Saturday, February 27, 2016
If you specifically look for writers who share the same hometown as you, and you happen to live in the Milwaukee area, this guide will help you find some writers from your region. Whether you're looking to watch a movie, read a novel, or take on an air of superiority as you recite poetry, these authors have been found to have some connection to your local Southeastern Wisconsin world. The general biography is from Wikipedia, and Real Wisconsin News provides the links to remain compliant with Wiki-rules, RWN has also added some commentary. Jim Abrahams — director and screenwriter Abrahams was born in Shorewood, Wisconsin to Louise M. (née Ogens), an educational researcher, and Norman S. Abrahams, a lawyer. His family was Jewish; he attended Shorewood High School. He may be best known for the spoof movies that he co-wrote and produced with brothers Jerry Zucker and David Zucker, such as Airplane! (for which he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay) and The Naked Gun series. The team of Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker (also referred to as "ZAZ") really began when the three men grew up together in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He produced movies on his own such as Big Business, and further honed his skills in parody with Hot Shots! and its 1993 sequel, Hot Shots! Part Deux. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Abrahams While Real Wisconsin News is real, we appreciate the efforts of folks like Abrahams and the Zuckers to make spoofs and parodies of those who take themselves too seriously, like OJ Simpson. Joseph Anthony — playwright, actor, and director Joseph Anthony was born as Joseph Deuster in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 24, 1912. His parents were Leonard Deuster and Sophie Deuster (née Hertz). Anthony attended the University of Wisconsin. He married Perry Wilson. He prepared for the stage at the Pasadena Playhouse from 1931 through 1935 and at the Daykarhanova School from 1935 through 1937. Anthony served in the United States Army in World War II from 1942 through 1946. On January 20, 1993, Joseph Anthony died at the age of 80 in a nursing home in Hyannis, Massachusetts. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Anthony Only question: why would someone with the last name Deuster (like Deuster's Lanes) change his name to something as boring as Anthony? William Bast — screenwriter William Bast (April 3, 1931 – May 4, 2015) was an American screenwriter and author. In addition to writing scripts for motion pictures and television, he was the author of two biographies of the screen actor James Dean. He was partnered in work and life to Paul Huson. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Bast Interesting to note that Bast was able to write two biographies about an actor who starred in three films. Wondering how many other biographies exist about Dean and how many more Scott Walker or Gene Wilder deserve. John McGivern — actor and writer John McGivern (born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is an American actor and writer, best known for playing Bruce McIntosh in the Disney film The Princess Diaries. and many commercials for companies such as Kohl's department store, Sears, and Philadelphia Cream Cheese. He is a graduate of St. Lawrence Seminary, in Mount Calvary, WI. In 2010 he received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement for Individual Excellence On Camera: Programming - Performer in the Chicago/Midwest region. As a playwright, his work includes Shear Madness, a comedic murder mystery with audience participation elements, and several one-man monologue shows. He performed at the inaugural We're Funny That Way! comedy festival in 1997, and appeared in the festival's documentary film in 1998. He is also the host of Around the Corner with John McGivern, a Milwaukee Public Television series in which he visits and profiles various communities throughout Wisconsin. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McGivern If everyone for a decade gets excited about seeing the same local act over and over again at Summerfest, eventually it becomes an institution that will not go away, for better or worse. Arguably better than the BoDeans. John Ridley — author, television and movie producer John Ridley IV.(born October 1965) is an American screenwriter, film director, novelist, television showrunner and writer known for 12 Years a Slave, for which he won an Academy Award in 2013 for Best Adapted Screenplay. