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Tiki Central Forums » » General Tiki » » show us your Barney West
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show us your Barney West
TIKIBOSKO
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 17, 2004
Posts: 323
Posted: 2006-12-14 10:19 am   Permalink

Sorry no photo but ages ago when I first started carving I tried selling my Tikis to Trader Vic’s (Emeryville). While talking about Trader Vic’s/ Polynesian pop history with Lynn Bergeron he told us that many of the Barney West carvings they had (at recently closed locations) were so big they couldn’t be moved so they chopped them to pieces and dumped the remains. Yet another urban archeology moment where I got the wind knocked out of me, but remained standing!

Bosko


 
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saxotica
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 03, 2005
Posts: 213
Posted: 2006-12-14 3:48 pm   Permalink

WTF !?!??!!! Why not just set them outside with a "FREE; HELP YOURSELF" sign. I can't believe they felt the need to destroy them.God, that blows my mind.

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11238
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2006-12-14 9:35 pm   Permalink

If you look at those Barney West Moais outside the Washington Trader Vic's (BOT p.53) you see what they are talking about. Yet they must have shipped them there all the way from Sausalito in the first place. But the closures were in the 90s, before Trader Vic's was expanding again (pre-Tiki Revival), and they were strapped for cash.

Barney's Tikis were not only impressive because of their size, but also because of their stylistic variety. Here is a big one that has its own myth attached to it:
http://www.bookoftiki.com/014.html

According to Leroy, this B.W. giant was found in a ditch up in Northern California, discarded by some Polynesian joint that went belly up, and Helen Yue brought it down to her supper club in LA. After her restaurant closed, it went to Seafood place on the Huntington Beach (?) pier (where I took this photo), which ALSO closed...thus it was henceforth considered a bad luck Tiki, since it brought its previous owners bad business luck.

If I would subscribe to this line of thought though, I would be in trouble (as would be the whole revival), because most of my collection stems from closed down establishments.

If your Tiki Bar does not last, don't blame the ol' Tiki. Ancestor worship, in whatever form, always carries positive mana.


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aquarj
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 1083
From: SF bay area, CA
Posted: 2006-12-14 9:56 pm   Permalink

Hey Sven, that one's a beauty. I don't think I've ever seen that style of face from Barney West. But the body, legs, and base have BARNEY written all over them (figuratively, that is).

I could swear I heard that story from Leroy about the unwanted bad luck tiki too, except my crusty old memory is that he said it was one of two big tikis from the Lanai. Sorting through the cobwebs, I thought he said one went to Lanai Liquors, and the other went south, ending up at a restaurant in Redondo Beach.

-Randy


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11238
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2006-12-15 12:00 am   Permalink

Maybe that's it then, I think I mixed up my piers, and that one was photographed by me at the REDONDO pier.
From the Lanai? I seem to remember it being found in Sonoma county, as Leroy's story goes. But heck, maybe I just misinterpreted "Northern Cal"...always wondered where in those wine parts they might have had a Tiki joint.

Why are there not more photos of the damn' Lanai where one can SEE the Tikis. Like have you found yours pictured "in situ" there yet?

I remember the bad luck one being quite a bit taller than your liquor store one, too. Looking at the photo now, a basic rule of giant Tiki photography comes to mind: When shooting oversized Tikis, always try to ad a human for scale. Here it's hard to tell how tall he actually was.


 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
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Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2793
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2006-12-15 02:04 am   Permalink

The Redondo Pier would make sense, since that is where Helen and Chita Yue opened their SECOND restaurant in the 1970s, after Yue's in Gardena had been going very successfully for some time. I'll have to show Helen that picture and see if she can give me more of the story on that tiki. The story of the demise of both those restaurants is very fascinating - IF Helen will let me tell it. Keep your fingers crossed. The "Bad Luck" tiki gives the story a nice wrinkle.

