Entries in the 'Los Angeles' Category

August 29, 2006

Tiki in the Swinging Mid-’60s

Filed under: History,Los Angeles,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:46 am
Picture of a tiki conga drum, from the collection of Sabu the Coconut Boy
Picture of a tiki conga drum, from
the collection of Sabu the Coconut Boy

Sabu the Coconut Boy has unearthed yet more gems — it’s his schtick, it’s what he does. This time, it’s an article in a 1966 ARGOSY magazine, about the then-growing popularity of “singles” apartment complexes, where the young and unattached would in theory take advantage of their close proximity and throw amazing parties and hook up randomly and sow every last one of their wild oats in a fogey-less nirvana. I honestly don’t know what it was really like at these places; I’ve always figured that in reality they were more full of the sad, boring & lonely types than the fun & fancy-free types — after all, they didn’t exactly take off as a concept, y’know?

Sabu’s pictures depict a swingin’ scene in a Southern California singles apartment complex — the South Bay Club apartments in Torrance, to be exact. The happy, flirtily dressed young things, cavorting with a veritable beatnik-symphony of instruments, are fascinating enough, but the star of the show is a great big conga drum, carved into a very nice tiki. The pictures posted by Sabu paint a very fun picture — Vintage Girl said exactly the same thought that ran through my head at seeing the picture below — it looks exactly like a scene from a Tiki Central party in Room 135 at the Caliente Tropics during Tiki Oasis. So maybe the concept isn’t so far-fetched, after all.

Swingin' party in 1966, from the collection of Sabu the Coconut Boy
Swingin’ party in 1966, from the collection of Sabu the Coconut Boy

July 25, 2006

My Travels: San Pedro

Filed under: History,Los Angeles,My Travels,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:47 pm
The Cove in San Pedro
The Cove in San Pedro

A few weeks ago, Hanford & I went down to San Pedro for a quick weekend visit, to go to a Tiki Central Beach Burn. While there, we made some time to check out some of the local tiki spots.

The Gateway to the Cove
The Gateway to the Cove
Outdoor fireplace at the Cove
Outdoor fireplace at the Cove

At the top of our must-see list was The Cove, a.k.a. the old Hedley homestead, as seen in this earlier Humu Kon Tiki post. This stretch of beach, which is currently Royal Palms/White Point park, is where Eli Hedley raised his family of four daughters, making a living creating decor using the items that floated up onto the beach. They became regular hosts to the Hollywood set, and built it up into quite a little industry, essentially spawning the whole Beachcomber look. The home itself is no longer there, but the stone gate sides are, as are the dance floor and two large outdoor fireplaces. If you’ve been following the stories told by Eli’s daughter Bungy on Tiki Central, then you simply must see this place in person — its truly awe-inspiring to be in such a beautiful place, and imagine living there and having such a rich and otherworldly life.

Samoan Sea apartments
Samoan Sea apartments
Tiki at the Samoan Sea apartments
Tiki at the Samoan Sea apartments

The next stop was one we stumbled across accidentally, although it had been documented on Tiki Central previously by Sabu the Coconut Boy. The Samoan Sea apartments are right where Harbor Dr. meets Hwy 110. It looks great from the front — two nice large tikis (very similar to the spitting drum tikis at Walt Disney World), and a large A-frame entrance, flanked by piers and large nautical chain. The rest of the small complex looks a bit rundown, however.

Also nearby is San Pedro’s Ports of Call, which once upon a time housed the rather tiki Ports O’ Call restaurant. The restaurant remains, but the tiki details are largely gone. Apparently there are a few beachcomber lamps around here and there, but we missed them.

Hakaluki's tiki
Hakaluki’s tiki

The beach burn was great fun, and Hakaluki made this tiki to burn, which was far too beautiful. It went up in flames so quickly that I missed pictures of the actual burn. It was a lovely day at the beach, the weather couldn’t have been better, and we got to meet King Kukulele’s brand new baby girl, and catch up with lots of old friends.

