Entries in the 'Los Angeles' Category

April 7, 2006

Save Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s

Filed under: History,Los Angeles,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 2:29 pm

The Los Angeles Conservancy’s Modern Committee is organizing to work to halt the demise of the historic Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s. As Adrienne Biondo, chairwoman of ModCom, was quoted in the Los Angeles Times, “I’ve gotten calls nationwide. It’s not an issue that’s going to go away.”

Oasis West Realty (the group behind the plan to demolish Trader Vic’s) spokeswoman Marie Garvey told the Los Angeles Times “We understand that a lot of people are fond of Trader Vic’s, but very few people frequent the restaurant. It’s just not a viable business, and hasn’t been for many years.” This runs directly contrary to the current trend, which has seen not only new tiki bars spring up around the world, but specifically new Trader Vic’s locations, which can only dream of having the history, charm and decor of the Beverly Hills location. Trader Vic’s has played a prominent role in Hollywood nightlife from the time it opened in 1955 to today (it is still the site of huge afterparties every year after the Golden Globe awards); it is hardly a dying restaurant. I’ve personally been in that Trader Vic’s plenty of times and have seen it quite packed. It sounds to me more like wishful thinking, hoping that no one cares enough about this restaurant that happens to be situated right where they want to put their new towers.

The Los Angeles Conservancy and their Modern Committe (a.k.a. ModCom) need your help. They have already held one emergency meeting to get the ball rolling, and they now need volunteers. The groups behind the plans to demolish Trader Vic’s need to hear the word that it will not go unnoticed. To get involved, email savebhtv@humuhumu.com.

Popcorn Vigilante Hits Tonga Hut, Confesses on Humu Kon Tiki

Filed under: Los Angeles,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:48 pm

“Don” left a comment yesterday on an earlier post I had made about the Tonga Hut coming under new management. Don has quite a tale to tell:

Dear new owner of the Tunga Hut,
I thought you might enjoy my story.
Don

Bruce an I are a couple 60 year old Jazz musicians who have known one another for over 30 years.
Saturday Bruce calld me on the phone to ask if I wanted to go and have a taste at the Tonga Hut. The Tonga hut is a neighberhood bar that has been at the same location for fifty years. Bruce especially likes going there because they have an old popcorn machine that pops the best popcorn, and boy does Bruce like his popcorn. We get over to the bar and orderd our usual refreshments and ask about the snacks. Tylor, the bar maid informs us that the popcorn maker hasn’t worked for six months.”Ah Shit” says Bruce. I asked Taylor if it would be alright if I took the popper home to fixed it and returned the unit in a few days at no charge. She told us that some guy already tried to fix it and couldn’t.Taylor and the other girl assured me that would be a big NO. After fininshing our third round we got up and walked down the narrow hallway out the back to the parking lot for a smoke. While commenting on Taylor’s unpainted reck that was parked by us, I said “hey Bruce lets steal the popcorn maching”. “Good idea” Bruce replied. After spending a munute talking over our plan on how we were going to do it I backed up my station wagon toards the back door,then we returned back to our empty bar stools. Bruce got up and walked to the corner of the bar complaining about his drink, while Taylor reminded Bruce that he wasn’t supposed to be standing in the bartender’s area. I turned around where the popcorn machine was located and made my way down the hall to the car carrying this forty pound baby. Cackling like a couple of teenagers Bruce and I headed to my place with our stolen property.
The next day I got up thinking-maybe I bit off more than I could chew,not to mention that the cops may be paying me a visit. It wouldn’t be to hard for Taylor and her assistant to put two and two together. Since it was Sunday I decited to lock it in the trunk of my ‘48 plymouth in case someone would be looking for the merchandise.
Monday, thinking the coast was clear I decited to tackle the repair job on the greasey box. It didn’t take me long to fugure out the problem with the heating element although cleaning the grease off was the real job. After spending four or five hours on that antique I had it working like new. I placed the popper in a cardboard box and now it was time to make an invoice in photoshop. Cornel Corn I decited would be the name of the company that repaired the
the machine with the Cornel’s slogan” IF IT WON’T POP DON’T BLOW YOUR TOP CAUSE WER’RE HOT ON YOUR POT”. Along with the Cornel’s slogan and address would be a list of repairs done to the unit with $.00 balance due.Tuesday I called Michael, who supplies cars for the movie business and ask him if he would deliver the popcorn machine to the Tonga Hut on Wednsday morning. “Sure, be glad to!”. Michael with the popper on a dolly dlivers it at 9:00 am supprising all the early boozers siting at the bar.”What’s in the box?” they all ask. Michael tells everone that
he doesn’t know the contents and that he is only a delivery man working for Dexter Gordon delivery services and the box will have to be signed for. Taking out his paper work that I put together, the bartender is more than happy to oblige. Saturday night
Bruce and I nervicely drive over to the Tonga
Hut to see if the popcorn machine is up and running or will we have some explaining to do. Entering throught the back door down the hall we can’t believe our eyes. There it was, just like Christmas with the new bulb that Cernal Corn supplied. Everyone enjoying fresh popcorn in there little popcorn baskets. We sat up at the bar and Taylor took our order like allways. Bruce and I were a little shocked to think that we could be in the clear. Fifteen munutes had passed when Taylor said to me “look behind you Don” I looked and said to her “you got a new popcorn machine” “no” Taylor explaines “someone took it – fixed it and had it dilivered back here. Bruce and I looking supprised asked “when was it taken?” Taylor says “we didn’t know it was gone”.

