Posted on January 31st, 2011 1 comment
Guys and Dolls
from 1955, starring Frank Sinatra, Marlin Brando, Jean Simmons and Vivian Blaine.
Without a doubt this flick ranks in my all-time top favorites. The crazy characters, the oddball accents, the music, the floating craps game, the hats, the dolls…there ain’t nothin’ about this movie I don’t fully enjoy with a capital “E”, see?
This was one of the first (good) movies to use non-musical talent (Brando, Simmons) in a musical. Surrounded by actual singers (Sinatra, Blaine), the two leads pulled it off pretty well and paved the way for later musicals to star non-musical talent (all the way up to 2002’s Chicago, forcing notes out of Renne Zellweger, Cathrine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere).
The story, adapted from Damon Runyon’s original short story, is about a collection of gamblers, showgirls, Salvation Army workers and other fringe characters inhabiting the nights of New York City around 1950. Two gamblers in particular, Nathan Detroit (Sinatra) and Sky Masterson (Brando) are focused upon as Detroit tries to find a new venue for his famous floating craps game. A “chance” meeting over cheesecake has Detroit attempting to con Masterson out of some dough in the hopes of using said dough to bribe a certain garage owner to allow the dice to roll. Masterson, a sharp character, sees through this rouse and tells Nathan no dice. He does however boast to Detroit that he can take any doll, no matter how pretty, to Havana for the weekend. Nathan accepts this challenge and the game is on.
As usual, I won’t give away any of the fun stuff in case you haven’t seen the flick. Let’s just say that great music, funny lines and people who speak in the vernacular of the above said paragraph are what you will find in this charming and thoroughly swinging film.
The Runyon Special
Pile it up in this order:
• Thick slice pumpernickle/rye swirl bread
with deli-style spicy mustard
• Munster cheese
• Thick tomato slices
• Roast beef
• Thick slice pumpernickle/rye swirl bread with deli-style spicy mustard on one side,
Thousand Island dressing on the other
• Corned beef
• Sweet chopped coleslaw
• Swiss cheese
• Thick slice pumpernickle/rye swirl bread with Thousand Island dressing
Cut this triple-decker in half, top with green olives on toothpicks and side with chips, more slaw and kosher pickle. For dessert, cheesecake (or strudel).
The drink: Dolce de Leche, Cubana style
(According to Sky Masterson, “Dolce de Leche” means “Sweet of Milk”. It’s a kind of milk shake made with Bacardi…but just enough to act as a preservative. Here’s the modernized version of this classic cocktail)
1 oz Bacardi Silver
1/2 oz Godiva Mocha Liquor (or chocolate liquor, or even Kahluha will work)
1/2 oz sweetened condensed milk
Shake it all up in a shaker with ice and strain, preferably into a coconut. Top with shaved chocolate and a pinch of cinnamon.
Here’s the opening sequence with “Can Do”. See you at the races, kids!
-Chris “Mack the Knife” Pinto reporting from the starting gate. They’re off!
Posted on January 29th, 2011 2 comments
I know there’s a bizillion books and websites where you can find Tiki bar recipes, but I’ve found that trying to find a site that just has a kool list of kool drinks isn’t so easy. So here it is, a list of every cocktail recipe we’ve posted at Tiki Lounge Talk, from the cornerstone of Tiki Culture, the Mai Tai, to my own concoctions like The Tiki Galore.
It’s a fun list, in no particular order, and sends you to the original post where you’ll get the recipe and maybe even a movie idea and a few laughs. So fill up the ice bucket, light up the Tiki Torches and have a blast!
(Click on “Tiki Cocktails!” in the upper left corner of this site!)
By the way, if you want even more exciting exotic cocktails, check out:
-Captain Mack reporting from behind the bar at Pirate’s Cove
Posted on January 28th, 2011 1 comment
This gin and brandy combo dates back to World War II, when Joe Scailom invented the drink at Shepherd’s Hotel in Cairo, Egypt.
With good spirits in short supply during the war, Joe realized he needed to come up with something that the British officers could drink without being floored the next morning. So he built a drink with gin, brandy, homemade bitters made by a chemist across the street from the hotel, lime juice and ginger beer. He dubbed it ‘The Suffering Bar Steward’. The name was later changed by the officers to
The Suffering Bastard
The original recipe goes something like this:
1 oz cheap Gin
1 oz cheap Brandy
1/2 oz. bottled Lime Juice
a few dashes of homemade Bitters
Pour all ingredients except ginger beer into a glass with ice. Top with ginger beer and stir with a glass rod. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint, a slice of orange and a cucumber peel. Ginger ale is usually substituted for the ginger beer these days, as it is easier find and has a little less of a bite. Of course, you can update the recipe with good gin, good brandy, fresh lime juice and Angostura bitters.
