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Take a South Seas Adventure at Home

[11.20.13]  In September of 2012, I was fortunate enough to see the one and only showing of the 1958 Cinerama film "South Seas Adventure" in its original Cinerama format in a Cinerama equipped theater. The film is the last of the Cinerama travelogues and is visually stunning. Now the film has been released on Blu-Ray disc in ful 1080p high definition format for your home viewing pleasure.

Cinerama was a process whereby 3 70mm format (twice the size of standard theater 35mm film) movie cameras were synchronized in an array to capture a paroramic image. For theatrical viewing, special theaters were designed with 3, 70mm projectors, synchronized to project a single 146 degree curving image. The result was spectacular.

Help the Quiet Village stay on the air by purchasing South Seas Adventure from through this web site. Mahalo

QUEEN OF THE ZOMBIES by ERIC OCTOBER1 oz Silver Rum1 oz Amber Rum1 oz Pineapple Juice1/2 oz Demerara 151 Rum1/4 oz Quince SyrupShake everything with ice. Pour into collins glass. Garnish with green cocktail cherry. Fend off Zombie Army.Quince Syrup Recipe:1 Cup Water1 Cup Quince (thinly sliced)1/2 Cup SugarBring water to boilAdd quinceSimmer 15 minuetsAdd sugar, stir until dissolved, turn off heatCover and cool 30 minuets

What To Mix For The Zombie Apocolypse

[10.29.13]  Mrs. Howell was always trying to find the perfect outfit to wear for every event on the Island. Its just as important to have the appropriate cocktail for every situation. The Zombie cocktail is THE perfect drink for Halloween. In episode 62 of the Quiet Village show, Jeff "Beachbum" Berry talks with us about the Zombie cocktail. The Bum also talks about his newest book "Potions of the Caribbean". A compendium that traces 500 years of booze history in the Caribbean. In addition, Eric October, Manuel and I mix up no less than 8 different vintage Zombie recipes and talk about the taste profiles for each....yes, our livers are still recovering.

Most of us have never really tasted a true Zombie until Jeff Berry's sippin' sleuth work uncovered the original recipe dating back to 1934. A real Zombie cocktail is an incredibly complex and incredibly strong libation that will have most people feeling undead after just one.

In addition to the various recipes of Zombies mixed in Episode 62, Eric and Manuel shared their own Zombie cocktail recipe, which they call "Queen of the Zombies" because it has quince syrup. So here we have the original drink that literally started it all - the 1934 Zombie from Don the Beachcomber's and the Queen of the Zombies cocktail by Eric October and Manuel. Cheers.

1934 Zombie by
Don the Beachcomber:
.75 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Don’s Mix*
.5 oz Falernum
1.5 oz Jamaican Rum
1.5 oz Gold Puerto Rican Rum
1 oz 151 Demerara Rum
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1/8th tsp Herbsaint or Pernod
1 tsp Grenadine
.75 cup crushed ice

2 parts grapefruit juice
1 part cinnamon syrup

Shake everyting except Demarara with ice. Pour into tall glass (Collins glass). Float Demerara rum on top of drink. Garnish with fresh mint, pineapple cube skewered between red and green cocktail cherries.

Extended Tiki Magazine article by Darren Long

[8.30.13]  In one of the final issues of Tiki Magazine with founder Nick Camara at the helm, writer, musician and artist Darren Long was tasked with writing about me and the Quiet Village Podcast. The article that showed up in the issue of Tiki Magazine was great, but truncated from the original. Here is the expanded version of the article on me and the Quiet Village. Many thanks to Darren Long for providing this text.


"Mark Riddle: The Man From Quiet Village"  By Darren Long

In the recent Spring 2013 issue of Tiki Magazine, I had the cool task of interviewing Mark Riddle as part of a feature on podcasters. Mark was quite forthcoming with excellent and lengthy answers, but due to space requirements, I had to savagely pare down the original ten questions to five..leaving so much good Q & A on the cutting room floor. Mark has graciously allowed me to remedy that occurrence here and now.

Mark Riddle seems to have multiple personalities (in a good way, of course). There’s Mark Riddle whose day job is at a non-profit that treats children with emotional disturbances. Then he morphs into ‘Digi Tiki’ as Captain of the Quiet Village podcast and 24/7 Quiet Village Radio. Then he takes on the larger-than-life persona of one tipsy ‘Marty Lush’; the ‘not-feeling-any-pain’ vibes player with Tikiyaki Orchestra and a star in his own right with smokin’ Latin Jazz offerings. Yet Mark feels totally at home with this set-up.

“When I’m doing the show, I am Digi Tiki—on an uncharted island having a Mai Tai. When I’m with Tikiyaki Orchestra, I really am Marty Lush.” He’s also a pianist, composer, session player, music lover, musical historian, and a cocktail expert, too. Case in point…his tasty libation creation, the ‘Quiet Village Mai Tai’.

When asked about his mission statement regarding Quiet Village, Mark expounds, “I want people to be able to escape for a short while. I see Quiet Village as an almost real place where all of us can escape our fast-paced, boring, and at times, angry world and disappear into a beautiful jungle island where messages only come in a bottle, the weather is perfect, and the only worry is who’s going to bring my Mai Tai.”

“The show also gives me the opportunity to play songs that I like and hopefully introduce others to. I liken it to friends getting together and playing records they found at swap meets or thrift stores. One of the best things about the show is that listeners turn me on to new music, too. I love that.”

Professor Riddle then gives us a perfect dissertation on the ‘Essence of Exotica’. “Exotica was presented at the right time. Hawaii and certainly the Orient were as far away as the moon to most people. Musical concepts and instruments from those lands were new and strange. People like Martin Denny were introducing Americana to new timbres. To me, Exotica was ambient music. It was not really meant to be closely studied. It was meant to be background music that would help create a mood that would take the listener to another land.”

“In a way, some of the new electronic-based genres like Ambient Chill and Downtempo do the same thing. They are atmospheric music that fuses new timbres with bits of musical ideas and rhythms into something that is solely designed to set a mood. It’s not meant to be in the foreground. That is why some of that music fits wonderfully back to back with vintage Exotica tunes.”

Well said, Professor…but class is over and I’m getting thirsty…so let’s talk about Tiki drinks. “I love cocktails. All kinds. When it comes to booze, I don’t discriminate.”

“I guess my all time favorite cocktail from a particular place is the one in the Tiki Bar of my mind---The Quiet Village. I started with a simple recipe of my own, calling for everyday Rums. But I have since raised the bar with more top shelf Rums. It’s a wonderful thing to mix up a Quiet Village Mai Tai and sit down at the microphone and do an episode.”

Asked to expand on his favorite Tiki establishments, Mark replies….”I don’t remember who coined the phrase, but I’ve heard Tiki Bars described as ‘emotional bomb shelters’. That is a very apt description. They should be places that filter the outside world and let you relax without a single care.”

He mentions the Mai-Kai in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. “It comes the closest to achieving that ‘miles away from civilization’ feel. The second those doors close behind you, you really are in another world. Every drink I’ve had at the Mai-Kai is amazing. The fact that the Mai-Kai is one of THE last largeTiki temples left in America, makes me wonder what some of the other long gone establishments must have been like.”

“Of course Los Angeles offers one of the best Tiki Bars: the Tiki-Ti. What’s not to love about the place? It’s a real connection to the heyday of Tiki. The atmosphere is wonderful and the drinks are top notch. I would have to say the Ooga Booga is my favorite drink there. I love the tons of dark Rum in that cocktail.”

While on the subject of his home, Mark explains why Los Angeles is a cool city. “Quite simply, its size. Most people buck against the overwhelming size of LA, but I see it as a strength. A city this size can support many niche things and places; like multiple Tiki Bars. There are enough people here interested in something that a viable group can usually be put together for an event or get together. That diversity is exhilarating. The other thing has to be the weather. It can be a luxurious seventy-four degrees in mid-winter here. I love that.”

Swinging back to Mark’s love of music, he talks about his favorite vinyl LP’s. “Arthur Lyman’s ‘Bahia’ because it got me into Exotica. But there are so many that are simply amazing. A very very close second would have to be Gene Rains’ ‘Rain In The Tropics’. That was one of the first Exotica records I purchased when I started officially collecting. I fell in love with every song on that album…as well as the cover.”

Changing the subject a bit, and knowing that Mark loves James Bond movies…I have to ask what his favorite flick is in the long running series. “’The Spy Who Loved Me’ because it was the first Bond film I ever saw in a movie theater. It had everything in it that captivated me---the mega-villain, the amazing lair, the suave hero, and of course, the submarine Lotus car. But I must say the recent ‘Skyfall’ has to be one of THE best Bond movies I’ve ever seen. It just needed a Lotus.”

As Mark Riddle declares at the end of every glorious hour-long Quiet Village podcast…”Well, my Mai Tai is empty, folks, so that means the end of another episode.” Mine is empty as well, so I’d like to say a big Mahalo to all of Mark Riddle’s awesome personalities. And I can hardly wait for the next Exotica Excursion Mark will take us on. Cheers, pal.

Quiet Village Radio is a Big Hit

[7.26.13]  Quiet Village radio is now almost 2 months old and is a big hit. Listeners are tuning in from all over the world--literally. People are tuning in from Germany, Brazil, Malaysia, UK, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Russia, as well as all over the US at an average rate of 18 new listeners an hour! THAT is amazing. Thank you all for listening!  And stay tuned for more exciting shows in the works, exclusively on Quiet Village Radio. Under Attack

[7.25.13]  If anyone has visited this site recently, you will have notices a recent "Suspended" notice. I just wanted to keep you all posted on what exactly was going on. is not going away, I am still here and planning to be for quite some time. The problem was that my site was the victim of a "denial of service" attack. A piece of malicious code called a "bot" was attempting to download random images and files from my site it extraordinary high numbers. As a result, my web host service shut down the site. I am back up and running.

On a site note: the length of time it took me to get back up and running was due to terrible, terrible customer service from my hosting company. I don't like to use this page as a soapbox to bitch about things, but this company (which shall remain nameless) was THE worst. Their lack of security on their servers essentially held the door open for this "bot" to attack my site and anyone else hosting with them. Bad host-no no! Now that my rant is over, I need a drink.

ON THE AIR ! ! !

[6.1.13]  Quiet Village radio is now ON THE AIR.

Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Mac, PC, iTunes, WinAmp, RealPlayer, Windows Medai Player.  Listen to TIKI 24/7 - Listen NOW
• Friday Night Luau : a solid hour of Hapa Haole. The perfect soundtrack for your back yard luau. Fridays, 7-8pm (Pacific)
• Quiet Village Archives : The show that started it all. Past episodes of the Quiet Village Podcast can be heard three different times each week- Mondays 7am, 4pm, 7pm (Pacific)
• Swingin' Sunday Brunch : The cure for the Mai Tai hangover. Wake up and have a bloody mary with the Rat Pack, jazz cats and swingers- Sundays 8am - 10am (Pacific)

Take Home a Souvenier From Your Visit To The Village

[4.21.13] Check out the newest edition to the Quiet Village Gift Shop!
Now you can show the world what village you like to visit with these T-shirts sporting the new Quiet Village logo tiki by Eric October.
Available in dark chocolate with deep orange logo--unique, earthy and simple. The shirts are made of extra soft 100% pre-shrunk cotton; a modern fitting, unisex look. Looks great on kanes and wahines alike.

Available in M, L, XL, 2XL
$12.00 + shipping (.5 lb)
And as always, the proceeds go straight to the Quiet Village to keep the podcast and Quiet Village Radio on the air.

Bye Bye Bahooka

[3.28.13]  There are tons of stories of the Tiki temples from days gone by that simply are no more. Now we can put another one down in the dusty book of "What Once Was." On March 19th, 2013, the Bahooka Restaurant in Rosemead, California closed its 50 year old doors for good.

The Bahooka was a comfortable family tiki restaurant that was decked out in almost anything possible. Countless lucite chunk lamps, wood barrel lamps and plastic parrots hung from the ceiling. The walls were covered with just about any type of "stuff" you could imagine. The Bahooka was known for its ribs and hearty American fare. The drinks, although not as impeccable as Trader Vic's, were lively and strong. The Grenade was a pink, blended drink that could be served "With The Pin Pulled" (not on the menu) which meant that it came with a shot of 151 added. Every single drink came to your fishtank-lined booth set ablaze. The restaurant's mascot was Rufus, an enormous Paku fish that loved to eat carrots.

I could spend hundreds of words here describing the Bahooka and how nice it was to just sit in a booth and watch the fish gaze at us from one of the more than 100 fish tanks. But it, like every single other lost Tiki establishment from yesteryear, is best served up in your mind. If you never got a chance to experience the place, you certainly missed something with a great deal of character. If you were fortunate to have visited the place or live close enough to frequent it, you are most certainly imagining the sounds, sights and smells of the place in your memory.

It was recently announced that the entire contents of the Bahooka's interior have been purchased and will be used to outfit the interior of the upcoming Clifton's South Seas room in downtown Los Angeles. If you have the Book of Tiki, you can see a photo of the original Cliftons South Seas cafeteria from the 1940's. It is still sadly unclear what has happened to Rufus and the hundres of other fish.

Aloha Bahooka. We will miss you.

You can hear a field recording made at the Bahooka on The Quiet Village Podcast, Episode 56.

ps- please visit the Bahooka web site while it is still up for some great photos. It will most assuredly be coming down soon.

New Reissued Vintage Albums

[3.27.13]  Some new reissues of classic albums have just come out that you may be interested in.

• Martin Denny: "A Taste of India/Exotica Classica" - 2 Denny albums remastered onto a single CD from Vocalion Records out of the UK. [

• "Exotica Today & Exotic Love" by Martin Denny - 2 more albums remastered onto a single CD from Vocalion. Pricey but worth it. [

• "Beachcomber Serenade" by the South Seas Serenaders - this very rare 50's LP is one I never thought I'd see digitally. It is available as a digital download. Sound quality is equial to the original LP, which is to say it is so so, but it does sound like the album. At least its not worse. 

• "South Seas Serenade" by Roy Smeck - This early 50's Hawaiian LP has been reissued as a digital download. Roy Smeck was the king of the steel in the early part of the 20th's century. His albums are increasingly rare and this one is a welcome site. Sound quality is very good considering its age. Mono of course as this was produced before the age of stereophonic sound. 

• "Aloha Hawaii" by The Diamond Head Beachcombers - You probably have seen this album cover in many thrift store bins. Available as a digital download, this album features classic vintage Hawaiian music with a little orchestral strings thrown in for good measure. Most certainly a living room record for mainlanders.

The New Quiet Village Gift Shop is OPEN

[2.26.13]  Lucky 13 is in full swing! The show is now available from iTunes, the podcast has a facebook page and now...(drum roll please)... The Quiet Village Gift Shop is now open! For those of you who visit the island and want to take a souvenir, now you're in luck. No longer do you have to sneak the towels out of the hotel, or the menu from the cocktail lounge. Now you can remember your visit to the Quiet Village any time.

The Quiet Village Mai Tai has been a big hit. But let's face it, the cocktails just don't taste as good unless you are drinking one out of the official Quiet Village Mai Tai glass!! This first offering from the Gift Shop is a beautiful glass, specifically made for your mai tai. The glass features hand drawn art by accomplished artist Eric October and printed in retro aqua. The design wraps completely around the glass and features the Quiet Village Podcast logo flanked by two large tikis holding iPods, listening to the show! On the back of the glass is the Quiet Village Mai Tai recipe. The design looks quite stunning with the glass filled with the dark rum of your mai tai.

These glasses are a limited run of only 100, so get yours right away. In fact, get a whole set! Now you can taste the island life with the proper glass.

set of 2 glasses: $14 +shipping
set of 4 glasses: $24 +shipping - click here to go to the Gift Shop

The Quiet Village Podcast is Now Available on iTunes

[1.26.12]  Finally, the Quiet Village podcast now comes to iTunes. I'm sure most of you reading this already are subscribers to the podcast. But now, if you wanna point friends to the show, now they can subscribe with one click directly from the iTunes store. As always, the show is still completely free. To visit the Village on iTunes, just click the link below

Like the Village on Facebook & other changes coming to the Island.

[12.29.12] Now that we are still digesting our turkey, ham and pies from the Holidays, I just wanted to take a moment and let you all know that the Quiet Village is now on Facebook (took long enough huh?). Please take a moment and like the show and, if you are so inclined, leave a message or song request.

Also, I have some great things in the works for the Village. I am in process of using a few of the local natives to help me build the Quiet Village Marketplace. It will launch soon in this web site. It will ultimately be a place where you can get trinkets from many exotic ports 'o call. The first items will be the very first Quiet Village Mai Tai glass. Emblazoned with custom artwork by my friend and talented artist Eric October. There will only be 100 of them available. I also plan to offer CD's and art from other guests and friends of the Village--stuff that you can't get that easily. So I hope you enjoy.
In addition to the Facebook and Shop, I am lining up a plethora of new guests and topics for upcoming shows. And as always, I love to get your requests and comments!

Aloha and have a wonderful New Year!


Mele Kalikimaka

[12.23.12]  Mele Kalikimaka everybody! That means Merry Christmas in Hawaiian. As the thermometer dips below 75 degrees, I wanna take this moment to wish all of you a tropical Holiday Season. 2013 is coming and I'm looking forward to many more exciting guests on the show!

In the mean time, enjoy episode 53 with my returning guest Eric October.

The Quiet Village Turns 50

[9.23.12]  Well not really. But it is the 50th show!!! Available now, with special episode artwork by my dear friend and very talented artist, Eric October! 

Once Change To Take A South Seas Adveture !

I had to tell you about an epic event...and I mean truly epic. On Sept. 29th at 12pm in Los Angeles, some lucky movie goers with a rare day off are gonna get a rare tropical treat. For that is the time of the ONLY showing of "South Seas Adventure"; one of the small group of Cinerama travelogues released in the late 50's.

First a word about the film "South Seas Adventure." The film is a cinematic ode to all things tropical. The film is a travelogue with some semi-fictional mini stories that help to humanize the exotic locales featured. For decades, the negatives to the film were thought to be utterly lost. There was rumor circulating that the negatives had been accidentally destroyed. Well, here we are with a restored print about to be shown in its original 3-strip Cinerama format.

Now a little bit about the film format. Cinerama was a production process developed in the 1950's that used 3 synchronized 35mm movie cameras to capture one panoramic picture. In the theaters (only Cinerama equipped theaters), the 3 film strips were projected from 3 separate synchronized projectors to create a large 146 degree arc image. There were drawbacks to the format, but the resulting vistas were breathtaking.

I don't know how long it's been since the last Cinerama film was screened, but I can bet that most people reading this have never seen it in person. Well now is your one and only chance--not only to see a rare film format in its original intended theater designed especially for it, but to see a rare film, shot in that format, that was thought to be lost forever!

"South Seas Adventure" screening at
Cinerama Dome Theater, Hollywood, CA
Friday, Sept. 29th, 12pm

For tickets, click here.

DigiTiki interviewed on Jungle Deep podcast 

[8.24.12]  Recently I had the fortune to be interviewed by a wonderful podcaster by the name of Ken Jones. Ken is the proprietor of several podcast shows, Jungle Deep being the newest title in his roster. The show highlights the tropical lifestyle with a heavy dose of rainforest conservation. Ken believes that preserving our jungles and rainforests can be helped by exposing as many people to them as possible. I think he's right and I applaud his efforts. I invite you to listen to his show, especially the episode with me on it LOL.

New retelling of the landmark "Kon-Tiki" voyage hits international theaters

[8.24.12]  In 1947, explorer Thor Heyerdahl set out to prove a theory that Pre-Columbian era South American peoples were the mariners who originally settled Polynesia. His expedition set out to build a balsa wood ship and sail it from South America using only the technology available in the Pre-Columbian era. The ship was named Kon-Tiki.

He made it. His book about the journey went on to capture the hearts and imaginations of the entire world. IN 1950, a documentary film about the expedition became an international hit.

Now, in 2012, August, a Norwegian film company has released a new version of the epic voyage. The film is touted as the most expensive film in Norwegian cinema history. I certainly hope it comes to my island so I can see it. Below is the theatrical trailer.

4 new Martin Denny Albums Remastered on 2 CDs! 

[8.23.12]  Four more classic Denny albums have been remastered from the master tapes and issued on 2 CDs! Vocalion label from the UK has released one CD containing Martin Denny's "A Taste of Honey," and "Another Taste of Honey" and another separate CD title containing "The Versetile Martin Denny," and "Latin Village." Until now each of the four albums except for "Latin Village" have never been released digitally. "Latin Village" was previously released only in Japan as a limited edition CD, and has long been out of print and commands high prices on the collector circuit.

Some Kind Words About The Quiet Villager Podcast 

[2.18.12]  The Quiet Village Podcast turned 45 last month--45 episodes that is. And with it came some very kind emails from listeners about the show in general. I just wanted to thank all of you for writing in and share some of the wonderful words of praise that have washed ashore recently from other blogs and web sites out there.

---> Bill Raetz - A pulp fiction writer whom I hope to have on the show in the very near future
---> Mia Huna Moku - "Such is the level of detail, quality of information and caliber of guests visiting the Quiet Village that a pencil and paper are as essential as the headphones!"
---> Preshsish Moments Blog: "...great exotica themed podcast"
---> The Pegu Blog: "...better frankly than most such programs I’ve heard on places like NPR or Pacifica. If you like Tiki music at all, you need to check out this podcast for a sea of music you simply will not be able to hear anywhere, much less buy."
---> Tiki Talk: "Digitiki's Quiet Village podcast is incredibly satisfying."
---> Let's Tiki: "excellent Tiki podcast with tons of great tiki and £
---> Ambient Exotica Blog: "this is the best Exotica-related music podcast you can find. Period. "

The Quiet Village Podcast helps Rachel Ray Create A Luau 

[2.17.12]  Some time ago a rep from Rachel Ray magazine, and a listener, asked me to help create a playlist for a backyard luau. The end result was two separate playlists - one for the dreamy luau sounds, the second is an up-tempo list for more heated partying. The result has just come out here on Rachel Ray's blog.

Here are the playlists I created for Rachel. I created these playlists out of music that IS available either on iTunes or Amazon. I didn't want add songs that were out of print. Afterall, how would anyone be able to get the songs if they weren't available to begin with.

Here is a link to the article and below is the set list I provided Ray

• Bahia, from the Arthur Lyman album Bahia
• Blue Hawaii, Arthur Lyman, Hawaiian Sunset
• Minoi Minoi, Charley Mauu, Edition Pierre Verger: Polynesia from Bora-Bora to Tahiti
• Flowers of Paradise, Alfred Apaka, The Best of Alfred Apaka Vol 1
• Mai Ha'i La Ha'I, The Brothers Cazimero, Some Call It Aloha
• Ulili E, Israel Kamakawiwole, Alone In The World
• Blue Hawaii, The Polynesians, Beautiful Hawaii
• Sea Breeze (Puamana), Buddy Merrill, Beyond The Reef
• Bahi Hai, Prince Kalua and the Tropical Islanders, Hawaii's Greatest Hits
• Lahainaluna, All Star Hawaiian Band, Steel Guitar Magic
• Hawaiian Sunset, Elvis Presley, Blue Hawaii soundtrack
• Harbor Lights, Martin Denny, Exotica III
• Trade Winds, Bing Crosby, Blue Hawaii
• My Little Grass Shack, Joe Keawe, It's Hotter In Hawaii Vol 2
• Hawaiian Hula, Sam Ku West, It's Hotter In Hawaii Vol. 4
• Yellow Bird, Chet Atkins, Caribbean Guitar
• Fly Me To The Island, Kenny Sasaki & The Tiki Boys, Island Slumber
• Drifting and Dreaming (Sweet Paradise), The Outriggers, Golden Hits of Hawaii
• Sunset on the Kona Kai, The Tikiyaki Orchestra, Swingin' Sounds for the Jungle Jetset
• Hawaiian Hospitality, Ray Kinney, Hukilau Hulas
• Green Peppers, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, Whipped Cream & Other Delights
• The Girl from Ipanema, Goao Gilberto & Stan Getz, Getz/Gilberto
• Coconut Water, Robert Mitchum, Calypso Is Like So
• Peanut Vendor, Billy Mure, Fireworks
• Mas Que Nada, Sergio Mendez & Brasil '66
• House of Bamboo, Earl Grant, Singin' & Swingin' The Best of Earl Grant
• Ran Kan Kan, Tito Puente, Mambo Kings soundtrack
• Rock-A-Hula Baby / Elvis Presley / Blue Hawaii soundtrack
• Beyond The Sea, Bobby Darin
• Blame It On The Bossa Nova, Eydie Gorme, Greatest Hits
• History Repeats, Shirley Bassey with The Propellerheads, Thank You For the Years
• I Wanna Be Like You, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, 20th Century Masters
• Hip Hip Chin Chin (Yaziko Club Mix), Stephane Pompougnac, Hotel Costes 7
• Jump In The Line (Shake Senora), Harry Belafonte
• Batman Theme, David McCallum, TV Town - Ultra Lounge 13
• Witch Doctor, Dave Seville, Chart Toppers: Dance Hits of the 50s
• A Cup of Tea, Style Up, Six O'Clock In The Evening
• Brasileiras, Buscemi, Retro Nuevo
• Holiday In Hawaii, Annette Funicello, Hawaiiannette
• The Cat, Jimmy Smith, The Cat

Keith Pawlak (left), Robert Drasnin (Right), Skip Heller (lowers)

