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  • Getz/Gilberto – The Girl from Ipanema

    Posted on July 8th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 3 comments
    Getz-Gilberto, 1963, one of my all-time favorite Jazz albums

    Getz-Gilberto, 1964, one of my all-time favorite Jazz albums

    96 Weeks on the Billboard charts, Getz/Gilberto reached the number 2 spot in 1964 – beat out only by The Beatles. Dig it.

    This is the album that sealed the deal for Bossa Nova as a permanent form of Jazz. Featuring two of the original creators (and most well-known cats) of the Bossa Nova movement, Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto, this album is without doubt one of the most incredible representations of mid-century jazz at its finest.

    Every song on this platter is fantastic, but the stand-outs are the ones which have stood the test of time: Corcovado, Desafinado, O Grande Amor, and of course The Girl From Ipanema, by Jobim’s account influenced by a hot young Brazilian chick named Heloísa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto who used to stroll by the beach-side bar where he hung out.

    If you want proof this album is boss, it won the 1965 Grammy Awards for Best Album of the Year, Best Jazz Instrumental Album – Individual or Group and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. “The Girl from Ipanema”, released as a shortened version for 45 RPM won the Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965. Dig this: It was the first time a jazz platter took Album of the Year.

    Astrud Gilberto

    Astrud Gilberto

    Astrud Gilberto, João’s wife at the time had come along as an interpreter. She’d never sung professionally before this recording. The story goes Joåo liked her voice and asked her to fill in for him on a rehearsal. The rest is history.

    The music on this album is equally enjoyable at your Tiki bar or mod-50’s corner bar, sitting by the pool with a Caipirinha or relaxing in the den on a rainy day. It’s available for download and on CD…but of course to really dig it retro-style, you’ve got to spin the vinyl.

    Stan Getz

    Stan Getz

    My take: I first heard this album’s version of The Girl from Ipanema when I was around twelve years old. Getz’s sax playing blew me away. His style is so smooth, so delicate…so much different from the strength of Coleman Hawkins or the insane vitality of John Coltrane, I couldn’t help but get hip to it. When I started playing sax a year or so later, one of the first songs I learned was TGFI, by playing along with the record. Later it would become one of my ‘signature songs’ that I played at almost every gig, and in two of my murder mysteries with Stardust Productions. Of course I play it in my own style, but I did borrow a couple of Stan’s riffs 😉

    -Tiki Chris, AKA Zoot the Saxman swinging from Tiki Lounge Talk’s bandstand.
    Tiki Lounge Talk – The Tiki Culture & Swingin’ Retro Blog for Hep Kats and Krazy Kittens

    One last funny thing…my last name is Pinto, and my great grandfather’s last name was Gilberti…small world, huh?

  • Retro Lovers: Futurama is Back, Baby!

    Posted on June 23rd, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments


    Finally after almost seven years off the air as a series, FUTURAMA is back on Comedy Central.

    futurama-returnsIf you dig Futurama you probably already know that the new series will premier with a one-hour special on Thursday, June 24 at 10:00 p.m. From the Official Futurama Site: “After a devastating spaceship crash, the Professor attempts to resuscitate the crew with his birth machine. Later, Leela and Zapp Brannigan find themselves stranded on an Eden-like planet.”

    For you retro kats & kitties who aren’t hip to this fantabulous show, knock your peepers to this: Futurama (The name taken from the General Motors exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair) is a krazy mix of mid-20th century sci-fi, current-day tech and the world of tomorrow, tomorrow being the year 3000 (or so). The plot is simple: Fry, a bumbling but sort of lovable (most of the time) pizza delivery boy (man) accidentally (sort of) gets cryogenically frozen on New Year’s Eve as the world is about to turn the date to 2000. After 1000 years he’s thawed, welcomed by a goofy scientist who yells “Welcome to the world of tomorrow!” (sound familiar?) He meets a sexy cyclops, a partying robot and eventually his great great (etc.) grand nephew Professor Farnsworth, (who is a mad scientist six or seven times Fry’s age), who just happens to own an inter-planetary delivery company. There’s a lot more, but you’ll have to watch the show for that.futurama-charlies-angles

