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Tiki Central Forums » » General Tiki » » JOHN-O's Las Vegas (& Honolulu pg 8) Thread
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JOHN-O's Las Vegas (& Honolulu pg 8) Thread
JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2682
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-11-09 11:36 pm   Permalink

The Tropicana Hotel implodes the 300-wing Garden Rooms built in 1962...

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/nov/09/tropicana-las-vegas-implodes-wing-containing-resor/

Another piece of mid-century Las Vegas bites the dust.


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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3811
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2010-11-10 1:00 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-10-17 21:18, JOHN-O wrote:
The Liberace Museum closed today.



http://www.ktnv.com/Global/story.asp?S=13201769

If Liberace can draw protesters in support of his historic legacy, why can't Tiki culture have the same ??




A shame that museum closed.
The protestors are great. Protesting a lack of Vegas kitsch in Vegas.


 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2682
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-11-11 11:05 pm   Permalink

"Honolulu Confidential" Part 1 of 10

Thanks to Atomic Tiki Punk for the title idea, may he RIP. (And no he's not dead, he just pulled a Bong)

First things first. I love mid-century Tiki-style. I love Hawaii. But... I never went in search of Tiki-style in Hawaii. To me Tiki was a separate thing, and in Hawaii it was twice removed. Tiki-style on the mainland was Hawaii "idealized". When jet travel to Hawaii first became popular, tourists were disappointed to find that Poly-Pop Primitive ideal really didn't exist. So what did the Hawaii tourist businesses do? They imported that fabricated aesthetic back to the islands. Like I said, Tiki twice removed.

To me, looking for mid-century Tiki-style in Hawaii was akin to flying to Japan to eat California roll, or traveling to Italy to eat CPK-style pizza. Why bother when unique and authentic experiences were to be had? There were volcanoes and tropical rain forests to backpack through. There were manta rays to scuba dive with. There were oceans to kayak. There was Hawaii "Local" culture to experience with it's polyglot of Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese, and Haole influences. Locals had their own food, dialect, and lifestyle. The real deal, only in Hawaii. Hawaii had history, a memorial to an infamous moment that shaped the 20th Century, and the only Royal family native to US culture (albeit overthrown by the same).

With all that, who needs (fake) Tiki? I would roll my eyes whenever the question "Where can I find Tiki in Hawaii" would come up on TC.

Yes La Marianna Sailing Club is a great Tiki-style destination, not to be missed by the TC rank and file. I always viewed it however as an anomaly, tucked away in a remote area far from everything else. It didn't help matters when local friends on Oahu would laugh when I would suggest meeting there for drinks.

I also didn't have much sentimentality for the International Market Place. No childhood memories for me when the place was in its prime, I only saw it as a place where Asian immigrants would give you the hard sell on Hawaiiana made in China. Buyers in the know asking "Is this made in Hawaii" would only be treated rudely. "Why you ask ?? YOU made in China !!" Other than the good ethnic eats in the food court, I had no use for the place. It was merely a cheap tourist place that made me feel like a cheap tourist. Go ahead and bulldoze the place. I really didn't care.

This last trip however was different.

This time I met with one of our local TC ambassadors, Phillip Roberts. Phillip had written a book, "Waikiki Tiki", just released a few weeks earlier. I purchased my copy in the Borders Express in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.



This book and a walking tour with Phillip made me see things in a new light.

It changed my perspective on Tiki-style and its significance in Hawaii.


Stay tuned for Part 2...


 
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Sophista-tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 13, 2005
Posts: 1705
From: Seattle WA
Posted: 2010-11-12 07:05 am   Permalink

wow that was great/ my first time visiting this thread, lots of eye candy with the vintage pics, and the neon sign grave yard. Thanks for the content share
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7251
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2010-11-12 10:50 am   Permalink

John-O did you grow up in Hawaii or just visit as a child? My only trip to Oahu was in 2003 (before I knew much about tiki), I'm interested in hearing your take.

 
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tikiskip
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Nov 26, 2005
Posts: 2777
Posted: 2010-11-12 9:20 pm   Permalink

"I also didn't have much sentimentality for the International Market Place. No childhood memories for me when the place was in its prime, I only saw it as a place where Asian immigrants would give you the hard sell on Hawaiiana made in China."

I would think it would be better to have some remains of the past than a brand new Starbucks.

And a good part of the "Hawaiiana" we saw when we were there was made by Bosko.

