Tiki Pop by Sven Kirsten — Retro Renovation’s 2014 Book of the Year

tiki pop bookSven Kirsten’s newest book Tiki Pop: America imagines its own Polynesian Paradise (affiliate link) costs $40+ on Amazon, but consider this: His first two tiki classics, now out of print, sell for at least $100 each. I snapped up a copy of Tiki Pop right away. I might play the market and get more!

I love t his book — it’s full of lots history — 384 pages — six pounds! — and with new images that make this a terrific complement to Kirsten’s first two books or, if you don’t have them, a wonderful first tikipedia to dive into.

This is the must-have Retro Renovation 2014 Book of Year! If I ever did a book called “Retro Renovation,” I would be using Tiki Pop, and Kirsten’s two earlier Taschen tiki tomes, as role models. Well done, Sven, you are my idol!

Sven Kirsten is just amazing. He chronicles the history of midcentury America’s fascination with tiki from virtually every angle:

Copyright:Sven Kirsten/TASCHEN Caption: Seattle World's fair, 1962 Americans were consumed by Tiki
Seattle World’s fair, 1962 Americans were consumed by Tiki. Copyright Sven Kirsten/TASCHEN

There is history…

Ren Clark's Polynesian Village Cocktail menu, 1962
Ren Clark’s Polynesian Village Cocktail menu, 1962. Copyright Sven Kirsten/TASCHEN

There are cocktails…

Sven Kirsten/TASCHEN Caption:Tiki table lamp,  from the Luau in Beverly Hills, 1950s
Tiki table lamp, from the Luau in Beverly Hills, 1950s. Copyright Sven Kirsten/TASCHEN

There is decor (note to Kate: Retro Crafty idea — we can do this with a vintage tiki mug!)…

Connnie Stevens on the set of "Hawaiian Eye", 1959
Connnie Stevens on the set of “Hawaiian Eye”, 1959. Copyright Sven Kirsten/TASCHEN

There are starlets…

Velveteria: The Museum of Velvet Paintings/TASCHEN Caption:Author Sven Kirsten supervising the photo shoot of his "pufferfish in fishnet float"
Caption: Author Sven Kirsten supervising the photo shoot of his “pufferfish in fishnet float”. Copyright Velveteria: The Museum of Velvet Paintings/TASCHEN

There is Sven Kirsten captured on black velvet painting looking into a puffer fish in fishnet float light — yes, as if it were his own tiki crystal ball.

Pound for pound, this book is a bargain. Moreover, we declare this an instant classic.

Get it now while the gettin’ is good:

(affiliate link)

Categoriestiki and bars
    1. pam kueber says:

      yes – to me, Pam. THANKS, Katherine, I’m gonna blame my bad manners on my broken arm. I’ll get you a proper thank you note once I can write better!

  1. Tikimama says:

    I got to hear Sven speak about this book, which he calls the “catalog” of Tiki Pop – the museum exhibit he curated in Paris! The entire Tiki “culture” is a uniquely American phenomenon, and is a curiosity to the French (and others). The slides he showed of the exhibit, with authentic Polynesian artifacts displayed side-by-side with their Tiki takeoffs, were fascinating. The book is well worth every penny we spent on it – $65 – signed by the author! I should send you the photo of my boyfriend and me posing next to him at the signing!

  2. virginia says:

    PS — Thank you for reminding me about Connie Stevens. She was huge back in the day and that is a great photo.

  3. virginia says:

    Saving up to purchase this book, which I looked up earlier in the summer as the result of your Tiki Love.

    Just checking in to say that I hope you are feeling better, Pam. Do take it easy.

  4. midmichigan says:

    Ha, ha, Pam! I love the cocktail menu; especially the prices. Hope you’re feeling better, rest and get well.

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