Tiki in The Pirates! Band of Misfits Movie

The Pirates!

Aardman Animations, the studio behind “Wallace and Gromet” and “Chicken Run,” released a new film over the weekend called “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” (or “The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists” if you’re one of my daily handful of UK visitors).

The Pirates!

As a fan of stop motion animation and quick British wit, I’d been looking forward to this movie for months — even more so when I spotted a Moai in the trailer.


In a sequence of shenanigans at Charles Darwin’s house, the pirates knock into an Easter Island head that comes crashing after them down the stairs. (Watch the trailer for that scene.) Aside from the relative proximity of the Galapagos Islands and Rapa Nui, I didn’t really see the connection, but anyway…I found the movie quite enjoyable, with lots of visual jokes in the background. (There’s also more Moai to be seen towards the beginning.) What more could you want in a film than pirates, tikis and a monkey butler?

Tiki on TV: “Archer” on FX Edition


By now I think we’ve had the following one-sided conversation with practically all our friends and acquaintances: “Do you watch ‘Archer’? You-have-to-watch-Archer-it’s-so-funny-you’ll-love-it-the-first-season-is-on-Netflix-Instant-go-home-and-watch-it-now!”


There’s a warning before each episode telling you there’ll be violence, strong language and adult situations. What more could you want? The title character, Sterling Archer, is like James Bond in cartoon form but way more narcissistic and cocky. (Phrasing!) And also hilarious, as are the rest of the oddballs employed with him at the ISIS spy agency.


There’s a mod 1960’s vibe to the show that I of course enjoy. The ISIS office looks straight out of “Mad Men” — and not just because these characters are also constantly boozing. Sterling’s mother/boss, Malory Archer, has a chair that looks like a variation of the Eames Lounge. The art director talked about his mid-century modern influences in this interview on the Archer production blog.


You can also spot this Moai bookend on the shelf in a lot of the episodes. (There’s your tiki connection, my friends.)


New episodes of “Archer” season three start airing Thursday, January 19 at 10 p.m. on FX. Tune in and spare yourself from me bugging you about it next time we meet. Then we can just talk about how great it is instead.

Rapa Nui Moai at the Louvre – Paris


London is a treasure trove of tiki bars, but Paris is a bust. (Editor’s note: A few tiki bars have opened in Paris since my visit.) However, there’s plenty of original Oceanic Art to be found in the museums. (And Paris also happens to be the home of the amazingly creative and whimsical tiki mug artist Baï.)


The Musée du quai Branly would be your #1 stop (right now they have a special exhibit on the Maori) but if you’re on the requisite visit to the Louvre you can check out the smallish section on the Arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.


It was interesting to compare this Moai to the one we saw at the British Museum. This fragment was taken from Rapa Nui in 1935 by Alfred Métraux and Henri Lavachery, who were the first professional archaeologists to visit Easter Island. People were going up and posing for pictures as if they were picking its nose…


Sadly, there was very little context given for these items, just a date estimate, geographical origin and a one-word description (in French, bien sûr). I ended up researching later. From left: a 19th-century stone pounder from the Marquesas Islands used to grind breadfruit; a small and squat Marquesan tiki from the late 1800s/early 1900s; and an 18th-century wooden fan handle possibly from Tahiti.


I had no idea what this was when I first saw it. but I thought it looked cool. Turns out it’s a 17th- or 18th-century reimiro, a wooden boat-shaped pendant worn by the women (and possibly men) of Easter Island. This piece and the pounder were both donated by Roland Bonaparte, the grandnephew of Napoleon and father of Marie Bonaparte. Another fun fact: he originally owned what is now the Shangri-La hotel in Paris.


This Lono from the end of the 18th century is on loan from the collection of the Musée du quai Branly. In Hawaiian mythology he represents fertility and family.


They also had several 17th- or 18th-century Rapa Nui figures that men supposedly used as pendants. The two moai kavakava are named so because their ribs are showing, while the moai tangata is more well fed and sports a goatee.


Nothing tiki about this, of course, it’s just one of my favorites from the Louvre: Canova’s Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss. And in completely unrelated Moai news, there’s one prominently featured towards the end of the trailer for The Pirates! Band of Misfits. (You’ll already know that if you follow me on Twitter.)