Brand new in our store…
Go to our store to check out all the info and pricing on this new series of mugs sold by Mahalo Tiki. CLICK HERE TO GO TO OUR STORE.
Brand new in our store…
Go to our store to check out all the info and pricing on this new series of mugs sold by Mahalo Tiki. CLICK HERE TO GO TO OUR STORE.
To all our Tiki Fans…. We have been working with John Mulder to create a very awesome Tiki mug for you. We call this bad boy the ” Shrunken Shriner ” tiki mug.
John did a wonderful job of taking our concept and turning it into reality. The colors and the details are absolutely fantastic. Now this mug will be done in a brown glaze and then a green glaze. I am calling one brown leather and the other rotting green.
Make sure to go to FACEBOOK to keep track of up to the minute updates of when this mug will be available.
Exotica – A Musical Perspective on Tiki
Polynesian Pop, Punk and Phonographs
By Darin Mecher
Every culture and lifestyle has music surrounding it. It is just a human fact that music is joined to everything we do and aspire to. Just like with any culture, Tiki culture has its own music and its own sound. There are many crossovers and some people in Tiki culture might not listen to specifically Tiki music, but there are some albums and some bands that just need to be mentioned for one to have a fuller experience and knowledge of what it means to be a part of the spirit of Tiki.
I am by no means an expert on music, but I do love music. I have some favorites and I have some gems I have discovered that I would simply like to share with other music lovers. I am constantly discovering new music and new bands and new views of music in the Tiki lifestyle, so I am evolving and fine tuning my tastes just like anyone else. But I have some personal favorites I want to share with you now:
1.) Most agree that it really all began with the experimental and instrumental sounds capes of Martin Denny. In 1957, he released his first album, Exotica, and it has been the seminal album for Tiki lovers ever since. I’m not sure if it is the fact that the album really sounds like Polynesia or if people have grafted their Tiki loves onto it or what. Maybe it’s the cover. A famous cover of a gorgeous woman behind a bamboo looking curtain. I own the album and found it at an antique store. I paid $12 for it and it is in near mint condition. I play it from time to time, but it really only elicits the sounds of the islands once you get quiet and have a tropical libation and get really into the Tiki décor. Then it makes perfect sense. I highly recommend the album for shear artwork and presence alone. It is kind of a gateway drug to the other great music to be found in Tiki culture.
2.) You can peruse the music of any Salvation Army Thrift Store or any thrift store for that matter and find a wide collection of “Sounds of Hawaii” type albums. I’ve found them at flea markets and at antique stores and at garage sales. The 1950s and early 1960s were full of record labels trying to capitalize on the phonograph sales and the voracious musical appetites of the post war generation. Just look for island scenes, the word “Hawaii”, and any reference to Polynesia. These albums can usually be had for a dollar or less. Normally in great condition and for optimal enjoyment. I have a personal favorite that is a tourist album that guests got as a souvenir from the Hawaiian Hilton back in the late 50s. Great stuff. “Luau” is another great buzzword to look for.
3.) Don Ho. Nothing says Hawaii like Don Ho. And he’s more than “Tiny Bubbles”. Believe you me.
4.) Ok, I fear I might be losing you with all this dapper gent with his high ball tunage, so how about some stuff from the 1990s? Look up the band The Bomboras. Their album Savage Island is one of my personal favorites. How can you go wrong with some great riffs and cover art by none other than Shag himself! I got a copy on vinyl right off Amazon.com Another great band is The Mermen. They have a multitude of albums and played together for years. If you have a great music app on either your smart phone or computer such as Pandora or Spotify, simply put in those band names and watch the others cascade for you to check out. There are a great many surf punk / surf-a-billy / surf rock bands out there and some are just frickin’ fantastic.
5.) Dick Dale. Trust me. One of the greatest guitarists of all time. If you watch movies, you heard his stuff without even knowing it. A cultural icon. I named a Tiki after him. He once signed the top of my wife’s breast at a show. Who’s the dapper gent now?
