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  • Waikiki Tiki: Art, History & Photographs by Phillip S. Roberts

    Posted on January 23rd, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 12 comments

    waikiki-tiki-bookA few years ago you were lucky to find one or two decent books about Tiki or Hawaiian culture, but the resurgence in the popularity of our favorite bamboo-laden way of life has made it possible for some fine people to publish some fine works.

    Waikiki Tiki: Art, History & Photographs by Phillip S. Roberts is a perfect example of a great Tiki coffee table book. Filled with great photos of everything from Tikis to Tiki Lounge menus, this tome gives another fun look into Hawaii’s and Tiki’s past.

    Here’s a snippet from the Bess Press website: “Honolulu, HI (November 2010) – Bess Press introduces a stylish history of Waikiki tiki. Featuring a collection of archived tiki ephemera, carvings, and photographs, author Phil Roberts gives an evocative pictorial documentation of the past and present Waikiki tiki and the newfound popularity of its culture. waikiki-tiki-inside2As a well-known tiki enthusiast and researcher, freelance journalist, and former local radio personality, Roberts has had a unique and diversified exposure to the changing façade of Waikiki. The collection presented throughout the pages of this book detail over three decades of research.”

    The description of the book reads, “Waikiki Tiki: Art, History and Photographs is a contemporary, landscape-styled book that offers a pictorial documentation of the past and present of tiki (and related art forms) throughout Waikiki as well as Hawaii’s island of Oahu. This book displays original photographs that document the tiki art culture scene that blossomed after WWII through its modern forms today. A great many of the images captured in these pages no longer exist in real life. Much of the ephemera and archival material pictured reside only in the author’s private collection.”

    Inside Waikiki Tiki

    Inside Waikiki Tiki

    Another kool book to add to your Tiki collection, Waikiki Tiki will make a groovy addition to your Tiki Bar or swingin’ pad.

    Waikiki Tiki can be purchased through Bess Press online, or through

    -Tiki Chris P. reporting from the library at (the fictional) Tiki Island Resort, Florida

  • Molokai Mike – Your Tiki Cocktail for the Weekend

    Posted on January 21st, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 12 comments

    molakai-mike I sent out a request on our Facebook Fan Page and on Twitter for suggestions for this week’s Tiki Cocktail. I got some great ones (thank you all) but this drink seemed to win out over the rest, probably because of the luscious photo I posted.

    Somewhere around 1934 our old pal Trader Vic Bergeron concocted a frozen drink that not only tasted great, it looked fantastic. This double-layered cocktail was dubbed

    The Molokai Mike

    and was served in a special glass to emphasize its unique color combination. (The glasses are difficult to find; an old fashioned glass or hurricane glass can work too.)

    The trick is in getting the consistency of the frozen-ness just perfect. Blend the bottom layer quick, just enough to get it nice and thick. Blend the top layer more thoroughly and you’ll get the layers perfect. Here’s the recipe:

    For the Bottom Layer:

    • 1 oz. light rum
    • 1 oz. orange juice
    • 1 oz. lemon juice
    • 1/2 oz. brandy
    • 1/2 oz. orgeat syrup
    • 1/2 cup crushed ice

    Blend ingredients in a blender on pulse for 1-2 seconds. Any more will make the mix too watery. Pour it into the glass and get moving on part two.

    For the Top Layer:

    • 1 oz. gold or dark rum
    • 1 oz. grenadine
    • 1 oz. crushed ice

    Blend it up in the swirler for about 15 seconds, until it’s nice and smoooth. Pour it (take it easy!) over the bottom layer. Garnish with some fruit and a Chinese paper umbrella. (You didn’t know they were Chinese?) Sit back, put on your shades and enjoy yourself.

    -Tiki Chris P. reporting from the Tiki Bar at Tiki Lounge Talk.

  • Living the Retro Life: Driving Around in a ’56 Caddy

    Posted on January 20th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 2 comments

    For many of the kookie kats and kittens that dig deep into retro culture, sportin’ around in a classic car is a must. Some kids are hardcore, and travel in their vintage rods exclusively. That was me, up until a few years ago when distance forced me to trade-up my ’74 Eldorado Convertible for a retro-rod PT Cruiser. (I still have my ’53 Chevy custom, of course). Anyways, For the kats that have the means and the beans to travel in style, a true classic really puts the fedora on the retro-tastic outfit.

    For your consideration, a true-blue 1956 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60 Special, in near-mint original condition with only 75,000 miles showing on the O-doe. Here’s a few pix to get your juices flowin’.

    Original 1956 Cadillac Series 62 Hardtop Sedan

    Original 1956 Cadillac Series 62 Hardtop Sedan

    These cars were known as “hardtops” or “hardtop convertibles”. That meant that when you put all the windows down, there was no center post (or “pillar”) visible above the doors. The whole car looked “open” like a convertible. The top, however, did not go down. Note the massive, bullet-shaped bumpers and gold-tone grille.


    The tail-end of this car was as impressive as the front. The factory dual exhaust exits through the rear bumper ends. The gas tank filler is located under the driver’s side fin. The trunk can comfortably fit a family of four.

    56caddyventA nice shot of the rear wrap-around window and vent system. The vent inside the back window is a rear defogger.


    The driver’s control center is patterned after an airplane’s cockpit. Luxury features like automatic transmission, remote mirror, electric door locks and windows and air condition set the Cadillac apart from ordinary cars.


    The factory-installed air conditioning was a must-have for cruisers who lived in subtropical climates such as Miami.


    And just in case you weren’t sure, the fine folks at Cadillac proudly display the year of the car on the passenger side of the chrome-laden dash. Notice the brocade material on the door and kick panel…the seats match.


    This rod rides like a dream on a cloud. It just floats along as only a 20-ft long Cadillac with a V8 can do. This Detroit beauty was built mainly by hand by big, strong, American car builders who took a lot of pride in what they were doing. 56 years later, this classic cruiser still wears that dignity with the same pride it did when it was new. This is not my ride, but with the cars I’ve owned I’d feel right at home cruising this bad girl down I95 every day.

    Want one? They ain’t easy to find in this condition, but when you do…believe it or not you can pick them up in the $20,000 range. Just don’t try to find a convertible that cheap.

    -Tiki Chris P reporting from the garage next to the Tiki Bar. Tiki Lounge Talk…the B’lounge for retro kats and swingin’ kittens. Dig it, daddy-O!

  • The Maltese Falcon, 1941 – Noir Movie Monday

    Posted on January 18th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 4 comments

    maltese-falcon-posterThere aren’t too many people in the civilized world who haven’t heard of Sam Spade, Private Eye.

    The Maltese Falcon, 1941,

    coming at the very beginning of the classic Film Noir era, is a movie that exhibits every aspect of the genre in perfect proportion. Indeed, many honor this flick as the first Film Noir.

    Sam Spade (played by none other than Humphrey Bogart) is a cold, wise-cracking, hardened private dick with his own ideas of morality and justice. He doesn’t play by the rules, because the rules to apply to the underworld in which he moves. falcon2Throw in a couple of tough dames, con men, strong arms and plenty of guns; back-light it and shoot with high contrast film; add a score that throws you into the era the second it hits your ears and you’ve got one of the greatest movies ever projected upon the Silver Screen.

    With a cast that includes Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet (his first role), this flick is packed with murder, backstabbing, and women of questionable reputation. Throw in an antique metal bird and a Nazi angle, and you’ve got yourself a sleek winner.

    falcon1Why Should You Watch This Movie: Unparalleled writing in the genre, suburb acting, classy dames and very hep cars. Plus a plot that twists so many times your neck will hurt. The ending ain’t too shabby, either. It’s the movie that defined Bogart as an actor, and John Huston as a director. It opened up a whole new world where the good guys could sometimes be as bad (or worse) than the bad guys, but you root for them anyway because in the end, they get the job done with a flair that can’t be matched by today’s over-the-top characters.


    Humphrey Bogart, The Maltese Falcon, 1941

    Food & Booze: No fancy stuff here. Hard, straight whiskey, neat. A roast beef club on rye. Eggs and hash. Eat it fast and move on before the killers catch up with you.

    My Take: I was a young kid when I first saw this flick on TV, so young that I didn’t understand half of what was going on, but I know I liked it. The men’s hats alone were enough to have me hooked. When I saw it again years later, it took me so far out I needed more…and so started watching more Bogart movies, and began reading books by Raymond Chandler and Micky Spillane etc. etc. Fast forward 30 years later…and here I am, writing to you, dressing like a gangster, writing Noir-style mystery novels myself, and sharing my take on great films, booze, women, cars et al from the past. Dig it, kats.

    Here’s the original movie trailer:

    -Tiki Chris reporting from the his worn out desk in the back of the dusty, brown office at Samual Spade Private Investigation Agency.

  • In Observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

    Posted on January 17th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 3 comments
    A wreath memorializes the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. National Civil Rights Museum. Photo taken October, 2008 ©C.Pinto

    A wreath memorializes the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. National Civil Rights Museum. Photo taken October, 2008 ©C.Pinto

    In Observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I’m moving Noir Movie Monday to later tonight or tomorrow. Right now I’d like to direct your attention to a very solemn yet extremely hip place,

    The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennassee.

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated while looking out over the small balcony at his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968. But his tragic murder didn’t bring an end to the Civil Rights Movement…if anything, it helped open people’s eyes to the injustices that were ‘business as usual’ in the south and other parts of the United States.

    The original sign of the Lorraine Motel, now the Civil Rights Museum

    The original sign of the Lorraine Motel, now the Civil Rights Museum

    Immediately after the assassination, the room where King was shot was sealed off as memorial to the great man, and wreath was hung on the railing of the balcony. Several years later the Lorraine Motel was purchased and turned into the main exhibit of the National Civil Rights Museum. The rooms where King and his colleagues stared on that tragic day were restored to the way they looked in 1968, and are now enclosed in glass so visitors can see them. Vintage cars similar to the ones parked under the balcony on April 4, 1968 sit in the parking lot, and the facade of the motel (including the sign) still look the same as it did in ’68. It’s a memorial, and a time capsule.

    The museum itself has dozens of exhibits showing what life was like for African Americans living in the south in the 1930s through the 1970s. This is the dark side of the past we love so much; this is the part of the swing and rat pack eras we try to forget while having drinks at the bar with out friends of all ethnic backgrounds. It’s hard to imagine it now, 40+ years later, but Frank Sinatra had to do a lot of fighting to get Sammy Davis Jr. the OK to walk into the front door of some of the places they played. To put that in perspective, imagine Oprah not being allowed to drink from the same water fountain as Dr. Phil. Yeah, things were that screwed up.

    martinlutherkingjrIf any of you kats and chicks get a chance to hit Memphis, make sure you go to Elvis’ Graceland, the Gibson Guitar museum, and Peabody Motel. But absolutely go to the Civil Rights Museum. It will change you, trust me.

    -Tiki Chris P.