Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Secret Island - still a secret?

There was great excitement today on The (not so) Secret Island when we were featured on the wonderful blog of Aubrey London. This week she celebrated her birthday at Trader Vic’s in Emeryville before heading over to the Forbidden Island for another Mai Tai or three!

I'm not sure if its the rum, the decor, the fun times with friends or the Hawaiian shirts she's most interested in, but the Tiki bug certainly has bitten hard! She has some big Tiki plans for the blog, her home and wardrobe in the coming months ... knowing Aubrey all will be styled to perfection, here on The Secret Island we can't wait!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Introducing Tiki Shark...

Sat here in the bar looking at some wonderful Tiki art I remembered a blog I put together quite a while ago which featured mainly the work of SHAG but also the work of other equally talented artists who could do with the exposure - already on Mia Huna Moku I have re-featured Tez and Atomikitty. Another artist I have purchased from is Tiki Shark aka Brad Parker.

Pictured here is one of two prints I have. This one is titled Tiki Midnight it is a hand tinted, limited edition wood block print on heavy paper. Designed and hand tinted by Brad Parker carved and printed by Earl Washington.

Brad Parker paints "Low Brow Art" about Modern Tiki Culture. He does so from the most remote land mass in the world: the Big Island of Hawaii. "When you live on an active volcano, you learn to make sacrifices." Not by throwing virgins into the volcano, but rather his move from the fast lane of Hollywood to the slower pace of the small seaside town of Kailua-Kona.

Brad has worked in several types of media: writing, penciling, inking, coloring, and editing comic books from small publishers right up to the industry's leaders: Marvel and DC Comics.

Check out - The Tiki Shark Gallery.

If you are a Tiki artist and would like to be featured on The Secret Island then pop a message in a bottle. We'd love to have you.

Introducing Atomikitty...

Atomikitty or Susannah Mosher as she is more often known is a wonderful artist and here at the Secret Island we are lucky enough to have one of her pieces, "Flathead and Son" hanging proudly on the wall of the hut.

She is an illustrator (and Tiki Bartender!) with an interest in Tiki, Polynesian and Low brow art. She also has an interest, some might say obsession, in the humble coconut monkey. She set out to document her immense and ever growing collection of kool, kreepy, kitsch, COCONUT MONKEYS, paintings of which come together in the form of "The Coconut Monkey Project" - Her personal crusade to rehabilitate and provide a refuge for wayward coconut monkeys.... We're all behind you Atomikitty!

Website - Atomikitty

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Viva Tiki Kate...

Poly Pop and Tiki Lifestyle is strange in the way that draws people together from all backgrounds and from every corner of the globe. It doesn't matter that you're the only person you know who insists on wearing Hawaiian shirts long after the holiday makers have dropped theirs off at the Op Shop, because you know from events and places like Tiki Central that there are people just like you out there. So when a community looses someone it is felt widely, even if most of those people never had the pleasure to meet them.

One such person was Tiki Kate who sadly passed away on Wednesday September 22nd. I never had the opportunity to meet her but felt a connection through her love of anything Tiki, Ooga-Mooga and contributions on Tiki Central. Humuhumu has put together a wonderful blog for Tiki Kate simply called Viva Kate!. Its a fantastic tribute to a terrific Tikiphile. Check out the blog and the wonderful urn she commissioned from Squid which has become known as "Her Last Tiki Mug."

Leo Addeo and His Orchestra - Hawaii's Greatest Hits...

For your listening pleasure from the Secret Island Today I have for you Leo Addeo and his Orchestra performing Hawaii's Greatest Hits in RCA records back in 1971.

Leo Addeo was one of RCA's key house arrangers for most of the 1950s and 1960s. An Italian American from Brooklyn, Addeo's specialty was Hawaiian music. He studied violin as a child, but switched to clarinet and saxophone in his teens when he noticed these instruments were in greater demand for local dance bands. He gradually moved from performing to arranging, working with Gene Krupa, Larry Clinton, and Frankie Carle.

Hugo Winterhalter hired Addeo as an orchestrator and brought him along when he moved to RCA in the early 1950s. Addeo was a steady producer for RCA, backing vocalists such as Vaughan Monroe and Don Cherry, arranging and conducting on numerous credited and uncredited instrumentals, and writing an occasional song.

