Entries from September 2005

September 9, 2005

Chin Tiki in Detroit: An Update

Filed under: Detroit,Events,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 6:55 pm

James Teitelbaum has an update on the Chin Tiki:

Marvin and his son Marlon would like to reopen Chin Tiki’s upstairs floor for private events, and possibly as a full time night club. If that goes well, they would like to reopen the (more severely wrecked) downstairs at some point as well. They would like to have the upstairs space ready in time for the Superbowl in January, 2006, which is being held in Detroit. The stadium is walking distance from Chin Tiki. They have a lot of hurdles to overcome, such as plumming problems, water damage, and others.

Also, Feelin’ Zombified and mattfink both have pictures from the tour of the Chin Tiki during the Motor City Tiki Art Show.

Make Ku Cry: Weeping Warrior Candles

Filed under: Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 6:42 pm
The Crier Candle from Suburban Pagan
The Crier Candle from Suburban Pagan

This may appear to be a basic tiki candle — but looks are deceiving. This candle is cunningly crafted to let melted wax leak through the eyesockets like tears, reducing the mighty tiki warrior into a sensitive, fragile creature, who perhaps could use some reassurance about his fierceness. The candle above is the creation of Suburban Pagan, his inspiration was an old souvenir Weeping Warrior candle that was one of his first tiki finds. Other fans of the crying tiki candle genre have been sharing their vintage candles on Tiki Central, and there are some real beauties. Of course the bummer about these vintage candles is that they’re consumable items — you only get to see him cry for a while before he’s melted away — so it’s great that someone is making these again. Now you can make your tiki cry without feeling guilty!

Vintage Tiki Glasses

Filed under: Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 6:15 pm
Trader Vic's Waikiki Glass - from the collection of Sweet Daddy Tiki
Trader Vic’s Waikiki glass,
from the collection of
Sweet Daddy Tiki

Sweet Daddy Tiki has taken some beautiful photographs of his collection of vintage Hawaiian souvenir glasses, including this stunning tumbler from the Trader Vic’s in the International Marketplace in Waikiki. This is glass #3 in a series of six, depicting a “mating ritual” — as you can imagine, it gets a little risque. There’s a number of great glasses in the collection (Don Ho and Al Harrington are naturally well-represented).

Almost Worth Taking Up Smoking: Tiki Ashtrays

Filed under: Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:59 pm
Aku Aku Las Vegas Ashtray - from the collection of Tiki Royale
Aku Aku Las Vegas ashtray,
from the collection
of Tiki Royale

The drunken hat and tikicleen have started a thread on Tiki Central to share their collection of tiki ashtrays. This area of collecting is often overlooked, but the variety of ashtrays is broad. Some are simple glass ashtrays, with printed logos that match the matchbooks, and some are ornate ceramic creations. Others have added ashtrays from their own collections, including this fabulous ashtray from the Aku-Aku in Las Vegas, from the collection of Tiki Royale.

Bahooka Ribs & Grog in Rosemead

Filed under: History,Los Angeles,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:41 pm
Bahooka in Rosemead - photo by Humuhumu
Bahooka in Rosemead

When I was a little girl, my brother and I could select any restaurant we wanted for our birthday, any restaurant, and without fail we chose… Sea Galley. Sea Galley was a nautical-themed chain restaurant, most famous at the time for their commercials advertising their crab legs. (“We’ve got crab legs! Sea Galley! We’ve got crab legs! Sea Galley!) Sea Galley was dark and felt very large and labyrinthine to my eight-year-old eyes — to me, Sea Galley was the very height of grown-up elegance. We got to sit in a booth surrounded by netting, fish floats and large ropes, and order kiddie cocktails, and every trip to the salad bar felt like an expedition. It was magical.

It makes me a little sad to think back on that and realize that sense of wonder is much harder to come by these days. That’s why Bahooka will always be special to me: it’s a nautical/tiki-themed restaurant that is so bizarre, so encrusted with details, so maze-like, that it manages to evoke that same sense of childlike awe.