Keith Pawlak Visits the Quiet Village

[1.18.12]  There was some seriously great music created in America during the 50's and 60's. Recently Capitol Records produced the voluminous "Ultra-Lounge" music series that focused primarily on mid-century kitsch music from Capitol's vaults. Di you every wonder what happened to all the pieces that went into creating those wonderful albums? What happened to the scored, master tapes, photos, cue sheets, etc.? Well, Keith Pawlak, a professor at the University of Arizona, Tucson has the really cool job of curating the archives of some of the artists who created some of that classic American mid-century music. Keith is also an avid collector of Capitol Records recordings. His collection is impressive and includes pristine recordings by Les Baxter, Jackie Gleason and other top Capitol Records artists. In 2008, Pawlak pulled some of Les Baxter's classic Exotica scores and performed them, along with an impressively large orchestra. Some of the music selections had never been performed since the original recordings, some 50+ year prior. The evening was topped off with a rare performance by Robert Drasnin, composter of the classic Exotica album "Voodoo" (Tops Records, 1959). Read my original entry about that concert here.

Keith visits the Quiet Village for a very informative look inside the UofA's Music Archives as well as discussions about Les Baxter's music and the music of mid-century Capitol Records. This episode is a particularly informative one. Enjoy!

Ti Party

[4/28/11]  There are tiki bars and there are Tiki Bars. The Tiki theme seems to be steadily growing in vogue again. However, the Tiki-Ti has been around since the original incarnation of Tiki in America. The closet sized Ti has been serving exotic cocktails to thursty Los Angelenos for 50 years as of today (4-28-11)! Ray Buhen started the Tiki-Ti after having worked for some of the giants of Tiki history, including the original Don The Beachcomber. I stopped by the Ti today at 4pm (their usual opening time) and was faced by a huge Hawaiian shirt clad line that had a 2-hour wait to get in.

Congratulations to the Buhens and the Tiki-Ti for keeping the torches burning brightly for 50 years. Mahalo!

John Barry Passes

John Barry passed on Sunday, January 30th. John Barry was the sound of James Bond. It was Barry who scored more Bond films than anyone--such 007 classics as "Thunderball", "From Russia With Love", "Goldfinger", "Moonraker", "Diamonds Are Forever" and many more. He is also credited for having scored such notable movies as "Dances With Wolves", "Out Of Africa", "Raise The Titanic" just to name a tiny few. His scores for the Bond films have become synonymous with the sound of James Bond and the spy movie genre in general.

It was simply by chance that I was in the process of finishing the edits to the latest podcast episode which focused on the music of James Bond with Scott Mabbutt when I heard the news of Barry's passing. So I would like to dedicate this episode and the second part of it (which is coming up) to the memory of John Barry. A man who made adventure sound so good.

New episode (#36) up now. Check it out for a Vesper Martini recipe - THE drink of 007.. 

3 Hour Tour to Another Island

[11/16/10]  If you're anything like me (heaven forbid), you remember coming home from school, turning on the TV to the local station (no cable), and watching reruns of Gilligan's Island to pass the afternoon. Some of us even remember the terrible animated series that could be seen on Saturday morning cartoon shows.

Well, if you're a fan of the seven stranded castaways, you'll love an upcoming show called...appropriately enough "The 3-Hour Tour." North Hollywood is the locale, the Mayflower Club is the hut and the Tikiyaki Orchestra will be providing the tropical soundtrack. Patrons will be treated to one-of-a-kind Gilligan-themed art by some of the So Cal's best tiki artists. Among the fare on hand will be pieces by CRAZY AL • DOUG HORNE • BIG TOE • TIKI TONY • BAMBOO BEN
• GROG • ATOMIKITTY • MATT REESE • ERIC OCTOBER • MP and many more--all presenting works related to the TV show Gilligan's Island. The curator of the whole art side of the event is Tiki artist, carver, painter, sculptor; Kirby. Kirby is one of THE rising star artists in the So Cal Tiki scene. Kirby's rough, hand hewn style is unique and looks like it came right off the Gilligan set.

If that wasn't enough; the next day (Sunday, Nov. 21), the entire art works collection moves down the street to the Tonga Hut, L.A.'s oldest operational Tiki Bar. Once there, the art will be displayed for thirsty imbibers and the Tonga Hut will be hosting a Sunday evening party with custom made cocktails with such Gillianesque names as "Kona's Curse", "Mary Ann's Coconut Cream Pie", "Kupa-Kai Swizzle", "The Little Buddy" and "Professor's Dream."

Join Kirby and Tikiyaki on the latest episode of the Quiet Village podcast where we talk about Gilligan's Island and the upcoming show. Episode available now. Just click on the PODCAST button above.

An Important Release of Lost Vintage Exotica 

[8/9/10]  Exotica, as a musical genre, is rare, sparsely populated and hard to keep track of. The reissue of an exotica rarity on CD, in itself a rarity. Today, there are a number of vintage exotica albums that have been reissued on CD, but are already out of print and back in the "scarce" pile again. But the rarest of the rare, is the release of vintage exotica that was never originally released in the 60's in the first place. Such is the case with the Beachcomber Trio.

Exotica guru Jeff Chenault was fortunate enough to know Marsh Padilla, a member of the original Beachcomber Trio--the house band at the Kahiki Polynesian Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. While helping Marsh move one day, he unearthed a box of reel-to-reel tapes. Those tapes contained the raw recordings of the Beachcomber Trio from 1965--recorded right in the Kahiki Restaurant during dinner hours.

Fast forward to now and the Beachcomber Trio, Live at the Kahiki is now a reality. Dionysus Records just released the vintage recordings on vinyl no less. So now we have a rare vintage exotica restaurant record that is also brand new. The recordings are a real time capsule. You can hear the patrons chatting at their tables and the faint trickle of the Kahiki's water fountain. All of this and the music of the trio creates a sonic space that is a bonafied time machine.

The cover artwork and liner notes on the LP are first rate. Holding the LP in your hand, you quickly forget this is a new release and soon begin to feel as though you scored a major find of a vintage record at a swap meet. The other exciting thing about this release is that, those who purchase the LP's (which are limited to 500 numbered copies) also get a coupon for a free digital download of a high resolution MP3 copy of the album as well. That way, you don't have to digitize it yourself in order to put it on your iPod. This release was done so well. I can't say enough good things about it. If you're a serious exotica collector, you have to have this. Listen to tracks from the new Beachcomber Trio LP on Episode 32 of the Quiet Village podcast. Also, hear the interview with Jeff Chenault on episodes 23 & 24 as he discusses rare exotica LP's and the finding of the Beachcomber Trio tapes. You will also hear a super rare extended version of the Beachcomber Trio performing "Yellow Bird."

