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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Mai Kai in New York Magazine
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Mai Kai in New York Magazine
ikitnrev
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 27, 2002
Posts: 1323
From: D.C. / Virginia
Posted: 2006-10-03 8:07 pm   Permalink

I kind of agree, that tiki and kitsch, if not equaling the same thing, reside in the same neighborhood of the universe. Having a fondness for kitschy items, especially from the 50's and 60's (i.e. Tretchikoff), is a good indicator that you will also enjoy tiki -- certainly more so than being a fan of the New York Mets, or owning a fishing boat.

Having said that, I would not declare the Mai Kai as the best tiki destination in Florida, if you are in search of kitsch. That honor would go to the Hawaiian Inn in Daytona Beach. Their live luau/hula show features black-light colored backdrops, a smoking day-glow volcano near the food buffet line, a bubble machine that operates when the song 'Tiny Bubbles' is played, and a on-stage full trap-set drummer who sings most of the songs. You never really feel you are on an authentic South Pacific island. Instead you are hallucianting on a 70's representation of a hotel luau show, or on the set of a Jerry Lewis Labor Day telethon ..... and that is the charm of the Hawaiian Inn show.

The Mai Kai, on the other hand, is more of an authentic Polynesian experience, done in a more upscale setting. With the Mai Kai, you get more of the feel like you are on an authentic National Geographic expedition, with more authentic food, more authentic dances, more authentic decor, etc.

One of the definitions for kitsch is 'having a fondness for the overly sentimental.' What is more sentimental than a generation of ex-soldiers and sailors, treasuring the memories of their South Pacific adventures, and wanting to recreate that in their hometown? Tiki mugs are kitschy ... and yes, they can be works of art too.

I'm not afraid to raise and fly the kitsch flag in my home - but then, I am the guy who commissioned a big-eyed tiki road-trip portrait of himself ... so my view of the world is already skewed a bit.

Vern


 
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velveteenlounge
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 13, 2004
Posts: 324
From: Velveteen Lounge, NY
Posted: 2006-10-04 03:52 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-10-03 20:07, ikitnrev wrote:
I kind of agree, that tiki and kitsch, if not equaling the same thing, reside in the same neighborhood of the universe. Having a fondness for kitschy items, especially from the 50's and 60's (i.e. Tretchikoff), is a good indicator that you will also enjoy tiki -- certainly more so than being a fan of the New York Mets, or owning a fishing boat.

One of the definitions for kitsch is 'having a fondness for the overly sentimental.' What is more sentimental than a generation of ex-soldiers and sailors, treasuring the memories of their South Pacific adventures, and wanting to recreate that in their hometown? Tiki mugs are kitschy ... and yes, they can be works of art too.




I agree with Vern. I consider "tacky" a put-down. I have a house full of kitsch and I love it. If I thought it was tacky I wouldn't have it. To me it's fabulous and beautiful, period.


 
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5319
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2006-10-04 07:41 am   Permalink

In the last little bit, I have heard things I liked called "cheesy." I have realized that there are those who see something like the Mai Kai and are transported. They buy into the illusion. Same for Disney and any number of other escapist places and events. Then there are those who are not interested. To them, it is cheesy.

There are probably degrees. Mai Kai vs. Hawaiian Inn. Those people would likely never return to the Hawaiian Inn, but might think the Mai Kai was okay.

I think it's not even a matter of education or anything else. You can't get some folks to like these things. It's just the way they experience life. You might get them to appreciate it a bit, but maybe never enjoy it and certainly not on the level we do.

Vern, we really need to get together and comission someone to design "the Kitsch flag." I want to fly mine too!
_________________

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


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