Posted on May 17th, 2013 2 comments
The Old Fashioned
Truly old fashioned, this drink has roots that go back to the early 1800s when, according to some historians, the “cock tail” was a drink made with liquor, water, sugar and a few drops of bitters. It’s been said that the addition of citrus came during prohibition, to hide the taste of cheap booze.
The version that Don drinks was the cocktail that dominated swanky lounges and corner bars alike, a cool combination of rye whiskey, bitters and soda with citrus. This is the Old Fashioned that we’ve come to expect, and love. If you want an older version of the Old Fashioned, leave out the citrus and the soda.
1 sugar cube
3 dashes of bitters
2 teaspoons water
1 strip lemon zest
1 small wedge orange
2 maraschino cherries
Ice, as needed
2 ounces rye (or Bourbon. Bourbon is a little sweeter. Canadian Club has a lot of rye, and works very well)
Cherry for garnish
Add the sugar cube to the bottom of an old fashioned glass, then add the water and bitters to it. Place the lemon zest, orange wedge and one cherry in the glass. Use a bar spoon to gently muddle the cube into the liquids so the sugar will begin to dissolve. (Note: Some people prefer to leave out the cherry). Use the back of the spoon to coat the bottom sides of the glass with the mixture. Throw a couple of cubes in the glass and top with bourbon and club soda and stir well. Top with a cherry and an orange slide on the rim.
There are tons of variations on the Old Fashioned. In fact, you can use any booze you want, with varying degrees of success. Of course, there even more modern Old Fashioneds…Recently on a trip to Sonoma, I had one made with “local Bourbon” (which isn’t really Bourbon if it’s made in California), and no cherry. It was very good, and the bartender took pride in making it.
So if you want to impress your vintage-diggin’ pals, or show a skirt that you know how to order a cocktail with plenty of pizzaz, memorize this recipe and make yourself an expert at throwing one together. You’ll have the chicks (or kats, whatever’s your thing) eating out of your hand.
-Tiki Chris P, Reporting from the Tiki Bar at Tiki Lounge Talk, the interwebs’ favorite B-lounge for retro fun stuff and Tiki Talk.
Posted on April 7th, 2013 No comments
Are you ready for MAD MEN?
Wow…we’ve been waiting and waiting, and finally it’s here: MAD MEN Season six, where we (may or may not) find out whether Don has been faithful to Megan, where Peggy ends up, and how the agency goes on in the wake of Lane’s departure.
But what we’re really looking at is this poster.
Man, does this thing WREAK of late 60s-into=the=70s style or what? I feel this is an omen…actually a blatant sign that the MAD MEN that we’ve loved for the last several years is done. We’re in a new era, moving away from thin ties and bachelor pad music and easy chicks who waited on men as pretty servants, to the era of social unrest, acid rock, outrageous fashion and liberated women.
Assuming this season kicks off in 1967 (or possible 68), we’ll probably see longer hair on the men, shorter hair on the women and the widening of ties and lapels that will eventually look like men are wearing paisley bibs. This is a different part of American pop history and culture…innocence gone, tailfins on cars gone, jazz and big bands gone. It’s the era where “good” music is defined as music that sounds good when you’re high, when putting curse words in movies makes them “hip”, and when teenagers lived like there was no tomorrow because, it was factual, with the draft and the Vietnam war, there very well might not have been.
Boo hoo. It’s a drag, but the show has to progress. It’s how it’s always been, jumping a year or two each season. Hell, it started in 1959…the figurative “beginning of the end” of the mid-century pop era. But we’ll watch, and we’ll love it, even if Don sports a mustache, sideburns and a green velour sport jacket. Remember, this is the era where “Midnight Cowboy” one best picture, even with an X rating. The era when Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy where gunned down. The era when Nixon became president, and Jimmy Hendrix played the Star Spangled Banner on his electric guitar. Frank Sinatra and Elvis both made “comebacks”. Crime in New York was at an all time high, poverty was crushing our cities, Fort Lauderdale was known for Spring Break arrests and Miami was mainly a retirement community. The “Hollywood” sign was in grave decay, and no one cared. And we were only a few years away from Disco.
Ah, what a time.
Oh, and about that poster: Doesn’t it remind you of some of the old TV Guide covers from 40+ years ago? It should, it’s been created by 75-year-old illustrator Brian Sanders, who created a lot of advertising artwork from the era.
MAD MEN season six premiers tonight, April 7, 9pm/8 c. on AMC.
-Tiki Chris reporting from the Television viewing room at Tiki Lounge Talk
Posted on June 12th, 2012 No comments
Ok, 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.
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.
The 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
Posted on June 10th, 2012 No comments
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.
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.
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.
I 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
• 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!”
Posted on March 28th, 2012 7 comments
For those of us who dig the mid-century theme and have been watching MAD MEN since it began in 2007, we knew the day would come when the show would leave the golden era of cocktails and pocket squares and move into the turmoil of acid rock and civil rights. Well, Season Five has begun in 1966, and without a doubt, the show is there.
Some critics will talk about how even in two hours there wasn’t much drama; they’ll complain that the show moved at a slow pace, trying to make up for the last year-and-a-half on the shelf, doing little more than reintroducing characters and playing “catch up”. Those who love the show will attribute the slow pace as a device to build tension, culminating in two major events at the end: Don Draper is once again seen taking what he wants, when he wants; and the very powerful and thought-provoking scene where, for the first time ever, black applicants are allowed…in fact, invited…to apply for a position on Madison Avenue.
