Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Kona Club

I didn’t have much time for tiki this weekend, as I was busy playing a Dreadnok in a G.I. Joe cosplay photo shoot aboard an aircraft carrier.  Sometimes, when I describe how I spent my weekend, and it doesn’t involve tiki, it sounds like I’m just stringing random words together.

But I did get to stop for drinks at the Kona Club in Oakland, one of my favorite tiki bars.  The atmosphere is laid-back, the bartenders are friendly, the decor is from the legendary Oceanic Arts in L.A., the Macadamia Nut Chi-Chi is on my list of 100 Tiki Things to Drink Before You Die, and they have a full-size hula girl statue with moving hips.  Pure class on every level.

What I’m saying is, I got the glasses.

Cocktail and pint.  This was a good weekend.


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The Shark King

As anyone who knows me can attest, my obsession with tiki pales before my obsession with comic books.  So obviously tiki comic books are the apotheosis of everything.  Which is why I’m so happy to receive this children’s comic from Toon Books.

R. Kikuo Johnson’s 2005 graphic novel The Night Fisher, set in his native Hawaii, is gorgeous. In The Shark King, Johnson returns to a Hawaiian setting with a story based on a traditional folk tale.  A folk tale about kids with man-eating shark heads growing out of their backs.  Folk tales are the best.

Plus there’s Johnson’s lovely linework and dramatic contrasts.  He’s just a fantastic artist and storyteller.

So thank you, R. Kikuo Johnson, for an excellent children’s book and another gorgeous addition to my Hawaiian comics library.


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I don’t want to give the impression that tiki has to be a full-time lifestyle choice.  We can’t all be John Lasseter with his 1,000 sweet aloha shirts.  But we can all use a little tiki to wasabi up our daily lives.

Take Easter, for example.  You’re already eating ham with pineapple on it.  That’s already pretty tiki.  Why not add a few more little touches to the holiest day on the Christian calendar (or, if you’re like my husband and were raised in a godless household, the day you get Reece’s Peanut Butter Eggs, paddleballs, and the Masters of the Universe Mossman action figure)?

Baby chick chocolate volcano!

Menehune jelly beans!

(To the right are Sicilian easter cookies, made from Andrew’s grandmother’s recipe.  Not tiki, but delightful.

And, of course, refreshing springtime cocktails served in my awesome Disney Polynesian Village goblets!

These are sparkling champagne and limoncello cocktails.  I made the limoncello from Meyer lemons in my garden, and it is very sweet and boozy.  Add some four-dollar fine champagne from Trader Joe’s, and you’ve got an Easter dinner apertif.

Thanks to everyone who came over to enjoy Easter dinner with me, cocktails included.  And remember, there’s no holiday event or gathering that can’t use at least a little tiki.


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I’m not nearly as into tiki apparel as I am tiki decor.  My interest extends to having some Hawaiian shirts, some of which I’ve owned for decades.

That classy teal fish shirt on the far right, for example, was one of my favorite things to wear in high school.

I was not a popular girl.

But, all things considered, this is a modest selection of tiki fashion.  I’m not on the level of, say, Disney/Pixar chief John Lasseter, who owns over 1,000 Hawaiian shirts, with 374 in active rotation.

But there is one thing Mr. Lasseter and I have in common, besides the full-size Catbus heads mounted over our desks.  (Note: I am lying.)  And that thing is Pixar Hawaiian shirts.

You see, Lasseter loves Hawaiian shirts so much that he has one made for each Pixar movie.  They are very stylish.  And I’m at Pixar Studios at least once a year for work and stuff, so I’ve picked a few up.

For example, here’s the Monsters, Inc. shirt:

Is there anything cuter than this?  Why, yes, there is.  And that thing would be the Ratatouille shirt:

But my personal favorite, only in part because it’s my favorite movie, is the Up shirt, featuring Carl, Russell, Dug, and Kevin hiding behind the tropical foliage of the tepui:

These shirts are the finest finery ever appointed.  Among other things, formal etiquette declares that they are the only appropriate dress for meeting the Queen of England or legendary Studio Ghibli animator Hayao Miyazaki.

As you can see, I was caught unprepared in my airplane sweater, a major faux pas, while Andrew dressed appropriately in  the Ratatouille shirt.  Miyazaki-san’s apron is better than either, but you know, we tried.


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