Bahooka has been in Rosemead since 1976, and started before that in West Covina in 1967. Bahooka has two major gimmicks: fishtanks — there are more than one hundred fishtanks throughout the restaurant — and flame. The staff have fire, in the form of lemon extract-soaked croutons, and they’re not afraid to use it, on anything from Jet Pilots to coleslaw. The details at Bahooka never end. There are so many red plastic parrots attached to the ceiling, some lit, some not, that we’ve often debated whether it would even really be possible to count them all. I suppose some day we’ll have to at least attempt it.

Ookoo lady and Krustiki are longtime Bahooka fans, and on a recent visit they talked about Bahooka’s history with the bartender, Stacy. They’ve shared what they learned on Tiki Central, along with some great photos.

September 7, 2005


Filed under: Tiki — Humuhumu @ 8:29 pm
Schoontiki by Christie Wright
Schoontiki by Christie Wright

The above mug is Schoontiki, the creation of designer Christie Wright. It was created for a private art event, The Enchanted Luau, in New York City in 2001. Wright has a particular interest in the Dutch “schoon” principle of clean design. While the mug is impressive on many counts: beautiful graphic look, solid construction, interesting design — it is perhaps most impressive that this mug is a self-caricature, and pretty fairly represents the artist (who is actually quite lovely) while managing to look tiki. This rare mug (only about 50 were made) come up only very rarely on eBay, and they tend to go for big bucks.

Bits and pieces of this have been known for some time, but there had been many questions about Schoontiki’s history, and these have been cleared up by a visit to Tiki Central by Christie Wright’s husband.

Traders Restaurant Missing Its Doorpulls?

Filed under: Daytona Beach,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:13 pm
Traders Restaurant, Daytona Beach
Traders Restaurant, Daytona Beach

A fascinating bit of urban archaeology today –

My friend Sabu the Coconut Boy recently found an unusual item on eBay — some large doorhandles with only a blurry picture. He received them, and sure enough, they were a pair of hefty, old metal tiki doorpulls, likely from a restaurant. He set about trying to track down their provenance (the seller was in Florida), and had a few leads, but nothing solid. The tikis looked like those used in imagery from the Kon Tiki Ports, Kona Kai, and Sam’s Seafood restaurants.

Ultimately, he did what many tikiphiles seeking enlightenment do — paid a visit to our own Oracle at Delphi, Oceanic Arts in Whittier. Bob & Leroy there have been responsible for the majority of the decor in Polynesian restaurants over the years, and what they weren’t personally responsible for, they tend to at least have some memory for who was. They couldn’t immediately identify the doorpulls, and thought they predated when they began manufacturing them.

So Sabu turned to Tiki Central to see if anyone could crack the mystery. Sure enough upon seeing them I immediately thought of a pair of doorpulls I had photographed in Daytona Beach in January of 2004. I checked the entry for the Traders Restaurant in Critiki, and sure enough, those tikipulls sure looked like the ones now in Sabu’s possession.

The Traders Restaurant is attached to the Aku Tiki Inn, and nearly nextdoor to the Hawaiian Inn. The Aku Tiki Inn is instantly recognizable for their massive moai atop the hotel’s sign. This moai was damaged in last year’s hurricane, and the hotel had vowed to replace it, with assistance offered from local tiki carver Wayne Coombs. It seems a little strange that the Aku Tiki would be restoring tiki on one end of the property, while removing it at the other….

Kailuageoff, who visits the area regularly and has met the owner, also thinks it unlikely that the owner would willingly part with the doorhandles. So now, the mystery deepens… if these doorhandles were taken from the Traders Restaurant when they should not have been (i.e., stolen), Sabu of course will return them so they can be reinstalled where they belong.

Is it odd to be concerned about whether a restaurant on the other side of the country is missing its doorpulls?

