Welcome to the Tiki Central 2.0 Beta. Read the announcement
Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

Pages: 1 2 56 replies

I haven't been posting much the last few weeks due to an insane work-related travel schedule, which thankfully concluded last Friday. On the positive side, I was able to visit Waikiki Wally's, Hala Kahiki and Chicago Trader Vics. On the negative side, I have not been able to focus on Florida Tiki and I owe a few people some e-mail's.
Anyway, here's a dilima I'm sure quite a few of us have faced:
A friend, co-worker, or relative presents you with a gift, explaining they knew you had to have it because it is tiki. Only problem is, it isn't. Instead, (as in my experience today) it is a shadow box from Pier 1 with two weird African looking masks in it.
What do you say?
What do you do with the object?
Geoff

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff on 2002-11-04 11:58 ]

T

I have had this problem too. Explaining what is and isnt tiki makes you sound like an ungrateful bastard as well as a snob, so you should just do with it whatever you do with all misguided gifts - put it in the back of your closet, sell it on Ebay, or if you dare, RE-GIFT it at your office Secret Santa party.

H

I have this problem, too, especially with my father. Dad helped build the bar, so he's really into the room, although he doesn't really get the tiki aspect. I finally had to put my foot down when he gave me a big neon toucan and some sort of leaping dolphin sculpture that worked like one of those static electricty globes. I made him keep the weird dolphin thing, but I had to take the toucan. I keep it in the closet, and every time I see it, I feel guilty. His feelings were pretty hurt when I wouldn't take the dolphin.

S
Swanky posted on Mon, Nov 4, 2002 1:39 PM

It is difficult when you collect something. With Tiki, we tend to get good stuff. Mugs, or grand-ma's souvenirs. But we have an african mask that was given to us and it's on it's way to Ebay for 50 cents.

You have to take it so you keep getting stuff and maybe one day it's good. Just make sure to never invite them over so they don't know you do not have it in your home.

With other things we collect, we tend to let people know that either we only like it if we find it, or, that we are very picky. Sure we collect lamps, but come look at what we have and you'll know you are unlikely to get us one we'll like.

Or you could channel Sven and begin telling them just how it's not tiki and make it like a little history lecture and thank them and tell them you really don't have room for it, but you very much appreciate the intention. Rather than putting it down, you put it in it's place. Maybe they can get their money back.

G
GECKO posted on Mon, Nov 4, 2002 1:44 PM

Aloha,

Howzit bruddah Geoff,

sounds like you had some fun!!

I had a guy tell me once that he could get a tiki that looked like mine at pier 1 fo cheapa price! Piss me off!! he could have just asked "is that your best price?"

Home depot is another one! HOME DEPOT SELLING TIKIS!!??!?! do they have made in China stamped on da bottom? This all happend when I was on da mainland. I think they still sell some tiki's at home depot somewhere in the SanDiego area. If not home depot that other big chain...lowes maybe.

Brahddah Humu, what's your dad gonna say when he see's Tangaroa on your wall with his third leg hangin? keep Tangaroa away from the big neon bird...they might have some ugly babies with big Neon....neva mind cuz!

Aloha

I'm clearly in the minority here, but I actually LIKE some of the stuff that people think is tiki. Sometimes i even buy it myself. They had this cool little hand made water sprite statue from Ghana at Cost Plus. It was wearing a grass skirt and was water god, plus it just looked cool. Cost Plus also has these wall mount book shelves from Africa that are actually kinda tiki looking. I think I might get them someday.

But if someone gets you something that you don't like, the important thing is that they tried. I mean, authentic tiki merchandise is REALLY hard to get. If your friends do find real tiki stuff, chances are you already have it anyway. You have to be a collector yourself to know where to find any. But if someone got me a Trader Dutch or Tiki Farm mug, or even a KC Co. Ltd. Hapa Wood statue, I would think it was a great gift

T

Humumumu,
I also feel your pain. When we really started getting our bar together relatives and friends were only too happy to get us stuff for it. Unfortunately we have a neon clock that say welcome to margaritaville on it. I hung it away from the bar but it's there. I don't go out of my way to point it out. When the relative saw it up they were happy. They wondered why it wasn't closer to the bar. my response...Nobody wants to know what time it is at the bar. whew. Others now know "you can't go wrong with booze!"

