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  • MAD MEN Season 6 Premiers Tonight, April 6

    Posted on April 7th, 2013 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    Are you ready for MAD MEN?

    mad-men-season-6-poster

    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.

    Hollywood Sign, late 1960s. Yes, this really happened.

    Hollywood Sign, late 1960s. Yes, this really happened.

    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

  • 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!”

  • Bogart Cocktail and A Flash of Noir: Both FREE, here at the Tiki Lounge

    Posted on January 6th, 2012 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    A Flash of Noir, by Christopher Pinto

    A Flash of Noir, by Christopher Pinto

    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

    FREE

    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?

    Your Weekend Vintage Cocktail: The Bogart Cocktailretro-drinks-cocktails-hi-and-low

    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

  • Alcohol-Soaked Eggnog for a Very Merry Tiki Bar Christmas

    Posted on December 22nd, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 3 comments

    eggnog1With 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.eggnog2

    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.

    “Egg Nogg:
    .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

    Don't forget to have a tasty Camel cigarette with your Eggnog! Santa approved!

    Don't forget to have a tasty Camel cigarette with your Eggnog! Santa approved!

    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!

  • Monsters, Inc. 2001 For Mod Movie Monday

    Posted on November 8th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments
    Monsters, Inc. I know this ad/poster is a taken from another movie poster...anyone guess which one?

    Monsters, Inc. I know this ad/poster is a taken from another movie poster...anyone guess which one?

    Just one look at this flick and you know that the creatives at Pixar really did an homage to the old-school Disney films when they put together

    Monsters, Inc. 2001

    starring Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly and Mary Gibbs.

    I include this flick in the Mod Monday gig because there’s so much in it that screams of vintage while being made with technology way ahead of its time that the movie itself is a sci-fi wonder come true.

    The opening credits alone will swing you back to Disney’s “first” golden era, with a clarinet-lead jazz instrumental that’s perfectly paired to a snaky monster and a plethora somewhat confusing and mod-looking doors, reminiscent of the Disney musicals of the 1940s and ’50s.

    Then the story opens with a couple of very kool monsters, not particularly scary at all but kind of Muppet-like. They live in an apartment decorated with old-school furniture, one has a jalopy that looks like a ’60s sports car with teeth, they walk down a very 1940s-New York-looking street and report for work in a factory that’s sort of a mix of mid-century modern and minimalist industrial designs.

    Doesn't this look like something from a retro-50s sci fi thriller?

    Doesn't this look like something from a retro-50s sci fi thriller?

    The retro/vintage themes rack up from there. James Coburn’s voiceover sounds a lot like the bad guys in the old Hannah-Barbara cartoons from the ’60s and ’70s (or Burgermeister Meisterburger in Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town, voiced by Paul Frees). There are retro Disneyland posters on the walls, and a 1960s-style newscaster. There’s even a scene on a tropical beach with a couple of Tiki huts!

    The story? Oh, yeah…sometimes I forget to tell you about the story, don’t I. Ok, it’s about a couple of Monsters who work on the scare floor of the corporation who provides electricity for Monstropolis by collecting the screams of human kids and bottling them. The corporation reminded me a lot of Office Depot’s corporate headquarters where I worked briefly at the time this movie was made. The whole thing they do with “I am Monsters, Inc!”…yeah, Office Depot did that with their employees for a training video. Oy.

    Uh...yeah. Mid-century Retro-rama, baby!

    Uh...yeah. Mid-century Retro-rama, baby!

    Anyway, back to the subject…It’s a great flick and the added retro-isms will have kats and kittens like you digging it even more. For a sneak peak (and the numbero uno reason this flick fits the Mod Movie Monday category), check out the two videos below. The first is the opening credits to Monsters, Inc., the second is a clip from Make Mine Music (1947) featuring the Benny Goodman band and visuals by Disney. You’ll see immediately where the designers for Monsters, Inc. got their inspiration. Even the music is similar…not the same, not copied…but inspired. Great job, Pixar. Keep the faith, baby.

    Here’s the Intro to Monsters, Inc. 2001

    And “After You’ve Gone” from Make Mine Music, 1947

    -Tiki Chris P. reporting from the Scare Floor at Tiki Lounge Talk. BTW…the bear in this photo look familiar? It should…he’s the original Winnie the Pooh 😉 disney-monsters-inc-putting-boo-to-bed