Monday, December 19, 2011

Le Mixeur Sharky: Nine Stories


It's been over two years since we held a Le Mixeur. And it's been almost that long since I wrote a blog post. That is not a coincidence. This blog was created for the purpose of disseminating information about Le Mixeurs, and continued to be driven by Le Mixeurs over the years. Once the Le Mixeurs dried up, so did the blog.

Time for the comeback.

As many of you may know, my life revolves not around booze or Mixeurs, but around a nine year old boy named Sharky who I am lucky enough to consider my son. As some of you may know, Sharky was diagnosed with Autism about five years ago. And as far fewer of you may know, last August Sharky's insurance company declared that he was no longer eligible for speech therapy coverage. This came on the heels of his insurance company declaring the previous year that he was no longer eligible for physical or occupational therapy. That came on the heels of the state department of social and health services also saying he was not eligible for coverage of speech or physical or occupational therapy. That came on the heels of him never being eligible to receive applied behavioral therapy, or sensory integration therapy, or anything that might actually help him.

Of course, all of that's no big deal. Me and his two mothers raised him without their help. And now he's nine and in my opinion the best person this world ever produced. He's the most amazing person I have ever met. This world, which hasn't offered him much except all the good people in his life, is beyond fortunate for his existence. Every day he is here, he makes the world a better place.

But he does need help. We need help. We need your help. He has the most beautiful way of expressing himself, and many of you have witnessed this through my ad nauseum posts on facebook quoting him. But learning how to express himself more clearly through speech therapy will not only increase his chances of surviving in society as an adult, but will also make him happier in his relationships with the people he meets in life. He won't always need his dad to interpret what he says.

So we're going to throw a Le Mixeur Sharky to raise money to pay for those damn pesky $150/hour speech therapy sessions. And we're going to base this Le Mixeur on the works of J.D. Salinger, who wrote so beautifully on the dreams, ambitions, and qualities of children. He wrote so beautifully, and was appreciated so widely, that it's hard to believe we have still managed to conjure up a world in which the help children need is denied, and in which a child dies of starvation somewhere in the world every three seconds. I think of that fact often, and it never fails to remind me of how unbelievably fortunate I am.

Le Mixeur Sharky: Nine Stories, will feature a menu of nine drinks, each based on one of Salinger's stories from the collection Nine Stories. Each of these drinks will be original creations by some of my favorite Seattle bartenders. Each of these bartenders will be assigned a story. They have the options of a) basing their drink strictly on the title b) basing their drink on the summary and notes I provide them, or c) reading the story and basing the drink on that.

We will hold Le Mixeur Sharky: Nine Stories sometime in March. Details and specific date are yet to be determined. I will be putting up blog posts on each drink for the menu as they come in, with descriptions of the drink, the story, and the bartender.

I will be posting the updates on Le Mixeur Sharky: Nine Stories, here and on the blog I once kept about Sharky. It was a blog that briefly garnered a following and, on one occasion with the assistance of my brother Ben, got over 10,000 hits in one day for this post.

I'd like to officially commence this journey by thanking all of you who have been supportive of Sharky and I over the years, no matter the level. The next few months are going to be emotional and meaningful to me because of this project.

OK. Let's do this.


*

Monday, October 17, 2011

Portland Cocktail Week

*

There is a story, a beautiful story, about grace and the sea. And my heart is trying to explain it to my mind. And as the heart fumbles over the few mind words it speaks and the mind clumsily interrupts and stammers and looks foolish with bewilderment, they both begin to laugh: first at each other, then at themselves. And as the laughter flows into unison, they form one tongue, speaking, as graceful as a stone skipping across water, striking the perfect spot of each wave. Among these waves I am swimming, watching the expressions of this new tongue skip all about me as it goes this way and that, never rebelling against its natural course, yet beautifully independent, making friendly suggestions to the world. I am diving down and leaping up, spouting water into the air, sometimes choking on the salt, eyes burning, but laughing. Always laughing. At night as I sleep, ghosts play with me by pulling off whatever I'm using for covers. I awaken and laugh some more with them. And it occurs to me I am becoming a child again.

