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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki 1935 Ballyhoo Magazine South Seas Edition (image heavy)
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1935 Ballyhoo Magazine South Seas Edition (image heavy)
bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11130
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-04-08 6:58 pm   Permalink

The humor of "Ballyhoo" reminds me of the 1921 book "Cruise of the Kawa" (see BOT P.33 for images, P.34 for text), the first spoof of South Sea lore. The article below describes how it was often taken seriously at the time:



This seems hard to believe, considering some of the photos...


...and the text


Here's the ad that got several serious replies:


I LOVE this kind of stuff!


 
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MrBaliHai
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Joined: Jun 01, 2002
Posts: 799
Posted: 2007-04-08 7:45 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-04-08 18:58, bigbrotiki wrote:
The humor of "Ballyhoo" reminds me of the 1921 book "Cruise of the Kawa" (see BOT P.33 for images, P.34 for text), the first spoof of South Sea lore. The article below describes how it was often taken seriously at the time



Now that's just astonishing. The fact that people actually bought into such a patently ridiculous storyline is almost frightening. I mean c'mon, A-E-I-O-U?!!!
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Humuhumu
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Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3616
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2007-04-08 10:09 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-04-08 18:42, MrBaliHai wrote:
The problem you'd have to deal with in mixing Tiki and Victorian styles is that the Victorians viewed Polynesia as an inferior culture that they had a manifest destiny to conquer, Christianize, and replace with their own, which is almost the total opposite of mid-century Polynesian pop.



I'd never thought of it in those terms, but this really sums up why I prefer the later, tiki era of Poly Pop -- there seems to be more real reverence for Polynesia (even if most still had no idea what Polynesia really was like), and an interest in joining them, rather than beating them. Not always, of course -- you still come across stuff from the '50s and '60s that indicates a lack of respect, and the gender inequalities of the day crop up regularly, plus you have to question whether it's really respectful to totally misrepresent a culture -- but there seems to have been a growing general attitude of "hey, they've really got something figured out in the South Pacific" during the '40s, '50s and '60s, vs. this "those savages are so simple and funny!"

Even though I don't like this earlier stuff as much, and don't feel as drawn to it, I still find it fascinating in the context of mainland fascination with Polynesia.

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Koolau
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Joined: Sep 23, 2006
Posts: 323
From: Oahu, Hawaii
Posted: 2007-04-09 01:38 am   Permalink

Even though Sven's mentioned it a million times, that magazine really drove home the idea of "pre-Tiki". There's not one tiki in any of the illustrations - just grass huts and hula girls. I'm still amazed. I have to re-read the Book of Tiki - why did tiki become the central image of Poly Pop?

 
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MrBaliHai
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Posted: 2007-04-09 04:34 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-04-09 01:38, Koolau wrote:
...why did tiki become the central image of Poly Pop?



I'd be interested to hear bigbro's pet theories on that one...

This issue of Ballyhoo was clearly focused on leering at, and fooling around with native women. Hardly surprising for a men's mag. If you look at other publications from this era, the focus shifts slightly to "romance" and island music.
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PockyTiki
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Joined: Feb 28, 2006
Posts: 556
From: central MA
Posted: 2007-04-09 08:55 am   Permalink

On the first page with the image of the chart, at the bottom of that chart is says that "Devolution Begins". My question is, "What is Devolution?" is it like the time that poly-pop and tiki sort of went down the toilet? I'm slightly in the fog.
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5038
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2007-04-09 10:28 am   Permalink

There were tons of tropical restaurants before Donn Beach. No telling to what extent he borrowed from them. The era of the Lurline cruises to Hawaii really got the imagery of Hawaii romanticized for everyone more and more. The Hula girl was the icon of the pre-Donn era. Hula girls and monkeys. And now there are more and more places called "tiki bars" which are just tropical. It's a generic term now. Almost weird. How many people here in East TN have ever been to a real tiki bar, and yet, Target is selling "Tiki Bar" signs to them. And I bet they drink Corona under them. That's De-volution of Tiki.
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11130
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-04-09 11:26 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-04-09 08:55, PockyTiki wrote:
On the first page with the image of the chart, at the bottom of that chart is says that "Devolution Begins". My question is, "What is Devolution?" is it like the time that poly-pop and tiki sort of went down the toilet? I'm slightly in the fog.



