Food Slam 2010: Concert venue auction items for the win, Alex.

Unicorns. Flying shoes. Money trees. All things that are universally understood as “too good to be true.” They’re also universally understood as “things that never existed in the first place, and probably never WILL exist.” Most too-good-to-be-true things are.

Most things.

This year’s Food Slam silent auction features three items that seem way too good to be true. But they’re real. As real as rainbows and peat moss and Starsky & Hutch remakes. And they’re from three of Milwaukee’s most well-known concert venues. Prepare to have your precious minds blown, Milwaukee:

Riverwest’s funky classic, Mad Planet, has always been generous when it comes to Food Slam’s silent auction. But this year, they out-generoused themselves. Instead of donating one (1) year-long pass to attend any and every event Mad Planet throws, they’ve donated two (2). That means you and a friend/lover/police escort could potentially go to every single show there, together! We’re talking local bands, nationally touring acts, and even The Get Down!

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2. $100 x 4 = THANK THE RAVE
We don’t have a Math degree, but we’re pretty sure that four (4) $100 gift cards is pretty awesome. And according to our abacus, $100 x 4 = $400! That means, thanks to The Rave, you have a chance to buy $400 worth of concert tickets to the seemingly endless stream of shows happening at this legendary Milwaukee venue, without spending a single dime. Why do I get the feeling that this item’s going to have a serious bidding war around it?

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It’s not enough that the Pabst Theater Foundation raised the bar for concert-going experiences in Milwaukee on Earth. Now they want to redefine dinner parties for you. Want the details? Well, I’m just going to go ahead and paste the copy they sent us describing their donated Food Slam auction item, because I’m getting a little light-headed from the awesomeness:


Here’s a unique venue for a dinner party. Chef to the Stars Kevin Sloan will cater a dinner for four guests BACKSTAGE  in the Dining Room at the Riverside Theater. It usually requires a back- stage pass to experience this chef’s cuisine. The former restaurant owner who also worked at Sanford and Lake Park Bistro has created four-star meals for dozens of entertainers from The National to Neil Young. Mix and mingle with staff from WMSE and the Pabst Theater for an evening to remember.

You will win dinner for four people (4), and will be joined by staff from WMSE and the Pabst.

Sweet Mother Hubbard! You best believe if money trees weren’t too good to be true, I’d pick enough fiscal fruit to win all three of these items. Of course, I’d probably have to quit my day job so I could actually attend all the concerts I could get into for free. Then again, I’d also hypothetically have a money tree at this point, so let’s just say “job, schmob” and be done with it.


FOOD SLAM 2010: Win yourself a good grooming

I’d like to begin today’s post by cursing Food Slam blog writer Erin Harris, for teasing me with that photo of McBobs’ delicious reuben sandwich. Nevermind that the sandwich is a million times more delicious than what I had for lunch. I’m also fairly certain the photo of the sandwich is more delicious, too.

On to business, though. Specifically: the business of looking (and feeling) good. Food Slam will make your belly feel good. And full. But if you eat like I do, you’ll walk away with a tiny gut, food in your hair, and countless other blemishes due to never really learning how to eat like a gentleman. Luckily, the auction offers a few items for you to bid on… items that will help turn Goofus’s like me into Gallants you can take home to mother:

1. Our pals at The Establishment know the value of a good grooming. Which is why they’ve generously donated three very important grooming elements to the Food Slam this year, courtesy of their dynamic duo Molly & Annie. Molly will be offering a haircut and pure focus facial, and Annie will be offering a Brazilian wax. Plus, you’ll get to hang at The Establishment, which always feels like a party. A party where you walk out prettier.

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2. If you’re one of those girls (or guys) who feels a little naked without make-up on, you’ll want to aim your bidding money at Blush Beauty Inc.‘s generously donated make-up party… for you and three friends! Immediately, I imagined Gene Simmons bidding on this, because he understands the value of both the dollar, and a good make-up job. Plus, he has three friends who share his affinity for the painted face. But then I snapped back to reality, and envisioned my wife bidding, winning, and turning it into a Girlinas Day Out. Perhaps you should choose your four early, attend Food Slam together, and work together to dominate the bidding sheet!

