Whatcha' lookin' for?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Snippit-snappet, hum...(?)

My beloved niece, nephew and me. We are all just bait...

A random paragraph I found in an untitled folder. Who are these people and what became of them?

"The cabin of the small car was filled with a chilled version of sunshine as the air conditioner battled fitfully to beat back the rippling heat outside. The car seemed so small now that there were four adults filling it. Even the group's exhaustion seemed to take up space. The driver and all three passengers had felt their age this morning. A collective desire to call in sick - even though it was their day off. The night before had been a themed party that required lots of attention and babysitting. Not the normal poolside flop -n- bake catered with cheesy food on a paper-plate-mosaic with potato salad and a puzzle of chicken wings. Black olives filling the gaps. Now the group of four sat staring out the windows of the speeding car. Sour stomachs jostling. Pina Colada mix and bitter rum wanted out."

Friday, September 3, 2010

Any Dream Analysts Out There?

Lee Byrns and me in Glasgow, Scotland AND reality...

I was with Lee Byrns going to a swimming pool, but the pool was at the Los Angeles airport and the airport was across the street from the beach and we were both naked. We were clowning, wrestling and laughing (as always with Lee) until I realized I didn't want to be naked in public. So, I stealthily headed back to my car to get my clothes. But I couldn't find the car. It dawned on me that since I had no clothes, I had no pockets for keys. That meant I probably left the keys in the car and it might have been stolen. I was so stressed about it. More and more people started driving by and wandering around me. I didn't know what to do so I retreated to sit, cross-legged, in a grassy corner near an old wooden shed and covered myself up as best I could.

Next a group of around 20 pink Swedish tourists of all ages (also naked) congregated around me. A tour guide started talking about the history of the shack I was sitting next to and I realized I had been in that shack before and talked to the proprietor who showed me old fashioned movie cameras and told me all about the movies that had been made there. Laurel and Hardy had filmed comedies in that shack. I got on a tour bus with the Swedes and we circled the shack talking about it. I finally exited the bus wrapped in a flowery beach towel I'd inherited on the short ride, and walked up and down the beach looking for my car.

By now I was almost sure the car had been stolen. Still I walked on. I reached the end of the beach and was faced with a huge craggy wall of sand stone, which I climbed. Parts of the mountain resembled the giant hands of the Statue of Liberty. The sun was setting and it was beautiful orange and red coming out of blue, but the surface of the mountain kept crumbling in my hands, as I got higher. I was struggling to hold on. Finally, in a voice which, at the time, I could clearly identify as Scarlet O’Hara’s from Gone With The Wind, I declared, "If I am to die here and now, then you might as well go on and take me!" But instead an eagle flew by and winked at me. I knew I'd be OK then.

Back on the ground I walked what had become a wharf at sunset. But now all the architecture was cartoons. I ran up the stairs of a lopsided three-story apartment building and fell out of the front window where I was suspended by my ankles that were tangled in a Venetian blind. A huge cartoon goon on the second floor yanked me in through his window and accused me of complaining about his cooking. He asked if I was making fun of his veal. I said it was rather tough (even though I hadn’t had any). He asked if I could do better? I said, “yeah”. I then carefully prepared a veal cutlet which goon ate gratefully as I quietly left his apartment. On the beach at night, I could still hear Lee laughing. Then my iPhone alarm woke me up with the Marimba ring tone.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm in there!

My pals Jessika and Rich were out thrift-shopping the other day and they sent me this pic...

Forry Ackerman friend (and my best gal-pal) Jessica White posthumously introduced her guy, Rich Moreno, to the world of Forry and Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. Rich was totally hooked! To see a grown-up man experience the same wonder and discovery as I did starting when I was 9 is just inspiring and delightful. Rich can't get enough of FM and he found this one (issue #124 with a gorgeous Ken Kelly cover) in a stack of mags for only 25 cents! This pic followed:

The ol' "You Axed For It!" section of the magazine where fans could write in to Forry requesting pics from their favorite Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror movies. Then I got this pic...

