Entries from April 2007

April 13, 2007

Baltimore Tiki History: the Hawaiian Room

Filed under: History,Tiki,Washington, D.C. — Humuhumu @ 11:27 am
Hawaiian Room swizzle, from the collection of Andy Johnson
Hawaiian Room swizzle, from the collection of Andy Johnson
Hawaiian Room mug, from the collection of kohalacharms
Hawaiian Room mug, from the
collection of kohalacharms

Johnny Dollar has a great roundup on the Hawaiian Room, including photos, collectibles, and a bit of the history. This piece of Baltimore tiki history operated in the Emerson Hotel in the 1960s, and had no relation to the Hawaiian Room in New York City.

My favorite part is a detail of a cocktail menu, which suggests that the diner “start a collection of Authentic Polynesian Mugs.” Y’know, just like the natives use. The Hawaiian Room actually does have one of the more unusual mugs, a grumpy Dr. Zaius look-alike. Tiki Centralite johntiki has been collecting items from and researching the Hawaiian Room for years, and he contributed images of his collection to Johnny’s post.

Napa Valley: Judd’s Hill Musical Bonanza

Filed under: Art,Events,Music,San Francisco,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:46 am
The Maikai Gents

On Saturday, April 14, Judd’s Hill winery in Napa will be holding their First Annual Judd’s Hill Musical Bonanza. The lineup is pretty impressive: APE (quite possibly my favorite tiki band), King Kukulele, and the Maikai Gents featuring the Mysterious Miss Mauna Loa (that’s the Judd’s Hill house band, of sorts, with Judd himself on vocals). If that isn’t enough, there’s food — barbecue prepared by National Champion Barbecuer Pat Burke. And of course, there will be wine — the debut of Judd’s Hill’s 2005 Old Vine Zinfandel. Yum!

The event is a benefit for Arts Council Napa Valley, a non-profit organization that supports arts education and development. Ticket price is $70 for Judd’s Hill Wine Club members (join the Wine Club at the Judd’s Hill website), or $85 for non-members. To make a reservation, talk to Pat at Judd’s Hill: (707) 255-2332.

It’s happening at Judd’s Hill’s new winery; they moved last year from St. Helene into a beautiful new winery, and we got to see it a few months ago. It’s so beautiful — they’ve got a few tikis onsite, too. It’s a great event in a great setting, and we’re hoping to be there ourselves.

Judd’s Hill Musical Bonanza
Noon – 4pm
2332 Silverado Trail
Napa, CA

April 12, 2007

San Clemente: Tiki Farm Parking Lot Sale

Filed under: Art,Events,Los Angeles,San Diego,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 4:50 pm
Tiki Farm

Tiki Farm‘s annual parking lot sale is coming up this weekend, on Saturday, April 14, from 9am-3pm. It all goes down in the parking lot at Tiki Farm’s HQ in San Clemente, and it’s a great way to see where the magic happens, and also take home some great tiki mug deals. In addition to special Tiki Farm deals, there will be a couple dozen tiki-centric vendors, including Bamboo Ben, Crazy Al, Velvet Glass, BarTiki, Ken Ruzic, Chongolio, Tiki Magazine, Monkeyman and Doug Horne. Many of the vendors have posted examples of what they’ll be bringing on Tiki Central, and it’s a pretty impressive lineup of goods. The event also includes a free concert by the Glasgow Tiki Shakers. Be sure to get there early and get the best deals!

Saturday, April 14, 9am-3pm
Free admission
1305 Calle Avanzado
San Clemente
Call (949) 940-1006 for more info

April 9, 2007

1968 Photos of the Enchanted Tiki Room

Filed under: Disney,History,Los Angeles,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:38 am
1968 photo of Maui at the Enchanted Tiki Room, from the Daveland blog
1968 photo of Maui at the Enchanted Tiki Room, from the Daveland blog

I can never get enough of old pictures of the Enchanted Tiki Room. Dave over at Daveland has just posted some lovely ones, taken in December of 1968, with modern-day pictures for comparison. Above is vintage Maui — poor Maui is much bluer today, with a pretty garish turquoise paint job. Overall, the refurbishment that was done about a year ago was great, but I wish the paint colors had been a little bit better. Dave also has a whole bunch of vintage and current Enchanted Tiki Room pics at his website.

April 8, 2007

Mr. Bali Hai Goes Ballyhoo

Filed under: History,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 6:07 pm
April 1935 issue of Ballyhoo
April 1935 issue of Ballyhoo
When the advertising men get there.
“When the advertising men get there.”

