15th Annual Hukilau returns to celebrate Mai Kai’s 60th Anniversary in Fort Lauderdale

This June, The Hukilau will celebrate its 15th anniversary with a historic celebration of Tiki culture and the 60th anniversary of The Mai-Kai. Guest artist, Shag, aka Josh Agle, will provide his artistic talents and also participate in several special events at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 hotel. Co-founder/organizer Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White promises “a celebration of epic proportions” during the June 8-12 festivities.

“The appearance of Shag has really stirred tons of excitement here on the East Coast,” Tiki Kiliki said. “We don’t see him often enough, so that will be a true treat for everyone.” Interest is always high in The Mai-kai, the legendary Tiki temple that was recently named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Sales of event passes and tickets for special events have been selling at an unprecedented rate after going online in late October, much earlier than in past years. Demand is no doubt driven by the anniversaries and the unique experiences the 2016 event offers.

Tiki Kiliki said many things are creating interest this year. Villagers, as the attendees are known, are “excited about celebrating the past and the future with the anniversaries, and Tiki culture is only growing stronger,” she said. “Also, Pier 66 has a lot to do with it too. The event grows ever stronger in the right venue.”

A focal point of The Hukilau is providing a wide-ranging lineup of symposiums that give guests a glimpse into the past. “I concentrate on the history of Tiki culture, past and present,” Tiki Kiliki said. “Whether it’s architecture, cocktails, exotica, creating the experience – they have to point someone in the right direction of keeping the culture alive.”

Special guests and entertainers include some of the scene’s top artists (Shag, Tom Fowner, Will Anders, Jeff Chouinard), cocktail creators (Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Martin Cate, Paul McGee, Brian Miller, St. John Frizell), bands and musicians (The Tikiyaki Orchestra, Jason Lee and the R.I.P. Tides, The Intoxicators, Skinny Jimmy Stingray, The Quiet Villagers, The Disasternauts), entertainers (Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid, Angie Pontani, Kitten de Ville, Lila Starlet), and pop culture historians (Otto von Stroheim, Tim “Swanky” Glazner, Humuhumu, Paul Roe).

In addition to the events at Pier 66 and The Mai-Kai, there will be special happenings at the nearby Kreepy Tiki Lounge and The Wreck Bar at the B Ocean Resort.

* More on The Hukilau: http://thehukilau.com/2016/what-is-the-hukilau/

Special events and symposiums

–> “World War Tiki,” presented by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry on Friday, June 10, at 4 p.m. Tickets $55. In the South Pacific during World War II, there were no bars or wine cellars, only sea, sand and jungle. So how did the Greatest Generation get lit? They adapted and overcame. The swabs made Torpedo Juice, the jarheads made Jungle Juice, and even the kamikazes had their home-brewed Doburuku. Back on the home front, Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber made drinks inspired by WW II such as the B17 and Three Dots and a Dash. When the war ended, it was just the beginning for the golden age of Tiki that the returning vets inspired. Join the world’s premier Tiki cocktail historian for a booze-fueled tour of World War II and its Tiki legacy. The author of six books on vintage Tiki drinks and proprietor of Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 in New Orleans will be making his 11th straight appearance at The Hukilau.
> More info: http://thehukilau.com/2016/jeff-beachbum-berry/

–> “I Learned My ABC’s in Waikiki,” presented by Shag on Friday, June 10, at noon. Tickets $25. Making his first return to The Hukilau since 2010, Tiki’s most famous artist talks about the first eight years of his life in Hawaii, and how that influenced his art and world view. His love of Tiki, ’50s and ’60s pop culture, and mid-century modern style can be traced directly to those years. In his first symposium at a Tiki event, Shag will share images, photos and graphics from that time, as well as anecdotes and history from Honolulu in the late 1960s. Shag’s artistic style is one of the most distinctive in modern art, drawing inspiration from commercial illustration from the past five decades but also imbued with an attitude and sly sense of humor that’s unmistakably of our time.
> More info: http://thehukilau.com/2016/shag-aka-josh-agle/

–> “2001: A Tiki Odyssey,” presented by Otto von Stroheim on Saturday, June 11, at 11:30 a.m. Tickets $25. Who were the urban archaeologists who restored Tiki culture? Learn about the early days of the revival from the man who was there, before he created Tiki News and Tiki Oasis. How did they piece it all back together from scattered matchbooks, menus, and drinking vessels?
> More info: http://thehukilau.com/2016/otto-von-stroheim-2001-a-tiki-odyssey/