That's nice. A pic requested by Vampire lovers Kyle Adamczak, Mark Olds and...What? You're kidding?

JOE MOE! It's me! All of these years I've complained that I never had the nerve to send more than a few letters to Forry at FM. Many of my friends had been included as "Wanted More Readers Like" or had issues dedicated to them and such. But here Rich found me hiding under a picture of a vampire-vixen flexing her fangs! Turns out my beloved Uncle Forry knew of me even back then (I was only 16 when this issue hit the stands).

The thrill of seeing my name in FM is matched only by my excitement in knowing that my pal Rich Moreno must have read that issue #124 from cover to cover to find me. He obviously pored over it more thoroughly than I or any of my childhood friends did back in 1976!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A charming return

Forry gives back (what you sent)!

Imagine Forry returning something you'd sent him with a slip like this one. Aren't you dying to know what could possibly have been "too good" for him to keep?

When Harry met Forry

Harry Knowles will put the "Famous" back in Monsters!

There will never be another Forry. There is only one Harry.

When Harry Knowles was a little boy dreaming of his future, it was through those visionary goggles that many of us genre fans shared back in those innocent but impressionable times. But Harry was uniquely fortunate to be born to a dad who was already immersed in fandom. See, pop Jay was a memorabilia dealer and sophisticated "insider" to the genre already. Consequently, Harry's journey of discovery began for him a little bit ahead of yours and mine.

Just as some show-biz bios start with our hero being born to "hoofing" parents and spending their first moments in a crib, onstage under a piano - Harry was delivered, mint-in-box, onto a heap of mags, props, posters and collectibles. And like a true advocate, he's never stopped adding to that heap. This familiar love of movies and the-mavens-who-make-them has driven Harry to become ultimately successful with his industry-shaking Ain't It Cool News! website which receives infinite hits per day.

Now Harry has taken on the title of "Editor in chief of Famous Monsters of Filmland.com". Another big-bang in the legacy of our classic horror genre. Bigger and bangier than many of us old-timers can imagine at the moment. The implications for our classic horror stories gaining relevance and a real context for a younger generation of fans cannot be underestimated. You see, Harry Knowles is not just "a" presence in the most modern of mediums like the Internet. He is "the" principle presence.

I could talk all day about why I love Harry or the fact that I believe Forrest J Ackerman would have been thrilled at Harry's involvement in FM (Harry was one of a few individuals Forry asked to speak to at the end of his life). When it comes to Forry, I continue to honor his wishes. As a card carrying atheist from the age of 14, Forry said many times, "Pal, when I die I won't even be aware that I ever lived to collect a single thing or to edit Famous Monsters." So, I don't intend to keep Forry "the man" alive after his well-earned rest. But I will never let the flame of his spirit of inspiration blink out.

The sad reality is, there can never be another Forrest J Ackerman. The happy reality is that Harry Knowles is a completely unique individual who doesn't have to try to be Forry. By simply being Harry he's been able to inspire creativity in our community. By being Harry he has helped ensure that the genre we love still rules the entertainment media. He has fixed it so that we genre fans have an inordinate amount of power over the content of the mainstream, pop-cultural bandwagon. Today, one of my proudest accomplishments, other than standing by Forry's side to the end, has been introducing FM publisher Phil Kim and Harry.

So, get ready fellow fans. There's a new monster-champion in town. One who comes from us old-time classic horror fans but is made up of the fresh new vanguard as well. Thanks to Harry, we may never have to experience a lack of Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Horror material in our lifetimes!

Please support Harry Knowles, Phil Kim, magazine editor Michael Heisler, Jessie, Dominie, Mark, the whole hard working staff - and ME - a contributer and self-appointed ambassador and cheerleader for the new Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine! Help make this the best monster mag ever - then watch what happens!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Why we are BIG on Spam!

SPAM: Breakfast of champions. Gigantic, high-blood pressured, heart diseased champions!

Mac nuts meet Spam! Why? (but don't you wanna taste em')?

