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  • Tequila Mockingbird – Your Weekend Tiki Cocktail Recipe!

    Posted on June 16th, 2012 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 2 comments

    tiki-mugA simple yet satisfying drink, Tequila Mockingbird wins first prize for best Tiki drink pun name. If you don’t “get it”, hit the local library and ask the librarian for one.

    2 oz. Tequilla (use a good quality Tequilla)

    1 oz. Triple Sec

    3 oz Pineapple Juice

    Shake up in a shaker full of ice, and pour into a tall Tiki or Collins glass over the rocks. Garnish with a pineapple spear and cherry.

    Happy Anniversary to Colleen Wahine!

    It’s been 12 years since Colleen and I tied the not on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, in front of Ripley’s Believe it or not (Believe it or not!) It’s been a fun ride so far and all indications are it’ll be a fun ride for years to come!

    Colleen at The Mai Kai

    Colleen at The Mai Kai

    Happy Anniversary baby, the Tiki Lounge would be a lonely place without you 😉

    -Tiki Chris P. reporting from drizzzzly South Florida, under the sheltering palms

  • MAD MEN Season Five Finale – Why it was fantastic

    Posted on June 12th, 2012 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    mad-men-s5-finale-jon-hammOk, this is a long post, but I think you’ll find it an interesting one. There are a few insights I came up with that I haven’t seen picked up on in most of the reviews and posts on the season finale. For fans of the era, and retro and Tiki and Mid Century Modern and great film making, this should have been one of your favorites…read on, kats…

    I’ve heard a lot of people refer to the Season 5 Finale of MAD MEN as underwhelming. Certainly it didn’t have the emotional bang of the last two episodes, but there’s one thing it did have that sets this episode apart from any other: The ending.

    From the moment when Don views Megan’s demo reel until the second the credits roll, this few minutes of cinematic magic is absolutely some of the best I’ve ever seen on TV.

    Dig it through my eyes, and you’ll see what I mean…

    Don, after flat-out telling Megan he couldn’t help her with the commercial, decides to view her reel. We see the shot from behind Don, the classic Don “drape” shadowed as seen in the opening sequence, with Megan in artsy black and white on the screen. At least at first it’s Megan; slowly, she loses her identity and becomes an actress, a woman on the screen desperately showing her deepest emotions, her soul. She is a star, and she elicits an emotional response from Don – who, as you know, believes that the power behind advertising is its ability to elicit an emotional response.

    Something changes in Don; he not only sees Megan as the woman he loves, but as a truly talented performer. He decides to give her what she wants. This scares the hell out of him, but considering how using “tough love” against his brother and Lane turned out, he realizes it’s probably the best decision for both of them. He wants to keep her to himself, wants to be close to her and knows that giving her this break may break them further apart. But he knows evem more strongly that not giving her this chance will absolutely break them apart.

    (By the way: EXCELLENT job in making Megan’s reel look authentic, 1960s. Reminded me of the similar scene in Nine)madmen-all25-pm

    This moodily lit, almost completely black and white scene gently fades into the highly contrasted scene of Joan wearing a bright red dress and carrying a can of red spray paint through a brightly lit empty office, the partners filing in behind her as they check out the new office space. There is no music, only the sound of their footfalls on the carpet floor. Joan marks a “X” where the staircase will be…She is doing much more than that, of course, she is marking her territory, actually, asserting herself fully as a new partner. Only Don seems to notice this assertion for what it is…Campbell, in his own world, makes the comment that he will have the same view as Don. Again, the powerless Pete tries like hell to push his way to the top. With one word, Don puts him in his place…a sort of, but not quite sarcastically said, “Congratulations,” all the while not taking his eyes off of the person he has much more respect and admiration for, Joan.

    The camera cuts to the backs of the partners, and in the same way that Don is often shown, the same way that Lane was shown just before he committed suicide, they are shown in a long shot from behind. But this time they are all standing, and almost ceremoniously position themselves spaced equally apart, in what almost seems like a scene from a super hero comic. There they stand, proud and united…yet very, very far apart, alone.

    The best is yet to come…

    A quick cut brings us to another day where Megan has gotten the part in the commercial. She is in full fairy tail costume ready for rehearsal, thanking Don for getting her the part. She is referred to as “Miss Calvet”, not Mrs. Draper, and as she’s called to her place, she and Don smile at each other.

