Ultra Swank - Retro Adventures

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The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook – Inside The Kitchens, Bars, and Restaurants of Mad Men

Paradigm shift. If you could boil down into a phrase what Mad Men is about, it would be “mid-century paradigm shift.” Mad Men explores it on the large scale: Clueless about how to sell coffee to young adults, the men of Sterling Cooper attempted to shoehorn the Port Huron Statement into their ad campaign. They completely missed the point because the cultural paradigm was changing....

The Best of Everything – The Original Sex & The City

A publishing house typing pool is the seething heart of the aspirations of a cadre of working girls, marking time until they marry Mr. Right and settle down. Caroline Bender (Lange) battles her career aspirations and fear that she will morph into scary book editor Joan Crawford. It’s the original Sex in the City. Rona Jaffe’s novel, The Best of Everything, is about four girls (and their...

When The Mob Ran Vegas
Written by Baron von Swankenstein in Readable

When The Mob Ran Vegas

On September 7, 1963, during a performance at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Dean Martin joked “Right now, ladies and gentlemen, somewhere backstage, Frank Sinatra is punching a dealer right in the mouth.” Little did Martin know that four years later, Sinatra actually would start a fight with a Sands pit boss over revoked casino credit — only, in the end, it...

Cocktail Nation – The Interviews
Written by Baron von Swankenstein in Readable

Cocktail Nation – The Interviews

Mid-century retro goes by many names — Retro culture; Atomic culture — and it sometimes overlaps with many other subcultures like kustom kulture (i.e. hot rod & rockabilly fans); tiki culture, and even Goth. My preferred term for this subculture is Lounge Revival. To the outside observer, it would seem that the only thing your average Lounge Revivalist is interested in is dressing up in...

Pad – The Guide to Ultra Living
Written by Baron von Swankenstein in Readable

Pad – The Guide to Ultra Living

Thanks to a post-World War II economic and technological boom, the 1950s and early 60s was the golden age for the bachelor lifestyle. With the advent of Playboy magazine, the quintessential guide to urban living, it reached critical mass. Armed with affluence, abundant leisure time, and the sagacity of Saint Hefner, bachelors found themselves with two things: freedom and optimism. The ultimate expression of this...

Monte – King of Atom Age Monster Decals
Written by Baron von Swankenstein in Readable

Monte – King of Atom Age Monster Decals

In America, the 1950s and 60s spawned The Monster Kids. These were kids, mostly pre-adolescent boys, who assembled Aurora model kits of Frankenstein or Dracula after school; read Tales From The Crypt comics with a flashlight under the covers at bed time; and sneaked downstairs on Saturdays to watch the late-night horror movie show on TV with spooky hosts like Zacherle, Chilly Billy, or Ghoulardi....

Airport – A Star Studded 1970s Melodrama
Written by Jesse Kowalski in Film

Airport – A Star Studded 1970s Melodrama

The first of its kind, Airport set the standard for the disaster films of the 1970s. Films such as The Poseidon Adventure (1972), The Towering Inferno (1974), and my favorite – Rollercoaster (1977) collected A-list, B-list, and C-list movie stars and put them into some pretty crummy situations. But their pain is our pleasure; the films grossed a ton of money – Airport made over...

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