“55th Annual Cocktail Climb” Print Release Party at Shag: The Store

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Every time we visit Palm Springs we try to stop by Shag: The Store as they are constantly coming out with new prints and merchandise from my favorite tiki artist Shag (aka Josh Agle).

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During Modernism Week, the gallery hosted a little shindig in honor of the release of the print “The 55th Annual Cocktail Climb.” It attracted quite a turnout!

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Snaking around the store was a line of people waiting to get something signed by Shag, who was decked out in one of those highly coveted Enchanted Tiki Room attraction host shirts.

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It’s fun to admire the special items the gallery has on display, such as this 1999 lithograph of “Departure, Stopover, Arrival,” which was billed as Shag’s most rare print and on offer for $3,500.

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Last year, Tiki Farm and Shag teamed up to produce giant volcano bowl sets ($375) that included a print and four mugs. They were produced in three glazes and there are still sets available in the green Koei glaze.

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I couldn’t resist getting one of these pufferfish pillows ($75). Not only is it adorable, but the fabric is velvety soft. Now we just need a vacation home in Palm Springs so I have an excuse to get the other design too. (I believe there was also a round Pink Elephant pillow but I didn’t see any left by the time we got there.)

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I also snapped up a set of Shag drinking glasses ($50), which each have a design for a tiki drink: Mai Tai, Blue Hawaiian, Scorpion, Zombie. These had sold out in 2012, so it was nice to see them back in stock.

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There were some leftovers from the first-ever MOD Palm Springs event, like these “Firedancer” mugs ($100) designed by Shag and produced by Eekum Bookum. Some of these items I’ve mentioned can also be found in the online store (but if you’ve seen something you like that’s not there you should call because they’re very accommodating).

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If you’d like to be in-the-know about future Shag art and merch, you should go sign up for the e-mail newsletter for Shag: The Store.

Related Posts:
Previous Shag: The Store Review
Retro-a-Rama Art Show at M Modern Gallery
Previous Palm Springs Modernism Week Coverage

“Tiki Modern: Style for the Sophisticated Savage” at Palm Springs Modernism Week

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As I mentioned before, there were several tiki related events at Palm Springs Modernism Week this year, including the lecture “Tiki Modern: Style for the Sophisticated Savage” presented by Sven Kirsten, author of The Book of Tiki and Tiki Modern.

Tonga Hut Palm Springs sponsored the event, and as a bonus for the attendees they distributed free posters of the event flyer, which features Kim Novak posing with a Cook Islands fisherman’s god in a promotional photo for the film “Bell, Book & Candle.” (It’s actually one of several photos of the cast with tikis.)

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In order to make the Hilton ballroom look less corporate and a little more tiki, Sven brought along these two carved saloon doors that once adorned the Reef Bar (since closed) at Caliente Tropics (still open) in Palm Springs. They disappeared 20 years or so ago but were rediscovered recently and will be installed over at Tonga Hut Palm Springs.

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The talk touched on many tiki topics, including Sven’s initial surprise at finding that tiki’s influence in its heyday wasn’t just limited to bars and restaurants but also carried over to apartments, hotels, bowling alleys, etc. (particularly on the West Coast and “recreational states” like Florida and Arizona).

Sven also talked a bit about his upcoming “Tiki Pop” exhibition at the Musée du quai Branly this summer. For those of us who won’t be able to jet off to Paris, there will thankfully be a 400-page catalog (with 900 illustrations) published by Taschen that will be available for purchase.

Related Posts:
Reviews of Tiki Bars in Palm Springs
Previous Palm Springs Modernism Week Coverage
“The Book of Tiki” 10th Anniversary Art Exhibition

“Secret” Tiki Room at Tonga Hut Palm Springs

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What’s better than a secret entrance to a hidden room? A secret entrance to a hidden TIKI room! That’s one of the highlights of Tonga Hut Palm Springs, a desert offshoot of the North Hollywood tiki bar. (See my previous post for the full review.)

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In the hallway between The Hideaway dining room and the kitchen you might notice an old-fashioned telephone booth. Step into this anachronism, push against the wall and you’ll find yourself seemingly transported to another place and time.

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There’s another false wall next to the phone booth that can let more people in, but for me it doesn’t get any better than that phone booth. It’s like the tiki equivalent of Harry Potter’s Platform 9 3/4.

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While the lounge and bar area have more of a sleek, mid-century modern feel, this is where you’ll really get that sense of tiki’s tropical escapism (reminiscent of the original in North Hollywood). Perching over the half-circle booth is a bamboo overhang supported by carved tiki poles. Neou panels cover the ceiling and there’s lauhala matting and tapa cloth on the walls, plus Papua New Guinea-style masks.

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On the opposite wall is a red banquette and lots of nautical touches, including a Chinese sailing painting, rigging and rope, brass anchor lantern and model ship.

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Proper lighting is important in a tiki room, and helping to the set the perfect tone are these lovely lanterns. Almost all of the vintage artifacts came from the homes of the co-owners, the Boylans and Murphys, who have been collecting for years. (The spears and shrunken head were contributed by Danny aka Tiki Diablo.)

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I thought I spotted a small barrel lamp from Bahooka and my suspicions were confirmed by Tiki Diablo, who was there on opening weekend working on the adjacent covered patio. (There you’ll find more nautical objects and burlap-covered benches made to look like rum crates.)

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To dine in this “secret” tiki room, you’ll need to call in advance and secure the reservation with a $100 refundable deposit. If this space doesn’t inspire you to head to Palm Springs immediately, I don’t know what will!

Related Posts:
Full Review of Tonga Hut Palm Springs
Other Tiki Things in Palm Springs