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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Would you prefer Tiki as 'mainstream' or 'underground'?
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Would you prefer Tiki as 'mainstream' or 'underground'?
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 14, 2004
Posts: 4284
From: Sydney, Australia
Posted: 2005-01-12 8:07 pm   Permalink

I have been throwing this idea around in my head for a while now. I reckon this is just the place to get an interesting discussion going.

Would you prefer the Tiki culture to be mainstream and popular or would you prefer it to be underground and little known?

If it was mainstream there would be tiki everywhere and it would be celebrated in the streets. I'm only 22 so i never experienced the whole poly pop sensation 'in the day'. Tiki bars would be in abundance. Bartenders would treat polynesian drinks as a fine art, instead of asking what the hell is a mai tai.

Conversley, there would be the hangers-on who dont have a real affinity for the scene but are rather there cause its cool. Witness the plethora of Von Dutch and kustom kulture as a whole. Kids who wouldn't know the difference between a lead slead or jalopy and a bar of soap. But what the hell would I know? I dont carve, i have no tiki mugs. I have an original edition of the kon tiki, some hibiscus shirts, and some small tikis...Does that make me a 'true tiki-phile', whatever the hell that is?

If the scene is underground then you know people are here cause they dig the scene. Whether it be bright shirts, heady cocktails or primitive art - there is something here that attracts them like sailors are drawn by the sirons. Also, there is something about earning your collection by trawling garage sales much like putting together a sweet wagon from swap meet parts.

However, tiki would not be as available. Less to buy means prices are more. People look scared/confused when you show off your tiki passion.

Jeez I talk some garbage. Looking forward to hearing your comments.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 09, 2004
Posts: 1096
From: The Haole Hut, London, UK
Posted: 2005-01-13 01:36 am   Permalink

If tiki was underground then you'd probably get more people into it cause it's cool, and it's modern roots are in Popular Culture which is why there's so much great stuff to be into.
OK some of the modern stuff being mass produced these days has a little to be desired in the quality department, but it all helps to keep Tiki alive.
Apart from the Historical side, I think tiki should be enjoyed by the masses , even if they don't know one end of an outrigger canoe to the other(?). At least they can let their hair down and enjoy it for what it is -fun!, rather than the snobs who are into it cause it,s cool looking down their noses becuse someones wearing the wrong Hawaiian shirt.
Just my tuppence worth


"Don't drink water, fish f*~k in it" W.C. Feilds

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3691
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2005-01-13 03:34 am   Permalink

Being concerned with the popularity oversimplifies the real differences (unneccessarily, in my opinion). I'm not going to cast a bar, concept, item or artwork aside because too many people or too few people like it, I'm going to simply consider how well it aligns with what I personally find appealing. I realize that that cachet is what some find appealing, but I don't think I'm speaking to that audience right now, I suspect that most TCers (lurkers, too) have a different set of criteria.

The only issue, to me, then becomes whether the popularity impacts the availability of the things I like, and I think we're so far away from that being a serious issue in the world of Polynesian Pop that it's not something I seriously concern myself with--and even if I did, it quite solidly falls in the category of Things That Happen Whether You Like It Or Not, all the more reason to not worry about it.

Just my two coconuts (TM SugarCaddyDaddy)


Critiki - Critiki News - Ooga-Mooga

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Feelin' Zombified
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 15, 2003
Posts: 1338
From: The Exotic Shores of Lake St. Clair
Posted: 2005-01-13 06:45 am   Permalink

mainstream or underground?

I choose upStream in the Undertow.

I've been around long enough to know that when people start saying, "Keep the scene underground man! the scene. The SCENE!" it doesn't do anyone any good. I never thought of tikifolk in the same way as say, goth, clubkids or whatever music of the week. We just enjoy what we do for its own sake, not how it appears to others. I tend to see it more like a bunch of bingo players, beanie baby collectors and quilters. And I've never seen Mildred say to Mabel, "Your knitting needles ain't vintage enough...Keep it real, Mabel!"



Thank God The Tiki Bar Is Open
Thank God The Tiki Torch Still Shines...

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5319
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2005-01-13 10:00 am   Permalink

I know some "old fogey" types who hate what TC has become. They want it to go back the days of Yahoo. A single thread that if you tried to talk off topic, you got chided. They think us talking about all this other stuff is bad and that it means the whole thing is "ruined."

I think that's ridiculous. It has evolved by popular demand and if you want "tiki only" discussion, it's here too. It's all here. It's growing, but will forever remain a small group like those into Studebakers or whatever.

But then, think about how many people go to the Mai Kai every year and have a blast. They have no interest in the history or who carved what. They just enjoy it.

If you have a Studebaker car show, you'll get a lot of people who know little of them, but like them. Would love to drive one, etc. Some may get further into it.

Having more people in on the outskirts and not just hard core tiki people means we eventually make more hard core tiki people and we can have events like Oasis, Exotica and Hukilau that are aimed at the hard core but attended by a lot more and thus are profitable enough. If those events only drew from the die hards, they would die after year one, or be scaled way way down.