This album features some nice versions of exotica staples alongside some painfully catchy quirky stuff. Come on sing along everyone "One paddle, two paddle, threes paddles..."

Enjoy Hawaii's Greatest Hits.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How I love hard rubbish collections ...

Twice a year the inhabitants of the Secret Island go back to their huts and throw out the things that are surplus to requirements, these items are then sacrificed to the evil Tiki god Landfill.

Now this opportunity is perfect for what I'm calling "Urban Beachcombing." Many a bamboo and rattan item, casually tossed aside is picked up, spruced up and given a new home and lease of life. Almost all of the stuff that makes the Sandbar comes from roadside recovery. Pictured above are a bamboo plant stand and wicker basket. Salvaged from outside two different huts on the way home from work but brought together in perfect harmony.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wahine of the Week: Heidi van Horne...

This weeks Woo Hoo Wahine is the delightful Heidi van Horne. Modern pinup model, actress, photographer, filmmaker, writer -- what doesn’t this girl do? A household-name in the world of modern pinup modeling, and you’ll see why after taking a look at her online portfolio. Enjoy...

Derek Party Puzzle Paks ...

Derek Yaniger is another favourite artist of the inhabitants of the Secret Island. His work has the clean edges of SHAG and the nostalgic record cover value of Jim Flora and alike.

Today he released details of "The Derek Party Puzzle Paks" which are sitting on the shelves of Barnes and Noble. Derek says in his own inimitable way "If ya’ don’t mind me blowin’ my own trombone…they look super-swell!!" and I have to agree.

Each Pak includes a piece of kooky collectible barware as well as a 500 piece hi-quality jigsaw puzzle.

Now I'm not sure if its me but drinking and doing jigsaws shouldn't ever be done at the same time... but these will be gone soon so "Catch the hotfoot express to your nearest B and N and head for the puzzle section and snag a set for yourself…Collect all 3!…or better yet, stop bein’ such a greedy ghoul and grab a set as a holiday gift for a fellow tiki freak!!"

Monday, October 25, 2010

Disneyland's Jungle Cruise...

There are many childhood experiences that have shaped the Tiki Lifestyle that I live here on the Secret Island today. One of those was a visit on the Jungle Cruise in Adventureland at Disney. This year Disneyland was fifty years old, since its opening on July 17th 1955, many attractions have come, gone or been modernized beyond recognition. The Jungle cruise however has stood the test of time.

Another boat leaves on a Jungle Adventure.
"Taking up approximately three acres of Disneyland's eighty-five, the attraction was one of the park's largest and most hyped entertainments. Guests board a gas-powered boat that winds through a murky river along a hidden track. Dense foliage surround the banks where many exotic (and animatronic) animals and natives play out scenes before the voyagers. The boat's skipper guides the guests through the treacherous waters, punctuating their continuous narration with many a pun. Head-hunters, hippos and pistol-wielding monkeys all approach you but as the skipper always states, the scariest part of the Jungle Cruise is the return to civilization."
          Taken from Metro Classics.
Walt and Harper Goff the design discuss the attraction before opening.
The skipper's poor quality jokes, were and still are part of the attractions charm. Pixar's John Lasseter, whose first job was working at Disneyland, always stated that his favorite shift was manning the Jungle Cruise boat.

Walt with a model of the final design. Much cleaner in design than Goff's original concept.

Disney designer Harper Goff is best known for creating the world's most fantastic submarine, the Nautilus for Walt Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. But his creative touch can be seen all around Disneyland and in the jungles of Adventureland. The little canopied launches that cruise the world's exotic waterways were first conceptualized by Harper Goff in 1954. His early sketches show vessels more rugged and "travelled" than the shiny bright boats that appeared at Disneyland® on opening day.

Never resisting the opportunity to empty my pockets with cool artworks and collectables, most notably through Josh Agle, Disney are now releasing a model based on Goff's original concept. Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily's scale replica of the Amazon Belle looks as though it may have crossed the Mekong, borne the rains of the Irrawaddy, and survived the rapids of Kilimanjaro a million times before. Disney say that "it's absolutely the perfect thing to display in your study next to your shrunken head collection." I have to agree!

