New Year's Eve at Don the Beachcomber

Celebrate New Years Eve with The Hula Girls! Seating at our event is independent from the Big Sandy and James Intveld shows, that night, at Don the Beachcomber. 
Call Don the Beachcomber for reservations. 

Hope you can swing it to our third annual Dagger Bar/ New Years show!

Reservation Includes:
 Appetizer Platter for 6 
 Champagne Bottle 
 Party Favors 
 Merchandise Bags 
 Reserved Table All Night Long 
 6 people max per table  
 ONLY 8 tables to reserve  

It's gonna be a ball! This WILL sell out. 
 Call (562) 592-1321 for reservations!

The Royal Hawaiian

Facebook just reminded me that 7 years ago, The Hula Girls played what would end up as one of the saddest events in southern California tiki history. The grand reopening of the recently remodeled Royal Hawaiian. That should be a joyous event, right?! 

Built in 1947 and busily humming along for 62 years, the longtime owner family 'cashed in' on that Laguna Beach property.

 New investors thought that 'updating' the decor would be a good idea. Tiki bars thrive with dark, 'outdated', confined and cozy interiors. Low ceilings, tight hallways, dusty old pufferfish lamps, tiki dioramas... It had it all.

The remodel felt akin to a Hawaiian-themed Denny's. No joke. Diner booths upholstered in a tropical-ish print, brightly lit, fresh white walls, several giant TVs...
And shortly thereafter, it closed forever. 

They blamed it on the economy, the fact that they couldn't get a live music permit... But somehow, the Royal Hawaiian had previously survived several economic roller coaster rides since the '40s, all the time without live music. Sooo... Yeah.

Don the Beachcomber this Sat! 12/05/15

We're back in the Dagger Bar this Saturday night! 9 - midnight with the late night happy hour starting at 11pm. We'll have our hula-a-go-go dancers as well. Aaand... Kevin Stewart of Big Sandy and the Flyrite Boys will be on bass! 

As always, it's free! Come early to grab a good seat. 

The Curse of the Tiki II (event photos)

I would be shocked if confetti wasn't still falling from the lamps and bamboo decor of the Hidden Village at Don the Beachcomber. It has taken almost a whole week for me to recover from the wild madness that took place at our second annual Curse of the Tiki variety show! 

We had jazz-playing skeletons, fire, blood, partial nudity, magic, one-eyed dogs, bad monkey jokes, and a costume contest. Our go-go dancers were dressed in sexy voodoo costumes too!                                      

The crowd in the packed room was mostly either dressed in costume or in vintage formal wear. It was a great scene and everyone was ready for a good time!

All photos by Tom Stratton unless otherwise noted.

First up was the amazing Jimmy Psycho Experiment. They played a great set of sci-fi jazz and lounge, interpreting music from Star Wars, the Ramones, and Kiss... all while wearing giant sugar skull helmet mask things. What a cool band and a great way to kick a super weird night off.  

The great Maegan Machine followed the Jimmy Psycho Experiment. She came out toying with her burning torches, fearlessly dragging the fire across her arms and tongue. 

But then things got bad. Like bad, bad. She brought out an industrial stapler and started shooting staples into her arms and legs... then she moved to her ARMPITS. Ugh! How can you do that to yourself?? And she wasn't hardly fazed by the pain. Unreal. 

After the stapler non-sense, she upped the anty by hammering a big nail up into her nose. It was a BIG nail. Sheesh. People could barely keep their eyes on the stage.

But then things went from bad to even worse. Her boyfriend, James, came out and began to insert dart-looking things into her forehead. That's when the blood really started. And that's when she finally started looking like she was in pain. Her eyes were glassy and she was kinda wavering in her chair. I'm was trying not to pass out myself. It was horrible. And rad. But really, really horrible.

Things actually even got worse after that (if you can believe it). Sitting next to each other, the two stabbed one long needle through both of their cheeks. While skewered together, they bent the needle around so that they could kiss. How romantic... and nauseating. Maegan told me that it's horribly painful. No kidding. That was the last time she said that she would perform that act. Sheesh... I don't blame her.

They put on an incredible show. I took this picture backstage after their performance ended. I was still weak in the knees from witnessing that horrible, horrible display. 

