Entries in the 'People' Category

October 20, 2010

Viva Kate!

Filed under: History,People,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 3:32 pm

It’s been a hard month. Tiki-Kate was sick for a long time, but she was so darned tough that we couldn’t help but be optimistic that she was going to eventually be okay. When we got word that her cancer was incurable, we’d hoped to still have some time with her, maybe even some great time once the chemo had left her system a bit. Sadly, it was not to be; Kate passed in only a few days.

She had enough time to do a bit of planning, and she let her wishes be known: she wanted lots of aloha wear at her memorial service, and she wanted a luau. Her family and friends gathered at her sister’s house, and we had a wonderful time sharing our joys and our sorrows and our memories.

Before Kate passed, I told her my plan to create a website for her, to be a tribute to all the wonderful things she had done for tiki. A great big celebration, a great big going away present. She got to hear about it, but she didn’t get to see it. I’m utterly crushed about that.

This has been pretty difficult. It’s hard to code when you want to cry. But it helped a lot, too… I spent a lot of time luxuriating in the wonderful Kateness still left in the world.

Here it is… a celebration of Tiki-Kate, called Viva Kate!*

Viva Kate!Viva Kate! A celebration of Katherine “Tiki-Kate” Simmons

Kate was particular about getting facts right, and boy did I love that about her. Personally, I would love for her to become a larger-than-life figure, a Paul Bunyan of tiki (and I’ve already seen some of that happening)… but on Viva Kate, I want the facts. It makes it feel more like it’s her site that way. I’ve had some assistance already with some corrections, but I’d love it if anyone out there could help me if they see anything that isn’t quite right, or if there’s anything that’s been left out that should really be included.

Time will trundle on, and new people will encounter the information that only exists because Tiki-Kate put it out there. I hope Viva Kate will help them understand where it came from; that this wonderful woman—who didn’t even know them—wanted to share a bit of beauty with them.

Mahalo, Tiki-Kate! I miss you too, too much.

* I originally wanted to call the site “Tiki-Kate, Fuck Yeah!” But that didn’t seem quite right… she said “fudge” a lot, but I don’t know that I ever heard her swear quite that readily. So maybe “Tiki-Kate, Fudge Yeah!” is the sort of unofficial alternate name.

September 22, 2010

Aloha Oe, Tiki-Kate

Filed under: People,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 3:07 pm

I lost my Ooga-Mooga better half today. Tiki-Kate passed away around noon. I got to see her, hold her, tell her I love her this past Saturday. I have much to say about Kate, but right this moment, I’m too wrecked. But I am going to put on my brightest aloha wear, because she told me that’s what she wanted.

Mahalo nui loa for everything, my darling Kate.

August 29, 2010

Hey La, Hey La, My Gecko’s Back

Filed under: Art,People,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:53 am
My beloved Gecko tiki has returned home!

In 2002, the artist Gecko was so excited about having recently joined the Tiki Central community that he offered to create a limited edition Tangaroa wall panel for anyone at Tiki Central who wanted one. It was offered at a very generous price for such a large panel: only $60. It would become the first of many limited edition artworks from Gecko (back then, a limited edition of 50 items of anything would sell out in weeks, not minutes), and it generated not only a flurry of interest, but also some very good aloha feelings.

I will put your usernames on them to make them special. So when we grow old and gray or gone [through] the Tikigates of heaven our next [Tikiphiles] will be collecting our wall panels and saying “WOW! Do you see that old TC edition wall panel of Kokomo Tikibar&Grill on ebay”!

- Gecko, Sept. 2002, Tiki Central

Gecko had been carving for several years when he joined Tiki Central, and shortly after making these wall panels he was able to focus on art full-time with Gecko’z South Sea Art. In addition to carving, he now creates beautiful tiki mugs and other ceramic pieces.

I loved my Gecko tiki (#18 of 50), and gave it center stage in my home tiki bar at the time, the Humuhumu Room (the source of my name). When I moved away from Seattle in 2003, I was worried about how it would fare in the storage container, and there wasn’t room for it in my Miata. My dear friend Mimi has held onto it for me all this time. Now that I have room for another home tiki bar, it has returned to me, Modesty Tapa and all!

