Entries in the 'My Travels' Category

February 15, 2007

My Travels: I’m Tiki-Ti Bound!

Filed under: Events,Los Angeles,My Travels,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:17 am
Headed to Tiki-Ti!
Headed to Tiki-Ti!

Aloha! I’ve got so, so much great stuff to post, but first, I have to head south for the winter — or at least for a weekend. Los Angeles, and the dulcet tones of Robert Drasnin’s Voodoo 2, are calling me.

First stop: Tiki-Ti.

We’re hitting the road now-ish, and we’ll get to L.A. in late afternoon, hopefully in time to be at Tiki-Ti not too long after it opens at 6p.m. If you happen to be in the area, please come by and say hello! I’ll be the blond chick with the bamboo handbag. (As pictured here, but the hair is shorter. On me. The handbag is bald.) A number of other folks in town for the Drasnin recording will probably be there too, it promises to be a very fun night. Tiki-Ti is kind of like pizza and sex — an off night is still fantastic, and when the night’s a winner — whoo boy.

Other stops for our weekend include Disneyland, and hopefully a pop into the Bevery Hills Trader Vic’s. We’re long overdue for a trip to L.A., I’m downright giddy.

See you all soon!

December 27, 2006

Happy Holidays, And All That

Filed under: Monterey & Big Sur,My Travels,San Francisco,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 6:55 pm
Coco Joe's letter opener
Coco Joe’s letter opener

Greetings from not-so-wintry Monolux, where we’ve been trying to squeeze in some long winter’s naps and the occasional sugarplum into our otherwise packed schedule of holiday hecticness and server coddling. Yeah, our beloved server has been under the weather, thanks to the insidious workings of spam fiends. I came thisclose to having to shut down comments on this blog. I really, really didn’t want to have to do that, and so many hours were spent troubleshooting, monitoring, and researching, until I finally taught my server some really kick-ass ninja moves, and bought it some titanium underwear. It was not easy, it was not quick, and dammit, you better make it worth my while by commenting now & again.

While that was a major PITA, it was really the only bit of stress this season in the Lemoore household, and considering that so many folks brace themselves this time of year for hassles & grief, we really have it pretty easy. We had a wonderful time celebrating and spending time with our family. My brother gave me the very cool letter opener pictured here; it belonged to our grandmother Doris, who probably picked it up in Hawaii in either ’77 or ’80. The detail on it is nice & crisp, and the blade is wickedly sharp (Grandma must have had someone sharpen it for her). I’m very happy to have it.

Last weekend we got together with Tiki Central folks at the brand-new Hula’s in Santa Cruz, which was fun. It’s been a while since we’ve had an organized get-together here in the Bay Area; so many of us meet up every Wednesday at Forbidden Island that we forget to do anything more formal, but it’s nice to step out and explore a bit. The food in particular was a hit; we’ll likely be getting together there again in the not-too-distant future.

Today, right this instant, I’m supposed to be zipping down I-5 at Hanford’s side, talking about whatever crazy project we would have cooked up (we’re always cooking up crazy projects during that six hour drive, that’s how Ooga-Mooga was born), on our way to a spectacular evening of delicious drunkeness at Tiki-Ti. It was a beautiful plan. Instead, I’m bundled up in bed, fighting off a cold. Bah. It’s not a particularly nasty cold, but I don’t want it to turn into one, so I’m laying low. Tiki-Ti will have to wait a bit. On the plus side, Hanford is taking really wonderful care of me (but then, he does that when I’m not sick).

Now we’re looking forward to spending New Year’s Eve at Forbidden Island. Providing that my bed rest plan works, it should be a great night.

Hope your holidays have been swell!