    Watch this scene again and pay close attention to what’s going on here. The camera individually shows Don smiling at Megan, then Megan smiling at Don. Then the long shot shows Megan to the left, getting hair and makeup, brightly lit in a technicolor red and yellow dress. She is now oblivious of Don as they prepare her for her new roll. Don, to the right, is wearing a dark suit and is cloaked in shadow. He gives her one last look, and with the Draper swagger that won the hearts of women throughout the 1950s and 60s, he turns and walks away from her, toward the camera. The camera pulls back as only the sounds of his heavy footsteps can be heard, and as he walks through the soundstage, he literally comes out of the show…leaving the set, leaving the fantasy of his life with Megan, essentially leaving the last five seasons of MAD MEN behind him, past the cameras and stage lights, alone.

    don-smoke-061112-lgThe opening (and instantly recognizable) notes to the 1967 James Bond “You Only Live Twice” theme begins to play as Don passes the prop movie cameras and director’s chair, and he continues past the sight of the rolling camera, disappearing from the scene to the right, and very possibly, from Megan and his old life.

    I don’t know about you, but to me that was one of the most powerful and telling pieces of cinema art I’ve ever seen, and it goes on…

    The next cut is to Don walking into a dark, smokey bar, the kind that would have been almost “kind of out of date” in the mod and rockin’ world of 1967, a bar strangely similar to the one we first saw Don in back in 1959. He sits at the bar, lights up a cigarette and orders an Old Fashioned, just like he did in that opening scene five seasons ago. Nancy Sinatra’s vocals overlap the scene with the iconic “You only live twice, or so it seems, one life for yourself, and one for your dreams”. Don is back, back to where he was in almost exactly the same scene as we first saw him.

    A quick cut to Peggy shows her happy on her first business trip, something that not even a couple of humping mutts (Lyric: “Tame”) in the parking lot could ruin. With a glass of wine in hand, she has arrived. We see Pete, alone, listening to his headphones as the lyric “And love is a stranger who’ll beckon you on”, fitting for Pete. Then Roger…apparently on LSD, alone, naked in front of the window; I was almost afraid he was going to take a nose dive out of it, until I realized the window was shut. The Lyric Nancy sings is “Don’t think of the danger, or the stranger is gone”.

    Then we’re back to Don in the bar, approached by a very pretty, very Mod blonde. She’s the 1967 version of what Bettie was in 1957, and the juxtaposition of her 1967 look against Don’s conservative 1959 look is fantastic. She’s hitting on Don, something that would have been pretty uncommon in 1959…and she’s not even asking for herself, she’s asking for her friend…and I think it’s safe to say it’s implied that Don could have them both, if he wanted. She asks, “Are you alone?” and Don contemplates his answer. Nancy sings, “This dream is for you, so pay the price, Make one dream come true, you only live twice.

    And it ends, with Don at the bar, smoking his cigarette, drinking his old fashioned, about to give the hot Mod chick his answer…which could go either way, and we won’t find out until next year.

    “And love is a stranger who`ll beckon you on, Don`t think of the danger or the stranger is gone, This dream is for you, so pay the price, Make one dream come true, you only live twice.”

    What a hell of an ending.

    For those of you who thought the episode was “disappointing”, go back now and watch it again. The first 55 minutes tied a few things up. The last 5 minutes were magic.

    Here’s the ending, don’t know how long this will be on YouTube, and it’s a little dark, but you get the idea…

    -Tiki Chris reporting from the Screening Room at Tiki Lounge Talk

  • MAD MEN Season Finale, and your Weekend Retro Cocktail

    Posted on June 10th, 2012 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    mad-men-510-jon-hamm-christina-hendricksWARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS!

    For the cocktail recipe only, skip to after the video.

    It seems like just yesterday the 5th season opener of our favorite Noir drama “MAD MEN” finally opened, after going dark for (what seemed like) 10 years. Now just 13 weekends later, the final episode of the season hits the airwaves Sunday night.

    It’s been a wicked season, kats & kittens. From Campbell pimping out Joan to Lane’s suicide, this season (set in 1967) has surely been the most violent. This is no coincidence; dig it:

    Season one was set in 1959. By today’s standards, that was considered a more “innocent” time. The characters’ major source of drama was drinking, cheating on spouses and trying to get ahead in life. Accidents happened in the early seasons…Don’s car accident, Kinney running over another account man’s foot with the lawn tractor…and there was even Don’s brother’s suicide. But Don hardly got scratched in the accident, the AE from England was a minor footnote (pun intended) and Don’s brother, although unexpected, was not nearly as sad as the Lane Pryce story arc. I’ll go even further to say that the diminishing relationship between Don and Betty may have been messy, but never came to violence.madmen-harry-paul-kristnia

    Fast forward to season five, and we have Pete Campbell getting his lights knocked out in a fist fight with Lane, Joan being manipulated into what was essentially a paid rape, Don and Meghan getting very physical (and mildly violent) during arguments that end with rough sex, and of course Lane’s self-destructive path of embezzlement leading to his (very unnecessary and very sad) hanging in the office.

