Entries from August 2006

August 31, 2006

Tiki Cherry Barrettes

Filed under: Los Angeles,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:58 pm
Tiki Cherry Barrette, from My Baby Jo
Tiki Cherry Barrette, from My Baby Jo

My super-swell hair stylist, Kelli O’Neill, hipped me to these sweet tiki cherry barrettes from My Baby Jo. My Baby Jo sells clothing and accessories for the Rockabilly crowd — the redundant cherries / swallows / horseshoes / flames / tikis / dice approach to typical Rockabilly stuff is a little too Garanimals-y for me, but darned if the scene isn’t full of a ton of cute stuff regardless. These barrettes have cherries with handpainted tiki faces, so no two are alike — I like the simple style on the black & white ones pictured here, but some of the others look a bit too cartoony for my tastes. Each barrette is $15. My Baby Jo has a site for online shopping, or you can visit their retail store in West L.A.

August 29, 2006

Three Books from the Beachcombing Hedley Family

Filed under: History,Los Angeles,People,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:47 pm
Three books from the beachcombing Hedley family
Three books from the beachcombing Hedley family

The family of Eli Hedley have three books newly available:

View from the Top of the Mast, by Bungy Hedley
If you’ve read her tales here or on Tiki Central, then you know she’s got some fantastic stories of an adventure-filled life to share. This book only covers her life growing up in the wacky Hedley clan, up until her early 20s, but it covers journeys to Hawaii, Tahiti and points beyond, not to mention her experiences on the California coast, growing up in one of Hollywood’s favorite hideouts.

How Daddy Became a Beachcomber, by Marilyn Hedley, illustrated by Flo Ann Hedley
This book was published in 1947, but has been out of print for many years, and has become very rare and sought-after. The family is offering reprints of this book, told by Hedley daughter Marily (Bungy’s sister).

Eli Hedley Beachcomber, 1943 Catalog (Reprint)
This is a reprint of Eli Hedley’s catalog of wares, with charming ink illustrations of the unusual items he offered. During WWII, Eli’s wares were used in decorating many bars, restaurants, hotels and homes, and he was especially favored in Hollywood. He was responsible for the decor is some of the most famous tiki bars, and the back pages of the catalog include a thick addendum of black & white photos of his tikis, his shop, the family homestead, and a 1943 article from Life Magazine.

The books are available now, and can be ordered from Amazon, from the book publisher, or from Bungy herself, if you’d like an autographed copy. Full details are on this thread at Tiki Central.

Tiki in the Swinging Mid-’60s

Filed under: History,Los Angeles,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:46 am
Picture of a tiki conga drum, from the collection of Sabu the Coconut Boy
Picture of a tiki conga drum, from
the collection of Sabu the Coconut Boy

Sabu the Coconut Boy has unearthed yet more gems — it’s his schtick, it’s what he does. This time, it’s an article in a 1966 ARGOSY magazine, about the then-growing popularity of “singles” apartment complexes, where the young and unattached would in theory take advantage of their close proximity and throw amazing parties and hook up randomly and sow every last one of their wild oats in a fogey-less nirvana. I honestly don’t know what it was really like at these places; I’ve always figured that in reality they were more full of the sad, boring & lonely types than the fun & fancy-free types — after all, they didn’t exactly take off as a concept, y’know?

Sabu’s pictures depict a swingin’ scene in a Southern California singles apartment complex — the South Bay Club apartments in Torrance, to be exact. The happy, flirtily dressed young things, cavorting with a veritable beatnik-symphony of instruments, are fascinating enough, but the star of the show is a great big conga drum, carved into a very nice tiki. The pictures posted by Sabu paint a very fun picture — Vintage Girl said exactly the same thought that ran through my head at seeing the picture below — it looks exactly like a scene from a Tiki Central party in Room 135 at the Caliente Tropics during Tiki Oasis. So maybe the concept isn’t so far-fetched, after all.

Swingin' party in 1966, from the collection of Sabu the Coconut Boy
Swingin’ party in 1966, from the collection of Sabu the Coconut Boy

August 28, 2006

Alameda: Forbidden Island Parking Lot Bonanza

Filed under: Events,San Francisco,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:26 pm
Sidewinder's Fang - photo by Craig Lee for San Francisco Chronicle
Sidewinder’s Fang, photo by Craig Lee
for San Francisco Chronicle

