FEATURES | MUSIC | BOOKS | DRINKS | FORUMS | GAMES | LINKS | ABOUT


advertise on Tiki Central

Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop
  [Edit Profile]  [Edit Preferences]  [Search] [Sign Up]
[Personal Messages]  [Member List]  [Help/FAQ]  [Rules]  [Login]
Tiki Central Forums General Tiki In Search of Frank Bowers...
Goto page ( Previous Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 Next Page )
In Search of Frank Bowers...
Or Got Rum?
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 29, 2009
Posts: 339
From: Wisconsin
Posted: 2009-10-01 08:01 am   Permalink

JOHN-O, Great analogy to Wally Wood (who also did great work on EC comics and early Marvel Daredevil) especially in the Menu Cover artwork. Good Eye.

 
View Profile of Or Got Rum? Send a personal message to Or Got Rum?      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Sabu The Coconut Boy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2793
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2009-10-01 09:49 am   Permalink

John - Good point about taking photos. I left my camera in the car and it wasn't till I had talked to the locals a bit that I asked if it would be ok to take pictures.

[ This Message was edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2009-10-01 09:50 ]


 
View Profile of Sabu The Coconut Boy Send a personal message to Sabu The Coconut Boy  Email Sabu The Coconut Boy     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
1961surf
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 03, 2007
Posts: 1932
From: Newport Beach, Ca .
Posted: 2009-10-01 12:03 pm   Permalink

Great thread !

 
View Profile of 1961surf Send a personal message to 1961surf  Email 1961surf Goto the website of 1961surf     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11266
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-10-01 1:14 pm   Permalink

Ouuuh, you're right, John. I sincerely hope that this find will not cause a slew Tiki tourists to flood these places and snap pictures like Japanese tour bus riders! Don't spoil it for me, kids. I really want to record these images for posterity, and will proceed with greatest caution, to not spook the natives: I am gonna get a drink (or two) first, assess the situation, and decide on a correct approach, than perhaps show my book and introduce myself, and then ask for permission to set up my tripod and lights. If I get to shoot the pics, great, if not, tough luck. I have had years of experience with old suspicious owners of Tiki habitats, and not all came across.

 
View Profile of bigbrotiki Send a personal message to bigbrotiki  Goto the website of bigbrotiki     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2700
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2009-10-01 4:13 pm   Permalink

Bigbro, I don't think the locals will get upset. It'll probably be the opposite and let me tell you why. When I was chatting up the bartender, the owner's niece, and the rest of the regulars at Embers, I mentioned the bar was described in a recent book. Their eyes widened, and they said "Really! What book?". I had the new edition of "L.A. Bizarro" in my car which I brought in and showed to them. They were so jazzed that they made me read the entire 2-page description out loud to the whole bar. It begins.....

"Another sixties strip mall, another bar, and more surprises. Even Santa Fe Springs, one of the many why-would-anyone-choose-to-live-here suburbs of Los Angeles, is rife with treasure. And how wonderful that Embers Lounge offers an opportunity to tell someone, with a straight face, that you actually traveled east of Downey to go drink in a bar for the artwork.".......

I jokingly warned them that the "cat was out of the bag", and that they could expect an onslaught of Eastside hipsters looking to get their ironic experience on. They thought that was pretty funny, especially when a group of drunken Mexican day laborers staggered in to play pool and get even more drunk.

If anything they wanted to share more of their local treasures. "You like this place? You should check out Poor Denny's Saloon or the Steak Corral or....."

Honestly though, I think these bars are just too far out of the way or too scary looking to draw swarms of rubberneckers. At least for Embers, you can always emphasize the stabbing they had last year. One woman at the bar actually reenacted it for me via the security camera in the restroom hallway.

And as for the Foc'sle Bar, I think driving around Wilmington will give pause for some people to even get out of their car.


