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Archive for November, 2009

by Fancy Brandy

Last year guest instructors taught our USO Show crowd to swing dance, and this year we again have instructors partaking in the festvities to teach us a thing or two about Hula!

What has been your experience teaching and performing Hula and other dances in New England? It’s been great. We are primarily a performing group; and our New England audiences are always very appreciative. Many people we do shows for have been to Hawaii and loved it, and are excited to bring an authentic touch of the islands to their own luau-themed event.

v4053296What’s your favorite dance to teach? We usually like teach an auwana (modern) hula called the Hukilau during our shows. We like to teach it because the mele (song) has a good variety of hand/arm gestures, and the footwork is very basic so people can follow along fairly easily.

What is something you think most people wouldn’t know about the Hula? I think most people know that the hula is a form of story telling and that each gesture has a meaning, which helps tell the story. But one thing people may not know is that today’s modern style of hula actually evolved from an ancient, sacred form of hula.

Another thing people may not know is that there are many different styles of hula, including whether the hula is ancient or modern, standing or seated, and with or without percussive implements. The hula is much loved around the world, with hula halaus (schools) and performing groups not only in Hawaii and the mainland US, but in such diverse countries such as Japan, Columbia, Mexico, the Philippines, France, Germany, Australia, and many others.

Don’t miss the Hula Aloha Dancers at the LUPEC Boston Tiki Bash this Saturday! Click HERE for more info and HERE to buy your tickets today!

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by Fancy Brandy

If you’re at all familiar with Tiki & lounge music and culture in Boston, you’ve probably heard of Brother Cleve. We asked him a couple questions so you could get to know your host behind the laptop at this Saturday’s event…

What is your favorite cocktail? My favorite tropical drink is the Jet Pilot

If you were a LUPEC member (or DUdePEC, for the gents), what would your namesake cocktail be? I think I’d like to just be Old Mr. Boston, cuz I ain’t gettin’ any younger!

Favorite bar? Probably the one in my living room, as I have all the necessary/hard-to-find ingredients and my huge collection of Tiki mugs!That said, my friends at Drink will make you a Mai Tai or a Zombie with the original recipes.

Favorite place to sip a mai tai? Locally, the back room at the South Pacific in Newton; the decor hasn’t changed since 1957. Beyond Boston, the Mai Kai in Ft Lauderdale and Tiki Ti in Los Angeles have the best tropical cocktails, the way Donn Beach and Trader Vic created ‘em.

What do you like most about tiki? The lure of the tropics, the retreat to an ersatz Disneyland world comprised of perfect calm.

960601_bluebeardIf you were putting together a playlist to your tiki party, what would you put on it? I have made that playlist, and it includes around 150 songs, from the godfathers of Exotica [Les Baxter, Martin Denny] and the cool concept albums of the late 50’s/early 60’s ["Jun'gala", "White Lotus", "Tropical Fantasy", "Surfer's Paradise"...], Elvis hits from films like “Blue Hawaii” & “Paradise Hawaiian Style”, surf music, and modern day practitioners like Combustible Edison, which I was a member of, and Waitiki, whose last 2 albums I produced.

How have you been involved in Boston’s tiki history? How have you seen it change? The sad change has been the closure of the fantastic Polynesian restaurants from the era’s heyday of the 50’s/60’s : Bob Lee’s Islander, Aku Aku, South Seas, Diamond Head, Trader Vic’s, Kon Tiki Ports; these were fantasy island outposts in the midst of our urban grit. Fortunately, a few places like the Kowloon and South Pacific have survived. As for my own involvement, I’ve worked/presented many a Tiki event over the last dozen years, here and all over the world, along with shows in the lounge and burlesque worlds.

What is your the crown jewel of the tropical tunes? Les Baxter’s “Quiet Village” is the ultimate exotica song, in any of its myriad versions; my personal fave, if I had to name just one, would be Alex Stordahl’s recording of “The Moon Of Manakoora”.

