Tiki Oasis 12: Exotic Espionage Weekend Mirrors Current Events


Tiki Oasis 12, a four-day exploration of all things mid-Century and island-themed from art, cars, dance, fashion, movies, music and of course cocktails, arrives in San Diego August 16-19th with 3,000 unconventional conventioneers ready to hula and watusi between Tiki archaeology slide shows, cocktail symposiums, and art exhibitions at the still-fairly-Polynesian-themed Crowne-Plaza.

This year’s theme Exotic Espionage and Polynesian Pulp surfs the connection between Tiki culture (far away, sensual locales and cocktails) and spies, private eyes, and secret agents (namely far away, sensual locales and cocktails), whie celebrating the 50th anniversary of the cinematic James Bond.  The theme also dovetails nicely with Bradley Manning’s trial, real life international man of mystery Julian Assange’s bid for amnesty to avoid both a trial on alleged sex crimes in Sweden and extradition to the U.S. for Wikileaks’ related espionage, and a rise in both domestic and international spying. Was that intentional? Who knows, but lately Tiki Oasis has magically managed to reflect the current zeitgeist; last year’s theme, South of the Border, tied in nicely to immigration issues, and next year America’s hinterlands receives full focus with Hulabilly, Tiki at Its Doggone Best, a perfect compliment to the scrutiny the U.S. will receive no matter who wins the election.



I’m actually going this year, since I don’t want to miss Rob Zabrecky, the Magic Castle’s current Stage Magician of the Year who’s performing Sunday night (though Tiki Oasis  Friday, Saturday and all-weekend passes are sold out, there are tickets still available for Sunday which include Zabrecky’s performance, along with events,lecture and poolside activities). Plus I want to see Saturday’s one-day car show, which in true aloha spirit is free and open to the public, as the are indoor and outdoor Tiki Marketplaces, and the 3rd Annual Tiki Oasis Art Show highlighting the mysterious connection between Tiki and spies and featuring artists like Atomikitty, BigToe, Dawn Frasier, Doug Horne, Eric October, Maya Rogers, Ken Ruzic, and Tweelebop.

The car show has one car I really, really want to look at: the “Get Smart” Tiger Sunbeam. My late father loved “Get Smart;” we used to watch it together, and he did a great Don Adams’ impersonation. No wonder he was into Agent 86 and 99: He worked for almost a decade at Systems Development Corporation when it was a division of RAND, shifting over to NASA where he was a human factor specialist/test astronaut. Before working at SDC he was in the Air Force, stationed in Morocco during the Moroccan struggle for independence; he told me taught the locals how to recognize different airplanes and

trained pilots on how to survive if their planes crashed,

something he continued while in the Air Force Reserves through the early part of the 1960s. In the early 70s Dad worked for a strange little company called Seredipity in Santa Monica which, he explained to me at the time, made

hidden commercials that can go in films.

Uh, subliminals? Huh, what? Golly, Daddy, what actually did you do?

Anyway, Dad’s birthday was  August 14th, so attending a spy-themed weekend and seeing the “Get Smart” car is a good tribute to him. He died from lymphoma in 1995, which why I’m walking in the Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s Light Up the Night Walk in October. My team is from the Center for Inquiry West, a bunch of atheists and skeptics, which would have pleased Dad immensely. Dad was a really loyal Democrat, he supported Hubert Humphrey, Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton, and he and my awesome stepmom worked hard in their little San Diego County burg to keep fundamentalists from overtaking the local schoolboard.

I’ll be reporting from Tiki Oasis this weekend, assisting the agents of A.L.O.H.A. in their mission to spread the Tiki message of hospitality and friendship.

Paintings used by permission of the artists.

Tiki Oasis poster, Derek Yaniger
Wendy Cevola
Eric October
Susannah Mosher, aka Atomickitty
Ken Ruzic

“Julian Assange, Superstar” aka “WikiLeaks, The Musical”

If Hollywood has its way and the check clears, Julian Assange, the international man of mystery currently enjoying Ecuadorian hospitality whilst planning his birthday party inside that country’s embassy, will be the subject of a biopic fraught with cyber espionage and condomless sex. According to the Wall Street Journal, HBO Films, DreamWorks Studios, Universal Pictures and Annapurna Pictures are all frothing and panting to bring Assange’s story to a megaplex or cable box near you.

There are a lot of loose ends though–not the least of which being who would play the pale and lanky leader of WikiLeaks; Tim Robbins, even though he’s a bit older than Assange, possesses plenty of boyish charm and height–dangling plots points like Bradley Manning who is in prison and on trial; what happens with the Syrians cables; Assange’s potential extradition to Sweden…

Here’s a solution: A musical! As Spiderman Turn Off the Dark proves, stage plays are constantly evolving. As the Assange/WikiLeaks story unfolds, the libretto could be adjusted; and it’s a sure Tony Award winner, and once things are resolved in real life, the film would be ready to go. Along with Assange’s all singing, all dancing  grandstanding and honeypot sampling, Bradley Manning’s character would be onstage throughout as the tragic counterpoint and moral compass, first at a computer screen, then behind bars, always present, a contrast to Assange’s hubris.

