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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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S

My favorite carver from "back in the day". Would anyone with pictures please post.Not just stuff you own, any pictures, post cards, etc.[yes, I've used the "search" feature; I need MORE !!!]Thank you all and Happy Holidays.

I agree with you Sax, I love the Barney West tikis in the "book", especially the one with four or
five of 'em all lined up. I was searching for more pics cuz I wanted to carve something similar
but couldn't find anything. C'mon, somebody must have some pics!

T

He's not the Asian with the pipe is he? Man, that guy looks like a character.

Hey, Sax - here's a great postcard Sabu posted on the "big logs" thread a long time back. What an inspiring shot!

On 2005-01-30 00:27, Sabu The Coconut Boy wrote:
...I thought you all might appreciate this old image of Barney West carving tikis at his Tiki Junction in Sausalito, CA. Check out the size of that tiki pole that is almost finished, then take a look at the log behind it, ready to carve next. That is one big log:

Aquaraj posted some great info on the Barney West tiki that was in from of the Lanai Liquors in San Mateo, CA in this thread.

also, check out Randy’s Lanai Liquors slide show here:

A

From 2003, at Trader Vic's Chicago...

And there's a slideshow link for the LANAI tiki on this page.

And isn't this one (and a bunch more) at the Mai Kai by Barney West?

Check out the Hukilau photos thread for more pics of the Barney West tikis at the Mai Kai, including the signature moai tiki.

-Randy

A

Oh, funny timing, AA! Thanks for the nod to my pics and slideshow for the Lanai Liquors tiki. You might have a typo on the third picture, since it's the same as the first. Here's a nightshot, with the sign which is gone too now.

Speaking of the Lanai, here's one more item with a (different) visible Barney West tiki.

-Randy

S


Atlanta Trader Vic's

I remember asking bigbro about this guy. I think it's a West.

S

Wow, great start. Thank you all. That one at the Mai Kai entrance looks like a preying mantis or something...very cool. I wish we had a close up of that post card shot. Ol' Barney's carving lot must have been something to behold. I'm trying to get up enough inspiration and nerve to tackle this big log I've got. It's 32" X 9 feet. Or as Barney might have said... "small to medium".

Barney West is another part of my Tiki Roots.

Having grown up in Marin County I had faint childhood memories of these mysterious, giant, carved idols just off the road that we passed many times.

I bought a post card on ebay, (which is the same of image from pg. 246 of the BOT), to frame as a treasured reminder.

I was amazed that after doing a thorough search online I couldn't find ONE photo!

I'm glad some other TCers had some!

I did however find this link http://www.goofspot.com/bamboo/images/lanai.htm
in which you can watch a beautiful Barney West Original being removed from the Lanai Liquors in San Mateo.

This one kinda half image of a "maybe" Barney West Tiki came from Swanky's site....well, at least there's the girl to look at! :P

A photo I found in the Sept 1968 issue of PSA Journal, (Photographic Society of America):

Sabu

Interesting when you look at the apparatus that Barney had on premises to work around those logs. Moving a six-foot, 20-inch diameter log is no easy task...a hernia waiting to happen. Moving a 20-foot, f i v e f o o t diameter log is crane work, plain and simple. Here's some more shots of the Barney Wests at Trader Vic's Atlanta. Swank, you're right, the one in the corner inside of the first dining room is his. Actually there are two small ones in there (Sorry if I'm rambling on and on..this guy is one of my heroes...Leroy Scmaltz, Barney West, and Ed Crissman, in that order)

Here is some Ed Crissman work in the same Atlanta Trader Vic's. One of the best Vic's locations in the world...a perfectly preserved time capsule

A

For anyone interested in Barney West the guy, Leroy at Oceanic Arts had some very colorful stories about him when I was talking to him about the Lanai tikis. Unfortunately I've forgotten many of the details of the tales that Leroy told me. But I roughly remember something about Barney living in a boat that had a bunch of catwalks that he could navigate with ease. And also I think there was a story about Barney driving his van off a pier.

I'm not saying to bug Leroy when he's trying to work, but if you happen to be visiting OA and get in a conversation with him, I highly recommend taking the opportunity to ask if he remembers any good stories about Barney.

-Randy

How about a book about Barney, Leroy? Write the stories down. I'll buy it.
For some reason I'm not sure of, I feel akin to Barney.

Sorry no photo but ages ago when I first started carving I tried selling my Tikis to Trader Vic’s (Emeryville). While talking about Trader Vic’s/ Polynesian pop history with Lynn Bergeron he told us that many of the Barney West carvings they had (at recently closed locations) were so big they couldn’t be moved so they chopped them to pieces and dumped the remains. Yet another urban archeology moment where I got the wind knocked out of me, but remained standing!

Bosko

S

WTF !?!??!!! Why not just set them outside with a "FREE; HELP YOURSELF" sign. I can't believe they felt the need to destroy them.God, that blows my mind.

If you look at those Barney West Moais outside the Washington Trader Vic's (BOT p.53) you see what they are talking about. Yet they must have shipped them there all the way from Sausalito in the first place. But the closures were in the 90s, before Trader Vic's was expanding again (pre-Tiki Revival), and they were strapped for cash.

