The Bum is generally more interested in bars than barbells, but he will concede that there are times when weightlifting has merit. One of those times is when you pick up Tiki Modern And The Wild World Of Witco. We recommend donning a back brace first, as this coffee table book weighs more than some coffee tables. But dead weight it is not. Sven Kirsten’s new tome is heavy with historical insight and vintage color photos; these images, many never before published, resurrect a lost world of middle-class suburban exotica that actually makes one pine for the 1950s. Recent retro nostalgia-mongering to the contrary, this was not a decade most people enjoyed living through (uptight white male Ivy Leaguers excepted), which is precisely the reason exotica thrived back then. What better way to avoid facing atomic annihilation, unplanned parenthood, and stifling political and cultural mores than knocking back a Diki Diki in your basement Tiki bar?
Tiki Modern traces the primitive art trend in home-decor from its roots in 1920s Europe to its full flowering in the Eisenhower era. In the words of Sven himself, the book “shows how Tiki was an expression of this ‘pop primitivism,’ perfectly manifested in the home bars and living room sets of Witco International, the company that outfitted Elvis Presley’s Jungle Room and Hugh Hefner’s Playboy pool.”
We couldn’t put the book down … but eventually our arms got tired and we had to. Who knew exercise could be this fun?