Don’t miss Brother Cleve at the LUPEC Boston Tiki Bash this Saturday! Click HERE for more info and HERE to buy your tickets today!

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by Fancy Brandy

Every year LUPEC events get amazing support from the community in the form of food & drink donations, raffle items, volunteers, local media and of course our fabulous performers. We thought we’d take a minute to get some inside info on the talented folks you’ll see up on the stage this Saturday. Stay tuned for their thoughts on tiki & hula culture! First up: Uke Springsteen!

Favorite cocktail: A whiskey cocktail called a Gingered Gentleman. It’s Maker’s and some crazy ginger concoction made by the folks at the Red Fez in Providence.

If you were in LUPEC (or DUdePEC, for the gents), what would your namesake cocktail be? Tanqueray and Wine.

Favorite bar? Either Highland Kitchen or Razzy’s, because they have been in stumbling distance of where I live for a few years and served me well. (Favorite place to sip a mai thai: The Hong Kong.)

ukespringsteen_th_586

Uuuuuuuuuke!!!

What first drew you to the ukulele? I got a ukulele for my birthday a few years ago,and I didn’t know how to play it. Some friends were having a Bruce Springsteen party and I already knew the songs from years of loving them, so I figured it was a good way to learn how to play that instrument. Imagine if I had been given a tuba, and my friends were having a John Mellencamp party? Tuba Mellencamp just doesn’t have the same ring, does it?

Who inspires you? The Boss!

What do you like most about tiki? Hmmm. I guess floral shirts. But maybe I don’t fully understand tiki. [We'll take you under our wing, don't worry!]

What would you put on your tiki party playlist? Probably not Bruce Springsteen music, but maybe Don Ho, the Dixie Cups, Desmond Dekker, the Folkes Brothers.

How do you pack so much punch with that tiny little guitar? I plug it in and step on distortion pedals, and my digital audio accompanist, the D.A. helps out quite a bit.

Who are your ukelele & musical heroes? The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive, so basically if the highway is jammed with heroes, I guess that means there’s too many to mention

When the chips are down, what keeps Uke rockin’? “I believe in the hope and I pray that some day It may raise me above these BADLANDS!!!”

Don’t miss Uke Springsteen at the LUPEC Boston Tiki Bash this Saturday! Click HERE for more into and HERE to buy your tickets today!

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by Fancy Brandy

Joining us again this year are Thru the Keyhole Burlesque ladies Sparkles McTitsy & Tallulah Starlight!

l_b2491cc257f577257299fe741c7e57f7Favorite cocktail: We like our cocktails showy & accessorized, martinis, mai tais & mint juleps.

If you were a LUPEC (or DUdePEC, for the gents), what would your namesake cocktail be? The Tipsy McTitsy & the Tallulah Stardust.

Favorite bar: Sparkles prefers a night on the town at Local 121 in Providence, while Tallulah often finds herself sipping cocktails at home on her tiki patio after the kiddies go to bed.

Favorite place to sip a Mai Tai? Kowloon, preferably by the volcano, in the boat!

What first drew you to burlesque? The glitter & glamour of course! But we were also excited by the oddball talent, wackiness & off-color humor found in the modern burlesque community.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? We are inspired by classic burlesque queens to John Water’s & everything in between. Our musical selections vary from the B-52’s, Laurence Welk, Martin Denny to Goldfrapp. We’ve danced as lobsters, chicken, marshmallow fluff, mermaids & gorillas. I would say no subject is safe from our shimmy!

What would you put on your Tiki party playlist? Our old friends Waitiki; there is nothing like a watermelon sacrifice to put you in the sipping mood.

Have you ever done Tiki-inspired burlesque before? Yes! It is one of our favorite themes!

How did you prepare? Many hours of research involving Martin Denny, scorpion bowls & coconut bras, plus help from our tiki-mentor Br. Cleve. (Speaking of….)

Don’t miss Sparkles McTitsy & Tallulah Starlight at the LUPEC Boston Tiki Bash this Saturday! Click HERE for more info and HERE to buy your tickets today!