 
View Profile of JOHN-O Send a personal message to JOHN-O      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2986
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2009-10-01 4:24 pm   Permalink

Wow! Great thread here. Thanks Sabu and John-O for the archeology and photos. I've been to the Embers and the Buccaneer (I saw the late 70s punk band The Urinals there a few years ago), but never to the Foc'sle. I found the locals at both bars to be quite friendly, but I probably wouldn't go to the Embers alone at night.

 
View Profile of thejab Send a personal message to thejab  Goto the website of thejab     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2700
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2009-10-02 11:38 am   Permalink

Here's some more background on Frank Bowers that I was able to dig up.

In an earlier post, I noted there were 1930's-era Bowers murals at South Gate City Hall (8650 California Ave). I'm assuming they're still there, I'll need to pay a visit. I noticed that works of this era were done in conjunction with an Arthur Prunier.

http://www.grconnect.com/murals/html/p8291022.html

It looks like Bowers also has 1935 murals at the Sunkist Growers Corporate offices (14130 Riverside Drive, Sherman Oaks). It's stated they hang in the corporate boardroom and so probably aren't available for public access.

http://www.citrusroots.com/paper1a.html

Notice that even though this is one of his mainstream works, he managed to sneak in one pair of bare female breasts.



What a range of work !! You can find Bowers in city government offices and corporate boardrooms as well as the diviest of LA dive bars.



 View Profile of JOHN-O Send a personal message to JOHN-O      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2700
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2009-10-03 11:11 pm   Permalink

I got a chance to visit the Foc'sle Bar today.

The area in Wilmington where the Foc'sle is located isn't that bad (at least in the early afternoon.) I was expecting something along the lines of the scarier neighborhoods I've driven through in Long Beach but this vibed more blue-collar working-class than ghetto. When I entered, it felt like a Mexican joint as the small group of people at the bar were speaking Spanish with the Latina bartender and Spanish music was blaring from the jukebox. When two young longshoremen walked in (one white, one black), the bartender went to the jukebox and put on some country music. That really changed the mood of the place.

This is a pretty cool old-school dive bar with light touches of beachcomber decor (starfish, pufferfish lamp, wooden ship wheel) and of course the two Bowers murals. I won't post or describe the murals since Sabu already did a great job of that. I was really happy to see them up close in person.

I was however eyed suspiciously by the bartender and really didn't get a chance to chat anyone up as they were engaged in their own conversations. When the bartender eagerly offered another beer to the local sitting right next to me while ignoring my empty Gin & Tonic glass, I took that as my cue to leave. While not as friendly as the Embers, I would think it's safer since the longshoreman regulars would probably straighten out any riff-raff or non-locals that got out of line.

I really wanted to take a large scale interior photograph but given my chilly reception, I figured that was a bad idea. Here's some exterior shots though. I'm glad Sabu had a better experience than me (maybe I should have worn a suit. )

I walked down the block to the location of the Hale Hawaii bar but that's Sabu's story to tell.

Also I corresponded today with Jonathon, the creator of
www.latimemachines.com. He has a lead on the location of another Bowers which he shared with me. I'll check it out and post that experience if I'm successful. It may not be directly related to Tiki but mid-century dive bars + cheesecake paintings = interesting to me !!



I might to try to check out the Buccaneer in Sierra Madre tomorrow since I'll be visiting Rosemead.




 View Profile of JOHN-O Send a personal message to JOHN-O      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11266
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-10-04 01:40 am   Permalink

Good work, John. Wonder what awaits ME there. It seems to be a matter of the right timing.
I would say that since Frank Bowers has done murals for at least two Polynesian places, and one of them, the Zamboanga one, is in Tiki Modern, ALL of his work is of interest here. The Foc'sle mural is certainly a fine piece of Exotica.

Can someone explain the meaning of the weird writing of the bar's name to this European? Fox Hole? Fox Isle?


Correction! - Just checked myself: It's a Navy thing

"Foc'sle Follies is a vaunted tradition in Naval aviation. At the end of each line period, the squadrons onboard the ship gather to recognize pilots that have performed the best, and to make fun of each other. One squadron is selected to perform a skit."

