Tiki Ohana – Performers

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All the world’s a stage, and Tiki is no exception. To wrap up this series on the Tiki ohana, I’m going off script a bit to highlight both groups and individuals who entertain us. Hell, one of the groups isn’t even human! No matter. All of these folks have created a legacy of keeping the Tiki torch alive through song, dance, fire, water, food, drink, and great service. Mahalo to you all!

 

 

MeduSirena Marina. Mermaids are real. This one not only beguiles the Tiki ohana with her underwater maneuvers; she also eats fire, dances as a space-alien slave girl, and is a budding photographer. Marina Anderson, a/k/a MeduSirena Marina, has been holding court at the Wreck Bar in Fort Lauderdale’s Yankee Clipper hotel since 1989. She and her pod of aquaticats have also taken their show on the road, performing internationally wherever a pool with a porthole view has called them. Marina has single-handedly revived this art form from the Mid-Century, and pays tribute to the mermaids who came before her with an amazing show. I was fortunate enough to catch her act last year during The Hukilau, and observed all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into her show. Okole maluna, Marina!

 

 

King Kukulele. Denny Moynahan plays the ukelele. But he does so much more! Under his stage name, King Kukelele, he has performed all over the world, entertaining audiences with his mix of music, comedy, and storytelling, all while wearing his Hawaiian straw hat and grass skirt. King Kukelele is a staple at Tiki events like Tiki Oasis and The Hukilau, where I caught his show in-person for the first time last year. I also enjoy his music on CD, which you can check out here: King Kukelele and the Friki Tikis. Mahalo, King Kukelele!

 

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Mai-Kai Restaurant and Polynesian Show. There is no greater example of Polynesian culture, outside of the Pacific Ocean, than The Mai-Kai. Opened in Fort Lauderdale FL in 1956, The Mai-Kai is still going strong with their combination of tasty food, authentic Tiki drinks in their Molokai Lounge, ubiquitous Tiki decor (both inside and in their lush outdoor gardens), and the best Polynesian song and dance review I’ve ever seen. I first visited this Tiki Mecca 3 years ago, then returned last year during The Hukilau, which was quite the eventful trip for me! I would highly recommend a visit to The Mai-Kai for anybody who wants to learn what Tiki is all about. Aloha!

 

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Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. This amazing attraction has been entertaining visitors to Disneyland in Anaheim CA since 1963. I first enjoyed this show at Walt Disney World in Orlando FL in 2008, but I was fortunate to see the original during its 50th anniversary celebration 2 years ago. The amazing animatronic display must have been a revelation to visitors fifty years ago! It still enchants the Tiki ohana to this day. I particularly like the courtyard area at the Disneyland Enchanted Tiki Room, where seven Tiki gods tell their stories and Dole Whips are available for purchase. Yum, Dole Whip 🙂 Mahalo, Walt Disney and your wonderful Imagineers!

 

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Walt Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort. No place offers a more complete immersion into Tiki paradise than this, my happy place. The Polynesian Village Resort opened with the rest of the original Walt Disney World in Orlando FL in 1971. Disney calls their employees “Cast Memebers,” and at The Polynesian, that’s really appropriate! From the minute you pass the sign at the entrance, every person greets you with a warm “aloha” and smile. The buildings are all authentically Polynesian, the amenities are cozy, the food is fantastic, and the Tiki drinks are fist-rate. We’ve been to Walt Disney World for five family vacations (so far), and I would never dream of staying anywhere else. Until we meet again, Auntie Kaui and the rest of the cast members, aloha!

 

For more detailed reporting on these performers, please check out my previous blog posts:

DisneyKeeping The Tiki Torch Lit

The HukilauThe Hukilau: Day1

The PolynesianWDW Polynesian Village Day1

The Hukilau: Day 2

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Friday 13Jun14

Day 2 got off to a slow start, as I caught up on some lost sleep and didn’t get out of bed until 9:30am. Since we didn’t have any scheduled events until 4:30pm, Bruce and I decided to take a walk along the beach and find some breakfast.

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After an omelette and some French toast (needed ballast!), we walked back to the hotel to get my Potions of The Caribbean book signed by Beachbum Berry in the Tiki Bazaar. Bruce ended up buying the book too, so he also got his book signed while he had the chance. His indoctrination into the Tiki ohana has officially begun!

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After that we hit the pool for some relaxation, sunshine, and swimming. It felt good to get the blood pumping a little today. The beer I had at the pool bar afterwards probably negated any exercise benefit from my swim, but today would not be a heavy drinking day (unlike yesterday).

We grabbed an early dinner at the hotel before heading over to the Yankee Clipper hotel to catch MeduSirena Marina’s mermaid show at the Wreck Bar. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for the whole show, because I had to head back to the Bahia Mar for my volunteer shift from 7-11pm. I did, however, enjoy some of the staging of the swim show poolside before I had to run. Mermaids – you gotta love ’em!

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My volunteering experience at The Hukilau consisted of manning the door to the ballroom to make sure only people with paid admission got into the main event. This may sound boring, but I got a real flavor for the wonderful mix of people who attend this event. Young and old, male and female, everybody really gets their Tiki geek on here! My friends Beth Lennon and Cliff Hillis fit in perfectly, resplendent in their Tiki attire.

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The highlight of my day turned out to be the after party, which began after the main event (and my 4-hour shift) ended. It began with the transformation of Marina the Fire-Eating Mermaid into Marina the Orion Slave Girl. She was stunning in green!

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The after party was an intergalactic glow-glow extravaganza. Lots of black lights. Glow bands. 60s sci-fi vibe. Planet of The Apes motif with people in ape masks dancing around. The band, The Disasternauts, all wore NASA orange jumpsuits with ape masks, while they played some of the loudest, hardest surf music I’ve ever heard. Good times! Especially for Tiki geeks rejoicing into the early-morning hours. Tonight, I was one of them.
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