting reacquainted with the piano I played at home as a kid. In preparation for our outing at Von Maur (see below) we wanted to hold our regular rehearsals with an acoustic grand. Me Mum (and former piano teacher, and pretty cool lady) graciously allowed our motley JRT to crash her humble abode and rehearse… loudly, using her piano. It made me smile to share real-book jazz with our crew on the same Baldwin on which I plunked out my first notes as a wee lad. I feel old. Mostly because I’m… you know… old.

Speaking of time’s passage, the World record for longest piano concert is 103 hours by Romuald Koperski of Poland, sporting 5 minute breaks every hour, and playing generally well known compositions without improvisation.

By comparison, we will host a short set to celebrate the grand opening of Von Maur at The Corners in Brookfield. A spectacular mixed use development, The Corners will feature Wisconsin’s first Von Maur store replete with a shopping experience unique, enjoyable, and enhanced with both great customer service – and live music. We are excited to have the illustrious Chris Peppas on percussion and master of keys Jeff Stoll helping us out for the evening shift on Saturday and Sunday.

Von Maur

At The Corners of Brookfield

20111 W Bluemound Road ?ID=45

(Instrumental Jazz)

Saturday April 8

10am to 7pm


Sunday April 9

12 noon to 6pm

Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy. Invariably an opportunity to meet the most fun loving people while laying down the thumpinest party set of old school blues, rock and motown we can muster. It’s just a great place to be – and we can’t wait to see you there.

Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy

218 N Water Street

414 221 6565 (reservations)

Saturday April 15

9pm to 1am – the wee small hours of the morning, just like Frankie said.

Thanks again your support for our music+charity mission. We are blessed to share good tunes and good times all for the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative.

Do check out our website – do like us on facebook, do stop out, do snag our recent album at any of our shows, don’t pet that dog – you don’t know where he’s been

This Newsletter Sanitized For Your Protection

Hello and happy new year 2017 to you all from

The KASANA brand has long been synonymous with exciting, uniquely prepared, expertly crafted authentic Argentinian cuisine. Chef Ana brings her culinary prowess and understated elegance to Winter Gallery Night at Great Lakes Distillery this Friday Jan 20. Featured will be the works of local artist Anita Burgermeister and the craft spirit infused cocktails of the Great Lakes Distillery alchemists.

The always classy JRT will bend some tones to keep the evening lively. Why not join us and show our nation’s energy pundits that ethanol belongs in a snifter, not in my car.

Winter Gallery night @ Great Lakes Distillery

616 W Virginia St

Milwaukee, WI 53204


Friday Jan 20

6pm to 11pm with music from 7pm until whenever

If you happen to be catching the Bucks / 76ers game on Monday Jan 16, say hi as the JRT lends a little R&B to MLK day in the EA (that’s east atrium).


Our recent outing to the friendly and fantastic city of Fond Du Lac included stops at WFDL Sunny 97.7 The Breeze, at 103.3 FM / 1170 AM Oldies and at the fabulous Annie’s Fountain City Cafe. For those who may have missed our foray into morning show madness and shock-jockery, please do check out the interview here. Astute listeners will notice our CD skips on air – a likely consequence of a cold CD on a frigid January morning. Live and unscripted, the gracious hosts (hi Nick, hi Greg) were an absolute riot to hang out with.

Our new friend Annie and her staff at Annie’s Fountain City further confirm that meeting and connecting with tremendous people is one of the sweetest dividends of our charity music endeavor. Much love and some Billy Joel to you, Annie.

To know me is to love me (pause for laughter) but to know my car is to know the folks at O-Reilly Auto Parts on a first name basis. As the JRT contemplates more out-of-town excursions, I will absolutely be leaning on Enterprise for temporary wheels. So in my indefatigable effort to bring you a high quality news letter, I thought I’d provide a ‘Musician’s Automotive Review” for cars that I rent. If ever you have asked a car salesman ‘how many keyboards can this thing hold?’ you quickly discover two things: 1) he don’t know and 2) once pegged as a musician they know your down payment and credit wont be enough to qualify you for even the free coffee in the showroom.

