Entries in the 'People' Category

April 7, 2007

Beachbum Berry’s Grog Blog

Filed under: Drinks,History,News,People,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:16 pm
Sippin' Safari, by Jeff Berry
Sippin’ Safari, by Jeff Berry

Tikiphiles have been anxiously awaiting Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s new book, Sippin’ Safari, for many months now. The release is finally drawing near, and Berry will be giving seminars at both Hukilau and Tiki Oasis this summer. Now comes another exciting development: Beachbum Berry’s Grog Blog. Yep, Jeff has added a blog to the site. Welcome to blogland, ‘bum!

I’m incredibly excited for Sippin’ Safari. Jeff has put incredible effort into rooting out the history of Polynesian Pop. It’s a colorful history, and has been well-documented in images — but there are a lot of stories to be told, and Jeff has been finding them, and documenting them. Those who were at Jeff’s seminar at last year’s Hukilau got a taste of what Sippin’ Safari holds. This is not a recipe book (though some recipes are included — thanks to his tireless efforts to track down original bartenders). This is a book about how tiki came to be — not about the world it grew up in, but how it actually, really came to be — how Don the Beachcomber built his dream into something that sparked the imagination of the era.

So, it’ll be really cool. You can preorder it now at SLG Publishing, and be sure to catch Beachbum Berry in person at Hukilau or Tiki Oasis if you can. And read his blog!

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.

November 14, 2006

Miles Thompson Loves Tikis & Tatas

Filed under: Art,People,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 4:57 pm
Wahahine, by Miles Thompson
Wahahine, by Miles Thompson

Miles Thompson is one of my favorite artists. His sense and use of color and shapes is reminiscent of another favorite of mine, Mary Blair. This piece is titled Wahahine, and it’s a monster at 4′ x 2′. It was part of the recent Tiki Art Now III show at Roq la Rue in Seattle, and it’s sold. In its very shrunken form here, you’re missing all kinds of Milesy goodness — click on it to see it a bit bigger. Go on, do it. I haven’t seen this one in person, but I’m sure it’s breathtaking — the color and detail on Miles’ stuff never really comes through unless you’re seeing it in person.

At first glance, Miles’ pieces can seem simple, even cartoonish (he does have a background in animation, after all), but as any animation fiend will tell you, there can be a lot buried beneath the surface. Miles’ compositions look casual, but their is a lot of intent in each one, and stories to be found in them. In one of Miles’ earlier tiki pieces, he painted a very simple nighttime skyline of Waikiki using just a few strokes of paint — and it instantly transported me to the Waikiki nights I knew as a child many, many years go.

Miles is also one of my favorite people — when I was new to Los Angeles, Miles and his friends were one of the very first groups to take me in as one of their own, which was an incredible stroke of luck for me. Not only did it open up all sorts of fascinating and wonderful things to me (like getting to meet and sit for the most astounding artists, like Michael Hussar and Kevin Llewellyn, and of course Miles himself), but his friendship was a much needed rudder for me as I figured my new life out. Whether it was over instant messenger or over drinks at Tiki-Ti (always a Chi-Chi for Miles, and on the rocks, ever since the Great Tiki-Ti Power Outage of Ought-Four), Miles has always been there for me, with an ear, a shoulder, and wise, wise words.

To see more of Miles’ work, visit his blog, or his website, or his MySpace page. At the moment, Miles has a photo atop his blog of some mysterious woman with one of his tank tops stretched across her tatas (or, as Miles insists, her “beautiful bosom”). They sure look familiar…

October 3, 2006

2001 Bosko Documentary

Filed under: Art,People,San Diego,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:43 am

“Bosko,” a short documentary by Paul Desjarlais, 2001

This short film is a documentary on Bosko Hrnjak, the famed San Diego tiki carver. He shares he goes about making his creations, how his interest in tiki was sparked, how it expanded over time, and toward the end of the film, he speaks eloquently about the importance of Tiki as a cultural art form. The 7-1/2 minute film was produced in 2001 by Paul Desjarlais, with music by Bosko’s wife, Truus De Groot.

September 26, 2006

Picasso’s Collection of African & Oceanic Art

Filed under: Art,History,People,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:12 am
Picasso with his Marquesan tiki
Picasso with his Marquesan tiki

At the end of October, Prestel Publishing is releasing a detailed book by Peter Stepan about Picasso’s love affair with African and Oceanic art. Here he is on the cover of the book, with a Marquesan tiki he was particularly fond of (can’t blame him!). The tikis and other items from his collection now reside in museums and also in the private collections of his family members, and many of them have been photographed and described in detail for this book. The list price for the book will be $85, but Amazon is offering pre-orders for $53.55. Tip of the hat to Aaron’s Akua for the heads-up. You can learn more about Picasso’s Marquesan tiki on this thread at Tiki Central.

September 9, 2006

Deluxe Custom Lamps by Kahaka

Filed under: Art,People,Perfect Tiki Bar,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 3:51 pm
Volcano lamp by Kahaka
Volcano lamp by Kahaka

Bay-area artist Kahaka makes some of the best lamps for tiki bars out there. He makes them custom, and uses bamboo and tapa cloth, re-creating some of the best traditional styles, and also coming up with some of his own. His lamps have been hung in professional and home tiki bars around the globe, including the Kahiki Moon in Vermont, the Tabou Tiki Room in Berlin, Kona Club in Oakland and Forbiden Island in Alameda. This lamp is in a volcano shape, with tapa cloth sides, and crosscut bamboo rings for the base, and can be seen hanging at Forbidden Island.