–> “First Person Tiki: Seeing Polynesian Pop with Your Own Eyes,” presented by Humuhumu on Saturday, June 11, at 10 a.m. Tickets $20. Get tips on how to make the most out of your Tiki travel from Polynesian Pop historian Humuhumu, creator of the Critiki website. Since 2002, the site has compiled profiles, photos and ratings of more than 850 bars and other Tiki locations around the world. Humuhumu has personally visited more than 140 of them. She will tell you about off-the-beaten-path places worth your time, and how Polynesian Pop varies from region to region.
> More info: http://thehukilau.com/2016/project/humuhumu-trott-first-person-tiki-seeing-polynesian-pop-with-your-own-eyes/

–>  “The Mai-Kai: History, Mystery and Adventure,” presented by Tim “Swanky” Glazner on Friday, June 10, at 2 p.m. Tickets $25. Dive deep into the archives of The Mai-Kai to see rare video and images, and hear first-hand stories documenting the pinnacle of the mid-century Tiki era. Let Swanky, author of the upcoming book “Mai-Kai: History and Mystery of The Iconic Tiki Restaurant,” be your guide as you learn how a few brash young men created The Mai-Kai by staging a coup at Don the Beachcomber and quickly eclipsing that restaurant’s standard of excellence. Swanky, co-founder of The Hukilau in 2002, will preview his book – the culmination of more than 13 years of research.
> More info: http://thehukilau.com/2016/project/tim-swanky-glazner-mai-kai-history-mystery-and-adventure/

–> “Innocence Lost, Paradise Found – The Evolution of ‘Old School’ American Tattooing,” presented by Paul Roe on Friday, June 10, at 10:30 a.m. Tickets $20. Join the noted tattoo historian and owner of Britishink Tattoos as he explores sex, sailors and the birth of the “American style” centered around Hawaii and U.S. West Coast from 1860 to 1960. Learn how two of that era’s most distinctive images – the hula girl and the mermaid – relate to the fashions of tattooing. A native of England, Roe has been tattooing since 1998 while researching tattoo history, both ancient and modern. This will be Roe’s fourth symposium at The Hukilau.
> More info: http://thehukilau.com/2016/project/paul-roe-innocence-lost-paradise-found-the-evolution-of-old-school-american-tattooing/

–> “DIY – Make your own Float Lamp Necklace,” presented by Tom Fowner on Saturday, June 11, at 10 a.m. This South Florida artist will show you how to create a personal keepsake you can take home. All materials and supplies are covered in the $20 admission fee.
> More info: http://thehukilau.com/2016/project/tom-fowner-diy-make-your-own-float-lamp-necklace/

–> “DIY – Carving 101,” presented by Will Anders on Friday, June 10, at 10:30 a.m. The Fort Lauderdale craftsman, known for his recreations of Tikis at The Mai-Kai from historic molds, will give villagers instruction on how to delicately carve a bar of soap. It’s a great first medium for learning the art of Tiki carving. The $20 ticket price includes everything you’ll need to get started.

–> Also carving live at The Hukilau is special guest Jeff Chouinard, aka Surf Soul Tiki. This Tampa Bay artist is perhaps best known for his recent renegade activities: Carving Tikis into dead palm trees throughout his hometown.

> More info: http://thehukilau.com/2016/symposiums/

Bands and performers

–> The Tikiyaki Orchestra: Riding another wave of success following the release of their fourth album since 2007, “Idol Worship and Other Primitive Pleasures” (2015), this Los Angeles-based modern exotica band has taken the mid-20th-century genre into the 21st century by fusing classic arrangements with elements of surf, lounge, crime jazz, Spaghetti Western, Hawaiian and other styles. This will be the third visit to The Hukilau for Jim Bacchi and his six-piece orchestra. Performing Friday at Pier 66, Saturday at The Mai-Kai.

–> Jason Lee and the R.I.P. Tides: The Hukilau welcomes this San Diego three-piece for their first appearance in South Florida. The instrumental surf band is a mainstay at Tiki Oasis, channeling a wide range of influences (first-wave surf, roots rock and ska) into a souped-up sound that’s appreciated by a dedicated fan base from local and national surf, skate and Tiki subcultures. Performing Friday at Pier 66, Saturday at The Mai-Kai.

–> The Intoxicators: This Tallahassee-based trio has bee been a fixture at The Hukilau since 2005, returning again in 2016 to blast out a powerful blend of classic surf, rockabilly, and pure guitar-driven instrumental rock. They can be found at bars and events throughout the Southeast and elsewhere, including opening slots for national acts (Los Straitjackets, Southern Culture On The Skids, Agent Orange, et al.). Performing Saturday at The Mai-Kai.

