Night School: The Case for Optimism: Radicals and Progressives Take on Trumpist Nihilism

We can all see the empire coming, and we want to strike back.

Is it enough to say ‘NO’?

What are we fighting for? How do we take the initiative back?

The truth is we already have the initiative. Once progressives and the counterculture challenged the competitive society of materialism and dehumanization, inequality and alienation, hierarchies and disempowerment, distraction and inauthenticity, the conservative movement began mobilizing to stop us.

The internal hemorrhaging of geopolitical empire is a catastrophe for victims everywhere who will suffer its wrath-filled decline. Experiencing a pervasive sense of threat, many urgently seek to mount an opposition to the present assault on American institutions and the American (and many other) people. What is less clear is what the fight is for. Many wonder, is there even a vision for viable alternative? We must not let the empire suck our dreams from us. We must recall that American society refocused its fateful slide into domination and violence following the 1960s. After progressives and the counterculture challenged mainstream American life, immersed in materialism and consumerism, inequality and alienation and disconnection, hierarchies and disempowerment and loss of dignity, nihilist distraction and interdiction of genuine selfhood and community, many saw this was not a way to live and live well, certainly not in a time of post-industrial productivity where all can have more of what they need, and justice can be done, here and elsewhere, perhaps everywhere.

When progressives and radicals punctured the myth of the immaculate system and it started lurching and taking in water, conservatives and reactionaries bailed out and attacked and assaulted their very own system. Ironically, it has been liberals and even progressives who have returned to the defense of the system, the very system they were the first to insist needed wholesale change. Young people see the deeper rot in the system, and the lives of meaninglessness and desperation it offers and demands – and do not simply seek a return to pre-Trump or even pre-Reagan ‘normalcy.’

THE TIME OF VISION HAS COME: Our issue is the moral quality of our lives and communities and the opportunities to nurture and harness the power every one of us has for a life of realization, meaning, and contribution. We are entering a great experimental age – discovering new kinds of relations, work and play lives, temples and churches and communions, communities, families and education and the raising of children in just and empowering ways. This is a great age for envisioning, inviting us to explore hopeful and engaging ways to live. If we can then live these experiments boldly and mutually, share them, report on them, network and become them, we will find that vision indeed inhabits the land in new and compelling ways.

Join us for a Night School discussion as we welcome James Block, author, political theorist, and professor of political science at DePaul University in Chicago.

Sunday, May 28 at 6pm
Riverwest Public House Cooperative
815 E Locust St.
Milwaukee, WI 53212

2017 Annual General Meeting May 21 – Run for the Board of Directors

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING MAY 21 at 3pm. Members Only. Vote for our future.

The Riverwest Public House isn’t just a bar. You know this when you get that feeling. The one that comes when you bump into friends and neighbors over a pint. The feeling after an incredible show, or a Night School, a book club, a political art show or a dance party. It is that feeling that we aren’t just hoping for community but that we’re actually building it. We know our neighborhood, our city, our world is a better place every time we raise a glass.

This is why many of us have joined as members. We get sick of politicos dictating what is good “for the people” and disillusioned with the idealists who never get around to doing something. We aren’t waiting for someone else to act, but we are seizing control of our economic and communal destiny. As they say around the block, “You’re doing it!”

But maybe that overwhelming good vibe comes with a little tugging. Maybe you walk out of the pub and think, “It is awesome, but it could be so much better.” Maybe you’re checking the calendar for this weekend shows and say “I want to do more with the Public House.”

Maybe you’re ready to move from the barstool to the boardroom.

OK, so we don’t really have a boardroom, just the long table in front. But still. We’re taking nominations for the upcoming Board of Director elections. We need organizers and activists, dreamers and realists, folks that are good with nuts and bolts and folks that see the big picture. We need finance folks and HR people. We need neighbors and friends. We need the community to lift up leaders and leaders to direct the co-op, especially at this time of growth and change for our organization.

