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What does tiki mean to you?
lucas vigor
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Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2013-10-21 08:00 am   Permalink

On a side note, how is that Roy's? I often drive by the one in anaheim....but have never gone in.
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tikilongbeach
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Aug 05, 2011
Posts: 1272
From: Long Beach, CA via Dallas, TX
Posted: 2013-10-21 08:24 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-10-21 08:00, lucas vigor wrote:
On a side note, how is that Roy's? I often drive by the one in anaheim....but have never gone in.




I went to the Roy's in La Jolla 2-3 years ago and I thought it was good. Definitely more upscale, modern and stylish than the typical bare bones Hawaiian restaurant you'll find in So Cal. They have an Aloha Hour when the drinks and appetizers are more affordable. During regular dinner service most of the entrees are north of $25. The hapa haole's I went with liked the food and so did I. The mai tai I had was tasty.
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TikiTacky
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1280
Posted: 2013-10-21 08:36 am   Permalink

To me, the tiki concept is about escapism. It's a simulation of a non-existent Polynesian-esque shangri la. It encompasses music (exotica and hapa haole), clothing (aloha shirts, slippahs, maybe a straw hat), decor (bamboo, polynesian artifacts, nautical, tropical plants), food (hawaiian dishes, modified Chinese), drink (rum and fruit juice concoctions), and of course the promise of willing wahines (mainly indicated by their smiling and innocent naked forms on black velvet). Tiki mugs tie together a few of those needs, and serve to epitomize the fauxness of it all.


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tikilongbeach
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Aug 05, 2011
Posts: 1272
From: Long Beach, CA via Dallas, TX
Posted: 2013-10-21 09:36 am   Permalink

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as "a restaurant or bar decorated in a simulated Polynesian theme that usually serves exotic cocktails".
To add to that, it is escapism and a fantasy mix of what people want to believe an exotic, tropical island is like.
Back in the day there was a sense of the forbidden and mystery in eating at a Polynesian restaurant. The artwork, crazy ceramic cups, fountains, lighting fixtures, nautical articles, carvings, tapa cloth, music, clothing, food, bamboo and rattan decor were all very foreign to people at the time. Special effects such as rain and tropical bird noises added to the feeling of, "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore". From floor to ceiling you are immersed in a different world. That's tiki to me.




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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2013-10-21 09:48 am   Permalink

I'll double post my comments from the mug thread:








"It all really depends on who is doing the labeling...

Is it the jazz loving mid century purist like me?

Or is it the rockabilly/punk/surf/Kar Kuture/low brow person for whom tiki is just a sub-set of low brow culture?

I don't have any proof, but I would estimate today's neo-tiki scene is about 70-30. 70% being the low brow enthusiasts, 30 % being those that like pure tiki. That seems to be the make-up on this forum.

(of course, some, like Lucky Designs dabble in BOTH, and like BOTH, but that seems to be an exception, and not really a rule....most seem to come from one or the other viewpoints exclusively)


The thing to consider is that the original tiki scene (if you can call it that) was one of Yuppies. Yes, Yuppies. They were the yuppies of that era. What proof do I have? The faces in BOT. Especially the Luau scene (forgot what page)...but these were NOT youth culture. They were the parents of youth culture. Women still wore beehives, men still wore suits. Cocktails were cool, drugs were not. And they did NOT surf! Neither were they all tatted up! They didn't drive hot rods. They were urban people who liked to become urban savages on the weekend. They had the money to invest in fancy hi-fi stereo home consoles, with tubes and made of wood but otherwise hi-fi, and those Arthur Lyman records were often used as demo recordings in the stereo shops (sears, woolworth, etc) Some of these people would probably feel very out of place watching the Creep Creeps headlining some big "tiki" festival, but they would absolutely LOVE the Martini kings (probably without the burlesqe, though)

So it really depends on what age you were in 1965. 40, or 20.

Me, I was Zero, so I am clearly a product of the neo-tiki scene...but damn, I wish some times I was living back then! "



 
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Kaiwaza
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 06, 2003
Posts: 459
From: Waikiki Beach, Hawaii
Posted: 2013-10-21 10:43 am   Permalink

Since the question is "What is tiki to YOU?" rather than creating a definitive definition, I'll answer. Cause I think the going back & forth gets kinda pointless, although it's interesting to hear the different viewpoints.
So, to ME...tiki is....
Tiki is a suburban American reaction to heavier exposure to Pacific, Malayo-Polynesian, etc culture through World World 2 and Hawaiian statehood. The rather sexually repressed middle class white culture fantasizes about escapism to "the islands" and recreates the atmosphere with no concern as to authenticity. It's THEIR image, THEIR ideal, THEIR projection for a place that doesn't quite exist in reality. But, in my mind, "tiki" is forever linked to suburban mid-century American culture. NOT surf music, not hot rods, not punk.
I'm not troubled by the inclusion of Caribbean or nautical things as I think they do relate to the escapism & general geographical ambiguity of the original idea. I would imagine some tiki restaurants played Latin music...Martin Denny certainly did.
So, what is tiki to me? Tikis, of course....and I'd include really stone idols, tribal carvings from any exotic locale...Fake Chinese/Polynesian food, drinks with umbrellas, pineapples, fruits...LOUD Hawaiian-inspired clothing, velvet paintings, Hapa Haole, Hawaiian, & Exotica music (which could include some Americanized Latin,Caribbean, African or Asian inspired records, too).
I mean, tiki is what tiki does, and since it's STILL around it will continue to change. Personally, I just don't "get" some of what is considered "tiki" to some people. But I'm sure people could say the same thing about my definition.
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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2013-10-21 11:43 am   Permalink

very good response, Kawaiza.

I think most people actually agree with this...the problem I see, and one that is presented by even some of the "experts" of tiki on this forum, is that there is a movement from some of the leading people to separate anything to do with Hawaii out of "tiki".

It's something I have always been bothered by. You take out anything to do with Hawaii, but you are ok with spies, hot rods, punk and even hillbilly?

it makes little sense, and it hastens the tiki devolution.

Though I do agree with some of these people's ideas...I like, for example, That Sven is a proponent of pre-castro cuba.....see, for me Ricky Ricardo's "Tropicana" nightclub is very much in the spirit of "tiki", though there is not one tiki to be found there.

I also like John O's addition of chinatown old school chinese restaurants....

Also, the safari themed WITCO stuff shown in Sven's "tiki modern" book.....I LOVE that stuff!

[ This Message was edited by: Lucas Vigor 2013-10-21 12:05 ]


 
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White Devil
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Joined: Jun 26, 2009
Posts: 0
Posted: 2013-10-21 1:20 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-10-21 11:43, lucas vigor wrote:
there is a movement from some of the leading people to separate anything to do with Hawaii out of "tiki".



That's just crazy-talk, right there.


    
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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2013-10-21 1:41 pm   Permalink

I agree, WD, but unfortunately it is true. And it comes from the top.

 
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uncle trav
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Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1759
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2013-10-21 3:59 pm   Permalink

For me all the classic elements add up to pure unadulterated escapism.

 
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RevBambooBen
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 12, 2002
Posts: 7438
From: Huntikington Beach
Posted: 2013-10-21 8:21 pm   Permalink

ESCAPISM FO' SURE!!!

( and food on our table. thanks to all of you tiki freaks for making that happen!!!
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ThreeTikis
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 24, 2006
Posts: 62
From: Las Vegas, Nv
Posted: 2013-10-21 8:30 pm   Permalink

Well AdOrAdam, I think you have asked a simple but interesting question. I seems to me that previously, most of the posters to this board define tiki in terms of what it is not. (Buffett, Party City, etc). I like the interesting responses and agree with them. Thanks for posting,everyone.
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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 9:14 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-10-21 10:43, Kaiwaza wrote:
. . .
Tiki is a suburban American reaction to heavier exposure to Pacific, Malayo-Polynesian, etc culture through World World 2 and Hawaiian statehood. The rather sexually repressed middle class white culture fantasizes about escapism to "the islands" and recreates the atmosphere with no concern as to authenticity.. . . .



Except that Tiki - Polynesian popular cultural style - has come from Suburbia to to the Hawaiian Isles, the birthplace of Tiki.

Exhibit A has to be Tiki's Grill in Waikiki:



Including Shag's work straight outta Orange County:



Big Island's Royal Hawaiian combines both OG Tiki with a modern Moai devolution:







 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11089
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2013-10-21 9:18 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-10-21 11:43, lucas vigor wrote:
there is a movement from some of the leading people to separate anything to do with Hawaii out of "tiki".



That's just contention, YOUR black & whiting of my way of defining Tiki as its own art form - born out of your chip-on-your-shoulder you have about the perceived exclusion of Hapa Haole music from Tiki.

Of course Hawaii plays a major role in Tiki style: Its statehood, its tourist culture, down to the very first Hawaiian music craze in the 20s: They all contributed to it in major ways - they are just not IT! Tiki is what happened to all that stuff AFTER middle-class Americans took and embellished and recreated it at home, and added their own imagination to it.

Hawaiiana and Hapa Haole also just don't grab me the way Tiki and Exotica do, so yes, I may be selective and subjective by picking what I think are the defining elements of Tiki. But the fact is, there are are so many exotic, tropical places in the world of which tourist souvenirs can be found in thrift stores: Tourist/vacation pop culture is simply not as unique and singular (and creative) as the mainland recreation of it that is Tiki. That's why I shun the simplistic equation of Hawaii = Tiki.

People take this stuff so personal: I was explaining this years ago here, and some woman from Hawaii wrote: "So you think our culture is boring, huh !?" which is absurd: I love Hawaii, the original culture and its pop Hawaiiana version - it's just not Tiki by itself.


 
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LostIsland
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jul 27, 2012
Posts: 88
Posted: 2013-10-21 9:33 pm   Permalink

I often sort of marvel at the irony of that Christiki. A romanticized version of island culture actually influencing island aesthetics. I guess it's too easy to take for granted the role that fantasy and imagination played in the Tiki or escapist desires of early Tiki denizens. It often seems that it rivals the influence that authentic island culture has played in the development of what we have come to know as Tiki.

I've even had Hawaiian natives contact me on the mainland to buy Tiki stuff. It seemed strange that they couldn't find what they wanted without ordering from me. I suppose in some ways it exposes how much more Hawaii is Tiki in my mind as opposed to in reality.

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[ This Message was edited by: LostIsland 2013-10-21 21:34 ]


 
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