June 21, 2006

My Travels: House of Tiki

Filed under: Los Angeles,My Travels,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:27 pm
House of Tiki in Costa Mesa
House of Tiki in Costa Mesa

While we were down in Newport Beach for our cartoon adventure this weekend, we popped into House of Tiki in nearby Costa Mesa. House of Tiki is a pretty nice little shop, full of new merchandise, including aloha wear, housewares, tiki mugs, and of course, lots of tikis. They had some really swell beachcomber fedoras, which are hard to come by. If you’re in the neighborhood, check it out!

June 20, 2006

My Travels: Cartoon Caper in Balboa

Filed under: Los Angeles,My Travels,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:37 pm
Scooby Doo: A Tiki Scare is No Fair
Scooby Doo: A Tiki Scare is No Fair

This weekend, my friend Chris Nichols threw his annual costume bash — past years’ parties have been full of pirates, or hobos, but this year the theme was the Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the early ’70s with teens solving spooky mysteries when they’re not playing in groovy bands — Scooby Doo, Josie & the Pussycats, Captain Caveman, etc. The image above comes from an episode of Scooby Doo titled “A Tiki Scare is No Fair,” tikigap recently posted some keen screenshots of the episode. While this weekend’s event wasn’t tiki themed, it took place in Balboa (in Newport Beach), and there were a few tiki surprises lurking in the shadows.

Hanford & Humuhumu as Hanna-Barbera teens
Hanford & Humuhumu
as Hanna-Barbera teens
Kevin doing the rowboat
Kevin doing
the rowboat

Hanford and I had a great time getting dressed up as early-’70s teens (well, what Hanna-Barbera wanted little kids to think good teens were, at least). Hanford busted out his old glasses, and I went to work on the ol’ sewing machine. My normal dress isn’t really all that far off from a cartoon character as it is, so it took a little effort to make sure I didn’t just look like I was headed out to any old party. There were some really far out costumes once we got there – lots of wigs, lots of neck scarves, lots of bright color, and a heavy use of aloha wear.

Sharkee Waters
Sharkee Waters
Kamehameha marker at Balboa Saloon
Kamehameha at
Balboa Saloon

Party guests had received dossiers with the lowdown on some scary happenings at the Balboa Fun Zone, an old amusement park in Balboa. A sea monster had been terrorizing the place, and it was up to us to make it stop. We met at the Balboa Saloon, and it was a little rough for the first folks who arrived — the locals didn’t quite know what to think. The Balboa Saloon has a couple touches of Hawaii, including a King Kamehameha point-of-interest marker, and a bamboo hut at the back complete with tapa cloth-covered tabletop. Seated at the hut was the first of several suspicious characters of the evening, a crusty old sea dog named Sharkee Waters. We then made our way nextdoor to the amusement park, where there were other suspicious characters — a grumpy janitor, a shady magician, there were even ghosts! (who turned out to be our friends Mary-Margaret & Cary Stratton). We went on a scary dark ride, the ferris wheel, and had a great time. (Hanford has a really cool video he took while we were on the ferris wheel, hopefully he’ll post it soon.)

Tiki Boat at Balboa
Tiki Boat at Balboa

There’s a ferry landing to go to Balboa Island from the amusement partk, and there was an interesting tiki-themed boat available for rental that was docked right next to the landing. We got a pretty good look at it as we boarded the ferry for a quick jaunt across the water as part of our crazy chase scene for the evening — it didn’t look as promising close-up. Here’s a view of how lovely the amusement park looks from the water at night:

Balboa Fun Zone & Pavilion
Balboa Fun Zone & Pavilion
Chris organizes the teens
Chris organizes the teens

At the end of our chase, we were getting closer to tracking down the sea monster — our host, Chris, organized us in one final effort to corner him. We all gathered in the bar of the Balboa Pavilion, right next to the Fun Zone, and he fell right into our trap. We had him now, and he was about to be revealed. Who could he be? Sharkee Waters? Nope, he was there in the room with us. The janitor? Nope, he was there, too. The magician? No, again. The ghosts? Nope, nope, nope. Who could it possibly be? WHO COULD IT BE????