I guess I flunked the tiki etiquette test.
Here's what happened:
As I opened the box she said, "I saw this tiki thing at Pier 1 and was so excited I had to get it for you as a thank you gift for (a project we worked on)."
My first thought was how nice, but the mention of Pier 1 was a red flag and as I examined the shadow box without saying anything, she said rather hopefully, "Well, is it Tiki? I hope so because I know this will look great in your tiki room. Do you like it?"
And, while she was saying all of this I was looking woefully at these miniature African masks thinking: 1) this is not tiki 2) I don't have enough room as it is 3) the only place this could go is where I plan to hang a Leeteg some day 4) No freaking way am I hanging this up.
And then like a dumb a** , I said, "It's not really tiki, but that's okay."
And because she could probably see the sour expression on my face, she said, "Well, I have the receipt and you can take it back and get something you like better."
Ooops.
"No, no. That's okay. It's very nice," I said like a filthy liar.
So, based on everyone's input I now promise to say, "Wow, this is a great find! This item is so unique it isn't even mentioned in the Book of Tiki. I'm going to put this baby in my special temperature-controled tiki artifact warehouse, where only the specially initiated can gain entry."

And then like a dumb a** , I said, "It's not really tiki, but that's okay."

In my early days of collecting, my wife used to buy me stuff all the time thinking she was adding to my collection. I responded the exact same way - every time. She wisened up and stopped wasting time and money on stuff that's "not really tiki."

Now, I just pickup my own birthday, anniversary and xmas gifts myself so she doesn't get it wrong - with no hard feelings on her part. She just asks, "So what did I get you for Christmas this year?" To which I reply "This lovely Tiki Bosko Totem for the yard."


*** * * The Polynesian Popster * * ***

[ Edited by: PolynesianPop on 2002-11-04 15:58 ]

T
Thor posted on Mon, Nov 4, 2002 5:22 PM

On 2002-11-04 12:42, Humuhumu wrote:
some sort of leaping dolphin sculpture that worked like one of those static electricty globes

If that isn't Tiki, then what is?

T

Defining "Tiki" seems to be like a Senate sub-commitee's definition of pornography "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it"

H

On 2002-11-04 13:44, GECKO TIKI wrote:
Brahddah Humu, what's your dad gonna say when he see's Tangaroa on your wall with his third leg hangin? keep Tangaroa away from the big neon bird...they might have some ugly babies with big Neon....neva mind cuz!

I just got him today, and he's FANTASTIC! I'm not gonna let that dumb bird give him the stink eye. I'm gonna keep them well separated. Thanks so much!

On the general topic of Graciously Dealing With Tiki Gifts, I definitely have learned from my experience with Dad that at a certain point, you have to nip it in the bud. If I hadn't stopped him, I'd be getting a constant influx of flamingos, dolphins, and Buffettiana. ::shiver::

C

Aloha, all! Well, I comiserate with your situation, and I've found that what works for me is to use a little imagination and creativity...the shadow box I would simply alter...maybe remove the African masks and glue some small tiki objects on it, or paint it or carve it, whatever, and when people come over who gave me this crap I just say that their gift inspired me so that I just had to run with it....Hope this perspective helps! Grey

I have no problem in anyone wanting to be a purist, in fact I commend it. That said, the idea of telling someone who has just gone out of their way to give me something that their gift sucks because they don't have the butt-licking fanboy anal-retentive attitude about it that I do is reprehensible.

If someone takes the time to get you something 'pirate-related' or 'african' or 'from the wrong tropical region', thank them kindly for it, find an out of the way place to display it, and then eventually replace it and put it in storage. Either that or run the risk of no one ever buying anything for you again because they know that you're worse than a hummell or beanie baby collector and that no matter how much effort they put into finding you a present, you'll turn your nose up at it and put it on EBay...

