Atomic Tiki Terrors Art Show at Creature Features


With its impressive stash of collectibles and memorabilia, Creature Features in Burbank is a must-stop shop for pop culture geeks. Every few months, the store’s gallery hosts themed art shows and the most recent one was “Atomic Tiki Terrors!” It was a mash-up of tiki and ’50s and ’60s monster movies.


How are they related? Both these forms of escapism tapped into common desires and fears of the time period. Faux-Polynesian paradises were mini-vacations from day-to-day life while the fantastical sci-fi films drew inspiration from the collective anxiety of the Atomic Age.


I’ve cherrypicked a few of my favorites, including the groovy “Lost Planet” by Woody Miller. (He also had a few tiki-themed pieces in Creature Feature’s The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass Art Show I blogged about previously.)


I also liked the frenetic action in Ken Ruzic‘s “Atomic Tiki Terror” (in a Bamboo Ben bamboo frame), the cool blue stare in Christine Benjamin‘s “Tiki Invasion” and the cute little skull in the glass fishing float in “Mai Tai Monster” by Tiki tOny. (You’ll have to zoom in to see it.)


I’ve never really watched “Star Trek” so I had to look up the significance of “Atomikitty” Susannah Mosher‘s painting, “Vina – Orion Slave Girl.” This seductive green alien appeared in the initially unaired pilot (“The Cage”), which was repurposed into a later two-part episode entitled “The Menagerie.” (I love how Susannah incorporated the Star Trek combadge into the tapa print background.)


Over on the Facebook event page, you can see more of the art from Atomic Tiki Terrors and hear about the inspiration behind some of the pieces. Doug Horne spun quite an origin story for the half-man, half-Tiki-Bob-mug depicted in “Tiki Freak.”

More Tiki Art:
Tiki at “The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass”
The Book of Tiki Art Exhibition at M Modern
“The Contemporary Idol” Art Show

The Best Things I’ve Eaten at Tiki Bars – Part 1

Pupu platters of crab Rangoon and spare ribs are staples on menus at tiki bars, but some places offer more unexpected fare like pizza, burgers and more.

I wanted to spotlight some of the best food I’ve encountered at tiki bars. My made-up rules are that the tiki bar still has to be open (alas, no Bahooka stuffed shrimp then). Also, it has to be a legit tiki bar, so I can’t include any of the awesome grub from A-Frame. Here’s the first installment of what I imagine will be an ongoing series. (Later I plan on doing an all-California edition.)

1. Biscayne Biscuits – Psycho Suzi’s, Minneapolis


The gut-busting Biscayne Biscuits are my go-to brunch order at Psycho Suzi’s in Minneapolis. I describe them as the unholy (but amazing) offspring of eggs Benedict and biscuits and gravy. Two biscuits were topped with a sausage patty and poached egg, then covered with creamy housemade sausage gravy.

Psycho Suzi’s Review

2. Pulled Pork Nachos – Tambu Lounge, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Orlando


The pulled pork nachos at Tambu Lounge at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are famous among parkgoers — and for good reason. House-made potato chips and seasoned fried wontons are heaped with coffee-rubbed pork plus cheese, tomatoes, onions, spicy mayo and pineapple salsa. (Technically I tried these at neighboring restaurant Capt. Cook’s where they’re also served.)

Tambu Lounge Review

3. Pizza – Tahiti Nui, Kauai


Pizza in paradise is what’s in store at Tahiti Nui on Kauai. The toppings are flavorful, and the buttery crust puts it over the top. We loved the #3 Huli Huli Chicken with red onions and cilantro as well as #5 Da Hui with pineapple and kalua pork.

Tahiti Nui Review

4. Truffle Arancini – Mahiki, London


Although the attitude at London’s posh tiki lounge Mahiki wasn’t to my taste, the truffle and wild mushroom arancini certainly were. Sadly, these delicious risotto balls don’t appear to be on the menu anymore.

Mahiki Review

5. Thai Fried Chicken – Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago

Pupus at Three Dots and a Dash

Three Dots and a Dash in Chciago offers several small plates, including crab Rangoon and egg rolls. However, I think the best thing on the menu is the Thai fried chicken in garlic-chili sauce (upper right).

Three Dots and a Dash Review

What are your favorite foods from tiki bars?

5 Things You May Have Missed: This Week in Tiki

Original Disneyland Enchanted Tiki Room Bird from Van Eaton Galleries auction

I’ve been prepping for a trip to Walt Disney World in a week — too early to check out Trader Sam’s at the Poly, but oh well — and my weekly blogging schedule has suffered as a result. However, I’ve still been active over in the social media realm (Facebook, Twitter and fledgling Instagram account) so if you’d like to get a daily dose of tiki you can like/follow accordingly.

In case you missed it, here are some of the notable goings-on in tiki I’ve been posting about:


Lots of vintage Disneyland memorabilia — including an original bird from Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room — are going up for auction this month. You can go see the items in person at the Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks from February 7-27. I’ll be checking it out this weekend and hope to blog about it soon thereafter.


Cafe Rustica and its upstairs tiki bar, Conga Lounge, announced it is closing this month. The last day of service will be February 21. The Bay Area has a wealth of great tiki bars, but it’s still sad to see a good one go.


Danny a.k.a. Tiki Diablo has designed a new mug for the Tiki-Ti in Los Angeles. They posted some preview photos over on the bar’s Facebook page. Look for it in March. He also created a unique tribute mug for the Royal Hawaiian Estates in Palm Springs. (Local pick up only at the moment.)


Which cocktail at Trader Vic’s Chicago was served with a floating gardenia? This “Ask Geoffrey” segment on Chicago Tonight answered that question — and happened to include one of my photos of the ill-fated Trader Vic’s Chicago reboot.


Eater highlighted a few tiki bars during its Classics Week: Tonga Room in San Francisco, Bali Hai in San Diego and The Alibi in Portland. El Segundo’s Purple Orchid was also just named Best Tiki Dive on Thrillist’s list of the 24 Essential LA Dive Bars.