Page-boy caps. Attractive and well-choreographed boys singing and dancing on the streets of New York. Crutchy. That’s right, this week’s Cinema Sips headliner is…… Newsies (!!!!!!). I’ve been obsessed with this movie ever since it premiered on The Disney Channel in the early-90’s. I had no idea what a labor union was, but if it involved singing catchy tunes and Christian Bale as a hot teenager in a kicky scarf, by all means sign me up. This week, while coming down from my Valentine’s sugar buzz, I decided I needed a boost in the form of this totally entertaining movie musical.
Newsies (DVD/Download) was a pretty big flop when it premiered in theaters, but since then, it has gained the cult status it so richly deserves. Newsies tells the story of the newsboy’s strike of 1899, wherein the lowly newsboys battled the mighty Pulitzer and Hearst by organizing a union and striking for increased pay and better working conditions. Of course, this being Disney, there are some wonderful songs and brilliantly choreographed dance scenes interspersed among the drama, along with some truly terrible New York accents. Heavyweight actors Robert Duvall and Bill Pullman round out the cast, but it’s Christian Bale who really shines here. This film may be an embarrassing “what was I thinking?!” moment for him now that he’s SERIOUS ACTOR Christian Bale, but I don’t care. I’ll always love him most as Jack Kelly, the cowboy of Manhattan, sellin’ papes and breakin’ hearts.
I found inspiration for my drink this week in a wonderful book I was given, Tipsy Texan by David Alan. I wanted to do something inspired by my favorite song from the movie, Santa Fe. Unsure of how green chilies might translate into the beverage arena, I opted instead to try something using the Mexican liquor Mezcal . This is similar to tequila (in fact tequila is a type of mezcal) but it has a smokier flavor. I like to imagine that Jack Kelly would have eventually turned 18 and taken his dumpy girlfriend Sarah out west, picking up a bottle of this in a border town along the way. In a nod to the age group of most of the protagonists, I’m mixing the Mezcal with good old fashioned Coca-Cola, something I’m sure the Newsies drank their share of back then. When watching Newsies, I recommend drinking a Barro Negro.
Barro Negro (From Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails from the Lone Star State)
1 ½ oz Mezcal
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
2 orange wedges
3 oz Coca-Cola (Mexican Coke if you can find it).
Pour Mezcal and bitters over ice in a glass. Squeeze the juice from the orange wedges into the glass, then drop them in. Top with Coca-Cola.
As you watch Newsies and sip your drink, feel free to laugh at all the digs at Brooklyn, which wasn’t always the hipster-mecca it is now. Back in 1899, Brooklyn was apparently a scary place full of teenagers with sling shots. Also, I can’t stop laughing when Christian Bale does his interpretive dance midway through singing Santa Fe. I say interpretive because I think he’s interpreting riding a horse with jazz hands, but it’s difficult to tell. This movie is just a classic. A classic what, I’m not sure, but definitely a classic. So drink up, dream of Santa Fe, and remember- “Headlines don’t sell papes- Newsies sell papes.” Cheers!