Kool Kat of the Week: Atlanta Tikiphile Allison Chaffin Gets Mugs-y and Lounges it up at the Inaugural Inuhele Atlanta Tiki Weekender February 15-16

Posted on: Feb 12th, 2019 By:

by Melanie Crew
Managing Editor

Tikiphiles unite! Get your ukuleles ready and hula on down to the first ever Inuhele Atlanta Tiki Weekender and second annual Atlanta HomeBar Tour Friday – Saturday (Feb. 15-16) at the Atlanta Marriott Century Center, brought to you by our Kool Kat of the Week, tiki aficionado Allison Chaffin (Mug Crate) along with her husband and tiki partner-in-crime Jonathan Chaffin of Horror in Clay (see our Shop Around feature here). You won’t want to miss a weekend chock full of tiki bar-hopping, panels, vendors, bands, demos, sharing of ideas, community building and all things Polynesian! The Atlanta Marriott Century Center is located at 2000 Century Blvd NE, Atlanta, GA 30345. Standard tickets – $99 (access to Friday and Saturday events)/Deluxe – $140/VIP – $249. For more information and the complete Inuhele Atlanta Tiki Weekend schedule, visit the website here or the Facebook event page here.

ATLRetro caught up with Allison to chat about Inuhele Atlanta Tiki Weekender, her love of all things tiki and Polynesian, and Atlanta’s hidden tiki culture.

ATLRetro: We are so excited for Inuhele: Atlanta’s Tiki Weekend! Can you tell us a little about how this event came together and the history of Inuhele?

Allison Chaffin: Last year we headed up a homebar tour that visited four home tiki bars in the Atlanta area. We named the tour “Inuhele,” which means “cocktail journey.” I feel that many people encounter tiki culture first through cocktails and then as they learn more find out that it is much more than that. During the homebar tour last year, many of the participants discussed wanting to have a bigger event in the future – so this year we are trying a full weekend event that still has the homebar tour on Sunday (which sold out immediately!), but also has a tour of the professional tiki bars in Atlanta and much more tiki culture to offer – art, music, fashion, food, and of course cocktails.

Any special events you’re taking part in at the event you’d like to share with our readers?

The weekend event has so many different things going on that I think everyone can find something special for them. I think some of the highlights for me are the drawing class with Derek Yaniger on Friday afternoon; the hop-on hop-off bus tour to Trader Vic’s, Tiki Tango and Tiki Iniki on Friday night; the art in the vending room from all over the country; the Lavalava Revue & Conga & Talent Show; the Iron Tikitender bartending competition; and the Volcano Worshipper’s Hour that I am helping to plan (you have to come to find out).

What drew you to Polynesian and tiki culture?

Actually, my husband and I had one of our first dates at Trader Vic’s at an old Tiki Torch night. These were events at Trader Vic’s that had artists, Polynesian dancers, bands, and of course cocktails and food. We planned to go and have one cocktail and check out the art and ended up staying for dinner. After that, we started seeing if tiki bars were in cities we were traveling through so we could check them out as well. We even planned Jonathan’s birthday one year around going to the Mai Kai in Ft. Lauderdale. We convinced thirty of our friends to travel to Ft. Lauderdale and spend the weekend and go to the Mai Kai and the Wreck Bar to see the Mermaids.

As huge fans of Horror in Clay, can you tell our readers the wonderful secret dark history of the company you share with your husband, Jonathan, and what drew you guys to the art of tiki mugs?

I purchased Jonathan a tiki mug for $0.10 at a prop warehouse sale years ago. This one mug started an obsession of collecting tiki mugs and ultimately art. About seven years ago, he was looking for various mugs and wanted one of Cthulhu. He thought this would be a great mug to have and no one at the time had created one, so he decided to tackle that as a need.  Luckily, he was not the only person who wanted a Cthulhu tiki mug, so we ended up running our first Kickstarter to fund the mug. Based on the success of that mug, he has continued to create more mugs based on horror fiction, and now we have nine different mugs in his collection from various artists, podcasts, and even a haunted house.