The sea monster!
The sea monster! WHO IS HE???

The exciting conclusion comes after the jump:

June 4, 2006

Stolen Tiki Alert: Lucky Tiki in Mission Hills

Filed under: Los Angeles,Stolen Tiki Alert,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:57 pm
Lucky Tiki painting by Kirby
Lucky Tiki painting by Kirby

This painting was recently stolen from the Lucky Tiki in Mission Hills, just north of Los Angeles. The painting was done by Kirby, and it depicts the Lucky Tiki logo tiki (designed by Kevin Kidney) surrounded by smaller tikis, drinks, and the words “Lucky Tiki”. If you see this painting, contact Kirby at seekirbypaint@yahoo.com.

June 3, 2006

The Demise of Sam’s Seafood

Filed under: Los Angeles,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 3:44 pm
Tiki waterfall at Sam's Seafood, photo by tikijackelope
Tiki waterfall at Sam’s Seafood, photo by tikijackelope

Word came, rather suddenly, a few weeks ago that Sam’s Seafood would be closing imminently. The owners have sold the land to developers, who aim to build retail space and condominiums on the site. It appears that government red tape will keep any building from happening on the site for perhaps years, making it possible that the restaurant could re-open under new management, but it’s a mystery what the near future will hold for Sam’s Seafood. As it stands now, the restaurant is closed.

A special goodbye celebration was organized for last Saturday, May 27, with performances by King Kukulele, the Martini Kings and the Glasgow Tiki Shakers.

Sam’s Seafood will be greatly missed by Southern Californians. It had certainly seen better days, but it’s bar and Hidden Village room had many beautiful original details, and until recently a Polynesian floor show was performed weekly during the summer season. Many locals have celebrated special occasions there and have many wonderful memories.

Also, the Royal Hawaiian’s closure is now imminent, and reports are that the restaurant has been gutted of its Polynesian decor, and will be extensively remodelled. It’s definitely been a sad week for Southern California tiki.

Tiki Research Adventure: Pirate’s Table

Filed under: History,Los Angeles,Research,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 3:16 pm
Mystery Ladies at Mystery Tiki Location, 1970
Mystery ladies at Pirate’s Table, 1970,
from the collection of Matterhorn1959

Matterhorn1959, who runs the excellent Stuff from the Park blog, posted on Tiki Central four photos he found of a group of ladies, all dressed in black, with pink & black hats & pins, having dinner at a tiki bar somewhere in Southern California. The square, color photos are imprinted with “June 1970″ and have tikis and glass float lamps in the background. An orange menu can just barely be seen in the photos.

Using some clever photo forensics, tikigreg was able to just barely make out the words “Pirate’s Table” on the menu, providing a fresh lead this mystery restaurant. Tikigreg searched on the internet and found a ship-themed Pirate’s Table in South Dakota, of all places. Tikigreg called the South Dakota Pirate’s Table, and was able to speak to Ron Beshara, the son of the founder & owner, Jim Beshara. It turns out that the South Dakota Pirate’s Table didn’t open until 1984, but the Besharas were inspired to open their restaurant after a visit to a restaurant called Pirate’s Table at the Anaheim Holiday Inn! Ding, ding, ding, ding!

Sabu the Coconut Boy was then able to chime in, right on cue, with his late-’60s brochure from the Anaheim Holiday Inn, which was just across the street from Disneyland. The brochure features full-color photos of the Polynesian Room, and the Ship’s Lounge — which shortly after the printing of the brochure must have merged into the Pirate’s Table. The photos from Sabu’s brochure are a perfect match for the scenes in Matterhorn1959′s photos. As Sabu points out, it was fairly common in those days for the establishments surrounding Disneyland to be themed in keeping with Disneyland attractions — in this case, the then-new Enchanted Tiki Room and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Excellent investigating by all involved, with fantastic photos of a little-discussed tiki location: stellar!

