EXOTIKON: A New ‘Wild, Weird, and Wonderful’ Comes to DTLA

EXOTIKON promises to be the “Disneyland of Exotica” — an inaugural weekend celebration of all things “wild, weird, and wonderful” in the World of Exotica, this weekend, Friday through Sunday, June 23-25, 2023, at the WisdomeLA Art Park in DTLA’s Arts District.

The event, which features a different theme each day of the 3-day festival, begins with RISE of the SUN GODDESS: A Celebration of YMA SUMAC – Queen of Exotica, a 100th birthday celebration highlighting the music of the legendary and sublime Peruvian songstress, Yma Sumac and Xymposium “YMA SUMAC: Exotic Bird of the Andes.” (Day One schedule)

Day Two’s theme, “APOCALYPSE TIKI: The Rise and Fall of THE TIKIS, features a Xymposium discussing Tiki history and centering on the story of Polynesian showman and entrepreneur Danny Balsz. His Defunct theme park, “The Tikis,” in Monterey Park is the stuff of legend, and the evening’s entertainment promises a tribute with live Polynesian dancing, fire acts, and comedy–and an exploding volcano!

Photo courtesy of Exotikon.

Day Three centers around “The Exotic World of the South Seas,” in a featured Xymposium, as well as ‘The Rise and Fall of PACIFIC OCEAN PARK,” ‘The Progression of Tiki in Hawaii,” and “RAY BUHEN from the legendary TIKI TI,”– an hour with podcaster and historian, Adrian Eustaquio, as he presents the story of Roman Realista Buhion (better known as Ray Buhen), the famous tropical mixologist and founder of the Tiki-Ti bar in LA.

Other featured Xymposiums include “ARTHUR LYMAN: King of the JUNGLE VIBES,” “Bellydancing, Burlesque, and Bullfighters,” The Aztec Motel and other Mayanisms,” “The Hedonist World of Tiki Cocktails,” “EXOTICA 101: An Introduction to the World of EXOTICA,” and more.

This 21+ only fully-immersive experience spans within the five “temperature-controlled domes” including vendor villages, outdoor entertainment, themed photo booths, cocktail grottos, food-a-rama, historical exhibits, theatrical stage productions, free rum tastings, exclusive merch, the SHAG-SHACK Swinger Lounge, late-night campy themed Exotica burlesque, auctions of vintage Tiki and Exotica Items, and more each day, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Recently added to the entertainment line-up are El Vez and Pinup Palmer as Co-Hosts, along with musical headliner, Don Randi, keyboardist for The Wrecking Crew who “will recreate his long-lost 60s Exotica album” live on stage.

Additionally scheduled bands, to date:

  • Tikiyaki Orchestra – a mix of jungle swing and sultry Hawaiian steel guitar
  • Creepxotica (members of The Creepy Creeps) – saxy-Exotica Surf rock
  • The Martini Kings – Jazz-loungy Mambo to Spy
  • The Ego Plum Laboratory of Electro-Musical Instruments – a cartoon composer’s absurdist electronica
  • The Hula Girls – Surf rock
  • The Infernal Order of the Black Flame –will put a spell on you
  • Jason Lee & The Dark Entities – a “sinimatic” surf guitar experience/Darkwave meets Exotica
  • Mambo Diabolico -Ima Sumac meets Forbidden Zone with a slice of Diamanda Galas
  • The Hukilau Hotshots – 40’s Hawaiian of balmy sunsets and swaying palm trees
  • Optiganally Yours – Optigan organ Exotica stylings
  • The Reckless Night Ensemble Plays Raymond Scott – swing ala Raymond Scott
  • The Blue Hawaiians – Surf and Spy
  • Thea Triffid – A Theremin virtuoso

And more.

Spinning throughout the weekend are DJ Vanessa Burgundy, on Friday from 2 – 4 p.m., DJ Kelly Kathleen on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m., DJ Madame X on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., DJ Lee Joseph on Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m., and DJ Señor Amor on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.

Day passes, a weekend World Passport, as well as a Golden World Passport with admit patrons into all entertainment, art exhibits, vendor market entry, rum tastings, and Xymposiums. The weekend World Passport includes early vendor market entry and an “EXOTIKON ONE Secret Society Festival ring, exclusive for the inaugural.  The weekend Golden World Passport includes all, as well as their limited edition “The Tikis” Volcano Tiki Mug.

EXOTIKON is at WisdomeLA at 1147 Palmetto St., Los Angeles, CA 90013. Tickets range from $85 – $395, with day passes at $85, weekend World Passports at $275, and weekend Golden World Passports at $395, plus taxes and fees.

The event is Friday through Sunday, June 23-25, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. (check for time updates) at the Wisdome LA Art Park, 1147 Palmetto St, Los Angeles, in DTLA’s Arts District. Adjacent parking is at the Mateo Parking structure located at 1262 Palmetto St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, with additional parking lots in the area.

EXOTIKON, presented by Peekaboo Gallery, specializes in pop culture collections such as Vintage Disneyland, Videogame Culture, Commercial Air Travel, Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, and The World of Godzilla Toys. They recently showcased the legendary mid-century Polynesian pop manufacturer, “Oceanic Arts: The Godfathers of Tiki”  and a month-long festival called, “Aloha Oa!”  where events provide a curated art installation where all works can be purchased.

About Monique A. LeBleu

Monique A. LeBleu is a writer, photographer, videographer, and shameless foodie and wineaux. A love of film history and a background in film production, post-production, and film theory provide unique insights into her movie reviews. As well, a background in technical theater fuels her passion on all-things theater. As a foodie, living in the ever-growing and diverse culinary landscape that is the City of Los Angeles feeds her never-ending pursuit of the perfect comfort food—the world's best Mac n' Cheese!
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