–> Skinny Jimmy Stingray: Hailing a stone’s throw away from The Hukilau in Deerfield Beach, this mild-mannered axe slinger and his three-piece band carry the torch for classic instrumental surf in South Florida, performing regularly and earning support slots with Dick Dale, Los Straitjackets and The Surfaris. This will be their fourth straight year at The Hukilau. Performing Saturday at The Mai-Kai.

–> The Quiet Villagers: This South Florida trio considers themselves “mood merchants” by channeling vintage cocktail jazz, bossa nova and mid-century exotica sounds that include flute and bongos. The band made its debut at The Hukilau last year, reminding guests of their favorite classic lounge combos of yore. Performances TBA.

–> The Disasternauts: An out-of-this-world instrumental surf band featuring former chimp astronauts in the NASA space program. Under the masks and orange jumpsuits, it’s actually two of The Intoxicators and other guest musicians, channeling a primal fury into high-energy shows that have become legendary at The Hukilau and other high-profile events. Performances TBA.

–> King Kukulele: When comedian, actor and ukuleleist Denny Moynahan dons his straw hat, Hawaiian shirt, grass skirt and lei, he becomes one of the most recognizable figures on the Tiki scene for the past decade. Master of ceremonies of The Hukilau since the beginning, King Kukulele reigns with an infectious energy while performing his signature hapa haole and novelty songs.

–> Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid (Medusirena): The retro-aquatic performer and fire dancer also known as Marina Duran-Anderson is famous for her weekly swim shows at the historic Wreck Bar at the Yankee Clipper hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach (now known as the B Ocean Resort). Due to popular demand, Marina and her pod of aquaticats will perform three special shows in the hotel’s pool, visible via large portholes in the soon-to-be expanded historic bar (as seen in Hollywood movies over the decades). Priced at just $15, the shows will each have their own theme and will be for guests of The Hukilau only. To ensure clear views, The Wreck Bar will not be filled beyond capacity. Wednesday night at 10:30 is Glamour Girl (restricted to ages 18 and older), Thursday afternoon at 2 is Savage Jungle, while Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. show is Polynesian themed. Marina will also perform a “Feature Figure Swim” on Thursday night at 9 at the Pier 66 pool, free to passholders. This year will mark her 10th appearance at The Hukilau.

> More info: http://thehukilau.com/2016/performers/ and http://thehukilau.com/2016/special-guests/

Burlesque performances

Also scheduled are several top burlesque stars, who will participate in Friday’s High Tide at Pier 66, along with other performances to be announced throughout the weekend.

–> Angie Pontani: One of the premiere burlesque performers in the world for the past decade, New York’s Pontani will make her third appearance at The Hukilau. She has headlined the largest burlesque festivals around the world and has appeared multiple times on the “Conan O’Brien Show” and “Gossip Girl.” Her credits include numerous other TV and movie appearances, including the Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett “Great Performances” special for PBS. She also graces the cover of the duo’s Grammy-winning album, “Cheek to Cheek.”

–> Kitten de Ville: A key figure in the modern burlesque revival, Southern California’s De Ville is a 22-year veteran and internationally known performer making her debut at The Hukilau. Credited as one of the originators of the New Burlesque movement, she made her mark with the Los Angeles based troupe The Velvet Hammer, which helped revive the art of burlesque. De Ville has made numerous TV appearances and has starred in several independent films. She appears in music videos by J-Lo , The Cramps, and Rob Zombie.

–> Lila Starlet: Known as “The Skintillating Siren,” this South Florida performer takes inspiration from the old Hollywood glamour era. Her inspiration is the 1930s and 1940s, and she presents elegant, classic burlesque productions harkening back to the days of old. Lila has also performed in Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid’s swim shows for the past seven years.

> More info: http://thehukilau.com/2016/burlesque/

–> Also returning in 2016 are DJs James Brown’s Sweat and Mike “Jetsetter” Jones.


All passes and tickets for the event, symposiums and special events are sold a la carte. Five-day passes sold out just weeks after going on sale, but there are plenty of four- and three-day passes available. Also available are a variety of one-day passes.

Multi-day passes range from the three-day Luau Pass ($130) to the four-day Aloha Pass ($150). One-day passes are available for Thursday ($55) and Friday ($95). The Thursday after-party at Kreepy Tiki Lounge is $15, while a Friday night pass for the High Tide event featuring bands and burlesque is $70.

Passholders can buy symposium and special event tickets at the prices listed above. Tickets and passes are non-refundable but can be transferred. The Hukilau is a rain-or-shine event.

Buy tickets now:http://thehukilau.com/2016/buy-tickets/

Check the updated schedule: http://thehukilau.com/2016/schedule-of-events/