Well you had to ask.... "being in the fog" could be a symptom of Devolution!
One could answer this question quickly, with the self-explanatory "Devolution is the opposite of Evolution". But you are giving me the opportunity to elaborate on another favorite pet theory, the pop history of Devolution (and my connection to it):



1969-- Philosopher Oscar Kiss Maerth publishes "The Beginning Was The End", his theory of the fact that human E-volution is actually a DE-volution: Once the prehistoric ape species started eating meat, especially each others brains, their own brains mutated into the human brain, and "intelligence" evolved. In the course of that, man lost all his natural abilities for telepathy and instinctual understanding, and man's brains today are actually sick mutations of a once natural state of consciousness in balance with nature, and thus are destined to destroy themselves (see global warming thread).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Kiss_Maerth

1971-- Mark Mothersbaugh writes "My Struggle"under the pseudonym of Booji Boy, an "art" book predating the Subgenius Church religious tract aesthetic:




When he and his friend Jerry Casale come upon Oscar Kiss Maerth's Devolution theory, the basic concepts of DEVO solidify:



1977-- David Bowie announces DEVO as the band of the future.....(the beginning of the end?)

1982--After a brief stint at the San Francisco Art Institute, Sven Kirsten moves down to Los Angeles, taking up his friend Annerose's boyfriend's (Mark Mothersbaugh) offer to stay at his house while looking for a place to live.


Oceanic tribes knew about the mana contained in their trophy heads. Perhaps we re-enact the eternal sin that began devolution by drinking from our Tiki mugs....dancing on the volcano. Tiki could actually be seen as a form of devolution: The desire to return to the beginnings of man, to the primitive state, and be free of the "Freedom of Choice" that puts us into a "fog".


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tikibars
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Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2024
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2007-04-09 11:49 am   Permalink

I knew it - sooner or later, someone had to tie together Devo and Tiki...

Nice one, Sven.

"Freedom of choice - is what you got.
Freedom from choice - is what you want".













 
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hawaiiansnowball
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Apr 02, 2007
Posts: 40
From: Sin City, Nevada
Posted: 2007-04-09 11:58 am   Permalink

The Ballyhoo's South Sea's Guide is a pretty amusing read... great stuff!

 
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ikitnrev
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 27, 2002
Posts: 1313
From: D.C. / Virginia
Posted: 2007-04-09 12:37 pm   Permalink

I think we can also add the band Cramps and Munktiki to this devolution theory.

Reading the Wikipedia entry for Oscar Kiss Maerth, I learned that the band DEVO referred to him as 'Author Kiss-My-Ass'

I immediately thought of the Cramps song 'Kizmiaz' which can be found on their 'A Date With Elvis' CD. This song is perhaps the most tropical/exotic song that the Cramps ever recorded.

Take a magic carpet to the olden days
To a mythical land where everybody lays
Around in the clouds in a happy daze
in Kizmiaz...Kizmiaz.

Flamingos stand easy on bended knees
Palm trees wave over tropical seas
of azure waves and lazy breeze
in Kizmiaz...Kizmiaz. (there are more lyrics)

Now consider that Sven was the cinematographer for the Cramps music video 'Bikini Girls With Machine Guns.' We have direct links between Sven, tiki, Devo, and the Cramps. It is all making sense!

And we can even throw in the people at Munktiki, with the creation of their Skull Monkey Mug.



Learning about Oscar Maerth's theories has provided me with new meanings for this mug. I used to think of this as just a simple monkey mug - but now I think of it as the perfect mug to designate that moment when monkeys first started to eat their brains, marking the point in time when devolution started.

I've just ordered the Oscar Maerth book, and soon expect my horizons to be further broadened.

Vern







 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11130
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-04-09 12:42 pm   Permalink

...but back to the PRE-TIKI to TIKI style evolution:

Early 20th Century Polynesian pop drew its image vocabulary from a slew of South Sea icons: The palm tree, the native hut, the outrigger, the tropical flowers, the ukulele, and most prominently, the Hula Girl. Primitive art in the form of Tikis also surfaced sometimes, but very rarely. One of the most convincing, uncanny examples for that evolution can be found in my Trader Vic chapter in the BOT. The Trader's first bar guide, and all his menu covers before and during WWII wallow in the typical South Seas iconography mentioned above (his classic 1947 menu is known to everyone), and not until the late 50s does the Tiki become more prominent in Trader Vic's graphics and, in his mug and glassware. Though both, Don The Beachcomber and Trader Vic, because their aesthetic was rooted in the Pre-Tiki period, never went as full-tilt Tiki as for example the Luau/ Kon-Tiki chain, and other, 1950s/60s Tiki establishments. I still believe Tiki Bob's was the first place to use the Tiki as a logo, together with the Luau in Beverly Hills, who introduced its Tikis in its menu text.

Why? There is a nice German term for it, "Zeitgeist", or "spirit of the times". In my upcoming tome "Tiki Modern" I am elaborating on how not until after WWII the avantgarde's appreciation for "primitive art" reached the middle class, making it de rigeur to have a piece of African or Oceanic sculpture in your otherwise modern home. The Tiki's appreciation paralelled that development in recreational pop culture.

