Formal Museum Fete Gets Ugly

What started as a swanky art soiree turned into a drunken barf-o-rama after an event’s well-heeled guests went medieval on all-you-can-drink martinis.

Vodka-sloggers got sick, passed out, and threw down junior high-style at Martinifest, a semi-formal event organized by Clear Channel Radio at the Milwaukee Art Museum that offered unlimited martinis for $30, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

"It was crazy," said attendee Kathleen Christians, 39. "People were shoving people over. People were getting sick, screaming, shouting, messing with the artwork."

As with previous events at the museum, the sculptures and art were lined up in the galleries in close proximity with the serving areas.

But this time, they came out of it covered in all manner of party fouls.

The boozy buffoonery didn’t stop there — four young men got fresh with a bronze sculpture called “Standing Woman.”

"They were standing on it, grabbing the boobs, and somebody was just taking pictures with a cell phone," said Laura Collins, 35.

Fortunately for museum officials, bronze — a resilient material — may just be party-proof. Only two sculptures were removed for “review.”

Clear Channel, shaken — but not stirred — by the party’s “Animal House” antics, plans to stage another Martinifest in 2007, but with greater attention to the size of the crowd and the number of drinks allowed per guest.

Thanks to Out There reader Nathan M.

Rumors of Her Death Were ... Uh ... Mildly Exaggerated

An investigation concluded that a Des Moines woman who couldn’t be bothered to pay her parking tickets faked her own death to escape the fines.

KCCI reports that Kimberly Du, 36, wrote a fake obituary and a letter (punctuated by her mother’s forged signature, no less) telling a Polk County judge she had kicked the bucket.

Du’s no-bituary was fashioned to look like a page off The Des Moines Register’s Web site and wove the woeful tale of her tragic death in a traffic accident.

But the only traffic-related “accident” was that she neglected to actually disappear when cops pulled her over a month after she allegedly bit the dust.

Du is currently in custody at the Polk County Jail on a forgery allegation.

Instead of forking over $500 in traffic fines, she is now facing a felony charge that could send her to prison for five years.

Thanks to Out There readers Amanda A., Tiffany V., Karen C. and Jim B.

Her Next 'Hit' Could Be Jailhouse Rock

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A woman pleaded guilty Monday to attempted murder charges for trying to hire a hit man to rob and kill four men for what she thought was cocaine, but turned out to be cheese.

As previously reported in Out There, Jessice Sandy Booth, 18, hatched the plot after she visited the home of the men, and mistook queso fresco — a white, crumbly cheese common in Mexican cuisine.

But the hit man she hired turned out to be an undercover police officer.

"They asked her numerous times 'Do you really want to go through with this?'" prosecutor Paul Hagerman said. "They gave her numerous chances to back out, but she said she was serious. She said she needed the money for modeling school."

Booth pleaded guilty Monday to four counts of attempted first-degree murder and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. She would be eligible for parole after serving 20 percent of her sentence, but it generally isn't granted on first request for violent crimes.

Booth planned to take part in the murders, and went with a police officer to buy a handgun. She told investigators that she planned to make sure all possible witnesses were killed.

"Then they would have been murdered, too," Booth said about children or other bystanders in her statement to investigators. "If they would have been babies they would not have been able to talk and then they would not have been murdered."

Thanks to Out There readers Nancy P. and Aaron M.

They're Lovin' It

FAIRBORN, Ohio (AP) — Do you take this man — and do you want fries with that?

A couple from the Dayton area tied the knot under the golden arches. They exchanged their vows this week at the McDonald's in Fairborn where they work together and met three years ago.

Trisha Lynn Esteppe says she and Tyree Henderson couldn't imagine a more romantic spot to hold their wedding. So, Monday afternoon they walked down a white aisle laid on the restaurant's floor and had a traditional ceremony — not far from the counter where customers continued to place their orders for Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets.

They were married by the Reverend James Hartman, who says his first fast-food wedding was "just wonderful."

We Are So Smart! S-M-R-T! I Mean, S-M-A-R-T!

CHICAGO (AP) — Americans apparently know more about "The Simpsons" than they do about the First Amendment.

Only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment (freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition for redress of grievances.) But more than half can name at least two members of the cartoon family, according to a survey.

The study by the new McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum found that 22 percent of Americans could name all five Simpson family members, compared with just one in 1,000 people who could name all five First Amendment freedoms.

Joe Madeira, director of exhibitions at the museum, said he was surprised by the results.

"Part of the survey really shows there are misconceptions, and part of our mission is to clear up these misconceptions," said Madeira, whose museum will be dedicated to helping visitors understand the First Amendment when it opens in April. "It means we have our job cut out for us."

The survey found more people could name the three "American Idol" judges than identify three First Amendment rights. They were also more likely to remember popular advertising slogans.

It also showed that people misidentified First Amendment rights. About one in five people thought the right to own a pet was protected, and 38 percent said they believed the right against self-incrimination contained in the Fifth Amendment was a First Amendment right, the survey found.

The telephone survey of 1,000 adults was conducted Jan. 20-22 by the research firm Synovate and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Thanks to Out There reader Mike A.

Spitting Games

BEIJING (AP) — Beijing is launching a campaign to stamp out widespread public spitting in an effort to clean up its image for the 2008 Olympics.

The government has concluded that spitting is the city's "most serious bad habit," Zhang Huiguang, director of Beijing's Capital Ethics Development Office, said Wednesday.

"This year we will intensify our law enforcement efforts in this field," Zhang told a news conference. "We will require law enforcement officials to step up the frequency of fines."

The fine for public spitting is 50 yuan ($5).

Tourists visiting Beijing often are startled at how many people spit or blow their noses onto sidewalks.

The crackdown is part of efforts to raise "ethical and cultural" standards in advance of the 2008 Summer Games, a major prestige project for the communist government.

Zhang said officials will launch an advertising campaign on radio, television, the Internet and mobile phones to "teach people the right way to spit."

"For example, you have to spit into a tissue or a bag, then place it in a dustbin to complete the process," she said.

Those without a bag handy needn't worry. Zhang said her office has organized a small army of volunteers who are already hitting Beijing's streets, handing out small "spitting bags" and wearing bright orange uniforms with the Chinese character "tan" — "mucus" — printed in yellow on the back.

She said enforcement will also be ramped up against littering — the second-worst habit her office faces — and pets fouling the streets, the No. 3 scourge.

Compiled by's Taylor Timmins.

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