Early Concept Jungle Cruise Boat
Artists: Kevin Kidney & Jody Daily
Medium: Resin and Metal on Wood Base
Edition Size: 500
Retail: $225
Dimensions: 12-3/4" long x 5-1/2" tall x 4-1/2" wide
Release Date: October 16, 2010

Want to find out what else Disney are working on - click here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Arthur Lyman - Yellow Bird. 1961

For your listening pleasure the Secret Island brings you the 1961 Arthur Lyman release Yellow Bird. Starting out as a member of Martin Denny's band Lyman wen't on to make his own name in the exotica genre. His signature tune was his cover of "Yellow Bird", which spent 10 weeks on Billboard's Top Ten chart in 1961, reaching #4. At the height of his fame a 1962 Time magazine article from described a typical performance:

"A conch shell wailed, the conga drums thump-thumped, the bamboo sticks clattered. The four men on stage were constantly on the move — clacking wooden blocks, scratching a corrugated gourd, flailing away at Chinese gongs, weaving rhythms that were insistent, sinuous and hypnotic. Occasionally, when the spirit moved them, they barked like seals or whooped like cranes. The happy audience at Chicago's Edgewater Beach Hotel rattled the rafters whooping back.

The album titled and featuring Yellow Bird was his ninth release. Most of Lyman's albums were recorded in the aluminum Kaiser geodesic dome auditorium on the grounds of the Kaiser Hawaiian Village Hotel on Waikiki in Honolulu. This space provided unparalleled acoustics and a natural 3-second reverberation. His recordings also benefited from being recorded on a one-of-kind Ampex 3-track 1/2" tape recorder designed and built by engineer Richard Vaughn. All of Lyman's albums were recorded live, without overdubbing. He recorded after midnight, to avoid the sounds of traffic and tourists, and occasionally on some releases you can hear the aluminum dome creaking as it settles in the cool night air. The quality of these recordings became even more evident with the advent of popular CD reissues, when the digital mastering engineer found he didn't have to do anything to them but transfer the original 3-track stereo masters to digital. The recordings remain state-of-the-art nearly 50 years later.

Enjoy - Arthur Lyman's Yellow Bird. 

Kustom Kulture Australia ...

Our frequent searches of other Tiki and Polynesian inspired blogs help keep us up to date with whats going on out there on other Islands. Being a near neighbour we've taken quite a shine to Hewey's new blog Kustom Kulture Australia. It features sweet cars, hot pin up girls and the best artists that the Land Down Under has to offer.  On top of that, there are also a bunch of links to interesting Kustom Kulture stuff from all over the world! ... He obviously loves the Vintage Lifestyle and isn't afraid to share it! 

In his most recent post had me salivating over his vintage display cabinet which is full to the brim with Tiki trinkets. He also shows that mood lighting needn't come at a price... Keep up the good work Hewey!

The Sandbar ...

As Summer approaches and the weather starts to warm up here at on the Secret Island our very own Tiki Bar will start getting regular patrons! Now it may not be a Tiki Bar in the traditional sense, in fact the white ceiling would have many over at Tiki Central crying into their Mai Tais.

Its basically a collection of free roadside pick ups, thrift shop purchases, eBay moments of madness or donated items. My well known love of almost anything Bamboo or Rattan means that I'm often being offered new stuff which is ... well rude to refuse. It's also a spare room for guests at times ... not all appreciate having so many watchful wooden eyes!

It's been situated in three different spots in what is a very small hut (house!)but this is the biggest yet. During the day its a spot to hang out, shelter from the savages (kids!), chill out and listen to music...

... during the evenings ... well that's when it really comes to life! ;0)

It's constantly changing and being added to as I pick up more flotsam, jetsam and other Tiki cast offs. If you're ever ship wrecked on the Secret Island be sure to pull up a stool, a warm welcome is guaranteed.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Quiet Village Podcast ...

The Quiet Village is more than just a classic exotica track but also the working title of DigiTiki's (aka Mark Riddle)regular exotica podcasts. The Quiet Village features rare and vintage exotica recordings from yesterday and today and you can join Mark as your host, as he lets the records lazily spin on the phonograph. You could even prepare a Mai Tai to add to the experience, the sound of ice in his glass is a familiar sound alongside the tunes.

He also publishes detailed play lists to accompany each podcast. Such is the level of detail, quality of information and caliber of guests visiting the Quiet Village that a pencil and paper are as essential as the headphones! The news and music sections at make the shows and the website a most for any fan of exotica. Check it out...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tiki PinUp - Tiki Kulture by Aubrey London....