"Dammit, this is a Cook Island mask, you KNOW I only collect Marquesian!"

Thanks for letting me rant. Oh, by the way, I'm new, nice to be here!

H

Heya Scamboogah, I'm with you -- trust me, I have a closet full of stuff I've accepted with a smile from my father. But it truly didn't go down as you describe in your post with my dad in regards to the Electric Dolphin Light Fantasy That Broke The Camel's Back. I knew three things: that Dad was spending WAY too much money on things I wasn't going to use, that he secretly wanted the dolphin thing for himself, and that I was lying to my own father when I told him I would use these things in the room. So, I decided it was time to stop lying, and comprimised by taking the neon toucan.

Now, Dad has the most fantabulous dolphin light scuplture outside of Miami, and I only have a few dippy things I'm forced to store/bring out when he's here.

Anyway, I think generally we're in agreement, Scamboogah. And welcome to TC! :wink:

That's cool. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't trying to single you out. Having pretty much just gotten started with my lounge, I can only imagine how choked with crap our basement will eventually become once the relatives become involved.

Thanks for the welcome. Nice to be here!

S
Swanky posted on Tue, Nov 5, 2002 7:20 AM

Gecko Tiki....are you Tiki Trader in Honolulu? If so I believe I am going to ask for a gift certificate for your place for Christmas..........On the topic: Along with the standard artifacts I have quite a few things in my bar that perhaps don't ascend from "American tiki culture" but are bona-fide objects from the South Seas, such as two Sepik River area New Guinea masks, some Maori and Cook Islands war clubs, a Lombok mask, blowgun, and shield from Bali, as well as a couple of other cool looking Indonesian-made hand (and remarkably well) carved repro masks and tikis that are as close as a poor junk man like me will ever get to a genuine found-in-a-streambed 200-year-old Hawaiian antiquity (large, well-executed, true-to-original repro: $150-400, real Mcoy: $75,000-100,000). All of these things I like and they come from a traditional and legitimate South Seas origin...(Of which I seem to like better, I might add, than a lot of the real goofy current-day carvings that are based very little on anything Polynesian.. Leroy Scmaltz is a believer in this origin thing, too, apparently...I like a man that's true to his school!). Now-African stuff....NOOOOOOOO. I don't retire down to my tiki bar to fantasize about drinking dust, starving to death, contracting HIV, and being shot at by Somali militiamen. Buffett...NOOOOOOOO. Reminds me of the 70's. I actually lived the 70's as a child, and I hated it. I spent the 70's wishing I lived in the 50's. I still do. I get reminded of that crap enough just by looking around at all of the teenie-boppers trying to emulate the 70's. If only they knew. They should all be forced to watch 48 continuous hours of "Love Boat" reruns. Then see how 70's they wanna be.

Very interesting thread so far. So far, everyone has bagged on Pier 1, but no one has mentioned Cost Plus. Unlike Pier 1, I have noticed that Cost Plus has a lot of stuff from Indonesia, which is technically a Pacific Island/Polynesian. Would this be considered tiki, or is it too close to Asia? What about the Philipines for that matter? Personally, I really dig their stuff from Bali, and I think the African stuff kinda fits. After all, most Les Baxter album covers feature decidedly African art on them, not Polynesian.

A

Basement,
Gecko is not Tiki Trader. Many of us have had bad dealings with Tiki Trader. There is a thread that has many complaining about poor service, merchandise, etc. You can read about it here http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=634&forum=1. I do not recomend you use Tiki Trader. Gecko on the other hand has my highest recommendation. He sells his work out of a couple shops here in Oceanside and he has dealt with some of my pals. He does great work and is cool dude.
Mahalo,
AL

[ Edited by: Alnshely on 2002-11-06 07:01 ]


**Poly-Pop ***

Bartender, make mine a glass of WATAHHH!!!!!