Plus there would have to be a Greek chorus of Anonymous in EFG masks performing catchy numbers like “Low Orbit Ion Cannon,”  and “DDoS Us All” while Loooong Cat and Nyan Cat dance. It’s all a hummable, teachable-moment multi-media extravaganza! And Neil Patrick Harris would be SUPER in the starring role! Or maybe Zac Efron. Think Clay Aiken for the touring company.

If any Broadway producers are interested, you know where to find me…

The EFG Greek/geek chorus can get serious at times, while Manning’s character is the musical’s moral compass.

Julian Assange Superstar: Movie in the Works

Who would you cast as Julian Assange in a film about the WikiLeaks wunderkind?

Variety reports that Charles Ferguson, Oscar nominated for “Inside Job” has been signed to to HBO to direct his first non-doc feature: The story of  Julian Assange.

Meanwhile both Universal and Dreamworks are developing Assange bio pics. Ryan Phillippe could make a good Assange; he has already been in one computer thriller with Tim Robbins, who would also be awesome as Assange, screw the age difference, Robbins looks young enough. Robert Pattinson? Sure. Any other suggestions?

The story of  WikiLeaks, Assange and Bradley Manning would also make a stunning modern tragic opera, with a chorus in Anon masks.

(image: segment of Boucher’s Venus)

FDL Late Night: End of the World Sundae?

Let’s face it, things are weird. I am avoiding using any Dickensian references because I think they could be only half right and not the happy half, but there is a small of amount of hope: Fukishima may not be exactly as bad Chernobyl; Bradley Manning’s treatment got called on the State Dept carpet by AP reporters; the discovery of a 300-million-year-old shark jawbone found 700 feet below ground in a Kentucky coal mine may disrupt ebiblefellowship.com’s End Times calendar stating May 21 as the Rapture/Judgment Day and October 21 as the End of the World, which seems designed to one-up the Mayan 2012 countdown.*

Speaking of judgment and rapture, Fox News thinks Pap smears are available at Walgreens, which means either they have insider tips or are really stupid. And Denny’s has a maple bacon sundae on the menu. Either bacon is burned out or cured pork cures all.

*Plan a party for Sunday May 22! Menu ideas, anyone? And will you include bacon?

Viggo Mortenson, Michael Stipe, Tom Morello, Shephard Fairey, Jane Hamsher Join in Protest Against Treatment of Bradley Manning

Viggo Mortenson, Michael Stipe, Tom Morello, Shephard Fairey, Roseanne Cash, Danny Glover are joining FDL founder Jane Hamsher and Daniel Ellsberg to demand President Obama and Secretary Gates take immediate action in addressing

the inhumane and unjustified treatment of PFC Bradley Manning at Quantico Marine Base.

Jesselyn Radack of Government Accountability Project, Michael Ratner formCenter for Constitutional Rights, Vince Warren at Center for Constitutional Rights and Amnesty International’s Angela Wright also signed the letter which went went out today.

This week editorials ran in the New York Times, the LA Times and the Guardian decrying the degrading treatment of PFC Manning who is accusing of passing military documents to WikiLeaks. Manning’s treat goes against everything the America I and millins of others believe in, the America guarateed to us by our Founding Fathers and the Constitution. And Sunday’s Los Angeles Marathon is a GREAT opportunity to get out with signs and banners and tell the world.

On the evening of March 2, 2011 PFC Manning was stripped of all his clothing by the Quantico Brig and left naked in his cell for the next seven hours. His clothes were returned to him the following morning only after he stood to attention in front of the rest of the clothed inmates, still naked. The same thing occurred the following night and morning.

There can be no conceivable justification for this type of degrading treatment. It brings back memories of the abuses committed in Abu-Ghraib, which blackened the reputation of America’s armed forces.

Pfc. Manning is already being monitored at all times, both by direct observation and by video. No other detainee at the Brig is forced to endure this type of isolation and humiliation.

CNN Retracts Claims of Investigation into Manning’s Treatment by Quantico Commander

screen capture of original story (via emptywheel/FDL)
Up until just a bit ago, the above story, caught on screen capture, was pretty exciting–well now CNN has retracted it. Here’s the back story to the retraction.
UPDATE: MSNBC reports no links found between Manning and Assange!
Now back whence started.

Bradley Manning was improperly put on suicide watch last week by the Brig Commander at Quantico, the United States Government admits.

The reason Manning was put on suicide watch, which denied him clothing and his glasses: He allegedly refused to follow an order given by two officers. No word what that order was.

But only medical personnel are allowed to to make the suicide watch call.

Quantico’s Brig Commander James Averhart does not have that authority.

Wisely the U.S. Army lawyers urged  Averhart to take Manning–who has not yet been charged with a crime– off suicide watch. Averhart complied.

And as above, CNN’s retracted  their elaboration of what  MSNBC reported last night:

The CNN Wire has killed the story slugged US-WikiLeaks-Manning-1 that moved at 2:47 p.m. due to new information. The military spokesman identified in the story says there is no investigation into the decision to put Bradley Manning on suicide watch.

Emptywheel explains it all.