If you weren't at the show, you HAVE to go see them perform. Hell, if you WERE at the show, you ought to go see them again anyway! 

Once we mopped up the blood and everyone ordered a stiff cocktail to numb their pain, it was time for the costume contest! Unfortunately, I was backstage, getting into monkey suit during the contest.

Thankfully, Tom got a picture of the winner of the contest! He was a victim of Alfred Hitchcock's movie, The Birds. What an amazing costume!!

By the way, our buddy, Kevin Stewart, of Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys was playing bass for us that night. How about the face he's making while Audrie is pinning my fez to my monkey head?!

Bird attack in the Hidden Village!

Then it was time for us to hit the stage. The Hula Girls had gone ape! Maybe we were turned into monkeys by the voodoo of our dancers??

I think we're gonna try to get Shorty to wear the monkey suit at every show from now on. He looks right at home there, with his hat on. Haha... 

I don't think he's gonna go for it...

Between songs, I thought it was a good idea to work on my stand-up routine with some monkey jokes that I had got together... You can see a very unamused Tara MiSioux and her husband, Josh, here. The jokes were bad. Like 2nd grader joke bad. I'd apologize, but I had a great time telling them. Everyone's groans amused me.

Back to what we were really there to do. Monkey around. 
That was the last monkey joke, I promise. Actually, was that even a joke...?? Anyway...

Doug and Kevin Stewart playing some surfy stuff. Kevin brought out his really cool Fender 6-string bass, ala the Tielman Brothers. Take a look at the Tielmans, if you're interested. 

We wrapped up our set to prepare for the incredible magic of Christopher Wonder. 

He did some plate spinning, some tricks with cigarettes, seemingly put a sword through his little one-eyed-dog's neck, and drank at least seven beers on stage, all while shooting off a cap gun and throwing confetti all over the place.

He does some amazing magic tricks, but even the stuff that doesn't exactly work out the way that it's supposed to is hilariously amusing. He's a phenomenal performer. A throwback to the golden age of sideshow performers. Another act that you HAVE to go see if you get the opportunity to do so. 

Here he is, pulling an endless streamer from his little dog's ass. The dog was  super cute... Just kinda sitting there like, 'so, we're doing this again, huh?'


The only thing that could possible follow Christopher Wonder is a gorgeous and wiggly burlesque performer. The legendary Kitten DeVille got hearts racing with her performance to two live songs performed by The Hula Girls. We were super happy to have Kitten be our burlesque performer for the second Curse of the Tiki show. She was really great. 

I want to thank all of the attendees of the event and all of the participants of the costume contest. All of your support really makes it worth it to me to put this show on. And I really DO enjoy producing this show. I love the idea of odd musical acts paired with weird and sexy performances... all set within the amazing tiki decor of Don the Beachcomber. It's so fun!

Thanks to everyone in the Jimmy Psycho Experiment, Maegan Machine and her boyfriend, James Rajewski, Christopher Wonder, our band members and go-go girls, Kevin Stewart, and Kitten DeVille.

Our emcee found Kitten, Tara MiSioux, and Ashlyn to take a picture with him at the end of the night. I want to thank my buddy, Nima, for being a great emcee and helping me to keep everything on schedule. 

Certainly an event for the memory books! Maybe we'll see y'all again next year!


Halloween is coming!

Halloween is on its way and we have one hell of a show lined up for you! Our show is the night before Halloween because we know that you have kids to take trick or treating or other events to attend... But man, is this gonna be a weird and wild show! All within the amazing tiki decor of Don the Beachcomber in Sunset Beach, CA.

We'll start the night off with the incredible Jimmy Psycho Experiment! They play lounge versions of punk and rock songs! All while wearing giant alien heads. Cool stuff!

Following Jimmy and his band is the gorgeous and dangerous Miss Maegan Machine. A true sideshow performer in every sense of the world. Extremely tattooed and a strange attraction to pain and to the bizarre. 

I really can't wait to see her act! Fire and human pin cushion horror!

Following Miss Maegan, we'll hold the costume contest! Here's a couple from last year.

photo: Stratton

Personally, I'd like to see someone work out this kind of vintage burlesque costume.

