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FDL Movie Night Preview: “The DVD of Tiki, Vol 1: Paradise Lost”

3:32 pm in Uncategorized by Lisa Derrick

Brrrr, it’s cold outside! And what better in the winter of our discontent that to dream of far-off lands, where floral scents drift on sea breezes, where the sun is warm, the beaches clean, and people kind?

Grab an exotic beverage and join us Monday night on a tropical excursion as we discuss The DVD of Tiki, Vol 1: Paradise Lost, The Rise and Fall of  Backyard Polynesia with directors and Tiki cogniscenti Jochen Hirschfeld and Schlango. Using  The DVD OF TIKI, Vol. 1 Paradise Lost  as our guide, we’ll discuss  the origins of the myth of the South Seas paradise and follow the United States on the transition from the puritanical 1950s to the sexual revolution of the 70s. Plus gain insight into the effects of Christian missionaries on native artwork, how the popularity of Tiki shifted attitudes in the islands, and how Tiki fell out favor, during the Vietnam War-era.

Trader Vic’s, Don the Beachcomber, mai-tais,  exotica music, wahines on velvet, dances,  Elvis, Disneyland, and the cultural phenomenons of the original Tiki movement  all feature in this exciting, informative documentary, full of original interviews with the likes of  Martin Denny (the godfather of exotics music), Leroy Schmaltz and Bob Van Oosting of Oceanic Arts, Eric Askew, The Bali Hai Boys who began as a band and ended up as hoteliers in Tahiti, Sven Kirsten, Otto Von Stroheim (founder of the annual Tiki Oasis getaway conference weekend), artist SHAG, and many more. (And while Tiki fell out of favor,  its modern resurgence began in the early 1980s, due in part to punk rock, go figure!)

Movie Night is 5pm West Coast, 8pm East Coast on the front page of  To join in the disccusion, please register at (it’s free!), and log in at 5pm. You’ll be able to ask questions and comments in the comment box.  Just remember to refresh your browser every couple of minutes to see new replies and comments.

Food Sunday: Tiki Style Carves a Place in the Sun Again

8:49 am in Culture, Food by Lisa Derrick

For decades homemade "Polynesian" food meant ghastly suburban gastronomy: Charred meat in sticky, salty marinades, soggy coconut battered, deep fried shrimp, and neon-colored fruity rum drinks — perfectly, nay desperately, suited for washing down broiled rumaki–bastardized versions of the recipes created by master mixologists like Joe Scialom and Don Beach. But by the mid-1980s, underground culture hunters had discovered and fallen in love with tiki via the music of Martin Denny and vintage clothing, a fantasy detour on the path carved by punk. These adventurers set to work revitalizing the style.

Thus Trader Vic’s vision was revived and bamboo backyard bars became cool again as whole segments of Gens X, Y and Z surfed multicultural waves, embracing and mutating pre -and post- World War Two exotica into total sensory celebrations with their own tribal drumbeats. Thankfully that included upgrading Americanized island fare from flaming fried pu pu platters and cloying cocktails to a current palate with authentic flare, carrying the tiki torch with a humorous flame and maintaining the aura of gustatory adventure and frolicsome innocence that characterized the mid-century lure of the South Seas.

Thursday August 19 through Sunday August 22 in San Diego at the sold-out Tiki Oasis gathering, post-modern potlatchers celebrate all things tiki in floral prints and authentic bark cloth garb, decorating themselves with shell necklaces and wallet chains, their tattooed skin glistening beneath SPF 50+ as the oldest Aloha-spirit event celebrates its ten year anniversary with a vast array of exotic events, many of which are designed for the whole family. Explains Tiki Oasis co-organizer Baby Doe von Stroheim:

There is something for everyone at Tiki Oasis and this is explicit in the daytime activities. We have a Tiki Tots craft room where kids can partake in fun tasks like making tikis out of toilet paper roll, a Pin-Up class where woman can learn the art of retro style make-up and hair tips, a Car Show with pimped-out tiki mobiles and a class where you get to meet a real live mermaid! Not to mention our rum and foodie classes to get you inspired to keep the Aloha going all year round.

