The Hukilau 2016 passes on sale now at 2015 prices

Updated Tuesday, Oct. 27

The Hukilau 2016 artwork by Shag
The Hukilau 2016 artwork was created by Shag.

Weekend passes are now on sale for The Hukilau 2016, the 15th anniversary of the East Coast’s premiere Tiki weekender coming June 8-12 to the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 hotel and The Mai-Kai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. For a limited time only, guests can buy 2016 passes at 2015 prices.

If you buy your weekend pass now, you’re also guaranteed an opportunity to purchase tickets to several special cocktail parties scheduled for Thursday, June 9, in the 17th floor rotating ballroom at Pier 66: The second Tiki Tower Takeover (featuring Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Martin Cate, and four more top Tiki bartenders) plus the first-ever Shag’s SkyLounge (join the acclaimed artist in a “live painting”). Buy passes and tickets now | Reserve your room at Pier 66

The Hukilau: June 8-12, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 and The Mai-Kai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Special guests: Shag, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Martin Cate, Sven Kirsten, Humuhumu, plus many more.
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Shag at The Hukilau

The Hukilau’s organizer, Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White, says that weekend passes will remain at 2015 prices through the end of the year. They will increase in early 2016 when the full entertainment lineup is announced. Initially, only weekend passholders will be given the chance to buy Tiki Tower Takeover and Shag’s SkyLounge tickets, White said. These special events will sell out, so it’s advised that you act now.

Also just announced on the updated website is an exclusive symposium featuring Shag, aka Josh Agle, the celebrated Tiki artist who spent his childhood in Hawaii and later moved to California. The career retrospective will be his first-ever symposium at a Tiki event, White said. Also teased on the new site are symposium participants Sven Kirsten (author of The Book of Tiki and Tiki Pop) and Humuhumu (Tiki historian and creator of the Critiki website).

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The Week in Tiki (July 27-Aug. 9, 2015): Tiki Oasis blasts off, plus Summer event recaps, more rum and cocktail news

The Week in TikiThe summer Tiki event season reaches its climax this week with the big kahuna, Tiki Oasis in San Diego. We have a full preview, plus a recap of many other recent happenings: Texas Tiki Week, Hot Rod Hula Hop, the Surf Guitar 101 Convention, plus Shag at Disneyland and Tiki Night in Hollywood. There’s also news on the upcoming Mai Tai Festival in Hawaii, a Trader Vic’s rum tasting, and lots more. Our regular features spotlight Tiki mug creators PopTiki; the otherworldly music of Man or Astro-man?; the Bali Hai Restaurant in San Diego; and the website of Americana ambassador Charles Phoenix. The rum of the week, Angostura 5, is featured in The Morning After cocktail.
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EVENT PREVIEW: Tiki Oasis takes guests back to the retro future

Tiki Oasis

San Diego becomes the center of the Tiki universe when the 15th annual Tiki Oasis presents “Yesterday’s Future Today” on Aug. 13-16 with four whirlwind days of 20 live bands and 20 DJs, 35 educational symposiums, art, mixology, book signings, a 100-vendor marketplace, 20 burlesque performers, comedy, vintage cars, fashion, food, kids events, and more. If you can’t find something to enjoy at Tiki Oasis, you’re following the wrong pop culture subgenre.

As a testament to the popularity of Tiki Oasis, it’s pretty much sold out. Organizers announced Monday that limited tickets will be available for Thursday night’s Bali Hai party starting at 6 p.m. And those with hotel room reservations will still be able to buy two tickets if they haven’t already. Otherwise, you’re out of luck. However, the festival marketplace, car show, and an assortment of other activities are free and open to the public.

