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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki JOHN-O's Las Vegas (& Honolulu pg 8) Thread
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JOHN-O's Las Vegas (& Honolulu pg 8) Thread
Benzart
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 10358
From: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Posted: 2010-07-24 12:15 pm   Permalink

We just visited Las Vegas for a few days and are currently in the air half way to Atlanta. Just reading about Mister Smiley's Tiki bar, I can say it is an Awesome place, Thanks Bruce. There is NO Room left for mugs or Anything and yet there are Still boxes of stuff to be placed on display there. I Suggest a Visit if you can, Thanks again Smiley.

While in Vegas I had an opportunity to visit the Redwood Lono I had carved for the Tropicana in 1989, The one which originally was 13 feet tall but was knocked over by a Maintenance man coating it with oil.

And THEN I had the Total Surprise of being invited to the private home where I was to photograph another redwood carving,, the 13 foot Maori, carved in 1990. However when I arrived I found along with the Maori piece, the Giant KU (13 feet tall) as well as 5 other palm and hardwood tikis, I was Totally blown away and beside myself with excitement.
Thanks again Mr Smiley who volunteered to take me on this excursion and who also shared the experience with me and Mrs Benzart.
I will post photos when I get home. Those old tikis DO EXIST!!!!!


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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2646
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-07-27 09:09 am   Permalink

The Tropicana Tikis were reputed to be haunted (or at least the large Tiki mask was)...

http://www.spookhunters.com/spookhunt/vegas/Tropicana/hunt.php

The story goes that Tropicana management removed the Tikis because people were winnng too much money.

I'm assuming those were the Benzart Tikis. Fun story anyway.

We need more haunted or cursed Tikis around here.


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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3769
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2010-07-28 08:18 am   Permalink

Are there still Tikis at the Tropicana?
Benzart's post suggests that they remain, but JohnnyO's indicates that they were removed based on those who feared their mana.

The Tikis would match with the "Hot,Hot,Hot" song which I believe used to be played there as a theme.


 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2646
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-07-28 09:48 am   Permalink

There are no Tikis at the Tropicana.

I'm not sure where this private residence is. Is it Wayne Newton's house ?

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=37233&forum=4&vpost=544417



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TikiPug
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Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 788
From: Den of Sin / Pug's Pair-A-Dice
Posted: 2010-07-28 10:19 am   Permalink

It's not Wayne's house.

 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2646
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-08-19 6:38 pm   Permalink

Las Vegas Trip Report

Here's some updates for you...


1. RumJungle in Mandalay Bay was shut down because they weren't paying their bills !!...

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/aug/12/mandalay-bay-club-closes-after-court-allows-evicti

Were Tikiphiles even patronizing this place ??


2. Here's a new cool addition to East Fremont. Emergency Arts is a combination coffee house and gallery arts center. Since burlesque is a part of the Tiki Revival (right?), it might be of interest that the "Burlesque Hall of Fame" is a tenant there. I spoke with one of the curators, Laura Herbert, and she mentioned she's worked with Tiki Oasis co-founder Baby Doe (??) on past burlesque events. There's your Tiki connection. I love the fact that Emergency Arts stands in the shadow of my beloved El Cortez Hotel & Casino. Check it out if you're downtown.




3. Frankie's Tiki Room. The more I visit this place the more I love it. Not just for the Tiki factor, but because Frankie's (pre-Tiki Room) is such an anchor back to old-school Vegas. Originally I thought the bar opened in 1964, but speaking with several of the long time patrons, they insist it dates back to the 1940's. I believe them. This would make Frankie's even older than Atomic Liquors !! Also I like the fact that Frankie's is more of a locals' hang-out than a tourist destination. One barfly that I recently chatted up, said she'd been coming to Frankie's since the late 1960's. When it was remodeled to Tiki, she hated it and stopped coming. Eventually she came back, warmed up to the place, and says it's now her favorite bar in Las Vegas. I think it's this interesting mix of long time locals, hipsters, Tikiphiles, and (yes) tourists that makes Frankie's such an eclectic place.