THE END
ps. if it ok with you I wouldn’t want Taylor to know my little secret.

I alerted Tonga Hut owners Ana and Jeremy to the story, and Ana reported back that this is apparently “100% true.” Thanks, Don, for both your popcorn-driven persistence, and for a great story — should we ever cross paths at the Tonga Hut, I’ll happily buy you a drink to wash down your salty, corny snack.

April 3, 2006

King Kukulele’s TV Spot for Satellite Radio

Filed under: Los Angeles,Music,People,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:56 am
Commercial featuring King Kukulele
Commercial featuring King Kukulele

It’s always fun to see a friend get a mention on Boing Boing, and this morning there was a great big mention of a very dear friend, ukulele goofball and all-around-primo emcee King Kukulele. Mark Frauenfelder highlighted this commercial featuring King Kukulele, which pitches satellite radio. It’s a favorite of mine, I’ve seen it several times and I don’t get tired of it (which as Mark points out, makes the whole concept of the commercial not really hold water). As fun as it is to see King on Boing Boing, I should have seen this at the same place Mark found it, Ukulelia, a very excellent blog for and by ukulele lovers. But then, I really should have remembered seeing this at the same place Ukulelia spotted it, which is King Kukulele’s own website. I was introduced to this great little commercial when it was played at one of King Kukulele’s very fun Tiki Taix events, which happen on the last Friday of every month at Taix French Restaurant (1911 Sunset Blvd.) in Los Angeles. Regardless of where or when I should have brought it to you, my dear readers, here it is, in all its dancin’, prancin’, ukulele strummin’ glory. Enjoy!

March 31, 2006

Catalina Tiki Fest 2006

Filed under: Events,Los Angeles,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:55 pm
Catalina Tiki Fest 2006
Catalina Tiki Fest 2006

August 18-20, Catalina Island will host the Catalina Tiki Fest. The event will feature cultural exhibitions and workshops, including hula lessons, lei making, and tiki carving. Vendors will be selling tiki wares all weekend, and the main event is a luau with performances by over 50 Polynesian dancers on Saturday night. It takes place at Descanso Beach on Catalina — the island is 22 miles off-shore and is part of Los Angeles County, and is reachable by boat. Full details, including the schedule and ticket purchase, are available at the Catalina Tiki Fest website.

March 30, 2006

Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s to Be Demolished

Filed under: Los Angeles,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 1:32 pm
Vintage postcard from Trader Vic's Beverly Hills, from the collection of Mimi Payne
Vintage postcard from Trader Vic’s Beverly Hills,
from the collection of Mimi Payne

I first reported on the rumored demise of the Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s two months ago, and today comes some more solid evidence. The Los Angeles Business Journal reports that plans have been developed to demolish the restaurant, along with some surrounding structures, to put up two new 13-story towers. The towers would hold a mix of condominiums and hotel rooms, and would dramatically change the appearance of the Santa Monica & Wilshire Blvd intersection where the Trader Vic’s logo currently dominates. The Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s is the oldest location, having opened in 1955. The Beverly Hilton hotel was purchased two years ago by Beny Alagem, co-founder of Packard Bell, from Merv Griffin, who had owned the property for many years.

A timeframe for the project is not included in the report, but the plan is up for review at next Tuesday’s city council meeting.

March 29, 2006

Newport Beach: Dumb Angel @ Sid’s Blue Beet

Filed under: Events,Los Angeles,Music,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:32 pm
The swingin' scene this coming Sunday at Sid's Blue Beet
The swingin’ scene this coming Sunday at Sid’s Blue Beet

This Sunday, April 2, the Dumb Angel guys (Brian Chidester and Domenic Priore) are hosting a swingin’ soiree in Newport Beach. It’ll be at Sid’s Blue Beet, a cabaret that opened in 1912, and was a famous center of beatnik-y goodness in the ’50s and ’60s. The Dumb Angel guys are excited to be bringing some great So Cal surf instrumental music to Newport, with the Boardwalkers and the Ghastly Ones set to perform, along with an acoustic performance by Billy Hinsche. Between sets, Chidester & Priore will be doing their historic film-clip thing, which alone would be worth the trip. Kari French and her go-go troupe will also be performing, and there will be raffle drawings all night. Plenty of parking, on the street, in the side lot, and near the beach.

