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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Aug. 4-6 – Surf Guitar 101 Convention at the Alpine Village in
Torrance, Calif., and Surf Dogs Sports Grill in Huntington Beach. The 10th annual event draws the best instrumental bands from around the world dedicated to preserving the ’60s surf sound. Headlining bands include the Huntington Cads (California), El Caminos (Japan) and The Kilaueas (Germany). Fostered by the Surf Guitar 101 website and organized by Jeff “Big Tiki Dude” Hanson, this is one of the premiere surf music events of the year. The convention has expanded from one to three days in 2017. Saturday remains the main event with all the heavy hitters hitting the stage from noon to midnight, along with vendors raffles for vintage guitars and other gear. Friday’s opening night features all current California bands from 8 p.m. to midnight. Sunday’s closing party spotlights a second venue and bands playing alternate sets of songs not played on Saturday.
2017 performing bands
Friday, Aug. 4 (Alpine Village) – The Surf Rockers, Outerwave, Par Avion, Tequila Worms, The Volcanics, Insect Surfers.
Saturday, Aug. 5 (Alpine Village) – The Mystery Men?, Atomic Mosquitos, Tribute to Jim Fuller and The Surfaris, Lively Ones reunion, The Dynotones, The Exotics, The Kilaueas, Tribute to the Astronauts, The Madeira, The El Caminos, Venturesmania, The Huntington Cads reunion.
Sunday Aug. 6 (Surf Dog’s Sports Grill) – SG101 Members Jam, The Exotics, The El Caminos, The Madeira, Atomic Mosquitos, The Mystery Men, The Kilaueas, Special Secret All Star Band.
Surf Guitar 101 Convention highlights
* Huntington Cads reunion. The instrumental surf band that was a mainstay in the Los Angeles scene in the 1990s will reunite for a rare appearance. The band released several cult classic albums (Go Exotic! in 1996 and Introduce the New Sound in 1998), but is perhaps better known for featuring budding artist Josh Agle (aka Shag) on guitar.
* Lively Ones reunion. This first-wave instrumental surf rock band from the 1960s Southern California scene is perhaps most well known for their 1963 song Surf Rider (written by Nokie Edwards from The Ventures), which was featured in the final sequence as well as the end credits of the seminal 1994 film Pulp Fiction.
* Tribute to Jim Fuller and The Surfaris John Blair (of Jon and the Nightriders) will join an all-star cast of musicians playing vintage, early Surfaris songs from the influential band’s early 1960s catalog. Fuller, a co-founding member of the band whose lead guitar work is featured on the signature hit Wipe Out, died in March at age 69.
* Pre- and post-convention shows. Many of the bands performing over the three-day weekend, plus others not featured at the main event, have scheduled shows throughout Northern and Southern California before and after the convention. Check this thread on the Surf Guitar 101 website for all the dates.
* Aug. 5 – Book signing and presentation by Tiki “Swanky” Glazner at Tacoma Cabana. Join the author of Mai-Kai: History and Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant at the acclaimed Tiki bar in Washington for the kick-off of his West Coast tour. This event includes a one-hour multimedia presentation on The Mai-Kai’s iconic Mystery Drink. See rare archival videos and photos, hear interviews, and learn about all the people involved in its creation and history, from Kui Lee and Bettie Page to Johnny Carson.
More on The Atomic Grog:
* The Mai-Kai is here to stay: 10 reasons why we love the historic S. Fla. restaurant
* The Mai-Kai turns 60 with special history presentations, celebration
* The Okole Maluna Society: The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide
* Aug. 7 – Book signing with Tiki “Swanky” Glazner at Smuggler’s Cove. The author of Mai-Kai: History and Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant makes his second West Coast stop to sign books and tell stories about master mixologist Mariano Licudine and the “Tiki Mothership” at the acclaimed San Francisco rum and Tiki bar.
Aug. 7-13 – Bangkok Rum & Cocktail Week at 15 cocktail bars across Bangkok featuring 18 top bartenders from around the world. Includes a masterclass on Aug. 7 sponored by Bacardi and presented by Philip Bischoff, Daniele Dalla Pola, and Grace Tsai.
