Hudson Wisconsin Nightlife

The walleye and making music mark Season’s Tavern fifth year in business

February 27th, 2015

In a celebration to mark the fifth anniversary of the current Seasons Tavern, it will be all about the music, but also about a whole lotta walleye and burgers with three kinds of cheese.
The music part of the show starts around 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 28, and that should tell you something about Seasons, located in the heart of North Hudson.
While the show must go on, their attraction is more about the dining than its other attributes, and having the band begin at that time means people can enjoy their dinner and converse before they rock out along the main drag.
What on the menu keeps bringing people back? “Anything walleye,” two servers agreed, citing a variety of treatments given to their fish dinners. And The Slugger, a big trifecta burger topped with cheese curds, pepperjack cheese and jalopena-spiced cheese.
Many of the regulars say they like the consistency on the menu, knowing they can get a favorite dish time and again, but that’s not to say things aren’t occasionally changed up. There is a summer menu that leans more toward salads and pastas, and a chef’s special of the day that also often features pastas, as well as other items.
When my parents visit twice a year, Seasons has always been the place they want to take us for dinner, with the favorite entree and side dish choices evolving as the years went by.
Brad, the owner of Seasons, has also been the longtime drummer of the group Thirsty Camel, which has become the house band for occasions such as this at Seasons, performing four or five times a year. He keeps it low-key but still up-tempo. They feature light rock from a host of classic rock groups, and have been covering such songs almost since the time those bands got going in the ’70s and ’80s.
The trio sets up in the northeast corner of the lower level of the establishment, with several tables closeby that make for an intimate setting for listeners. It was at a spot just a few steps away that in the earlier part of the decade, karaoke and open mic sessions were held. They might at some point be brought back, but at this point Seasons strives to focus on being a restaurant, although there are other local music groups brought in on occasion.
The establishment is constructed out of plenty of thick wood hewn logs, bringing the lodge concept to town long before it was popularized by some other eating places. A relatively new touch is having the ceiling above the round downstairs bar opened up, except for some of the aforementioned beams, and a Christmas tree planted in the middle of the upper level.
The detail given to the ambiance is shown in the fact that many of the lighting fixtures are either new or have been moved around, so there is consistency in the decor.
Are there some regulars who come in like clockwork? “Oh yeah,” said a couple of the servers. These patrons often arrive at the same times on any given night, and regularly order the same drink or meal. The servers say they’ve grown accustomed to these preferences, and look forward to asking them about their families or how their day was.

