New cyber book serves up a taste of cocktail culture via insightful interviews

Related: Eclectic podcasts broadcast the soundtrack to the Tiki revival

If you look hard enough, you’ll find many cool podcasts that offer an unfiltered and independent view of the real world. A previous post profiled some of the top podcasters covering the wide spectrum of the Tiki revival.

Beyond the music, the highlight of great podcasts are the interviews with characters and insiders that you typically don’t get via commercial outlets. Perhaps the most prolific and eclectic interviewer is Koop Kooper, whose weekly Cocktail Nation podcast covers the wide world of “all things hep, swingin’ and swank.”

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Eclectic podcasts broadcast the soundtrack to the Tiki revival

Updated Aug. 11, 2012

There are many elements crucial to the appreciation of authentic Polynesian Pop, aka Tiki culture: The history, the architecture, the decor and art, the cocktails. But like the atmosphere of any great Tiki bar, the assimilation of the perfect musical mix cannot be understated.

You can catch many great bands performing at The Hukilau and other major events, but filling your music library with a wide range of songs from the past 50 years can be daunting. Luckily, there are quite a few podcasts that do an excellent job of providing the perfect soundscape. They also giving listeners a chance to sample songs before buying.

Below is a list of our favorites, updated in August 2012 to add the Exotic Tiki Island podcast and GaragePunk Surfcast.

Map of Tiki Sound

But first, a quick primer. A good starting point for any Tiki music collection is, of course, Seven A. Kirtsten’s The Sound of Tiki. This 17-track collection offers a great history lesson with tracks by exotica forefathers Arthur Lyman, Les Baxter, and Martin Denny plus a visually stunning 50-page booklet (plus Kevin Kidney-designed cover and artwork).

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Exclusive Hukilau updates: 2012 tickets on sale, preview of events announced

Previous posts: Eclectic lineup of bands confirmed for 2012 Hukilau
Annual Hukilau in South Florida moves from June to April | Full Hukilau coverage

Information has been leaking out for months via Facebook but it’s finally now official: has launched for 2012 with a list of activities and info, ticket prices and online ordering. The Atomic Grog is happy to present some exclusive, additional details.

The biggest news for the April 19-22 Polynesian Pop extravaganza: A new host hotel, even more events at The Mai-Kai, and a special Beachbum Berry cocktail symposium. While a new Web designer puts the finishing touches on the 2012 site, Hukilau producer/organizer Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White filled us in on some of the details:

New host hotel: The beachside Best Western Oceanside Inn will offer festival attendees a more affordable and intimate experience, Tiki Kiliki says. It’s located just south of The Hukilau’s longtime party central, the Bahia Cabana Beach Resort. You can make reservations at both hotels now by calling the phone numbers listed on To get the best rooms at special group rates, you must call these numbers now instead of making reservations online.

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10 things you may (or may not) know about Social Distortion

Friday, Nov. 4 – Social Distortion with Chuck Ragan and Off With Their Heads at The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. (305) 673-7300. General admission tickets $35 (plus service charge). All ages welcome. Doors at 7 p.m. Buy tickets | Facebook event

Social Distortion

After more than 30 years of living the hard life they document on record and on stage, Mike Ness and Social Distortion deserve to bask in a little success. Frontman Ness and Social D have been slogging it out since 1978, earning the title of punk godfathers for their heartfelt brand of straightforward and melodic roots rock and rockabilly.

The Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes album, released in January, is the group’s most popular ever. It debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard Top 200 as well as No. 4 in digital album sales, No. 3 in rock albums, No. 2 in alternative, and No. 1 on the independent album chart. It’s the band’s first album in seven years, but obviously the fans have not moved on to the latest trend.

Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes

Social D is timeless, like a shot of fine whiskey. And the lyrics are just as stripped-down and honest. It’s also good to see that success has not spoiled Ness, who remains as candid and no-nonsense as any struggling bar band singer. Sure, the music has mellowed and gone a little more country, but the punk fire still burns.

To critics who complain about his more mature direction, Ness has a direct response. As he recently explained to The Orange County Register: “There’ll be some people who’ll probably say, ‘What are they, a classic rock band now?’ Well … yeah, we are! We’ve been doing this for 30 years. You got a (bleeping) problem with that?!”

So, to gear up for Social Distortion’s long-awaited return to South Florida next week, here are a few classic shards of trivia about a band that remains as sharp and biting as ever:

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Party like a Zombie this month at The Mai-Kai

More info: | Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide | See all our Mai-Kai posts

Forget New Year’s Eve. For many, the Halloween season is the biggest party time of the year. And the upcoming event calendar at the usually mellow Mai-Kai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale is a prime example.

This mid-century Tiki temple has been known in the past for barely acknowledging holidays. This is a good thing. It’s the perfect place to get away from the annoying mob scene at other establishments during rowdy holidays. But Halloween is quickly turing into The Mai-Kai’s best time of year to let loose, next to The Hukilau of course.

This month’s festivities feature three major parties in the classic Polynesian restaurant’s Molokai lounge, where you’ll still feel like you’ve been taken away to an island paradise despite the surrounding creepy costumes. Just sip a few Zombies, and you’ll be fine.

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Crazed Mugs CD release party Saturday at The Mai-Kai

There are a flurry of special events upcoming at The Mai-Kai, including three Halloween parties later this month. But before you don your ghoulish attire, chill out this Saturday in your finest island wear during a rare appearance of The Crazed Mugs from Tampa.

Celebrating the release of the new Find Forbidden Island album, the band will be preforming multiple acoustic sets in The Molokai bar. Happy hour runs from 5 to 7 p.m. with half-price drinks and appetizers, so get there early for a good seat.

Find Forbidden Island includes several songs inspired by The Mai-Kai: Rum Barrel and Mystery Girl. The 12-song CD will be available for purchase from the band for $12, and on Saturday only it will include a bonus sticker.

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Eclectic lineup of bands confirmed for 2012 Hukilau

Previous posts: Annual Hukilau in South Florida moves from June to April
Get Hukilau collectibles | Hukilau weathers many storms in 10 years
Full Hukilau 2011 coverage from The Atomic Grog

The Hukilau

After announcing a date change to April 2012, organizers of The Hukilau have been busy confirming an outstanding lineup of entertainment for the 11th installment of the Southeast’s biggest annual celebration of mid-century and Polynesian pop culture.

The event is scheduled for April 19-22 in Fort Lauderdale and is centered around the historic Mai-Kai restaurant, plus the Bahia Cabana Beach Resort. A new host hotel is expected to be named soon.

While designers are still crafting the official Web site for its upcoming re-launch and promotional press releases are being prepared, announcements are trickling out to followers of The Hukilau’s Facebook page and members of its Facebook group. Become a fan of the page or join the group to stay updated and share your thoughts and ideas.

The biggest news so far is the addition of The Martian Denny Orchestra, presumably as the Friday night headlining act. After performing at The Hukilau in 2009 and 2010 with Los Straitjackets and The Neanderthals, acclaimed Nashville-based guitarist Eddie Angel returns with this new, out-of-this-world project.

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10 things you may (or may not) know about the Nekromantix

Show info: Advance tickets, more | Facebook event
Previous story: Psychobilly pioneers to christen ‘new’ Monterey Club on Sept. 5

Nekromantix at the Monterey Club

If you’re a fan of psychobilly (the horror-themed bastard son of rockabilly), you should be well aware of the Nekromantix. The influential trio was founded in 1989 in Copenhagen, Denmark, by vocalist/bassist Kim Nekroman and has released eight scorching albums of rip-roaring tunes such as Curse of the Coffin and Gargoyles Over Copenhagen.

You probably also just bought the band’s eighth LP, What Happens In Hell, Stays In Hell (released Aug. 2 on Hellcat Records), and plan to attend Monday’s concert at the newly expanded Monterey Club in Fort Lauderdale with The Howlers and Brain Chips.

So, as the Monterey rushes to get their new concert space ready for the Labor Day onslaught, let’s dig up a few tidbits about the Nekromantix, Nekroman and his one-of-a-kind “coffin bass” …

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The Jetsetter touches down tonight at The Mai-Kai

Join Mike “Jetsetter” Jones tonight for what’s quickly becoming the coolest event on The Mai-Kai‘s calendar: His semi-regular DJ set following the usual Friday night happy hour.

As an added bonus and in keeping with the Jetset theme, Jet Pilots are half-price all night long. See the flier below for all the details.

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Surf’s up in downtown West Palm Beach with the arrival of Longboards

Related: See photos from the grand opening party

Longboards grand opening party

The 500 block of Clematis Street gets a long-awaited injection of that good old Rodney Mayo magic this weekend with the grand opening of the South Florida nightlife mogul’s newest venture, the surf-themed restaurant and bar Longboards.

As owner or part owner of 13 other establishments from West Palm Beach to South Beach, he knows a thing or two about the hospitality industry. But rather than open cookie-cutter, tourist-friendly nightspots, Mayo has a creative flair for the funky and offbeat. And a clever eye for retro cool.

Perhaps we’re just getting tired of smoky bars and dance clubs, but we find his restaurant ventures (Dada and Tryst in Delray Beach, Howley’s in West Palm Beach) the coolest in his portfolio.

A view from the front door at the center bar and interior of Longboards
A view from the front door at the center bar and interior of Longboards (photo by Hurricane Hayward).

It looks like we may want to add Longboards to the list. We stopped by for a sneak peak last night and were blown away by the transformation that has taken place in the space formerly occupied by Ray’s Downtown at 519 Clematis St. Next door to The Lounge and across the street from Respectable Street (two other Mayo properties), Longboards is poised to become a welcome addition to the western reaches of the downtown strip. It’s a full-blown restaurant and bar with great theming, modern yet retro at the same time.

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