Entries in the 'Las Vegas' Category

May 6, 2007

Two-Eared Bandit

Filed under: History,Las Vegas,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:43 pm
Aku Aku slot machine, from the collection of AkuAku
Aku Aku slot machine,
from the collection of AkuAku

This slot machine was posted today on Tiki Central. It came from the Aku Aku restaurant that was part of the recently-demolished Stardust Casino (Aku Aku closed many years earlier, in 1980). It’s a little hard to tell, especially with this paint job, but this slot machine is in the shape of a moai. You pull one of the ears to play, and there’s a stern little mouth above the payout dish — too bad it doesn’t pay through the nose (har, har!).

The poster, appropriately named AkuAku, is looking for more information about this slot machine — especially its original paint job, so that it can be restored. He said this was likely placed within the Aku Aku restaurant, and sat on a stand of some sort. Loose Change Magazine apparently called it “the World’s ugliest slot machine,” and I won’t argue that — it’s definitely not a looker. But beauty isn’t everything, and this sucker is cool — I haven’t been so tickled to see an Aku Aku souvenir since I saw that extra-fancy moist towelette. Mr. Bali Hai is on the hunt tho help AkuAku learn more; hopefully we’ll get to see pictures of this in restored condition someday.

January 28, 2007

Trader Vic’s Roundup

Filed under: Asia,Chicago,Dallas,Las Vegas,Middle East,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 1:46 am

Here’s an update on some of the Trader Vic’s openings currently slated, from the Trader Vic’s website:

Shanghai, China – Opened on New Year’s Eve

Dallas – February, 2007 (it’s been pushed back many times, but February 11 is the most recent date)

Las Vegas – in June, 2007

Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Bar in Dubai – April, 2007

Chicago – late 2007 (This has been pushed back quite a bit — their initial estimate was that it would be open by now. There have been rumblings of union troubles (I don’t know of which sort) causing some delays.)

Doha, Qatar – late 2007

Amman, Jordan – late 2007

Beijing, China – late 2007

Earlier Trader Vic’s opening reports on Humu Kon Tiki:

November 11, 2006

This Week at Arkiva Tropika

Filed under: Arkiva Tropika,Central California,Hawaii,History,Las Vegas,San Diego,San Francisco,Seattle,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 5:54 pm

A weekly review of my favorite among the many items Mimi Payne has posted to her Arkiva Tropika website in the past seven days:

Trader Vic's Trading License, from Arkiva Tropika
Trader Vic’s Trading License, from Arkiva Tropika

This is a souvenir Trading License, given to customers in the ’40s at Trader Vic’s, granting the recipient “trading privileges.” This one was granted in 1945 to a couple after having dinner & a scorpion at the Oakland location.

Detail of a menu from the Islander in Stockton, from Arkiva Tropika
Detail of a menu from the Islander in Stockton, from Arkiva Tropika

This is a bit hard to make out here, but I love this bit from a menu from the Islander in Stockton. “The Gourmet Deluxe Dinner” (“For those discriminating people”) cost $4.75 per person, and was served with a bottle of Paul Masson Rose Wine. Also: “The Islander is available for private parties, fashion shows or any special activity.”

Menu from Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki, from Arkiva Tropika
Menu from Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki, from Arkiva Tropika

This 1952 dinner menu, from the Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki, is just dag-flippity gorgeous. The artwork and color palette look like they could have come straight from a vintage rayon aloha shirt. The Halekulani, and its famous House Without a Key restaurant & bar, are still operating today.

'60s or '70s postcard from the Hanalei Hotel in San Diego, from Arkiva Tropika
’60s or ’70s postcard from the Hanalei Hotel in San Diego, from Arkiva Tropika

With the sad news about the remodeling of the Islands Restaurant at San Diego’s Hanalei Hotel this week, Mimi pulled out a lot of great Hanalei & Islands items from her collection. Above is a great postcard from the ’60s or ’70s, showing how the front of the hotel used to look, including its famous sign, which was sadly removed a few years back.

'60s brochure for the Hanalei Hotel in San Diego, from Arkiva Tropika
’60s brochure for the Hanalei Hotel in San Diego, from Arkiva Tropika

This brochure from the 1960s has lots of full-color pictures from the Hanalei’s heyday, inclulding views of the Islands Restaurant.

