||Tiki's enduring influence on Southern California style: Opinion
Joined: Aug 10, 2004
From: Redondo Beach, CA
|Posted: 2013-04-10 10:16 pm  Permalink|
Here's an article from Alan Hess:
Daily News Los Angeles
Posted: 04/10/2013 03:33:23 PM PDT
Updated: 04/10/2013 03:35:14 PM PDT
The recent closing of Bahooka, a Tiki-themed restaurant in Rosemead, was an occasion for mourning. Bahooka was one of the great delights of Southern California Tiki, with countless fish tanks (including Rufus, the giant pacu), flaming drinks served in bowls, and bucket lamps hanging from the ceiling that took diners back to the romance of the South Seas in World War II. Thank goodness, though, Tiki is also the style that refuses to die. Its endurance tells us something about Southern California design.
By all rights, Tiki should have been just another passing fad of the 1950s, like hula hoops (another Polynesian import). Its aesthetic is the opposite of what most experts insist is important about midcentury modern Southern California architecture. In the official architectural history of the region, Craig Ellwood showed us minimalist steel, and Richard Neutra showed us elegant abstraction.
In contrast, Tiki showed us textured bamboo screens and blown-glass fishing buoys suspended in fishing nets. Yet Tiki had something in common with Southern California Modernist luminaries: where Ray and Charles Eames showed us whimsy, color, and history, Tiki also showed us whimsy, color and history.
What is it about Tiki and its woven mats, its hanging blowfish, its thatched roofing, its rainbow colored tropical fish, and its solemn, all-knowing totems? We are no doubt addicts of visual stimulation, and we no doubt love the Polynesian dream.
But, for Southern Californians, Tiki's appeal runs deeper than that.
The opulent patterns, the spectrum of colors, and the evocative imagery are as central to this region's aesthetics as are exposed steel beams and sliding glass walls. Our design heritage is rich, contradictory, inclusive, ephemeral, and ancient.
This inheritance can be rendered in neon, thatch, audio-animatronics, architecture, graphics, clothing, salt-and-pepper shakers, theme restaurants, movies, paperback books, or lipstick holders. It is the 20th-century style expressed in every range of 20th-century media. Tiki satisfies a need that the German architecture pioneer Walter Gropius could not have imagined.
And in the latest news, the much-mourned Bahooka may have a resurrection. Los Angeles Magazine's Chris Nichols reports that much of Bahooka's decor will be re-ensconced in the renovated Clifton's Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles. This is entirely fitting. Back in 1931, Clifton's Pacific Seas restaurant gave us neon palm trees and tropical waterfalls. If you need another sign that Tiki cannot die, there it is.
Alan Hess is an architect and author of 19 books on Southern California and Modern architecture, including "Oscar Niemeyer Houses" and "Googie Redux: Ultramodern Roadside Architecture." He wrote this for Z calo Public Square. Columnnist Steve Scauzillo is on assignment this week; his column will return next Friday.
[ This Message was edited by: Hakalugi 2013-04-10 22:21 ]
|Atomic Tiki Punk|
Joined: Jul 19, 2009
From: Costa Misery
|Posted: 2013-04-10 11:23 pm  Permalink|
Joined: May 16, 2008
From: Dogtown, USA
|Posted: 2013-04-11 07:06 am  Permalink|
I'm not sure if the Bahooka is the best example to make this point, i.e. Tiki is an enduring (art) style that refuses to die. Someone here correct me if I'm wrong but for its first 25 years, (30+ years if you count the West Covina location) there was never even a Tiki in the place. Bahooka was technically a nautical/beachcomber themed restaurant that branded itself as "Tiki" after the Revival started.
Grand Member (4 years)
Joined: Apr 03, 2008
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
|Posted: 2013-04-11 07:52 am  Permalink|
On 2013-04-11 07:06, JOHN-O wrote:
Bahooka was technically a nautical/beachcomber themed restaurant that branded itself as "Tiki" after the Revival started.
I have never been to the Bahooka. But look what happened here in Florida -- the whole "Florida tiki" and Jimmy Buffett crossover thing. Now when someone puts up some sort of palm frond-thatched roof and a little bamboo they instantly have "a tiki bar." I often find myself having to explain what "tiki" is and what it is not...
Joined: May 16, 2008
From: Dogtown, USA
|Posted: 2013-04-11 08:33 am  Permalink|
Well the Bahooka was certainly much more than a Buffett bar. With It's mid-century roots and atmosphere of surreal escapism, it definitely shares the same spirit as original Tiki. My point was an academic one since the article's author was referring to Tiki as an art style.
I get the same thing when I take friends to Santa Monica's Galley restaurant, a historic nautical bar in its own right. Their first reaction is "This is a cool Tiki bar !!". Well not really.