When I mentioned the Aku Aku, she said "Pffft... That place was a lounge for the tourists. Frankie's (back in the day) was where the real people went !!" I'm glad to see that's still the case. Also did you know the arched Spanish entrance is not original? It used to be square but then it was remodeled in 1968.


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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3769
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2010-09-16 07:40 am   Permalink

Although not necessarily Tiki, the Mirage's atrium has a captivating jungle - tropical inspired vibe which calls out for Hawaiian shirts:


I may make Stack my next big dinner out destination:



 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2646
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-09-16 08:55 am   Permalink

Nice observation Christiki. Let's run with it.

Here's my idea for re-theming the Mirage. They can keep the jungle and volcano and do the following...

1. Relocate the Benzart Tikis into the atrium.
2. Outfit the cocktail waitresses like Mai Kai girls.
3. Dealers can wear Aloha shirts with an abstract modern pattern.
4. Pipe in only Exotica and Space-age music.
5. Commission some Witco-style Craps tables, Blackjack tables, etc.
6. Have the main casino bar offer the Grog Log.
7. Redecorate the rooms in a mid-century Regency-style bordello theme. (Yeah I know this isn't being consistent but tasteful "Modern" is getting kind of boring in LV).

Rename the place "EXOTICA WORLD" (because Tiki World sounds kind of cheezy).



 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2646
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-09-16 4:51 pm   Permalink

FYI, the Liberace Museum is closing down for good on Oct 17th.

http://www.lvrj.com/news/liberace-museum-to-close-after-31-years-102646619.html

http://www.lasvegassun.com/blogs/kats-report/2010/sep/10/liberace-museum-closing-final-day-operation-longtm/


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martian-tiki
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Sep 19, 2009
Posts: 369
Posted: 2010-09-16 11:09 pm   Permalink

I remember an episode of COPS where the Reno PD was guarding Liberace's player piano - but it turned out that it was a ghost playing it.


(some mag I saw on ebay a couple years ago that overloaded my irony meter)


 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3769
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2010-09-17 7:07 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-09-16 16:51, JOHN-O wrote:
FYI, the Liberace Museum is closing down for good on Oct 17th.

http://www.lvrj.com/news/liberace-museum-to-close-after-31-years-102646619.html

http://www.lasvegassun.com/blogs/kats-report/2010/sep/10/liberace-museum-closing-final-day-operation-longtm/



What is this world coming to?
Las Vegas has lost its soul!


 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3769
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2010-09-20 9:15 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-09-16 08:55, JOHN-O wrote:
Nice observation Christiki. Let's run with it.

Here's my idea for re-theming the Mirage. They can keep the jungle and volcano and do the following...

1. Relocate the Benzart Tikis into the atrium.
2. Outfit the cocktail waitresses like Mai Kai girls.
3. Dealers can wear Aloha shirts with an abstract modern pattern.
4. Pipe in only Exotica and Space-age music.
5. Commission some Witco-style Craps tables, Blackjack tables, etc.
6. Have the main casino bar offer the Grog Log.
7. Redecorate the rooms in a mid-century Regency-style bordello theme. (Yeah I know this isn't being consistent but tasteful "Modern" is getting kind of boring in LV).

Rename the place "EXOTICA WORLD" (because Tiki World sounds kind of cheezy).




All doable - at least as far as the bar.
Paris Hilton can break the champagne to christen- as she likes to party in Las Vegas.
I think the Beach Boy vibe of Kokomo's is too squeaky clean for Vegas, anyway.
The Mirage can use Kokomo's to start:







 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2646
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-10-17 9:18 pm   Permalink

The Liberace Museum closed today.



http://www.ktnv.com/Global/story.asp?S=13201769

If Liberace can draw protesters in support of his historic legacy, why can't Tiki culture have the same ??

And no I'm not pointing fingers, I admit to being part of the problem too.

I think all the boozing is making us complacent.

