Entries in the 'Los Angeles' Category

November 11, 2006

Tiki-Ti Closing Soon for the Holidays

Filed under: Los Angeles,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:49 pm
Ray's Mistakes, at Tiki-Ti
Ray’s Mistakes, at Tiki-Ti

Every year, Tiki-Ti closes for a few weeks around the holidays, so that its owners and only employees, Mike & Mike Buhen, can catch a break with their families, and do some maintenance on the old ‘Ti. It’s a hard few weeks for the Tiki-Ti regulars (until I headed north to the Bay Area, I was steadfast among them, and felt very adrift myself through those weeks). It’s also a bit of heartache for those unfortunates who make the pilgrimage during this time and find themselves surprised to be greeted by a bolted door. The doom & gloom the holidays bring to a Tiki-Tiphile are well worth it though, for the mind reels at even the most fleeting thought of what would happen if Mike & Mike got burned out and threw in the towel on the whole operation. Tiki-Ti, started in 1961 by Mike’s pop Ray Buhen, is one of the very last places on the planet where you can taste drink recipes with a direct pedigree to the great Don the Beachcomber. And it’s the only place you can get a Ray’s Mistake (pictured above).

So, heed the warning, and get there while you can: Tiki-Ti’s last open day before the holidays is Saturday, November 18. They’ll open again on Wednesday, December 27.

November 8, 2006

Tiki Research Adventure: Disney Studios & Pago Pago

Filed under: Disney,History,Los Angeles,Research,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:47 am
Disney artist's rendering of the Walt Disney Studios in 1947, from the collection of Matterhorn1959
Artist’s rendering of the Walt Disney Studios in 1947,
from the collection of Matterhorn1959

I love being able to watch as bits of tiki history are uncovered — and it’s especially fun when a bunch of tikiphiles work together to unearth the past. This week is one that especially appeals to me — a rumored hangout of Disney artists in the ’40s and ’50s, called the “Pago Pago Club.” I am a freakin’ massive Disney nut. You all know how much I love tiki — I love Disney more. Old Disney, especially. So, this one’s right up my alley.

It all started with a postcard belonging to Matterhorn1959 (if you love vintage Disney, too, check out his blog Stuff from the Park — it’s hardcore vintage Disney porn, and it’s updated daily). The above postcard has a watercolor and ink sketch of the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, and was mailed in 1947. The written note at the bottom describes life at the studio, and makes mention of a nearby “Pago Pago Club.” After being posted on the Stuff from the Park blog, an anonymous commenter said:

I used to work at the studio… The pago pago was the local “studio” bar across the street from the studio East of the corner of Buena Vista St. and Alameda. (even warner bros. had their watering hole as well) Its now an unmarked Disney building that holds the travel office. (If you drove the alley to the pago, one would see all the studio work bikes parked in the alley).

This piqued Matterhorn1959′s interest, as he’s a tikiphile, himself. He posted a call for more information on Tiki Central a few days ago. I personally knew of a few unrelated Pago Pagos having existed over the years, including spots in Long Beach, Portland and Tucson, but not in the San Fernando Valley. With such scant, and quite possibly unreliable, information to work from, it seemed entirely possible that this place might not have actually existed, or perhaps was not called Pago Pago, or perhaps was at another location entirely.

A few of us tried to pin down which block it may have been on, based on what had been learned so far — a spot across the street from the Disney Studios, near the intersection of Alameda & Buena Vista, with an alley nearby. Still wasn’t much to go on; the buildings in that area have pretty much all been rebuilt. Sven Kirsten chimed in, saying he’d heard a rumor of there being an underground passage to the bar, something he didn’t take seriously. Freddiefreelance had a distant memory of possibly seeing a sign for Pago Pago at that spot, “caddy corner to St. Josephs” (the medical center that is also at the intersection of Alameda & Buena Vista) when he used to ride his bike through the area to work in the ’80s. Matterhorn1959 found an older post on Tiki Central that quoted an interview with Paul Page, where he said he’d played off & on at a bar in the San Fernando Valley called the Pago Pago Club for ten years. Still, nothing solid, but a few more smidges of info indicating that this place once existed. So tantalizingly close!

