"Drunkenness does not create vice; it merely brings it into view."
-Chief Seneca, Native American and A Real Wiseguy
How did I miss this story?
Martinifest leaves art museum shaken and stirred
Milwaukee Feb. 27, 2006
The glistening white Santiago Calatrava addition has made the Milwaukee Art Museum one of the city's classiest social addresses. But a recent martini fete held there turned into an overcrowded, drunken affair. Some unruly guests accosted artworks, which have been taken off display for a checkup.
People threw up, passed out, were injured, got into altercations and climbed onto sculptures at Martinifest, a semi- formal event organized by Clear Channel Radio and held at the museum Feb. 11, according to several people who attended or worked at the event.
(This is what passes for a "semi-formal" event in Milwaukee? I'd love to see these folks when they go all out!)
"Hindsight is 20-20 . . . it was probably too cheap," Kerry Wolfe, a local programming director for Clear Channel, said of the event's premise - unlimited martinis for $30.
(Not to pry, but what was your first clue that people were taking advantage of unlimited martinis?)
"It was crazy," said attendee Kathleen Christians, 39. "People were shoving people over. People were getting sick, screaming, shouting, messing with the artwork."
A group of four young men climbed onto "Standing Woman," a tall, bronze sculpture of a goddess-like woman with exaggerated features by early 20th-century American artist Gaston Lachaise.
"They were standing on it, grabbing the boobs, and somebody was just taking pictures with a cell phone," said Laura Collins, 35.
(Hmmm...sounds like a typical night at Delta House. Were there any adults around?)
At the event, several vendors ran out of food, drink mix and vodka early on. Some who ran out of mix started pouring straight shots of vodka, according to several accounts.
(I'll take that as a "no.")"
We were hoping for a little sophistication, maybe," said Casey Rataczak, 27, a Wicked Hop bartender. "People were shoving their martini glasses in my face and not wanting to talk about the product . . . they were just worked up about getting their booze."
(Is EVERYBODY associated with this event a complete dope? We're talking about what amounts to FREE BOOZE! Who's gonna ask questions about the stuff. Pour 'em a glass of lighter fluid and they'll chug it down and tell 'em It's FREE dammit!)
"We were sardined in," said Collins, a first-time museum visitor. "People, boy, they wanted their martinis."
Tina Zarnoth, 32, said: "It just seemed right off the bat that things were chaotic. There were too many people there . . . people were getting rowdier and rowdier by the hour."
Denise Curran, 34, a lab technician who was injured when someone leaned onto a table that fell onto her legs, said, "You couldn't go anywhere, there was no flow."
"My whole calf is one big, nasty bruise," she added.
(I know Wisconsin is the Dairy State and all, but do you always bring your cows to parties? *groan*)
Police reported nothing major at the fest, but several attendees described minor injuries and other unpleasantries.
"We had seen this girl who had fallen," said Jamie Zwicky, 29, an emergency room nurse who attended the event. "She had a laceration on her head and some blood coming down . . . she looked very intoxicated."
(Getting stitches don't hurt as much when you're completely plastered. Not that I would know anything about that, of course.)
A man who got into what Wolfe called a "family feud" with another man jumped from an outside terrace on the south side of the museum, several reported. The hospital where the man was taken told Wolfe the man was going to be fine.
(Survey says! Jumps from the balcony and only sustains brief hospitalization!)
Zarnoth saw a few guards - removing a drunken young woman.
"Her arms were slung over them and her feet were dragging, basically," Zarnoth said. "I'd say that was pretty passed out."
(Semi-formally pretty, we trust.)
Clear Channel plans to stage another Martinifest in 2007 - in a larger location, Wolfe said.
(Let me suggest Lambeau Field , folks. It's the Home of the Cheeseheads, but I think you Knuckleheads will fit right in.)