Entries in the 'News' Category

February 1, 2007

End is Near for Aku Tiki in Daytona Beach

Filed under: Daytona Beach,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 3:11 pm
Aku Tiki Inn, photo by John Holley
Aku Tiki Inn, photo by John Holley

Sad news from the Tiki Talk blog: the Aku Tiki Inn in Daytona Beach is slated for demolition. It is one of several hotels being torn down to make way for a massive new resort development. The new development, El Caribe, is to include over 1,000 hotel rooms and condos, and the resort will span 16 acres. The planning is in its “infant stages,” according to lead developers George Anderson and Doug Cook’s comments to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. The plans call for the work to start at the north end of the planned resort; the Aku Tiki Inn is at the south end, and no dates for the development work have been announced.

The plans would also take out the Traders Restaurant, which is attached to the Aku Tiki Inn. The Hawaiian Inn, which is just south of the Aku Tiki, is not included in the development.

The Aku Tiki has a few nice pieces of Witco art, from the days when William Westenhaver was hired to decorate the Hawaiian Inn — if those pieces haven’t been spoken for already, you can be sure they will be — Witco collectors don’t tend to drag their feet. In 2004, the Aku Tiki’s signature Moai was damaged by hurricane Charley; it was replaced with a new one, faithful to the original, created by Florida artist Wayne Coombs.

January 28, 2007

Trader Vic’s Roundup

Filed under: Asia,Chicago,Dallas,Las Vegas,Middle East,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 1:46 am

Here’s an update on some of the Trader Vic’s openings currently slated, from the Trader Vic’s website:

Shanghai, China – Opened on New Year’s Eve

Dallas – February, 2007 (it’s been pushed back many times, but February 11 is the most recent date)

Las Vegas – in June, 2007

Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Bar in Dubai – April, 2007

Chicago – late 2007 (This has been pushed back quite a bit — their initial estimate was that it would be open by now. There have been rumblings of union troubles (I don’t know of which sort) causing some delays.)

Doha, Qatar – late 2007

Amman, Jordan – late 2007

Beijing, China – late 2007

Earlier Trader Vic’s opening reports on Humu Kon Tiki:

Trader Vic’s Kuwait?

Filed under: Middle East,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 12:00 am
Trader Vic's Kuwait press release, from Kuwait Unplugged
Trader Vic’s Kuwait press release,
from Kuwait Unplugged

Humu Kon Tiki reader Misbas recently made a comment on a post about the Kon Tiki in Kuwait:

The Kon Tiki is a Polynesian-style restaurant in the Trader Vic’s mode, and the food is actually very good, if somewhat pricey. Speaking of Trader Vic’s, a company here has announced plans to open one in Kuwait. Imagine that, A TV’s sans alcohol — the spectre is both comical and depressing at the same time! The other Trader Vic’s locations in the Gulf (Bahrain, Dubai, Abu-Dhabi, Al-Ain and Oman) do a bang-up business, but all serve the big “A”.

Interesting… a quick search turned up this post on the Kuwait Unplugged blog:

Trader Vic’s is well known around the world as a tourist trap specializing in luridly colored cocktails (the Mai Tai being its most famous), with tacky umbrellas and weirdly shaped glasses. The food is secondary… it’s not bad, but it’s also not the main reason people go there.

Now Trader Vic’s is the latest entry in the never-ending race to import totally unsuitable franchises to Kuwait. What would be the point if they can’t serve their signature cocktails?

And the press release… words fail me!

Kuwait Unplugged has a full-size image of the printed press release above… words fail me as well, but for an entirely different reason. Can someone who can read Arabic help me out?

I’m also not up enough on the restaurant & (non)bar scene in the Middle East, so I don’t feel like I’m in a position to say whether or not this is a good move on Trader Vic’s part, but I have to agree that I don’t get it, especially if the decor is as sparse as the newer Trader Vic’s I’ve seen here stateside. Heck, I’m not even sure if Bongo Bongo Soup is halal.

January 26, 2007

Latest News on Trader Vic’s Beverly Hills

Filed under: History,Los Angeles,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 7:28 pm
1950s postcard from Trader Vic's Beverly Hills, from the collection of Mimi Payne
1950s postcard from Trader Vic’s Beverly Hills, from the collection of Mimi Payne

A bunch of news erupted last week (and lots of links to my blog — thanks for that!). Here’s a quick roundup:

Plans have been changed — condos are out, Waldorf is in
When word first broke one year ago here on Humu Kon Tiki that the Trader Vic’s was threatened, the plans called for the corner of Wilshire & Santa Monica (where the Trader Vic’s sits on Hilton property) to be turned into a new tower of condominiums. The LA Times reports the developers have found significant resistance from the community, and have now revised their plan. The condo idea has been tossed, and instead they will build a 120-room Waldorf hotel on the spot. The plans still call for the Trader Vic’s to be demolished. The new plans will likely be voted on in the fall of 2007.

Trader Vic’s is considering a move
When the Trader Vic’s in Chicago tragically closed under similar circumstances in 2005, they immedieately made plans to save as much of the decor as possible, and move into a new Chicago location, partnered with Harry Carey restaurants. In July, my sources at Trader Vic’s told me that this would likely be the case in Bevely Hills, as well, and that appears to have been confirmed last week by John Maatta, who is on the board of directors, per a report from Franklin Avenue. The jury is still out on how well this has worked in Chicago: the new location hasn’t opened, and as far as I know, hasn’t even been announced. It’s better to have a new Vic’s than no Vic’s at all, but make no mistake — the new Vic’s will not have the same character, by a longshot. There’s simply no recreating 50+ years of history. The loss of the original Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s would be a tragedy, period.

How to act to save the Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s
I wish I had a single, clear, easy thing you can do, but it’s not quite that easy. There is a growing groundswell of resistance, from many different sides, to the Hilton developments, so you’re in good company. Because there are so many different sorts of folks who want to save the Trader Vic’s (which is a good thing!), the effort looks a bit like a hydra at the moment. Just pick a head, or two, or three, and run with them. The best bet right now would be to get in contact with the LA Conservancy’s Modern Committee. The LA Conservancy has experience with historic sites threatened by new development, and have made some great strides in saving Los Angeles landmarks. The Modern Committee’s discussion about the Trader Vic’s is here. There are, naturally, also folks at Tiki Central who are trying to figure out how best to act, and are starting to dovetail with the Mod Com efforts. You can follow the Tiki Central thread here. And of course, there’s the option of contacting the City of Beverly Hills directly, they’ve created an email address just for comments about this project: HiltonHotelComments@beverlyhills.org. Throw your hat into the various rings, and be ready to be part of the action once the plans of attack come together. Let everyone know you’re there to help.

Fort Lauderdale: Hukilau 2007

Filed under: Events,Ft. Lauderdale & Miami,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 6:35 pm
Hukilau 2007 website
Hukilau 2007 website

You’ve probably been wondering where I scampered off to this time… well, I’ve been hard at work on the new website for Hukilau 2007! With the launch of the website comes the announcement of this year’s lineup, and yet again, the selection of things to do and see and hear is outstanding. Of course, the main night is once again at tiki mecca, the Mai-Kai. Here’s just a sampling:

  • Robert Drasnin, returning to Hukilau to perform his new album Voodoo II live (his 2005 performance was awe-inspiring)
  • Beachbum Berry, with the premiere of his new book, Sippin’ Safari
  • Kevin Kidney & Jody Daily, celebrated artists with a talk on tiki history, especially where it concerns Disney
  • Clouseaux, jet-set Exotica from Houston
  • Jeff Chenault, with a talk on Exotica music
  • Hula Punk, all the way from Hamburg, Germany
  • High Noon, rockabilly from Ausin

There’s a ton more (including a Tiki Treasures Bazaar, a Tiki Fashion Show, the return of the Wreck Bar Mermaid, and tons more music), but the best way to see it all is to go hit the website. Scratch that — the best way to see it all is to go to Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale, June 14-17. Tickets are on sale now!

January 7, 2007

Hula Hula, New Tiki Bar in Seattle

Filed under: News,Seattle,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:50 am
Hula Hula, a new tiki bar in Seattle, photo from Hula Hula website
Hula Hula, a new tiki bar in Seattle, photo from Hula Hula website

Seattle has a new tiki bar, near the Seattle Center, called Hula Hula. It’s in the space nextdoor to Tini Bigs (once upon a time, this space was a nightclub called the Romper Room, and I spent many an evening there shaking my tiny hiney). Hula Hula is run by the same folks who run Tini Bigs. Seattle once had a rich tiki history, but now virtually all traces of vintage tiki are gone; those holding their breath for a comeback of true tiki in Seattle will have to keep biding their time at the new Trader Vic’s in Bellevue. Hula Hula looks to be more about tiki as kitch.