October 30, 2006

My Travels: Hukilau

Filed under: Events,Ft. Lauderdale & Miami,My Travels,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 8:37 pm
Hanford Lemoore at the Mai-Kai
Hanford Lemoore at the Mai-Kai

This post about our trip to Hukilau has been sitting here, taunting me in its mid-drafted state, for weeks now. Just the details from the first day were already too long to be a reasonable post — a full account of the whole weekend was looking like it would be a bloated whale of a thing. I could have put it up, but who would have read such a gangly monstrosity? I just need to clear the blockage and just get going with the blog posting, fercrissakes. So to get a sense of the fantastic time we had, just check out my photos, and read the threads of Hukilau memories and pictures on Tiki Central. The only thing missing from the pictures is the afterparties — they happened out in the Atlantic ocean, under the stars, a few dozen of us in our underthings and thankfully cameraless (that includes no webcams).

On with the show, already!

September 25, 2006

Tiki Scores and Nacho Bars at Forbidden Island

Filed under: Art,Events,My Travels,San Francisco,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 3:36 pm
Tiki bar by Nacho
Tiki bar by Nacho

Yesterday was Forbidden Island’s parking lot sale, and boy howdy was it crazy — in a good way. I spent the day working the booth of leftovers from the Forbidden Island build-out (all the FI employees were very busy doing what they do best — taking care of scores of guests). The weather couldn’t have been better (unusual, for Alameda), and I hear that there were about a hundred people lined up around the block to get in when the sale opened at 3pm. Everyone seemed to be having a very good day indeed — from the folks who snagged great tikis, art and vintage clothing, to the vendors who across the board seemed to be having a banner day.

Towering over the proceedings was this tiki bar, created by Nacho. Nacho had a similar massive Moai bar that he brought to Viva Las Vegas three years in a row until it was sold. He created this massive Ku bar to bring to Viva Las Vegas this past year, and it got use again yesterday, when Forbidden Island bartender Jim worked behind it making Mai Tais for the crowd. Pictures really don’t do it justice, it’s hard to get a sense of the scale of the thing — it’s about 18 feet tall, eight feet wide, and 10 feet deep. The inside is nicely decked out, too, thanks to Nacho’s friend Kahaka (the fellow who does those great lamps). There’s a thread on Tiki Central detailing the progress of the construction of this beauteous beast.

I was behind the booth all day, so I didn’t have an opportunity to chat much with folks (though I did a lot of waving and smiling). Hanford was free to roam, and he bought a snazzy lamp and an end table that perfectly matches my half-pretzel rattan living room set. I’ve put my pictures up on Humuhumu’s Life in Photos, and there are more from other folks in a thread on Tiki Central. It went so well, I’m betting there will be more sales like this one at Forbidden Island in the future.

September 19, 2006

My Travels: Hooptylau 2006

Filed under: Central California,Events,My Travels,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:44 pm
The Pollardville Chicken Jail
Bill & Michael in the Pollardville Chicken Jail
The gang at On Lock Sam's
The gang at On Lock Sam’s

Yee haw! This past weekend I was at Hooptylau, in California’s Central Valley. I saw the very best tiki there is to see in Stockton, Ripon, Modesto & Turlock. And there is some mighty fine tiki to be seen, indeed.

The first stop was On Lock Sam’s in Stockton, which has been in business since 1898(!), but the building it’s in dates from 1964. It’s undergone a very unfortunate remodel, but bits of charm remain — especially bartender Ray, who goes way back in the local Chinese & Polynesian restaurant scene. On Lock Sam’s is Chinese and not Polynesian, but it is neat.

Pollardville sign
Pollardville sign

The next stop was Pollardville, a roadside attraction that dates from the ’40s, on Highway 99 on the north side of Stockton. Pollardville started as a chicken stand, and grew into a full-on western sort-of ghost town (zombie town?) when they started moving buildings from other areas onto the property, including the Jamestown Jail, and the entire set from the 1958 western film “The Big Country.” In the mid-80s, the restaurant on the property burned down, and in 1987, they found a new building to replace it, which was our real reason for this stop on the tour… Stockton’s The Islander restaurant was moved from its spot in the heart of Stockton, to its final resting place in Pollardville, where it became the Pollardville Chicken Kitchen. The roofline screams “mid-century A-frame Polynesian restaurant!” while the interior screams “in 1987 we let the waitress with the most seniority decorate the place, and we haven’t changed it since!”