Thus allow me to give a quick summary of the 2015 Nissan Maxima. The thing is big – you could prolly fit 3 bodies in the trunk. OR you could fit both mains, mixing boards, two keyboards, stands and mics with enough room to spare for two vocalists and a driver. Impressive. It’s faster off the line than an exploding Takata airbag, but still clicks off 27mpg highway / ditch / median. Loading / unloading made convenient with no-key locks and low lift-in height. The nav system, trip computer and audio stack rival a Kurzweil PC3 when it comes to lighty-up buttons, settings and menus. Keyboard folks will like that. However, stickering at north of 30k, I wouldn’t want to park it in hinkier parts of town where real blues joints live – leave that for the ’74 Dodge Monaco. In short – it was a pleasure to drive and almost totally did not smell like the heavy febreeze odor was there to cover up some past weirdo stink.

Well, enjoy the balance of Dental Awareness Month.

CD Release Party – you’re invited

Hey – just a quick reminder before the tryptophan sets in, the J Ryan Trio will be holding our CD release party:

Saturday November 26

6pm until 9pm

Milwaukee Sail Loft

649 E Erie St., Milwaukee, WI 53202


We’ll be playing live music, and have time to sample tracks from the album. It’s a FUNdraiser with food, drinks, easy free parking, a petting zoo, expired lunchables, a toss-the-piano-man game, make-overs, do-overs, and Arnold Palmers.

Not really on most of that, but the food, drinks, parking, music and fun are for-real.

Now don’t feel obligated to purchase a CD – but if you do want one on a pay-what-you-feel basis, every dollar from CD sales benefits the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative. The phenomenal work that MHVI does for veterans in our community is critically important, especially as the temperature drops.

Can I say the phrase?
I don’t care – I’m sayin it anyways… “Our CD makes a great holiday gift”.
What? No – it yu-huh does too make a great gift.
Well what did you get last year?
See it’s way better than a Lens-Crafters gift certificate.
What’s now? A three season Dean Martin Celebrity Roast DVD box set? Well no, it’s not better than that, I mean duh.
Well heck no it’s not better than vintage Stevie Wonder on vinyl.

OK ok, so the JRT CD makes a great gift for folks you like, but don’t like all that much.

Greetings From The Middle Kingdom

I write this month’s J Ryan Trio newsletter from 39,000 ft somewhere over the Pacific. Bringing back with me from Shanghai some rusty chops, mild intestinal distress, pictures of new friends enjoying (or pretending to enjoy) our new CD, and a desire to never drink baijiu again. Jason on the base guitar is wheels-up from Osaka, Mike returns from ‘ole Me-he-co. We’ll all gather State-side for a few outings in November. Can’t hardly wait.

5 O’Clock Steakhouse

The Alley Cat Lounge upstairs (top floor, baby)

24’th and State – drive right on up and enjoy the valet parking

Reservations: (414) 342 3553

Friday November 4

8:15 to 11pm

It’s 5 O’Clock Steakhouse – THE Milwaukee steakhouse experience. I had the Steak Diane last month and wouldn’t shut-up about it for a week. It was that good. We’ll play real old school stuff maybe even fire up that vintage Hammond B3 organ for a few numbers.

Bugsy’s Back Alley Speakeasy

218 N Water St – enter via the alley off of Chicago street

Saturday November 12

9pm to 1am

What more can I say about this place? It’s always a party. Sometimes a birthday party, sometimes a bachelorette party, sometimes with festive hats, always a good time.

The Bay Restaurant

342 E Silver Spring Dr, Whitefish Bay

(414) 455-3045

Thursday November 17

8pm to 11pm

The Bay is your place for casual dining with attention to detail. Great ambiance, tasty food and a full bar all in the heart of walkable Whitefish Bay. We’ll add an eclectic mix of whatever you feel like hearing, from Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra to the Temptations and Michael Jackson. Eh, maybe we’ll play whatever I like.

And lest we forget – the J Ryan Trio CD release party is coming up.

Milwaukee Sail Loft

649 E Erie Street

(414) 223-0100

Saturday November 26

6pm till I dunno

bring the kids if you like

RSVP by replying to this email

Or just show up

Or both

Fun promo video HERE

Enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres or however you spell that, and pick up a copy of what is a only somewhat dissonant exploration of quarter tones – our new CD – J Ryan Trio – Under Cover. Our second release, this disc makes a great coaster, or shim for an uneven table. Every dollar raised from your donation goes direct to the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative – just in time to help our local vets before the Milwaukee winter sets in. Heck, make a donation and you don’t even have to take our CD, I’ll sell you an old Van Halen disc – now that’s a deal. They did rock though, didn’t they? ‘I’ll Wait’ off of 1984? Yeeeeah.

