premiere

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.”

 

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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

 

Public is invited to free preview of ‘Jackie Robinson’

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NEW KEN BURNS DOCUMENTARY AIRS APRIL 11-12 ON PBS HAWAII

 

This photo from the Palama Settlement Archives was taken when a young Jackie Robinson played for the Honolulu Bears, a semi-professional football team.

HONOLULU, HI – PBS Hawaii and Palama Settlement are co-hosting a free 40-minute sneak preview of Jackie Robinson, the latest documentary from acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns.

 

Sneak Preview: Jackie Robinson
Wednesday, April 6 at 6PM
Palama Settlement
810 N Vineyard Blvd, Honolulu
RSVP: pbshawaii.org/jackie-robinson-event

 

This photo (left) from the Palama Settlement Archives was taken when a young Jackie Robinson played for the Honolulu Bears, a semi-professional football team.

 

The two-part documentary follows the story of the first African American to play in baseball’s major leagues. It makes its broadcast premiere April 11 (part one) and April 12 (part two) at 9:00 pm.

 

Jackie Robinson Day is on Friday, April 15.

 

Before the screening, Paula Rath, Palama Settlement Board of Trustees Emeritus, is scheduled to discuss Robinson’s ties to Hawaii. In 1941, Robinson stayed at Palama Settlement, when Waikiki hotels barred him entry because of the color of his skin.

 

“I’m very proud of Palama’s legacy of acceptance of all people,” Rath said in a statement.

 

The public can RSVP online at pbshawaii.org/jackie-robinson-event. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, so guests are encouraged to arrive early. Free parking is available on-site at Palama Settlement. For questions, please contact Liberty Peralta at 973-1383, or lperalta@pbshawaii.org.

 

Download this Press Release

 

For questions regarding this press release
Contact: Liberty Peralta
Email: lperalta@pbshawaii.org
Phone: 808.973.1383

 

PBS Hawaii is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Hawaii’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 Hawaii and Hawaii to the world. PBSHawaii.org | facebook.com/pbshawaii | @pbshawaii