[ Edited by: PolynesianPop 2013-02-05 09:57 ]

Those fan chairs, or peacock chairs, or queen chairs, or whatever you want to call em, come from the Philipines. To me, it's the obviously non-Pacific stuff that doesn't work so well. That would include Asian, Eastern Indian, African, North and South American Indian, Persian, etc. For example, I have a carving from Bali of a bare-breasted girl that will always have a place of honor among my tiki artifacts.

While I can sympathize with those who have received non-tiki gifts, I am never given anything other than sarcastic comments like "why did you turn out to be such a junk-obsessed weirdo?" and "why do you have all this stupid old Hawaiian crap?" . Id much rather have enthusiastic people who support my tiki obsession buying me African statues and other nontiki stuff in a misguided attempt at a gift.

On 2002-11-05 06:46, Scamboogah wrote:
I have no problem in anyone wanting to be a purist, in fact I commend it. That said, the idea of telling someone who has just gone out of their way to give me something that their gift sucks because they don't have the butt-licking fanboy anal-retentive attitude about it that I do is reprehensible.

Y'know - all this gets a lot easier when you opt for the "Trader" motif rather than a homogenous tiki look. I model Castaway Cove after bars like Tiki Ti, where the stuff that patrons (or aunts or dads or whover) contributes becomes part of the bar's mythology, NOT because it is or is not tiki, but because it's a sign of the bar taking on a life of its own. I always hoped that folks would bring cool stuff to my bar, and I haven't been disapointed. Sure, I have some African masks and a gaudily painted toucan from Malaysia, but to me it makes it MORE like a real (read authentic, like Tiki Ti) tiki bar than not...

M

You hit it right on the head, Maxton. Exactly my design style as well.

-martin

hell I'm still looking for a good fishing float light

I really like the "turtle man" mask from Borneo and the "Borneo Man Table" that they have at Cost Plus. I buy my Orgeat there, too and some killer Hawaiian kettle potato chips!

I might add-you're right. Vic Bergeron had the right idea. Free your mind and your Tiki bar will follow. :)

Here's some New Guinea, Moai, and Polynesian Sea Turtle "Honu" carvings in our bar. Courting that "Trader" look for some walls in our bar is fun. I dig it. Feels right, authentic. As long as it's all or mostly Polynesian.

OOPS! Well, here's two.

On 2002-11-06 12:06, TikiGoddess wrote:
I am never given anything other than sarcastic comments like "why did you turn out to be such a junk-obsessed weirdo?" and "why do you have all this stupid old Hawaiian crap?"

Your friends sound like a**holes...

I can tell you how to make one that (a) won't ruin a perfectly good (and expensive) glass float, and (b) will fool most TikiCentralites on close examination (right Jab?). Drop me a line if you wanna know how I did it. I'll try to dig up a pic for proof...

On 2002-11-06 21:00, Talkie-Tiki wrote:
hell I'm still looking for a good fishing float light

G
GECKO posted on Sun, Nov 10, 2002 4:29 AM

Aloha Basement Kahuna,
No, I'm not tiki traders in Honolulu. Thanks for clearing that up Al. I'm just a local boy who loves this culture as much as you and everyone here on TC. So, I carve a tiki now and then. You have a really nice tiki bar by the way.

Poly Pop,
let dem know brah!! If you don't know Filipino's have a very BIG part in this Poly tiki culture...as we say here in Hawaii "go kick rocks"!(get outta here). The Food, art, RATTAN!! What tiki bar have you gone into that does not have rattan funiture?
The fan (Queen) chair is a classic! My mother still has hers in storage from when I was a kid. How about another classic, the large spoon and fork! growing up in the late 70's early 80's in the P.I (Philippines) I seen the spoon and fork in almost every friends house I ever went too! How about the beautiful rattan fish tanks! A must have in any tiki bar! I have 3. I have a picture of me when I was about 7 years old with a black velvet of a topless wahine behind me in my mom and dads room. How I wish we still had that!!

The capice shell lamps, blow fish lamps, come from the P.I. the list goes on and on. I remember my uncles back in the P.I carving those old square tourist tikis to be shipped to hawaii when I was a kid.

O'ya to my brahda Poly Pop and Hula Hula, I chek da kine too "Pacific islander". I haven't met a pinoy or hapa pinoy that dosen't yet.

