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  • Too Hot To Tiki?

    Posted on August 31st, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 3 comments

    palm-tree-beach-largejpgJust a short musing…

    While the rest of the country is looking forward to cooler fall weather, we here in South Florida are smack dab in the middle of hottest time of year. Our “summer” lasts long after Halloween is over, and “fall” is just a concept in our minds. The end of August means hot, humid days and rainy evenings are promised for at least another month.

    Now don’t you cats & kitties get me wrong…I ain’t complaining. I love the heat and the screwy weather. It’s just that when it’s 85° at 9:00 o’clock at night, it’s not so nice to sit out on the lanai and drink booze at the outdoor Tiki bar. Unless of course you can jump in the pool.

    -Tiki Chris P.

  • The African Queen 1951 with Bogie for Mod Movie Monday

    Posted on August 29th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 2 comments

    aftican-queen-posterThis week we take a trip down the river with Humphrey Bogart and Kathrine Hepburn on

    The African Queen, 1951.

    Noir at heart but filmed in Technicolor, The African Queen easily fits under Noir and Mod Movie Monday categories as it definitely deals with the darker side of humanity. Swing back to North Africa, 1914. News reaches a small German settlement that the Fatherland is at war. British missionaries are suddenly caught in the crossfire, and when Kathrine Hepburn’s character’s brother dies, she leaves the burning wreckage of her church with none other than alcoholic captain Bogie on his beat-up old jalopy of a steamer, The African Queen. Together they trek down a treacherous river full of all sorts of nasty things, including Germans with those funny little spikes sticking up out of their helmets. They catch wind that a German warship is anchored at the mouth of the river, and Hepburn does all she can (in the eyes of God) to sober up Bogie and get him to help her find a way to destroy the ship.

    The African Queen

    The African Queen

    One of Bogie’s finest roles, he is very convincing as a gin-swilling roughneck. That may have something to do with the fact that while they filmed this flick in the jungles of Africa, Humphrey Bogart and director John Huston stuck to a steady diet of baked beans, canned asparagus and Scotch whiskey. There was a method to their madness…they were the only two from the cast and crew that made it through filming without getting dysentery or malaria. This included Hepburn, who drank only water and had dysentery so bad they had to keep a bucket next to the camera.

    There is some great trivia on The African Queen at IMDB.

    The African Queen dry-docked in Key Largo, FL

    The African Queen dry-docked in Key Largo, FL

    Just as the ’58 Plymouth Fury was a character in Christine and the pimped-out Dunham Coach Eldorado was a character in Superfly, so was the little steamer The African Queen (I suppose this turn of the name was to indicate the double meaning, as Hepburn’s character also acted like the Queen of Africa). The boat had already been in actual service for 4o years when they used it for the film, and went on for many years after working hard along the river. Today the boat is still in service…it’s docked in Key Largo, FL just off the Overseas Highway (US 1). It’s on display, looking very close to the way it did in the movie, and is available for charters. It’s really no where near as big as it looks in the movie. Kind of funny that it would end up in Key Largo, with Bogie’s connection to that island with his 1948 movie.

    Booze: Gin. British Gin.

    Here’s the trailer from 1951…

    - Tiki Chris reporting from the jungles behind The Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar, South Florida

  • Hurricane Irene Brushes Past South Florida

    Posted on August 25th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 3 comments
    Hurricane Irene, just east of Florida, August 25, 2011. Notice how this storm is bigger than the state of Texas.

    Hurricane Irene, just east of Florida, August 25, 2011. Notice how this storm is bigger than the state of Texas.

    Here in Fort Lauderdale, we’re getting the first licks from Hurricane Irene’s outer bands. The sky over the Atlantic is nothing but bands of slate and dark gray, almost black, obliterating the sun from sunny South Florida.

    Sheets of dense rain have been coming in waves, and streets prone to flooding are already under several inches of water. Thankfully this bitch is 200+ miles away. If it had hit us as a Cat 3, as previously forecasted, I wouldn’t be writing this…I’d be heading for shelter.

    Let’s hope this whirling insanity doesn’t do much damage as it heads up the coast.

    -Tiki Chris, reporting from the observation tower at Tiki Lounge Talk.
    KeyWestMurderMystery.com

  • High Plains Drifter, 1973 with Clint Eastwood for Mod Movie Monday

    Posted on August 23rd, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment

    high-plains-drifter-posterI don’t usually swing with cowboy flicks, but there are a fist full of really kool Spaghetti Westerns that definitely make the cut. One such classic is

    High Plains Drifter

    from 1973, starring and directed by Clint Eastwood.

    Now, I said Spaghetti Western, which isn’t entirely true. This flick was made right here in the good ole U.S. of A, not in the mountains of Italy. But…it certainly has the SW look and feel, except maybe for the lack of dubbing over Italian actors’ Italian dialogue.

    This is one of those “man with no name comes into town, shows he’s a great gunslinger and gets hired to kill the bad guys” movies. With a twist. Eastwood’s character is so tough and mean, he’s got the whole town under his thumb in the first 10 minutes. You find out later that the stranger has a secret…as does the town…and thinks veer off slightly into the paranormal.highplainsdrifterclinteastwood

    Yes, I said paranormal. Very subtly. I won’t give it away here.

    There’s some heavy-duty violence in this one (still makes me cringe) so keep the kiddies away. The story is weird and keeps you guessing, even when you figure things out. This was Clint’s first time directing a western, and man, did he nail it.

    If you’ve never seen this flick, there is one main part that you may have come across over the years: The Stranger paints the entire town red, and renames it Hell. It’s one hell of a tough image.

    highplainsdrifter-girl

    Food & Booze: There’s a scene in the movie where they’re having a dinner of fried chicken and French wine. Seriously. Add a side of home made mashed taters and some BBQ beans and yer all set, Stranger.

    Here’s the original theatrical trailer for the film. Following it is a fan-made trailer, that IMHO is actually better. Check it out.

    eastwood-highplandrifter-Cowboy Chris reporting from the Tiki Saloon.
    Don’t forget to visit StarDustMysteries.com!

  • On the Occasion of Count Bill Basie’s Birthday…

    Posted on August 21st, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    Count Basie (August 21, 1904 – April 26, 1984)

    Count Basie (August 21, 1904 – April 26, 1984)

    One of the most prolific and influential bands to come out of the big band era was that of Count Basie, a Kansas City outfit that could swing harder and jazzier than any of the big name bands that came before it. The Count’s band had some of the best sidemen in the jazz world riffing along, and led by Basie, those men and that band went on to become the quintessential full-sized swingin’ jazz band. From his most famous hit April in Paris to playing live at the Sands Casino with Frank Sinatra, there are few other jazzers that had such a long and exciting career as Count Basie.

    So on the Occasion of Count Bill Basie’s Birthday, here’s a few videos of the great Count Basie Band.

    One O’Clock Jump

    April in Paris

    I’ve Got You Under My Skin, with Frank Sinatra

    And my personal favorite, Corner Pocket, written by the infamous Basie band guitarist Freddy Green, a guy who never played a chord the same way twice. Listen to the execution, the perfect swinging groove these cats laid down back in 1962. The cool and swingin’ solos. The way the sections play together perfectly as to sound like a single, swingin’ horn. This one is also my favorite because I was lucky enough to have played lead tenor and tenor sax solo on this same arrangement in my college big band, 20 years ago. We, of course, were no where near as good as Basie’s band. But it felt good playing his music anyway.

    -Chris “Zoot” Pinto swingin’ from the music studio at Tiki Lounge Talk