Best Of Lake Effect

Wednesday on Lake Effect: Annual All Music Show

Dec 25, 2019
Bonnie North

Wednesday on Lake Effect:

It's our all music show. This has become an annual tradition on Lake Effect: we dedicate the whole show to showing off the range of musicians who graced our studio over the past year. The musical acts that come through our doors to perform for us every year is astonishing. Whether it’s folk, classical, indie rock, world music, or something not easily classifiable, there’s something here for just about everyone.

A Slippery Slope: Medicine, Technology & Bioethics

Dec 2, 2019
Dmytro Sukharevskyi /

Merriam Webster defines ethics as “a set of moral principles: a theory or system of moral values” and “the principles of conduct that govern an individual or a group.”

Audrey Nowakowski

The Lake Effect team brought the pub back to public radio with the latest Lake Effect On-Site in Milwaukee's Brewery District, to explore the history of the area and the beverage that made Milwaukee famous.

The Brewery District has undergone a lot of changes over the last century. At one time, the complex was the center of operations for the Pabst Brewery, which was first founded in Milwaukee in 1844. The brewery has not only had a huge impact on Wisconsin, it's also a cornerstone of the nation's beer history.

Carole Burns / Milwaukee PBS

Since the mid-1990s, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been engulfed by civil war. The UN estimates that more than 6 million people have been killed in the conflict, and more than half a million have fled the country as refugees.

Edumakono Zetho was among them.

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

Although Mandy Patinkin may be best known for his role as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride, the performer’s life has been characterized less by vengeance and far more by his humanitarianism. In addition to his career on Broadway, in Hollywood, and on television, Patinkin has dedicated time to working with refugees and underprivileged Americans — including kids in his hometown, Chicago.

Courtesy of Kate Baldwin

Broadway star and Tony Award nominee Kate Baldwin may live and work in New York City now, but she grew up in Milwaukee. A graduate of Shorewood High School, it was there where Baldwin met the late Barbara Gensler and became involved in the school’s acclaimed theater program.

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art/Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)

Even if you’re not into architecture, you probably know Frank Lloyd Wright’s name. But despite being one of the most famous architects of the 20th century, and despite all of the books written about him and his work, the man himself remains a mystery. Even his autobiography was embellished and historians admit they can never truly verify fact from fiction.

"[Frank Lloyd Wright's] life is so difficult to get down," notes author and journalist Paul Hendrickson. "It has been trailed by so many distortions and mistruths, starting with everything Wright did himself."

The website Atlas Obscura, which showcases the world's quirkiest wonders, has only been around for a decade. And in that time, the company has visited and catalogued more than 20,000 places.

Bonnie North

If you’ve been watching the Ken Burns’ documentary on American Country Music, you've seen how tunes begat other tunes, lyrics get added or subtracted, and every new generation discovers the old songs anew.

Rachel Bloom might not be the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend from her hit TV show anymore, but the Emmy award-winning actress, songwriter, and comedian is still performing. From the role of Silver in Angry Birds 2 to her own stage show, Rachel Bloom Live, Bloom is bringing her particular brand of humor and music to worldwide audiences. 

"There's little to no fourth wall," says Bloom of her live show. "I love the shows changing as we go."

Joy Powers

It’s been dubbed the "Witch’s House.” Urban legends portray the former owner and creator as a loner, shut in her home, creating the concrete statues that adorn the yard.

But artist Mary Nohl was no witch. She was a prolific artist, an innovator, and a caring friend. That’s what attracted Marielle Allschwang to her work.

RistoH /

The National Science Foundation announced this summer that the Milwaukee Public Museum will receive a $4.3 million grant for the Terrestrial Parasite Tracker. This massive digital database will organize more than 1.3 million arthropod specimens (ticks, mosquitoes, fleas) in a geographically comprehensive way.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Archives

All places around the globe have a gay history, which is still largely untold — particularly in Wisconsin. The national narrative of gay history often involves events that took place on the coasts, the most recognizable being Stonewall.


Alesandra Tejeda

From fertility, pregnancy and birth, to postpartum and parenting life — all of these stages of life can be a rewarding, yet challenging time. Trying to keep up with an exercise schedule on top of that presents even more difficulties.

While there are plenty of yoga classes and studios to choose from, finding pre- and postnatal yoga can be tough. And for expecting and new parents, it’s often hard to coordinate exercise with childcare.

One local yoga instructor wanted to fill that void by creating a place for parents to come not just for yoga, but for community.

Kenny Yoo / Milwaukee Magazine

A day in the life of Andre Pirtle can include delivering water to Milwaukee’s homeless, leading youth groups at Immanuel Church in Brookfield where he's a pastor, and working with the outreach group StreetLife late into the evening.

