Going once, going twice, going three times...

Sold to the man in the Hawaiian shirt!




: : The tip off came very early on a Saturday morning, a phone-call waking me out of my deep slumber. It was my crazy, auction-going friend Michel: “Hey Tiki-Man!

I’ve got some news for you!”

“What? What time is it?”

“Oh, you’re still sleeping...”

“I went to bed really, really, really late.”

“Well... I have some news... There’s an auction on Thursday...”

“Yeah, so?”

“It’s an auction for you... Tiki Doré...”

“What?” : :

: : He began reading me the ad he’d seen in the newspaper... “Polynesian and Asian wall decorations, God Lono figurine, dragon mask, totem, high rattan butterfly chairs...” : :

: : Oh my God! It sounded like I’d hit the jackpot! But at the same time, I was suddenly hit with the sad realization that we’d lost one of the only two remaining Tiki rooms on the island of Montreal. Sure, Tiki Doré was not the best of the two (in fact, it’s food and drinks were pretty terrible, as you can read here), but it did bill itself as a Polynesian/Chinese restaurant and it did contain all the required tiki-joint elements: a lot of bamboo, a thatched ceiling (across the entire restaurant interior!), rattan chairs, tikis, masks, jungle drums, spears, blowfish and shell lamps... you get the idea. It was sad to hear that the place was gone but the Tiki Doré was not somewhere we’d go any more than once a year... and then, only to see if things had improved. Anyway, here was a chance to score some choice tiki decor. : :



: : My auction experience had thus far been limited to spending way too much money on Wall of Voodoo CDs at E-bay. But I told myself that this was important. I’d be representing The Montreal Tiki Appreciation Society; our main mission was to preserve anything tiki-related in Montreal. I’d have to go about this in the right way. The inspection of the items for sale was set for Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. I took an extra long lunch and made the drive from downtown all the way out east to check out the goods. : :

: : It was strange walking in to the Tiki Doré and having the run of the place, being able to look into every nook and cranny, walk into the kitchen, touch anything that was sitting around. I registered my name with the woman sitting at a desk that had been set up at the front of the restaurant. I was given a card with the number 111 on it; this is what would have to be held up when bidding on items during the auction. Once I was registered and provided with a list of each of the items up for auction, I began to take a look around, avoiding all the non-tiki items and basic restaurant equipment. There was a lot of good stuff in there and it was easy for me to fool myself into thinking I could get my hands on all of it. “Who the hell else is gonna want this stuff? I’ll get it all for a song!” The list was quite long: green wall tiles with bamboo frames, tiki mugs, small tiki sculptures, a God Lono statue, a 4 foot tall tiki, a jungle drum, a bamboo screen, tiki masks, several lamps... But while my eyes were bugging out at all the great stuff within my grasp, I began to foresee a few problems. : :

: : First of all, there was going to be more competition than I thought. There were only a few people checking out the merchandise but several of them were older Oriental businessman-types. I guessed that at least some of these people would want to acquire decor for use in their own Chinese restaurants. Second, the most interesting part of the decor, that is, the walls and ceilings, would be impossible to buy. Remember, at an auction, when you buy something that is part of the actual building, you are responsible for taking it down and carting it off somehow. I asked about my chances of buying at least a small part of the great thatched ceiling and, to my amazement, they hadn’t even considered auctioning it off until these two guys came in wanting to buy it for use in their disco. So the walls and ceilings were divided up into 5 separate lots. How was I supposed to dismantle, carry, and re-install 600 square feet of grass and bamboo ceiling? I realized that the ceiling would probably be impossible to reassemble once it was taken apart; it would just end up looking like a pile of old dried up grass. The last, and most serious, problem with the Tiki Doré auction was that, in order to speed up the process, the auctioneers had divided up the merchandise into lots comprised of several items each. What this meant is that if you were interested in one particular lamp that was part of a lot made up of 10 lamps, you’d have to bid on the entire lot. And, of course, if you were bidding 10 dollars for that lot, it meant that you would be paying 10 dollars for each item in the lot. So that one lamp was going to cost you 100 bucks because you’d be buying 9 other lamps you didn’t want along with it. Plus there was a 10% auctioneer’s fee... plus the obligatory sales taxes. Despite the apparent difficulties it seemed I would encounter getting my paws on the good stuff, I wasn’t going to give up that easily. : :



