The Week in Tiki (March 16, 2015): Miller to remain in Big Apple; Tiki weekenders sell out in Chicago, N.J.

The Week in TikiThis week’s top story is the sellout of two upcoming events: the Chicago Area Tiki Tour, and the Vintage Tiki Weekend in Wildwood, N.J. Also, tickets for Tiki Kon in the Pacific Northwest are selling fast. We have news on award-winning Tiki barman Brian Miller’s decision to remain in New York City. Plus, get updates on Aloha Isle and Sunshine Tree Terrace swapping locations in the Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland, and a Tiki disappointment in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s historic bars contest. Our weekly features spotlight artist Eric October, Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid’s new website, the music of Gold Dust Lounge, and the Tambu Lounge at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The rum of the week, Mount Gay Eclipse, is featured in the The Monaco cocktail.
* Keep up with The Week in Tiki: Facebook page | RSS feed | See past weeks | Archive
* Weekly features: Artist | Website | Band/music | Tiki bar | Rum | Cocktail | Events

LAST WEEK IN REVIEW (March 9-15, 2015)

Quick hits: Miller staying in NYC, N.J. and Chicago Tiki events sell out

Brian Miller (left) and Cabell Tomlinson (Tiki Mondays With Miller, New York City) mix up the Pain Reliever.

Brian Miller (left) and Cabell Tomlinson (Tiki Mondays With Miller, New York City) mix up the Pain Reliever during The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown on South Beach. (Photo by The Atomic Grog)

New York City’s Tiki scene is breathing a collective sigh of relief this week after award-winning bartender Brian Miller had a change of heart and decided to not make a move to the West Coast. After winning “The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown” on Feb. 20 at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, the host of the popular Tiki Mondays With Miller events said he planned to migrate from the Big Apple to Los Angeles. However, in an e-mail received Sunday, the Tiki pirate said he said he now realizes that “New York City is where I want to be right now.” Miller’s next Tiki Monday shindig is set for April 20 at Pouring Ribbons. You can also catch Miller pouring cocktails and presenting a symposium June 10-14 at The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale.
[Atomic Grog preview]

* Related story: The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown full coverage, photos, recipes

The Vintage Tiki Weekend at the Caribbean Motel – scheduled for May 15-17 in historic Wildwood, N.J. – sold out just 10 days after it was announced on March 2. Organizer Mod Betty of Retro Roadmap posted the news on Facebook on Thursday. Those lucky enough to snag one of the 30 rooms at the 58-year-old classic motel will be treated to a Wildwood bus tour, Tiki fashion show, music and cocktails, happy hours, a pig roast, Polynesian appetizers, and more.
* Full event details

Chicago Area Tiki Tour

Another event also announced a sellout: the Chicago Area Tiki Tour. If you don’t have tickets, your only chance to join the festivities April 24-26 for a bus tour of the Windy City’s best Tiki bars and restaurants is to get on a waiting list and hope somebody cancels. Organized by the Red Palms Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Moai, the tour will visit Chef Shangri-la, Hala Kahiki, Lost Lake, Three Dots and a Dash, and The Tiki Terrace. There will also be an exclusive kick-off party at the host hotel featuring surf band the Cocktail Preachers.
* Official event website | Facebook page

Meanwhile, tickets for Tiki Kon Air Flight #13 – scheduled for July 10-12 in Vancouver, Wash., and Portland, Ore. – are selling briskly after going online Saturday. It was announced on Facebook that all of the “first class” and full weekend passes were sold, meaning that the event’s famous Sunday brunch and home bar tour were full. There’s a waiting list in the works, plus plenty of “standard/economy” passes, which include all the Friday/Saturday/Sunday shows and many of the Saturday activities. Tiki Kon is also looking for bartenders to complete in the next Iron Tikitender contest. Three finalists from around the country will face off for the title and cash prize on Saturday, July 11.
* Let it rain now: Tiki Kon is coming this summer (Oregon Live)

Enjoy a beverage in a souvenir Tiki mug in the shadows of the Enchanted Tiki Room at the Magic Kingdom

Enjoy a beverage in a souvenir Tiki mug in the shadows of the Enchanted Tiki Room at the Magic Kingdom. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, December 2014)

As expected, two of the Magic Kingdom’s most popular exotic treat locations have traded places in Adventureland. The Disney Food Blog posted photos and full coverage of Thursday’s moves by Aloha Isle (home of the Dole Whip) and Sunshine Tree Terrace (home of the Citrus Swirl). The moves are reportedly related to the possible opening of a new restaurant in the Adventureland Veranda. Nearly everything available at the old Aloha Isle is available at the new location, including the souvenir Tiki mug.

