Entries in the 'Ft. Lauderdale & Miami' Category

October 14, 2005

My Travels: Hukilau

Filed under: Events,Ft. Lauderdale & Miami,Music,My Travels,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:46 pm

Just got back from a fantastic time at Tiki Kiliki’s Hukilau in Ft. Lauderdale. In what is becoming a Hukilau tradition, I lost my camera on Thursday, before the festivities had even begun. Hanford was able to take a few photos with his camera, hopefully we’ll be able to get those uploaded soon. Sadly, I became rather sick during my trip, with either a nasty cold or a mild flu, I’m not sure which. I’m sure it didn’t help at all that I refused to let the rare opportunity to consume delicious Mai Kai cocktails slip me by.

The event blew away all expectations, which already were quite high. The entire crowd became perfectly still, and all faces seemed to be totally transfixed in reverence, during Robert Drasnin’s historic performance. James Teitelbaum is responsible for making that part of the event come together: first, he had to get Robert Drasnin interested, and then, he had to track down professional musicians who could rise to the formidable task of performing a long set of complicated and exotic orchestrations. Amazingly, this 18-piece orchestra met and performed together for the first time when they rehearsed on Thursday, the day before the Friday performance. The live performance by this talented group sounded just like the recording of Voodoo we all know and love. The troupe contained a few notables: Formikaniki (a.k.a Miss Formica Dinette, or Alice Berry) provided primal, yet ethereal, vocals; four members of the Boston Exotica group Waitiki performed, and Robert Drasnin’s own grandson contributed his percussion talents. Another mainstay of Exotica was on hand for Hukilau, Yma Sumac. Meeting Ms. Sumac was an unexpected highlight for me, I found her to be quite charming, still glamorous, and it was pure delight to meet her. I didn’t get to see Charles Phoenix’s slide show, as I was helping out at the registration desk, but I heard it was a big hit, and Tiki Kiliki has stated that she’d like to see Phoenix become a permanent addition to future Hukilaus.

With every visit I make to the Mai Kai, I find somehow that my sense of familiarity does not grow, rather my sense of awe does. Very impressive. I cannot imagine every growing tired of visiting the Mai Kai, and I envy those who are able to make more regular trips there. Our night at the Mai Kai was wrapped up by a performance by the Boston Exotica group, Waitiki. I’d heard of the group quite some time ago, but this was my first time seeing them perform in person. I was quite simply blown away. I have so much to say about Waitiki that I’m going to have to do it in another blog post, which will come shortly. For now, I’ll simply say that Waitiki made me fall in love with Exotica all over again, and in a whole new way. You’re going to get tired of hearing me talk about how much I love them.

The Mai Kai has been very happy with Tiki Kiliki’s Hukilau and monthly Tiki Torch Night events, and they are very excited to work with Tiki Kiliki for next year’s Hukilau, which will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Mai Kai. Naturally, plans are already well underway for next year’s event, which is scheduled for October 5, 6, 7 & 8, 2006, and will feature the return of popular Italian band I Belli di Waikiki. There’s already a thunderous buzz from people eager to see what Kiliki will pull together for the Mai Kai’s 50th, and people from all over the country are already marking their calendars — Sven Kirsten says that he will absolutely not miss this one, and Otto von Stroheim & his wife Baby Doe are also planning on making it — naturally, Hanford & I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

September 15, 2005

Exotica Greats at Hukilau

Filed under: Events,Ft. Lauderdale & Miami,Music,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:29 pm
Yma Sumac
Yma Sumac

This year’s Hukilau event in Ft. Lauderdale has a lineup of musicians that has Exotica fans all a-twitter. During Friday’s event at the Bahia Mar, Robert Drasnin will be performing (with Miss Formica Dinette). Drasnin, whose album Voodoo is considered one of the great classics of exotica, will be performing material from his new album Voodoo II — his first new exotica music in 40 years. Also in attendance that night: the incomparable Yma Sumac, whose astounding voice for some defines the very aesthetic of exotica. Ms. Sumac’s ability to attend has been in question for health reasons, but it now appears that she will be able to attend after all. Saturday night at the Mai Kai brings a special performance by the exotica troupe Waitiki — after dinner, they will be playing an entire set of Martin Denny music. Martin Denny’s daughter recently attended a performance by Waitiki, and said it was as if he were there playing himself. Hukilau takes place the second weekend of October in Ft. Lauderdale; tickets are still available but will likely sell out.

September 12, 2005

Hukilau Seeking Volunteers

Filed under: Events,Ft. Lauderdale & Miami,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:59 pm

Tiki Kiliki is sending out the call to those who have expressed an interest in volunteering at Hukilau. In addition to getting a warm and fuzzy feeling from helping create a sure-to-be-stupendous event, Hukilau volunteers also will get a first-look at the vendors, and a special gift from Tiki Kiliki. It’s volunteers who help keep massive and complicated events like Hukilau easy and affordable for so many people, and volunteering is actually fun, to boot — I’ve volunteered at events in the past, and will be doing so again at this year’s Hukilau. Those who are interested in volunteering should contact Tiki Kiliki, but be sure to read her post on Tiki Central first to get the specifics on how it works.

Also, any email about the Hukilau should go to tiki_kiliki@tikikiliki.com — there have been some technical difficulties with thehukilau.com domain’s email, so don’t send any email there.

September 6, 2005

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.

August 30, 2005

August 31 Is the Last Day for Discount Hukilau Passes

Filed under: Events,Ft. Lauderdale & Miami,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:48 am

The Hukilau is happening October 6-8 (boy, that’s coming up quickly!), and tomorrow, August 31, is the last day to get passes for the event at a discounted rate. Through tomorrow, 3 day passes (Thursday – Saturday) are $35 and 4 day passes (Thursday – Sunday) are $45. After tomorrow, passes go up: 3 day is $45 and 4 day is $55. Individual day passes will be available at the door for each day at the rate of $20.

The Hukilau has always been a massive, tent-pole event, and this year is no exception. As if an evening spent at the magical Mai Kai surrounded by other tikiphiles wasn’t enough, they’ve also scored a few special guests: Robert Drasnin, Yma Sumac and Bunny Yeager. That’s only the tip of the iceberg (hm, not the greatest metaphor for a tiki event, but I digress…) of what that weekend has in store. Check out the official event website for more enticing details. Last year, a hurricane couldn’t keep me away; you can be sure I’ll be there this year.


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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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