Entries from March 2006

March 31, 2006

Amsterdam: Tiki Art Exhibition

Filed under: Art,Continental Europe,Events,Music,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:42 pm
Netherlands Tiki Art Exhibition
Netherlands Tiki Art Exhibition

Opening Sunday, April 16 and continuing through Sunday, April 21, Cafe Cantine in Amsterdam is showing a Tiki Art Exhibition. Featured artists include Southern California’s Tiki Tony, Spain’s Mappe, Britain’s Tiki Racer, and Netherland’s own Jasper Fijnvandraat, Claudia Hek and Michiel Hoving. The opening event on the 16th will include a performance from rockabilly band Mischief. Cafe Cantine is at Rietlandpark 373, and the event is free.

New Humu Kon Tiki Event Calendar

Filed under: Events,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:27 pm
New Humu Kon Tiki Event Calendar
New Humu Kon Tiki Event Calendar

Ooh la la! I decided it was silly that Humu Kon Tiki has all this great information about upcoming events, but no single place to see at a glance what’s coming up. You can now see a list of the events I’ve posted about under Upcoming Tiki Events in the sidebar. Hope you find it helpful!

Catalina Tiki Fest 2006

Filed under: Events,Los Angeles,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:55 pm
Catalina Tiki Fest 2006
Catalina Tiki Fest 2006

August 18-20, Catalina Island will host the Catalina Tiki Fest. The event will feature cultural exhibitions and workshops, including hula lessons, lei making, and tiki carving. Vendors will be selling tiki wares all weekend, and the main event is a luau with performances by over 50 Polynesian dancers on Saturday night. It takes place at Descanso Beach on Catalina — the island is 22 miles off-shore and is part of Los Angeles County, and is reachable by boat. Full details, including the schedule and ticket purchase, are available at the Catalina Tiki Fest website.

San Francisco: Trader Vic’s Tiki Party Book Signing

Filed under: Events,San Francisco,Shopping,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 10:25 pm

Trader Vic’s is having another book signing party for Trader Vic’s Tiki Party, by Steve Siegelman. The book has over 100 tropical drink recipes, including some of the old Trader Vic’s favorites, and some food recipes, too. The book signing is at Trader Vic’s San Francisco, at 555 Golden Gate Ave (just west of Van Ness). Party attendees will get one free Mai Tai, and can enjoy complimentary pupus. Attendance is limited to only 100 people, and you must RSVP in advance by calling (415) 775-6300.

Denver: Tiki on the Town

Filed under: Denver,Events,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:57 pm
Tiki on the Town event in Denver
Tiki on the Town event in Denver

Denver tikiphiles aren’t just sitting around twiddling their thumbs as they wait for the re-emergence of the on-hiatus Tiki Boyd’s; they’re keeping the fires burning with a “Tiki on the Town” event, sponsored by the new Rocky Mountain Tiki Newsletter.

Tomorrow night, April 1, folks are meeting up at the Twin Dragon Restaurant & Lounge (3021 South Broadway in Englewood) at 7pm for flaming pupu platters, volcano bowls, and drinks served in tiki mugs. It’s actually a Chinese restaurant, but you have to take your tiki where you can get it in lean times. Afterward, the group is heading over to Skylark Lounge (140 South Broadway, just north of Alameda) for a show by surf band The Beloved Invaders. Newcomers are welcome (just chime in on the thread on Tiki Central, so they know how many to expect), and be sure to wear your best aloha wear!

The Rocky Mountain Tiki Newsletter is a new publication by ZuluMagoo, a free and irregularly published periodical to keep the newly-percolating Denver tiki scene hip to the goings-on. If you’d like to receive the Rocky Mountain Tiki Newsletter, drop a line to ZuluMagoo at RockyMountainTiki@yahoo.com.