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3. At this point, you’ve won a day of grooming at The Establishment, and a make-up party for you and three of your finest amigos. What on Earth could possibly top all that? How about a one-hour massage from some folks who know the spine better than the guy who invented it! (Note: I’m very aware the spine wasn’t invented.) Nowak & Lewis, who are big supporters of the South Shore Farmer’s Market, have graciously donated an hour of their time (and hands) to set you straight, literally. Of course you’ll have to drop your three friends and their fantastic make-up jobs off somewhere while you experience 60 minutes of sheer, vertebrae-aligning bliss, but it’ll be worth it.

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4. Of course, no conversation about grooming oneself back to decency would be complete without a trip to the gym. Or 365 trips to the gym, which is what the well-toned folks at Anytime Fitness have offered up for our silent auction. Place the winning bid, and you’ll own a year-long membership to one of their Milwaukee-area facilities. Which means you’ll need to buy some “welcome back” cards for your abs.

Sound good? It does to me. We’ll be back tomorrow with even MORE items you’ll be able to bid on in our auction. And keep an eye on the Food Slam blog to see which area eatery Erin features next!

FOOD SLAM 2010: Tea, Tequila and Cheese

Though Food Slam is equal parts food tasting and silent auction, sometimes, the food component carries over IN to the silent auction. Case in point: today’s featured auction items.

Not to be confused with other famous teas like “Mister” and “Ice-,” Rishi Tea is Milwaukee’s very own environmentally responsible, socially conscious, award-winning tea company. Over the last few years, they’ve become a community-supporting force to be reckoned with, popping up as proud sponsors of everything from small film festivals to Global Union to us! So it should come as no surprise that they’re generosity continues with our Food Slam silent auction. This year, Rishi is donating a large glass pitcher, some chai concentrate (yum), a super-soft and beautiful chai t-shirt, 3 loose leaf chai teas (yum again) and a Rishi tote bag to carry it home in. If you’ve yet to experience the beverage magic that is Rishi, consider this your starter kit. And if you’re a proud Rishi Tea-junkie like I am, consider this the biggest score of your October 2 weekend.

I know what you’re thinking: “Why would anyone ever feel guilty about enjoying a Margarita?” Frankly, I don’t know. Or I didn’t, anyway, until I looked up how many calories are in one of those delicious bad boys. The answer? Click here. Terrifying! Cue the Superman theme song, though, because Martita’s Mixers is about to save your salted-glass day. This locally based company makes a Guiltless Margarita Mix is only 5 calories per 5 oz. serving. And when you add that to 1 oz. of Tequila (roughly 75 calories, according to Martita’s site), you get a delicious beverage that has almost 1/3 of the calories that the traditional one we looked up does! I can hear my waistline shrinking already! I can also hear you  getting excited about the fact that, at Food Slam, you could bid on their fantastic donated prize pack: two bottles of Martita’s Guiltless Margarita Mix, a bottle of Tequila, and four Margarita glasses!

Frankly, I don’t need to work too hard to get you all excited about this one. I mean, I’m lactose-intolerant and even I think this is pretty sweet. Plus, you’re supporting the 1,200 farm family-dairy cooperative that is Cabot Creamery Cooperative.  Which means you’re actually doing something good and responsible for the world by eating this cheese. What cheese, you ask? Well, check out this wild list of items our new friends at Cabot are donating to the Food Slam auction:

  • 1-pound Cabot Vintage Choice Waxed cheddar cheese
  • 1-pound Cabot Private Stock Waxed cheddar cheese
  • 2-pound Cabot Sharp White cheddar cheese
  • 1 (8-oz.) bar Cabot 50% Reduced-Fat White cheddar cheese
  • 1 (8-oz.) bar Cabot Sharp White cheddar cheese
  • 1 (8-oz.) bar Cabot Extra Sharp White cheddar cheese
  • 1 (8-oz.) bar Cabot Seriously Sharp White cheddar cheese
  • Wooden cutting board
  • Embroidered apron

Word on the cheese street is you might be able to sample some of their sharp cheddar, and nab a brochure for all your holiday ordering needs. But let’s just keep that between us. Otherwise, those samples will be gone before you get there.

