Author Archives: teakrulos
You can see J.Jason Groshopf’s original layout for this article here: http://www.j-jason.com/#/boozehound/
Reposting this article is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’m not sure where I first heard of the Brass Rail, but I became a little fascinated with it about ten years ago and spent hours looking through old articles at the Central Library. I tracked down and interviewed people who had knowledge of the place, including Milwaukee jazz greats Berkeley Fudge and Manty Ellis. This article was first published in the Alcoholmanac in 2009, but wasn’t posted online. I edited it here to add some info, and fix choppy language. At the end I’ve added some bonus material like short newspaper articles I found on the notorious club and an interview with someone about the Princess Theater next door.
COLD-BLOODED MOB MURDER! SEX! RED HOT JAZZ!
THE STORY OF THE BRASS RAIL
The infamous Brass Rail jazz and striptease club was opened in 1956 on 3rd and Wells in downtown Milwaukee. It was located next door (and, it’s been said, connected by secret entrance to) the Princess theater, a former 900 seat movie palace that fell from grace to become a XXX adult film theater.
1960 started with a murder mystery of the colorful owner of the club, Isadore “Izzy” Pogrob. After his murder the club was run by “Mr.Slick,” aka Frank Balistrieri, head of organized crime in Milwaukee. For almost thirty years, the bar grabbed headlines before being torn down in 1984.
On Wednesday, January 6, 1960, around 3am Izzy was closing the Brass Rail, along with his employees. These included bartenders Vito Aiello and Henry “Hooks” Hanscher, and master of ceremonies Hugh Patton. He decided to take them all out to breakfast down the street at the Belmont Hotel. Izzy was 320 plus pounds, and eating was his favorite thing to do next to flashing his giant roll of cold hard cash. It was reported that Izzy “loved the feel of money.”
Accounts of what type of person Izzy was vary.
“He was a desperado, but he and his brother always made a good living. He was a character,” says Simie Fein, owner of Fein Brothers restaurant supply store on King Drive. “I knew his brother, Irv, better than I knew Izzy. Irv had a pawn shop, about a block away (from the Brass Rail). We used to hang out there in the back room and play cards.” Fein says the Pogrob brothers also managed a liquor store in the same area.
“I remember him. Oh man. He was a fucking idiot. I hate to say it. He was big, dumb. Tried to be a bully. He was obnoxious,” says Manty Ellis, a jazz guitarist and pianist that frequented and played the Brass Rail. “He was like 6’7, 6’8. And he must have weighed like 550 pounds. 400 hundred or 500 pounds [he’s actually reported to be about 320 pounds]. Couldn’t keep his mouth shut!” Ellis recalled with a laugh.
The Brass Rail had become a sizzling hot venue for local and national jazz acts. Some of jazz music’s biggest names played there. Jazz saxophonist and Wisconsin Conservatory of Music teacher Berkeley Fudge played the club and recalls seeing the legendary Dizzy Gillespie with trumpeter Lee Morgan play there as well.
“I played there three or four times in the 60s, with a guitar and piano. That was when I was with the Jack Rice Trio,” Fudge told me in a 2009 interview. “We were just there backing up those strippers, you know. There wasn’t much attention paid to the band.” He guessed the musicians might have been paid about 15 or 20 dollars a night at the club back then.
Some Brass Rail ads for Miles Davis and a fire eater named Zana. I pulled these from Bobby Tanzilo’s great article “Chasin’ the Trane to Milwaukee: When John Coltrane Did and Didn’t Play Here” for OnMilwaukee.com
So back to Big Iz. It’s just after 3am and he was eating and flashing his roll of cash (about $1500 worth) at the Belmont Hotel’s cafe, while a mysterious man with “long dyed blond hair”, sat near the group, eavesdropping. The man then conferred with two men sitting in a booth nearby, the waitress working that night reported to the Milwaukee Journal.
After eating, Izzy crawled in his huge white Cadillac and headed home. It was the last he was seen alive.
The next day the Cadillac was found splattered with blood. Later in the day Izzy was found, too. He was blindfolded, shot 9 times in the head and neck, and dumped in a drainage ditch, off highway 167 in Mequon. The murder has never been solved.