Mr. Bali Hai made a terrific find recently: this April 1935 issue of the humor magazine, Ballyhoo. As far as the humor goes in this issue, I guess you had to be there — seen with today’s eyes, it’s pretty un-funny stuff. Maybe it’s because some of the jokes are offensive, maybe it’s because humor was simpler back then, maybe it’s because there are references I just don’t get, or maybe it’s because even in April 1935 it was stupid. Regardless, it’s compelling stuff — it’s shocking sometimes to be faced with just how remote and exotic these lands were to the world back then, and how condescendingly the native cultures were viewed.

Setting aside, if you can, the really cringe-worthy take on island natives, there is some neat artwork. Mr. Bali Hai has scanned in the whole magazine to share. Be sure to look at some of the pages full-size to get all the detail. This cartoon here to the left is worth a closer look — it’s a sadly accurate prediction of what the future held, at least for parts of Hawaii.

Mr. Bali Hai has also posted about it on Tiki Central, where it has spurred a discussion on what this era is called — it definitely is part of the time when Americans were beginning their romanticised love affair with all things tropical, but it pre-dates the golden age of that era, when tikis ruled the scene. Sven calls it the “Pre-tiki Polynesian Pop era,” while I opt for the more shorthand “Bamboo Era” — there were a lot of cool old jazz bars done up in a tropical theme back then that were a neat mix of art deco and bamboo/rattan, and not a tiki in sight. Mr. Bali Hai wants to take it a step further, and asks what to call Victorian-era tropical fascination — he offers up Steamtiki, which suits me fine.

"There's been too damn much missionary work around here!"
"There’s been too damn much missionary work around here!"

April 7, 2007

Beachbum Berry’s Grog Blog

Filed under: Drinks,History,News,People,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:16 pm
Sippin' Safari, by Jeff Berry
Sippin’ Safari, by Jeff Berry

Tikiphiles have been anxiously awaiting Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s new book, Sippin’ Safari, for many months now. The release is finally drawing near, and Berry will be giving seminars at both Hukilau and Tiki Oasis this summer. Now comes another exciting development: Beachbum Berry’s Grog Blog. Yep, Jeff has added a blog to the site. Welcome to blogland, ‘bum!

I’m incredibly excited for Sippin’ Safari. Jeff has put incredible effort into rooting out the history of Polynesian Pop. It’s a colorful history, and has been well-documented in images — but there are a lot of stories to be told, and Jeff has been finding them, and documenting them. Those who were at Jeff’s seminar at last year’s Hukilau got a taste of what Sippin’ Safari holds. This is not a recipe book (though some recipes are included — thanks to his tireless efforts to track down original bartenders). This is a book about how tiki came to be — not about the world it grew up in, but how it actually, really came to be — how Don the Beachcomber built his dream into something that sparked the imagination of the era.

So, it’ll be really cool. You can preorder it now at SLG Publishing, and be sure to catch Beachbum Berry in person at Hukilau or Tiki Oasis if you can. And read his blog!

April 5, 2007

The Kona Luanii — Home Tiki Bar Excellence

Filed under: Art,Denver,Disney,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 6:37 pm
A battered sail from the Kona Luanii
A battered sail from the Kona Luanii
Fountain, tikis and tiki birds in a corner of the Kona Luanii
Fountain, tikis and tiki birds
in a corner of the Kona Luanii

I’ve mentioned ZuluMagoo’s Denver home tiki bar in passing, when pointing out his amazingly spot-on Enchanted Tiki Room birds. It’s turning out so well, the whole room deserves to be showcased. It’s still just under development, and all the photos so far have the dreaded ambience-killing flash, but it’s already awe-inspiring. I cannot wait to see pictures of this bar once it’s completed and he can take some beauty shots.

The attention to detail, combined with a fab sense of design and a great use of different textures, makes the Kona Luanii stand out already. The scale of the items being used is just right — not too big, not too small; I can almost hear the gasps of surprise people will be uttering when they enter this space for the first time. The bar is themed in a nautical-meets-tiki style, and has a whole backstory… this is the shipwreck of the Kona Luanii, which sailed around the world, bearing tiki cargo to great Poly Pop restaurants everywhere. The room looks darned-near seaworthy. It’s chockablock with riggings, pulleys, masts, lanterns, lots of rope, and of course a beautiful figurehead. The tiki elements are well done, too, and are very inspired by the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland.

Be sure to look through the Tiki Central thread for the Kona Luanii, where ZuluMagoo is posting his progress pictures, including some step-by-step work.

