Friday, August 08, 2008

A Celebration of Tiki in Glendale

Maria's pal Jamile tipped us off to the opening night party for "In Search of Tiki," the new exhibit that officially opens today at the Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale.

First, a quick note about the Forest Lawn Museum. It's truly one of the best-kept secret attractions in Glendale. Get over the idea that it's a museum within a cemetery -- Glendale's Forest Lawn is a beautiful, well-maintained site (with countless statues, monuments and chapels), even if you have no particular reason to visit. Perched high above the city, the museum boasts incredible views -- and its entrance is always free. The permanent collection is interesting enough, but the museum's rotating exhibitions are almost always unique and well-curated.

That brings us to "In Search of Tiki." The exhibit offers a mix of history and kitsch, as the museum notes:

The Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale presents "In Search of Tiki," featuring a fascinating contrast between the traditional Oceanic art made by the native peoples of the Pacific Islands and the entire gamut of second-generation Pan-Polynesian artifacts that embellished restaurants and bars after World War II. The exhibit will also include inventive interpretations by a new group of artists who are stretching the genre.

Embodying the Forest Lawn Museum’s goal to enrich, inspire, and educate the community, "In Search of Tiki" includes examples of traditional Oceanic Tikis, Tiki Americana, and the work of contemporary Tiki artists who are pushing the boundaries of Tiki Style, now an internationally and commercially recognized art movement. Serving as guest curators for "In Search of Tiki," are authors Douglas Nason and Jeff Fox.

The opening party took place Thursday night. Among the notables in attendance: Big tiki fan and artist Shag (above, signing a book for someone).

Above, the famed Forest Lawn cross -- visible for miles around -- shines above the Tiki party. It's not every day a rockin' surf band performs at the cemetery.

Fans of fez enjoy the beverages and the pupus -- pork ribs, Vietnamese rolls and chicken won tons -- as the sun sets behind them.

The exhibit is definitely kid-friendly. We brought along the Kid Formerly Known as Blogger Toddler, who got a kick out of the tikis. Plus, above, an actual bird (well, this one was an "alternate") from the Disneyland "Enchanted Tiki Room."

Behold, the lights of Glendale.

"In Search of Tiki" continues through Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009. The Forest Lawn Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Forest Lawn-Glendale is located at 1712 S. Glendale Ave.

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