Editorials appeared in the first 7 of Mai Tai’s 14 issues...

They are included here for purely historical interest...


: : Polynesian pop… Tiki art… neo-Polynesian… the Hawaiian/South Pacific/Exotica motif used in bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and even hotels and motels was a trend that was started in the US in the late 1940’s (at such establishments as Don the Beachcomber and Vic Bergeron’s chain of famous Trader Vic’s restaurants/clubs) and had pretty much disappeared by the mid-1970’s. : :

: : So, why a Tiki Appreciation Society now, so many years after the trend has died out, and in a part of the world that was never known for its abundance of Polynesian-themed businesses? Well, besides the fact that we think Tikis are oh-so-cool, we also feel that the whole idea behind the neo-Polynesian trend had something to do with trying to create an ideal, exotic environment… not just creating places to “go” but perfect places that can make you feel like you’ve been transported further than you’ve actually travelled to get there... And where could this be more essential than in a city where the climate is far from ideal for a good part of the year? : :

: : My own fascination with all-things-Tiki began early on in life… I have fond memories of many family vacations to Miami Beach and stays at the Hawaiian Isle Hotel where, even at a young age, I could appreciate the poolside shows made up of people in “native” costumes, grass skirts and the like, dancing around torches, doing the limbo, and beating on drums… : :

: : Another great early-1970’s memory is of dinner at the Kon Tiki Restaurant in the Sheraton – Mt. Royal Hotel in Montreal (where Les Cours Mont Royal stands today). Thinking back on it, I don’t believe I’ve seen a better Tiki bar or restaurant ever since. What a thrill to walk through what seemed like a dark jungle just to get to your table! And, although as a kid I couldn’t consume any of the fancy drinks (like that huge volcano in a glass, which was brought to your table with a cool mist pouring over the rim), I did get to eat ice cream served in a half coconut shell… : :

: : Although the fascination with Polynesian Pop stayed with me through the years, I never acted on it (aside from digging up a couple of my father’s old Mauna Loa Islanders LPs and buying some Martin Denny and Les Baxter CDs). However, this year, I’ve been lucky enough to meet a few like-minded individuals who share my fascination with Polynesian Pop… and so The Montreal Tiki Appreciation Society was born. Our mission: to meet once a month in a Tiki bar or Polynesian restaurant in an effort to do our part in preserving whatever neo-Polynesian elements we can find in a city like Montreal (and its surrounding areas). This has proven to be more difficult than expected… out of six potential spots to visit on our initial list, one had closed down (the Tiki Sun Polynesien restaurant in Longueuil), one turned out to be a fast-food counter in an upscale suburban shopping mall, and one—believe it or not—called the Restaurant Tiki, is a hot dog stand in the city’s north end! Fortunately, we were able to find a few places worth visiting and you can find reviews and accounts of our experiences on the following pages. There are also a few rumours we’ve come across that deserve to be checked out and we will be writing about these in the future. : :

: : Of course, through the Mai Tai newsletter, we hope to hear from a few others who share our enthusiasm and can possibly provide a few tips on other nearby places to visit. Look for contact numbers elsewhere in this newsletter. : :

: : This issue of the Mai Tai features a few pages from old Montreal Kon Tiki menus… we hope they bring back a few memories or at least provide you with a kick (get a load of the prices!). You’ll also find a few interesting vintage matchbook covers I recently dug up… : :


: : What? Another issue of Mai Tai? As Fish Piss Magazine said of our first issue: “Hula thunk it?” : :

: : Yeah, who would have thought that there’d be more Tiki stuff to write about in Montreal... the Montreal Tiki Appreciation Society dug deep and has come up with tons o’ Tiki tidbits for all you neo-Polynesiacs! More restaurant news (including an article about the best place, I think, we’ve found so far, the great Aloha in St-Jérome), news about the loss of the classic Hawaii Kai Lounge on Décarie (and Tiki Society efforts to preserve some of its decor), and a wealth of other info, along with vintage images, exotic drink recipes, and other fun stuff for you to check out. : :