So howsabout some pictures? Check out the attached for greetings from the Middle Kingdom.

Hello from the movie set

Hello from the movie set

Hello from the wee tykes

Hello from the wee tykes

Hello from JinLing road east

Hello from JinLing road east

Hello from flight 288

Hello from flight 288

We’re Back, Baby!

In this issue: Introducing our new(ish) website – & – CD release party

As always, let’s start with upcoming outings during which you can lodge your complaints about us in person:

The Bay Restaurant

342 E Silver Spring Drive, Whitefish Bay

Reservations: 414-455-3045

Saturday, Sept 3

Set from 9pm to 11pm

The Bay is a great space for dinner, drinks and music. Fish done right – cod and salmon, but also consider the steak sandwich – see I like those roasted onions and mushrooms. That’s why no-one borrows my mic. Or pizza, including mac-n-cheese pizza featuring bacon. Yuuup. bacon. Just read that word aloud one time nice and slow – and there you go – we’ll see you Saturday.

Don’t forget – we’ll be at:

Street Eats streeteats

Catalano Square in the Third Ward

Friday, Sept 16

4pm to 8pm

Outdoor party and food truck fest sponsored by the fabulous folks at the Shepherd Express. You gotta soak in the outdoor fun while you can – Santa is only 120 days away – that portly chimney hound.

Five O’Clock Steakhouse

2416 W State Street in Mil-Town

Reservations: 414 342 3553

Friday, Sept 23

Set from 8:15 to 11pm

With pedigree spanning back to 1946 the Five O’Clock is the original, genuine and fully certified steakhouse experience. Why not live like the real Madmen enjoying a martini and steak voted ‘One of America’s Best’ by TV host Rachael Ray, voted top 100 by OpenTable Diner’s Choice, and voted Best Milwaukee Steakhouse by the Shepherd Express, Milwaukee Magazine, and yours truly. Parking is easy in the attached fenced lot. We’ll be in the Alley Cat lounge upstairs.

Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy

218 N Water – enter thru the alley just east of water on Chicago street

Saturday, Sept 24

9pm to 1am

Regular readers know how fond I am of Bugsy’s – because it is old school classy and off the hook fun. We’ll play a thumpin set – you come on out and party with us.

Actually, you can now check our full schedule at Astute readers of this muckraker will recall our website was hacked a while back – presumably by wankerous level 9 gymbags. I mean who hacks the site of a charity band? But with much appreciated help from our good friend Brian, and some updated design work from the lovely and vivacious Heather (such a hottie), we are up and running – with a fresh new look and a treasure trove of useful and informative content. Well, not useful or informative, but mostly spell-checked, and that’s something. So check out or find us on facebook – fun new videos.

JRT newsletter September 2016 - image - Mr Conway TwittyAlso – mark your calendars for Saturday Nov 26, 6pm at Sail Loft (649 East Erie Street). It’s the JRT CD Release Party. I’ve heard the disc and it’s worth a listen. I mean it’s not Burt Bacharach good, and it sure as heck isn’t Conway Twitty good, but it does make a decent drink coaster. Speaking of drinks: dear readers of our mailing list (that’s you) receive this personal and cordial invitation, appetizers and a free round of drinks at the release party. What other band is going to love you like that? Bring the kiddos – it starts early at 6pm. Sponsored by the good people of the Shepherd Express, you know it will be a good ole time. Of course every penny from CD sales benefits the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative.

Well, there’s more, including some overseas stuff – but that will have to wait for October’s newsletter. Besides I’m missing Archer right now so I gotta go watch the telly.

Just the Facts

J Ryan Trio - image - may newsletterThe typical JRT listener is a cosmopolitan social media savvy multi-tasking jet-setter with no time for verbose nonsense. I know because I talked to both of them. We at JRT Publishing respect that and as such present to you the May newsletter in a streamlined, hard hitting just-the-facts format so compact you could text it while driving. Read it and tweet my friends.

What’s that?… No, I thought that was a figure of speech… Our attorneys said what? Well alright then.

It has come to my attention that the JRT neither condones nor recommends texting while driving.

