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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Ernie Menehune (img heavy)
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Ernie Menehune (img heavy)
cheeky half
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 22, 2002
Posts: 795
From: Tucson, AZ
Posted: 2006-07-31 10:29 am   Permalink

Most people outside of Tucson probably don't know about a little gem we have here called Ernie Menehune. He is a WWII veteran and bills himself as "Hawaii's Suntanned Irishman."

Ernie is the consumate perfomer and has been performing with his Polynesian Review here in Tucson at Ye Ole Lantern for years (Ye Ole Lantern was one of Dean Shorts' restaurants, his other restaurants included the Kon Tiki, Pago Pago and Ports o' Call.) Unfortunately the Lantern closed down about six months ago, fortunately we now have the opportunity to see Ernie again at the Kon Tiki here in Tucson. See this thread
http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=20471&forum=4&3.

Ernie's records can be found in the thrift stores around town pretty easily. It is however rather difficult to find a record that he has not been previously signed so we usually just have him resign them for us. He loves it when people bring in his old LP's, just a hint for anyone who might be coming to the show.



Here are a couple of newspaper articles that give a bit more info on him.
http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/Issues/1996-06-27/news/columns.html
http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tw/11-07-96/mus.htm

Ernie lives on the outskirts of Tucson in Menehune Village, a compound that he built and planted with his own two hands decades ago. Here are some pictures of the Tucson Polynesian Society's luau at Menehune Village last spring.

Ernie carves his own tikis.











Elvis doesn't perform with the Polynesian Review he just shows up for the luaus.

Anyway, that's a little history on Ernie. He really is the sweetest man you could ever meet. Hopefully sometime we can have a reunion show at the Kon Tiki with Ernie and his longtime friend and polynesian crooner Freddie Baker. Freddie still performs nightly in Albuquerque. I highly recommend catching his show if you are in the area.

cheeky half

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[ This Message was edited by: cheeky half 2006-08-14 14:20 ]

[ This Message was edited by: cheeky half 2006-08-20 09:10 ]


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Monkeyman
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Joined: Mar 04, 2003
Posts: 2348
From: Vista, CA
Posted: 2006-07-31 10:56 am   Permalink

very cool thread. thanks for creating content.

 
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bb moondog
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Joined: Apr 18, 2006
Posts: 491
From: Gilbert AZ
Posted: 2006-07-31 10:56 am   Permalink

Ernie Menehune is STILL AROUND? holy CRAP...I have run into 2 of his LPs in the past year...that he is still around is amazing...he should round up as many of the old school guys that are still here in this world and do an EXOTICA SUPER TOUR.
Yeah--his stuff actually holdds up--is his steel guitar player still around? He did all the arrangements and he was SMOKIN'


 
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cheeky half
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Joined: Nov 22, 2002
Posts: 795
From: Tucson, AZ
Posted: 2006-07-31 11:24 am   Permalink

Thanks MM. It's nice to have some content to post. Hopefully we can get a good group of tc'ers to help keep the show up and running.

BB, grab those LP's and bring them down here to Tucson for the show. He usually just performs now with a keyboard player, but I don't know if that will change for the Kon Tiki show.

If anyone out there is interested in seeing Ernie it's probably best to do it sooner rather than later. He is 80-something years old and keeps trying to retire, we just keep pulling him back in.
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Jeff Central
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Joined: Jul 23, 2002
Posts: 1565
From: Columbus, Ohio
Posted: 2006-07-31 1:06 pm   Permalink

This is awesome news!!! Quick someone call the Hukilau!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cheers and Mahalo,
Jeff


 
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Humuhumu
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Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3536
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2006-07-31 1:17 pm   Permalink

Thanks for the heads-up, cheeky half! That Phoenix New Times article in particular is great. I hope they're able to make this a monthly happening. Does his wife Beverly come out for the show, too?

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cheeky half
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Joined: Nov 22, 2002
Posts: 795
From: Tucson, AZ
Posted: 2006-07-31 1:24 pm   Permalink

Hi Humuhumu, I believe the goal is to make this a monthly show. Maybe we can entice you to come back to the desert for another visit.