Eight-sided lamp by Kahaka
Eight-sided lamp by Kahaka

Like the ones mentioned in my post about Orchids of Hawaii lamps, Kahaka’s lamps are very much in line with the lamps I mentioned in my Perfect Tiki Bar: the Lighting article; unlike Orchids of Hawaii, which is long out-of-business, Kahaka’s lamps can be purchased today. Lamps like these go a long way to setting the perfect, exotic mood, and are a must-have item for a good tiki bar. A photo gallery of Kahaka’s work can be seen on Yahoo, and he also has a thread of his creations on Tiki Central. If you’d like to have Kahaka create one of his wonderful lamps for your home or restaurant, you can contact him at jchadgreenwood@aol.com, or by sending him a PM on Tiki Central.

September 4, 2006

Australian Tiki Carver Marcus Thorn

Filed under: Art,Australia & New Zealand,People,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:17 am
Maori-style carving by Marcus Thorn
Maori-style carving by Marcus Thorn
Aussie tiki carver, Marcus Thorn
Aussie tiki carver, Marcus Thorn

This past spring, I had the great pleasure of spending a few days with Tiki Beat‘s Marcus Thorn, and his wife Yvette. Marcus is a fantastic tiki carver, he’s been making a living at his art the past decade-plus — he is in high demand in his native Australia, and his tikis have found homes all over the globe. Marcus and Yvette have been a fixture in Australia’s rockabilly scene for ages, and are very happy that Australia is finally developing a bit of a tiki scene, as well. A bit over a year ago, Marcus joined in with the band of merry carvers at Tiki Central, and has been sharing in-progress pictures of many of his carvings on a thread of his own. Marcus and Yvette are incredibly gracious people, and care a lot about giving their customers the best bang for their tiki-buying buck — every year they host a great big luau for their friends and customers at their ranch/estate outside Brisbane.

August 29, 2006

Three Books from the Beachcombing Hedley Family

Filed under: History,Los Angeles,People,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:47 pm
Three books from the beachcombing Hedley family
Three books from the beachcombing Hedley family

The family of Eli Hedley have three books newly available:

View from the Top of the Mast, by Bungy Hedley
If you’ve read her tales here or on Tiki Central, then you know she’s got some fantastic stories of an adventure-filled life to share. This book only covers her life growing up in the wacky Hedley clan, up until her early 20s, but it covers journeys to Hawaii, Tahiti and points beyond, not to mention her experiences on the California coast, growing up in one of Hollywood’s favorite hideouts.

How Daddy Became a Beachcomber, by Marilyn Hedley, illustrated by Flo Ann Hedley
This book was published in 1947, but has been out of print for many years, and has become very rare and sought-after. The family is offering reprints of this book, told by Hedley daughter Marily (Bungy’s sister).

Eli Hedley Beachcomber, 1943 Catalog (Reprint)
This is a reprint of Eli Hedley’s catalog of wares, with charming ink illustrations of the unusual items he offered. During WWII, Eli’s wares were used in decorating many bars, restaurants, hotels and homes, and he was especially favored in Hollywood. He was responsible for the decor is some of the most famous tiki bars, and the back pages of the catalog include a thick addendum of black & white photos of his tikis, his shop, the family homestead, and a 1943 article from Life Magazine.

The books are available now, and can be ordered from Amazon, from the book publisher, or from Bungy herself, if you’d like an autographed copy. Full details are on this thread at Tiki Central.

April 14, 2006

Los Angeles: Ten Years of Crazy Al, La Luz de Jesus

Filed under: Art,Events,Los Angeles,People,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:32 pm
Crazy Al's Tiki #3, King Tiki
Crazy Al’s Tiki #3, King Tiki

This fall, a Ten Year Retrospective of Crazy Al’s tiki works will be held at La Luz de Jesus gallery in Los Angeles. It takes place on Friday, October 13, and there will be a commemorative mug of Crazy Al’s tiki #3, King Tiki (pictured to the right). Seeing Crazy Al’s early tikis helps one understand just how excellent an artist Crazy Al is — he was producing detailed, balanced, gorgeous tikis right out of the gate. His recent masterpiece, “Tiki Lee Tree,” is five tikis in one: Tikis #107 through #111. As mentioned earlier, it’s on the cover of the latest Tiki Magazine, and the tikis’ owner has just shared pictures of it in its home. When he’s not busy carving tikis, he’s engaged in any number of other creative tiki endeavors: mug design, singing in the band APE, or working on the decor of a new tiki bar (like Hale Tiki, Kona Club and Puka Bar). My personal favorite thing about Crazy Al is that he’s a dancin’ fool. He’s truly talented.

Before the October La Luz show, Crazy Al’s Ten Year Retrospective will also be shown in August at the previously mentioned Long Beach Tiki Fest, and at Bird in San Francisco (details TBA).

April 8, 2006

Artwork by Heather Watts

Filed under: Art,People,Shopping,Tiki,Vancouver, B.C. — Humuhumu @ 1:09 pm
False Idols, by Heather Watts
False Idols, by Heather Watts

Vancouver, B.C. artist Heather Watts excels at creating exotic moods. With her moody use of light, she’s able to create an air of mystery and intrigue, while also injecting her own sense of humor through the use of anthropomorphized monkeys and tigers. Heather has announced that she’ll soon be moving her online website from theartdeck.com to heatherwatts.com. After the move, her print prices will be going up slightly, so now is a great time to take advantage of her low print prices.

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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