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Tiki Central Forums » » General Tiki » » What does tiki mean to you?
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What does tiki mean to you?
AdOrAdam
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 397
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2013-10-19 4:59 pm   Permalink

There has been a bit of debate regarding 'what tiki is'.

I thought it would be good to have a separate thread:

What does tiki mean to you?

*It'd probably be a good idea to limit your list to 5 items but wax on & disagree with earlier posts etc in a positive way*
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AdOrAdam
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 397
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2013-10-19 5:00 pm   Permalink

I'll go first, in no particular order:

Rum - not necessarily the expensive stuff but finding your 'happy medium' of quality & cost. I would say sipping rum is not tiki as it's not a cocktail but is rather nice ~ I do it as often as I can

Mugs - no surprise there but I dont like to drink out of mine, I prefer glass. I have a relatively small collection.

Carvings & décor - more important than mugs to me. I'm always curious as to where carvings have come from & how they've got here. I don't have a full on 'tiki room' but hope to in the future.

Interlocking parts of history - Perhaps one of my favourite bits! eg. Navy, colonialism, trade tariffs, 'tiki mania' subculture, entertainment in the 30s through 70s, etc
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LostIsland
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jul 27, 2012
Posts: 89
Posted: 2013-10-19 5:54 pm   Permalink

What does Tiki mean to me?....

Everything!

..but in considering your question..

Decor to me is the most influential being such visual creatures

Sound and music are a close second. Whether it's a cool soundtrack, trickling water features or both. Sound goes a long way toward really setting the tone. I suppose it could simply be grouped with decor under the heading ambiance.

For me personally, I like there to also be a dark element. Daily life is so sanitized these days. It's nice to evoke something exotic yet a bit frightening..

Lastly I would say drinks. Whether complex rum concoctions, high end cocktails or even just a good beer or ale. As long as it's cold delicious and mixes well with socializing..

I suppose in one word, it would be escape. Everyone's version of paradise differs. Mine is a dark hut festooned with flickering torches, Tiki gods, skulls and shrunken heads. A hut filled with good drinks and good folks. Where the nonsense of the day can be brushed aside, even if only for a few hours...

see you in the lounge..
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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2013-10-19 6:09 pm   Permalink

1. Specific drinks such as mai-tais, lapulapus, scorpions,Singapore Sling, fogcutter etc...
2. Decor that is fake-polynesian and from a specific time period (Mid century) Possibly made by WITCO or Oceanic Arts, or directly inspired by those companies.
3. Music known as "exotica", and specifically, Martin Denny, Les Baxter, Arthur Lyman, Chaino, etc.. AND hawaiian music, specifically, hawaiian hapa haole music based on jazz, with sophisticated arrangements, lush steel guitar, etc..or music directly inspired by those sources.
4. Fake cantonese cuisine with red food coloring and MSG
5. Mugs and artifacts that contain an actual tiki in them.
6. certain movies/films such as donovan's reef, blue hawaii, south pacific, etc..


And that's basically it, in my opinion.





[ This Message was edited by: lucas vigor 2013-10-20 09:41 ]


 
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thePorpoise
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Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 1174
From: Tampa Bay
Posted: 2013-10-19 10:06 pm   Permalink



 
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Thurston Howell IV
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Apr 08, 2013
Posts: 81
From: Hervey Bay Australia
Posted: 2013-10-19 10:09 pm   Permalink

Have to agree with LostIsland's comment - its all about escape.

I went to Kauai in 2000 and while there soaking up the exotica, the Tahiti Nui bar, The Bali Hai vibe et al, I needed to email something home so went into a shopping mall not far from the old Coco Palms. Got talking to a young local couple who were just married and days away from flying off to their honeymoon destination. When I asked where they were going it turned out to be Cairns in Queensland Australia. I'd just travelling halfway across the globe from the bottom end of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, not all that far from Cairns for my Kauai escape, they were leaving Kauai for an escape in OZ. Go figure.

So, escape, Aloha shirts etc, drinks - the vibe.


 
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Masher88
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jul 15, 2011
Posts: 61
From: Cleveland, OH
Posted: 2013-10-20 08:06 am   Permalink

One thing I've always wondered is why Tequila is not considered tiki, but rum and gin are. When I think of rum, I think of the Caribbean. Gin, I think of England. Tequila is Mexican. None of them are Polynesian. Is it just that Vic used Rum, mostly, in his original drinks and that it was English explorers (Cook) found polynesia, thus Gin? Anyone have any thoughts on this?

 
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TikiTacky
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1291
Posted: 2013-10-20 08:24 am   Permalink

It was Donn Beach, not Vic, that originally used rum in his drinks. Rum was plentiful and cheap at the time, and he was able to turn it into something unusual. The gin was likely included simply because people were already familiar with it.
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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2013-10-20 09:18 am   Permalink

There used to be a great header for this forum describing what Tiki is, and what it is not...but it was taken down and I have never seen it again...I guess it was too "negative", too sociopathic and too controversial! They even mentioned Jimmy Buffet in the "not tiki" section......sigh......they had to take that down because it's only a matter of time before Jimmy Buffet is headlining a major "tiki" event here!



[ This Message was edited by: lucas vigor 2013-10-20 09:19 ]


 
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TikiTacky
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1291
Posted: 2013-10-20 10:04 am   Permalink

Things that really aren't tiki but are often considered tiki:

* Fezes
* Lowbrow
* Surf music
* Hot rods
* Monsters

Did they have their roots in tiki? Maybe. Much of what Witco made had nothing to do with Polynesia or tiki either, but try and tell someone it isn't tiki and be prepared to get hit over the head with a burned pine wall hanging! To many people, tiki and mid-century are blurred together as one thing.

