Tour Bus Diaries: Milwaukee's Stoic Majesty

By Adam Savage

Adam discovers two fantastic stores on an early morning excursion in Milwaukee, including the local branch of one of his favorite places to shop!

Milwaukee was just as cold and rainy as Minneapolis, but with a Midwest stoic majesty that poked through the fog and rain.

We were up at 9 a.m. (hi!) for a live set of interviews with a Fox affiliate from inside the theater. I hope I didn't look too tired. That's pretty early these days.

While talking to the reporter I found out that one of my favorite stores in the WORLD has a branch here, and I had no idea.

I've been buying from American Science and Surplus for more than 22 years, and have visited their mothership store in Chicago many, many times. But I was in the dark about the fact that there was another retail location.

But there is! And it’s right here in Milwaukee!

As soon as the runner was ready, I caught a ride to it. I'd been told that it was bigger, and I wasn't disappointed. What a wonderland! It seriously is as close as you can get to the NYC Canal Street of my youth. Gadgets, gewgaws and ephemera everywhere. Take a look:

Heavenly. The locals were appreciative and also let me shop, for which I was very grateful. I filled my shopping cart with all sorts of stuff: thermal cutoff switches. Fresnel lenses. An odd tool. An Xmas present or two for my sons. It took two of us to carry my loot. (Thanks, Ben!). At the checkout stand was Maureen, who (get this!) actually used to help me at the Flax art store in San Francisco seven to eight years ago! Small world.

The store also boasts some of the best employee art and display this side of Trader Joe's. Like this Wookie-themed endcap:

What do you get a Wookie for Xmas indeed. How about a trip to his favorite store?!

Then, I come out of AmerSciSurplus and spy something interesting: a store next door called Lost Worlds of Wonder. A store with this title simply has to be investigated. So I did.

Turns out it's a comic-book store, and a great one at that! Again I browsed. Again I purchased much (some Mignola, Darrow, Miller, cool presents for my sons) and lugged it back to the car. Not before having a fine chat with a couple of employees. They couldn't have been more helpful or pleasant. Two great stores for the price of one. A red-letter excursion! Now it’s time to offset that early rise with a NAP!

The venue tonight is the Milwaukee Theatre, and in addition to being a grand old house, they had the most polite sign I've ever seen in the bathroom of my dressing room.

Here's a shot of stage manager Maggie watching Jamie's Q&A.

The audience didn't know what to make of the fact that Jamie now has added a ventriloquist part to the show. (Not really).

Jamie tried singing, too!

Tomorrow: OHIO!

While on tour for the Behind the Myths stage show, Adam is blogging about his adventures and exploration of each city he visits. Here are his previous entries: