The bizarre rise and fall and resurgence of tiki bars and cocktails is an interesting history that starts with two men, Donn Beach and Victor Bergeron, who traveled to the South Pacific and brought back some "island culture" to the United States with them in the 1930s, continuing on with the craze really booming after WWII vets returned from tours overseas. With the ebbs and flows of popularity, the cultural appropriation in "Tiki culture" has often been overlooked, as to the Māori mythology and meaning behind Tiki carvings and imagery and Hawiian culture of leis and luaus. Let's talk Tiki bars: harmless fun or exploitation. [Soundtrack: Les Baxter's Ritual Of The Savage ( 1951) and Martin Denny's Exotica (1957)] [more inside]
"The bohemian aspect, in terms of style and decor, was clearly part of the beachcomber look—the guy in tattered clothes who built his shack from found objects and natural materials like bamboo and driftwood. It became this escapist thing for urbanites to go to these places and feel bohemian for a while. If you look at 1930s photos of restaurants like Trader Vic’s in Oakland or Don the Beachcomber in Los Angeles, these places were full of jetsam and flotsam that didn’t exist in the normal, mid-century home at the time." Tiki Hangover: Unearthing the False Idols of America's South Seas Fantasy (Hunter Oatman-Stanford, Collector's Weekly)
Until recently, Rosemead, CA was home to one of the last great tiki restaurants, Bahooka. Bahooka's star resident was Rufus, a 37-year old Pacu, who graced the entrance area. Rufus loved carrots. He appeared in several movies, including Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Bahooka closed in early 2013. Sadly, despite fan efforts to save and relocate Rufus, his whereabouts are now a mystery, and as the site's new owners are not communicating, fears have grown that Rufus was simply thrown away.
I f*ckin love girly drinks! / Don't give a f*ck what what you think! / I f*ckin love girly drinks! / I f*ckin wanted that pink!! / I F*CKIN LOVE GIRLY DRINKS! (Generally NSFW-ish, unless you work in a bar)
The Exotica Project. One Hundred 45s, presented here to say simply that "Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman and Yma Sumac are only the tip of exotica." Organized helpfully into several categories, including Polynesian/Pacific Theme and Maritime/Castaway Theme and even Wordless Vocals. Compiled by the keeper of Office Naps.
Save The Tonga Room. The beloved Tonga Room in San Francisco, long threatened with extinction, may soon be a City historical resource, giving it a fighting chance at preservation.
Vantiki is the work of Hawaiian artist Henrik Van Ryzin. His specialty is hand-crafted, one of a kind Tiki Mugs, each with their own special twist. [more inside]
Trader Vic's was closed in Beverly Hills at the end of last month. Apparently also in Osaka, Japan. But fear not, fellow Tiki freaks and cool cats, there are plenty of other places to get yourself a good Mai Tai, grab some far-out Polynesian accessories, and take a history refresher to impress your friends and neighbors.
Arkiva Tropika is a huge archive of tropical-themed ephemera. Browse restaurant and drink menus, postcards, photos, brochures and matchbooks. Hours and hours worth of retro tiki goodness.
Tiki: How sex, rum, World War II, and the brand-new state of Hawaii ignited a fad that has never quite ended. (via)
Tiki's mother takes him to see a pakeha township for the first time. One of many books available from the International Children's Digital Library.
munktiki ~ cool tiki mugs, rumba cups, and monster shots.
Tiki Trouble My kids have been logging major time with this lately, so I thought I'd share it. For our collector of Tikiana. (Flash)