Former Stockton Islander building at Pollardville
Former Stockton Islander building at Pollardville


August 26, 2006

My Travels: Walt Disney World

Filed under: Disney,My Travels,Orlando,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:38 pm
Adventureland at Walt Disney World
Adventureland at Walt Disney World

Ah, another August goes shooting by. Earlier in the month, I was in Internet-free Downieville, a wee little almost-ghost-town a few hours from pretty much anything, in the Sierras. It’s very pretty, but it ain’t tiki, so that’s all I’ve got to say about it here.

After that, we headed out to Walt Disney World for a whole week. My two previous trips to WDW have been woefully short, and the last one was curtailed by an unfortunate double-whammy of a terrible cold and an asshole who thought it would be funny to s#!t all over Tiki Central, requiring us to spend the day in the hotel room doing emergency cleanup duty. But this was a much happier trip — a whole, solid week, happily unencumbered by illness or delinquents. Even with that much time, we felt we had about a week more in us — there was still so much to see and to do. It was hard to leave.

The reason for our trip — not that it really would take a reason to bring us to a Disney park — was to visit with some old friends from Hanford’s LucasArts days, who are now working on an R & D Imagineering project at Epcot. The project was being tested with the public, and we came out to be guinea pigs, and to spend some quality time with them. The project is called Team Possible (based on the Kim Possible animated series on the Disney Channel), and it’s an interactive all-over-the-park game that uses a handheld “Kimmunicator” (actually, a high-end cellphone) to send you on a scavenger hunt of sorts. I don’t want to give away any more than that, but I will say that it was really fun, even though we’re not acquainted with Kim Possible. It was very well-integrated into World Showcase, so that anyone not playing the game would never know there was anything new there. It was a great way to see the park, and we saw all sorts of things we otherwise would have missed. Our experience was great, and hopefully they’ll use the concepts and technology they had in this test for a more permanent game of some sort. If you’d like to know more, keep an eye on Hanford Lemoore’s blog, he’ll likely be making a more detailed post about it soon.

Pre-show lanai at the Enchanted Tiki Room in Orlando
Pre-show lanai at the Enchanted Tiki Room in Orlando
Pre-show tiki at the Enchanted Tiki Room in Orlando
Pre-show tiki

But on to the tiki… we passed on seeing the Enchanted Tiki Room show there (the “Under New Management” version there is painful, simply painful, watch it at your own risk), but we did spend some time at the building it’s housed in. The building itself is very impressive, and full of delicate details — and, the lanai plays Exotica classics in a loop, including Martin Denny. The pre-show on the lanai is very different from the one in Anaheim, but there are a few of the Anaheim lanai tikis to be seen there. In addition, the entrance to Adventureland has a number of great tikis and shields, and there are some fantastic tall slit-drum tikis that spit water near the Enchanted Tiki Room.

'Ohana restaurant at the Polynesian Resort
‘Ohana restaurant at the Polynesian Resort
Tikis and carved poles at the Polynesian Resort
Tikis and carved poles
at the Polynesian Resort

The best Polynesian Pop to be seen at Walt Disney World is at the Polynesian Resort, near the Magic Kingdom. The Polynesian Resort has been there since WDW first opened in October 1971. It’s a large resort, with over 800 rooms in 11 different “longhouses” named after Polynesian islands. The pool area has a volcano with a built-in water slide. The main building houses ‘Ohana restaurant (which also has a bar, serving tropical drinks including a Tropical Itch, complete with backscratcher), and has some neat tikis, masks, war clubs and other carvings, and plenty of bamboo. The hotel also has a luau and Polynesian floor show, called Spirit of Aloha, in one corner of the grounds.

Bar at 'Ohana restaurant
Bar at ‘Ohana restaurant

That’s about it for tiki at Walt Disney World… should I also mention the nearly-tiki stuff? (Shades eyes with back of hand) Wait a minute… (folds ring finger down) I love that idea.

