Hukilau Mai-Kai History Presentation

Wednesday 19th April 2017 - 9:14:21 AM
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June 9th, in support of my recently released book on the history of the greatest Tiki bar on earth, the Mai-Kai, I will once again be giving a presentation at the largest Tiki event outside of California, The Hukilau.

This year I am holding a sort of Mai-Kai reunion and doing a live panel discussion with many of the people I interviewed for the book.  Their first hand stories were the driving force behind the work. I had thousands of fantastic images and I knew a few stories, but getting the history straight from the people who were actually there was a truly rare experience. These folks are now in their 70s, 80s and even 90s, and it is harder and harder to get them together. This will be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Come get your book signed by those featured in it!

First click here get this amazing coffee table book, that is also an interesting read about Don the Beachcomber, Tiki and the birth of the greatest Tiki bar in existence:

Book Jacket

Then get your tickets for the event by clicking HERE.

Here are some of those who will be in attendance:

ANGEL

Angel followed her sister Dee down from Chicago. She was a Mystery Girl and married singer Pat Gallo.

DEE

Dee came down from Chicago for Spring Break in 1959 and never went back!

CAROL

Carol was a Mystery Girl and Ford model who appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson twice in that role.

TOTI

Toti at center with the Mai-Kai Islanders review. He was the founder of the show.

RANDY

Randy on far right with his mother Pualani Mossman Avon on TV. He worked for Rums of Puerto Rico and his family are legends of Hawaiian culture.

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Smuggler’s Cove Is All In

Friday 14th April 2017 - 8:08:48 AM

The Book

Smuggler’s Cove surprised me in several ways.

Martin had contacted me a few times over the past few years mainly about Mai-Kai and Don the Beachcomber history. Martin’s history is something itself.

He was a cocktail nerd like many of us, but then he took the extra step. He became a Trader Vic’s bartender. Then he helped open a truly fine example of a modern Tiki Bar at Forbidden Island. It merged old and new correctly. He went on to open Smuggler’s Cove, and with his efforts in the alcohol industry and personal drive to raise the standards for rum and cocktails, he brought the Cove to be a worldwide showcase of Tiki.

He has partnered in other bar ventures and in rum company offerings and probably other things I don’t know about. His presentations at Hukilau, Tiki Oasis and Tales of the Cocktail, etc. are always excellent and top notch.

So perhaps I should not have been surprised with his book offering, but I was. It is not just a cocktail recipe book. It is not just a recipe book with some helpful hints on ingredients and methods. It is not just a recipe book with helpful hints and some history of the subject. It is almost a road map and how to plan for you to emulate Martin. He left nothing out. Liquor choices, methods, décor, ambience, juicing, tools, makers, builders, designers, artists… it’s all in there. He held nothing back. Well, I’m sure he has more ideas and secrets, but the book contains a pretty full dump of years of his research and knowledge.

And this brings me to another surprise. He mentions me a few times. Me and a plenty of others. He didn’t have to, but he did. He took the time to graciously source some of the knowledge he shared. That’s a very class act.

And then he gave me permission to add his recipe to the Grogalizer where all us Tiki cocktail nerds can share our experiments with his recipes.

We are lucky he has chosen to devote the time and effort to make this book. And a big thanks to his wife Rebecca, who I know spent a ridiculous time on these efforts as well. Pick up a copy and get into the current of Tiki.

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Filed under: Cocktail Capers,OG Tiki Central,Retro Preservation | Comment

This Week Miami 1959

Tuesday 6th December 2016 - 12:28:54 PM
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While collecting way too many things related to the Mai-Kai as part of my book research, I bought this great 1959 weekly tourist magazine for the Mai-Kai ad. I got a lot of other great stuff as well.

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Gotta love “Tropical Nights”, “Direct from Havana” when it appears to include showgirls in fishnet tights and coconut bras in The Biltmore Room at The Biltmore Terrace Hotel.

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Even the ad for Lanotan suntan cream is pretty awesome and frisky!

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An added Tiki bonus is the ad for the new Bamboo Room at Roney Plaza. This is where some south Florida Polynesian stars like Nani Maka and Kui “Kimo” Lee worked.