Sunday, April 2nd
Sid’s Blue Beet
107 21st Place
Newport Beach, CA 92663-4338
(949) 675-2338

6 p.m. to Midnight

February 24, 2006

Tiki Packed Weekend in So Cal

Filed under: Events,Los Angeles,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:48 pm

I already mentioned tonight’s Tiki Taix 2nd Anniversary, but Sunday’s going to be a good day to be a So Cal tikiphile, too. Otto von Stroheim is in town to turn the atrium of VacationFest into a Tikifest. VacationFest takes place at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and is filled with travel vendors’ booths with information on tour packages, destinations, hotels, boat packages, you name it. Trips will be given away in drawings by several vendors. As at last year’s Vacationfest, the atrium of the building will be a tiki marketplace, with vendors of carvings, apparel and more. Otto will be selling copies of his Tiki Art Two book. Doug Nason will have a presentation on Tikis of the South Pacific at 2 p.m. A coupon for free admission can be found at Otto’s website. Later that evening, Otto will be DJing at the new Puka Bar in Long Beach, from 9 – 11 p.m.

Tiki Taix Tonight: Two Years of King Kukulele & Escargot

Filed under: Events,Los Angeles,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:31 am
King Kukulele
King Kukulele

Tonight is a celebration of two years of King Kukulele’s monthly Tiki Taix cabaret night, at Taix French Restaurant in Los Angeles. King Kukulele is a comedian, singer, songwriter, adorable nutjob, emcee… but most of all, he’s a ukulele player. On the last Friday of every month, he transforms the intimate bar area of this ’60s French restaurant into a showcase of tiki. Visiting musicians, dancers, collectors, historians, vintage film clips… with King Kukulele’s rotating cast of supporting players, you never quite know what’s in store at Tiki Taix, but it’s always a blast. Taix is a neat old restaurant worth paying a visit to in its own right, and the clam chowder available on Fridays is very tasty. This month, everyone is receiving a reproduction of the Hawaiian Village Hotel’s “Coconut Bulletin” of October 20th, 1957. The evening’s entertainment program includes a hula dancer, music from the Friki Tikis, a slide show from the recent party at the Royal Hawaiian in Laguna Beach, and a look at vintage ad art from the Hawaiian tourism industry. The evening kicks off at 10pm-ish, but it’s nice to get there a bit early to enjoy dinner in the bar and secure a table near the stage. Taix Restaurant is at 1911 Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park.

February 22, 2006

Dumb Angel Magazine Starts a Blog

Filed under: Los Angeles,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:05 pm
Dumb Angel Balboa - Stuft Shirt Restaurant
Dumb Angel Balboa – Stuft Shirt Restaurant

Domenic Priore & Brian Chidester, the creators of Dumb Angel Magazine, have started a blog. This is a time for great rejoicing. If it’s anything like the magazine (which recently published a very book-like Issue #4 after a 16 year interlude) the posts will be sporadic, but each one will be long and jam-packed with pictures, history, and lots of references. Dumb Angel’s focus is the Southern California scene of the 1960s, the influences that went into creating that era, and the influences that came out of it. The heart of their passion is the music, but passion drives them to paint the most complete picture possible, and results in authoritative articles that launch off in the most far-flung, unexpected directions. They have a talent for pulling together threads from every which direction, and making it all make sense. My already fervent love affair with Southern California is driven to even further heights every time I read one of their pieces.

One of the first entries is an encyclopedic look at Balboa in Orange County, including the above picture of the Stuft Shirt Restaurant. Any description I would attempt would sound confusing and wouldn’t do it justice — just go check it out.

February 13, 2006

Lucky Tiki Moving in October

Filed under: Los Angeles,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 3:45 pm
Crazy Al tiki at Lucky Tiki
Crazy Al tiki at Lucky Tiki

The Lucky Tiki in Mission Hills, which opened just over a year ago, will be moving to a new location in October 2006. The strip mall the Lucky Tiki is in was recently sold to a developer who reportedly intends to build a car lot on the spot. However, the Lucky Tiki has a very long lease, so the new owner is buying out the lease and paying moving costs, allowing Lucky Tiki owner Bobby Green to move the Lucky Tiki to a new, larger, better location in North Hollywood. Lucky indeed!

Bobby says he is especially looking forward to being able to host live music acts in the new space. The new location is not far from the Tonga Hut, creating all sorts of great North Hollywood crawling/hopping possibilities. The Lucky Tiki will remain in Mission Hills for seven more months, with the last day being September 30 — look for news about a big bash to say goodbye to the old location. Bobby aims to have the Lucky Tiki closed for only a month before opening in the new North Hollywood spot.


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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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