Izzy’s death wasn’t the first murder with ties to the club. Christina Calligaro was a “22-year-old, thrice married exotic dancer” according to a 1959 Milwaukee Sentinel report. She stripped under the name “Brenda Baye” at the Brass Rail for eight weeks in fall of 1959, and worked other strip clubs as well. On Dec.20, 1959 she was found shot four times on a gravel road outside of Peoria, WI, dressed in her “dance costume.” Pogrob and Calligaro were murdered about a year apart, both shot and ditched, both unsolved.
Izzy’s brother Irvin Pogrob took over the Brass Rail after Izzy’s death, but by all accounts wasn’t as flashy as his brother. He eventually sold the business to someone better suited for it.
Someone better suited like “Mr. Fancy Pants” aka “Mr. Slick” aka the sharply dressed Frank P. Balistrieri, head of the Milwaukee mafia. Among other things, he ran casino skimming and vending machine rackets. One of his reported favorite methods of disposing of someone was by car bomb, which gave him the nickname “The Mad Bomber.”
To many people Frank was the one who actually ran the city, all the way up until his conviction in the mid 80’s.
“I met em. But, you know it was like meeting anybody else. You meet them then go about your business, you know. A lot of them hung out there,” Berkeley Fudge told me about the mafia clientele at the Brass Rail. Manty Ellis’s response was similar.
“Sure, I knew the guys from the mafia. Well, I didn’t know them, but they knew me. See, the mafia owned all the clubs. So if you wanted to play the clubs, you had to know them. They owned every club downtown,” Ellis told me.
Although Balistrieri ran the joint, like most of his businesses, he kept his name off the paper. The tavern licenses for the Brass Rail and nearby La Scala restaurant on Wells Street belonged to Rudolph Porchetta. FBI affidavits, though, made it clear that it was a front business for the real owner, Frank. Porchetta said that he “was like a son to Frank Balistrieri,” despite actually being four years older than him.
The city pounced on Porchetta and sentenced him with two felonies and six months in jail when they discovered he had engaged in “false swearing” on his tavern licenses. He had claimed he had not been convicted of a crime on the tavern applications, but in fact had been convicted of six misdemeanors in 1973.
After a long legal battle, Porchetta tried to transfer the Brass Rail tavern license to Jack Scardina. Scardina listed his residence as the Shorecrest Hotel, which was owned by Frank and his sons Joe and John Balistrieri, and was sort of the family fortress. Scardina also got in trouble for giving false information on his license, and was fined $500 in 1982.
The city bought the Brass Rail and the Princess Theater and tore both down in the summer of 1984.
The site is now a parking lot.
THE BRASS RAIL CASE FILES
I was able to find a few newspaper articles on the murder of Izzy Pogrob. One of the funniest things was the newspapers frequently commented on how remarkable Izzy’s “gigantic” 300 plus pound weight was, novel at the time, but not so much anymore. I was especially struck by a January 8, 1960 Milwaukee Sentinel article, which had a strangely poetic reporting style.
SCENE: MAN, BIG AND DEAD
January 8, 1960
By Robert F. Jones
From a cloudless sky, the sun threw a gloss on the winter hills, on the brown water of Menomonee creek and on the equipment and uniforms of the Mequon police.
It was a fine day if you kept your eyes away from the broad pool of blood which lay, darkening, on the bone -white culvert.
And if you forgot about the man who lay, big and dead, under the quiet water.
More of a Ditch
The Menomonee creek- really a sort of drainage ditch glorified by the name of the river it feeds- slices neatly through the Mequon farmland west of Thiensville. Weeds and willows are reflected on its surface.
The throngs of citizens, newsmen and Mequon Emergency Squad volunteers who crowded around the spot where Highway 167 crosses the creek had ample opportunity to look at the scenery as Mequon Police Chief Robert Milke and his men sized up the situation.
Milke, a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s police officer course, was in no hurry to move until he knew exactly where he stood.
He handled the pres vaguely and easily, never raising his voice when eager cameramen crossed the ropes he had set up, but merely telling them to move back.
“Okay,” he said to one of his men, (4 or 5 words unclear on microfilm) of blood, and pick up some of it.”
The man knelt over the puddle and ladled blood into a plastic bag.
“Looks like when you slaughter a hog,” said one of the on-lookers, a small wrinkled man in overalls.
