Entries in the 'Music' Category

January 26, 2007

Selector Lopaka, Sundays at Fu Kun Wu

Filed under: Events,Music,Seattle,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:45 pm
Selector Lopaka
Selector Lopaka

I while back, I shared a reverie about my days in Seattle, when I could be found reliably once a week at Fu Kun Wu in Ballard, to hear Selector Lopaka spin Exotica tunes. Ahhhhh… those were good days. I’ve tried to convince Selector Lopaka to come move down to San Francisco, so that I can hear him every week once again; while I think I’m making progress, so far he hasn’t actually budged. But someday… someday I will succeed.

That makes it that much more urgent that you discover this Seattle treasure before I steal him away from you. He’s been on hiatus from Fu Kun Wu for a while now, but he’s starting up again, this time on Sunday nights.

Selector Lopaka – 6ish-9ish every Sunday
Fu Kun Wu
(back bar of Thaiku)
5410 Ballard Ave

January 9, 2007

New Robert Drasnin Album: Voodoo 2

Filed under: Music,People,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 4:23 pm
Robert Drasnin's Voodoo
Robert Drasnin’s Voodoo

Robert Drasnin has had a long and very busy career in Hollywood: he currently teaches film composition at UCLA; before this he had a long tenure as the Director of Music for CBS Entertainment from 1977 into the early ’90s; before that he was well-established as a composer, arranger and musician for a vast array of television and film productions through the ’60s and ’70s. Even earlier in his career, he worked as an arranger for Martin Denny, and he released just one album of his own compositions of Exotica jazz. That 1959 album, Voodoo, is one of the definitive works of the genre, a true classic. For a taste of Mr. Drasnin’s work, you can visit his MySpace page, where you can hear his songs Desiree and Enchantment. The album was re-released by Dionysus Records in 1996.

In 2005, there was a rare performance of Robert Drasnin’s Voodoo at the annual Hukilau event in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I was there, and it was absolutely otherworldly. The whole room, full of hundreds of people, was hushed in transfixed awe. It was really beautiful to hear music like that in person.

The renewed interest in this fifty-year-old album has had Drasnin excited to create new Exotica works. Ever since that performance in Florida, Mr. Drasnin has been hard at work writing a new album of Exotica: Voodoo 2. So many of the Exotica greats have gone on to that great luau in the sky; the idea of a new album of true classic Exotica is something many of us wouldn’t have even dreamed would be possible.

The project is happening with no corporate backing — Robert Drasnin is responsible funding this effort himself, to the tune of about 15 to 20 thousand dollars. Lush orchestrations like this require a lot of musicians, studio time, and other stuff I know nothing about personally. It just won’t be possible for Mr. Drasnin to do this himself, but he’s doing it anyway, “come hell or high water.” Even though the market for this album is a great big question mark — Exotica jazz is definitely a niche thing — he wants to create this album because he knows there are many people out there who will be excited for it. That’s what life should be all about.

But he doesn’t have to do this alone — all you fans of Exotica music can help make this dream come true, while minimizing the financial hit to Mr. Drasnin. A page has been set up to accept donations towards the recording of the album. There are three levels of donation: the first ($30) gets you a signed copy of the album, the second ($75) gets the signed album, and your name in the Special Thanks of the album’s liner notes, and the third level — now, this is big — for a $250 contribution, you get to sit in on the actual recording session, happening on February 17 in Los Angeles, plus the signed CD and the thanks in the liner notes. Now that would be something else.

To learn more about the project, and to donate, visit Robert Drasnin’s website. Voodoo 2 will be released this spring, by Dionysus Records.

January 7, 2007

Jungle Drums Are Calling You… to Watch a CBS Special Presentation

Filed under: History,Music,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:39 am

CBS Special ident from the ’70s

Anyone who was a kid in the ’70s or ’80s probably still experiences a pins & needles reaction when watching the above six scant seconds of gloriousness… this is the ident CBS played before their special presentations, i.e., the holiday specials. I am a huge fan of old holiday specials (especially Rankin/Bass), and I’ve amassed a pretty impressive collection of them on tape and DVD. The one thing that’s always missing, though, is the CBS Special Presentation intro… Hanford and I have dreams of building the Rankin/Bass-o-Matic, a custom video player that will hold all our holiday specials in digitized form, and will automatically play the CBS Special intro before each one. (Hanford worked on the original design of ReplayTV, so he’s terrifically handy for that sort of thing.)

Hanford just learned something that perhaps further explains my primal reaction to viewing this clip: the music used for it was composed by Morton Stevens, and comes from music he created for Hawaii Five-O. Of course! Why has it taken me this long to recognize that it was no ordinary call to the television — it was thundering drums pounding out an island rhythm. Or, at least the Hollywood version of an island rhythm.

The above clip is sadly not of the best quality; here’s a link to a higher-quality MP3 of the music. Also, Hawaii Five-O’s first season came out on DVD a short bit ago.