The benefit to being less discriminatory is that we bring more people into the tiki fold, as it were. The downside is that muddies the waters of what tiki is. Sven made it very clear in his book what the roots of tiki are, and it has become to many the bible of tiki. Some people are more adamant about following the "true path" of tiki than others.

I'm of the feeling that being discriminatory is somewhat important to the cohesiveness of tiki as a movement. That doesn't mean we need to be rude or condescending, but rather to gently educate. The good news is that I'm not in charge of this forum, and I'm not in charge of tiki either.

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[ This Message was edited by: TikiTacky 2013-10-20 10:04 ]


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VampiressRN
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2006
Posts: 5668
From: Sun City Lincoln Hills (NorCal)
Posted: 2013-10-20 10:34 am   Permalink

JMHO...

Tiki is the carvings.

Tiki genre is the mixed bag...the culmination of cravings, art, exotica, cocktails, bars, decor, publications and mostly the Ohana spirit. Aficionados help to guide us in the history of the genre and admirer's blend their interests in to provide us with diverse collections.

I enjoy it all and appreciate the wonderful events that have Tiki as the focus. It is great to see people's home collections and the professionally built establishments old and new. Best of all, we have a wonderful group of lifelong friends that we can enjoy our Tiki appreciation with.
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King Bushwich the 33rd
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 10, 2005
Posts: 1163
From: Ling Cod Beach, CA 90803
Posted: 2013-10-20 12:36 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-10-20 09:18, lucas vigor wrote:
There used to be a great header for this forum describing what Tiki is, and what it is not...but it was taken down and I have never seen it again...I guess it was too "negative", too sociopathic and too controversial! They even mentioned Jimmy Buffet in the "not tiki" section......sigh......they had to take that down because it's only a matter of time before Jimmy Buffet is headlining a major "tiki" event here!



[ This Message was edited by: lucas vigor 2013-10-20 09:19 ]



The link is still at the top. If you click
Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop directly underneath the blinking TIKICENTRAL open 24 hours, you still get that description.

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[ This Message was edited by: King Bushwich the 33rd 2013-10-22 09:36 ]


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AdOrAdam
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 397
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2013-10-20 2:30 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-10-20 10:34, VampiressRN wrote:
JMHO... Tiki is the carvings.

Tiki genre is the mixed bag...the culmination of cravings, art, exotica, cocktails, bars, decor, publications and mostly the Ohana spirit.


Good way of looking at it

Mr thePorpoise is that a selfie?!

Quote:

On 2013-10-20 08:06, Masher88 wrote:
One thing I've always wondered is why Tequila is not considered tiki, but rum and gin are...



Im thinking tequila wasn't on the 'world stage' til later ~ I rightly of wrongly think of it as 70s / 80s, although Margaritas are a 30s / 40s drink (& Donn made the El Diablo cocktail in the late 40s).


Generally regarding the choice of spirits in tiki drinks, my understanding of the shortened timeline is:

- Turn of the century no-one wanted rum (so the distillers aged it).
- To give context whiskey & gin were popular. If you google '1920s' cocktails they are nearly all gin or whiskey.
- Don Beachcomber discovered rum & learnt how to tweak traditional Caribbean cocktails. He brought up the cheap rum & made good drinks.
- Trader Vics took on the tiki idea & ran with the rum recipes. 1950s onwards he added different based spirits (gin, brandy, bourbon etc).


I can understand why gin is part of tiki - it has a colonial history so was most likely everywhere. Drinks like the Singapore Sling are 'tropical' & arguably are kin to 'caribbean' drinks. Whiskey shouldnt be a tiki ingredient IMO - it just tastes a bit wrong, I like Whiskey Sours but I prefer Old Fashioned & Sazeracs. Brandy mixes better but is in relatively few cocktails. Tis mostly about the rum for me!


I read 'somewhere' that whiskey & beer were very popular in the original tiki bars. I wish I could I remember where that 'somewhere' was! Can anyone confirm / deny this?


 
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finky099
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 15, 2012
Posts: 155
From: Orange County, CA
Posted: 2013-10-20 10:12 pm   Permalink

One of the reasons whisky enjoy elevated popularity in the 20's and onward was due to the War(s) in Europe. I believe rum and agricole had been very popular in the Americas in the 18th and 19th century (heavily due to the cross-Atlantic/Carribean trade routes). But, when war broke out in Europe in the early 20th century, the European-based liquors became more expensive and generally less attainable to Americans. So, they turned to what was already being made in America: whisky & bourbon. The onset of the Great Depression (and home gin distilleries during Prohibition) further solidified the use of whisky and "gin" in early American cocktails. I believe this also was the time when tequila made a more pronounced presence in America, due to the same reasons (cheaper and easier to obtain).



 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3811
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2013-10-21 07:57 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-10-19 17:54, LostIsland wrote:
What does Tiki mean to me?....

Everything!

..but in considering your question..

Decor to me is the most influential being such visual creatures




I might add

1. A South Pacific inspired (although really found in many tropical resorts) thatched roof, such as Mai Kai.



2. A dramatic, sweeping A-frame entrance, such as Humphrey's Half Moon Inn:



3. Tiki torches, such as those at Roy's Hawaiian Fusion



4. And, most importantly, historical birth places of Tiki, such as the Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park (Place of Refuge).






 
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