Entries in the 'People' Category

April 5, 2006

Harry S. Truman’s Tropical Side

Filed under: History,People,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:12 pm
Harry S. Truman (seated) and Harry Vaughan, photo from the Truman Library
Harry S. Truman (seated) and Harry
Vaughan, photo from the Truman Library

U.S. President Harry S. Truman’s favored vacation spot was Key West; he first visited on doctor’s orders in November of 1946, and made many return trips. As anyone who has been to Key West can attest, your typical Washington, D.C. casual attire simply will not do in the hot, humid environment, and it wasn’t long before President Truman started looking like a local. His “wild” and “dizzy” shirts did not go unnoticed by the public, and he helped push the popularity of casual sports shirts with outlandish colors and designs. The National Park Service website’s pages for the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site include a featured exhibit on President Truman’s “Key West Uniform”, including several aloha shirts, with maker and size details for each, and accompanied by photos of Truman wearing the shirts. Tip of the Stetson to Cynical-C for the link.

April 3, 2006

King Kukulele’s TV Spot for Satellite Radio

Filed under: Los Angeles,Music,People,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:56 am
Commercial featuring King Kukulele
Commercial featuring King Kukulele

It’s always fun to see a friend get a mention on Boing Boing, and this morning there was a great big mention of a very dear friend, ukulele goofball and all-around-primo emcee King Kukulele. Mark Frauenfelder highlighted this commercial featuring King Kukulele, which pitches satellite radio. It’s a favorite of mine, I’ve seen it several times and I don’t get tired of it (which as Mark points out, makes the whole concept of the commercial not really hold water). As fun as it is to see King on Boing Boing, I should have seen this at the same place Mark found it, Ukulelia, a very excellent blog for and by ukulele lovers. But then, I really should have remembered seeing this at the same place Ukulelia spotted it, which is King Kukulele’s own website. I was introduced to this great little commercial when it was played at one of King Kukulele’s very fun Tiki Taix events, which happen on the last Friday of every month at Taix French Restaurant (1911 Sunset Blvd.) in Los Angeles. Regardless of where or when I should have brought it to you, my dear readers, here it is, in all its dancin’, prancin’, ukulele strummin’ glory. Enjoy!

March 17, 2006

Tiki Jay One, Urban Landscapist

Filed under: Art,People,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 6:56 pm
by Tiki Jay One
by Tiki Jay One

Los Angeles-based graffiti artist Tiki Jay One has created works up and down the west coast, with most of his pieces visible in the South Bay area. Many of his works feature aspects of Polynesian Pop, most notably his squared-off moai logo. He uses a variety of techniques, but most of his work is in stark black-and-white, using intricate stencils. Above is a sculpture of Tiki Jay’s logo done in 250 pounds of concrete, 20 feet above sea level. The picture was taken at Venice Beach in early January 2006. Tiki Jay has been featured in Time magazine, and he had a solo show at Walled City gallery in June 2005.

March 15, 2006

Astounding Tiki Art by Flounder

Filed under: Art,People,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 7:56 pm
Marquesas, by Flounder
Marquesas, by Flounder

Scott Scheidly, a.k.a. Flounder, is an excellent Florida-based artist, whose works have themes of pop culture, often mixed with the mythologies of various cultures. He has a variety of styles, from stunning photorealistic works to abstracts, and does a lot of interesting mixed-media pieces. I’m fortunate to own two pieces by Flounder. The piece at the left, Marquesas, was created by Flounder for the Tiki Art Now show in San Francisco in 2004. The piece originally was sold with a simple box at the bottom filled with wood chips, but somehow it came again in Flounder’s possession. It had sustained some damage, and Flounder put it in a wooden frame and offered it for sale again — this time I was able to snap it up. The tiki almost looks plasticene in its realism, sort of hyper-realistic.

The other Flounder item that I own is a cigar-box purse. The tiki face painted on the front is from a tiki mug. When seen in person, it looks like a photograph; more than once I’ve seen people only believe it’s painted when scrutinizing it very closely. Flounder is incredibly skilled.

Tiki is only one small aspect of Flounder’s broad work, and all of his work is truly excellent. Truth be told, I think I actually like his non-Tiki work even better — his skills are on clear display in his tiki stuff, but I find his other works to be more compelling art. He’s been in shows all over the country, and his stuff always seems to sell quickly.

I’ve included larger pictures of my Flounder stuff after the jump.


March 13, 2006

Album Frames by Monkeyman

Filed under: Art,People,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 3:12 pm
Album frame by Monkeyman
Album frame by Monkeyman

Carver and artist Monkeyman has been creating detailed, customized wood-carved frames for artwork for a few years now, and his work is truly beautiful. Each frame he creates is uniquely suited to the piece of art it will hold. These hand-crafted works take time, and Monkeyman is looking at something new — doing a larger production of standard-sized frames, designed to perfectly hold vintage album covers. Album cover frames are available out there, but they tend to be pretty basic — but Monkeyman’s ornate frames would work wonderfully in any home tiki setup, and will likely be very affordable. Based on the great interest this has generated, it looks like now is the time to get on Monkeyman’s list for frames.

Bone Carvings by Basement Kahuna

Filed under: Art,People,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:54 pm
Marquesan bone pendant by Basement Kahuna
Marquesan bone pendant
by Basement Kahuna

Carver Basement Kahuna, whose work has been profiled here before, usually works in wood but has started creating intricate pieces from bone. He’s currently taking orders for these pieces, in Maori and Marquesan styles, for completion this spring. I don’t know how much they run, but whatever the price they’re likely worth it — BK’s work is top-notch. If you’d like to place an order, send Basement Kahuna a personal message through Tiki Central.

