Lani Ramos, 43
Michigan Avenue and Adams Street
Is that a hula girl tattoo on your ankle?
Yeah. I was a hula dancer growing up in Hawaii. After I graduated from the School of the Art Institute, I came back to Nashville, where I live now, and ran into a bunch of people from Hawaii. One of them told me they were starting a hula troop—a hula halau is what they’re called—and I joined. I went back to hula dancing for five or six years until I had my baby and my knees started to give out; I couldn’t hold the weight any longer. The grass skirts get really heavy.
Does your house look like a tiki hut?
Well, I collect tiki glasses—the old ’60s tiki mugs. I have probably about 50 of them that I found in thrift stores in Hawaii over the last couple decades. I have them on shelves all the way around my kitchen. Some of them are from the old-school hotels and they have names of performers—like one says the al harrington show on the back of it. They’re my pride and joy.
Do you let anyone drink out of them?
I bring them down for Christmas parties, and everyone gets a tiki mug to drink out of. They’re not just for show, they’re for use, too.
Any Southern-style decorations back home in Nashville?
A longhorn cow skull hanging on the living-room wall. It was given to my family when I was in the third grade. Some family friends were riding motorcycles through the Mojave when they found it. It really decomposed in the desert. It still has its teeth. I didn’t think it was possible to have a gothic four-year-old, but I do. My daughter is really intrigued by the thing.