6.) The Hula Girls. Ok, this is a personal plug. I saw these guys at Viva Las Vegas and listened to their vinyl for probably a month afterward non stop. The vinyl is green. They have 2 wahine dancers. What more could you want? Look them up. They deserve to be famous – outside the Tiki culture as well.
7.) New in my music que: Ding Dong Devils – Tassels, Mai Tais, and Mischief. The Tikiyaki Orchestra – Aloha, Baby!. The former took a bit to grow on me, I loved the latter right off the bat. Both are on heavy rotation right now. You should give each of them a listen!
8.) Marty Lush. Is it music? Is it comedy? Who cares? It is swank camp at its finest. You may find that he has his hands in a number of volcano bowls.
9.) James Bond movie soundtracks. The early ones. My Tiki Room truly seems enchanted when I put on the soundtrack to Dr. No. Believe it or not, I know where to get at least three copies of the soundtrack for Thunderball right here in my Midwest city. And they usually sell for around $5 used.
10.) Messer Chups and a plethora of other bands from what they used to call “The Iron Curtain“. The Berlin wall fell in 1989. 10 or so years later there are all these crazy ex-Soviet block bands doing surf and rockabilly. Check them out. Never a boring moment when you get a bunch of Russians together with vodka and hollow body guitars it is pure perfection.
Also, you can check out Tiki Magazine sometime – look it up on the internet. Borrow a copy. Go to a Tiki lounge that has it in the atrium. You can discover new bands all the time that way.
Well, that should give you at least a starting place on the Tiki music scene. If you find anything interesting out there that we just have to hear – let us know!
Hang Ten – Buying into Tiki Culture
Ten Bucks / Twenty Bucks / Don’t Break the Bank!
By Darin Mecher
Whenever I show a friend my Tiki Room, the conversation always leans toward some version of “how did you afford all this stuff?” Now, I don’t show the Tiki Room off to impress anyone with my stuff, I show it off to show them what Tiki is all about to me. I usually laugh and tell them that it is actually a very affordable hobby and that it is a great lifestyle in that you can go in as cheap, or as expensive as you like. Tiki culture is really a self made culture. Everyone has their own take and what they really love about the culture, so you can have one friend who searches for dollar Tiki stuff at the Dollar Tree store and you can have another who just has to have that eBay Tiki that is currently being bid on for around $500. It isn’t about envy, it is about creating an oasis of your own that you love for a price you want to pay. My own personal Tiki Room probably has generated a price tag, cumulative, of maybe $1000 tops, but that includes mugs, vinyl, a phonograph, a 1940s chair, bar sets, pictures, art, posters, vintage items of interest and a fully stocked liquor cabinet. There’s a 1956 television that cost me nothing – price tag free. There’s a second chair that cost me nothing – price tag free. But let’s get off the price tags and the cost – there are so many ways to acquire and inspire, that you can either do it for a dime or do it for a Benjamin – the choice is entirely up to you. Consider Tiki Rooms the Rat Rod of Tiki Culture – everyone’s is unique and special and shows the personality of the builder.
So, from my perspective – here are some basics – things you can do and places you can go to get some Tiki stuff – mugs, totems, what have you. This is my no means a complete extensive list. You might have ideas that I haven’t thought of. This is just to get the shrunken head rollin’.
1.) The Flea Market – yes, I know, you have to search to get the Treasure, but why not? If you find some great vendors, you can avoid the rest of the market and focus on the tried and true sellers that you come to know and adore. I have two special friends at my local flea market and this is how I get Martin Denny albums for a dollar and Hawaiian souvenir tikis for 50 cents to add to my collection. One old woman, a true carny by nature and temperament discovered what I was looking for and lo and behold, more stuff shows up. You look for it. They look for it and they sell it to you. A simple formula. Flea Markets do take patience and you won’t always score, but when you do, it will be something great from the past and won’t cost a thing!
2.) Thrift Stores – I learned to love thrift stores through all my incarnations. They served me when I dressed punk. They served me when I went rockabilly. They have Hawaiian shirts for 5 bucks. The real deal, not something that looks like a shirt from the 50s or 60s. I have found Tiki mugs, totems, Hawaiian shirts, vintage swim trunks, you name it. And the price is generally in the 5 to 10 dollar range. If you find a thrift store where things cost 50 bucks, look elsewhere. You are being swindled.
3.) Garage Sales – a real test of patience, but you never know. Usually a drive by will let you know if someone has vintage stuff or not. If you see vintage – get out and take a look. I’ve found cool Tiki coasters and other strange items from the past. And once again – you are looking at a dollar or two.
4.) The Internet – there are literal tons of Tiki items on the Internet. Some genuine and some, not so genuine. It just depends on what you enjoy. You can find real deal tiki mugs from the past. You can find artwork. You can find totems. You can find trinkets. It is all there. Buyer beware, but buyer sometimes scores BIG! Just a plug here – Fred company has a great array of Tiki ice trays. Nothing impresses people like full Moai ice cubes. Trust me!
5.) Dollar Stores – now, I know some of you purists would scoff at such a thing, but I have actually gotten more people interested in the Tiki lifestyle through plates, plastic mugs, party favors and ice trays than through my most intricate costly Tiki decoration. People love cheap do dads that are fun. Sub category here are Party Stores that have great Tiki selections during the Spring and Summer months. Also, in our area a store called Big Lots always has funky modern Tiki decorations – sometimes they are horrid, but sometimes they are fantastic and really add a campy touch to a Tiki Room or Bar. I have a friend who bought an entire Tiki Bar off the internet and then asked me to decorate it. I only used store bought stuff like this and probably spent somewhere in the range of $50.
6.) True Tiki Vendors – if you want it right and you want to have some special artifacts – go right to the source. Look up Tiki on the net and you will find many sights devoted to the culture and lifestyle. Some of the items may be pricey, but everyone needs to splurge and reward themselves once in a while. Remember, all work and no play makes this beach bum a dull boy!
7.) And Finally . . . . Tiki festivals / outlets / surf shops / lounges – I don’t have any of these in my area, but I can tell you – several of the booths at Viva Las Vegas have great stuff and for a good price. I can only imagine if you are lucky enough to go to something like Tiki Oasis, what you could find! 😉 My wife and I are going to go someday soon and we are definitely going to need an extra suitcase for our newly acquired Tikis!
So there are 7 ideas to begin with. Happy Treasure Hunting!
When the Glass Globe Light Came On
My Personal Discovery of Tiki
By Darin Mecher
I have been a bona fide card carrying member of the retro lifestyle for as long as I can remember. I came to it from the rockabilly music scene and branched out from there to include beautiful old cars, beautiful rat rods, beautiful pin ups, and of course, beautiful art. My interest in artwork from the golden era of swank, or what I like to call the “mythological swanky life” came not only from my interest in tattoos, but from my boredom with today’s crass and predictable culture. I couldn’t relate to the music or the dress or the lifestyle. It seemed boring and made up and didn’t have any history to give it legs – especially the gorgeous legs of a just out of the swimming pool wahine. My wife came to the retro lifestyle via style and design. We both included the Polynesian Pop scene in many of our modern interpretations of lifestyle, but it didn’t take the forefront until a certain incident in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Every year, my wife and I try to make the pilgrimage to the great Church of Rockabilly, Tom Ingram’s massive Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year was no different and this year we decided to drive – all the way from our quaint little 1940s bungalow in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This year we were determined to make it to the Tiki Pool Party part of the festivities, for we had yet to experience it. We had a great time and really enjoyed not only the Tiki Pool Party, which we attended the last Sunday of the festival, but also the epiphany we had that night, as we prepared to party and to get ready for the drive to L.A. and then for the drive back home. We had not only enjoyed the Tiki Pool Party and the great sounds of the headlining band of the pool party, The Hula Girls, but we got to talking about trying to make the Tiki Oasis in San Diego, California sometime in the near future. We had always wanted to check it out, but never had. So as we were feeling excited about all things Tiki, we made a visit to Frankie’s Tiki Room.
Frankie’s Tiki Room is a small little unassuming building located at 1712 West Charleston Boulevard just north of where the new Vegas strip ends. My wife and I tend to favor the old strip, the Freemont Experience, over the new strip, so we knew our way around the north end. We found Frankie’s easily and had even invited some friends along to check it out. We had no idea that our lives would forever change upon entering that little bar.
