ELMS: Here’s to a more arts-y and entertaining New Year

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Every New Year, I make the same resolutions: eat healthier, exercise more and stop biting my nails. And every year, I fulfill them, obviously.

Okay, let’s be real. Even as I’m writing this I’m trading off munching on a Milky Way with munching on my fingernails, and I haven’t even touched the new running shoes I bought.

So this year, I decided to be more realistic and scrap my usual resolutions. Instead, I’m going to resolve to get out and experience the arts scene in Milwaukee that I’ve been missing in between stuffing my face and avoiding the Rec Plex.

I think I have a much better chance of sticking to these.

1) Taste different cultures

Being born and raised in a Midwest town, I haven’t been exposed to many ethnically diverse meals beyond traditional American cookouts and conventional chicken and pasta dishes. Although those foods are quite tasty, they haven’t left much room for my stomach to explore other options.

Now that I’m living in such a diverse city, I think it is important to take advantage of all of the different types of food Milwaukee has to offer. I’d like to try a variety, but I’m planning to start with these three: Tulip, a Mediterranean restaurant in the Third Ward; Maharaja, which serves Indian cuisine on Farwell Avenue; and Cubanitas, a Cuban restaurant downtown that offers plantain chips and guacamole.

My mouth is watering already.

2) Hop the galleries

As much as I can’t get enough of the Haggerty Museum of Art right here on campus, I think I need to pull out my trusty bus pass and admire the wide variety of artwork Milwaukee has to offer. The Third Ward is known as the artistic hub of this city, and with events like Gallery Night and Day, the district has much to show off.

That being said, there’s venues nestled all over the city worth taking a look at, from the education-based RedLine Milwaukee, on North Fourth Street, to the DeLind Gallery of Fine Art, an ever-changing display on the corner of Jefferson and Mason. For the more daring, there’s the Borg Ward Collective, an underrated Walker’s Point venue showcasing local experimental artwork.

3) Catch more flicks

Aside from watching “Inception” three times over winter break (I can’t get enough of it!), I rarely watch movies. It’s bad enough in real life, not catching references that anyone with access to a television would understand; it’s even worse working for the arts and entertainment section of a newspaper and not being able to name a single film currently in theaters on a given week.

This year I’m going to strive to expose myself to more movies. Keeping it Milwaukee-centric, I’ll start easy and venture to the Oriental and Downer Theatres, both located on the East Side. And if I want to get a feel for some less mainstream cinema, I’ll head over to UWM’s Union Theatre, which hosts a variety of foreign and niche festivals throughout the year, like the upcoming French Film Festival and the Milwaukee LGBT Film Fest.

4) Experience Milwaukee’s hip-hop scene

I spent last year building up my indie-rock repertoire, attending as many shoe-stomping Cream City performances as possible, including Dr. Dog, Portugal the Man and Tallest Man on Earth. But now I think it’s time I expand my musical horizons by embracing this city’s stellar underground hip-hop scene that has been creeping up into the public eye.

Artists like AUTOMatic, Frankie Flowers and Fresh Cut Collective perform frequently at local venues like Mad Planet and Bay View Brew Haus and are even earning airtime on local radio station 88Nine RadioMilwaukee. For being the music snob I can sometimes be, I think it’s time that I get in on these beats.

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