Shaken & Stirred: Colonial Cosmo— and THEY LIVE

by Michael Cecconi

Happy Halloween 2015! Now just put these glasses on.

John Carpenter had it figured out in 1988. The 20th century American Dream of upward mobility toward an ever more comfortable middle class is a false idol, a shame perpetrated by the 1%. See what I did there? I took the Occupy moment of 2011 and attached it to John Carpenter’s They Live.

The alien invasion is the whole of the short story upon which this movie is based, but John added the class struggles. And in the movie it is the 1% that rule and guide society to:

  • Work Eight Hours, Sleep Eight Hours, Play Eight Hours
  • Obey!
  • Work!
  • Obey the government.
  • We are the government.
  • Marry and Reproduce.

And with the upheaval around the world what are we discussing more than ever in our presidential debates and throughout the EU? Alien immigration. Unfortunately for contemporary aliens their lot in life is going to begin at the far end of the 99% for a good while before they get a chance at the 1%. And I think we can all agree that there is something almost otherworldly about Trump, and something a little self-serving about his fear of immigrants. He wants to be the only alien game in town. This is the most prescient movie, ever.

RoddyPiperWandering through this illusion of normality is Roddy Piper. The wrestler. Whose only acting skills beyond the epic, and arbitrary alley fight scene is his ability to keep his shirt tucked in at all times. And when he dons the alien-signal-foiling glasses he takes the proverbial red pill and sees the world for what it really is: a black & white dystopia of propaganda and subjugation all made palatable by the calming bromide of TV. Once he gets his wits about him he saves the world by shooting the device that sends out the hypnotic signal and gives his oppressors the finger before dying.



The aliens walk amongst us, and resemble nothing less than flayed, burned, eyelidless Marty Feldmans. There are those of us who have defected to the alien side for a taste of that sweet cheddar, including our one female in this otherwise testosterone sausage-fest: Meg Foster. I fell under Ms. Foster’s spell watching her and her ice blue eyes in middle school while watching The Scarlet Letter. John Carpenter shows a marked lack of interest in the interior lives of anyone in this movie, but the women get particularly short shrift. In this homage to masculinity he falls prey to masculinity’s worst shortcoming: all surface with no acknowledgement given to the rich internal lives we all lead. Even the aliens could have used more fleshing out: imagine living among cows, disguised as a cow, and able to embed seamlessly. Oh, I imagine you’d have feelings about your lot in life, for sure.


Before I get onto my cocktail pairing I want to share with you my no longer list of subliminal messages for this Fall:

  • The seasons are changing.
  • Don’t wear white.
  • Drink brown liquor.
  • Call your mom.
  • Eat more vegetables.
  • Don’t forget speedo season comes back faster than you think.
  • Forgive George Lucas the prequels, and let yourself be excited to awaken the force.
  • Pack your own lunch.
  • Shave consistently.
  • Clean the corners.
  • Don’t procrastinate.
  • Check the oil.
  • Oil the chain.
  • Straighten up.
  • Fly right.

There is an underlying Portlandia-esque message out there, making its way from the edges of our country to the middle. You can see it on Etsy, through Pinterest accounts, and it is writ large in all the accessories for mason jars that are available. The hipsters are our overlords, now. And as a way to suck up to them I present to you a cocktail that takes the silliness of the ’80s and marries it with the DIY steampunk of the ’10s.


  • Chilled 8 oz mason jar
  • 1 ½ oz Georgia Moon Corn Whiskey OR go upscale with High West Silver Whiskey – OMG Pure Rye
  • ¾ oz cranberry shrub*
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • ½ oz Cointreau

Combine all ingredients in tin with ice. Shake & strain into chilled mason jar.

*Cranberry shrub: 1 part R.W. Knudsen Real Cranberry Juice, 1 part Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 parts sugar. Bring all ingredients to a boil while stirring. Let cool and use.EDF Glass

MichaelCecconiMichael likes all things drink-related. Michael likes movies. And, in an odd twist of fate, Michael loves words about movies. These three facts combine to make a perfect storm of sensibility, ability, and inebriation needed to fulfill duties at EatDrinkFilms. When not rhapsodizing about film, Michael tends the bar at Two Sisters Bar & Books in San Francisco. He teaches mixology in San Francisco and New York. And lately, he’s been trying to capture the magic of what he does in a bottle so he can spread his tasty libations across the land. Please feel free to contact him at with all queries.

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