Build the offerings and they will come, with accolades, to Dick’s and Bo’s

February 23rd, 2015

There are major accolades to be given to the management of a pair of bar and grill establishments that are much alike in that they offer plenty of community-based activities, and serve a wide variety of clientele as each day cycles through.
At Dick’s in Hudson, Carol Raley and Rochelle LaBlanc are the principal new owners, having bought the business from the longtime proprietors in the Kremer family, and at Bo’s ‘N Mine in River Falls, longtime owner Cedric Ellingson has been named 2014 person of the year by the local Chamber of Commerce.
The two women at Dick’s have been fixtures there for years, starting as servers at this, the oldest continuously running tavern in the state. They say they won’t change much, maybe a dab of paint here and there, and Dick’s will continue to be a prime place for breakfast since the cooks also have been a long-running team, for lunch and later happy hour for local business-people, and then for dancing to a variety of music, whether it be from a deejay on weekends or a core group of ever-expanding favorite bands, even in the middle of the week.
One of the managers asked me, back in the day when I worked for the Hudson Star-Observer, why don’t you do a story on all the community events associated with Dick’s, rather than just the nightlife? Good question, I thought, even if no one is necessarily reinventing the wheel.
Besides holding benefits, some of the longtime annual events that have attracted a regular following to the bar and grill are the blackout parties held in the dark except for glow sticks, spring break parties complete with sand, British car club shows, the One Block Fun Run, Easter bunny and pumpkin carving seasonal events, cribbage tourneys and Hot Air Affair pre-party. Often a few Lucky Dog mascots, who aren’t dogs at all, participate as well as humans.
Just of late, events have been a sweetheart dart tournament for Valentine’s Day, a chili cookoff and Euchre tourney. And as always, hung from the ceiling have been lots of holiday-themed decorations. And of course, the amazing Jeff Loven has completed his 13th year of being the infamous one-man-band on Sunday nights, and Wednesdays in the summer have often featured bands — to the degree that my friend Tom figures it into his schedule if they are on or off, then decides whether to make the trip from the Cities midweek. For years, also, there has been breakfast for the boating crowd and accompanying Bloody Mary’s. All this to the point that bartenders in the area consider Dick’s the place where you most want to work. But as far as the extra-curricular end, I still would like to someday hit the YMCA basketball court with Carol, in what’s been a longtime consideration, as in her native Luck the tall blonde was a quite prolific basketball scorer and rebounder.
But sometimes, what is old does indeed become new.
When I first moved to Hudson, the far northwest corner featured a pay telephone on which you could call out — before the phone company started taking those out of service. It had, very humorously, a painting of Superman placing the call.
After a while, that gave way to space for a popcorn machine, but I still always thought that the presence of Superman was a nice touch.
So, a couple of weeks ago, the whole thing was dismantled again, this time with the eventual placement of decorative paneling that cordoned off a back room. Suddenly one night, there was all this remodeling going on, and you could see for the first time a temporarily revealed back-room area that on one end had small drawers of nuts and bolts that reminded me of my garage. Later, for a short period of time, there was the whirring of a drill, which temporarily made it hard to converse about how nice the new area was shaping up.
But still later, the new arrangement was complete, with the popcorn machine moved closer to the rest of the room and an office area finalized with dedicated space for various business affairs. But still, no sign of a resurrected Superman.
Perhaps the best, closest thing to Superman at Bo’s has been Joe Montana, the famous quarterback who when with the Kansas City Chiefs and their summer practices in River Falls was known to stop by and tip a couple. And, it’s reported, he would even talk to the average Joe’s at the bar, as long as it was everyday guy stuff and not football. Much like Lynyrd Skynyrd used to sing, “don’t ask me about my business, and I won’t send you away. If you want to talk about fishing, I guess that would be OK.”
But the owner of Bo’s can’t quite escape the local notoriety — as not only Montana comes in, but everyone from business and local political leaders to college students — even if Ellingson’s not quite hall of fame bound.
This is a short list of what Ellingson’s done in and for the community of River Falls:
– He’s on the regional board for Big Brothers/Big Sisters;
– Is involved in the River Falls Baseball Council with building the First National Bank of River Falls Field;
– Has worked with Our Neighbors Place that benefits homeless people;
– Is involved with many chamber events, including those on St. Patrick’s Day, and with RiverDazzle and the Bacon Bash;
– Works with many UW-River Falls events, including athletics and Bowls of Hope;
– Through his business, hosts a dinner for an area suicide awareness group.
Ellingson will point out that like Dick’s, having such ties brings people into his establishment, making it a win-win situation.