Shootz!
Gecko-

Thanks, Gecko (actually I thanked yo on another thread, too!

T

I would not have noticed the difference between Maxton's new glass float light and an original if I had not looked closely. His design works very well.

The key is to keep the room as dark as possible. Perhaps mix some new lighted "floats" with some original floats that are unlighted (if you have them) and no one will notice. Most tiki bars I've been to have some lighted floats and some unlighted floats.

BUMP!
I think this thread got re-created somewhere in the past year or two. This is a great topic right now with all the "summer tiki" merchandise that is popping up. Be prepared people.
Also I'd like to add that reviving an early thread like this is important for people to see that damn near everything has been touched on one way or another. (amusing too).
Check out what a piece of Tiki history this thread is all by itself.

[ Edited by: Matt Reese 2010-06-10 21:24 ]

For me, anyone who says anything less than "Thank you for thinking of me" when receiving a gift is a contender for the throne of King of The Assholes.

Anyway. . . .

When someone asks me what culture the Tiki aesthetic comes from, I always say "American." After that puzzled look on their face goes away, I explain how Tiki is a product of Mid-Century Lounge culture and that most Tiki places made no attempt at staying true to the origins of Tiki . . . just like Mid-Century cowboy movies made no attempt at any authentic portrayals of Native Americans. As someone else has said, Tiki is like pornography: "I don't know what it is but I know it when I see it."

As such, Tiki is very much a matter of personal interpretation. And that's why I like it. If there wasn't an element of fantasy and kitsch, I wouldn't be interested in it at all. Unfortunately, some don't understand the difference between "kitsch" and "crap." For example, I had a friend who was into Tiki long before I got into it. And the reason he didn't get me into Tiki was that his decor included way too much generic Party City tropical crap -- i.e. "Margaritaville."

If a Tiki-phile can have poor judgement as to what is Tiki, people who aren't into Tiki probably will too. And they certainly won't know what you like about it. So, if you've got someone, like a close friend or family member, who's always giving you, on a regular basis, Tiki stuff that doesn't quite hit the mark, lend them a copy of Tiki Style (NOT your Book of Tiki. One should have a copy of Tiki Style as a "lender.")

Once they get a feel for that Tiki aesthetic, and finally buy you something good, your "Thank you for the gift" will be enthusiastic rather than reluctant.


[[[((8-0))]]]
The Super Secret Sigil of The Electric Tiki Society(tm)

[ Edited by: Baron von Tiki 2010-06-17 00:40 ]

B

I find its easiest that when people ask "what do you want for your birthday?" or celebration X, to just say, "Here are links to few Tiki carvers, artists, etc. I love their work, and something from them would be kick-ass"

Done deal.

Now, if someone out of the loop goes off on their own & gives you some party city nightmare (or african or aztec piece), always thank them graciously, and then file it away for later. Dont regift it, dont throw it out. thats just rude.

Convince your company to do a Luau, and you can give them all that decor that doesn't fit your home space... or, like we did at the Hukialu room crawl last year, decorate your crawl room as the "Ironic Tiki Room" or the "Tiki Nightmare" with all the WORST decor you can possibly gather.

It made it pretty easy to figure out the folks with a good sense of humor once they saw the neon nightmare that our room was. lol

And by using the pieces, you take pics & share them, and the folks that gave the gift to you feel good seeing the stuff in use, and don't necessarily know that they were used in irony. You & your friends get a good laugh, the gift giver feels good that you "liked & used" the gift... win-win.

My 2 cents.

I had my Daughter try to buy me a Tiki just the other day as a thank you for something I had done; I told her "You don't have to do that, I was glad to help," but she's insisting, so I've tried to spell Marquesan for her and maybe I'll get a Sam's Seafood mug or a nice carving. But no matter what she buys I'll thank her profusely, and if it's hideous it'll end up in the guest room where I don't have to see it every day and she'll see it next time she visits.