Every year Tiki Oasis sells out, and this year is no exception. But some events are free and open to the public, like the Friday night mixer at Bali Hai, Saturday’s car show and book signing with Derek Yaniger, and Sunday’s tiki marketplace and ukulele fest. And then there’s the Tiki Art show benefiting Keep A Breast Foundation which is open to all the entire weekend [more extensively covered here], with an artists reception on Saturday afternoon. These free public events are held at the Crowne Plaza.

If you want to try your hand at throwing your own tiki event, mixologist Martin Cate, who’s doing a Tiki Oasis symposium on pairing rum and chocolate and another on the history and art of punch, offers this recipe:

Having designed and operated two successful tiki bars in the last four years, I know first hand how much people love these drinks. For my third cocktail seminar at Tiki Oasis, I’ll be focusing not just on the mixology, but also on the communal aspects of punch & how a shared drinking experience creates a convivial and bonding atmosphere between good friends.

Drink recipe:

The Top Notch Volcano by Martin Cate

Adapted from a recipe at Smuggler’s Cove San Francisco

(serves one, but can be multiplied into a punch as desired)

1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

1 oz pineapple juice

1 oz Trader Tiki Passion Fruit Syrup

.5 oz maraschino liqueur

1 oz silver rum

1 oz aged demerara rum

Combine all ingredients into an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake and strain into a goblet filled with fresh ice. Top with fresh grated cinnamon shaken over an open flame to toast the spices as they land on the surface of the drink.

Should you wish to go beyond rum punch, Tiki GoGo’s Kelley Hawks –whose seminar at Tiki Oasis is sold out– has a fresh take on tiki cuisine, catering for parties and events in the San Francisco and Bay Area using healthy often locally sourced ingredients. On the flip side, Americana archivist Charles Phoenix who’s giving a delightful slide shows at Tiki Oasis, shares his kitschy, creative Thanksgiving experience, replete with a tiki turkey loaf and mashed potato volcano that moves beyond any home-ec class Gidget ever took.

Martin Cate concludes:

Tiki is spreading like wildfire across the globe. People are falling in love all over again with the charm, mystique and escapism offered by tiki for the same reasons it took off originally over 70 years ago: It’s a break from the ordinary, a vacation in a glass at the bar on the corner.

Saturday Art: Tiki Artists Celebrate and Support Breast Health Awareness

3:30 pm in Uncategorized by Lisa Derrick

A unique art show runs August 19 through 22 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in San Diego featuring 25 artists renown in tiki and lowbrow/pop surrealism circles Heather Watts, Tim Biskup, DEVO’s Mark Mothersbaugh, Isabel Samarasa, Crazy Al Evans, Claudette Barjoud aka Miss Fluff, Ken Ruzic/Little Lost Tiki, Derek Yaniger, Jason Rodgers and Mia Rodgers, and Ken Ruzic/Little Lost Tiki who’ve created works using plaster casts of women’s torsos — including burlesque artists and tiki aficionados as their inspiration and canvases — to raise awareness in the alt/underground scene about breast cancer prevention and detection.

Artist: Erin Joy – castee: Baby Doe

The gallery show, which is free and open to the public, is part of Tiki Oasis the largest, longest running gathering celebrating exotica and tiki culture. The plaster casts are available for sale and benefit the Keep A Breast Foundation.

Tiki Oasis co-founder Baby Doe von Stroheim curated this show which was a year in the planning. A burlesque performer and choreographer who created the Tease-a-Rama burlesque fest, Baby Doe met the Keep A Breast team at a Burlesque Hall of Fame event in Las Vegas. She explains the connection:

Burlesque is about women embracing themselves and their bodies. My mom was 20-year breast cancer survivor, so I felt very close to anything having to do with breast cancer. My mom had full mastectomy and a vibrant life. She instilled in me embracing your femaleness and the female form, being unafraid to take care of yourself. When it came to breast cancer awareness I didn’t relate to pink ribbons, but I did to Keep A Breast.

Plaster casting art works are part of San Diego-based Keep A Breast Foundation’s outreach program. The award-winning organization focuses on breast cancer awareness and education for those under 40; breast cancer that age group is much more aggressive and the rates are increasing. Keep A Breast worked to get the Early Act passed as part of health care reform, and is active in campaigning for the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →