From the ashes of the Week in Tiki (and, later, the Month in Tiki) rises The Tiki Times. Still ambitious, but more practical, this monthly guide to what’s going on across the world of Tiki culture will hopefully be a definitive resource of where to find special events that touch on topics of interest to many Tikiphiles. You’ll find all the major Tiki festivals, plus smaller gatherings along with events that scratch our itch for rum and cocktails, surf and rockabilly music, mid-century modern design, even Disney. And don’t forget authentic Polynesian culture, the well from which Tiki springs. The biggest will get extended coverage as “spotlight events.”
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March events: Shag art shows, Tiki bars and festivals, surf rock and more
February recap: Bar openings and closings, cocktail competitions, Modernism Week
April 1 – Surfeño 2017 in Mexico City. The annual surf music festival features live performances by Daikaiju, The Volcanics, Los Elásticos, Hikury Beach, Los Granujas, Dr. Tritón, The Sonoras, Los Caguama, and many more.
April 2 – Dick Dale at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. The “King of the Surf Guitar” performs a special concert in the MIM Musical Theater.
* More tour dates at DickDale.com
* Atomic Grog interview: Dick Dale: ‘I had both feet in the grave’
The Dick Dale exhibit at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.
April 2 – Surfin’ Sundays at the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum. A free, all-ages summer concert series at the Huntington Beach Pier in Southern California. Featuring Neptune Cocktail, The Curl Riders, The Riptides, Par Avion, Tiki Creeps, and Tikiyaki 5-0.
April 2 – Tonga Hut Parking Lot Sale & Art Show in Los Angeles celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Kon Tiki expedition. See an original piece of rope from the Kon-Tiki raft, on public display for the first time. Also featuring DJ Tonga Tom, food and drinks, Jason Lee and the Black Tides, vendors and artists, plus more.
April 7 – Exotia Night: A Midcentury Cocktail Experience at Slowly Shirley in New York City. Featuring live jazz and exotica by Alika Lyman, burlesque and special drink menu. Note: Postponed from March.
* Listen: The Speakeasy radio show previews Exotica Nights
April 8 – Midwest Rum Festival in Chicago. Featuring industry events plus a public grand tasting, seminars, mixology demos and artist booths. Hosted by The Rum Lab at the Logan Square Auditorium with special guests including Richard Seale (Foursquare Distillery in Barbados) and Bryan Davis (Lost Spirits Distillery in Los Angeles). Pre-party on April 7 at Hala Kahiki.
* Press coverage: Chicago GoPride | The Spirits Business
April 13-16 – Viva Las Vegas rockabilly weekend marks its 20th anniversary with more than 85 bands, burlesque and car shows featuring more than 800 pre-1964 models, more than 120 vendors, and lots more. Among the major artists performing at The Orleans Hotel and Casino are Brenda Lee, Wanda Jackson, Freddy Cannon, The Cleftones, Gene Summers, Larry Collins, Sonny Burgess, Lee Rocker, James Intveld, Kim Lenz, Jason D. Williams, Reverend Horton Heat, Los Straitjackets, plus many more. The world’s largest rockabilly weekender also includes a fashion show, tattoo lounge, bowling, pool parties, classes and workshops, plus two Charles Phoenix slideshows.
April 14 – The Surfaris benefit concert at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach, Calif., to celebrate the life of James Fuller and raise money for his funeral expenses. The founding member of the seminal surf band and composer of Wipe Out passed away unexpectedly on March 3. This all-ages show features The Nocturnes, The Tequila Worms, and an all-star lineup of Fuller’s friends including members of The Surfaris, The Beach Boys and The Chantays.
* Facebook event
April 19-23 – Miami Rum Festival and Trade Expo at the DoubleTree Hilton Miami Airport Convention Center. The ninth annual gathering of rum experts, professionals and enthusiasts, featuring a grand tasting of hundreds of cane spirits, the RumXP Awards, seminars featuring industry insiders, plus more special events. The main events are on Saturday and Sunday, April 22-23, at the convention center but there’s also a Tiki welcome party on April 19 at The Mai-Kai and industry events all week as part of the Trade Expo.
Miami Rum Festival highlights
* Tiki Night at The Mai-Kai, an annual tradition that kicks off a long weekend of rum-fueled fun. This year’s party is April 19, featuring happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. plus a special seating at the first dinner show featuring the acclaimed Polynesian Islander Revue, the longest-running authentic South Seas stage show in the United States, including Hawaii. Call The Mai Kai at (954) 563-3272 and ask for the rum festival group special. Attendees receive a special complimentary welcome cocktail created by The Mai-Kai with sponsor Big 5 Rum, who is also covering the cost of the dinner show. For $30, you can take a chartered Tiki Bus from the DoubleTree Hotel to The Mai-Kai and back.
