Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Milwaukee's Safe House

If you like make-believe, (and I do,) you should stop by the Safe House in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that was established in 1966. I had been there years ago, and was pleased to find it still around. That proves the sustainability of good things. The popular club/restaurant has a classic spy theme -- shades of James Bond and John LeCarre.

The adventure begins as you skulk down a small, dark alley, looking for a nondescript facade with no sign. (After all, you can't have a secret hideout on a busy thoroughfare with a neon lights.) You enter into a circa 1950's office where a receptionist, named Miss Moneypenny, asks for your ID, regardless of your age. (She's not taking any chances in case you're cleverly disguised.) Then we had to give the password -- that none of my friends knew. In order to get in the club, we were given a silly task to perform. We had to form a human train and chug around the small room. This apparently satisfied Miss Moneypenny.  A wall slide aside and we were allowed to enter the inner sanctum.

Once inside, we viewed a video of our performance on closed circuit TV, and we could watch other people who didn't know the password make fools of themselves, too. One fellow struggled to spin a hula hoop for a long time, until finally Miss Moneypenny took pity on him and let him in.

Our group was give a VIP tour of the place. The owners (a.k.a. Control and the Chief of Misinformation) mix fact with fiction. As we passed from room to room, we saw all sorts of spy paraphernalia,Checkpoint Charlie, photos, games, equipment, artifacts and even a piece of the Berlin wall. In one room, the Milwaukee Press Club meets regularly and many important persons have visited it, like Presidents Obama, Clinton, both Bushes and loads of other politicians, famous journalists, authors and celebrities.

When we left, we took the scuzzy secret escape route out. There's a cleaner exit, but what fun is that?

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