Mondo Tiki! – Tiki Farm’s 15th Anniversary Exhibition

Tiki Farm sign

Tiki Farm is the king of modern tiki mug manufacturing. For 15 years, founder Holden Westland and his team have collaborated with super-talented artists to create more than 2,000 designs. La Luz de Jesus gallery in Los Angeles is hosting an exhibition of mugs along with art from Tom Laura aka “BigToe,” Scott “Flounder” Scheidly, Doug Horne and Ken Ruzic. There’s also a retro-futuristic solo show, “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” from Michelle Bickford.

Mug cases by Bamboo Ben

While the 10th anniversary exhibition rounded up examples of practically every mug Tiki Farm ever produced, this time around the display features 500 of the “most important and coveted selections.” Bamboo Ben customized the eight cases of shelves with bamboo and thatch A-frames.

Bahooka mug and others by The Pizz

Most of the mugs are arranged chronologically, but one of the sections groups together designs by The Pizz, Tiki Farm’s late art director. Seeing so many of my favorites here, like the Bahooka Ruffus mug, for instance, brings home how big a part he played at the company. (Holden penned a beautiful tribute to his friend in the latest issue of Tiki Magazine & More.)

Clifton's owl mug

I’m pretty content with my collection, but this exhibit is full of temptations. This stately mug (by The Pizz) for the recently re-opened Clifton’s Cafeteria caught my eye. It kind of reminds me of the Maltese Falcon … except it’s an owl. I actually ended up visiting that downtown LA landmark the same weekend, but unfortunately they’re out of stock of this style — I hope they get more soon!

Tiki Farm 15th anniversary mugs

Each of the featured artists also designed new mugs in honor of Tiki Farm’s 15th anniversary, including Ken Ruzic’s Poko Ono Pineapple Mug, BigToe’s Bobomb (the iconic Tiki Bob transformed into a hand grenade complete with a pin) and the Rub for Rum Easter Island Tiki Decanter ($75) by Michelle Bickford.

Doug Horne tiki mugs

In the middle is Doug Horne’s Tiki Farm Temple Mug (with holders on the back for Tiki Farm’s anniversary swizzle sticks) and on the right is Flounder’s Nari Rani Marquesan Mug. There were limited edition glazes ($50 each) released at the event — a few are still available on Soap Plant’s website — and Tiki Farm just made the other versions (priced around $20) available for order.

Close-up of "Too Much Information" painting by Ken Ruzic

The artists even incorporated their mug designs into the paintings, as you can see in this close-up look at Ken Ruzic’s “Too Much Information.” I love the whimsical style and incredible details, especially paired with this carved frame by Derek Weaver.

Mondo Tiki catalog

Tiki Farm also made a 40-page booklet ($5) listing all the designs created since 2000, plus some photos and little anecdotes about the process. We also get a sneak peek at some mugs that are in development. There’s some exciting stuff in the works, like a 60th anniversary mug for Oceanic Arts, two new designs for Tiki-Ti, a mug for Tiki Tolteca in New Orleans and a rum barrel/bulldog for Idle Hour in North Hollywood.

Art by Scott Scheidly

Mondo Tiki! is on view until November 29th at La Luz de Jesus. On Saturday, November 28th, Holden, BigToe and Ken will do a “docent tour” from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. to discuss the mugs and art and take questions. You can also see all the art (like Flounder’s gorgeous “Sea Goddess” pictured here) on the website for the gallery.

Tiki Bar Tour of Germany, Part 2: Die Blume von Hawaii – Nuremberg

Die Blume von Hawaii logo

Nuremberg in Germany has two tiki bars that are both worth visiting — and it’s not that difficult to go to both in the same night if you are short on time. (The tricky part would be avoiding a hangover the next day.) Kon-Tiki Cocktail Bar & Restaurant is an expansive establishment with faux-tropical décor and a few decades under its belt, while Die Blume von Hawaii is a compact newcomer with mid-century modern style and topnotch tiki drinks.