* Aug. 9 – Book signing with Tiki “Swanky” Glazner at Oceanic Arts. The author of Mai-Kai: History and Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant makes a special appearance at the equally historic home of modern Tiki design and decor, the showroom and headquarters of Bob Van Oosting and LeRoy Schmaltz of Oceanic Arts in Whittier, Calif. Join Swanky later that evening at the legendary Tiki-Ti in Los Angeles for more stories and cocktails.
The Book of Tiki author Sven Kirsten welcomes Swanky and other VIPs in California for Tiki Oasis …
Aug. 10-13 – Tiki Oasis in San Diego, the 17th annual celebration of Tiki culture is the longest-running and largest event of its kind in the world. Thousands of enthusiasts gather at the Crowne Plaza hotel (the home base since 2006) for three days and four nights jam-packed with 20 bands and performers, 30 DJs, more than 100 vendors from around the world, 35 educational seminars, burlesque and car shows, plus lots of poolside parties and fun.
* Event program
Tiki Oasis highlights
* The theme: International Espionage. Attendees are invited to get into the spirit of the event with a new theme every year. Past Tiki Oasis events have taken on the aura of horror movie monsters (2016), the Space Age (2015) and the Beat Generation (2014). The unique theme creates a surreal scene as Aloha shirts and other colorful dress mix freely with creatively costumed party-goers. This year, spies will take over the Crowne Plaza with enthusiastic guests donning costumes and decorating their rooms accordingly. On Saturday, there’s a spirited costume contest.
* The opening-night party at Bali Hai. The only official event held outside of the Crowne Plaza, the traditional kickoff is held at the historic 63-year-old restaurant on San Diego’s Shelter Island. This year’s entertainment includes emcee King Kukulele, international surf bands The Kileueas (Germany) and El Caminos (Japan), Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid performing with Tiki Joe’s Ocean and DJs including Jello Biafra.
* The scene and special events. Due to its sheer size, Tiki Oasis offers many more activities than any other Tiki event. And when it stages a signature event, such as the Miss Tiki Oasis Contest and late-night burlesque shows, it does so on an epic scale. The eighth annual Tiki Oasis pop-up art show is open to the public all weekend long. Guests can make sure they look their best by taking advantage of the Beauty Bungalow’s hair and make-up services. There are also cheap and free events for kids, teens and families
* The music. Organizers Baby Doe and Otto von Stroheim can always be counted on to put together an eclectic, often groundbreaking lineup of bands and DJs every year. On Friday, the Crowne Plaza’s main outdoor stage hosts The Outta Sites, Ìxtahuele (from Sweden), Skip Heller’s Untouchables, Codename Carter, and emcee King Kukulele. The Saturday night showcase features The 188.8.131.52’s (from Japan), The Diaboliks (U.K./Australia), The Devil-Ettes, Rob Zabrecky, MongoLounge and Ape. On Sunday, the Grand Hanalei Ballroom hosts a rockin’ finale, including Les Grys Grys (from France), Los Sweepers, and The Sound Reasons.
* Full list and photos: Bands and musicians | Disc jockeys
* Symposiums, classes and special presentations. Tiki Oasis offers enough educational and entertaining presentations that no niche interest is left out. Among the many fascinating subjects and presenters:
— “The Suffering Bastard: Joe Scialom International Barman of Mystery” with Jeff “Beachbum” Berry
— “The Quadrumvirate: Smuggler’s Cove, Hale Pele, Lost Lake, and False Idol LIVE!”, Martin Cate‘s special 10th annual cocktail class featuring a journey through the evolution of both décor and exotic cocktails.
— “Rise, The Fall, The Resurrection, The Redemption” with Brother Cleve, the history and evolution of tropical drinks from the 1920s to today.
— “Suzanne Long and the Modern Tropical Cocktail,” a new hands-on class with the rum and cocktail expert and creator of the late Longitude (RIP) in Oakland.
— “San Diego Bartenders Battle,” a cocktail throwdown featuring some of the best bartenders in town going head-to-head.