'60s postcard for the Hanalei Hotel in San Diego, from Arkiva Tropika
’60s postcard for the Hanalei Hotel in San Diego, from Arkiva Tropika

Another postcard from the Hanalei has two different views of the Islands Restaurant.

Page from a '60s cocktail menu from the Islands restaurant, from Arkiva Tropika
Page from a ’60s cocktail menu from the Islands restaurant, from Arkiva Tropika

And this ’60s cocktail menu, from the early days of the Islands restaurant, features some fantastic illustrations of tropical cocktails.

'60s appetizer menu from Aku Aku in Las Vegas, from Arkiva Tropika
’60s appetizer menu from Aku Aku in Las Vegas, from Arkiva Tropika

Another item inspired by a recent closing — this 1960s appetizer menu is from the Aku Aku in Las Vegas, which was part of the Stardust Casino for 20 years. Aku Aku closed in 1980, but the Stardust closed just last week.

'60s postcard from Trader Vic's in Seattle, from Arkiva Tropika
’60s postcard from Trader Vic’s in Seattle, from Arkiva Tropika

This postcard shows the exterior entrance to the Trader Vic’s in Seattle, which was in the Benjamin Franklin Hotel (today it’s the Westin). The Seattle location was Vic’s second restaurant, after the original Oakland location; it was initially named the Outrigger, and was renamed Trader Vic’s later on to be consistent with the rest of the chain. This picture is from the 1960s. Trader Vic’s used birdcage lamps like these in several locations; when the Seattle Trader Vic’s closed in 1992, some of these lamps went to the then-new Crocodile Cafe a few blocks north, where they can still be seen today — perhaps even the lamps in this very postcard!

Gadzooks, Mimi went on a posting rampage this week! This is truly just a smidge of all the great things she posted — be sure to check it all out yourself at Arkiva Tropika.

November 4, 2006

This Week at Arkiva Tropika

Filed under: Arkiva Tropika,Daytona Beach,History,Las Vegas,Midwest U.S.,New York,Portland,San Francisco,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 3:52 pm

Mimi Payne keeps adding great items from her collection to Arkiva Tropika — she adds cool things too frequently for me to post about it every time, and I can’t not post about the wonderful things she’s sharing, so there’s only one thing for it: a weekly roundup. This is just a small fraction of the items she’s posted this week; if you like these, make sure to check out Arkiva Tropika yourself, and you’ll be over the moon.

1954 Waikiki Room menu, from Mimi Payne's Arkiva Tropika
1954 Waikiki Room menu, from Mimi Payne’s Arkiva Tropika

This is a 1954 drink menu from the Waikiki Room at the Hotel Nicolette in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There was another Waikiki Room across town, in the Hotel Leamington. I love the woodgrain backdrop of the menu, and the tiki is simple, but beautifullly illustrated. Inside, the menu has full-color photos of the drinks, rather than the more commonly seen drawings. Very cool!

1950s postcard from Portland Trader Vic's, from Mimi Payne's Arkiva Tropika
1950s postcard from Portland Trader Vic’s, from Mimi Payne’s Arkiva Tropika

This is a lovely postcard view of the Portland Trader Vic’s, which was in the Hotel Benson. I have no idea what that carved thing in the foreground with the white thingy on top could be.

1950s menu from Zombie Village in Oakland, from Mimi Payne's Arkiva Tropika
1950s menu from Zombie Village in Oakland, from Mimi Payne’s Arkiva Tropika

Without a doubt, hands down, no contest, this is my favorite bit of Polynesian Pop imagery anywhere. That woman is just gorgeous. I want her tattoed on me. I want to be her. She even makes the menacing dark cloudy figure seem like something you can’t be bothered to be concerned about. Who could possibly be distracted by a 50-foot angry genie when you’ve got that woman mezmerizing you? Oh yeah, there’s a neat building in the back, too. Seriously, aside from the beautiful woman, it’s a nice, simple composition that conveys a mood without having to try too hard. Beautiful. This image can also be seen at the beginning of the Book of Tiki.

Fan from Aku Aku at the Stardust in Las Vegas, from Mimi Payne's Arkiva Tropika
Fan from Aku Aku at the Stardust in Las Vegas, from Mimi Payne’s Arkiva Tropika

This fan is an unusual item, although Mimi has a few fans in her collection. It comes from the Aku Aku at the Stardust in Las Vegas. The Aku Aku closed long ago, but the Stardust closed just this past Wednesday. I like the rendering of the Aku Aku moai as an Asian brush painting, and I like the muted colors.