Barrels of rum, coconut milk and pineapple juice
Barrels of rum, coconut milk and pineapple juice

April 3, 2007

Papua New Guinea Art in Menlo Park

Filed under: Art,San Francisco,Shopping,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 6:18 pm
Papua New Guinea tiki at Xanadu Gallery
Papua New Guinea tiki at Xanadu Gallery

This past weekend, we stumbled across a little gallery that has a wonderful collection of Papua New Guinea art. It’s called Xanadu Gallery, and it’s in Menlo Park, just north of Stanford University. It’s owned by the same fellow who is part owner of the Palo Alto Trader Vic’s, and he was responsible for the Papua New Guinea art on display there. That makes three different spots full of Papua New Guinea art, all within just a couple of miles: the Trader Vic’s, the sculpture garden at Stanford, and Xanadu Gallery. The Stanford sculpture garden is unrelated to the other two.

Most of the art was from Papua New Guinea, but there were also examples of Tahitian and Marquesan art, including a gorgeous outrigger canoe. There were tikis, masks, war clubs, drums, canoes… just an overwhelming array of gorgeous tiki art. About 1/2 – 1/3 of it was for sale, the rest is part of the owner’s private collection. I’ve posted a bunch of pictures in a thread on Tiki Central, and also at Humuhumu’s Life in Photos. There is another Xanadu Gallery location in San Francisco with even more art, hopefully I’ll get a chance to check it out soon.

The Way In Which Tiki Is Like Sushi

Filed under: Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:16 pm

I love sushi.

Seattle has a lot of great sushi. When I lived there, I knew which places were good, which places were okay, and which ones I wouldn’t try again.

Then I moved to Los Angeles. The land of sushi! I couldn’t wait to try some of the fantastic sushi I would surely find in Los Angeles.

Only that’s not what happened. In Los Angeles, you see, sushi is everywhere. Los Angeles is a vast territory, and with sushi places on seemingly every block, finding great sushi proved a tall order. Heck, finding sushi I actually wanted to eat was a tall order. My god, half the sushi places I saw had burritos on the menu. Burritos. And nary of person of Japanese descent in sight.

My quest for great sushi in Los Angeles largely proved fruitless. Asking friends didn’t work… too often, I’d hear something along the lines of “Oh, I just love sushi! There’s this great place that has an all-you-can-eat special for only 10 bucks!” One place I tried on a reccomendation served me a piece of tuna that looked just like a pale pink kitchen sponge. I found mentions of great sushi places online, but they all seemed to entail a 45 minute drive, a 45 minute wait, and a $450 bill. Water, water, all around, nor any drop to drink!

Just when I was about to give up, I found a teeny little sushi place, in a dull little strip mall, above a Pizza Hut, just a mile from my apartment. The hastily-posted warning sign on the door told me everything I needed to know… “No California Rolls.” I was in heaven. It wasn’t as good as my favorite places in Seattle, but finally, it was at least in the ballpark.

I guess I’m a sushi snob. I’m not by Seattle standards, but I guess I am one, and that’s okay.

I love tiki.

Over the past year or two, tiki has seemed a bit like sushi. There’s still great, fabulous, wonderful tiki out there — but it’s drowning in a sea of soulless tiki crap. Now, I’ll admit, I like a California Roll now & then, and occasionally a modern, mass produced tiki is just the thing for me, but really now — a California Roll isn’t sushi, and a lot of modern-tiki stuff ain’t got no soul.

I guess I’m a tiki snob. Not by the standards of a few years ago, but I guess I am one, and that’s okay.

I’m still seeing great tiki stuff that’s new to me, all the time. It’s still there — there’s actually more these days. It’s just getting a little haystack-y out there. Which makes Humu Kon Tiki that much more an important effort — there’s got to be something that makes it easier to find the signal in all that noise out there. But I’d be lying if I said it was easy — by the time I find something cool I think I want to post, I’m out of time, and have to work on other things.

I’m going to get better about that — I’ve got a great backlog of cool stuff to post. But I realize it’s time to recruit others’ help in the search for great tiki. With that in mind, I’ve added a Suggest an Item feature to Humu Kon Tiki — now you can suggest potential posts for Humu Kon Tiki, in amazing Form-O-Vision. What have you found out there that you think is really great? I’d love to hear about it, and the Humu Kon Tiki readers might like it, too.

Hopefully, with my continued diligence and a little help from my lovely readers, I’ll be able to keep bringing you the really great Polynesian Pop info, with only the occasional California Roll sneaking in.

Suggest an Item for Humu Kon Tiki

Filed under: Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:14 pm

Got something you think might be of interest to Humu Kon Tiki readers? Tell us about it!

Humu Kon Tiki readers are interested in cool stuff relating to midcentury Polynesian Pop. That doesn’t mean we’re only interested in old stuff, modern stuff is cool, too — as long as it’s got some relation to the golden age of the Tiki craze. Not everything can get posted, but we’re always happy to hear about tiki things you love!

 

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About Humuhumu
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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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