Die Blume von Hawaii exterior

Die Blume von Hawaii opened in March 2014 and it’s essentially a one-man show from Zack Koma Stingl, a Nuremberg local who honed his skills at Bar Europa. The black façade is so subtle that I thought we’d gotten lost until I saw the logo on the frosted glass and realized we were standing right in front of the door.

Zack of Die Blume von Hawaii

Zack gets the stamp of approval from renowned mixologist/author Jeff “Beachbum” Berry (Latitude 29, New Orleans). He’s quoted on the back of the menu: “My good friend Zack Koma Stingl is the living embodiment of the tiki spirit. If you don’t believe me, ask to see his tattoos.” (Indeed, one of them is the Trader Vic’s logo Abelam mask.) It was great fun to talk tiki with Zack, and also to meet his little furry friend Paul, aka Emperor Palpatine.

Die Blume von Hawaii interior

The space is on the small side, with five seats at the bar and some stools along the side wall, plus a few clusters of bamboo tables, peacock chairs and red vinyl chairs in the middle. When we visited on a Wednesday, there were a couple groups of young people partying like it was Saturday night. (We stuck around until after they left so I could snap a photo of the room.)

Die Blume von Hawaii bar

Behind the bar are segmented shelves backlit in red, blue and green. Among the liquor bottles you’ll spot some tiki mugs and vintage finds, like a Marwal hibiscus girl bust. Direct your gaze still higher and you’ll notice a line of exotica albums up on the wall.

Die Blume von Hawaii posters

Other decorations include a Moai perched on a ledge to the left of the bar, plus atomic-style light fixtures, bamboo and a poster from the 1953 film “Die Blume von Hawaii,” an adapatation of the 1931 German operetta very loosely inspired by Queen Lili’uokalani.

Atomic clock at Die Blume von Hawaii

Zack is also a DJ and he put together a fun, eclectic mix that suits the neo-tiki setting. Annette Funicello’s “Pineapple Princess” chimes in along with German 50s/60s tunes and interesting covers of the James Bond theme and “Hooray for Hollywood.”

Die Blume von Hawaii menu

There are around 30 drinks on the menu, which Zack updates three or four times a year. Black flowers label his 11 original creations, which are listed alongside tiki classics (Zombie 1950, Missionary’s Downfall) and a few favorites from Beachbum Berry (Blackbeard’s Ghost, Beachbum’s Own). Meanwhile, skulls (ranging from one to five) warn of the particularly potent potables. The deadliest of all appears to be The Undertaker, served in a glass skull complete with fiery garnishes (see last photo). Most of the cocktail names happen to be in English, but the descriptions and ingredients are in German — thankfully, rum is still “rum,” so what else do you really need?

Die Blume von Hawaii and Voodoo Old Fashioned

The bar’s signature drink, Die Blume von Hawaii (9€), won a German rum recipe competition that had Beachbum Berry on the judging panel. I’m normally not a fan of drinks mixed with ginger beer, since it can overshadow the other flavors, but this was perfectly balanced and absolutely delicious. Mr. Hockey opted for the Old Fashioned Voo Doo (9,50€), combining soursop with rum, milk and apricot brandy, topped with nutmeg and grated coconut.

Mai Ta

We asked Zack for a recommendation and he suggested the Aranui (10€), his riff on the Mai Tai but with coconut rum. This was also fabulous. (Purists need not worry as he also offers Trader Vic’s original Mai Tai.)

Die Blume von Hawaii tiki drinks
Nuremberg is only a one-hour train trip from Munich, so you’re missing out if you’re traveling in Bavaria and don’t make it to Die Blume von Hawaii for some of the best tiki drinks in Europe. The bar is open Tuesday through Saturday from 6 p.m.

Die Blume von Hawaii
Rosental 15
90403 Nürnberg, Germany
+49 1514 2324806

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