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ridley Showrunner? Brian Jaeger — screenwriter, playwright Brian Jaeger (born1975 in Milwaukee, WI) is an author, screenwriter, playwright, and satirist. His two collaboratively-written screenplays ( Eighth Grade Ends and The Jeff Movie ) and musical play ( Philadelphia Store ) represent his body of work in film or theatre so far. His writing also includes the Arizona and Utah adventure series and the Wild West Allis series. Brian is an author for several local websites, including his family blog ( Satisfamily.com ) and a satire news website ( Real Wisconsin News ). His entire portfolio of writing can be found at McNewsy.com . Brian was born and raised on the West Side of Milwaukee, attending John Marshall High School and UW-Milwaukee. His subject matter is often local and personal, and he prides himself on being an everyday, normal guy who knows how to write about being an everyday, normal human being. Brian was a teacher for twelve years before being laid off as a result of budget cuts to education. Planned projects include Mohican Falls High School--Going Falls Deep (the story of being a teacher in Wisconsin) and Arizona and Utah and The Search for the Gypsy Gold (a novel 10 years in the making). Because he spent many years trying to keep his writing separate from his teaching, Brian has only been promoting and publishing his work as himself since 2014. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Jaeger This guy sounds awesome. Richard Schickel — author, film critic, and filmmaker Richard Warren Schickel (born February 10, 1933) is an American film historian, journalist, author, filmmaker, screenwriter, documentarian, and film and literary critic. He was a film critic for Time magazine from 1965-2010, and has also written for Life magazine and the Los Angeles Times Book Review. He currently reviews films for Truthdig. Schickel was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Helen (née Hendricks) and Edward John Schickel. He is featured in For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism. In this 2009 documentary film he discusses early film critics Frank E. Woods, Robert E. Sherwood, and Otis Ferguson, and tells of how, in the 1960s, he, Pauline Kael, and Andrew Sarris, all young critics, rejected the moralizing opposition of Bosley Crowther of The New York Times who had railed against violent movies such as Bonnie and Clyde. In addition to film, Schickel has also critiqued and documented cartoons, particularly Peanuts. Schickel was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1964. He has also lectured at Yale University and University of Southern California's School of Film and Television. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Schickel You kind of wonder why someone would leave a gig with Time Magazine to go work for Truthdig. Then again, Real Wisconsin News was once an unknown online magazine looking for the hearts of readers. Mae West — actress, screenwriter, playwright, named 15th Greatest Female Film Star of All-Time by the American Film Institute Mary Jane "Mae" West (August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980) was an American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades. Known for her bawdy double entendres, West made a name for herself in vaudeville and on the stage in New York before moving to Hollywood to become a comedienne, actress, and writer in the motion picture industry. In consideration of her contributions to American cinema, the American Film Institute named West 15th among the greatest female stars of all time. One of the more controversial movie stars of her day, West encountered many problems, including censorship. When her cinematic career ended, she continued to perform in Las Vegas, in the United Kingdom, and on radio and television, and to record rock and roll albums. Asked about the various efforts to impede her career, West replied: "I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mae_West She seems legit. Top Authors David Backes — author; professor David Backes (born May 14, 1957 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is an American author and professor, best known for writing a biography of Sigurd F. Olson. The book, entitled A Wilderness Within: The Life of Sigurd F. Olson, won the Small Press Book Award for 1998, and received a positive review in the New York Times. Backes is currently a professor in the Journalism and Mass Communication department of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. While it's true that you should write what you know, if you do choose to write only what you know (Sigurd Olson in this case), does it make you a legitimate celebrity author or just a fan who keeps writing about the same thing. Anyhow, I should have cashed in on The New Kids on the Block when they were big and written a few biographies about them. William George Bruce – author, historian, publisher, civic leader for Milwaukee Auditorium and Port of Milwaukee William George Bruce (March 17, 1856 – August 13, 1949) was a Milwaukee author, publisher of educational, historical and religious books, and founder of the American School Board Journal. He was a noted civic leader for the Milwaukee School Board, the Milwaukee harbor and the Milwaukee Auditorium, and active in Milwaukee and state politics. Just reading the list "educational, historical, and religious books" is boring. I'm sure his stuff is great, though. Jack Finney — science-fiction and thriller writer; his novel The Body Snatchers was basis for movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers Jack Finney (October 2, 1911 – November 14, 1995) was an American author. His best-known works are