Tiki pop culture had a huge draw in the ‘90s with the resurgence of rockabilly and retro events, and we’re seeing it come back into the scene here in Atlanta with several new tiki bars opening. What do you think it is that draws generation after generation to this pop culture?

I think a lot of it has to do with escapism from the normal world. When you walk into a tiki bar, you are transported to a new environment that often time reminds you of your last vacation. I often refer to a night out at SOS Tiki Bar in Decatur as a mini vacation.

We see that you are the creative force behind MugCrate. Can you tell us a little about the company?

MugCrate is a quarterly curated subscription box. Each quarter I strive to put together a small themed tiki experience. The boxes contain at least one tiki mug and then art, bartending tools, or other tiki items. We have brought in mugs from England and items from all over the US. I work with smaller artists to get their items in the box to introduce them to a larger audience. It is amazing how many small artists are out there that I discover every month.

Who is your favorite local tiki/pop-culture artist and why?

That is a hard question. I really love so many different artists in the tiki community. I think it would come down to the type of art and what you mean by local. I am currently in love with Kymm Bang’s gravel art pieces.  They are amazing and she will be at Inuhele this weekend. I also love the amazing mug sculptures of many of the mugs for Eekum Bookum being produced by John Mulder and Pat Vassar. They produced the mug for Inuhele last year and this year and I cannot wait to see the final product. Of course, I also think my husband is a creative genius and all of his collections are full of so many in-jokes and hidden meanings that they are fun to explore.

Which tiki bars would you recommend for our readers and what is it specifically about that venue that you like?

Well, in Atlanta we are luckily enough now to have 4 tiki bars – Trader Vic’s, SOS Tiki Bar, Tiki Tango, and Tiki Iniki. I love to go to Trader Vics’ for a great menu and classic tiki drink, SOS currently has my favorite drink of all time – the Haitian Swizzle, and I am looking forward to exploring the three-floor tiki clubhouse that is Tiki Tango –  the newest tiki bar in the Atlanta area.

Favorite tiki/island foods you’d care to share with our readers?

I am not a cooked fruit kind of person, so my island food leans closer to the Asian side of things. I love good Crab Rangoon, BBQ Short Ribs, and eggrolls.

Any favorite local surf/island bands our readers should be aware of?

I am not a huge band person, so probably not the right person to ask. I did hear the The Mystery Men? play in Macon as well as here in Atlanta at the Southern Surf Stompfest and I am looking forward to hearing them again this weekend at Inuhele.

What’s next for Allison Chaffin? Inuhele? Any other exciting events coming down the pike we should keep our eyes open for?

Right now we are trying not to plan any new things since we have been focused on Inuhele for the last six months. Of course, I have heard that Horror In Clay might be coming out with a new mug in the next few months. Stayed turned for more information…

And last but not least, what are you looking forward to most that our readers should keep their eyes open for at this weekend’s event?

Inuhele is going to be an awesome adventure for anyone that attends. We have so many things going on that everyone can plan their own perfect adventure for the weekend or even just the day. I know that I personally am looking forward to the panels on Food and Fashion, the trading post (our vending room), and the Iron Tikitender competition Saturday night. Of course, above all of that I am looking forward to meeting all the wonderful people that are part of the tiki community in Atlanta. We are finding new groups of tiki loving people every day and are looking forward to seeing what the future will bring with this amazing group of tikiphiles!

Photos courtesy of Allison and Jonathan Chaffin and used with permission.

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Mai Tai it Up and Get Ready for Island Adventures as the First Ever INUHELE ATLANTA TIKI WEEKENDER Heats up Atlanta Feb 15-17!