“Yep,” said his companion, a large wrinkled man in overalls.
Eight Emergency Squad men loped down to the water and snagged the body up toward the bank. A pale hand floated like a lotus near the surface, then sagged to the enormous stomach as the body came clear.
Someone grunted, “Okay now pull! Pull! Pull’m on up.”
Blood thinned away from the face as the body was beached. Then canvas covered the huge body.
The eight men strained at the handles of the stretcher, and the big man was carried up to a waiting station wagon. The station wagon roared off toward Thiensville, and everyone followed.
From a bare sky, the lowering sun threw a gloss on the winter hills.
This editorial appeared in a January 19, 1982 Milwaukee Journal. My favorite line is they say the “sham ownership” “needs thorough ventilation.” This was pretty much the end of the line for the Brass Rail. Frank Balistreri began a long series of trials for casino skimming in 1983. He spent the last years of his life in prison, getting early release in 1991 for poor health. He died in 1993. The Brass Rail and Princess Theater were demolished in 1984.
TAVERN OWNERSHIP FAKERY
Milwaukee Journal editorial, Jan 19, 1982
Milwaukee tavern licensee Rudolph Porchetta has been sentenced to jail after conviction of false swearing in connection with a tavern-license application. So far, so good.
Judge Ralph Adam Fine sentenced Porchetta to six months in jail on work –release. The sentence was stayed pending appeal, a common practice.
However, Porchetta seems one piece in the puzzle of who really runs some Milwaukee taverns. A Common Council committee is expected to hold a hearing early in February on the possible revocation of Porchetta’s licenses. In view of his conviction, revocation appears in order.
Meanwhile, a larger issue is raised by an FBI affidavit alleging that the taverns in question were actually controlled by Frank Balistrieri, the reputed Mafia boss of Milwaukee. A federal grand jury has indicted Balistrieri and others on charges resulting from an extensive probe of organized crime in southeastern Wisconsin.
The issue of sham ownership, particularly as a front for alleged organized criminal activity, needs thorough ventilation. That is a task for committees of the Common Council and for law enforcement agencies. Consequently, it is encouraging to hear Deputy Dist. Atty. Thomas Schneider’s pledge that the investigation of this problem will continue.
One of my favorite interviews while working on this article was talking to my former co-worker Maureen Jamieson, aka Mo. We worked at a place called the Brady Street Pharmacy together as cashiers about 5 days a week and she was one of my favorite people to hear stories from. I recorded the following conversation about the Brass Rail’s seedy neighbor, the Princess Theater, in 2009. I miss you, Mo.
Tea: Didn’t you say your grandmother was mad at your granddad for going to the Brass Rail?
Mo: No, that was for going to the Princess Theater, next door. Which was really bad and because– we’re talking the early 50’s– to have these nasty, dirty, filthy movies showing at the Princess Theater was just…shh-wew! And of course, if you ever saw the clientele, which I think was Grandma’s other objection, that my grandfather was going among these el sleazoids… they were really creepy, these were the guys that were beating off in the dark theater, I mean you knew they were just by the way they looked. Just the ultimate in sleaze!
Tea: So she found out he was going, and she got upset about it?
Mo: Oh God. God, she burnt many a candle over that one. And, uh, if you went past there during the day, they had matinees and that was the funny thing– that’s when the business men would go. So, you’d see all these sleazy guys coming out and then two or three guys in suits, so obviously it was their lunch break or something (laughs) and they’re going back to work. In fact, when we were kids we weren’t allowed to walk on the same side of the street that the Princess was on, lest we see something, I don’t know what we were going to see…
Tea: Maybe they were afraid you were going to get snatched up?
Mo: There you go, by some dirty old man. Oh God. That was, yeah, my grandmother. My grandmother never yelled. Never. Never raised her voice. That was old fashioned German, the whole deal. But when she found out that he went to the Princess, she yelled, she prayed, she called the priest. She did, I’m serious. My grandfather, I don’t know if he went to the Princess again, if he did anything naughty, because it probably scared him, the mere thought of getting caught again. She talked to the priest because she just didn’t know what she should do, if she should leave him because of it or…God. I’m sure whatever they saw at the Princess Theater I can see better than that on TV any day of the week now.
