fantasy

PBS HAWAI‘I PRESENTS
The Hawaiian Room

 

The Hawaiian Room, located in the famed Lexington Hotel, was an oasis of Hawaiian culture and entertainment in the heart of New York City. Between 1937 and 1966, hundreds of dancers, singers and musicians from Hawai‘i were recruited to perform at the entertainment venue. In this documentary, filmmaker Ann Marie Kirk shares interviews with over 20 former performers who speak candidly and fondly of their experience at the historic nightclub, and the culture shock of going from Hawai‘i to New York City.

 

Upcoming documentary revisits New York’s Hawaiian Room

PBS Hawaii

 

In The Hawaiian Room, filmmaker Ann Marie Kirk interviews more than 20 performers who worked at the New York nightclub, which showcased Hawaiian entertainment for nearly 30 years.HONOLULU, HI – A documentary that will air on PBS Hawai‘i this month will take viewers back to The Hawaiian Room, an oasis in New York’s Lexington Hotel that showcased Hawaiian entertainment from 1937 through 1966. PBS Hawai‘i Presents: The Hawaiian Room makes its broadcast premiere Thursday, January 19 at 9:00 pm on PBS Hawai‘i.

 

In The Hawaiian Room, filmmaker Ann Marie Kirk interviews more than 20 performers who worked at the New York nightclub, which showcased Hawaiian entertainment for nearly 30 years. Photo: Hula Preservation Society Photo Collection

 

The tropical and glamorous ambiance and décor of The Hawaiian Room was largely informed by Hollywood’s fantasy of an island paradise. Filmmaker Ann Marie Kirk says that despite the glossy surface, the performers offered an honest representation of Hawai‘i.

 

“Many of them were trained by prominent kumu hula of the time,” Kirk says. “[Authenticity] still ran through everything that was done at the Hawaiian Room.”

 

The Hawaiian Room examines how, in the mid-20th century, the Hawaiian culture was represented to the world – a topic that remains a hot one. Kirk says Hawai‘i has moved past exaggerated representations of its host culture, but says “there’s still lots more work to do.”

 

“The authentic representation of Hawai‘i and Hawaiians can be tricky waters to navigate,” Kirk says. “It’s not a bad thing, just tricky.”

 

For this film, Kirk interviewed more than 20 former dancers, entertainers and patrons of The Hawaiian Room. She was surprised by the courage of the young performers – many of them females in their teens and early 20s – who relocated to New York from Hawai‘i. For many of them, it was their first time outside of the islands. “They had no ‘ohana in New York City,” Kirk said. “Yet, they created an ‘ohana in New York City with the Hawaiian Room.”

 

Kirk says that The Hawaiian Room is a story that “could have been easily lost.”

 

“Many people don’t know the significance of the Hawaiian Room and of the Hawaiians who performed there, and I think they should,” Kirk says. “It’s an amazing story.”

 

Download this Press Release

 

For questions regarding this press release:

Contact: Liberty Peralta

Email: lperalta@pbshawaii.org

Phone: 808.462.5030

 

PBS Hawai‘i is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization and Hawai‘i’s sole member of the trusted Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). We advance learning and discovery through storytelling that profoundly touches people’s lives. We bring the world to Hawai‘i and Hawai‘i to the world. pbshawaii.org | facebook.com/pbshawaii | @pbshawaii

 

IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Jim Henson

 

This biographical profile uses Jim Henson’s most memorable quotes to frame his life story. Follow Henson’s career, from his early television work with the Muppets in the 1950s to his commercial work, his breakthroughs with Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, his fantasy films of the 1980s to his sudden death in 1990.

 

FRONTLINES
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In collaboration with The New York Times, FRONTLINE examines the world of fantasy sports and online sports betting. With law enforcement cracking down, the film traces the growth of these booming businesses and goes inside their operations at home and abroad.

 

Growing Up Gambling

 

This program illustrates how technology advancement makes it easy for students to engage in high-stakes gambling, taking viewers inside the brain of an online gamer and online gambler, telling the story of a student’s downward spiral into addictive online sports betting.