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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Central Ohana Where are the first TCers today?
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Where are the first TCers today?
lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 4081
Posted: 2013-09-11 4:02 pm   Permalink

Here is your very first post to this forum, and it's a good one!

(originally posted in 2002)

"Aloha, fellow Tiki-philes!

I've been quietly lurking along with you since before the demise of the yahoo Tiki-central- but Johntiki (and other MD/DC/VA area Tiki-philes) have finally pulled me out of lurk mode via his suggestion of a mid-Atlantic Tiki gathering, as I'm yet another Maryland Tiki addict! I don't keep up with reading TC as much as I'd like to, but here I've found a real community of people who have already taught me much! And I'm deeply grateful!

I grew up in Central Ohio- spending many a birthday or other special event at our beloved Kahiki. Even as a kid, they'd serve virgin drinks in coconut or skull or even headhunter mugs to take home, and the staff always treated us as island royalty.

In the Book of Tiki, you'll find a picture of the Kahiki in winter- which most closely matches my memories- driving through January cold and wind to pass through the fire capped Moai guarded doors, through the wonderful darkened cave passage with dripping glowing water, and then passing through the interior doors into paradise- a world unto itself where time, and the outside world seemed to fade. After an evening well spent with music drink, feasting and rainy thunderstorms, we would return back out into the cold landscape of Ohio only to find a fresh blanket of several inches of snow covering everything- (including the car)! Somehow, there's just nothing quite like island "artifacts" with fluffy white snow all around.

From those childhood memories- and interests in things like stage design, architectural preservation and good old fashioned Pagan debaucheries of various sorts came my adulthood love of all things Tiki- and my horror as the Kahiki was destroyed.
Unfortunately, I was only able to visit the Kahiki a few times as an adult (drinking age), but I do count it my good fortune, that I was able to take both my partner and close friend for a final Hoorah before the Kahiki closed. So I guess you can say I moved from being Tiki-positive to being actively Tiki participatory and preservationist around the time of the destruction of the Kahiki.

Naturally, the loss of such a temple, and my new home here in MD- (the land where the Tikis are almost forgot), led to a desire to create my only little corner of something Kahiki-esque or more generally Tiki preservationist, here at home, at least, to share in the wonder that was, and is, Tiki, and to pass along the knowledge to those few who seek it. The web being what it is, it was naturally, only a matter of time until I ran across Tiki central, the Tiki bar review page, the Tiki news, the book of Tiki, and thrift, garage sale, and e-bay treasures, and today's modern Tiki artisans.

By now I'm sure some of this is sounding pretty familiar, many people here probably could have written similar. In any case, I'm very glad to be among you, and hope to be a bit more active now that I'm no longer a TC lurker

-Sabina "

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Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Apr 08, 2002
Posts: 372
From: The Lounge of the Seven Pleasures!
Posted: 2013-09-11 5:52 pm   Permalink

Awwww! (Blushing) Thanks!


Now all these years later? I've actually come to own a couple Kahiki artifacts thanks to my Ohana here, (among other odds and ends) and now get to share them and those memories by way of my own little piece of paradise. So in a very weird sense, certain things have come full circle, all thanks to TC and the people who have made this place what it is.

My niece wasn't even born yet when the Kahiki was torn down. But the proverbial torches still burn hereabouts and she gets to touch that history because fellow Tikiphiles cared.

What a long, long way we've all come since 2002.
"You're getting more interesting by the drink!" -Pepe le Tiki

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2006
Posts: 1582
From: Fabulous Houston
Posted: 2014-02-20 09:50 am   Permalink


On 2012-10-01 18:11, aquarj wrote:
With a quick skim of the first 100 members on the Member List, it looks to me like about 17 are recent contributors on TC, as in, posting within the past month. 17% ain't TOO bad - I wonder what's the participation rate for the entire member list.

TC says there are 13,833 user accounts now, so I wonder if more than 17% have posted in the past month. That'd mean posts from 2350 different users in the past month. Maybe the oldtimers are keeping the average up, and it's the newcomers who're disappearing!