Our board has a few practical functions. We govern by policy and decide by consensus. That means we will look at what are the best practices for this cocktail community we’re creating. We give structural support to our workers collective. We carry the banner of co-ops and tell the story of the Public House locally and nationally.  We’re a working board, with each director serving on a committee.  The board currently meets twice monthly and the schedule will be restructured with the new Board. There are three open seats each with a three year term.

While any enthusiastic organized self-motivator who is a lover of the co-op should run, we are specifically looking for people with experience in HR, Marketing, business management, and of course who couldn’t use a lawyer?

So, if you love building community one drink at a time, come help design the blueprints for that building. Join the board. Email info@riverwestpublichouse.org for more information. Our Annual General Meeting, where board elections take place, will occur on Sunday, May 21. Please fill out the google form board application or you can pick up an analog application from any bartender. All submissions are due by May 7, 2017.

Cheers,

Riverwest Public House Board of Directors

Night School: Affordable Housing

Can we find a home for everyone?

Can we be a city where everyone has a great place to live at a price they can afford, or is this a utopian fantasy?

Join the discussion: Sunday, April 2 at 6:00 at the Riverwest Public House

Can we learn from other cities’ affordable housing strategies? Can we start creating tomorrow’s affordable housing with existing tools? Is the community a passive recipient of unaffordable housing, or can the community demand something better?

This event is organized by Milwaukee Community Land Trust, a not for profit organization seeking to use the community land trust model to permanently solve Milwaukee’s housing problems. This event is hosted by the Riverwest Public House as part of our Night School series, a community education program.

Night School – RCA Explores Co-op Finances

Hello All Cooperative Peoples!

The Riverwest Cooperative Alliance in cooperation with the Riverwest Public House invite you to a March Night School.

Join us for a financial excursion into the books of the Riverwest Public House.
An introduction to the profit and loss statements of a business by looking at and discussing pre-prepared statements and then collectively navigating the program (quickbooks) commonly used to generate live reports and discuss.

Join Tracey, Don, and Peyton to learn some basics about the statements and software used by business and how we can then analyze the information and create reports to better understand operations and make decisions.

Board members, workers, members of area cooperatives, this is for you!

Interested in starting a co-op or becoming more involved with other co-ops, get a little taste of the financial aspect!

Sunday, March 5th at the Riverwest Public House 6-8pm!

Special Membership Meeting Thursday, March 9

For the first time, the Public House’s Board of Directors is calling a special member meeting.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, March 9 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Public House.

An email was sent on January 6 to notify membership of our ongoing financial problems and request members attend a discussion which occurred on January 12. Members who attended this offered many valuable suggestions and ideas. The WC and BoD are committed to keeping the Public House open but we need the members to decide how that will happen.

The purpose of this meeting is for members to vote on our various options to move forward, which include:

  • Members making direct loans to the Public House (for which we have precedent and a formula as we took direct member loans when we first opened)

  • Members making direct monetary gifts to the Public House

  • Members offering collateral to back the Public House obtaining a line of credit from a bank

  • Closing the Public House

 

Background

The Board of Directors has called this special meeting as a result of persistent losses that pose an existential threat to the Public House. While we have never taken out any commercial loans, we have also only posted a profit as a business one year out of our 6 years open. Persistent losses have compounded and resulted in crisis. Attempts to reconfigure our management structure and some of our practices have proven fruitless thus far.

One root of the problem is our income: we need more people to drink here more often. And we need a cash infusion in order to stay open while we implement further changes to the way we operate. In the near-term, we will be seeking a small direct personal loan of $3,000 to make improvements and aesthetic changes to the inside of the space. It is our feeling that renewing interest in the bar is contingent on making the physical space more appealing. We have also increased the number of free events and are making changes to our internal policies to continue to cut expenses and improve service quality.

However, these improvements won’t take place if we can’t stay open long enough to make them. We hope that the membership drive coupled with requests for extra support from you will make the difference.

