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Bassically, it's a series of tubas
March 19, 2008 1:21 PM   Subscribe

The Travelers Club International Restaurant and Tuba Museum, Okemos, Michigan. Sixty-plus tubas, euphonia, helicons, sousaphones, ophicleide, and other brass monstronsities, accompany a menu of international cuisine -- uh an' cookin'.

Built as a hardware store in 1950, later Miller's Ice Cream Parlor, then in 1982, the Traveler's Club. Offering (fairly authentic regional) monthly specials from a different part of the world each (more or less) month; buffalo (bison) burger and the health benefits thereof; brews from around the world; formerly featuring occasional live music, but no more "except for originals or public domain. . . due to harrassment from ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC."

And of course, the Tuba Museum, including the only known example of a double E flat helicon (inscribed "The Majestic Monster"). Made in Austria circa 1915 and imported by the Malecki Co. of Chicago, the Monster's triple loop tubing is nineteen feet long, weighs over 40 pounds, and has a huge 28" diameter bell.

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Lansing Lowdown
BootsNAll
Absolute Michigan
Blue Kitchen (food blog)

You might be disappointed by the photos on the tuba museum website, since it's not specifically set up for online tuba appreciation and/or adoration. So here's an online tuba museum with quality photos of some unusual brass instruments. WARNING! Large photos and sometimes inadequate or absent thumbnails. And if you happen to be obsessed with the ophicleide, so is this guy.
posted by Herodios (22 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
As an avid tubist and proud owner of an E flat sousaphone:

This is the post I never knew I wanted. And now that it is here, the day is good, very good.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 1:28 PM on March 19, 2008


So, who's organizing the field trip?

Falafel sandwiches, people. With pickled turnips!
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 1:29 PM on March 19, 2008


I spent five years in East Lansing and I never made there. I regret that.
posted by pinky at 1:29 PM on March 19, 2008


Horn porn.
posted by Mister_A at 1:35 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


The food is actually quite good, and as I didn't expect for Okemos, there's quite a bit of tasty veggie food available as well.
posted by c0nsumer at 1:38 PM on March 19, 2008


My dad went to the 25th annual Tuba-Euphonium conference in Ft. Myer, VA, where he attended a recital by his famous student Steven Dumaine. Steve likes Metallica, and decided to try and stick a microphone in his tuba and play it through a distortion pedal. Some tubists don't like bass THAT much.
posted by mkb at 1:58 PM on March 19, 2008


Their food is excellent. The service...could be better, and by better I mean less stoned.

But I love the place, their vegetarian specials are exceptional. I don't drink beer (gluten-intolerant) but their beer list is widely lauded in the greater lansing area.
posted by Tesseractive at 3:01 PM on March 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I sincerely hope the mascot is the A&W Root Bear.
posted by evilcolonel at 3:51 PM on March 19, 2008



I haven't been there for years, but from the website the place doesn't look much changed. 1985 to 1995 I used to stop in from time to time and always got tasty, fairly authentic eats.

It's not a market tested trend of the moment kind of place -- if it were, it wouldn't be in located in Okemos, Michigan frcryinoutloud.

The horns, though, really make it. There is (or was) a beat double-belled baritone horn there that I wish was shown on the website. You don't see many of these nowadays, do ya?
posted by Herodios at 3:59 PM on March 19, 2008


Here we are, check this baby out: two bells, five valves, big as life, bold as brass, and beat to HELL! Formerly played by the remarkable M. Bouchure.
posted by Herodios at 4:17 PM on March 19, 2008


i have almost every material possession i've ever wanted except one:

a fiberglass sousaphone.

imagine the hell you could raise with one of those.
posted by stubby phillips at 4:36 PM on March 19, 2008


Is that the same tuba museum that Jessamyn recently visited? I think she posted some pictures somewhere later in that thread, too.
posted by vytae at 8:52 PM on March 19, 2008



Indeed.

I had been mulling a post on the place when I saw that there'd been a number of citations recently without a single link. Reckoned if people were gonna talk about it, they ought to have a look-see. Unfortunately, Jessamyn's photos don't include the double-bell euphonium either.
posted by Herodios at 9:20 PM on March 19, 2008


Nice. I hope that didn't come off as snarky. I'm just sitting here being delighted that such a place exists.
posted by vytae at 9:39 PM on March 19, 2008



Not a bit. I was hoping that more folks who'd been there more recently than I would chime in, but I guess they're all bumping heads over in the Obama speech thread or something. 500 comments and rising.

I really do think of the place as one of those unique local treasures that has to arise organically, warts and all. You couldn't design a place like that and make it work for 25 years, and I'm glad such places exist.
posted by Herodios at 9:54 PM on March 19, 2008



Not a bit. I was hoping that more folks who'd been there more recently than I would chime in, but I guess they're all bumping heads over in the Obama speech thread or something. 500 comments and rising.

I really do think of the place as one of those unique local treasures that has to arise organically, warts and all. You couldn't design a place like that and make it work for 25 years, and I'm glad to find them still in operation.
posted by Herodios at 9:56 PM on March 19, 2008


vytae: "Is that the same tuba museum that Jessamyn recently visited? I think she posted some pictures somewhere later in that thread, too."

Indeed. They should put up a plaque or something.

On March the Eighteenth, Two Thousand and Eight,
THE TRAVELERS CLUB INTERNATIONAL RESTAURANT AND TUBA MUSEUM
cheered Jessamyn West's shit right up

posted by Rhaomi at 1:00 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


What, no Japanese war tubas?
posted by acb at 5:03 AM on March 20, 2008


Don't be upset, pinky. I lived in EL for 15 years and never made it there. Or to the planetarium either, which I fully intended to do, but never got around to it...
posted by caution live frogs at 6:21 AM on March 20, 2008


As someone who has frequented the Tuba Museum for both Breakfast & Dinner I can attest to the atmosphere. Although the restaurant is small (and sometimes hard to find someplace to sit), I recall the first time I went in there, it also "Cheered my shit right up!" My first time they had someone playing a guitar. It was enjoyable. They certainly have a wide variety of food, and unique food at that "from around the world." Definitely a hot of neo-hippies working there. They have a large selection of unique beer(s) as well. You can even taste test some of them. I remember they had a featured beer that I could taste for free, they might charge for samples of others (a la wine tasting), I don't exactly recall.

What may be surprising to some who have been there or still go there is that this restaurant is in what is considered "Downtown Okemos" All 8 stores right in that area. "Blink and you'll miss it" as they say.

Oh well. Its a good place, and anyone who is ever in the Lansing area for a few days should consider going there. Ask someone how to get out to Okemos to the Tuba Museum or the "Travelers Club" as its also known.

I'd also highly recommend Clara's Station for another unique atmosphere and a huge menu of great variety. Its also really close to the Capitol Building, which is kind of cool.

That is all.
posted by mrzer0 at 6:27 AM on March 20, 2008


Well. I feel like a douche for this but...I lived in EL for three years, went there once, and never went back.
I just wasn't all about the food. Not that it was bad, just that it didn't make me as happy as the general atmosphere did.
It felt imbalanced.
Were I not living all the way across the globe now though, I'd happily make a return visit.
posted by GoingToShopping at 6:33 AM on March 20, 2008


my sister worked there in high school.
posted by k8t at 2:57 PM on March 20, 2008


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