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  • Brümeister 9:53 pm on April 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    7 Trivia Crack Questions You Won’t See Anytime Soon 

    Number 5 of the 7....

    Number 5 of the 7….

    1) How you Doing?
    a. pretty good
    b. Awesome!
    c. Que?
    d. Back off I’m playing Trivia Crack

    Each band is subject to obstacles. Every artist who believes in their art is bound to encounter a wide range of problems from personal tragedy to something as simplistically impossible as writer’s block. But what do we do to overcome apathy?

    2) A group later named “The Glover Mob” stormed a city jail and freed a run away slave in which state?
    a. Indiana
    b. Massachusetts
    c. Missouri
    d. Wisconsin

    As much as we choose our futures by a series of decisions that happen real time with unknown consequences; so too are we empowered by our pasts. History is never perfect. But if you know where you stand you know what to look for.

    3) In what country is the School of the Americas located?
    a. Chile
    b. Argentina
    c. U.S.A.
    d. Cuba

    Fear is a raw emotion. Only when it is refined and distilled by politics does it become repression.

    4) Polka is the official dance of what state?
    a. Texas
    b. Wisconsin
    c. Pennsylvania
    d. Minnesota

    Positive energy is universal. Celebration of the universal, however, can take many forms.

    Here we jump ahead. What do our leaders say about us? Are those in authority worthy of our respect?

    6) Which Wisconsin politician said single mothers are guilty of child abuse?
    a. Scott Walker
    b. Paul Ryan
    c. Glenn Grothman
    d. Joe McCarthy

    We learn from history. But what we learn is based on perception as much as information. Do we understand we are not perfect? Do we allow for others to succeed where we fall short? How do we react?

    7) The only country to ban mustard gas in World War One was?
    a. Russia
    b. Austro-Hungarian Empire
    c. U.S.A.
    d. Germany

    Unspoken reality is that sometimes the enemy is right. Sometimes the enemy was never meant to be an enemy. Sometimes only pride keeps a conflict alive. This is why while we value pride it is in reality a sin.


  • Brümeister 1:04 am on April 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Spring is Sprunk: April & May 

    Just because I can…..!

    I figured I’d post a little bit about some upcoming events that I (Bru) and The November Criminals will be a part of.
    I was recently the opener for an event at the Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts on Center Street. I read some of my own poems and some stuff from various assorted issues of Burdock magazine. I also got to host Poets Monday on April 6th as the usual host had come down with a case of going to San Francisco. The feature was my good friend Mario the Poet. His competition was the NCAA Men’s Basketball Finals featuring some guys in Wisconsin jerseys from Madison. Needless to say the turnout was heavy on the poets and light on the non-poets. Still a good crowd turned up to share in the moment.
    Coming up on what I’m calling Poetic Promenades:

    April 18th, 2pm at Woodland Pattern “Poets of Riverwest Radio”

    April 22nd, 7pm at Microlights Ineluctable Place hosted by Mike Hauser w/ Susan Firer & Keith Gaustad

    April 25th, 2pm at Milwaukee Public Library – East Branch Celebrate Poetry in Your Community

    Nov Criminals rocking the 1st Empower the Tower in 2013

    Nov Criminals rocking the 1st Empower the Tower in 2013

    BUT THEN on May 9th, the day before Mother’s Day,
    Empower the Tower returns to Riverwest Radio! The November Criminals will be in the 3pm hour hosted by There Goes the Neighborhood!
    IF you’d like to sponsor our time please contact Riverwest Radio or just show up and pay 5 bucks at the door to support the station as it strives toward LPFM broadcasting.

    Now if you are all like “Hey there’s a lot of Bru’s stuff here. What about the other guys?” Well you can find out more for SPADE ONE here and NTSC here.  Tell them to start blogging 😉

  • Brümeister 11:20 pm on March 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    WrestleMania 31, A Sausage, Some Fries & 2 Pabsts 

    Brock, wake up! We're going to Suplex City!

    Brock, wake up! We’re going to Suplex City!

    That’s a Sunday. A great Sunday. I enjoy my wrestling fandom sometimes I post about it. I also noticed the wonderfully hilarious trend of people who are annoyed with wrestling fans. Now these people have been around for some time possibly since the inception of the concept of Pro Wrestling. They’re retaining a gene from a bygone day where people got mad when you threw a fight and still collected money on your loss…. oh wait boxers that lose still get paid right? I mean so do UFC fighters, they get paid when they lose, I’m sure of it. They get endorsements.