On Sunday, September 24 from 3-7 p.m., Forbidden Island will be holding a sale of tiki flotsam & jetsam in their parking lot, and they’re also opening their lot to other vendors who would like to sell their wares to a collection of ideally tiki-crazed and booze-hazed patrons. The impetus for the sale is an overflow of great tiki items collected during the planning and build-out of Forbidden Island that didn’t find a final home there — including lots of bamboo. Forbidden Island co-owner Martin Cate is also adding in lots of items from his overflow of stuff at his home bar (the Novato Grotto, a.k.a. the Forbidden Island Test Lab). Vendors there will be selling tiki items, Hawaiiana, vintage clothing, vinyl, and other sundry items. Martin promises “Drink Specials!” and “Surprises!” but also, “Rodeo Clowns!,” which may be more appropriately classified as a threat. Sunday the 24th is the day before my birthday, and seein’ as how Forbidden Island will be closed on Monday, I’m unlikely to say no to any birthday drinks that come my way. Forbidden Island is located at 1304 Lincoln Ave (at Sherman) on the lovely isle of Alameda.

Speaking of Forbidden Island, they’ve had two fantastic write-ups lately. The first is actually a write-up of our Tiki Crawl that happened last month, on the Kaiser Penguin blog. It’s a great article, and Forbidden Island appropriately gets heavy mention, including the recipe of their very-tasty China Clipper (one of the great drinks to come out of Martin’s lab). The other is an article in the San Francisco Chronicle looking at summer drinks around the Bay Area; again, Forbidden Island gets the meat of the article, and several more recipes are included there. Congrats to Forbidden Island!

Oh! Also! The Jab, DJ extraordinaire, and dapperest chap that ever dapped, has a special night at Forbidden Island, the third Tuesday of every month. And, every Wednesday, there’s a whole mess o’ tikiphiles there, including Hanford & me.

Modesto: Hooptylau 2006

Filed under: Central California,Events,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:42 pm
Schmama Lama & me at Hooptylau 2004
Schmama Lama & me at Hooptylau 2004

It’s time once again for one of my very favorite tiki events, Hooptylau in California’s Central Valley. This event celebrates both the Central Valley’s rich tiki history, and its inherent trashiness. Attendees are invited to bust out their most questionable aloha wear, with the most outlandish winning prizes (this year’s challenge is to combine western wear with aloha wear). At last year’s event, we returned to our two rented vans after our visit to Minnie’s to find that we’d interrupted someone in the middle of siphoning gas out of them. Hoopty! This year, my mom, the Schmama Lama, will be joining us — she went to Hooptylau in 2004, and she’s been singing the Hooptylau theme song ever since.

It’s taking place Saturday and Sunday, September 16 & 17. Here’s this year’s schedule:

Martiki at Hooptylau 2004
Martiki at Hooptylau 2004
  1. On Lock Sam’s in Sacramento — not Polynesian, but an intruiguing old-school Chinese joint in downtown Stockton with “Mafioso curtain booths” — and they serve tropical drinks.
  2. Pollardville Chicken Kitchen — again, not Polynesian, but this building was once the great Islander in Stockton. In the mid-’80s, it was moved and turned into a fried chicken joint. It’s being demolished in the coming year, and we’ll visit it to pay our respects and load up on alcohol-absorbing greasy chicken.
  3. The Dark Marq Room — this is the home bar of Hooptylau hosts, the drunken hat and tikicleen. Enjoy their massive collection, heavy with Islander memorabilia, and some excellent mixology.
  4. Tropics Motel & Tiki Lounge — the Tropics was once one of the Ken Kimes chain (which included what is now the Caliente Tropics in Palm Springs), and has some massive Ed Crissman rootball tikis. The motel has weekly rates, and there is usually some laundry out to dry on the chain link fence that separates it from its former bar, the Tiki Lounge. The Tiki Lounge is still operational, but smartly wants nothing to do with its former partner — today, it’s a semi-restored gay bar, with central fireplace and bamboo booths.
  5. Minnie’s — the queen bee of Central Valley tiki, Minnie’s would be a gem in any city. The Chinese food is surprisingly good, and the restaurant is full of not just tikis, but many oil and black velvet paintings by Burke Tyree. The drinks don’t match the quality of the food, but one drink — the Jerk — is a must-have for the uninitiated. It’s borderline hazing, but you’ve just gotta suck it up.

The next day, the gang is invited to a day of restoration at Jungle Trader’s Outpost, a lush backyard paradise (Jungle Trader is a landscaper) complete with a brand-new swimming pool.

As I hinted at above, the theme this year is Western-meets-Tiki, so get to brainstorming about how to work some dusty boots into your most garish aloha outfit. For full details, including how to get tickets, and where to stay, check out the thread on Tiki Central.