There was a movie called…oh shit…there was a movie called The Moon is Blue with, I don’t know if you’ll know these people, William Holden, I think, and David Niven.
David Niven and Maggie something-or-other [Mo is thinking of Maggie McNamara in the 1953 film]. Of course they’re way older than she is and she says- they’re trying to get her in bed and she says in the movie that she’s a virgin and they say something to each other that they hated dealing with virgins, and that made it an X rated movie. So yeah. My grandfather paid for that. (Laughs)
Ways you can support me as a writer…
-Buy or pre-order my books via my publisher’s website: https://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/krulos–tea-contributor-296670.php
-Buy me a coffee. It takes a lot of coffee for me to get shit done:
Very exciting day here at Krulos Central as it happens to be my birthday and I’m glad to reveal the cover, full title, and release date of my next book Apocalypse Any Day Now as well as a link to pre-order.
Some fun facts:
-The original title of this book was THE END, but in talks with my publisher was changed to Apocalypse Any Day Now, which I think captures the tone pretty well. The subtitle is “Deep Underground with America’s Doomsday Preppers.” I talk about a wide range of people in the book, not just preppers, but they definitely are the most eye grabby language of the people I talk to.
-Release date is April 2, 2019. I assume April 1 was ruled out as I’m not joking around, people! Heroes in the Night had an October 2013 release, Monster Hunters was a June 2015 release. Chicago Review Press is the publisher of all three. The book is 74,752 words, longer than Heroes, but shorter than Monsters.
-Here is the beautiful cover. I love it! Is that a Tea Krulos impersonator on the cover? Good work if you can find it!
-Some tie-ins to the book release: I’m working on a mini-podcast series related to the book featuring some audio from my adventures. And the really fun part– I’ll be arranging a few appearances promoting the book at stores, libraries, whoever is interested in having me hang out. Definitely we need a book release party. More info on these appearances as the date draws closer.
Do you like Goodreads? I once read a bad review of one of my books there and fell into a depression coma for a week, so I don’t really go there. But here’s a link to the book’s Goodreads page if you “want to read” it: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41835781-apocalypse-any-day-now
It seems like people are always talking about the end of the world, doesn’t it? Y2K, the Mayan Apocalypse, Blood Moon Prophecies, nuclear war, killer robots, you name it. In Apocalypse Any Day Now, journalist Tea Krulos travels the country to try to puzzle out America’s obsession with the end of days. Along the way he meets doomsday preppers—people who stockpile supplies and learn survival skills—as well as religious prognosticators and climate scientists. He camps out with the Zombie Squad (who use a zombie apocalypse as a survival metaphor); tours the Survival Condos, a luxurious bunker built in an old Atlas missile silo; and attends Wasteland Weekend, where people party like the world has already ended. Frightening and funny, the ideas Krulos explores range from ridiculously outlandish to alarmingly near and present dangers.
And here is my author photo for the book, by Megan Berendt Photography. She captured my best side!
Monday, September 24: Cull Your Collection (CBLDF Benefit), Vennture Brew Co., 5519 W. North Avenue, 6:30-8:30pm
I will be attending this event, hosted by the fine folks at the Comic Book Panel and will be selling copies of my book Heroes in the Night. All proceeds will be given to the night’s cause, supporting the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, an organization that has helped protect First Amendment rights of comic creators, publishers, and retailers since 1986 (Milwaukee tie-in: the organization was founded by Kitchen Sink Press president Denis Kitchen. You can read my 2003 interview with Denis here: https://riverwestcurrents.org/2003/07/the-compelling-art-of-denis-kitchen.html )
Members of the Comic Book Panel will also be selling from their collections to benefit the cause.
Saturday, Oct. 6: Sci-Fi Family Day, Discovery World, 500 N.Harbor Dr., 10am-4pm
This fun annual event has a great round-up of groups that celebrate a variety of fandoms, including Star Wars, Ghostbusters, and Lego groups, comic creators, and much more. I’ll be tabling with Milwaukee Paranormal Conference/ Milwaukee Krampusnacht and will have copies of my books Heroes in the Night and Monster Hunters.
