Sunday’s ad is for Carlsberg, advertising for the James Bond movie, the Living Daylights, which premiered July 31, 1987. In the ad, a torso in a tuxedo is pouring a glass of Carlsberg for himself, while a pair of female hands caress the man. He’s obviously meant to be James Bond, and the ad carries the tagline “He’s dangerous and he takes chances. Except when it comes to his beer.”
This is not, strictly speaking, a beer birthday, which is why I called it a “beerish” one, but my wife and I are both Browncoats, fans of the criminally short-lived television show Firefly. Like many Browncoats, we’ve continued to follow its cast members, especially the star of Firefly, and its companion film Serenity, Nathan Fillion. Today is Nathan Fillion’s 45th birthday.
Fillion is currently one of the stars of the hit TV show on ABC: Castle, which is now in its seventh season. He was also Captain Hammer in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog (in fact a few years ago in All About Beer magazine’s “It’s My Round” when I wrote Living In The Silver Age, the photo showed me wearing a Captain Hammer t-shirt). Some of Fillion’s films include Waitress and Slither, and he was the “wrong” Ryan in Saving Private Ryan. Some of his television appearances include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost, Drive and Desperate Housewives, and he got his start on the soap opera One Life To Live.
Before he’d had a hit TV series, my wife attended a Firefly convention in Los Angeles and Fillion not only attended it but was at one of the after parties that she was involved in. Thanks to me, she brought the beer — a collection of whatever I could part with from the cellar at that time. Sarah snapped a photo of Fillion drinking one of those beers, Drake’s IPA, through a curly straw. Join me in wishing Nathan a very happy birthday. And if you aren’t watching Castle or haven’t seen Firefly, you owe it to yourself to right that wrong.
Today is the birthday of filmmaker Anat Baron, whose Beer Wars movie started people writing and talking about the beer business, from all sorts of angles, five years ago, and while it’s slowed down, the discussion has yet to have completely gone away. Or as Alan from A Good Beer Blog puts it, “joined to the long standing discussion about the beer business and added an interesting interpretation.” Love it or loathe it, it has certainly managed to capture people’s attention, and if that’s all it’s done, that’s still a huge positive to my way of thinking. But it’s also opened quite a few minds to what those of us who’ve been embedded in the beer business have known forever, which is how the business operates, where it’s fair and unfair, and what you can do as a consumer to support the beers and breweries you love. Join me in wishing Anat a very happy birthday.
I don’t really like malternatives, alcopops, malt-based beverages, or whatever you want to call them. I find them too sweet, the latest overly sweet concoction to take the wine cooler segment of the market. But the one thing I hate more than alcopops in prohibitionists telling me only kids like comic book characters and that if anything appeals to kids in any way, shape or form, then it must be stopped, even if adults happen to like that thing, too. Honestly, it’s a fucked up way to view the world.
It would be pretty hard to miss the news that the latest Marvel Comics film adaptation opens today, and it’s the antihero Deadpool. I just learned, from the sheriff of not-having-fun, Alcohol Justice, that Marvel’s done a collaboration with Mike’s Hard Lemonade and created several flavors with Deadpool on the cans and packaging. Deadpool, the character, has been around since 1991, and while he started out as a villain, he’s become more of a wise-cracking antihero, and as such appeals to young adults and, undoubtedly, precocious teens.
As a result, the cross-promotion has Alcohol Justice (AJ) screaming bloody murder, accusing everyone involved of actively “threatening” kids. Why? Because “comic books,” of course. If there are comic books, then anything to do with them is about the kids. As the sheriff of AJ claims, “Kids are inherently targeted, PR damage to the brands is substantial, and shareholders should scream for heads to roll.”
For that reason, he’s placing both companies in the “Alcohol Justice Doghouse.” Oh, the humanity! How will they survive their banishment? Here’s a taste of just how out of touch AJ is about this.
A superhero’s mission is to champion good over evil and stand-up for those who can’t defend themselves. Superheroes appeal to many young boys and girls who dream of being one. It’s often reflected in how kids act and dress. But those dreams come crashing down fast when Big Alcohol capitalizes on the popular cartoon imagery of the latest superhero to sell booze.
