Entries in the 'Massive Moai' Category

December 5, 2010

The Margaret Mead Hall of Pacific Peoples

Filed under: Massive Moai,My Travels,New York,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 2:13 pm

I have recently returned from a brief visit to New York City, where I got to play a little catch-up with the growing tiki scene. I have lots of pictures and impressions to share, and I’ll spread it out across a few posts.


Marquesan war clubs

I was in town to spend time with my husband’s family, including our tiki-crazed nephews. We spent a full day at the American Museum of Natural History, but I felt like we barely made a dent in all there was to see—I would gladly spend a week solid there, poring over all the exhibits. I am completely nutsy for dioramas, and they must have the world’s best collection of them. (My diorama pictures are available to everyone on Facebook.) The stunning Northwest Native American exhibit is alone worth the price of admission, and if it had been Polynesian carvings, I might have wet myself.


Replica moai

But there is a Polynesian exhibit! The Margaret Mead Hall of Pacific Peoples. The presentation—lime green walls and lit with harsh fluorescents—feels a bit lackluster compared to the rest of the museum, but the pieces within it are great. It houses one of the museum’s most famous residents, a replica moai that made a memorable appearance in the film Night at the Museum. Thanks largely to the film, the moai brings a steady stream of people into the hall.

The bulk of the exhibit space is representing cultures closer to Asia, while items of a stronger midcentury tiki interest are tucked into the back. There are some wee dioramas of village scenes, and case after case of carved and constructed pieces, with heavy representation by Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Marquesas and New Zealand.

My time in the hall was painfully brief. I wish I’d had more time to scrutinize each item, and read all of the information plaques. I was able to grab a few photographs, though, and you can see them all on the page for the American Museum of Natural History in Critiki.

November 22, 2010

Actual Kahiki Fireplace and Moai on eBay

Filed under: History,Massive Moai,Midwest U.S.,Shopping,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 5:39 am
Kahiki Fireplace
from the collection of Mata-ki-Te-rani

Before the Kahiki Supper Club in Columbus, Ohio was demolished in 2000, the Tsao family saved much of the decor, with the intention of reopening some day. (We all know how that went… pour one out for the Kahiki.) The massive flame-spouting moai created by Phil Keintz that flanked the entrance were salvaged, along with the iconic interior fireplace. In 2006, the family decided they no longer wanted them. One of the front moai is in the hands of Kahiki collector tikiskip, and the other and the fireplace have been with another Kahiki fan. They’re a little bit worse for the wear (which is understandable, how does one store a two-story-tall fireplace?). But they still exist! And now, they could be yours.

The owner of the moai and fireplace cannot store them any longer, and is offering them for sale on eBay. They are made of concrete, and very heavy: the fireplace is nearly 23 feet tall, and the moai is about 16 feet tall! While these are unusually meaningful artifacts of Polynesian Pop history, their large size means few people have the ability to handle them, so the purchase price could wind up being surprisingly affordable. Know anyone who’s planning to build a humongous tiki bar?


March 2, 2007

After 20 Years, the Triumphant Return of Trader Vic’s to Dallas!

Filed under: Dallas,Florida Panhandle,History,Massive Moai,News,Tiki,Trader Vic's — Humuhumu @ 4:26 pm
Formikahini enjoys a Mai Tai at the Dallas Trader Vic's, photo by Kenike
Formikahini enjoys a Mai Tai at the Dallas Trader Vic’s, photo by Kenike

Very, very exciting times in Dallas… the long-anticipated day has finally arrived, and the Dallas Trader Vic’s has reopened. The great news, the fabulous news, the pinch-me-I’m-dreaming news, is that they’ve worked hard to keep it intact. Some updates and repairs had to be made, but the architect working on the project, William Baker of Jones Baker Interior + Architecture, took care to preserve the original look as much as possible, including tracking down vintage fixtures, matching the original carpet, and having carvers reproduce original panels. (William Baker is also working on the interiors of the new Destin, Florida Trader Vic’s location.)

Dallas Trader Vic's, photo by Kenike
Dallas Trader Vic’s, photo by Kenike

Tiki Centralites Kenike and Formikahini (pictured above) have posted their trip report from a soft-opening night at the Dallas Trader Vic’s. These two are hard-boiled tikiphiles, with a discerning eye — and they’ve come away more than pleased. The pictures tell the story: the Dallas Trader Vic’s is quite possibly now the best of the stateside Trader Vic’s. It’s gorgeous, people.

