Calgary's Tubby Dog just celebrated its sixth anniversary, and since opening its doors the 17th Avenue hot dog stand has become not just a place for a quirky hot dog and/or fuel for late night drunks, but also a key part of the city's all ages punk scene. Paying tribute to all of these, local film maker Sarah Hughes unveiled her short film, aptly titled Tubby Doc with a special screening at the Uptown Theatre this past Friday night.
Tubby Doc traces the origins of Tubby Dog from owner Jon "Tubby" Truch's experiments with using hot dogs to lure patrons to the legendary Night Gallery Cabaret. For those who haven't experienced Tubby Dog, here's a taste. The A-Bomb is a dog with cheese, bacon, mayo, ketchup and mustard, topped with potato chips. Or you can go for the Cap'ns Dog, a dog with peanut butter, jam and Cap'n Crunch cereal. Me, I'm partial to the Sumo (the closest thing to Japadog I can score here), which is a dog on a bed of wasabi, topped with pickled ginger, toasted sesame seed and seasoned seaweed.
It's a quirky place with a quirky menu, but thanks in large part to the staff's connections to the local music scene (and realizing that opening a late-night hot dog stand and attending rock shows are not mutually exclusive), Tubby Dog has also become one of the best places in town to see bands. The tiny space means a small, enthusiastic crowd makes for a memorable show. Or, in Monotonix's case, nearly catastrophic when the place is well beyond capacity and the show spills out onto the street.
Tubby Doc captures all of this perfectly. Hughes gets the stories straight from the sources, including the often-camera shy Jon Truch. Like the restaurant, the film quirky and fun.
While this weekend's screening was apparently a one-off, it should reach broader audiences with a DVD release this fall.