Obviously, AJ has never before encountered Deadpool. He’s about as much a role model superhero as I am, which is to say not at all. Those values AJ espouses have nothing to do with this film, the character or, frankly, reality. Superman he’s not. He’s not even Spiderman. But what it really comes down to is their unshakeable belief that comic books are only for children. To which I can only say, grow up. Maybe that was true in the beginning or possibly after the Comic Code was instituted insuring family-friendly fare. But it hasn’t been the case since independent comic stores starting popping up in the late 1970s and 80s, creating a market for non-code comics, allowing for a much richer range of stories aimed at all ages. And that’s meant that for several decades there has been sequential art aimed squarely at older kids and even adults. They used to be called “underground comics,” but these are in the mainstream now, and have been for a long time.
I read comics as a kid, of course, but then stopped when I reached my teen years, because in the 1970s there wasn’t much that appealed to me. Most of the comic books were pretty sanitized, with only a few notable exceptions daring to include real current issues and societal problems in their books. But all that changed again in the 1980s when a flurry of creativity created an amazingly mature and complex body of work that was aimed squarely at an older, more mature audience. Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, Alan Moore’s The Watchmen and V for Vendetta, or Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, are good examples, to name just a few.
The point that seems lost on AJ is that there are comics that are for children, but there also comics for adults, and everyone in between. Just because something is drawn or animated, doesn’t automatically make it “inherently targeted” at kids. Try Art Spiegelman’s Maus, John Lewis’ March or Joe Sacco’s Palestine and see if you still think comics are only for children.
But here’s where they go off the rails again, where they just make shit up, and create their own reality.
“Though the alcohol industry claims ‘Millennials’ are their target alcopop audience, their promotions and campaigns effectively target youth who are years younger than the minimum legal drinking age,” said [Bruce Lee] Livingston. “As a result of the low prices, wide availability, and marketing tactics like this one by 21st Century Fox & Mike’s Harder Lemonade, alcopops are very popular among underage youth and responsible for a disproportionate share of underage alcohol-related harm.”
So the industry just “claims” they’re marketing to legal adults. Of course, if that weren’t the case they’d be breaking the law, not to mention they’d have an incredibly stupid business model. Don’t you think that if Alcohol Justice could prove actual targeting of underage people, that they’d have tried to put them out of business years ago? This is just propaganda and hyperbole, and not exactly the high moral kind that they so often pretend to be following, usually from atop their very tall horses.
But even if, for the sake of argument, Mike’s was breaking the law, hoping underage teenagers were loitering around their neighborhood convenience store, trying to entice the homeless man living in the alley to buy them some booze, that would not change the fact that kids under 18, and adults under 21, are not allowed to buy alcohol. This is in reality two problems. The first is that AJ believes alcohol companies are actively trying to illegally sell to minors. Given how illegal that is, if they could prove it, they would have by now. The second problem is that even though it’s illegal for minors to buy alcohol, they sometimes still manage to get their hands on it, and they blame the alcohol companies for creating the desire for them. But so what? Seriously, so what?
Before I was sixteen, I definitely wanted to drive a car. I even drove my stepfather’s Corvette around the block when I was 14 or 15. But I still knew I had to wait until I was sixteen before I could get a driver’s license and legally drive. But boy those car ads sure made driving look sexy, and made me want the hot new cars even before I could drive. Maybe we should ban all automobile advertising because it might appeal to kids who don’t have a driver’s license. But, no, we let car companies keep targeting our youth, causing teens to steal cars, go for joyrides and break the law. Obviously, the car advertising is causing the harm, because it appeals to children. Oh, sure, the car manufacturers “claim” that licensed drivers “are their target audience,” but we know better. Just watch how much fun it looks to drive their cars.
So I’m taking my son Porter to see Deadpool tonight, over his Mom’s objection. Not because of the alcopops, of course, but her concerns are because it looks really violent. But Porter loves what he’s seen of the dark humor that’s been shown in the various trailers, and I think he’s old enough. Of course, the film is Rated R, which given that he’s fourteen “requires [an] accompanying parent.” And that’s another reason it’s easy to see that the Deadpool Mike’s are marketing to young adults, 21 and over, since the rating further limits it being seen by minors looking to get buzzed on alcopops. But I’m old and still read comic books. AJ would do well to remember that there are a lot of us, and we drink, too.
Visions of the future are rarely what was predicted or promised. I’ve been waiting decades for my Jetsons space car that fold up into a briefcase, my Rocketeer jet-pack (I’d even settle for the one James Bond used in Thunderball) not to mention that sweet holodeck from Star Trek: Next Generation..