Tucson Desert Is About To Burn A Little Brighter

[3/30/10]  There are so many tiki events that are truly amazing. But Relight The Night is one that you must attend because it will only happen once. Tucson, Arizona is the setting, the vintage Kon Tiki Restaurant is the location and the reason is the sign. Shown left, the Kon Tiki sign is an icon, not just in Arizona but throughout the world of Tiki. When the Kon Tiki first opened its doors in 1963, the 30 foot sign had two gas tiki torches that lit up the desert night. Fast forward to 2010 and the torches were a nice set piece but hadn't worked in more than 25 years.

Today the Kon Tiki spent a great deal of money and effort to fully restore the pyrotechnic functionality of the torches in an effort that is rare and should be applauded in today's economic climate. To commemorate the lighting of the torches, Mark and Maggie Bloom of Velvet Glass, along with the management of the Kon Tiki have created an event that is one for the record books. The event will feature the Tikiiyaki Orchestra, Thee Swank Bastards and Shrimp Chaperone. The actual lighting ceremony honor will go to Flam Chen-an acrobatic group that is famous for their use of guessed it, FIRE! Vendors and a raffle will round out the event, which is also being hosted to raise money for a local Tucson no-kill animal shelter. How can you not want to support this?

I must say, that the sign of these vintage torches blazing bright again in the hot Tucson desert night will be a tiki spectacle that will have no equal. If it lives up to my expectations, I expect to feel transported back to Americana of the early 1960's for just a brief moment in time. I expect to feel like a time traveler with the sight of the flaming torches and the sounds of vintage exotica from the Tikiyaki Orchestra wafting over the mesquite-laden scent of the Arizona evening. And I'm pretty sure that it will happen, for a split second, I will actually be back there.

Mark & Maggie join me for an interview in episode 28 in which they talk about little known facts about the history of the Kon Tiki, Tucson's tiki past and their amazing artwork with Velvet

Ernie Menehune LIVE !

[10/19/09]  Most people have not heard of Ernie Menehune, aka Hawaii's Suntanned Irishman. That's probably because most people in the neuvo tiki movement today are just too darned young. But just betcha that if you do a search on Ebay for "Menehune", you'll see at least one of his records from the mid 1960's up for auction.

That is exactly how I first came to know Ernie's work. I found an LP on Ebay that looked rather interesting. The title was "Hawaii's Suntanned Irishman" and I was intrigued enough to bid and won (nobody else bid against me). That was essentially it.

Fast forward to 4 years later when I became friends with two extraordinarily talented artists in the new Tiki scene Mark & Maggie Bloom of Velvet Glass. Their home hut is located in Tucson, Arizona--another island that I frequent. It turns out the Mark and Maggie, 2 transplants from New York, have become good friends and promotors of Ernie who calls Tucson home.

Ernie was a top entertainer during the 50's and 60's in Las Vegas and Phoenix. Ernie's shows were complete with music, comedy and dancers, all set against the backdrop of mid-century Polynesian Pop that constituted the original Tiki movement in America. Later in his career, Ernie's plied his trade in supper clubs and theaters in Arizona--primarily the Tucson and Phoenix areas. Ernie later retired to Old Tucson, where he built his home.("Menehune Village") complete with lagoon, stage, luau grounds and tikis.

An Enchanting Visit to the Quiet Village

[6/17/09]  Most people who are into "tiki" in all its forms are also devotees of things of the past--particularly mid-century Americana. It is this holding on to anything that connects us to a time that, to many of us, is only known in stories and fading photographs--with the exception of fuzzy early childhood memories of avocado green appliances and shag carpeting. This is why it is all the more special when we have the opportunity to actually meet someone who lived it. I mean right in the middle of the 50's and 60's original tiki movement in America.

I was privileged to have the opportunity to meet and interview Diana Lai-the first VIP hostess at the Enchanted Tiki Room in Disneyland. Diana was personally selected by Walt Disney himself for the job at the Tiki Room, which was still under construction at the time in 1963. She was groomed by Disney to be the exotic "oriental" hostess who would not only operate the ride, but also escort VIPs through the attraction and down into the basement where all the magic that made the show work was housed.

We spent a lovely afternoon talking about her connection to the Tiki Room and to tiki in general as we looked through Diana's many scrapbooks--scrapbooks that were absolutely priceless I might add. She had tons of photographs, many depict her working at the Tiki Room.

Diana Lai's story is remarkable and captivating. She is a warm person with a great deal of spunk. I am so proud to have the opportunity to meet her and to interview her for the Quiet Village Podcast. So I urge you to check out episode 18 of the Quiet Village, in which I interview Diana Lai--a truly enchanting person.

The Quiet Village Gets Press.

The latest issue of Tiki Magazine features the Tikiyaki Orchestra, the art of The Pizz and some great tiki news articles. But the info that is most valuable to me is the listing of the Quiet Village podcast in the magazine's "NEWS" section. The magazine calls the Quiet Village podcast "one of the best Exotica/Lounge/Hawaiian music programs on the internet!"

Not only that, a listing of the November, 2008 landmark concert of Les Baxter music at the University of Arizona, Tucson also lists as the go-to web site for a recap on the details of this historic Exotica music concert.

A Mahalo to Tiki Magazine!

Don the Boeachcomber Returns After 30 Years

[3/14/09]  Don the Beachcomber is THE father of the exotic cocktail or tiki drinks as they are often referred to. Without Donn Beach, there would be no such thing as a Zombie, Mai Tai, Pain Killer or any of the rum-based cocktails we consider to be exotics. After a 30 year absence on the mainland, Don the Beachcomber is opening its doors once again in the Los Angeles area, Huntington Beach, right on the Pacific Coast Highway. Interestingly enough, Don the Beachcomber will take over the well-known icon Sam's Seafood, which was recently renamed Kona. Sam's itself has a colorful history that dates back to the 1930's and prohibition. With the recent economic downturn, Sam's--now Kona, has experienced hard times and was just days from closing its doors for good, when suddenly an investor who owned the Don the Beachcomber name rights stepped in.

I am writing to say that I have experienced a small preview of what is to come for the new Don the Beachcomber restaurant and bar. I was privileged enough to talk with the bar consultant and the restaurant owner, who allowed me to sample two of the drinks that will grace the new cocktail menu. I sampled the Don's Mai Tai (served to me and a guest, in a Squid original Fortune Fire Bowl) lit with flaming rum in all four chambers. The drink doesn't normally come in this bowl, but it was nice to see the presentation. The mai tai is nothing like the classic mai tai we are all accustomed to (ala Trader Vics'). However, it was an amazingly deep and complex exotic in the true sense--with hits on various citrus juices, cloves, ginger and other exotic ingredients that I could not distinguish. It was an enlightening experience.