The Tiki gave Polynesian pop an edge, providing the darker side of paradise, which in pre-Tiki times had sometimes been occupied by the figure of the Zombie. I also see a paralell to the monster aesthetic of Movie Monsters like Frankenstein, and the creations of Big Daddy Roth. Why did they become "cool" at the same time than the Tiki, around the late 50s/early 60s? There simply was a need for something edgier, weirder than the usual Ken and Barbie stuff.

Also in the 50s, the popularity of Thor Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki undoubtedly led to the term becoming better known, and helping Tiki to take its prominent place in the Poly pop theater. As I said before, in its heyday, the term "Tiki style" did not exist, but occasionally people the time referred to Polynesian style as "Kon-Tiki style."

A Zeitgeist is always a result of multiple influences, and so the question of WHY Tiki became Polynesian Pop's figurehead in the 50s/60s is complex. Any other suggestions are welcome.



 
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ikitnrev
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 27, 2002
Posts: 1313
From: D.C. / Virginia
Posted: 2007-04-09 1:39 pm   Permalink

There may be another factor involved. Most of us are familiar with the similarities between the tiki of the Hawaii/South Pacific vein (and Hawaii becoming a state in 1959), and the totem pole of Alaska/North Pacific (and Alaska becoming a state in 1958)

I agree with Sven's observation, that the 1950's were a period of cultural zeitgeist. With both Alaska and Hawaii becoming states, the average American were open to welcoming the cultures of the new states into the U.S. For the average citizen, it might have been easier to accept both the tiki and the totem poles as new cultural icons - a form of 'two heads are better than one' - meaning that the presence and reemergence of both icons at the same time helped each to become more engrained in the collective U.S. culture.

I looked at the Wikipedia entry for 'totem pole', and learned that the totem pole did receive a revival in the 1950's ... and confirms the theory of the zeitgeist.

------------
"Totem pole construction underwent a dramatic decline at the end of the 19th century due to American and Canadian urges towards Euro-American enculturation and assimilation. Fortunately, in the mid-twentieth century a combination of cultural, linguistic, and artistic revival along with intense scholarly scrutiny and the continuing fascination and and support of an educated and empathetic public led to a renewal and extension of this moribund artistic tradition."
-------------

I couldn't resist adding the following text, also from the Wikipedia totem pole entry. It brings to me more similarities between tiki and totem pole, and the theory of devolution. After reading this, I wonder if Basement Kahuna might have a twin brother, living in Alaska and trying hard to preserve the original totem styles.

-------------------------------------------
" The appropriation by art and tourist trinket worlds of Northwest Coast American culture has resulted in, among other things, an inundation of cheap imitations of totem poles executed with little or no knowledge of the complex stylistic conventions demanded by Northwest Coast art. This proliferation of "totem junk" has diluted the public interest and respect for the artistic skill and deep cultural knowledge required to produce a pole."
--------------------------------------------

Vern



 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11130
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-04-09 2:23 pm   Permalink

Hmmm...yes, that goes along with the generally raised awareness for primitive art, which also included pre-Columbian art. There actually is one hilarious example of the intermingling of Totem pole and Tiki, committed by a confused (or lazy) architect in England: Butlin's Holiday Camp in Clacton had this decor to offer in their "South Seas Bar":



Also interesting is that William Westenhaver at one point taught North Pacific Coast Indians how to chainsaw-carve totem poles. He also decorated a "kachina" doll style bar up North in the 60s.

Thanks for those added photos, James!

One more delineation to my Tiki-period theory is that Tiki style was predominantly a MAINLAND phenomenon. In Hawaii, the cultural sensitivity was too great to mess with the ancestor images, and in the rare cases that they were employed for commercial reasons, they were kept painfully close to the originals. All evidence of Tiki style IN the islands was actually re-imported from the mainland (Don/Vic/Kon-Tiki, Barney West and O.A. Tikis). So even in the 50s and 60s, any Hawaiian based Polynesian icon production concentrated on the early Pre-Tiki Polynesian pop catalogue mentioned above (...except Coco Joe's and Hip), and cranked out what is known as Hawaiiana, which I find lacking the edge that Tiki style has.


 
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Humuhumu
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Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3616
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2007-04-09 2:33 pm   Permalink

Oh my god, that is too funny! Here's another image I found from the same bar:


http://www.lightstraw.co.uk/butlins/southseas1.html

I'm familiar with Butlin's Beachcomber bars, but not their South Seas bars -- do you know if there were any others, and if they were as off-base as this?

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