“The Colors of Mary Blair” Art at The Disney Gallery

Through November, The Disney Gallery at Disneyland has an exhibition entitled “The Colors of Mary Blair.” During her tenure at Walt Disney Studios, Blair’s concept art served as inspiration to the animators for such movies as “Peter Pan,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Cinderella.” She later left to become a freelance illustrator, but was brought back by Walt Disney to work on “It’s a Small World.”

On display are her original art for the iconic abstract exterior of the ride, as well as the tableaux for various countries, including this “New Guinea Scene” (1965). I love the designs on the tribal shields. The plaque next to it included this fun fact: In keeping with the lyrics of the theme song “It’s a Small World” that says “There is just one moon and one golden sun,” Blair incorporated a stylized sun or moon in every scene.

“Pacific Paradise Collage” (1965) is labeled as a suggested treatment for Tahiti or Hawaii. Mary Blair was especially appreciated for her “color styling,” and this piece shows how she could use that to create a romantic and idyllic mood.

Checking out these tiki-esque designs was all well and good, but I was really blown away by the art for Cinderella. One very cool aspect of The Disney Gallery that I just recently discovered is that all the featured images can be bought as prints from the Art on Demand kiosks in the stores.


Tiki Farm Warehouse Sale – San Clemente, CA

Tiki mug producer and purveyor Tiki Farm is moving out of their San Clemente digs so this week they’re having a warehouse sale to help lighten the load. (This also happens to coincide with Tiki Oasis in nearby San Diego.)

They set up a few tables out front with all the mugs, scorpion bowls and shot glasses labeled with numbers, and handed out ordering forms for buyers to specify which ones they wanted and how many. This strategy kept things running in an orderly and polite fashion.

It was billed as the biggest sale ever in company history, so I’d honestly expected a bit more. There were definitely some good finds though. Many of their currently offered items were discounted, and I was excited to find some sold-out promotional mugs (like Fender’s Marcus Carcass, $15) and locale specific ones such as The Beachcomber Cafe‘s scorpion bowl ($20) and Big Kahuna mug ($10) which have been out of stock the last couple times I’ve visited the restaurant. Bigger spenders could nab the Vitua’s Vessel mug & Hot Wheels set by Shag for $150 or a United Airlines female menehune reproduction for $175.

A couple items were also making their debut for this event, including “The Happy Cannibals” mug and these cute little “Oi’ Pona” bottle toppers ($5) and salt and pepper shakers ($10). Mr. Baseball said the Marquesan tikis looked like Magneto… (He does have a point.)

Also available were SoCal Tiki dvds ($5), a few different styles of Tiki Farm t-shirts (above, $10), the new Tiki Farm quarterly magazine ($5), posters (see second photo) and a couple racks of sarongs and aloha shirts (below).

They’re also sweetening the deal with free Samoan War Club swizzle sticks with any purchase, plus a free Hot Lava Java volcano sugar and creamer set for folks spending more than $75. The sale continues today until 3 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and Monday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Tiki Farm Warehouse Sale
1305 Calle Avanzado
San Clemente, CA 92673

Kowloon Restaurant – Saugus, MA (near Boston)

Kowloon in Saugus, Massachusetts, is both a restaurant and roadside attraction. Its giant A-frame, pagodas and Ku tiki entice hungry motorists from route 1 north of Boston, and its fellow conspicuous neighbors include the Leaning Tower of Pizza and the huge neon cactus sign of the Hilltop Steak House.

The Wong family started Kowloon as a small Chinese restaurant in the 1950s, and later expanded it into this behemoth that seats up to 1,200 people (twice as many as Bob Chinn’s Crab House). Patriarch William Wong was inspired to give it a Polynesian-esque feel after traveling to Hawaii during the mid-century craze for the South Seas.

The restaurant is divided up into various themed rooms, like the Thai Grille with a beachscape mural and the Tiki Lagoon with thatched huts against the walls and a not-very-tiki-looking statue looking over the central fountain.

There seemed to be a different hostess for each dining room, and they can be quite assertive about seating, so you might want to already have an idea where you want to eat. I insisted upon the Volcano Bay Room. I loved the lifeboats hanging overhead, ship’s rigging, nautical lanterns, and especially the illusion of the erupting volcano.

The drinks aren’t of the highest caliber compared to some of the best tiki bars, but I award bonus points for customized glassware. They had several cocktails “for two” that arrive in a souvenir glass and I chose the Mai Tai ($16.95). It should go without saying that this isn’t a purist recipe.

Kowloon has a very extensive menu offering Cantonese, Szechuan and Thai food, plus sushi. Each cuisine is prepared in its own kitchen. One of their signatures is the Saugus Wings ($8.75), which are covered in a sweet, garlicky sauce that’s pretty addictive. For appetizers we also ordered the boneless pork spareribs ($8.50) and crab rangoon ($6.25), but these were the favorite.

The Flaming Ambrosia ($14.95) is another famous dish. This retro-style delicacy consists of half of a pineapple filled with sweet and sour chicken (or shrimp) and set on fire!

We rounded out our feast with still more sweet and sour chicken ($9.50, which we would have skipped if I’d realized it was basically the same as the Flaming Ambrosia), General Gau chicken ($11.75, fried chicken with spicy ginger sauce), pork lo mein ($8.75), and beef fried rice ($7.75).

We also ordered the kung pao chicken ($10.95) and beef and mushroom chow yoke ($12.25); the latter I would definitely get again. The portions were quite large and between seven (and a half) of us we still had leftovers for days, though there wasn’t any General Gau chicken left so that must have been pretty decent too.

A display case near the entrance had a bunch of souvenir mugs for sale, both generic ones and signature mugs produced by Tiki Farm. I picked up these first two here — the fogcutter and the mug recreating the tiki found on their vintage mugs. The stock was running pretty low though at the time, so I hope they’ve gotten some more.

Tiki spots are few and far between in Massachusetts — even more so now with the recent closing of Pago-Pago in Milford — and this is one of the best and most beloved. Nowadays, you can get a carefully made tiki-inspired drink at bars like Drink in Boston, but I think you have to give old-school places like the Kowloon their due.

948 Broadway
Saugus, MA 01906