— “Hacking Nature to produce a modern Rum” with Bryan Davis of Lost Spirits Distillery, an exploration of the science of distillation and maturation and a unique process of “hacking the barrel” to produce aged spirits in a matter of days.
I love Tiki Oasis for these chance meetings. Book of Tiki author Sven Kirsten was talking South Pacific movies with @rincontradingpost and then Beachbum Berry @latitude29nola walks up in my booth! If you don't know, the Beachbum is responsible for unearthing forgotten cocktail recipes and reviving the craft cocktail movement. Any craft cocktail bar owners will have one of his cocktail books as their inspiration. #tikioasis #svenkirsten #beachbumberry @cocktailkingdom #tikitony
— “The Art of Tiki – A Preview” with Sven Kirsten and Otto von Stroheim, a first look at the upcoming 21st anniversary Tiki art show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles.
— “Fins, Flair & Futurism!” with Charles Phoenix, a live comedy slideshow performance celebrating space-age automotive styling.
— “Waltah Clarke: Mission Exotica” with Mike Skinner, the story of Don the Beachcomber’s right hand man who helped build the International Market Place in Honolulu.
— “Forbidden Art of the Theremin – Espionage & Fantasy” with Robert Silverman, the inside story of electronic inventor Leon Theremin, who was also a Soviet Spy. See a live demo and get a chance to play the Theremin.
— “Spy Bop Royale: Music for the Sophisticated Secret Agent” with David Broussal, a look at the music of globetrotting spies and its influences, composers, films, and TV shows.
— “Spy Dance Party Au Go Go” with The Devil-Ettes, a chance to learn the moves performed by the San Francisco troupe.
— “60s Bond Girl – Make-Up Tutorial” with Nikki Napalm, a lesson in all the tips and tricks to achieve that sultry vintage look.
* See all the symposiums
* The Mai-Kai goes west. Tim “Swanky” Glazner’s book tour for Mai-Kai: History and Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant (see events above) culminates at Tiki Oasis with a multimedia presentation on Friday and signing on Saturday. The Crown Plaza symposium, “Mystery at The Mai-Kai,” will tell the story of the iconic Mystery Drink with rare video, interviews and images.
The @swankpad History of the Mystery Drink symposium was a success! Great swag provided by the sponsors @brugalusa & @themaikai !! (Including a giant vat of Swanky's Headshrinker cocktail made with #brugalrum ) Now we're trying to figure out just how many mugs we can fit in our luggage… @maikaihistory #booktour #maikaihistory #mysterydrink #swankpad #tikioasis2017 #cocktails #rum #brugalañejo @themaikai #cocktailsymposium #headshrinker #tikioasis #tiki #tikidrinks #tikimugs #tikiart #knoxvillecocktails #ontheroadagain
* The vendors and car show. The Tiki Oasis Marketplace features more than 100 vendors from around the world: Craftsmen, artists, tinkerers, and traders create the world’s largest exotica emporium. Many vendors create limited-edition items specifically for Tiki Oasis. The ninth annual car show (Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) features 40 unique vehicles, live music, DJs, food trucks, and more in the Crowne Plaza parking lot. Both are free and open to the public on Saturday and Sunday.
* The room parties. While not an officially sanctioned part of Tiki Oasis, these bashes throughout the Crown Plaza on Friday and Saturday have become synonymous with the event and are the highlight for many. Sure, they’re hot and crowded and the lines are long. But inside you’ll find some incredibly themed soirees featuring the best music and cocktails of the entire weekend. Enthusiastic hosts range from amateur enthusiasts to some of the country’s top Tiki bars. And the entertainment rivals the bands performing on the main Tiki Oasis stages. Among the high-profile parties this year: Inside the Desert Oasis Room Suite Party (featuring surf-rockers the El Caminos from Japan and The Kilaueas from Germany); Les Voleurs de Rhum (hosted by San Francisco’s Pagan Idol and featuring Tikiyaki Orchestra, Dirty Dick’s Scotty Schuder, plus DJs Samoa Boy and Rex Dart); Assignment: Suite Party (hosted by Kansas City’s TikiCat and featuring The Hula Girls and Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid); and a party co-hosed by mixologists from Mahiki in London and Undertow in Phoenix. Organizers and attendees are geared up for the parties and likely to share photos on their own Facebook group.
