The Kula Kid – “Be Hair Now” 14.16
Costco’s haircare sales have taken steep dives in the year since Locks of Love received the fattest single-donation they’ve likely ever seen, and my scalp is still recovering from the shock. I realize it most when I get into the car — before turning the ignition, exhaust pipe farting ghosts — and I don’t have to pause to reopen the door to unstuck my unruly tentacles, twirling it into a Guinness Book bear claw to protect backseat passengers… or the cars behind me. Or when my brush grasps at air near my hips and must make an unnatural migration to well above my shoulders. People are charitable with their compliments, saying “cute” when I know they mean “Chia Pet,” but since the mirror, mirror on the wall ain’t dishing any deference, I’ll take what I can get.
I’ve gotten used to it. Kind of. But this weekend at the Hana Film Festival, I felt like a shaved-head Sampson. I realized it was my first time to Maui’s most Hawaiian town, without my most Hawaiian attribute.
Read our MauiTime previews of Hana Film Festival features:
“Where are you visiting from?” was a question I was too-often asked this weekend — maybe for the first time in my life, really. My blue blood boiled. It hurt that with my mottled snow white skin and beanied bob I was all the more ethnically ambiguous. Was a kanak-attack herd of tako sprung from my head the only apparent stake I had in a culture I so desperately love? Without it, was I just another anybody? With it, did it make me somebody?
In Hana — at least at first — it felt like it did. Not so much for the locals as for the tourists. Before, my hair would snake out and shout, “Look! I’m from here. My family has been from here since the dawn of man in this land. Ask me something! Anything! I may not be from Hana, but I’m from up over the hill and am eager and willing to talk your ear off with historical facts and hopefully helpful directions. I’ll re-plan your vacation, if you give me the time!” Now, it just says — well, I don’t know what it exactly it’s saying (it may be short, but it’s still all over the place).
On the way into festival, a blue Jeep stopped in the middle of the road. A White Stag-clad woman ambled out of the driver’s seat and walked the double yellow line toward mom and I, who’d stopped behind her.
“Are you a Taurus?” the woman asked.
“No. Mom here is a Scorpio. I’m a Cancer,” I nearly replied, instead saying, “What?”
“Are you a tourist?” she repeated.
“Oh! No. We are not tourists,” I said, even more confused.
“OK, then. Do you know if we can turn down this road, here?”
I proceeded to remove her ears with vacation tips and…
Let’s just cut to my Stan Marsh moment: You know, I learned something at the Hana Film Festival. Somewhere between grinding fresh-caught seared ahi with pahole fern salad at sunset, and the hour where your left hand rests on the steering wheel — a mass of content bodies stretched out on blankets watching shorts like Hana Remembers Her Sons – Sarah Joe, Hana Surf Girls and Stones, as plump drops of rain made quick percussion on the event tent — there was a feeling of true community that glowed like a searchlight in the night. As if a little luminescence rose off the tops of each of our heads — however much and whatever color covering it — and in the way that the moon refracts in the ripples of the bay, but still in its pieces reflects a unified orb, all our epiphanies and inspirations and moments of love came together. Together, in the quiet dark, witnessing art with family, friends and strangers.
For whatever it was worth, the firefly I contributed to that night was the realization that my external markers do not make or break me. While I’m proud to be Hawaiian, whether or not it’s evident that I am — or whether or not I am at all — is irrelevant. What matters is that I love the place and it’s people — and a lot of folks (from a lot of places) share those sentiments. It’s hard not to recognize that we are each other, in a place like Hana and at an event like the film festival. We’ve got a lot to be proud of — from our humblest early morning farmers markets to wildest late night bookings — people are making great things happen because people care. That’s a good thing, proud Mauians — and thing we can only look forward to making even better.
Spend any time in Cancer Land and you turn into a Gray! These are my favorite photos of myself, hands down.
The docs/nurses were always surprised that I never lost my hair in the way that they’d expected, though it did thin to leave little more than 15 percent. ‘Curse of the Kanaka Fro,’ I like to call it.
As much of a mess as all that is, it’s nothing compared to the true Missing Link horrors of my head. But, this is one of the few photos I taken between the ages of 18 and 24 — this one from age 18, if that says anything — and while I hate to make your eyes bleed, it’s the best thing I had as a comparison. Sorry.
P.S. My original title for this column was “Hairwareness,” but captain Jacob Shafer came up with “Be Hair Now,” a play on “Be Here Now”; which (not only is it better in the first place) I thought was appropriate given this week’s Music Scene is about Ty Burhoe and Sarala Dandekar. At the end, I close with Burhoe quoting Ram Dass, who wrote a book called Be Here Now.
P.P.S Found this interesting link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kid_vs._Kat after finding the first photo of the Sphynx Cat. It dawned on me that these are absolutely my favorite breed of cats — and as soon as I’m not homeless, I’m going to pester the Human Society of Maui, that should they ever get a Sphynx, I’ve got first-dibs.