Let’s part ways here, ladies and gents. This is more than enough to keep you from using actual billable hours today. But check back this week for more Food Slam auction item previews, as well as a paragraph or two about the featured restaurants you’ll be sampling when you attend. And you will attend. (Note: that was a Jedi mind trick.)

The Non-Lemmy Music Docs

Last week we gave you the heads up about Lemmy, today we give you a brief run-down of all the other documentaries in the series we are sponsoring. For a full festival schedule go here.

Ride, Rise, Roar – David Byrne is has been making great and creative music for a few decades now, but unlike a great many aging musicians, he hasn’t lost a step. This film chronicles Byrne’s 2008-09 tour (you might have see the Milwaukee show) “that melded pop music and modern dance in innovative ways.”

Variety said, “At the start of “Ride, Rise, Roar,” as a white-suited David Byrne launches into an exuberant rendition of “Once in a Lifetime” backed by a perfectly attuned ensemble of similarly clad dancers, vocalists and musicians, it’s clear: This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no humdrum concert documentary.”

Soundtrack for a RevolutionSoundtrack for a Revolution, an aptly titled film that demonstrates how music is often intertwined with the world at large. Music didn’t just act as a passive companion piece to a revolution, it played a key role in inspiring protests during the 1950’s and ’60’s civil rights movement. We may never again see music wield such massive influence over an entire generation of progressive thinkers.

Cut with footage of that time, you’ll hear and see clips of the music that played so important a role, and you’ll also see and hear vibrant new renditions of enduring civil rights anthems by current artists including The Blind Boys of Alabama, Anthony Hamilton, Wyclef Jean, John Legend, Joss Stone, TV on the Radio and The Roots.

Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everybody Talking About Him)?Harry Nilsson is that kind of songwriter that everyone recognizes, but nobody knows. OK, maybe YOU, the Frontier Radio audiences is more knowledgeable than most and know exactly who is Harry Nilsson. But your are hardcore music fans, not just background music listeners.

Nilsson is loved by some of the world’s most important artists. From musicians like the Beatles and Brian Wilson to filmmakers the irk of Tarantino, pop culture icons of the last several decades have been immensely influenced by this enigmatic songwriter.

“This one really hit me between the eyes. As someone who grew up listening primarily to the music of the 50s, 60s and 70s, of course I knew of Harry Nilsson, but I really knew nothing about his life. I even didn’t realize that a few songs I love… were his songs.”— Ain’t It Cool News

Rejoice and Shout – We were going to try to put our own spin on this, but it was so perfectly laid out by Spinning Matters.

Rejoice and Shout, the latest music documentary from director Don McGlynn is the most thoroughly researched and exhaustive film about African-American gospel music ever committed to film. In telling the story of gospel in America, it simultaneously mirrors the entire narrative of the African-American experience, beginning with slavery and ending with the election of the nation’s first black president.”- Spinning Platters


Mark My Words – Finally, we bring you Milwaukee and the spoken word crafters so often invisible to the general public, but who always, always pack a significant cultural and artistic punch.

Having spent parts of his youth in Milwaukee, Film Wisconsin founding board member Brad Pruitt returns to his erstwhile hometown with Mark My Words, a documentary that focuses on 24 hours in the lives of nine local spoken word poets. With this project, the Emmy-winning Pruitt seeks to reveal the transformative power of words for individuals and communities at large. Showcasing the celebratory and powerful performance of local poetry and music, the film gives audiences intimate access into the poets’ thoughts and the passions and struggles that inspire their stirring compositions.

“This is Milwaukee …out of the box, out of the comfort zone, and most importantly out in the open. Feel the power of emotion as each artist takes you through a cascade of words that will drown you in emotion.”— Milwaukee Community Journal

Milwaukee Film Fest – Rock Docs

We’re super excited for the upcoming Milwaukee Film Fest. We’re doubly excited to be help presenting a couple different film series. The 1st:

Lemmy Tell You About Music, Man: Music Documentaries about Senor Kilmister, David Byrne & Other Great Music Makers

Like we said, we are absolutely thrilled to help present this series of fantastic music documentaries. The six films in the Lemmy Tell You About Music, Man series pretty well reflect our programming philosophy, meaning as a whole, the series features everything from Metal to Gospel. We’ll be telling you about all the films individually, but since we named the series after the dude – the metal god-devil – here’s a little bit about Lemmy.