Sabu

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teaKEY
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Joined: Nov 09, 2004
Posts: 3666
From: The thumb !
Posted: 2006-12-15 05:27 am   Permalink

Quote:
Sven- Seafood place on the Huntington Beach (?) pier (where I took this photo), which ALSO closed



So, Sven, is the tiki still there? And I could see why its considered badluck. If your place ran its natural course (which they all did) thats one thing, but if you got this cruised tiki and your place closed down one month later to that date, I'd question it. The thing is maybe a tiki place that wanted a free tiki could have been pennyless a month before they shut down. Or even if you know you got a badluck tiki, you could mentally destroy yourself. Say the books are off, "its nothing I did, its that Tiki". One last one, what if that tiki have poison in the hands and workers that touched it got sick.
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11238
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2006-12-15 07:43 am   Permalink

Nope. Because the restaurant was gone, it was moved to some storage lot, never to be heard of again...(maybe it brought bad bad luck to that storage lot!? )

Not to de-romanticize the story here (I do like a good Tiki yarn when I hear one), but as far as I recall (correct me if I am wrong, Sabu) the time period had more to do with the closing of Helen's places than any Tiki, it simply was the at the tail end of the trend when the publics taste turned away from "Polynesian" food and cocktails.

Restaurateurs sometimes did not want to believe it was over, (see Danny Balsz rebuilding the Tikis in Lake Elsinore), some even (I hear) in desperation turned to painting their Tikis in garish colors (!) to make them more "happy" looking. My oh my!


 
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frostiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 14, 2006
Posts: 434
From: Mobile, AL
Posted: 2006-12-15 08:32 am   Permalink

Maybe the Tiki was cut up and carved into litle Tiki pendants, and then when a family from suburban LA goes on vacation to Hawaii they pick a tiki out, then the oldest son wipes out on his surfboard, the rest of the boys get attacked in their hotel room by a tarantula, the kids get kednapped by Vincent price and…

Sorry, I had to make the bad joke.
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tikijackalope
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 23, 2003
Posts: 823
From: KS/MO
Posted: 2006-12-17 03:53 am   Permalink

I shot a bunch of tiki pics at Trader Vic's in London: http://thelope.blogspot.com/2006/12/london-trader-vics.html
The place opened in 1963; maybe some are West's?
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11238
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-01-04 12:13 pm   Permalink

And here a little New Years treat for all the Barney West fans (Mahalo to Oceanic Arts), I am glad there are so many.
First an 1965 L.A. Times article, the photo is from the old paper original, the text from a b&w xerox, for better legibility:


(...he might have liked the figurehead carving, but it's the Tikis where is unique talent really came through...)



And here's the cover of his catalog, which was more a fold out flier:


The big Moai that Barney is sitting on seems to be one of the two that ended up at the Washington Trader Vic's (and eventually ended up as mince meat), while the giant Trader Vic style New Guinea statue ended up at the Tiki Kai in Albuquerque

Here are two more pages from the catalog:




Now while I was able to recognize many of his Tiki statues and masks in old Trader Vic's and other Tiki establishment photos, I have NEVER seen any of his orator stools anywhere! What happened to them? Why did TV's not utilize them?
And where is that great one he is sitting on in the BOT, where he applied a Hawaiian Ku image to a Papua New Guinea stool !?

Here's another article (dated around the same time) about his TIKIS (!), curiously here he claims to have been shipwrecked in the Marquesas! The Marianas seem more likely, I don't think Americans had much action in the Marquesas in WWII:


The Ku in the back looks like the one that was imported to Hawaii for the Ilikai, BOT p.247

And last, another nice line up of his characters, the PNG bird man also ended up at the Tiki Kai (see photo with stripper on page 1). This one will be in my new book:



That's all, folks!


 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5061
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2007-01-04 12:49 pm   Permalink

Very cool. That clearly shows the "R" piece on the bottom of the "Carved redwood tikis" page which is in the room behind the stage at the Mai Kai.
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Paipo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 22, 2006
Posts: 1886
From: Aotearoa / NZ
Posted: 2007-01-04 1:06 pm   Permalink

Wow, you've sure been posting a lot of nice stuff from your archive lately Sven. Keep it up! I love these little glimpses into the past.
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GatorRob
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Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1771
From: 3 hrs 33 mins to paradise
Posted: 2007-09-06 12:07 pm   Permalink

Other than postcard art, every picture I've seen of the giant Barney West Moai tiki in front of the Mai-Kai was after it received its current paint job. Has anyone ever seen any photos of him before the paint? I've seen a number of b&w photos of the Mai-Kai in the late 50s-early 60s, but none had the Barney West, which I assume was installed a bit later, maybe early 70s during the big expansion.

 
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Bora Boris
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 2594
From: Boogie Wonderland
Posted: 2009-05-31 5:01 pm   Permalink

From the Emeryville Trader Vic's, I took this picture during Tiki Central's Tiki Crawl 8.


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