    Enough trolling. WrestleMania was pretty fun this year. I walked in to the bar during the IC Title Ladder Match in time to see Dean.. Fucking…  Ambrose… go through a ladder. Did everyone forget that he vowed to stop Seth Rollins from ever cashing in? What happened to that? Oh yeah I guess he was storyline dead from the ladder bump. Remember when the Shield broke up? Seth gave a light spanking to Roman Reigns compared to the beat down he handed Dean… Fucking… Ambrose…
    Also, is anyone else bummed that Jon Stewart didn’t have a WrestleMania Moment? I mean he should have been the one to count the three and turn on everyone and raise Rollins’ hand.  Still pretty awesome ending Seth is a deserving champion and this should be an entertaining title run. RUN… remember this?
    OK now I’m excited for RAW tonight….

    Tune in to There Goes The Neighborhood on Wednesday for some more reactions.



  • Brümeister 10:15 pm on March 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dead Man's Carnival, EDM, , Paris Hilton, Shakespeare Raw,   

    Summerfest Fails to Book The November Criminals; Paris Hilton Headlines June 28 


    Remember when we drove to Superior for a show?
    Pepperidge Farms remembers.

    Whoa it’s been a long winter and it is still going!
    To recap what has happened since last August… which is apparently the last time any of us checked in on the weblog…. we played a few shows, you may have seen us at Dead Man’s Carnival in March . Or at Shakespeare Raw in February at Best Place! It’s true we’ve been here and there and under the radar BUT the Criminals are always a booking away from playing your favorite spot! Recommend us to your favorite club or promoter and keep the Criminality in Music.

    So in other news Summerfest, the World’s Largest Music Festival has booked Paris Hilton to DJ on the grounds as a headlining act. The announcement is not without its blowjob ERR BLOWBACK I meant blowback….
    A petition to remove her from the lineup is making headlines of its own and the movement appears to be swelling. Sheesh, its hard ERR DIFFICULT to write about this without unnecessary innuendo. So the main argument against her is that she is not a professional DJ and has not paid any dues to receive her spot on the lineup.
    Now to be fair I’ve been around the EDM scene for a few years now… as a security guard, a bartender, and an outsider. I stress that because at no time have I declared any fandom for the overarching genre of Electronic Dance Music. “Why?” you might ask “Aren’t you in a Polka Hip Hop band? You use beats on a laptop at shows I’ve seen you!”
    First of all, Thanks for coming to our shows. And if you haven’t it’s likely because you are an EDM person and you don’t really like Hip Hop. You don’t like people talking over the music while you trip and stare at lights. You aren’t really interested in what a Hip Hop MC has to say unless it’s about Swag and drugs and the kind of hedonism you only wish you could live out if only you were wealthy like…. Paris Hilton.
    Yes it is but this is 2015 and you can name your kids whatever. You buy them a car so they can drive to the city and dress themselves in bikinis and bondage gear, covered in plastic beads that stress the value of PLUR as they take MDMA for the first time they got from a guy they met once or twice before at another show, but he seems to know an awful lot about spirituality and he has a flat brimmed baseball cap (what’s baseball?) and cool shirt that looks expensive because of all the colors.
    The point is Paris Hilton is the perfect expression of EDM whether you like it or not. She’s privileged, scantily dressed, she has a viral porn video, and all she needed was enough money to buy some equipment the number to some people to do lights…..and let’s be real she already bought that shit ten times over if it wasn’t being given to her for free because of her brand. YES BRAND. That’s what’s on these posters and the pins and the hats. We do it too! We all get sucked into it one way or another. RELAX. You already know you are going to some other festival where you will sit on a lawn chair tripping.
    Oh and I’m not all excited about her “performance” and I know plenty of really awesome DJs that we’ve played with. But I’m not going to pretend this isn’t a perfect expression of what EDM ultimately is and all the attempts to portray it as something other than the renewal of the disco scene, a scene that thrived on excess and cocaine and not much else, is delusional…. you might be tripping on something.

  • Brümeister 10:56 pm on August 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Guns of August, , , , Polka Hip Hop, Riverwest Farmer's Market, Riverwest Public House, , Superior, WI   

    The Guns Of August 


    The November Criminals Need YOU! to come out one of these shows.

    The November Criminals Need YOU! to come out one of these shows.

    We have a number of shows coming up that I’d like to highlight a bit since each one will be so very different from the others.

    AUGUST 22nd at Riverwest Public House for Adam Asher’s Birthday show!

    We look forward to once again having Michael Ritter on bass and Kevin KC Christenson on drums for this show. Two amazingly talented musicians who bring spontaneity and skill to the set. Last time we played with them in March at Cactus Club it was one of the best shows the Criminals have had to date.

    The line up for the rest of show is amazing and moves back and forth between bands and poets for 6 hours of awesome! We’re going on early so we can wake up in time for …..

    AUGUST 23rd at The Tower Avenue Tavern in Superior w/ Number One Common

    We’ll be driving the day of the show 8 hours or so to get to the Northern most city in Wisconsin. We’re looking forward to playing for an entirely new audience and maybe getting a few photo ops near the big lake they call Gitche Gumee! The show is presented by Hypnotic Otter and is FREE!!!

    AUGUST 31st at The Riverwest Gardeners Market

    DJ Killa Kutz will be on the 1s & 2s with us during this set which runs from Noon until 3pm. We’re gonna work on cleaning up NTSC’s language 😉 but one thing is for sure: if you are nearby, you are going to hear something that will make you want to polka around the produce!

  • Brümeister 11:02 pm on May 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 88.9, Milo, , Music scenes, , Radio Milwaukee   

    Music Culture 

    Lots of thoughts lately and not lots of posts. I’m here to change that.

    You should see the chapter about the Milwaukee Music Scene!

    You should see the chapter about the Milwaukee Music Scene!

    I read a lot but I also read into things a lot. Dangerous habit on social media but I’ve also been commenting way to much on shit that I have no business commenting on. SO I figured I’ll take it to the blog. Maybe less people will read it but hopefully more people will understand me. We are what we are: A Polka Hip Hop Band. But if you step back and consider the members in the group the uniqueness of it all means so much more to us. We are an interracial music group in the most segregated metropolis in America. We are mixing genres of music and pulling it off with varying degrees of success; granted as a group we are just getting started. But all of us have been performing and writing and creating music, poetry and art for years before we ever met. And we are all scraping by. Part of it has to do with the fact that this is also one of the poorest cities in the nation.

    So then I read this interview with a rapper who is moving to LA. And hear someone making the same complaints so many have been making for so long. But here’s the thing the problem is much deeper than just a radio station not giving you play. (To my knowledge we haven’t had play on 88.9 either but then I don’t know if they have our cd. Somehow we have been played on local station 91.7  and maybe it being a college station things get circulated differently.)

    THE PROBLEM.  It’s really the culture of the city though it isn’t just the music scene. Try writing poetry and discover how fractured everything is here and then laugh because everyone knows there is no money to be made in poetry…. unless you are putting together a CV for grad school somewhere. But music, art and film? I can’t imagine how this disjointed cityscape, fractured from institutionalized racism and economic paranoia could do more then ever serve as a transfer station for raw talent.

    (It doesn’t help when promoters are focusing solely on the dollar and not on the art but that is another blog for another time.)

    I feel like that is what Milo missed a chance to say in his interview. But maybe it’s in his music and I haven’t heard that track yet (though I’m looking now). I know a few others who have had to move on to make it in music because it unsustainable here to just be a musician or a rapper. The Milwaukee Machine that Milo talks about is really more or less just a façade to keep a few people distracted from some of the larger issues. But would that message resonate with anyone outside of a few people in the community? I know he must feel it if he’s leaving for greener pastures even if he didn’t say it. The culture of a place is a reflection of that place’s reality. And if the music scene will not allow talent to thrive here then it reflects the inability of many other to thrive.

    As for the music…..would I say he is as dope as The November Criminals? No, of course not, don’t be silly. But he is talented and we wish him well.  🙂

    Personally, I am blessed to know people from the city and the region who are invested in making things happen here. From Pinkerton at Deadman’s Carnival to the painfully under played Jaems Murphy to comedy mentor and road warrior of the Hobbit Trail Brendan O’Day  and the poetic thundering of deep feelings that is Mario The Poet. The folks I’ve come across who are working to make a living at entertaining people and performing their craft for them is inspiring and in many ways sustaining.
    Catch us at Cactus Club June 6th with Tapebenders and Jaems Murphy!

