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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Final Goodbye to Kona Lanes~Costa Mesa, CA
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Final Goodbye to Kona Lanes~Costa Mesa, CA
tikiyaki
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 18, 2004
Posts: 2706
From: The Exotic Port of REDONDO BEACH, CA
Posted: 2009-01-07 11:29 pm   Permalink

Wow, BigBro...amazing pics.

You're right...a book needs to be made about Bowling architecture. I guess I need to start collecting photos and memorabelia and in 5 or so years I can
create "The Book of Bowling Alleys" or "Bowling Alley Modern"

You never know with me, I just may try to do it

[ This Message was edited by: tikiyaki 2009-01-07 23:29 ]


 
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tikijackalope
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 23, 2003
Posts: 820
From: KS/MO
Posted: 2009-01-08 01:12 am   Permalink

Photos like these have probably been posted elsewhere on this site, but just in case, here is the sign in the American Sign Museum as of July 1, 2007.






Curator Tod Swormstedt talks about the construction of the Kona Lanes sign.


This exhibit photo shows the sign in situ. If memory serves, Tod explained that the "Bowl" portion of the sign was too deteriorated to move.

I highly recommend the museum; it's well thought out and Tod's small tours are the type you wish you could have in any museum. To our surprise, there was even something for the kids - neon letters that lit when in proximity to their power source. The kids with us could arrange the letters to spell their own names. Cincinnati is under-rated for coolness. It also has
Cincinnati Union Terminal, the model for Justice League Headquarters.
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jpmartdog
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 27, 2005
Posts: 650
From: Amesbury, Mass
Posted: 2009-01-08 05:53 am   Permalink

Seeing all these pics and browsing through my collected images of polynesian restaurants and lounges of the past really depresses me.

What a sad country (world?) we have become where greed is the inspiration for development and change.
In days past, it would seem an idea for development was more apt to grow out of a desire to create a unique and memorable venue that would not only serve the public but give them an experience they would love and long remember. The belief that the customer would return again and again, with more friends. There was an attention to detail, service and quality. Customers would not just be given the service they expected but would be immersed into a unique environment, that multiplied their happiness - that was the 'Tipsy' factor. Success was never based on 'quick return on investment' but expected through customer satisfaction, volume of sales, longevity, and not to mention making an impact on the community.

Now, it would seem, greed and profit has extinguished this desire to 'create' and connect. Todays cookie cutter construction is quite simply based on cost effectiveness. Developers and owners now look for the quick way to 'turn a buck'. The cheapest construction, eliminates unique shapes and ornamentation, the cheapest signs eliminates our streetside wow factor. The cheapest construction minimizes cost and maximizes potential profit. Inside we find the same 'crap', in every mall, on every street corner, in every strip mall across America. Unfortunately over the years - the coming generations will not have the first hand memory of "what was" and they will no longer have that memory to compare to their present situation. Corporate and Individual greed will succesfully blindside everyone, consumers actually will believe, that a $3.50 Double Mocha Latte is "Awesome", and they will expect that Latte to be duplicated and available on every street corner, in every town, across America, and across the World. It would seem the 'Tipsy' factor has been replaced by the 'Madoff' factor.

This is not intended to be a soapbox, but rather true heartfelt sadness.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11097
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-01-08 09:00 am   Permalink

Sad but true. That's what I am trying to hint at in Tiki Modern when I talk about the basically great concepts of modernism -simplicity, functionality, lack of extraneous ornament -having been abused as excuse and license to build cheap and boring boxes. Sliding glass windows are my favorite example: They were innovations in the 50s, allowing "the outside to come in" in modern homes, now I hate their airtight flush/no windowsill cheapness.

Jim, while you collect material for the bowling alley book, on the side start with collecting images of mid-century modern church architecture, the next subject worthy of a book -and one of which a lot of examples are still standing!




[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-01-08 09:02 ]


 
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tikiyaki
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 18, 2004
Posts: 2706
From: The Exotic Port of REDONDO BEACH, CA
Posted: 2009-01-08 09:34 am   Permalink

jpmartdog....How eloquently put. These amazing buildings and signage, ESPECIALLY the signage, were designed to draw the consumer in, by exciting them with an amazing visual.

Economically , neon is is costly, and it's understandable that it's not used as much anymore, but who is the one that said ALL sign fonts have to be helvetica or times roman style ?

The lettering on signs is SOOOOO boring now. Alot of cities have regulations that prohibit creative signage, so what you get, besides the boring architecture , is even MORE boring signage.

It makes me sad too. Sad even more is that bowling alleys just don't seem to get built anymore, and if they keep getting bulldozed like Kona and Java Lanes, what is to happen to the good sport and recreational activity known as kegling. ? Ralph Kramden must be rolling in his grave.


