Bastille Days This Week!

I take pride in the fact that I know what The Bastille is, and have known for most of my life now. I owe this knowledge to my mother, who, before becoming a French teacher for the last 20 years, was merely obsessed with everything about the country.

What I did not know, however, was that the people who stormed The Bastille weren’t initially storming it to free its meager seven prisoners. No, their first priority was to take the weapons cache (and stash of gunpowder) stored inside.

Now, assuming this Wikipedia entry is as accurate as a history lesson can possibly be, this is the single most hilarious thing I’ve ever read. Not only because an official decision was made to store guns and ammo inside a prison that contained live prisoners (more than likely being held due to their religious beliefs, as were most prisoners at The Bastille), but also because the people who rioted and stormed said prison weren’t there for the prisoners. They wanted the guns.

Fear not, though. This week’s Bastille Days festival (July 10 – 13, Cathedral Square Park) here in Milwaukee comes gun-free, unless you’re concealing, you sneaky little rascals!

Our Bastille Days festival is all about the 5K run, the Waiter/Waitress battle, the food vendors, and the music. There will be a giant Eiffel Tower replica. Alliance-Francaise will be there, selling some excellent French wares. And then there’s the music.

Over the course of the fest’s four days, you’ll be able to see/hear a variety of bands spanning a varitey of genres, from both here and abroad. Among the Milwaukee acts taking the stage are WAMI award-winner Robin Pluer, reunited punk rockers Those X-Cleavers, and the incomparable Paul Cebar (see above video). And among the acts traveling TO Milwaukee to perform are Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, and The Iguanas (both from New Orleans), as well as Brazzaville (who, technically, partially come from Spain), which I’m convinced makes some of the sweetest, most beautiful music on Earth. Period.

Not bad for a neighborhood festival, my friends.

For a complete list of performers and show times, click here. And for info on every single facet of Bastille Days, visit their Web site.

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