[ This Message was edited by: tikiskip 2010-11-13 10:36 ]


 
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Wayfarer
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Joined: Jun 03, 2009
Posts: 300
From: Italy, but not by choice
Posted: 2010-11-13 05:43 am   Permalink

As I was reading this thread my father called me... from his hotel room in La Vegas. What are the odds of that?

I did recommend Frankie's and Dino's to him. Interestingly enough my grandparents (who are with him) where familiar with both location.
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2682
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-11-13 12:49 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-11-12 10:50, MadDogMike wrote:
John-O did you grow up in Hawaii or just visit as a child? My only trip to Oahu was in 2003 (before I knew much about tiki), I'm interested in hearing your take.


No Mike, I didn't grow up in Hawaii or visit when I was a child.

I grew up in Rosemead ("Birthplace of the Tiki Revival" ) and didn't make it to Hawaii until 1992. From that time however I was pretty much an annual visitor, mostly for adventure travel on the outer islands.

Eventually through mainland friends who grew up in Hawaii, I was invited to backyard parties, beach luaus, and weddings in Oahu. That gave me an exposure to local culture that most tourists don't get to experience. I found that most people born and raised in Hawaii don't have the same interest and affection toward mid-century Tiki-style that we have in California. To Locals it's a "tourist thing" and for the most part they avoid Waikiki. They also don't have the same sentimentality towards the area that a mainland tourist would.

As as result, I never really tracked Poly-Pop history in Hawaii like I have for So CA. Even though I was spending time in Honolulu (mostly as a gateway stay), I missed out on the Waikikian Hotel when it was still standing as well seeing Don Ho perform (that one kills me). I probably walked by Don's Treehouse dozens of times but never really noticed it or understood its history. Now it's too late.

I'm sure some of my "flippant" remarks on IMP have horrified many here but I am being honest. Consider this thread as "evolution" of a Tikiphile.


[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2010-11-14 14:37 ]


 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2682
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-11-14 4:18 pm   Permalink

Here it is. My big 1000th post...

"Honolulu Confidential" Part 2 of 10

As mentioned earlier, I missed out on (or didn't pay attention to) the heyday of Hawaii's great Tiki-style past. Being a Johnny-Come-Lately to mid-century era Honolulu, I never really appreciated the history behind past Waikiki icons like DTBC and TV, or the carvings strewn around the IMP. To these novice eyes, there was very little, if anything left.

Being in Honolulu, I had the pleasure of meeting with Phillip Roberts for his Tiki walking tour of Waikiki.

What a whirlwind that was, as he pointed out original Tiki-style remnants throughout the gradually devolving IMP. I had to really walk quickly to keep up with his rapid-fire pace. Things he pointed out behind bushes, in out-of-the way alleys, on high archways, and in nearby hotels (that I never would have otherwise ventured into) really impressed upon me the rich legacy of mid-century Waikiki Tiki-style. For such a compact area, it was urban archeology at its finest !!

Here's a Fijian King's chair that we had to crawl behind one annoyed IMP vendor to get to...



I took a lot of pictures... that I'm not going to post here. I don't want to steal Phillip's thunder with his new book. Almost everything I took pictures of is in "Waikiki Tiki", plus he places these things in the appropriate context with historical background and images. From his book, I learned about other great (and long-gone) places like Canlis' Broiler.



And yes I know many of you are saying "JOHN-O, didn't you read Chapters 4 and 5 of Beachbum Berry's Sippin' Safari several years ago (also essential reading) or check out all the great Hawaii posts in the Locating Tiki Forum ??". Yes, I admit to not having done my Tiki homework. ("Book of Tiki" sat on my coffee table for almost a year before I actually started to read the holy words, sorry Bigbro.) The great thing about Phillip's book is that he now makes all this great history easily available to Tikiphiles as well as non-Tikiphile Hawaii visitors. I understand the Bishop Museum will be stocking his book in its gift shop, that's a great testament to its content and significance. The only thing I'm kind of concerned about is that this might add to the casual misperception that mid-century Tiki-style originated in Hawaii. On a related note, I kept hearing the following line when I was at the Royal Hawaiian's Mai Tai Bar: "Oh, this is where they invented the Mai Tai, right?". Wrong !! Oh well.