You’ve probably noticed that there’s been a considerable amount of hype over the fact that today — October 21, 2015 — is the date that Marty McFly heads to in the sequel Back to the Future 2, released in 1989. We’re all still waiting for those hoverboards and it’s looking increasingly like the Cubs won’t “sweep series in 5″ (wouldn’t 4 wins be all you need for a series sweep?) if they can’t beat the Mets four games in a row to even make to the World Series, much less win it.
Anyway, it seems like lots of people are celebrating the day as “Back to the Future Day,” which I think is great since I’m an unabashed lover of holidays and believe there can’t be too many reasons to celebrate life. A couple of worthwhile stories about Back to the Future Day include one from Popular Science and another from Chicago History Cop speculating why the film’s producers and writers chose October 21.
You may also recall that the film’s time machine, a modified DeLorean, had a California license plate reading “OUTATIME,” which is at least somewhat close to Lagunitas’ session IPA, DayTime, especially if you scribble “Day” on the license plate so it reads OUTA DAY TIME.”
And that’s just what Lagunitas did when they were recently paid a visit by the Northern California DeLorean Motor Club, which they documented with a photo galley, 10/21/15: GOIN’ BACK IN (DAY)TIME. By far, my favorite photo from the day was their arrival at 88 MPH into the brewery.
But check out the rest of the photos, they’re pretty sweet, too.
So our recently back-from-the-dead Session next month will be our 105th monthly outing, and our host will be Mark Ciocco, who writes the Kaedrin Beer Blog. For his topic, he’s chosen Double Features, by which he means ” comparative tastings,” meaning “[d]rink two beers (usually of the same style) with a critical eye, compare and contrast.” But I’ll let him give the full explanation of what he’s looking for:
For this installment, I’d like to revisit that glorious time of beer drinking when I was just starting to realize what I was getting into. One of my favorite ways to learn about beer was to do comparative tastings. Drink two beers (usually of the same style) with a critical eye, compare and contrast. Because I’m also a movie nerd, this would often be accompanied by a film pairing. It was fun, and I still enjoy doing such things to this day!
So your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to drink two beers, compare and contrast. No need for slavish tasting notes, but if you want to, that’s fine too. The important part is to highlight how the two beers interact with one another during your session (pun intended!) For extra credit, pair your beers with two films to make your own Double Feature. Now, I’m a big tent kinda guy, so feel free to stretch this premise to its breaking point. The possibilities are endless!
- Drink two beers of the same style, pair with a double feature of horror movies (it being October and all – it’s what I’ll be doing!)
- Drink two vintages of the same beer, pair with a famous double album (The White Album, The Wall, Exile on Main Street, etc…)
- Throw caution to the wind and do a triple feature!
- Drink a base beer and its barrel aged variant, pair with two episodes of your favorite TV show.
- Actually, lots of other types of variants out there too: base beer and it’s Brett-dosed counterpart, base and a fruited variant, base and spiced variant, base and a dry hopped variant, many possibilities here… Pair with video games.
- Play master blender by taking two beers, tasting both, then blending them together in the perfect proportion for the ultimate whatever. Then say nuts to pairing it with non-beer stuff, because you’re just that cool.
- Test your endurance by taking down two bottles of Black Tuesday solo, then documenting the resultant trip to the emergency room*.
- Recount a previous comparative tasting experience that proved formative.
- Drink a fresh IPA and a six-month old IPA and discuss where you fall on the “Freshness Fetish” scale.
- Drink a beer and compare with wine or bourbon or coke or whatever strikes your fancy. One should probably be beer though. I said “big tent” not “no tent”…
- “These two beers are in my fridge, I should probably drink them or something.” (Pair with leftovers.)
- Drink a beer and a homebrewed clone of that beer (an obscure one that requires you to have both readily available, but this is part of the fun!)
- Hold a March Madness style beer tournament, pitting beer versus beer in a series of brackets in order to determine the supreme winner.
- Devise a two course beer dinner, pairing two beers with various foodstuffs.
- If any of you people live near an Alamo Drafthouse, I think you know what you need to do. Do it for me; I don’t have the awesomeness that is Alamo anywhere near me and wish to live vicariously through your sublime double feature.
- Collect an insane amount of barleywines and drink them with your friends, making sure to do the appropriate statistical analysis of everyone’s ratings.
- Go to a bar, have your friends choose two beers for you, but make sure they don’t tell you what the beers are. Compare, contrast, guess what they are, and bask in the glory of blind tasting.
- Lecture me on the evils of comparative tasting and let me have it with both barrels. We’ll love you for it, but you’re probably wrong.