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Kimo became world famous as song write for Don Ho.

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More beauty from the Tropical Nights and an ad for “French Dressing” at the Carillon Hotel.

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Cindy Fuller, one of the stars of “French Dressing.”

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One of the Mai-Kai competitors the Luau.

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The Life Bar is the oldest “Burlesk house” on Miami Beach. Fun! Girls! Gags!

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A little write up about the Life Bar “girlie show” and the search for “Miss Moulin Rouge”.

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Ice skating in Miami? Lessons? Well if Inge in that sweater is the teacher, sign me up! At the Deauville Hotel’s “Winter Wonderland”.

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And of course, the reason I bought the guide, the Mai-Kai ad circa 1959.

 

 

 

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Explore the inside of the Mai-Kai in 3-D

Tuesday 23rd August 2016 - 6:02:40 PM


Through Google maps you can now wander inside the Mai-Kai and the gardens in 3-D. Click here. 

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Tennessee Tiki History Page

Saturday 13th February 2016 - 11:49:29 AM
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tntikibutton

I started this page years ago and forgot about it. Just started fleshing it out further and published it this morning. A work in progress, but a start.

Tennessee Tiki History

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Mai-Kai Book Available for Pre-Order

Saturday 6th February 2016 - 4:08:16 PM
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My Mai-Kai history book just appeared on the Barnes and Noble website for pre-order. Coming soon to Amazon. Please pre-order and make your voice heard with the publisher to give the book more attention and better marketing. Spread the word! This is going to be a big year for the Mai-Kai!

Book website is here.

Pre-order the book here.

And come see me at the Hukilau as I give a presentation on the Mai-Kai.

Then come to my book release party at the Mai-Kai, tentatively scheduled for September.

Then come to my book signing at Tiki Oasis.

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Filed under: Ephemera,Mai-Kai History,Places,Polynesian Pop,Retro Goodies,Retro Preservation,Vintage Places | Comment

Mai-Kai Sign 1961 in Color.

Sunday 22nd November 2015 - 4:24:02 PM
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Rare color image the Mai-Kai “hut” sign designed and built by Dave Stevens. Chicagoans Dave and his brother made a wide variety of custom items for the Mai-Kai, from spotlight covers that looked like rocks for the exterior to fake turtle shells for the interior. The Moai stone carving was stolen one quiet night by crane from the front lawn.

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The sign was destroyed a few years later by hurricane Betsy.

A peak at the forthcoming book Mai-Kai: History, Mystery, and Adventure.  

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Knoxville Then and Now Mt. Vernon Motel

Saturday 24th January 2015 - 10:03:35 AM
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Now

Known today as Futon World, it was the Mount Vernon Motel long before. Now it is wiped from the face of the earth. Wonder if it will still be known as the Mt. Vernon Plaza?

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mt vernon 1965



Mt vernon 1956


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Knoxville Then & Now – Westwood Motel Kingston Pike

Sunday 28th December 2014 - 9:06:52 AM
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westwoodpct I have been meaning to add this motel on Kingston Pike for a long time. We dropped in to try Archer’s BBQ and so I took some pictures and added it today. A relic of the 50s that stands today, the Westwood Motel, part of the Knoxville Then and Now site.

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Mai-Kai: History, Mystery and Adventure – The Book

Saturday 6th December 2014 - 9:17:41 AM
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Sample Cover I have been researching the Mai-Kai in one form or another for over 12 years. I have been seriously looking into its history and people for a long time to document the past. I had thought I would do a book that was just pretty pictures. Once I began to talk to the people around this landmark, I found their stories amazingly compelling. Now the book will also have a wonderful story too.

I have worked on this book project in my spare time for years now. I have spent vacations in back rooms scanning images with my wife, and visiting old timers to hear their tales. I have tracked people down and interviewed people from Florida to California to Tahiti. I have a newfound respect for those who create books. It is a lot of work and time.

I hope to get the book ready in 2015 and get it published. Please support my efforts by simply liking the Facebook page first, and if you happen to have something you think will help the book, please email me and share it.

