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How fast are we losing tiki?
turbosickboy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 05, 2005
Posts: 137
From: Malmoe/Sweden
Posted: 2005-09-10 6:40 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-09-09 11:52, pappythesailor wrote:

(Plus, did anyone like Big Bad VooDoo Daddy's second album?) Is this the same thing?


I did! (yes it´s true)


 
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mrsmiley
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3187
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2005-09-12 12:04 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-09-10 03:02, pappythesailor wrote:


There is one thing I was thinking. Maybe we should bring a copy of TRT to every tiki joint we visit. Get it signed by the owner or manager. Let them know we came for the tiki. Let 'em know it's a GOOD thing, not something to be ashamed of.


fantastic idea!!
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Bargoyle
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 18, 2004
Posts: 1032
From: Tolland, CT
Posted: 2005-09-12 12:37 pm   Permalink

Pappy, I've got to agree with stentiki. We're lucky to have the Kowloon as close as it is. Personally I think "The Tiki Bar" by Fenway is god awful (sorry sten). Horrible drinks, horrible service, horrible food, but the decor is passable. Still, its better than nothing, right?

Another great spot that's worth the trip in Mass. is the HuKeLau in Chicopee. They still have a polynesian review that plays pretty much every weekend (dancers, musicians, etc) and the decor hasnt changed much in 30 years. Very swank.

Enjoy them while they're here, as I dont see much neuvo-tiki up our way


http://bargoyle.yafro.com/ '05 luau pics are posted

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Talkie-Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 05, 2002
Posts: 193
From: Hendersonville. N.C
Posted: 2005-09-13 12:14 am   Permalink

I was reading about all the local closings. It is really sad to see a lot of it go. But I don't think tiki will go totally go away. There are too many people who still love tiki. I believe that there are persons both old and new who will keep tiki alive. Whether it is patronizing an old establishment opening up a new venue hosting a backyard luau or just listening to your favorite Hawaiian and exotica records. Just remember somewhere in the world the tiki torches are lit the lights are down low and if you listen really closely you can almost hear the sound of the ocean

Talkie-Tiki- a tiki believer


 
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johnman
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Joined: Apr 18, 2005
Posts: 452
From: RI
Posted: 2005-09-13 2:18 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-09-09 23:07, stentiki wrote:

And each year since 2002, I put the call out to anyone on the board to meet me for drinks there. Each year there are no takers.



Arty - I'm pretty new here and have yet to get to the Kowloon (from Rhody). Give me a heads up when you're in MA again and I'll have an excuse to make a little road trip.



 
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pappythesailor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 07, 2005
Posts: 1566
From: Mass.
Posted: 2005-09-13 5:06 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-09-13 14:18, johnman wrote:
Quote:

On 2005-09-09 23:07, stentiki wrote:

And each year since 2002, I put the call out to anyone on the board to meet me for drinks there. Each year there are no takers.



Arty - I'm pretty new here and have yet to get to the Kowloon (from Rhody). Give me a heads up when you're in MA again and I'll have an excuse to make a little road trip.





Ditto.


 
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mrsmiley
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3187
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2005-09-13 5:34 pm   Permalink


On 2005-09-09 23:07, stentiki wrote:

And each year since 2002, I put the call out to anyone on the board to meet me for drinks there. Each year there are no takers.
[/quote]

Arty , if I lived near there I'd be there in a heartbeat! I mean...um...oh , forget it!
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Humuhumu
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Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3691
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2005-09-13 5:39 pm   Permalink

johnman, pappythesailor, et al. -- no need to wait for a visitor from the west coast to get yourselves together at the Kowloon! If you'd make the trip for Stentiki, make the trip for yourselves, too -- consider starting a thread in Tiki Events, PM & email all the New England folks, and start the ball rolling. Think of it as a dress rehearsal for the next Stentiki visit.

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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3836
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2005-09-13 7:48 pm   Permalink

Quote:

[i]On 2005-09-09 11:52, pappythesailor wrote:

Remember the swing music revival a few years back? I thought it was to good to be true then and it was. Today pop music is worse than ever but for a brief moment, you could hear music that employed musicians on the radio before that whole thing busted. (Plus, did anyone like Big Bad VooDoo Daddy's second album?) Is this the same thing? Does this tiki revival have legs?