Posted on: Feb 5th, 2019 By:

by Melanie Crew
Managing Editor

Get your ukuleles ready and hula on down to the first ever Inuhele Atlanta Tiki Weekender and second annual Atlanta HomeBar Tour Friday – Sunday (Feb. 15-17) at the Atlanta Marriott Century Center brought to you by Jonathan Chaffin and Horror in Clay (see our Shop Around feature here) and Mug Crate. You won’t want to miss a weekend chock full of tiki bar-hopping, panels, vendors, bands, demos, sharing of ideas, community building and all things Polynesian!

Surf on into Friday night’s events with a wide variety of panels including Jonathan Chaffin’s “Tikiphiles United,” daddy-o’est and ATLRetro-tastic artist extraordinaire Derek Yaniger’s (see our Kool Kat interview with Derek here) “Doodlin’ with Derek,” and James Honeycut’s “Surf Music 101!” Or get a fright at the first ever Inuhele Tiki SpookShow (two live sets) with none other than our very own Kool Kat Shane Morton, a.k.a. Ghost Host with the Most, Prof. Morte and his band of go-go island ghouls, magic tricks, jokes, spectacle and frights! Or take a tiki trip on the “Hop On Hop Off Bar Tour Buses” departing every 20 minutes from the front of the hotel. Tour buses will ferry you to island adventures at Trader Vic’s , Tiki Tango and Tiki Iniki  from 6 pm – midnight. VIPs can choose from a private excursion to SOS on Friday or  Tiki Tango on Saturday. And don’t forget to hit up the Trading Post and Bazaar filled with a wide variety of funky retro island vendors.

Saturday events include Lava-lava Revue & Conga (part talent show/part fashion show), fire dancers, panels on all things island and tiki including history, cocktails, cooking and art! You won’t want to miss The Iron Tikitender On Tour Bartending Competition and live entertainment like The Mystery Men? and Kinky Waikiki. Check out our soon to be Kool Kat of the Week, Allison Chaffin as she hosts Team Trivia, and don’t forget to drop by the Bazaar to meet authors Tim “Swanky” Glazner, who will be signing copies of MAI-KAI: HISTORY AND MYSTERY OF THE ICONIC TIKI RESTAURANT from noon to 1 pm, and Darren Long, who will be signing OMNI HUT: CELEBRATING TENNESSEE’S TIKI TREASURE from 2:30pm to 3:30pm. Gather your grass skirts and your tiki mugs and Mai Tai it up with the best of ‘em this weekend!

The Atlanta Marriott Century Center is located at 2000 Century Blvd NE, Atlanta, GA 30345. Standard tickets – $99 (access to Friday and Saturday events)/Deluxe – $140/VIP – $249. Note: Deluxe and VIP tickets are only available until Sunday Feb. 10 at noon ET!

For more information and the complete Inuhele Atlanta Tiki Weekend schedule, visit the website here or the Facebook event page here.

Category: Features, Tis the Season To Be... | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Kool Kat of the Week: Chad Shivers, Guitar Slinger of the Surf-Rock Variety and Founder of Atlanta’s Infamous Southern Surf Stomp!, Catches a Wave and Dishes on the First Ever Southern Surf StompFest!

Posted on: Sep 15th, 2015 By:

by Melanie Crew11990633_10101892377367613_5371082659938104787_n
Managing Editor

Chad Shivers, purveyor of that infamous high-energy reverb and maniacal mayhem a.k.a. Surf Rock, will be reviving Atlanta this Saturday, September 19, retro-style with his Southern Surf StompFest! at Little Tree Art Studios (Avondale Estates), from noon until 8 pm! Catch a wave and raise a ruckus with a whole lotta vintage vendors (our swanky retro pals, 2the 9’s Retro and Jezebel Blue [see our Shop Around feature here]; Uncle Daddy’s Woodworks [see our Shop Around feature on Dirk Hays here], Beachcomber Cory’s Tiki Hut; THE SURF King Surfwear, and more!), tasty vittles and of course one helluva rockin’ line-up, featuring El Capitan & the Band with No Name, Ouroboro’s Boys, Kool Kat Caroline & the Ramblers, The Beech Benders, The Surge!, The Gold Dust Lounge, The Mystery Men?, Aqualads, and DJ Dusty Booze spinning surf, rockabilly and ‘50s/’60s rock between sets, and so much more! And why not round out your weekend with Southern SurfStomp’s surf-tastic bookend events; the official pre-show at Sunbrimmer Records (Avondale Estates) with Chad’s current project, MOONBASE, Genki Genki Panic and Vacations; and the official after-party rockin’ out at Kavarna (Decatur), featuring Kool Kat Jeffrey Butzer’s surf-rock outfit, The Compartmentalizationists (SUTURES CD release); Band, James Band; and Gemini XIII! So, come on down and rock out surf-style at the most rock ‘n’ roll weekend-long beach party around!