* The Atomic Grog: Coverage of last year’s party
* The Grand Tasting is the centerpiece of the event, giving attendees a rare opportunity to sample hundreds of rums both neat and in cocktails. It’s all included in the general admission festival ticket, which are available in advance only ($75 for one day, $125 for two). Here’s the latest list of the brands who will be participating, many presenting an assortment of rums and cocktails in their often elaborate vendor booths. From venerable old brands to young upstarts, there’s a wide variety of spirits on the tasting tables. And don’t forget the rum-related vendors selling their wares.
* The American Rum Portfolio, showcasing the best U.S. rum producers selected by festival organizer Robert A. Burr of Rob’s Rum Guide. There’s a new revolution brewing across America with the number of distilleries producing rum growing at a incredible rate, according to Burr. The festival aims to shine a spotlight on all the great new brands for its international audience. These producers are “changing the American rum industry, bringing back the art of craft distilling, presenting American rum in a most favorable light by emphasizing the quality aspects of small production,” Burr says.
* An eclectic assortment of seminars for rum enthusiasts and professionals alike covering rum production and tasting, cocktails and lots of Tiki. All of the presentations are free with festival admission and include plenty of unique rum and cocktail samples. Among the highlights: “Tiki In The Big Easy” with Carol Cortright, owner of Roadside Attraction, explores the history of New Orleans and its rum-soaked ties to cocktails and exotic culture. “Expanding The Tiki Flavors Palette” explores the structure of the Tiki cocktail with bartender Oriol Elias of the Caribbean Club in Barcelona, Spain. Elias will also present “From House Of Ming To Tahiti: A Spanish Tiki History,” tracing the origins of Spain’s distinctive take on Polynesian Pop and exotic cocktails. In “Tiki By The Numbers,” Fraternal Order of Moai mixologist Don Rudawski is joined by Rum Fest organizers Robert V. Burr and Robin Burr as they “decipher and decode the golden proportions that relate to perfectly balanced classic Tiki cocktails.” Also featured: Seminars on distillation, pairing rum with chocolate. And a special cannabis cocktail seminar with acclaimed mixologist, chef and writer Warren Bobrow, aka the Cocktail Whisperer and author of Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks and Buzz-Worthy Libations. Plus there’s more …
* Dave Broom rum seminars mark a rare appearance at the festival by the award-winning spirits writer on the heels of his new book, Rum: The Manual. The London-based Broom has been a writing about booze for more than 25 years and also recently completed “manuals” on gin and whiskey. He’ll present two seminars based on the book and will also be signing copies. In “Fathoming The Bowl,” he explores rum’s complex and convoluted history along with the drinks that shaped the world. In “The Rum Treasure Map,” Broom explains how he came up with the unique way to organize cane spirits by flavor that may change the way we think about rum.
* The VIP Tasting Bar featuring “luxury, vintage and limited edition rums” from festival organizer Robert A. Burr’s private collection. Back for its second year, this premium experience is well worth the additional cost to sample some of the best rums you’ll ever taste. And if you buy a two-day admission, you’ll get five complimentary sample tickets for the tasting bar. Burr and son Robert V. Burr, hosts of the Rum Minute show on YouTube, will show off many of their rare finds during their travels tasting the best rums from around the world.
* The RumXP Awards presentation is the culmination of days of blind tastings by a prestigious panel of experts plus the Consumer Rum Jury. The RumXP International Rum Expert Tasting Panel puts hundreds of rums to the test using rigorous standards, supplemented by a panel of consumers and budding experts. See how the newest products measure up to the old favorites, broken down by style and category.
* The Atomic Grog: Coverage of last year’s winners
RumXP Award Winners 2017
Antelope Island Rum – Best In Class
Diplomatico Planas – Gold
Texas Silver – Gold
Plantation 3 Stars – Gold
Maggie’s Farm White – Gold
Plantation OFTD 69% – Best In Class
Lost Spirit Navy Style 61% – Gold
Mantawny 47% – Gold
Florida Mermaid – Gold
Carmelita’s Spiced Orange – Best In Class
Alligator Dark Chocolate – Gold
Plantation Pineapple – Gold
Rumjava Signature – Gold
Rumjava Cacao’mon – Gold
Black Magic Black Spiced – Best In Class
Carmelita’s Dark Spiced – Gold
Brinley Gold Spiced – Gold
Maison La Mauny 40% Hors XO – Best In Class
Trois Riveres VSOP 40% Reserve Speciale – Gold
Trois Riveres Rhum Vieux Agricole Hors D’Age 1998 2000 2007 – Gold
Trois Riveres 50% Rhum Blanc Agricole – Gold
Velho Barreiro Cachaca 40% – Best In Class
Paratiana Ouro Cachaca 42% – Gold
Werneck Gold 40% Cachaca – Gold
Monymusk Classic Gold – Best In Class
Maggie’s Farm Single Barrel – Gold
Plantation Original Dark – Gold
Tiburon – Best In Class
Plantation Jamaican 2002 – Gold
Monymusk Special Reserve – Gold
Ron Del Barrilito – Gold
Plantiaton Barbados 5 Years – Gold
Mount Gay XO – Best In Class
Cihuatan 12 – Gold
Centenario 20 – Gold
Plantation XO 20 – Gold
Centenario 25 – Gold
Consumer Rum Jury Awards 2017
Rum Dzama Cuvee Blanche – Best In Class
Diplomatico Planas – Gold
Plantation 3 Stars White – Gold
Spiced & Flavored
Blue Chair Bay Coconut – Best In Class
Brinley Spiced – Gold
Rumjava Signature – Gold
Plantation OFTD – Best In Class
Maggie’s Farm Queen’s Share – Gold
Florida Mermaid – Gold
Plantation Barbados 5 Years – Best In Class
Santa Teresa 1796 Solera – Gold
Diplomatico Mantuano – Gold
April 22 – The Original Tiki Market Place Spring Fling in Garden Grove, Calif. Featuring vendors, live Hawaiian entertainment, food, friends, and more at the Garden Grove Elks Lodge.
April 22 – Tiki Makeke at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach, Calif. More than 50 vendors selling their wares, plus authentic Polynesian music and hula dancers, food and drinks, plus more. Live music by Thee Swank Bastards in Don’s Dagger Bar.
April 22-23 – Dapper Day Expo at Disneyland. A two-day marketplace at the Disneyland Hotel with cocktails and live bands, plus an elegant outing to Disneyland.
April 22-23 – Forbidden Island’s 11-year anniversary weekend at the influential Tiki bar in Alameda includes a commemorative limited-edition mug by Tiki Diablo. On Saturday, it’s Professor Rex Dart from the Golden Tiki in Las Vegas with resident DJ Tanoa “Samoa Boy” spinning vinyl from the ’50s and ’60s. On Sunday, Hawaiian/exotica duo Undertow perform a tribute to The Hawaiian Spotlighters, a classic band from the 1960s featuring Undertow’s Al Pabilona Jr.
April 22-24 – Rhumfest Paris featuring brand exhibits and tastings of hundreds of rhums from across the world. Also includes food, classes, evening parties and more.
* 2016 event coverage from A Mountain of Crushed Ice
April 23 – Rum Fire’s San Francisco launch at Smuggler’s Cove. One of the world’s great rum bars hosts the Bay Area debut of an acclaimed overproof rum made at the historic Hampden Estate in Trelawny, Jamaica, just as it was in the 18th century. Learn more about one of the most unique rums in the world and enjoy a special menu of Rum Fire cocktails.
April 28-30 – Chicago Area Tiki Tour featuring a bar crawl of the Windy City’s best Tiki bars, presented by the Fraternal Order of Moai. Includes stops at Tong’s Tiki Hut, Hala Kahiki, Lost Lake, Three Dots and a Dash and The Tiki Terrace.
Chicago Area Tiki Tour highlights
* Friday: Welcome party at the host hotel, the Aloft Chicago O’Hare, featuring live music from The Tiki Cowboys, plus a silent charity auction.
* Saturday: The tour starts bright and early at 10 a.m. as chartered buses whisk particpants away to a day filled with festivities at Chicago top Tiki venues. The event pass includes a welcome Mai Tai and lunch buffet at Three Dots and a Dash, plus a full meal and dinner show at the Tiki Terrace.
* Sunday: An exclusive event at Lost Lake for CATT participants with special surprises and raffles.
April 28-30 – Dapper Days at Disney World. The spring outing includes fashionable meet-ups at Disney Springs, the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. An additional private event at the Living Seas Lounge features a DJ and dancing, plus a mini-boutique.
* Magic Kingdom will have special offerings for Dapper Day guests
April 30 – Three Dirty Dogs – A Tiki Takeover at Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago. Join beverage director Julian Cox for a sneak peak at the neo-Tiki bar’s new menu, plus special appearances by Scotty Schuder of Dirty Dick in Paris, France, plus the Bon Vivants team behind Trick Dog in San Francisco.
ONGOING MONTHLY EVENTS
April 13 – Tiki Bingo at The Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale hosted by the Gumbo Limbo Chapter of the Fraternal Order Of Moai. A fund-raising event featuring an extended happy hour. April special: A Mai Tai flight featuring versions from Trader Vic’s, Don the Beachcomber and The Mai-Kai.
More events coming soon!
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