Landmark Lanes Is Fun With Films
It’s a great hangout before or after the Milwaukee Film Fest, with a raft of good drink choices.
Before signing up for a Netflix account my girlfriend is requiring her son to write a few persuasive paragraphs on the service’s worth. The other day he showed us his first draft, which focused on having an entire TV series at your fingertips and not being beholden to live broadcast schedules. Netflix and other on-demand entertainment platforms are great and all, but when you watch one of their documentaries, the subject doesn’t leap off the screen and appear in your living room. Whereas, after a documentary is shown at the Milwaukee Film Festival, the subjects do often walk out in front of the screen and make themselves available for a Q&A.
Sunday and Monday night at the Film Fest I had the pleasure of seeing two excellent documentaries whose subjects were both in attendance. Sunday night I was at the Oriental Theatre for a rock doc about seminal 90s Seattle radio DJ/modern gay rights activist Marco Collins (The Glamour & The Squalor), and Monday night I was at the Downer Theatre for a rousing sports doc (T-Rex) about the first Olympic Gold Medalist in women’s boxing, Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, a determined teenager from Flint, Michigan. In both cases the hero of the film appeared before us and I got to ask them each a question.
There’s nothing quite like these shared cultural experiences, which comprise the ultimate power of the Film Fest. That applies to more than just the films and special guests, but also the lectures, workshops, conversations, education screenings, mixers, parties and music performances. Following the first Milwaukee Show at the Oriental there was a Cream City Cinema After-Party next door at Landmark Lanes (2220 N. Farwell Ave.), one of the most beloved bowling alley bars in the city.
With three bars, 16 bowling lanes and lots of arcade games, there’s something for everyone. The happy hour is a winner as well, with $2 tap beer, $2 rail mixers and $4 rail doubles. Happy hour runs Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Their 18 draft lines make the $2 taps a kingpin of a deal. They currently have domestics ($4 regularly) Pabst, Coors Light, MGD, High Life, Bud Light, Miller Lite, crafts ($4.50 regularly) Spotted Cow, Riverwest Stein, Ranger IPA, Left Hand Milk Stout, Fixed Gear, Goose Island IPA, Kona Big Wave Golden Ale, New Glarus Staghorn and Moon Man, plus imports ($5.50 regularly) Stella Artois, Stella Cidre and Strongbow. All day deals include $3 Killian’s Red bottles, a tallboy of PBR and a shot Kessler whiskey ($5) or Tullamore Dew ($6). Seagram’s Spiced (cinnamon-y) and Seagram’s Apple are $4 for a shot and $7 for a double mixer. Fireball and 1800 Reposado shots are also $4. Their daily specials are extensive, see the picture for details.
When I was in they were completely out of red wine, depleted by the Film Fest crowd. But they usually have small bottles of merlot, cabernet, pinot grigio and riesling for $5. They have over 30 bottles of beer, plus tallboys of Schlitz, Redd’s, Smith and Forge, and Strongbow. Their liquor selection spans a number of shelves and includes my favorite flavored tequila, Patron XO Cafe, which I got a half-shot of before leaving for $2.75 (it was a Monday, after all). They have small ($6 cheese, $6.50 topping) and large ($7.50 cheese, $8 topping) pizzas and a few vending machines. Bowling is open 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays and until midnight Friday and Saturday, with shoe rental for $2.50 and $3.50 per game ($3.95 on weekends). They have a photobooth and a bunch of games including Beer Pong Master. The Side Bar is closed Monday and Wednesdays, but open the rest of the week with karaoke on Tuesday and Thursdays at 9:30pm.
I recently stopped by Nick’s House after Landmark to see what came of Y-Not III’s Bar Rescue last year. The Spike TV reality show basically turned it into a cheap version of “That 70s Show” set. Unlike Nick’s House, Landmark is authentically vintage. The furniture is cozy, they have a nice collection of retro Miller posters, payphones and the bathrooms are awesome, with a green room-style mirror in the Ladies.
Films + Drinks
Alas, there are only two days left of the Film Fest. But tonight is one of the best, with the two members only Super Secret Screenings happening at the Oriental at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. First-time Milwaukee Film memberships will be discounted through tomorrow and will get you into next year’s Super Secret Screening (and maybe tonight, but don’t quote me), plus 11 other monthly members-only screenings. While we’re being kept in the dark, I recommend a bottle of Lakefront Eastside Dark.
A tragically recurring reality of each Film Festival is the inclusion of a documentary on the Mexican-American border crisis. Grab a bottle of Modelo Especial to remind yourself that Mexico makes more than violence and drug wars, then immerse yourself in said chaos while watching Cartel Land.
New Glarus Moon Man is my favorite American Pale Ale and the sound of it being poured is music to my ears. Paraguay’s Recycled Orchestra of Cateura have created beautiful sounds out of trash from a huge landfill in their neighborhood and their inspirational journey from viral hit, worldwide touring sensation to hometown heroes is portrayed in Landfill Harmonic.
Filmed primarily in Prairie du Sac and Lodi, Wisconsin, Uncle John is about a beloved farmer and the mysterious disappearance of a born-again, reformed bully. After seeing this pitch-perfect thriller you may require a couple tallboys of PBR and shots of Tullamore Dew to calm your nerves.
Before karaoke in the side bar on Thursday night check out the pipes on some of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula residents (“Yoopers”) in Yoopera!, an exuberant account of an opera production that celebrates their cultural heritage. Get your singing confidence up with something strong like a shot of the new Jameson beer barrel aged Caskmates whiskey.
The Closing Night Film is the zany, must-be-seen-to-be-believed documentary Raiders!, which chronicles a group of childhood friends 30-year quest to remake the classic Indiana Jones film shot-for-shot. Share a few pitchers of Ranger IPA with friends after the screening, but don’t start throwing bowling balls at your pals to recreate the boulder scene.