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The Week in Tiki (Feb. 16, 2015): Tiki cocktail showdown on South Beach, ukuleles and lost cocktails at the historic Mai-Kai

The Week in TikiSouth Florida appears to be the nexus of the Tiki universe this week. On Friday, Emeril Lagasse hosts a who’s who of Tiki bartenders and VIPs for “The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown” at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. The Mai Kai hosts special musical guests on Friday and an evening of “lost cocktails” on Saturday. This all comes on the heels of last week’s news that the Fort Lauderdale landmark has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Our weekly features spotlight Tiki Tiablo, Critiki, Koop Kooper’s Cocktail Nation, and Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas. The rum of the week, Tanduay from the Philippines, is featured in the Shark’s Tooth cocktail.
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THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS (Feb. 16-22, 2015)

Emeril Lagasse brings the ‘Art of Tiki’ to South Beach

Emeril Lagasse
Emeril Lagasse is hosting “The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown,” featuring mixologists from across the country, this Friday during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

Tiki cocktails are the centerpiece of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse’s signature event at this year’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival, a sure sign that tropical drinks have gained some long-overdue respect. The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown hits the Shore Club on Friday night (Feb. 20) from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for an evening of “Polynesian flare with Tiki-inspired cocktails from across the country.”

The sold-out event pays tribute to the “subculture enjoying a resurgence in popularity with bartenders across America.” Presented by Captain Morgan Rum and hosted by Lagasse, the showdown will feature eight cocktails from some of the most notable Tiki mixlogists, bars and restaurants from near and far: Lost Lake (Chicago), The Mai-Kai (Fort Lauderdale), Tiki Mondays With Miller (New York City), Frankie’s Tiki Room (Las Vegas), Royal Kona Resort (Hawaii), The Rum Line (Miami Beach), The Broken Shaker (Miami Beach), and Spike Mendelsohn’s upcoming Miami restaurant.

Judging the competition will be Lagasse, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry (Latitude 29, New Orleans), Martin Cate (Smuggler’s Cove, San Francisco), and Lynnette Marrero (Diageo rum ambassador; DrinksAt6, New York City). Guests will also have a vote in determining the winner. To supplement those tasty cocktails, there will be tropical treats served by some top chefs and restaurants: the Shore Club, The Rum Line, Ian’s Tropical Grill (Stuart, Fla.), Coyo Taco (Miami), That Little Beet (New York City), and Red Ginger (Miami).

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Minimalist Tiki

Book makes waves by giving Florida’s rich surfing history its due

When you examine the sport of surfing and its surrounding culture, Florida is sometimes overlooked while hot spots such as California and Hawaii grab the spotlight. A new book released in May could go a long way toward changing that perception.

Surfing Florida: A Photographic History, by Paul Aho, 272 pages, $31.95, University Press of Florida. Also available via Amazon, at regional surf shops and local book stores. See also: Facebook page

Surfing Florida: A Photographic History

The book follows an impressive gallery exhibit, also called Surfing Florida: A Photographic History, that debuted at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton in March 2012. The exhibit of rare photos, surfboards, video, music and interviews made the rounds of galleries throughout the state in 2012 and 2013 to much acclaim.

The exhibit will become a permanent part of the Palm Beach County Surfing History Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, documenting and exhibiting the history of Florida surfing. The group’s website says the expansive displays will be available only for non-profit, educational purposes, so donations are encouraged.

Past Atomic Grog coverage
* Surfing rides new wave of interest thanks to FAU exhibit
* FAU’s surfing exhibit closes with a splash
* Florida at forefront of surf rock’s contemporary renaissance

If you missed the exhibit and/or wish to take a deeper dive into Florida’s colorful surfing scene (past and present), the book is highly recommended. It goes into much more depth and includes a broader and more detailed look at the men and women who make the scene unique. It’s loaded with great stories and photos by many contributors including some of surfing’s top photographers.

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Florida at forefront of surf rock’s contemporary renaissance

Since its birth in the early 1960s, surf music seems to arrive in waves roughly every 15 years. And just as Florida surfers have played second fiddle to California, so have the Sunshine State’s surf bands. But it’s surely not due to lack of talent or effort.

Dr. James E. Cunningham talks surf rock
Dr. James E. Cunningham talks surf rock. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

As a fourth wave washes over us, music scholars are beginning to examine the history of this phenomenon that never seems to die. During the climax of an exhibit of surf culture at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton this month, an ethnomusicologist put Florida’s role into perspective during an hour-long lecture, “Surf Rock and the Music of the ‘Right’ Coast.”

“Surf rock isn’t just some fad that appeared and has lasted through the years,” said Dr. James E. Cunningham, an associate professor in FAU’s Department of Music. “It’s followed trends in technology throughout its existence.”

Cunningham floated his theory that surf rock’s peaks in popularity, and its so-called revivals, also coincided with breakthroughs in technology. He points to advances in surfboard technology, guitar and guitar amp technology, and even the media (radio, television, the Internet) that paralleled the music’s booms.

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FAU’s surfing exhibit closes with a splash

Official sites: FAU galleries | Exhibit blog | Facebook page
Previous post: Surfing rides new wave of interest thanks to FAU exhibit

You have one last chance to check out the eye-catching exhibit of surf culture at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Saturday’s closing event runs from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and includes slide shows, a movie screening, a surf music lecture, a DJ spinning some reggae and surf tunes, plus prize raffles, food and drinks.

Surfing Florida: A Photographic History

“Surfing Florida: A Photographic History” features the works of more than 50 photographers and 100 surfers, including archival photos; media stations featuring video, music and interviews; and lots of custom boards.

All special programs will take place in the lecture hall next to he Schmidt Center Gallery on the FAU campus:

* At 2 p.m., the New School Surf Photography Slide Show will be presented by photographer Nicola Lugo, whose work has been featured in all the major surfing magazines.

* At 3 p.m., the film Surfing at Summer’s End will be screened, and Will Lucas of Surf 64 Productions will be on hand to discuss his work, a historic documentary that combines vintage 8mm film, still photography and contemporary interviews.

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Surfing rides new wave of interest thanks to FAU exhibit

Surfing Florida: A Photographic History – Traveling exhibition and book project at Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt Center Gallery runs from March 17 through May 12. Opening reception Friday, March 16.
* Official FAU galleries site | Exhibit Facebook page | March 16 Facebook event

When one thinks of the history of surfing, Florida – with its lack of monster waves and international acclaim that made Southern California and Hawaii famous – often takes a back seat. But the Sunshine State has its own rich surf history and culture, which will be getting its due respect this spring at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

Surfing Florida
Artwork by Liam Milano (courtesy of PureHoney)

Surfing Florida: A Photographic History presents the history of Florida surfing through contributions from more than 50 photographers and 100 surfers. The comprehensive exhibit kicks off Friday with an opening reception featuring live music by Guy Harvey and Cutback. Housed at the university’s Schmidt Center Gallery, it will run through May 12 and include other special events, such as film screenings and lectures by “surf scholars.”

Starting March 22 and continuing for 10 weeks, there will be a screening of a surf film every Thursday in the lecture hall next to the gallery. The first film will be Evolution, the classic 1969 movie by New Zealand director Paul Witzig. On March 29, the 1972 film Morning of the Earth will be shown. Featuring stunning surfing sequences from Bali, Angourie, Kirra, Oahu, Maui and elsewhere, it’s considered by some the greatest surfing film ever made.

With Dick Dale coming to town in April, it’s shaping up to be a surf-happy spring. Tickets to Dale’s West Palm Beach and Miami concerts April 21-22 will be given away at the film screenings.

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