Roots music to take root at Tasting event for farm-friendly Hot Air Affair

February 2nd, 2015

The Hudson Hot Air Affair has a farm theme this year, and the fact that there will be a variety of rootin’ tootin’ music as well as tasting of many local products is no bull.
The longtime ballooning extravaganza running from Feb. 6-8 is sponsoring the Taste of Hot Air Affair, Field to Flight edition, as a fundraiser. It features sampling of spirits, wine and beer, along with decadent chocolates and cheeses, and is set for Saturday from 7:30-10 p.m. in the Chateau Room of the Hudson House Grand Hotel, 1616 Crestview Drive. Sponsors of this signature activity for the 26th annual launching event called Field to Flight, E-I-E-I-O, are 45th Parallel Spirits and the Villa Bellezza Winery, both local companies.
Music in this, the Taste’s third year will be provided by the Hunyuks, a River Falls area duo of Bill Gnatzig and Denny Thorsen. They cover diverse genres, from “rootsy fine old-time picking with vocals,” to country, classic country and down home music, and have been together for about seven years.
“We do a fair amount of Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, with some of that old fun Roger Miller, Waylon Jennings, and occasionally throw in some ’50s and ’60s rock,” Gnatzig said.
The style of their show will be catered to the nature of the event. “We will tone down the volume so that people can visit and just let them enjoy themselves,” he said, adding that their guideline is creating “songs and smiles.”
The music for the Taste is compliments of the River Falls Roots and Bluegrass Festival, another large-scale event that has many bands and related attractions at numerous venues and hits their stages in April. That festival and an accompanying event in River Falls, the Bacon Bash, plan to march in the Torchlight Parade that will be held in downtown Hudson at 7 p.m. Friday. The parade will also feature music of another type, that of kazoo marching bands.
Proceeds from the Taste will go to the Hudson Area Backpack Program, a non-profit organization that distributes backpacks filled with groceries to families with elementary-age children in need.
Pre-sale tickets are $15 per person and those at the door are $20. They can be purchased at Hudson WESTconsin Credit Union, American Sky Brewery, Linda White Family Hair Care, or by calling (612) 360-3821, or emailing tamigirl1297@yahoo.com.
Also on the Hot Air Affair agenda is music at four participating sponsor locations, American Sky Brewing Co. and the Plaza Lounge/Hudson Bowling Center on the Hill, and Urban Olive and Vine and Dick’s Bar and Grill downtown.
Music acts at the Hangar Taproom of American Sky, at 1510 Swasey St. behind Fleet Farm, are Sasha Mercedes and DJ Rickert from 6-9 p.m. on Friday and Jambo Joe Bones at 5-8 p.m. Saturday.
In her online biography, Mercedes says her music “will make you think, break your heart and kick you in the gut all at once.” She has released more than six albums and the cover art on the latest, which was produced in its entirety in just three days, was created by Rickert, the drummer. She has shared the stage with the likes of songstress Tracy Bonham and folk musician Pete Seeger. Mercedes says her songs can be “cross-platformed to fit into just about any genre.”
Rickert has produced mixes based on the music of several artists, the most recognizable being Fatboy Slim. Both musicians have had plenty of exposure on You Tube.
Local favorite Jambo Joe Bones for years has hit many venues around the area with his laid-back, lets-have-a-party trop-rock that owes to Jimmy Buffett.
Urban Olive and Vine will feature a pair of very different performers. Jazz Savvy takes the stage on Friday and Mark Keating on Saturday. Both start at 7 p.m. Keating is a fingerstyle guitarist and singer inspired by players such as Leo Kottke, and has a background in playing many differing styles.
Rounding out the music options connected with the Hot Air Affair are deejay music at Dick’s Bar and Grill on Friday and Saturday starting at 10 p.m., which gives a chance to mingle with the pilots, and karaoke in an intimate setting at the bar at the Hudson Bowling Center on both nights, a venue not far from the Moonglow or Field of Fire that is set for Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Other noteworthy Hot Air Affair events are balloon launches at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and at 3 p.m. on Saturday, all weather permitting, and smoosh boarding at 1 p.m. Saturday. All are at the Rock Elementary School grounds.
Visit www.hudsonhotairaffair.com for more information.

If you’re going shirtless in this weather to party, at least put on a Packer playoff jersey

