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  • Picnic, 1955: Mod Movie Monday for Memorial Day

    Posted on May 30th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 9 comments

    picnic Memorial Day is about remembering the brave men and women who fought and died for our freedom and for the our wonderful country. It’s also about the start of summer, and barbecues, and picnics. So for this Monday I though, what better movie to feature than

    Picnic, 1955

    starring Kim Novak, William Holden, Cliff Robertson, Rosalind Russel, Betty Field and Susan Strasberg. (Ok, this flick takes place on Labor Day weekend, but we’ll pretend it’s Memorial Day)kimnovak_picnic Drifter Hal Carter (Holden) blows into town to visit his old frat buddy Alan (Robertson). Alan’s old man is the town’s rich guy, by the way. So Carter, one of those guys who is really full of himself but doesn’t have dime or a donut to show for it, charms his way into talking the old man into a job…but of course, he doesn’t want to start at the bottom, he wants to run the place from the start. Meanwhile, Carter meets Alan’s squeeze, the incomparable Madge (Kim Novak). Madge’s old lady has been poor all her life and insists Madge marry into money…but of course, Carter sweet talks her until…well, you get the basic picture. william-holden-kim-novak-picnic-101There are some great scenes in this flick, ranging from full drama to silly comedy. But the scene that it’s best known for is the dance between Kim Novak and William Holden, late night at the Picnic. The tension between the two characters has been building throughout the film, and finally comes to a head during one of the most impressive “fall in love during a two minute dance” scenes in film history. From way it’s filmed with the colored party lights in the background, to the “take me now” look on Novak’s face, the one of the greatest songs ever played in a movie, the scene is just perfect. Two songs, by the way…the dixieland party band playing throughout the picnic suddenly switches to a west-coast jazz version of the old standard “Moonglow”, then magically adds a string section when it sweeps in with “Picnic” to lay down the music bed for “The Theme From Picnic”, played in real life by Morris Stoloff, and written by George Duning and Steve Allan (Allan is credited for combining the two melodies into a perfectly-synced medley). picnic1955williamholdenkimnovak

    As far as this jazz kat is concerned, there are three defining versions of Moonglow: Goodman’s quartet version, Shaw’s orchestra version, and Stoloff’s jazz version. This was a pretty steamy scene for 1955, by the way…back in the days when open-mouthed kissing wasn’t allowed in movies, people could get excited over just the idea that two characters might be even thinking of sex…and that’s what this scene produces. The way Novak barely moves, the way Holden melts at the sight of her. And something uncommon in non-musical movies of the era…they are actually dancing to the song being played, choreographed (lightly) to fit with the tune. Dig it, I think you’ll agree…

    Happy Memorial Day, kids. And thanks again to all the troops…remember the fallen, appreciate the active, respect the retired. -Tiki Chris reporting from the poolside BBQ at Tiki Lounge Talk, the B-Lounge for hep cats and swingers.

  • Miles Davis’ Birthday, May 26

    Posted on May 26th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    milesA child was born in Alton, IL on May 26, 1926. No one realized that child would evolve into the cat known as Miles.

    Skip the groove to 20 years later. Miles. Parker. Gillespie. Yeah.

    He was bop. He was Jazz. He could swing or play it straight, hot or cool, but cool was his gig.

    Then there was the horse, the big white horse galloping through his veins. It killed his friend, Bird. He quit cold turkey and never looked back.

    Modern Jazz. Progressive. Funk-Fusion. He did it all.

    Birth of the Cool, Kind of Blue, Seven Steps To Heaven, Miles Smiles. He swung with the times, but always came back to his true Jazz roots.

    Miles left this planet on September 28, 1991, too soon, too soon. But he left plenty for us to dig.


    Dig it…


    Hard bop, Walkin’

    All Blues.

    So What.

    Footprints, 1967…Times were Changin’.

    One of my favorites, Bye Bye Blackbird, 1955 (no video)

    –Zoot Jackson, from the lounge

  • Your Weekend Cocktail: The Stinger

    Posted on May 7th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 3 comments
    Stinger, up

    Stinger, up

    Not usually found on the Tiki Bar, this drink is complex, tasty, sophisticated and strong. It comes from the golden era of cocktails, when a drink in hand was as common as bottled water today. Hell, it even has a great name. Yet it hasn’t received much popularity in the past few years of retromania.