: : Since the last issue of Mai Tai a few months ago, there has been quite a bit of media interest in the Montreal Tiki Appreciation Society. Besides the above-mentioned review of Mai Tai in Fish Piss, a full page article devoted to the M.T.A.S. appeared in the Montreal Mirror (writer Rupert Bottenberg has since become a full-fledged Society member and can always be counted on to show up for drinks wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt), National Public Radio (in the United States!) expressed interest in covering some of the Society’s activities, and we were recently mentioned in an extensive article on the Montreal Tiki scene in La Presse (although the journalist, clearly inspired by Mai Tai, neglected to put in M.T.A.S. contact info). Also, along with Society member Dave LeBlanc, I wrote an article about the M.T.A.S. for Food & Leisure Magazine in Ottawa. Not bad for a small, rather unorganized bunch of Tiki freaks, eh? : :

: : Many people who picked up Mai Tai have also asked us how to go about joining the Society. I wish I had an answer but we still haven’t quite figured that out yet. Your interest at least shows us that there are others out there who are as turned on by all this Tiki stuff as we are. As I explain to everyone who asks, we are a very loosely organized group of friends who simply try to get together on a monthly basis to soak up some exotic atmosphere in a Tiki bar or restaurant. We’ve been more successful than we expected in our search for places to hang out and in digging up vintage Tiki artifacts like mugs, menus, matchbook covers, LPs, and lamps. However, we don’t know what we could offer to others besides the information we bring to you through Mai Tai and the pleasure of our company. Of course, we are open to suggestions and I’d like to encourage you all to contact us with your ideas (contact numbers are listed at the end of the magazine). One goal that I’ve had sitting in the back of my mind is to bring together all interested Tiki fans in the Montreal area for a mega Tiki party at some point... a big, exotic blowout could be held in a Tiki bar where a band would play Martin Denny hits and everyone could hang around in flowered shirts, sucking on straws sticking out of coconuts... I guess that the best suggestion I could make for the time being is for you to at least get up and get out there! Check out the places you read about in Mai Tai and let us know what you think. Maybe then we’ll get an idea about how to go about organizing a get-together or something... : :

: : Now, on with the luau... mix up a couple of MarTikis, open up a can of sliced pineapple, slip Les Baxter into the cd spinner, and take in all the latest Tiki-news we’ve got for you... : :


: : Waikiki when you can Pu-Pu? : :

: : The silliest line we came up with while sipping coconut rum late at night on the balcony of the Kona Kai Motel. It was time for some silly summer Tiki fun... and the Montreal Tiki Appreciation Society was indulging... : :

: : Our summer of Tiki began in mid-June with weekly instalments of an event dubbed Mai Tai Monday at Nantha’s Kitchen on Duluth Street right here in Montreal. DJ Rupert Bottenberg spun exotica tunes for the supper crowd at this Malaysian eatery. With a couple of Tiki heads on each side of the CD players, a terrace decked out with bamboo torches and patio lanterns, and a bartender equipped with the necessary ingredients for making Mai Tais and Funky Monkeys (the house speciality drink), the mood was set. : :

: : The start of Mai Tai Mondays coincided with my winding up with a windfall of old Hawaiian records. BetTiki and myself dug up a bunch at second-hand stores around town, and Fred and Dave brought me back a few from far off Las Vegas, NV. So, of course, this issue features articles about Tiki music, both old and new... : :

: : The highlight of the summer (so far) turned out to be our excursion to the Wildwoods, in New Jersey. For me, it was a return after a twenty-year absence; for others, it was a first time trip. Our intention was to go spend some down time at the beach and check out the town’s reportedly well-preserved 1950’s and 60’s architecture... but more than this, the town turned out to be a paradise for Tiki freaks! We chose to stay at the Kona Kai Motel, since their brochure promised “A touch of Polynesia on the Jersey shore” but we came across at least 10 other Tiki establishments (mostly motels but also a pancake house/miniature golf course!)... The complete scoop on the Wildwoods (with pictures) can be found in the pages that follow... : :

: : As an added bonus, the drive down to New Jersey also gave us the opportunity to stop and discover a couple of other extraordinary Tiki joints in the New York City area and the Adirondak region... Yes, you’ll get the scoop on those too. : :

