On a whim, we tried to get into the Honolulu Surf Film Festival at the Hawaii Art Museum. It was opening night and the Festival were screening one of those films that was a little smarter than you’d expect from the surfer crowd; you know, probably some tasteful acid jazz over 16mm footage of peeling surf – looking very much like lines of coke on a glass coffee table – from oddball surfari destinations like Kiribati or Fiji. Art crowd meets surf crowd. Since it was opening night there would be a cash bar and a live band. Looking forward to tropical images, surf music, and good libation, we circled the Museum in my truck looking for parking.
I already knew we’d have trouble getting in. There was a trickle of Beautiful People sauntering towards the Museum from the nearby street parking, all decked out in Aloha shirts, Little Black Dresses and dress slippers (you mainlanders call them “flip flops). Anticipating them, I had dressed the same in my kodachrome Phil Edwards-designed,surf-themed Aloha shirt and khaki Duck Head shorts. The beachy version of Tom Wolfe’s Radical Chic were all turning out.
|Sea Shell Lamps|
|Mai Tai and Blue Hawaii|
|Sunset at the LMSC|
The food, while generous of portion, is average at best, but really, you’re there for the Boat Drinks. The drinks you sip on a Lurline class ocean liner. Mai Tai. Zombie. Blue Hawaii. All strong, all original, all irony-free. Brought to your table or served at the bar, where, on the night of Plan B we drank bathed in the light of startled blowfish, next to a particularly salty and pickled patron of dubious condition. We watched him get politely 86d because he hadn’t lost his sea legs yet and was still a bit unsteady on land. Evidently, outside he engaged in fisticuffs with some of the solid, and very real tikis lining the walkway.
Glass Fishing Balls
The Tahitian Lanai, and it’s adjacent tiki themed hotel, the Waikikian, sounds like it was a fine place in its day, hosting many sing alongs around its much revered piano bar. I’ve heard anecdotes of holiday parties there involving guests like Martin Denny, Connie Francis, the Lennon Sisters, the cast of “Hawaiian Eye”. It remained open until 1997, leaving the LMSC alone to carry the torch, which Annette did until her passing in 2008. In the 90s when I started going there, she would greet us as we walked in, dressed in a long floral mu’u mu’u and often a haku lei on her head, shushing her caged parrot. And the LMSC continues to outlive her in exactly the manner she intended.
The Kodachrome Phil Edwards Surf-Themed Aloha Shirt
Believe me, Radical Surf Chic was not missed. An irony-free zone, when it can be found here, is definitely Good Sh*t from Hawaii.
Fresh-Water Fish Tank, here?
Piano, Ukulele, and Sing Alongs
The Old Salt