Kinda like this! Here's last year's winner, Miss Reagan Foy! The image of Marion Martin was the inspiration for her Halloween costume. She had been wanting to recreate this for a long time and The Hula Girl's Variety Show at Don's was finally the perfect opportunity for it. 

This year's  prize will be one of my (Spike) hand made tiki lamps. Valued at $300,  this should be a great addition to any tiki collector's home decor! I just finished it the other day. You can see a progress photo on the right. 
The aesthetic of this lamp mixes midcentury atomic styling with Witco-esque modern primitive touches. Finished off with manilla rope and real Tongan tapa cloth. Though you can't tell in the picture, this is a hanging lamp. Oh, and it's pretty big too!

We're looking forward to seeing some great costumes!

Following the costume contest, it's on to our band! The Hula Girls have some new songs and great new costumes in store for ya this year!  Performing with us, as always, will be Miss Audrie Loraine and Miss Judy Luck, hula-a-go-going for ya!

photo: Stratton
Then, the incredible Christopher Wonder will take the stage. The room is probably gonna be a mess once he's finished with it. An explosion of confetti, booze, and wild magic.

Oh, and his adorable one-eyed dog!

The finale will feature 'the embodiment of burlesque', Miss Kitten DeVille, backed by 
The Hula Girls! 

Kitten is credited as one of the originators of the New Burlesque movement. She started her career in 1994 with The Los Angeles based troupe, The Velvet Hammer, whose sold out shows were responsable for reviving the Art of Burlesque.

Kitten de Ville is an award-winning international burlesque superstar. Kitten won Miss Exotic World 2002 and Queen of the Quake. 

This multi-talented Kitten also produces a successful Rock & Roll StripShow and runs her own school of burlesque in her home town in southern California.

An absolute tantalizing professional in the art of the tease.

Halloween is a time to embrace the odd and bizarre. Join us! 
We are really excited to bring this show to you.

Get your tickets now. They are selling quickly!

Mahalo Monday!

I, obviously, usually gravitate toward tiki bars. 
Well, tiki bars and bars from that era, anyway. The recent increase in 'craft cocktail' bars and 'speakeasies' has really widened my appreciation for all kinds of new, themed environments. 

It seems that those bars are starting to realize that the true originator of 'craft cocktails' was, in fact,  Don the Beachcomber. 

Think about it. Complex, exotic drinks, utilizing freshly squeezed fruit ingredients and a multitude of different infused liquors, finished off with creative and appropriate garnishes. Tiki was the start of the craft cocktail. 

Due to Beachbum Berry pointing out the intricacies of those drinks, bartenders are taking tiki more seriously. In turn, lots of these craft bars are now having tiki-themed nights. 

The Blind Rabbit is an amazing, small (think Smugglers Cove sized) depression era-themed bar in the Anaheim Packing house. It is cozy and feels kinda like a small reading room in an old mansion or something. Maybe only 30-something seats at the trapezoidal bar and several tables and chairs along the walls. It's nicely intimate without feeling claustrophobic. 

Last week, they had their first ever "Mahalo Monday." I had been there once before for some fantastic depression-era cocktails and I figured a "Mahalo Monday" was a good time to see what they could do with tiki drinks!

The speakeasy is the hip, new-ish thing in craft cocktail bar theming. I kinda find the reservation making part of speakeasies a tedious distraction from getting to the fun, but it does also keep the standard clubby chicks or loud bro guys from ending up in the bar. So actually, I guess I'm on board with that rule. Sometimes I have to write stuff out to come full circle on an opinion. 

If you didn't know that you were looking for a bar, you would absolutely walk right past the place. 

The Anaheim Packing District is a really cool food court type of mall... Not a Hot Dog on a Stick kinda place, more like hip and tasty open-walled small restaurant kinda thing. Amazing smells waft through the building, pulling you from eatery to eatery. 

The Blind Rabbit is attached to a Shabu-Shabu restaurant and the main door is hidden behind a wall of faux bags of rice. In the picture above, see the little black thing in the middle of the middle row of bags of rice? That's the rabbit door release. You pull on that guy and the rice wall opens up! 

I grabbed up one of my oldest friends in the tiki scene, Adrian Eustaquio (Polypop), and my adventuring buddy, Tom Stratton (take a look at our video for the "Search for the Spider Pool").

