Monday, April 20, 2009

Organ Piper

Out of the many recommendations I've received for restaurants in Milwaukee, I can't think of a single one that was based on the food. It's always about the entertainment. If any of you Milwaukeans have any recommendations for amazing food (just food), please let me know.

That said, there are some pretty amazing places here when judging by the entertainment value. Safe House is the quintessential example. My other personal favorite is Organ Piper Pizza. It's a musician's dream restaurant - and that works for me.

So, here's the basic setup. On three of the four walls, it looks like a typical pizza joint. Pictures, arcade, bar, loads of seats, ok-ish pizza, the like. But the fourth wall (and focal point of the restaurant) is completely covered from the baseboards to the rafters by a Wurlitzer pipe organ.

The organ has been extended over a looooong period of time so it now has crazy stops like all manner of percussion instruments and pipes that sound like ducks.

REALLY bad photography, I know. But you get what you get!

Those ducks are ridiculously popular. Go figure.

They have four organists, but I like seeing the featured organist, Ron Reseigh. This guy is way too talented for his own good.

You write down on a sheet of paper any song that you darn well want to hear, put it in a bowl, and voila...this guy plays it a few minutes later. When we first went four years ago, I requested Clair de Lune. Ron said "I haven't played this in a long, long, long, long time. So I'm going to try to pick it out of my brain as I go along." He then proceeded to play Clair de Lune flawlessly. I requested the same song last week - it is my favorite song, after all. He said "I'm excited to play this one because it's not requested very often". He played it even better this time with a fuller orchestration and a few personal touches. I'd like to think that I made him practice Clair de Lune back in 2005 and he's been waiting to play it since. I didn't get a chance to chat with him during his break, so I'll never know. So sad.

Here's a minute worth of Clair de Lune

It was a very unusual night music wise. Normally people put in a lot of requests for polkas or other raucous songs that feature all the weird pipes, but we were treated to several unique and more mellow requests that Ron commented on. A very fun night at Organ Piper. Even the boys got really into it, as seen in the video below.


  1. I didn't think much of this place when I went. I guess you need to go when an actual organist is there to play for you.

  2. How long ago was that? I don't think they're open now unless there is an organist to play. Their hours are really narrow for this reason - something like 5-9 pm.

  3. I liked OPP too--for the entertainment. And Clair de Lune is my favorite classical piece as well... I'll have to request it next time!

  4. I liked Cyn's head dancing movement. That was the best. Wish they had a place like that here. We do have Pirate Island Pizza- very Disneyesque.

  5. Funny you would mention Cyn's dancing. She told me last night that she was embarrassed by it and probably wouldn't have allowed me to post the video if I had asked first. I told her I thought they were pretty good moves and then added "which of us is a better judge of moves?" The embarrassment subsided.

  6. Cool, next time you are by, you should request to have "I Dream of Jeannie" played and video that!

  7. i have the same shirt as carter! and im wearing it right now!

  8. You should hear Carter so "Oh, yeah!" while wearing that Kool-aid shirt. Classic.