Tiki Oasis 2015 “Tomorrow’s Future Today” (Part One) Thursday & Friday
I’ve been hearing about it for years but I was never able to attend until now. It was the future, it was the past. It was a mix-mash of everything that has come before with what we hope tomorrow will bring us. And there were Hawaiian shirts for as far as the eye could see. It was the most beautiful thing I ever saw. An ocean of beautiful people in beautiful loud prints. I was finally among my people and all was good.
I flew in from Hawaii nearly 24 hours before the 1st event was scheduled. All I really knew is that something special was about to happen and I was going to be part of it. Tiki Oasis is the largest gathering of Tikiphiles on planet earth. It’s 3 nights and 4 days of celebrating all things tiki & tropical kitsch. For this year’s outer space theme, the Oasis team, volunteers and guests all outdid themselves and completely transformed San Diego’s historic Crowne Plaza hotel into a cosmic lollapalooza. But before you can get to otter-space you gotta take off from earth and we all took off together Thursday night from San Diego’s scenic waterfront Bali Hi restaurant on Shelter Island. Complete with a Polynesian buffet and live band performances outdoors and DJ’s inside. We ate, we mingled, we danced and the Mai-Tais and good times flowed all night long. It was the perfect countdown and take off to what was coming next. An entire weekend of symposiums, shopping, swimming, dancing & drinking. Did I mention the Mai-Tais?
I guess I showed up late on Friday morning, cos when I stumbled in, the lobby was already buzzing and the pool area was already packed, complete with poolside DJ’s and outta this world go-go dancers. I made it there just in time for a pool side fashion show with plenty of double hubbas. Guests were lounging, sipping drinks, catching sun and watching the shenanigans in the pool. Later from a falsely perceived safe distance I watched a gaggle of tiki merrymakers perform what almost seemed to be an endless barrage of cannon balls into the pool. That’s when I decided to push on through the gates into the garden. It was then I spotted, our Hawaiian Shirt Dude banner there by the gate. SWEET!
It was right across from the outdoor stage. The stage we would return to throughout the weekend to enjoy some great live music performed by The Ding Dong Devils, The Phenomenauts, The Outta Sites, Clouseaux, The Neptunas, The Little Richards, The Phantom Surfers & Man Or Astroman and more. But until then, no matter where you went, music still filled the air. There was Surf, Exotica, Rockabilly and even more Surf music. That’s cool I thought, I can dig it! But unless you were in the pool it was just too darn hot and humid for me at least to stay outside in the sun so I headed indoors.
I wish it hadn’t been so uncomfortably hot and humid. I was really looking forward to some nice southern California weather. I remember thinking wow, it’s like I never left the islands. They certainly went out of their way to make this seem more like Hawaii.
There were over 30 Symposiums taking place over the entire weekend and I missed every single one, but I heard they were great. Here’s a short list of a few to give you an idea of what was there:
- Bartending Techniques for the Atomic Age (with Ram Udwin)
- BLAST OFF (with Duke Weiss) A Futurama Look Backwards at the Musical World of Space Age Exotic Pop and Beyond.
- Honolulu Modern: Architecture in Paradise (with Darren Bradley)
- Sci-Fashion: a history of sci-fi costume design
- Future Schlock: Vintage Visions of Time and Space (with Will “the Thrill” Viharo
- and Scott Fulks)
- Pin-Up Posing 101 (with Penny Starr Jr.)
- Myths, Mysteries, and Misconceptions About Rum (with Richard Foss)
- Let’s Get Hip to Hula! (with San Diego’s Little Brown Gal, Di’Lovely)
- “That’s impossible. You can’t do that on a Moog” (with Don Preston)
- Surf Guitars lessons from Outer Space (with Jason Lee)
- I even heard there were early morning Tiki Yoga sessions for a Hangover: Stretch it Out with with El Vez, the Mexican Elvis. But those ended long before I got outta bed.
The thing is even if you didn’t sleep, there was so much going on there that it was absolutely impossible for anyone to see and do it all.
So as I was saying, I went inside to check out the vendors and do some shopping. WOW! I wanted to buy everything I saw, and two things suddenly dawned on me.
- I should have brought a lot more money with me
- I should have got my butt outta bed a lot earlier
The earlier bird not only get’s the worm but also first pick at all the cool stuff. I saw all kinds of awesome stuff to compliment my beach front bachelor tiki pad back in Hawaii. I have to say though, it’s kinda screwy that I have to leave Hawaii and fly to San Diego just so I can purchase cool Hawaiian inspired treasures. Anyhow, I ended up buying mostly Tiki mugs. The larger items weren’t gonna fit into my suitcases and as the Hawaiian Shirt Dude I personally have more aloha shirts than I know what to do with.
I made my way through the garden and pool area once more and saw the King KuKulele was on stage and something was happening again but I don’t know what it was. I was hungry and needed to drop off my purchases in my room. So I did, and then I went to In & Out Burger. The other highlight of my trip to Southern California.
With the evening came the bands (as mentioned above) and after the bands came the burlesque shows, late night dancing and the infamous Room Party Craw which lasted till near 5am both Saturday & Sunday. The room parties were a monster all of their own. Bands, Dj’s, and 100’s of people crammed into one hot mess. Room after room, floor upon floor, hallway after hallway. One room party by Golden Tiki had live Tiki carving taking place all night. But that was nothing because another party “Lost in Space” hosted by Tiki Magazine had a spaceship in their room! They also featured the band Tikiyaki Orchestra who also performed at the Bali Hai mixer meet & greet on Thursday night. This party had a line halfway around the entire courtyard of the hotel. I popped in and out and then back into room after room. I saw The Hula Girls play in one room and then the Tiki Creeps perform in another, and the rum punch in all the rooms was flowing freely. Although tipping is very much appreciated and well deserved.
This concludes “My First Trip To Tiki Oasis (Part One) – Thursday & Friday” Stay tuned for (Part two) – Saturday & Sunday
*Note: Several of thise pics were taken from posts on FB. But there has been so many pictures posted and being shared that I don’t know whose is whose anymore. If I’ve used one of your pics and you’d like me to remove it or if you want photo credit, just let me know and I’ll take care of it. ~Zippy
More info about Tiki Oasis (Here)