We were each (ahem) leid, the hostess yanked on the bunny, and we headed through the rice bag hidden door...

Once inside, we were greeted and seated by the bartenders, some of whom are fans and friends of The Hula Girls. We immediately felt right at home. 

Here's the specialty menu for Mahalo Monday. As a graphic designer, I was super impressed with the illustrations, the typography, and the paper stock that it was printed on. Care and attention to detail in everything that they do in this place is unmatched. 

First round was a Cryogenic Hemingway for Tom (left), Polynesian Paralysis for Adrian (right), and I would have really been fooling myself if I didn't get a Topless Hula Girl (middle) right out of the gate...  

Mixologist, Andrew Winters, told me that the inspiration for naming the Topless Hula Girl was, in fact, The Hula Girls! 

Wonder which 'Girl' he was referring to? I'm sure it wasn't me or Shorty or one of the musicians in the band...

Here he is, performing a table-side cocktail lighting on the Polynesian Paralysis! 

Who doesn't like their tiki drinks on fire??

I loved and was raving about the Topless Hula Girl so much that without even asking, Andrew hand wrote the recipe for me. 

It was pricy to buy all of the proper ingredients for home, and it's not the same as drinking it at the Blind Rabbit, but it sure is great to enjoy in The Breezeway!

Our friend, Damien Montanile, was also behind the bar, serving a bevy of pin-up styled girls while showing some leg with his shockingly short shorts. All for the theme, right?  Love the dedication to making something fun for the customers! 

We are well into our second round here... I've moved on to a Miehana (a Beachbum Berry cocktail and the backwards spelling of 'Anaheim') while both of the fellas are working on Polynesian Paralysees. Is that the plural of 'paralysis??'   

Not the best photo in the low light of the bar, but I wanted to show you the Anaheim-related orange 'ear' garnishes of the cocktail. Wonder what the 'ears' are supposed refer to? ;)

Somewhere around this time, Tom was on to a Shark's Tooth and some kind of fancy shot showed up with it. He, as instructed, dumped it in and happily enjoyed the interactive cocktail. 
About that time, my Bali Bali showed up. A delicate blend of gin, cognac, dark rum, light rum, lime, orange juice, pineapple, falernum, and passionfruit, topped with an orchid and served in a mysteriously smoking bowl.

(photo from The Blind Rabbit Facebook page)

The only thing that I like more than a drink on fire is a drink that uses dry ice as an effect in a cocktail. Presentation is SO important to tiki drinks.

Another amazingly well balanced and mixed cocktail. Never, did I ever taste anything syrup-ey or too tart... Just great drinks. 

This is actually how I felt during my only visit (so far) to Smuggler's Cove. Throwing my own sobriety dangerously out the window, I wanted to try every drink at SC. Not to get drunk in some kind of frat-party way, but more for experiencing this something special... a kin to immersing yourself in a symphony or enjoying a fine art piece. A truly great cocktail can take you there. 

The great thing about Mahalo Monday at The Blind Rabbit (besides the flawless cocktails and the great company of my buddies) was that in the super low light of the bar, a few Polynesian/ Tiki things transformed the feel of the bar. 

A few lengths of hula skirt type straw, strung up around the top of the bar, visually transformed it into a tiki bar. The music was all surf, hapa haole, and exotica. The staff all wore vintage Hawaiian shirts and cabana suits. The patrons were required to wear Hawaiian attire. No TVs or windows to drag reality in to the space. 

That's what it's all about. Escapism. The Blind Rabbit did the job better than many actual tiki-themed bars do it.

The time was up on our reservation (yes, they do time your stay in order to allow for others to come in and enjoy the experience. It was fine too, any longer probably would have killed us), so we were handed some absolutely unneeded yet appreciated parting shots, searched for the door in the bookcase, and found our way out.

A blurry picture of us blurrily walking back out to reality.

If you unknowingly walked by here, you would have no idea that the exit to a wild tiki party was right behind those 'boxes'.

Aloha, Blind Rabbit. 
See ya next Mahalo Monday!

In the meantime, don't forget to get tickets to our Oct 30th show at Don the Beachcomber. 
Live bands, sideshow performers, burlesque, and a costume contest!