* Limited-edition Tiki mugs. The official event mug, created by Eekum Bookum for the past four years, fits the theme perfectly. Featuring a removable head and decoder key for secret spy messages, it’s an instant classic. Also available: A mug that pays tribute the Hanalei Hotel (the Crowne Plaza in its previous life), manufactured by Munktiki and designed by MP Ceramics. And Crazy Al Evans will be offering up many special one-of-a-kind mugs in the Thor Store Lanai Suite.
Official photos: Art Of Albertine, aka Albertine Feurer-Young
* Tiki Oasis turns its spy-themed party into a badass island affair
* Tiki Oasis 2017: A look at the most Tiki outfits
* Fire breathers and spy shenanigans at Tiki Oasis festival
* The best Tiki albums to get you in the mood for Tiki Oasis
* San Diego bartenders mix up intriguing cocktails for Tiki Oasis
* Aug. 12 – Book signing with Tiki “Swanky” Glazner at Tonga Hut. The author of Mai-Kai: History and Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant wraps up his West Coast tour with a meet-and-greet at the Palm Springs Tiki bar.
Aug. 12 – The Hula Hop in Columbus, Ohio. Formerly the Hot Rod Hula Hop, this annual bash presented by the Fraternal Order Of Moai has a slightly different name and scaled-back schedule but the same commitment to charity … and an action-packed event centered around the Grass Skirt Tiki Room. Enjoy live music, burlesque, vendors, tropical cocktails, food trucks, and more. Admission is free!
* Facebook event | Facebook page | Twitter
Aug. 15 – Master Class with Alexandre Gabriel at Lost Lake in Chicago. The master distiller, blender and owner of Maison Ferrand (producer of Plantation Rum) will speak and share his knowledge and insights. Space is limited and snacks will be served.
Paul McGee of Lost Lake (left) and Alexandre Gabriel of Plantation Rum.
Aug. 18-19 – FezTiki 2017 featuring Ìxtahuele and Tikiyaki Orchestra in Long Beach, Calif. Two of the biggest names in modern exotica headline this event that also includes dinner and drinks, mermaids, exotic dance, and more.
Aug. 19 – Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The Royal Kona Resort celebrates the legendary Mai Tai cocktail at the ninth annual event featuring more than 20 of the world’s top bartenders competing for a $10,000 cash prize. Includes a marketplace with crafts and island treats, the Battle of the BBQ to select Hawaii’s best barbecue, and a pool party featuring live music from local Hawaiian artists.
Recap: Tropical tipples, tasty food draws crowd to 9th annual Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival
Aug. 20 – Aloha from Hawaii, Mahalo from Memphis featuring Elvis tribute performer Oliver Steinhoff in a fund-raising concert at the Southern Blues Equestrian Center. Featuring a re-creation of a famous 1973 Elvis concert, hula dancers and fire performers, food trucks, cocktails, a vintage Tiki lounge, silent auction and raffle, plus more.
* Facebook event
Aug. 20 – Long Beach Rum-Tiki Social & Swapmeet featuring live music, rum and cocktails, food, vendors, drawings, and more. The third annual event at Roxanne’s Cocktail Lounge includes Tikiyaki Orchestra, Tikitronic, The Volcanics, and DJ Tiki Rumbero.
Aug. 24 – Tiki Time! Exotic Cocktails and the Cult of the Tiki Bar, an evening program with book signing and tastings at Smithsonian Castle in Washington, D.C. The Smithsonian Institution hosts Martin and Rebecca Cate, winners of a 2017 James Beard Foundation Book Award and 2017 Spirited Award for Best New Cocktail & Bartending Book. They’ll discuss and sign Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum and the Cult of Tiki, taking guests on “a colorful journey into the lore and legend of Tiki, mid-century America’s favorite fantasy tropical escape.” Featuring samples of original recipes from Smuggler’s Cove, plus tips on making exotic cocktails, and much more.