Here on the Secret Island we are huge fans of Aubrey London and her blog Now being a male I suppose that I'm not her target audience but we both just love her infectious enthusiasm and her light hearted take on all things PinUp...

A while ago she published a post on Tiki Pin Up and Tiki Kulture which served as a useful summary of both. I hope that we can look forward to more Polynesian infused posts from Aubrey and maybe even a Tiki shoot of her own! In the meantime check it out the post and her blog ...

Featured Artist: Tez

Here on the Secret Island we're great fans of Tiki and artists that feature them. There's always SHAG serving up tempting Tiki masterpieces, but what about those less well known but equally talented artists? I hope to regularly update viewers with what's on offer and where you can get your own... artists need our support and the tiki hut here is decorated with the work we've purchased from them.

We'll kick off with the work of Tez who resides on the Central Coast of New South Wales in Australia. As a self professed sculptor, painter and tinkerer of things, “MINIMALISTIKI” is just one of his creations. “MINIMALISTIKI” is a modern, minimalist take on the monolithic Easter Island tiki gods known as Moai and are individually hand screen printed ceramic sculptures.

Our very own “MINIMALISTIKI” has pride of place in the bar here on the Secret Island. I'm not sure how many if any of these are still out there looking for dusty Tiki Bar shelves to sit on but the work of TEZ is certainly worth watching in the future.

Artist Profile: Tez
Artist Blog: Sure Ain't Sushi
Artist Website: Skull Pussy

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Webley Edwards presents Hawaii Today ...

Here at the Secret Island I like nothing better than to mix a cool drink, place the needle on the record and watch the sea lap the shore to the sound of some classic exotica. In no particular order I'd like to share with you some of my favourites...

I'll kick things off with this 1966 Capitol release from Webley Edwards - Hawaii Today which was linked to Hawaii Calls, a radio program that ran from 1935 through 1975 that featured live Hawaiian music. It was broadcast each week from the courtyard of the Moana Hotel on Waikiki Beach and was hosted by Webley himself. The first show reached the West Coast of the continental United States through shortwave radio. At its height, it was heard on over 750 stations around the world. However, when it went off the air in 1975, as only 10 stations were airing the show. Because of its positive portrayal of Hawaii, the show received a subsidy for many years - first from the government of the Territory of Hawaii, and then from the State of Hawaii. The termination of the subsidy was one of the reasons that the show went off the air.

Hawaii Calls is credited with making many Hawaiian performers household names across the US and around the world. Among the regulars of Hawaii Calls were Alfred Apaka, Haunani Kahalewai and Pua Almeida. Other well known performers such as Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman also made appearances. Each show opened with the sounds of the pounding surf and the enthusiastic bounding voice of Webley Edwards proclaiming "The sound of the waves on the beach at Waikiki.."

During the height of the shows popularity Webley Edwards served the role of producer of numerous records such as this, released on the Capitol Records label, under the title of "Webley Edwards presents Hawaii Calls." This particular albums contains some typical renditions of hawaiian classic songs and exotica, some as lovely instrumentals as well as some vocal arrangements. I hope you enjoy it...

Webley Edwards presents Hawaii Calls - Hawaii Today. Capitol Records 1966.

Well that was 1966... but what does the same view look like today? Check out Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon 2010 style!

Links can be re-uploaded or deleted on request. Mahalo.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shag's Inscrutable Mystery Guide ...

My Josh Agle (aka SHAG) artifacts have pride of place here at The Secret Island. I'm a great fan, I particularly enjoy his Tiki works. His latest offerings were linked to his Australian exhibit The Inscrutable Mystery Guide.

There were a series small original Tiki paintings, each bearing a secret symbol, plus a book that explained the symbology. Only buyers of these originals will see the book.... but if you want to see the Tiki's then follow the link to the excellent Outre Gallery.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wahine of the Week: Amber Rockell

The Secret Island is beautiful!... A beauty that can only be matched by that of the Wahines that inhabit it! Each week I'll feature one selected from PinupLifestyle.

To kick things off we have model Amber Rockwell who lists her pinup interests as Boudoir, Cheesecake, Classic Hollywood, Glamour, Modern Retro and the all important Tiki!

Find out more about Amber at PinupLifestyle or myspace.
Image by RK Studio.