Entries in the 'News' Category

September 18, 2006

Opportunity to Comment on Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s Demolition

Filed under: History,Los Angeles,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 1:58 pm
Entrance to Beverly Hills Trader Vic's
Entrance to Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s

The city of Beverly Hills has released a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the proposed re-development of the Beverly Hilton hotel, which currently houses the Beverly Hills Trader Vic’s. As previously reported here, here, and here, the current plans call for the demolition of the tower holding Trader Vic’s, to make room for luxury condominiums. A public scoping meeting is scheduled for tonight:

Monday, Sept 18th, 2006
6:30 to 8:30pm
Public Library Auditorium, Second Floor
444 North Rexford Drive
Beverly Hills, CA

The outline of the plan will be given at tonight’s meeting, and the public will have an opportunity to comment. If you can’t get to the meeting tonight, fear not: the city is also requesting written comments. The comments should be sent ASAP, as the EIR begins on October 11. Here’s the address:

City of Beverly Hills
Department of Community Development
455 North Rexford Drive, Room G-40
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Attn: Donna Jerex, Senior Planner

Emailed comments can be sent to HiltonHotelComments@beverlyhills.org

September 7, 2006

La Mariana Up for Sale

Filed under: Hawaii,History,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:22 pm
Annette Nahinu at La Mariana, photo by Gregory Yamamoto for the Honolulu Advertiser
Annette Nahinu at La Mariana, photo by Gregory Yamamoto for the Honolulu Advertiser

Annette Nahinu, owner of Honolulu’s La Mariana Sailing Club, is looking to sell. La Mariana is a longtime institution, the last of the true old-style tiki bars still in operation on the island. Nahinu is turning 92 later this month, and wants to ensure La Mariana will continue after she’s gone; she has no heirs, and needs to make plans now before it’s too late. She plans to donate some of the proceeds from the sale to the University of Connecticut, her alma mater; she says it was the only university willing to admit her. One of her special terms: she wants to continue to live in the apartment home above La Mariana until she dies.

One of the regulars quoted in a Honolulu Advertiser article says:

It’s the last authentic taste of Hawai’i… It’s the absolute, true feel of old Hawai’i.

This is interesting, since La Mariana, like the many other restaurants, hotels and nightclubs that sprung up in Hawaii during the heavy tourist years of the 1950s and 1960s, wasn’t authentic Hawaiian — it was manufactured to deliver on visitors’ idealized expectations of Hawaii. These expectations were partially set by tourists’ visits to Polynesian restaurants back home — which in turn had their basis in the minds of Hollywood-type decorators and designers, probably more than any actual knowledge of the then-exotic islands. The restaurants and bars of Honolulu did, however, develop their own local character that set them apart from their mainland forebears, thanks especially to the wonderful musical performances there, and the unique social world of the people who lived and worked there. La Mariana likely does deliver a feel of old Hawaii, if your definition of “old Hawaii” is the middle of the last century.

La Mariana was opened by Annette Nahinu more than 50 years ago, and it has become a sort of resting place of Waikiki’s storied Polynesian Pop past; tikis there came from the Sheraton’s Kon-Tiki, lamps came from the Trader Vic’s, and tables and chairs came out of the Don the Beachcomber. It’s all a bit worse for the wear, but thank goodness it’s still somewhere to be admired and enjoyed. With luck, someone who respects the history represented at La Mariana will purchase it and ensure its continued longevity.

September 6, 2006

Jasmine Tree Tiki Decor Going to Thatch

Filed under: History,News,Portland,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:26 pm
Jasmine Tree tikis, originally from the Portland Kon-Tiki
Jasmine Tree tikis, originally from the Portland Kon-Tiki

The questions surrounding the future of Portland’s Jasmine Tree appear to have largely been answered. Due to urban redevelopment, the Jasmine Tree had the choice of shutting down or relocating, but has to be out of its current location by the end of October. The search for a new location has not been successful; there is still a slim chance that the restaurant could move, but if it does, it won’t have a tiki theme. The owners of the Jasmine Tree have agreed to sell the tiki decor to Robert Volz, who is opening a new tiki bar in northeast Portland, called Thatch. Volz had worked with the Jasmine Tree owners to try to find them a new location; he plans to use much of the decor in Thatch, and may sell some of the decor to fellow Portland-area tikiphiles and Tiki Centralites.

While the Jasmine Tree is not my favorite tiki bar, it is very notable for its decor. The items aren’t presented in the greatest way, but they have a great pedigree — much of it came from the Portland Kon-Tiki when it closed. Most striking is the set of three large cannibal tikis in the picture above, as seen in many menus from Steve Crane’s Kon-Tiki locations, and also Steve Crane’s Luau in Beverly Hills. The prospect of these tikis, and other Kon-Tiki decor, continuing to be available for the public to see (and perhaps in an even better environment) is good news.

Thatch’s opening date has not yet been announced, but it sounds like work is very far along, and the bar will hopefully be opening soon.

August 2, 2006

Hanford Lemoore Adds Image Uploading to Tiki Central

Filed under: News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:25 am
I heart Hanford Lemoore
I ♥ Hanford Lemoore

Late last night (or early this morning, depending on your sleeping habits and which coast you’re on), Hanford Lemoore rolled out a very cool new feature on Tiki Central, one that’s already going over huge with Tiki Centralites. When creating a post, you can now upload images from your computer right onto Tiki Central, and Tiki Central gives you the BBCode you need to put the picture into your post — just copy and paste.

Previously, users had to find another service to host their images (usually the very-cruddy Shutterfly, which cuts the edges off of pictures, compresses them poorly, and gives a small image), and then figure out what the right URL was for the pictures (not always a straightforward thing), and then write out the BBCode to make the image work in the post. Not rocket science, but a major pain in the keister, especially for those who only have to do it once in a blue moon.

The change should make it much easier for folks to show off pictures of their latest creation, their latest cool thift store score, their latest trip to their favorite tiki outpost, or their latest novelty-album-that-attracts-traffic-from-porn-blogs. Mucho mahalos, Hanford!

August 1, 2006

New Trader Vic’s Concept: Mai Tai Bars

Filed under: Continental Europe,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 5:59 pm
Trader Vic's Mai Tai Bar
Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Bar

I learned on the Tiki Talk blog about Trader Vic’s intention of starting a new line of their restaurants, called Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Bars. They’re scaled-back versions of Trader Vic’s restaurants, featuring a large drink menu, but a very small food menu centered on appetizers, with a few sandwichy-type items. Most notably absent is the hallmark Chinese ovens; these suckers are large and not easy to install, work with, or design around, so while it feels sad to see a Chinese oven-less Trader Vic’s, it does make sense.

In theory, the scaled-back concept could also be installed in smaller locations, which would hopefully be a lower risk to the company and any franchise investors, and could weather the stormy restaurant business a bit better. Most intriguing to me: a smaller size means the decorating budget goes a lot further; sadly, the concept sketches on the Trader Vic’s website look disappointingly bland (although they indicate an intention to have some nice, big tikis at these Mai Tai Bars). A March 2006 article in Nation’s Restaurant News stated that the new Mai Tai Bars are aiming for a 50-50 ratio between food and beverage sales, vs. 60% food to 40% drinks at a typical Trader Vic’s.

As earlier reported on Humu Kon Tiki, Trader Vic’s Palo Alto relaunched its bar area as a “Mai Tai Bar,” which made no sense at the time — the changes to the space were laughably minimal, the only real change was the addition of a few boring items to the food menu (woodfired pizza?). While I’m still a bit puzzled by the Palo Alto remodel effort, it does make a bit more sense now if they were using it as a sort of test ground for the Mai Tai Bar concept, as an attempt to appeal to an after-work crowd.

Another interesting angle to all this: Palo Alto Trader Vic’s has had some pretty decent live music in the bar area, and it looks like this is another part of the new Mai Tai Bar concept.