Video of Trader Vic’s in Atlanta

Filed under: Atlanta,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 10:38 am
Still from TripSmarter.com video of Trader Vic's in Atlanta
Still from TripSmarter.com video of Trader Vic’s in Atlanta

Martiki dug up this 4-1/2 minute video on TripSmarter.com of my favorite of all the stateside Trader Vic’s, the one in Atlanta. The Atlanta Trader Vic’s opened in 30 years ago, in 1976, and unlike many older Polynesian restaurants, it thankfully hasn’t been remodeled, and remains a dark, moody and mysterious place — it’s a great example of an ideal Tiki restaurant. The video has a couple of annoying aspects — the camera moves around too much and too quickly, where I would have rather seen nice, long panning shots of the restaurant. There is a brief appearance by Tiki Road Trip author James Teitelbaum, mis-identified as “John.” The host of the clip apparently went through the same “make it perky, but keep it bland!” traning they seem to put every personality from HGTV & Food Network through. All that aside, it does give a decent look at one of my favorite restaurants. If you want to see more of the Atlanta Trader Vic’s, I have a bunch of photos on Critiki from my trip there in 2004, when (thanks to pablus & Tiki Kiliki) I had the opportunity to photograph the restaurant when it was empty.

UPDATE: James “John” Teitelbaum has chimed in on the Tiki Central thread, turns out he has no memory whatsoever of being interviewed for this video. Just goes to show, give ol’ Teitelbaum a few Mai Tais, and he’s game for just about anything. Next time I see him, I’m totally going to bring a marionnette, some lederhosen and a viking helmet. The kind with blond braided pigtails attached.

August 26, 2006

My Travels: Walt Disney World

Filed under: Disney,My Travels,Orlando,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:38 pm
Adventureland at Walt Disney World
Adventureland at Walt Disney World

Ah, another August goes shooting by. Earlier in the month, I was in Internet-free Downieville, a wee little almost-ghost-town a few hours from pretty much anything, in the Sierras. It’s very pretty, but it ain’t tiki, so that’s all I’ve got to say about it here.

After that, we headed out to Walt Disney World for a whole week. My two previous trips to WDW have been woefully short, and the last one was curtailed by an unfortunate double-whammy of a terrible cold and an asshole who thought it would be funny to s#!t all over Tiki Central, requiring us to spend the day in the hotel room doing emergency cleanup duty. But this was a much happier trip — a whole, solid week, happily unencumbered by illness or delinquents. Even with that much time, we felt we had about a week more in us — there was still so much to see and to do. It was hard to leave.

The reason for our trip — not that it really would take a reason to bring us to a Disney park — was to visit with some old friends from Hanford’s LucasArts days, who are now working on an R & D Imagineering project at Epcot. The project was being tested with the public, and we came out to be guinea pigs, and to spend some quality time with them. The project is called Team Possible (based on the Kim Possible animated series on the Disney Channel), and it’s an interactive all-over-the-park game that uses a handheld “Kimmunicator” (actually, a high-end cellphone) to send you on a scavenger hunt of sorts. I don’t want to give away any more than that, but I will say that it was really fun, even though we’re not acquainted with Kim Possible. It was very well-integrated into World Showcase, so that anyone not playing the game would never know there was anything new there. It was a great way to see the park, and we saw all sorts of things we otherwise would have missed. Our experience was great, and hopefully they’ll use the concepts and technology they had in this test for a more permanent game of some sort. If you’d like to know more, keep an eye on Hanford Lemoore’s blog, he’ll likely be making a more detailed post about it soon.

Pre-show lanai at the Enchanted Tiki Room in Orlando
Pre-show lanai at the Enchanted Tiki Room in Orlando
Pre-show tiki at the Enchanted Tiki Room in Orlando
Pre-show tiki

But on to the tiki… we passed on seeing the Enchanted Tiki Room show there (the “Under New Management” version there is painful, simply painful, watch it at your own risk), but we did spend some time at the building it’s housed in. The building itself is very impressive, and full of delicate details — and, the lanai plays Exotica classics in a loop, including Martin Denny. The pre-show on the lanai is very different from the one in Anaheim, but there are a few of the Anaheim lanai tikis to be seen there. In addition, the entrance to Adventureland has a number of great tikis and shields, and there are some fantastic tall slit-drum tikis that spit water near the Enchanted Tiki Room.