* There’s more to classic Tiki than just kitsch (Smithsonian.com)
Aug. 24-27 – Asbury Park Surf Music Festival featuring live music, DJs, Tiki cocktails, vendors, and more. This fourth annual festival is presented by Hi-Tide Recordings and includes four days of surf-rock happenings on the New Jersey shore centered around the host hotel, The Asbury, and Asbury Park’s historic Convention Hall.
* Thursday, Aug. 24: Welcome Cocktail Hour at The Asbury hotel featuring cocktails in the Soundbooth lobby bar with DJ Hi-Tide spinning surf and lounge on vinyl.
Dick Dale performs in Miami in 2013. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)
* Friday, Aug. 25: Aloha Friday Cocktail Hour at The Asbury hotel featuring cocktails at the rooftop Salvation bar with DJ Rich Uncle Skeleton (from Black Flamingos) spinning surf and lounge on vinyl. Followed by the Aloha Friday Pre-Party at
The Anchor’s Bend bar in the Convention Hall. Featuring live music from Bongo Surf, tropical cocktails and full dinner menu, plus DJ Hi-Tide.
* Saturday, Aug. 26: Asbury Park Surf Music Festival 2017 at The Anchor’s Bend and Grand Arcade at the Convention Hall. Performing on multiple stages are Los Straitjackets, The Fathoms, Aqualads, Black Flamingos, Slowey & The Boats, The Surfrajettes, Great White Caps, The Televisionaries, and The Reefriders. Plus DJ Hi-Tide and friends spinning vinyl between sets. Tickets are just $20. Includes symposiums on Tiki cocktails (by Sailor Jerry) and surf guitar (by Chris DiPinto and members of Los Straitjackets).
Los Straitjackets perform in Fort Lauderdale during The Hukilau 2009. (Photo by Go11Events.com)
* Sunday, Aug. 27: Tiki Brunch with Slowey & The Boats at The Anchor’s Bend featuring food, cocktails and live music. Hangover Pool Party at The Asbury hotel featuring cocktails and live music from TarantinosNYC and Plato Zorba with DJ Foggy Notion. The weekend wraps up with “Point Break Comes Alive” at The Asbury, a screening of the classic 1991 film Point Break with a live soundtrack by the Great White Caps.
* Los Straitjackets headlining Asbury Park Surf Music Festival
* Makin waves with Hi-Tide Presents and Asbury Park Surf Music Festival
* Los Straitjackets take new directions with old friends
* Asbury Park Surf Music Festival grows
* Asbury Park Surf Music Festival brings the party back to the beach
* Asbury Park Surf Music Festival’s guide to fun & food
Aug. 26 – Surf Rock at The Mai-Kai featuring The Intoxicators and The Disasternauts. A free event in The Molokai lounge at the historic Polynesian restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Two of Florida’s premiere instrumental surf bands team up for a rare concert the 60-year-old landmark.
Aug. 27 – 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 The Gillbillies, The New Waves, Glasgow Tiki Shakers, John Blair and the Trespassers, The Reventlos, and Insect Surfers.
Aug. 28 – Tiki Throwdown 2017 at 320 Main in Seal Beach, Calif. A one-night pop-up (dubbed “Enchanted Potions of Kill Devil Island!”) featuring top Tiki mixologists including Kelly Merrell (Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar), Brittany Vanhooser (The Royal Hawaiian), Matt “Rumdood” Robold and Jason Schiffer (320 Main). Sponsored by Appleton Estate Jamaican Rum and Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum. Event poster by Thor.
* Get freaky at 320 Main’s Tiki Throwdown
ONGOING MONTHLY EVENTS
MAJOR UPCOMING EVENTS
Sept. 8 – California Rum Festival in San Francisco.
Sept. 16 – Makahiki: A Night of Tiki in Indianapolis.
Sept 30 – New York Rum Festival in New York City.
Oct. 1 – Tiki Day at Disneyland.
Oct. 14-15 – UK RumFest in London.
Oct. 14-15 – German Rum Festival in Berlin.
Oct. 27 – Hulaween 2017 at The Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale. The ninth annual Halloween party in The Molokai lounge at the historic Polynesian restaurant featuring Slip and the Spinouts, costume contest and prizes, drink specials, and more!
* Past coverage, photos
More events coming soon!
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