Typhoon Lagoon
Typhoon Lagoon

There are two more things at Walt Disney World that are not quite tiki, but tiki-friendly, to be sure: Typhoon Lagoon, and the Adventurer’s Club. Typhoon Lagoon is one of WDW’s two water parks, and it has a well-executed shipwreck theme. The vegetation is thick, and vintage surf tunes are played throughout the park, except for the fish & chips bar (where they sold “fish & chips w/fries” — no joke), which plays great sea shanties. Who doesn’t love a good sea shanty? The Adventurer’s Club is one of the nightclubs in Downtown Disney, and is themed as a 1937 private club for, well, adventurers. A crew of talented improv comedians mingle and entertain through the whole evening, putting on periodic shows. The walls are positively encrusted with dusty artifacts, including a few tikis, and even a decidedly post-1937 pupu platter in the Treasure Room.

Adventurer's Club
Adventurer’s Club

I could go on and on about all the great things at Walt Disney World (Expedition Everest is beautiful! Canada is a lifetime journey for the traveller! Mocking Steven Tyler is fun!), but I won’t. Instead, take a gander at photos from my trip, and check out the updated entries on Critiki.

July 25, 2006

My Travels: San Pedro

Filed under: History,Los Angeles,My Travels,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:47 pm
The Cove in San Pedro
The Cove in San Pedro

A few weeks ago, Hanford & I went down to San Pedro for a quick weekend visit, to go to a Tiki Central Beach Burn. While there, we made some time to check out some of the local tiki spots.

The Gateway to the Cove
The Gateway to the Cove
Outdoor fireplace at the Cove
Outdoor fireplace at the Cove

At the top of our must-see list was The Cove, a.k.a. the old Hedley homestead, as seen in this earlier Humu Kon Tiki post. This stretch of beach, which is currently Royal Palms/White Point park, is where Eli Hedley raised his family of four daughters, making a living creating decor using the items that floated up onto the beach. They became regular hosts to the Hollywood set, and built it up into quite a little industry, essentially spawning the whole Beachcomber look. The home itself is no longer there, but the stone gate sides are, as are the dance floor and two large outdoor fireplaces. If you’ve been following the stories told by Eli’s daughter Bungy on Tiki Central, then you simply must see this place in person — its truly awe-inspiring to be in such a beautiful place, and imagine living there and having such a rich and otherworldly life.

Samoan Sea apartments
Samoan Sea apartments
Tiki at the Samoan Sea apartments
Tiki at the Samoan Sea apartments

The next stop was one we stumbled across accidentally, although it had been documented on Tiki Central previously by Sabu the Coconut Boy. The Samoan Sea apartments are right where Harbor Dr. meets Hwy 110. It looks great from the front — two nice large tikis (very similar to the spitting drum tikis at Walt Disney World), and a large A-frame entrance, flanked by piers and large nautical chain. The rest of the small complex looks a bit rundown, however.

Also nearby is San Pedro’s Ports of Call, which once upon a time housed the rather tiki Ports O’ Call restaurant. The restaurant remains, but the tiki details are largely gone. Apparently there are a few beachcomber lamps around here and there, but we missed them.

Hakaluki's tiki
Hakaluki’s tiki

The beach burn was great fun, and Hakaluki made this tiki to burn, which was far too beautiful. It went up in flames so quickly that I missed pictures of the actual burn. It was a lovely day at the beach, the weather couldn’t have been better, and we got to meet King Kukulele’s brand new baby girl, and catch up with lots of old friends.

My Travels: 2006 Portland Tiki Crawl

Filed under: Events,My Travels,Portland,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 1:44 pm
Spitting fountain at the Alibi in Portland
Spitting fountain at the Alibi in Portland, photo by Hanford Lemoore

Last month, Hanford and I paid a visit to the fine city of Portland for the 2006 Northwest Tiki Crawl. The weather was beautiful (if a bit hot on the last day), and the company was grand.

