July 6, 2008

Los Angeles: Tiki Luau Nights at the Egyptian Theater

Filed under: Events,History,Los Angeles,Music,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:37 am
Tiki Luau Nights, artwork by Kevin Kidney
Tiki Luau Nights, artwork by Kevin Kidney

It’s time once again for tiki movies at the Egyptian! This has been an annual event for the past few years, and I’m always sad to miss it (this year I’ll be in Portland). But here’s why you shouldn’t miss it:

After the success of our Tiki events the past three summers, we’re back again with more exotic ephemera: more fun feature films, diverting oddball shorts, vendors, food, music and more! We’ll be showing old-school island adventure pics FAIR WIND TO JAVA, ALOMA OF THE SOUTH SEAS and HER JUNGLE LOVE (all in gorgeously saturated color) will screen along with artist Kevin Kidney’s collection of rare, island-themed TV surprises. Join us in the Egyptian’s Courtyard for a Royal Southern California-style Luau with exotic musical entertainment from King Kukelele and his Friki Tikis and the Polynesian Paradise Dancers. There will also be Tiki vendors and other special surprises in the courtyard on Saturday from 1:00 PM until we shut it down.

This year it’s happening over two nights, July 25-26, 2008. It all starts Saturday at 1pm at the Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles. Tickets will be sold at the door, but if you want to guarantee you’ll get to enjoy the luau dinner, it’s best to get tickets in advance.

June 30, 2008

How About a Nice Hawaiian Punch (Village Photo)?

Filed under: History,San Diego,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:52 pm
Hawaiian Punch Village at SeaWorld, from the collection of matterhorn1959
Hawaiian Punch Village at SeaWorld, from the collection of matterhorn1959

Hawaiian Punch Village was an area tucked into the back of SeaWorld in San Diego — SeaWorld used to have lots of Polynesian theming, but it’s sadly gone now. (One of SeaWorld’s creators, George Millay, also owned The Reef, a Polynesian restaurant in Long Beach.)

Matterhorn1959 has posted several tropical pictures from SeaWorld on his Stuff from the Park blog, including this picture of an unusually snazzy fellow at the Hawaiian Punch Village entrance. Even his pants look punchy. Aside from his spectacular pants (if you need another moment to revel in his polyester pant fantasia, go ahead, I’ll be right here…)… aside from that, it’s a great shot of the shields & poles that decorated the entrance.

Here’s another picture, with Hawaiian Punch Village visible in the background:

Hawaiian Punch Village at SeaWorld, from the collection of matterhorn1959
Hawaiian Punch Village at SeaWorld, from the collection of matterhorn1959
June 26, 2008

Hollywood Home Tiki Bar For Sale: Only $7.5 Million

Filed under: Los Angeles,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 10:09 am
Tiki bar at the Wolf's Lair in Hollywood
Tiki bar at the Wolf’s Lair in Hollywood
Hollywood! Dah dah dah dah!
Hollywood! Dah dah dah dah!

Mentally cue up Robin Leach for this one: (Is he dead? I forget.) Nestled here on 3.3 acres of land overlooking Hollywood, a mansion fit for a Kamehameha… The Wolf’s Lair, built for and by L. Milton Wolf, one of the original developers of Hollywoodland. Former occupants include Debbie Reynolds, Efram Zimbalist Jr., Marlon Brando, and The Beatles.

The house has secret tunnels, and a whole turret was dedicated to the housing of a pet gibbon. A monkey! In a turret! How can anyone hate Hollywood when they’re keeping monkeys in turrets? I mean… they’re just living the dream. You can’t hold it against them.

Anyway… back to this tiki bar. Okay, it’s not really a tiki bar, there aren’t any tikis. But it’s gorgeous. It’s stripped a little bare at the moment, but can you imagine this space with low light and fllotsam & jetsam everywhere? And a drink in your hand?

Does anyone we know have $7.5 million? What would the down payment be, d’you suppose? Maybe if we all throw in together and start a commune?