Growing up in Hawaii, Spam was as common as bacon. I believe Hawaii is the largest consumer of Spam in the US. The Spam Festival is held in Waikiki annually. Spam is eaten at breakfast with eggs. Lunch, on rice in Musubi. Dinner, more rice and even gravy! It is an acquired taste, but as is the case with many childhood foods, it is a comforting reminder of where we come from (and Monty Python). But it should also be a warning of where may be headed if we eat too much of it!

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: (100 grams)

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 310

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 27g41%
Saturated Fat 10g49%
Cholesterol 70mg23%
Sodium 1369mg57%
Total Carboydrates 3g1%
Dietary Fiber 0g~
Sugars 0g~
Protein 13g26%

Vitamin A0%Vitamin C1%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Random Images from an unmarked box...

I stuck in my thumb and pulled out some plums and said what the..?

These pics of Lionel Barrymore and Marlon Brando were in an envelope back to back. I put the two names into Google and got the following results: You can buy Lionel Barrymore's last will and testament for $10 and Marlon Brando's for $20 at Celebrity Collectibles.

Somebody gave me this invitation to Divine's memorial service. I wish I could find the list of items she (Glen Milstead) consumed the night of his death. I think it was published in the LAweekly at the time. I know there were multiple chickens involved.

Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula's Gary Oldman's Werewolf's foam rubber genitals. Left in a Macy's bag on the front stoop of the Glendower Ackermuseum. Is there anymore to be said? We laughed until the latex deteriorated.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mystery From the Ack's Museum!

You have puzzled to the likes of Marcel Duchamp!

"With Hidden Noise" (A bruit secret), 1916. A ball of twine between two brass plates, joined by four screws. An unknown object has been placed in the ball of twine by one of Duchamp's friends.


Thrilled to the mysterious stone faces of Easter Island!

The large stone statues, or moai, for which Easter Island is world-famous, were carved from 1100-1680 CE (rectified radio-carbon dates). A total of 887 monolithic stone statues have been inventoried on the island and in museum collections so far.


Now prepare yourself for the latest in modern mysteries!

Two sealed letters written by Forrest J Ackerman in 1956, to be delivered in the event of his untimely demise! What on Earth could be inside?

  • A last will and testament?
  • A message to a favorite waitress?
  • The words "Sci-Fi"?
  • A lock of hair for Mother?
  • A final fantastic short story?

We may never know! Why, not even Joe Moe Know! But it's fun to speculate, ain't it? Please do speculate below...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mr. Sci-Fi & The Pimp

What an interesting neighborhood! Iceberg Slim is interred a mere 9 cubicles away from Uncle Forry Ackerman! Wonder what they talk about?

Iceberg Slim (Aug. 4th, 1918 – April 28th, 1992) also known as Robert Maupin Beck, was an African-American author of books variously categorized as urban fiction, street literature, and black pulp fiction. He wrote Pimp and Trick Baby among his eight novels.

Forrest J Ackerman (Nov. 24th, 1916 – Dec. 4th, 2008) was one of the world's greatest Sci-Fi fans. He shared his collection of books, art and props for decades in his Ackemuseum of Sci-Fi, Fantsy and Horror. He also inspired countless young horror fans (50's thru 80's) through the pages of his iconic Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Maestro Dario Argento carries us with him.

The iconic Italian Master of Horror, Dario Argento with his personal copy of my slasher-movie: RED VELVET, seen at the Los Angeles Weekend Of Horrors. Having intended the movie to be partly homage to the great man, it's been so gratifying to hear that he likes it!

Maestro Argento lugs our baby around...

Hope you'll have a look at RED VELVET. It's quite an accomplishment. There are actually some dumb folks bad-mouthing the movie for purely personal reasons and we need to counter their petty negativity with legitimate reviews of the movie based on its merits! Smart people unite! Don't let the dullards win! Thanks!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rondo comes home to Horrorwood and Forry!