Unfortunately, his wife Beverly passed away a few years ago. I did not have the opportunity to see her perform but I have heard that she was a brilliant hula dancer.
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Humuhumu
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Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3536
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2006-07-31 1:36 pm   Permalink

I'm sorry to hear that she's passed. She came across as a great personality in that article, I bet she was a hoot. I'm definitely itching to get back to the Kon Tiki, and Hanford really wants to see it, too! Our August is already chock-full, but we'll cross our fingers that a future show will be workable for us.

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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11004
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2006-07-31 6:51 pm   Permalink

Menehune Village!!? Wow, what a find! I wanna go! I always loved his name, and have an LP that credits some of his venues in the back. He always struck me as the classic example of a mainland Tiki lounge performer. Guys, could you post some pics of his LPs in this thread?
There was a nice article about Freddie Baker years ago in Tiki News, good to hear that he's still around too.


 
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Kona Chris
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Joined: Jul 16, 2005
Posts: 237
From: Tucson, AZ
Posted: 2006-08-01 03:02 am   Permalink

Cool! I'm hoping to make it on the 13th. I have to work that night, but I still should be able to go. Hope to see you there Cheeky

Chris
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Rum Numb Davey
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Joined: Jul 17, 2005
Posts: 204
From: Phoenix, AZ
Posted: 2006-08-01 09:31 am   Permalink

Cheeky Half:

What part of the old Pueblo is Menehune Village in? Is that on the far East Side?
Let Kimo and I know when the next event there is and we'll come join you.

RND


 
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cheeky half
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 22, 2002
Posts: 795
From: Tucson, AZ
Posted: 2006-08-01 10:11 am   Permalink

Hey Sven, we've posted some of his albums on our website, the images are a little large and there are quite a few of them.

http://www.velvetglass.com/tikipages/erniemenehune.html

Hope you can make it Chris and invite all of your friends. We want to keep Ernie coming back.

cheeky half


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cheeky half
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 22, 2002
Posts: 795
From: Tucson, AZ
Posted: 2006-08-01 10:22 am   Permalink

Good morning RND,

Menehune Village is on the far Southwest side.

Ernie made a suprise announcement at the springtime gathering that it would be the last luau he would host or MC. I don't know if that meant no more luaus or if he just didn't want to have to organize them. If something does come up we'll definitely let you know.

Are you coming to the show at the KT? I don't see you on the list for Scottsdale. Hopefully we can get together soon.

cheeky half

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[ This Message was edited by: cheeky half 2006-08-01 10:34 ]


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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11004
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2006-08-02 03:11 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-08-01 10:11, cheeky half wrote:
Hey Sven, we've posted some of his albums on our website, the images are a little large and there are quite a few of them.

http://www.velvetglass.com/tikipages/erniemenehune.html





Thanks! I have have the "Aloha Land" one, but those others really are classics of Polynesian Pop, very cool! Motels on the cover, restaurants on the back, that's as good as Paul Page.

I will have both Tiki Kais in my new book, the Albuquerque one because it had Witco in it, and the Denver one because of its infamous lingerie waitressing period. As I pointed out before somewhere here, the giant (Trader Vic's logo style) New Guinea statue and the Moai in the back came from Barney West's Tiki Junction, you can see him carving that PNG statue in the BOT in the last chapter.

Also, did you ever catch my post that pointed out that one specific Tiki at the Tucson Kon Tiki that I discovered in the Milan Guanko line up in the B&W photo of the Tiki nursery in my book?


 
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King Kukulele
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 22, 2002
Posts: 234
From: The Lemoyne Lanai in Echo Park, CA.
Posted: 2006-08-02 9:36 pm   Permalink

Ernie Menehune Rocks! I love that guy. I found Waikiki Jackpot about ten years ago (in Southern California) and I was totally caught off guard when I read it was produced in Phoenix AZ! That's where my family is from, and hearing that he is still playing is great news. Ernie was one of the first influences on me and a great inspiration. Long Live Ernie Menehune!!

 
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