August 27, 2010

Ozzie & Harriet’s Fancy Luau with Harry Owens

Filed under: Hawaii,History,People,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:27 am

Oh dear… I haven’t spent much time watching Ozzie & Harriet, but based on this 1957 clip I’d say they sure earned that reputation for corniness. If ever there was a party that needed its punch spiked, it’s this weirdly stiff affair.

Thank goodness someone thought to invite Harry Owens to the party. Harry Owens was the bandleader at the legendary Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki, starting in 1934. He had a big role in developing the hapa haole sound that defined “Hawaiian” music for at least a generation, and he enjoyed introducing tourists from the mainland with aspects of traditional Hawaiian culture. He plays that role in this clip, too, by sprinkling the luau with Hawaiian fun facts. It’s a treat to see him in action, and the outfits are pretty covet-worthy, too.

Mahalo to Murph for the tip!

August 16, 2010

Velvet Glass Has Something for Everyone

Filed under: Art,People,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:50 am
Tiki Tray, by Velvet Glass
Tiki Tray, by Velvet Glass

I last mentioned Velvet Glass on Humu Kon Tiki in 2006, when they first started selling their stunning mosaics online. In the intervening four years, their pieces have only gotten better and more inventive; there are some particularly clever pieces that incorporate actual tiki mugs. A trip through the Velvet Glass website is a swell way to spend a Monday afternoon.

In addition to their famous mosaics, they are also creating smaller-scaled pieces like pendants and belt buckles, putting their work within most everyone’s reach. Their pendant version of the Kahiki fireplace logo is sure to be a big hit.

The folks behind Velvet Glass, Mark Bloom and Maggie Rickard, recently spearheaded the Relight the Night event celebrating the return of gas-lit tiki torches at their hometown tiki bar, the Kon Tiki Lounge in Tucson. In addition to being artists of astounding skill, they are also completely awesome people.

Mark and Maggie are vending at this year’s Tiki Oasis; unless you’re a sad stay-at-home tikiphile like me, seek them out and get your own piece of tiki glass!

May 9, 2010

Benefits for Don the Beachcomber Bar Manager Marie King

Filed under: Events,Los Angeles,People,San Francisco,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 8:48 pm

This tiki carved by Jungle Trader from a design by Doug Horne will be auctioned at the NorCal benefit for Marie King

Marie King, much-beloved bar manager at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach, and a very dear friend to many in the tiki community, was injured badly in an automobile accident recently. She’s likely to make a complete recovery, but it’s not going to be easy–she’s a bit more battered and broken than we like to see our friends, and she’s dealing with incredible pain.

In the hopes of easing the financial pains, her friends are rallying behind her in the form of two benefits, in both Southern and Northern California:

Northern California Benefit for Marie King
Thursday, May 13, 7 p.m.
Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge, Alameda
Meshugga Beach Party, the TomorrowMen, raffle, silent auction and a special Marie Cocktail.
More details

Southern California Benefit for Marie King
Sunday, May 30, 2 p.m.
Don the Beachcomber, Huntington Beach
$25 donation gets you a wristband for discounted food & drinks. The Tikiyaki Orchestra, The Eliminators, The Smokin’ Menehunes, The Glasgow Tiki Shakers, OuterWave, The Boardwalkers, Exotiki, The Slacktones, raffle and a silent auction.
More details

June 25, 2008

Hawaiian Eye Tiki Mug by Kevin Kidney

Filed under: Art,History,People,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:47 pm
Hawaiian Eye Mug by Kevin Kidney
Hawaiian Eye Mug by Kevin Kidney

Kevin Kidney is the A#1 lover of all things Hawaiian Eye, the 1959-63 Warner Bros. TV show… he’s also, in my opinion, the A#1 Polynesian Pop artist. No one does Polynesian Pop in true keeping with the midcentury style of the art form like Kevin does.

So this is a natural: a tiki mug, sculpted by Kevin (he paints! he draws! he sculpts! he’s unstoppable!), based on the Hawaiian Eye tiki. Kevin says this is a project in the works, with a squishy estimate of it becoming real in early 2009. It’ll have a bisque finish, and a lid with a straw hole.

Sing it with me now… HAWAIIAN EEEEEEEYE – AH!


