In A Don Tiki Mood
There’s a lush, tropical place where the music is cool and the nights are hot. You can find the Forbidden World of Don Tiki on New Year’s Eve at the Pacific Beach Hotel.
By Roz Makaula
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The Don Tiki Dancers (from left): Willow Chang,
Emi Hart, Sherry Shaoling, Hai Jung Choi, Alaana
Singh and Carissa Coleman
In a lush mountain valley exists a secret place, a paradise on earth where gorgeous women play the evocative role of fulfilling the fun and fanciful dreams of everyone fortunate enough to find it. It is a land of utopia, where imagination is reality and good times the norm. This New Year’s Eve, hundreds will make a dream trip of discovery as they explore the Forbidden World of Don Tiki.
The Pacific Beach Hotel Grand Ballroom transforms into a tropical paradise ready to be inhabited by more than 600 exotica music lovers and pleasure seekers. The Ko’olau mountain range becomes the show’s backdrop, with 10-foot bamboo canopies and ginger torches.
“It’s the show to go,” says Herb Yamamoto, Pacific Beach Hotel’s catering sales manager. Yamamoto took inspiration from Oahu’s own natural floral and fauna to help create the perfect setting for Don Tiki.
With 10 masterful musicians, six exotic-looking dancers, grand costumes and spirited choreography, this show is the complete entertainment package. Attendees will enjoy a 20-song set as they are transported to various ports of call including Japan, Bali and Polynesia.
“The show is all positive energy, fantasy and positive vibes,” says Don Tiki co-creator Kit Ebersbach, aka Perry Coma, “the dancers, the band, we all get along really, really well.”
This feeling of ohana extends to the audience because it is entertainment for all ages. “People ask, is it family fun? And I say, yes, it’s OK for kids under 21,” adds partner Lloyd Kandell, aka Fluid Floyd. He explains that the dancers are very inclusive, which adds to the show’s appeal. He says, “it’s not uncommon for women who attend the show to want to become a Don Tiki dancer.”
That desire may come from the open spontaneity of the dancers and musicians. Kandell reveals that the philosophy behind Don Tiki’s success is to create a casual atmosphere for the audience. The show is kept intimate, like a casual cabaret with tables of 10. Ebersbach laughingly recalls the scene of an impromptu audience participant who joined the dance troupe on stage during a past performance.
Just added for this New Year’s Eve extravaganza are special guests Willow Chang and Sherry Shaoling. In addition, show-goers will be whisked away on an Arabian fantasy, something straight out of a Disney story, but with a whole lot of edge.
Following a balloon drop and a synchronized count down with Times Square on two massive video screens, the band debuts Don Tiki’s Inferno - a transformation ideal for everyone’s dancing pleasure.
The experience is a manifestation of two minds, longtime friends with decades of history. Kandell and Ebersbach met almost 30 years ago when Kandell enlisted the help of Ebersbach for piano lessons. Ten years have passed from the conception of Don Tiki to where it is now. Kandell jokes, “it took 10 years to become an overnight success.”
The duo offers up much admiration and fond memories to “Marty,” the late Martin Denny, a close friend to whom they dotingly refer as “the Kahuna of Exotica.”
To better explain the Exotica genre, Ebersbach whips out one of Denny’s album covers. The headshot of a beautiful female model blankets its square. Her look
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