January 6, 2007

Hollywood: Lava Lounge’s Final Night

Filed under: Events,Los Angeles,Music,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:05 am
Lava Lounge in Hollywood, CA
Lava Lounge in Hollywood, CA

Hollywood’s Lava Lounge is nestled in a tiny, nondescript strip mall (“nondescript” and “strip mall” are pretty redundant, I suppose) on La Brea, just off of Sunset. I’ve only been there a handful of times — parking in the area is a pain in the keister, and it’s not the tikiest of tiki bars — but I did think it was pretty cool. For one, it’s dark, and I love a dark bar. For another, they weren’t kidding around with the often too-casually-applied “Lava Lounge” name: the room was a mix of pitch black faux and real rockwork, contrasted against blonde bamboo, and it came together really nicely. There was a rocky wall at the back that wept water, and a very small stage area bathed in red light. The drinks were not very good, but at least they tried.

Now comes word that the Lava Lounge’s days are nearing an end. After 13 years, the small bar is closing at the end of February, and undergoing a remodel and name change — no word yet on what the new incarnation will be. 13 years for a bar is impressive, but it’s even more impressive when you consider the competitive environment of bars in Hollywood, and that when it opened in the mid-’90s, tiki was not a hot thing, but the realm of a small cache of hipsters. The bar is one of the very, very few that opened during the exact years that really cool, original places were shutting down all across the country.

If you can, stop in one last time to spend some time in this swell little bar. Lava Lounge mainstays the Blue Hawaiians will be playing a final show there the night of Friday, February 23. Hat tip to bigtikidude for the heads-up.

October 13, 2006

Hukilau 2007 Dates Announced

Filed under: Events,Ft. Lauderdale & Miami,Music,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 6:27 pm
Hukilau 2007
Hukilau 2007

Well, with Hukilau 2006 having drifted off into the sunset, I can’t help but think, “when can I do it all again!?” The wait won’t be as long this time, as Hukilau is moving to early Summer — June 14-17, 2007, to be exact. Kiliki has been wanting to move out of Florida’s hurricane season for some time, and Otto wanted to move his annual Tiki Oasis event to later in the summer to take better advantage of San Diego weather, so this schedule switcheroo works great all around. Some of the musical performances for Hukilau 2007 have already been announced: Clouseaux from Houston, Hula Punk all the way from Hamburg, Germany, and High Noon, a rockabilly trio from Austin. DJ Del Villareal will be spinning hulabilly tunes all weekend. For more details, get on the Hukilau mailing list, and stay tuned to the Hukilau website!

September 23, 2006

Everywhere: Waitiki Live Webcast Performance

Filed under: Events,Ft. Lauderdale & Miami,Music,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:24 pm
Waitiki, performing at the Mai Kai in 2005
Waitiki, performing at the Mai Kai in 2005

One of my favorite bands, Waitiki, will be broadcasting a live performance straight to your computer this coming Wednesday, September 27, at 9pm Eastern (6pm Pacific). Waitiki has a lineup of über-talented, classically trained musicians, and they can do Exotica like nobody’s business. They performed a set of Martin Denny songs at the Mai Kai during last year’s Hukilau that was positively transcendent. They will be performing at the offices of Eons.com in Charlestown, MA, and everybody’s invited, thanks to the magic of streaming video. There will also likely be a chat session, hosted by Brother Cleve.

But this will just whet your whistle for the really great news: Waitiki is coming back to the Mai Kai for this year’s Hukilau! Details have not yet been revealed, but the boys report that they just couldn’t stay away after the great time they had last year, so they’re coming down on their own shiny nickel to participate. I can’t wait to get drunk with them again… er, I mean, I can’t wait to hear them again.

For details on the webcast and chat session, keep an eye on Waitiki’s website. Okonkulukú!

September 2, 2006

Tiki Oasis 2007 Announced

Filed under: Events,Music,San Diego,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 7:54 am

Otto and Baby Doe von Stroheim have made a save-the-date announcement for 2007′s Tiki Oasis event, “Hawaii Au Go Go,” with the Blue Hawaiians as headliners. Like last year, it will be taking place at the Red Lion Hanalei in San Diego. However, the von Stroheims have a few changes in store:

Moving to August
In years past, Tiki Oasis has been held in May, which was lovely in Palm Springs, but a bit chilly for San Diego. The 7th Tiki Oasis will be held the weekend of August 16-19, 2007. The von Stroheims have orchestrated this with Tiki Kiliki, whose Hukilau event in Ft. Lauderdale has been happening in October; she has wanted to move it to the hurricane-free spring, so the next Hukilau event will happen in spring of 2007.

Room Parties Are A-Okay
After-hours room parties have been a huge part of the fun of Tiki Oasis. Some spontaneous, some intricately planned, the room parties are explosions of masterful mixology and musical mayhem, sometimes lasting until dawn. Sadly, the room parties at last year’s Oasis were largely a bust, as the hotel shut many of them down relatively early in the evening. This year, things should be different — because the von Stroheims were able to get an advance booking, and now have an established relationship with the Hanalei, the entire hotel will be booked out solely for Tiki Oasis. This is an improvement, even over the Palm Springs years — the Hanalei is a large hotel, and the neighboring properties aren’t near enough for the noise to travel that far.