Hawaiian Eye show opening

June 11, 2008

Another Woodworker Comes to Tiki, With Lovely Results

Filed under: Art,Atlanta,People,Perfect Tiki Bar,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:36 pm
Tiki bar by Wes Bailey
Tiki bar by Wes Bailey

Tiki bar construction is a bit weird — it’s an effort to intentionally create something that looks a little haphazard, a little goofy, and frankly… a little ugly. Now of course, I find it beautiful — and you probably do, too — but you have to admit, it’s not likely to wind up in the pages of House Beautiful.

I just got a really nice email from a professional woodworker who normally specializes in a much more conventionally refined style, and was asked to create one of these delightful little monsters for the first time:

My name is Wes Bailey, and I am a furniture maker in Atlanta, GA. A few months back, a client came to me and requested that I design and build a Tiki Bar for his basemant renovation. I must confess that, at the time, I was woefully unaware of the well-established sub culture of the Tikiphile. So I did some internet research and came across your terrific site, which helped give me the requisite inspiration to deliver the goods! It turned out great, the customer loved it and hasn’t been sober since, so I view that as a real success.

I have to admit, it makes me warm & squishy. I get lots & lots of really wonderful emails along the lines of this one, and they always make my day… but this one is a favorite because, well, I just really like the bar he built. A lot of credit goes to the owner, who has done a great job decorating the room. But the bar itself is really nice, especially for a right-out-of-the-gate effort. Tikis: check. Not too clean in the design, but still with a sense of balance: check. Organic feel: check. I especially like the detour from the standard thatch roof: wood slats that look like they’ve been through a hell of a storm, and loved it. It floats my outrigger.

May 11, 2007

Fulton Burley, Voice of Tiki Room’s Irish Parrot, Has Passed Away

Filed under: Disney,History,Los Angeles,News,People,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:00 pm
Michael, photo by Biotron2000
Michael, photo by Biotron2000

Fulton Burley, who was the voice of Michael the Irish Parrot at the Enchanted Tiki Room, passed away this past Monday at the age of 84.

Wait, wait, we forgot to wake up the glee club!

Burley was better known for his many performances as the host and master of ceremonies at the long-running Golden Horshoe Revue. Burley was honored as a “Disney Legend” in 1995. He was married to his wife Terry for an amazing 62 years, until she passed this past January.

Laughing Place has a nice, long tribute, with quotes from his performing partner Wally Boag. [via The Disney Blog]

April 25, 2007

The Coconut Monkey Project

Filed under: Art,People,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 3:01 pm
Momma Monkey, by Atomikitty
Momma Monkey, by Atomikitty

Susannah Mosher, a.k.a. Atomikitty, has started a coconut monkey refuge:

Captured and brought to the states as souvenirs of exotic tropical vacations, or with servicemen after their tours of duty in the pacific, these coconut monkeys took up residence in american homes and became an icon of the tiki and cocktail culture of the 50′s and 60′s.

As rumpus rooms and home tiki bars fell out of fashion, so too did the coconut monkey. For decades they have been discarded by their owners, stranded on garage sale and flea market blankets, and forgotten in dusty attics as their coconut husks fray.

Over the past 10 years I have made it my personal mission to seek out these weary travelers and to open my home as a sanctuary for them. Here they are restored to a place of honor among the bamboo, tiki mugs, and exotic rum bottles to be enjoyed and appreciated by all.

Portrait and subject
Portrait and subject

A saintly effort, and worthy of support. How can you help the Coconut Monkey Project? You can buy Atomikitty’s fabulous coconut monkey portraits — each print that is purchased can support up to five coconut monkeys for a year! You can also commision your own coconut monkey portrait, for that special coconut monkey in your life.

Of course, if you know of a coconut monkey in need of a home, you can send it to Atomikitty’s refuge, and rest well in the knowledge that it is leading a better life. If you have any doubts about Atomikitty’s sincerity, and her ability to provide a good tiki environment for these monkeys, know this: aside from being a stellar artist, she is a spiffy tiki bartender, and has served time behind the bar at both the Lucky Tiki and now the Tonga Hut in Los Angeles.

If you’d like to purchase one of Atomikitty’s truly lovely varnished and bamboo-framed coconut monkey prints, they’re available for sale at Yessy.com. If you’d like to keep up with the latest goings-on with the Coconut Monkey Project, check out the official MySpace and blog.


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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.

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