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Plastic Paradise: A Swingin' Trip Through America's Polynesian Obsession Previous Broadcasts

KQED Plus: Mon, Aug 14, 2017 -- 3:00 PM

In the 1940s and '50s, the return of American GIs from the Pacific and the runaway success of James Michner's Pulitzer-winning Tales of the South Pacific (adapted into the famous musical) created a craze for all things Polynesian. This 'Tiki' culture - so named after the large, wooden sculptures popular throughout Polynesia - included candy-colored, rum-infused cocktails with names like the Shrunken Skull and the Deep Sea Diver, crazy Hawaiian shirts, exotic instrumental music fused with space-age sounds, and a nonstop party scene inhabited by self-styled nonconformists and swingers.
Today, the spirit of Tiki endures among a new generation of Polynesian pop adherents, including painter Tiki Tom, musicians King Kukulele and the Haole Cats, cocktail anthropologist Jeff "Beachbum" Berry, and Tiki historian Sven Kirsten. This program explores this fascinating, little known, and surprisingly enduring subculture, culminating with a visit to the annual Hukilau celebration, a gathering of Tiki enthusiasts from around the country held every June at Fort Lauderdale's famed Mai-Kai Restaurant, itself one of the last great holdovers from Tiki's golden age - waterfalls, Polynesian floor show, and all.

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    • Audio Issue KQED DT 9.1 /25.1

      UPDATE: Audio has been restored, please report any issues!  If you?re still experiencing audio issues, you may need to rescan your television. Visit kqed.org/54move to learn how. Thank you for your patience while we resolve the issue!

    • KQED will no longer broadcast the KQEH signal from Monument Peak Tower effective 1/17/2018

      KQED will be removing its over-the-air television signal from the Monument Peak Tower in the San Jose area on January 17, 2018 (Note: this maintenance was previously scheduled for December 15, 2017). KQED will now broadcast our full suite of channels (KQED 9, KQED Plus, KQED World and PBS Kids) on Channel 9 and 54 […]

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      KQED will no longer offer the KQED Life channel beginning Friday, December 15. Several of the most popular exercise, cooking and lifestyle programs exclusive to KQED Life will now be scheduled on KQED Plus and KQED 9, where they can be experienced by more viewers. View/Download Schedule

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