Jan 242022
You got something in your mouth.

I remember the first time I went to Trader Vic’s in Atlanta. The Tiki decorations and theme were so different from the Caribbean pirate decor that I was used to. It felt strange and beautiful. and maybe a little racist? Like, is this racist? It sure felt like appropriation. I liked it, but wondered if I should.

Tiki Pop, a gorgeous photograph book from Taschen, is firmly on the side of enjoying it. This book details how Americans came to love the Pacific Islands beginning way back in the 1700’s and its continuing fascination with Oceania culture. It also details how Americans just flat out romanticized the islands and created their own version for books, movies, musicals and of course, bars and restaurants.

It is a really lovely book. Every page is crammed with photos and art. It is nice time capsule of beautiful restaurants and famous bars that no longer exist, as well as the countless Tiki-themed merchandise. It also chronicles the trends of the 20th century, detailing the movies, the celebrities and the famous places making money from Tiki decor.

I wish there was a bit more about the Pacific Island people that inspire Tiki but it is not that kind of a book. The Tiki that is on these pages are not about a real place, but about a fictional leisure world that was longed for by uptight Americans. Tiki is a hologram. At best, it is a sort of MMO that people played and that some are still playing today.

This book is ridiculously affordable for how big it is, and if you even have a mild interest in Tiki, I feel like this book is as comprehensive as it gets.

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