science fiction and thrillers, including The Body Snatchers and Time and Again. The former was the basis for the 1956 movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers and its remakes. No complaints about Invasion of the Body Snatchers.Never read the book version, though. Marguerite Henry — award-winning children's author, known for books about animals Marguerite Henry née Breithaupt (April 13, 1902 – November 26, 1997) was an American writer of children's books. Her fifty-nine books based on true stories of horses and other animals captivated entire generations. She won the annual Newbery Medal for one of her books about horses and she was a runner-up for two others. One of the latter, Misty of Chincoteague (1947), was the basis for several sequels and for the 1961 movie Misty. Let's be honest, if most of her books were about horses, most of the minds that were captivated were those of little girls. Unless there were cowboys shooting things off those horses. Elizabeth Jordan – writer, journalist Elizabeth Garver Jordan (May 9, 1865 – February 24, 1947) was an American journalist, author, editor, and suffragist, now remembered primarily for having edited the first two novels of Sinclair Lewis, and for her relationship with Henry James, especially for recruiting him to participate in the round-robin novel The Whole Family. She was editor of Harper's Bazaar from 1900 to 1913. Not sure how much she wrote of her own while editing and recruiting. However, she apparently shares a name with a porn star. My best porn star name using the pet/mom maiden name thing is Cody East. My wife is Sparky Quinn. Elizabeth Jordan, being a suffragist, would approve of my wife and my porn star names, and for that, we are eternally thankful to her and other like-minded women. Brian Jaeger — author, satirist Brian Jaeger (born1975 in Milwaukee, WI) is an author and satirist. He has published collections of short stories and satirical articles. He is also a best-selling author of educational lesson books and assignments. His writing includes the Arizona and Utah adventure series and the Wild West Allis series. Brian is an author for several local websites, including his family blog ( Satisfamily.com ) and a satire news website ( Real Wisconsin News ). His entire portfolio of writing can be found at McNewsy.com . Brian was born and raised on the West Side of Milwaukee, attending John Marshall High School and UW-Milwaukee. His subject matter is often local and personal, and he prides himself on being an everyday, normal guy who knows how to write about being an everyday, normal human being. Brian was a teacher for twelve years before being laid off as a result of budget cuts to education. Planned projects include Mohican Falls High School--Going Falls Deep (the story of being a teacher in Wisconsin) and Arizona and Utah and The Search for the Gypsy Gold (a novel 10 years in the making). Because he spent many years trying to keep his writing separate from his teaching, Brian has only been promoting and publishing his work as himself since 2014. However, his writing dates back to the mid 1990s, and some of his work had been published for nearly a decade under a nom de plume. Here's an author with a little variety. Like when you go to the club, and you all dancin with only short girls, and then some volleyball-playin real-sauce woman comes in like she owns the place, and you know it's time to spike that; dig? Ellen Raskin — author, illustrator, and fashion designer; recipient of Newbery Medal Ellen Ermingard Raskin (March 13, 1928 – August 8, 1984) was an American writer and illustrator. She was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and grew up during the Great Depression. She was educated at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Primarily a children's author, she received the 1979 Newbery Medal for her 1978 book The Westing Game and a 1975 Newbery Honor for her 1974 book Figgs & Phantoms. Raskin was also an accomplished graphic artist. She designed dozens of dust jackets for books for 15 years including the first edition of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. Raskin's first marriage ended in divorce. In 1965, she married Dennis Flanagan, editor of Scientific American. Raskin died at the age of 56 on August 8, 1984 in New York City due to complications from a connective-tissue disease. Doesn't it seem like it should be the Newberry Award rather than Newbery? Not to belittle her talents; it's just that her award seems to be spelled wrong. Peter Straub — fiction writer and poet; best known as a horror -genre author Peter Francis Straub (born March 2, 1943) is an American author and poet. His horror fiction has received numerous literary honors such as the Bram Stoker Award, World Fantasy Award, and International Horror Guild Award. What we're all wondering is which is most prestigious as an award: the Brammies, the WFAs , the IHGAs, or the IGMTAs (I Gave Myself This Award). Neale Donald Walsch — best-selling author of Conversations With God Neale Donald Walsch (born September 10, 1943) is an American author of the series Conversations with