The story is a story of sentipentsaris, the getting together of the heart and mind. It fell upon me one day while sitting in a tiny room with smoldering peat fire and rain pelting against the windows, basking in love but saturated with pain. And once that pain was let in, it created just the right darkness in which to dream of the creation of a perfect world. And this dream was not the first step in creating a perfect world, this dream was the creation of a perfect world.

Months later and thousands of miles away, I fell in love with a woman but didn't tell her. One autumn night we were part of a group who walked out into the thick woods, to a clearing where dozens of people gathered around a bonfire. She and I, instinctively and almost immediately, explored away from the gathering and made our way through more woods to the water, all the while talking of dreams, memories, and the sky. When we reached the water, we took in the moon and stars, glowing on the water, the drifting fragrances, the distant sound of music, the electric lights of civilization across the bay... all the elements of this perfect world.

As we tossed stones out into the darkness of the water, she asked me, "Do you believe in ghosts?"

I stopped what I was doing, looked deeply into the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen, and with greater clarity than I had ever before possessed, I said, "I believe in everything."

*

(note: the organizers of Portland Cocktail week in no way guarantee experiences comparable to the ones described above. The experiences described above are merely the thoughts of a bored writer with no better outlet to express his ideas than this antiquated "cocktail blog." Thank you.)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Forging Your Own Path At Tales


The Tales it is a growing. Every year the madness grows exponentially. And in response to this growth, the expert Tales attendee must adapt to the new rules, rules that become somewhat clear just in time for it to be too late. Remembering the new rules is an entertaining process, but serves no real purpose, as the memory cannot be put into practice in future incarnations of Tales, as once again the madness grows exponentially, and new rules are created. It's an interesting and completely logical phenomenon.

Here are a few tips from lessons learned this year for avoiding the clusterfucks at Tales.

RULE 1: BEWARE OF TEXT MESSAGE IDEAS

In the past, a splendid way to congregate with good friends was to network via text messages. Word would come in by way of digital handheld messaging that people were headed to DBA, or Coop's, or some other spot that some influential person decided to go to, then messaged a few friends of his or hers with a statement of intention. This enabled the expert Tales attendee to connect with many dearly beloved drunk friends. Laughter, mayhem, kisses, and hugs ensued.

This method is now fraught with peril. Some decided to face the peril, only to find that is is far too perilous. The Tales it is a growing, and these days a text message ripple turns quickly to a Tsunami. The destination point becomes a, yes, here comes the word again...clusterfuck.

On Tuesday evening of this week, I was witness to some of this text messaging. Instinctively and somewhat surprisingly, I surmised what was going to happen and did not chase the tail of the Tales message wave. Messages reached me reading, "Fancy Pants party! Fancy Pants party! Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Fancy Pants party! Fancy Pants party!"

Or something to that effect.

Just a bit later, as I continued to sip a sazerac at Arnaud's French 75 Bar made by Chris Hannah, another burst of messages came in, saying something along the lines of, "Fancy Pants party...so crowded. Fancy Pants party...long line. Fancy Pants party...wouldn't let me in. My pants were not fancy enough."

Amused, I continued sipping and awaited the next idea for the evening, which would be merely theoretical for myself but a reality for many of my dearly beloved. Shortly thereafter, messages began reading, "Maple Leaf Bar! Maple Leaf Bar! Ooh! Ooh! Maple Leaf Bar! Maple Leaf Bar!"

Or something to that effect.

Just a bit later, as I continued to sip a Creole Cocktail at Arnaud's French 75 Bar made by Chris Hannah, another burst of messages came in, saying something along the lines of, "Maple Leaf Bar...so crowded. Maple Leaf Bar...long line. Maple Leaf Bar...wouldn't let me in. My leaves were not mapley enough."

Amused, I continued sipping and awaited the next idea for the evening, which would be merely theoretical for myself but a reality for many of my dearly beloved. Shortly thereafter, messages began coming in reading, "The Saint! The Saint! Ooh! Ooh! The Saint! The Saint!"

At that point I flushed my phone down the toilet. Moments later I came to my senses and retrieved and revived it via mouth to USB port resuscitation. But I put it on airplane mode and walked over to the Old Absinthe House for a beer.