BigBro...If I wasn't so anti organized religion, I would consider the book of churches...they certainly have amazing architecture.


 
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jpmartdog
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 27, 2005
Posts: 650
From: Amesbury, Mass
Posted: 2009-01-08 10:56 am   Permalink

I imagine it will not be long before a few select few of us will be the lucky (or unlucky) ones to be riding horseback on the beach, clad in nothing more than a loincloth of animal skin.


Taylor: Oh my God. I'm back. I'm home. All the time, it was... We finally really did it.
[screaming]
Taylor: You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!


 
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Big Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2007
Posts: 2298
From: SoMass
Posted: 2009-01-08 3:25 pm   Permalink

Hey, Tipsy! How bout a Kona Lanes sign?

 
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Tiki Shaker
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 28, 2008
Posts: 706
From: Menifee, CA
Posted: 2009-01-08 4:34 pm   Permalink

I have mixed feelings about what you wrote jpmartdog (no offense).

I, like you, am saddened when I see pics of how amazing things use to be. Most of the past flows with my personal taste and style.

But it is a tricky argument when you say the country is sad where greed is the inspiration for development and change.

Hasn't this always been the case? Do you think Kona Lanes was built because they wanted to be original? Or that they wanted to invent a new style? No, they were picking up on what was popular so that they could attract the most people and make the most money. Just like every other tiki inspired place. I would bet that some of the the older tiki establishments might have replaced something that was amazing from the 1800s. Especially the tiki places in New York. It just happens that we prefer the tiki/googie style. It just happens that it is not that popular now. Can you imagine how awesome we would think things were, if back in the day, tiki/hawaiian/tropical style was as popular as the faux Mediterranean look has been the past 10 years?

Are our kids/grandkids going to lament the destruction of all of the faux Mediterranean stuff 50 years from now? Though we feel that construction today is cheap compared to the past, the 50's/60's construction was cheap compared the the hand crafted wares of the past.

The bottom line is it is almost impossible to upkeep anything custom today, with out it costing an arm and a leg. I can't imagine how much it would cost to upkeep a vintage tiki restaurant compared to a franchise. I personally like knowing that my latte is going to taste correct every time I go in to a Starbucks. Can you imagine how awesome it would be to know that your Mai Tai is going to taste amazing every time you go to a Trader Vic's? Hell, half of the complaints on this site are from people complaining about bad drinks they got at restaurants!

I guess part of this is the libertarian in me. I always have mixed feelings when people try to prevent people from doing what they want to do with their own property. The bottom line is it is based on personal taste and preference (or lack there of).

I've always thought that the best way to solve the complete cultural destruction of the past is education. Educate the people you know. Let them know why tiki is good and important. Let them know the importance of googie and space age. At least then they will develop an appreciation for it. Or at least a respect for it. Once that happens, they will understand the importance of preserving some of the things from our past.

For example, I live in an apartment building in Oceanside CA. When I moved in, people thought things were looking odd when I was bringing my furniture in. Then they saw me set up shelves to display my cocktail shakers. They started asking questions. I had extra barware and one day I invited everyone over and let them take cocktail shakers, barware and other fun things I had. I was going to sell the stuff, but I thought it would be fun to give it to people. After a while they would ask me about my furniture. They would look at a eames chair and said it reminded them of school. Then they would sit in it and think it was comfortable. After a while, most of my neighbors have grown an appreciation for MCM and tiki.

I always thought that the best way to prevent amazing buildings from being destroyed would be by having Historical/Style Suggestion Committees. How they would work, is before anything is torn down or "remodeled" the committee would invite the owner/developers over. Present them with historical photos and descriptions of how and what their property use to be. Give them a style suggestion packet describing how they could remodel or update their property and at the same time, preserve or reintroduce it's historically significant style. I know a lot of times, people buy property and don't even know what it was. Especially if they have already been altered before they purchase it.

I don't know, that's my ramble for the day. It went in a couple of directions but I thought I would introduce other perspectives.




 
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tikiyaki
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 18, 2004
Posts: 2706
From: The Exotic Port of REDONDO BEACH, CA
Posted: 2009-01-08 5:31 pm   Permalink

Tiki Shaker. I've seen you post on here before defending developers, and I think you mentioned that you yourself are in the Real Estate development business.

While I DO understand your POV, and am the last person to want to knock the way a person makes an honest living, I have to agree that below bottom line thinking seems to be the prevailing concern when it comes to new development. Of course, the architects on the 50's had bottom lines to deal with as well, but that time was a rennaisance period for many things, especially architecture.

Yes, there were alot of generic boxes built during that time, but the adventurous stuff was FAR more adventurous than today, and far more abundant.

