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Rivoli - Cedarburg

It's 107 miles to Cedarburg, I've got three quarters of a tank of gas, no cigarettes, precarious finances, 90,000 miles on my little BMW, it's sort of dark and I'm not wearing sunglasses.   But sometimes, you just have to get out of the city.

Having languished through the first day and a half of my week off, I decided that I needed to do something, however impractical that something might be.   Finding nothing appealing in Iowa, at least the eastern side of the state, I found what looked like an interesting theater in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.   Finally, at 2:15, fighting against the considerable force field of my condo and paralyzing indecision, I hit the road.   

Tuesday was one of those harbinger of winter days:   leaden skies and bullying winds which seemed intent on striping every last leaf from the trees, leaves once loosed collecting and swirling in small cyclones, or thrown to and fro in bunches, their movement across sidewalks and streets like deranged flocks of birds.   It was, in short, not inviting weather for a road trip.   None-the-less, I proceeded northward, managing to avoid the rush hours of Chicago and Milwaukee.   

Cedarburg is not so far north of Milwaukee, but far enough.   Despite worrying signs announcing "Historic Downtown Cedarburg," and "Preserving Yesterday's Heritage Today," (What of today's heritage?, Are we still producing heritage?), the relatively small town (population 11, 196) proved to be a good call.  As I walked up and down Washington Avenue, the fresh air, even forced upon me at a  high velocity, as was the case, made me giddy.   I wasn't even aware of the existence of Cedarburg when I awoke this morning, and here I was.  

A vestige of Cedarburg's milling past
The former interurban rail bridge, now for pedestrians in Cedarburg

Ah, Blatz....

Do not plug this address into your  GPS - a result of  "over the top" German precision, according to the woman who served me my breakfast at the downtown Stagecoach Inn
 As I rushed around the downtown area - I always head out for the evening movie with little time to spare, whether I arrive in town with ten minutes before a screening or five hours early - figuring out where to grab a quick dinner, I enjoyed seeing the red neon of the Rivoli sign and its tracer lights reflected in the big windows of one of the dignified limestone buildings across the street from the theater.

After having a burger and a couple of beers at a bar and grill, I ran up the street to the Rivoli, just in time to catch the 7:00 screening of Toy Story 3. To look at the theater now, you would have no idea the white brick tackiness that prevailed just a few years ago. Beyond the fairly stunning vitriolite (or to be more exact, black Carrara glass, as their website points out), the recent renovation restored the ticket booth out front. The lobby is nothing over the top, but a kind of deco revival, expressed in the simple yellow and black color scheme, chrome trim and patterned ceiling tiles. The theater is run by local volunteers and when I took a seat in the simple auditorium, I was surprised to see a sizable audience. This on a Tuesday night. In most all ways, the town seems to be getting it right.

Much as it pains me to say anything good about Disney, I even enjoyed Toy Story 3, particularly Buzz Lightyear en enspanol.

"Buzz Lightyear, al rescate!" 


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