Personally, I dug the show immensely. It was exactly what I expected: An open window on the drastically changing America of the mid-1960s, paralleled with the drastically changing lives of the characters.
Several important points are made during this episode. Some are obvious and stated right out, like Pete’s assertion that he’s bringing in the most valuable clients (and therefore is a more valuable asset than Roger Stirling). We’re also reminded that Joan’s husband is in Vietnam while her baby is Roger’s, both Pete and Roger aren’t exactly happy with their home lives, SCDP is still struggling financially although “stable”, and although Burt Cooper still has a presence, it’s really Don who is running the show.
But there are several unsaid, more subtle changes that can be seen throughout the show. For instance, when did Harry become a complete jerk? Seems he lost a little weight, and became completely unprofessional and downright obnoxious. We’re talking about a character who broke down in tears during a client meeting after cheating on his wife, now crassly displaying what he would do with Don’s wife given the chance. I don’t see it…seems those lines should have gone to the cad in the creative department.
We see Pete, a little older, a little heavier, and a lot more in control. He’s gone from being whiny to being demanding…and although he doesn’t get exactly what he feels he’s entitled to, his assertion does get him ahead. It will be interesting to see where his character goes this year, as I have a feeling he will be moving up…and possibly over Roger Stirling. But not without a fight, of course, as it looks like Roger is eager to regain his status as top grossing account man…and he’ll do anything to achieve it, including swooping in ahead of Campbell at his own client meetings. But does Stirling still have what it takes to bring in the big accounts? Time, as they say, will tell…
Take a good look at the photo above. The people who market MAD MEN don’t do anything by chance. This photo was very carefully merchandised. Notice the Life magazine. More importantly, look at the faces, postures and placements of the characters. This is probably the first time we’ve seen Don Draper shown in a lower position than the others, even though he is still the focal point of the image. Note the stern look on Peggy’s face, Don’s relaxed posture, and Roger’s benign, almost confused gaze. Roger is even sitting in a red chair, the only red image in the photo - could it suggest he is in the hot seat? Look at how close Joan is to Roger with a sexy pose, while Peggy is very close to Don but in a very professional arrangement. Coop is basically alone but looking very serious about his position, while Price is furthest back, but centered and looking very much in control. Also note who is dead center in the photo, and the only one looking ‘up’…Pete Campbell, who I feel is going to become a much bigger deal at SCDP.
We see Don is still affluent enough to afford a brand new 1965 or ‘66 Cadillac Coupe DeVille* (with power windows, back when that was an option), as he drops off three seemingly happy kids. He refers to Betty and Henry as “Morticia and Lurch”, a reference to The Addams Family that is probably lost on many younger viewers. No matter; Betty’s name or image doesn’t come up anywhere in the episode, making her nearly a non-entity, until Don’s new wife Megan asks if Betty every threw him a birthday party. His response is that he forbid it. The “up yours” look on Megan’s face is enough to show us that this is the scene where the old Don, the Don who could snap his fingers and get what he wanted, was gone, and as he turns 40 he will have to fight to take what he wants or thinks he deserves.
*A side note: Remember the days when kids sat up in the front seat, without a car seat or seat belt?
Another thing: Anyone notice how much prettier and incredibly more likable Megan is this season? Not that she wasn’t attractive before, but suddenly she is sexier…much sexier…going beyond the “easy, gold-digging secretary” bit to a whole new level of sophistication and charm. (Plus there’s less going on with the whole teeth situation.) Finally, we know why Don asked her to marry him…she’s not just young, good with the kids and good in the bedroom, she’s a challenge, a complete departure from the submissive (to the point of being annoying) Betty. Maybe that’s something Don really needs in his life, without admitting it. Or maybe he just doesn’t know what he’s gotten himself into yet. Whatever the case, I didn’t care for Megan’s character last season. Maybe that was intentional on the part of the producers. But this season she’s on fire, and I hope she keeps going in that direction.
Joan shows us some very uncharacteristic weakness, both in dealing with her mother and confronted with the possibility of being shut out of SCDP. She blames her tears on the pregnancy…but we all know she’s going through a heap of problems that really have no way of coming out on the sunny side. If her husband survives Vietnam, he will surely figure out the baby isn’t his. If he dies, she’s stuck alone again with a baby to care for, with only Roger to turn to…who, as we know, can turn hot or cold on a dime. Bad scene, baby.
We all dig MAD MEN and have from the very first episode when the mysterious Don Draper sat in a lounge, drinking an Old Fashioned and writing ideas down on a cocktail napkin. “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” swung as back to 1960, a peak year during the golden age of Martinis and sharkskin suits. The only downfall to season five is that it’s started in 1966, which is pretty much the beginning of the end of the era we love so much and tuned in for, for the past five years. The styles change, the music changes, the world changes, some for the better, some not. It is these changes (and the changes in the characters as well) that will keep the show fresh and interesting, but we will miss the Madison Avenue of 1960.
-Christopher “Tiki Chris” Pinto
Creative Director, Engelhardt & Partners Advertising, Hollywood, FL