January 18th, 2015

It doesn’t take a Lambeau Leap to see that the main topics this time around are the cold (still) and Packer football (now that its fully back in gear), as well as the bar signs that tell about these and other things. (And, if you’re reading this post after the Packers’ debacle on Sunday, take note of the sarcastic sign on the Agave Kitchen marquee that quotes Aaron Rodgers and says simply “Relax.” Then, in what’s becoming a trend, that message was reiterated on the marquee of Season’s Tavern a day later, when it read “Relaxed too much.”)
– Even in the coldest of the weather we’ve had, people have been out at night in shirtsleeves — or less. The worst-case scenario was seen when two young dudes were shirtless and in sweat pants at bar time, and when a man had some major bling going on, but again no shirt, while sitting in a small sports car. Since he had to take a ride back to Minnesota, I hope he rectified that clothing glitch. There also was a sweatshirt that someone had taken off and plopped in a snowbank, and it was still there the next night, this time draped over a “sidewalk closed” placard near the patio construction at the Smilin’ Moose. Down the block on a parking meter, there was a similar positioning of a big chunk of carpet; what’s up with that? I think the meter was the same one that was literally late-night hurdled by a very tall blonde earlier in the construction, or should I say football, season.
– With temperatures as they have been, you knew you would see this miscue eventually — a bank sign that said, “-0 degrees.” Math majors they are not, as you don’t really need the “minus” part. And certainly not Saved By Zero. That’s also because I don’t think they have to worry about these things in relatively warm and rainy Seattle, the Packers Sunday afternoon NFC Championship opponent.
– The other night at Dick’s Bar and Grill, there was a man nattily clad in an ill-fitting stocking cap, so much so that when you factor in his facial appearance, he looked just like Bill Belichick, the New England coach whom the Packers just might end up facing this postseason. As a counterpoint, when I was in there after that, the many TV screens showed his quarterback Tom Brady also wearing such a hat, (just looking much better in it, maybe taking tips from his supermodel wife). Truth be told, there has been a man in Dick’s many times who greatly resembles Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, (who does not look nearly as good in State Farm commercials). As a last note on the subject, did anyone see yet another QB, Jay Cutler, while viewing him at a sports bar, sitting on the bench for a powwow with the Chicago Bears other critical thinkers, and holding a pen that because of the camera angle looked like a cigarette hanging out of his mouth?
– Now that the season has (mercifully) come to an end, a post mortem would be to revisit the incident where a Viking lineman was one of nine people shot near a bar in downtown Minneapolis. This raises a good question (and maybe answers it, too): Why do so many people from the metro forsake the Warehouse District entirely and come to downtown Hudson to party?
What follows is some sage wisdom from some people who do just that. Hudson is less pretentious (most would say) and often more friendly, not to mention safer, drinks are much cheaper, bars are closer together, people who include celebrities can party while under the radar, and of course, we are the first place over the border in a new state where some of the laws are different.
– The deejay at Dick’s yelled to dancers for an applause shoutout, individually, for both the Packers and the Vikings, and the reply actually seemed to favor The Other Side. That’s like because a party bus had just pulled in From Foreign Soil.
– A friend from Hudson I’ve known since back when the Vikings sometimes had winning records is also their official tailgate deejay for home games, and said that during the Packer postseason he will be “downtown” at local sports bars in his Viking gear to rub that fact in, or at least to remember when it was the case.
– A man at Dick’s mentioned that the bar at which he works had two deejays for New Year’s. I asked him where that bar is. He replied River Falls, adding that they have specially customized beer pong tables. “Do they have the logo on them?” He replied again, “the whole nine yards.”
– The latest marquee signs of interest in North Hudson are led by one outside Kozy Korner that read as such, but you had to read both sides to get the gist: On one side was, “Why did the hipster burn his lip?” Then on the other side: “He ate the pizza before it was cool.” Just a block down was this from Village Liquor, with apologies to ZZ Top: “5% off. Wear a pearl necklace.” And then at Agave Kitchen, there was an accurate prediction of a Packer win that read across the bottom as a hashtag “ISEETHINGS.” It was followed the next day by “Nomo Romo.” That same message appeared a bit later outside the Village Inn in North Hudson. (Apparently imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, especially if you’ve been tipping a couple).

January 2nd, 2015

What happened on New Year’s? Who wore what? And who got married? Read all about it under “Notes from the beat” and “Picks of the week.”

From Garth’s 11 gigs to Gwar, they go the Cities to gawk (but don’t Blink)

December 29th, 2014

Every year or so there is a concert in the Cities that attracts attention from numerous local bar patrons, as they share stories over a beer from such past concerts and look forward to adding more. But few artists have induced the sheer number of comments that lingered on for more than a week, from those looking forward to his show(s), while socializing at many different venues in and around Hudson, as the recent Garth Brooks foray. Many of those people couldn’t wait to again see his groundbreaking form of country music and showmanship, and the fact that he slated 11 different shows likely fueled the fire. These local fans were of all ages and genders, despite the fact that this was called an “unretirement” party for Brooks, age 52, by the AARP magazine. (Yes I receive it, hence my taste for classic rock).
– Also recently, a Dick’s Bar and Grill employee said he and some of his co-workers scored tickets for a luxury suite at the much-anticipated Black Keys show in the Cities. They were only one such box away from being right next to the stage.
– This whole occasional mega-concert theme had first played out, as my memory serves me, when an old friend Danyiel had dressed up as the actress on a Blink 182 album cover at Halloween, which was followed up by going to a concert of the same ilk as Blink with a whole crew of co-workers from Dick’s.
– Bartender Matt at Dick’s told me his parents didn’t care for the fact that he listened to the likes of Slayer, in concert and out, while growing up. But then he found, as Cheap Trick would sing about, his parents’ old records and put them on. In the stash was an original Black Sabbath vinyl, and added that the album cover was so vintage that Ozzy had his name signed as he was previously known, Ossie.
– Matt and others also have invoked the band Gwar as the best they’ve seen in the Cities, in some cases gaining that status than one time. Even in the upper balcony, they were reached out and touched by the fake (I think) blood that was spewed by the band, to the point that plastic sheets were needed to deflect it by those closer to the stage. And here I thought I was being hip, knowing all about metal music and even the dinosaur-like costumes worn by Gwar, but I really wasn’t sure if their blood was as real as that broadcast by, say, Gene Simmons of KISS. The guy who enlightened me most about Gwar, which was back in the Twin Cities late last fall, looked like another of their contemporaries, Scotty Ian of Anthrax, but with a better beard. A close second as far as information, was the aformentioned Matt, who said Gwar can play their loud guitar while in those bulky costumes because they are constructed largely of glorified, football-like shoulder pads. He and some of his family know this much because, for example, Matt’s sister once dressed up for a costume party as a Gwar-woman.
– And lastly on this theme, a friend said he’d seen Twisted Sister perform in a show along the riverfront in St. Paul, where frontman Dee Snyder chastized those watching for free from a nearby bluffline while not buying a ticket. That from Dee, imagine! You’d not get a similar beef from the late Ronnie James Dio, the friend said about a different metal concert, which also differed in that he was in the front row, close enough to see that Dio’s feet were as small as his stature.

December 24th, 2014

For a preview of holiday prep, see “Notes from the beat” and “Picks of the week.”

Crack open a cold one to salute Swanee’s ice road Swan Song

December 2nd, 2014

After about 25 years of plowing a three-lane wide trail dubbed The Ice Road across one of the wider parts of the St. Croix River, Dave “Swanee” Swanson needed a break, as he wanted his truck that is getting rusty to last a few more years. This said, you might need to see him instead with a different kind of vehicle — at the classic car shows held every other Saturday throughout the summer in North Hudson across from Kozy Korner, although he’s scaled back some of that activity, as well.
It’s not exactly a clean break for him, however. He still plowed the icy route once last year, after being hampered by rough conditions, and twice the previous year, to help people who among other things want to get places where they can crack open a cold one in their ice shanty, and also listen to some cool tunes. The locals say that much of the work may be taken over by Andersen Windows, across the river in Bayport.
The road serves lots of winter recreation enthusiasts, especially the ice fishermen, but its main purpose has been enabling workers from the Hudson side to get to Andersen for one of its three shifts, some more easily traveled then others. And oh, there is that small racetrack that’s been set-up nearby.
Around this time of year, Swanson determines when the road is safe to be plowed by talking to more than the state Department of Natural Resources, but also people wanting to get on the frozen river — lots of them. A key place to get information is right at the start of the ice at Ferry Landing Park in North Hudson, where some of the fishers put their shanties only 30 feet from shore, at a juncture where the river already is 30 feet deep. He notes that there is a gas pipeline underneath, a spring on the Minnesota side and also the power plant there that keeps some water open when the boilers are at work. Things like Christmas trees are propped up and used as safety markers, to show where it is safe for his plow and truck to go.
“It’s never the same at any place all the way across,” Swanson said.
One person who knows this is one of his friends from Stillwater, who for years has used his own method and picks either the Minnesota side or the Wisconsin side near Hudson, then ventures out and sets up his shanty.

