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Milwaukee’s Houdini exhibit
Harry Houdini lived the American dream, said Barry Adams in the Wisconsin State Journal. The famous vaudeville illusionist, whose real name was Ehrich Weiss, was a Hungarian immigrant who grew up in Appleton, Wis., and then Milwaukee, where his rabbi father was unable to find work. The family had so little money that they wound up living in a barn, and young “Ehri” shined shoes and delivered newspapers while training in gymnastics on the side. By age 8, he was doing street performances on a downtown bridge and jumping into the Milwaukee River to practice holding his breath. Through Jan. 5, the Jewish Museum Milwaukee is celebrating Houdini with an exhibition that includes interactive displays of his escape acts and highlights his many return visits to Wisconsin—for street performances that drew up to 15,000 spectators and were often staged in front of newspaper offices to maximize publicity.