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Clear Channel’s Martinifest Goes Wild

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — A Clear Channel Radio sponsored Martinifest at the Milwaukee Art Museum on February 11th turned into much less than the elegant affair that was expected, as out of control guests slammed the unlimited booze and turned the event into a drunken bash.

Guests at the museum threw up, passed out, accosted artworks, and got into several altercations at the semi-formal event, held amongst sculptures and paintings in a new Santiago Calatrava-designed addition to the museum.

“Hindsight is 20-20…it was probably too cheap,” Kerry Wolfe, a local programming director for Clear Channel told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The $30 ticket price included unlimited martinis from several local restaurants displaying at the event.

The museum often rents out space for similar events that include food and drink, but has not seen anything get so out of hand in the past.

“In our five years of experience, we have never had any problems with rental events,” David Gordon, the museum’s director, said in a statement. “It was not an appropriate event to be held in the museum, and we have reviewed our procedures for bookings.”

As with many prior events, the sculptures in the museum’s gallerias were in close proximity to the serving areas during Martinifest. This time, however, food, drink and vomit were on and around some of the artworks by night’s end, according to the paper.

“It was crazy,” attendee Kathleen Christians told the Journal Sentinel. “People were shoving people over. People were getting sick, screaming, shouting, messing with the artwork.”

A group of four young men climbed onto “Standing Woman,” a tall, bronze sculpture of a goddess-like woman with exaggerated features by early 20th-century artist Gaston Lachaise.

“They were standing on it, grabbing the boobs, and somebody was just taking pictures with a cell phone,” attendee Laura Collins told the paper.

Restaurants paid $400 each to participate in the event, but several venders ran out of food, drink mix and vodka early on, due to the unruly crowd.

“We were hoping for a little sophistication, maybe,” said Casey Rataczak, a bartender for local restaurant Wicked Hop. “People were shoving their martini glasses in my face and not wanting to talk about the product…they were just worked up about getting their booze.”

In the museum director’s statement, Gordon said he had been “assured by Clear Channel that capacity would be limited to 1,400” and that it “was clear that the assurance was broken.”

Wolfe told the paper that the museum provided information that indicated capacity was 2,175. The museum said it n ever provided such a number.

Clear Channel has staged about a half-dozen other events at the museum in the past four years, including one the night before Martinifest, with no incidents. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers