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  • Tiki Oasis 12 Starts Thursday, Aug. 16, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Diego!

    Posted on August 15th, 2012 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    tiki-oaisis-12“You Mission, if you choose to accept it…” is how this year’s Tiki Oasis website welcomes you. And there’s a good reason – the theme this year for the world’s largest Tiki gathering is Exotic Espionage & Polynesian Pulp!

    As if thousands of Tikiphiles getting together for drinks with entertainment and vintage merchandise wasn’t enough, the cats and kittens who put on this shindig decided to go with the ultra-cool mid-century spy theme to spice things up even more.

    Marina the Mermaid

    Marina the Mermaid

    While the expected entertainment includes surf bands, Exotica bands, dancers, DJs and burlesque beauties, this year visitors can dig some extra hipness concentrated on the spy theme, including a symposium on the cinematic/television history of exotic espionage and Polynesian pulp by fellow author Will “The Thrill” Viharo. Fort Lauderdale’s own Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid will also perform, along with swingin’ bands like The Exotics, Thee Swank Bastards and The Tikiyaki Orchestra.

    Will "The Thrill"

    Will "The Thrill"

    As always there will be a groovy art show and the ever popular antique/classic/hot rod car show, plus appearances and seminars by the likes of Sven Kirsten and Meghan Mayhem, all with a spy-scene tilt. Dig it.

    For a complete list of entertainment, schedule and other info visit the Tiki-O website at www.tikioasis.com/2012.

    -Tiki Chris, jealously reporting from the opposite coast!

    Cabernet Dance

    Cabernet Dance

  • Have Fun At Tiki Oasis 11, August 18-21!

    Posted on August 11th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    tiki-o-2011Next weekend the largest and longest running Tiki party in the 48 states kicks off with a Latin twist…This year, the theme is South of the Boarder, A Retro-Tijuana Style Tiki Party!

    Ok, many of you are saying, “huh? What the hell does Mexico have to do with Tiki?” Well, the swell kats and kittens at Tiki-O have figured out a way to make it work. After all, the event is held in San Diego…which was once part of Mexico. Throw in some tequila next to the rum, some Los Straitjackets next to King Kukulele and you’ve got a swingin’ Mexi-Tiki event.

    There will be all the usual kool stuff: A Tiki marketplace, including the art of Doug Horne, Fez-o-Rama, and South Florida artist DeTiki, an art show, pin-up contest, kids events, live Tiki carvings and a costume contest…plus a kickin’ car show with vintage, customs & rods on Saturday.

    Now, living 3000+ miles away and having blown all my bread on The Hukilau, yours truly won’t be attending Tiki-O this year. But if you’re in the are or you’ve got the lettuce, make sure you swing down to the Crowne Plaza in S.D. CA for Tiki Oasis!

    Visit the official website for schedule and tickets at www.tikioasis.com/2011.

    Here’s a video of the car show from last year:

  • Memories of The Hukilau 2011, Ft. Lauderdale FL

    Posted on June 22nd, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    mai-kai-signThe Hukilau 2011 was crazy, fun and swingin’, as you kats and kitties can imagine (or know for a fact if you were there). I promised a bunch of you that I’d post pix and stories…well, I had so much fun I didn’t take too many pix, but got a few. Plus a few good stories I remember, through the rum-induced haze.

    Here’s a slide show of my pix. I know they ain’t great, but some are fun. You’ll notice I didn’t take many photos of people. It’s because I’m a decent writer, but as a photographer I suck eggs!

    Some stories:

    I tried to see and do everything, but just couldn’t. One of my favorite parts was watching Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid and her pod of lovely swimmers performing at the Wreck Bar at the Yankee Clipper. We got there early and for the first time got a front row seat at the bar. What a show! She was joined by a few surprise guests in the water, too…including the Creature from the Black Lagoon and an airline pilot (from the Tikiyaki Orchestra). Kookie stuff. The Wreck Bar served a special drinks called the Fire Eating Mermaid, a pretty blue concoction garnished with a gummy fish. Afterwards we saw the mermaids outside at the pool as they got their pix taken with the crowd. We didn’t get our photo taken then (there were a zillion people there) but I do have this photo of them with and my book, Murder on Tiki Island…Marina is on the cover :)

    Tiki Chris & Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid with her pod and my book, Murder on Tiki Island

    Tiki Chris & Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid with her pod and my book, Murder on Tiki Island

    Speaking of mermaids, there was a great presentation by my pals at Vintage Roadside. They traveled all the way from Portland, OR to bring us Aquarama: Girls Who Live Like Fish. They gave us the story of an aquatic show that flourished in the midwest through the 1960s, featuring vintage video, photos, recordings and even actual costumes worn by the performers. You could tell they put hours and hours of research and work into this project, bringing back a part of history that may otherwise have been forgotten. Marina was also there to help with the presentation, and dedicated one of her fish tails to the collection. Definitely a highlight of the event!

    Another symposium was “Hawaii – Sailors, Sex and the Birth of Old School Tattoos” by Paul Roe, owner and head artist of Britishink Tattoos in Washington DC. This was an amazing look into the history of Tattoos in America, how the art evolved, and how the original styles influence the art today. I had the luck of sitting next to Paul at The Mai-Kai, and although the Jet Pilots and Mai Tais made the evening a little fuzzy, I remember him saying he’s done (I think) thousands of tattoos. Pretty sure that’s what he said. Anyway it was a fascinating presentation about a subject I know very little about, so it was very kool.

    The Thursday night kick-off party was a blast. I don’t remember much of it, and we didn’t stay long because I had worked all day as Vendor Coordinator, but I remember fire, The Tikiyaki Orchestra, Meyers and Coke, a really good hamburger, a rum challenge and a lot of people in Hawaiian shirts.

    Me, Tiki Chris, showing off a vintage tux

    Me, Tiki Chris, showing off a vintage tux

    (I didn’t get any photos of these. I was having too much fun.)

    Friday was a blur. Music, booze, helping Vendors with stuff, more booze, more music, The Tattoo symposium, The Wreck Bar, Grinder Nova, The Exotics, The Intoxicators, King Kukulele, more booze…you get the picture.

    Saturday wasn’t as much of a blur but still blurry. I missed Beachbum Berry’s Rumposium, which was a letdown, due to a little bad planning on my part. But happy hour and the dinner show at the Mai Kai more than made up for it. I started out with a Jet Pilot (ker-razy strong drink, but I love it) and ended with a Mai Tai. The show was fantabulous as usual…they had a new announcer (Sonny retired after 400 years), a cute Aussie chick with a nice accent. The hula girls and the fire dancers were even better than I remember. King Kukulele started things off with his usual yucks and a few tunes, including The Hukilau Song…of which NOBODY knows all the words. Starts out ok, then kind of goes like…”We’re going to the Hukilau, where the mmmrrmmrm mrmrm mrm something Hukilau”…yeah.

    Hukilau 2011 Mug cast in gold as a thanks for helping out

    Hukilau 2011 Mug cast in gold as a thanks for helping out

    Colleen and I both got steaks from the Chinese ovens. These are prime cuts roasted over applewood. The Mai Kai has some of the best steaks I’ve ever had…so good that Colleen, who is 90% vegetarian, ate a New York Strip. I had the filet. She also got the Lobster bisque which she says is the best she ever tasted. We of course got appetizers…and those glorious drinks. For desert I got the Bananas Bengali, basically Bananas Foster served flaming tableside. The production they make of this rivals the show. Thank Tiki for 151 rum, huh?

    Tiki Kiliki, aka Christie White, the organizer of the event made a few very nice speeches and thank yous at the dinner, including giving gold-cast Hukilau mugs to some of the people who helped with the event, including yours truly. That was nice :)

    We hung out for a while at the Molokai bar at the Mai Kai, rapping with some new friends, and some old friends. It was too packed to get a drink so we wound up back at our room by around midnight. We were down for the count…but most of the clan didn’t quit until the wee small hours.

    Colleen at The Mai Kai

    Colleen at The Mai Kai

    Sunday was kool. Someone at The Mai Kai had been scrapbooking back in the late 60s all the way up until the mid 90s, and they opened up the archives for view…and I mean they let us open the scrap books and look through them. It was fantastic, photos and press clippings going way back. Someone even brought photos of the Mai Kai’s first celebrity bartender from the late 1950s. Amazing stuff.

