August 4, 2006

San Francisco: Poly Pop Exhibit Tour at SFO

Filed under: Events,History,San Francisco,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:48 pm
Tiki exhibit at San Francisco Airport
Tiki exhibit at San Francisco Airport

San Francisco International Airport is currently showing a truly fantastic exhibit about Polynesian Pop, titled “Reflections of Paradise: Tiki Culture on the Mainland”:

Several periods of Pacific Island influence on mainland American pop-culture are documented through record albums, sheet music, restaurant menus, bar decor, and of course, Tiki mugs. From the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco that introduced many visitors to Hawaiian music and art, to the regular revival of tropical-themed bars and restaurants, this exhibition charts the ebbs and flows of a cultural influence that continues to offer fantasy and escapism to mainlanders everywhere. The show focuses on the Bay Area with an emphasis on Northern California King of Tiki Trader Vic including over thirty artifacts from the Trader Vic’s Restaurant collection.

The display is full of some beautiful pieces and images, much of them very rare. It’s a good sized display and very striking, downright gorgeous. I wish that it was a travelling exhibit — it so effectively communicates why Polynesian Pop is such an interesting and rich area of American history. Even if you’ve seen the pieces in photographs before, there’s nothing like seeing them in person.

Tomorrow at noon, there will be a free tour of the exhibit followed by a Q & A session with the exhibit’s curator, Jeff Stevens, and Otto von Stroheim. The exhibit is located in the main lobby area of the International Terminal, and is well before the security checkpoint (i.e., easily accessible to the non-ticket-holding public). Short term parking is easy and not too terribly expensive. The exhibit runs through September 2006.

8 Responses to “San Francisco: Poly Pop Exhibit Tour at SFO”

  1. swanky Says:

    Whose collection did the large tikis come from?

  2. Humuhumu Says:

    I believe most of them, if not all of them, came from the Trader Vic’s warehouse. I’m headed back right now for the tour, I’ll double-check when I’m there.

  3. Humuhumu Says:

    Yep! All those big tikis came from the Trader Vic’s in Emeryville.

  4. whlr70 Says:

    Hello, I am the co-curator of the tiki exhibition. Thanks to everyone who made it out on Sat. I hope it wasn’t too dull. Public speeking has never been my favorite thing. I would be glad to answer any questions you guys might have about the exhibition.
    Thanks, Jeff

  5. blog.hanfordlemoore » Blog Archive » Bootlegged Backdrops Says:

    [...] I don’t know how long the exhibit is running for, but if you’re in the San Francisco Airport and have some time to kill, go over to the international terminal and see if it’s still there. You don’t need to have boarding passes to see it; it’s in an unsecured section of the terminal. Here’s Humuhumu’s blog post and photos. Thanks to Humu for letting me use her photos. [...]

  6. jeanette welles Says:

    jeff, is this your exhibit? is this you? remember me?

  7. MyPhotoshop » Bootlegged Backdrops Says:

    [...] I don’t know how long the exhibit is running for, but if you’re in the San Francisco Airport and have some time to kill, go over to the international terminal and see if it’s still there. You don’t need to have boarding passes to see it; it’s in an unsecured section of the terminal. Here’s Humuhumu’s blog post and photos. Thanks to Humu for letting me use her photos. [...]

  8. Humu Kon Tiki » Blog Archive » New York Trader Vic’s Tikis Headed to Portland Says:

    [...] Now, as I said at the top of the story — too good to be true. But I think in this case that it could very well be true. For one, two of the tikis are the same design as the Trader Vic’s salt & pepper shakers, and have “TRADER VIC’S” carved in the back of them — which anyone can do, but the carving doesn’t look fresh. For another, the tikis look somewhat consistent with (though larger than) some tikis Trader Vic’s still has in their possession, as seen when they loaned them out for the San Francisco Airport tiki exhibit. [...]

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Humuhumu is the creator of several tiki websites. She is a designer and programmer based out of San Francisco.

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