Disney Enchanted Tiki Room Merchandise

Filed under: Disney,News,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:08 pm
Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room Drummer God
Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room Drummer God

The latest round of Enchanted Tiki Room merchandise from Disney goes on sale next Friday, April 7, at midnight (that’s late Thursday/early Friday) west coast time. The items are part of the final round of items celebrating Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary. Perhaps the most highly anticipated item is the one pictured above, a full-scale replica of the drummers that play up in the rafters of the Enchanted Tiki Room. These were cast from an actual original drummer, and the detail is amazing. I was able to see one in person a couple months ago, and the paint job is fantastic. The drum is actually a small up-light, just like the ones in the Enchanted Tiki Room. The arms are not motored, but they are moveable, so crafty types could easily figure out a way to automate them. Only 1,000 have been produced.

Also going on sale are of course the replicas of the 1964 Enchanted Tiki Room Host Shirt and Hostess Dress. (There’s a whole saga behind that dress.) I still haven’t seen the final picture of me in the dress that will be used on the DisneyShopping website, I’ll get to see it Thursday night, but they used a picture of Kevin & me together (along with Bamboo Handbag!) for an ad — you can see it, along with all the other merchandise, on DizHub.com.

The non-tiki merchandise is also fab — the Monsanto House of the Future in particular is neat (it lights up!), and Kevin Kidney designed a shirt that uses vintage Disney signage that’s sure to sell out quickly. To place an order, visit DisneyShopping.com, or call (800) 237-5751. In the past, I think the phone operators haven’t had the new merch info as quickly as the website, so be prepared to try both if you’re itching to get your items orders ASAP.

March 30, 2006

Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s to Be Demolished

Filed under: Los Angeles,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 1:32 pm
Vintage postcard from Trader Vic's Beverly Hills, from the collection of Mimi Payne
Vintage postcard from Trader Vic’s Beverly Hills,
from the collection of Mimi Payne

I first reported on the rumored demise of the Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s two months ago, and today comes some more solid evidence. The Los Angeles Business Journal reports that plans have been developed to demolish the restaurant, along with some surrounding structures, to put up two new 13-story towers. The towers would hold a mix of condominiums and hotel rooms, and would dramatically change the appearance of the Santa Monica & Wilshire Blvd intersection where the Trader Vic’s logo currently dominates. The Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s is the oldest location, having opened in 1955. The Beverly Hilton hotel was purchased two years ago by Beny Alagem, co-founder of Packard Bell, from Merv Griffin, who had owned the property for many years.

A timeframe for the project is not included in the report, but the plan is up for review at next Tuesday’s city council meeting.

March 29, 2006

Kahiki Reincarnated as Strip Mall Chinese Buffet

Filed under: Midwest U.S.,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:22 pm
Smoking drink at Tropical Bistro, photo by Jeff Chenault
Smoking drink at Tropical Bistro,
photo by Jeff Chenault

There’s a whole lot of excitement in Ohio these days, at the discovery of a new restaurant with some strong ties to the celebrated Kahiki Supper Club.

The Kahiki, one of the grand dames of old tiki palaces, tragically closed in 2000. Earlier this year, Ngo and Soeng Thong opened up Tropical Bistro in Hilliard, Ohio, not far from the old Kahiki location. Ngo was a general manager at the Kahiki, and Soeng was a chef. They recruited the Kahiki’s Executive Chef, Mickey Cheung, to join them, along with other former Kahiki employees. They have opened their restaurant in an unassuming storefront in a humble strip mall, in a space that was last a typical Chinese buffet. Much of the decor in the place is from the buffet, and is thus pretty unremarkable, but there are a few pieces from the Kahiki, including a few tikis and a few lamps. What has Ohio tikiphiles all aflutter is the return of the Kahiki food and the Kahiki beverages, which are served with good old Kahiki hospitality.

The drink and food menus are reportedly exactly the same, right down to the same colorful drink images. The drinks are served with dry ice, and in tiki mugs. The quality of the food is reportedly even better than it had been at the Kahiki.

