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 February 14th, 2012 3 comments
You’ve heard it a million times, but I’ll say it again…Things sure have changed over the years. There was a time when just showing a beautiful woman in a neglige was considered art by some, but pornography by most. A pin up model like this lovely lady to the left could not be displayed in most public places, during the era this print was created. Now-a-days we’ve become so jaded that on a public website like this, you could expect to see a hell of a lot more than a chick in silk stockings…or should I say, you could see a chick in silk stockings and a hell of a lot more.
We’ll stick with the vintage theme here at the Tiki lounge for this Valentine’s day. Here are a few 50+ year-old goodies to get your motor runnin’.
Tiki Chris P. reporting from the boudoir at Tiki Lounge Talk
Posted on February 5th, 2012 No comments
Hammer Productions is back, and spookier than ever, baby!
Some of the best horror and sci-fi movies of the 1950s, 60s and 70s came out of a movie studio in England that went under the name of Hammer Films. Started in 1934, Hammer Films went on to bring us the series of Dracula films that starred Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, and thrillers such as The Vampire Lovers and One Million Years B.C.
But by the 1980’s Hammer Films had lost its spark, and basically went into hiatus, making a few TV projects and straight-to-video releases. Well, in 2007 they dusted off the moniker and have been quietly making films…until now. There’s nothing quiet about The Woman in Black, or its star, Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame.
The Story (no spoilers): Radcliffe plays a man who is constantly tormented by the loss of his wife (in childbirth), yet hangs on to take care of his son (who seems to be around six). Working for a law firm in London around 1910 or so, he is sent to a secluded village to take care of the estate and mansion of a woman recently deceased. He soon finds that the villagers do not like strangers (of course), warn him against going to the secluded mansion (of course), and blame him for some misfortunes that occur while he is in town (of course). He ignores them all, goes to the mansion, and the ghost story begins.
The Atmosphere (tiny little spoilers, nothing to worry about): Honestly, I don’t know if the director did this intentionally or if it is just a happy coincidence, but this movie has the look, feel and overall creepiness of the OLD Hammer films of the 1950s and 60s, while being well-filmed with modern techniques. In other words it looks great, has a great retro feel but doesn’t look “dated”. The lighting effects are perfect in every scene, being just dark enough to be spooky while you can actually see what’s going on. The phantoms are realistically scary, the special effects aren’t overdone.
Why does it have that old-time Hammer feel? Well, for one thing, the film includes some of the same stylistic elements that the old classics embraced: A very convincing “haunted mansion”, set far off from the rest of the world, at the end of a long winding road that cuts through the marsh and gets flooded out at every high tide. There are long shots of the road, both dry and flooded. There village is sublimely gray and gloomy, and every building is made of stone, adding to the Gothic feel. Horse-drawn wagons appear out of the fog. A spooky, dilapidated graveyard sits next to the house. Creepy antique toys and dolls fill the nursery, and seem to “come to life”. And there are plenty of shots of lavish 19th century homes, furnishings, trains and people to set the mood.
Daniel Radcliffe: Does a bang-up job in his first starring role outside of the Harry Potter series. There’s really not a lot of dialog for most of the movie, and Radcliffe pulls off his emotions with facial expressions and body language that is not overdone. I, like most people, went into this movie fearing he would just act like an older Harry Potter. Not so. The only connection is that his character had the same kind of dread for life, except played to the extreme.
Harry Potter References? (Spoiler Alert!): There were three references that I noticed in the flick that seemed to be inside jokes for Harry Potter fans. Now, I don’t know if these were intentional…I may be stretching it…but, A) He falls asleep on a train, in booth facing the booth across from him. When he awakens there’s someone sitting across from him; the shot looks just like one of the Hogwarts Express scenes (I’ll let you decide which one). B) When he gets a room in the attic at the Inn, there’s a Myna bird in a cage. The cage is nearly identical in style to Harry’s owl’s cage. And C) when he first goes to the mansion, he is seen coming out of a closet with papers…the closet is built in under the staircase. Now, it seems to me they didn’t have to put that scene in…but they did.
Audience Reaction: We went to a 7:45 show on a Saturday Night at The Sawgrass Mall in South Florida. So of course, there were about a million teenage girls that came just to see Harry Potter. Well, they got a hell of a surprise when things started jumping out at them. Screaming, laughing, screaming again, the audience was eating it up.
Why you should see it: This movie is pure fun, and isn’t above some musical stabs and sudden flashes of scary faces to make you jump out of your seat. It’s not a particularly deep story, so if you miss a few lines of dialog because someone was screaming, it won’t matter much. The shots of the mansion, causeway, and village are classic horror film Noir and the movie is definitely worth watching on a big screen. For those of you who dig retro-style horror films, you’ll really enjoy all the little nuances that make this film as fun as the old Hammer films of the mid-20th century.
BTW: As of February 5, the film took in $8.3 million and is expected to bring in over $20M for the weekend, surpassing its $17M budget.
UPDATE: This movie brought in $21M, over SUPER BOWL WEEKEND, beat out only by Chronicle, which brought in $22M. Nice!
One last note: There is almost no blood in this movie. This is a film that relies on screwing with you mind, with your sense of perception, and your ability to try not to jump when a big black crow comes flying out at you. I think a lot of people will say that this movie isn’t so great, because of that. But let me assure you, there’s a decent body count, the overall mood of the movie is spooky as hell, and it will have you in suspense until the final minute of the flick.
Watch the trailer, and you’ll see some of the “long shots” that I was talking about, along with some fast clips of the mansion and the people who make this a very spooky, old-fashioned horror movie.
