Monday, April 27, 2009

Blogging Tales Of the Cocktail 2009: Jazz, Cocktails, and Storyville

Despite my best efforts to disgrace not only myself, but also the entire collaborative blog project of Tales of the Cocktail last year, I was inexplicably asked back this year. This article is therefore a simulcast with this "Tales Blog" as it is known. To see this article in a different context and so, so much more get yourself here.

Jazz, Cocktails, and Storyville is the title of an intriguing seminar to be held at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail, fronted by moderator David Wondrich and featuring the stylings of Allen Katz, Phil Greene, and Chris McMillan. I spoke with Monsieur Wondrich recently (OK, about a two weeks ago…what like you’ve never procrastinated anything in your life?) and asked him what Jazz, Cocktails, and Storyville was all about. He was quick to inform me that it is about jazz, cocktails, and Storyville.

This is why we do the interviews folks.

(annoying aside distracting from this article’s utter lack of substance: I once attempted to write the word “won’t” in a text message, and upon writing “w-o-n,” the predictive text on the phone guessed I was attempting to spell “Wondrich,” causing me to seriously re-evaluate my life.)

To get only slightly more specific, the seminar will explore the intersection of cocktail culture with “the sporting life.” By sporting life, we are not referring to fox hunts or polo, but rather the brothels, pool halls, card halls, dance halls, jazz and ragtime music, and all things scandalous that thrived in the once legally sanctioned Red Light District of New Orleans, AKA Storyville.

Sidney Story, a New Orleans Alderman, in 1897 successfully passed legislation through the New Orleans City Council that legalized prostitution in a specific district of town lying two blocks from the French Quarter (Basin Street is often referred to as the district’s “gateway”). The legislation was inspired by the Red Light Districts of the Netherlands, and motivated by a desire to regulate prostitution, and in so doing preserve property values in other parts of town. The result was a unique niche in American history, and most likely a lot of memorable nights in old New Orleans.

Storyville, as it came to be known in reference to its creator, proved to be the perfect environment for the too-risqué-for-decent-society Ragtime music, as well as the oh-my-lord-that’s-the-work-of-an-even-greater-devil Jazz. And apparently the denizens of Storyville figured since they were all going to hell for their sins, might as well enjoy some fine cocktails on the trip. Voila. There you have it. Jazz, Cocktails, and Storyville.

The musicians to emerge from, or at least dabble in, the Sporting Clubs of Storyville included Jelly Roll Morton, The Storyville Honkytonks, The Half Way House Orchestra, King Oliver’s Band, The New Orleans Owls, and the legendary but never recorded String Beans. Also associated with Storyville is Louis Armstrong, who legend has it delivered coal to the Sporting Clubs, and while there figured he might as well stick around and become a legend.

As for the cocktails of Storyville, most famous would be the Ramos Gin Fizz - invented nine years before the inception of Storyville but nonetheless all the rage during its thriving years – the Jack Rose, and Moran’s Parlor Punch. While much can change between now and July, these drinks are the leading candidates to be served at the seminar. No decision yet as to how the Ramos Gin Fizzes will be shaken, but I’m rooting for a John Henry-esque competition between a lineup of shaker boys and a single Bon Jour handheld frother. Think of how memorable that would be should the shaker boys, like John Henry, beat the machine only to die in victory…

Music will be played from the era to accompany our chats and sips. However, there will be no prostitution at the seminar. Apparently some time around 1917 the feds stepped in and made it illegal again. The good people of New Orleans fought this intrusion from The Man, thus once again proving that New Orleans is only begrudgingly part of the United States, which is of course one of the many reasons we love it so. In the 1940s most of the structures of Storyville were razed in order to build housing projects – those bastions of human suffering and poverty – thus indicating the forms of crime and corruption preferred by The Man, which of course is one of the many reasons we loathe him so.

So join us for Jazz, Cocktails, and Storyville…and stick it to The Man.

For further reading on the subject, seek out the book, “Stomp and Swerve,” written by some guy named David Wondrich…no relation I’m certain.

Jazz, Cocktails, and Storyville is all the rage on Friday, July 10, 2009, from 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM, in the Queen Anne Ballroom at the Hotel Monteleone. Buy tickets here.

Get Your Tix For Le Mixeur Six

150 tickets to Le Mixeur Six are available for pre-purchase online. The venue where we will gather can only hold 200 people at a time, and while we've often been accused of delusions of grandeur, we nonetheless are experiencing Cassandra-like portents of faithful Mixers peering in the windows of Le Mixeur, wondering when there turn to Mix will come. This tragic tale can be avoided by pre-purchasing your tickets. If your name is on the list, or you hold a ticket in your hand, we guarantee you shan't be denied a thing.

