Thursday, January 14, 2016

2016 - Starting off With a Bang!

Happy New Year to anyone actually reading this! 

2015 was a pretty good year..minus having to put my cat to sleep (still a bummer!) but I am happy its a new year and I am looking forward to all the fun things that lay ahead.

The best thing so far this year (and we are only 2 weeks in) is I FINALLY scored one of my "Holy Grail" tiki items!

This is a ceramic drink bowl made for Steve Crane's Luau restaurant/bar and is commonly referred to as the Hypnotic Chicken :)  I have wanted this bowl for over 10 years and I could never find it.

Finally I was given an opportunity to buy it that I just could not pass up so I pulled the trigger and finally added it to my collection. 

Needless to say I am super stoked!

A little about Steve Crane and his tiki empire :

Stephen Crane started out as bit actor in Hollywood in the 30's and became better known for being one of Lana Turner's ex-husbands than for any of his roles. Realizing his limited acting skills, he turned his charm and energies to the restaurant business and in 1953 bought out 'The Tropics' in Beverly Hills. Taking his cue from Trader Vic's and Don the Beachcomber, Steve created his own Polynesian themed restaurant 'The Luau'. The restaurant quickly became a hit and a 'must see' Hollywood celebrity hot spot. Soon Steve was approached by Sheraton to create Polynesian theme restaurants for the hotel chain to compete with Hilton and their association with Trader Vic's. His company,  Steve Crane and Associates' soon opened up the Kon-Tiki restaurants in Montreal, Portland, Cleveland, Boston, Waikiki, and 'Ports O' Call' in Dallas. 

The Luau is considered by many to be one of the great original Tiki palaces from the height of the Polynesian Pop era. Featuring an exotic tropical interior and a menu to match with over 70 tropical drinks. Florian Gabriel in association with Architect George Nakashima designed the stunning interior filled with intricate Tikis, square grown bamboo, and even featured a small waterfall. Steve's own exotic contribution was high prized hookers at the bar. The Luau is also known for having one of the most stunning lines of Tiki mugs and bowls. Attributed to Florian Gabriel, they are known for their intricate design and construction. 

As the Polynesian Pop fad faded, so did the success of the Luau. After 26 years, the restaurant closed it doors for good and the site was demolished 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Disneyworld Flashback to the 80s

On a recent trip back to Florida (where I grew up) I was going through photos of my childhood when I stumbled over a few from when my family went to Disneyworld years ago !

Now if you hadn't noticed I am really into tiki (duh!) and so it was super cool to find a photo of my older brother and I posing in front of the Adventureland sign complete with the original tikis.  Yes, the sun was in our eyes hence the squinting but since these tikis are no longer there what a great photo nonetheless!

My Dad also took pics of my brother and I posing with our mom under The Enchanted Tiki Birds (now Room) sign/building.  Realize that the park was not wall to wall people like it is now...this was right after the park was open and most photos I flipped through show very little crowds. How times have changed!

My Dad also grabbed some pics inside the attraction including one of the hostesses peering out from behind the doors.

Finally a huge attraction to the DW park was the Florida Orange Bird and the Sunshine Terrace Tree. I have a small collection of vintage Orange Bird merch that you may have seen before:

 Which is why seeing this photo of my brother and I chilling with the Orange Bird was super rad!

I have lots of other Disney pics from my childhood. Growing up in Florida we went to theme parks ALOT. Back then it didn't cost $100 just to walk through the gates and I am so happy that my family has these memories!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

International Tiki Marketplace at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach THIS Saturday -- October 10th

If you collect tiki or like tiki cocktails and live anywhere around LA as of this weekend I hope you will support my friends who are vending at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach at the International Tiki Marketplace Saturday October 10th from 10:00-3:00pm!

Over 50 vendors selling everything from vintage to tiki to rockabilly items displayed throughout the vintage Polynesian restaurant Don the Beachcomber-- what could be better?

Entrance to Don's is $10 but in return you get a $10 voucher that is good for food and drink at the restaurant the day of. Come to browse, stay to dine and then browse some more--who knows what you will find!

The event is all ages and you will want to  arrive early because my friend Tom Thordarson (THOR) created this print exclusively for this event and the first 100 people get it for free! 

AND even better is the first 15 people get the print PLUS a custom frame by world famous Bamboo Ben!! 

Here is just a tiny sneak peek of the art Thor created :

Why wouldn't you want to check it out! Free art, friends, shopping, tiki, tiki, tiki!

SO if you are on Facebook click the link below to get to the event invite.

See you Saturday!!


Friday, July 31, 2015

Kitschy, Novelty Hats Made by ME!