    One of the people I met during the event was Tricia who runs the gift shop at the Mai Kai. Three very kool things came out of this meeting…one, I got to meet a very groovy chick who was a lot of fun during the event, two she agreed to put my book in the Mai Kai’s gift shop (YEAH!!!!), and three I got a sneak peak at the separate building there which was damaged in Hurricane Wilma in 2005 and closed…they use it for storage now. In fact they have about 80 or so old chairs from the 1980s that they are selling to the public stored there. They don’t usually let people in the building…sadly, it’s been damaged pretty badly…so it was fun to see inside a part of this historic place that hadn’t been seen by many people in six years. Tricia has some excellent ideas on how to renovate the building that could certainly help the Mai Kai…hopefully they’ll be able to do something with it soon!

    I missed the meet & greet with Dick Dale, unfortunately, because I had to fix Colleen’s Jeep (starter died). Hopefully he’ll be back next year.

    I think that’s about it. Lemme tell ya, it went by way too fast. Next year I’m bringing a bunch of no-doze with me so I can do even more.

    We decorated our room and had a bar set up

    We decorated our room and had a bar set up

    By the way…a note to all the vendors of this year’s event…this was my first time as Vendor Coordinator, and I’d just like to say thanks to everyone one of you who helped make this year’s event even more fun, especially my buddies Bob Ho (Tiki Hana), Robert Jimenez (Tiki Tower), Peter Janus (Tropiki), Tahiti Joe, Tiki Mon, Tiki Diablo, Tricia, Renee, Tom, John…oh hell, I can’t list everyone! You were all great…thanks again!

    -Tiki Chris P. reporting from my lounge chair at Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar, home of Tiki Lounge Talk, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
    PS – I hope I spelled everybody’s names right. This Sailor Jerry is not good to drink when typing!

  • Rum Barrels available for sale at The Mai-Kai again

    Posted on May 21st, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    mai-kai-at-nightSpeaking of Rum Barrels (see previous post), the little lady and I spent a nice hour at the Molokai Bar at The Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale last night for The Hukilau kick-off party. I was happy to see they were serving the Barrel O’ Rum in the barrel mug again (last time we were there they were out, said all of them had been stolen by guests). They’re also for sale in the gift shop for $17 bucks.

    It was really thrilling to see some of my Tiki pals’ art showcased in the gift shop. Art by Peter Janus (Tropiki, peterjanus.com), Bob Ho (Tiki Hana, tikihana.com) and Robert Jimenez (tikitower.com) was showcased among others, really giving the gift shop a more artistic, original Tiki feel than if it were just filled with touristy stuff from China. They’ve also increased their Tiki mug offerings, including having the Mai-Kai Mystery Bowl in stock for a low low price of $89 buckeroos. Oof.

    The bar was packed, by the way, and it took a while to get a drink…our waitress was really nice though, apologizing for the wait. Of course the drinks were half price for the party, so paying $7 clams for a Rum Barrel certainly made up for the inconvenience.

    -Tiki Chris reporting from the Tiki Bar, with a Rum Barrel and a Crab Rangoon (wait…I’m allergic to crabs!)

  • Bamboozler: Your Weekend Tiki Bar Cocktail!

    Posted on April 15th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 3 comments

    shagWith Jazz Appreciation Month in full swing, I thought I’d feature a drink that sounded like it would be at home both in a dark mid-century Tiki Bar and a boppin’ basement Jazz club. Found this one in Shag’s Tiki Drinks Deck, a fun little pack of 52 drink cards with groovy Tiki art by Shag. With a name like

    BAMBOOZLER

    …how could it miss?

    1 Shot Dark Rum
    1 Shot Light/Silver Rum
    1 Shot Vanilla Rum (Note: if you don’t have Vanilla Rum, try experimenting with Vanilla Vodka, Spiced Rum, or a few shots of pure vanilla extract at a time to get the desired taste. Desired taste is kind of vanilla-y.
    1 Tsp. Marashino Liqueur (or cherry juice, or Grenadine)
    3-4 Shots Mango Juice
    shage bamboozler card

    In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add all ingredients and shake it up well. Pour into a chilled Collins glass and garnish with a marachino cherry. Niiiiice.

    bamboozler

    Tiki Chris P. reporting from the Tiki Bar!
    Happy Weekend, Kids!