Chad is no newbie to Surf Rock, or rock ‘n’ roll in general. His musical journey began at age 14, when he jumped head first into his first band, The Squares, in 1995 (active until 2002), releasing two records and extensively touring the Southeast. After selling his soul to the rock ‘n’ roll devil, he built a revved up repertoire with Sorry No Ferrari (2005-2011); joined Kool Kat Jeffrey Butzer & the Bicycle Eaters (2010); joined The Mystery Men? (2012); founded the Southern SurfStomp! (2014); and currently fronts his own group, MOONBASE [George Asimakos on guitar; Eric Balint on bass; Sonny Harding on drums and Chad Shivers on guitar], debuting, CREATION MYTHS, in August 2014. And if that isn’t enough, Chad has also performed with Jeffrey Butzer’s, The Compartmentalizationists, Sleep Therapy, the Insect Surfers, The Madeira, and his own Surf Rock Christmas outfit, Chad Shivers & The Silent Knights, dishing out The Ventures’ and The Beach Boys’ Xmas albums every season for the past five years.

Photo by Jamie Galatas, Moonbase at Jacksonville Surf Fest, (L-R) George Asimakos, Chad Shivers, Eric Balint

Moonbase at Jacksonville Surf Fest, (L-R) George Asimakos, Chad Shivers, Eric Balint – Photo by Jamie Galatas

ATLRetro caught up with Chad Shivers for a quick interview about the Southern Surf StompFest!; Surf Rock’s history and resurgence; and his craft of spreading the infectious rock ‘n’ roll vibes of the Surf Rock subculture far and wide! And while you’re takin’ a peek at our little Q&A with Chad, get an earful of his current surf-rock outfit, MOONBASE’s “The Serpent” from their debut album CREATION MYTHS; and a sneak peek at The Compartmentalizationists’ “Blurry Eyes” from their new album SUTURES!

ATLRetro: Who doesn’t love surf rock?! And of course the Southern Surf StompFest! is right down ATLRetro’s alley! Can you fill our readers in on the history or your monthly Southern Surf Stomp! events? And how did you put together that righteous rockin’ line-up you’ve got waiting for our eager readers/listeners?

Chad Shivers: Southern Surf Stomp‘s inception was inspired by multiple factors including Greg Germani‘s incredible Ameripolitan shows; festivals such as Crispy BessInstro Summit held in North Carolina; and the desire to showcase the vast amount of talent within the Southeastern surf music community. Our first show was in April of 2014, and has been going strong ever since, featuring some truly great artists such as Eddie Angel (Los Straitjackets), Ivan Pongracic (The Madeira), Daikaiju, Kill, Baby…Kill!, Aqualads, and even a The Penetrators tribute. For the festival, I wanted to include Atlanta staples (El Capitan and the Band With No Name, The Surge!, The Mystery Men?), groups that have previously performed at our monthly event (Aqualads), and some fresh new faces (Ouroboros Boys, The Beech Benders, Gold Dust Lounge). I’m particularly excited to see Gold Dust Lounge from Miami, as I’ve been practically begging them to come up for the past year or so.