The Kahiki was famous for its grand interior, and that’s definitely missing at Tropical Bistro. But as James Teitelbaum, author of Tiki Road Trip, says:

Tropical Bistro is the only place within a 350 mile radius of the ground it stands on that serves a decent tropical drink.

Yeah, the place has a TiPSY factor of near zero, but hell, their cocktails are a miracle, and are the only ones worth drinking the in the state of Ohio… not to mention Kentucky, Indiana, or Pennsylvania.

And if anyone would know, it’s James. It’s not quite the celebrated return of the Kahiki that some have hoped for, but it’s a start. Jeff Chenault kicked off the frenzy with his discovery of this place, followed up with a review and some photos; he’s so excited about this place he can barely type straight. So, if you’ve got a hankering for a Smoking Eruption, head for Tropical Bistro.

Game Developers Conference & Smoke Tiki, San Jose

Filed under: My Travels,San Francisco,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 4:46 pm
The bar at Smoke Tiki in San Jose
The bar at Smoke Tiki in San Jose

Last week, I spent a bit of time in San Jose, thanks to the 2006 Game Developers Conference. I’m not a game developer myself — I just like to play them — but my boyfriend is a game designer (when he’s not busy doing UI design). His primary claim to fame is as the creator of Rocknor’s Donut Factory, but he also worked on one of the Monkey Island games, which of course makes him incredibly and irresistably sexy. Hanford went to the daytime stuff, and I met up with him in the evenings for the social events. It was a lot of fun seeing the reactions at GDC as people learned who Hanford was… there were a lot of “oh, wow!”s.

As it turns out, there was a bit of tiki crossover happening at GDC. It started for us when Ion Hardie, Director of Product Development at Reflexive, purchased a banner ad on Tiki Central. It turns out that he’s a tikiphile, and Reflexive has created a tiki-themed casual games portal at TikiArcade.com. Ion & Hanford chatted a bit online about their shared love of gaming and tiki, and we met up with Ion at the Minna Mingle event on Wednesday night. We had a great time chatting about gaming (I was even able to keep up with the discussion, mostly, which was nice). The whole Reflexive crew was great. We also spent some time chatting with some folks from Macromedia’s Director team — Hanford knows Director pretty much inside out.

While at the Minna Mingle, we were invited to another evening event the next day, taking place at Smoke Tiki. Smoke Tiki is a new tiki bar in San Jose. Frankly, we hadn’t been very interested in checking it out, as it sounded more grab-bag tropical than Polynesian Pop, which isn’t our thing. We knew we had to go see it eventually, though, so this was a perfect excuse. When we got there, we were pleasantly surprised to see that it was a bit more Polynesian than we’d anticipated, but it was definitely on the cartoony side. It’s called Smoke Tiki because it’s a smokehouse, and the smoked chicken skewers they were serving were quite delicious. The drink I had, however, was abysmal.

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Seattle: Leilani Lanes’ Final Days

Filed under: Events,News,Seattle,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:31 pm
Witco carving from Leilani Lanes
Witco carving
from Leilani Lanes

The last day for Leilani Lanes, a great old tiki-themed bowling alley in north Seattle, is coming this Friday. As a thank you to customers, bowling can be had at 1961 prices all this week. From 11 p.m. until midnight on Friday, a memorial-type service will be held, with Seattle’s own hula-hillbilly sweetheart Sweetpea playing some plaintive bagpipes.

Of course, most tikiphiles minds will leap to how one might acquire some of the fantastic vintage Witco carvings that stood watch over the Leilani for some forty-odd years. All of the equipment and furnishings, including Witco carvings, are to be auctioned off on Tuesday, April 11, starting at 10 a.m. Very full details, including some pictures, are available at the Murphy Co. auction site.

Last month, puamana took some exhaustive pictures of Leilani Lanes, highlighting every remaining Polynesian detail, and also some fascinating photos of a fashion show that took place in the bar in the ’70s — ooh la la! Check out those fantastic chairs in the bar area — if I was in Seattle and had the means, those would be right at the top of my auction shopping list.


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

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