God. The nine books in the complete series are Conversations With God (books 1–3), Friendship with God, Communion with God, The New Revelations, Conversations with God for Teens, Tomorrow's God, and Home with God: In a Life That Never Ends. He is also an actor, screenwriter, and speaker. This guy is awesome because he took something that he would have been executed for 500 years ago and made it something people wanted to buy. That's pretty cool, like Joseph Smith and Brigham Young cool. Shauna Singh Baldwin — Canadian-born author currently living in Milwaukee Shauna Singh Baldwin (born 1962 in Montreal, Quebec) is a Canadian-American novelist of Indian descent. Her 2000 novel What the Body Remembers won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Canadian/Caribbean Region), and her 2004 novel The Tiger Claw was nominated for the Giller Prize. She currently lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her second short-story collection, We Are Not in Pakistan, was released in Canada in 2007. Canadian - Quebecois - American - Indian (from India, not American Indian or from Indiana), and she wrote a book called We Are Not In Pakistan in Canada? If you don't find any of that funny, you're probably French or from French Lick. There probably aren't enough lines on the census to officially count her as a Milwaukee author. Walter Wangerin, Jr. — author Walter Wangerin, Jr. (born February 13, 1944) is an American author and educator best known for his religious novels and children's books. Not to accuse Walt in any way, but it makes you wonder if Christian Erotic Novels exist, besides The Scarlet Letter. Stanley G. Weinbaum — science fiction writer Stanley Grauman Weinbaum (April 4, 1902 – December 14, 1935) was an American science fiction writer. His career in science fiction was short but influential. His first story, "A Martian Odyssey", was published to great (and enduring) acclaim in July 1934, but he would be dead from lung cancer within eighteen months. Some believe Stan is still alive, writing stellar online reviews of his one (and only?) story. Richard Nelson Bolles — author Richard Nelson Bolles (born March 19, 1927 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is a former Episcopal clergyman, and the author of the best-selling job-hunting book, What Color is Your Parachute? I guess we all hope he is a former minister because he retired, and not because he got rich from writing a book about job hunting and turned his back on God. It does make you wonder, though, if God was looking for a new job, how would that go? I'd smite the crap out of anyone who wouldn't hire me, but that's just me. Antler — poet Antler (born Brad Burdick; 1946 in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA) is an American poet who lives in Wisconsin. Among other honors, Antler received the Whitman Prize from the Walt Whitman Association, given to the poet "whose contribution best reveals the continuing presence of Walt Whitman in American poetry," in 1985. Antler also was awarded the Witter Bynner prize in 1987. Antler was the poet laureate of the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for 2002 and 2003. He is also an advocate for wilderness protection. Part poet, part wilderness protection mascot. I feel sad that I've lived within a couple of miles of one of Milwaukee's most famous animal appendages without ever meeting him, unless he tans himself at the lakefront or drives around in black station-wagon with writing all over it. Maybe he spends his free time frolicking in the woods, daily reconsidering renaming himself as a singular part of a deer's head. Todd Temkin — contemporary poet and cultural activist Todd Temkin (born 1964) is an American poet. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Temkin has carved a niche as poet turned social entrepreneur and cultural activist. His poems are rich in humor, intimacy, and self-deprecating irony. Temkin's poems startle the reader with "bursts of lucidity stripped bare of false poses and exaggerated gestures."  In a recent documentary on Chilean television, Temkin stated: "We live our lives weighed down by the burden of names and labels that society bestows upon us. For me, a poem doesn't come alive until it sets us free from such burdens."  Temkin's poems surprise us with their complex simplicity, breaking through the barriers that separate verse from oral speech." The fact that Todd's poetry startles and surprises means that reading his work is kind of like going to a haunted house in October. You'd better be prepared, because around every verb, BOO, a guy with a chainsaw and a prepositional phrase! But he's not waving the chainsaw with exaggerated gestures because that would be false, apparently, after the initial startle and surprise. We're probably all lucky this poetry is not weighed down by the burden of extreme pretentiousness bestowed upon or by an obviously inferior-minded society. Matthea Harvey — poet Matthea Harvey (born September 3, 1973) is a contemporary American poet, writer and professor. She has published three collections, most recently, Modern Life (Graywolf Press, 