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*LUPEC Boston’s latest ruminations, in case you missed ‘em in this week’s Dig.

by Pink Lady

Our Tiki Bash is just a few short weeks away, and LUPEC Boston has assembled a class-act event. With hula instruction, burlesque dancers, ukulele-sensation Uke Springsteen reinterpreting “the Boss” on his tiny, tiny guitar, plus cocktail historian/Boston music legend Brother Cleve spinning records, this is an event you won’t want to miss.

It wouldn’t be a LUPEC party if cocktails weren’t the main attraction. In the next few columns, we’ll offer a taste of what’s in store on November 14th to whet your appetite and introduce you to hallmarks of the tiki drinks that inspired the party, considered so delicious in their heyday, they begot a craze that outlasted every cocktail fad before and since.

First, we should note that “tiki cocktail” is a “retro” term. Inventors of these fine concoctions referred to them as “exotic drinks” or “faux tropics” (“faux” because they were invented far from the real tropics, in the continental US). Modern drinkers may feel silly about the umbrellas and the skull-shaped glassware, but for many decades, “exotics” were the height of cocktail chic. Their popularity among the Hollywood set at Don the Beachcomber’s was inspiration enough for Victor Bergeron to rip the moose heads off the walls at his Northwest-themed eatery, Hinky Dinks, transforming it from “lodge” to tropical paradise and himself into “Trader Vic.”

The Fog Cutter, one of two drinks we’ll serve at the LUPEC Boston Tiki Bash, is commonly credited to Trader Vic, though Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh casts doubt upon these origins in Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails. Haigh traces the drink via expert barman Tony Ramos, an original bartender at Don the Beachcomber’s in Los Angeles, who recalls the Fog Cutter as the signature drink from Edna Earl’s Fog Cutter bar in LA. Regardless of who invented it, this potent combination of three unlikely bedfellows—rum, brandy and gin—plus fresh juice, orgeat and sherry—is a memorable beverage. Provided you don’t tipple too many, of course.

If you’ve never heard of or tried orgeat, you’re in for a treat. Originally a health tonic popular among Romans, the early formula for orgeat was simply boiling water, barley and honey for several hours, then straining it (the word derives from the Latin “hordeata” meaning “made with barley”). In its modern incarnation, orgeat is a typically sweet, milky-looking almond syrup (who knows where the barley went?) made by boiling almonds and sugar and adding a little orange flower water or rosewater at the end.

Orgeat appears in many tiki cocktails, including two of Trader Vic’s most famous concoctions, the Mai Tai and the Fog Cutter. You’ll have a chance to sample both at the LUPEC Boston Tiki Bash. Or, try one at home today, proceeding with caution, as this drink is potent. As Trader Vic said, “Fog Cutter? Hell, after two of these, you won’t even see the stuff.”

FOG CUTTER

ADAPTED FROM TRADER VIC’S BARTENDER’S GUIDE, REVISED by Victor Bergeron
2 oz light Puerto Rican rum
1 oz brandy
0.5 oz gin
2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz orange juice
0.5 oz orgeat
0.5 oz sweet sherry

Shake all ingredients except sherry with ice cubes. Pour into 14-ounce glass. Add more ice cubes. Float 0.5 ounces of sherry on top. Serve with straws.

PURCHASE TICKETS TO THE LUPEC BOSTON TIKI BASH ONLINE AT THEBOSTONSHAKER.COM, GRAND IN SOMERVILLE, TORO IN THE SOUTH END, DRINK IN FORT POINT, TRINA’S STARLITE LOUNGE IN SOMERVILLE, OR BUCKAROO’S MERCANTILE IN CAMBRIDGE. CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS.

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*LUPEC Boston’s latest ruminations, in case you missed ‘em in this week’s Dig.

by Pink Lady

Regular readers of our column or blog are well aware of LUPEC’s mission to “breed, raise and release endangered cocktails into the wild,” spreading great stories, lore and cocktail history whenever we can. But another main initiative of this group is to give back to our community. Fabulous as we may be, most members of our little club will never be in a position to donate a wing to a local hospital or community center. Instead, we fundraise in the best way we know how: by throwing dress-up cocktail parties. We’ve raised over $20,000 for local women’s charities this way since our group’s inception in 2007.