You’ve been devoted to the genre for quite some time, beginning in 1995 with your first band, The Squares, at the ripe old age of fourteen. Can you tell our readers how you became 11986326_10101879470463153_9095156251446565570_naware of surf-guitar and what drew you to the genre?

As a freshman in high school, I attended a house party where a cover band played a number by The Ventures and was completely enamored. Upon seeing my excitement, my friend Jeff, with whom I attended said party, later introduced me to Dick Dale (see ATLRetro’s feature on Dick here) and Man or Astro-man? and that was it. We started The Squares very shortly thereafter. Surf for me just has the energy of punk, the technical prowess of heavy metal, and the melodicism of pop music but (mostly) without lyrics; allowing the listener to create their own narrative.

You’ve been a member and have performed with surf rock and semi-surf rock outfits galore over the years [The Squares; Jeffrey Butzer & the Bicycle Eaters; The Mystery Men?; Sleep Therapy; The Insect Surfers; The Madeira; Chad Shivers & the Silent Knights, etc.]! What exactly is it about surf rock that keeps you coming back for more, even when you’ve stepped away for a bit?

I think it’s just that it’s so much fun to play and there’s an unbelievable amount of variation within the genre from lo-fi garage to highly technical, almost progressive rock and everything in between.  Not to mention, the people involved within the surf scene are among the friendliest, supportive, talented and interesting people you could ever meet.

Although the genre and its subculture hails from Southern California and has even been dubbed “SoCal folk music,” who or what would you say brought that particular sound to the Southeastern US?

Chad Shivers performing with the Penetrators T.R.I.B.U.T.E. - Photo by Jamie Galatas

Chad Shivers performing with the Penetrators T.R.I.B.U.T.E. – Photo by Jamie Galatas

Surf music in the South actually dates back to the ‘60s, and of course there was a later resurgence in the ‘90s with bands like Man or Astro-man? But any ‘scene’, I believe, can be attributed to The Penetrators. They were the jumping-off point for many including myself, aligned themselves with like-minded groups, and were absolutely instrumental – pun intended –in the development of the global surf rock community. What a bunch of incredible songwriters, instrumentalists, and just downright fun guys to be around. Their influence can still be seen, heard and felt greatly even today, and one cannot attend a surf music festival in the US without at the very least a mention of them.

Who would you say are your top three musical influences and why?

That’s quite a difficult question, as the answer will most likely change day to day.  But as of right now, in the most general sense: While not necessarily the greatest influence on me as a musician, hearing Social Distortion for the first time was really a game changer. They brought guitar music to the forefront of my mind and introduced me to punk rock, with which I still greatly identify and has led me down so many wonderful new avenues. Man or Astro-man? was the band that made me want to play surf. Yes, and more specifically, Steve Howe‘s playing has been a huge influence on me in more recent years.  They’re all just such masterful players, yet lyrical and serve the song.

Are there any noticeable differences between current surf rock and the sounds that were spilling out of the ‘50s and ‘60s?

Most definitely! I mean, there are guys out there still trying to recreate the sounds of the ‘60s, but I think for most of us it’s quite difficult to ignore the music of the past 50 years and avoid its influence.

How cool is it that your band, MOONBASE, shared a stage with the granddaddy of surf-guitar, Dick Dale, as well as Man or Astro-Man? at the Surf Guitar 101 Convention in California. Can you tell our readers a little bit about that experience?

We opened for Man or Astro-man? last year and Dick Dale earlier this year, both at The Earl. It’s a bit hard to believe and feels like everything has come full circle; from idolizing

(L-R) Stick Stechkin (of The Penetrators), Chad Shivers, Richard Whig (The Fringe Factory), Eddie Angel (of Los Stratjackets), Richard Hawes (of The Mystery Men?), Trace Luger (of The Penetrators), and Bob Walk (of The Surf King Surfwear) – Photo by Jamie Galatas