The drink menu holds lots of familiar names (Mai Tai, Navy Grog, Shark’s Tooth, Zombie), but sadly the recipes are anything but familiar. Or rather, they’re the sad side of familiar — that familiar sinking feeling you get when you see that the tropical drink menu you’re staring down is nothing but a pell-mell assortment of alcohol and pineapple juice. Don’t take my word for it — I haven’t been able to check this place out myself yet, obviously — but a look at their online drink menu doesn’t exactly have me excited. From what I’ve been able to gather, the local tikiphiles aren’t exactly beating a path to the door, either; the general reaction I’ve heard so far from folks in the area is something along the lines of “meh,” which is telling in a town that doesn’t really have much to offer in the way of tiki in the first place. The website has one of the sure “tells” of a letdown of a tiki place: the website trumpets “EVERYDAY $2 PBR”.

Hula Hula, a new tiki bar in Seattle, photo from Hula Hula website
Hula Hula, a new tiki bar in Seattle, photo from Hula Hula website

But, like I said, don’t take my word for it. It’s hardly fair of me to judge a place so harshly without setting foot in it myself. Go out there and check it out yourself, and let me know what you think of it (rate it on Critiki, while you’re at it). There are plenty of tiki bars out there that have won my heart despite lackluster drinks (though it takes some pretty kick-ass decor [see: Bahooka, the Alibi, Kon-Tiki]). I would be extraordinarily pleased to hear that there is something loveable at Hula Hula.

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.

January 5, 2007

Tiki Road Trip, 2nd Edition Coming in May

Filed under: Critiki,News,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:49 pm
Tiki Road Trip, 2nd Edition, by James Teitelbaum
Tiki Road Trip, 2nd Edition,
by James Teitelbaum

A newly updated 2nd edition of James Teitelbaum’s very popular Tiki Road Trip is due out in May of this year. The world of tiki has changed very much, mostly for the better, since James’ book originally came out in 2003, and fans of the book are very eager to get a more up-to-date version of their road bible. The new TRT features many revised and re-written entries, more photos, and a design that will make it a bit easier to find what you’re looking for.

I’ve pointed many, many people to Tiki Road Trip over the years, here on Humu Kon Tiki, on Tiki Central, and on Critiki. As a matter of fact, for the first year Critiki was available to the public, I required you to prove you owned Tiki Road Trip before you could access detailed information like addresses, maps, websites and phone numbers (now, this information is available to anyone who registers, for free, on Critiki). However — and this may shock some of you — I have never actually read Tiki Road Trip. I know! Can you believe it!?

The thing is, I’d love to. I own several copies of it. I’ve skimmed it a bit, but always very briefly, and very cautiously. You see, when I started work on Critiki in late 2002, James’ book hadn’t been announced yet. In the course of collecting information about tiki places for Critiki’s database, I realized how much effort had gone into the creation of James’ Tiki Bar Review Pages (Tiki Road Trip’s online ancestor). The last thing I wanted to do was poach someone else’s very hard work, and so even though it meant re-inventing the wheel a bit, I didn’t use any of the information he’d collected, only information I’d collected myself. I steered completely clear of the Tiki Bar Review Pages, though they’d been a great initial inspiration to me in my personal search for tiki when it was new to me. When I learned that James had a book coming out, I wasn’t sure what to do: I knew the power of what a good database-driven site could do, not just for my own travel plans, but for others’, but I also didn’t want to do anything that would steal James’ thunder. In the end, I decided I couldn’t shelf Critiki, I was far too excited about it, and I’d put far too much effort into constructing it. I gave James some advance notice that Critiki was underway, so he wouldn’t feel sideswiped, and when I launched Critiki, I did everything I could to encourage folks to support James’ book. Not that it needed my help — James’ book really sells itself.

James and I became dear friends — he came to visit me in Seattle, and he showed me the sights in Chicago — and naturally our shared passion for tiki travel has formed a strong bond. As time has marched on, I continue to update Critiki on a very regular basis, and there sits James’ book, with all my other tiki books, spine uncracked. It’s a very hard temptation to resist — after all, how could a book possibly be more up my alley?!? But, I can’t take the risk that James’ hard work would influence my own research. So, I don’t use it. It’s probably silly of me.