: : The summer winds down as I write this but M.T.A.S. activities just keep going strong. All our Tiki travelling this summer has got me thinking that I like to take the M.T.A.S. to the next level... the global level! We begin by bringing two Toronto correspondents into the fold (core-member Dave LeBlanc has re-located to Toronto but continues to make his way to Montreal for important activities and to contribute to Mai Tai, and another fine Toronto writer, Paul Corupe, also contributed to this issue). News of M.T.A.S. activities has also made it to Europe, resulting in some German Tiki freaks recently visiting with the M.T.A.S. : :

: : Worldwide activity... perhaps the M.T.A.S. is no longer an appropriate moniker...? While we will continue to concentrate on Tiki events and happenings here in the Montreal area (I am convinced that there is more to dig up!), I like the idea of getting news from abroad when I can’t get out there myself. : :

: : Hope you can squeeze at least a couple more luaus into your summer... and remember, think global! : :


: : World Wide Tiki : :

: : Well, in our last issue, I said we’d like to go global, and I guess we did to a certain extent. Since my last editorial, in which I made my pledge to broaden Mai Tai’s horizons, requests for copies of the newsletter (dare I call it a magazine?) have been pouring in from far away places such as Germany, California, Virginia, Ohio, Ontario... : :

: : Of course, there are others out there besides Montreal Tiki Appreciation Society members who are responsible for spreading the word about Mai Tai, and they deserve some thanks. First off, thanks to Otto von Stroheim at Tiki News for reviewing our Mai Tai in his magazine out there on the Left Coast of the U.S. And thanks also go out to James Teitelbaum in Chicago, he of the Tiki Bar Review Pages website, who has also given us a few plugs and some space on his pages. By the way, my better half (Betty) and myself had the great pleasure of meeting up with James in Montreal not too long ago while he was up here on tour with the Royal Crowne Review. James had an evening free in Montreal, so, naturally, we went to the Jardin Tiki (almost deserted on a Monday evening) and enjoyed the buffet and a few Mai Tais. I tried to take James to another spot he’d missed last time he was up here, the Tiki Doré, which unfortunately was closed on Mondays. : :

: : This brings me to a bit of bad news for the Tiki scene in Montreal... The Tiki Doré has unfortunately closed its doors for good (you can read all about it in this issue). Yes, the east-est of the east-end Tiki eateries has gone the way of too many other Montreal Tiki joints, like the Kon Tiki, the Hawaii Kai, and the Tiki Sun Polynesian. Tiki Doré’s food and drinks were never up to par with the rest but it still had atmosphere and was loaded with decor, from totems to masks, drums to spears, and, of course, bamboo as far as the eye could see. I had first gone to Tiki Doré when I was sixteen years old, to celebrate the birthday of a high-school friend. The last time I was there was with the Tiki Appreciation Society... there weren’t many other people in the place besides the 12 of us. We pretended it was Dave LeBlanc’s birthday, just so we’d get the sliced-pineapple-with-candles-and-sparklers treatment... they were out of pineapples and the busboy had to run out and buy one. A Tiki joint without pineapples... Oh well, I guess that should have been a sign that the Tiki Doré wouldn’t be around much longer. With the Tiki Doré’s closing, the Jardin Tiki is the only Tiki restaurant left on the island of Montreal. Let’s not lose this one folks! The loss of the Tiki Doré now also makes “going global” a necessity. I can’t stress this enough (even though I’ve said it many times now): get out there to the other Tiki restaurants on the outskirts of the city (Tahiti in Chateauguay, Luau in Ste-Adèle, Aloha in St-Jerome). Travel out a little further (I’ve heard rumours about places in Kitchener). And now that you people from far and wide have started reading Mai Tai (see the inside back cover to read how you can get Mai Tai if you’re from outside of Montreal), write to us to let us know about all things Tiki where you are... we’ll make sure to tell the world. : :


: : Urban archaeology… : :

: : Since early this spring, MTAS members have been busy digging around for undiscovered Tiki bars, and the search has continued throughout the summer. Dave’s been looking in Kitchener and Waterloo. Fred drove out to Trois-Rivières. As for me, I didn’t have a chance for much getting out there this summer (read on to see what’s kept me busy). My one bit of archaeology was a trip up to Luau in Ste-Adèle with the rest of the gang. We worked together to review this place and we share our thoughts about Luau (and our pictures) with you in this issue of Mai Tai… : :

: : Construction : :