I’m also leading Third Ward Ghost Walks here in Milwaukee. The next one is this Sat., Sept. 8 and starting next week, they are every Fri and Sat. Check out the Milwaukee Ghosts page for more details: https://www.facebook.com/milwaukeeghosts/
Hello, hope everyone’s been having a good summer. Just wanted to give an update on my next book. It’ll be out in early 2019 and has an official title change. I had titled it THE END, but after discussions with my publisher (Chicago Review Press), it was changed to APOCALYPSE ANY DAY NOW. I have seen cover art and it looks pretty great, but won’t be available to share for a little while. I’ll have an official cover reveal here on the blog when I’m able.
After turning the manuscript in, I went through the next step with my editor Jerry, line edits. Going through notes on the book reminded me of all the crazy moments I had working on it, but as it turns out I don’t need the manuscript in front of me to remind me of impending end-of-the-world-doom, I run into reminders all the time.
First, it really cracked me up to read again about fears of the Blood Moon Prophecy on July 27– the longest total lunar eclipse this century. Cool moment in astronomy or end times? Former, it turns out. I wrote in Apocalypse Any Day Now about the hype around the supposed Blood Moon doomsday on September 27, 2015. Prognosticators then were convinced then that the Blood Moon tetrad of 2014-2015 was lining up the apocalypse like a slot machine. The world kept turning and it looks like every future Blood Moon will stoke some kind of end days fears (but probably diminishing returns as more and more pass). Another blood moon tetrad will roll out in 2033-34, so be prepared.
Another oddball story is the case of Milwaukee Sheriff candidate and Doomsday preacher Richard Schmidt, who is on the ballot here for an election this Tuesday. Even if you’re not from Milwaukee, it’s likely you’ve heard of cowboy hat wearin,’ venom spewin’ former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, rabid Trump supporter, FOX News media personality, and overseer of a prison horrorhouse where 7 inmates died from harsh treatment in 2016-2017 before he resigned. As it turns out, acting Sheriff Schmidt isn’t such a great replacement.
When he’s not touting his degrees from unaccredited fundamentalist colleges, Schmidt likes to spend time behind the pulpit, preaching fire, brimstone, and end times. As I discovered while working on my book, many doomsday predictors turn to the Book of Daniel to try to make mathematical equations to find the Apocalypse date, and they’ve been predicting and failing at this for hundreds of years now. Schmidt’s dissertation paper was an examination on his theory of why the Rapture is taking so long to happen, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report.
Schmidt operates Prophecy Focus Ministry, and travels the Midwest preaching sermons with titles like “The Apocalyptic, One-world System” in which he argues that the European Union could be the ten-nation confederacy that aligns with the Anti-Christ during the end times.
Did I mention there’s an election on Tuesday? If you live in Milwaukee, please vote and vote anti-Apocalypse! I need the world to keep rolling until early Spring or all my work on this book will be for naught.
It’s been a few months since I’ve had anything published. I’ve been overworked with other things, but fortunately, that’s about to change and I’ll be working a lot more on writing.
I was able to write up a lead A & E piece for the Shepherd Express recently that explores a trend of arcade themed bars here in Milwaukee. You can read it here: https://shepherdexpress.com/arts-and-entertainment/ae-feature/back-to-the-future-80s-arcade-bars-are-a-new-favorite/
I also finished a draft of a chapter for an anthology book about Milwaukee that will be out next year on 4/14 Milwaukee Day.
It’s good to be back.
I just wanted to mention a couple published pieces I’ve had this month.
First, I’m sad to report that my friend Damien Jones passed away. He was a great guy that participated in a couple of my projects over the years. I wrote about him as a Neighbor Spotlight for the Riverwest Currents. Here’s a link: https://riverwestcurrents.org/2018/03/neighbor-spotlight-damien-jones.html
I’m thrilled that I have an article in this month’s Doctor Who Magazine (#523). I’ve been a fan of the show since I was kid, eagerly tuning into PBS each week to watch. I wrote an article on a local group called Dalek Asylum Milwaukee, who made an attempt to assemble the most Daleks (the cyborg enemies of the Doctor) in one place.
My nerd cred is way up.
The trouble with all the books I’ve written so far is that there is never enough time and budget to do everything I’d like to. A great case in point is not getting to the four corners region of New Mexico-Arizona-Utah-Colorado to meet a man named JC Johnson and his cryptid research team Crypto 4 Corners in person.