The kickoff night was at Mark and Maggie Axton’s lush backyard paradise, the Castaway Cove, which includes a bar enclosed in a large freestanding building, a small “beach” complete with fire pit, and even a creepy voodoo maze through the shrubberies.

Day two included a visit to the Alibi, pictured above. The Alibi is the shining star of Portland tiki; the bar has a very long history, having started as the Chat n’ Nibble when the road it was on was the main dirt road for horse carts to get to town. It went thorugh a series of evolutions through the years, until becoming tiki in the post-WWII era, and undergoing a remodel and expansion in the ’70s. The natural build-up of dust, cigarette smoke and general grime slowly took its toll, and this past year, the same team of folks who throw the annual crawl started spending every Sunday there volunteering to clean the joint up. The results are outstanding — lamps shine brightly (but not too brightly!), the mural is looking lovely, and there are so many more little details to be seen now. There is more cleanup to be done, but it’s already looking worlds better. The famous neon Alibi sign has also had a refresh, and is looking better than ever. The drinks… well, the drinks still need a lot of work (One gentleman’s Mai Tai came with olives in it! And I thought it couldn’t get worse than the dreaded pineapple juice and grenadine.), but it’s all a big step in the right direction, and gives me great hope.

The next stop was the Jasmine Tree, a Chinese restaurant that years ago inherited tiki artifacts from the Portland Kon-Tiki when it closed. As earlier reported, the building the Jasmine Tree is to be demolished to make student housing for nearby PSU, but they are promising to re-open in a new location. Here’s the thing, though — the food & drinks are absolutely abysmal at the Jasmine Tree, and the space they’re in isn’t too terribly special (though the bar does have a few neat old-school details). The only thing the Jasmine Tree has going for it, in my book, are the cool tiki items that are currently displayed rather haphazardly. I heard the Jasmine Tree say they’re relocating, but I haven’t heard anything about what they plan to do with all their tiki stuff, if it will be re-installed, if they’ll go more tiki (don’t hold your breath), or if they’ll sell some of the tiki stuff off. Ordinarily, I’d blanch at the idea of tiki stuff getting sold off, but if it wound up at another public place, it wouldn’t be much of a change from the current state of affairs. Anyway, it was another typical night at the Jasmine Tree.

The evening events took place at our hotel, the Jupiter, where there was a vendor room (Hanford scored a ton of great vintage aloha shirts), and some bands played. At the afterparty, we made some drinks out of stuff we were able to pull together, and I managed somehow to make something out of Voodoo Rum, lemon juice, sweet & sour and orgeat that tasted just like the brine from a sweet pickle jar. So, maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on the drinks at the Alibi & the Jasmine Tree. Hanford & I finally made it to bed at about 4 a.m.

The next day was a scorcher, with the temperature bumping up against 100 degrees, which is unheard of for Portland in June. It was the day of the home tiki bar crawl, and the stops we made it to (before having to bop off to the airport) were lovely home tiki bar setups. A highlight of the day was a sneak peek of a brand new tiki bar opening soon in Portland, called Thatch. Thatch is being opened by the same chap who owns nearby Pour, a sleek wine bar. Thatch will include a small bridge crossing over a water feature at the entrance, a raised hut area at the back, and a sunken bar area. The booths are original Armet & Davis Denny’s booths, and the place is going to be all decked out in bamboo. A lot of imagination was needed to see how it would be when we paid our visit, but it sounds very promising, and there was a lot of excitement. Thatch is due to open in mid-August.

Mahalo to the Portland Tiki Crawl group for such a fantastic weekend, and for doing to much wonderful work on the Alibi!

