Tiki VIP #20 Sara Yasmin Shishegar (Sweet Siren Designs)

Sara Yasmin Shishegar Sweet Siren Designs

Pick an avenue that will make you money if you want to stay in the arts…

These are wise words from Sara Yasmin Shishegar’s father. Sara listened and did just that! She started Sweet Siren Designs. Sweet Siren Designs combines all of Sara’s lifelong interests like mermaids, the sea, monsters, and of course, Tiki! I’ll let Sara tell you what Sweet Siren Designs is all about…

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Tiki VIP #19 Joshua Head (Tiki Artist, Melbourne, Australia)

Joshua Head Tiki Artist Melbourne Australia

It’s all in the details…

When I first saw Joshua Head’s work, I couldn’t believe the detail. Everything is fine lined and the more you look into his work, the more you see. Joshua is located in Melbourne, Australia where sadly at this point, there isn’t much of a Tiki scene going on. With the help of Joshua’s Tiki art, that might change! Here is Joshua Head’s story…

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Tiki VIP #18 Kelly Merrell (Bartender, Trader Sam’s)

Kelly Merrell

When Disneyland opened it’s own Tiki bar, Trader Sam’s, it was a safe assumption that the décor would be dialed-in. Escapism is what Disney does best! But what about the drinks? Thankfully, Trader Sam’s has Kelly Merrell. Kelly was there at the beginning of Trader Sam’s and he brought his cocktail making skills with him. Here is Kelly’s story…

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Tiki VIP #17 Jason Alexander (Tacoma Cabana)

Jason Alexander

I’ll never the forget the first time I set foot in Tacoma Cabana.

Standing behind the bar was this dude wearing an Aloha shirt and fez on his head. I didn’t know anything about this guy, but he had a presence to him that made him really stand out. Without saying a word, the message was clear: I’m here to make Tiki cocktails and trust me, they will blow you away. This man was and is Jason Alexander. He is the owner of Tacoma Cabana. Let’s get to know Jason a little bit more…

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Tiki VIP #16 Clee Sobieski (Tiki Artist)

Clee Sobieski At The Tonga Hut Palm Springs

Clee Sobieski: pronounced SEE-lee SOH-bee-ES-kee

When I first saw Clee’s work at Tiki Kon 2016, I knew I wanted to do a post about this talented fellow. Clee’s art pulls from Tiki, Mid-Century, and everything in between. The thing I love most about Clee’s work is that it’s totally unique and timeless. When you see a painting by Clee, you know it’s his. And now you know how to pronounce his name correctly! Let’s get to know Clee a little better…

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Tiki VIP #15 Humuhumu (Critiki)


I do a fair amount of traveling for my blog. If I’m flying into a city, I want to know if there are any Tiki bars and I want to know if they are worth checking out. Doing a Google search or reading Yelp reviews isn’t going to tell me what I need to know. Does a place serve good Tiki drinks? How is the décor? What is the crowd like? Luckily there is Critiki. Critiki is a website dedicated to reviewing Tiki bars by Tikiphiles like myself. If a bar hasn’t been reviewed on Critiki, it’s probably not worth visiting. The woman behind Critiki is Humuhumu and she knows her Tiki! I got a chance to ask Humuhumu some questions…

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Tiki VIP #14 Wendy Cevola (Tiki Mug Artist)

Wendy Cevola

I read about Wendy in the Winter 2015/16 edition of Tiki Magazine and More and she seemed so cool…

Wendy's write up in Tiki Magazine and More
Wendy’s write up in Tiki Magazine and More

She makes Tiki mugs out of her home. Wendy lives in Elk Grove, CA, which is located on the outskirts of Sacramento. I’m not the only one who’s interested in Wendy. The Elk Grove Citizen newspaper ran not one, but two stories on Wendy! She mailed me a newspaper clipping…

Wendy in the Elk Grove Citizen newspaper clipping
Wendy in the Elk Grove Citizen newspaper clipping

Luckily, the article is online and it gives a great overview on Wendy and her art.

The Elk Grove Citizen photograph of Wendy
The Elk Grove Citizen photograph of Wendy

Here is another article on Wendy from the Elk Grove Citizen. This is from March 2011 and gives a great overview of Wendy and her interest in making Tiki mugs.

As I’m writing this post, ABC 10 is going to Wendy’s place to do a news story on her! Here is the video! I see big things happening for this talented lady. Here are some questions I wanted to ask Wendy before she gets too famous!

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Tiki VIP #13 Tiki Kiliki, aka Christie White

Kiliki with Dawn Wells aka Mary Ann

DIY: Do It Yourself!

When I was younger and playing in punk bands, I learned really quickly that if you wanted things to happen, you had to do it yourself. Want to play a show? Set one up yourself. Want to read about the bands you liked? Start a fanzine. Want to make record? Start your own label! DIY.

Back in the day, the only Tiki show in town was Tiki Oasis, which took place in California. That’s great, but what if you lived on the other side of the country? Well, if you’re Christie White, aka Tiki Kiliki, you set up your own Tiki celebration! That’s exactly what Christie did when she created Hukilau and it has grown bigger and bigger each year. This is Christie’s story…

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Tiki VIP #12 Michael Thanos (Forbidden Island)

Michael Thanos

The first Tiki revival started back in the early ’90s and it was very underground. Leading this revival was a handful of ex-punks and alternative types. The Tiki community was a subculture of a subculture! The Tiki bar options were limited to only the places that happened to be still around. I’m guessing most of the patrons of these Tiki bars went because the bar was close to their home, not because of a love of Tiki.

This was the Tiki reality back then, but it didn’t have to stay that way.

If Tiki was going to survive, let alone have a future, new bars needed to be opened. Michael Thanos was one of first few to open a new Tiki bar. He is the owner of Forbidden Island in Alameda, CA, which is incredible! It’s a must visit for anyone visiting the Bay Area who loves Tiki. Forbidden Island opened back in 2006 and decade later is going stronger than ever. Here is Michael’s story…

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