The first official Mai Tai Bar has opened just outside of Estepona, Spain; no word yet on what it’s like. Any tiki-lovin’ Spaniards care to report?

Lots o’ Hukilau News

Filed under: Events,Ft. Lauderdale & Miami,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 4:28 pm
Postcard from the Yankee Clipper
Postcard from the Yankee Clipper

A bunch of important announcements about this year’s Hukilau:

Sunday Schedule Announced
Here are the activities for Sunday, Oct. 8, to take place at the Yankee Clipper’s Ballroom A from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.:

  • Sven Kirsten – Book of Tiki
  • Jeff Beachbum Berry – Grog Log/Intoxica/Taboo Table
  • Otto Von Stroheim – Tiki Art Now 1 & 2 and soon to com 3!/Tiki News
  • Charles Phoenix – Americana the Beautiful/Southern Californialand/ God Bless Americana/Southern California in the ’50s
  • Also meet Tiki artists Crazy Al, Basement Kahuna, Derek Yaniger, Pooch and Hukilau performers such as I Belli Di Waikiki as you have a chance to purchase CDs and merchandise
  • Storytime with Aunt Bungy! Bungy plans to have her new book Top of the Mast available, as well as reprints of the old Eli Hedley catalog.
  • Video from previous years’ Hukilau events, and a last chance to look at the Mai Kai photo exhibit

Also, due to the incredibly quick sell out of the Beachbum Berry Mixology seminar, a second, identical seminar has been added for Sunday, at 2 p.m. at the Yankee Clipper. Like the first seminar, seating is very limited, and tickets must be purchased separately.

Last Chance for Tickets at Discount Pricing
The scheduled ticket price increase that was set for August 1 has been pushed back — you now have until the end of the day this Thursday, August 3 to get tickets at the current discount pricing — the full pricing rolls out this Friday.

Mai Kai Nearing Sell-Out
There are only a few seats still available for the first seating of the dinner show at the Mai Kai, and the second seating is half-gone… remember that your Hukilau passes don’t get you a seat at the Mai Kai! You must call the Mai Kai to make your dinner reservations.

Yankee Clipper Rooms Available
The Bahia Cabana has completely sold out, but the Yankee Clipper (which is where much of Hukilau is taking place) still has rooms available. Yankee Clipper rooms cost a smidge more, but the discount available through the Hukilau can’t be beat, and it’s going to be far, far more comfortable in the gross Florida humidity. Besides, it’s right across the street, which means you’re practically at the Cabana anyhow, and won’t be missing out on any of the always-fabulous Cabana room parties.

We found the above postcard from the Yankee Clipper a few weeks ago at an antique mall, and we couldn’t pass it up.

To get your Hukilau tickets and learn how to make your hotel and Mai-Kai reservations, visit the Hukilau website.

July 27, 2006

Tiki Magazine: New Issue, New Website

Filed under: News,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 7:38 pm
Tiki Magazine Summer 2006
Tiki Magazine Summer 2006

Tiki Magazine’s Summer 2006 issue has been released, with cover art by none other than Shag. Even cooler than that — the cover depicts Southern California Polynesian Pop revival legend Bosko Hrnjak; both Shag and Bosko are profiled in this issue, which I’m betting is going to be a very hot seller.

More exciting news from Tiki Magazine — they have a new website, created by your old pal Humuhumu! Tiki Magazine publisher Nick Camara requested something “fun, bright and tropical,” which launched me in a slightly different direction than the other websites I’ve created (though I strive to make sure all the websites look different; it’s important to me that the sites I create don’t look like “another Humuhumu site,” and instead reflect my customer’s image). My inspiration this time around was a very bright and beautiful A-line dress from the ’60s in my collection.

New Tiki Magazine website
New Tiki Magazine website

Check out the Tiki Magazine website to see more about the current issue, puchase back issues & fine Tiki Mag swag, and of course — to get your subscription!