'Ohana restaurant at the Polynesian Resort
‘Ohana restaurant at the Polynesian Resort
Tikis and carved poles at the Polynesian Resort
Tikis and carved poles
at the Polynesian Resort

The best Polynesian Pop to be seen at Walt Disney World is at the Polynesian Resort, near the Magic Kingdom. The Polynesian Resort has been there since WDW first opened in October 1971. It’s a large resort, with over 800 rooms in 11 different “longhouses” named after Polynesian islands. The pool area has a volcano with a built-in water slide. The main building houses ‘Ohana restaurant (which also has a bar, serving tropical drinks including a Tropical Itch, complete with backscratcher), and has some neat tikis, masks, war clubs and other carvings, and plenty of bamboo. The hotel also has a luau and Polynesian floor show, called Spirit of Aloha, in one corner of the grounds.

Bar at 'Ohana restaurant
Bar at ‘Ohana restaurant

That’s about it for tiki at Walt Disney World… should I also mention the nearly-tiki stuff? (Shades eyes with back of hand) Wait a minute… (folds ring finger down) I love that idea.

Typhoon Lagoon
Typhoon Lagoon

There are two more things at Walt Disney World that are not quite tiki, but tiki-friendly, to be sure: Typhoon Lagoon, and the Adventurer’s Club. Typhoon Lagoon is one of WDW’s two water parks, and it has a well-executed shipwreck theme. The vegetation is thick, and vintage surf tunes are played throughout the park, except for the fish & chips bar (where they sold “fish & chips w/fries” — no joke), which plays great sea shanties. Who doesn’t love a good sea shanty? The Adventurer’s Club is one of the nightclubs in Downtown Disney, and is themed as a 1937 private club for, well, adventurers. A crew of talented improv comedians mingle and entertain through the whole evening, putting on periodic shows. The walls are positively encrusted with dusty artifacts, including a few tikis, and even a decidedly post-1937 pupu platter in the Treasure Room.

Adventurer's Club
Adventurer’s Club

I could go on and on about all the great things at Walt Disney World (Expedition Everest is beautiful! Canada is a lifetime journey for the traveller! Mocking Steven Tyler is fun!), but I won’t. Instead, take a gander at photos from my trip, and check out the updated entries on Critiki.

August 7, 2006

Mai Kai Calendar from 1977

Filed under: Ft. Lauderdale & Miami,History,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:25 pm
1977 Mai Kai Calendar, from the collection of Swanky
1977 Mai Kai Calendar,
from the collection of Swanky

Swanky has posted some images from his 1977 Mai Kai calendar on his Swank Blather blog. The Mai Kai produced these calendars for many years, but stopped some time ago. The calendars typically showcase their beautiful, barely-clothed serving wahines, but occasionally depict other scenes of life at the restaurant. The image at left gives a great view of a side dining room, with its cases full of shrunken heads. Another image Swanky has posted gives a rare peek at the brightly-lit, behind-the-scenes area in the Molokai Bar where all the drinks are made. If you ask at the Mai Kai Gift Shop, they can usually scare up a few old calendars for you.

Massive Moai: Oklahoma

Filed under: History,Massive Moai,Midwest U.S.,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:14 pm
Postcard from the Suttles' Tiki Point, from the collection of SilverLine
Postcard from the Suttles’ Tiki Point, from the collection of SilverLine

For some reason, moai statues have a way of cropping up in the most unlikely and random places. One of these is the Moai that overlooks Courtyard Hollow, a small part of the Great Lake o’ the Cherokees, in Grove, Oklahoma. SilverLine posted the above postcard, which probably dates from the late ’60s, on Tiki Central, which is labeled “The Suttles’ Tiki Point, Located on Lake Road #6, Grove Oklahoma,” and tikijackelope and ZuluMagoo dug in to find what could be learned about it. Sure enough, the fellow’s still there. The moai may have been constructed in 1967 by Earl Suttle, who once owned the land it sits on. The moai may not be accessible by road, but it isn’t hard to get to by water, and ZuluMagoo has seen it in person and shared recent photos on Tiki Central.

Lots of New Images of Tiki in Critiki

Filed under: Critiki,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:55 am
by Mr. Bali Hai
by Mr. Bali Hai

Thanks to the new ability for anybody to add images to Critiki, there’s a lot of great new stuff to look at. A lot of this is a backlog of photos I’d taken recently, but about half of it is images submitted by tiki enthusiasts just like you. All told, 186 new images have been added to Critiki in the past few days, spanning across 31 different locations.

The onslaught of new images inspired Mr. Bali Hai, of Eye of the Goof, to create this clever bit of propaganda. Now you can’t resist! You must join your tiki brothers and sisters, and do your bit for the greater tiki good!

If you have photos or scans of stuff from your collection you’d like to contribute to Critiki, it’s sooper easy — just look for the link to “Add it to Critiki” on each location’s page.

UPDATE: I’ve been inspired to create on of my own:

Work to build a powerful Navy Grog
Work to build a powerful Navy Grog

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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