    My drink of choice at Halloween and other special occasions,

    The Stinger

    remains one of my all time favorites. I first discovered this drink while working in a bar outside of Atlantic City, around 20 years ago. Someone asked me for a Couvossier and Creme de Menthe, and I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. The lead bartender was nice enough to educate me on the subject, and a favorite was born.

    • 2 ounces Brandy or Cognac (I prefer Courvoisier)
    • 1/2 to 3/4 ounce white crème de menthestinger-rocks

    There are two ways to serve this drink, the classic chilled “up” in a cocktail glass, or on the rocks. Combine ingredients with ice in a shaker and shake until the shaker is frosty, then strain into a cocktail glass. No garnish needed. This is the more traditional, sophisticated after-dinner variety. As for me, I like my drinks cold. Pour ingredients over the rocks in a large glass and stir with a glass rod. The trick (and the fun) is to finish the cocktail before the ice melts too much. The combination of sugary mint and straight brandy will knock you pleasantly on your ass.

    I might also add that this is a great drink to sip while listening to cool jazz, in a darkened basement club at one o’clock in the morning. Yeahhh.

    By the way, go easy on the creme de menthe, adding a little at a time to taste. Add too much and you’ll feel like you’re drinking a candy cane.

    Bottoms up!

    -Tiki Chris P., reporting from the Tiki Bar at Tiki Lounge Talk, your hot spot for cool cars, Tiki bars and movie stars.

  • The Hukilau 2011 and Conversations at the Tiki Bar

    Posted on April 4th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 2 comments

    Stolen Idols at The Hukilau 2010

    Stolen Idols at The Hukilau 2010

    The Hukilau 2011

    Hey swingin’ kats and kittens, just a reminder that The Hukilau 2011…one of the world’s largest, swingingest and longest running Tiki parties…is happening this June 9-12 in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Tikiphiles, Retro Hipsters, Jazz Cats; whatever your scene, if you dig Tiki or anything Retro, you neeeeed to be there.

    Visit The Hulilau 2011 website for the down-low, with lists of very kool entertainment, books signings, art and more.

    Also…for all you very hip kids who procure, create, carve, sew, assemble, and sell Tiki/Retro-related goodies, there are still a few prime vendor spots available, so get in gear and email Christi Crowe, Hukilau sponsorship, vending and/or advertising contact at

    Conversations at the Tiki BarAh, frozen drinks at the Tiki Bar

    It’s nice to have friends all over the world. Thanks to teh interwebs, of course. I verily enjoy rapping with the swingin’ kats and kitties that dig the same jive I do. It’s fun here, but even easier over at The Retro Tiki Lounge on Facebook. Check it out, dig the photos, watch the videos, and feel free to join the convo. Lots of fun stuff going on over there! Plus admission is free, and the bar is always open.

    Murder on Tiki Island

    Most of you have already heard that my new novel is in the works…Murder on Tiki Island is right up your alley, believe me. It takes place at a Tiki resort in the Florida Keys in 1956, and is a retro-style pulp noir fiction with a twist of lime. Due out April 30, it will be available in softcover and eBook format on See the official website or join the fan page on Facebook for details.

    Later swingers,
    Tiki Chris P.

  • If you dig Facebook, drop by The Retro Tiki Lounge

    Posted on January 5th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    retro-tiki-loungeSome of you swingers may not know that Tiki Lounge Talk has an official Facebook fan page, The Retro Tiki Lounge. There you’ll find daily posts of kool pix, jazzy videos, swanky Tiki stuff, cocktail recipes, kool music, krazy stories and more. Kool kats & kittens even post info on swingin’ retro/vintage style and Tiki events, bands, stuff to buy, etc. etc. There’s a lot going on there every bright, with much more swag than I can fit here at the Tiki Lounge, so swing on down to The Retro Tiki Lounge on FB for a double shot of Tiki & Retro fun. Can you dig it? I knew that you could;)facebooktlt

    -Tiki Chris P. reporting from the Retro Tiki Lounge on Facebook.