: : An auction is an all day affair. I needed someone who had a whole day to blow hanging around the Tiki Doré bidding for me. My dad, recently retired, seemed like the perfect candidate; in fact, he’d probably find the experience to be quite exciting. I briefed him on the items that interested me the most. My mom also got in on the act and, armed with a cell phone to keep me posted, decided to go along with him. : :

: : The first call came at about 10:30 a.m., an hour after the auction had started: “Its crazy in here! Stuff is going fast! We got you some of those green wall tiles... 5 bucks each. We’ve got a little while now before they get to the other stuff... but people are bidding like crazy!” Uh-oh. Michel, the guy who gave me the tip on the auction, never warned me that people bid high, even for stuff – like old pots and pans – that is basically just junk (Days later, Michel did recount his experience at a computer equipment auction where people bid on used equipment and ended up paying more than it was worth new!). But I was still hopeful. The green tiles were mine, and there was more to come... : :

: : The next call brought about some bad news: the God Lono statue and the big tiki totem were gone. A fierce bidding war went on between a woman who wanted the God Lono for her apartment and some guy who wanted it for his Thai restaurant in the gay village (God Lono was anatomically correct, after all). Lono’s selling price went up to $250.00, and the giant tiki went for about the same. I was beginning to get discouraged. : :

: : Although there were a lot of lamps for sale, I wasn’t really interested since the number in each lot was too high, making the price of the lamps too high for my budget; and besides, I already have a nice selection of tiki bar lamps. I was, however, very interested in a lot made up of four amazing tiki masks. They weren’t all that big, so I didn’t think the bidding would get so high. More bad news... my dad called to say that he had started bidding on the masks but had to give up because it was getting ridiculous. Again, the problem was the number of items in the lot. “I’m not even interested in this stuff but those were beautiful masks!” said my dad. “I would have even bought one for myself at 65 bucks, but you had to take all four... that’s $260!” A few other items, like a huge jungle drum, were lost to people bidding in groups of three or four. And I guess that was the trick to the whole thing: you have to get together with a few people in order to bid high and then split up the items in the lot. : :

: : The day began to wind down and, over the course of several more phone calls, I learned that I was not having much luck at all. However, in addition to the great tiles, I did end up with a pile of miscellaneous stuff, including 4 large straw mats, a few baskets, and a hell of a lot of bamboo (some of which I will use to finish off the tiki bar I’m building – more on that in the next issue – and some of which I’ll use as curtain rods). My dad, pissed off at having lost a few of the choice items, ripped off a couple of menus on the way out... : :



: : The auction was over. The Tiki Doré was gone for good. I drove by at night to pay my respects and tip my hat at the big neon palm tree sign in front of the restaurant. On Saturday morning, Betty and me, feeling greedy, decided to drive by the Tiki Doré to see if we could make off with any remaining stuff. People were carting out the things they’d bought at the auction two days earlier. The place was now gutted, except for the thatched ceiling, which was still intact. I guess I was right; there was no way anyone could take it apart with completely destroying it. With nothing else worthwhile left in the place besides that beautiful ceiling, Betty ripped off one last menu and we made our way out the door... : :

John Trivisonno © 2000


: : Dan Laxer’s review of the Tiki Doré appeared in Mai Tai #2. Here’s what Dan had to say upon hearing about the restaurant’s closing: : :

: : “Too bad about the Tiki Doré. I hope my review didn't have anything to do with it. Or could it have been the food? : :

: : There's an aspect of sadness to all forms of nostalgia, which is what Tiki was all about originally, anyway, after the war. And now, half a century later, it's taken on almost pathetic proportions. Tiki restaurants languish in forgotten parts of town, like senior citizens in nursing homes, and devotees make it out when they find the time which, as the Hawaii Kai lounge, and now Tiki Doré can attest to, is not nearly often enough. And so... they die alone, their old war wounds stripped bare like the rotting layer of old bamboo totems, grass skirts thinning like male-pattern baldness... Our war vets die off, with no one left interested in their stories. Tiki restaurants quietly leave the stage, no one left to tell their tales... or to eat their frozen egg rolls.... except the Montreal Tiki Appreciation Society.” : :

Dan Laxer © 2000

Tiki Doré

6976 Sherbrooke East


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