The bar at Dallas Trader Vic's, photo by Kenike
The bar at Dallas Trader Vic’s, photo by Kenike
Dallas Star cocktail, photo by Kenike
Dallas Blue Star cocktail, photo by Kenike

In keeping with Trader Vic’s tradition (hooray for Trader Vic’s tradition!), a new drink has been created to commemorate the opening: the Dallas Blue Star, pictured here in a photo from Kenike. The drink has tequila, agave nectar, cointreau, lime juice and is garnished with a star fruit slice — very pretty. Formikahini notes that the drink is a bit sweeter than is her preference, but points out that you get to keep this glass, a Dallas Trader Vic’s exclusive, which is essentially a taller, more slender variation on the classic Mai Tai glass.

Original massive moai at Dallas Trader Vic's, photo by Kenike
Original massive moai at Dallas Trader Vic’s, photo by Kenike

Kenike and Formikahini were treated to a full tour of the restaurant, including a rare visit with this massive moai, carved by Barney West, which stood guard at Trader Vic’s for many years until the restaurant closed. The moai is not in the greatest shape, but is currently being restored with hopes of returning it to its proper post once more.

I could go on and on and on… this is so exciting to see. This is what a tiki bar should look like. Bravo to everyone involved in making this happen — it probably wasn’t always easy, and there probably was more than a bit of convincing involved. Thank you for your efforts! Thanks also to Kenike and Formikahini for doing such a wonderful job of documenting the opening for those of us who can’t be there in person. It’s making me want to check air fares to Dallas….

To see more of Kenike’s excellent pictures, and hear more details (including the fascinating backstory on that Barney West moai), be sure to check out this thread on Tiki Central. The Trader Vic’s Dallas website also has more pictures.

September 15, 2006

Massive Moai: Las Vegas

Filed under: History,Las Vegas,Massive Moai,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 11:37 am
Eli Hedley-carved Moai at Sunset Park in Las Vegas, photo by aquarj
Eli Hedley-carved Moai at
Sunset Park in Las Vegas,
photo by aquarj

This great big moai is perhaps the most famous of all of them — after the originals on Rapa Nui, of course. This moai was carved by Eli Hedley for the Aku Aku restaurant, at the Stardust casino. There were two of them, and they stood guard at the front of the casino, looking over all the tourists passing by along the strip. The moai were such a strong visual that even in a city defined by its strong visuals, they were a standout, and became icons for not just the Stardust, but for Vegas itself. It is depicted on the moist towelette from the Aku Aku I posted on Monday.

After the Aku Aku closed, one of the moai made its way to Sunset Park in Las Vegas, which is off the strip, near the airport. There is a pond at the park, and this moai sits on an island in the middle of the pond.

August 7, 2006

Massive Moai: Oklahoma

Filed under: History,Massive Moai,Midwest U.S.,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 12:14 pm
Postcard from the Suttles' Tiki Point, from the collection of SilverLine
Postcard from the Suttles’ Tiki Point, from the collection of SilverLine

For some reason, moai statues have a way of cropping up in the most unlikely and random places. One of these is the Moai that overlooks Courtyard Hollow, a small part of the Great Lake o’ the Cherokees, in Grove, Oklahoma. SilverLine posted the above postcard, which probably dates from the late ’60s, on Tiki Central, which is labeled “The Suttles’ Tiki Point, Located on Lake Road #6, Grove Oklahoma,” and tikijackelope and ZuluMagoo dug in to find what could be learned about it. Sure enough, the fellow’s still there. The moai may have been constructed in 1967 by Earl Suttle, who once owned the land it sits on. The moai may not be accessible by road, but it isn’t hard to get to by water, and ZuluMagoo has seen it in person and shared recent photos on Tiki Central.

August 29, 2005

Massive Moai: Hollywood

Filed under: Los Angeles,Massive Moai,Tiki — Humuhumu @ 9:30 am

My friend Sabu and I have been wanting to go document the massive moai (over 5′) in our neck of the woods, and inspire others to do the same. We haven’t been able to do our explorations just yet, but fellow tiki explorer Tikijackelope has spotted some fantastic moai — four of ‘em — right here in Hollywood. They’re at C. P. Three Prop House (not a Star Wars reference — C. P. stands for Cinema Props, it’s the third of four prop houses), owned by Omega Cinema Props, and have reportedly been used in a few film productions. They’re strapped right to the side of the building, and are in plain view.


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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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