Tiki with Ray http://www.tikiwithray.com living the Tiki lifestyle with Ray Wyland Mon, 25 Sep 2017 03:09:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 Sven Kirsten: The Man Who Wrote The Book Of Tiki http://www.tikiwithray.com/sven-kirsten-man-wrote-book-tiki/ http://www.tikiwithray.com/sven-kirsten-man-wrote-book-tiki/#respond Mon, 25 Sep 2017 03:09:14 +0000 http://www.tikiwithray.com/?p=5296 You don’t realize how small the Tiki subculture is until you start looking at how little there is written about the subject. I can count the number of books written about Tiki culture on one hand and most of these books were written by Sven Kirsten. Sven wrote The Book Of Tiki and it’s the […]

The post Sven Kirsten: The Man Who Wrote The Book Of Tiki appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
Sven Kirsten signing books at Tiki Kon 2017

You don’t realize how small the Tiki subculture is until you start looking at how little there is written about the subject. I can count the number of books written about Tiki culture on one hand and most of these books were written by Sven Kirsten.

Sven wrote The Book Of Tiki and it’s the blueprint on what Tiki was, what Tiki is, and what Tiki should be. Sven’s The Book Of Tiki, Tiki Modern, and Tiki Pop are all standard reading if you want to learn about Tiki. Continue reading to learn about the man himself…

Paint me a picture: what was the Tiki “scene” like back in the early ’90s?

Sven– Well, the best answer to that can be found in my new book, The Art of Tiki. I have a chapter about that, plus Otto and Shag contributed as well.

In the outside world, Tiki practically did not exist and there was no Internet. When you unearthed something Tiki—a carving, a mug, or any paper ephemera—it was really precious.

Coop's Goodwill drawing
Coop’s Goodwill drawing

There was a small band of people into it that met at my symposiums and then at Otto’s mug parties. With Otto’s Tiki News fanzine, more people came into the fold. I think the first Tiki Oasis had like 50-60 attendants? That all changed in September 2000 with the Book of Tiki.

How did your love of Tiki start?

Sven- In the early ’80s, I was living in the Hollywood Hills in an apartment (next to the Hightower apartments in which Elliott Gould, aka Phillip Marlowe resides in Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye) and a roommate of mine brought home two Easter Island Tikis.

Milan Guanko & Moai copy
Milan Guanko & Moai copy

She had bought them at a marketplace at the Filipino community center directly from carver Milan Guanko. They struck me as unique, stylized pieces of sculpture and I wanted to find some for myself. The marketplace was a one-time affair, but then I discovered the Sea & Jungle shop on San Fernando road, which had several rooms full of bamboo, Tapa, and Tikis—even a black light room.

Sea & Jungle
Sea & Jungle

I was just coming out of film school and didn’t have much money then and only bought a Tiki Leilani mug. The third time I went back, the place had closed. That experience of loss left me even more wanting and sent me on a mission.

Sven Kirsten

Can you talk about Tiki News and your involvement?

Sven- I met Jeff Berry in the early ’90s and we thought we were the only ones into Tiki until we met Otto (and Shag) at his first mug party. From then on, we pooled our talents together for small Tiki events: Otto organized the venues and artists and I gave slide presentations about Tiki sites. Not too long after, Otto had the idea for a fanzine and I contributed the first articles for it. The first one in issue #1 was called “Tiki – Who was he?” It laid the groundwork for the same-titled chapter in the Book of Tiki. Articles about Tiki TV and Tiki lamps followed.

Tiki News #1 Article by Sven
Tiki News #1 Article by Sven

You literally wrote the book on Tiki. How did The Book Of Tiki come to be?

Sven- After searching the urban sea of LA for a tropical décor outlet like Sea & Jungle for years, I discovered Oceanic Arts in Whittier in 1989. It was my King Tut’s tomb. When Leroy showed me their collection of menus from Tiki temples they had worked on, the sheer graphic force of these images planted the thought in my head: “Someone should make a book about this!” I also began to seek out still existing sites like apartment buildings and photographed their Tikis and architecture. Three years down the line, I looked around and realized that I knew more about the subject than anybody, and since no one seemed to be doing it, I had to be the one to do the book. I put together a mock-up and sent it to publishers in the spring of 1992. It was turned down everywhere. I had no idea it would take me eight years to finally publish the Book of Tiki.

The Book Of Tiki
The Book Of Tiki

Sven, you also wrote the books Tiki Pop and Tiki Modern. Care to talk about them?

Sven- About Tiki Modern (2007):

Tiki Modern
Tiki Modern

When I saw my first Witco catalog at O.A., the photos looked so outrageous, this surreal furniture with all that shag carpet, I thought it was from a contemporary music video set for someone like the Cramps. Bob and Leroy kind of laughed it off. For them, it was such inauthentic stuff. Compared to it, their wares were much more “authentic.” I could not believe normal suburbanites actually decorated their houses with that stuff. I love visual extremes, and so I announced at the end of the Book of Tiki that I would feature Witco art in my next tome. I also love Mid-Century Modernism, so that both of these opposing ends of the esthetic spectrum co-existed at the same time was a great subject to concentrate on. Again, it took me seven years to convince my publisher to put out something that weird.

Witco Mama Lama bar
Witco Mama Lama bar

About Tiki Pop (2014):

Tiki Pop
Tiki Pop

The Musee du Quai Branly in Paris is the biggest modern ethnographic museum in Europe. The director was a fan of my previous two books, so when he was giving a tour of the place to my publisher Benedikt Taschen, he asked him to see if I would be interested in doing an exhibition about American Tiki style in his museum. I had visited it half a year earlier as a regular tourist and was thrilled to find the Book of Tiki in the museum’s library, but I never dreamed that I would get to do a show at such a serious venue. These museum shows are booked years in advance, so I had four years to put Tiki Pop together as the catalog for the show. The name was requested by the director who wanted to make sure that the title Tiki POP separated the exhibition from the real Polynesian art displayed in the museum. I also knew that the French love classic Hollywood cinema, so I used the concept of the Tiki bar being basically a film set to explain the whole phenomenon to the audience.

Tiki Pop Expo
Tiki Pop Expo

What is your favorite Tiki drink? What do you think makes the perfect cocktail?

Sven- My favorite exotic cocktail? I don’t know, it changes depending on my mood, depending on the location, depending on the ingredients. I am spoiled. I used to go over to Jeff Berry’s and taste his new discoveries. At the end, before he moved away, he had so many recipes to try out that he made flights of cocktails. My favorite commercial bar drink for a long time was the Fogcutter made by Tony Ramos at Madame Wu’s. The Tortuga made at Trader Vic’s Beverly Hills was great. Both places are gone now. Jeff and I became regulars at the Tiki Ti, and I went from Navy Grog to Rum Barrel to the Missionary’s Downfall. I never got into home mixology because I had Jeff and Ted Haigh. I was always concentrated on the art aspect of Tiki. I am actually quite pragmatic about the cocktails. They have to be good, but I don’t bitch and moan about details. The whole Internet foodie thing has begun to get on my nerves. It is simultaneously decadent and so bourgeois, the attitude of entitlement in it. The ignorance of much of the craft cocktail crowd towards the design and art of Tiki has somewhat soured me to the experience. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good cocktail, and if you buy me a drink, I won’t turn it down!
Sven Kirsten

What is your favorite Tiki bar? Why?

Sven- The Tiki Ti. It was for Jeff Berry what Oceanic Arts was for me: the gateway, the “Open Sesame” to the wonders of Tiki. They continued to mix and serve their tropical cocktails in the ’80s after everybody had forgotten about how to do it, and they were doing it in the ’90s before the whole craft cocktail movement started. They opened at the peak of Tiki in 1961 and it has remained in the family as the same unpretentious neighborhood bar since. How many places like that are left nowadays? It is frequented by regular people and I am gratified I got to design their anniversary mug and their ashtray (when smoking was still allowed there).

The Spirit of the Ancestors
The Spirit of the Ancestors

Tiki Kon 2017 Home Bar Tour

What does the future hold for you? Any new projects in the works?

Sven– In October, my next book The Art of Tiki will be published in conjunction with the 21st Anniversary Tiki Art show at La Luz Gallery in Los Angeles. It comes at a good time, when it is necessary to focus on and remind ourselves of the fact that Tiki is an art form. I had a lot of fun doing it and I got a little more personal in it.

Art of Tiki Book
Art of Tiki Book

After that, I am expanding my vision to other American renditions of exotic cultures. Next year my book on Mayan Revival style will come out. It was a fantastic predecessor to Tiki in the way it used pagan imagery in architecture. I could not get it done in conjunction with my Aztec Hotel exhibition I had at the Quai Branly this year, but I will use all that material and much more in the book.

Mayan Theater Serpents Wide
Mayan Theater Serpents Wide

After that, my next book/exhibition project will be on American fraternal orders. They had some crazy visuals in their heyday. I am fascinated by 20th Century exoticism and how it all became obsolete in today’s world.

Sven Kirsten

Anything else you would like to add?

Sven- Tiki is being assailed these days by a lot of cheap, bad renditions of it on one hand, and by not being understood by a young generation of social warriors on the other. It is ironic that what made it disappear the first time without being recognized as its own art form is rearing its narrow-minded head again. I believe Tiki is a resistance to the demystification and de-enchantment of life in today’s urban environment, and as such it stands for much more than itself, and we need to draw from it for sustenance.

Ray with Deba Deba and Sven Kirsten
Ray with Deba Deba and Sven Kirsten

The post Sven Kirsten: The Man Who Wrote The Book Of Tiki appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
http://www.tikiwithray.com/sven-kirsten-man-wrote-book-tiki/feed/ 0
The Starella Sisters! http://www.tikiwithray.com/the-starella-sisters/ http://www.tikiwithray.com/the-starella-sisters/#respond Fri, 22 Sep 2017 01:47:57 +0000 http://www.tikiwithray.com/?p=5086 If there’s anything I miss, it’s the glitz and glamour of the good old days. Imagine going back in time and seeing a full production with a big band, singers, and last but not least, dancers! The Starella Sisters are here to bring you a glimmer of that glorious past. I’ll let Sanjna Starella take […]

The post The Starella Sisters! appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
Starella Sisters

If there’s anything I miss, it’s the glitz and glamour of the good old days. Imagine going back in time and seeing a full production with a big band, singers, and last but not least, dancers!

The Starella Sisters are here to bring you a glimmer of that glorious past. I’ll let Sanjna Starella take it from here…

The Starella Sisters are not actually sisters, although we may as well be. We sure know how to laugh, cry, love, and have the occasional disagreement, just like sisters.

Starella Sisters

The Starella Sisters got their start a few years ago when we performed with the Jenny Finn Orchestra at the Secret Society Ballroom. Pearl Stokes and I had just started our own duet after being involved previously in other vintage dance troupes. We were very excited to collaborate and express our shared ideas and vision. The name Starella is a portmanteau of our last names, Stokes and Varela.

Starella Sisters

 

Shortly after our debut, Justin and Greg inquired about our choreographing a funny pre-flight skit/dance to perform at Tiki Kon. The theme that year was vintage airline travel. We decided to be “Pan Am girls” and dance to Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly with Me” following a brief pre-flight skit with Justin and Greg. Our retro stewardess costumes were quite a hit with the attendees and gave us the confidence to feel we were on to something.

Starella Sisters

It was a decent first attempt at choreographing, but we’ve since then honed our skills as well as grown in number. We added Kristen Behlings to create a trio and performed officially as the Starella Sisters with Tony Starlight. Allison Kramer joined the group shortly afterward and Julie Boucher is our most recent acquisition.

Starella Sisters

 

We all share a love for vintage style, music, and dance and strive to create an overall ambiance that harks back to the golden era and beyond. Among the group we have varied backgrounds of ballet, tap, jazz, swing, Irish dance, ballroom, theater, costuming, and vintage hairstyling, all of which makes our group the Starella Sisters. We aim to transport you to a place of fantasy, glitz, and glamour not often seen nowadays.

Starella Sisters

We have had the wonderful opportunity of performing at quite a few memorable events over the past few years. The coolest? Well, a packed house at Revolution Hall with a full-sized big band to celebrate what would have been Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday is definitely up there. We also have fond memories of our first Tiki Kon performance on an outdoor stage by the Columbia River at sunset, which was pretty amazing.

Crazy stories…we always have at least one crazy/funny story from all of our gigs! One that comes to mind is the time that I had a major wardrobe malfunction as we were finishing up a number at one of Tony Starlight’s Copacabana tributes. The guests were seated at dinner tables and for this particular number we were dancing our way around the floor among the audience rather than on stage. I became aware in the middle of the number that the zipper on the back of my strapless sequined gown was gradually pulling itself apart. Instead of freaking out, I was trying to play it cool and gracefully make my way to the dressing room before inadvertently turning the dance into a burlesque number. Kristen had noticed what was happening and was frantically trying her best to get behind me in order to minimize the number of audience members noticing. Kristen was so worried about me that she hadn’t realized the zipper on her gown had given up the ghost early in the number. It’s a miracle her dress stayed on despite the zipper gaping open all the way down her back. Pearl says she’s never had to conceal laughter so determinedly in her life. We must have looked like a comedy skit!

Now, on to Tiki since this is a Tiki blog. My favorite Tiki drink is the 1944 Mai Tai, followed by a rum old-fashioned in close second. Our favorite Tiki bar? Hale Pele, of course! Everyone is so personable and the atmosphere is amazing! A true escape.

Tiki Kon 2017 Home Bar Tour

What does the future hold for the Starella Sisters? I feel like we’re just getting started! We are about to start working on a piece for the Oregon Historical Society’s History Makers Dinner in October. We also plan on performing at Miz Kitty’s Parlour this upcoming season and were recently asked to perform at Tiki Oasis down in San Diego in 2018.

Dieter Weber making new friends
Dieter Weber making new friends

We are grateful to have formed this special group of ladies. Sharing our ideas, bringing them to fruition, and experiencing this creative outlet together brings us so much pleasure. We hope to spread our joy and our particular manifestation of retro glamour for years to come.

Follow the Starella Sisters on Instagram.

And give them a “like” on Facebook.

The post The Starella Sisters! appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
http://www.tikiwithray.com/the-starella-sisters/feed/ 0
Tiki With Ray Episode 4: Themed Restaurants and Tiki http://www.tikiwithray.com/tiki-ray-episode-4-themed-restaurants-tiki/ http://www.tikiwithray.com/tiki-ray-episode-4-themed-restaurants-tiki/#respond Tue, 19 Sep 2017 23:52:29 +0000 http://www.tikiwithray.com/?p=5315 On this episode of Tiki With Ray, Tiki carver Travis Bay comes on the show to talk about Themed restaurants and Tiki. People have always loved escapism, but have tastes changed over the years? Click below to find out…  

The post Tiki With Ray Episode 4: Themed Restaurants and Tiki appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
Tiki With Ray Episode 4 Themed Restaurants And Tiki

On this episode of Tiki With Ray, Tiki carver Travis Bay comes on the show to talk about Themed restaurants and Tiki. People have always loved escapism, but have tastes changed over the years? Click below to find out…

 

The post Tiki With Ray Episode 4: Themed Restaurants and Tiki appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
http://www.tikiwithray.com/tiki-ray-episode-4-themed-restaurants-tiki/feed/ 0
Home Tiki Bar Spotlight #30 Mai Tiki Bar Indianapolis, IN http://www.tikiwithray.com/home-tiki-bar-spotlight-30-mai-tiki-bar-indianapolis/ http://www.tikiwithray.com/home-tiki-bar-spotlight-30-mai-tiki-bar-indianapolis/#respond Mon, 18 Sep 2017 02:00:41 +0000 http://www.tikiwithray.com/?p=5104 The Tiki scene in Indianapolis is alive and well in Bob Cripe’s basement. Hidden downstairs in Bob’s home is the Mai Tiki Bar and it’s truly impressive. Bob has been in construction for over twenty years and his skills are shown in the craftsmanship of this hidden Tiki escape. I’ll let Bob tell you his […]

The post Home Tiki Bar Spotlight #30 Mai Tiki Bar Indianapolis, IN appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
Mai Tiki Bar

The Tiki scene in Indianapolis is alive and well in Bob Cripe’s basement. Hidden downstairs in Bob’s home is the Mai Tiki Bar and it’s truly impressive. Bob has been in construction for over twenty years and his skills are shown in the craftsmanship of this hidden Tiki escape. I’ll let Bob tell you his story…

What’s the Tiki scene like in Indianapolis?

Bob- I would say it’s a great bunch of people and it’s still growing. Our FOM (Fraternal Order Of Moai) chapter has really brought the local Tiki enthusiasts together by putting on our event, the Makahiki.

Mai Tiki Bar

What brought you into the “Tiki lifestyle” and how long has it been part of your life?

Bob- I have always liked vintage and thrift store shopping, vintage cars, and car shows. I’d say it all probably started in my 30s.

What made you decide to build your own Tiki bar?

Bob- I always wanted a basement bar and finally moved into a home with the right space to build a bar. Since building my Tiki bar in the basement nine years ago, my Tiki collecting pretty much took off from there.

Mai Tiki Bar

Can you give a little history of how the Mai Tiki Bar all came together?

Bob- Once I built the bar, everything really took off. Suddenly, I was constantly on the lookout for new Tiki stuff. I picked up some cocktail books, practiced making drinks (which were terrible at first), and had friends over to try the drinks. I also began collecting records and really tried to create ambiance between décor, drinks, lighting, and music.

Mai Tiki Bar

What is your favorite Tiki drink? Why? 

Bob- The Jet Pilot. The dark rum, cinnamon syrup, and falernum just makes the whole drink outstanding. But my go-to drink is always a Mai Tai.

Trader Vic's Mai-Tai at Three Dots and a Dash
Trader Vic’s Mai-Tai at Three Dots and a Dash

What is your favorite Tiki bar, not including your own?

Bob- It’s a toss up between the Mai Kai and Tiki Ti. The Mai Kai has incredible atmosphere and wonderful drinks. Tiki Ti’s drink quality is superb and the interior reminds me of my home bar.

The Mai-Kai

Outside of great drinks, what do you think are essential elements in creating the perfect Tiki environment?

Bob- Lots of bamboo, glass floats, a puffer fish, a big Tiki, Tiki mugs, monkey pod décor, Witco, and a nice stereo system.

Mai Tiki Bar

Do you feel that music has an important role in creating a great Tiki experience? What would be some of your favorite artists and albums? 

Bob– Music is who I am. Music creates and sets the atmosphere to any room. The three greats, I would have to say, are Arthur Lyman, Martin Denny, and Les Baxter. But my absolute favorite new music would have to be Ixtahuele.

What does the future hold for you and the Mai Tiki Bar?

Bob– It’s really just a room in my house where I express myself. I would really hope one day to help create a real bar. I have been in construction for twenty-plus years, am a house painter, and a Tiki carver. I hope to continue to have friends over and just have a good time hanging out, drinking cocktails, and eating food just like people did back in the 1960s.

Mai Tiki Bar

Anything else you would like to add?

Bob- At one time, Wendy and I thought about opening our own bar, so we decided to do a once-a-month “Tiki Night” at a local bar. We would take two hours of decorating and about three to four hours of shopping and making syrups. We would book the band and make the flyers. We did this for a year. We started meeting more people that were interested in Tiki. Then we decided we needed to do it on a Saturday and do it once a year so we could have a great line up of bands and a larger turn out. At this point, we were at the beginning of forming our own FOM chapter. Now, with help from our FOM chapter, Puka Puka, we put on a fun annual event called the Makahiki: A Night of Tiki. Also, I have been doing a lot of carvings and plan on starting to sell them to the public.

Mai Tiki Bar

Give the Mai Tiki Bar a “like” on Facebook!

The post Home Tiki Bar Spotlight #30 Mai Tiki Bar Indianapolis, IN appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
http://www.tikiwithray.com/home-tiki-bar-spotlight-30-mai-tiki-bar-indianapolis/feed/ 0
West Winds Motel Mount Vernon, WA http://www.tikiwithray.com/west-winds-motel-mount-vernon-wa/ http://www.tikiwithray.com/west-winds-motel-mount-vernon-wa/#comments Fri, 15 Sep 2017 06:21:30 +0000 http://www.tikiwithray.com/?p=5186 You sometimes forget that there was a time before highways… I drove Route 66 from Chicago to L.A. (just like the song) and it was bittersweet to see all these cool stores, gas stations, and restaurants that where left behind. Once the new freeway was built, traffic wasn’t going to pass by again. It was […]

The post West Winds Motel Mount Vernon, WA appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
West WInds Motel Mount Vernon WA

You sometimes forget that there was a time before highways…

I drove Route 66 from Chicago to L.A. (just like the song) and it was bittersweet to see all these cool stores, gas stations, and restaurants that where left behind. Once the new freeway was built, traffic wasn’t going to pass by again.

On The Mother Road: Route 66
On The Mother Road: Route 66

It was around the ’60s when freeways started to crisscross America. When it comes to searching for cool Mid-Century establishments, you have to go where cars used to travel. Tiki was at its height in popularity in the ’50s and ’60s so it didn’t surprise me to learn that a cool Tiki motel was located on the main road that used to go right through the center of Mount Vernon, Washington.

This is the West Winds Motel…

West WInds Motel Mount Vernon WA

There are two Tikis out front which seem to be Witco.

West WInds Motel Mount Vernon WA

West WInds Motel Mount Vernon WA

And just a couple Tikis in the garden…

West WInds Motel Mount Vernon WA

West WInds Motel Mount Vernon WA

West WInds Motel Mount Vernon WA

The only other clue of the place being Tiki would be the Tiki torch posts below the main sign.

West WInds Motel Mount Vernon WA

The motel seems to be well maintained and I would stay here if I was passing through Mount Vernon and needed a place to crash.

West WInds Motel Mount Vernon WA

It’s great to discover a piece of Tiki history and I have to give credit to this man here…

Travis Bay - The Man who discoverd the Tikis at West Winds Motel
Travis Bay – The Man who discoverd the Tikis at West Winds Motel

This is Travis and he knew about this hidden Tiki gem. He was nice enough to take me up to Mount Vernon to check it out.

He also carved this incredible Tiki that now resides in my Tiki bedroom.

Tiki carved by Travis Bay
Tiki carved by Travis Bay

If you want to check out the West Winds Motel or even spend the night, the address is:

West Winds Motel

2020 Riverside Dr.

Mount Vernon WA 98273

Travis Bay - The Man who discoverd the Tikis at West Winds Motel
Travis Bay – The Man who discoverd the Tikis at West Winds Motel

 

The post West Winds Motel Mount Vernon, WA appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
http://www.tikiwithray.com/west-winds-motel-mount-vernon-wa/feed/ 2
Tiki With Ray Episode 3: Tiki Thrifting http://www.tikiwithray.com/tiki-ray-episode-3-tiki-thrifting/ http://www.tikiwithray.com/tiki-ray-episode-3-tiki-thrifting/#respond Wed, 13 Sep 2017 05:03:14 +0000 http://www.tikiwithray.com/?p=5275 On this episode of Tiki With Ray, Travis Bay, a Tiki carver from Everett, WA, comes on the show to talk about Tiki thrifting. Travis shares some tips on where to find great Tiki stuff cheap! Click below to watch the show…

The post Tiki With Ray Episode 3: Tiki Thrifting appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
Tiki With Ray Episode 3

On this episode of Tiki With Ray, Travis Bay, a Tiki carver from Everett, WA, comes on the show to talk about Tiki thrifting. Travis shares some tips on where to find great Tiki stuff cheap! Click below to watch the show…

The post Tiki With Ray Episode 3: Tiki Thrifting appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
http://www.tikiwithray.com/tiki-ray-episode-3-tiki-thrifting/feed/ 0
Tiki VIP #25 Rebecca Cate (Smuggler’s Cove) http://www.tikiwithray.com/tiki-vip-25-rebecca-cate-smugglers-cove/ http://www.tikiwithray.com/tiki-vip-25-rebecca-cate-smugglers-cove/#respond Mon, 11 Sep 2017 05:28:45 +0000 http://www.tikiwithray.com/?p=4760 Tiki history is being made right now as I type this! It’s exciting to be riding the third wave of Tiki and when people write about the history of Polynesian Pop twenty years down the road, another name will be added to the list along with Gantt and Bergeron. That name is Cate. Martin and […]

The post Tiki VIP #25 Rebecca Cate (Smuggler’s Cove) appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
Rebecca Cate

Tiki history is being made right now as I type this!

It’s exciting to be riding the third wave of Tiki and when people write about the history of Polynesian Pop twenty years down the road, another name will be added to the list along with Gantt and Bergeron. That name is Cate.

Martin and Rebecca Cate are behind the quintessential Tiki bar: Smuggler’s Cove located in San Francisco. They are writing the new rules on how Tiki should be and the proof is in the success of any bar the Cates have been involved with. This list includes Hale Pele in Portland and False Idol in San Diego. The Cates wrote the book Smuggler’s Cove and it’s the Alpha and Omega of Tiki. It talks about the history of Tiki, what’s going on now, and where Tiki is going. I don’t think I have tell you that this book is required reading for all Tikiphiles! Rebecca Cate is the woman behind all this Tiki awesomeness and here is her story…

What is the Tiki scene like in the Bay Area?

Rebecca– Ever since we got involved in the Tiki scene in 1998, we have found the Bay Area to be a very welcoming scene. Home party hosts and their guests are always super generous and friendly and there are some truly amazing home bars here—better than many commercial spaces. And, of course, in terms of commercial bars, we are ridiculously spoiled here with great Tiki bars old and new. Of course, I’m a bit biased as to which one you should hit up first. 😊

Rebecca and Martin Cate with Dawn Frasier
Rebecca and Martin Cate with Dawn Frasier

What brought you into the “Tiki lifestyle” and how long has it been part of your life?

Rebecca- Well, Martin describes his journey into Tiki in our book Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki. It was really his passion for Tiki that got me hooked. When we threw a co-birthday birthday party with a third friend in 1998, Martin suggested Tiki as a theme and began to dive down the cocktail rabbit hole. It was in throwing that party that I began to see the light of the Tiki torch. Creating an escape in décor and drinks and seeing the pure joy on people’s faces as they walked around our apartment, I began to understand the magic of Tiki. After the party, as we looked around at the leftover décor and booze. When Martin asked what we should do with it all, I jokingly said, “We could build a home Tiki bar.” His face lit up like a kid at Christmas and the rest, as they say, is history.

Rebecca and Martin Cate
Rebecca and Martin Cate

Can you give a little history of how the bar Smuggler’s Cove came together?

Rebecca– After Martin sold his ownership stake in Forbidden Island, we thought it would be quite a while before we found a space. But, no rest for the wicked, as they say. The space came up right away and even had a waterfall! We hadn’t had a chance to look at much else and wondered if we should take the first thing we saw. But, we’re so glad we did. The interesting three-story layout adds so much to the experience and, as it happened, we didn’t see any other spaces come up for several months after. Martin knew he wanted to have a traditional no-compromise Tiki space, but also to expand to the whole history of rum. This helped drive the décor and especially the menu that takes you on a historical journey through centuries of rum cocktails. We wanted to do more than just have a rum club and wanted to incorporate an educational component—a model we have now duplicated at False Idol. You read and drink your way through several rum styles so that when you dive deep into the hundreds of rums on our shelves, you have a much greater appreciation and understanding of what you’re drinking.