The point is, there are now too many people at Tales to bother following the pack. If you get word of some place "everyone" is going to, assume 4,000 other people are getting the same word as you, and that spot is going to be a, yes... clusterfuck.

Also remember that the text message you received started with some individual. It wasn't a cosmic firework of inspired brilliance that shot into the sky, exploded, and tinkled down onto everyone simultaneously. Someone decided to go do something, told someone else, and then we all played a game of telephone. So make your own idea, tell your friends, and go there. The rooms aren't big enough for us all anymore, dear ones. Be a pioneer. Start your own informal gathering of people somewhere where they will serve you liquor.

RULE 2: GO TO THE TASTING ROOMS THAT ARE LESS BOOZY SOUNDING

Yesterday I was nearly trampled to death by the masses trying to get into the Oxley Gin tasting room. I managed to survive thanks to my physical prowess, sheer cunning, and media badge. In the meantime, I drank me some gin and ate me some delicious gin sorbet.

Downstairs, Fentiman's was also hosting a tasting room. There was plenty of space down in that room, time to chat with the people serving drinks, relax and watch some old episodes of The Avengers. Why the discrepancy in attendance? Well, my own personal theory is that it is because Oxley is high proof gin and Fentiman's is soft drinks.

You would think that given the amazingly high availability of booze at Tales that people wouldn't be in any hurry to consume mass quantities of it. You would think this, but you would be wrong.  We offered some punch made with Maker's Mark at our book signing yesterday for Left Coast Libations. The recipe yields about 100 ounces of punch, or 50 small cups. The punch was gone in 15 minutes. So Anu Apte whipped up an improvised punch (with top secret ingredient!) that yielded about 200 ounces. That too was gone in moments.

Here's the secret: first of all, Fentiman's ain't dummies. They're mixing their products with gin, bourbon, rum, scotch, etc. They know you want booze and they want you to know their products can mix with a variety of boozes. So yes, you can go to the tasting room of the company known mostly for ginger beer and still get your drink on. And you can do it without feeling like you're at a Who concert in Cincinnati (sorry Cincinnati for bringing up old wounds).

The same phenomenon happened today wherein the 4 Roses Bourbon (high proof) tasting room was more crowded than the waiting room outside the pearly gates, and the Marie Brizzard (lower proof) tasting room was merely well attended. In this case, however, the 4 Roses Bourbon tasting might have been so popular due to the presence of Dave Shenaut, who rumor had it was sporting a kneck beard sure to draw in and wow the masses. Naturally, those who attended for this purpose were disappointed, as Dave had shaved the K.B. "Kneck Beards are over," he told me. Freaking Portland hipsters man. Just can't even keep up with what's cool in the world's coolest city anymore.

RULE 3: NEVER LEAVE YOUR HOTEL ROOM

Actually, never mind. You can't do that. Get out there, make friends, have fun, and be a hero.

(editor's note: all rules and lessons mentioned above, upon publication of this article, are hereby ruled dated and irrelevant. Tales has once again grown exponentially and all rules have changed. Thank you for reading, you have just wasted 10 minutes of your life. As Dave Shenaut would say, "Forging Your Own Path At Tales is over." Freaking Portland hipsters...)




Sunday, February 6, 2011

LCL meets LUPEC - February 19th





I was 11 years old. It was a cool summer evening in Maine, where the Munat clan was vacationing. Word got to me that at a nearby cottage, a girls-only slumber party had erupted. Instinctively, my two male friends and I trotted to the site of it. We stood outside the home, gazing wistfully up at the windows and keenly listening to the sounds of girls talking and laughing inside as the fireflies hovered around us.

Eventually we could take it no more. We rushed to the door and knocked. The host girl's mother answered the door, and with great earnestness we begged to be admitted. In a response as predictable as it was devastating, she told us it was a party for girls only, then added, with a wink, "and you don't look like girls to me."

Crestfallen, we shuffled away from the house with our heads hung. But moments later, the same revolutionary thought seemed to pop into each of our little pre-pubescent heads. She had said we didn't look like girls. She had winked. Clearly, she was telling us that we could come in if we looked a little more like girls, yes?