Let's take signage.



Then


Now

and Architecture...



Then


Now.


You'd be hard pressed to find something as adventurous as The Rose Bowl Lanes or those old signs nowadays for something as common as a bowling alley. Now, everything is all very standardized, chain store oriented, and even if it's not a chain store, the average strip mall, looks like EVERY other strip mall. Have you been to Waikiki lately ? It could be Los Angeles. or Kansas City, or Carson...

Is this progress ?

And while I like my Starbucks tasting the same every time I have it, a BAD Mai Tai, only makes one realize how GOOD a correct one tastes.

As for greed. Building cost effectively is one thing. They certainly did that in the 50's and 60's .

Example : Eichler Homes were designed to be cost effective in their building process...simple post and beam construction, standardized building process etc...but LOOK at an Eichler !

Somehow, I doubt that kids now will think back about the houses being built today in 50 years,and consider this time period revolutionary for architecture.

I may be wrong about this...time will tell, but I can tell you this....my 17 year old stepdaughter looks at those Stucco Taco bell Tuscany crackerbox homes and thinks they're as FUGLY as I do.






.

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[ This Message was edited by: tikiyaki 2009-01-08 21:04 ]

[ This Message was edited by: tikiyaki 2009-01-08 21:06 ]

[ This Message was edited by: tikiyaki 2009-01-08 21:07 ]


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tikiyaki
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 18, 2004
Posts: 2706
From: The Exotic Port of REDONDO BEACH, CA
Posted: 2009-01-08 9:21 pm   Permalink

The Rose Bowl still stands, but is no longer a bowling alley due to a rift with AMF.

Apparently this place is beloved as a piece of outstanding Route 66 Mid Century Modern Architecture

http://collectingbuzz.com/rosebowl/rosebowl.htm

http://www.losttulsa.com/2007/05/rose-bowl-renovation-although-i-cant.html

http://flickr.com/photos/losttulsa/sets/1085457/

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Luckydesigns
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 15, 2002
Posts: 2166
From: Costa Mesa
Posted: 2009-01-08 10:38 pm   Permalink

...by the way there tiki shaker, I don't think Costa Mesa was that built out in the 1800's. Kona Lanes was probably not 'replacing something that was amazing from the 1800s'. I would bet that it might have been the first building on that spot in 1959 or whenever it was built (there was an amazing mosaic by the door that had the date in it, I think it was 1959)... I get your point though, and I am very much a proponent of capitalism, but I would think that someone who is into mid-century ANYTHING would do ANYTHING BUT support the constant destruction of these places of architectural and historical significance.

Tikiyaki just made a very compelling argument with his paragraph and photo montage there.... or am I wrong and we REALLY need another Subway/ Kinkos/ dry cleaner/ liquor store mini mall?

Fuck those jerks that took away my bowling ally and my karaoke bar.....Yeah, you heard me... my karaoke bar too..... I guess that vacant lot has been just as fun as the bowling ally was for the last four years...Thank you Costa Mesa city council and thank you Segerstrom family....
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bigtikidude
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 8831
From: Anaheim,Ca.
Posted: 2009-01-08 11:48 pm   Permalink

sorry for off topic,
and not nearly Exotic as some of those signs,
lets not forget about the Lin-brook bowl.

its still open and hopping,
I drove by last sat at 10 pm, and the parking lot was packed,
and the Coffee shop is supposed to have to die for food.
Huell says its Amazing.

more info,
http://googier.blogspot.com/2006/09/linbrook-bowl.html

Jeff(bigtikidude)




[ This Message was edited by: bigtikidude 2009-01-08 23:52 ]


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bigtikidude
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 8831
From: Anaheim,Ca.
Posted: 2009-01-08 11:55 pm   Permalink









[ This Message was edited by: bigtikidude 2009-01-08 23:58 ]


 
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Tiki Shaker
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 28, 2008
Posts: 706
From: Menifee, CA
Posted: 2009-01-09 12:15 am   Permalink

I don't recall ever defending developers in the past.. maybe I did, I don't remember. Yes, I am in real estate, but nothing amazing. I'm a simple real estate broker who sells affordable housing to senior citizens. (most of the homes were built in the 60's)

Yes, I am aware that Costa Mesa was a dirt field in the 1800s. That's why I used New York as the example.

As for Eichler, of course the homes are gorgeous. Unfortunately the rest of the world preferred poorly designed garbage. Otherwise things wouldn't look the way they do. Yes, I know his homes are as popular now than ever before... but they are popular to only a select few. Ask the average person on the street.. they would laugh at it or mock it as being something their grandparents had. You have to remember, our taste is the minority. Most people do not have our taste.

