Friday, August 26, 2011

Tiki Oasis - Let's Tiki

Is there tiki in Wisconsin? There is if you know where to look! And the place to look is Let's Tiki. I had the pleasure of meeting Randy and Damon at the Zen Tiki Lounge podcast at Tiki Oasis. Damon, the guy on the right, is the tiki genius who runs It's a great source for tiki information. You'll find tiki bars listed by state, province, and country. For the record, Florida leads the nation with 25, closely followed by California with 24. But Wisconsin has a very respectable 2, make that 3 if you count the one in Damon's basement. But wait there's more, you will also find "all of the latest tiki headlines in one place" and a bar-load of great cocktail recipes including the Milwaukee Mai Tai.
To make one fill your cocktail shaker with:
1 cup crushed ice
2 oz. Roaring Dan's Rum
1/2 oz.Cointreau
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. Orgeat syrup
Shake well, until the outside of the shaker is frosted. Pour unstrained into a cocktail glass. By the way, Roaring Dan's Rum is made in Wisconsin by the Great Lakes Distillery. It is distilled from pure sugarcane molasses and Wisconsin maple syrup. Sounds yummy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tiki Oasis - Zen Tiki Lounge

I really enjoy listening to podcasts and one of my favorites is Zen Tiki Lounge. Sunshine and the Ladies of the Lounge spend an hour chatting and sipping cocktails for our listening pleasure. For the past two years I've been invited to be a part of the podcast live from Tiki Oasis. Sunshine, Kalani, and Starshine (from left to right) are wonderful hosts. Starshine redecorates his hotel room to look like a tiki bar, serves a couple of exotic cocktails of his own invention, plays a round or two of 'What's in Kalani's Bra' (which for the past two years my wife has won, um, not the bra but the contest) and generally makes us all feel very welcome. I'm honored to have all three host add a little something to the chalkboard ukulele. Check out the podcast here Zen Tiki Lounge. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Tiki Oasis - A Pair of Kings

One of the great things about living in San Diego is all of the great events that happen here. Of course there's the huge San Diego Comic Con. But there are also some interesting smaller events, too. For the past few years I've been spending a weekend at Tiki Oasis. The best way to describe the it is a Woodstock for hipsters. It's at the now renamed Hanalei Hotel famous for it's tiki architecture. While there I had the opportunity to meet some ukulele royality.
First up is Tiki King. Hailing from Felton, CA he is well known in the ukulele community. His website is a great source for ukulele information including a very comprehensive listing of ukulele makers both past and present. Almost 700 ukuleles are listed! Tiki King is also an accomplished artist having made his own custom ukuleles as well as designing artwork for the popular Flea and Fluke ukes. He also fronts his own band Tiki King and the Idol Pleasures. Their songs are definitely worth a listen. And if that's not enough activities for one man he's also an amateur bartender! On his website he has a great list of cocktails both tiki inspired and conventional. Here's the Mai Tai recipe on he wrote on the ukulele:
1 oz. Light Rum
1 oz. Dark Rum
1/2 oz. Rock Candy Syrup
1/2 oz. Orgeat
1/2 oz. Orange Curacao
Juice of 1/2 a lime.
Shake well, strain into a double old fashioned glass filled with crushed ice garnish with lime shell, mint sprig, orange slice and a maraschino cherry. Delicious or should I say, "Mai tai!"

Our next royal guest is none other than King Kukulele. King Kukulele is a Southern California ukulele fixture. He's performed at many ukulele events, night clubs, and even McCabe's Guitar Shop. But he is probably best known as the emcee of Tiki Oasis. Every year he keeps the stage running smoothly from one band to another by keeping the audience laughing at his spontaneous humor. Personally, I'm a big fan of his ability to entertain both the kids and the adults in the audience. This is not an easy thing to do when the grown ups are enjoying a tasty adult beverage and the kids are watching their first burlesque dancer! If that's not enough to do he also fronts his own band Kink Kukulele and the Friki Tikis. You can find more information about this one-of-a-kind entertainer at his website:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

SD Ukulele Festival Star Derick Sebastian

While hanging out in the sun at the SD Ukulele Festival my wife grabbed my arm and said, "Did you hear Derick Sebastian play? You should get him on the chalkboard ukulele!" Never one to miss an opportunity, I waited patiently in line with his other fans and asked him to draw a little something on the uke. He was laughing the whole time he drew his big-eared creature. It seems that his family says he has no artistic talent! I think he did a great job. He also did a great job at the ukulele festival. He shared the stage with Jake Shimabukuro, did a set of his own, and taught a couple of workshops. A week later he was in Arizona playing the national anthem at a Diamondback's game. Derick is one busy guy. You can keep up with him over at his site Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Jim D'Ville - Chalkboard Ukulele by Ear

While at the San Diego Ukulele Festival Mike DeSilva was again nice enough to introduce me to ukulele instructor Jim D'Ville. In addition to being a wonderful ukulele player Jim is best know for his 'Play Ukulele by Ear' DVDs. While I haven't viewed his DVDs I have perused his blog. I'm a big fan of his '3 Chord Club.' It's amazing how many songs use just three chords. You can see that Jim drew a big '5' on the headstock of the ukulele and a 'circle of fifths' around the soundhole. While playing music can be a lot more complicated than that three chords are a great place to start. And, Jim D'Ville will get you off with the right start. Check out his blog, Play Ukulele by Ear. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Guest Artist Tim Blackburn

I've know Tim off and on for quite a few years. I say "off and on" because he lives in Plano, Texas and I only see him on his all too rare visits to California. We first met through the mail. It seems we both share an interest in eraser carving, making relief prints on the soft smooth surface of white vinyl erasers. We then make prints on postal cards and send them off to other like-minded artists. Our first face-to-face meeting was in the 90's in Santa Barbara at Stampfest, an artist retreat for eraser carvers. Did you know such an event even existed? Since then he's come out to Comic Con, the HUGE comic book and pop culture event in San Diego. On his most recent visit a few weeks ago he showed me a journal he's filling with little figure sketches. I immediately asked him if he would sketch them on the chalkboard ukulele. Of course, he was more that happy to do it. And here they are for your viewing pleasure. Thanks Tim, you're amazing!