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Shrunken heads bring star power to Chinatown’s Golden Tiki

Near the back of the wildly popular, tropical-themed bar the Golden Tiki—past the crowds, DJ stand and shiploads of nautical swag—is an exclusive celebrity room. It’s tiny; more of a cupboard, really. That’s fine, because every one of its superstar occupants could fit in the palm of your hand.

The Golden Tiki’s collection of celebrity “shrunken heads” (in actuality, sculptures created by Wyoming-based artist Terry Barr) is both a legit “who’s who” and “what the hell is that.” It boast Strip headliners, past and present (Carrot Top, Siegfried & Roy), rock stars (Rod Stewart, Pantera’s Vinnie Paul) and larger-than-life figures that doubtlessly helped to inspire the bar’s look and vibe (Walt Disney, John Waters). Some are Golden Tiki semi-regulars—U2 and the stars of Breaking Bad reportedly met their shrunken twins—and some are aspirational regulars, like the Golden Girls and Falkor, the Luck Dragon.

Nearly all the heads share a common expression of comic bemusement, even with mouths sewn shut. You’d probably look the same if you were a shrunken head. Maybe, with luck, someday you could be.

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