Save This is It!

Help save This is It! - Wisconsin's Longest Running Gay Bar

In 1968, at a time when the LGBT community much needed it, Catherine (June) Brehm created a safe place not only for her LGBT friends, but also for everyone who celebrated diversity and the beauty of their fellow human beings.

June's son Joe invited me in 2012 to take the reigns of the business his mother started, after they kept it going through some of the hardest times for the LGBT community. I knew the weight of the responsibility I was accepting - knowing that Joe was trusting me to not only preserve his and his mother's legacies, but also the legacy and history of what had become a Milwaukee institution.

Upon Joe's death a few years ago, the full weight of being the custodian of that legacy and that history set in. I decided to accept that responsibility head-on, and knew my mission clearly: I will see this place to it's 50th anniversary, and lead it to another 50 years on. With the help of Michael Fisher, who became a partner in the business in 2016, we not only saw the bar to it's 50th, we, in the same year, announced aggressive plans to expand the bar.

We opened the expanded space in January of 2019 and the community embraced the new addition to This is It!. We were able to open our space to performers in a way never possible before, our patrons had an amazing new dance floor, we created a dozen new jobs, and were the first bar in decades to be able to host 18+ events. It has truly been an amazing past year for the staff, our performers, customers, Michael, and me.

Enter 2020 and the Coronavirus outbreak... I am writing this at 10:30pm, just after receiving notice that we will have to close indefinitely at 2:00am tomorrow morning. We had a plan to stay open with limited capacity at 50, but now the government leaves us no choice but to close, leaving all of our staff jobless for an undetermined time, leaving no cashflow to pay our bills, and no system of relief or suspension of debt that we will owe. Even the SBA has yet to release the "emergency funding" that was promised. We have nowhere else to turn but to you.

I wish I had the financial standing or deep pockets to bail us out, so does Michael, but the truth is we both went all-in when it came to the bar. We have put everything we have into preserving the bar for generations to come, and now have to face the harsh reality: two weeks of closure could leave us on the edge of ruin, and anything beyond that would cripple us completely, making it impossible for the bar to re-open.

We ask that if you believe in Michael and me, in what we and our amazing staff provide for the community, the legacy of Joe, June and everyone who came before us, the preservation of one of the oldest LGBT bars in the country - please help us bridge the gap in cashflow that this mandatory shutdown creates.

We will use all funds raised to make sure we can cover expenses to re-open when this crisis ends, and thereby making sure that all our employees have a job to come back to. Any surplus money will be extended to the staff who are effected by this.

Please, even if it is the price one drink, we ask you for you help. Anything will be accepted and appreciated.

- George Schneider

Donations ()

  • Aydan Salerno 
    • $50 
    • 4 hrs
  • Sylvia Nyxx 
    • $40 
    • 3 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 3 d
  • Peter Noto 
    • $10 
    • 4 d
  • Patty Gray 
    • $100 
    • 5 d
See all

Organizer

George Richard 
Organizer
Milwaukee, WI
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