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Tiki Central Forums Collecting Tiki Luau Miami Beach
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Luau Miami Beach
GatorRob
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1771
From: 3 hrs 33 mins to paradise
Posted: 2008-07-03 05:28 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-07-02 17:50, Pacifilantic wrote:
It was a large (at least 12" tall) conical mountain of shaved/crushed ice... fresh pineapple cubes, speared with toothpicks, covered the volcano's slopes. Apparently dry ice was inside the volcano, producing excellent "smoke" for quite a long time through a hole in the volcano's top.


You can still order this at the Mai-Kai. It's on the dessert menu and called a Polynesian Surprise. But instead of dry ice, it's lit up with sparklers. I think it's lit up from the inside too so the ice "volcano" glows. It's great, although dry ice would be a nice touch!


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11197
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-03 1:27 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-07-02 17:50, Pacifilantic wrote:
.... thrilled me as a child in the late 50's-early 60's? While my parents sipped their tropical rum drinks...



Did your folks perhaps snap any photos of you or themselves posing with any of the weird statues in the sculpture garden around the entrance outside? I dig the ones holding up the porte cochere:




 
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pa'akiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 26, 2005
Posts: 70
Posted: 2008-07-03 7:08 pm   Permalink

Mauna Loa Volcano .75c
"fresh chunks of golden pineapple and preserved kumquats set in a tropical ice topped mountain. order for two or more." another menu describes it like this
Mauna Loa Volcano .85c
"Fresh pineapple and preserved kumquats in a tropical ice capped mountain flamed with 151 demerera rum for a dip." (order for two or more) per person.
Trader Syd was the owner. I will try and find time to upload some pictures of the menus. I have an article on the owner somewhere.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11197
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-05 05:36 am   Permalink

That article would be great: Maybe, if Syd ain't around anymore, we can contact his descendants and get some photos.

 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4355
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2008-07-05 11:58 am   Permalink

Pa'akiki. I second Bigbro's message, it would be great to see the menu and the article you have, please try to post. Thanks

 
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pa'akiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 26, 2005
Posts: 70
Posted: 2008-07-07 06:57 am   Permalink

here are some menu's and an article on the Luau.





 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11197
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-07 09:04 am   Permalink

Nice stash of paper ephemera, pa'akiki, never seen that many Miami Luau menus in one place! I would love to use that menu with the rendering of the exterior in one of my future books (and that Trader Syd photo with it?). It seems like one can really see the Van DerCar statuary in it.

Unfortunately, the article came up so small that I cannot read it. Does it mention Syd's full name? I am sending you a pm, please check under "personal messages".




 
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Pacifilantic
Member

Joined: Mar 19, 2008
Posts: 10
From: Florida
Posted: 2008-07-07 10:21 am   Permalink

Re: the Van DerCar sculptures... I suspect they were not original to the Luau building. In the online photos of the older Luau postcards (date given as 1959), the sculptures don't appear. Does anyone remember when they were added? In my admittedly faulty memory, we returned to the Luau in the early '70's after several years away, and I felt that the place looked and felt really different from the way I remembered it as a smaller child in the late '50's early 60's. Perhaps the sculptures were part of the reason. I'll see if I have any photos. IMO the light concrete fluid-looking Van DerCar art, while cool in its own way, was rather jarring in the dark woods and green foliage of the traditional tiki restaurant setting. Possibly more representative of late 60's psychedelia... which still stays within the theme of "escape", I guess!

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11197
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-07 10:49 am   Permalink

You are right. If we compare the two postcards:





...it becomes clear that the Moai statues and the extra palm front porte cochere were added later, while the original entrance hut's roof was changed to glass plates:



It sounds like you favor more "authentic" Tiki style, a la Oceanic Arts. But the giant Easter Island heads with the flame coming out and the Tikis holding the new palm front roof are exactly what I describe and favor as "Tiki Modern": The re-interpretation of Polynesian art with a bohemian beatnik "modern art" slant. Ever since I saw the postcard I have been wanting to see close ups of the statues, because to me they are a fine example of American mid-century modern Tiki art --even if they were made in the 70s: Because their source of inspiration lies in the spirit of mid-century modernism, very much like a lot of WITCO's 70s oeuvre does, too.


[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-07-07 11:05 ]


 
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Pacifilantic
Member

Joined: Mar 19, 2008
Posts: 10
From: Florida
Posted: 2008-07-07 4:56 pm   Permalink

In Pa'akiki's menu collection, the menu showing renderings of the Luau's entrance with the Van DerCar-like statuary gives the address as "John F. Kennedy Causeway (79th Street Causeway)". The other menus, and the older postcards, apparently just say "79th Street Causeway". This may help fix the time frame a bit. The road wouldn't have been renamed in honor of JFK until some time after his presidency.

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11197
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-07 5:16 pm   Permalink

Very good point! This is urban archeology, too: Not only the searching out and finding of the actual places under layers of renovation and modernization, but also the digging up and comparing of paper ephemera and scriptures, zooming into details and deducing facts about their history.

 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4355
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2008-07-07 5:33 pm   Permalink

Pa'akiki. Wow thanks for the post, I have never seen that Luau menu with the rendering, it is really cool. It would be great if you could rescan that article on Trader Syd and post it to that we could all read it.

Dang Bigbro, your really good at this historical Tiki research stuff. It's almost as though you do this kind of thing for a living! Keep up the good work.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11197
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-07 5:38 pm   Permalink

Duh! I just went back thru my own link to my old thread, and towards the end, among those slightly confusing posts by his friend who runs the Van Dercar blog, I found this (!):

Quote:

On 2005-10-14 07:57, ripaldaz wrote:
[Thank you for posting my photo & websites. There will be more photos of Van's paintings & sculpture. I have been in touch with a number of friends from 30 years ago. Some have quite a large collection of Van's work. We had a fun group of friends. The warlock stuff was just a marketing hook.

I have emailed the museum of art miami archive to see if they have a photo of the old Luau Restaurant on Miami Beach. VanDercar sculpted the tiki's that were inside the restaurant.



I swear I did not read this last part until now! So now that we can be certain, let's find Trader Syd or his descendants and see if they have any pics of the statues!




 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11197
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-07 5:45 pm   Permalink

Well, the above only shows that sometimes it is good to research your own research!

Quote:

On 2008-07-07 17:33, Dustycajun wrote:
Dang Bigbro, your really good at this historical Tiki research stuff. It's almost as though you do this kind of thing for a living....



Yeah right, wish I WOULD. Then I wouldn't have to go back to Germany to pay the bills here, and miss fun stuff like the Hukilau!


 
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boutiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 03, 2002
Posts: 485
From: The fly-over states
Posted: 2008-08-24 9:47 pm   Permalink

So I picked up a matchbook from the Luau last week, it was cheap and I couldn't remember if I had this one. I think there may have been a couple of designs. Before I put it with our other matchbooks I was looking at it and noticed it said "designed by Franklin Hughes" (I presume that meant the restaurant, not the matchbook).

I did the requisite google searches and did a search here on T.C. but came up empty. Does the name mean anything to anyone? Could more be discovered by you folks in Miami? Did Franklin Hughes design anything else Tiki, or anything else of note at all?

Perhaps another clue to what was once clearly an amazing place.

-Duke
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