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Filed under: "Tiki" Collecting,Architecture,Ephemera,Events,Mai-Kai History,Places,Polynesian Pop,Retro Goodies,Retro Preservation,Vintage Places | Comments (2)

Crazy Al Creates New Mai-Kai Memories Series Molokai Maiden

Wednesday 4th June 2014 - 1:59:45 PM
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Molokai Maiden Only the mastery of Crazy Al could recreate this amazing carving from the Mai-Kai.

The latest piece in the Mai-Kai Memories Series is the Molokai Maiden. An unreal smaller version of the iconic masthead in the Molokai Bar. It takes a 7 piece mold to get this beauty made!

To buy one of the Artist Proofs, go HERE or HERE.

To get on the list to own one of these for the future additions and show your support, email Al at maiden@tikimania.com.

More images on Swank Pad Productions Site.

And on Facebook in the gallery.

And the video is HERE.

To get on the list to own one of these, email Al at maiden@tikimania.com.

To make the cocktail for this excellent receptacle:

The Molokai Maiden

  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz fresh orange juice
  • 1 oz soda water
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1 oz Brandy (She was a fine girl.)
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz. Dark Puerto Rican Rum
  • dash bitters and a drop of orgeat or almond extract.

Shake or blend with crushed ice and pour into your Molokai Maiden mug with more crushed ice to fill.

 

 

 

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Hukilau 2003 Video

Friday 11th April 2014 - 7:51:33 AM
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This goes back to when the Tiki scene was young. At the request of the Florida Ohana who came to Hukilau 2002 in Atlanta, and with the huge efforts of our event partners Tristan and Bre-Elle Ishtar, we moved to the Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale Florida. So many friends in this video. So many people who have become true friends.

This was also my first visit to the Mai-Kai and I had no idea it would become an obsession. Collecting the postcards and calendars at first, and now the stories for a book about this remarkable place.

We have promoted the Mai-Kai via Hukilau now for over a decade. I have given lectures on its history around the country and written about it in magazines and talked about it on NPR. It continues to dominate my life and it all started on this magical weekend 11 years ago.

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Help During the Lime Crisis of 2014

Tuesday 1st April 2014 - 7:40:15 AM
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Santa-Cruz-Organic-Pure-Lime-Juice-036192122169Due to the great Lime Crisis of 2014, we are forced to re-evaluate options. In the past I have endorsed Nellie’s Key Lime juice as a back-up when fresh lime juice runs out. You know how it is. It’s 1AM and you’ve made Rum Barrels and a Demerara Dry Float and a Navy Grog for your guests and they want more, MORE! So your limes are all spent and you need to make people happy. You could use Nellie’s and cut it to maybe 3/4 strength and make a decent cocktail. Once I discovered the Santa Cruz Organic Lime Juice at the grocery store in the natural food section, I never touched the Nellie’s again. It is a spot on sub for lime juice. Only thing missing is pulp!

So, while limes have gone from robust and 25 cents each to puny and 90 cents each, or worse, disappeared, go to the healthy food section and grab a few bottles of this stuff while it is still reasonable.

Look for it at your grocery store in the health/natural foods section. Here it can be found at Kroger, Food City, etc. It is also likely at your more healthy/organic food grocery stores like Whole Foods.

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1968 Mai-Kai Calendar

Saturday 7th December 2013 - 11:47:56 AM
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1968 Mai-Kai Calendar

1968 Mai-Kai Calendar

Just added, thanks to a loan from a fan of the site, the 1968 Mai-Kai calendar!

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PBS Documentary Plastic Paradise Airs nationwide

Wednesday 18th September 2013 - 8:21:15 AM
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I helped these guys quite a bit on this documentary. Sven Kirsten endorsed them heartily, so I threw my support their way as well.

I appear in the documentary along with a lot of my friends. It is centered around the Mai-Kai, which I have sent years researching, and on the Hukilau event which I started. How could I not be involved?

My biggest contribution to the project is hundreds of graphics and vintage video. Chances are, when you see a postcard, menu or mug splashed on the screen, it came from me.

I hope it helps ignite more people to seek out the Mai-Kai. It really is a destination unlike any other. It is showing in South Florida, Colorado and Alaska this week. Call or email your local PBS station to get it shown in your area! See details on air dates and contact to get it shown here.

Read Jim Heyward’s write up.

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