February 14, 2006

Amazing Tiki Guest Bedroom by Bamboo Ben

Filed under: People,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:32 pm
Tiki guest bedroom by Bamboo Ben
Tiki guest bedroom by Bamboo Ben

This past summer, northern Californian Tiki Lee contracted Bamboo Ben to create a tiki paradise in his guest bedroom. The space is well-suited, with a tall, vaulted ceiling just screaming out for bamboo. Armed with supplies from Whittier’s venerable Oceanic Arts, Ben transformed the space completely. The result is fantastic, with so many impressive and creative little details and touches… right down to the inside of the closet and the private bathroom. It’s hard to believe this has been created especially for guests, and not for Tiki Lee’s own use! That’s hospitality.

This year Bamboo Ben been kept very busy with custom jobs like Tiki Lee’s, and much of his work has been for new and old tiki bars (his work on Oakland’s Kona Club has been highlighted previously on Humu Kon Tiki). If you’d like a bit of Ben for your own home, swing by his storefront in Huntington Beach, where you can buy tiki bars of all sizes, signs, and furniture, or chat about custom work. We’ve got two Bamboo Ben bars here at home, and they are very solid and gorgeous showpieces.

December 30, 2005

Stolen Tiki Alert: Polynesiac Tikis in Long Beach

Filed under: Art,Los Angeles,News,People,Stolen Tiki Alert,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 6:37 pm
Two Polynesiac tikis recently stolen in Long Beach
Two Polynesiac tikis recently stolen in Long Beach

Tiki carver and artist Polynesiac has learned that two of his tikis have been stolen from a store in Long Beach. The tikis had been put on consignment there, and were reportedly stolen along with many other items in the store. Each of the two tikis are about two feet tall and about 3/4 of a foot wide, and carved from Mexican fan palm. They are stained a dark color and sealed with a shiny clear coat. The two tikis are pictured above — on the left is “Tangaroa” and on the right is three different views of “Marquesan Tattoo.” If you see these tikis call Polynesiac (Jim) on his cell phone at (310) 971-5068.

December 28, 2005

Homemade Tiki Creations by ‘OnaTiki

Filed under: Art,People,San Diego,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:26 am
Tiki carved by 'OnaTiki
Tiki carved by ‘OnaTiki

San Diego tikiphile ‘OnaTiki shares a very impressive home tiki retreat (“bar” wouldn’t cover it) with his wife, Moki. ‘OnaTiki has applied his creative talents to a number of projects for their home, including many lamps of exactly the sort I mentioned earlier today. Tons of them — enough to stock a showroom, and all top-notch. He’s shared them, including some how-tos, in a Creating Tiki thread on Tiki Central. Other projects he has shared on his thread include trim pieces, flat panels, and palm-frond tikis. More recently he has thrown himself at carving tikis, with excellent early results. He had carved tikis before, but without proper tools, the projects were slow going; he recently invested in some new chisels, and he’s having a great time hacking away. Right now, he’s sharing progress photos on his latest carving project, an ornate log drum. Even only partway done, it’s looking like it will be a real showpiece. The drum is hollowed out, and he says it “sounds pretty good too.” Like most Creating Tiki threads, ‘OnaTiki has engaged in lots of helpful Q&A on his pieces, and there are lots of lovely and inspirational photos.

December 21, 2005

Storytime with Aunt Bungy

Filed under: History,People,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 7:34 pm

The late, great Eli Hedley’s name has been mentioned here before, and can be seen liberally peppered throughout Critiki and Tiki Central. Eli Hedley, the Original Beachcomber, was a fascinating character, and is responsible for much of the beachcomber aesthetic that was popular in Southern California during and just before tiki’s heyday. Eli’s grandson is Bamboo Ben, who did the decor for the Kona Club in Oakland. Now, one of Eli’s four daughters (and one of Ben’s aunts), Bungy (yep — pronounced like “bungee cord”) has joined Tiki Central and has started relating her fascinating tales of growing up in the Hedley household:

My dad, Eli Hedley, Beachcomber ,Yes! that was his title for all the life I knew him! and Donn Beach (Beachcomber) were partners for about a year, in a tropical Shop at 595 La Cienaga Blvd during WW11 in Hollywood. They both wanted the name of “Beachcomber” so Hollywood was too small for them.. and Donn went to Hawaii! They remained old friends and finally saw each other in the 1970s, at the International Market Place on Waikiki, where Donn had an office in the Banyan Tree!!! We were invited to lunch, and had stir fry and tropical (non-alcoholic) drinks high above the crowds with the soft,balmy breezes cooling us!

Another tale she tells is about how the four girls went out to bring beach lumber home to build the family homestead on the beach in San Pedro:

The beach was not nice and sandy..it was rocky and the waves crashed on it at high tide! Two of us got in to the water and the other two would slide lumber out to us.. you see, we had to make the raft in the water..or we couldn’t launch out into the deep! We got banged around with the waves, knocked over, completely soaked… until we finally had put together this huge pile of lumber. Flo, my oldest sister, then said, “Grab a Paddle!” so we all got pieces of wood for paddles, jumped on the raft and paddled like mad through the waves. The current headed down towards our house, so paddleing wasn’t too hard. When we got right off our building site, Flo would say, “Wait”! and we all waited, tense! Ready for the word! it came!”Paddle” we paddled like mad, until the perfect wave caught the raft, and then, “Jump!” and we all jumped off and with hammers and nails.. swam the rest of the way into shore to gather up the raft.. and carry it up to the house so daddy could create another room!!

These stories are truly amazing, and if I didn’t know Ben personally, I would think they were made up. I have a feeling that the stories we’ve heard so far are just a glimmer of what Aunt Bungy has to share.

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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