Back of a 1964 menu from the Hawaiian Room in New York City, from Mimi Payne's Arkiva Tropika
Back of a 1964 menu from the Hawaiian Room in New York City, from Mimi Payne’s Arkiva Tropika

And straight from muted colors, we have color overload, with food, no less. Look at this — this is every classic ’60s food cliche in one spread. I’ll just let it speak for itself, since I wouldn’t be heard over its screaming, anyhow.

1950s menu from the WikiWiki Coffee Shop at the Hawaiian Inn in Daytona Beach, from Mimi Payne's Arkiva Tropika
1950s menu from the WikiWiki Coffee Shop at the Hawaiian Inn in Daytona Beach, from Mimi Payne’s Arkiva Tropika

This menu is interesting to me not so much because of the design, but because this is from a place I’ve been to, that’s still operating today. The Hawaiian Inn in Daytona Beach still has a Polynesian floor show and restaurant, but this menu comes from the small coffee shop just off the hotel’s lobby. Today, the coffee shop is run by the same family that performs the floor show at night; it’s kind of fun to be served your hangover-healing coffee by the same woman who was hulaing for you the night before. Gives it a sort of end-of-Wizard-of-Oz feeling. Another interesting thing about this menu is that while it’s from the coffee shop, and has “Good Morning” printed in the decorative border, the paper insert is a dinner menu, which seems a little odd.

Check out Arkiva Tropika for more — much, much more — stuff just like this!

September 28, 2006

Last Remnants of Don the Beachcomber in Waikiki Sent to Dumpster

Filed under: Hawaii,History,Las Vegas,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 3:29 pm
Last remnants of Don the Beachcomber at Waikiki's International Marketplace
Last remnants of Don the Beachcomber
at Waikiki’s International Market Place,
photo from Fil Slash

A tragic and shocking development in Waikiki: these two moai posts, which are the last reminders of Don the Beachcomber’s glorious presence at the International Market Place in Waikiki, have reportedly been sent to the dump.

These moai used to stand sentry at the Dagger Lounge and Bora Bora Bar part of Don the Beachcomber. The original Don the Beachcomber location in Hollywood kicked off the entire Polynesian Pop trend; he led the charge once again after he moved to Hawaii, and created the International Market Place with his Don the Beachcomber restaurant as the centerpiece. The International Market Place also held a Trader Vic’s, and became a major tourist hub in Waikiki.

This space is being renovated to accomodate a new Quicksilver store, and local tikiphiles have been keeping a close eye on the renovations. Despite assurances that there were no plans to remove the structural moai posts, they are now missing. Remarkably, the construction crew reportedly tossed them in to a dumpster that was taken to the dump.

It’s a terrible shame that a lovely piece of the International Market Place’s history has been treated so shabbily, and that the location of these tikis is now complately unknown. It seems hard to believe that anyone would actually throw them away; perhaps they went home with a member of the construction crew. There have been rumblings about Don the Beachcomber re-opening in Las Vegas; I’m not sure how that’s coming along, but surely that would have been a better home for these historic tikis than the dump.

UPDATE: Holden Westland, owner of Tiki Farm, passes along this news via Tiki Central:

I am happy to let you all know that I received a phone call with the whereabouts of these 2 special Moai and they are safe and will soon be revitalized in a place very befitting of their dignity not too far from their original location.

Verrrrry mysterious… but it sure sounds a lot better than the dump.

September 26, 2006

Las Vegas: Mondo Lounge Atomic Frolic

Filed under: Events,Las Vegas,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:38 am
Mondo Lounge Atomic Frolic
Mondo Lounge Atomic Frolic

The Mondo Lounge Atomic Frolic is coming to Las Vegas, January 26-28, 2007. From the website:

Mondo Lounge is the Ultimate Retro Party and Conference. The event is themed around the lifestyle and culture of America from 1957 to 1963 & will bring together fans of Retro Fashion, Tiki, Exotica Music, Car Culture, Bachelor Pad Living, Pin-Ups, Swing Scene, Vintage Las Vegas Rat Pack era.