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

NY Times: In Defense of the Blender

Filed under: Drinks,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:12 pm
Chamborlada at Forbidden Island, photo by Kenn Christ
Chamborlada at Forbidden Island, photo by Kenn Christ

The New York Times has a great article today about blender drinks — specifically, delving into bartenders’ understandable distaste for them, and why they’re worth a second look. It’s a refreshing read: just a few years ago, an article like this would have more likely been on the side of pooh-poohing tropical drinks without taking the time to understand that the drinks of the ’70s were not the drinks of the ’50s, and they don’t have to be the drinks of today. Instead, the article does a good job of giving a short history of blender drinks, and explains the situations where a blender can do a drink some good.

Martin Cate of Forbidden Island gets quoted throughout, and there are quotes from Jeff “Beachbum” Berry and even Mike Buhen from Tiki-Ti. I might have to order a Max’s Mistake when I’m at Forbidden Island tonight for my weekly tiki fix…

San Diego: Tiki Oasis 8

Filed under: Events,San Diego,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:13 am
Tiki Oasis 8
Tiki Oasis 8

Robert Drasnin! Waitiki! I’m there!

Taking place once again at the former Hanalei Hotel (now the snoozetastically-named Crowne Plaza), with a special Thursday night meet-and-greet at the Bali Hai. There’s also burlesque & musicians & vendors & all the usual trappings, but of course it’s really all about the room parties. Though I am hoping I can manage to not be too hungover for the seminars…

August 14-17, San Diego… way too many details to go into here… just go over to the Tiki Oasis website & buy your tickets already!

June 24, 2008

Los Angeles: King Kukulele’s Floating Luau at the Tonga Hut

Filed under: Events,Los Angeles,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:02 pm
Mahiki Rum
Mahiki Rum

King Kukulele’s monthly Floating Luau is drifting into the San Fernando Valley this Friday, to the Tonga Hut in North Hollywood. The Tonga Hut recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, making it a natural choice for the King to weigh anchor in her port.

The Friki Tikis will be performing, and the King has brought back a special gift from his recent trip to England: the brand-new, currently-unavailable-stateside Mahiki Rum.

Also on hand will be the Polynesian Paradise Dancers and Ali Lexa, host of KPFK’s Ukulele Spotlight. A special highlight this month is a presentation of Johnny Halifax’s “Tiki Tiki Tiki,” which was filmed at the much beloved and sadly defunct Kahiki Supper Club in Columbus, Ohio:

If you’ve heard King Kukulele’s song “Otto’s Odyssey”, then you’ve heard the line: “Halifax is filming for the BBC”. This is what Johnny Halifax was filming, and now you have the ultra rare opportunity to see “Tiki Tiki Tiki”.

Wish I could be there to see it myself — I’ve always wondered what became of the BBC filming mentioned in “Otto’s Odyssey.” The show is happening this Friday, June 27 at 8 p.m., and there’s a $5 cover.

Tonga Hut
12808 Victory Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91606
(818) 769-0708

My Travels: Thatch in Portland

Filed under: My Travels,Portland,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 8:20 pm

I’ve got a backlog of Tiki Travels to tell you about! Remind me to tell you about New Year’s Eve at Tiki-Ti, and the swell Sippin’ Safari event in Boston. But to get started, I went to Portland a bit more than a week ago…

It’s really quite silly it’s taken this long, but I finally made it to Thatch in Portland. Of course, the Portland tiki crowd can make any ol’ hole a blast, but Thatch is hardly any ol’ hole… I love this place. First off, it’s dark, and I’m a sucker for a nice, dark tiki bar. It’s not as dark as The Alibi, of course, but I think there are sensory deprivation chambers that are brighter than The Alibi. I digress…

Thatch in Portland
Thatch in Portland

What light there is at Thatch is provided by a lineup (literally — I’d actually love to see the lamps scattered a bit more) of really beautiful lamps by Kahaka, and a mess o’ pufferfish. Appropriate for the home town of the Velveteria, the place is lined with velvet paintings of varying quality. There’s a reclining wahine behind the bar who looks lumpy in good ways (boobies!) and in bad ways (I couldn’t shake the notion that her cheeks looked disturbingly like some paintings of Santa Claus). But much of the velvet there is really quite good, even great.

