Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Cocktail Hour // The Aviator + Aviation

There are certain firsts you'll never forget. Or just partially forget. I remember the first time I had an Aviation cocktail. My season as an intern at the Milwaukee Film Festival had just ended and some of the staff was meeting at this great bar that I can not for the life of me remember. It was the kind of bar that had a lot of beers on tap and no cocktail menu. You told the bartender or cocktail waiter/ress what you were in the mood for, what you liked, what you didn't like, and they would give you a few suggestions based on your criteria. I was (and still am) a vodka gal, but I wanted to change it up and try something gin based, nothing too sweet and a little different. They recommended an Aviation and I was hooked. 

The Aviation was created by Hugo Ensslin, head bartender at the Hotel Wallick in New York, in the early twentieth century. The first published recipe for the drink appeared in Ensslin's 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks.[1]

2 ounces gin
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 ounce creme de violette
Lemon peel for garnish

I love my booze but I wouldn't call myself an aficionado. I say that because I personally think any gin could be used in this cocktail but others may disagree. For a smoother drink I would suggest Hendrick's, which infuses Bulgarian rose and cucumber into their gin, making it quite refreshing. Lately, I've been on a Seagram's kick, which is a bit more...potent. If you don't like the traditional (or what some may call the "Christmas tree")  taste, then I would avoid Seagram's.

Now onto the film. When Leonardo DiCaprio won his Oscar earlier this year I realized I hadn't seen a lot of his most recent films save for The Wolf of Wall Street and The Great Gatsby (I enjoyed one of them). You'd think I would automatically decide to then see The Revenant, the film which won him the Oscar, but I decided to go with The Aviator; partly because I thought it was right up my alley (biography, period piece, pretty costumes) but mostly because it was available on Netflix Instant. Though I'm sure Hughes had a favorite cocktail that is listed in a biography or two, I decided to sip on the Aviation. Seems appropriate, no?

I was a bit underwhelmed with the film as a whole. I've been underwhelmed by films in the past that I later become obsessed with (see: O Brother, Where Art Thou?), so I may give it another go. Don't get me wrong, the performances were great (notably Cate Blanchett. No surprise she won her first Oscar for the role), the costumes were wonderful and the technical efforts were impressive (Director, Scorsese, designed each time period in the film to look just the way a color film from that time period looked), but for a nearly three hour film, everything felt like it was just happening, not unfolding. My negative thought shouldn't be taken to mean that I didn't think the film was good, I understand why it received the praise it did, the way it was presented just wasn't for me. 

On that note, cheers!

Monday, June 27, 2016

About That Time I Went to a Taping of Maya & Marty

Lately it seems the few times I blog it's about a television taping; I swear I do other fun things. I either just forget to post about it or don't take pictures. And if there are no pictures, it never happened, right? (that was sarcasm)

This time around I went to a taping of Maya & Marty, an NBC variety show starring Maya Rudolph and Martin Short, which premiered last month. For those who don't know me and happen upon this post, I am a HUGE fan of Martin. Or as I like to call him, Uncle Marty. Early last year I made a post about that time I saw him perform in It's Only a Play on Broadway.

My original Friday night plans fell through so when I saw the waiting list for Maya & Marty's Friday night show opened up, I took that as a sign. Not really, but if my Friday night was going to open up last minute, then it better be for a good reason. Initially I got an email saying no tickets were available then two days later they seemed to change their minds and I immediately snagged them.

The line for the show opened up at 6:45pm so of course I got there right at 6:45 and after checking IDs and ticket confirmations we were led to the waiting room where we waited, and waited, and waited, then were taken to the studio. Each taping isn't a specific show, but a few sketches that will be aired at a later date (in this case, July 18th), or their opening monologue.

Ryan Reiss was the warm up comedian who stuck around throughout the whole show with us, the audience, as there would be breaks between set ups and takes.

Without giving away too much about the sketches here's a recap:
1. A Carmen Miranda movie spoof with Maya as Carmen, naturally. The first take included dogs running after her but that didn't prove successful so all subsequent takes didn't include them.

2. What started as a cleaning product infomercial, including a cameo from Emma Stone, then turned out to be an ad for the recurring Barnes and Sons sketch.

3. Emma Stone came out again to do a cover of the viral a cappella/butter tub Robyn cover from Swedish group Erato, with Maya. Maya had said that she became obsessed with the viral video and had wanted to recreate it.

4. The last sketch of the night was about Kenan's first day at an office job where two interns were killed in an elevator accident and were rumored to haunt the office. Emma showed up again as one of the ghost interns along with Mikey Day. Kenan saw them while his boss, played by Marty, did not.

At one point in the sketch Emma's ghost is in the office fridge but disappears when Marty opens it up again. Either Emma wasn't quick enough to sneak out of the back of the fridge or props couldn't get the "actual" part of the fridge back in but when Marty opens it again the camera sees the inside of the fridge moving back in which of course made the audience laugh while Marty and Kenan tried not to. They did a couple of other takes of the sketch but I hope they keep that in.

And of course there is a twist to the sketch...

Between takes the cast would talk with the audience, answering any questions. Maya started it off and the first question for her was "if you could be any kitchen utensil, what would you be?" She answered with spatula. First reason was because she could smack people with herself then she changed it to "so I can be closer to eggs. Because I love eggs." So there you go. Another audience member asked her about her favorite memory from the film, Sisters. Her first was a scene with John Leguizamo where he ad libbed a line about wearing Erection from Calvin Klein. You can view the scene here. Here second was when all the former SNL ladies in the film brought in their kids and they took a group picture. Maya was just the sweetest with everyone and not to sound like a Twitter or Tumblr or whatever fan, but I wish she were my mom. 

Of course when it came to Kenan he had a question about a Kenan and Kel reunion which he sort of avoided, but all in good fun. 

Somebody asked Marty if his son, Oliver, was single, but he is engaged and getting married this summer. Damn. That was my way into the Short family. And no, it was not me who asked the question.  And when asked if he was still cool with the Three Amigos, he responded with their official salute

Between taking down and setting up the sketch scenes they showed up pre-recorded sketches that previously aired including one that starred Tom Hanks called "The Astronaut," Jiminy Glick with Kevin Hart, and The Proper Way, a spoof of instructional videos with Marty as a British man who teaches children proper etiquette but is consistently disappointed in the performance and actions of a child named Ben. 

All in all it was a good night. Oh, and they gave us snacks since we were there for quite a while, ha!