On 2002-11-09 06:21, Scamboogah wrote:

On 2002-11-06 12:06, TikiGoddess wrote:
I am never given anything other than sarcastic comments like "why did you turn out to be such a junk-obsessed weirdo?" and "why do you have all this stupid old Hawaiian crap?"

Your friends sound like a**holes...

Maybe they're artists...

Z
Zeta posted on Thu, Jun 17, 2010 4:07 PM

Maybe

On 2010-06-17 15:57, freddiefreelance wrote:
I had my Daughter try to buy me a Tiki just the other day as a thank you for something I had done; I told her "You don't have to do that, I was glad to help," but she's insisting, so I've tried to spell Marquesan for her and maybe I'll get a Sam's Seafood mug or a nice carving. But no matter what she buys I'll thank her profusely, and if it's hideous it'll end up in the guest room where I don't have to see it every day and she'll see it next time she visits.

You know that reminds me of a childhood experience:
As a teenager of 12 years in Hamburg, one year I was desperate to find a birthday present for my mom. I saw this blue ceramic raven in the window of our local hardware store, (that was when hardware stores had a limited amount of "decor" items among their wares, usually very kitschy stuff). Well I liked this figure, it had a large beak, like a Toucan, and it looked kinda cartoony, so I bought it for her.

When she got it, she was first surprised and then laughed, and sort of gave me this bemused but belittling smile a la "Oh sweetie, how nice!". And my older brother smirked, both of them leaving me with little doubt that I had committed some pitiful taste digression. Very embarrassing!

BUT: Look what it made me do! I unearthed a whole genre of "bad taste" items, and proved to the world (well, to some part of it) that it was art in its own right! Ha, I really showed them! :D

Thanks for the bump Matt.

Very cool thread!!
Big thank yous are always in order
after recieving gifts...
no matter the initial thought of
"what the hell is this crap"...
I always treat people as I would like to be treated!!
I just display it and be thankful I have freinds who think of me!!
Eventually, they will come around...if they're paying attention to what I collect!!
If not...so be it...
they're still great freinds!! :)

I put everything up also. I like all the different stuff people give me. Needless to say I have a lot of african, mexican, etc stuff...but it is all good.

W

On 2002-11-06 08:44, PolynesianPop wrote:

I have noticed that Cost Plus has a lot of stuff from Indonesia, which is technically a Pacific Island/Polynesian. Would this be considered tiki, or is it too close to Asia? What about the Philipines for that matter?

This is an interesting question. For those who don't know, I am of Filipino descent. A lot of people mistakenly (in my opinion) classify Filipino's as Asian. However, growing up I always checked the "Pacific Islander" box. I know there are a lot of Filipino's in Guam and Hawaii who consider themselves more of a Pacific Islander - right Gecko, Hula Hula? I certainly consider myself more of a Pacific Islander.

I can tell you this much - Most of the souvenirs from Hawaii and Guam (shell necklaces, tiki carvings, trinkets, etc) are made in the Philippines. I would bet this is also true of items in Tahiti, Fiji, Marquesas and Samoa. Also, the forefathers of Polynesian Pop are largely Filipino - Andres Bumatay, Milan Guanko, Ray Buhen (Tiki Ti). Even the food has similarities - Hawaiians roast whole pigs as do Filipinos, and most deserts are fruit based because of the similarities in ther tropical climates. All things considered, I think the Philippines is very much a part of the Polynesian landscape.

Regarding Indonesia, I don't know - I'm not Indonesian!

I wish they were able to bring over balut as part of the tiki experience.

I need to start posting more on TC.

On 2010-06-25 06:18, Wayfarer wrote:

I wish they were able to bring over balut as part of the tiki experience.

I just threw up a little in my mouth. For me, balut (partially formed duck fetus boiled and served in the shell) is on the same culinary level as Scottish haggis (meat and barley stuffed in a sheep stomach and then boiled).

Plus, with it being on the same level as boiled lobster or foie gras, I'd also object to it on the grounds of animal cruelty. (The duck eggs are boiled while the fetus is still alive.) So, I'm glad it's NOT part of the Tiki experience.

Pages: 1 2 56 replies