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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Should Tiki Central be stripped of any hawaiiana discussions?
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Should Tiki Central be stripped of any hawaiiana discussions?
SuperEight
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 16, 2004
Posts: 268
From: Palo Alto
Posted: 2009-01-23 12:25 am   Permalink

Would the strict interpretationists of Tiki Central prefer that all discussions that veer into hawaiiana be taken elsewhere?

I fully understand that Tiki Culture for some was a mainland phenomenon only. It was a way for folks in Ohio to eat their dinner with a little tropical fantasy thrown in. It used the Tiki form from Polynesia and used it in a way that was not authentic but still conveyed the tropics to folks who usually did not know the difference. As a child I went to The Lanai in San Mateo, Trader Vics in San Francisco and drove past the Tiki Motel each day in Palo Alto and I get what Tiki is for some who only see it as a mainland happening. But I love Hawaiiana also. I spent each summer in Hawaii and a lot of time in Honolulu so its impossible for me to separate Polynesian Pop from Hawaiiana.

My points:

1. I love authentic Polynesian Tikis in addition to the type that came out of places like Oceanic Arts. These have been all around Waikiki since tourists have been going there and the Bishop Museum has a great collection. I guess what I am getting at is I love "Tikis" as well as loving "Tiki Culture" from the mainland.

2. Waikiki was home to the International Marketplace that in its heyday featured a wonderful bamboo treehouse for newlyweds and sported many Tikis back in 60"s when I started going there. Don the Beachcomer and Trader Vics both had success for some time in Waikiki and La Mariana still keeps the tiki torch alive. All of these places were heavy on Polynesian Pop.

3. Most of the best known tiki drinks were invented on the mainland. But the huge majority of people have had their first Mai Tai et al in Hawaii. And tropical drink menus continue to exist all over Waikiki today. Hawaii put the Mai Tai on the map.

4. The spirit of the tourist luau was I feel an inspiration for the Tiki fantasylands on the mainland. The luaus that Hawaii served up to tourists was not based on authentic custom and was a fantasy in the same spirit as the decor at the Kahiki or Bali Hai.

5. My own love love of Polynesian Pop is a wider umbrella that extends to Hula girls, lava rock souvenirs, Suck Em Up glasses, and certainly Don Ho. I think it would be very difficult to find a purist Tiki establishment on the mainland that did not play "Tiny Bubbles" at least once. A tiki world without Don Ho is not one I want to live in.

If I want to talk about Don Ho in the same breath as Tiki Farm, the Mai Kai, and Tiki Bob would the purists like Big Bro prefer I go to another site?


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11200
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-01-23 07:24 am   Permalink

I sincerely appreciate the caution with which you approach this subject, but the way you pose the question sounds way to extreme. There is no ban, dogma or censorship here, just a FOCUS. Hawaiiana and Hawaii have a link to, and were in many ways the inspiration for Tiki style. If this caution is motivated by the recent discussion about finding Tiki mugs at restaurants in Hawaii, I was not "forbidding" that question, I was merely explaining why I thought it came from a misunderstanding of the cause and effect of Tiki culture and the Tiki revival.

I do this because new people find and join Tiki Central every week, and since the Book of Tiki is not readily available anymore, I have to assume that most are not aware of the distinction between "Hawaiiana" and "Tiki style". So I aim to explain what TIKI (as a style and cultural phenomenon) is about. I do not dislike Hawaiiana, it's just not that interesting conceptually for me:

Tourist culture always existed, in many parts of the world, there is no "surprise" in it for me. The term "Island Lifestyle" says it all: It is a term for leisure living that is very generic, and quaint ...and kinda boring to me, culturally. I am not saying to have fond memories of Hawaiian vacations is wrong and has not been the inspiration for many mainland backyard Luaus, but what is fascinating culturally is the way Americans RE-INVENTED Hawaii and Polynesia in their own country -embellishing it and choosing the Tiki as its symbol in the process. THAT is a totally unique phenomenon, one whose multiple facets deserve further exploration (Hawaiiana being but one of these facets).

I will go into your individual questions in depth when I have more time, but let me assure you that Hawaii is not "out" on TC, I myself was just pondering to start a thread about the fact that Hawaiian statehood has its 50th anniversary this year, and how I believe that the occasion of statehood played an integral part in the motivation that brought mainland developers to push Tiki style to its peak here in the early 60s. It is all about understanding cause and effect, and differentiating the genres, and as long as that understanding is present, I don't have to explain it. For now, for those who do not own the Book of Tiki, here is my "Evolution of Polynesian Pop chart again:





[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-01-23 09:00 ]


 
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ManFromT.I.K.I.
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jul 02, 2007
Posts: 76
Posted: 2009-01-23 08:27 am   Permalink

Interesting chart! What strikes me is that even for pop culture, Tiki follows the model taught in art history courses regarding cultural development: proto/archaic--classic--baroque (the latter accompanied by wide spread dissemination and eventual "watering down" of the classic ideal as the intent of the original ideal gets confused and forgotten.

