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  • 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!”

  • Futurama TV Show uses Tiki Chris Pinto’s Car in Season 6 Episode 16!

    Posted on July 11th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment

    Futurama's hot rod on top, my CUSTOM 53 Chevy hot rod with fins I designed myself on the bottom.

    Futurama's hot rod on top, my CUSTOM 53 Chevy hot rod with fins I designed myself on the bottom.

    YES, it is true. The proof is in the photos! There is only ONE 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air in the WORLD with my custom-made shark fins, and it’s sitting in my garage. Now, another appears to exist 1000 years in the future.

    Imagine my surprise while watching the new episode of Futurama last week, a show I’ve watched and dug since it first aired in 2000, when the “Tron” motorcycle cop/car chase scene so obviously used my own, custom designed hot rod as the car being chased! My jaw dropped, as you might have guessed. Good think I had it on TiVo so I could rewind it and watch over again to make sure I wasn’t nuts.

    Futurama's car, and my 1953 Chevy, from the back. The fins are exactly the same. And I designed them.

    Futurama's car, and my 1953 Chevy, from the back. The fins are exactly the same. And I designed them.

    It’s not just the fins…the overall look of the car is absolutely an early 1950’s GM vehicle, which is common in the show (Futurama was the name of the GM auto shows in the 50s, and also their shows at the World’s Fairs). Specifically it has the same rounded look as the 1954-54 Chevy, and even has a similar grill and side molding. But none of those cars had fins. In fact, all the GM cars of the 50s had fins that mimicked jet planes and rockets, never sharks, like these.

    The front-side view of the Futurama Car, and my 1953 Chevy. Tell me they didn't copy mine! I dare ya.

    The front-side view of the Futurama Car, and my 1953 Chevy. Tell me they didn't copy mine! I dare ya.

    Now, of course the cartoon car is highly stylized…for the cartoon. Plus it’s in “TRON” mode. But the similarities are unmistakable. I really can’t imagine anyone else in the world pairing these exact style sharkfins with what is absolutely an early 1950’s stylized Chevy. Sure, there’s is a 2-door, and, well, it’s a hovercar. But…

    I’m actually very honored that they used my personal custom design in an episode. That puts my lil’ old 53 Chevy Star Dust right up there with The Warecar (The CAR), Christine, the Original Warecar (the original Batmobile) and the 59 Caddy hovercars that appear often in the show.

    My '53 Chevy Hot Rod

    My '53 Chevy Hot Rod

    If anyone from Hollywood sees this, please tell Mat Groenig thanks, and I’d really like a signed cell or photo of the cast as a thank you.

    Check out my car’s website at 53ChevyHotRod.com, and see for yourself how close it is!

    You can see the clip the car is featured in at Comedy Central.

    -Tiki Chris Pinto reporting from the garage at Tiki Lounge Talk.

  • There’s Something Kookie In The Kitsch-en!

    Posted on June 4th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    Kelly Camille Patterson of The Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en
    Kelly Camille Patterson of The Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en

    Kelly Camille Patterson and Paul Spencer whip up some old fashioned fun with a retro ’50s feel

    If you’re into retro and Tiki fun stuff, (what am I saying, of course you are, you’re reading this) then you’re probably the kind of kat or kitten who will dig The Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en. Their Blounge (web-lounge) consists of vintage recipes, original exotic drink recipes, fun pix, and their main vein…The Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en pod casts.

    The pod casts (it’s hard to call these little snippets of ’50s style TV shows something so modern) are funny as heck. They sort of mock the “humorless lifestyle experts who suck the fun out of entertaining, cooking and decorating with their obsessive perfectionism.” They’re fun and kookie and silly, with Patterson perfectly portraying the typical 1950s housewife with a borderline creepiness that accelerates what might be just another “old fashioned cooking show” into something much more entertaining and fun to watch. This seasoned actress seems to know just how to maintain the balance between kitschy and “oh my god, she’s going to kill everyone with a butcher knife”. It’s her eyes. She almost never blinks. I love it.

    Kelly doing a TV show.

    Kelly doing a TV show.

    Paul Spencer of The Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en

    Paul Spencer of The Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en

    The shows are silly but the drink & chow recipes are real, and look good. They are knockin’ on the door of 20 episodes of this little TV flick, with topics ranging from Jello molds to tips on organizing your next protest march with cocktails. The episodes are nice and short, and always show off their very impressive collection of mid-century albums, art, housewares, books and Tiki stuff. Very kool.