    What’s really groovy is that Mat Groening’s (Yes, The Simpsons guy) idea of the far-out future is far-out indeed, filled with 1950s-style sci-fi monsters, aliens, spaceships, and educational films. The hovercars all have fins and chrome, most of the sound effects are made with a Theremin or are lifted from Star Trek TOS, and the TV sets look like floor-model Zeniths that would have been in your grandmother’s pad.

    amy-wongs-futurama-hovercaSo check it out. It’s as clever as The Simpsons with the added value of that retro flair.

    AIRS: Thursday, June 24, 10pm on Comedy Central

    -Tiki Chris reporting from in front of the 65″ RetroVision,  with an Atomic Cocktail in hand.

  • Memories from Hukilau 2010, Fort Lauderdale

    Posted on June 14th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 13 comments

    hukilauThere’s nothing like getting a bunch of swingin’ kats and kittens together with island music, vintage threads and lots of rum. Well kids, let me tell you, his year’s Hukilau didn’t disappoint. From tattooed chicks in short skirts and flower leis to guys wearing palm tree shirts and short-brimmed fedoras, the eclectic crowd that swamped Fort Lauderdale was more fun than a barrel of fez-wearing monkeys.

    That's me, Tiki Chris with three of my best girls - Colleen, Shannon & Molly

    That's me, Tiki Chris with three of my best girls - Colleen, Shannon & Molly

    If you’ve been to an event like this (or to this one) you know how much fun can be packed into a couple of rum-drenched days. If you haven’t then you should definitely plan to. Our presence at the event was truncated due to a busy work schedule, but we still had a fantastic time on Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night. Read the rest of this entry »

  • Bye Bye, Mercury

    Posted on June 3rd, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 4 comments
    1939 Mercury

    1939 Mercury

    It’s a sad day for retro-lovin’ swingers. One of our all time best-beloved, the MERCURY, is being shut down.

    Sure, Mercs of the past 20 years are kind of junk-like, with maybe the exception of the Marquis if you like that “I’m floating down the highway on my living room sofa” feel. But the old-school Mercs are second to none, baby.

    The Mercury was introduced in 1938 (for the ’39 model year) as line-up that could slip in between cheap, dependable Fords and luxed-up Lincolns. A beautiful car, the 1939 Mercury was the perfect blend of styling, power, and price to fit the mid-money market.

    James Dean '49 Mercury from Rebel Without A Cause

    James Dean '49 Mercury from Rebel Without A Cause

    Mercury stayed ahead of tech and styling through the ’40s, ’50s & ’60s. 1949 & ’50 Mercs became favorites of hot-rodders and customizers because of their low, sleek look. Late ’50s models stood out from the crowd with unique styling which still managed to incorporate trends of the day like tail fins and wrap-around windshield. The 1960s saw the rise of the muscle car, and Mercury kept up speed with the Marauder and Cougar. And of course no one can forget the “Baby Lincoln”, the Marquis of the late ’60s and early ’70s.

    1957 Mercury Montclair

    1957 Mercury Montclair

    Then everything went to hell in a handbag. The ’70s brought on tighter government restrictions on safety and emissions, gas prices went through the roof, and the American car suffered. Mercs like many other brands became boated and under-powered. The introduction of cheap, ugly little sub-compacts with irritatingly slow four-cylinders just made things worse. Prices went up, quality went down, and soon Mercurys were no longer in the mid-price niche, but were being overlapped by tricked-out Fords and low-end Lincolns.

    1973 Mercury Grand Marquis. My grandfather had one of these in burgundy. It was his pride and joy.

    1973 Mercury Grand Marquis. My grandfather had one of these in burgundy. It was his pride and joy.

    When you think about it, it’s amazing Mercury wasn’t phased out years ago like the Corvair or Rambler. If Ford had stuck to the plan…Good, strong, economic and dependable yet fun-to-drive cars for the Ford line; more interesting, more powerful and unique cars for the Mercury line; and high-luxury, top performance cars for the Lincoln line, there would be no reason to let the Mercury brand go daisies up.