[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2010-10-17 21:25 ]


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Trailerpark Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 27, 2010
Posts: 351
From: Las Vegas
Posted: 2010-10-24 10:09 am   Permalink

Regarding the Mary Kaye Trio: I met Norman Kaye about 13 years ago while working at the LV Hilton. He was a very warm and friendly man. He befriended me (a 30 something restaurant manager) and occasionally would tell me tales of the old days. At first, I thought of him as another old timer hanging out at the casino playing keno in his retirement years. But in recent years, I discovered what a rich history he had. I lost touch with Norman when I left the Hilton and I don't even know if he is alive any more. He was in his 70's or 80's when I met him.

I learned about the Mary Kaye Trio in Guitar Player Magazine about 5 years ago. I had no idea that Mary Kaye was Hawaiian or that my friend Norman Kaye and Mary had invented the Las Vegas lounge scene. Thanks again John-O for the history lesson.

Oh, and BTW I know where the Tropicana Tikis are, but I'm sworn to tiki-secrecy by Benzart.

Wade (TPT)

[ This Message was edited by: Trailerpark Tiki 2010-10-24 10:10 ]


 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2646
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-10-25 10:39 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-10-24 10:09, Trailerpark Tiki wrote:

Regarding the Mary Kaye Trio: I met Norman Kaye about 13 years ago while working at the LV Hilton. He was a very warm and friendly man. He befriended me (a 30 something restaurant manager) and occasionally would tell me tales of the old days. At first, I thought of him as another old timer hanging out at the casino playing keno in his retirement years. But in recent years, I discovered what a rich history he had. I lost touch with Norman when I left the Hilton and I don't even know if he is alive any more. He was in his 70's or 80's when I met him.

I learned about the Mary Kaye Trio in Guitar Player Magazine about 5 years ago. I had no idea that Mary Kaye was Hawaiian or that my friend Norman Kaye and Mary had invented the Las Vegas lounge scene. Thanks again John-O for the history lesson.

Oh, and BTW I know where the Tropicana Tikis are, but I'm sworn to tiki-secrecy by Benzart.

Wade (TPT)



Thanks Wade, that's a great story !! Norman Kaye was still living in 2007 when Mary Kaye passed. He's probably still playing Keno at the Hilton.


Here's a recent LV discovery of my own (that I'm sure you're well aware of).

Las Vegas is a hot bed of mid-century modern architecture !!

And no I'm not talking about major tourist destinations but rather the residential neighborhoods north of Sahara Ave.

These were the major neighborhoods that people lived in during the 1950's and 60's. When Vegas boomed in the 1990's most of the new residential construction happened in large planned communities like Summerlin which left a lot of the original mid-century neighborhoods intact. They of course fell upon harder times when the middle class chose to live in the newer communities.

I attended the Mondo Lounge architectural bus tour which was a 5-hour drive through these neighborhoods. This was the first time I really got a chance to see these older neighborhoods, many of which I initially assumed would be kind of sketchy. I was really amazed by the architecture I saw, it felt like I was on a similar mid-mod tour in Palm Springs. In fact one of the tour leaders was Alan Hess who's authored many books on the subject like "Palm Springs Weekend". The main tour narrator was Jack Levine who is a realtor that specializes in mid-mod properties. I met him at Mr. Smiley's summer party where he first told me of the Oct bus tour.

http://veryvintagevegas.com

It was shocking to see many of these gems (in need of some tender loving care) going for short sales of $65K. As I recall, one 4K sq ft place was going for less than $300K. Obviously some of these neighborhoods have seen better times as was evident by some boarded up windows and the occasional gang graffiti. Overall though I got a sense there was a renovation trend going on similar to what happened in Palm Springs in the late 1990's. Maybe some of the LV TC'ers could comment from a locals' perspective.

Sorry I didn't take many pictures, it was difficult to do from the inside of a bus. Here's some shots I took of the historic Morelli House which currently serves as offices for the Junior League of Las Vegas. It was moved from its original location and has been restored back to its original mid-century glory.

http://www.jllv.org/lv/npo.jsp?pg=about7







I'm kicking myself for not taking more pictures of the places we had access to, like the Las Vegas Country Club. It's just that the crowd was so large, it was difficult to get clear shots of the exteriors and interiors.

At any rate I hope to see a "Las Vegas Modern" book soon (to go with my "Palm Springs Weekend" and "Tiki Modern").


[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2010-10-25 22:43 ]


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