Posted on January 6th, 2012 No comments
There’s a tinge of brandy in the air on this steamy night in Tikiland. The darkness is so thick and cruel that even the mice don’t want to step out for a crumb. A door creeks open in the darkness, and a man in a black trench coat and tilted fedora carefully picks his way through the tables until he reaches the bar…
For those of you who dig Noir style movies and fiction, I’ve got a real treat for you tonight:
“A Flash of Noir: Flash Fiction & Short, Short Stories with a Twist” by yours truly, Tiki Chris, is now
For a limited time, for Kindle!
A Flash of Noir is a collection of flash fiction and short, short stories, laid down old-school style by master mystery writer Christopher Pinto. Writing in the genre of gumshoe detectives and sultry dames, creepy horror and hep cat jive, Pinto has put together a series of mostly one-page, 60-second reads that will transport you to another time…a darker, more sinister time.
From smokey bars in New York City to the tropical islands of the Florida keys, A Flash of Noir takes you for a spin through the seediest gin joints and darkest alleys. One minute you’re speeding down I-95 in a hot rod, the next you’re tasting cheap whiskey in a basement tap room where the women are heartless and the men are unforgiving. Gangsters, cops, private eyes, strippers, murderers, phantoms…plus a few comedy pieces to keep you from wanting to slit your wrists.
Over 40 stories of crime fiction, ghost stories, retro fiction and short beatnik poetry plus noir-esque original photographs by the author make this a fast, fun read. There’s even a flash written entirely of song titles…see if you can list every one!
AND THOUGH MONDAY, IT’S FREE!
All you need is an Amazon account and a Kindle or Kindle Reader App on your phone, ipad, computer, etc, and you’re all set! Just click this link, A Flash of Noir, to download this groovy tome for free.
BTW: Did I mention it’s free?
You’re going to need something cool and noir-ish to sip while reading this book. What could be better than a cocktail named after Humphrey Bogart? Now, this wasn’t his kind of drink (he was mainly a Scotch man), but we can certainly picture this concoction as the house drink at Rick’s Cafe Americain in Casablanca.
• 1 1/2 oz. apple brandy
• 1 oz. brandy
• 1/4 oz. lemon syrup
• 1/4 oz. lime syrup
• 1/4 oz. vanilla vodka
• Chilled cocktail glass
• Lemon wheel, for garnish
• Lime wheel, for garnish
Pour all ingredients except the wheels into a shaker and shake with crushed ice until a frost forms on the outside of the can. Strain into cocktail glasses, and garnish with the wheels. Serving on a silver plate with .45 caliber bullet adds a nice touch.
-Tiki Chris, reporting from the bar at Rick’s, c. 1944
Posted on December 22nd, 2011 3 comments
With Christmas just a few days away I thought I’d give you kats and kittens some retro Egg Nog recipes to get your Christmas shindigs really swingin’! After all, you can’t have a retro, mid-century-style Christmas affair without a generous amount of booze flowing. And the easiest way to get your guests sloshed is with a couple of cups of good, strong, traditional eggnog. With these recipes, even the most uptight conformists will have lampshades on their heads before Santa makes an appearance. But be warned…these concoctions have been known to make some guests disappear two-at-a-time (and sometimes three) to darkened, upstairs rooms while the party is in full swing in the parlor!
Easy: Tiki Chris’ Pirate-Style Eggnog Recipe
I’m kind of lazy when it comes to Eggnog, so my personal recipe is the kind that uses pre-made non-alcoholic nog kicked up with some good booze and spices.
1 quart good quality store-bought eggnog
About 1 1/2 cups Captain Morgan’s or Sailor Jerry Rum
2 oz Coconut Rum
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pour the nog into a large bottle and add all ingredients (start with ½ cup of rum and keep adding to taste). Shake vigorously and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving. That’s it…it’s delicious.
A little more involved: Vintage Style Eggnog Recipe, from Rumdood.com
Thanks to Hurricane Hayward of TheAtomicGrog.com for turning me on to this kool Eggnog recipe. Check out his blog for lots of great recipes and more…and also check out RumDood’s post with four more great winter cocktail recipes.
.75 oz Brandy
.75 oz Rum
.5 oz Sugar
3 oz Whole Milk or Heavy Cream
1 Whole Egg
Mix rum, brandy, sugar, egg, and milk in a mixing tin. Fill the tin with ice and shake like your life depends on it. Strain into a glass or goblet and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.”
Christmas Yule Eggnog: A complicated but well worth it vintage recipe.
From the Old Mr. Boston Deluxe Official Bartender’s Guide (my version is from 1979, the recipe dates back to the late 19th Century:
Beat first the yolks and then, in a separate bowl, the whites of one dozen eggs.
Pour them together and add:
1 pinch baking soda
6 oz. gold rum
2 lbs granulated sugar (yes, that’s two pounds)
Beat into stiff batter. Then add:
1 qt fresh milk
1 qt sweet cream
2 qts blended whiskey or bourbon
Stir. Set in the refrigerator overnight. Before serving, stir again and serve in punch cups with sprinkled nutmeg on top. Fannnntabulous stuff.
That should keep you kids hammered through the holidays. Don’t forget, you can always add more booze if it’s not strong enough!
-Tiki Chris P. reporting from under the Christmas Tree at Tiki Lounge Talk
Looking for a great last minute gift for the retro lover in your life? You can gift an eBook to anyone with an email address from Amazon.com! Why not give your loved ones a fun, spooky, retro-tastic murder mystery ghost story…say, maybe, one written by your favorite Tiki culture blogger! Check out Murder Behind the Closet Door and Murder on Tiki Island, both under $4.oo on Amazon.com!