Truly, there are a plethora of ways to take this, so hop to it!
So start choosing your beers (and your movies, too, for extra credit). To participate in the November Session, on or around Friday, November 6, leave a comment to the original announcement if you’re on WordPress. If not, since he’s had some issues with comments, send an e-mail to mciocco at gmail dot com or notify him via Twitter at @KaedrinBeer.
Thursday’s ad is for Guinness, from 1974, when the James Bond film Man With the Golden Gun was released, which was Roger Moore’s second film portraying the British spy. Today is the birthday of Bond’s creator, author Ian Fleming, and is also known as “James Bond Day.” The Guinness ad is essentially a modified version of the film’s poster, with a man holding a glass of beer in the foreground and round logos replacing the zeroes in 007. And yes, I know Guinness isn’t golden, but the alliteration was too funny not to use. Although apropos of nothing in particular, Guinness announced recently that they will be launching Guinness Golden Ale and last year made a Blonde American Lager.
For some reason I really got caught up in the hoopla of Star Wars Day today. But what about beer and Star Wars, you might ask? Believe it or not, I found something. It’s an interesting fan film made in Australia, entitled Star Wars Downunder. It’s shot in 35mm and took 10 years to make, directed and co-written by Michael Cox. And because it’s Australian, it’s also about beer. The creators describe it by asking “what would happen if you crossed Star Wars with an Australian beer commercial?” And their answer was “Star Wars Downunder: an epic tale of the good the bad and the thirsty, described as “half an hour of action, special effects and lovable Aussie larakins.” On the film’s website, they recount the plot as follows:
The film tells the story of a lone Jedi: Merve Bushwacker (David Nicoll), returning home after a long absence. His mission? To partake in a refreshing beverage, known locally as amber fluid. On his arrival, he is dismayed to discover the planet has become as dry as a dead dingo′s donger, thanks to the tyrannical rule of Darth Drongo. Drongo has hoarded all the amber fluid in his impenetrable fortress “Dunny’s Deep” for reasons unknown. Can Merve, and a motley collection of unlikely allies band together to topple Drongo’s evil regime? Will liberty and amber fluid flow freely once more?
As many reporting on the film lament, there’s no scene in which the character says: “That’s not a loightsabah! THAT’S a loightsabah!” And while that would have been hilarious, there are, however, lightsaber boomerangs, because … well, why wouldn’t there be? Here’s the trailer:
Intrigued? You’re in luck, because you can watch the entire 30-minute film on YouTube, or below.
The debut film of auteur filmmaker Quentin Tarantino was the violent heist film Reservoir Dogs. I remember being blown away by it when I saw it in the theatre when it was released in 1992, and especially the stylish opening credits scene with the principal characters walking down an alley in slow-motion to the nearly forgotten 1970s hit Little Green Bag by the George Baker Selection.
One of my favorite devices is that the six characters involved in the heist are each given code names so they won’t accidentally reveal their names during the diamond robbery and be able to give away each other’s identities should they be caught. Here’s the main cast, in order of their appearance in the slow-motion opening credits:
- Harvey Keitel as Lawrence Dimmick: Mr. White
- Michael Madsen as Vic Vega: Mr. Blonde
- Chris Penn as Eddie Cabot: Nice Guy Eddie
- Steve Buscemi: Mr. Pink
- Lawrence Tierney as Joe Cabot
- Edward Bunker: Mr. Blue
- Quentin Tarantino: Mr. Brown
- Tim Roth as Detective Freddie Newandyke: Mr. Orange
Earlier this month, Brazilian art student Peter de Andrade, for a school project created a series of beer labels based on the film, using “cães de aluguel,” which translates in Portuguese to, of course, Reservoir Dogs. The artist created the labels as if they were brewed by the Brazilian brewery Cervejaria Wäls, which each label and type of beer based on the film character’s code name color. As far as I know, Wäls was not involved and isn’t planning on making the Reservoir Dogs beers. Coincientally, there is a Reservoir Dogs Brewery in Slovenia.
It’s a pretty cool idea, and I’d love to see the actual beer made. There’s really only one question about all of this. Where the hell is Mr. Pink?
This looks interesting. Jeff Smith and Fran Ellsworth are directing and producing a new documentary film about California breweries entitled “Craft: The California Beer Documentary.” They recently released their first trailer, which you can watch below. All I know at this point is from a short description of their project. “A road trip throughout California, learning from the master brewers of the state. It’ll also feature interviews with beer enthusiasts and home-brewers.”