Joined: May 16, 2008
From: Dogtown, USA
|Posted: 2010-11-14 4:18 pm  Permalink|
Here it is. My big 1000th post...
"Honolulu Confidential" Part 2 of 10
As mentioned earlier, I missed out on (or didn't pay attention to) the heyday of Hawaii's great Tiki-style past. Being a Johnny-Come-Lately to mid-century era Honolulu, I never really appreciated the history behind past Waikiki icons like DTBC and TV, or the carvings strewn around the IMP. To these novice eyes, there was very little, if anything left.
Being in Honolulu, I had the pleasure of meeting with Phillip Roberts for his Tiki walking tour of Waikiki.
What a whirlwind that was, as he pointed out original Tiki-style remnants throughout the gradually devolving IMP. I had to really walk quickly to keep up with his rapid-fire pace. Things he pointed out behind bushes, in out-of-the way alleys, on high archways, and in nearby hotels (that I never would have otherwise ventured into) really impressed upon me the rich legacy of mid-century Waikiki Tiki-style. For such a compact area, it was urban archeology at its finest !!
Here's a Fijian King's chair that we had to crawl behind one annoyed IMP vendor to get to...
I took a lot of pictures... that I'm not going to post here. I don't want to steal Phillip's thunder with his new book. Almost everything I took pictures of is in "Waikiki Tiki", plus he places these things in the appropriate context with historical background and images. From his book, I learned about other great (and long-gone) places like Canlis' Broiler.
And yes I know many of you are saying "JOHN-O, didn't you read Chapters 4 and 5 of Beachbum Berry's Sippin' Safari several years ago (also essential reading) or check out all the great Hawaii posts in the Locating Tiki Forum ??". Yes, I admit to not having done my Tiki homework. ("Book of Tiki" sat on my coffee table for almost a year before I actually started to read the holy words, sorry Bigbro.) The great thing about Phillip's book is that he now makes all this great history easily available to Tikiphiles as well as non-Tikiphile Hawaii visitors. I understand the Bishop Museum will be stocking his book in its gift shop, that's a great testament to its content and significance. The only thing I'm kind of concerned about is that this might add to the casual misperception that mid-century Tiki-style originated in Hawaii. On a related note, I kept hearing the following line when I was at the Royal Hawaiian's Mai Tai Bar: "Oh, this is where they invented the Mai Tai, right?". Wrong !! Oh well.
I encourage everyone here to pick up a copy of "Waikiki Tiki", it will travel well on your next Oahu vacation, plus it doesn't weigh a ton like "Tiki Modern" does (ha, ha). For it's compact size however, it's filled with an amazing amount of detail.
I will add this one image of a Edward "Mick" Brownlee carved Tiki that I really liked. This was something I would have walked by a million times and never really thought about. Now, I think about all of the change that one Tiki has been witness to for almost half a century.
It was great to learn about Mick Brownlee. He was a major carver of Tiki in and around Waikiki. It seems he flew low and under the radar until about 2005. He was also responsible for the Las Vegas Aku Aku interior carvings (which I understand were lost when the kitchen caught on fire). Phillip's book contains two personal letters from Brownlee who currently resides in Oregon.
One last thing that Phillip did impart on me was his Aloha attitude towards Waikiki Tiki like this...
When I first saw this stuff, I was horrified. I asked "Phillip, what do YOU think of this?" He just smiled slightly and said "I try not to judge... plus they are trying". Maybe that's something we need to do more of on TC, especially with all the recent drama...
…Enjoy Tiki more and judge (each other) less !!
I know I'm guilty here. And as Phillip did comment "You (California) guys are spoiled".
Thanks again Phillip for your fantastic book and an experience that I both enjoyed and learned from !!