Tikibars, in a very well-thought out response, previously addressed the very same issue (using the exact same analogy):



"When bad things happen to good scenes

or -

Hip today, goon tomorrow


I like to say that popular culture is cyclical; what I mean is that cultural icons like to reassert themselves periodically in almost completely predictable patterns. Every few years, the mainstream becomes aware of a small group of people preserving a largely forgotten trend, fad, or lifestyle, which is then scooped up, repackaged, and sold in a new incarnation to the modern-day consumer.

Those of us who are interested in any of the myriad niches of middle 20th century culture have watched this happen several times over: witness the rockabilly revival in the early 1980’s, the ska revivals in both the late 1970’s and early 1990’s, and the swing revival of the mid-late 1990’s. All of these subcultures began with a small group of hardcore followers who were genuinely passionate about their music, their mode of dress, and even the beverages associated with their peer groups (whiskey, Guinness, and either water or martini - depending on the voracity of your dancing - respectively).

All of these cultures built a steady underground following, reached a critical mass, and were then pounced upon as the latest fad by the mainstream, before fading back into relative obscurity. Die-hard pundits of these ‘scenes’ were left scratching their heads, puzzling over a conundrum unique to the latter half of the 20th century: “I was into it before it was cool, and then when it became cool in the mainstream it got really lame, and now the mainstream has moved on to something new. So is it ‘safe’ to like it again, or has it been permanently ‘ruined’? Will I look like a fool, or a nerd, or someone hopelessly behind the times (oh the irony!) if I publicly admit to liking it now?”.

This question may sound silly to some, and conceited to others, and irrelevant to still others, but I’ll bet there are more than a few Re-Vue readers who have had to struggle with this at some point. We all like to say “I do what I do and I don’t give a fig what any one thinks of me”. Well, that sounds mature, grounded, and well-balanced when we say it, but how many of the people who say this really mean it? Face it: we all care, to a degree, what others think of us, whether we admit it or not. If someone wants to listen to a type of music, wear a style of clothes, or furnish their home in some way that the general public hasn’t become aware of, but that makes this individual happy, then he ought to be able to. If this makes him a little odd to the squares in mainstream society, well, that’s their problem, right?

Right.

The problem really begins after any given subculture breaks into the mainstream, runs it’s course and then becomes passé to even the most clueless conservatives. At this point, one stops being a quirky individual with unique and interesting tastes (be they rockabilly, bondage, Tiki, or Tolkien), and is suddenly transformed into a dopey has-been who is jumping on last year’s fad, too slow to get hip to the new thing. The people one meets day to day don’t know (or care) if you have been into this ambiguous ‘it’ for perhaps a decade; they just think you’re failing miserably in an attempt to be cool. It is easy to be a trend-setter, but it stinks being a has-been, especially when you actually haven’t changed a bit... and when public tastes have shifted the average person’s conception of you from ‘unique’ or ‘interesting’ to ‘loser’ in a year’s time, it is an annoying thing to cope with.

After a few years, the public forgets completely, and a new underground begins to develop. This is where the cycle I mentioned at the beginning of this article comes into play. If you truly love something, care about something, and have spent a portion of your life becoming part of a community of people with similar interests, it is really hard to watch the mainstream media swoop down, decide that your little world is the ‘next big thing’ and then ruin it.

But does the fact that something has become popular ruin it?
Isn’t it better if something does become popular?
If our favorite musical idiom or social subculture suddenly becomes accepted by the masses, doesn’t that mean more accessibility to goods/ music/ clothes/whatever, more choices of places to go, and less instances of having to deal with the ‘you’re a freak’ attitude?

Yes, and no. The statements in the above paragraph are true. But this convenient access to goods, entertainment, and acceptance comes at a price. You see, in order for the media to popularize something with the masses, they have to water it down first in order to make it accessible to the lowest common denominator. In watering something down, it is robbed of it’s essence, it loses it’s character, and is denied much of what makes it interesting or unique. It becomes quantified and commodified, packaged in a shiny pretty box for sale to those who never had the cultural awareness to discover interesting things for themselves. Most people are content to surf the fads each year, and be told what to listen to, what to wear, and what to drive. Underground things don’t become lame because they go mainstream - they must be made lame first in order to go mainstream. Our media is exceedingly adept at this, to the extent that the transition is almost invisible to all but the most keen observer.

The most recent example is the swing revival a few years ago. I know a great number of people who have been into authentic vintage swing music since the 1980’s or earlier. I personally got hip to Louis Jordan in about 1990, and have been hooked ever since. Others felt the same way, the cult built and built, and what happened? After existing happily and building organically over the course of a decade or so, the media finlaly spotted it and seized it. Almost overnight, prices on 1940’s clothing destabilized and spiraled out of control, and for most people under thirty, swing as a musical idiom is now defined by “Zoot Suit Riot”. Need I say more?