It’s cold, so get your teeth into black vampire garb, not Little Black Dresses

November 7th, 2014

Sexy was out at the costume parties at nightclubs last weekend, mostly because it was downright frigid outside.
With little opportunity to show skin, what took over was not BEING IN costume, but BEING YOUR costume. In other words, using your get-up to be totally in character and making your mark on the downtown scene that way.
– The best example of the previous trend was the tall elf-like guy who was displaying the sign Gnomes Against Gardens, then breaking into a speech to whoever would listen about how gnomes are people too (well sort of), and are much more than a decoration amidst the flowers.
– There was one other prime example of the trend, if it wasn’t so creepy. OK, that was the point. This guy in a bathrobe, who was about the age and clothing style of Hugh Hefner, would amble up to groups of women, lean forward and stick his somewhat balding head into the midst of their conversation. He was a hoot! Although he stayed in character so well that one has to wonder if he is really that way. (He did apparently parlay that into a date, as he was out on the dance floor later with a young lovely).
– And then there were the two golden painted pros, from head to foot, who were carrying a like-colored baseball bat and tennis racquet and went as a couple. Meanwhile, at the bar, Harry Potter was wielding his own weapon, tapping his wand on Batman’s nose. I don’t know how that would fit in with a bouncer friend’s rule, concerning if you can bring in a fake gun or say a Viking ax as a prop, that hey, if you wouldn’t want to be bopped on the noggin with it, leave it at home.
– Down the aisle was a big Play Dough container, with a woman inside, who was in a costume complete with an almost three-foot-wide lid balanced on her head.
– The main exception to the non-sexy rule was a woman who dressed up as Miss Murica on Friday night, being ready for the swimsuit competition, and a mermaid on Saturday night, complete with a long tail that made it hard to walk — and little else.
– Don’t forget that other woman, with a Twister board game propped on her hip and a costume where she was being grabbed all over by a number of little ghouls.
– As part of her costume, a bartender at Pudge’s wore some very big black boots. She even thrust one leg up on the bar counter to show just how large they are. How long would she have the foot stamina to keep them on? Apparently there was an online debate. Meanwhile, across the way, her vampire co-worker was showing patrons something else, that one of her pointed teeth has fallen out.
– In an odd case of synergy, two different bartenders on the same shift at the Smilin’ Moose were wearing corsets as part of their costumes. Inquiring minds want to know if they called each other beforehand to check what the other was wearing.
– Inquiring minds also might want to know how far this was taken: A vampire on the dance floor was twirling her more-than-foot-long whip, (Was DEVO being played by the DJ?), and occasionally giving a back a light slap.
– Ginger update! Ginger update! As was first reported here, and nowhere else, one of the Two Gingers that are displayed to push Irish Whiskey via a bathroom sign, had freckles drawn on her and a few days later was cleaned up. However, just in time for Halloween, the prankster was back, drawing dots on the faces of both women!
– Just how Wisconsin savvy are you? The DJ at the Smilin’ Moose said repeatedly, with the onset of the Daylight Savings Time change, that hey know how to do it up right on this side of the river. He added, also repeatedly, that here rather than in Minnesota, the bars get to stay open another hour because of the switch. However, he said, that makes for a 3 a.m. closing. Hey, wouldn’t that be three-thirty, since this is a weekend? Or do they have so many patrons, they have to push people out the doors early?
– Lastly, Prince was on Saturday Night Live, with a record eight-minute performance, sporting a huge afro that could only be matched in size by the one seen at Dick’s Bar and Grill that was a big as a beach ball, and this all happened before Halloween. And again for Terry at Dick’s, you were noticeable by your absence of a Prince costume at Friday night’s party.

Belly-me-up my fave, a black and orange drink, said the Wolfman

October 31st, 2014

 