The minute you walk in, you take a trip not only thousands of miles away, but decades into the past. Every inch of Frankie’s screams Polynesian Pop! We were greeted by not only a plethora of Tikis, but great works of Tiki art – one that has since become one of my personal favorite pieces – a little piece by an artist known as Big Toe. We ordered drinks and chose our mugs and I was rewarded with not only a great Vegas souvenir, but a genuine Tiki mug – one designed by the artist Big Toe himself! My very first Tiki mug. The collector in me stirred. My passion erupted. My wife chose a different one and our friends chose ones that were different from ours. The libations were poured by a real mixologist who was almost as entertaining as the décor. We drank our drinks and found them to be a great mix of powerful and palatable. A true art!
Late that night, I perused the internet in my motel room and discovered the history of the Tiki mug and I was hooked! I had to have more. I had to have my own Tiki bar. My own Tiki Room. That night was a mere 4 months ago – and now I have 40 Tikis in my very own Tiki Room and 9 of those Tikis are genuine Tiki mugs – several from Frankie’s, a couple from the Tonga Hut in North Hollywood and a prized possession – one from Trader Vic’s from 1963 that I found at a secondhand store. I am hooked! Not only do I love the artwork and the aesthetic, but just seeing people’s eyes light up when they enter my Tiki room – it is worth it all. And for anyone thinking, who has the money or time for this? Let me tell you – I won’t give my tried and true secrets of Tiki shopping just yet – but I have some that only cost 50 cents. The most I’ve spent on one mug so far is $25. I bet my room, furniture and all – mostly found object or thrift store couldn’t have cost me more than around $800 – and that includes a phonograph and a great 1940s chair! Or, if you are a big spender, I can sure help you spend all you want – there is a world of Tiki out there, just waiting to bring the sights and sounds of another world and another time to your world and time.
So, as you can see, I can remember when the glass globe light came on – and I have a feeling I am on a road to even more adventure and more discovery. Suddenly my wife is finding tiki dresses and we are discovering how to mix up libations from Don the Beachcombers from 40 years ago. There is so much to see and do and to become a part of – I desire to make sure that not only this Tiki culture continues, but that it grows and evolves and that a new generation can enjoy what it has to offer.
So CLOSE to the time we pack up and make the drive down to San Diego for TIKI Oasis.
My truck is just not big enough to take all our stuff but we will cram it in any open spot.
Make sure to stop by and see the Mahalo TIki booth. We will be in the indoor venue.
We will be setup up on Friday for the special preview time.
Not Tiki but I have love for stanced out import cars! I own cars like the ones in this video so don’t HATE!
Plus they were at one of the best venues in SOCAL.
Mark your calendar fans! September 1st is the next Tiki marketplace at Don the Beachcombers restaurant in Long Beach.
The event runs from 11am to 4pm and is always a packed house. If you want to see some of the best of the Tiki world, then you got to stop by.
COME GET YOUR TIKI STYLE with Mahalo Tiki!
Mahalo Tiki is upgrading our ecommerce store. I have found a new ecomm program that I feel will be much better for you the customer. So I am now directing you to our Ebay store: MyJunkintheGarage for all your TIKI purchases. Just click on the SHOP button above and you will go to our ebay store.
If you have any questions during this process. Please email us at email@example.com and Thank you for your patience.
Last weekend Mahalo Tiki was up in Portland at Tiki Kon.
This was a regional e
vent for the Pacific Northwest and it was awesome.
This was our first year but we both saw great things for the event in the future.
Only bad was that we must have brought the Cali heat with us because it set a record high of 102 degrees on the day of the event. Two days prior the high temp was 78. What gives?
Next year we plan on getting up there earlier so we can enjoy more of the event and the city of Portland.
Here is some pics of us from the event:
We want to thank all the people who coordinated the TIki Kon event. Especially Joe from Elroy Art Space, Paul and Debra Nielsen from Munktiki. We will see you guys next year!