  • Brümeister 10:58 am on March 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Always Ready, Ever Stalwart! AKA we played the Cactus Club! 


    Fill your Hands!

    Fill your Hands!

    I just got home and boy does my back and right knee hurt. But we’ll get to that later!

    Tonight we played the Cactus Club in Bay View. I personally have great memories of seeing some of my favorite bands play here including Northless and IfIHadAHiFi as well as some great touring acts. The venue itself has played host to influential acts like The White Stripes and Queens of the Stone Age. So when we were asked to participate in a show by our friends Elusive Parallelograms we jumped at the chance. We’re always looking to play new spots and we’re always hoping to impress or at the very least surprise someone and gain a new fan.

    To help us achieve this we brought in some heavy hitters. Mike Ritter and Kevin Christensen who we all know from Dead Man’s Carnival. Kevin plays percussion with The Extra Crispy Brass Band and Mike has been in the Jazz scene in Milwaukee for a while now. Needless to say we had some of the best with us and they made us sound great. We actually got compliments from our sound check! It may have been our finest hour but don’t quote me on that.  And all this on the tails of just ONE practice the day of the show. Granted Mike and Kevin listen to our songs and had played with us a bit during the February edition of Dead Man’s Carnival on NTSC’s solo song Porno Polka and on a freestyle with Spade One and the song Sausage Fest.

    To say we had a good time playing with them at Cactus Club is an understatement. The level of class and professionalism exhibited by both was to say the least exemplary. Which only served to contrast what happened later that evening all the more. Oh no this isn’t a blog rant about Crown Larks who drove up from Chicago and played a great set. Nor is it about Slow Walker, who got the house lights to ‘twerk’ if you will. And it is definitely not about our friends Elusive Parallelograms (who, incidentally, employed the skills of DJ from IfIHadAHifi on drums this particular evening). Nope not about that.

    Some guy and his buddy decided to have a two man mosh pit during the 2nd to last song of the night. Then when he got up and tried to molest a friend of mine/fight-dance with her….he was rebuffed. Note to dudes: aggressive dancing is still aggressive before it is seen as dancing. So my friend, who I’ve met only a few times decided to come stand next to me. Now, I am the Brumeister. I’m 6’4″ (taller than Nick V. 4 Life) and I have at times approach three bills. I’m just not the sort of guy you’d think, “hey there’s a guy to engage in a physical confrontation”.

    Before I go too far I should tell you many years ago I was a peon for a large corporate venue here in Milwaukee. While I was assembling light cubes for Hannah Montana (yeah I know) I tore a disc in my back and it leaked fluid onto my sciatic nerve. It was one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced. Since then the discs in my back will just pop out whenever they want. It seemingly has nothing to do with anything. This past week had been one of those weeks where I couldn’t event bend to tie my shoes. Standing up in the morning requires Xtreme grunts of agony mingled with regret of a wasted youth. You might say, hey that’s a lot of information to give out about yourself. What if someone tried to use it against you? Well here’s why:

    So in this story I am not 100%, Hell I’m not even “mobile” in the truest sense of the word. I can’t bend down to tie my shoes. And so this guy’s male psyche has been touched off by a combination of booze, aggression and rejection. He wants to tangle with someone. His buddy tires out and Suddenly! He’s on my legs trying to take me down. For a moment I was like “Hey buddy!” but then I felt him twisting my knee to get me down. That’s when I realized this wasn’t a fun time happening but a guy looking to let of real steam. I had time to hand my beer off to my friend and then I was down wrestling this drunk. I credit years of watching pro-wrestling and my time in Judo under Sensei Sanfillipo. The guy never had control of me and I spun around until I was in a full mount sitting on top of his stomach. If I’d wanted to, and believe me the thought was there, I could have pummeled this guy’s face. Instead, and I have witnesses, I asked for my watch and my beer and my hat. I got them all back then I got up. Slowly, because my back hurt.

    But the knobshine wouldn’t stop! He started fucking with my shoelaces. And I thought he was trying to tie my shoe for me but he ended up trying to pull my other leg out from under me! One thing led to another and I grabbed him by his collar and started dragging him to the door letting all his friends know that he had to leave. A knot of people started to form around this guy and we got him to the bar area when he started to go wild again. I’d had enough and I grabbed one arm that was out, his right, and put the point of pressure on my chest as I slid my left arm around his neck and applied pressure to his neck. If I couldn’t choke him from this position I figured I could easily apply a cross face chickenwing. The only problem my back was too messed up to apply the torque needed to make it work. Thankfully, his friends rushed in to take him out.