Granted, we live in a free society, and newcomers to any given scene are usually warmly welcomed. The problem here isn’t a social group expanding in a natural manner, it is the fact that these same social groups are being pillaged for whatever makes them unique, and having their essence stolen in order for corporate culture to sell the consumer the Next Big Thing. Like a village being sacked by Vikings, little is left after the fact.

So what can we do about it next time?

Not a darned thing.

We just have to batten down the hatches and weather the storm.

Unfortunately (you all knew I was going to get to this subject sooner or later!), the ‘next big thing’ is Tiki.

I began collecting Tiki in about 1988, and I decided I had to devote an entire room in my house to my collection in about 1996. I met a scattered group of kindred spirits who were also interested in Tiki, and a little ‘Bamboo Crew’ began to develop here in Chicago. The ball started rolling quicker: in the past three or four years, I have seen many more people begin to build Tiki zones into their own homes. Exotica music - the soundtrack of Tiki - made a brief appearance as part of the lounge revival a few years ago, and soon after, Aloha shirts came back into mainstream fashion. In the past few years, I have charted a steady increase in the presence of Tiki in cartoons, television programs, web sites, antique malls, magazines, and purveyors of sundry and odd kitsch. As Tiki mugs went from fifty-cent thrift store items to $20 internet auction collectibles, unfriendly competitions developed among members of the Bamboo Crew, and the group splintered by mid-2000. My own web site (launched in 1994) regularly exceeds my bandwidth limit, and my book, Tiki Road Trip, has already sold a truckload of copies... and it won’t even be out until this April. Truly, the second coming of Tiki - a popular culture icon so long-lived that it’s original incarnation lasted from the late 1920’s through the mid 1970’s, encompassing (in their entirety) all of the original swing, rockabilly, lounge, and mod eras - has arrived.



 
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pappythesailor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 07, 2005
Posts: 1566
From: Mass.
Posted: 2005-09-14 02:59 am   Permalink

Wow. I must have been onto something. (I bought my first Louis Jordan CD about 1990 too--creepy!) Although, I can't deny I'm enjoying the easier access to Aloha shirts and Exotica in the stores, I have to disagree we're in the middle of, or even the start of, the "next big thing". I just don't see it. We spot tikis on TV because we're a bunch of maniacs, not because TV and movie people think they're hot. Ditto tiki mugs at thrift stores. If you're the owner of a thrift store, it's your job to notice when you can't keep a tiki mug on your shelf but it only takes one tiki-head to keep an area's thrift stores scoured of tiki, am I right? (or it was the Tiki Taliban!)

Luckily, I've reached the age where I don't really care what anyone thinks of me. Plus, I'm about to be a dad so we all know how uncool Dad was. So I'm willing to live through the aftermath. I understand why something that goes out of style once can never fully come back. to me, nothing is more puzzling than seeing the faux 70's fashion and decor at Target--man I HATED the 70's! My parents dressed me like a buffoon! Looking back at pictures of our house during those years is rough; everything we owned was hideous. But you have to live through it and see it go turn un-hip to really snub something for good. My parents both high-hat tiki--"Isn't that stuff a little tacky?" But, you know, they were never cool.

If tiki DID have just one more flash of popularity, say for 2 or 3 years a-la Swing in the 90's here's the most I could hope for:

1) Out-of-print Exotica on CD
2) Lots of mass-produced tiki at low prices--maybe even some of it quality repros
3) Getting a decent Mai Tai when I go out to eat
4) Chinese food places that were remodeling anyway go tiki (again)
5) Existing tiki joints get a shot of dough enough to de-shabby the place, re-do the bathrooms, re-pave the parking lot, fix the burned-out lights on the sign and buy more tikis from the amazing carvers on TC
6) I get to be cool for 2 or 3 years which would be a record
7) a new generation of tiki heads is born


By this point, you're all probably thinking about the negatives of full-blown tiki boom 'cuz so am I so I'll stop now. I give 5-3 odds against it happening anyway.


 
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tikibars
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Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2025
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2005-09-14 08:07 am   Permalink

Just want to disclaim that I wrote that article almost three years ago, and while there are certain elements in it that I still stand by, there are other things in it that the changing tides of time have washed away the validity of for me... nuff said.

