TIKI NEWS and ORGAN & BONGOS
In hindsight, there was nothing anybody could do about it as the blooming resurgence of zines and this retro revival were bound to crash into each other; other than join in on this messy luau and put out a lounge/space age title of your own....and many did.....and many of them sucked.....badly. When I got caught up with this retro deal, I ordered a few related zines and, man, did I pay the price, more than just the cover price. Well, what the hell was I expecting?! For every cultural discovery there's going to be some rug burns from those jumping on the bandwagon.
Fortunately, there were a selected few that didn't jump on that wagon for its own sake. They were in it for its aesthetics and history. In most cases, it was an act of social and cultural exploration and preservation. On top of this heap were Tiki News and Organs & Bongos.
Organ & Bongos is an interesting case; it had many of the marks of a 'bandwagon' publication with its scene reports from LA, NYC, San Francisco, etc, large helpings of cocktail recipes, records reviews from its home base of Seattle, Washington. However, there was some serious fun underneath. In the issues I have and read, there's a serial travelogue of a couple of readers taking a trip through Cuba and what's left of their old pre-Castro culture, surviving Burning Man, some interesting fiction and they even hacked up the lounge band The Wonderful World Of Joey Schee, which was followed in the next issue with an constructive interview with the same guy! Each issue also has a large share of funny fake ads for satirical lounge brands like Barfly Barbie and Mean Spirited Cigarettes ('NOW More Saltpeter Added!!';). Another plus is that their page layout is not rushed and clustered, much like the zine itself.
Another branch of this retro invasion was the American Polynesian/Tiki revival and nobody covered the bases like Tiki News. The pages might be cluttered, but the enthusiasm and unearthed history and happenings just budges out of their digest-size pages. Of particular favorite were pictures of readers urban archaeology looking for forgotten Tikis in their own backyard. I did my share of such searching before I discovered this title, so you can guess what a revelation this caused. I wasn't the only Tiki head taking pictures of these wooden former-gods!
ABOVE: Like any publication worth it's weight of its subject matter, both titles have their own Manifesto and here's one from each of them!
Since we're going all retro here, I might a well mention Kiss My Pineapple, a zine put out by a fun ukulele duo, Pineapple Princess. This action pack title was crammed with all things American Polynesian, but the primarily focus was on the Ukulele; the instrument, the music and the people who made them popular like Tiny Tim, Don Ho and Annette Funicello.'Who are these Princesses?', you might ask. Well, this piece might help with your answer....
P. S.: Before we leave this chapter, the following is a page announcing the sad closure of Kelbo's tiki restaurant. I note this as just a month before I moved within blocks of the fine establishment, it close its door and changed management and was turned into a strip club with a salad bar. THIS didn't help my mood ANY!!