I encourage everyone here to pick up a copy of "Waikiki Tiki", it will travel well on your next Oahu vacation, plus it doesn't weigh a ton like "Tiki Modern" does (ha, ha). For it's compact size however, it's filled with an amazing amount of detail.

via Amazon.com

I will add this one image of a Edward "Mick" Brownlee carved Tiki that I really liked. This was something I would have walked by a million times and never really thought about. Now, I think about all of the change that one Tiki has been witness to for almost half a century.



It was great to learn about Mick Brownlee. He was a major carver of Tiki in and around Waikiki. It seems he flew low and under the radar until about 2005. He was also responsible for the Las Vegas Aku Aku interior carvings (which I understand were lost when the kitchen caught on fire). Phillip's book contains two personal letters from Brownlee who currently resides in Oregon.

One last thing that Phillip did impart on me was his Aloha attitude towards Waikiki Tiki like this...



When I first saw this stuff, I was horrified. I asked "Phillip, what do YOU think of this?" He just smiled slightly and said "I try not to judge... plus they are trying". Maybe that's something we need to do more of on TC, especially with all the recent drama...

…Enjoy Tiki more and judge (each other) less !!

I know I'm guilty here. And as Phillip did comment "You (California) guys are spoiled".

Thanks again Phillip for your fantastic book and an experience that I both enjoyed and learned from !!





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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7251
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2010-11-14 7:50 pm   Permalink

John, congrats of the 1000th post - I'm sure I squandered mine on "Cool mug!" or something like that

Looking forward to the next 8 installments and lots more content from you.


 
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aquarj
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 1074
From: SF bay area, CA
Posted: 2010-11-14 9:15 pm   Permalink

Nice post JOHN-O, along with the thoughts that these sights triggered for you. I bet a lot of people here have similar feelings of wishing we'd BEEN there when we'd been there, if you know what I mean. Or SEEN it when we saw it. Not just with locations in Waikiki, but other places too, including Vegas.

Quote:
On 2010-11-14 16:18, JOHN-O wrote:
I will add this one image of a Edward "Mick" Brownlee carved Tiki that I really liked. This was something I would have walked by a million times and never really thought about. Now, I think about all of the change that one Tiki has been witness to for almost half a century.


That one has witnessed a lot, and his unfortunate brother on the back side looks like he might've seen even more on the rougher side of the tracks, giving him a more bitter grimace...



-Randy

(ps - I like that Canlis ad!)


 
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2682
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-11-14 9:48 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-11-14 21:15, aquarj wrote:

(ps - I like that Canlis ad!)


You should. Now that I went back and reviewed the source where I "poached" it from, I can see it was from a newspaper ad that you originally scanned.

Of all the Canlis images I was able to pull up, it was my fav. Thanks !!


 
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Phillip Roberts
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 09, 2003
Posts: 1592
From: OAHU/Seattle
Posted: 2010-11-14 11:39 pm   Permalink

Aloha,
Quote:

On 2010-11-14 16:18, JOHN-O wrote:
For such a compact area, it was urban archeology at its finest !!



Mahalo Nui Loa JOHN-O! That is fine praise about my wiki-wiki tour. That is my beat, and because I walk it constantly, I notice every little thing about it. I know where the art is in Waikiki.

via Amazon.com

One last thing that Phillip did impart on me was his Aloha attitude towards Waikiki Tiki like this...



Quote:

When I first saw this stuff, I was horrified. I asked "Phillip, what do YOU think of this?" He just smiled slightly and said "I try not to judge... plus they are trying"...



And then I asked, "Why is it's tongue purple?"

JOHN-O... "Because it is eating poi?"

DING DING!!
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Waikiki Tiki; Art, History, and Photographs.
Available now from Bess Press Hawaii.


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mrsmiley
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3171
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2010-11-16 11:57 am   Permalink

I don't get it... John-O, why is Hawaii and Vegas mixed together. I suggest you edit out the Hawaiian stuff and paste it in a new Honolulu Confidential thread. I think there is to much on these two topics to be in one thread. -smiley
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JOHN-O
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2682
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-11-16 12:48 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-11-16 11:57, mrsmiley wrote:

I don't get it... John-O, why is Hawaii and Vegas mixed together. I suggest you edit out the Hawaiian stuff and paste it in a new Honolulu Confidential thread. I think there is to much on these two topics to be in one thread. -smiley


"You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not please all of the people all of the time."

Donn Beach




[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2010-11-16 14:16 ]


 
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