    Henry Ford is spinning in his grave. RIP, Mercury.

    -Tiki Chris reporting from the garage behind the Tiki Bar.

    PS: I’ve been around a few Mercs over the years. My grandfather had a 1965 Turnpike Cruiser with the roll-down back window, and a ’73 Grand Marquis that rode like a sofa. My old man had a couple over the years, including a ’92 Grand Marquis. I had the honor of owning a 1968 Mercury Park Lane Convertible with a kickin’ 390 that could shut down almost anything on the road. McGarret drove a ’68 Park Lane in Hawaii Five-O, and of course James Dean drove a ’49 Merc in Rebel Without a Cause. Mercs have a long, great history. And I’m pretty sure Alan Jackson will never start singing “Crazy ’bout a Subaru” or something like that.

  • Mod Movie Monday: Batman, The Movie from 1966

    Posted on May 24th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 2 comments

    batman-movie-posterWith krazy stuff like shark repellent, a jet-powered Bat Speed Boat, big round bombs and the Batmobile, there’s no way

    Batman, The Movie

    was going to slip through Mod Movie Monday! For those of you who think Micheal Keaton made the first Batman movie, take a little history lesson from the Tiki Lounge. Back in 1966 Adam West, the 60’s TV series’ Batman donned the first modern Batsuit and dropped the hammer on the first mod Batmobile for the silver screen.batman-movie-conferenceroom Just like the TV show, Batman, The Movie was filmed in that kookie comic-book style with vivid colors, wild angles and all sorts of mod 60s toys. They pretty much crammed as much stuff into this movie as they could, giving us not one, not two but FOUR villains, The Penguin’s Submarine, The Batmobile, The Batcycle, The Batcopter, The Batboat, and lots of shots of the Batcave.

    batman_the_movie_villansAnd talk about stars…get a load of this line-up:
    Adam West … Batman / Bruce Wayne
    Burt Ward … Robin / Dick Grayson
    Lee Meriwether … The Catwoman / Kitka
    Cesar Romero … The Joker
    Burgess Meredith … The Penguin
    Frank Gorshin … The Riddler
    Alan Napier … Alfred

    There are so many groovy scenes in this movie I couldn’t possibly mention them all. Just get it and watch it, I guarantee you’ll dig it. It’s silly, it’s funny, it’s action-packed and has great special effects (like the rubber shark). Hell, it’s worth it to ogle Lee Meriwether!

    batmobilePlus there are lots of shots of the infamous Chuck Barris Batmobile (see Barris’ video on building the original car below).

    Dinner & Drinks: Well, believe it or not there actually is a BATMAN COCKTAIL. But since the TV show Batman was something of teetotaler (only the bad guys drank or smoked) it’s just orange juice and grenadine. So what the hell, here’s a little ‘spin’ on the Batman Cocktail (get it? spin, like the Bat logo in the show…nevermind)

    Batman Cocktail, Tiki-ized

    2 oz Dark (Knight) Rum
    Orange Juice
    1 tsp. Grenadine
    Orange Slice
    2 Pineapple wedges

    In a tall glass filled with ice add rum, grenadine, three drops bitters, and fill with OJ. With long picks arrange the pineapple wedges onto the orange slice so they look like bat ears, and use for garnish. To make a Batmobile Cocktail, float 151 on top and set the whole thing on fire.

    For dinner, since you can’t really eat a bat, or a robin, I’d suggest some other winged creature. Perhaps penguin. No, I guess you can’t really do that. Besides, they don’t have wings anyway. How about Pheasant Under Glass, like Bruce Wayne? Forgetaboutit. Just make chicken. Serve it on some really colorful plates and napkins (you can get wild colors at the party store) and don’t skimp on the gravy.

    Here’s the video of Barris on how he came to build the Batmobile, from