I had a chance to talk to JC by phone and e-mail several times and he shared with me his videos and writings about his investigation in the field, looking into reports of Sasquatch, Dogmen, Skinwalkers, Thunderbirds, living dinosaurs, and something he dubbed “the Night Stalker.” It all sounded real creepy (especially the stories about Skinwalkers) and of course I was way into it. I enjoyed talking to JC and we went so far as to pick some dates I might join him and C4C on a field expedition.
C4C was a colorful looking group that looked like a cryptid hunting militia. What I found interesting was that they were one a very few cryptid groups that were ethnically diverse. I described their look in my book Monster Hunters:
“With their camo fatigues, generous supply of firearms, and a few heavily tattooed members, C4C looks like a zombie apocalypse survival team straight out of The Walking Dead.”
I was really excited to meet the team, but I simply ran out of time before my deadline, and couldn’t make it. I did write a couple of pages (pages 222-224) about the team in my Monster Hunters chapter “The Accidental Werewolf Chronicler,” which originally had the working title “Werewolves and Skinwalkers.”
The thing I liked most about JC was that he was a true adventurer. What a great thing to be!
JC with Crypto 4 Corners teammate Leonard Dan.
Well, here we are. I watched the Doomsday Clock announcement from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists live this morning. The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic clock the Bulletin uses to illustrate if we’re moving closer or further from global annihilation (aka Midnight). Not surprisingly, it moved forward this year from 2.5 to 2 minutes to Midnight.
Among reasons cited were nuclear escalations in North Korea, Russia, and Iran as well as Trump’s loose rhetoric in talking about nukes (such as bragging about the size of his nuclear button), and a step backward in addressing climate change. You can read the Bulletin’s 2018 Doomsday Clock Statement here: https://thebulletin.org/2018-doomsday-clock-statement
Here’s some key milestones in the Doomsday Clock’s history:
1945: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists formed.
1947: Bulletin debutes the Doomsday Clock
1953: 2 minutes to Midnight: The invention of the H-bomb brought the clock the closest it’s ever been to Midnight…until we returned to that time today.
1984: 3 minutes to Midnight. The clock hovered close to Midnight throughout the “mutually assured destruction” days of the Cold War.
1991: With the Cold War over, the clock reached it’s furthest position away from 12 in 1991 at 17 minutes to Midnight.
2016: the Bulletin revealed that things didn’t look so great. The minutehand had crept forward to 3 to Midnight, the first time since the 1984 Cold War days. It was, as the Bulletin noted, “not good news.”
2017: With President Trump in office a mere few days, the Bulleting moved the clock forward to 2.5 minutes to Midnight, the first time in history the Bulletin utilized a half second. Among other reasons, the decision was based on fiery rhetoric from Trump and other politicians and world leaders.
2018: 2 minutes to Midnight. “You need to demand action,” the Bulletin stated today. “It is not yet midnight, and we have moved back from the brink in the past.”
My new book has a working title of The End and is out early next year from Chicago Review Press.
I’m glad to say I am a contributing author to a new sociological study of paranormal topics titled The Supernatural in Society, Culture, and History. It’s a book “demonstrating the value of serious academic inquiry into supernatural beliefs and practices—from ghosts, vampirism, cryptozoology, and dark tourism to tarot cards, fortunetelling, voodoo, and alien abduction.” Sounds pretty groovy to me. It will be out in July from Temple University Press. The anthology is edited by professor Dennis Waskul of Minnesota State University and professor Marc Eaton of Ripon College. I’d like to thank them for their infinite patience in helping edit my contribution (Chapter 10: Cryptozoology: The Hunt for Hidden Animals and Monsters) into a coherent, well sourced study. This is my first bit of writing that’s less man-on-the-street and more man-in-a-tweed-coat-with-elbow-patches-smoking-a-pipe-in-a-library. I’m excited to see the published book this summer!
More book info from the publisher:
In the twenty-first century, as in centuries past, stories of the supernatural thrill and terrify us. But despite their popularity, scholars often dismiss such beliefs in the uncanny as inconsequential, or even embarrassing. The editors and contributors to The Supernatural in Society, Culture, and History have made a concerted effort to understand encounters with ghosts and the supernatural that have remain present and flourished. Featuring folkloric researchers examining the cultural value of such beliefs and practices, sociologists who acknowledge the social and historical value of the supernatural, and enthusiasts of the mystical and uncanny, this volume includes a variety of experts and interested observers using first-hand ethnographic experiences and historical records.
