“Cocktails & Fishtails – The Untold Story of the Porthole Cocktail Lounge,” a symposium at The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, June 14. Held at the Bahia Mar Beach Resort, the presentation was hosted by Vintage Roadside and Medusirena, aka Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid.
* The Atomic Grog at The Hukilau 2014
Guest review by Tom Duncan (TikiTomD)
If you’ve ever wondered about the origins of the porthole lounge, or where you can still find one inhabited by live mermaids, then “Cocktails & Fishtails” was a must-see among The Hukilau’s 2014 symposiums.
The audience was treated to an entertaining event, as might be expected anytime the effervescent Marina is part of the act. Underlying the fun of this presentation, however, was the serious work of Vintage Roadside’s Jeff Kunkle. He spent nearly a decade sifting through the flotsam and jetsam of history to make the connections with people, places and events that enlivened the story.
Jeff kicked things off by tracing the inspiration for the porthole lounge back to Billy Rose’s Aquacade, a music, dance and swimming show in the late 1930s. Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller, who also played Tarzan in the movies, was a star in the version of the show that played at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. [See video] The success of Aquacade at the World’s Fair spawned similar shows across the country over the next decade.