Here is the story behind one of Hawaii's "firsts," as noted by former state statistician Robert C. Schmitt.
It's only a paragraph, but it's a good one!
I used to teach my workshops at Waikiki Wally's before I took burlesque to The Bowery Poetry Club with our Burlesque Salute to the Ramones and started doing my workshops there. There was a Polynesian woman who taught traditional story-telling Hula at Waikiki Wally's, too. I wanted so much to study it, but I was too busy putting my workshops together! Although I've still managed to study Polynesian dance a bit, I feel like I missed out by not learning from her. I love to watch Hawaiian and Tahitian dance and would love to understand it better.
Above: Lucy Fur at Exotic World, 2006.
Tiki culture was the root of Tease-O-Rama, where so many of today's best-known performers became acquainted. You can read about the first TOR in the earliest archives of their Yahoo group.
When I was a kid in the 1960s, I was crazy about Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, and begged to be taken to Trader Vic's in Denver for my birthday. Now I'm well aware that all my attraction to some of these representations of Polynesian culture is problematic, to put it mildly, but as a 6-year-old I was beside myself, and darned if I still don't get a thrill of childlike wonder when I hear the music. Darn, darn, darn that childlike wonder!
I've been to Hawaii only once, in 1979, and my fondest memory of it is that it smelled the best of any place I've ever been--so I was most likely not "in a congested urban slum a block mauka of Chinatown."
All my mental meandering aside, if anyone knows more about burlesque in Hawaii, bring it on!