A Few Nickels in the Slot Buys You Lunch at the Automat

By Gaetano Kazuo Maida

April 1, 2022

A film that starts off with the instantly recognizable dulcet tones of Mel Brooks gushing, “one of the greatest inventions, insane centers of paradise…” is irresistible even if you’ve never heard of the Automat. For those of us of a certain age from New York or Philadelphia (and yes, I’m one: born and raised in New York, with family in Philly), the Horn & Hardart Automat was a unifying experience of childhood delight and teenage necessity. You didn’t need a lot of money to eat, just a handful of nickels… In its heyday (1920s to the 1970s) it was, in just two cities, the largest restaurant chain in the country by any measure, at one point in the 1940s serving fully 10% of the population of Philadelphia. Continue reading

This Ocean Film Festival Does More Than See the Sea

By Nancy Friedman

April 1, 2022

Here’s what you can expect at any film festival: new films, fun swag, revealing Q&A sessions with filmmakers, stimulating conversations in the lobby or in the line for the restrooms. At the International Ocean Film Festival—North America’s oldest and largest ocean film festival–you can expect all that and something more: a call to action.

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THE AUTOMAT–Recipes, In The Movies & More

Assembled by Gary Meyer

April 4, 2022

The theatrical release of a new documentary by Lisa Hurwitz, The Automat, has taken me back in time with its wonderful clips from classic movies and discussions of food favorites of our youth from Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken Pot Pie to Custard Cups and Pumpkin Pie. It is essential viewing for those interested in the history of restaurants in the 20th Century, the combining of technology and home-cooked meals and a trip down memory lane even if you were born too late to actually visit one. But we also cover contemporary attempts at automated food. We have included many photos, film clips, recipes, music, and related links to supplement your enjoyment of The Automat now playing in theaters and at film festivals—only on the big screen. 

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Devour! Chefs & Shorts: Food, Film & Wine

By Geneva Anderson

Jetting out of Halifax is rarely simple for Devour! The Film Food Fest co-founders, Lia Rinaldo and Chef Michael Howell.  As they headed for the 25th edition of the Sonoma International Film Festival, they were schlepping 400 Sober Island Oysters and several bottles of Domaine de Grand Pré’s prized sparkling Champlain Brut.  The special cargo was for Chef Howell as he organized his own appetizer while juggling the details of numerous other participants in the eagerly-awaited SIFF | Devour! “Chefs & Shorts Culinary” Event Honoring Chef Jacques Pépin.

Michael Howell and Lia Renaldo. Photo courtesy Devour!

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Interview: Sonoma International Film Festival’s Kevin McNeely on SIFF’s 25th Edition—March 23-27, 2022

By Geneva Anderson

Long before “festing” was a trend, Sonoma International Film Festival’s Executive Director, Kevin McNeely, and his team began holding lively soirees in a tent pitched on Sonoma Plaza.  High-level passholders, filmmakers and celebrities made a beeline to this little hub to mingle and enjoy the crème of Sonoma Valley’s wine, spirits and food.  The concept evolved and the tent became the legendary “backlot.”  With its roaring theme parties, live music, dancing, food and wine, SIFF sealed its reputation as the high-end/good time festival.

This year, SIFF celebrates its 25th anniversary March 23-28, and film programming that challenges its wonderful parties.  It all unfolds within the radius of Sonoma’s historic town square or “SONOMAWOOD.”

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