King Kukulele leads kids in a sing-along
King Kukulele leads kids in a sing-along. (Tiki Oasis photo)

Thursday’s’s Meet and Greet takes place at the legendary Bali Hai Restaurant on Shelter Island, while ground zero for the rest of Tiki Oasis is the Crowne Plaza Hotel (formerly The Hanalei Hotel). Though it has suffered through renovations, the hotel still features waterfalls, lava rock pools and eight-story glass elevators, plus classic tikis featured in Sven Kirsten’s The Book of Tiki.

In keeping with the theme, many events are centered around mid-century modern primitivism (think the jet age meets Tiki). Musical acts include spacy surf band Man or Astroman?, out-of-this-world rockabilly band The Phenomenauts, and ’60s garage legends The Chocolate Watchband. Other notable bands include The Phantom Surfers, Tikiyaki Orchestra, Clouseaux, and Project: Pimento.

Symposium educators include original Mothers of Invention keyboardist Don Preston, Rodenberry Entertainment CEO Rod Roddenberry, author and Tiki historian Sven Kirsten, and mid-century historian and entertainer Charles Phoenix. The art show features more than 30 top Tiki artists from around the world. The first San Diego Tiki Bartenders Challenge will be held during a beefed-up Sunday schedule that also features a special garage band showcase.

Don the Beachcomber room parties at Tiki Oasis

Guests always get in on the fun, so look for lots of retro and mod fashion, and appropriate Tiki space age decor for the famous room parties. Of course, everything is bigger at Tiki Oasis, including the Friday-Saturday room crawl. For example, Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach is hosting a two-night bash featuring live music from The Hula Girls and the Jimmy Psycho Experiment. New Las Vegas bar The Golden Tiki will also host a massive room party with live music and the owner himself DJing in his suite at the Crowne Plaza. Branden Powers is actually no stranger to the hotel, having DJ’d a weekly lounge event called Taboo 20 years ago when it was still the Hanalei Hotel.

Tiki Oasis is also a collector’s and shopper’s paradise, with some 100 vendors selling hand-crafted Tiki art, vintage clothing, records, collectibles and more. The marketplace is free and open to the public for most event hours Friday through Sunday at the Crowne Plaza. The vintage car show, also free, is held Saturday and Sunday in the hotel parking lot.

Here’s a day-by-day preview of all the headlining entertainment:

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10 reasons why you need Sven Kirsten’s new book, ‘Tiki Pop’

Pop culture phenomenons are routinely shunned by historians and academics. This is especially true in the case of 20th century Tiki culture, which has been typically dismissed as being kitschy and unauthentic to the native civilizations that inspired it. Of course, this critique entirely misses the point of the artistic movement that peaked in the 1950s and ’60s but has been the midst of a continuing revival during the past several decades.

The book's cover is a colorized version of a vintage photo from Tiki Gardens on Florida's Gulf Coast
The book’s cover is a colorized version of a vintage photo from Tiki Gardens on Florida’s Gulf Coast. © Sven Kirsten/Taschen

Luckily for fans of Polynesian Pop history and the current renaissance, we have Sven Kirsten. The contributions by this German-born, longtime Los Angeles film professional and self-proclaimed Tiki urban archaeologist are inestimable. His third hardcover book puts many pop culture historians to shame, exploring in rich and colorful detail the uniquely American phenomenon that permeated fashion, music, eating, drinking, and architecture for decades.

Tiki Pop: America Imagines Its Own Polynesian Paradise, published by Taschen (English and French). Available via Amazon and at retail outlets.
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Published in connection with an elaborate exhibit at a museum in Paris, Tiki Pop traces the development of Tiki as romantic vision and cultural appropriation. It takes readers on a journey from James Cook’s first expeditions in the Pacific, through Gauguin’s exotic paintings, to Hollywood’s big-screen fantasies, to the modern “temples” (bars, restaurants, hotels, apartments) built to celebrate Tiki as the god of recreation.