    All this on my “night off” of security. As I type this before I pass out I know both my knees will bruise and I’ve aggravated a sprain in my wrist from a slip on the ice. My back is still not healed and it may be worse. I have a poetry reading to host tomorrow at 2pm (you want to be nice and cordial when hosting poetry reading and bad backs don’t make that easy) and a Heavy Metal show where I get to be security. And yet this was one of our best shows to date. GO FIGURE!

    • Mariothepoet 4:37 pm on March 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Um, so well damn…
      My mind is blank as to a response. The young lady owes you at least a kiss on the cheek in my opinion. You big lug. Saving pretty ladies and riding of into the sunset. Way to go there pilgrim. Now I have to come to your poetry reading just to see you barely moving.

  • Brümeister 9:51 pm on February 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    The Week of the Brümeister 

    Hey Brümeister here & this year for whatever reason my birthday has turned into a week long event. Okay not really but I’m busy doing something or other all week long so I’m encouraging people to come be a part of some aspect of it.
    It actually started last Saturday when I was invited to read at the oldest poetry set in the city of Milwaukee at The Coffee House on 19th Street and Wisconsin. It’s been going since 1967 and has featured a big cross section of poets from the city in that time.

    Sunday was the Superbowl and wasn’t that just a peach of game?
    Monday! (that’s tonight) I’m reading at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn. It’s gonna be a TV Party and I’ll be revisiting stuff from 2013 including The Hipster Cycle as well as other poems you probably never heard because I almost never read my own stuff at open mic. WHY IS IT A TV PARTY? You’ll just have to show up to find out why…. But I do something different every year so you should be ready for that.

    Last Year I had an out doorsy Birthday.

    Last Year I had an out doorsy Birthday.

    Tuesday is Open Mic at The Miramar. I’m bartending. So stop in for a drink and sign up.

    Wednesday is There Goes The Neighborhood as usual we will present the important topics and issues of the day in a way as to make you forget why you were even talking about them in the first place. Wednesday at 3:30 pm on rivewestradio.com!

    Thursday = Burdock Radio on riverwestradio.com at 5pm it’s my 2nd Big Bad Birthday Show. I played a lot of weird stuff last year. How deep will I go into the vaults to fill an hour with my own limited musical past? Tune in to find out!

    ANNNDDDD Friday is the Season Opener for Deadman’s Carnival at The Mirarmar Theatre with Special Guests The November Criminals! We’re Baaacck! This show is not to be missed!

  • Brümeister 9:14 pm on January 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Royal Review 

    Courtesy of Heelbook

    Courtesy of Heelbook

    So first match with my favorite and fan favorite Bryan Daneilson vs. Bray Wyatt was good. A few weird spots even a sort of botched hold by Daniel Bryan. It looked like he was going for a sharpshooter at first then maybe an Indian Deathlock then it sort of ended up being him standing in the ring with Bray’s legs around his leg. Not really locked in and not really amounting to anything. But the crowd didn’t care they still loved the match and cheered for him all the way up to the shock victory by Wyatt, a totally clean pin in the center of the ring at that!
    If I had to guess I’d say Bryan was distracted by the fact that he is the most popular guy in the company and instead of winning the rumble this year and main eventing Wrestlemania he is probably going to be in the under card. Boo this company for that.

    They went to a panel of Ric Flair (everyone says WOOOO), Hacksaw Jim Duggan (Everyone says HOOOO USA USA) and HBK ( crowd is dead, the guy next to me says “He ain’t get no pop!).

    Second match was Brock killing Big Show. Brock started up just pummeling Show’s face. The guys next to me started a Whup that Tric chant. I wonder if that will catch on at live shows. I hope so. This was just an assault and it was pretty awesome and did a great job of showing Brock is a monster. Only Big Show is awesome enough to take this sort of beating. It’s a reason he is one of my favorites the fact that he will put people over in such spectacular ways and yet he still maintains a monster status on the card. In many ways he’s taken up the mantel of Mick Foley, except his version of getting thrown off a cage is allowing you to dead-lift him to show off how strong you are.