...apparently an old tradition:

"Shanties and foc'sle (forecastle) songs lightened the burden of work aboard ship and provided entertainment to off-duty sailors."

Here's what Wikipedia tells us:

The forward part of a ship with the sailors' living quarters is also called the forecastle. Related to the latter meaning is the phrase "before the mast" which denotes anything related to ordinary sailors (as opposed to a ship's officers).
The term "forecastle" relates to medieval shipbuilding, where ships of war were usually equipped with a tall, multi-deck castle-like structure in the bows of the ship which served as a platform for archers to shoot down on enemy ships and could also be used as a defensive stronghold if the ship was boarded.

So is this what I shall expect at the Foc'sle Bar :

"The forecastle was black and slimy with filth, very small and hot as an oven. It was filled with a compound of foul air, smoke, sea-chests, soap-kegs, greasy pans, tainted meat, sea-sick Americans and foreign ruffians. The ruffians were smoking, laughing, chattering and cursing the green hands who were sick. With groans on one side, and yells, oaths, laughter and smoke on the other, it altogether did not impress [me] as a very pleasant home for the next year or two. [I was] indeed, sick and sorry enough, and heartily wish [myself] home."



Tiki Central and urban archeology always broadens one's horizons!


 
View Profile of bigbrotiki Send a personal message to bigbrotiki  Goto the website of bigbrotiki     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2700
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2009-10-04 10:18 pm   Permalink

Great nautical lesson, Bigbro !! That's a good lead in to our next Bowers destination - The Buccaneer. I visited there today.

Now for those of you intimidated by the working-class locations and dive bar natures of the Embers Lounge and Foc'sle Bar, this is a different option to experience the work of Bowers in the "safety" of an WASPish suburban neighborhood. Sierra Madre feels just like small town USA and is only 6 miles north of the Bahooka at 70 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.

The crowd I walked into definitely seemed to all know each other. It was almost like a private party as they were serving home made chili. Making conversation with some of the regulars, this is what I learned about the place:

1. Originally the bar was located down the street, but moved to the current location maybe 20 years ago. The first location had to have dated back to the 1950's.

2. It's said that Bowers did the paintings to pay off his bar tab.

3. Some of the characters in the paintings were based on bar patrons at that time. Some of those people are still regular customers !!

4. The portrait of Anne Bonney was stolen a few years ago but they managed to recover it.

5. The police like to hide out on the side streets to catch speeding or DUI drivers. Watch out !

Enjoy the pictures !!












 
View Profile of JOHN-O Send a personal message to JOHN-O      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11266
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-10-06 05:46 am   Permalink

Great report, John. Man, I just dunno if I will be able to convince all those bartenders in these places to clean off all the bottles and glasses to get a clean shot of these masterworks...doesn't seem likely, unless I wave some serious moolah under their noses...which I cannot really afford. Another challenge is to photograph the extra wide format of the murals.

I noticed before, and now again in your photos of the Buccaneer, that the brush style on their paintings seems slightly different, the faces are not the same. I wonder if these got retouched when they were moved? Or can you John, having seen the art in the different locations in person, attest that they are all vintage and untouched?

In any case, the contrast of the great rendering of the interior of the pirate pub...



....being butted right up against ugly acoustic ceiling is quite ironic. Acoustic ceiling is really the bane of not only Tiki bars but vintage bars in general.



Although it was invented a bit earlier, it is a sure sign of 70s and 80s Orchids of Hawaii-style Chinese Tiki joints, which to me are examples of Tiki Devolution.

(I fully realize though that this stylistic observation does not matter one iota to the neighborhood folks who simply seek booze and companionship on their turf, and find it under any ceiling, which is a good thing )


Hold on: On second thought, even though it would be good to have these murals documented as pure paintings, not shooting them with the bottles and glasses would rob them of their Bar context, which is what really makes them cool. Just like with Tikis, where some folks portray them as art in its own right (which they are, yes), forgetting in the process that they came from the mundane environment of a bar or restaurant -which really is the essence of why Tiki culture is so cool.