Our first event was a 1920s-themed speakeasy held on a clandestine riverboat permanently docked in the Boston Harbor, and it benefited Jane Done Inc., the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. Last year, we threw a 1940s-themed USO-style variety show with swing dancing, burlesque and live comedy to benefit women at the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans. This year, we’re planning a tiki bash of epic proportions.

On November 14th, we will transform the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts into a 1950s-themed tiki party featuring retro libations and canapés provided by Toro, Green Street, the Franklin Café and more. Island Creek Oysters will be on-hand shucking delicious “Duxbury pearls” and the Boston Derby Dames will skate around with sweets provided by Taza Chocolate. Through the Keyhole Burlesque, ukulele master Uke Springsteen, DJ Brother Cleve and other live acts will entertain. Tickets, a wallet-friendly $35 in advance/$45 at the door, are on sale now.

Why tiki in November? Why not? With exotic décor and whimsical cocktails, a night at Trader Vic’s or Don the Beachcomber’s offered un-ironic escapism in its heyday, a flavor-packed counterpoint in the era of vodkatinis and The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. As tiki expert Jeff “Beach Bum” Berry told the Washington Post earlier this year, “A tiki bar was where the mid-century Organization Man went to escape his white-collar job, his big mortgage and the threat of nuclear annihilation.”

With a long cold winter on the horizon, we Bostonians could use a little escapism, too.

THE HAWAIIAN ROOM

FROM THE HAWAIIAN ROOM OF THE HOTEL LEXINGTON, NYC, CIRCA 1940S

ADAPTED FROM JEFF BERRY & ANNENE KAYE’S BEACHBUM BERRY’S GROG LOG

0.5 oz fresh lemon juice

0.5 oz unsweetened pineapple juice

0.5 oz Applejack

0.5 oz triple sec

1 oz light Puerto Rican rum

Shake well with plenty of ice cubes. Strain into a cocktail glass.

CIN-CIN!

PURCHASE TICKETS TO THE LUPEC BOSTON TIKI BASH ONLINE AT THEBOSTONSHAKER.COM, GRAND IN SOMERVILLE, TORO IN THE SOUTH END, DRINK IN FORT POINT, TRINA’S STARLITE LOUNGE IN SOMERVILLE, OR BUCKAROO’S MERCANTILE IN CAMBRIDGE. CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS.

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by Pink Lady

Thanks to everyone who came out for our spectacular Sip & Shop at Grand yesterday! LUPEC was thrilled to team up with the Boston Shaker store to welcome special guests Dale & Jill DeGroff, who signed many books and shook many hands as we manned the Absinthe fountain and doled out delicious, spooky punch (recipes below.)

Special props to all who attended in costume, as well. We had a tough time deciding on the best one, with Wonder Woman, Quailman, and Jackie Kennedy, and more all strong contenders. The final winner was the Beekeeper, whose attention to detail (real bee carcasses attached to his jumpsuit and his very own bee) put his costume over the top. The Beekeeper was awarded a free ticket to the LUPEC Boston Tiki Bash. We can’t wait to see what he dreams up for that dress-up party.

Relive the moment at home with an individual-sized version of the cocktails we served as punch :

CORPSE REVIVER NO. 2
.75 oz Hendricks
.75 oz Lillet
.75 oz Cointreau
.75 oz lemon
dash of absinthe

Shake with ice & strain into a chilled vintage cocktail glass. Originally a hangover helped designed to help moisten the clay on any given Tuesday.
BLOODBATH PUNCH
1 oz Bourbon
1 oz Dubonnet Rouge
.5 oz Cherry Heering
.5 oz Orange Juice
Angostura Orange Bitters

Shake with ice & strain into a chilled cocktail glass. A riff on the Blood & Sand, only far more ghoulish.

Cin-cin!

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