The event will be taking place at the Aruba Hotel, which lies between the Strip and historic downtown Las Vegas. Since it takes place in wintertime, it’s the perfect time to bust out your snappiest vintage glamour getups.

The event is presented by Lotta Living and Java’s Bachelor Pad. If you’re interested in being a vendor, performer, speaker or sponsor at the Mondo Lounge Atomic Frolic, check out the website for more information, and to contact the organizers.

September 15, 2006

Massive Moai: Las Vegas

Filed under: History,Las Vegas,Massive Moai,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:37 am
Eli Hedley-carved Moai at Sunset Park in Las Vegas, photo by aquarj
Eli Hedley-carved Moai at
Sunset Park in Las Vegas,
photo by aquarj

This great big moai is perhaps the most famous of all of them — after the originals on Rapa Nui, of course. This moai was carved by Eli Hedley for the Aku Aku restaurant, at the Stardust casino. There were two of them, and they stood guard at the front of the casino, looking over all the tourists passing by along the strip. The moai were such a strong visual that even in a city defined by its strong visuals, they were a standout, and became icons for not just the Stardust, but for Vegas itself. It is depicted on the moist towelette from the Aku Aku I posted on Monday.

After the Aku Aku closed, one of the moai made its way to Sunset Park in Las Vegas, which is off the strip, near the airport. There is a pond at the park, and this moai sits on an island in the middle of the pond.

September 11, 2006

Nothing Says “Fancy” Like a Moist Towelette

Filed under: History,Las Vegas,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:48 pm
Aku Aku moist towelette, from the collection of Tiki Ranch
Aku Aku moist towelette, from the collection of Tikiranch

This is one of the more divine mementos from a Polynesian restaurant I have ever come across. There are so many little things in life that bring me joy well out of proportion of their small role in the universe: Bottle Caps, cocktail umbrellas, capers… but perhaps this is best exemplified by the moist towelette. I still get silly-happy when I get them, and even more excited when I get to use them. I love that fake-lemony-alcohol scent (so much so, in fact, that I have an embarassing predilection for Mike’s Hard Lemonade on those rare occasions I’m not up for hard liquor — please don’t tell anyone).

This one comes from the Aku Aku in Las Vegas, which was once at the Stardust. It’s the first time I’ve seen a custom moist towelette from a tiki place, and it’s especially great since it also has not just any tiki on it — it has a drawing of one of Aku Aku’s massive moai, which were carved by Eli Hedley; one of them resides today at Sunset Park in Las Vegas. I really love the drawing of the waiter, offering the individual “Just for You” towel. So fancy!

I found this at the blog of Tikiranch — there are actually scant tiki things on the blog, but he does post many highly covetable flea market finds (check out the Hacienda Barmobile postcard!).

September 7, 2006

Las Vegas Don the Beachcomber Menu

Filed under: Art,History,Las Vegas,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:56 pm
Las Vegas Don the Beachcomber menu, from the collection of Derrick Bostrom
Las Vegas Don the Beachcomber menu, from the collection of Derrick Bostrom

I love the graphic look of this Don the Beachcomber menu from Las Vegas. It comes from the collection of Derrick Bostrom, whose grandparents had quite a collection of menus from their travels. Bostrom has these menus now, and has been posting them on his blog. He’s also shared a menu from the Islands in Phoenix, and he has a 1948 Don the Beachcomber menu that he hasn’t posted yet — I’m looking forward to seeing it; longtime readers may remember that the look of Humu Kon Tiki was inspired by a vintage Don the Beachcomber menu.

January 8, 2006

Trader Vic’s Update — Lightning Round!

Filed under: Chicago,Las Vegas,News,Phoenix,Seattle,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 2:13 pm

Courtesy of Martiki:

1. Bellevue, WA- Opening date is set for March 3rd!

2. Scottsdale, AZ- Opening date is set for May 21st!

(as you can imagine, those dates are subject to change without notice)

3. Las Vegas, NV- Still no opening date set, or management team in place. Should open by the end of 2006.

4. Chicago, IL- The Harry Caray people are scouting locations now, and they hope to open in 2006 if possible. Could move to 2007, but it’s definitely coming back sooner rather than later.

5. Amman, Jordan- to open in 2006

6. Shanghai, China- to open in 2006. The Chinese franchisers have the rights to open five locations in China, and are already thinking about their next place.

That all looks ahead of what my best-guess schedule would have been. Looks good!


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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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