Wednesday, July 22, 2015


It certainly has been tropical weather in Los Angeles this week, so we are truly geared up for Tiki Night, an annual celebration of all things Tiki - be they authentic customs and art of Islanders or homages to the American obsession with primitive carved faces and almost anything made out of a coconut - especially if there is a straw in it. 

An interest in the exoticism and romance of the South Seas proliferated in the mid-20th century. Tourists flocked to Hawaii (the newest state to join the Union, on jet planes, returning home to the mid-west with suitcases packed full of shell necklaces, brightly colored muumuus, grass skirts and Tiki carvings. Restaurants, bars and hotels adopted Tiki themes and boasted drinks and dishes served in pineapples on their menus. Disneyland developed the now iconic "Enchanted Tiki Room" attraction with talking tropical birds to entertain the audience. A cult has arisen around the kitsch of the era, to covet the cocktail recipes and maintain a nostalgia for the nearly vanished Tiki bars that once flourished, especially in seaside cities in California and Florida. 

The King Kukulele Family
Events such as Tiki Oasis in San Diego and The Hukilau in Florida have drawn hundreds of Tiki enthusiasts for weekends devoted to this particular genre of retro-Americana, so, in 2005, King Kukulele (aka Denny Moynahan), an active participant in the retro-Tiki scene, thought, "Why not in L.A.?" Moynahan teamed up with the American Cinematheque to create a luau on Hollywood Boulevard that continues to grow.

Tiki Night 2014
Past events have included classic exotica from the 1950s and 60s (BIRD OF PARADISE, BLUE HAWAII, FAIRWIND TO JAVA, HELL'S HALF ACRE), as well as new documentaries that explore the influence of Tiki in the 21st century (THE SOPHISTICATED MISFIT about the artist Shag & PLASTIC PARADISE: A SWINGIN' TRIP THROUGH AMERICA'S POLYNESIAN OBSESSION). Special guests have included the artist Shag, Richard Sherman, composer of the song for Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room (a cultural touchstone for Tiki revivalists), actresses France Nuyen, Barbara Luna and Darlene Tomkins, Wally Boag, the voice of the animatronic bird "Jose" in the Enchanted Tiki Room, Tiki Guru Sven Kirstin and even some friendly and exotic puppets from “Bob Baker’s Marionettes.”

King Kukulele

Saturday, July 25

A fragrant South Seas breeze blows through Hollywood, bringing with it, the American Cinematheque's annual Tiki Night! Beginning at noon, a vendor marketplace will open for shopping in the theater Courtyard, featuring, art, memorabilia, clothing, and accessories with a Tiki theme. At 5:00PM, entertainment begins, with performances from King Kukulele and The Friki Tikis and the Polynesian Paradise Dancers, a book signing with the authors of Hawaii Movie and Television Book: Celebrating 100 Years of Film Production Throughout the Hawaiian Islands, a Tiki Fashion Show hosted by Wonderama and drinks and snacks available for purchase. A Tiki rarities clip show hosted by King Kukulele, will precede the feature film screening of the Cinerama travelogue SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE at 7:30 PM. Sponsored by Primo Beer.

Denny Moynahan hosts Tiki Night under his stage persona King Kukulele. He is a comedian, actor and ukuleleist with inexorable energy who has performed around the world, singing hapa haole and novelty songs. Wearing Hawaiian shirt, straw hat, ersatz grass skirt and lei, he has opened Hollywood premieres and performed at Disneyland, Universal Studios, and other venues. 


Noon - 7:30 PM The Courtyard will be open to shop all things Tiki, starting at noon. From noon to 4:30 PM, the courtyard will be open to the public for shopping. At 4:30 PM the marketplace will be limited to ticket holders for Tiki Night. 

5:00PM - 7:00PM Enjoy performances from King Kukulele and The Friki Tikis and the Polynesian Paradise Dancers in the Courtyard. Co-authors Luis I. Reyes and Ed Rampell will sign copies of Hawaii Movie and Television Book: Celebrating 100 Years of Film Production Throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Plus, a Tiki fashion show

5:00PM - 7:00PM Bar: Free Primo Beer, plus, a no-host bar will offer two specialty Tiki cocktails, plus beer and wine. Credit cards only.

7:30PM Join us in the auditorium for an exciting pre-show with King Kukulele, showing rarities and surprises, followed by the feature film Cinerama SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE.

1958, Flicker Alley, 120 min, USA, Dir: Carl Dudley, Richard Goldstone, Francis D. Lyon, Walter Thompson, Basil Wrangell

The final travelogue produced by Cinerama to showcase its widescreen process sets sail to Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia through five fictional vignettes. Beautifully restored from the original camera negative, the color footage of these island paradises is spectacular, and Orson Welles' narration adds a wry wink to these tales of adventure and romance. You don't want to miss the fashion, dance and music in this time capsule of midcentury dream vacations!
Photo by Clever Vintage of beautiful skirts that will be on sale at their booth!
Photo by Wonderama of one of their 1970s Hawaiian Shirts!  @PSWONDERAMA
Shimmer Tiki by Brian Boskind, on sale in the vendor marketplace

Special Event Ticket Prices (for Movie and Entertainment): $13 General, $11 Student/Senior, $9 Member. Food and drink sold separately except for Primo Beer which is included in the ticket price for those 21 and over. Please bring I.D. if you want to drink alcoholic beverages. Updates, trailers and more information on our website. Join us on Facebook at Egyptian Theatre.

Sponsored by:

This event is produced for the American Cinematheque by Andrew Crane and Margot Gerber with the support of Denny Moynahan. Text and Tiki Night archive photos by Margot Gerber.