Buy them here !

Le Gra,

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Le Mixeur Six...May It Always Be

Over time. T.Mixeur has come to refer to himself in the third person less frequenter. However, when T.Mixeur makes Mixeur, T.Mixeur feels like a conqueror, and to third person refer seems most in order, do you concur?

That said, it gives T.Mixeur quite a stir to announce – or pronounce, as it were - that T.Mixeur makes Mixeur, the seventh overall, but sixth official, so call it we do Le Mixeur Six.


OK, let's can the T.Mixeur and rhyming stuff and get to some brass tacks...

Le Mixeur Six will come into existence on Saturday, May 30th, at Seattle-funky event space and gallery Mix, located at 6006 S. 12th St. Starting time 8pm, closing time 2am. What to expect:

  • A menu of original cocktail creations from the upcoming book, Left Coast Libations. Each cocktail is the invention of one of the west coast's most innovative and brilliant bartenders. Drinks will be made by some of the area's best bartenders, along with one talentless slag named me.
  • Entertainment in the form of a live performance by the Molly Rose Band, who will have just released their new CD two days prior (and more on that event to come in future posts).
  • Still more entertainment in the form of a live performance by Velella Velella, a band sure to push your evening across the threshold between sublime and transcendent...particularly if you have properly prepared yourself with dance and drink at the time of their set.
  • The usual mystique, festivity, and warm loving welcome we always strive to provide.
Admission for this event will be $10, and drinks will be $5 each. We assure you, you will not find a more thrifty way to have a night that you will always remember. And what's more, your dollar will help assure that Left Coast Libations does indeed see the light of day and all the good people who helped us with the book get at least some of their expenses covered.

There you have it, the logistical information required in order to coordinate a pilgrimage to Le Mixeur Six. But now, for those of you still reading, let's express what's really going on here...

Ladies and gentlemen, two nights ago we had a universal moment of:
perception, reflection, trigger, immediate, wildest, wisest, falling...
During which jobless old men revealed their secrets:
jars, bees, love, lures, dots, moles, stars...
And all our little stones sitting alone in the moonlight:
stitching souls back together, looking over lakes, looking intense, taking notes, taking walks, sharpening sticks, honing images...
And these images spoke directly to the imagination. This is what they said...

We have spoken as you would suppose, and speech seems to us a magical virtue beyond the visible world.

We have constructed more than twenty verbs and possessed the life-giving breath of a man at prayer.

We have explained the abstract notion of time and at least as many as twenty-one genders, none relating to sex.

We have based meaning upon the visible world and expressed being in its fullness though a chorus of birds, or a tree at sunrise.

We have explained: these are wings, these are songs, these are birds...

We have dedicated our weakness, our thinking, our suffering, our singing sculptures
in order to experience the redefined every day, every second.

And you, with your back to the wall, are a cry of pain, a lyric of seduction, speaking of some wistful yearning in the ebony sky.

We are a galactic cloud so deep, “the light that shrivels a mountain.”
Together with you, every feeling sings its message.
Together with you, these songs sing nothing but significance.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Drank Me

There is a new magazine in the world today, which officially was born March 31st. They call it, Drink Me. They make it in a place called San Francisco. And they give it away for free.

And this nifty little magazine has one key element no other food or beverage publication has, one essential ingredient for success: they got me, suckas!

Yes, I have entered into an exclusive arrangement with Drink Me magazine, an exclusivity that will last until someone else, in a fit of drunkenness or insanity or desperation, offers to publish what I write.

The article I wrote is about female bartenders, the obstacles they've faced and the victories they've won, and features profiles of Brooke Arthur, Jennifer Colliau and Jackie Patterson. Page 23. We've even had a review of the article come in already. Here it is:

"Tres cool. I read the whole issue. Well, I stopped after (Ted's) article, which I enjoyed very much. I kept thinking of (his father) and his championing of women's rights -- except when that meant he had to cook dinner once a week. Ha Ha."

-- Mom Munat

So there you have it! Obviously the article is very good, because my mother would not lie to me. And for those of you who smirked at me when you heard what I was writing about, and insinuated it was some surreal method I had for hitting on women, I think you can clearly see now I am keeping a family legacy alive (and I cook dinner 7 nights/week, thank you very much). Apologies to this author will be accepted by email, text message, facebook message or wall post, and postal mail. No phone calls please.

If you don't have a hard copy of Drink Me's first issue, it can be viewed in .pdf form at the magazine web site. If you'd like to carry Drink Me at your place of business and you're not in the Bay Area, you can send them $20 plus S&H and they'll send you as many copies as you want. They swear as many as you want. Ask for 50 million they'll send you 50 million. I'm serious. Try it.