    The site has a nice section of exotic cocktails, the recipes of which they have concocted themselves. I haven’t tried them yet, but looking at the recipes I can tell you they look interesting and tasty. They also have a section of actual vintage party food recipes…things like “broiler tuna burgers”…again, you don’t know if this is good or just creepy, but it sure is authentic.

    Check out the Blounge at TheVelveteenLoungeKitsch-en.com, or on FaceBook. Here’s one of their episodes that typifies the fun…(good god, those eyes!)

    -Tiki Chris P. reporting from the TV room at Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar. Aloha, kids!

  • Peter Gunn, The Series 1958-1961 – A New Twist on Mod Movie Monday

    Posted on May 2nd, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment

    Peter Gunn is available on DVD, ya dig?

    Peter Gunn is available on DVD, ya dig?

    (Cue mid-tempo jazz bassline)
    Lay back kats, and knock your swingin’ lobes to the riffs I’m layin’ down before thee; as this week we dance to the tune of a different bongo-ist, take a beat off the beaten path and give Mod Movie Monday a little twist – a foray into the land of the groove tube, the noise box, the all-mighty television. This week I present to you for your hippest approval, that hippest of hip private dicks,

    Peter Gunn

    Starring Lola Albright, Hershel Bernardi, and the inimitable Craig Stevens as the swingin’ gumshoe Gunn.mod-movie-mondays

    There has never been, nor shall there ever be an equally jazzy, kool and quintessentially hip cop show on the airwaves. From the opening, pre-credit crime scene with swingin’ background bass and eerie horns, to the slick late ’50s ragtop that Gunn motorvated around in, to the sultriest if sultry atomic blonde bombshells Edie Hart as the jazz joint’s singer, Peter Gunn just oozes with dark kool.

    Craig Stevens and Lara Albright

    Craig Stevens and Lola Albright

    Imagine a cop show where the PI is a tough, good-looking Rat-Pack-era swinger who’s always in total control, even when he pushes the line between legit and vigilante. Instead of driving a cop sedan, he drives a sleek convertible. He dresses sharp and hangs out at a jazz club with the musicians and has a thing going with the smokin’ girl singer, a swingin’ chick if ever there was one. Throw on top of that the fact that he’s a damned good detective, and his notoriety helps him gain the potatoes he needs to lead his swingin’ lifestyle, and you’ve got the makings of one hell of a TV series – good enough to last 114 episodes.

    Thanks to our pal Blake Edwards, the style of the show holds up 50 years later. A Noir undertone driven by a jazz beat and purposely subtle acting, Peter Gunn is considered one of the best stylistic TV dramas of the time.

    The Jazz, man, it’s all about that swingin’ background jazz, the musical soundtrack that very often came out of the background and coolly slid into the spotlight whenever Gunn entered Mother’s Jazz Club on the waterfront. Several scenes featured the hipster musicians getting in the groove with their sexy singer, Edie, riffing out tunes by Henry Mancini, played in the style of The Modern Jazz Quintet and Dave Brubeck. Peter Gunn is credited as being

    Peter Gunn, 1957

    Peter Gunn Album, 1958

    the first TV show to have a custom designed soundtrack (all others used stock music up until then), and the resulting Peter Gunn album stayed at #1 on the charts for 10 weeks (and is still a best seller today). That unforgettable theme has been used so many times since then that even kids who never heard of the show know that krazy piano intro and those blaring horns. Oh, and by the by…that piano intro…was originally played by another kat you may have heard of, a young pup by the name of John Williams.

    Style aside, the series was ahead of its time in the ’50s, and still holds up as great to watch today. The crimes were never sugar-coated…murder, drugs, all of it right out there lightened only by an occasionally funny hipster character who was so way out there you had to chuckle. In my opinion, the only thing that would have made this show better was if they didn’t have to squeeze it into a half hour. An hour would have done it much more justice.

    Splash Screen before and after commericals, Petet Gunn

    Splash Screen before and after commericals, Peter Gunn

    And what beat-era libations and repast doth thou deal out during said performance? ’50s hipsters were all about trying new things…which of course, are now old things. Maybe some cucumber sandwiches, with sour cream/dill dipping sauce. Maybe some mini spinach quiches wrapped in bacon. Pretzel rods with mustard. Finger sandwiches of smoked oysters or salmon spread. Kooky stuff like that. Serve Port, or Sambucca, or Galliano over the rocks. Or if you can get your hands on it, Absinth. Top it off with fresh pineapple, mango and coconut over vanilla ice cream for dessert. And don’t forget to smoke a pack of Camels before the show ends, dig?