: : Since mid-June, I’ve been busy with a crazy move into a new home (furniture in storage, place still under construction when we moved in… When will we stop feeling like we can only move on July 1st here in Montreal?). As I mentioned above, this kind of put a damper on the amount of time I spent on Tiki-related activities over the early summer months. But it did finally allow me to take some time and properly set up the Tiki bar, which I’d been working on for awhile. In this issue’s centre spread, I give you the scoop on how, with a little luck, you can affordably build your own home bar… : :

: : Collaboration : :

: : About 500 copies of the last issue of Mai Tai went out to Tiki News subscribers (a little bonus for them, and a way for us to introduce ourselves to some new Tiki fans). I hope we can do this again sometime in the future. If you find a Tiki News postcard in the magazine you currently have in your hands, please check out their website or drop them a line or pick up an issue… The MTAS made it into the papers a couple more times recently: again in the Mirror (sort of an update to the feature they ran last year) and in The Globe and Mail (we got a small plug in an extensive review/article about the Savage City 2000 show… a little thank you for having provided the G&M with the names and phone numbers of virtually every Tiki bar in the province of Quebec)… A few copies of Mai Tai also made it to Savage City at Toronto’s Swizzle Gallery (and we’ve got our own review of the show in this issue)… And finally, thanks to those people who keep sending us stuff, some of which made it into this issue’s Bamboo Bits on the back page… : :


: : Rant and Rave! : :

: : Hey! We’re back! Sorry to have been away for so long but things have been a bit of a mess... first the big move to a new place (told you about that in the last issue), then another hellish year at work (second crazy year in a row for various reasons)... So, I’m going to use this editorial to do some stress-relieving ranting, if that’s all right with you. : :

: : First, Urban Outfitters. We had a few problems distributing the last Mai Tai due to our ex-friends at U.O. Formerly one of our best points of distribution (they’d usually be out of copies within two days after I dropped them off), U.O. no longer allows material such as Mai Tai or promotional leaflets to be distributed at their store... and this after having built special receptacles to hold flyers and other info of this type by the store’s front door. A sales clerk gave me the bad news the last time I tried to drop off a pile of copies of Issue 5. Thanks a lot… thanks a whole lot, U.O. Did you people ever stop and think that our writings about the Tiki lifestyle may have accounted for at least part of the public’s interest in your overpriced Tiki mugs, bamboo placemats, and Japanese paper lanterns? : :

: : Next, plagiarizers. Some people simply do not understand the meaning of ©. Back in 1994, I published a book titled The Official St. Leonard Dictionary. It is copyrighted. It has an ISBN number. I still occasionally print and sell copies. Therefore, it is illegal for someone to copy the content of the book and create a website based on it! Failing to ask my permission or give me credit for the work and claiming the work is your own is a reprehensible act. Claiming you didn’t know of the book’s existence does not absolve you of your crime, it just makes you come across as being too stupid to understand the seriousness of your actions. You know who you are... (and, by the way, thanks a whole lot to a certain newspaper columnist in the city’s English language daily for keeping up the fight for justice... in case it didn’t come through clear enough between the lines, there’s sarcasm between these here parentheses folks!). : :

: : There, I’m feeling better already... better enough to start talkin’ Tiki... : :

: : Okay, this is our fusion issue. Just what are we fusing anyway? Well, we’ve managed to come up with articles that bring together Tiki and poetry, Tiki and Asian cuisine, Tiki and zen Buddhism, Tiki and the Cuban regime, Tiki and hot dog joints... all this and more in this long-overdue issue of Mai Tai. Read on! : :


: : Short and sweet... : :

: : Hi there folks. We’re glad to be back once again. And happy to say that the last issue of Mai Tai not only took off locally, as usual, but also generated a lot of interest from out of town. Not only are more and more people from all over contacting us to request issues of the newsletter but more people are contributing stuff as well... more writing, more illustrations, more Bamboo Bits! It’s great to see some new names here alongside our core group of writers. : :

: : This increased interest also means it probably won’t take as as long to get the next issue out to you (in fact, I’ve already got stuff waiting that didn’t fit into this issue). : :

: : So let’s get on with it. I don’t want to take up too much more space here except to request that you check out our contributors notes below and, in addition to reading their writing in Mai Tai, learn about what else they do and can offer you. : :

John Trivisonno © 1998-2002