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  • Kon Tiki Tucson – Relighting The Torches After 25 Years!

    Posted on April 8th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments
    Relight the Night at the Kon Tiki

    Relight the Night at the Kon Tiki

    It’s always kool to hear about an original modern-era Tiki Bar that’s thriving. It’s even kooler when they are almost 100% original from 1963. Kooler yet – real torches on the sign.

    I’ve been spoiled by the Mai Kai. Living only 15 minutes from Fort Lauderdale, and working within walking distance of it a few years ago, seeing live fire torches on the side of the highway was status quo. I guess in other parts of the world, no so much.

    This Saturday, April 10, the Kon Tiki in Tucson, Arizona will be relighting their torches after a 25 year black out. This is great news for any kats that dig Tiki culture – every Tiki bar needs a little fire, after all! I poked around and tried to find out why the torches haven’t been lit since 1985, and can’t find an answer. Could it be some ridiculous city ordinance against open flames? Were the torches busted, and too costly to fix? Or were they just being lazy? Whatever the reason, the Kon Tiki will light up the night once again!

    Kon Tiki’s Relight The Night (click here for the website)

    From the Kon Tiki’s Press Release:

    “Unlit for 25 years, Tucson’s oldest tiki bar will join forces with Flam Chen, Tucson’s renown fire performance group, to make the grand relighting of the Kon Tiki’s signature tiki torches a truly scorching affair. The evening festivities will include a relighting ceremony by Flam Chen, accompanied by local drumming troupe The Disillusionists, a dinner show with The Tikiyaki Orchestra, the muscial stylings of Tucson’s own Shrimp Chaperone and the hypnotic rhythms and hula-hooping gyrations of Las Vegas’ Thee Swank Bastards.

    An interior shot of the Kon Tiki

    An interior shot of the Kon Tiki

    The Kon Tiki is one of the last remaining, operational tiki temples from American’s mid-century tiki past. The interior is almost completely original from the opening day – including, what some tiki historians call, the largest collection of Milan Guanko tikis, still in situ, in the world. The collection is about to get bigger as two more recently discovered Milan Guanko tikis, original to the Kon Tiki, will be returned to their proper place and unveiled for Relight the Night. We have many local and California artists that have donated items for our charity raffle, proceeds from which will benefit Hope Animal Shelter, Tucson’s only no kill dog and cat shelter.”

    The "Special-er" Kon Tiki Mug created for the event. Only 100 are being made.

    The "Special-er" Kon Tiki Mug created for the event. Only 100 are being made.

    Believe me kats & kittens, if it weren’t clear across the country I’d be there. And my wife Colleen, who is very active in rescuing abused and neglected animals, would be there double quick. I may have to settle for a souvenir Tiki Mug, or just for pix of the event. Either way, It’s GREAT to see a true old-style Tiki Bar doing well, even in these kooky evil economic times. Long live TIKI!

    -Tiki Chris for Tiki Lounge Talk, the Blounge (web-lounge, get it?) for Tiki Culture and Retro Night Life

  • The Girl Can’t Help It, 1956 – Mod Movie Monday at TLT

    Posted on April 5th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 2 comments

    the-girl-cant-help-it-postWhat do you get when you mix sexy Miss Jane Mansfield with a dozen early Rock ’n’ Roll legends? You get

    The Girl Can’t Help It, 1956

    Starring Jane Mansfield, Tom Ewell and Edmund O’Brian.

    The plot is simple but fun: Old gangster wants to make his ‘girlfriend’ a star, but she can’t sing a note. So he hires a press agent, Tom Ewell (the luckiest man in Hollywood at the time by the way) to force her fame. Since she stinks at singing traditional music, they give Rock ’n’ roll a try.mod-movie-mondays

    This kookie movie features some of the most famous & koolest Rockers from the 50s, actually performing in the movie in glorious widescreen color. The list includes:

    Famous photo of Sophia Loren and Jane Mansfield

    Famous photo of Sophia Loren and Jane Mansfield

    • Little Richard
    • Nino Tempo
    • Johnny Olenn
    • Eddie Fontaine
    • The Chuckles
    • Abbey Lincoln
    • Gene Vincent
    • Eddie Cochran
    • Ray Anthony & His Orchestra
    • The Treniers
    • Fats Domino
    • The Platters
    • Freddy Bell & The Bell-Boys

    Plus a haunting, unforgettable version of Cry Me A River by Julie London.

    jane-mansfieldAdd to that some kool cars, and Jane Mansfield wearing some of the tightest clothes ever built and you’ve got a winner. This movie pretty much proves she gave Marilyn a run for the money. Such a drag that she died so young. At least we’ve got the film.