June 4, 2006

San Francisco: The 6th Annual Tiki Central Tiki Crawl

Filed under: Events,News,San Francisco,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:17 pm

The dates have been announced for the sixth annual Tiki Central Tiki Crawl in San Francisco — it’s happening the weekend of July 21-23, 2006. This is the only official Tiki Central event, designed for TCers to meet each other in the city with the highest-density high-quality Polynesian Pop in the world. The first one happened in early 2001, making it the longest-lived of all the annual tiki gatherings. It’s a little different each year, and with the opening of two outstanding new tiki bars in the East Bay in the past year, there’s a fresh abundance of tiki to be seen. Details about the crawl have not yet been announced, but save the date — whether you’re a local or you’ll be coming in from out of town, it’s a great way to see all the tiki that the Bay Area has to offer!

June 3, 2006

Ft. Lauderdale: The Hukilau 2006

Filed under: Events,Ft. Lauderdale & Miami,News,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 4:41 pm
Website for Hukilau 2006
Website for Hukilau 2006

The website for the Hukilau was launched just a couple of days ago, and tickets are now available for purchase! The event — the fifth year of Hukilau — will take place October 5-8, 2006, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The annual Hukilau event has always been eagerly anticipated, but the interest in this year’s event has been especially high, as it is also the celebration of the 50th year of the Mai-Kai, which is without a doubt the finest of all Polynesian Pop palaces. Those who have already experienced and fallen in love with the Mai-Kai are saying they won’t miss this event, and those who have been wanting to make it to the Tiki Mecca are making this the year.

A new addition to the Hukilau roster this year is a series of special presentations by tiki luminaries:

  • Sven Kirsten – The author of The Book of Tiki will be presenting a preview of his next book, with his talk “Tiki Modern and the Wild World of Witco”
  • Jeff “Beachbum” Berry – The author of the Grog Log, Intoxica! and Taboo Table will be presenting “Mixology 101: The Beachbum on the Beachcomber” – a look at the drinks of Don the Beachcomber, complete with live mixing and drink samples for the audience
  • Geoff Sundstrom – The Florida resident, tiki collector and urban archaeologist will be talking about the unique history of Polynesian Pop in the Sunshine State, complete with rare views of items from his extensive collection of postcards, brochures and other items
  • Jeff Chenault – Music historian and Exotica DJ Jeff Chenault will be offering reflections on the history of Exotica music, from its genesis to today’s performers

Plus, the Mai-Kai family is making available one-of-a-kind images and items from their archives to create a special exhibit, “The Mai-Kai: A Look at the Past.” This exhibit will be on display adjacent to the Tiki Bazaar, where unqiue tiki items will be on sale from a variety of vendors (including the event mug, created this year by Munktiki!).

Musically, Hukilau will not disappoint, either — past favorites I Belli di Waikiki are returning, all the way from Italy, and in a very special performance, California band APE will be joined by their own hero and inspiration, the great Billy Mure. Other performers will include the Haole Kats, the Intoxicators, Combo Mahalo and Selector Lopaka. Non-musical performances that are not-to-be-missed: Charles Phoenix will be giving a slide presentation (Charles was a breakout hit last year), and burlesque by Torchy Taboo.

The centerpiece of the event is of course a magical evening spent at the Mai-Kai itself. Each year, the Mai-Kai staff (which is huge — large enough to form not just a softball team, but an entire league) looks forward to this event, and they really put their heart into making the night special for their guests, even creating special dance routines just for that night. For many who have spent time at the Mai-Kai during Hukilau, it is the very definition of “enchantment.” They really go all-out, and with this being their 50th anniversary, it will be rarefied air that night.

Tickets are going quickly, especially for the special guest speakers, where room for attendees is limited. Everything you need to know to get yourself to Hukilau is at the website — this year, there is a handy-dandy Hukilau To-Do List, to walk you through getting your tickets, your lodging and your Mai-Kai reservations. I was extraordinarily honored to be asked by Tiki Kiliki to do this year’s website, and I’m so glad I finally get to spill the event details! Tiki Kiliki will be keeping a blog on the Hukilau website, be sure to stay tuned to hear more about this once-in-a-lifetime event.

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.

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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