Inspired by the super cute sunglass hats from the 60s I  I have become obsessed with revamping vintage straw hats into novelty hats to coordinate with the bright, Hawaiian outfits that so many people wear at tiki gatherings.

If you have no idea what a vintage sunglass hat is...well imagine a hat with ..uh..built in sunglasses! 

Here is an example :)

(Don't forget to click on the photos to enlarge them!)

So as I said inspired by these hats I have started revamping vintage ones and turning them into sunglass hats - this one has pink film and a flower

And then I sort of went off the deep end and decided to also make novelty hats like...

Under the sea...

Mid Century fish...

One of my favorites..flamingos and palm trees...

flower power complete with rick rack...

I added mushrooms to this super cute hat that already came with pom poms and a baby blue under the chin tie...

brightly colored polka dots...

Anchors aweigh...

Yes..I have A LOT of free time and yes I love the way these have all turned out! I have a few more that are almost done. I plan on selling these at an event I am attending in 2 weeks and what doesn't sell will end up on Etsy or Ebay.

Who needs to buy when you can make, right?

Hope you enjoy them!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Vladimir Tretchikoff - in the flesh..literally!

If you love kitschy art or even if you love tiki you should be familiar with this 1950s painting by Vladimir Tretchikoff "The Chinese Girl" or as we call her "The Green Girl". My picture below has her face in more blue tones but she is most definatly green.

I have always loved this painting but I have had zero luck finding this print second hand. Even though I have searched for it for years I have yet to find it at an estate sale or a thrift store. I could buy it off Ebay if I wanted to spend a chunk of change on it ($150-$350) but I am too cheap to do so.

So....I decided to do the next best thing.....

 And get it tattooed to me!  I am pretty heavily tattooed but from my knees to my waist I have none. Since I am so tall I have wanted to wait to find a large piece to cover a substantial area and finally decided to bite the bullet and get this done.

My tattoo artist Lefty is also someone that lived on the East Coast and relocated here as well. Although we are from the same part of Florida we weren't friends until we both lived out here. He is not only a super nice guy but an amazing artist..who also does amazing tattoos.

So this past Saturday I settled in for a LONG ended up being 5 hours!!

If you have never had tattoos before the key to a great tattoo artist (in my opinion) is how much time they take layering the colors. Intricate patterns and tones should be built up and not just colored in willy nilly.

Here is her almost finished dress. It took 2.5 hours.

After hour 3 my thigh went numb -- thank goodness--because it took another 2 hours to finish her up.

Needless to say she turned out amazing !

Even though my thigh feels like its been through hell and back and sleeping the first two nights was highly uncomfortable I am super stoked with the end result and so very happy to finally "own" her.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Tiki Diablo and Home Depot -- a perfect tiki pairing!

One of the things I love about my friends --especially in the tiki communicty-- is how very talented they all are. I am fortunate to know so many amazing artists who run the gamut from mug making  to tiki carving to full on commercial tiki bar builds.

A few years ago I became friends with one of the nicest guys in tiki-Daniel Gallardo or as the tiki world calls him Tiki Diablo.

Danny and his wife Stephanie became fast friends and I have always enjoyed spending time with them at tiki events -- they are both so down to earth and fun to be around.

Danny has done some amazing work in the past - not just custom mug making but custom bar builds as well.

He built the Tonga Hut Palm Springs location which includes this amazing hidden room you can dine in:

Concept art

Part of the finished room

He built the tiki resort in the desert : Mojave Oasis -- which is a campground full of tiki touches like a huge clamshell outdoor bar and vintage trailers you can rent:

He makes custom mugs for Tiki Bars like rum aficionado and epic tiki drink creator Beachbum Berry's bar  Latitude 29 located in New Orleans

as well as fun, quirky mugs like the Boobie Trap (which he gave me for my last birthday--Thanks Danny!)

Seeing as Danny is self made and one of the hardest working people I have ever met nothing makes me happier than seeing him make it big...and in big I mean he just created a line of tiki merchandise for Home Depot!   If you have ever seen tiki merchandise in stores its usually the ghastly Party City brightly colored big toothy grin tikis like this :

Well that is NOT tiki. That is..well..horrific. Please don't buy anything that looks like that and display it is not tiki its tacky and you should be embarrassed! 

For the Home Depot line Danny has made a few different styles of standing tikis, a bar and table top planters all in his signature style. 

Retro Renovation did a fantastic article on Danny, his art and this series for Home Depot that you should really read up on it  HERE

And as for my friend I am so extremely happy for him ! He is beyond talented and I cannot think of anyone more deserving!