Tiki Oasis 12, a four-day exploration of all things mid-Century and island-themed from art, cars, dance, fashion, movies, music and of course cocktails, arrives in San Diego August 16-19th with 3,000 unconventional conventioneers ready to hula and watusi between Tiki archaeology slide shows, cocktail symposiums, and art exhibitions at the still-fairly-Polynesian-themed Crowne-Plaza.
This year’s theme Exotic Espionage and Polynesian Pulp surfs the connection between Tiki culture (far away, sensual locales and cocktails) and spies, private eyes, and secret agents (namely far away, sensual locales and cocktails), whie celebrating the 50th anniversary of the cinematic James Bond. The theme also dovetails nicely with Bradley Manning’s trial, real life international man of mystery Julian Assange’s bid for amnesty to avoid both a trial on alleged sex crimes in Sweden and extradition to the U.S. for Wikileaks’ related espionage, and a rise in both domestic and international spying. Was that intentional? Who knows, but lately Tiki Oasis has magically managed to reflect the current zeitgeist; last year’s theme, South of the Border, tied in nicely to immigration issues, and next year America’s hinterlands receives full focus with Hulabilly, Tiki at Its Doggone Best, a perfect compliment to the scrutiny the U.S. will receive no matter who wins the election.
I’m actually going this year, since I don’t want to miss Rob Zabrecky, the Magic Castle’s current Stage Magician of the Year who’s performing Sunday night (though Tiki Oasis Friday, Saturday and all-weekend passes are sold out, there are tickets still available for Sunday which include Zabrecky’s performance, along with events,lecture and poolside activities). Plus I want to see Saturday’s one-day car show, which in true aloha spirit is free and open to the public, as the are indoor and outdoor Tiki Marketplaces, and the 3rd Annual Tiki Oasis Art Show highlighting the mysterious connection between Tiki and spies and featuring artists like Atomikitty, BigToe, Dawn Frasier, Doug Horne, Eric October, Maya Rogers, Ken Ruzic, and Tweelebop.
The car show has one car I really, really want to look at: the “Get Smart” Tiger Sunbeam. My late father loved “Get Smart;” we used to watch it together, and he did a great Don Adams’ impersonation. No wonder he was into Agent 86 and 99: He worked for almost a decade at Systems Development Corporation when it was a division of RAND, shifting over to NASA where he was a human factor specialist/test astronaut. Before working at SDC he was in the Air Force, stationed in Morocco during the Moroccan struggle for independence; he told me taught the locals how to recognize different airplanes and
trained pilots on how to survive if their planes crashed,
something he continued while in the Air Force Reserves through the early part of the 1960s. In the early 70s Dad worked for a strange little company called Seredipity in Santa Monica which, he explained to me at the time, made
hidden commercials that can go in films.
Uh, subliminals? Huh, what? Golly, Daddy, what actually did you do?
Anyway, Dad’s birthday was August 14th, so attending a spy-themed weekend and seeing the “Get Smart” car is a good tribute to him. He died from lymphoma in 1995, which why I’m walking in the Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s Light Up the Night Walk in October. My team is from the Center for Inquiry West, a bunch of atheists and skeptics, which would have pleased Dad immensely. Dad was a really loyal Democrat, he supported Hubert Humphrey, Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton, and he and my awesome stepmom worked hard in their little San Diego County burg to keep fundamentalists from overtaking the local schoolboard.
I’ll be reporting from Tiki Oasis this weekend, assisting the agents of A.L.O.H.A. in their mission to spread the Tiki message of hospitality and friendship.
Paintings used by permission of the artists.
Tiki Oasis poster, Derek Yaniger
Susannah Mosher, aka Atomickitty