Smile Politely

Stereophonic high fidelity: the Atomic Age Cocktail Party

Since he began doing the show some years ago, Jason “Java” Croft has evolved the Bachelor Pad from a local curiosity into an increasingly national institution. With a thriving website, online community and (more recently) a print magazine, the Bachelor Pad is knocking at the door of larger things. Croft and WEFT, on which the Bachelor Pad airs, will hold a benefit tonight to celebrate the show and its culture.

When I spoke to Croft earlier this week, he gave me the low-down on how the Bachelor Pad is all about the so-called “Atomic Age”, which can be roughly defined as the cultural mindset that permeated American society from (roughly) 1955 to 1965, informed by the twin spectres of a freewheeling post-war attitude and the cold war and possibility of nuclear destruction.

“The Atomic Age…really came to fruition in the late 1950s”, says Croft. “The time period between the end of World War II and the middle of the ’60s… the Beatles and the Kennedy Assassination kind of changed things… after World War II you have this era of cultural optimism. We’re getting back to our lives, suburbias were expanding, technology was improving life. We had the power of the atom, but we also had that era of nuclear annihilation as well. So we kind of lived life and enjoyed it.” The increase in means afforded by suburban life also played an important role in Atomic Age culture. “They had stereophonic high fidelity, they could buy albums they wanted to play and have suburban backyard parties, tiki parties”.

Putting together a magazine has been a differing exercise than the radio show for Croft, but possibly even more rewarding over the three years he’s been working on it. “With the radio show you’re returning to it every week and you have an audience, it’s a very current thing, which is sort of ironic considering. With the magazine, there’s a lot more work going in but it’s a lot more rewarding becuase you have something tangible, you have an article that you’re holding in your hands, whereas with the radio it’s something you’re hearing.”

The cocktail party, which goes down tonight at Cowboy Monkey, will also benefit WEFT. “WEFT is volunteer run and approaching it’s 30th anniversary of being on air which is no small feat for a radio station of this type, so it’s a great thing to support WEFT and what they do. A lot of people volunteer their time and this is a nice way of celebrating that and the station,” says Croft.

Ultimately, the Atomic Age is more about a mood than anything. Laid back, cool and unassuming. Case in point? Croft considers the quintessential Atomic Age martini to be a straight, unadorned martini.

The Atomic Age Cocktail Party with Bossa Nuevo and Carnival Debauche is tonight at Cowboy Monkey. Doors open at nine p.m. and the show carries a $10 cover. The Bachelor Pad airs Friday nights from 10 p.m midnight on WEFT 90.1 FM.

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