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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Interview with Kern Mattei of the Mai Kai
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Interview with Kern Mattei of the Mai Kai
teaKEY
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Joined: Nov 09, 2004
Posts: 3664
From: The thumb !
Posted: 2007-08-31 2:39 pm   Permalink

I agree with Sven on this for the most part. And all authentic tiki should be earth tones but I like some white and red in my tikis once in awhile. Some of our favorite tikis in the Poly Pop era have color



Wouldn't look half as cool without this color. Nor the Munktiki mug based off it. Red tongues on some tiki is a YES, red lips on tikis is a NO.
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teaKEY
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 09, 2004
Posts: 3664
From: The thumb !
Posted: 2007-08-31 2:48 pm   Permalink



really like this one too. Hope that isn't a bad thing. I have two sides to everything. Natural at times and colors too.


 
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11003
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-08-31 2:59 pm   Permalink

I am sure that, as always, it is a question of cost. I assume that Will invested more enthusiasm into casting these than what he got paid, the currency probably being more appreciation than cash (not saying there was none, but work time-to-dollar ratio wise).

Cost is why Trader Vic's is having their Tikis carved in Asia, resulting in nice dark wood idols...yet these turning out with an unfortunate twist towards Balinese temple carvings.

I rather have re-cast Poly pop originals (embellished tastefully) than Pier 1 Import store garden statuary. It's a fine balance...


 
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11003
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2007-08-31 3:05 pm   Permalink

Oh, TK, that does not pass. That is a fabulous Barney West Moai which should NEVER have been painted! Have you ever seen any on Easter Island like that? And then in these Miami colors...ouuch. Tiki devolution for sure.

 
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AlohaStation
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 27, 2004
Posts: 2112
From: So FL
Posted: 2007-08-31 6:40 pm   Permalink

I have been helping to motivate Will in his Tiki endeavor (by drinking beer and talking tikis after work), and have to say that he has more invested in this project than you can ever imagine. However "authentic" the tikis may or may not appear you have to applaud him for his dedication. The story of how the molds came into existance and back into use is pretty interesting, especially to us "tiki geeks" that roam these posts. To Will's credit, painting is not his thing and he has progressively gotten better the more tikis he produces. he has some new ones that VERY cool. Not only does Will have the molded tikis there - he has several of his own wood carved creations there - as well as being the creator of the Mai Kai mug in the garden.

Here's the new game. Each of the "new" tikis were molded from an original. Take your drink, walk around and see if you can find each of the originals. Its not easy and there are some that have not been found!! You will look crazy as you walk around peeking in every nook and cranny. Its alot of fun and you will notice alot of tikis that you may not have seen in the past.

Thanks again to wplugger/Will - the official, unofficial keeper of the Mai Kai tikis!!


 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 4965
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2007-08-31 7:59 pm   Permalink

Does Kern measure the bar gals each night or each week or each month?
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Chip and Andy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2125
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 2007-08-31 8:16 pm   Permalink

OK, the tikis that Will is casting look horrible in the pictures. The colors are garish and the presentation is less than expected for the Mighty Mai-Kai....


But, seeing them in the garden... surrounded by everything in the garden, the fifty year old orchids, the waterfall, in a word magical.

The first time I saw the new tikis I thought F....ing great, more painted tikis getting closer and closer to something Disney-esque and less Mai-Kai-esque. Well, then I looked again and realized they aren't bad. They are casts of the 'original' tikis, some of which are still there and looking good. And then I realized that they only look bad because they look so new. They have no patina of age and look out of place against everything else. In four or five more months when the Florida sun has dulled the shine, the Florida rain has softened the edges... they are going to be fantastic!

Judge them all you want, paint or not.... until you get to 'see' them in the gardens first hand, they are just horrible pictures of not so horrible tikis.
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pablus
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2003
Posts: 2154
From: www.crazedmugs.com
Posted: 2007-08-31 10:14 pm   Permalink

More news.

The Mai Kai has been sold.

To Dave Levy. He is the natural progression of this place and has good plans for it.
Also, we've talked with Kern and Pia and the Crazed Mugs will be doing a video there sometime in the next few months. We'll make an event of it, for sure.

