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  • Tiki Oasis is only a week away!

    Posted on August 8th, 2013 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    tiki-oasis-13-graphicIf you dig Tiki drinks, Tiki mugs, Exotic Cocktails & cool tunes, and you happen to be in the San Diego area next week, you’ve got to swing over to Tiki Oasis 13!

    The largest Tiki Culture event in the galaxy, this year’s Tiki-O’s theme is “Hulabilly – A Hawaiian Hootenanny!”

    The event happens August 15 through 18th, and includes tons of entertainment including bands, burly-q dancers, singers, guitar slingers, and the favorite here at the Tiki Lounge, Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid. Plus there’s the annual antique/classic/hot rod car show, an art show, the Tiki marketplace and tons of food and libations to cure any ills.

    To go with the Hulabilly theme, there will be a BBQ shack that features a “Moonshine Burger” – something that sounds like it would tickle my fancy! Tickets are still available, starting at $15 for Thursday night up to $300 for the all-access VIP job.

    Wahini Colleen and I won’t be able to transverse the 3000 miles to get to Tiki O this year, but our hearts and spirits will be there. In fact, we’ll probably swing over to the Mai Kai next Friday night to really get in the spirit…that spirit being rum, of course!

    Visit the Tiki Oasis 13 website for more info!

    -Tiki Chris P, reporting from the BBQ pit behind Pirate’s Cove Tiki BAr

  • In Jersey this weekend? Go to Asbury Park for the Endless Summer Tiki Festival!

    Posted on September 27th, 2012 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 2 comments

    greetings_from_asbury_park-149190809_stdPeople don’t usually think of the Jersey Shore when they think of Tiki. The boards are about surf and sand, T-shirts and bikinis, hot dogs and fries, not so much about Mai Tais and Aloha shirts. But that’s changing this weekend, as the Asbury Park Boardwalk present their Polynesian-Inspired Event, The Endless Summer Tiki Festival!

    Get ready for three days of Poly-pop fun, kicking off on Friday, September 28. There will be plenty of Tiki-inspired events, movies, art, collectibles, and more for festival-goers of all ages.

    Here’s some info on the event from the Tiki Festival’s press release:

    “We couldn’t think of a better place to celebrate Tiki culture than on the Asbury Park Boardwalk,” commented Marilyn Schlossbach, owner of Langosta Lounge. “The boardwalk businesses, music venues, bars and restaurants are excited to program special events and promotions for Tiki fans from all over the country. We look forward to the ‘Endless Summer Tiki Weekend’ becoming an annual event in Asbury Park, joining the likes of the Ohana Luau in Lake George and the Long Beach Tiki Festival.”

    The “Endless Summer Tiki Weekend” will begin on Friday, September 28 with a special launch party and art show at the new Asbury Park Yacht Club on the Asbury Park Boardwalk. Polynesian pinball at the Silverball Museum, a bonfire on the beach, and a live drum circle hula-hoop performance will round out the opening night festivities.asburyboardwalk

    On Saturday, September 29, the Festival’s Rodeo Surf Contest will begin at 7:00 a.m. and include a full day of wave-riding in support of The Jersey Shore Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. Later that day, animal lovers will be invited to bring their four-legged friends to the Wonder Bar for a Tiki-inspired Yappy Hour and pet-friendly fashion show. The Festival will continue with a Tiki golf tournament at Asbury 18 Mini Golf, Tiki carving, lei-making and hula-hopping lessons at various boardwalk locations.  The classic 1961 film “Blue Hawaii” presented by the Asbury Park Film Initiative will screen on the Third Avenue Beach at 8:00 p.m.  The Jersey Shore Roller Girls will also entertain Tiki crowds with a bout at Convention Hall.

    The third and final day of the “Endless Summer Tiki Weekend” will include another Tiki Yappy Hour at the Wonder Bar, the continuation of the “Endless Summer Tiki Art Show” at the Asbury Park Yacht Club, and a pool party at the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel. Blue Hawaii Vintage will present a vintage fashion show in the Carousel starting at 2:00 p.m. and Elvis fans can find El King, the Hawaiian Elvis, strolling the boards on Sunday with a special 3:45 performance on the 4th Avenue Green Space.  Attendees will then be invited to bring their beach chairs and towels to Asbury Park’s 3nd Ave. beach for a screening of the original “Endless Summer.”

    wonderbarIn addition to the varied day-time events, live music at legendary Asbury Park music venues, including the Stone Pony and Wonder Bar, will be programmed in conjunction with the Festival. The Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel will offer festival-goers with a discounted room rate throughout the weekend; interested parties are instructed to mention the event when securing a reservation. For more info visit the website at www.apboardwalk.com

    Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend the event, since I’m about 1400 miles away, but it does sound like fun. Like the “Yappy Hour”…all I can think of is a bunch of dogs getting tanked on Zombies.