    Oh, yeah, why was Tom Ewell the luckiest man in Hollywood in the 1950s? Simple. Love scenes with Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch in 1955, love scenes with Jane Mansfield in The Girl Can’t Help It in 1956. Ya dig?


    – Tiki Chris reporting from behind the Tiki Bar with a Mai Tai in one hand and an Easter Egg in the other

  • Happy Easter from the Tiki Bar!

    Posted on April 4th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 3 comments

    2-bunniesIt’s time to celebrate rebirth and spring and all that jazz, whatever your religious views are, here at the Tiki Bar we hope you all have a Hoppy Easter and wonderful spring. The Easter Bunny stopped by our house twice this year, bringing double Whopper eggs, Reeses Eggs and jelly beans. (can you guess what happened? It has to do with trying keeping your basket plans a surprise, eh hem).

    There’s a million kool places to go for Easter Sunday in South Florida, but we decided to stay at Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar this year (our house, that is). I had an idea to do an old-style (yeah, sorta retro) Easter Dinner, diner style. We’re having open-faced turkey sandwiches, stuffing, and macaroni salad in the diner-kitchen. (Ok, that may not be traditional, but I and a lot of my family and friends went this route when we couldn’t get together for big family dinners.)

    As for big family dinners…I come from an Italian family, who of course had to overdo everything when it came to food. For Good Friday my grandmother would make the seven-fishes thing. I don’t eat fish (allergic) so I always wound up eating spaghetti or rigatoni or something. But for Easter Sunday, they pulled out all the stops. We had a baked ham, a roasted turkey, and all the American vegetables and sides that went with them, PLUS we had a full Italian dinner including Antipasto, AND Salad, AND manacotti AND ravioli AND a big plate of meatballs, sausage and chunks of steak. Then came dessert, with assorted Italian cookies, pies, pastries, and ice cream. It’s a wonder I don’t weigh 400 pounds.

    Scooter in a Pirate CostumeSince Easter represents rebirth, or ‘newness’, I need to mention a couple more things that are happening today. Our latest rescue puppy, Scooter, got a brand new home today with a wonderful family. He’s off to a great start now and is sure to have a wonderful life.

    StarDust, my 1953 Chevy Bel Air Wild Custom Hot Rod

    StarDust, my 1953 Chevy Bel Air Wild Custom Hot Rod

    Also this weekend, after months of being laid up due to a bad starter, I finally got the ’53 Chevy Hot Rod running again! Today, if all goes well, I’ll be taking her out on a test drive.

    Later tonight, after our diner dinner, we’ll probably relax by the pool, sipping a cocktail or two (or more probably a glass of wine for my wife Colleen). And eat lots and lots of Easter Candy!

    -Tiki Chris, for Tiki Lounge Talk, The Tiki Culture Blog

    (PS – I’ll bet you thought I was going to do some goofy story about how the Easter Bunny comes from Easter Island, and the Moai originally all had bunny ears or something. Maybe next year 😉

  • Cal-Neva Resort Closes Casino

    Posted on April 3rd, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment
    Cal-Neva Lodge

    Cal-Neva Lodge

    Another landmark has fallen victim to our crap-assed economy: The Historic Cal-Neva Lodge, once owned by Frank Sinatra and frequented by Jack Kennedy and Marylin Monroe, shut down casino operations this week due to loss in profits. Although a drop in tourism to Tahoe and increased competition from Vegas were probably a part of the problem, I blame the greedy, ignorant bankers and politicians for the closing.

    But don’t start crying over it just yet. The Cal-Neva has had its ups and downs over the years; even Frank had his license yanked and the joint still made it through. The restaurant, lounge and showroom are remaining open. In fact, their website is still up, and they’re apparently still taking bookings for rooms. There are plans to get the casino back up by the end of the year.

