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johnny dollar's vault

retro pop culture and various local observations and ramblings.

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Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
johnny dollar's vault resides in the basement of stately dollar maisonTM, amongst the wine cellar, tiki bar, and finicky electrical panel. from time to time i will unearth various artifacts from either there or from the random crevices of my mind.

please visit the new and improved pig cookin' post!

NOTE: this blog will NOT deal with any recent pop culture (i.e. since about 1990) or topical issues, so if you're looking for discussion about britney baracko jacko flacco, look elsewhere, lol

Monday, April 30, 2007

rollergirls 2007 season opener!

i freakin' love going to the roller derby at putty hill skateland ~ the venue to me adds alot to the experience. i never went roller skating in the 70s, only ice skating, but this place exudes disco zeitgeist.

from the rainbow-reflective walls to the light effects on the walls and ceilings, what's not to like?


photo courtesy of epmd - thanks man.

yesterday was the opening of the charm city roller girls' 2007 home season, and i'd highly recommend checking them out. the crowd was not totally hyped last nite, but especially the second bout was tres action packed.

i would advise having been there more than once now that sitting on the floor for about 2 hours can be a bit taxing on the leg bone. i think next time we'll bring foldy chairs like others were doing.

find swell pix from this and previous years here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

big kahuna cantina: not really our tiki salvation...

ok i went to the big kahuna cantina on friday, and needless to say, it is not the rebirth of the hawaiian room.

i would not even go so far as to call it a tiki bar. not to say that it couldn't be fun. i would call it a 'pop-culturally aware, surfing-themed mexican restaurant with tiki undertones.'

whoever came up with the concept and executed the decor knew what they were working with, and made a place that your average nascar fan might get hooked by and then maybe enjoy the quirkiness of the mexican wrestling masks and the standard tiki mugs that the drinks can be served in. they might recall the brady bunch goes to hawaii episodes... maybe mixed with some indiana jones references and endless summer. safe enough.

the drink i got was called a 'frozen your tai.' safe enough, they were not calling it a mai tai by any means. it was more or less a daquiri with a float of myers dark rum. the main ingredients were rum, a dash of captain morgan's, apricot brandy, pineapple, orange, and cherry juice. i would class it as a decent drink, easily within the realm of grog log ingredients except for the frozen part and the captain morgan's.

the coconut shrimp was tasty enough, with a really good sweet chile sauce. not unlike what you might get at roy's, not so much the mai kai...? dunno.

overall it was an interesting place, but obviously they are in the business to make the tourist dollar, not cater to an obscure minority of cocktail culture enthusuasts (such as myself). who knows, it might be a gateway to more hardcore exotica for a person or two. i don't hate on the place; you can draw your own conclusions.

but you know what? i do not despair, because i have a whif of a possible old-school style tiki establishment which might come to the area within the next couple years. i'll keep you all posted. til then, surf the harbor!

Friday, April 20, 2007

any info about 'thurmont motors?'

okay this is a trifecta of postings, i'll stop today after this:

my pal dave's dad just bought the pictured 1959 packard clipper. he's kind of a car guy, you see.
fact is, his family had a willys dealership years ago called 'thurmont motors.' the intarnet tubes are silent about this business. do any of you out there have any recollection or resources thereof?

fruity cocktails count as health food, study finds


i know what i'm doin this weekend. i love health food!

please disregard this posting

thannk yøu

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

connie m & jhoon rhee kickin' it in gay paree

this is gonna sound really weird[er than normal] if you didn't grow up around d.c., but if you happen to be in paris this next monday, stop on by the embassy to see jhoon rhee not bein' boddered by nobody.
why didn't we think of this before - send jhoon rhee out to the hotspots of the world.
artist's misconception of the event, below:

the invitation was sent to me courtesy of mondy the seamonster via the ever lovely summer. thanks you crazy kids!

Sunday, April 15, 2007


me and the missus got our boh on and got our crash on at the opening of the arcadia vfc demolition derby. anger hangover clued us into this great event ~ sadly we didn't get to meet up this time round, but heck yeahs were' going again soon!

i made the odd connection that demolition derby has alot of the same vibe as jousting, which of course is the official sport of maryland. shame on you if you haven't seen any jousting yet.

and FOOD ~ they had pit beef sammitches for 5.50 that was outta this woild. and a big ol tub of horseradish to slather on em. and fries. yum.