    This event reminds me of some of the Tiki-ness that the Wildwood Boardwalk used to have. There was a Poly-themed motel there, years ago, and a snack bar on the boardwalk that was decorated like a Tiki hut. The piers always had rides with Tiki themes too, over the years, and lots of plastic palm trees.

    Anyway, Cheers to the good people of Asbury Park for keeping the Tiki tradition alive, and here’s to hoping you have a fun and prosperous Endless Summer Tiki Weekend!

    -Tiki Chris P. reporting from the travel center at Pirate’s Cove Tiki Lounge, hidden somewhere in Fort Lauderdale, FL

  • 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!

  • It’s time for The Hukilau 2011!

    Posted on June 8th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 4 comments
    Me, our friend Molly and my wife Colleen at the Mai Kai Saturday Night.

    Me, our friend Molly and my wife Colleen at the Mai Kai during The Hukilau 2010. I think that was Mai Tai number six.

    That’s right kids, the big event is happening THIS WEEK…and it’s the 10th anniversary of The Hukilau, too!

    PROOF that SoCal doesn’t have the monopoly on the koolest of koolness. The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is the east coast answer to the Tiki revival!

    This year promises to be a truly swingin’ event, with more music, art, drinks and fun than ever. Wahini Colleeni and I have booked a room at the Bahia Mar, where much of the action is taking place, so we can have ALL the fun! So if any of you reading this are making it down to Fort Lauderdale this weekend, look for us!

    Some of the highlights of this year’s Hukilau include:

    • A “Rumposium” by cocktail-slinger extraordinaire Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, held at the world famous Mai-Kai
    • The Tiki Treasure Bazaar featuring 40 of the koolest Tiki and Vintage sellers around
    • TONS of entertainment including performances by The Intoxicators!, The Tikiyaki Orchestra, Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid, Grinder Nova, The Exotics, The Fishermen, DJ’s Lounge Laura Taylor & Drew Farmer, DJ’s Jack Fetterman and Gina of the Jungle and more all emceed by our old pal King Kukulele.
    • Appearances/symposiums by Ian Burrell, Martin Cate, Wayne Curtis, Stephen Remsberg, Kevin Kidney & Jody Daily, Dick Dale, Vintage Roadside’s “Beautiful Girls That Live Like Fish!”, Paul Roe’s “Hawaii – Sailors, Sex and the Birth of Old School Tattoos”, Harold Golen Gallery of Miami and more
    • The Hukilau Master Mixologist Challenge
    • PARTIES PARTIES PARTIES
    • And maybe a few surprises…

    Stolen Idols at The Hukilau 2010

    Stolen Idols at The Hukilau 2010

    The Mai-Kai dinner show and some of the symposiums are already sold out, but there’s still plenty of elbow room at the parties. For a complete line up of entertainment and the schedule, visit The Hukilau website.

    Aloha kids, see you in Fort Lauderdale!

    -Tiki Chris reporting from the beach in front of the Yankee Clipper, Fort Lauderdale

  • Beachbum Berry’s Rumposium at The Hukilau 2011

    Posted on May 16th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    hukilau2011logoIf you’re in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, June 11th, and if you like rum, and if you like Tiki drinks, then you’ll have to find yourself a way to swing down to The Hukilau 2011…especially for Beachbum Berry’s Rumposium at the Mai Kai.

    What the hell is a Rumposium? Pretty much what it sounds like. Here’s the description from The Hukilau’s website:

    “The Bum’s Rumposium — a Hukilau tenth-anniversary exclusive — will be a rollicking ride down the rapids of a river of rum, an exhaustive and literally explosive look at rum in history, rum on the high seas, rum in Tiki drinks, how to pair rum with food, how to pair rums with each other, how to keep zombies away using rum, and how to use rum in Zombies. Don’t miss the cocktails, the tall tales … or the gunpowder test!”

    Beachbum Berry

    Beachbum Berry

    The Rumposium costs only $35. It starts promptly at 2pm, and will segue into the first seating for the Polynesian Show & Dinner at the Mai Kai. Reservations are required for both, so if you haven’t done it yet, get on the ball and get your tickets! Visit The Hukilau’s website at www.thehukilau.com/2011.

    Remember, this is the 10th anniversary of The Hukilau, so there are all kinds of fun events, music, performances and kool stuff to buy this year!

    -See you there, Tiki Chris P.