A film about the East Brady Street neighborhood in Milwaukee is in the works, with production continuing through next year with a release in early 2024.
The historical documentary will take viewers through the history of Brady Street, from before European settlement to the post-pandemic period, according to an announcement from the Brady Street Business Improvement District.
For much of its existence, Brady Street was the commercial center of a neighborhood that included large numbers of immigrants from Poland and Italy who worked in nearby tanneries and other businesses.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Brady Street became a center for a counterculture that included bars and other businesses that catered to youth. They joined such long-standing retailers as Peter Sciortino’s Bakery and Glorioso’s Italian Market.
In the 80s, the street was seeing several empty storefronts.
A new wave of investment and development brought landmarks like Mimma’s Cafe (which opened in 1989 and closed in 2016) and The Passeggio shopping center, which was built in 1997 and includes businesses like Apollo Café and Balzac Wine Bar.
Current prominent Brady Street businesses include The Diplomat Restaurant, Nomad World Pub, and the Middle Eastern restaurant Casablanca.
In the meantime, another new era could be coming as a study is in the works that could recommend closing Brady Street to cars.
UW-Milwaukee Film Students Will Get “Real Life” Experience In Brady Street Documentary
The documentary will feature local historians, Brady Street residents and people who have had a major impact on the development of the area sharing their personal experiences and the stories of their families, according to the announcement.
The project is being led by Sean Kafer, director of docUWM, the documentary media center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
It represents an opportunity for UWM film students “to gain real-life research and production experience and prepare them for postgraduate life,” Kafer said.
“Collaborating with real customers is something that cannot be taught in the classroom,” Kafer said in a statement.
“This documentary is a great way to showcase the rich history and community of Brady Street,” said Erin Hastings, film production assistant and Brady Street Business Improvement District intern.
“Not only am I beyond excited to see how this project unfolds, but I am also looking forward to sharing these Brady Street chronicles with the public,” Hastings said in a statement. “Together we can keep a vital part of history alive by listening to the diverse experiences and viewpoints of residents who have made Brady Street what it is today.”
More information about the project and its fundraising events can be found at https://bradystreet.org/brady-street-history/.