    Cena vs. Orton. Everyone wanted this match to be over with as soon as it started. When Cena kicked out of the first RKO somebody yelled “ten more minutes “. It was pretty close but I didn’t keep the stop watch on for it. Fun moments when they traded finishers but it wasn’t enough to distract me from my chicken sandwich.

    FINALLY. Rumble time. Everyone who was gonna make it out was there. The place was packed with people when the match started. I thought about stretching my legs but there was no way I could stand up with out causing a mosh pit.

    People cheered for Punk and several people were cheering for Seth Rollins being the number 2 guy out. The Shield is popular and gaining momentum. Time to break it up.

    People popped for JBL and everyone loved his spot in the Rumble as comic relief. Kofi’s jump to the ring was great and went over well. I was the only one to try a Chikara chant when Brodie and Claudio err I mean Harper and Cesaro were brawling.

    The only other guy to really get a big pop at the bar was FAAAAANDAAAANNNNNGOOOOOOOO

    The Shield drama played out well. Ambrose is the most heel of the group and his over zealous attempt to eliminate Reigns was exactly how I pictured them breaking up. I just wish they’d have made it through one more Mania because I really enjoy 6-man tag matches.

    Batista’s entrance was lukewarm at the bar I was at. Which was surprising. People wanted to see him but they wanted him to come out and do his entrance with the pyro and all the showmanship because his matches aren’t what anyone cares about. If anyone wants to know why people were so disinterested in Batista winning despite returning after a 4 year absense and a ton of hype for his return here it is: He’s not that good in the ring. Right now I’d say he ranks just behind Power and Glory in 1990 and just ahead of Lex Luger 1995. Perhaps the truest statment to be uttered during CM Punks famous promo was “Vince McMahon is going to make money despite himself.” It’s true of the company and if you

  • Brümeister 10:58 pm on January 20, 2014 Permalink  

    The Hell with War. 

    HellfighersGreetings! Happy MLK Day to you all. I just finished this book a while back and thought I’d share something resembling a review with you.

    The Hellfighters of Harlem: African-American Soldiers Who Fought for the Right to Fight for Their Country by Bill Harris

    Why this book? If you wanted to know a little bit about African American Military history you would do well to pick this book up. The first half of the book deals with WWI and specifically the Harlem Hellfighters regiment and their story as well as the regimental band under the leadership of James Europe. It was Jim Europe who helped to lay some of the ground work for the music of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s as well as introduce Jazz to the people of France. While their may be books out there that go into greater depth, this serves as a solid introduction to African-American Military history.

    Desperate to prove the nickname was nothing more than ironic racism General Black Jack Pershing forbid the unit from serving. (Okay maybe that’s conjecture.) The unit drilled in a dancehall and on the streets of Harlem before going overseas and being assigned to fight alongside the French. The French re-outfitted the Hellfighters with French weapons and helmets and assisted in the final stages of their training.
    “Their distinguished WWI record featured the longest frontline service of any American regiment, and they were the first Allied unit to reach the Rhine River, with not one soldier captured or a foot of ground lost to the enemy.

    Their distinguished private, Henry Johnson, was awarded France’s prestigious Croix de Guerre, for single-handedly knocking out a platoon of twenty eight German troops.”


    The book is in two parts and the second part of the book (Other Times, Other Heroes) gives an overview of African-Americans fighting for America that deals mainly with the 2nd World War and the legacy of the Hellfighters and how that legacy is tied to Tuskegee Airmen as well as men fighting in Korea as the military desegregated. There are also a few anecdotes thrown in about the war of 1812, The Civil War, and the Revolutionary War. Admittedly this is where the structure of the book became muddled but much of the information laid out was old news to a history buff. The real gems in the book are in the 1st part (The Pride of Harlem) which in my opinion could have been much longer and much more thoroughly presented. Still for the first 100 pages this was a hard book to put down. And the heroes that formed the Hellfighters regiment were some of the coolest guys in the war. I mean look at this picture:

    Jim Europe and the 369th Regimental Band.

    Jim Europe and the 369th “Hellfighters” Band.

    The most interesting part of the book for me was reading about Jim Europe. How I, a history geek who was also once labeled a “budding Jazz freak” by Ron Cuzner, managed to live consciously for 30 years without knowing about Jim Europe is beyond me. Bill Harris included a nice bibliography of source material, some of which will be on my reading list this year as The November Criminals prepare for The Great War.

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