(L-R) Stick Stechkin (of The Penetrators), Chad Shivers, Richard Whig (The Fringe Factory), Eddie Angel (of Los Stratjackets), Richard Hawes (of The Mystery Men?), Trace Luger (of The Penetrators), and Bob Walk (of The Surf King Surfwear) – Photo by Jamie Galatas

those guys as a kid to sharing the stage with them, it’s quite the dream come true. When we were approached about performing at the Surf Guitar 101 Convention this year, I was absolutely shocked!  I had no idea we were even on anyone’s radar out there and with our being more on the progressive side, wasn’t even sure how we’d fit in. The response was overwhelmingly positive however, and the opportunity to play with the likes of Davie Allan and The Arrows at the convention for their 50th anniversary and then the following day at the Huntington Beach Pier while people surfed behind us just miles from where it all began was truly a magical experience, never to be forgotten.

Can you tell our readers a little about your collaboration with our Kool Kat Jeffrey Butzer and his new surf-rock project, The Compartmentalizationists?

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Jeffrey Bützer and his music. He has always been so supportive and highly influential on me. He had performed with his trio The Compartmentalizationalists several years back, so of course I had asked him about resurrecting the project to perform at a Stomp. Other members being unavailable, I offered to back him and enlisted fellow Bicycle Eater (as well as Silent Knight, Small Reactions, and Gold Bears member) Sean Zearfoss on drums. After that initial show in June, we all had such a great time we decided to keep going which has led to Jeffrey to finally The Compartmentalizationalists ‘ debut album SUTURES, which we’ll be celebrating at the Southern Surf StompFest! after-party at Kavarna along with Gemini 13 and Band, James Band.

If you could put together a dream line-up of musicians to play with [still around or not], who would it be and why?

I stepped away from surf music for about 10 years in the early 2000s and regret missing many of the great shows that happened during that time. The biggest regret of them all is never getting to meet Eddie Bertrand (of Eddie & the Showmen and The Bel-Airs) or to see him perform.  Although Dick Dale holds the title of “King of the Surf Guitar,” Eddie is my favorite from that first wave in the 1960s. So I would have to say backing him either with his band, The Showmen, or quite possibly with Ivan Pongracic (The Madeira) also on guitar, Dane Carter (The Madeira) on drums, and Carol Kaye on bass.

pre stomp flyerWhat can ATLReaders expect to experience when they catch a wave and rock out at the Southern Surf StompFest? this Saturday? Anything special planned?

They can quite certainly expect to hear some of the finest surf music in the country and possibly even the world, performed by astounding musicians.  While there, grab some tasty food, enjoy your favorite beverage from The Beer Growler, and shop with our fine vendors. Of course, this is a free event, so please bring some cash to donate toward raffle tickets. We have some amazing prizes and contributions go toward helping us to pay the bands.

What’s next for Chad Shivers?

Hopefully after the festival I’ll be able to spend some much needed time with my family. The Spooky Surf Stomp! with Fiend Without A Face, The KBK and Bad Friend will be October 10. I’ll be doing my annual performance of The Beach Boys and The Ventures Christmas albums with my group the Silent Knights at Kavarna on December 12. I know it may be a tall order, but in 2016 I’d like to see the reach of the Southern Surf Stomp! expand beyond Atlanta, to include other cities in the Southeast and the monthly podcast to become a weekly affair, with revolving hosts. Also next year, be on the lookout for new releases from The Mystery Men? and Jeffrey Bützer and the Bicycle Eaters!

Anything else you’d like to tell ATLRetro readers about yourself, surf rock, etc.?

Nothing other than to ask them to please come out to the Southern Surf StompFest! or one of our monthly shows and bring plenty of friends and family! If you’d like to learn more about what’s happening in this wonderful community please visit our Southern Surf Stomp! website, ‘like’ us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@SouthSurfStomp)!

What question do you wish somebody would ask you and what’s the answer?

I’m not sure the question exactly, but it would most definitely involve a wealthy benefactor!

All photographs are courtesy of Chad Shivers and used with permission.

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