On the positive side, we posted a profit for the first time in months: $714.92 for the month of January. This is largely due to our manager and workers tightening up and reducing expenses as much as possible. But we’re also putting off paying bills and getting necessary repairs done.

How can I help?

We currently have:

  • 173 lifetime members ($200 fully paid in)
  • 184 active/renewing members (between $40 and $160 paid in and current on their membership)
  • 704 expired/non-renewing members (between $40 and $160 paid in but membership lapsed)

 

Our specific request:

  • Lifetime Members: Would you consider giving the Public House the value of another Lifetime Membership ($200)?

  • Members: Would you consider buying up to your Lifetime Membership ($40 – $160)? If you’re not sure how much you have left, we can look it up for you.

  • Non-members and lapsed members. We get it, not everyone feels like they can swing $40 a year. We ask that if you want to help, that you gift us any amount. Even $10 – $20 makes a huge difference.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE (PAYPAL)

We sincerely appreciate any help you give between now and the special member meeting. Please join us on Thursday, March 9 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Public House as we carve out a path forward together.

 

In Solidarity,

 

RWPH Board of Directors

Live Election Coverage!

As always, the Riverwest Public House Cooperative is hosting LIVE election coverage with two piss-poor pundits. NO COVER! The grotesque circus that our democratic process has become will unravel completely starting at 7pm. This event is 21+ unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Featuring:
– Little Havana Express food truck #tacotrucksoneverycorner
– Multiple screens (projection, LCD, possibly cathode ray tube?)
– Live updates and analysis on races/ballot initiatives across the country
– Vice Presidential Candidate Angela Walker will be making an appearance!

Drink specials:
– Nasty woman $9, espolon tequila, cherry juice and lime.
– Donkey jizz $9, rehorst gin, lemon, egg white, club soda.
– Dark & stormy $8, goslings run and ginger beer.
– $2 RIVERWEST STEIN / EASTSIDE DARK w/ I voted sticker until 7pm! Get here early to grab some little Havana express food and get your seats before coverage begins.

The Public House is turning 5!

The Public House is turning 5 years old on March 17th, and you should be proud. You’re part of the reason we’ve made it five years. A lot of businesses don’t make it that long. And let’s be honest, not everyone thought we could do it:

(click for larger version)

To celebrate, we’ve got a whole month of amazing events. But the real treat this year is the week of programming dedicated to amplifying the 5 Year Anniversary message.

From Saturday, 3/12 to Friday 3/18, we have a strong sampling of the shenanigans that have made this place what it is. Saturday March 12 is a Pants Off Dance Off, Sunday has a Night School Sex Ed for Adults featuring the adventures of a youth sexual health educator followed by a show with KP&ME, The Pukes, and Abby Jeanne Rebel Love. Monday the 14th is a special edition of Karaoke modeled after that TV show The Voice, with our own panel of celebrity judges. Tuesday and Wednesday will have some weird stuff you’ll just have to sit tight for the details on. Thursday is our huge 5 year anniversary member party with classics from the Squeezettes, a set on the heavier side from Power Wagon, and the styilngs of Thistledown Thunders. The week rounds out with The Midwest Drag King Spring Fling on Friday.

A lot of the folks who are reading this aren’t active members (meaning your membership is due for renewal). If that’s the case, this month is the best time ever to join or renew your membership. Why, you ask? Because for March only, here’s what you get:
– One free tap beer for every new/renewal member
– One coupon good for one free admission to any show.
– If a current member brings in a new member, you both get a free beer. We call that “friends with benefits”
– If a current member pays up to a lifetime membership, you get a choice of a free shirt, tank, tote, or pint glasses.
– Everyone who buys/renews will be automatically entered into a raffle. There are three prize packages:

  1. Pizza Party: 2 pizzas / 6 free drinks
  2. Dranks: 2 free empty pint glasses / 4 free drinks
  3. Swag Bag: shirt, button, stickers, pint glass, tote bag.