Unfortunately, all four Tiki landmarks were eliminated in the first round of The Big Tap: 2015 Historic Bars Tournament, presented by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Mai-Kai (Fort Lauderdale), Bali Hai (San Diego), La Mariana (Honolulu), and the Tonga Room (San Francisco) did not make it out of the initial round of 32 competitors in the online popularity contest, which continues through April 3.
* Vote and follow the contest on the Historic Preservation blog

***** Links of the week*****
* New look of the Great Ceremonial House at Disney’s Polynesian Village (The Tiki Chick)
* It’s Tiki time at Seattle bars (The Seattle Times)
* Coco Palms Resort a step closer to reopening (Honolulu Star Advertiser)
* Festival Rum Bahamas 2015: All the rum (The Rum Collective)
* Reverb 10,000: The Tiki Men story (Medium)

Eric October (left) made his first visit to The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale with partner Manuel (right) in June 2014.

Eric October (left) made his first visit to The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale with partner Manuel (right) in June 2014. Hurricane Hayward welcomes them to The Mai-Kai.

ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Eric October
To say Southern California artist Eric October is plugged in to the Tiki scene would be an understatement. He creates artwork in a dizzying array of media (mugs and ceramics, paintings, graphic design, animation, fabrics and objects, et al.) and makes the rounds of nearly every major California event. He helped organize last week’s 10th anniversary of the rebirth of the Tonga Hut in Hollywood and has contributed his talents to a wide assortment of projects and events, such as Mai Tai glasses for The Quiet Village podcast and the cover artwork for the Meet The Tiki Delights album. Eric also contributes to Tiki Magazine & More as a staff writer.
* Visit Eric at EricOctober.com and Facebook
* See past artists of the week

WEBSITE OF THE WEEK: MeduSirena: Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid

Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid (MeduSirena) and her pod of Aquaticats perform during The Hukilau in The Wreck Bar

Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid (MeduSirena) and her pod of Aquaticats perform in pool outside The Wreck Bar in June 2014 during The Hukilau. (Photo by Pat Duncan)

Aquatic performer and entertainer MeduSirena, aka Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid, is a truly unique presence in today’s Tiki and retro scenes. Check out her redesigned website to get an idea of the scope of her talents, from her signature underwater performances at The Wreck Bar in Fort Lauderdale Beach’s at B Ocean Resort, to fire and stunt dancing, to vaudeville/burlesque. Marina’s Fire Eating Mermaid persona has become a Polynesian Pop culture figure, appearing in comics and at events across the country. But Marina Duran-Anderson is also an accomplished performer of Taiko, a traditional Japanese drum. Be sure to also like Marina’s recently re-launched Facebook page and follow The Wreck Bar page. In addition to her regular happy hour swimshows with her pod of “Aquaticats” on Fridays and Saturdays at the Wreck Bar, you can catch her in June at The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale.
* Visit Marina at Medusirena.net | Twitter | Facebook page | The Wreck Bar
* The Atomic Grog: A deep dive into the history of porthole cocktail lounges
* See past websites of the week

'Lost Sunset,' featuring cover artwork by Robert Jimenez

‘Lost Sunset,’ featuring cover artwork by Robert Jimenez.

BAND/MUSIC OF THE WEEK:
Gold Dust Lounge

This Miami instrumental surf-spy-jazz ensemble led by guitarist Russell Mofsky is riding a wave of success since the release of the band’s first proper album, Lost Sunset, in June. Partially funded by fans via Kickstarter, the 10-song release captures Mofsky’s ambitious mash-up of sounds and styles that range from mid-century exotica to 1960s garage rock. Favorite tracks include Bunny Yeager, Humble Hill, Riff Raff, and Sidewinder. Catch the band on a rare tour of New York and New England this month with dates beginning Saturday at the 2300 Degrees Festival in Corning, N.Y. [Tour preview | Facebook event] Gold Dust Lounge will also be performing for a fourth straight year at The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale in June.
* Official sites: GoldDustLounge.com | Facebook page | Twitter | Sound Cloud
* Buy Lost Sunset: Official band store (download, CD, vinyl) | Amazon (download)
* The Atomic Grog: Gold Dust Lounge sets sail on adventurous journey with Lost Sunset
* See past bands/music of the week

TIKI BAR OF THE WEEK: Tambu Lounge at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Tambu Lounge in May 2011

Tambu Lounge in May 2011. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

Soon to be overshadowed by Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, the much-ballyhooed Tiki bar opening in just a few weeks in the venerable Disney World resort, Tambu Lounge needs to be given proper credit and due respect for its 43-year tenure as the only true bastion of Tiki and rum cocktails in Disney World’s many bars and restaurants. It will continue to be a busy bar, servicing both of the Polynesian’s table-service restaurants in the Great Ceremonial House – ‘Ohana and Kona Cafe. But it’s long been known for its two signature topical drinks: the Lapu Lapu (a concoction featuring 151 rum and served in a hollowed-out pineapple) and the Backscratcher (a version of the classic Tropical Itch that includes rum and whiskey plus a wooden backscratcher). Granted, Disney World’s bar menus have become homogenized in recent years. But if you find a veteran bartender, it’s still possible to order classics from past Tambu Lounge menus such as the Scorpion, Navy Grog and Zombie. And the bar, which is open from roughly 1 p.m. to midnight, has a great food menu featuring signature items from the restaurants, such as pork sliders and bread pudding. Just a short walk from the Polynesian’s monorail stop, this Tiki comfort zone will always be worth a visit during any Disney World adventure.
* Official sites: Tambu Lounge | Polynesian Village Resort
* Disney Food blog review | Party Through the Parks
* The Atomic Grog: Backscratcher recipe | Polynesian Resort coverage
* See past Tiki bars of the week

Don’t miss: Disney artists Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily will be appearing at The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale in June, presenting a symposium titled “Prefeb Paradise” on the origins and design of Disney Polynesian Village Resort. Tickets are on sale now.

