Critiki Gift Guide 2016

A new Polynesian Pop book

tikea-dr-aldereteTike’a is a new book project by Dr. Alderete, a graphic artist based in Mexico City with a longstanding love of Oceanic art and Polynesian pop culture. This new book melds modern art with cultural anthropology, integrating authentic Pacific Island culture into graphic interpretations by the artist, with input from a team of experts in Oceanic cultures. I’ve been a big fan of the tiki art of Dr. Alderete for many years now, and this looks like an incredible book. Because this is a Kickstarter project, this isn’t a book you’ll be able to just pick up at the store, but it’s well along towards funding with many days left to go, and some really cool rewards are available.


A new Exotica album

ixtahuele-call-of-the-islandsÌxtahuele is a wonderful Exotica jazz group based in Göteborg, Sweden, formed in 2011. Their new album “Call of the Islands” is available digitally or on beautiful colored vinyl. It’s an import item, you can order it from the Subliminal Sounds website (don’t be alarmed by the “99.00$219.00$” at the top of the page, that’s not the price), from Amazon, or another music importer of your choice. 


A record player

crosley-turntableI’m not precious about vinyl. I don’t think it’s better, I don’t think it’s “warmer,” and my record player is an inexpensive Crosley, which has just made the vinyl heads in my audience cringe. But I love my record player because I use it, and that’s what matters to me. I love finding great weird old Hawaiian records and Exotica records for 60¢ in thrift shops, I love that my daughter can hold the record covers, I love that the physicalness of them means they’re a tactile and visual part of our everyday life. Turntables are easy to buy and easy to use—no need to be fussy about it unless that’s fun for you. If your loved one doesn’t have a turntable, it might open up a whole new avenue of enjoyment for them.


Tiki jewelry

teeki-togsTiki pendants are everywhere, but they tend to be large, and hang low… great for an aloha shirt, but not so great with a dress. Teeki-Togs is a line of jewelry created by Audrey Moorehead, designed to go well with the scale and wild colors of ladies’ aloha wear.


Home (tiki bar) automation

outlet-setMany home tiki bar owners know the drill. “Uh, just give me five minutes!” followed by a mad scramble around the room getting the lights and music just so. Home automation is hardly new—the X10 home automation protocol was established back in 1975—but it’s a hobby unto itself. Every few years I poke my head into home automation, and while I think we’re just a few years away from having sophisticated, simple, inexpensive controls right on your phone, it’s not there yet. For now, I’m going with an inexpensive stop-gap: a simple remote control outlet set. I picked up a set with five outlets and two remote controls for under $30. Done.


Custom glassware and swizzles

royer-swizzlesOnce you’ve got your home tiki bar set up, you start to daydream about having your very own logoed swag. Your loved one will have opinions about the colors and design, but you can start the ball rolling by giving them the info they need to get started, and by funding the project. I’ve already written up a guide for getting your own custom glassware made, but custom swizzles from Royer Corp. are another fun option.


White pants

elvis-white-slacksDoes your loved one have to choose between jeans and too-dressy slacks to pair with his aloha shirts? Is he ready for… WHITE PANTS? Is it time? It might be time! If he’s not quite ready for white, maybe turquoise, or salmon, or mint?


Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, photo by gellyfish
Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, photo by gellyfish

A trip to the Mai-Kai

Has your loved one never been to the Mai-Kai, the absolute pinnacle of tiki? When it’s mentioned, does their voice take on a wistful, “someday” tone? Well then, this one is a slam-dunk: take them there.

Here’s your travel arrangements sorted:

  • Go in the off-season: May-November. Travel to Florida is less expensive during this time, and supporting the Mai-Kai when business is a bit slower is just a nice thing to do.
  • Fly into Fort Lauderdale airport.
  • Stay at one of the inexpensive vintage hotels blocks from the beach between Vistamar Street and Bayshore Drive, like the Premiere Hotel.
  • You won’t need a rental car, the cab ride to the Mai-Kai is inexpensive.
  • Here’s how your night at the Mai-Kai will go: arrive as soon as it opens, enjoy a drink in the Molokai Bar, then be seated for your dinner and watch the Polynesian Islander Revue. Be sure to order a Mystery Drink! It serves four, so make some new friends if it’s just the two of you. After dinner, stroll the gardens and visit the gift shop, then stop into the Molokai Bar for a nightcap.
  • This page on the Mai-Kai website has all the details you need, including the hours, and most importantly the phone number to make your reservation for the show.
  • When  you call, ask about enrolling your loved one in the Mai-Kai Club (it’s seasonal, next year’s program won’t start until May 1). They’ll send you a nifty personalized gold card that will get you a discount on your off-season purchases at the Mai-Kai.
  • You can try to make plans to go somewhere else during your trip to Fort Lauderdale, but your loved one is just going to want to go back to the Mai-Kai the next night. You can see the show again if you’d like, but I suggest enjoying dinner in one of the beautiful dining rooms in the back of the restaurant—perhaps even in the gardens.


A tiki mug

tiki-kiliki-mai-kai-mugCan’t get to the Mai-Kai? Well, get your loved one a tiki mug to dream with. This beautiful tiki mug from Tiki Kiliki is a tribute to the carved posts found throughout the Mai-Kai. The original design is from Oceanic Arts, and the sculpt for this mug is by Eekum Bookum. It’s a limited edition of 200, and the first 100 to order have guaranteed delivery before Christmas.


The Monkey Hut in Portland, Oregon
The Monkey Hut in Portland, Oregon, photo by Colonel Tiki

A room

This is a big commitment… do you share your home with someone who has dreamed of building a home tiki bar? Is there a way you can make that happen? It is perhaps the ultimate gift: to turn over a whole room of your shared house to someone else’s specific vision. They may not even feel comfortable asking if it’s possible. It will mean their time (and a good chunk of funds) will get dedicated to this mega-project, but the results can be incredible. Take a look at the Home Tiki Bar Builds group on Facebook and see what’s possible.


Want more ideas?

Check out the Critiki Gift Guide from 2015! It holds many more great ideas for your tiki loving loved ones. The Waring Pro Ice Crusher I recommended last year has been discontinued and there isn’t really an equivalent replacement (wah!), but almost everything else is still available.

3 thoughts on “Critiki Gift Guide 2016

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