Minimalist Tiki

Tiki godfather Sven Kirsten added to Hukilau 2012 lineup

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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 Kirsten will host a special presentation, “The Golden Age of Tiki Archeology: Unpublished Images from the Sven Kirsten Archive.”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.

Modern Caribbean Rum
Sven Kirsten
Sven Kirsten

Kirsten’s talk will take place Friday, April 20, at 2:30 p.m. at The Mai-Kai and will require a separate ticket. Check the updated schedule for a full list of the weekend’s many activities.

Kirsten, 56, is a director of photography, visual anthropologist and urban archeologist. He emigrated to the United States in 1980 and studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and American Film Institute in Los Angeles. It was here he also began his decades-long adventure in “urban archeology,” a term he coined. His obsession led to a vast collection of photographs and remnants of the mid-20th century Tiki cult in America. His books – plus the music anthology The Sound of Tiki (2010) – form a body of work that modern Tiki enthusiasts look to as the definitive reference tool.

The Hukilau is a whirlwind weekend of activities at two Fort Lauderdale beachside hotels and the iconic Mai-Kai restaurant.

The Hukilau

Among the many performers scheduled to appear are: The Martian Denny Orchestra featuring Eddie Angel of Los Straitjackets, The Intoxicators, Gold Dust Lounge, King Kukulele, Pablus of The Crazed Mugs, Dan Cunningham as Elvis, burlesque star Angie Pontani, Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid, plus DJs Jack Fetterman and Gina of the Jungle, plus Heelgrinder.

There will also be symposiums by mixologist and author Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, tattoo artist and historian Paul Roe, and Mai-Kai historian Tim “Swanky” Glazner. There will also be a viewing of a new documentary, a Tiki bowling event, a fine art show, and the Tiki Treasures Bazaar hosting vendors from around the world. The Mai-Kai will host daily happy hours and late night parties plus Saturday’s dinner and main event. The participating hotels are the Best Western Oceanside Inn and Bahia Cabana Beach Resort.

Tickets range from $25 for Thursday night to $170 for an all-access pass. Click here to place your order now. Special event merchandise will be announced soon.

Related links
* Exotik-a-GoGo: Official site | Facebook | YouTube | Psycho Suzis Motor Lounge
* Sven Kirsten: Book of Tiki official site | Facebook |

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