April 14, 2006

Los Angeles: Ten Years of Crazy Al, La Luz de Jesus

Filed under: Art,Events,Los Angeles,People,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:32 pm
Crazy Al's Tiki #3, King Tiki
Crazy Al’s Tiki #3, King Tiki

This fall, a Ten Year Retrospective of Crazy Al’s tiki works will be held at La Luz de Jesus gallery in Los Angeles. It takes place on Friday, October 13, and there will be a commemorative mug of Crazy Al’s tiki #3, King Tiki (pictured to the right). Seeing Crazy Al’s early tikis helps one understand just how excellent an artist Crazy Al is — he was producing detailed, balanced, gorgeous tikis right out of the gate. His recent masterpiece, “Tiki Lee Tree,” is five tikis in one: Tikis #107 through #111. As mentioned earlier, it’s on the cover of the latest Tiki Magazine, and the tikis’ owner has just shared pictures of it in its home. When he’s not busy carving tikis, he’s engaged in any number of other creative tiki endeavors: mug design, singing in the band APE, or working on the decor of a new tiki bar (like Hale Tiki, Kona Club and Puka Bar). My personal favorite thing about Crazy Al is that he’s a dancin’ fool. He’s truly talented.

Before the October La Luz show, Crazy Al’s Ten Year Retrospective will also be shown in August at the previously mentioned Long Beach Tiki Fest, and at Bird in San Francisco (details TBA).

Long Beach: 6th Annual Tiki Beach Fest

Filed under: Events,Los Angeles,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:44 pm
6th Annual Tiki Beach Festival in Long Beach
6th Annual Tiki Beach Festival
in Long Beach

This year’s Tiki Beach Fest is happening in Long Beach on August 19 & 20th, from sunrise to sunset. It all happens right on the beach, near the Granada St. launch ramp (5101 E Ocean Blvd). This is the festival’s sixth year; I went in 2004, and had a great time. Both days are full of vendors and music, and sunshine. Saturday’s focus is traditional Polynesia, with tiki carvers, hula dancers, and a luau (the luau costs $30). Sunday it’s all about Polynesian Pop, with a Tiki Hot Rod show.

During the festival, Crazy Al will be celebrating ten years (!) in the tiki carving biz. He will have a Ten Year Retrospective, and commemorative hiball and mug of his first two tikis, #1 and #2.

April 13, 2006

Latest Issue of Tiki Magazine

Filed under: Art,Los Angeles,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:32 pm
Tiki Magazine Spring 2006
Tiki Magazine Spring 2006

The latest issue of Tiki Magazine is on its way to people’s homes and select newstands and tiki sellin’ sorts of places. This is the first issue of Tiki Magazine’s second year (which means a bunch of you probably are due to renew your subscriptions!), and the cover features Crazy Al and the absolutely astounding 7′ tiki he created for Tiki Lee’s guest bedroom, dubbed the “Tiki Lee Tree.” Inside, the centerfold spread is of Doctor Z’s home tiki bar, the Castaway Lounge. Doctor Z’s lounge is currently in boxes, as he’s recently moved. The Tiki Magazine profile serves as an historic archive of a happening spot, where many tikiphiles experienced Doctor Z’s legendary (and often all-night) parties. I myself actually got to live at the Castaway Lounge for a while. Doctor Z exhibited extraordinary trust and generosity when he let me stay with him when I first moved to California from Seattle — despite my not having a job lined up, and our having barely met before. The Castaway Lounge has a special place in my heart, and I look forward to seeing the spread. If you’d like a subscription to Tiki Magazine, or you’d like to advertise in it, visit the Tiki Magazine website.

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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