Have you ever played upright bass while standing on a man who is reclining on a bed of nails? Jimmy has. Have you ever been the go-go dancer for a surf band? Lola has. Have you ever put a dog collar on your executive naval officer and told him to bark like a dog? Jimmy has. Have you ever produced a film premiere for an underground horror grindhouse filmmaker? Lola has.
Jimmy and Lola have also created a rockin’ happy space called the Smoking Monkey Lounge at their home in Las Vegas. Jimmy mixed up a Fink Bomb (a Frankie’s Tiki Room cocktail) served in McBiff’s Sin City glass as we talked about their journey from collecting vintage to surf bands to a full home bar. The Smoking Monkey Lounge is filled with tikis from multiple countries, a short wave radio from Jimmy’s dad, a barometer from Lola’s dad, Jimmy’s navy certificate from crossing the dateline, smoking monkeys (of course), and a great collection of mugs. Jimmy and Lola were kids in the 70s and the influence of music and mid-century design is evident in their stunning home and their tiki lounge.
Jimmy is a guitarist and and bass player. He has performed with Doctor Bombay and the Atomic Bachelor, a surf band complete with go-go girls and a stripping gorilla – something burlesque for everyone’s tastes. Jimmy has played in surf, rockabilly and punk bands, while Lola has danced go-go for the band.
Lola is an artist and one of the creators of an underground art and music print zine called Hell in a Handbasket. She works with steampunks and horror filmmakers as well as runs a social network for fans affectionately called Hellions. Both she and Jimmy have enjoyed many crazy late nights filled with stories I couldn’t share in prime time. The one story they did share? Yes, it’s true. Jimmy played bass while standing on top of a sideshow performer who was laid flat out on a bed of nails.
Well, Jimmy had at least one more story.
Now entering King Neptune’s realm … these are the words that a polywog (or wog for short) tremble when they hear. Jimmy was a Navy man. He served entirely in the Pacific and visited the Philippines, Thailand and other islands on the USS Tarawa, Cook, and the Flint. One of his favorite stories involves the ritual of the wog becoming a shellback. If you’ve never crossed the equator, you’re a wog. If you’ve crossed and survived the ritual, you’re a shellback. For the wogs on board, the moment of reckoning begins when the bell rings and you hear that you’ve entered King Neptune’s realm.
Jimmy somehow found out that his executive officer (second command to the captain) was a wog, and he couldn’t resist the opportunity to exercise his first shellback opportunity. Most sailors might have avoided shenanigans with a commanding officer, but not Jimmy. As soon as the bell rang, Jimmy ran directly to the XO and shouted “Wog-dog, get on all fours!” Jimmy leashed his executive officer and within minutes had a commander barking like a dog. At the end of Jimmy’s tale, I had to ask – was he demoted the following day? No. Thankfully, when you’re in King Neptune’s realm, it’s the one day that rank doesn’t matter.
Jimmy and Lola are also active in building community in their home in Las Vegas. They paired up with a few other local tikiphiles including Will from Tiki Classics to create Sin City Tiki, a Facebook group that launched a month back. They recently had their first meet up featuring Billy Crud, a local and nationally known carver.
So, if you end up visiting Jimmy and Lola at the Smoking Monkey sometime, I just pray that you’ve already crossed the equator. Otherwise, there may be barking.