The second cocktail that I was fortunate enough to preview was called a Cherry Blossom Punch. This fresh cherry and rum cocktail was again, deep and complex with aftertastes that hinted to spices and not just rum and juice--delicate, refreshing and yet very deep and complex.

These cocktails were on par with some of the best exotics I have ever tasted. If I had to equate them to any one place, I would say they were as good as the drinks served at the Mai Kai in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. I want to encourage everyone who has the chance, to visit the Don the Beachcomer. Not only is it a piece of tiki history, but it is making history once again!

Squid Served Up at the Quiet Village

[3/1/09]  I know its been a little while since the last podcast episode & posts here on the web page, but things have been hoppin' at the Village. Just recently, one of the Tiki world's premier and prolific artists, Squid, visited me at the Quiet Village for a recording session of the Quiet Village podcast. Episode 14 features an extended interview and guest DJ-ing by Squid, aka Dave Cohen.

For those of you who may not know Squid, you most likely know his work--and probably own a piece or two. Squid is one of the founders of Tiki Farm. Tiki Farm is the biggest tiki mug maker and many of the top collectible designs by Tiki Farm are the sculpting work of Squid. Recently, a retrospective show was put together at Kona (formerly Sam's Seafood) in Huntington Beach, CA. At the show, collectors came together to present a complete showing of Squid's tiki mug career to date. The result was an impressing 270+ mugs, sketches, sculpts and concepts.

Today, Squid is working with Castaway Ceramics. His designs were among the first products released by this new company, and they are cool. In commemoration of Squid's visit to the Quiet Village, he and Castaway have graciously an exclusive discount to all Quiet Villagers. When you purchase a mug from Castaway Ceramics, you get 10% simply by entered promo code QV during checkout.

Enjoy & don't forget to listen to episode 14 of the Quiet Village, featuring Squid!

Chihuly In The Desert

[1/5/09] Although this topic is not tiki it is least for me. I am A big fan of the contemporary artist Dale Chihuly. His medium is glass and his work is simply beautiful. I made a little trek recently to Arizona to see an exhibition of Chihuly's. Currently and through the Spring of 2009, Chihuly's work is on display at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Although Chihuly's work has been displayed in many diverse locations around the world and his studio is in lush forested area of Tacoma, Washington, his work seems so perfectly suited for the desert environs. As you will see in the photo album, his glass forms seem like dessert organisms that have spontaneously sprung from the dry soil alongside majestic saguaro cacti. I viewed the exhibition at night as the glass sculptures were lit against the dark Sonoran desert. This provided such a beautiful view of the colors and forms.

I highly suggest that anyone with the ability and time, visit the gardens in Scottsdale, Arizona. You will not be disappointed.

Keith Pawlak (left), Robert Drasnin (right), Skip Heller (lower)

The Music of Les Baxter Lives Again and the U of A

[12/1/08]  Keith Pawlak (left), Robert Drasnin (right), Skip Heller (lower)
The University of Arizona, Tucson was the scene for a most extraordinary concert on November 3rd. The music of Les Baxter was performed live with an orchestra. Selections from Baxters seminal albums "Tamboo" and "Sacred Idol" were performed using the original scores for the first time since their original recordings in the late 50's. The concert also included introductions by Exotica guru Jeff Chenault, Exotica expert and regular contributor to Tiki Magazine. Additional insights into the music of Les Baxter was provided by guest artist and acomplished guitarist Skip Heller.

Keith Pawlak conducted and was responsible for bringing this music back to life. Keith overseed the music archives at the University where a large portion of the Les Baxter's personal music archives were donated.

The University's music archives holds a precious collection of vintage scores and recordings by many mid-century music luminaries including Nelson Riddle and Robert Drasnin. Specifically, a collection of Exotica scores and music is being put together by the University and Keith Pawlak.

In addition to the Les Baxter scores, was a performance of original Exotica compositions by Robert Drasnin. Drasnin's 1959 album "Voodoo" is considered to be a cornerstone of the genre. Drasnin has been performing, teaching and scoring for TV and film for the last 50 years. In 2007, he re-entered the studio to record the sequel to "Voodoo" entitled "Voodoo II."

This event was truly a once-in-a-lifetime happening. I was fortunate enough to be there to witness Les Baxter's music come alive again with a full orchestra and chorus. It is my hope that this is only the beginning of a rediscovering of this unique genre of music that was quite popular in the mid-century popular history of the United States.

Yma Sumac Passes

[11/28/08]  Yma Sumac, the Voice of the Xtabay is silent. Yma Sumac passed away on November 1st, All Saint's Day. Ms. Sumac had been battling a long illness for quite some time.

She was rumored to be Amy Camus (her named spelled backwards), a housewife from Brooklyn and an Inca princess who was captured and taken away from her village as a young girl. Either way, we was an extraordinary person with the most amazing voice ever heard.

Many are no doubt familiar with her haunting vocalizations in the world of Exotica. It was with the legendary Les Baxter that the genre of Exotica was created. She will be missed, but her music lives on.

Episode 10 of the Quiet Village Podcast features Yma Sumac along with Les Baxter and Robert Drasnin.

Squid's Scultures & Scribbles - A Retrospective

[updated]  Kona was overflowing with people who came out to witness a retrospective of the work of Squid (Dave Cohen) on Saturday, September 20th. The beautiful Hidden Village room at Kona was the setting. On hand were over 250 mugs--almost every single mug every created by the prolific artist--including some very rare private mug releases and some of the original clay sculpts. Also on hand were sketches and drawings from Squid's early days in tiki and pre-tiki days. According to Squid, this was the first time his entire mug works had been assembled together. Even he was amazed by the numbers.

The Tikiyaki Orchestra provided the music for the dinner crowds. Marty Lush, the consumate cheese of the Orchestra and the vibraphonist, roasted squid too. By the time he was done, squid was well done. See the roast on YouTube here.

Don't miss Squid's new scuplts now available from his web site

Taking Velvet Art to a New Level

9/8/08]  When one hears the term "velvet painting", the mind immediately is filled with images of crying Elvis, bullfighters and weird creepy large-eyed children that are meant to be cute. Not so with Robb Hamel's velvet art. Earlier this year (2008), a new artist began posting his tiki-themed velvet paintings on the Tiki Central web forums. They were an immediate hit. Robb's paintings are exceptional. There is nothing cartoonish about the paintings, the subjects are extremely detailed and the use of color to create lighting effects on the velvet is beautiful. Since his posts, Robb has been swamped with commissioned paintings for individuals and has been in demand at art shows.

