Buddy’s great great grandpappy was a nefarious pirate, a total bad guy.
Well, ok, maybe not. To be honest, Buddy is not sure. He likes to make up odious stories to add some dark overtones to the old, torn picture of his great great grandfather, which is now prominently hung at the Orr Oasis, his and Jennifer’s home bar in Las Vegas.
The old photograph of great great grandpappy was nearly destroyed. When Buddy’s father passed, he displayed the portrait on the wall of his tattoo shop. Buddy liked the frame, but planned to rip out the picture. A week or so before he planned the rehab, Buddy was tattooing one his family members who casually mentioned that the portrait was Buddy’s distant grandfather. With that revelation, Buddy changed course, restored the picture, and brought it back home. Now the photograph gives him the liberty to spin captivating yarns in his dark oasis.
The Orr Oasis is layered with tikis, collectibles, lamps, and ephemera. Below grandpappy’s portrait sit jars of taxidermy oddities including a monkey skull with a headdress from the Philippines and a baby crocodile. Jennifer made it clear that these are not her favorite items. Instead, Jennifer’s prize possession is the lamp she crafted from Frankie’s swizzles. Since she, Buddy, and their friends frequent Frankie’s Tiki Room (a beloved and established dive tiki bar in Vegas), she has collected gallons of swizzle sticks. Inspired by a lamp she saw at Frankie’s, she created a bamboo frame, organized the swizzles like spears in a pattern, installed a light, and it’s now a cool feature for the Oasis.
As we talked, I realized that my favorite creation was the shadow box bar that Buddy and Jennifer have built. At one point, Buddy was forced to move his tattoo shop. As the construction crew began the demo of his old location, they saved his full plate glass door, which had been hand-painted with the shop name, telephone, and the messages “Walk-Ins Welcome” and “No Drunks or Riff Raff” (all quite appropriate for a tiki bar as well). That glass door became the bar top. Buddy built the base using crates filled with skulls and chains, then created a shadow box to sit underneath the glass bar top where he and Jennifer display treasures from their Hawaiian honeymoon, relics from the Riviera Hotel (long since gone), Hamm’s napkins from the Vietnam era, and other exotic oddities. Above the bar, Buddy has cleverly covered a television with a chart map in case he and Jenn want to hang out and watch a movie.
Buddy is now one of the most well-known tiki tattoo artists in the country. For the past six years, people have come from all over the country to get tiki-inspired work done from him and his entire crew of artists. He’s even published “Tiki Tattoo Designs” – a book filled with of his designs to inspire other tattoo artists across the world. There’s even a page of tattoo designs dedicated to Frankie’s Tiki Room – the bar that inspired it all for Jennifer and him.
So, there you have it. A nefarious grandpappy pirate’s prodigy is a tiki tattoo artist living in Las Vegas. The tale seems totally plausible to me.