I can’t conclusively say what’s different about James’ book vs Critiki, beyond two pretty salient points: his is paper, and much more portable; and it’s James’ voice, not mine. Multiple voices & viewpoints always make the general understanding better. Even though I haven’t read it myself, I feel very, very comfortable recommending it, and it’s great news that a new edition is coming out.

This is going to be a banner year for tiki books: I’ve already mentioned Sven Kirsten’s new Tiki Modern book, and there are two more books on their way in the coming year: Sippin’ Safari by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, and another book that I don’t think has been announced yet, so I’m going to keep quiet about it. Tiki Road Trip is due in May 2007, from Santa Monica Press.

Pictures from Thatch Sneak Preview

Filed under: News,Portland,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:32 am
Thatch, Portland's new tiki bar, photo by Heather Gregg
Thatch, Portland’s new tiki bar, photo by Heather Gregg
Water feature near entrance to Thatch, photo by Heather Gregg
Water feature near entrance to Thatch,
photo by Heather Gregg

Tonight there was a sneak preview of Portland’s new tiki bar thatch, an art installation party for two velvet paintings by Portland’s Pander Bros. Another sneak peek is planned tomorrow, for Tiki Central members only. Heather Gregg and Noel Henneman both uploaded photos to Critiki (psst — Critiki is always looking for more photos of tiki places!).

Owner Robert Volz hired Portland’s Bamboo Craftsman to do the bamboo construction, and it looks absolutely gorgeous in these pictures. The bamboo and decor even extends into the restrooms. The water features near the entrance do a great job of letting visitors know they’re heading into a different world when they come off the street (it’s great to see the use of clam shells).

Inside the private hut at the back, photo by Noel Henneman
Inside the private hut at the back,
photo by Noel Henneman

My one little quibble is that the pufferfish and tapa lamps, which are gorgeous, are lined up a little to neatly for my taste — I prefer a look that gives the impression of items added over time, one where there’s a sense of discovery as you see things you hadn’t seen before. That may be Robert’s way of marrying the midcentury modern booths and seating to the inherently flotsam & jetsam-driven world of tiki. It sounds like there’s more work to be done before they open though, so maybe more stuff is going up on the ceiling. Overall, the place looks really inviting.

There’s still no final word on what date Thatch will be open to the public (Saturday is not looking likely, but the opening is definitely imminent). Visit Critiki to see the all the pictures, and thanks to Heather and Noel for sharing them so quickly!

UPDATE: Thatch will be open for regular business starting next Wednesday, January 10.

December 30, 2006

Sven Kirsten’s Tiki Modern Coming in 2007

Filed under: News,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:10 am
Sven Kirsten's Tiki Modern
Sven Kirsten’s Tiki Modern

Sven Kirsten’s much-anticipated follow-up to 2000′s The Book of Tiki is nearly ready to go to press. The title is Tiki Modern and the Wild World of Witco, and Amazon’s site in the UK (but not in the US) is offering pre-sales (hence this snazzy sneak peek at the cover). Amazon is offering it at £16.49 (that’s about $32 US). By the time the book is actually printed later into the new year (Amazon lists March 2007, Sven says summer is more likely), I’m sure it’ll be available domestically, so there’s no need to pre-order from across the pond, unless that floats your boat for some reason. I won’t judge.

Sven’s first book introduced the world of Polynesian Pop to the general populace, and painted a lovely picture of the depth and breadth of its influence. His newest volume expands a bit, and explores the juxtoposition of midcentury modern with midcentury primitive — in particular, the art and furniture of William Westenhaver, whose pieces produced under the name of Witco already command high prices (sure to rise once this new book arrives).

Nod to Trader Woody for the heads-up.


Suggest an Item
About Humuhumu
Humuhumu
hello@humuhumu.com
http://www.humuhumu.com
Humuhumu is the creator of several tiki websites. She is a designer and programmer based out of San Francisco.

Humuhumu
- Website Design and Programming

Critiki
- A Worldwide Guide to Tiki Bars & Polynesian Restaurants

Ooga-Mooga
- Tiki Mugs & More: Track & View Collections




Events

Categories

Links

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.hanfordlemoore.com
Blog from the user interface designer extraordinaire

Critiki
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

Humuhumu.com
I build websites

Junkyard Clubhouse
Random interesting things from Humuhumu & Hanford Lemoore

Kevin Kidney
Kevin loves tiki, I love Kevin, you will too

Konakai
Tiki links galore

Mai Tai Online
Montreal-based tiki ‘zine

Ooga-Mooga
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



Archives
Feeds