[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-10-06 05:58 ]


 
View Profile of bigbrotiki Send a personal message to bigbrotiki  Goto the website of bigbrotiki     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2700
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2009-10-18 9:59 pm   Permalink

My hot lead for a 4th location of Bowers paintings proved a bust. There are NO Frank Bowers paintings at the Colorado Bar in Pasadena.

If you're in the neighborhood though, check the place out. It's a cool mid-century dive bar and they carry some high-end pours.



So what ever happened to Sabu's urban expedition? Did he find Joe Keawe's Hale Hawaii Bar?

Maybe he got eaten by angry natives (or angry longshoreman). Someone send out a Tiki search party.

[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2009-10-19 08:14 ]


 
View Profile of JOHN-O Send a personal message to JOHN-O      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2700
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-10-08 11:19 pm   Permalink

This thread might be the most comprehensive overview of Frank Bowers on the web.

Based on an internet search hit on this thread, a person in Indiana created a TC account and PM'd me.

Their father has this huge Frank Bowers mural (4.5' x 10.5') sitting in his garage !!







Does anyone here want to buy it? I would think it's worth about $10K.


[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2010-10-08 23:23 ]


 
View Profile of JOHN-O Send a personal message to JOHN-O      Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
mrsmiley
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3174
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2010-10-12 09:09 am   Permalink

Awesome!! There is a great mural at an old bar (one of the few left) about a mile from here in Las Vegas. I will have to try to photo it. I am inspired.

_________________
I'm the most thirstiesterest of all!
TRADER VIC'S, Vintage, Vegas & more on EBAY 1957SPUTNIK
http://shop.ebay.com/1957sputnik/m.html
If you like it, it is ZAZZ! If you don't it is RAZZ!


 
View Profile of mrsmiley Send a personal message to mrsmiley  Email mrsmiley Goto the website of mrsmiley     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
mrsmiley
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3174
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2010-11-22 10:03 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-10-12 09:09, mrsmiley wrote:
Awesome!! There is a great mural at an old bar (one of the few left) about a mile from here in Las Vegas. I will have to try to photo it. I am inspired.





OH MY GOODNESS! The mural is also by Frank Bowers!!!! Here in Las Vegas. ZAZZ!!!
The place is called THE HARD HAT LOUNGE.
Here is my capsule review (John-O, add it to your Vegas thread -have you restored the name yet?)
The Hard Hat lounge is a typical, traditional bar. It still has a kitchen-but since the smoking law came into affect a few years ago, the oven is idle. On the border of a sketchy neighborhood (the once fantastic Naked City), I had never had an issue visiting this bar. At nights you have to get buzzed in, but once you are in the mood is sedate and comfortable. A pool table exists in case you need more exercise than lifting your beer or your jack and coke! BUT--- the real star here is the mural by Frank "Maverick" Bowers from 1963. The mural evokes more a feeling of 1956, than 63, but maybe The Maverick was stuck in his painting ways. The legend has it that he painted the mural to pay off a bar tab (google his name and you may find more mentions of his doing this in other areas like Los Angeles). An awesome mural and one the bar is proud of!








_________________
I'm the most thirstiesterest of all!
TRADER VIC'S, Vintage, Vegas & more on EBAY 1957SPUTNIK
http://shop.ebay.com/1957sputnik/m.html
If you like it, it is ZAZZ! If you don't it is RAZZ!


 
View Profile of mrsmiley Send a personal message to mrsmiley  Email mrsmiley Goto the website of mrsmiley     Edit/Delete This Post Reply with quote
Goto page ( Previous Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 Next Page )
U-Moderate:
  
v1.5

[ About Tiki Central | Contact Tiki Central | Advertise on Tiki Central ]
(c) 2000-2014 Tikiroom.com (tm), Tiki Central (tm)

Credits & copyright infomation