Is that good enough to satisfy Legal? Who in the what now? … Look I’m not cranking out public service announcements here, I just don’t want to get sued… Well fine… So let ’em… Hey my car is worth $37 and my pants are from the lost and found… I know my rights… phffft – I got your punitive damages right here….

Now what was I talking about? Oh yeah, brevity of the written word made manifest via newsletter of sparkling word economy. So anyways they says to tell you all about our upcoming May outings. We’d love to have you join us.

Brewed Cafe


1208 E Brady

Saturday May 14

6:30 to 9:00pm

The food, coffee and iced teas are tasty, unique and genuine. Check out the menu at the link above and stop out as the weather gets warm for a real Milwaukee experience.

Traveling Beer Garden

Root River Parkway – Picnic Area #1


92nd & College Ave

Friday May 27

5pm to 8pm

Sponsored by Sprecher Brewery – get the kids hopped up on root beer and let them run around. Pets on leashes are welcome. Kids on leashes probably OK too – I dunno.

Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy


218 N Water – but enter thru the alley just north of Chicago Ave east of Water

Valet $6 = easy parking

Saturday May 28

9pm – 1pm

We are so excited to be returning to Bugsy’s. If you haven’t joined us for a Bugsy’s party – don’t miss out, it is simply uncorked fun.

So dat’s the facts. Stay tuned in June for an update on our recording project including voice-over radio plugs that put the smarm in smarmy. Continuing our law-and-order theme, we’ll have tid-bits about music royalties, licensing and legal affairs that I find as fascinating as they are relevant.

Be well – blessings on your Spring

If you build it – they’ll probably stay home ’cause ain’t nobody cares

Hey HEY hey

Stop on out and raise a pint – the J Ryan Trio will be at:

Riverside Brewery


Saturday April 9 – 8pm to 11pm

255 South Main Street, West Bend

For a sneak peak at summer bookings – check out the calender page at DId you know you can click on the website calendar dates and a handy map with info pack will pop up? Well there you go.

Recording project update: having much fun at Cave Studios with our friend and all around stand-up guy Mr. Joe Hite. I heard the first of the mixed down tracks last week. Not for nuthin, but this album might be worth a listen come CD release party time. Every penny raised through eventual CD sales and itunes downloads will go directly to benefit the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative (

Snow finally tapering, next stop summer with all the guuuuud stuff – warm weather, live music outdoors, cocktails outdoors, dinner on the patio. Actually pretty much the same stuff as winter just moved outside. Oh and baseball. America’s pastime involves a fair amount of spitting, standing around and scratching of privates on national TV. Not sure what that says about our great republic, but given the recent spate of political ads I’d guess it’s the least of our troubles.

In the spirit of peanuts and crackerjacks let’s debut J Ryan Trio trading cards. I’ll post to our beloved newsletter (you fine and upstanding folks) a trading card showcasing one of our people (degenerate miscreants) with pertinent and fascinating facts and figures. Print it out and store in a cool dry place – I could see the McOlash rookie card being worth boku bucks someday. Better than a 401k. Worse than a 403b. About the same as claiming your house cat as a dependent. Mercy I hate tax time.

Our first trading card is that of bassist and guitar man extraordinaire Jason Bower. Our next card might be who-knows-who. Let’s be real – I haven’t the attention span to keep this going beyond 2 months.

JRT - baseball card - April 2015Jason Bower – stats

  • Batting average (AVG) – Hasn’t needed to tune anyone up with a bat yet, but it sure is nice to know he can swing for the fences.
  • Runs (R) – Stays regular – no problem there.
  • Hits (H) – This guy is a hit everywhere he plays – blues guitar, thumpin bass – it’s a double threat
  • Earned Run Average (ERA) – I have never been able to figure out what the heck this means. It’s like “icing” in hockey and will remain an unfathomable mystery to me ’til the day I die (doctor says 5 months). Don’t even try to explain it ’cause mostly I don’t care.
  • Strike-outs (SO) – Never a one. Sorry ladies – he’s taken
  • Wins (W) – his previous bands.
  • Losses (L) – The JRT – Who knows why he signed on with this crew but God bless – we love him.
  • Base on Balls (BB) – There’s a joke in there somewhere but I ain’t gonna touch it.