    I said this is no coincidence. Matthew Weiner and his group of writers know exactly what they’re doing…you all know that. Every line of this show is carefully crafted to set up the next action or chain of events. And there are many parallels in this show, one of which is how the lives of the characters parallel the times in which they exist. Where 1959-1963 may have been considered an “innocent” time for America, the assignation of President Kennedy was the turning point, the catalyst that set the country into the social downward (or upward, depending how you look at it) spiral of the mid to late 1960s. As the decade became more violent, so does the show; if next season begins in 1968 we’re sure to see even more violence and character selfishness as the events of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, Bobby Kennedy’s murder, Kent State and the escalation of the Vietnam War come to pass. Hopefully, and probably, the writers will add in some of the era-specific spice that we love the show for. I can certainly see Meghan going full-out British Mod, and I don’t think Don will have a problem with her wearing white knee-high go-go boots.

    mad-men-joan-roger-season-5-600x422A note on Lane Pryce, Jaguars, and agency partnerships:

    You would think that a full partner in the firm would have less money problems. You would think that Pryce, being the money man, would have worked out a better deal for himself at the outset of the company. You would think that after operating at a loss for three years, Lane would have gone to the other partners and re-negotiated his terms before taking out a $50,000 loan for the company, then telling them they had a $50,000 surplus, then writing himself a check with Don’s signature. But, like many people do, he tried to find a way to get the money he needed without “the embarrassment” of actually asking what was rightfully his.

    lane-pryce-madmenI watched the episode several times, as I usually do. On the second time around I caught something small, but what I believe was the straw that broke Lane’s camel’s back: When he asked his wife where she got the money to buy the Jaguar, she said she wrote a check. Remember, it took several days for checks to clear back then…so, I thinking, the money she spent on the Jaguar was the money Lane “borrowed” from the company. She spent it before he could pay off his taxes, meaning he embezzled the money, lost his job and his self respect for nothing.

    And those Jaguars…as beautiful as they were, they truly were known to spend more time in the shop than on the road. I knew a few people in my life who dropped 350 Chevy engines into those old Jags and never had another problem.

    Oh, one more thing: In the episode where Don and Joan go to the Jaguar dealership, I wonder how many of you noticed that the burgundy XKE, the flesh-tone sedan and the light beige Salon were all 1960’s Matchbox toy car colors? I did 😉

    Here’s the finale trailer, “The Phantom”…not the Mad Men trailers give anything away, but here it is anyway…

    And Now, Your Weekend Vintage-Tiki Cocktails

    Since many of you will have friends over for the Season Finale, I’m giving you three easy, original vintage recipes that you can concoct in a hurry!

    The Barbary Coast Cocktail

    •    1/2 ounce gin
    •    1/2 ounce light rum
    •    1/2 ounce light creme de cacao
    •    1/2 ounce Scotch whisky
    •    1/2 ounce cream

    Hawaiian Cocktail

    •    2 oz gin
    •    1/2 oz triple sec
    •    1 tbsp pineapple juice

    For each of these, throw everything together in a shaker with ice and shake it up until the outside of the shaker is nice and frosty. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with cherry (and a fresh pineapple slice for the Hawaiian Cocktail).

    Royal Gin Fizz

    •    2 oz gin
    •    juice of 1/2 lime
    •    1 teaspoon powdered sugar
    •    1 whole egg

    Shake ingredients together in a shaker with ice and strain into a highball glass with two ice cubes, then fill with club soda or seltzer, or better yet if you have it with carbonated water from a vintage seltzer bottle. Garnish with a lime wheel.

    Have fun with MAD MEN tonight!

    -Tiki Chris, reporting from the bar at Tiki Lounge Talk

    PS: Last week I got to watch MAD MEN along side Will Viharo, Neo-Noir author and vintage connoisseur. Will was in town working on turning one of his novels, “Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me” into a movie with none other than Christian Slater. Just wanted to say “Gook Luck Will!”

  • In Remembrance of D-Day, June 6, 1944

    Posted on June 6th, 2012 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    invasion68 years ago today marked the beginning of the end of Adolf Hitler’s reign of insanity as American and allied forces landed on the Nazi occupied beaches of Normandy, France.

    Nearly 200,000 personnel were involved with the attack. Thousands of soldiers died risking the invasion so that hundreds of thousands more could push back the Nazis and end World War II. The invasion had been planned…

    (read entire D-Day post)