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Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010

WMSE Food Slam

Food, drink and fun for a good cause

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As a nonprofit, listener-supported radio station, 91.7 WMSE-FM and its devoted army of community volunteers are tasked with the challenge of convincing recession-depressed Milwaukeeans to donate their hard-earned dollars to keep the station on-air. The 29-year-old organization, renowned for engaging the city’s auditory senses with slick noncommercial programming—think garage rock, prog rock, classic rock and punk rock along with a steady stream of hip-hop, reggae, jazz, blues, metal, electronic and classical music—has made an art of fun and creative fund-raising by targeting our other senses too. Some time back, WMSE made the correct assessment that the quickest way to our wallets is through our mouths, and created popular fund-raising events—like the annual Rockabilly Chili Contest every spring, as well as this week’s WMSE Food Slam—that promise great food and drink, all in the name of a good cause.

WMSE’s ninth annual Food Slam is essentially an all-you-can-eat buffet stocked with vegetarian and meaty grub, desserts and coffee provided by more than 25 of Milwaukee’s most celebrated and community-conscious restaurants. The list of food and drink vendors is as eclectic as WMSE’s programming. Well-established restaurants such as Beans & Barley, Anodyne Coffee Roasting, McBob’s Pub & Grill, Milwaukee Ale House and Nanakusa serve alongside newcomers like SPiN Milwaukee, Chili Lili’s Chili Bar and Blue’s Egg. Each vendor brings small, tapas-sized portions, and, because the event is limited to 500 people, participants who purchase the $30 entry ticket (tax write-off!) can rely on enough of a spread to sate even the hungriest appetite. For drinks of the more heady nature, there will be a cash bar serving Milwaukee Brewing Co. craft beers and Argentine wines provided by Trapiche wine group. If you bring two or more nonperishable food items for donation to Hunger Task Force, you can get one free drink of your choice.

Formerly held at the Eisner Museum of Advertising & Design, this year Food Slam will be hosted in the inspiring Grohmann Museum on MSOE’s campus. Admission includes access to the museum’s impressive permanent exhibit,“Man at Work,” the world's most comprehensive collection of European and American paintings and sculptures that depict the evolution of organized work. Plus, there’s just something to be said for being allowed to eat and drink in an art museum.

WMSE’s Tom Wanderer and the Wax Addicts will be spinning records for the evening’s soundtrack (and as a tangible reminder of why we need to support such a cool radio station). The Food Slam’s silent auction, another fund-raising avenue, is loaded with art, music, gift certificates, apparel and themed prize packages just waiting to be won.

The 2010 WMSE Food Slam takes place Friday, Oct. 1, from 6-10 p.m. The event is expected to sell out. For ticket information, visit https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/120516.
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