September 6, 2005

Exotical: Aloha Wear & More in So Cal

Filed under: Los Angeles,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:02 pm

Exotical Hawaiian Apparel has been operating for an amazing 41 years in Downey (just south of Los Angeles). I have been meaning to get to Exotical for some time now, but frankly — if I’m going to spend that much time heading south on the freeway, it’s hard to not just keep driving and go to Disneyland. But the idea of it — an entire store not just dedicated to aloha wear, but a store that actually has vintage aloha stock they just haven’t sold yet — has been an extraordinary siren call to me.

Exotical has always been exactly where it is today, on Firestone Blvd., but at its peak it occupied the two neighboring storefronts as well. They once has a bustling import trade, keeping the likes of Eli Hedley and Oceanic Arts in bamboo, and selling housewares and furniture for the tikified Southern California set. It must have been amazing, and it’s survival to today is one of the mind-bendingly wonderful things about Los Angeles.

The Sperm Whale has posted a photo-heavy trip report on his visit to Exotical, which has reignited my fire for Exotical… I hope I can make a visit before Hukilau.

Interview with Mai Kai Owner Mireille Thornton

Filed under: Events,Ft. Lauderdale & Miami,News,People,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:27 pm

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has an interview with Mireille Thornton, Mai Kai owner and choreographer, in their Fitness section. Mireille was born in Tahiti, and after coming to the United States, landed a job as a dancer at the Mai Kai (despite not actually knowing how to dance). She quickly became one of the Mai Kai’s best dancers, and became their choreographer in 1978. She caught Mai Kai creator Bob Thornton’s eye, and the two of them married and raised a family. Bob Thornton has passed away, but Mireille and her children still own and run the restaurant, and Mireille still takes great pride in choreographing the Mai Kai Polynisian floor show. The Mai Kai, and Mireille’s floor show, are the centerpiece of the upcoming Hukilau event.

Coconut Monkey Love

Filed under: Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:58 pm
Badmojo's First Coconut Monkey
Badmojo’s First Coconut Monkey

Badmojo has started a discussion about a topic close to his heart — the coconut monkey. He’s a second-generation coconut monkey lover, the spark was started by a coconut monkey his father received at the age of five. You’ve probably seen this common tourist item plenty of times: a coconut husk hacked into the shape of a monkey. There’s a surprising amount of variety in coconut monkeys, in detail, structure, and quality. Some are just heads, some are full bodies. Some are realistic, some are cartoony. Some are just a suggestion of a monkey, some have full-fledged fingers and toes. Some play instruments. And some, yes, some are pirates. You may not look at coconut monkeys the same ever again.

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About Humuhumu
Humuhumu is the creator of several tiki websites. She is a designer and programmer based out of San Francisco.

- Website Design and Programming

- A Worldwide Guide to Tiki Bars & Polynesian Restaurants

- Tiki Mugs & More: Track & View Collections




Arkiva Tropika
Mimi Payne’s massive Polynesian Pop collection

Barefoot Bloggin’
A surfin’, ukein’, freewheelin’ monkey boy

Beachbum Berry
Author of Grog Log and Intoxica!, and one of my dearest drinkin’ buddies

Blog from the user interface designer extraordinaire

Worldwide Guide to Tiki Bars & Polynesian Restaurants

Dumb Angel
A look at the 1960s Los Angeles mod, pop, surf, and music scene

Eye of the Goof
Pop culture with a tiki tinge

Forbidden Island
My Wednesday hangout, the Bay Area’s best tiki bar

Humuhumu’s Life in Photos
Pictures of my adventures

I build websites

Junkyard Clubhouse
Random interesting things from Humuhumu & Hanford Lemoore

Kevin Kidney
Kevin loves tiki, I love Kevin, you will too

Tiki links galore

Mai Tai Online
Montreal-based tiki ‘zine

Tiki Mug Collection Organizer

The Jab
Follow the way of the jab

Tiki Bar TV
Public Access meets Modern Drunkard

Tiki Central
Community forums

Tiki Magazine
Periodical publication covering the wide world of Tiki

Tiki Talk
Hot Lava’s Tiki Blog