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TONGA TRAFFIC, SAN FRANCISCO, 1960

Tonga Traffic - San Francisco, 1960

A gray-suited man is casually perched on the side steps of San Francisco’s iconic ride as it travels Nob Hill. Before him a ’60 Plymouth taxi follows the dovelike flight of a ’60 Ford Starliner as it blurs into a turn. Behind him, perspective plays games as the cable car heads up that oh-so fashionable hill past a little red side-mounted sign on which Fairmount Hotel Tonga Room is written in neon. It marks the entrance to San Francisco’s most deluxe and enduring tiki bar and restaurant.

Tucked away deep inside the famous Fairmont Hotel, the Tonga Room is the city’s kitschiest tourist attraction. The centerpiece and crowning touch is the pool where, to this day, the live band plays floating on a little stage. And if that’s not exotic enough for you, it fake rains every 20 minutes. And who doesn’t love fake rain while drinking and dining!

So if you are in mood for a Mai Tai and puu-puu platter this is the absolute perfect place for you and your tribe to belly up to the tiki bar and unleash a primal scream of pure joy. Rice-a-Roni isn’t the only San Francisco treat. So is the legendary Tonga Room.

BUT…BIG BUT… whatever you do…don’t dawdle get there ASAP. Developers have been threatening to demo the Tonga Room to build a mondo condo tower for years.

Speaking of SF, I’m deeee-lighted to be debuting my RETRO SLIDE SHOW there, a deep-fried and delicious live comedy performance celebrating classic and kitschy mid-century American life and style…tourist traps theme parks, space age suburbia, car culture and much much more!

Thursday night, April 14th, 8 p.m. at the Roxie Theater.

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Here’s to San Francisco, the Tonga Room and YOU!

Charles Phoenix
March 26, 2011
Los Angeles, CA

P.S. You are cordially invited to join me on Facebook for more Americana goodness!