Entries in the 'Mexico' Category

March 14, 2006

Waitiki’s New New Drummer

Filed under: Events,Mexico,Music,New England,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:50 pm
Waitiki's new "Laughing Boy"
Waitiki’s new "Laughing Boy"

Not too long ago, Waitiki announced that longtime drummer Space Kadet was leaving the Waitiki fold, headed on to new adventures in Hawaii. The new drummer that Waitiki selected was Robert “Bobby Bongo” Schultz, but scheduling conflicts have sent Waitiki on the search again for a new drummer. Enter the mysterious “Laughing Boy,” pictured left. Who is this drumming wonder? I do not know, and the Waitiki website isn’t giving up its secrets. As a matter of fact, the Waitiki boys appear to be making a game of it, as Laughing Boy’s page on the site simply reads:

Do you know who this is? Take your best guess! Let us know at band@Waitiki.com.

He looks a lot like a kid I went to elementary school with named Shane, who lived in a haunted house. But I’m guessing that’s not him.

The boys have two major shows coming up: a special performance of their 21-piece Esquivel Orchestrotica in Mexico City on April 1, and a warm-up show in Boston on Friday, March 24. If you can make it to either of these shows, do not miss them!

UPDATE: Clever monkey ookoo lady figured out who the mysterious drummer is — it’s Mike Connors, who previously was the drummer for Combustible Edison. Great addition to the band, guys!

November 1, 2005

Ahhhh… Waitiki!

Filed under: Events,Ft. Lauderdale & Miami,Mexico,Music,New England,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:30 pm
Mr. Ho of Waitiki
Mr. Ho of Waitiki

In my recap of Hukilau, I made mention of one of my best finds — the Boston-based Exotica group, Waitiki. Waitiki is four guys: Tim Mayer, “The Mayor of Exotica;” Brian O’Neill “Mr. Ho;” Abe Lagrimas, Jr., “Space Kadet;” and Randy Wong, “Professah Humming Flower.” Randy and Abe met as youngsters in Hawaii; both made their way to Boston, where they met up with Brian and Tim — all four are graduates of prestigious music schools there. Randy’s parents knew Arthur Lyman, and he had a strong impact on Randy.

The Waitiki boys are very, very silly. A very nutty and bright sort of silly that struck a serious chord with me. They are a lot of fun — a LOT of fun — to spend time with. This wacky tone carries over into their original songs, which touch on such topics as watermelon sacrifice and the intersection of adorable furry animals and proper grammar. However, their set at the Mai Kai was a tribute to Martin Denny, with an all-classic Exotica set. Listening to Waitiki play at the Mai Kai, I was struck by two things.

First, any Exotica composed after the ’60s just doesn’t sound the same to me, even those pieces by the greats such as Martin Denny and Robert Drasnin. They aren’t bad works, they just don’t evoke that same feel of the exotic and the mysterious. Randy Wong’s original composition, Sweet Pikake Serenade, was the first time I had heard a modern composition that sounded ready to take its place alongside those great classic songs. Halfway through hearing it, I had forgotten that it was a new piece. Stunning, beautiful, and moving.

Second, their entire set was Exotica as I’d never experienced it before. These songs are ones I’ve heard, and loved, dozens and dozens of times over. Over years of hearing them, I’d created a scene in my head of middle-aged, somewhat-serious men playing these songs quietly and intently. The Waitiki boys have every bit the intent and serious focus while they’re playing, but they play with so much life, so much vibrancy, and so much energy. They made Exotica fun. They brought Exotica completely to life for me in a new way. They made me look at Exotica music in a whole new way. Fabulous.

Okay, so here’s the latest in Waitiki Appreciation: They have a new album out, “Charred Mammal Flesh.” Their expanded 20-piece configuration, called Waitiki Orchestrotica, which was created for the purpose of playing faithful recreations of Esquivel songs, will be playing at an Esquivel tribute concert in Mexico City on April 1, 2006. A few tracks from a September performance of the Orchestrotica is available for download on the Waitiki website. Uh, what else… oh yes, they’ve also been wanting to get a show together in NYC somewhere, hopefully at Otto’s Shrunken Head (where another favorite of mine, Fisherman Vibraphonic Trio, plays on Mondays). And also, the guys are on the lookout for radio stations around the country that would be a fit for their music (KEXP in Seattle leaps to mind, and Senor Amor’s Molotov Cocktail Hour on L.A.’s KXLU).

Waitiki is now on your radar — take advantage of their existence! Get to see them if you can, and get their album & all that stuff. Okonkuluku!

September 2, 2005

The Mysterious Mexico City Mauna Loa

Filed under: History,Mexico,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:51 pm

Mauna Loa, Mexico City

One of my favorite tiki locations is the Mauna Loa in Mexico City, not because I have scads of interesting history of the place, but for the opposite reason: it has been an intriguing mystery for me.

There have actually been two Mauna Loas in Mexico City. One still operates today on Ave. San Jeronimo, and I have very little information about it, other than that is actually has a Polynesian floor show — always a promising sign. The other is a bit better documented, but long gone. I would love to think that the two locations are related, but have not uncovered any information that confirms or refutes that.

Today, I am going to focus on the Mauna Loa in Mexico City that is now closed, which was on Hamburgo. The restaurant’s interior, pictured above in a postcard, shows it had some rather grand elements — live flamingos, large tikis, lava rock walls. The menu from the location is equally impressive, and one of my favorites. The menu when open is about 1-1/2 by 2 feet, and is full of beautiful full-color graphic illustrations on every page. Just a few images from this outstanding menu can be seen on Critiki.

The Mauna Loa also had unique mugs — or at least semi-unique, some of them are similar to mugs found at the also-mysterious Ren Clark’s Polynesian Village in Ft. Worth, Texas. There are artist’s renderings of these mugs visible in the menu, and they include a fertility goddess mug, a handled mug of a head with a pointed nose, and my personal favorite — a coiled snake, complete with head at top rim. Recently, MachTiki at Tiki Central found a fertility goddess mug very similar to those seen from the Mexico City Mauna Loa. This one does not have any restaurant marking, but does have a large manufacturer’s label, for an Enrique Guerra with an address that appears to be from Mexico City. Is this the manufacturer for the Mauna Loa mugs? Did they also produce mugs for Ren Clark’s Polynesian Village? Did these mug designs originate somewhere else, and were merely copied?

It’s fascinating to me. I hope that someday we will hear from someone who visited the Mauna Loa, or had family that did.


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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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