    The way I see it, there are plenty of millionaires out there who dig Sinatra and know what preserving this place means to the world. If you’re reading this, think about putting in a bid on the place. It must be saved.

    See my post on the Cal-Neva Lodge (and a groovy story to go with it) by clicking here.

    See the story on the San Francisco Chronicle here.

  • Breaking News: Barack Obama Moves American Capitol To Hawaii

    Posted on April 1st, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment
    President Obama gains support for moving the Nation's Capitol to a Hawaiin Beach Resort

    President Obama gains support for moving the Nation's Capitol to a Hawaiin Beach Resort

    Thursday, April 1, 2010: In an unprecedented Presidential move, President Barack Obama announced today that he’ll be moving the Legislative and Congressional branches of the United States to his native island of Hawaii.

    “The weather’s nicer and I like looking at palm trees,” Obama said early this morning in a press conference. “DC is gray, dull and dreary. Kinda depressing. Hawaii is much more…pleasant. And green. It’s not that easy bein’ green.”


    The New White House & Congress

    When asked if he and his administration could legally make the move, he simply stated, “Yes We Can! This is the kind of change that will be great for Americans, especially this one,” he said pointing toward himself, “and it’ll be a groovy move for tourism to the islands. This is change we can believe in. At least I can, while I’m sipping a Coco Loco Moco with a parrot named Tiwaka at the Tiki Bar.” Obama says he got the idea to move back to Hawaii while reading a story on Tiki Lounge Talk concerning St. Patrick being a Tahitian.

    Republicans immediately attacked the move as a communist threat. Right-wing professional instigator Rush Limbaugh called for immediate action. “…That (Obama) should be impeached! Or, I guess in this case, impineappled! I call for immediate impineapplement of President Obama, him with his dreams of tropical socialist cocktails and immoral Exotica music and Hula dancers and whatnot. Next he’ll enact a law that requires all Americans to opt into a universal Tiki Lounge Program, where we’ll all be forced to drink the Tiki Koolaid!” (note: Tiki Koolaid is one part fruit punch Koolaid, four parts dark rum, bitters, Orgeat syrup and a mint sprig).

    The Senate Chamber will be themed after the Hawaiian Cottage in New Jersey

    The Senate Chamber will be themed after the Hawaiian Cottage in New Jersey

    “What I’m doing will benefit all Americans, not just the poor, or the rich, or the Tiki-minded,” Obama retorted, “By making me happy, looking at palm trees and hula girls, I’ll do an even better job than the fantastical job I’ve been doing leading America.”

    In response, Republican leaders just groaned and rolled their eyes, then went off with their mistresses.

    The move reminds us of a similar attempt to relocate the White House to Texas in 2004. Then President George W. Bush was adamant to change the location of his DC home “from a place with a lot of big scary buildings and old people to a nice little ranch with bunnies and horseys,” but was foiled in the Senate. Republican leaders appeased him by hanging a picture of a ranch outside the oval office window, which fooled Bush into believing he had actually moved.

    The New Trump Tower & Casion, Washington DC

    The New Trump Tower & Casino, Washington DC

    According to a top White House efficiency expert, the cost to move the entire government 5000 miles to Hawaii will be around 3o Billion Dollars. “It’s still a lot cheaper than the war,” commented Hillary Clinton.” Besides, we’re saving a lot of money by leaving those dulls-ville judges behind,” she continued, referring to the Judicial Branch remaining in DC. “To save even more bucks, we’re moving the Supreme Court to a Days Inn in Alexandria, and renting out the State buildings to Donald Trump, who plans to turn The Capitol Building into a casino and strip club. I think he’s renaming it The Capital Strip, but that remains to be seen. Whatever he does, we’ll tax it, and that will help too.”

    Obama has already started moving his family and belongings to the new Capitol, a 40-acre Beach Resort in Honolulu. “I got an ocean view now!” the President exclaimed. “Yeah man, can you dig it, Hawaii’s a lot hipper than DC. So I’m hittin’ a big bird out to that island before another snow storm hits me. I’m out.”

    The last thing President Obama said as he boarded Air Force One bound for Honolulu was, “See you at the Tiki Bar. Oh, and Happy April Fools Day!”