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Tuesday, March 5

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Event Wed Mar 09 2011

"Old Fashioned" Documentary about WI Supper Clubs

bar.JPGOne of my favorite things about going up to northern Wisconsin in the summers of my childhood was that my mom, a Chicago south-sider, had made almost identical pilgrimages with her family a generation earlier. Granted, the drive from Chicago was much longer than from central Wisconsin where I grew up, the medical technology for removing an errant fishing lure from someone's face was slightly more primitive, and the drone of Jet-Skis was still a nuisance of the future for my mom -- but there's something decidedly timeless about the Northwoods. Few northern institutions epitomize that time warp more than Wisconsin supper clubs -- many of which were started in the 1930s and '40s, and still exist, still serve ice cream drinks from the bar (Pink Squirrel, what up!) and oyster crackers with the near-mandatory bowl of soup, and still advertise their whereabouts on wooden planks nailed to the trees along windy, pine-shaded roads. And if this description was not romantic enough for you, some dear soul has gone and made a whole documentary film about the phenomena.

chair.JPGChicago documentary filmmaker Holly De Ruyter is exploring the history and enduring present of Wisconsin supper clubs in her new film, Old Fashioned. (Like the drink! Get it?) And she's fundraising the old-fashioned way as well, by throwing a party this Saturday at Will's Northwoods Inn to kick up some cash and unveil the film's trailer. Full details are in Slowdown and on Facebook, but a $15 suggested donation will get you two drink tickets, plus the cheese, sausage and raffle largess Will's is known for, and ice cream drinks! Do you know how hard it is to get a bartender to make you an ice cream drink these days? Bartenders HATE making ice cream drinks! Haaaaaaaate. But mostly because getting the ice cream and the flavoring are just so far outside the normal orbit of the bar -- so they can't hate on it if it's the focal point of the event, right? Here's hoping... If you're into the supper club nostalgia, or just are dying to know what exactly a Pink Squirrel is, this event is not to be missed.

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Nate / March 10, 2011 12:58 PM

Woah, awesome! Thanks for pointing this out. My parents are from Ashland, WI, and I had those long trips up there from Chicago as well! :) And loved them. I love these supper clubs they have up there too. And their old fashions. I know some folks who would really enjoy seeing this movie.

Where in northern WI were you traveling to?

Andie / March 10, 2011 9:35 PM

We always went (and still go) to St. Germain, all the way up by Minoqua. So the supper clubs I most love are places like Hintz's North Star Lodge, where I'm pretty sure the same waitstaff have been working since the 50s. But even by my hometown (Marshfield) there are places like the Buccaneer Supper Club in Rozellville -- run by Rich Seubert's (of the NY football Giants) parents, which explains the lack of Green Bay gear.

Brian / December 13, 2011 11:19 AM

For anyone who attended this event or is interested in further contributing to the film, currently there is a Kickstarter campaign in effect. This is to raise funds to finish the film and get it off to film festivals. Check out the link below to see a video and more information. Consider donating and please spread the word!

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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