Smuggler's Cove
Smuggler’s Cove

Can you give a little history of how the book Smuggler’s Cove came together?

Rebecca- We have one man to blame…er…I mean, thank: Jonah Straus. He was a literary agent who was a fan of Smuggler’s Cove and originally suggested the idea. Martin really didn’t have any desire to put out a coffee table book with pretty pictures and recipes. He turned Jonah down a few times and Jonah finally really pressed Martin on WHY he didn’t want to do a book. Martin told him that if he was going to do it, he wanted it to contribute something new. He wanted to put the drinks in a larger context and, especially, to put the bar Smuggler’s Cove in larger context. Smuggler’s Cove would not exist without the Tiki forefathers like Donn, Vic, and Steve, but it also wouldn’t exist without the Tiki Revival. People like Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Sven Kirsten, and Otto von Stroheim, all of whom we profile in our book, were a big reason that Smuggler’s Cove came to be. The bar Smuggler’s Cove has also always tried to be more than just a showcase for rum in exotic cocktails and to be a showcase for the entire history of rum, so any book about Smuggler’s Cove had to also include a history and guide to rum. We also wanted to really explain important components to the exotic cocktail and some tips and tricks of the trade as well as how to create a Tiki environment of one’s own. The book’s scope was ambitious, but Jonah didn’t blink and saw no reason that the book couldn’t be all of that. Ten Speed Press was a willing partner and helped us bring it all to life (and agreed to more pages when we ran over!).

Smuggler's Cove Book
Smuggler’s Cove Book

What is your favorite Tiki drink? What do you think makes the perfect cocktail?

Rebecca– I try not to choose favorites, but if you ran a report of the drinks I’ve consumed at Smuggler’s Cove in the last seven and a half years (please no one do that!), my most-ordered is the Demerara Dry Float. This fascinates me because I normally CAN’T STAND Maraschino Liqueur. Even a trace amount in a cocktail and I’ll wrinkle my nose and say, “Oh. It has Maraschino.” The Demerara Dry Float is the absolute exception to the rule. It beautifully follows the exotic cocktail formula and is a perfectly balanced wonder. Plus, at Smuggler’s Cove, it comes with a side of danger! Who doesn’t need a little danger?

Rebecca Cate

Outside of great drinks, what do you think are essential elements in creating the perfect Tiki environment?

Rebecca- Lighting is everything. No windows is an absolute must. But, beyond that, how the inside is lit. It should feel like perpetual dusk, lighting where everyone looks good. I also love lots of ephemera. That is the absolute beauty of the mighty Tiki-Ti. Every time I go I see something I didn’t notice before. There should be little hidden gems here and there. A visual journey that gives your eyes something to feast on while your taste buds feast on your delicious cocktail.

Smuggler's Cove
Smuggler’s Cove

Do you feel that music has an important role in creating a great Tiki experience? What would be some of your favorite artists and albums?

Rebecca– A soothing, romantic exotica and traditional Hawaiian soundtrack is very important to creating the Tiki experience. If I hear exotica anywhere, I’m immediately wistful of my last visit to the Mai Kai or Trader Vic’s and want to drop what I’m doing and run for the closest Tiki bar. I enjoy the classic artists like Denny, Lyman, Sumac, etc. and any contemporary artists who successfully create that feel. I find surf music can sometimes be a bit harsh in a Tiki bar, but it definitely has a great role to play in Tiki. If you’re attending a Tiki event or home party, an upbeat soundtrack with surf music is key to creating a fun and lively and energetic atmosphere.

Ray with Rebecca and Martin Cate
Ray with Rebecca and Martin Cate

What is your favorite Tiki bar, not including your own?

Rebecca- There is nowhere on Earth that holds a candle to the Mai Kai. I have been fortunate to have visited dozens of times now, but when I walk in now it is like the first time. I still catch my breath, feel my heart beat a little faster, and can be brought to tears by its beauty and scale.

The Mai-Kai

What does the future hold for you?

Rebecca- That is an excellent question. Fate stepped in a few years ago when I got laid off of my research day job right at the moment Martin was to start writing the book. To have the opportunity to co-author the book with him and then travel around the country on our book tour was a once-in-a-lifetime experience I will always treasure. It also helped me gain a much greater understanding of the Tiki and rum world than I’d had before and has fueled the addiction to this world even more. For now, I’m plenty busy and content with being a part of planning and executing our role at Tiki and rum events around the world, doing all of the bookkeeping for Smuggler’s Cove, and taking on odd projects for Smuggler’s Cove and the other bars we’re partners in.

Rebecca Cate

Anything else you would like to add?

Rebecca- Just to say thank you to all of the genuinely kind, supportive, enthusiastic Tiki and rum fans we’ve met around the world. You are the fuel that keeps Smuggler’s Cove running!

Rebecca and Martin Cate
Rebecca and Martin Cate

Here is my Tiki VIP write up on Martin Cate.

Want to visit Smuggler’s Cove? Here is the website.

And Facebook page.

