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Ms. at the Movies: Pairing Women & Wine with Females and Flicks, August 2015





Or in other words….Chicks who do what they want.

So, it’s been said that the whole “women aren’t funny” movement is coming to an end. When you’ve got A-list comediennes like Amy Poehler & Tina Fey, and hilarious shows like “Broad City” running about, it’s a hard argument to fight. Alas, the proof is in the pudding, and numbers don’t lie. The number of female-written & female-starring projects may be on the rise, but are still drastically behind those of their male counterparts.

But hey – that’s ok! Quality over quantity baby!

Every month, I pair a female helmed film with a female-made libation. I’m always excited to taste a new female-brewed beer. Or to sip on a complex Cab Franc from a fifth generation female wine-making family. And then there are the times I get slightly frustrated. Like when I share my exciting finds with friends, and the response I get is, “Really? A female made that [insert name of delicious drink here]? Who would have thought?!”. Yes, the presence of females running the alcohol refreshment trade increases every day, but is still significantly lower than the number of men in the booze biz.

But hey – it’s not a competition! No really, it’s not!

I chose two women this month who give the word “feminism” a new meaning. To me, they are “Feminism Pioneers”. They push feminism into new realms. They’re not men-hating killjoys with no sense of humor about a females presence in this world. They’re the exact opposite actually.

Amy Schumer is clearly the “Feminist Pioneer” for 2015, and her latest film “TRAINWRECK” only solidifies that. The semi-autobiographical screenplay that Amy has penned is brazenly unapologetic. Normally, it’s the guy who’s our quintessential misogynistic, alcoholic, promiscuous, commitment-phobic protagonist; but Amy flips it. Both figuratively, and in the hilarious sex scenes with wrestler John Cena, literally. In this laugh-out-loud rom-com that I don’t want to spoil for you, Amy is like a blazing comet, leaving a trail of smudged mascara and shots of Fireball whiskey in her path. The woman is a damn hot mess….she’s a trainwreck.

August’s Movie: “TRAINWRECK”

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To be a “Feminist Pioneer” in the world of booze means so much more than just being the first brewmaster or the first winemaker. You see, in the pre-prohibition age, it was a man’s world behind the bar. Well, evidently someone failed to let ADA COLEMAN know that, or maybe she just didn’t care. In 1899, at the age of 24, “Coley” became, arguably, the first female bartender and mixologist ever. Known for her rowdy parties with the likes of Mark Twain and Noel Coward, her enviable skills soon put her at the very pinnacle of her trade. To this day, she is still the first and only female head bartender of The Savoy Hotel in London, England. It was here that she created the legendary cocktail, THE HANKY PANKY, a deceptively simple cocktail that is still served at the hotel. Her recipe is shown in the legendary “The Savoy Cocktail Book”. She is noted with being the mentor for the most famous bartender ever, Harry Craddock. And yet, she remains the most famous female mixologist you’ve never heard of.

August’s Cocktail: “COLEY’S” THE HANKY PANKY

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What both of these “Feminist Pioneers” have done is simple. And yet, is it? They have opened up the lines of communication using a language that is all their own. Amy Schumer drops so many honesty bombs in “TRAINWRECK”, you’re going to find yourself looking around just to make sure it’s okay to laugh. (Side note: It is.) When ADA COLEMAN fearlessly stepped behind that bar back in the 19th century, she had no idea that her bold and defiant actions would shape the way we view cocktail culture today.

This month, I salute these Feminist Pioneers. Thank you very much ladies. Cheers!

Elyssa Phillips

About Elyssa Phillips

A native New Yorker, Elyssa has been acting since the age of 5 (she still owns the red dress with the black bow from when she played Annie at the age of 6). After studying at the British American Drama Academy in England, and graduating from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Elyssa spent her time performing around the country in various theatrical productions....from Shakespeare's "As You Like It" and "Measure For Measure", to the long-running improvisational comedies "Tony 'n Tina's Wedding" and "Shear Madness"...with some other tricks of her trade along the way. Elyssa is a house performer, writer, and producer at The Pack Theater in Hollywood. Her most recent TV credits include "Silicon Valley" and "The Mindy Project".