Barney's Tikis were not only impressive because of their size, but also because of their stylistic variety. Here is a big one that has its own myth attached to it:
http://www.bookoftiki.com/014.html

According to Leroy, this B.W. giant was found in a ditch up in Northern California, discarded by some Polynesian joint that went belly up, and Helen Yue brought it down to her supper club in LA. After her restaurant closed, it went to Seafood place on the Huntington Beach (?) pier (where I took this photo), which ALSO closed...thus it was henceforth considered a bad luck Tiki, since it brought its previous owners bad business luck.

If I would subscribe to this line of thought though, I would be in trouble (as would be the whole revival), because most of my collection stems from closed down establishments. :)

If your Tiki Bar does not last, don't blame the ol' Tiki. Ancestor worship, in whatever form, always carries positive mana.

A

Hey Sven, that one's a beauty. I don't think I've ever seen that style of face from Barney West. But the body, legs, and base have BARNEY written all over them (figuratively, that is).

I could swear I heard that story from Leroy about the unwanted bad luck tiki too, except my crusty old memory is that he said it was one of two big tikis from the Lanai. Sorting through the cobwebs, I thought he said one went to Lanai Liquors, and the other went south, ending up at a restaurant in Redondo Beach.

-Randy

Maybe that's it then, I think I mixed up my piers, and that one was photographed by me at the REDONDO pier.
From the Lanai? I seem to remember it being found in Sonoma county, as Leroy's story goes. But heck, maybe I just misinterpreted "Northern Cal"...always wondered where in those wine parts they might have had a Tiki joint.

Why are there not more photos of the damn' Lanai where one can SEE the Tikis. Like have you found yours pictured "in situ" there yet?

I remember the bad luck one being quite a bit taller than your liquor store one, too. Looking at the photo now, a basic rule of giant Tiki photography comes to mind: When shooting oversized Tikis, always try to ad a human for scale. Here it's hard to tell how tall he actually was.

The Redondo Pier would make sense, since that is where Helen and Chita Yue opened their SECOND restaurant in the 1970s, after Yue's in Gardena had been going very successfully for some time. I'll have to show Helen that picture and see if she can give me more of the story on that tiki. The story of the demise of both those restaurants is very fascinating - IF Helen will let me tell it. Keep your fingers crossed. The "Bad Luck" tiki gives the story a nice wrinkle.

Sabu

T

Sven- Seafood place on the Huntington Beach (?) pier (where I took this photo), which ALSO closed

So, Sven, is the tiki still there? And I could see why its considered badluck. If your place ran its natural course (which they all did) thats one thing, but if you got this cruised tiki and your place closed down one month later to that date, I'd question it. The thing is maybe a tiki place that wanted a free tiki could have been pennyless a month before they shut down. Or even if you know you got a badluck tiki, you could mentally destroy yourself. Say the books are off, "its nothing I did, its that Tiki". One last one, what if that tiki have poison in the hands and workers that touched it got sick.

Nope. Because the restaurant was gone, it was moved to some storage lot, never to be heard of again...(maybe it brought bad bad luck to that storage lot!? :wink: )

Not to de-romanticize the story here (I do like a good Tiki yarn when I hear one), but as far as I recall (correct me if I am wrong, Sabu) the time period had more to do with the closing of Helen's places than any Tiki, it simply was the at the tail end of the trend when the publics taste turned away from "Polynesian" food and cocktails.

Restaurateurs sometimes did not want to believe it was over, (see Danny Balsz rebuilding the Tikis in Lake Elsinore), some even (I hear) in desperation turned to painting their Tikis in garish colors (!) to make them more "happy" looking. My oh my! :)

F

Maybe the Tiki was cut up and carved into litle Tiki pendants, and then when a family from suburban LA goes on vacation to Hawaii they pick a tiki out, then the oldest son wipes out on his surfboard, the rest of the boys get attacked in their hotel room by a tarantula, the kids get kednapped by Vincent price and…

Sorry, I had to make the bad joke.

I shot a bunch of tiki pics at Trader Vic's in London: http://thelope.blogspot.com/2006/12/london-trader-vics.html
The place opened in 1963; maybe some are West's?

And here a little New Years treat for all the Barney West fans (Mahalo to Oceanic Arts), I am glad there are so many.
First an 1965 L.A. Times article, the photo is from the old paper original, the text from a b&w xerox, for better legibility:


(...he might have liked the figurehead carving, but it's the Tikis where is unique talent really came through...)

And here's the cover of his catalog, which was more a fold out flier:


The big Moai that Barney is sitting on seems to be one of the two that ended up at the Washington Trader Vic's (and eventually ended up as mince meat), while the giant Trader Vic style New Guinea statue ended up at the Tiki Kai in Albuquerque

Here are two more pages from the catalog:


Now while I was able to recognize many of his Tiki statues and masks in old Trader Vic's and other Tiki establishment photos, I have NEVER seen any of his orator stools anywhere! What happened to them? Why did TV's not utilize them?
And where is that great one he is sitting on in the BOT, where he applied a Hawaiian Ku image to a Papua New Guinea stool !?

