Entries from September 2006

September 3, 2006

Information Sought on McVicker Art

Filed under: Art,Ft. Lauderdale & Miami,History,Research,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 8:55 pm
McVicker art of a Polynesian revue
McVicker art of a Polynesian revue
Detail of McVicker art
Detail of McVicker art

The above art was posted by someone on Tiki Central who is looking to learn more about it. It’s lovely — I’d love to know more about it, myself. According to the poster, thegreenman, this lithograph was acquired via his aunt, who is in a south Florida retirement village. His aunt got it from a woman “who knew the artist” (the work is signed “McVicker”). This woman said it was created as a promotion for a “Polynesian gardens fire dance,” and it is from 1959. I don’t know how accurate any of that is, but I do know it’s a great scene — complete with fire dancers, hula dancers, a band, well-dressed patrons, a serving wahine, a bartender, a mysterious shady figure at the back, even a full-on decorated a-frame. It’s almost too perfect… I would have guessed that it was a modern piece, the way it so perfectly nails every Poly Pop cliche. Regardless, it’s gorgeous.

McVicker signature
McVicker signature

I did a quick search on “McVicker” and turned up an artist, J. Jay McVicker; he created some pieces of a similar tone, and which date from a similar age, but his style was more abstract, and a close comparison of the signatures looks like a mis-match. Thegreenman hails from Ft. Lauderdale, and a piece of framing tape on the back says “Schwarms Photo Center Bahia Mar Commercial Photography – Illustrative- Architectural-Marine” (today, there is a Bahia Mar hotel near the water in Ft. Lauderdale). The mind, of course, leaps to the Mai-Kai, which opened in 1956, but in those days the Mai-Kai wasn’t the only game in town — or at least, wasn’t the only game in south Florida. There are many folks more knowledgable than I am about Florida tiki history (Kailuageoff’s presentation at the Hukilau should be a treat), hopefully someone out there can clear up the mystery.

UPDATE: thegreenman has left a comment, stating that he learned from his aunt that this was a promotion for the Polynesian Room at the Yankee Clipper — the official hotel for this year’s Hukilau!

Critiki: Big Critiki Maps Improvement, Little-Known Features Revealed

Filed under: Critiki,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:07 pm
Critiki Maps view of San Francisco
Critiki Maps view of San Francisco

I rolled out Critiki Maps a year ago this week — it was cool, but it didn’t work in many browsers, and it was slooooow. Now, I’ve just about completely re-coded it, and integrated the latest Google Maps API, and the improvement is stunning. It works across multiple browsers, and it’s much, much faster. If Critiki Maps haven’t worked for you in the past, give it a try again — it’s much more likely to work for you now.

Nearly 90% of the locations in Critiki are on the Critiki Maps; the few that are missing are the ones that I haven’t found accurate latitude & longitude information for (these are almost exclusively the ones that are out of business). Critiki Maps let you see all the tiki locations in an area, all on one map. Like Google Maps, you can drag the window around, and you can zoom in and out. Look for the “View on Critiki Map” link under the address on each location’s Critiki profile.

There are a whole slew of other little features in Critiki that you probably don’t know about…

Critiki's Book of Tiki listing for Bai Hai, San Diego
Critiki’s Book of Tiki
listing for Bai Hai,
San Diego

Book of Tiki Index
Did you ever wish the Book of Tiki had an index? Yeah, me too. That’s why I made one. With the blessing of BOT author Sven Kirsten, Critiki locations have an “In the Book of Tiki” section, detailing which pages of the BOT have references to that location. For instance, Critiki’s Book of Tiki information for the Bali Hai in San Diego can be seen at the right.

Tiki Central Search
Have you ever tried to search for “Kon Tiki” on Tiki Central? You’ll get a whole ton of information, but you might have to dig through talk about Thor Heyerdahl’s trip, or Stephen Crane’s Kon Tiki chain, or the Kon Tiki Hotel in Phoenix, or the Kon Tiki Lounge in Tucson, or the other couple of dozen uses of the phrase “Kon Tiki.” For another angle, try going to the Critiki page for the location you want to know more about, and click “View discussions about this location at Tiki Central” to see a list of topics talking about that location. These links are lovingly hand-curated by Tiki Central moderator Tiki Wahine and myself, so you can be sure that each topic really has discussion about that location.

RSS Feed
The latest updates to Critiki can be viewed on one handy-dandy webpage — and thanks to lots of folks adding their own images to Critiki, updates are happening very frequently these days. If you’d like to keep abreast of the latest updates to Critiki, but don’t want to keep checking the page, you can subscribe to the Latest Updates RSS feed in your favorite RSS reader.

Browse by Rating
Which tiki bars have the best drinks? The worst food? The best music? The worst service? You can see it all under Browse by Rating.

Home Tiki Bars
Want to share your home tiki bar with the world? Or document it for posterity? There are a number of great home tiki bars in Critiki, and I’ll gladly add yours, too. Just send an email to humuhumu@critiki.com letting me know your bar’s name, and what city it’s in.