– Temporary membership card
– New member packet with info about the bar, the neighborhood, and cooperatives.
– Bell gets rung and you get your very own round of applause

We really do appreciate all the love and support that has come our way over the years. Riverwest is the best!

To kick off the month, Tyranena Brewing Company will be taking over Public House taps tonight from 6pm to 9pm.
They’ll be raffling off 6 packs of beer to take home and some Tyranena swag. The line up:
– The Devil Made Me Do It! Coffee Imperial Oatmeal Porter
– Down ‘N Dirty Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
– Hop Whore Imperial IPA – Bitter Woman IPA
– The Wrath of Rocky Imperial Brown Ale

See you there!!

Love and Solidarity,

Your Riverwest Public House Cooperative

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RWPH Stage’s Lineup for Locust Street Festival 2015

39th ANNUAL LOCUST STREET FESTIVAL
SUNDAY, JUNE 14th 2015

RIVERWEST PUBLIC HOUSE STAGE
(LOCATED IN THE ALLEYWAY ACROSS FROM THE BAR)

OUTSIDE (12-8pm)
7pm NEW AGE NARCISSISM
6pm PLATINUM BOYS
5pm MIDNIGHT RERUNS
4pm POWER WAGON
3pm RIO TURBO
2pm SIREN + ZED KENZO
1pm NO/NO
12pm NEW BOYZ CLUB

INSIDE (2-7pm)
WMSE DJs VON MUNZ + THE WAVE TANK

AFTERPARTY (8pm)
STUBBY CHUBBZ BRASS BAND
MIKE REGAL
REGGIE BONDS
BLAX
DJ JdL

VIEW THE FULL LINEUP FOR LOCUST STREET FESTIVAL

As an added bonus, we will have WMSE Smash Ale on tap during Locust Street Festival. This limited edition SMASH gets its name from being a Single Malt (roasted in Wisconsin) and Single Hop (grown in Wisconsin) recipe. A portion of the proceeds will go back to WMSE and towards our work to support local music in Milwaukee.

Annual General Meeting: May 31 from 5-8pm

We’re about to have our Fifth Annual General Meeting (AGM)! It’s coming up quickly: May 31st from 5-8pm at the Public House. This is the time every year when we reflect on how the Public House is measuring up to its threefold mission: to be a community gathering place; to serve local, organic, and tasty drinks, and to help build the cooperative movement in our neighborhood alongside the Riverwest Cooperative Alliance.

At the last couple of AGMs, we’ve encouraged your participation and voice by putting up great big sheets of paper on the walls, giving you some nice-smelling Sharpie markers, and letting you go to town. This year will be no different. The “writing on the wall” gets reviewed by the board in the months following the AGM and the Board takes these messages into account. It’s a great way to give feedback to the Public House as a valued member-owner. Although we’re always here to listen if you’ve got a compliment, comment or concern.

It’s also a potluck. A very special potluck, indeed. Bring your favorite dish to share with your favorite co-op bar. You know what’s always great? When everybody only brings chips. Nope that’s awful, so don’t. Don’t just bring chips. If you bring chips, you have to bring something else too. Or whatever. You can bring what you want. Nobody’s going to judge you. Unless you only bring chips.

We’re also gonna raffle off some cool goodies like pint glasses and t-shirts and stuff to people. So bring your rafflin’ face.

Most importantly, this date marks the time each year when our members get to elect new members to the Board of Directors. The board of directors is the 9-person body that helps guide the course of the bar through long-term visioning, financial oversight, and governance. This year we have 5 vacancies! For those who don’t want to math, that’s the majority of our Board. Think you’ve got what it takes? We could use some help in the following:

● business management
● finance and bookkeeping
● human resources
● community outreach or organizing
● project management
● administration

To fill out an application to be on our Board of Directors, please click here. You can email your form to board@riverwestpublichouse.org or simply drop it off at the bar.

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