The post Tiki VIP #25 Rebecca Cate (Smuggler’s Cove) appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
http://www.tikiwithray.com/tiki-vip-25-rebecca-cate-smugglers-cove/feed/ 0
Tiki Bar Review #38 Foundation Milwaukee, WI http://www.tikiwithray.com/tiki-bar-review-38-foundation-milwaukee-wi/ http://www.tikiwithray.com/tiki-bar-review-38-foundation-milwaukee-wi/#respond Fri, 08 Sep 2017 04:01:12 +0000 http://www.tikiwithray.com/?p=4330 You would never think that one of the coolest Tiki bars in America hides in a house on this unassuming street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin… But there is! It’s called Foundation and I call it incredible! I use the website Critiki to see what Tiki bars are worth checking out when traveling the country. If a […]

The post Tiki Bar Review #38 Foundation Milwaukee, WI appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
Foundation Milwaukee

You would never think that one of the coolest Tiki bars in America hides in a house on this unassuming street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin…

Foundation Milwaukee

But there is! It’s called Foundation and I call it incredible!

I use the website Critiki to see what Tiki bars are worth checking out when traveling the country. If a bar isn’t listed on Critiki, it’s not worth going to. The cool thing about Critiki is that Tikiphiles can rate and review the bars. If a bar gets good ratings, then it’s a good bet that it’s going to be great. Foundation gets very high ratings, so I decided to check it out.

I made my way up the steps to this house that Foundation calls home…

Foundation Milwaukee

I opened the door and stepped inside. All I could see was black at first. It was dark—really dark, but as my eyes started to adjust, I saw that this place was cool…

Foundation Milwaukee

And it got even cooler as started to make my way around…

Foundation Milwaukee

Foundation Milwaukee

Foundation Milwaukee

The décor was perfect, but how were the drinks?

I found a seat at the bar and said hello to this man…

Nick Estes bartender at Foundation
Nick Estes bartender at Foundation

His name was Nick Estes and he would be taking care of my drink needs…

I looked over Foundation’s large drink menu…

Foundation drink menu
Foundation drink menu

And even larger selection of drinks…

Foundation drink menu
Foundation drink menu

I ordered a special drink that wasn’t on the menu. A Rhum Creole…

Rhum Creole at Foundation
Rhum Creole at Foundation

This drink was incredible. It was a mix of Rhum Agricole and spices. The drink had a bite to it that makes you enjoy every sip.

For my next drink, I went with a Tonga Punch…

Tonga Punch at Foundation

This drink mixes passion fruit and pomegranate to a base of two different types of rum. I don’t think I need to tell you how great this drink was!

Lisa, my new found friend from the Mid-West, stopped by to say hello! She got a classic: a Blue Hawaiian…

Lisa drinking a Blue Hawaiian at Foundation
Lisa drinking a Blue Hawaiian at Foundation

I went with a classic as well: a Mai-Tai!

Mai Tai at Foundation

After chatting it up with Lisa for a while, it was time to say good-bye.

I have to be honest, when I think of Milwaukee, I think of all the stereotypical things: the Brewers, beer, snow, and Laverne and Shirley. After my trip to Foundation, Tiki is now at the top of that list!

Ray and Lisa at Foundation
Ray and Lisa at Foundation

Here is Foundation’s website.

And Facebook Page.

The post Tiki Bar Review #38 Foundation Milwaukee, WI appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
http://www.tikiwithray.com/tiki-bar-review-38-foundation-milwaukee-wi/feed/ 0
Tiki With Ray Episode 2: Tiki Mugs- Past, Present, and Future http://www.tikiwithray.com/tiki-ray-episode-2-tiki-mugs-past-present-future/ http://www.tikiwithray.com/tiki-ray-episode-2-tiki-mugs-past-present-future/#respond Wed, 06 Sep 2017 04:21:54 +0000 http://www.tikiwithray.com/?p=5246 On this episode of Tiki With Ray, Travis Bay, a Tiki carver from Everett, WA, comes on the show to talk about the past, present, and future of Tiki mugs. Click below to check it out!

The post Tiki With Ray Episode 2: Tiki Mugs- Past, Present, and Future appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
Tiki With Ray Episode 2

On this episode of Tiki With Ray, Travis Bay, a Tiki carver from Everett, WA, comes on the show to talk about the past, present, and future of Tiki mugs. Click below to check it out!

The post Tiki With Ray Episode 2: Tiki Mugs- Past, Present, and Future appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
http://www.tikiwithray.com/tiki-ray-episode-2-tiki-mugs-past-present-future/feed/ 0
Home Tiki Bar Spotlight #29 The Enchanted Tiki Lounge Conroe, Texas http://www.tikiwithray.com/home-tiki-bar-spotlight-29-enchanted-tiki-lounge-conroe-texas/ http://www.tikiwithray.com/home-tiki-bar-spotlight-29-enchanted-tiki-lounge-conroe-texas/#respond Mon, 04 Sep 2017 01:25:00 +0000 http://www.tikiwithray.com/?p=4780   The Enchanted Tiki Lounge, not to be confused with the Enchanted Tiki Room, is located in Conroe, Texas. It’s not a coincidence. Brain Martin’s inspiration comes from Disneyland’s most famous air-conditioned attraction. To call the Enchanted Tiki Lounge “just a bar” would be a crime. This place is off the charts! Here is Brian’s […]

The post Home Tiki Bar Spotlight #29 The Enchanted Tiki Lounge Conroe, Texas appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
 

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge, not to be confused with the Enchanted Tiki Room, is located in Conroe, Texas. It’s not a coincidence. Brain Martin’s inspiration comes from Disneyland’s most famous air-conditioned attraction. To call the Enchanted Tiki Lounge “just a bar” would be a crime. This place is off the charts! Here is Brian’s story…

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

What’s the Tiki scene like in Texas?

