Toasting Old-School Tiki Bar Culture

American Cinematheque remembers Don the Beachcomber.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Egyptian
    American Cinematheque pays tribute to LA's tIki bar culture and Don the Beachcomber at The Egyptian in Hollywood on Sunday, July 27.

    We SoCalers get pretty dang huffy if we see a Top 10 list, one that covers the entire U.S., and a regional location or factoid or event doesn't appear on it.

    Okay, granted, we don't love being on those congestion- or traffic-oriented Top 10s, but the ones about the cool things LA and its environs offers? Yeah, we tend to dominate.

    Case in point: The classic tiki bar. The coconut-bedecked, pineapple-chunk laden island-sweet taverns proliferated around Southern California after World War II, and perhaps no spot was more visited, more revered, or has been more recalled, with fondness, than Don the Beachcomber.

    American Cinematheque pays tribute to the former Tinseltown tiki bar with an afternoon of tiki drink samplings -- for the 21-and-over set, of course -- and tiki music and tiki shopping.

    Plus? A talk about the tiki legend (Don the Beachcomber was a Mr. Ernest Gantt), his bar, and drinks from author Sven Kirsten, author of "Tiki Pop, America Imagines Its Own Polynesian Paradise." And a screening of "Enchanted Island," the oh-so-baroque Warner Bros. treat from 1958.

    The tiki doings? They start at 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 27 at The Egyptian, just a short walk from where the original Don's was. Price? Fifteen bucks. (Vendors'll start vending, though, at 3 p.m., if you want to get your tiki on a little early.)

    You're wearing a lei, a bright shirt, and your favorite island wear, yes? That's the lively, in-theme look of the afternoon.

    And if you want a slice of Beachcomber kitsch, you can still get it, SoCal denizens: There's a Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach.

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