The Monaco featuring Mount Gay Eclipse

The Monaco featuring Mount Gay Eclipse. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

RUM OF THE WEEK: Mount Gay Eclipse
One of the most versatile of the many excellent gold rums from Barbados, Mount Gay Eclipse can be sipped neat, but it’s best used as a mixer. Rich, harmonious flavors including vanilla and orange mingle in this sharp, young rum. Eclipse is the flagship rum of Mount Gay Distilleries, which dates back to 1703 and is considered to be the oldest rum brand in the world. If you ever visit Barbados, be sure to take one of the distillery’s tours and experience the rich history of this respected rum.
* See past rums of the week

COCKTAIL OF THE WEEK: The Monaco
(By Mount Gay Rum)

* 1 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
* 1/2 ounce white creme de cacao
* 1/4 ounce (1/2 tablespoon) agave nectar
* 3 dashes Angostura bitters
* 1 1/2 ounces Mount Gay Eclipse gold Barbados rum
Shake with ice cubes and strain to a chilled cocktail glass or champagne coupe. Garnish with candied ginger.

Simple and elegant yet very much a Tiki drink with the classic trio of gold rum, lime and bitters forming a solid backbone. The agave and chocolate blend perfectly, giving the drink a rich yet subtle sweetness that makes it dangerously drinkable. Don’t skip the candied ginger. It’s a great final touch.
* See past cocktails of the week

SAVE THE DATE: Upcoming events

The Hukilau

***** In Florida *****
* April 17-19 – Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. The ultimate rum festival and trade expo. [Atomic Grog coverage]
* June 10-14 – The Hukilau at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 hotel and The Mai-Kai restaurant, Fort Lauderdale. The world’s most authentic Tiki event. [Atomic Grog coverage]
* Oct. 1-3 – Ohana: Luau by the Sea, Fort Lauderdale. A weekend of ohana in sunny South Florida.

***** On the Eastern Seaboard *****
* May 15-17 – Vintage Tiki Weekend at the Caribbean Motel, Wildwood, N.J.
* May 15-17 – Instro Summit, Chapel Hill, N.C.
* June 25-28 – Ohana: Luau At The Lake at The Tiki Resort, Lake George, N.Y.
* July 15-19 – Tales of the Cocktail, New Orleans, La.

Tiki Oasis

***** Across the U.S. *****
* April 11-13 – Mojave Oasis, Newberry Springs, Calif.
* April 24-26 – Chicago Area Tiki Tour
* May 14-17 – Tiki Caliente, Palm Springs, Calif.
* July 10-12 – Tiki Kon, Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash.
* Aug. 8Surf Guitar 101 Convention, Los Alamitos, Calif.
* Aug. 13-16 – Tiki Oasis, San Diego, Calif.

***** Worldwide *****
* May 23-25 – RhumFest Paris, Paris, France.
* June 18-21 – Surfer Joe Summer Festival, Livorno, Italy.
* Oct. 3-4 – German Rum Festival,, Berlin
* Oct. 17-18 –
The RumFest: London, United Kingdom

Keep us informed: If you have news or events to report, simply e-mail theatomicgrog@gmail.com and let us know what’s happening, along with any appropriate links. Feel free to send photos and flyers. You can also send a message via the Facebook page. If you post news or updates on a regular basis, let us know how to follow you (website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

About Hurricane Hayward

A professional journalist and Florida resident for more than 30 years, Jim "Hurricane" Hayward shares his obsession with Polynesian Pop and other retro styles on his blog, The Atomic Grog. Jim's roots in mid-century and reto culture go back to his childhood in the 1960s, when he tagged along with his parents to Tiki restaurants and his father's custom car shows. His experience in journalism, mixology, and more than 20 years as an independent concert promoter make him a jack-of-all-trades in the South Florida scene. A graduate of the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications, Jim is a longtime web producer for The Palm Beach Post. In his spare time, he has promoted hundreds of rock, punk, and indie concerts under the Slammie Productions name since the early 1990s. In 2011, he launched The Atomic Grog to extensively cover events, music, art, cocktails, and culture with a retro slant. Jim earned his nickname by virtue of both his dangerous exotic drinks and his longtime position producing The Post's tropical weather website.
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