Nearby Geocaches
This last one is an Easter Egg of sorts. Go to a location — any location — that has latitude & longitude information. You’ll find the latitude & longitude under the location’s address. Float your cursor in the teeny space between the latitude and the longitude — you’ll see there’s a link hidden there. If you click it, it will take you to a page on Geocaching.org showing the closest geocaches to that tiki location.

September 2, 2006

Virtual Tour of Elvis’ Jungle Room

Filed under: History,Tennessee,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:42 am
Elvis' Jungle Room, from Elvis.com
Elvis’ Jungle Room

Elvis was known for many things: singing, dancing, acting… but he wasn’t exactly known for his good taste. But, as Pablo Picasso said, “Ah, good taste! What a dreadful thing! Taste is the enemy of creativeness.” (It’s worth noting that Picasso was a tikiphile; he acquired his first, a Marquesan, around 1910, and in later years had them all over his art studio.) And so we have Elvis’ paean to bad taste, his Jungle Room at Graceland.

Elvis’ Jungle Room is furnished almost entirely with Witco furniture, a blocky style of wooden carved furniture created by William Westenhaver that reached its height of popularity in the 1960s. Most homes housed maybe a piece or two of Witco, but a whole room of it can be visually overwhelming. Elvis, of course, could handle a little visual stimulation, and went gangbusters — not only does his Jungle room house a full couch, a half-dozen chairs, tables, a cabinet, and a tiki bar (with tiki stools), but the whole room is carpeted in lime green shag, not just on the floor, but also the ceiling. It is atrocious, in the best way possible.

The official website for Graceland provides two virtual tours, which give 360° views, and allow you to zoom in and out. The Virtual Tours actually give you a better view in some ways than you can get there in person, where the room is roped off and must be viewed from the side. There’s also a great thread underway on Tiki Central, where a woofmutt has collected a variety of Jungle Room lore with some tidbits thrown in by Sven Kirsten (whose book on Witco will be out next year). Included is a story of Elvis’ dad, Vernon, telling him he’d just seen “the world’s most ugliest furniture” in a store in town, only to discover that Elvis had coincidentally just bought the whole set that same day.

Elvis' Tiki Bar, from Elvis.com
Elvis’ Tiki Bar

Hukilau Mugs On Sale Soon

Filed under: Events,Ft. Lauderdale & Miami,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 8:07 am
Hukilau 2006 Souvenir Mug
Hukilau 2006 Souvenir Mug

The souvenir mug for this year’s Hukilau is being created by Munktiki, and is a decanter-like replica of this tiki, found in the Mai-Kai’s front gardens. The number of mugs available has been increased to 300, from the initial plan of 150. The mugs are only available to those who have purchased passes for the event, and are being pre-sold (because who wants to spend hours of their precious Hukilau time standing in line?). You need your confirmation number from your ticket order in order to purchase your mug. No word yet on the price of the mug, or exactly when they’ll go on sale — but the word is SOON. Keep an eye on the Hukilau website for details.

Tiki Oasis 2007 Announced

Filed under: Events,Music,San Diego,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 7:54 am

Otto and Baby Doe von Stroheim have made a save-the-date announcement for 2007′s Tiki Oasis event, “Hawaii Au Go Go,” with the Blue Hawaiians as headliners. Like last year, it will be taking place at the Red Lion Hanalei in San Diego. However, the von Stroheims have a few changes in store:

Moving to August
In years past, Tiki Oasis has been held in May, which was lovely in Palm Springs, but a bit chilly for San Diego. The 7th Tiki Oasis will be held the weekend of August 16-19, 2007. The von Stroheims have orchestrated this with Tiki Kiliki, whose Hukilau event in Ft. Lauderdale has been happening in October; she has wanted to move it to the hurricane-free spring, so the next Hukilau event will happen in spring of 2007.

Room Parties Are A-Okay
After-hours room parties have been a huge part of the fun of Tiki Oasis. Some spontaneous, some intricately planned, the room parties are explosions of masterful mixology and musical mayhem, sometimes lasting until dawn. Sadly, the room parties at last year’s Oasis were largely a bust, as the hotel shut many of them down relatively early in the evening. This year, things should be different — because the von Stroheims were able to get an advance booking, and now have an established relationship with the Hanalei, the entire hotel will be booked out solely for Tiki Oasis. This is an improvement, even over the Palm Springs years — the Hanalei is a large hotel, and the neighboring properties aren’t near enough for the noise to travel that far.

Better Handle on Mug Sales
Last year’s sales of the Tiki Oasis mug left a lot of people feeling left out — not everyone was able to get a mug, despite spending a long time in line, while some of those at the front of the line were able to load up on them (there was a limit of two per person, but a family of four could purchase eight mugs). This year, mugs will be sold as a pre-purchase only to ticket holders, and they will manufacture enough mugs to meet demand. There will still be a small number of mugs available for purchase at the event.

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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