 
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the drunken hat
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 20, 2003
Posts: 331
From: Modesto, CA
Posted: 2005-09-14 08:37 am   Permalink

i'm glad to say that tiki is alive and well in modesto! the 2 bars here still do a great business. every time we go to minnie's the owner comes and says hello. when they ran an article in the modesto bee about the place he actually thanked vic,his wife, cleen, myself and all of the other tikiphiles who patronize.

here is the point of the previous statement. when you go to any tiki establishment talk to the owner about the history of the place. it makes them excited about their business. what business person doesn't like to talk about their place? we who love tiki should always tell the owners how much we love the decor. i'm sure that they don't get people who say "i'd come here more often if there was less tiki here." and your positive comments will stick out in their mind.

in regards to the kowloon: you guys should gather there once a month like we do here and TV emeryville. when you do call and make a reservation and let them know at that time that the 20 people who are coming are going there for for the tiki. hell make your reservation as the "tiki-people". when i make a for a reservation i introduce myself as the tiki guy in the hat! they may not know my name but they know me that way! when we enter the bar the bartender yells "TIKI PEOPLE!!"

mahalo,
dh
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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2987
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2005-09-14 11:03 am   Permalink

That piece by tikibars was an interesting read. Now I have some more thoughts on this:

I think that perhaps most people involved in the underground movements of the last 20 years (swing, lounge, rockabilly, tiki) come from the late 70s / early 80s punk movement. As we got older and the punk and mod scenes got bigger we just moved on to other music and lifestyles that already had small revivals in the early 80s. For example, rockabilly was a part of the punk scene before the Stray Cats made it mainstream. The Blasters in LA, the Cramps in New York, several English bands (Matchbox, Shakin' Pyramids, etc.), and others were a big part of the punk scenes. And swing had a short revival in the early 80s: remember Joe Jackson's Jumpin' Jive band? The same can be said for the lounge scene of the late 80s and the tiki scene that came out of that. We were just looking for variety.

What I see happening in the last 10 years is that our generation is starting to settle down finally and have children. Many of our old friends are staying home in their houses full of collectibles and home tiki bars and are content in a more domestic lifestyle. They have good incomes now, old stuff is harder to find and more expensive (Ebay partly to blame), and some are tired of attracting attention for the last 30 years by dressing different then most people, so they start dressing in "normal" clothes, or they go out less.

I don't see a whole lot of young people these days being interested in vintage clothes. Most young rockabillies, to my annoyance, just wear the "uniform" of rolled-up jeans, Converse high tops, and black t-shirts (on girls and boys). It seems like the underground movements exploring past lifestyles don't really happen anymore. There may be other revivals in the future, bit I don't think it's likely to happen.

So, now's the time to sell off your vintage stuff because it may be worthless in the future. Just sell it to me.


 
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aquarj
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 1104
From: SF bay area, CA
Posted: 2005-09-14 12:12 pm   Permalink

Interesting ruminations. Here's one of the things that always puzzles me about this matter. What was the magic in the air in the early 60s such that, from all appearances, the mainstream was NOT lame?

Optimistic architecture, backyard luaus, fitted and attractive clothes, great music, beautiful cars, and TIKI BARS - these things were all popular!!?! Something changed, and it seems like the mainstream is forever doomed to lameness henceforth.

Personally, I blame the hippies for the change.

-Randy


 
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Bargoyle
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 18, 2004
Posts: 1032
From: Tolland, CT
Posted: 2005-09-14 4:56 pm   Permalink

Damn Hippies!!! heh heh.

And The Jab, you've got me nailed. Not sure how many other people fit that time-line/lifestyle, but boy, it's like you're writing part of my bio.

I like a lot of the positivity on this thread (even with the possibility of tiki diminishing again) and I think Humuhumu is on the right track.

I'm up for a trip to the Kowloon whenever any/everybody wants to meet up. I'm thinking a monthly meeting of New England tikiphiles is in order.

Pick a different spot each month and converge on it. Poor bar owners wont know what hit em!! Usually there's just one or two of us freaks asking a bunch of questions, taking pictures of everything, asking to keep a menu, etc etc....imagine the chaos if 10 or 20 or 30 of us descended upon a place!

I also think it would help to reinforce to these owners that there is, indeed, a call for what they offer. One or two of us every month or so is no big deal...A bunch of us I think would have a big impact. Sooooo...who's up for it? Kowloon this weekend?? (I can always use another souvenir coconut monkey mug!)


 
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