Friday, April 13, 2007

baltimore tiki history: the hawaiian room in the emerson hotel 1963? to 1970

first off, i need to thank the following sources for the images and info provided herein : johntiki, the baltimore sun, the maryland historical society, critiki, ooga mooga, and arkiva tropika.

okay, here is hopefully a bite-sized history morsel. baltimore once had a tiki bar! how do we know? it's mostly through the stuff left over, found in thrift shops, antique stores, flea markets, and increasingly, ebay.

anyways, the restaurant was named 'the hawaiian room' and it was located in the emerson hotel at the corner of baltimore and calvert streets. it operated from the early 60's until 1970 when the building was demolished ~ apparently the hawaiian room had to shut down because they were serving alcoholic beverages to minors. also, things downtown weren't so hot in 1970 or so i hear. but back in its heyday, you could go downtown, get some great tropical rum drinks, watch a show with fire dancers and hula girls, and eat probably the fanciest asian-style food available at the time (this was before nixon visited china, and to most roundeyes, chinese food was synonymous with chop suey).

these ceramic mugs, swizzle sticks and matchbook are the property of my friend johntiki who lives in belair. he's been researching this establishment for years. nice collection, huh?

and then, BAM... there was an article this past march in the sun about a couple who met in the hawaiian room ~ it's actually a landmark civil rights case, and the couple still lives in locust point! imagine ~ in 1960 a hawaiian and hon could not get legally married in maryland. read the article, it's tres interesting.

peep the interior of baltimore's own polynesian palace. geez i want that time machine NOW...

the menu of drinks available is great ~ from the collection of mimi payne. click on it for the higher resolution image and enjoy...

and thus, here is the reason that these mugs ended up in people's cupboards... once you drank the drank, you could take the mug home! i wonder how many of these mugs are somewhere in your great aunt's kitchen.

finally, whereas many tiki mugs were stock items used nationwide and internationally, this mug was only ever used at the hawaiian room in baltimore. it has kind of a vaguely kon-tiki look, but it also kind of reminds me of a mad amish guy... heheh.

[mug courtesy of collection of kohalacharms]

if you ever see any of this stuff, let me know ~ there are tons of us who would love to preserve this piece of local history.

no freakin way! meki the son :) of joann and meki to'alepai runs a polynesian dance group here in baltimore named meki's tamure, the same as the troupe that performed at the hawaiian room. so you might see them sometime soon!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

that girl

i don't know if i even watched 'that girl' all that much as a wee lad, but i was totally mesmerized by marlo thomas' hairstyle.
this explans alot about me i think.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

bill griffith, 'zippy' creator, in baltimore april 19th and 20th

yow! griffy, the cartoonist who draws zippy (the best ever roadside - / giant fiberglass statue - / diner -worshipping microcephalic cartoon evar) will be speaking for free at the hopkins mattin center, room 101 of the f. ross jones building, 3400 n. charles st. at 5:30 p.m. on thursday, april 19.

he will also be signing books at 6 p.m. on friday, april 20, at atomic books, 1100 w. 36th st., in hampden.

some might be compelled to label 'zippy the pinhead' as weird ~ dunno, i guess either you get it or you don't. but how can you hate on someone who includes mr. boh and the male/female statue in their strips? think foxtrot would do that?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

40 oz natty boh gangstazzz

so i was at the wegman's hunt valley store area likker store, and lo and behold in the refrigerated case near the entrance had all sortsa 40ZZZers... i was so intrigued by this condition that i had to buy the available 40 (quart, yo)of natty boh...

i hadn't had a 40 for years'n... and i started wondering who the market was for natty boh 40 oz'ers... suburban gangsta wannabees driving pimped out amc gremlins?

i think im gonna start my own gang.. the natty boh dreddzz.. we'll pack lugers and traffic in berger's cookies and mary sue easter eggss to the county...