8-Ball – Burbank, CA

img_3703 Besides Ventura Boulevard, The Valley doesn’t really have too many interesting shopping opportunities going for it. But there’s a stretch of Magnolia Boulevard near Burbank that’s chock-a-block with some great stores, 8-Ball being one of them. (Also, Halloweentown!) img_3715

While a hula girl silently serenades you and a tree of hipster hats, you can browse the stock of pop culture books, Aloha shirts, pricey rockabilly clothes, novelty gifts and cards, Shag stickers and a pretty kick-ass jewelry selection under the glass at the register.

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Neat neon!

img_3712 The tiki merch set-up gets bonus points for presentation. It seems to be mostly items that can be found (and are currently still in stock) on Tiki Farm, but it’s nice to know that I can hop over here and save on shipping. img_3719

These purses were my favorite discoveries in the store. I can’t decide which one I like more. Thoughts?

img_3721 If you’re already in the area, I recommend stopping by Yummy Cupcakes down the street and getting a few to go. (From the top: vanilla, vanilla with chocolate frosting and…”Pancakes & Bacon”—maple/bacon cake with maple icing and bacon on top—the idea of it was intriguing but not as tasty in execution).
img_3743 One more awesome thing about this store—Shag designed their promo postcards!
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8 Ball
3806 W. Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91505
818-845-1155

UPDATE: Unfortunately, 8-Ball is closed as of Fall 2010, but you can still check out their stuff in their web store.

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The Best Dive Bars in America – Tiki-Ti?

With all the dirty, sorta scary dive bars in LA to choose from, what is the Tiki-Ti doing on a list of The Best Dive Bars in America?

Rob Willey in Details magazine describes the venerable tiki bar thusly:

“Forget Trader Vic’s: A rum-soaked night at this violin shop turned tiki lounge is as close as you’ll get to the tropical-drinks craze that swept Hollywood from the thirties through the seventies. Marlon Brando drank here; Burt Reynolds too; but when the Polynesian fad went bust, founder Ray Buhen managed to keep rolling. Today the menu includes something like 90 concoctions—including Ray’s Mistake, a mixture of rum, passion fruit, and ‘super-secret flavor.’”

However, Willey seems to disqualify the Tiki-Ti from the dubious honor of being named a “best dive bar” in the very first line of his introduction: “Fancy, handcrafted cocktails have their place—and it sure as hell isn’t any of these watering holes.” Sure, I guess they’re not “fancy,” but there’s no doubt that they’re handcrafted!

Of course, half the fun of reading any kind of “best” list is in disagreeing with it.

Enchanted Tiki Room – Disneyland

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Surprisingly, I was never really that much of a fan of the Enchanted Tiki Room until fairly recently. That is to say, I wouldn’t trace my tiki fanship back to some formative childhood visit here.

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However, it deserves a lot of respect for being one of the classic Disneyland attractions, plus it pioneered the audio-animatronic technology that made so many other rides possible. Not to mention it’s a great place to take a nice air-conditioned break and rest your feet….but when you’re a kid, you’re much more interested in going on Space Mountain for the fifth time, so I never really got around to appreciating it until much later.

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However, I have always been intrigued by the exterior, and I love how the tiki gods introduce themselves.

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“The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room” song is catchy enough, obviously, as it will be stuck in your head all day at the park. It’s stuck in my head as I type this (and I’m sure it’s taken over your brain by just reading it!).

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But the serenading orchids sort of remind me of “Little Shop of Horrors,” so they strike me as being inherently evil behind their animatronic facades.

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The talking birds of paradise, on the other hand, I have no beef with them.

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The parrots start to lose me with the rendition of “Let’s All Sing Like the Birdies Sing,” though the song’s saving grace is Jose crooning like Bing Crosby (and another bird imitating Louis Armstrong).

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Artists Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily created bowls based on the Rongo statue above, and they were so popular that they made them in a new glaze.

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Just had to take this little dude home with me! I found some in the Adventureland store but I hear they’re also on Main Street. The cashier said they have to restock them often since they’re selling pretty well (they’re from an edition of only 500).

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I also spotted one of the highly sought-after replicas of the tiki fountain. They have running water and everything, but I just couldn’t shell out one hundred and fifty smackaroos for one.

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Perhaps the best part about the Enchanted Tiki Room is that you can oftentimes bypass the queue for that beguiling pineapple Dole Whip by entering the waiting area and lining up there.

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Enchanted Tiki Room
Disneyland
1313 S. Harbor Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92825