2007), which earned her the 2009 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award, and a New York Times Notable Book. Is Graywolf Press related to the lodge in the Dells? Alter Esselin — Yiddish poet, carpenter, 1889-1974 Alter Esselin, (originally Orkeh Serebrenik) was a Russian-born American poet who wrote in the Yiddish language. He was born in Tchernigov, Russia on April 23, 1889 and died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 22, 1974. In fifty years of his life, he wrote and had published several hundred poems in such publications as Di goldene keyt, Di veg, Kundus, The Zukunft or Di Tsukunft (The Future) and many others. One Wisconsin poet became Antler, while the other was called Alter. Unfortunately, most of us don't understand Yiddish any better than we understand deer language. Carlotta Perry — poet Carlotta Perry (1839 in Michigan - 1914 in Chicago) was among a group of premier women poets of the late 19th century. Her poems, children's stories, and short stories were published in many of the most read publications of the time including Harper's Magazine, Godey's Lady's Book and Lippincott's Monthly Magazine. Some of her verse can still be found today in Christian newsletters and even in an ad for a paint company describing their shades of white. Known mostly for her poetry, she was also a journalist and was active in many of the journalism and women's organizations during her working life. She grew up in Watertown, Wisconsin where she worked for the Watertown Democrat. She moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and wrote for the Milwaukee Sentinel. She then moved to Chicago where she was associated with the Starret School for Girls. She worked on the women's building at the World's Columbian Exposition (1893) in Chicago. Anyone who grows up in Watertown knows what it's like to want to escape for a better place. Luckily, Milwaukee is just down the road, but first you need to get through Ixonia, Oconomowoc, Pewaukee, Brookfield, and Tosa. Brian Jaeger — poet Brian Jaeger (born1975 in Milwaukee, WI) is a poet who writes accessible and meaningful poetry. He has published collections of poetry about humanity, education, love, and sports. He is also a best-selling author of educational lesson books and assignments, including creative writing assignments. Some of his poetry appears in his Arizona and Utah adventure series and Wild West Allis series. His entire portfolio of writing can be found at McNewsy.com . Brian was born and raised on the West Side of Milwaukee, attending John Marshall High School and UW-Milwaukee. His subject matter is often local and personal, and he prides himself on being an everyday, normal guy who knows how to write about being an everyday, normal human being. Brian was a teacher for twelve years before being laid off as a result of budget cuts to education. Because he spent many years trying to keep his writing separate from his teaching, Brian has only been promoting and publishing his work as himself since 2014. However, his writing dates back to the mid 1990s, and some of his work had been published for nearly a decade under a nom de plume. He has also participated and organized poetry showcases in front of large audiences. One of Brian’s main goals is to create poetry that revives the genre as something ordinary people will read on purpose. I can't imagine wanting to read any other poetry on this list more than this. Maybe Carl Sandburg. Carl Sandburg author, reporter, poet; worked as organizer for Wisconsin Social Democratic Party at headquarters in Milwaukee; met wife Lilian Steichen (Menomonee Falls) in 1907 Carl August Sandburg (January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967) was an American poet, writer, and editor who won three Pulitzer Prizes, two for his poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln. During his lifetime, Sandburg was widely regarded as "a major figure in contemporary literature", especially for volumes of his collected verse, including Chicago Poems (1916), Cornhuskers (1918), and Smoke and Steel (1920). He enjoyed "unrivaled appeal as a poet in his day, perhaps because the breadth of his experiences connected him with so many strands of American life", and at his death in 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson observed that "Carl Sandburg was more than the voice of America, more than the poet of its strength and genius. He was America." While Carlos might have been a social democrat in Wisconsin and have had the misfortune of choosing a wife from The Falls, he is not really a Wisconsinite any more than Ryne Sandberg or Jim Sundberg (except in 1984). Susan Firer — Poet Susan Firer... (born October 14, 1948) is an American poet who grew up along the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, WI. She was poet laureate of the city from 2008-2010, and from 2008-2014, she edited the Shepherd Express online poetry column. Due to the overlap in editing of the powerful poetry column of the Shepherd while holding the title of Milwaukee's supreme master poet, some people called for her to step down amid the controversy.