It also looks like 11 out of the first 100 are still grand members. In order for the member list at large to keep up with that rate, there would have to be 1521 current grand members in all. But there's only 245 grand members. So it looks like the oldtimers (first 100 anyway) are definitely keeping the average up! Oldtimers (from first 100) as grand members = 1 in 9. All users as grand members = 1 in 56!!!

Anyway, none of this has anything to do with who's showing up at events. But kinda interesting.


Wow, crazy to see over 15,000 users! I already felt like I was late to the party back when I joined in 2006, although I had been lurking for over a year. To think membership tripled after that! It feels like - in Texas anyway - the Tiki fad of the mid-2000s has long been over. One would think this site would be realllly quite these days. But good to see it still going strong!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 9175
From: Anaheim,Ca.
Posted: 2014-02-20 6:57 pm   Permalink

"Where are the first TCers today?"

Facebook I bet,
It must be Sad to start a topic forum,
See it grow, change, morph into something really cool.
Then be kneecapped by a social networking fad.

I keep waiting for something to take over like FB
Did to MySpace. All that time n effort on
Your little slice of the net, gone down the tubes.

Jeff btd

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mike and marie
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 228
Posted: Yesterday; 2:33 pm   Permalink

Was thinking about this thread today. Was thinking about it yesterday, too. Come to think of it, this thread's been on my mind quite a lot over the past few months.

And feeling a little down about the state of "tiki culture" today, I decided to look up this thread and see where it went. I remembered right when Atomic Tiki Punk started it. That was what, about a year or so ago? Maybe revisiting it, I thought, will somehow elevate the gloomy mood.

Actually, it made it worse---finding the thread and seeing that no, it's not from a year ago, it's not from two years ago,
it's actually from 2012. If my cocktail-napkin math is correct, that's a half a decade in the past. So, in other words, a half a decade ago already the group of what, 20, 30, 40 odd stragglers who were still actively part of this community at the time were sitting here wondering what the heck had happened. Wow. A half a decade is more or less a generation. That's longer than what people get for their entire life's worth of high school years, or their college years. And for that long things have been quiet and "off" around here, with a sense that the "Ohana" be gonna. It's kind of staggering, if not morbidly depressing. I just checked and ATP himself, and his moniker from "Costa Misery" that always made me smile, has apparently joined the other Ghost Users of Tiki Central Past---he hasn't posted on here at all in over a year. Where did he go? Why? And what happened to forgotten tikiman and White Devil, both frequent posters and good contributors to the site? They've been deleted. Why?

When I first posted to this thread---a half decade ago---my thought was that Facebook was killing it. Well it was probably that, but there has to be more to it. The two sites are not mutually exclusive. Marie's on FB and is connected with a lot of tiki people there, and we can verify that the draw of FB eventually pulled some people away, because that (and not here) was where everyone was actively posting. I think JOHN-O even admitted this when he stepped out the door with a wave. But what I can't figure out is, why abandon this place? It's solid. No ads. Not owned by a totalitarian corporate behemoth interested only in selling all your private data to other unseen entities. There is so much information here. That's why I'm always so happy to see new stuff from Dusty and Tipsy and tikiskip and the like, and am glad Bigbro is always contributing his knowledge and experience here. It may be slow these days and I know I'm as lax as anyone---I actually have multiple folders on the computer of photos and notes to share on TC, and some of these unpublished things go back 4 or 5 years---but even so I'll never abandon this place, there's too much here and it's still the first place and the best place to go to. It became the home of the "Ohana." That's why I was kind of bummed yesterday when I realized it was no longer possible to even send a PM to Hanford Lemoore, who started it---not even hacking around some of the php will permit any contact with him on here at all. I'd just wanted to tell him, and it is truly sincere, that I believe I love TC as much as he does. TC is almost 20 years old. It's outlasted almost everything online, and that's an achievement. Lurking or not, this place has been part of the background ambience of my life for almost half of it. My mind's eye catches the calm flicker of the neon TC logo all the time, and the yellow text atop the pool-table green of the discussion boards rolls down in recollection of many discussions had on here going back many, many years.