And don’t let anyone tell you this drink is made with rum. I’ve seen so many bastardized versions of the Suffering Bastard, that I could kill the bastard who started bastardizing it to begin with. I even found a recipe that used rum, orgeat syrup and curacao…yeah, that’s a Mai Tai, dingbat.
To get you in the WW2 mood for this drink, here’s The Andrews Sisters swingin’ The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. All reet, Jackson! Slip me a solid five!
-Tiki Chris reporting from a foxhole somewhere in North Africa
Posted on January 27th, 2011 2 comments
It seems our little bohemian Tiki culture is expanding further into the mainstream, as evidenced by this very hip and swingin’ article, A String Thing, featured in the January issue of the normally-square Time Magazine. Written by Tim Morrison, the post (woops, I mean article. ha ha) mentions how the Uke has been growing in popularity once again, as proven by millions of YouTube hits featuring contemporary Uke-strumming kats and kittens (as opposed to, as the article reads, Tiny Tim. As if.)
It goes on to say how the popularity of the instrument is probably based on its low price and ease of use. But we know better…it’s The Tiki Movement, baby, and it’s taking the world by storm! It also mentions that ‘ukulele’ is Hawaiian for ‘jumping flea’. Never heard that before.
I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to post a full-res copy of the article here, so you’ll just have to buy the mag to read the whole thing. Or get a really good magnifying glass.
You can get a toy uke for around 20 bucks that you can bang around with to find out if you’ve got enough interest to lay out 40 clams on a decent one. Of course you can pay over a grand for one, if you’re nuts. I have a Collegiate from the roaring 20s that looks kool but can’t be played. Maybe I should invest in a playable one, just for fun.
-Tiki Chris reporting from the music room at Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar & Grille. Tiki Lounge Talk…you’re swingin’, strummin’ B-Lounge for exciting ukulele news, and stuff.
Posted on January 25th, 2011 No comments
If you haven’t seen Sin City, I highly recommend it. We’re talking about a fantastic mix of real, old-style Noir/pulp fiction infused with modern digital effects and contemporary shooting. Director Robert Rodriguez (Machete, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Grindhouse) digs down deep into the dark and nasty side of human nature, bringing to life Frank Miller’s graphic novel of twisted maniacs, sexy hookers and debaucherous lunatics.
The movie, in true Noir fashion, is filmed in black and white – with modern splashes of color added in for a stunning visual effect. Artsy camera angles and lighting perfectly frame every shot. Multiple plot lines converge, and the action is pulled off with finesse.
The really funny thing is that most of this movie was shot in front of a blue screen, with digital effects added in post production. There is a very good balance of realism and artistic graphics, giving you the sense that this really was taken from the pages of a graphic novel, and exists in a strange underworld where prostitutes carry machine guns and blood can be yellow.
This flick strays from the old-style Noir thrillers in that it contains much more graphic violence, sex, nudity, and language. Nothing is held back. Where the subtleties of mid-20th century Noir suggested violence and sex, this reel throws it in your face. Not necessarily a bad thing, but some kats might find this over-the-top style a little too much. Either way, you should check it out.
The cast is built with stars all over the place. Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Brittany Murphy, Rosario Dawson, Mickey Rourke, Rutger Hauer, Micheal Madsen, Clive Owen…there’s a star, a gun, or a bucket of surrealistic blood in every scene.
The story lines are pretty interesting too…not as deep as a Hitchcock thriller, but then again this movie is all about the imagery. An interesting note is how Bruce Willis’ character has a monologue at the beginning of the movie, and mirrors it at the end as his story comes full-circle. Damned good writing.
Food & Booze: To go with this Neo-Noir black and white with a splash of color theme, I’d suggest blackened chicken or steak over Fettuccine Alfredo, with diced red peppers and tomatoes. For the drinks, Black Russians and White Russians, or maybe a Black And White Martini…3 oz good vodka, 1 oz creme de cocoa, shaken (not stirred).
My Take: If I were a film maker, this would definitely be the kind of movie I’d want to make. The only thing I might do different is throw in a supernatural angle, a little paranormal fun to the mix.
The book I’m currently working on, “Murder on Tiki Island” would make a great screenplay to be produced in this style. It takes place in a mythical Tiki Resort in the Florida Keys in 1956. I could just see the characters in black and white, with the red flames from the Tiki torches dancing in the background. Who knows…maybe someday.
-Tiki Chris, reporting from the screening room at Tiki Lounge Talk. Noir and Mod Movie Mondays - a new flick every week, for retro-lovin’ kats and swingin’ kittens.