Sunday, 30 September 2012

A Safe House

One of the fun things I did in Milwaukee was visit the club called A Safe House. I already mentioned my fiasco at Trivia, but nonetheless, one of my most brilliant ex-students, a co-conspirator agreed to help me come in from the cold.

That's our winning trivia team a version of "The Landsharks", but missing its founder and some of its more prominent members who were not available that night.

Off we went to find "A Safe House", a notorious club where a secret agent on the run has to know the secret password to get in.

As you can see the door isn't obviously A Safe House.

Well, not too obviously.  Since we did not have reservations we were seated in the other half of the place, also interesting for its genuine historical interest. If those signatures are real there are a lot of famous people who have been at the Press Bar including many presidential types.

 and Al Cap, Art Buchwald, Walt Kell, even Al Franken. (I wonder if it is pre or intra political career.)

Our waitress brought us our menus and then "released" us to explore the spy-oriented premises.

The interior is so amusing and is full of "spy" memorabilia. To get in, one enters a room that looks a bit like a tiny waiting room - a woman sits in an arm chair reading and one has to tell her the password to get in. "Agents" that don't know the password are asked to do amusing things like sing songs or recite things in unison and their antics are broadcast on tv screens throughout the safe house. Entering the actual premises, you are met with this.

You can see one of those many tv screens on the right with the woman seated in her chair at the bottom of the screen.

There is so much to see. One big room looks like this.

Here is another part of the establishment. These are little private booths.

I laughed really hard I when saw this "Company Store" part.

There's a war room with a map that moves upward and has a screen for projecting films. There's a Chair too.

There are also some other silly things. We were given a paper with an assignment, that if we chose to accept would take us through the highlights of the place. Here are some of the funnier of those. That's me in the fun house mirror!

There's a red door to a men's room (like the ladies' room door on the left)  - but when you open it, you see a brick wall.

The ladies' room has a picture of Burt Reynolds and  if someone touches it in the wrong place, alarms go off all through the building. You can see that this is not a rare occurrence!

One of my favorite parts was this little model of Check Point Charlie. Since I actually got to leave East Berlin  through this check point it has special memories to me.

Nearby, in a glass case was a piece of the Berlin wall.

Next to it was a cool Octopussy poster in German.

The back room has this huge mural with all these great spy figures on it.

The other end of the room is sandbagged and there is a machine gun (prop? I hope) that was a gift from John Wayne above the door.

Here's a slightly better shot of the wall of spies.

It turns out that you can play with the wall by pushing the button, Max.

The top part shifts around and you get to see some other familiar faces on the necks of previous images.

When you leave you put a quarter in the pay phone and there is secret exit to the street. Of course neither of us had any change, so we had to leave by the plain old regular door, but that was okay. We had had a great time and certainly didn't care if others knew where we had been!

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