Or as Renaissance historian Vasari put it: "the style ceased, for the particular type of civilization it expressed had come to and end".


 
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Tiki-Kate
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 21, 2003
Posts: 1700
From: Yucaipa, CA
Posted: 2009-01-23 09:09 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-01-23 00:25, SuperEight wrote:
Would the strict interpretationists of Tiki Central prefer that all discussions that veer into hawaiiana be taken elsewhere?

If I want to talk about Don Ho in the same breath as Tiki Farm, the Mai Kai, and Tiki Bob would the purists like Big Bro prefer I go to another site?



Tiki Central most definitely has one very specific focus. In order to maintain that focus, the site is broken down into a series of different forums.

If the users are considerate enough to ensure that they post in the appropriate forum, that focus remains intact.

In my opinion, a topic that is strictly about Hawaiiana should be discussed in Beyond Tiki, and there's certainly room for Don Ho in Tiki Music.



 
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Cammo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 18, 2006
Posts: 1952
From: San Diego
Posted: 2009-01-23 09:10 am   Permalink

SuperEight nailed it. This is exactly the problem at the heart of TC.

My own opinion is simply that native Hawaiian art and in fact original Polynesian art in general is MUCH more amazing than any "interpretations" that popped up any time later.

And more to the point - I know Trader Vic and Don felt the same way. They all had much treasured collections of native art, most of which later found their way into museums.

The 30 year Tiki Era is interesting, but the 10,000 years of native arts, dancing, and the cultures that inspired it are far more fascinating...


 
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Cammo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 18, 2006
Posts: 1952
From: San Diego
Posted: 2009-01-23 09:17 am   Permalink

"...a topic that is strictly about Hawaiiana should be discussed in Beyond Tiki"

See? Hawaiiana has no place here? It's a "Beyond Tiki" topic?

Huh?????


 
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The Granite Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 02, 2005
Posts: 812
From: Nashua, NH
Posted: 2009-01-23 09:33 am   Permalink

That sure sounds a bit strict.

Can you clarify that with a couple of examples?


 
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Tiki Shaker
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 28, 2008
Posts: 706
From: Menifee, CA
Posted: 2009-01-23 09:36 am   Permalink

I think tiki and hawaiiana are too linked to separate. If you go to a tiki bar, you will see lots of hawaiiana. It's a common element in just about any tiki surroundings, not to mention it's influence on tiki in general.

Put it this way, if for the past 60 years, all tiki bars had neon beer signs to fill in the space in between tikis, we would all be talking about neon beer signs too. But instead, thankfully, the bars decorate with hula girls, velvet paintings of palm trees, nautical items and last but not least, tikis.

It think the two would be easy to separate if there was a line to separate them at. But that line is way to blurred, in my opinion... especially considering you would have to rearrange half of this sites history because so much of it is hawaiiana!




 
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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2009-01-23 10:00 am   Permalink

At the risk of starting a flame war, I have to chime in with my 2 cents, from a musician's perspective:

I love Tiki, and specifically, the Tiki culture as demonstrated in Sven's book. I love the "fakeness" of the whole scene, and as a rule, I love exotica music.

But, I have to say that had you gone to the Tikis in monterey park, or the Disney tahitian terrace, back in the day, you would have seen a floor show with Tahitian/Hawaiian dancers and hapa-haole music. This is the same music my band the Smoking Menehunes plays.

http://www.myspace.com/thesmokinmenehunes

Back in the day, it would have been rare to see Martin Denny or Arthur Lyman in any of the legendary tiki bars around America. I can quite confidently say that it would have been a band much like mine, or like the Sweet Hollywaiians, for example.

So, now for the flaming part: We have been on the scene for about 5 years now, playing in and around OC, and mostly for free, and yet it is the same 5 people from this forum that always show up (God bless them, by the way). We attract no new audience members. There are people in this thread who have never come to even one of our gigs, though I know they live in the area. I am pretty sure this reflects the bias against "Hawaiiana" on this forum (Or, it just means we really, really suck!!)

Not to knock modern exotica bands, but these are all a blend of exotica themes and surf music, which in my opinion, was not around during the golden age of tiki. It is a distictly MODERN take on an older genre.

The leader of our band, Pat Enos, is a Hawaiian from kaneohe, but spent much of his youth in Waikiki during the 60's, as one of the notorious beach boys. Between him and Bill Tapia (also a memeber of our band) they have played every tiki place in Hawaii.

I would like to urge some of these people that are defining "tiki" to come check the band out. As it happens, we are playing tonight in Huntington Beach. Come out and decide for yourself if what we are doing is "tiki" or not. No, we don't have vibraphones or surf guitars. This is classic Hawaiian music, and ironically, a lot of these Hapa Haole tunes were written by "Haoles" on the mainland, back in the days when there were tiki bars here and flourishing.