In comes Naomi Alper to the rescue. Naomi owns the 8-Ball store in Burbank, and has some serious researching chops (she’s also Sven’s girlfriend). Naomi tracked down an address from a 1952 Burbank City Directory for a Pago Pago Club — 2413 W. Alameda Ave. Bingo! That address maps to this location, directly across from the Walt Disney Studios, diagonal from St. Joseph’s, and a stone’s throw from the intersection of Alameda & Buena Vista:

Likely location of Pago Pago Club
Likely location of Pago Pago Club

Naomi also learned a bit about that sign that Freddiefreelance remembered:

One of the librarians who assisted me in the search recalled hearing that a Disney animator liberated the Pago Pago sign when the bar closed. This story was corroborated by this blurb that I found in the LA Times archives from an article dated 1/23/1994:

“A sign in the back yard reading “Pago Pago” offers a clue to the party’s origins. “It used to hang outside this bar across from the Disney studios, in Burbank, where the old-time animators met and drank,” says Dave Spafford, a Disney vet himself before forming Spaff Animation with [Debbie Spafford] in 1989. Among their credits: “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and Woody Woodpecker’s Oscar presentation for Best Animated Short Film of 1990.”

To get more than that excerpt, you have to pay for the full article; I haven’t decided if I want to pony up the $3.95; it may not say anything more about the Pago Pago than that blurb does. If you’re curious, you can find it here.

I’ve now added Pago Pago Club to Critiki. The next step is to see if any emphemera or other documentation of this place is out there — naturally, something with some images would be highly desired! Chisel Slinger thinks he may have a matchbook from there in his collection.

Even without having any real way of knowing if there was anything truly tiki about this place beyond the tropical-sounding name, I love the idea of it. I get to daydream about hanging out with Disney artists in the heyday of Disney animation, at a tiki bar across the street. That suits me just fine. Many thanks to all the wonderful Tiki Centralites who have pitched in on this one!

November 7, 2006

Stolen Tiki Alert: Original Sculpt of Shag’s Enchanted Tiki Room Mug

Filed under: Los Angeles,Stolen Tiki Alert,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:29 pm
Original sculpt of the Shag Enchanted Tiki Room mug, by Squid
Original sculpt of the
Shag Enchanted Tiki
Room mug, by Squid

This Stolen (or possibly just Missing) Tiki Alert comes from Squid in San Clemente, California — Tiki Farm’s resident sculpt master:

Howdy folks-
Just posting to let you all know that a certain sculpt of mine has gone missing from its rightful place in my display cabinet. If any sharp eyes come upon it, I would be grateful for a heads-up.

If someone should wish to return it, regardless of how they acquired it, no questions asked.


Shag designed this mug as part of Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Mug merchandise in 2004, and Squid created this original sculpt of the design, from which the mugs were cast. I’m sure it’s something that Squid is very proud of, and I would imagine it’s a terrible loss. Please keep your eyes peeled for this sculpt, and if you find yourself in a position to get this back to Squid, please do! Squid can be contacted through Tiki Farm.

UPDATE: A few more details about it — it is about 10% larger than a final Shag Enchanted Tiki Room mug, it’s light gray (as seen above), and it’s made of a special hard tooling wax, which is not sticky.

November 2, 2006

North Hollywood: Tiki Magazine Party at Tonga Hut

Filed under: Art,Events,Los Angeles,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:56 pm
Tiki Magazine at the Tonga Hut
Tiki Magazine at the Tonga Hut

On Saturday, November 11, there will be a party for the release of Tiki Magazine’s latest issue, and an art show with seven artists. Tiki tOny, the featured artist in Tiki Magazine’s latest issue, will be there with a new mug for sale; other artists include Squid, Ken Ruzic, Kirby, Suzanne Mosher and Johnny the Pinstriper. DJ Lee Joseph will be playing tunes, and there will be drink specials.

The party starts at 7pm and goes ’til midnight. Tonga Hut is at 12808 Victory Blvd. in North Hollywood. Regular readers have heard the great news about Tonga Hut’s recent revival (the bar opened in 1958 and until just last year seemed doomed to be a dive); this is a great opportunity to check it out.