I don’t know if it was Ebola or a Halloween beastie, but my computer had a meltdown, getting back on board just in time to list the sights and sounds of the haunted holiday. What follows on this page are local happenings, many with a Halloween theme, and for the lowdown on the many parties in town, see the Picks of the Week page.
– Halloween decorating season has been in full swing all month, and a prime example are the fake blood stained signs on the doors at Dick’s Bar and Grill, to places like the back patio and bathrooms. They have wording like “keep out” or “help,” written in the dripping red stuff that runs as long as a detached femur. There also is a sign hanging from the ceiling with similar wording, simply “asylum,” that the other night was being blown around spookily by a nearby air conditioner. In back were many spider webs clinging so closely to areas where there were tables, people couldn’t possibly escape.
– One place they might try to take refuge is the Green Mill, where patrons on the night before the holiday were being queried about what’s their favorite black and orange drink concoction. But back at Dick’s, bartender Matt had a handle on how he’d meet the establishment’s rule that servers be in costume. Hey, he figured, for me being dressed up is throwing on a suit, so that’s what I’ll do. I wondered aloud if he was going to loosen the tie a little, but was told it was going to be a clip-on. Meanwhile, bartender Terry was contemplating how he could possibly top last year’s Prince costume.
– Ghosts and ghouls were out in force last Saturday night as a trial run for the costume parties that will be held virtually everywhere starting six days from then. At Dick’s, there was a quartet of movie characters in the main room as early as 10 p.m.
– Bartender Whitney at Pudge’s has Halloween off, but that isn’t keeping her from dressing up in a manner appropriate to her job, as an old time saloon girl. Another decision with such reasoning is someone’s plan to meet the requirements of a scary facial hair theme by getting in a get-up like Van Gogh.
– With Halloween near, two groups of young people could be seen after hours running across the hood and roof of cars. Seems to me like that’s an indication of more zombie activity.
– I’ve toyed with the idea of providing a “deer death wish rating” for the trek from Hudson to Houlton to get to Guv’s Place, somewhat like the government’s color-based alert for terrorist activity. A recent weekend would have to have registered an orange, as there were four deer seen in ditches in three different places along a four-mile stretch. Plus that, at the intersection with Hwy. V, there was a streak of road kill blood as long as several zombies placed back to back to back. Yes, Virginia, Halloween must be near.
– With that said, there is an even more spooky site as you trek by St. Croix Street to go toward the Willow River Saloon. A homeowner who is remodeling the entire facade of his residence has turned it into a literal house of horrors with creepy decorations.
– And even more potentially scary is the alleged $100 million referendum for things such as a new high school. Two groups of three business cards were propped into the side of a freestanding bathroom ad poster, directly across from an ad for a part-time firefighter (interesting choice of posting place). And, at eye level at the urinal nextdoor, there was an Irish Whiskey ad for 2 Gingers that had one of the women’s face covered with drawn-in freckles. Alas, just in time for the Nov. 4 vote, her face has been fixed to be no longer defaced, rather fresh-faced again.
– Bartender Shalice is used to being in front of the camera as a model, but never before during an NFL football broadcast. She was in the front row at a Houston Texans home game, and was so prominently shown on an ESPN clip that some of her patrons at Guv’s Place in Houlton couldn’t help but noticing and pointed it out to her.
– It takes a lot to mistake pop music for hard rock, but apparently a radio deejay on KQ92 playing tunes for partiers on a recent weekend wasn’t up to the task. He thought he had started to begin playing the Beatles and announced it as such, then caught his mistake and noted it was actually AC/DC: Oh well, not that much different, he corrected. I wonder if they’ve ever had the same problem at the Smilin’ Moose, where an old AC/DC video recorded across the water is the only thing that ever differs much from Rihanna, etc.
During a recently broadcasted interview with Paul McCartney, KQ noted it has the largest song library “on the planet.” Sir Paul might add, what about on “Venus and Mars.” They might not be all right tonight with being excluded.
– Vikings gifts don’t always go over, as came to light early in the NFL season. Even though she’s a native Minnesotan and diehard fan of the North Stars back in the day, who would go to virtually every game — as well as following the Twins but not the Vikings — bartender Sue at the Village Inn used to get plenty of purple each Christmas. Her tree ended up being full of that, rather than red and green. The trend ended, she said, when she got a pair of Packer boxer shorts.
– Seen sitting at the Green Mill counter was a (much) younger and hotter version of the late Joan Rivers, even when you take into account all of the comedian’s plastic surgeries. I felt like using the pickup line, “Can we talk?” And while on the subject of celebrities whose number is being retired, for various reasons, does anybody else think that bartender and bouncer Terry at Dick’s looks like Jerek Jeter (again younger)?
– People from all over like the sports bars here, and not just for one of the major sports at a time. A woman who was raised in Annapolis was in Buffalo Wild Wings wearing a Baltimore Ravens jersey and cheering on her post-season Orioles. She said her husband had been a hockey coach at a major Twin Cities university, but then stepped down and started a hockey-themed business in the metro. So why did she end up in Hudson? Her husband was over at the nearby ice arena doing business and she was killing time, adding that back in Maryland, hockey is big to the north and south, but right there the sport of choice is field hockey or lacrosse, which she played in high school.
– After years of quality service, bartender Kylee has stepped down from the Green Mill, where she has been a fixture. So I have to take this last opportunity to tell a slightly embellished tale about her. One night, a male patron was doing his best to get her phone number. I need to note here that I am a member of the establishment’s e-club, which means I log-in by jotting down my own phone number every time I get a receipt. Thus, I was tempted to tell the smitten patron, “Good luck. I’ve given Kylee my number scores of times, and she’s never called me!” All kidding aside, we’ll miss you Kylee.