I totally agree that most things now suck. It's just that I don't know how anyone is supposed to be able to afford to do what use to be done. How could any business person trying to make a living afford to have that kind of amazing signage or architecture created today? Like I said.... I wish it all looked amazing. I just feel that it is inevitable that things are going to be cookie cutter. It costs too much for it not be. I don't like it, sure... but how is it going to change? I agree that we should encourage the people who are lucky enough to own some of this amazing stuff to preserve it. I fully support that and encourage it.

That's why I think the owners of these properties should be educated by people like us and encouraged to respect what they have. Even if the business is failing, they need to learn how to change their business and at least reuse the property and try and keep the flavor of what was originally intended. It's awesome when a business can reuse a space. Like when a restaurant moves into and old bank and keeps the old mosaic tile and reuses the counters. It's awesome when a person finds a 40's gas station and turns it into an art gallery. It's all about us encouraging and motivating these property owners. As tragic as the loss of Kona Lanes is... there is at least that small glimmer knowing that it sounds like the city council has admitted that they made a mistake. Hopefully that will encourage them to take a second look the next time something is slated to be torn down.

The intended point of my comments in my earlier post was me trying to state that we have to at least try and understand it from these peoples perspectives. We don't have to agree with it, but we have to look at it from their point of view. Once we understand why they think they way they think, then we can hopefully come up with a way that will benefit them AND us.

I admit, I know nothing about what happened at Kona Lanes. For all I know, the bowling alley was losing money, it was infested with asbestos, it would cost millions to clean up, they were afraid of lawsuits, someone gave them the bright idea to tear it down and build something that made them money. That ended up not working about, but it is costing them less to pay taxes on a vacant lot than what was going on before.

Yes, what I just wrote was made up, but things like this do happen. Would that be greed for them to do that? Is it bad that they wouldn't want to lose money?

Sooo many bowling alleys have shut down. Why? They don't make money. If the business plan no longer works, they should be encouraged to preserve the signage and hopefully reuse the building. Someone like us should show them what could be done with it.

What we need to do is let current owners know why we like them, Tell an owner that you frequent their establishment because of the design. Encourage others to do the same. I have stopped at so many random places just because I saw a kick ass sign. There have been plenty of times when I stopped at some highway dive and have had the person behind the counter ask "first time here?" My response is "yep, i stopped cuz your neon sign was so damn cool." People have to learn why people like us support their establishments.

I've stopped and taken pictures of tiki apartment buildings. I have had managers ask what I was doing. I'd tell them I thought the place looked amazing and i wanted to document it. I told them so many have been lost, I was worried that perhaps their building was going to be next.

Tikiyaki, when you posted that horrible generic sign with the current businesses and compare them to the old signage, it obviously shows your point.. which I totally agree with. Obviously it doesn't compare. But now look at each business. Imagine how much it would cost to create amazing signage for each one? Sure.. who needs another McD's or Starbucks or Kinkos? Well, obviously the public does.. otherwise it wouldn't be built. This is SoCal... we want to cram people in here like a New York, but we expect one business... like a bowling alley to take up as much space as it does? We wont' build vertical here.. how do we cope? Unfortunately it's those damn strip malls.. I know. What is the solution? Besides trying to reuse older buildings?.. I don't know.

Believe me.. I had dreams as a kid that I would become as rich as someone like Bill Gates and buy every cool building I ever saw.. just so it could be preserved. Just so someone would leave it alone. Just so another damn Walgreen's wouldn't come and tear it down. Unfortunately, if we don't educate people better, we are going to have to bank on us buying everyone of these amazing properties out there so we can control it.



 
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Tipsy McStagger
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 21, 2004
Posts: 3509
From: HELL
Posted: 2009-01-09 05:19 am   Permalink


...in the 50's and 60's the economic landscape was much different than today....developers had more money to sink into making their projects more visible and marketable to the tastes of the time.....

things change....always......


it's regrettable that we who appreciate this style are seeing it vanish on a regular basis.....we do what we can to document, frequent and save what establishmnts we can.....but life goes on....no use whining about the past and lamenting it's inevitable passing....


I think we all agree that as far as architecture goes we are living in a sort of "dark ages" these days...hoping for a rennaisance......the barbarians of boring have invaded and pushed our fun and funky googie back 100 years....now we are stuck with them.


i don't ever imagine a day when people will look back with fondness on a strip mall or cement and glass box office building of today like they do of achitecture of the past...it just ain't gonna happen folks.....ugly is ugly and nothing is ever gonna change that.....


again, the world is changing all the time....cultural tastes change all the time......we have to make the best of it when up against forces beyond our control.

[ This Message was edited by: Tipsy McStagger 2009-01-09 05:20 ]


 
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