In an instant the three of us had separated and were each sprinting to our respective homes. Upon reaching mine, I burst into the living room, where my mother was sitting quietly reading, and shrieked, "Mom, I need one of your nightgowns! NOW!!! QUICKLY!!!"

I would suppose there was then some explanation given, but I can't recall for sure. The next thing I remember I was back out in the night, beneath the moon in Maine, wearing my mother's nightgown, racing towards the gilded lair of the forbidden party. We three boys, all in women's sleepwear, arrived back at the house and cried out to the mother from the sidewalk. She appeared at the doorway, took a look at our outfits, and waved us in.

But at that moment, a wave of fear swept over me. I froze. I couldn't go through with it. Even as my internal voice barked at me to go, go, you idiot, I simply could not move. Whether it was a simple case of my shy nature getting the best of me, or some deeper spiritual fear of happiness, I can't say. But I stood there like a statue as my two friends entered the house without me.

Then the miracle occurred. Just as the devastation at my own lameness was setting in, the door to the house swung open again, and what might have been 10 or might have been 400 giggling girls came swarming out. With several of them grasping each limb of my body, I was lifted up and carried into the house.

In short...best party ever. There was popcorn and movies and music and scary stories, we stayed up all night talking about life's rich pageant, and watched the sun come up over the Atlantic as "Good Feeling" by the Violent Femmes played on this amazing radio station in Maine that only played music from the future.



Fast forward a couple of decades, and here I am, and here you are, with a similar opportunity to peek behind the gender curtain and spend a night with some pretty amazing ladies. In this case, no cross-dressing is required (though it would certainly be enjoyed). All you have to do is buy a ticket to LUPEC Seattle's big party on February 19th, starting at 8pm. For the official description and to buy tickets, visit Brown Paper Tickets.

For those of you who don't know, LUPEC is a Bolshevik organization seeking to overthrow the US government. Actually, it's an organization of Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails, a concept way more radical than Bolshevik revolutions. There are many chapters of LUPEC across the country, and on the 19th we will enjoy a coming together of the Portland and Seattle chapters (watch out social hierarchy, the cocktail swilling ladies are uniting!!!)

A portion of the proceeds for the event on the 19th will benefit the Jubilee Women's Center. JWC is a non-profit here in Seattle whose mission is to "provide women a safe and supportive place to live and an opportunity to learn while becoming self-reliant in housing and employment."

The event is being held at "The Penthouse," a 37th floor space at the tippity top of the Aspira Building in Denny Triangle. The Penthouse is affiliated with Belltown bar Rob Roy, and features floor-to-ceiling windows and two balconies overlooking the city, Space Needle, Puget Sound, Lake Union, my apartment, Jamie Boudreau's bedroom, etc.

I will be on hand signing copies of Left Coast Libations, which will be sold by Kristina Barnes, owner of Inner Chapters Books in South Lake Union via cash, check, or charge.

The event price in advance is $40/person. This includes all the hors d'oeuvre you like and tickets for two free cocktails, which will be made by Rob Roy owner Anu Apte and Jenn Hegstrom of LUPEC Portland. And to summarize, your $40 will support:

  • The Jubilee Women's Center, a local non-profit supporting homeless women, 70% of whom are domestic violence survivors.
  • LUPEC Seattle, a very cool group of women attempting to create a vibrant cocktail culture in Seattle and support local non-profits in the process.
  • Rob Roy and Inner Chapters Books, two locally-owned, female-owned, socially conscious and excellent businesses.
  • A humble, mild-mannered public servant who also happens to be a local author... moi (well, actually you need to buy a book to support me. I ain't getting no door cut. That's for the females).

And for an extra drink, bring along an article of clothing for children or women to be donated to JWC. Hell, bring a whole wardrobe with you. You still only get one free drink, but you know, you are allowed to commit acts of kindness without getting rewarded with booze. It's written somewhere in the constitution.

Hey I wrote a blog post! This was fun. I'll do it again soon.

Ta Ta For Now...


Painting above is "Summer Night On The Beach" by Edvard Munch