VacationFest 2006, a travel expo that showcases exotic world travel destinations, is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, February 26th, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main St., Santa Monica. Admission is $2. The expo is meant to allow travelers to interact face-to-face with a wide range of travel experts.

TIKIFEST — A special feature of the expo will be TikiFest, highlighting Polynesian culture, primitive art and exotic travel, with lectures and demonstrations by experts on the subject of tiki and the traditions of the South Pacific, that became fodder for American night clubs and pop art themes from the 1930s to 1970s.

Artists/connoisseurs on the forefront of the resurrection of tiki popularity Doug Nason, Otto von Stronheim, Bamboo Ben and “Crazy Al” Evans will be featured guests at TikiFest.

Vendors include the Venice-based Hawaiian Art House, which will be exhibiting vintage Hawaiian photography and travel art of the South Pacific.

Nason, an anthropologist and co-owner of the Copro/Nason Gallery in Culver City, will lecture and present a slide show on his upcoming book, Tiki: Anthropomorphic Icons of the Pacific, at 2 p.m. with a focus on traditional indigenous Polynesian carved tiki statues.

The slide show will include images from Nason’s travels to Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Indonesia. Through his writing and photography, Nason documents remnants of primitive art and culture of Oceania.

Nason’s segment will delve into Oceanic archaeology and migrations; the history of tiki; the meaning of tiki symbolism; and commonalities among its forms.

Nason will display images of moai stone figures of Easter Island, the ancient archaeology of the Marquesas, the coronation stones of Tahiti, Kukalimoku figures of Hawaii, Tangaroa figures of the Cook Islands, ancestral anthrozoomorphic figurines of New Guinea; Tapuanu masks of Micronesia, the Bairulchau stones of Palau and Southeast Asian and South American forms.

Nason has been responsible for books related to Tiki culture and artwork, including Night of the Tiki: The Art of Shag, Schmaltz and Selected Primitive Oceanic Carvings; Rat Fink: The Art of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and Shag, Ltd. Fine Art Limited.

Author/promoter/disc jockey Otto von Stroheim will be spinning vintage vinyl recordings of Hawaiian tunes and tropical music. Von Stroheim is the publisher of Tiki News, a periodical meant to keep enthusiasts abreast of all things tiki, and to educate people about the style’s origins.

“In its heyday, the decor used in food and music used in tiki bars was referred to as South Seas, Polynesian or Exotica and later simply as tiki,” writes von Stroheim. “Today, the umbrella term tiki is used to describe the entire gamut of Pan-Polynesian arts that were applied to those restaurants and bars from the late 1930s to the mid-1970s.”

Sculptor “Crazy Al” Evans plans to carve a wooden tiki and display his creations at the expo. Evans has been carving “Polynesian pop” tiki imagery since 1991 and he plays in a tiki-themed band called APE!

Bamboo Ben specializes in tiki design and decor and will be setting up a special tiki bar section and creating an “enchanted tiki atmosphere.”

VACATIONFEST — TravelStore has lined up approximately 100 travel companies, travel experts and cruise lines to distribute information on exotic vacation destinations around the world and ideas on ways to recharge, relax and enjoy.

TravelStore president Dan Ilves encourages travel as a fulfilling way to get a break from daily routines and to bring fresh experiences to life.

“In a world of turmoil and instability, travel can be a very positive force that brings people together and encourages the inter- mingling of cultures, and furthers mutual understanding, in addition to being a huge economic booster for many countries,” says Ilves.

VacationFest will also highlight foreign cultural traditions that can be experienced through travel. Rose Tree Cottage, a British-style tea house, will provide a sampling of British teas and delicacies in the tradition of afternoon tea time common in England.

Information, (310) 575-5540.

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