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January 22, 2004

{     Munktiki     }    

I got my first real dose of tiki culture from the Kahiki, a sprawling Polynesian-themed restaurant located in Columbus, Ohio back in '94. I'd been a fan of Hawaiian pop superstar Don Ho for a while, and had even picked up some tiki-themed drinkware along the way, but this was my first time being immersed in the tiki-kitsch culture. Nothing brought this home harder than the 30 foot tall tikis that guarded the Kahiki's doors, the bamboo furniture and fake waterfalls, and the giant tiki fireplace. Order one of the "exotic" mixed drinks and it came in a beautiful ceramic mug that you got to take home with you. It was like being transported to another world. Not quite Hawaii, not quite reality, but somewhere in-between. Sadly, the Kahiki closed it's doors a few years ago. Despite attention from such tiki-revival artists as Shag, the Pizz, Bosko and Mark Ryden, as well as a burgeoning swell of interest in tiki-culture nationwide, the owners decided to exit the restaurant business and focus on production and sale of a Kahiki-themed line of frozen Asian appetizers and entrees. Nothing since has inspired such awe in me, such a profound sense of nostalgia and sincere love for Hawaiiana, until I stumbled across Munktiki. Crafters of some of the finest drinkware on the planet, these mad scientist take tiki tradition and explode it. What emerges from the flames is something that is both covetous of the culture's past and wholly new and original. You'll find a range of styles, everything from monkey heads to monster mugs, and just as varied a range of glazes and coloration. Take the bright pink Zombie Girl, for example. She looks like she's made of cotton-candy colored glass. Or take your brain for a whirl on the psychedelic trip-out glaze of The Bigshot. Don't forget to check out the Evil Bastard with his devilsh red matte finish along the way. At least one (if not every one) of these beauties is bound to get you drooling, and the website lists signature drinks alongside the descriptions in case you're confused about whether these are for drinking or for display only. While prices range past 30 clams on some pieces, most of Munktiki's designs are very affordable in the low 20's. That may seem a little heavy, but you've got to keep in mind that these are original designs and most are limited editions. Besides, there is no price tag on "cool"- and if those prices are still too hot for you to handle, check out the Imports section. Everything is below 10 bones, but you'll have to limit yourself to a handful of designs. Resident madman Stuckie seems to be responsible for the majority of the designs, and new items are released on a fairly frequent basis. They track the sale of their ultra-limited editions on ebay, and invite you to log on and join the bidding. Prices here range from $15-$50. For those of us too broke to join that club, munktiki.com offers a weekly contest in which you can win a piece of your own. Cross your fingers and pray to the volcano gods and you just might get lucky.

     » Munktiki.com Buy them or just check them out!

Comments

memories... i loved that place... so sad that it closed down... when i lived there, i used to love to drive by just to see those 2 giant flaming heads.... i've never actually eaten the food (i despise almost anything edible which is also asian (unless of course it's indian) but the rainforest and the environment and the coffee alone were so lovely.... sigh.... one more reason why columbus is becoming less and less cool.... did you know we used to have one here in huntington back in the day??? it was called the makiki though, my mom and dad and aunt all worked there.... same restaurant almost... but alas, huntington has never been known for anything cool except football, which isn't really cool at all, and camden park, which is really cool in it's own way (especially those pencils stuck in that styrofoam head in the haunted house....) but anyway, those mugs look really cool... adam, if you keep this shit up, i'm going to be broke and my house is going to be filled with useless novelty items that i don't need but can't stand to part with....

Posted by: stace at January 23, 2004 4:22 AM

Woo-hoo! That shit is a good time! I want the tall ones!

Posted by: Alan Grant at January 27, 2004 3:49 AM
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