Bonnie North

Hearing, and seeing, guitar virtuoso and composer Shane Hennessy is magical. It’s technique, sure. He has it in spades. But his music goes well beyond playing lots of notes fast. It's in turns lyrical, polyrhythmic, and always full of melody. Plus, the sheer joy he exudes while playing is infectious.

Rob Randolph

Editor's note: This piece was originally published on Aug. 13, 2018.

Britney Freeman-Farr and Quinten Farr first met as teenagers at Milwaukee High School of the Arts, playing together in the jazz lab. A marriage, vocal cord surgery and a few albums later, the two are still together.

Britney, known by her stage name B~Free, boasts a soulful sound and a creative vision. The musical couple continues to push each other to achieve their goals while maintaining balance between support and criticism.


There is an epidemic of reckless driving in Milwaukee. Drivers have been blowing through stop signs, weaving through traffic, and passing in bike lanes — and law enforcement has been cracking down on this behavior.

But there are many solutions to reckless driving, which can include redesigning streets to encourage better driving behaviors. These redesigns are frequently referred to as “road diets,” and they are shown to decrease accidents and reduce the fatalities in crashes. 

Courtesy of Pardeep Singh Kaleka

The Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee (IFCGM) brings together regional leaders from 20 faith denominations. The organization works to establish dialogue, build relationships, counter hate and fear, and build programs that not only foster understanding and friendship but champion social issues to help create a better society for everyone.

natali_mis /

Our world is a much different place since vaccines became a common part of medical care. Once common diseases like polio and small pox have been eradicated or are rarely contracted today.

New York Public Library Digital Collections

This year’s Oscar-winner for Best Picture was Green Book, a fictionalized account of a true story. In the film, African-American classical pianist Don Shirley, played by Mahershala Ali, is trying to do a concert tour through the south in 1960s America. He and his white driver use The Green Book to help them navigate the journey.

In the late 1800s, Milwaukee was a city defined by industry. Among other things, the city was the world’s largest primary wheat market, which made the city a hub of business. Like other wealthy Milwaukeeans, grain trader Daniel Newhall capitalized on the influx of people by creating a luxury hotel known as the Newhall House. At six stories, it was one of the largest buildings in the country when it was built in 1857.

When Alex Kotlowitz’s book There Are No Children Here first came out in 1992, the United States was facing unprecedented violence. Homicides in the nation’s largest cities were at an all-time high — triggered by gangs and a drug trade that dominated many of the country’s poorest neighborhoods. His book was set in the Henry Horner Homes, a public housing project on the west side of Chicago.

The musical Hamilton is unlike many in its class. The show centers around the story of Alexander Hamilton, using a diverse cast to explore the founding of our nation, through rap and more classical musical theater melodies.

Taiko Studios

Friday marks the opening of the annual Beloit International Film Festival, where attendees will see independent films and short features alike. One of the shorts is called One Small Step,  an animated film about a young girl named Luna who realizes her dream of becoming an astronaut with the support of her father along the way.

Process Media

Have you ever wondered why such a thing as a gingered pear and chicken salad served in lime jello exists? What about bananas rolled in ham, then baked and served with a cheese sauce? Or anything at all made with Spam, or even just Spam itself?

The foods and recipes many of us grew up eating were thanks to American corporations and their advertising departments. Not only were the corporations promoting the products they were selling, they were also promoting what it meant to be an American.

SeanPavonePhoto / Fotolia

Editor's note: This piece was originally published on Dec. 7, 2018.

For nearly 20 years, one of the go-to contemporary sources on Milwaukee history has been John Gurda’s book The Making of Milwaukee. The book was first published in 1999 and tells immaculately researched stories — from the area’s earliest settlement through the cultural, political and business landscape here at the turn of the century.

Radio Free Bonnie: Before The Wall Came Down

Jan 2, 2019
Bonnie North

Editor's note: This piece was originally published on Oct. 16, 2018.

Lake Effect has recently been airing interviews with journalists and politicians that Bonnie North recorded in Brussels and Berlin as a part of a journalist exchange program sponsored by the RIAS Berlin Commission.

Rick Steves /

Editor's note: This piece was originally published on March 6, 2018.

When we say the word “vacation,” most Americans probably picture a white sand beach in Florida or perhaps an amusement park adventure with your family. However, guidebook author and PBS TV host Rick Steves urges you to use travel as an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone.

Editor's note: This piece was originally published on Sept. 27, 2018.

The website, Atlas Obscura, takes visitors to exotic and unusual sites around the world. It connects travelers with other would-be travelers, and features unique tourist destinations in all corners of the globe (15,000 attractions, at last count).