Stay tuned for our next newsletter – we got a hot cookin announcement about a summer tour that involves family friendly outdoor fun and barrels of beer. We got a CD release party. We gots a road trip to Indiana. We gots a piano man who ain’t quite right. Most importantly we got you – you who (yoohoo) stop out and see us and support our charity mission. God Bless

A Contest with Fabulous Prizes

The JRT is fixin to lend some soulful grooves to the 2016 House of Love Celebration, Auction and Dinner. The HOL’s group homes and programs prepare challenged youth to lead self-sufficient lives. An incredible organization led by remarkable folks, they are positively impacting Milwaukee. Not too late to sign up for this shindig – click the iink below. You could even place an auction bid on the JRT for your party or event – first $1.37 takes us I would guess.

House of Love Celebration


Tuesday Feb 23 – 5pm live music and silent auction, dinner at 6pm

JRT back at Bugsy’s next week. Could be a packed house like last time, so maybe make a reservation – mention the JRT to sit with friends in the official hecklers section. Minus 6 bonus points to the first jackwagon who yells out ‘Freebird’. Valet parking, great venue and all the hard cookin motown, funk, blues, rock and fun we can muster. You’d be crazy to miss out. Crazy I tells ya.

Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy


Friday Feb 26 – 9pm to 1am

218 N Water (enter via the alley off of Chicago just east of Water)

– see website for map and reservations –

Hows about joining us at Riverside Brewery in West Bend? The tasty food compliments perfectly the ales, weisses and IPAs brewed on site. Live music in the shadow of mighty stainless brew kettles? Sounds like Saturday night to me, baby.

Riverside Brewery


Saturday March 5 – 8pm to 11pm

255 South Main Street, West Bend

Women’s Nite Out at Brookfield Lutheran. Catered dinner, nationally renowned speaker and live music. Male members of the band will be cordoned off behind velvet rope ensuring they don’t bother nobody. No feeding the bass player. That’s what the sign says. Still time to sign up, link below.

Women’s Nite Out at Brookfield Lutheran

Saturday March 11

Info and signup at (

Much love to those who caught the JRT playing the east atrium at the Bucks game last week. Bucks by one point at the buzzer. Hoping ‘New York State of Mind’ worked to throw the Celtics off their game.

Also excited to announce the crew is back in the studio – first time since 2012. This new album might be worth a listen: J Ryan Trio – the Live Sessions. Singles also slated for release on i-tunes. Concept is this: live recordings in a free flowing improvisational setting with minimum overdubbing, no looping, never any autotune and as always, gluten free. The sound is high energy, a little raw and a whole lotta fun.

JRT - image - no whammyBut how to use these recordings? I dunno. So I am leaving that up to you, gentle reader. Send me your suggestions on how best the album and digital singles can raise money and awareness for our charity mission and you might win a fabulous, tax free (read: worthless) prize package including the following:

  • A VIP invitation to attend a closed set JRT rehearsal at the illustrious 3 Chimneys (uh, that would be my house).
  • Proof that we actually do sometimes rehearse – no flash photography, please. Better to sketch our majestic forms in charcoal pencil anyway.
  • Drinks of your choice expertly mixed and served to you in clean glasses – woooooahh. Not a fan of the hard stuff? No worries, we have beer, wine, soda, tea, coffee, juice boxes, tap water, snow melt (both yellow and non), scope, Nyquil, and Fresca.
  • Appetizers. Um, actually no, let’s say instead – a fun size snickers bar… There’s nougat.
  • A glimpse into a mildly messed up scene of which we are rather proud. Mildly is a judgment call, but it is most assuredly messed up.
  • Named credit on the CD liner
  • A free hand-crafted nickname made especially for our winner – whether they like it or not.
  • All of the unattended board game pieces you can eat. Please note the monopoly race car is not currently available, but we anticipate its return over the next few days.
  • No whammys

Oh, one more thing. As you know this newsletter is little more than a personal kvetch platform. Helps me cope with the aggravations of the day-to-day. Jason.

So here’s my pet peeve of the month: TV and cinema bar scenes featuring vintage décor, grimy patina, Scorsese-esque lighting – you know, blazing spot with a sharp falloff to an inky background, and absolutely killer music played quietly behind the dialogue. Music undoubtedly culled by a music director of encyclopedic knowledge. Music invariably old school and menthol cool.

Makes me desperately want to climb through the screen (they’re here – who’s here? – the TV people). Aw heck – I’m just happy to use scenes such as these as motivation to bring the coolest sound we can muster to every place we play.

