Such a great event at Oceanic Arts in Whittier, CA, which hosted the second of five special events to celebrate the legacy of the decor supplier to so many tiki bars and Polynesian restaurants.
The Oceanic Arts warehouse has been transformed into an event space with two stages, several bars, space for food vendors, and still has space to show off many of the items from the collection. An auction later this month will clear the space and owners Bob Van Oosting and LeRoy Schmaltz will retire after running OA since 1956.
This event featured a slideshow from Sven Kirsten documenting the tiki revival from the late 1980s to early 2000s. Though not focusing on OA specifically, Sven worked through several notable mentions of items that originated from there. There were also talks about creating your own home bar as well as one on home cocktails.
Several great musical acts played the event. We were welcomed by Jill Martini and the Shrunken Heads as we entered the event, and later saw the Ding Don Devils, Creepxotica, and The Hula Girls play. The volcano stage build inside was elaborate and was smoking all night as if it might actually erupt.
We’d heard the first night had some issues with the cocktails, but thankfully all those kinks were worked out for us. There were two main bar stations, hosted by Long Beach bars Bamboo Club and Secret Island Tiki Restaurant and Music Longe. We especially liked the Dr. Bamboo from Bamboo Club. There were a few food booths including a place doing Chicken and Tofu Satay that Mrs. Mai Tai and I both loved.
We saw so many old and new friends in attendance. I spoke with many who had always meant to visit Oceanic Arts but never made the time. We were sadly in that club too. So, while we celebrate the legacy of Oceanic Arts we must remind ourselves to make doing these visits a priority. You never know when they’ll be gone.
Thanks to Peekabo Gallery for putting on such a great event.