June 21, 2006

My Travels: House of Tiki

Filed under: Los Angeles,My Travels,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:27 pm
House of Tiki in Costa Mesa
House of Tiki in Costa Mesa

While we were down in Newport Beach for our cartoon adventure this weekend, we popped into House of Tiki in nearby Costa Mesa. House of Tiki is a pretty nice little shop, full of new merchandise, including aloha wear, housewares, tiki mugs, and of course, lots of tikis. They had some really swell beachcomber fedoras, which are hard to come by. If you’re in the neighborhood, check it out!

June 20, 2006

My Travels: Cartoon Caper in Balboa

Filed under: Los Angeles,My Travels,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:37 pm
Scooby Doo: A Tiki Scare is No Fair
Scooby Doo: A Tiki Scare is No Fair

This weekend, my friend Chris Nichols threw his annual costume bash — past years’ parties have been full of pirates, or hobos, but this year the theme was the Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the early ’70s with teens solving spooky mysteries when they’re not playing in groovy bands — Scooby Doo, Josie & the Pussycats, Captain Caveman, etc. The image above comes from an episode of Scooby Doo titled “A Tiki Scare is No Fair,” tikigap recently posted some keen screenshots of the episode. While this weekend’s event wasn’t tiki themed, it took place in Balboa (in Newport Beach), and there were a few tiki surprises lurking in the shadows.

Hanford & Humuhumu as Hanna-Barbera teens
Hanford & Humuhumu
as Hanna-Barbera teens
Kevin doing the rowboat
Kevin doing
the rowboat

Hanford and I had a great time getting dressed up as early-’70s teens (well, what Hanna-Barbera wanted little kids to think good teens were, at least). Hanford busted out his old glasses, and I went to work on the ol’ sewing machine. My normal dress isn’t really all that far off from a cartoon character as it is, so it took a little effort to make sure I didn’t just look like I was headed out to any old party. There were some really far out costumes once we got there – lots of wigs, lots of neck scarves, lots of bright color, and a heavy use of aloha wear.

Sharkee Waters
Sharkee Waters
Kamehameha marker at Balboa Saloon
Kamehameha at
Balboa Saloon

Party guests had received dossiers with the lowdown on some scary happenings at the Balboa Fun Zone, an old amusement park in Balboa. A sea monster had been terrorizing the place, and it was up to us to make it stop. We met at the Balboa Saloon, and it was a little rough for the first folks who arrived — the locals didn’t quite know what to think. The Balboa Saloon has a couple touches of Hawaii, including a King Kamehameha point-of-interest marker, and a bamboo hut at the back complete with tapa cloth-covered tabletop. Seated at the hut was the first of several suspicious characters of the evening, a crusty old sea dog named Sharkee Waters. We then made our way nextdoor to the amusement park, where there were other suspicious characters — a grumpy janitor, a shady magician, there were even ghosts! (who turned out to be our friends Mary-Margaret & Cary Stratton). We went on a scary dark ride, the ferris wheel, and had a great time. (Hanford has a really cool video he took while we were on the ferris wheel, hopefully he’ll post it soon.)

Tiki Boat at Balboa
Tiki Boat at Balboa

There’s a ferry landing to go to Balboa Island from the amusement partk, and there was an interesting tiki-themed boat available for rental that was docked right next to the landing. We got a pretty good look at it as we boarded the ferry for a quick jaunt across the water as part of our crazy chase scene for the evening — it didn’t look as promising close-up. Here’s a view of how lovely the amusement park looks from the water at night:

Balboa Fun Zone & Pavilion
Balboa Fun Zone & Pavilion
Chris organizes the teens
Chris organizes the teens

At the end of our chase, we were getting closer to tracking down the sea monster — our host, Chris, organized us in one final effort to corner him. We all gathered in the bar of the Balboa Pavilion, right next to the Fun Zone, and he fell right into our trap. We had him now, and he was about to be revealed. Who could he be? Sharkee Waters? Nope, he was there in the room with us. The janitor? Nope, he was there, too. The magician? No, again. The ghosts? Nope, nope, nope. Who could it possibly be? WHO COULD IT BE????

The sea monster!
The sea monster! WHO IS HE???

The exciting conclusion comes after the jump:

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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