If you’re not sold yet, here are 10 good reasons why everyone with an interest in Polynesian Pop and mid-century culture needs to waste no time in picking up Kirsten’s latest hardcover opus:

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The Mai-Kai hosts ‘Classic Dining’ author Dec. 13 with special event, extended happy hour

Classic dining establishments that date back to the middle of the 20th century and are still thriving today are a rare find. South Florida is lucky to have one of the most grand and well-preserved in our midst: The Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale, est. 1956. A new book, which features the Polynesian palace on its cover, takes an in-depth look at these survivors of another era with vintage and new photos, inside information and authoritative stories.

Classic Dining: Discovering America's Finest Mid-Century Restaurants

Classic Dining: Discovering America’s Finest Mid-Century Restaurants by author and historian Peter Moruzzi is a lavishly illustrated hardcover book published on Nov. 1 by Gibbs Smith. It features many photos and additional stories from Sven A. Kirsten, author of The Book of Tiki and Tiki Modern.

Mouruzzi will be at The Mai-Kai on Thursday, Dec. 13, for a special event featuring an illustrated talk about his new book. The event, presented by Tropic magazine, will be held in The Mai-Kai’s elaborately themed Tahiti dining room from 7 to 9 p.m. and will include an extended happy hour with half-priced drinks and appetizers.
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Hukilau update: Commemorative mug, classic cocktails, and a new rum sponsor

Previous: Heeeeeeere’s the rich history and lost stories of The Mai-Kai
Artist profile: The Martian Denny Orchestra | Sven Kirsten added to 2012 lineup
Hukilau launches new website with full event details | Full Hukilau coverage
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With the U.S. East Coast’s largest celebration of Polynesian Pop culture quickly approaching, more details have been released about the April 19-22 event in Fort Lauderdale. Centered at the legendary Mai-Kai restaurant and two beachside hotels, the 11th annual Hukilau is shaping up to be a tikiphile’s paradise.

The latest news from Hukilau headquarters:

Hukilau 2012 commemorative mug by Tiki Diablo.
Hukilau 2012 commemorative mug by Tiki Diablo.


Designed by Danny Gallardo, aka Tiki Diablo, this limited-edition drinking vessel was inspired by Milan Guanko, Hukilau organizer Tiki Kiliki’s favorite historic carver. When Gallardo sent her a photo of a Tiki from carver Richard Ellis that was made for the Tradewinds Restaurant in Oxnard, Calif., she immediately knew it was what she wanted: “This Tiki had everything we wanted and more. Danny has done an amazing job – we love it!”

To purchase one of the 250 mugs, click here.


While room parties will surely be ongoing throughout the weekend, the officially sanctioned cocktails will be centered around the pool and sun deck at the Best Western Oceanside Inn.

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Tiki godfather Sven Kirsten added to Hukilau 2012 lineup

Previous: Hukilau launches new website with full event details | Full Hukilau coverage
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More music and a very special guest speaker have been added to the lineup for the 11th annual Hukilau, the massive Polynesian Pop party scheduled for April 19-22 in Fort Lauderdale. Organizers just confirmed the addition of exotica band Exotik-a-GoGo and influential author Sven Kirsten.


Exotik-a-GoGo, hailing from the not-so-tropical locale of Minneapolis, is scheduled to perform on Friday and Saturday nights. Combining jazz instrumentation with jungle rhythms and tropical birdcalls mixed with vibraphone, the group promises the pseudo experience of being transported to an exotic island destination.

The band cites influences such as mid-century exotica pioneers Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman and Yma Sumac. You can catch them live every Friday and Saturday at Midwest Tiki hotspot Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge in Minneapolis.

Making a rare appearance at Hukilau will be one of the pioneers credited with kick-starting the Tiki revival, California-based and German-born Sven Kirsten, author of the Book of Tiki (2003) and Tiki Modern (2007). Kirsten will host a special presentation, “The Golden Age of Tiki Archeology: Unpublished Images from the Sven Kirsten Archive.” It’s sure to include a multimedia showing of great photos and discoveries that have never been seen before.

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