Better Handle on Mug Sales
Last year’s sales of the Tiki Oasis mug left a lot of people feeling left out — not everyone was able to get a mug, despite spending a long time in line, while some of those at the front of the line were able to load up on them (there was a limit of two per person, but a family of four could purchase eight mugs). This year, mugs will be sold as a pre-purchase only to ticket holders, and they will manufacture enough mugs to meet demand. There will still be a small number of mugs available for purchase at the event.

August 5, 2006

Columbus: Hot Rod Hula Hop 2

Filed under: Events,Midwest U.S.,Music,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 8:08 pm
Hot Rod Hula Hop 2
Hot Rod Hula Hop 2

The Fraternal Order of Moai and Drifters Car Club of Columbus are throwing the second Hot Rod Hula Hop. It’s a two-day affair, starting Friday, August 18 with a “Feast of the Tiki Gods” at Tropical Bistro, with former Kahiki mixologist Jim tending the cash-only bar. A buffet-style luau dinner will be served, and the full menu will be available as well. Hawaiian guitarist Francis Llacuna will be performing, and “Sam” the Kahiki bar parrot will be on hand, as well. Tickets are $12 ($11 plus a $1 handling fee), and you’re encouraged to get yours quickly, as seating will be limited.

Saturday’s main event is happening at Largo’s Tavern, with five bands, three DJs, tiki carvings all around, vendors, cocktails, food and kustom rods galore. The lineup includes The Madeira, Fisherman (a huge favorite of mine), the CryptoKats, Knuckel Drager and the Crimson Cats. A custom event mug will be for sale at the event, which goes from noon until 2 a.m.

To learn more and get tickets, check out the Hot Rod Hula Hop website.

July 31, 2006

Tucson: Ernie Menehune at the Kon Tiki Lounge

Filed under: Events,Music,Tiki,Tucson — Humuhumu @ 12:11 pm
Ernie Menehune with Mr. & Mrs. cheeky half
Ernie Menehune
with Mr. & Mrs. cheeky half

An exciting opportunity: Ernie Menehune will be performing on Sunday, August 13 at the Kon Tiki Lounge in Tucson, from 5-7 p.m.

Ernie Menehune is the “Suntanned Hawaiian Irishman,” he was born and raised in Hawaii until he moved to the Mainland at the age of 25, in 1952. He initially settled in Los Angeles, but soon moved to the warmer climate of Arizona, where he eventually began singing there in nightclubs, and eventually developed his own Polynesian revue. He performed in a circuit that included Las Vegas, the Latitude 20 in Torrance, and multiple clubs in Arizona, and he was on the same bill as acts like Esquivel, Frank Sinatra, Harry Belafonte, Buddy Hackett (now THAT’s a show!), and Tom Jones. He and his troupe, which included his wife Beverly and her twin sister, performed thorughout the ’60s and ’70s, and stopped touring in the mid-’80s as their child entered kindergarten.

In recent years, Ernie Menehune had been performing at Ye Old Lantern in Tucson, until it closed a few months ago. Ernie has hosted the occasional luau at his home ranch, Menehune Village, just outside of Tucson. Now comes word that he will be performing at the Kon Tiki Lounge in Tucson, which will hopefully become a monthly engagement. The Kon Tiki Lounge is one of the best-preserved examples of midcentury Polynesian Pop, and is worth going out of your way to check out; a performance by Ernie Menehune (who by all accounts is simply a marvelous and warm fellow) makes it something truly not to be missed.

Seating will be limited, call (520) 323-7193 to make reservations.

June 20, 2006

Hawaiian Eye Soundtrack on CD

Filed under: Music,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 6:17 pm
Hawaiian Eye soundtrack
Hawaiian Eye soundtrack

The soundtrack from Hawaiian Eye, which was released as an LP in the ’60s, was recently released on CD. The television show aired from 1959-1963, and starred Anthony Eisley, Robert Conrad, Connie Stevens and Poncie Ponce — Connie typically had a song she performed at some point in the middle of each episode. It was a detective show set in Honolulu (the Honolulu Village Hotel, to be exact); in black & white, it predated Hawaii 5-0 by a few years. If you ever have a chance to catch an episode, don’t miss it. Here’s the track listing from the CD:

1. Hawaiian Eye
2. Deep Night
3. Let’s Do It (From The Musical Comedy “Paris”) (Vocal By Connie Stevens)
4. Steele On The Prowl
5. Soft Green Seas
6. Rumba Rhapsody
7. Cabbie Kim
8. What Is This Thing Called Love? (From The Musical Comedy “Wake Up And Dream”)
9. You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me (Vocal By Robert Conrad)
10. Cricket’s Corner
11. When My Dream Boat Comes Home (Vocal By Poncie Ponce)
12. Lopaka’s Beat
13. Hawaiian Eye

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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