Here's another article (dated around the same time) about his TIKIS (!), curiously here he claims to have been shipwrecked in the Marquesas! The Marianas seem more likely, I don't think Americans had much action in the Marquesas in WWII:


The Ku in the back looks like the one that was imported to Hawaii for the Ilikai, BOT p.247

And last, another nice line up of his characters, the PNG bird man also ended up at the Tiki Kai (see photo with stripper on page 1). This one will be in my new book:

That's all, folks! :)

S

Very cool. That clearly shows the "R" piece on the bottom of the "Carved redwood tikis" page which is in the room behind the stage at the Mai Kai.

P
Paipo posted on Thu, Jan 4, 2007 1:06 PM

Wow, you've sure been posting a lot of nice stuff from your archive lately Sven. Keep it up! I love these little glimpses into the past.

G

Other than postcard art, every picture I've seen of the giant Barney West Moai tiki in front of the Mai-Kai was after it received its current paint job. Has anyone ever seen any photos of him before the paint? I've seen a number of b&w photos of the Mai-Kai in the late 50s-early 60s, but none had the Barney West, which I assume was installed a bit later, maybe early 70s during the big expansion.

From the Emeryville Trader Vic's, I took this picture during Tiki Central's Tiki Crawl 8.

T

Saw this yesterday at http://tikimugs.com

Glad they made this mug cause I would have made it at some point.
I was on my list of things to do.

Are These Barney West? Rescued from the St.louis Trader Vics

or any of these pieces? thanks

[email protected]

My Barney west came from Long Island NY. It was in a backyard. The people I bought it from had the house for 26 years and it was there when they got the house. These are pictures of it in my yard

Amy




Love that Barney West tiki! Glad you ended up buying it.

Barney West working on one of his tikis. From the United Air Lines "Mainlander" in-flight magazine, Sept 1972. Part of an article on things to do in Sausalito.

T

Ran across these Barney West articles in the archives...

The Tuscaloosa News June 27, 1957

The Telegraph-Herald September 27, 1960






And here is an article that seems a duplicate without photo of Bigbrotiki's post on page 2 of this thread, included here for ease in reading...

The Portsmouth Times December 3, 1965



Wonder if the Mai-Kai is considering a claim on Barney's 100-year guarantee? The giant "Barney" that collapsed in the Mai-Kai gardens on June 9, 2009 had survived the corrosive Florida environment, including hurricanes and a multitude of wood-eating organisms, for more than 50 years... quite a demonstration of durability! Likely there is a Florida exclusion in the warranty fine print...

-Tom

Have been asked to help refurbish the totem pole in Weed, Ca at a grocery store (previously Safeway) and find that it was carved by Barney West. It has his carved name on the back - "Barney West, Sausalito, Calif".
Thought you readers might enjoy a look at it.
Was interested in the '100 year warranty' Barney stated in his redwood carvings. I think this one may make the 100 year mark, with some care.

COOL!

Amazing thread...just browsed the pictures...gonna have to set aside some reading time for this. Must have been quite a feet to move all those large carvings around.

S

I would like to update some information on the Totem pole. New info has come to light. This totem was created by Barney West from Redondo Beach, Ca in 1962. He only made two, one was at Lake Tahoe in 1963 at a height of 22'. The second was the tallest Barney ever created. This one is in Weed,Ca at a height of 32'. He called them Tiki Totems because all Barney made was Tikis from the South Pacific. The one in Lake Tahoe is gone due to the elements. The one in Weed will be replaced with a REAL Northwestern Totem Pole. Also, there is no Totem like it at the end of the Alcan highway. Safeway bought both from Barney and had nothing to do with the towns they (were)(are) in. This Tiki Totem is also for sale.

Thought I'd share this photo I just picked up - it's an original news photo (referenced earlier in this thread). Love the stilts, and the ship's ladder on the right:

-Trad'r Bill

Jack Lord and The Canoes famous Barney West tiki

Wonder where that ever ended up - that baby was too big to have rotted away. Aren't there some Ililkai oldtimers around to ask?

Here is another photo and article on the Barney West Tiki shown in Trad'r Bill's photo.

It ended up at the Trader Vic's in New York. I have never seen a photo of it in situ, however.

DC

Here’s a couple at Polinesio in Havana Cuba taken in Oct. of this year. First two pix are of the same tiki.


I posted these on another thread back in October but I think they’re mo betta here.

[ Edited by: nui 'umi 'umi 2015-12-21 23:29 ]

As if Barney West wasn't intriguing enough already...

"There were three of them, Frank Lee Morris, the brains of the outfit with an IQ of 133, and the Anglin brothers, Clarence and John W. … would their plan work? Sometime in the early hours of June 13, 1962 they put their plan to work and escaped from Alcatraz. Their bodies were never found but in Sausalito, the escape raft washed up at the foot of Johnson Street and was discovered by artist Barney West. The police were called and the scene took on a life of its own."

Now THAT is random.

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