The Supernatural in Society, Culture, and History seeks to understand the socio-cultural and socio-historical contexts of the supernatural. This volume takes the supernatural as real because belief in it has fundamentally shaped human history. It continues to inform people’s interpretations, actions, and identities on a daily basis. The supernatural is an indelible part of our social world that deserves sincere scholarly attention.
Contributors include: Janet Baldwin, I’Nasah Crockett, William Ryan Force, Rachael Ironside, Tea Krulos, Joseph Laycock, Stephen L. Muzzatti, Scott Scribner, Emma Smith, Jeannie Banks Thomas, and the editors.
2017 was overall a good year for me. Sure there were some rough spots, but here at Krulos Command Center we don’t dwell on missed shots or miserable wretches you sometimes cross paths with. We focus on the WINNING.
The End: I’m wrapping up my third book for Chicago Review Press, which has the working title The End: A Journey Through America’s Apocalypse Culture. The deadline was pushed back a bit cause I just needed more time. The fun part of 2017 was finishing necessary travel for the book, that’s always a fun part. I went to Zombie Con in Missouri with Zombie Squad in June, an Escape the Woods survival camp in Ohio in July with my friend Alex, took a road trip to Kansas to tour the Survival Condos with my friend Paul, then journeyed alone to the Mojave Desert to check out the greatest party at the end of the world, Wasteland Weekend. I’m now working hard to wrap the book up.
Another great thing to come out of this project is The Apocalypse Blog Book Club. When I noticed that the current political climate led to a jump in sales for George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four, I thought I should read up on dystopian novels. I try to immerse myself in whatever subject I’m writing on– I read a lot of superhero comics while working on Heroes in the Night and ghost stories when I was in the Monster Hunters zone. Then I decided instead of reading these titles alone, I should start a book club. We now have 173 members from around the world in our Facebook group, we host in-person discussion on titles at the Riverwest Public House and Boswell Book Company carries our selections. You can join here: www.facebook.com/groups/1482975718409410/
Art Curator: I kind of unexpectedly fell into the role of curating the Riverwest Public House’s gallery wall. It’s been a lot of fun. We opened with a group show in April called “SAD! 100 Days of Trump,” and since then I’ve tried to reflect the diversity of art and artists in the neighborhood with solo and group shows– comic strip art, tattoo flash art, abstract paintings, photographs, prints, paintings, and installations. You can currently check an awesome installation/ display of photographs from Joe Brusky and the Overpass Light Brigade (through Jan.25).
Events: The third annual Milwaukee Paranormal Conference took place this year, along with related events the weekend of Oct.13-15. I have mixed feelings on how the event went, but I think I learned a lot on what worked and what didn’t. Milwaukee Krampusnacht was a huge hit for year one and we’ll be back with a great event in 2018.
Freelancing: I didn’t do as much freelancing as I have in years past as I was too busy with everything else. But I did contribute articles to the Shepherd Express, Milwaukee Record, M magazine, Rust magazine, and Riverwest Currents. I also contributed to and helped develop a column series for Alcoholmanac called “The New Brew City,” co-authored by Heidi Erickson, which explored some of the new breweries in town.
Personal: My family is doing well and I was glad to see an appearance of a new family member– my adorable niece Baby Gemma. I enjoyed the holidays with my family and my roommate, Lee.
The best thing that happened to me in 2017 was meeting a wonderful person, my girlfriend Kate. We were introduced by our mutual mystical friend, Skully. We developed a beautiful friendship and talking to Kate became my favorite pastime. She’s extremely smart and has been very helpful in helping me visualize potential and how to reorganize to get there. We’ve had some great adventures together already– we investigated the haunted Old Baraboo Inn, did a 30-day hot yoga challenge, started boxing/kickboxing class, rocked Milwaukee Krampusnacht, and created our own crafting company, Fox & Bear. And we got plenty of big ideas for 2018!
I hope you have a good year, my friends, and remember the words of Abraham Lincoln: “Be excellent to each other and…PARTY ON, DUDES!”