If the rain persists next week in Huntington Beach, Randy Wong has a simple response: Bring it on.
The Hawaii native will visit Surf City the last three days of 2010 as bassist and musical director of the Waitiki 7, an eclectic band that combines jazz, Latin and more into a style called exotica. A few months ago, Wong suggested a New Year's extravaganza to the owner of Don the Beachcomber, and he and his band will take the stage beginning Wednesday at the restaurant at 16278 Pacific Coast Hwy.
Wong describes his music, and the Polynesian-themed Tiki culture that it represents, as a form of escape. And that could include a respite from the weather outside.
"Every other Tiki festival on Earth is always in the summer," he said. "But when you need Tiki the most is when it's Christmas-y."
Waitiki: A Festival of Music & Cocktails, which begins at 7 p.m. nightly, features appearances by Wong's band along with other exotica artists, including Robert Drasnin, Sherry Shaoling and former members of the 1990s band Combustible Edison. The festival will climax New Year's Eve with a Tiki dance party featuring music, dancing and even original cocktails invented by members of the bands.