As far as the tikis go, I hope Will will take this thread as a plug for his work and take the direction as a boost to his efforts because that's what everyone's intentions are. Not a slam or a doubt, just a nudge in the direction that the most vociferous fans of the Mai Kai (and the most 'in the know') would like to see the venerable establishment go.

I have more news that I'll post when I'm not so loaded.
Dang that Kern and his late night drink pushing.

[ This Message was edited by: pablus 2007-09-01 10:07 ]


 
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wplugger
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Joined: Jul 09, 2006
Posts: 161
Posted: 2007-09-01 06:32 am   Permalink

You guys are a tuff crowd, but it's cool.
Since I aim to please, I'm gonna step up to the plate
& try to impress even the most discriminating authorities here.
This has been a labor of love & I want to get it right.
Yo Bro, thanks for the input. I need all the help I can get.
Painting isn't really my thing, but I do have an extra brush
for you & one for Grob.
Chip & Andy, love you guys. Make MY-TAI a double.
AlohaStation, You did tell me not to go with red lips & white teeth didn't you.
Pablus, I'll try to make happy hour today.
They still have the original wood tiki this last one was cast
from. I felt as if I was following the painting ques from it.
I will go to the Mai-Kai today & look closer, Ill take a pic.
Lets see if I can come up with something better this wknd.



 
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RevBambooBen
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Joined: Nov 12, 2002
Posts: 7418
From: Huntikington Beach
Posted: 2007-09-01 09:01 am   Permalink

Mai Kai Rocks!





 
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GatorRob
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Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1770
From: 3 hrs 33 mins to paradise
Posted: 2007-09-01 12:25 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-08-31 22:14, pablus wrote:
The Mai Kai has been sold.

To Dave Levy. He is the natural progression of this place and has good plans for it.


That brings up something I've wondered. Did you ask whether Mrs. Thornton will continue to choreograph the show? If she is planning to retire from it, I hope that she finds a worthy successor who will continue to keep the dances and the costumes traditional and authentic.


 
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The Mayor Of Exotica
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 09, 2005
Posts: 392
From: Boston
Posted: 2007-09-01 1:22 pm   Permalink

What implications does the sale of the Mai Kai to Dave have in terms of the operation? Will Kern, Pia, and the rest of the team stay on in the same capacities? Does Dave have any changes in mind?
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Swanky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 4965
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2007-09-01 2:03 pm   Permalink

Yeah, are Ma and Kulani still running the place with Dave? I can't imagine the Mai Kai without Mirielle.

Did that bottle of wine get uncorked? You know the one I mean...
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GMAN
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 14, 2005
Posts: 2996
From: My Island
Posted: 2007-09-01 2:11 pm   Permalink

"You guys are a tuff crowd, but it's cool.
Since I aim to please, I'm gonna step up to the plate
& try to impress even the most discriminating authorities here.
This has been a labor of love & I want to get it right."

Way to go Wplugger. Keep going....and let me know if I can provide you with any pics of old pieces for you to work from. Just holla.

-G
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Benzart
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 10358
From: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Posted: 2007-09-01 6:30 pm   Permalink

Yeah, Will deserves a Lot of credit for unearthing these molds and learning how to get quality casts from them. I Know for a fact that he had a difficult time in the beginning trying to figure out the best method to use to get the proper tiki out of the mold without it crumbling. HE put many hours into it and all with NO financial agreement or production specs.

Will, I think you have done an excellent job with your plan and the tikis are starting to look great, but I must agree with Big Bro though on the coloring. The people who make the final decision however, may want the garish colors, since they have been around for so long.

It seems it would be much easier to stain the cement or Dye it in the mix and then highlight the details with darker/lighter browns and blacks. Show Kern this thread and show him a few samples of Tiki "Done Right" and maybe he will give the go-ahead. I believe You can pull it off. Thanks for all the time and effort you have put into this already. Somehow I think it is only a drop in the bucket compared to what is in the future for the whole deal.

Big Bro, thank You too for chiming in and bringing some saneness to us again. I have been going to the Mai Kai for over 40 years and have watched many changes take place. It will be great to see some of the garden splendor return.

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