So please take this in the spirit it was written. I love exotica and tiki culture. I love all the new exotica bands, like Tikiyaki and Exotiki. In fact, I love them a lot. But if you want to separate Hawaiiana from Tiki, you will have to pry it from my cold, dead hands!

What my band is doing is "tiki" to me, and has never been anything else. If we were playing Jawaiian, Hawaiian 70's pop or even slack key, I would feel differently. I don't believe those styles are "tiki" at all, but Hapa Haole is a whole different thing. It's the music of luaus, whether here during the 50's, or in Hawaii.

Please come and see for yourself. The music is based on jazz and swing from the first part of this decade, when Tiki was king.




[ This Message was edited by: Lucas Vigor 2009-01-23 15:11 ]


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Mr. Pupu Pants
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 06, 2008
Posts: 334
From: Edmonds, WA
Posted: 2009-01-23 10:18 am   Permalink

My two cents (which now buys one cent),
Hawaii and Hawaiiana was kind of the gateway drug that led me into the world of Tiki and Tiki Central (and seems a natural lead-in/extension for many of us). Having taken a family trip to Hawaii for the first time about 10 years ago is what led me to discover the real escapism mindset of this whole pop culture re-creation.

Without getting too deep and discussing all of the various 'real' and pop-culture created contributions, isn't that a huge part of the original driving force for much of this ---- that the GI's returning from Hawaii and the Pacific following WWII brought back those artifacts and memories of Hawaii and the South Pacific?

Blah, blah, blah....did I just toss a grenade into the middle of a group of proud (and smarter) purists?

That said, this site is whatever the founder(s) want it to be and I'm just happy to be here.
This from a guy who goes by the name Pupu.
Aloha and Mahalo

[ This Message was edited by: Mr. Pupu Pants 2009-01-23 10:20 ]


 
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The Granite Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 02, 2005
Posts: 812
From: Nashua, NH
Posted: 2009-01-23 10:19 am   Permalink

That musical topic deserves its own thread!
You've definitely touched on some themes I've often wondered about myself!
A possible snobbery against Hapa Haole and in favor of Exotica (Yes, I love both too)
Whenever I hear a classic Exotica group/performer play an arrangement of a Calypso song I think about that irony.
But, I digress.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11200
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-01-23 10:28 am   Permalink

Beg to differentiate, Lucas: In my mind your music has its place in the Tiki REVIVAL, today, and thus it can be "Tiki" to the Tiki worshippers of today, just as sexy Hula girls are a part of it. But historically, it is Polynesian pop, or more specifically Hawaiiana --it predates the Tiki period, just like Don The Beachcomber and Trader Vic do, when they were not Tiki.

And folks, do not take Super Eight's question as a statement of fact --it is a mere group of QUESTIONS, albeit asked in a very polemic and provocative way, as if the broad spectrum of posts here on TC (on original Oceanic Art in books and museums, on Coco Joe's and vacation tips in Hawaii, etc.) does not exist or would be constantly attacked by so-called purists. But is that really so?

I know there are a lot of folks here that do not want to THINK about Tiki culture, just see it as fun or as mug collecting hobby, and are annoyed by my "serious" specifications and differentiations about it --but that (AND the events and cocktails and music) is MY greatest fun I find in it.


[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-01-23 10:39 ]


 
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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2009-01-23 10:39 am   Permalink

I have never really seen anyone here on this forum shoot down a thread because it was only marginally associated with tiki, though I do see a preference in Exotica/Surf over Hawaiian music, and a trend towards modern low-brow art in the style of mugs and other artwork, for example. I make take flack for this, but very little of it is "authentic", especially when you add the surf element, in either music or in design. It is a modern take on an older theme. I still like ALL of it, by the way. The same can be said for the rockabilly revival of the early 80's, and the retro-swing revival of the 90's. Not really that authentic either, but still damn good! I don't know if any purists would really feel the same, though.

 
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Tom Slick
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 26, 2005
Posts: 1092
From: The Beaches of South Bay, SoCal
Posted: 2009-01-23 10:40 am   Permalink

You couldn't have "Hawaiian shirts", if you don't have "Hawaiiana"....


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11200
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-01-23 10:51 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-01-23 10:18, Mr. Pupu Pants wrote:
Without getting too deep and discussing all of the various 'real' and pop-culture created contributions, isn't that a huge part of the original driving force for much of this ---- that the GI's returning from Hawaii and the Pacific following WWII brought back those artifacts and memories of Hawaii and the South Pacific?



That facet of the roots of Tiki style is a Wikipedia-type cliche that has been way overstated by media repetition, latching on to the first best explanation that the public can relate to.

Look at my chart: That influence happened clearly BEFORE the Tiki period, leading up to it, yes, being essential Polynesian pop, but not yet Tiki. The biggest Pacific war veteran/pop culture contribution was James Michener's South Pacific and the myth of Bali Hai. But the book, musical and movie (appearing from the late 40s to the early 50s) were still virtually Tiki free.


 
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