There is good and bad in the growth. People are going to buy you crap from Party City and think you will like it. But, that's okay. They can buy the Accoutrements mugs and we'll buy the Tiki Bobs.

Really, more is better. This little group is still so geeky about what we do that most won't really be interested on that level. They will come have a Mai Tai at your party though...

"Mai-Kai: History & Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant" the book

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 04, 2003
Posts: 2385
From: Vista, CA
Posted: 2005-01-13 10:09 am   Permalink

Well said Swanky.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2003
Posts: 2158
From: www.crazedmugs.com
Posted: 2005-01-13 10:14 am   Permalink

Wait until the Spongebob generation hits drinnking age.

I'm telling you now and believe me later.

There will be statues to Otto.

King Kukulele will actually BE a ruling monarch.

Martikii will be in charge of ATF.

Hanford will be the director of the CIA.

Tiki_Bong will be the UN ambassador.

THEN we'll be mainstream.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 756
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2005-01-13 10:18 am   Permalink

Here, here Humuhumu & Swanky! I agree with you. I have always hated that ridiculous notion that in order for something to be truly "cool" it has to be underground and exclusive. What about the Beatles? I must agree with Humuhumu's line that I like something because I like it, not because its underground, or cool, or cutting edge. I'm into tiki because it makes me happy.

And I must agree with Swanky - no matter how popular tiki, or anything else becomes, there will always be a group of hardcore nuts like us here, and people who are casually into the phenomenon. That's ok. The more people into tiki, the better. Nothing has ever flurished with a single point of view. Fresh new ideas lead to fresher, newer ideas.

When I started decorating my office at work, the first question was "what is tiki?". Now all my coworkers bring me little tiki decorations for my office an are fascinated by the things I tell them regarding Tiki Crawls, new Tiki Bars. In fact, I have a group of people from my office who want me to take them to a tiki bar so they can experience it first hand. I think that's a good thing (if you will forgive the Martha Stewart line). At least Martha hasn't gone tiki.

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Captain Morgan
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Dec 11, 2004
Posts: 33
From: Nashua, NH
Posted: 2005-01-13 10:30 am   Permalink

Tiki for the masses!!!
Then maybe I'll be able to get a great Mai-Tai, in a beautiful setting, with the proper music playing in the background, no sporting events on the TVs, no State lottery Keano TVs, Hula girls on stage, and a nice hammock to sleep it off in!
And I'd have all of that in New Hampshire!

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Geeky Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 15, 2002
Posts: 533
From: Las vegas
Posted: 2005-01-13 10:52 am   Permalink

I vote mainstream.

Tiki was a mainstream things to begin with. people with beehive hairdo's, shirts and ties, even sports jackets could go out for an evening in a Tiki resturaunt and bar.

There was no underground!

A bunch of white middle class males wearing Aloha shirts as they BBQ did not require the blessing of Tiki Nobles for legitimacy.

This conversion of Tiki to underground religion is bad juju - it leads to Tiki Nobilty and that loser "I'm more Tiki than you" kind of thinking that is absolutely, resolutely, NOT Tiki.

Tiki is just a part of a well adjusted lifestyle, it is not a substitute for the lack of vitality in other life spheres.

Some of these Tiki as validation people act like the soup guy on Seinfeld: "No Tiki for you!"

I say, "Tiki for anybody!"

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Kava King
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 20, 2002
Posts: 217
From: Kensington-on-Avondale
Posted: 2005-01-13 1:09 pm   Permalink

Careful what you wish for...

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Kava King
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 20, 2002
Posts: 217
From: Kensington-on-Avondale
Posted: 2005-01-13 1:09 pm   Permalink

Careful what you wish for...

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Trader Woody
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2301
From: Tiki Manor, Forest of Bowland,UK
Posted: 2005-01-13 1:19 pm   Permalink


On 2005-01-12 20:07, hewey wrote:
Witness the plethora of Von Dutch and kustom kulture as a whole. Kids who wouldn't know the difference between a lead slead or jalopy and a bar of soap.

Well, seeing what the mainstream has done to Von Dutch, I vote for keeping it underground! Every slack-jawed chav in the UK has spent his or her parents dole money on Von Dutch stuff, rendering it the new badge of the terminally dumb. While the label will be temporarily gratified with it's unexpected windfall, it's credibility will be shot to pieces and will struggle to sell to even it's die hard pin-striping fans a year from now.

Eaten, digested, and shat out in just a couple of years.... I dearly hope Tiki doesn't go down that route. I'm hoping for a happy medium.

Trader Woody

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 07, 2004
Posts: 1961
From: North Coast/ DEAD
Posted: 2005-01-13 2:40 pm   Permalink


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 09, 2004
Posts: 3683
From: The thumb !
Posted: 2005-01-13 4:37 pm   Permalink

I know for myself that I want to be considered "normal" and fit in, but want to own the stuff that the guy down the hall doesn't have. I like things that my friends can't get, one-of-a-kinds. If this stuff was more desired what would it do to the limited edition items. you wouldn't have it or you would pay through the roof.

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