  • Better Call Saul season 1 episode 10 – a sweet funk version of Art Blakey’s ‘Mercy Mercy Mercy’ from the
  • Goodfellas Christmas party scene: Darlene Love’s ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’. ‘Are you stupid or whaht?… What didt I tell you? We got a million bulls out there – you’re gonna get us all pinched.”
  • The Wire season 1 episode 5 – Lester Freamon’s explanatory speech delivered to the sounds of ‘Kind of Blue’ – Miles Davis, of course. “…and four months”

Anyways – we’ll see you around.


Johnny B Goode

The J Ryan Trio would love to see you at some awesome January venues – do feel free to phone in reservations.

County Clare

1234 N Astor Street

(414) 272-5273

Saturday January 9

10pm – Midnight

Why not have dinner? The food is great. We even have a few JRT friends that have booked an overnight stay and are making weekend of it.

Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy

218 N Water Street

(414) 221-6565

Saturday January 23

9pm – 1am

Don’t forget – Enter thru the deli on Water Street via the secret door OR thru the alley off of Chicago Street – just look for the bright red light. The valet parking makes it easy. It’s an experience not to be missed.

New year’s resolutions are a great opportunity for self improvement. While researching how I might possibly improve on my already delightful demeanor, I happened across a list of pointers summarized in “Johnny Do” and “Johnny Don’t” format. You know – the vintage 50’s illustrated manners guide best read in a Rod Serling voice while sporting a suit and haircut cut sharp as a razor.

newsletter jan 2016 image

  • Johnny Do helps with chores around the house.
  • Johnny Don’t stays in his room listening to Foghat on giant headphones.
  • Johnny Do invites you to join in the neighborhood game of stick-ball.
  • Johnny Don’t upgrades you from wet willys to atomic wedgies.
  • Johnny Do shares the armrest with the middle row passenger in seat 3B.
  • Johnny Don’t stuffs the overhead bin with his left-over Sbarro box from terminal 3.
  • Johnny Do always gets his flu shot.
  • Johnny Don’t releases the virus and the zombie apocalypse.
  • Johnny Do enjoys what the band plays.
  • Johnny Don’t shouts out requests for ‘Freebird’.
  • Johnny Do subscribes largely to Keynesian economic policy leveraging limited interventionism to boost free market effects.
  • Johnny Don’t manipulates his currency in a bid to unfairly gird domestic industry and boost exports.

You get the idea.

The JRT’s Johnny #1, we’ll call him ryan, found himself heading home late after a set and happened upon an older lady bundled up and on a sidewalk bench. Recalling the JRT exists to do the right thing, he introduced himself, mentioned she looked to be outdoors, you know, and offered to help out a bit. Rebuffed, Johhny #1 was promptly informed that she was 1) not homeless, 2) offended at the implication and 3) uncool with having her Marlboro moment interrupted as she is not allowed to smoke in her apartment.

JRT Johnny #2, whose name rhymes with ‘Jason’, was late for a meeting because he happened across a homeless gentleman (an actual… homeless gent), and rendered assistance including buying him lunch at Taco Bell.

So which of our JRTers is Johnny Do and which is Johhny Don’t?

Correct – Jason would be the Johnny Don’t as he subjected someone already down-on-their-luck to food from Taco Bell. I mean, when did Doritos qualify as an ingredient? And those little hot sauce packs kept in bins and mauled by every diner as they grab a handful – why not just lick a turnstile at the bus station? And that nacho cheese – glowing yellow thixotropic half congealed ectoplasmic goo. Makes a better industrial lubricant than it does a condiment.

Wait, what were we talking about? Oh yeah – homelessness. Far too widespread in our fair city. The JRT is excited to announce that we will be supporting the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative ( in 2016 and beyond (in addition to our continued support of the Feed My Starving Children campaign ( The MHVI spearheads multiple efforts right here in Milwaukee to serve those who have served our nation. Special thanks to Kirsten Sobieski, Executive Director, for taking the time to meet with us and discuss in detail the MHVI mission and programs – including a great tour of their new facility on Greenfield Ave. We are extremely excited to partner with such a dynamic organization making a real difference right here in Mill-Town.

So be a Johnny Do – come on out to see the JRT at County Clare on Jan 9 and at Bugsy’s Backalley Speakeasy on Jan 23 and support some great causes.