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TIKI in Literature

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A few days ago I started reading Paul Theroux's _Hotel_Honolulu, which by the way is thus far brilliant! Anyway, there's a paragraph describing a fictional Waikiki bar called Paradise Lost, that I thought would be of interest to other Tiki Centralites:

"Paradise Lost bar was unusual in Waikiki for being popular with locals, especially when Buddy was introducing his favorite shows on the poolside lanai: Tahitian dancers, topless hula, or the enormous Samoan in a muumuu who husked coconuts with his teeth. The lanai doubled as the Island Coffee Shop (thatched roof, scowling constipated-looking tikis, glass net-floats). Just inside, sharing Peewee's kitchen, was the Terrace dining room, unofficially known as Buddy's."

Being the enormous geek that I am, I think it would be neat to read other tiki-excerpts from books. I know _South_Pacific by Michener has a few passages here and there that describe shacks and bars that evoke a tiki-esque feeling, and I'm sure other members could come up with all sorts of other treasures too!

:sheckymug: :sheckymug: :sheckymug: :sheckymug:
Tiki Chris

Hunter S Thompson mentions going to a Polynesian Bar in 'Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas', but has actually written what could be described as a Tiki book! 'The Curse of Lono' is Hunter's adventures in Hawaii where he descends into such madness that by the end he believes that he IS Lono come back to save the islanders! It's wonderfully illustrated by Ralph Steadman (great Tiki drawings), but can be a swine to get hold of these days.

I'll post some links to a good site about it when I find 'em.

Trader Woody


Follow the links for some cool Tiki pics.


That's one of the Steadman drawings.

Trader Woody


Well, there were a few descriptions of the scene at Steve Crane's Beverly Hills Luau in the biography of his daughter, Cheryl Crane... but nothing TOO exciting. I gave the book away. Ooops! I'm sure you could find it in the library or something.

PS. I must rent Fear and Loathing again to enjoy the tiki bar scene once more... excellent, excellent. Does the earlier Fear and Loathing movie with Bill Murray have a tiki bar scene too? I saw it long before I was tuned in to tiki so I can't remember.


I've been re-reading the Woody Allen collection Side Effects (original publication dates from 1975-1980) and came across a reference to Trader Vic's which is perfectly on the mark for the draw of exotica in the urban setting.

The piece is Retribution. In it the speaker is trying to get a bead on the feelings of a woman he likes. So he schemes:

Past successful campaigns suggested instantly the proper route to take. I would steer her to Trader Vic's, that dimly lit, foolproof Polynesian den of delights where dark, promising corners abounded and deceptively mild rum drinks quickly unchained the fiery libido from its dungeon. A pair of Mai Tai's and it would be anybody's ball game. A hand on the knee. A sudden uninhibited kiss. Fingers intertwined. The miraculous booze would work its dependable magic. It had never failed me in the past. Even when the unsuspecting victim pulled back with eyebrows arched, one could back out gracefully by imputing all to the effects of the island brew.

Another reference later in the piece:

Three days later we sat huddled in the dark of my favorite Polynesian restaurant, and loose from three Bahia's, she poured out her heart...

(Originally posted 8/30/04)


I couldn't locate a magazine thread, so this seemed as good as any for this...

The New Yorker has a weekly cartoon caption contest. (A cartoon image is printed in the magazine, people submit their captions online, three are selected, people vote online, and once in every 12 issues or so it's actually funny.)

This was the image from the December 8, 2008 issue:

On 2002-04-27 03:19, Tiki Chris wrote:

"Paradise Lost bar was unusual in Waikiki for being popular with locals, especially when Buddy was introducing his favorite shows on the poolside lanai: Tahitian dancers, topless hula,

Where can you find topless hula show these days?

James Ellroy's short story "HUSH-HUSH" he writes about "The Luau" and he doesn't portray Steven Crane in a very flattering light

The Luau:
A tiki-torchlit restaurant rendezvous on Rodeo Drive. A mecca for movie-biz mavens and Beverly Hills business boys. Big booths and baroque backlighting. Tricked-up tropical trappings. Rambunctious rum drinks and rumaki sticks at the bamboo bar. A polyurethane Polynesian paradise--with peekaboo posts perched behind wall panels by the bar and the ladies' too.
Steve Crane owned the Luau. Steve loved to lurk and look. He voyeur-vamped the joint every night.

HUSH-HUSH reprinted in CRIME WAVE (James Ellroy 1999)

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