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Author: Dominic Inouye

On Preaching to the Choir: “Showing Up” as a Necessary Next Step

Dominic Inouye’s column for the Milwaukee Independent has been exploring the nature of walking as a practice, as an integral part of street photography, and as a worldwide movement of neighborhood explorations called Jane’s Walk. Almost 200 Milwaukee residents filled the “streets” of Turner Hall on May 2 for the kickoff of the 3rd Annual Jane’s Walk MKE, part of a worldwide movement that includes over 200 cities in over 40 countries. The evening celebrated a month-long series of free, citizen-led neighborhood explorations that will embody urban activist Jane Jacob’s legacy by observing, reflecting, questioning and collectively reimagining the...

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On Walking Intently: Mushroom Hunting and Jane’s Walk MKE

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I hiked with my family every late summer and early fall to scan the forest floors of places like Port Townsend and North Bend for matsutake and warabi, “monkey chairs” and chanterelles, our feet sometimes cushioned by blankets of drying pine needles, other times by pungent quilts of rain-soaked mosses. We would lightly cane the ground with our forked walking sticks, pushing up a little mound of dirt that we anticipated would reveal a cache of Japanese pine mushrooms or brushing back a berry bush that just might reveal a patch of bracken...

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On Walking in Milwaukee: For Health & Safety, Exploration & Revolutionary Art

In anticipation of the month-long series of free, citizen-led neighborhood explorations called Jane’s Walk MKE that I am helping to coordinate this May, I have been contemplating how and why Milwaukee walks by considering how and why humans have walked in the past. This exercise has led me down a rabbit hole of research that I have only begun to scratch – as far back as Homo erectus on the plains of Africa, as unexpectedly as 1920s France, and as recently as the March for Our Lives – but one that has provided me with new pathways for my...

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On Metaphor & Simile, Synecdoche & Metonymy: A fresh perspective on ZIP MKE

I used to tell my English students that metaphor was the most important rhetorical device humans had ever created. Metaphor compares two seemingly dissimilar things in a new way. It’s a big powerful equal sign (that, in itself, was a metaphor). But metaphor is so much more than poetry to be appreciated or studied in a class–“All the world’s a stage,” “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” “wine-dark sea” or “I know how the caged bird sings”–though these are certainly timeless and lovely parallels. Without metaphor, I would insist, there would have been no Hammurabi’s Code or...

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Photo Essay: Detailed patchwork shows patterns of community

As someone who has driven and walked more miles of Milwaukee streets over the past year, as part of the photographic community engagement organization called ZIP MKE, than he had during his first 22 years as a Seattle transplant, so much of this Walk Across Milwaukee with was familiar. But, as with any purposeful walk on which someone looks left, right, up, and down with intention – in this case, to document the current state of North Avenue – many things I saw anew. Interesting details in East Side benches, fancy alley fences, red brick crosswalks, and large planters...

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Dominic Inouye: A love letter to Milwaukee

“I came onboard in October, and I already see how important it is, by bringing awareness of the goodness and kindness and fabulous diversity of Milwaukee to its citizens. We only hope that will continue in the form of bringing people together from different parts of the city, to promote positive change and exciting growth for Milwaukee.” – Tracey Thomas Dear Milwaukee, Since the end of September, you have shown me what I already knew, but had not fully seen. You are certainly a sunset skyline with domes and steeples, new high rises and a white-winged museum. But you...

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