September 28, 2006

San Clemente: Tiki Farm’s Mugoomba Grand Opening Party

Filed under: Events,Los Angeles,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:47 pm
Mugoomba, Tiki Farm's new in-warehouse tiki bar
Mugoomba, Tiki Farm’s new in-warehouse tiki bar

Tiki Farm is throwing a party to celebrate the Grand Opening of their new tiki bar, dubbed Mugoomba. Mugoomba was “built to the standards of vintage tiki bars,” thanks to Bamboo Ben. The bar itself is a vintage 1930s rattan beauty, with three functional aquariums. This new tiki bar is inside the Tiki Farm warehouse in San Clemente, about an hour south of Los Angeles.

The party is happening on Sunday, October 15, from 4-9pm, and will feature hula dancers from the Tropical Paradise Dancers halau, and Lil’ Rev on ukulele. There will be Mai Tais (of course!), Hawaiian shave ice, and a full plate-lunch buffet. The first 100 guests will receive a special tiki mug commemorating the event, filled with a Mai Tai (or water, if that’s more to your taste) poured by Tiki Farm owner Holden Westland.

Tiki Farm is at 1305 Calle Avanzando in San Clemente, at the end of a culdesac. Click here to view the full invitation, including directions.

September 21, 2006

Mission Hills: Lucky Tiki Closing This Saturday

Filed under: Los Angeles,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 4:59 pm
Sign for the Lucky Tiki
Sign for the Lucky Tiki

As I reported back in February, the Lucky Tiki‘s lease is being terminated, and they must move to a new location. The original plan had them closing for (hopefully) one month starting at the end of September, while they moved to a new North Hollywood location. The last I heard was that the move had been delayed, but now it appears that the date has been moved up, to this weekend. Saturday, September 23 will be the last day for the Lucky Tiki… at least, at its Mission Hills location. It also appears that the North Hollywood location is no longer happening, and a new location search is underway. Hopefully the search will be a short one!

September 18, 2006

Opportunity to Comment on Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s Demolition

Filed under: History,Los Angeles,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 1:58 pm
Entrance to Beverly Hills Trader Vic's
Entrance to Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s

The city of Beverly Hills has released a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the proposed re-development of the Beverly Hilton hotel, which currently houses the Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s. As previously reported here, here, and here, the current plans call for the demolition of the tower holding Trader Vic’s, to make room for luxury condominiums. A public scoping meeting is scheduled for tonight:

Monday, Sept 18th, 2006
6:30 to 8:30pm
Public Library Auditorium, Second Floor
444 North Rexford Drive
Beverly Hills, CA

The outline of the plan will be given at tonight’s meeting, and the public will have an opportunity to comment. If you can’t get to the meeting tonight, fear not: the city is also requesting written comments. The comments should be sent ASAP, as the EIR begins on October 11. Here’s the address:

City of Beverly Hills
Department of Community Development
455 North Rexford Drive, Room G-40
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Attn: Donna Jerex, Senior Planner

Emailed comments can be sent to HiltonHotelComments@beverlyhills.org

September 8, 2006

History of Trade Winds in Oxnard

Filed under: History,Los Angeles,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:08 am
Rendering of Trade Winds' Tiki Temple by decorator Ione Keenan, from the collection of Tim Keenan
Rendering of Trade Winds’ Tiki Temple by decorator Ione Keenan, from the collection of Tim Keenan
Trade Winds dinner menu, from the collection of Mimi Payne
Trade Winds dinner menu,
from the collection of Mimi Payne

As recently as April, the only things I knew about the Trade Winds in Oxnard were 1) its Wagon Wheel Road address, 2) that it had tikis, and 3) it was long gone. I’d seen a menu from my friend Mimi’s collection, but that was about it. But in April of this year, bongofury posted on Tiki Central the results of his in-depth research into the history of the Trade Winds. He was able to include blueprints and old photos, which give a pretty decent view of what this deluxe restaurant was like (it had several themed rooms, including an East Indies room, a Zanzibar room, and the centerpiece, a tiki temple). He also revealed that for a short time, the location was turned into a Don the Beachcomber.

A few weeks ago, the son of Ione Keenan, Trade Winds’ decorator, joined Tiki Central. Ojaitimo has posted images from his mother’s scrapbook, including the above drawing she did of the central tiki temple in 1963, a year before Trade Winds opened. There are also a few contemporary news articles, showing how popular the Trade Winds was when it first opened.

This is one of the many things that makes Tiki Central such a special place — new discoveries are being unearthed all the time, and it has become a lightning rod for those who have personal connections to Polynesian Pop’s early history.

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.

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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