Be Cool to Your School! Poly Hai – Tiki Yearbook

Poly Hai yearbook

In the movie “The Breakfast Club” the high school archetypes were “a brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel and a recluse,” but in the tiki community it’s more like an artist, a musician, a collector, an imbiber and a mermaid. (And many other niches, too.) In fact, there’s even a yearbook. We’re all honorary students at Poly Hai, an imaginary institution for tiki education complete with its own school crest and alma mater.

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Co-principals Kari Hendler and Matthew Rios published the first edition of the Poly Hai yearbook last year and it’s chock full of photos from tiki events like Tiki Oasis, The Hukilau and Tiki Caliente.

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There are also several articles including a behind-the-scenes look at Sven Kirsten’s Tiki Pop museum exhibit in Paris, a little tribute to Bahooka, and “Ask a Jungle Cruise Skipper.” I also love the sections for “Shop Class” (how to build a tiki menorah) and “Chemistry Class” (drink recipes!).

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And it wouldn’t be a yearbook without class photos, of course. I had the alphabetical good fortune to be next to Leroy Schmaltz, the legendary carver and co-founder of Oceanic Arts. (Fun fact: One of his carvings is on the cover of the yearbook).

The next edition of Poly Hai’s yearbook will be released in August, but there are still some copies available for $40 plus shipping. (E-mail polyhaischool@outlook.com for details.) Poly Hai will also have a booth at the upcoming International Tiki Market Place on January 24th at Don the Beachcomber. You can also keep up with all the campus goings-on at the Poly Hai Facebook page. I hear there are some extracurricular activities in the works.

(Photos 1-3 from Poly Hai Facebook)

Tikis on Dole’s 2015 Rose Parade Float: Rhythm of Hawaii

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For the past five years, Dole Packaged Foods has presented tropical and exotic themed floats in Pasadena’s annual Rose Parade. Naturally, I was pleased to see some tikis on their 2015 entry, “Rhythm of Hawaii.”

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The design also featured two towering volcanoes with “lava” made with thousands of orange roses. To top it all off, it even erupted with real fire and mist. I was lucky enough to be able to see the effect in person as this was one of the few floats chosen to showcase their animation during the post-parade viewing.

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For the fifth consecutive year, Dole’s float won the Sweepstakes Trophy, awarded to the “Most Beautiful Entry with Outstanding Floral Presentation and Design.” All the floats in the parade must covered with natural materials like flowers, grasses, seeds, bark or even fruits and vegetables. And since this was a Dole float, the company provided their own pineapples, bananas, mangoes and papayas.

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Towards the front of the float was a double-hulled canoe wrapped in mahogany ti leaves and strung with leis of tuberose, globe amaranth, crown flowers (said to have been a favorite of Queen Lili’uokalani), dendrobium orchids and clover blossoms — all flowers native to Hawaii.

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Swimming alongside it were dolphins and sea turtles. The latter were covered with individually placed mung beans and split pea beans.

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I love spotting unexpected produce, like these onions placed among the blue irises, agapanthus, white roses and carnations simulating water. The parade volunteers were very amused to point out that these were Maui onions.

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Of course, I also had to ask what was put on those two tikis. The answer: flax seed and pinto beans. Hopefully there will be more tikis on Dole floats in the future — it’s only fitting considering they sponsor Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland.

Related Post:
The City of Downey’s 2012 tiki float “Enchanted Paradise”

Tiki at The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass Art Show at Creature Features – Burbank, CA

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In Burbank there’s a lovely little stretch of Magnolia Boulevard that’s home to interesting shops like Halloweentown, 8-Ball and Creature Features. In the latter, you’ll find case after case filled with sci-fi/horror/pop culture memorabilia for sale, from “Star Trek” to “Gremlins” to Tim Burton films to “The Wizard of Oz.” (They’ve been around for decades but have been in this particular brick-and-mortar location for about a year.)

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There’s also a two-room gallery space in the store that hosts group art tribute shows with themes like Godzilla and Museum of the Weird (an abandoned Disney attraction concept). Right now they’re featuring “The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass” with art inspired by the production company behind the beloved holiday specials “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1964) and “Frosty the Snowman” (1969) along with other animated and stop-motion films and series.

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I was quite pleased to see “The Last Unicorn” (1982), a childhood favorite of mine, represented with a few gorgeous pieces.

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Among the dozens of contributors were artists familiar from the tiki scene, so it’s not all that surprising to see that influence come into play, as in “Yukon’s Gold” by Woody Miller. (I presume the title is a nod to the Beachcomber’s Gold drink by Don the Beachcomber.)

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Shout-out to Jay Wade Edwards for Tweeting over a photo of Miller’s “Bumbles” with a Moai mug. The folks at Tiki Magazine & More were so impressed by these paintings that they asked Miller to create the cover artwork for the current holiday issue.

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In “Heat Miser Triumphant,” Danny Hellman imagines what the world would look like if the hothead from “The Year Without a Santa Claus” (1974) had his way. Of course, the Heat Miser would have a flaming tiki drink!

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It may be the holidays, but many artists took a seasonal step back and presented art inspired by “Mad Monster Party.” Watching this 1967 stop motion film is one of my favorite Halloween traditions. Here we have “Mad Monster Party?” by Woody Welch.

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Retro artist extraordinaire Derek Yaniger really knocked it out of the park with his contribution, “Little Tibia and the Phibbeans.” (You’ve likely also seen the scribbles he’s done for Tiki Oasis and Tales of the Cocktail — and he also illustrated the recently released book Kiddie Cocktails.)

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I was also particularly enamored with another portrayal of the spooky Beatles-esque band: “Late for the Monster Party” by Gris Grimly. I dig its groovy vibe — it kind of reminds me of Scooby Doo and the gang with the Mystery Machine.

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Eric October, who designed those Moai Christmas postcards (and also painted the mural above this shop), showed off his serious talent for ceramics with this Yetch Has Lost His Head Bowl. Such a clever homage to the scene where the zombie butler’s noggin detaches and gets knocked around the party.

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The Enchanted World of Rankin/Bass can be viewed during store hours at Creature Features in Burbank through Saturday, January 4, 2015. (If you can’t make it over in time to see beautiful pieces like “Journey to the Island of Misfit Toys” by Daniel Swartz, you can see a fair amount of photos on the show’s Facebook page. I also have a few more pictures over on Flickr.)

Creature Features
2904 W. Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91505
818-842-8665