'Yesterday's Future, Today'

This year's 'Tiki Oasis' blends Polynesian culture with the Space Age for sci-fi theme
Tiki Oasis
The upcoming 'Tiki Oasis' event is going into orbit—with 'Advanced Bartending Techniques for the Atomic Age,' 'Surf Guitars from Outer Space,'
a 'Hula Hoop Symposium,' and lots more. Photo: Scott Shaw (Vixen Photography)
Tiki Oasis
Tiki Oasis
Penny Starr: "delightful sexpot" steers her seminar to outer space.

If you're thinking Tiki Oasis is all about luxuriating around the pool with a tropical drink in one hand and a well-coifed gal or guy in the other, then you're only half right.

The annual San Diego event, which runs this year from August 13 to 16 and attracts rum addicts from several continents, is actually—ya know—educational.

Not only can attendees at Tiki Oasis enjoy the 'Miss Tiki Oasis Pin-Up Pageant,' a vintage car show, a 'beauty bungalow,' the 'DJ's of Luxuria Music,' and more pool parties than you'll have swimsuits for—they can also get serious by attending a series of symposia.

While most people attend Tiki Oasis because of the booze and the girls, says Penny Starr, Jr., who the LA Weekly has called a "delightful sexpot," they can also learn something while there.

"This is bringing it up a level," she says. "This year I'm teaching the history of science fiction costumes because the theme this year [of Tiki Oasis] is science fiction." The theme is 'Yesterday's Future, Today.' Producers of the event are Otto and Baby Doe von Stroheim.

Other seminars on the bill include 'Cocktail: History of Rum,' an obvious choice; 'Advanced Bartending Techniques for the Atomic Age,' certainly very useful; 'Space Age Pin-Up Hair'; 'Surf Guitars from Outer Space'; and a presentation by Szandora, 'Hula Hoop Symposium.'

Penny Starr, Jr., who runs the famed burlesque show Victory Variety Hour, is a costume designer for film and TV. In real life she's known as Augusta Avallone. "My friends say I am very cinematic," she says. And she'll be going way back into the annals of science fiction, way beyond 'Star Trek.'

"The sci-fi films of the '30s had the greatest costumes, the shoulder pads, the boots," Penny says, mentioning 'The Shape of Things to Come.' "Everything is very metallic."

She also appreciates some of the cool and stylish mid-1960s flicks like 'The 10th Victim,' with Marcello Mastroianni all in black; and 'Barbarella,' with Jane Fonda in silvery suits, deep cleavage, and plastic bustiers.

Penny notes that, when it comes to fashion at least, science fiction failed to predict the future. "According to science fiction films, we should all be in lame jumpsuits now."

"Fashion today, we can pull from everything," she says. "There isn't a norm anymore. I can show up and wear anything I want and nobody says 'that's weird.'" Especially at Tiki Oasis.

"I love it," she says of Tiki Oasis, "because everybody does dress it up, and all the girls have their hair done, all the men are nicely presented. In the pool we all do what we call the debutante swim. We swim from the neck down. You don't get your hair wet."

For more on this year's edition of Tiki Oasis, click here.

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