(And who is Jennifer Thompson? I find two references to the name in my email archives, one as the author of a tiki drink book and another as someone involved with a site called goClick. Hanford says she is the co-creator of Tiki Central. I don't remember her---did she have a nom de tiki?)

We got into tiki sometime in college, in those years of the 90s when the "cocktail revival" was an emerging trend. Combustible Edison coming out on one of my favorite record labels was like a wake-up call ... you didn't just have to listen to rock, but all that "beautiful music" of the past that you always loved was a-ok, too. Esquivel was reissued, the movie Swingers came out about the cocktail scene and all of this new media coverage about "tiki bars" and "retro" helped seal the deal. We knew we were home.

In the late 90s we were already collecting, even selling stuff on eBay. Vintage tiki was plentiful and easy to find. We hated new developments and strip malls and made in China junk, we loved old vintage stuff and went all-in on being a retro: space age appliances, vintage clothes, really everything but the car (not being in Cali, cool rust-free rides are much harder to come by).

Then the Kahiki happened. Soon after we went there, and were bit with tiki fever, came the news that it was going to be sold and demolished. To make matters worse, it would be for the Enemy: a big corporate chain! The same ones who were ruining every street-corner and neighborhood in the nation. That meant war ... it was our first foray into historic preservation. We learned a lot and made many contacts, and a desperate, angry letter in defense of the Kahiki---one that I believe is the first to mention the dreaded "Curse of the Kahiki"---is still out there, posted in a little corner of the net. Looking back in my email archives, I see messages that I was sending to the media about saving it and I was passing along bigbro's svenkirsten.com site for their reference concerning photos of the place---which is funny to think of now, because that was years before we even got to know him!

Some things happened in the course of that preservation attempt which made us, wrongly or rightly, pretty cynical and bitter about the emerging Tiki Revival, and we did two things that I now regret: we refused an invite by the Kahiki's owner to visit it in private one last time, and we didn't bother with signing up on the Tiki Central yahoo group or the site when it finally came about. By 2001, we had discovered Treasure Island, Florida, which at the time was still a well-preserved mid-century modern mecca (and whose big tiki past has only barely begun to be documented on TC), and we invested a lot of time and effort into raising awareness for that.

But even though I avoided TC, I was on other Tiki-related mailing lists---including "Exotica," a music discussion list, and again in my archives I see a conversation I had in 2002 with Tiki Kiliki about an endangered tiki palace, the Frank Wallace designed private "tiki" house in south Tulsa, and she told me she was posting my info on the then-new Tiki Central.

By 2003 the mention of "tiki" in my emails had grown exponentially. Many were mails from Marie; our tiki fever was incurable. It's funny to see Tiki News emails from Otto mentioning "the Tiki Central bulletin board." Eventually we commenced work on our own home tiki lounge, started going to the Hukilau and other Tiki events, joined TC, and began meeting the various people that we had only known online through majordomo mailing lists and html 3.0 hand-coded web sites. Things went into high gear with great-looking new sites like Critiki, and with so many new tiki events and new places and products, and with meeting artists like Bosko and Tiki Tony, and in all this there was a happy excitement about all of the great Tiki projects and plannings to come---but all of a sudden it just kind of felt like the "poly pop" aka "Tiki Revival" ended and imploded prematurely. Then soon came this thread. Good things still happen in the Tiki world, of course, but there's been some kind of change happening, too. We're regulars at one tiki establishment where, on the last TC night we attended, the DJ shared with us his own view of what was happening there: only the three of us were TC people, and he said that nowadays it's not the Tiki people that we know of who are into it and regulars there as much as it's a new crowd, college kids and people just out of school who think it's "cool" but are definitely not part of the Tiki world of before---and they're all young enough to romanticize the world of our early twenties and the "cocktail nation" and early Tiki Revival eras.