Lemmy – A film that needs no subtitle. There’s Lemmy, and there’s everyone else. He’s about a singular musical figure as singular musical figures get.

A documentary as distinctive and uncompromising as the grizzled subject it details, Lemmy casts new light into the life and works of one of the longest and hardest-rocking lead singers in the history of heavy metal: Motörhead’s iconic Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister. The biggest names in rock and roll (Slash, Ozzy Osbourne, Henry Rollins) all contribute to this definitive portrait of a rock god. Wired says, He looks like a biker, swears like a sailor and lives the only way he knows how: like a rock ‘n’ roll machine.

We’re right now planning and scheduling an interview with the directors of this film when the get into town. Let’s just say that if their film has even half the personality of its directors, or 1/8th the personality of the film’s subject, this is a film that you will never, ever forget. It will live and breathe in that space in the brain reserved for raunch and debauchery…the part of the brain that leads you to not follow stupid rules.

Seriously, you are going to love this film. An no, you don’t have to be a metal fan to dig into Lemmy. Just as last year you didn’t have to be a metal junkie to thoroughly enjoy Anvil: The Story of Anvil, this film, and the films protagonist, are perfect for the big screen.

Ridge Cinema 2: Friday, October 1st – 7:15pm
Oriental Theater: Saturday, October 2nd – 7:30pm

Two weeks for tickets!

We’re a mere few weeks away from our 9th Annual Food Slam event, and if you’re still on the fence about attending (we do have a few tickets left), allow me to woo you a bit with this bullet-pointed list. Because everyone loves bullet-pointed lists. Except numbers. They want you to love numbered lists.

  • Food Slam is essentially an all-you-can-eat buffet for folks who don’t want the caloric burden of full-plate chow sessions. Each restaurant brings a small, tapas-sized portion for you to sample. Which means you could potentially sample it multiple times before it equals one full trip to a normal buffet.
  • Have you ever been been in a conversation where people are talking about a hot new Milwaukee restaurant, but you’ve never been there so you feel like a clueless schmuck? Attending Food Slam will not only allow you to become familiar with some hot new (and old) Milwaukee restaurants, it will also give you a specific dish to talk about. Who’s the embarrassed schmuck now, other-people-in-the-conversation?
  • Your entire $30 ticket is a tax write-off. Nothing appeals to recession-era American more.
  • Your entire $30 ticket supports 91.7 FM WMSE. Bonus!
  • There’s a rather hefty auction of items from area businesses and artist: art, music, gift cards, apparel, and cleverly assembled theme packs that tend to draw some serious bidding wars. Who doesn’t love a good bidding war?
  • Did we mention that, if you win an auction item, that counts as a donation to us also? Double-play!
  • When was the last time you got to eat and drink in an art museum?
  • We have the best DJs on the airwaves, and three of them will be soundtracking the evening. Bootleggers are welcome.
  • The event ends early. Which means you can come to Food Slam, eat a bunch of really great things, have a few drinks, win a few cool auction items, and still have an entire Friday night out ahead of you. Because everyone knows the nightlife here in Milwaukee doesn’t really get started until around 10 PM.

Seeing as how my highly-convincing list has you jonesing for a Food Slam ticket, I give you the online link (click here) to purchase one (or ten). You can also get them by mail or in person. (See here.) And while we do usually have tickets available at the door the night of the event, we’re not sure they’ll last that long. Better safe than sorry.

Tomorrow, I’ll start digging in to some of the restaurants who will be serving up plates of awesome at Food Slam, as well as some of the auction items we’ll be featuring. Check back, mis amigos!

John Legend + The Roots + Bill Withers

(Note: Through Wednesday, I, dwellephant, will be filling in for Sonic Diet’s Editor and CEO, Erin Wolfe. Think of it less as a substitution, and more along the lines of, well, actually, I guess it is a substitution after all.)

First there was the album I was definitely looking forward to. Then th