Tiki Kiliki aka Christie J. White
Co-Creator, Co-Founder, Producer, Organizer, aka Christie J. White, felt the call of the islands as early as 6 years old, as her time spent after school was in an antique store where the owner had vintage Hawaiian LPs on heavy rotation. She then became mesmerized with Polynesian Pop at the bright age of 13 when she purchased her first Tiki mug at a Salvation Army Thrift Store. Her need to surround herself with idols & relics from the past could only be shared one way — the creation of The Hukilau™, an annual event celebrating the classic era and resurgence of Polynesian Pop.
She has carried her Tiki Torch on the East Coast for with producing The Hukilau™ since 2002 and her sub-event, Tiki Torch Nights, for both Trader Vic’s in Atlanta, GA and Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale, FL. She has been quoted and/or featured in such magazines/media as Atomic Magazine, B-Metro Magazine, Tiki Magazine, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Fort Lauderdale Home, City Link Magazine, New Times Broward/Palm Beach, Sun-Sentinel, Creative Loafing Atlanta, The New York Times, Miami Herald and Barracuda Magazine, among others. Christie has been featured in the PBS documentary “Plastic Paradise” and also the independent documentary by Brazil’s Duda Leite “Tikimentary”.
In 2006, Ms. Kiliki was honored by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry when he created a cocktail called the Kiliki Cooler. Since they both worship the Mai-Kai, he used one of his favorite drinks, the Mutiny, as inspiration. Here’s the recipe:
Into your shaker pour 2 ounces Appleton V/X rum, and 1/2 ounce each fresh lime juice, unsweetened pineapple juice, orange juice, passion fruit syrup, and Fee Brothers Coffee Cordial syrup. Shake well with ice cubes. Pour unstrained into a double old-fashioned glass.
When Trader Vic’s in Atlanta celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2006, Ms. Kiliki was the obvious choice for the hostess with the most-est and organizer of the event. Her commitment to The Hukilau™ is undeniable as she strives each year to create an experience that every guest will remember for a lifetime. Ms. Kiliki currently resides in a mid-century location in Birmingham, AL where she lives with Coco and Joe, her 2 felines, and spreads Aloha every chance she possibly gets.
Sherill Gross – Co-Organizer
Sherill was our Co-Organizer in 2014 and has volunteered at The Hukilau™ for several years. She returns in 2015 for all the fun! She is drawn to how Polynesian culture is portrayed in Art, TV, and movies – where all your cares melt away and everyone is happy and dancing. She wishes her life was always like Beach Blanket Bingo! The Hukilau™ is really close though, it’s just missing the sickles. In reality Sherill is a cut paper artist and a graphic designer, who works in a theater and sews most of her own clothes. Marvy.
Brian Crum – Entertainment Coordinator
Brian loves everything about The Hukilau™ and is proud to be returning to help bring this amazing event to the world. On stage he’s a member of The Intoxicators! and The Disasternauts. Behind the scenes he’s just a regular guy sipping on some rum and getting the job done.
Since 2011, George has been helping out with various cocktail activities associated with The Hukilau, including as a participant in the mixology competition. He is also the creator of the Brevard Tiki Facebook group. When he’s not behind his home bar The Storm Shelter, he can be found around central Florida pouring drinks and promoting the gospel of cocktails as a member of The Straw Hat Barmen.
Dean Hurst has been building on his service experience for 20 years with a varied background in different restaurant categories. Settling in at SideBern’s in 1999, he advanced from server to General Manager in less then 2 years. During his time at SideBern’s, Hurst has been able to create an ever evolving and unique drink list for the restaurant. His bar program enhances the overall SideBern’s experience.
In the summer of 2011, Hurst was promoted to Director of Spirits for Bern’s Steak House, tasked with advancing the spirits program for the Harry Waugh Dessert Room. The Epicurean Hotel opened in December 2013, with two additional bar programs and a cocktail/spirits curriculum for the classroom styled Theatre. SideBern’s is in the process of a major renovation and will reopen as Haven in December 2014 with a bar program focused on perfecting bar techniques and reinventing classic cocktails.
Beverage Media listed Hurst as one of the Top Ten Mixologist to watch in 2012. He has worked the industry events The Hukilau, Manhattan Cocktail Classic, Portland Cocktail Week, and Tales of the Cocktail in the Cocktail Apprentice Program (CAP). The Hukilau has invited Hurst to a part of their team as Chief Spirits Coordinator. He is one of the founders of the United States Bartender’s Guild, Tampa Chapter and has organized the largest annual National Repeal Day event in the US, now in it’s fifth year. He holds the current titles of Director of Spirits Bern’s Steak House, SideBern’s and Epicurean Hotel.
Jim “Hurricane” Hayward – Public Relations, Press, Media Representative
Jim’s roots in mid-century and reto culture go back to his childhood in the 1960s, when he tagged along with his parents to Tiki restaurants and his father’s custom car shows. A professional journalist and Florida resident for more than 30 years, Jim now shares his obsession with Polynesian Pop and other retro styles on his blog, The Atomic Grog.
His blog features in-depth news and insights, plus comprehensive reviews and recipes for nearly every Mai-Kai cocktail, past and present. Jim’s experience in journalism, mixology and more than 20 years as an independent concert promoter make him a jack-of-all-trades in the South Florida scene.
Now in his eighth year on The Hukilau crew, Jim earned his nickname by virtue of both his dangerous exotic drinks and his longtime position producing The Palm Beach Post’s tropical weather website.
Ananda Keator – Volunteer Coordinator
Ananda Keator is pleased as Planter’s Punch to be taking up the mantle of Volunteer Co-ordinator this year. Born in Florida more years ago than I care to admit, I now live and work in Maryland, sewing costumes for Theater. I look forward to meeting and working with you! Aloha and Mahalo!!
Bill Dillard – Official Photographer for The Hukilau
Bill has been attending and volunteering at The Hukilau since 2004 and 2015 will be his 9th year as the Official Sponsor Photography Team of The Hukilau™. Along with the help of talented volunteers and his crew at go11, he has coordinated the coverage of all of The Hukilau™ events and produced 1000′s of stunning images that have captured the Aloha Spirit of Hukilau that have served as treasured keepsakes for attendees and more than a few Avatars.
“I am honored to be invited back as a sponsor again this year. Each year we try and add something new to the mix, Portraits in the Mai-Kai Gardens, greenscreening onto the cover of Tiki Magazine, Slideshows, Room Crawl Hosting with partners like the Mai-Kai & SPAM, etc… This year will be no exception and we have some exciting multi-media plans in store for The Hukilau.”
Bill is a partner in go11, a multimedia group that in addition to Photography and Videography offers Web, Graphic Design, and Mobile App Development. go11 has created several Tiki-centric websites including the Mai-Kai.
James McDonald – On-Site Production Coordinator
You may have seen James McDonald’s smiling face at the Hukilau in years past (or briefly in the film Plastic Paradise). He has occasionally jumped in to help behind the scenes but this year we’re making it official. James has worked for more than two decades as a musician, tour manager, sound designer, and event manager. In his spare time, James is a railroad historian and is captivated by the disappearing signs of the past (no really, he likes old neon signs!) He’s excited to be part of the Hukilau team.