I was fortunate enough to contact Robb about doing a painting for me just before his work load exploded. My subject was Pele (the Polynesian goddess of fire). I sent Robb some crude sketches of what I had in mind. Robb returned to me something completely different, that I had never thought of. The sketch was so beautiful that I knew it was what I wanted. As you can see, here is the final result. It is pure amazing. I could talk about it for paragraphs here, but I will let the picture speak for itself.

Robb allowed me to name the painting myself. So, I chose the title "The Drums of Lohi'au." The meaning behind the name is in the myth of Pele: After becoming a goddess she makes her home in the "Navel of the World", a crater in Diamondhead volcano. There she sleeps until one day she is awakened by the sound of drums. She stirs and emerges from her home in search of the source of the sounds. She finds that the Prince Lohi'au is pounding the pahu drum. She falls in love with the handsome prince and appears to him as a beautiful woman. The two fall in love, spending three days making rapturous love. So the painting, to me anyway, is the perfect depiction of the moment Pele emerges from her sleep and is just moments away from meeting the love of her life. Hence the name.

Robb is interviewed on Episode 8 of the Quiet Village podcast. Don't miss it.

Hukilau 2008 is Full of Surprises

[7/22/08]  The rumor mill was working overtime this year over the fate of the Mai-Kai, on of the last remaining Polynesian palaces from the heyday of Tiki in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The rumors were also swirling about the fate of the Hukilau--a 4-day party that centers around the Mai-Kai. The reality was that the Mai-Kai was slated to be shut down almost immediately after the throngs of had cleared from the Hukilau weekend. However, a surprise announcement by the event's producer, Tiki Kiliki, put the rumors to rest. She announced, to deafening cheers, that the Mai-Kai had been taken over and was going to remain open and the Hukilau would return!

But the weekend of surprises wasn't over. The Hukilau always has surprises and thrills for even the most jaded tikiphile. The year, among the top notch performances from the Tikiyaki Orchestra, Laramie Dean, The Intoxicators, the Haole Kats, King Kuklele, the Martini Kings and others, there were a host of must-see things. Perhaps the most interesting moments, came on Sunday when the Mai-Kai put items locked away in the their archives on display to the public for the first time. These items include rare mementos from the restaurant's past, news clippings, photos and artifacts. But the most interesting things on display were blueprints of the Mai-Kai. Now, I know blueprints sound like the most geeked-out thing you can get excited about, but these were very special. Among the various blueprints, were plans for a large addition that included a Vegas style nightclub complete with floating bandstand. The blueprints for a proposed Mai-Kai in New York were on hand for viewing. The New York location was a complete mystery, but the plans were fully fleshed out, complete with tiki placement. Check out episode 5 of the Quiet Village podcast to hear the details of the Mai-Kai, New York and the planned, but never built Paris 

Hukilau 2007

Hear Episode 5 for all the happenings

Oceanic Arts Celebrates 50th Anniversary

[5/27/09]  Any tikiphile worth his/her salt knows about Oceanic Arts. Any tikiphile lucky enough to have visited Oceanic Arts has been greeted with a bewildering array of Polynesian decor and artifacts. Well folks, Oceanic Arts has been supplying restaurants, theme parks, movie studios and the general public with tikis for 50 years now! To commemorate their 50th anniversary, Oceanic Arts, in collaboration with Tiki Farm released a limited edition mug. And what a mug it is! This mug is a real beaut. Tiki artist Danny Gallardo did a beautiful job designing this mug and Tiki Farm executed it beautifully--with fine touches of gold on the lettering and an interesting use of both matte and glossy finishes. Only 500 mugs were created. Initially, 300 were to be sold through Oceanic Arts' store in Whittier, CA, and the remaining 200 were to sell through Tiki Farm's web site. However, the demand was so great, that Oceanic Arts requested the remaining stock from Tiki Farm to sell themselves. Anyone lucky enough to

The heart of Oceanic Arts is Bob Van Oosting and Leroy Schmaltz. I remember my first visit. When I stepped through that gigantic warehouse door, I literally felt as though I were stepping into another dimension. All the tiki things I had ever imagined, and many I hadn't, were there beyond that door. I was greeted by a forest of tikis. Every step I took further inside brought me deeper and deeper into the world of tiki. Visiting was a revelation and helped to solidify my passion for tiki. I remember being almost speechless. Walking around mumbling to myself, wide-eyed and amazed. Since that time, Oceanic Arts has supplied my home with countless feet of bamboo, thatching, a tiki here and there, and other artifacts. I am lucky enough to live within a 30-minute drive to Whittier, California, the home of OA and I venture out there whenever I have a free Saturday to wonder through the treasures of Polynesia.

The Trader Has Left The Building:
Trader Vic's Abruptly Closes Doors In Los Angeles!

[4/30/07]  Sad news indeed. Today (Monday April 30th) without fanfare, the landmark Trader Vics' in Beverly Hills closed its doors in preparation for the wrecking ball. The icon of more than 50 years is no more. Go to Tiki Central for the latest news or the fabulous Humuhumu Kon Tiki Blog. Los Angeles is the town that I call home and I can say the lights are a little dimmer tonight. But Vic's is not the only pop culture icon to fall victim to "progress." All over the country, we are loosing our pop-culture past. But you can help. Join your city's conservancy or historical society!

This photo of the coconut mug and signature mai tai glass are of my last visit to Vic's in early March of 2007.  Little did I know it would be my last visit.

Robert Drasnin's "Voodoo II" Recording Session

[2/22/07]  The tiki world is abuzz with the news that recording for the upcoming "Voodoo 2" album began on Friday, February 16th, 2007 in Los Angeles. "Voodoo 2" is the sequel to "Voodoo", the 1960's release by Drasnin, and his only exotica album--until now. The original "Voodoo" might well have been lost to time had it not been for Dionysus Records and their reissue of it on CD in 1997. "Voodoo" is on the must-have list for exotica buffs and people just now discovering the genre and tiki culture.

Recording of the sequel "Voodoo 2" began with the first downbeat on Saturday, February 17thm 2007. The album was recorded live to multi-track with many tiki luminaries present to witness the historic recording, including yours truly. It was a true honor to be present and to help out as a tech on the sessions. Here are some pictures of recording

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