Also: there’s a black velvet clown. At least the clown is obvious in its wrongness, and Portland is a place that prides itself on obvious wrongness, so it sort of works in that regard, but really it’d be happier in a new home.

Clam shell originally from Portland's Kon-Tiki
Clam shell originally from Portland’s Kon-Tiki

As reported earlier on Humu Kon Tiki, there are pieces from the Portland Kon-Tiki (via the recently closed Jasmine Tree) throughout Thatch — the famous three cannibal tikis of course, but also scads of other, smaller pieces that are probably better showcased here than they ever were at the Jasmine Tree.

The sunken bar is rather cool. I chatted to one of the bartenders about what it’s like to work at a sunken bar — I thought it might make the bartenders feel at a disadvantage, but he told me he actually really enjoys the intimate feeling he gets when he’s chatting with customers seated at the bar. The seating throughout much of Thatch came from an old Armet & Davis Denny’s, and it fits quite nicely. I didn’t get to spend time in the raised hut at the back of Thatch, as it was taken over by a large group by the time we arrived, but it looks like someplace I could loseWeight Exercise many a happy evening.

The bridge entryway over a water pool works fantastically as a transition from the outside world. The bridge amazingly has no railings, but there haven’t been any drunken spills into the pool yet. Owner Robert Volz says that the absence of a rail forces even drunk people to pay a bit more attention to what they’re doing.

London Sour
London Sour

I had a London Sour, which was quite tasty. Overall, the selection of drinks looked pretty good (though I wouldn’t miss the “Donkey Punch” if it left the menu… ugh). We didn’t try the food, since we’d just come from dinner (meatloaf & potatoes au gratin at the Doug Fir — yum!).

The music! The music was all spot on — lovely Exotica. I don’t know exactly what the music mix was, as I was paying attention more to the conversation of my companions… but I take that as a good sign, that the music didn’t jar me with its inappropriateness. Thank goodness.

Huge mahalos to Thatch owner Robert Volz for showing us a grand time, and to Melintur, Tiki Mama, Kim, Trader Tiki, Trott, Erik & Michele for sharing yet another memorable tiki-scented evening with me. I’m already looking forward to my return in late July!

View of Thatch from behind a tiki's bum
View of Thatch from behind a tiki’s bum
June 23, 2008

Tiki Central!

Filed under: Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:11 am

Hanford says Tiki Central is experiencing a wee temporal blip. You may have trouble accessing it — if that happens, you can still get there via:

http://tikiroom.dreamhosters.com

It should all be back to normal in a couple days.

June 17, 2008

Yummy Tiki Plates

Filed under: Tiki — Humuhumu @ 7:59 pm
Tiki-Kate's Tiki Plate
Tiki-Kate’s Tiki Plate

Tiki-Kate posted these two plates on Tiki Central. They’re both marked Syracuse China (which was in Syracuse, New York, per khan_tiki_mon), but don’t have specific restaurant markings. Bosko has pointed out that it would be strange for a restaurant to create such elaborate designs for their plates and not include the name of the restaurant, and Sven Kirsten doesn’t recognize the graphics as being iconic of a particular restaurant. That points to these plates having been created for more generic use, either for sale to Polynesian restaurants, or for home use. Another possibility is that these were created as samples, but not produced on a large scale.

Whatever the back story, I think they’re gorgeous, especially this first one. Tiki mugs may be more elaborate, but the simple elegance of serveware produces some restrained but compelling designs. Food served on a plate like that must be instantly more delicious!

On a related note, I recently learned that El Polinesio in Havana, which started its life as a Trader Vic’s before the Cuban revolution booted Vic’s out and the government took over the restaurant, is nevertheless still using plates with a big ol’ Trader Vic’s logo — almost 50 years later!

Tiki-Kate's Other Tiki Plate
Tiki-Kate’s Other Tiki Plate

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About Humuhumu
Humuhumu
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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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