Brian- The Tiki scene is alive, well, thriving, and growing. I love it here! I was a lifelong Northern Californian until 13 years ago, so while I understand the Tiki bar scene is great in CA, it’s my opinion that the people as a whole in Texas are unmatched! Many of us have a home Tiki bar/lounge that we keep open for fellow Texas Tikiphiles, and the Luaus, parties, and get-togethers are full of rum and fun. The Tiki carvers (and they’re not all men) out here…WOW! Impressive! The bar scene could be better, but Houston has it going on strong and makes up for a lack there of with Howie’s Tiki and Lei Low and weekly pop-ups. But for me, it all comes back to the people! We help each other, support each other, encourage each other, we celebrate with each other, and we drink TOGETHER. As I remember Bamboo Ben saying (while here on a build for a private bar in Austin), “I love Texas Tiki people. There’s no drama here.”

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

What brought you into the “Tiki lifestyle” and how long has it been part of your life?

Brian-A bathroom, air conditioning, Dole Whip, and my parents! I dreamed up a tropical hideaway while spending so much of my time in Disneyland, as a child and as an adult. When I was young, break time in Disneyland was Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. After all, what other attraction had entertainment, a private restroom, the best air conditioning, and welcomed you to eat and drink in it? But as I got into my teens, I could never get Adventureland out of my head and it was always difficult to leave that area while I was there! Now I’m drawn to the art of Tiki, the mystery, the drinks, the food, and the people who are all so different yet share this common bond we all love so much!

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

What made you decide to build your own Tiki bar? Any story behind the name?

Brian- I have wanted to build for a long time but finances, a fear of not being able to do it “right,” and a green light from my wife Jenni prevented the start. So with a carefree attitude about the money, the realization that if I’m happy with what I have done as well as respectful and not prideful, and the green light of “fine” from my wife (when she got tired of the pool slide), it was on! Now the name is simple. I loved the Enchanted Tiki Room. My wife didn’t want a tiki “bar,” so I said, “It’ll be a lounge.” With that, I jumped online to see if EnchantedTikiLounge.com was available, and it was!

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

Can you give a little history of how it all came together?

Brian- I have not been collecting long, so I’m missing some of the cluttered feel and old favorites people love, but through my trips to CA as well as throughout the US and globe, I’ve jumped in head-first. I’m ALWAYS looking!

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

What is your favorite Tiki drink? Why? 

Brian- It changes, but what has stuck the longest and is the Ancient Mariner (the recipe in Beachbum Berry’s Remixed, page 97 can’t be beat). I love the combo of rums! If you can find a bottle of Lemon Hart Demerara with Appleton Estate 12, YUM! If you can’t get the LH, El Dorado 12 works just fine, too. The pimento liqueur is what brings it all together. I love making these drinks because they taste great and the smell of the pimento reminds me of Christmas!

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

What is your favorite Tiki bar, not including your own?

Brian- For me, it’s about the memories and for that reason (and the beautiful scenery) Trader Vic’s in Emeryville, CA.

Trader Vic's Emeryville CA
Trader Vic’s Emeryville CA

Outside of great drinks, what do you think are essential elements in creating the perfect Tiki environment?

Brian– Of course the art (paintings, mugs, artifacts, and trinkets), the dark mysterious feel the environment can create, the smells, the clutter, the music, and so many things people NEVER notice, but if it wasn’t there they’d know something was missing. I love it when people who aren’t into Tiki see my lounge and think I’m crazy. If they don’t think you’re crazy, you missed the mark. With all that though, I can’t mention it enough: the people and what they bring to it. I create what I have to share it with others and maybe it will inspire them to do something hopefully bigger and better than my own.

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

Do you feel that music has an important role in creating a great Tiki experience? What would be some of your favorite artists and albums? 

Brian- Of course, but I’m not going to hate a place for not getting the music “right.” I just might not stay as long. My favorite artist is Gene Rains and His Group. From Hawaii, he had a short career, but his music and tone are unmatched. He produced 3 original records: Lotus Land, Far Across The Sea (VERY hard to find), and Rains In The Tropics. Each album is GREAT and I’m happy to have them all! Other favorites are Les Baxter’s The Soul Of The Drums, Robert Drasnin’s Voodoo, and The Surfmen’s The Sounds of Exotic Island. Feel free to see my collection and share it: https://www.discogs.com/lists/Our-HawaiianExotica-Collection/301651

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

What does the future hold for you and your home Tiki bar?

Brian– WOW! A lot…We’ll soon be moving (Aug. 10th) and I’ll have much more room to play with! I’ll be making something bigger and better with all the same elements people find at the current location. While it’ll never be finished, I plan to be mixing drinks by summertime 2018.

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

Anything else you would like to add?

Brian– Now I can’t go away without mentioning the new indoor part of the lounge: The Stowaway!!!

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

The Stowaway gets its name for being a small (12’x8′), cozy, hidden and tucked-away indoor extension of the Enchanted Tiki Lounge in Conroe, TX.

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

The Stowaway features it’s own Tiki mug, a Samoan Island tapa cloth across the entire ceiling, bamboo fish tank, Witco bar and stools, PNG museum pieces, mug collection, extensive exotica record collection, a wide selection of rums, and more.

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

But the biggest feature of this of this tiny space is the amount of Tiki vibe it can hold!

The Enchanted Tiki Lounge

Here is the Enchanted Tiki Lounge website

And Facebook page.

The post Home Tiki Bar Spotlight #29 The Enchanted Tiki Lounge Conroe, Texas appeared first on Tiki with Ray.

]]>
http://www.tikiwithray.com/home-tiki-bar-spotlight-29-enchanted-tiki-lounge-conroe-texas/feed/ 0