Tiki Ohana – Authors

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So, as I review my blog series on the Tiki ohana from last year, and after I updated the Artists list with a Part Deux, I realize there’s a new category I need to acknowledge: Authors. I’ve touched on Tiki books in some of my past posts, e.g. Thor Heyerdahl’s landmark Kon-Tiki (Tiki 101and Sven Kirsten’s seminal work, The Book of Tiki (Tiki Ohana – Builders). I’ve also hinted at several other people who were working on new books. Well, over the past few years, we’ve seen some pretty amazing new books published by the Tiki ohana. Please consider the following books as must-haves to start or expand your collection of Tiki literature.

Jeff “Beachbum” Berry: Potions of the Caribbean. Beachbum Berry is the single most important figure in the revival of the Tiki cocktail (Tiki Ohana – Cocktails). His work in researching the origins of Tiki drinks led him to discover that most of them were actually recipes from bars throughout the Caribbean, borrowed and repackaged by Don The Beachcomber and Trader Vic in the 1930s-50s. Bum’s book traces the history of rum going back to 1492, and expertly intertwines world history with the rise and fall and rebirth of rum as the important spirit it is. Potions of the Caribbean also includes a boatload of recipes for rum drinks throughout history, many of which were resurrected by Beachbum Berry himself via interviews with the bartenders who would have otherwise taken these once-secret recipes to their graves. If you’re a fan of history and Tiki, you must read this book. I don’t say this often, but I couldn’t put it down. Mahalo, Bum, okole maluna!

Sven Kirsten: Tiki Pop. What else can I say about Sven Kirsten? He is the undisputed king of the Tiki revival. Sven has published multiple books to this point, but here is something new. Tiki Pop is the companion volume to an exhibition he curated in 2014 at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris: Tiki Pop, L’Amérique rêve son paradis polynésien. My first thought was that it would be tough to build upon The Book of Tiki. I was wrong. By tailoring his message to an international audience, Sven Kirsten was able to expand upon his original masterpiece with an entirely new perspective on what drove the rise of Tiki culture in America. It works. Merci, Sven.

Martin and Rebecca Cate: Smuggler’s Cove. I just finished reading this book, and all I can say is: wow! Martin Cate is the proprietor of a Tiki bar in the SF Bay Area by the same name (Tiki Ohana – Cocktails), but Smuggler’s Cove the book is more than just an homage to the bar. Martin and Rebecca Cate have given us a how-to instruction manual on immersing yourself in the world of Tiki. This book chronicles their journey, but it does so much more. Here we have a thorough history of rum, it’s production methods, and numerous recipes with tips on how to select the proper rums and mixers. Martin and Rebecca have also educated us on how to throw a Tiki party, what the most important Tiki drinks are and how to make them, where to find the best Tiki temples in America (including Smuggler’s Cove) and how they were created. This book has quickly become my indispensable reference for the Tiki lifestyle. Ho’omaika’i ‘ana and well done, Mr. and Mrs. Cate!

Tim “Swanky” Glazner: Mai-Kai – History & Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant. Here is the newest book to arrive in the Tiki Lounge, hot off the presses this Summer. Tim Glazner was the cofounder of The Hukilau and was instrumental in making The Mai-Kai the focal point of this annual celebration. His love of this greatest Tiki temple of them all is illustrated in his beautiful new book, which tells the early history of how two brothers from Chicago moved to Florida and brought their vast Tiki knowledge with them. Tim used his access to The Mai-Kai and its owners to paint a picture of an amazing place, including beautiful pictures, intriguing characters, and a reverence shared by the Tiki ohana around the world. If you’ve never been to The Mai-Kai, you must go. My first visit was a Tiki epiphany (Aloha Spirit: The Mai-Kai). If you can’t physically go, Tim Glazner’s book will take you there in spirit. Mahalo, Swanky!

WDW Polynesian Village Day 2

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Today we planned to spend the day at EPCOT. We woke up to a beautiful view from our balcony, of the sun coming up over the GCH and the new bungalows being built out back on the water. Unfortunately, it’s been cold here our first 2 days. Not Florida cold, but PA cold: 40s at night, low 60s during the day. We’ll never make it to the quiet pool at this rate! Fortunately, we’re supposed to get back into the 80s by Wednesday. Let’s hope.

Since we were headed to EPCOT, that meant a trip to the TTC to catch the monorail there. Normally, we would take a short walk from Rapa Nui, across the special path where the tiny lizards darted between the log fences. Not today. That path is closed, as is Rapa Nui for that matter, so we headed out front from the GCH to the temporary path by the bus stop and the parking lot.

The one nice thing about walking this way was getting to walk by the new Polynesian Village Resort sign at the street entrance to the resort. What an awesome sign! I rarely noticed the old sign in the past as our Magical Express bus pulled into the Polynesian, but this sign is something else completely. Cascading water, burning Tiki torches, and the retro style of the typeface make this new element a winner. It looks even more impressive at night. So much so, I actually stopped to take a video of it!

Do I still miss the old path? Absolutely. I hope they reopen it once they finish the renovations. The walk took twice as long, but we’re talking 10 minutes instead of 5, so not much to bitch about there. As Jess mentioned today, our new digs are lacking in the foliage we used to enjoy on the East side of the  resort, and the old path to the TTC took us right through the heart of it. So yes, we do miss walking on the old path. Tomorrow I will go exploring over to the other side to check out the construction. Hopefully I’ll get to enjoy the lush vegetation once again. Until then, aloha!

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