And all that reminds me so much of something I saw before in life. The 90s "alternative" or "indie rock" so-called "movement," grunge and all the rest of it, seemed to end just as the big party opened its doors. Agree completely with sentiments on this thread to the effect that it seemed like at some point it felt like there were no "tiki people" at tiki events anymore, or that people had gotten into it for different reasons and you no longer felt like a part of what was going on. We've felt all that. The last Tiki event where we really felt like a part of it and were genuinely happy was the 2008 Hukilau. Since then, the tone and tenor of tiki events have changed for us. And there was a lot of mixing and mushing with rockabilly and other things at some events where a "tiki pole" was kind of just part of the background iconography ... and at times, to those who were not part of these other scenes, it was almost like seeing the tapas pattern on a bag of Costco tortilla chips.

This general trending has had other deleterious effects. We lost way too much tiki in the past few years, and much of it I don't think we had to. I think if there was more of a Tiki community extant now, there would've been a good chance that some of these places would have been saved. One of LA's most successful mid-century preservationists had told us the big struggle they've had is that most of these communities are so insular---the diner people only care about the diners, the sign people only care about the signs, the tiki people only care about tiki bars, the Eichler people only care about Eichlers, and so on, and if everyone could get together and help one another out things would be so much better. But now with tiki it's at the point where there is no "tiki people," at least not in one recognizable place that I can see.

I still can't believe I've been privately mourning all this for a half a decade now, though. We do have good friends in Tiki, many still here on TC, but you know, the thought that there really is no "Ohana," that is something that is a bit hard to swallow. So we say that we are the Ohana, and that we're going to keep it going, and even if the number is few we know there are others out there who are filled with the Tiki spirit as it was always presented.

It's like the early-2000s "Tiki Revival" or "Poly Pop" movement ended so long ago, yet it seems like just the other day when we all felt it leaving the launch pad. Looking back, sure, I have some regrets. Maybe I'd neglected to cash in my ticket and go for the ride. Maybe it's gone. But I still, somehow, believe in it, even if I end up being one of the last guys standing in this quiet village. I just know that I'm still here in the tiki lounge, and the records are on, and tonight the mood is just right ... it's a clear winter night with the last of the cold, and stepping out for a second I almost thought that I actually saw it, high to the west, with a twinkle and shine.

[ This Message was edited by: mike and marie 2017-03-24 10:37 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3687
From: San Francisco
Posted: Today; 10:00 am   Permalink

Here I am to toss my late-to-the-party post on the pile. Hello! I'm still pretty darned into Tiki in a heavy way, though I'm not around Tiki Central nearly as much.

So yeah, Facebook. No doubt, huge factor, likely the biggest factor. There are many Tiki-related Facebook groups that are very active, including countless regionally-focused Tiki groups. It's so much easier to post, share and get feedback there, and it's a much richer overall sharing-your-life-with-your-tiki-friends experience.

Tiki Central is also really hard to deal with on a mobile phone. More than half of the traffic to Critiki comes from people on a mobile phone; mobile traffic is growing quickly while desktop use is plummeting.

People are gone from Tiki Central, but I assure you, they're not gone from Tiki. I'm still seeing the same old faces at tiki bars and events, talking tiki on Facebook and sharing their latest finds, and plenty of the old-timers are still using Critiki. Usage of Critiki has increased pretty significantly over the last few years. Plus I'm meeting TONS of new people who have a genuine love for this stuff. Awesome people, you'd like them! It's sad to see folks aren't using Tiki Central like they once did, but from where I'm sitting, it's got nothing to do with Tiki.

The elephant in the room: how much longer can Tiki Central last? What will come of it? I'm reluctant to put my tiki-information-sharing energy into a site that is at risk of total collapse. It's a great repository of information that can't be found anywhere else, but what happens when it disappears? I've agonized over this, but I've also come to terms with it.

I will always love Tiki Central. It brought so many wonderful things to my life. I'm still around, but in a different way these days, and mostly elsewhere.


Critiki - Critiki News - Ooga-Mooga

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