A special "Thank You" to Horror-hero David Colton for administering the Classic Horror Film Board and for taking time out of his already ridiculous schedule to present the Rondo Hatton Awards to acknowledge outstanding achievements in the world of classic horror.

Forry would be proud...

This year's Rondo Award for "Best Fan Event" was handed out to ME for organizing the Forrest J Ackerman Tribute at the Egyptian Theater. Boundless thanks to all those who contributed to the success of the event; Tim Sullivan, Dan Madigan, Kevin Burns, Sue Stiefvater, Mat Sampson, Margo Gerber, Marc Doten, Denny Moynihan, Heather Lockie, Barry and all the speakers and attendees! It was a great send-off for our favorite Uncle.

New relics from The Haunted Mansion

I don't know of any horror fan that doesn't have a special love affair with Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion. As a kid, that magical attraction (calling it a "ride" would be sacrilege) was the landmark of my dreams. Growing up, I felt that place was made just for me. So, naturally when I visit I MUST take a piece of it home with me. And Disney has made it easier for us to do just that by manufacturing an ever-changing flood of reasonably priced, gorgeous - but painfully limited editions.

Haunted Mansion 40th anniversary ear hat (by SHAG) with lenticular ears and groovy sateen hat box. Retail around $40

Coffee Mug (cool wallpaper imprint inside). Retail $12

A couple of T-shirts - gray one (early ad) already sold out. Retail $24 ea.

The most recent, elegant ear hat with bat stanchion. Retail around $15

Most of these items are already out of print. Of course, they can be had on eBay at up to triple their retail price. Yuck! Best thing to do is visit the park soon and pick up a few souvenirs. The Haunted Manison is the last attraction I ride before the park closes. I hang back and examine every detail I can. The skull sconces. The carpet. The gratings above the doors. Then I hop in the very last Doom Buggy possible and wind my way through the place. As I round the corner into the graveyard, I make a silent wish that the ride will break down in front of the singing busts so that I can watch and listen to my hero Thurl Ravenscroft sing the entire Grim Grinning Ghosts song...Happy haunting!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Debbie Painter on Womandom in Horror Fandom!!

I recently spoke to Debbie Painter about women in horror. She’s a writer, historian and close, long-time Forrest J Ackerman friend (mine too). Her much anticipated Forry-bio is about to be released! She’s also an equestrian and a dinosaur expert! Horses and Dinosaurs? She must love Valley of the Gwangi! Anyway, we’re gonna have a casual chat about women in genre fandom through the ages.

Debbie Painter

JOE MOE: Debbie, you’ve been a fan for a while now...


JM: 30 years, she says with a mischievous grin. So, since the 60s and 70s. During the peak reemergence of classic Universal horror and the slay-day of Hammer British horror - ramping up to modern day slashers, huh? Uncle Forry has said that back in the ghoul-den age of horror, "female fans were as rare as Pterodactyl Pteeth".

DP: Back then I thought there were plenty of female fans. There was always an abundance of female fan letters in genre publications. Primarily Sci-Fi, but horror as well. I never dreamed that in the year 2010 female fans would be regarded as rare?

JM: Did you attend many fan events back in the day? What was the population of female fans at those early Cons?

DP: Actually, the first Cons I went to were Sci-Fi oriented. I didn’t start going to specifically “monster cons” until the 90’s. There were definitely more women in Sci-Fi but I would estimate nearly 30% females at classic horror oriented conventions I attended.

JM: What are some of the specific contributions you feel women have made to the horror genre over the years?

DP: Generally, I think women tend to be more involved in the artistic creation of art and costumes. Jewelry. Architecture of film. Set designers. And there’s no shortage of female actors in classic horror - and modern horror as well.

JM: Can you name some influential women in the genre?

Some Horror-fying ladies: Donna Lucas, Jovanka Vuckovic, Ann Rice, Pam Keesey & Jessie Lilly

DP: Let’s see? Obviously authors like Ann Rice who stoked and evolved Vampire lore. We also have spitfire Jovanka Vuckovic (former editor of Rue Morgue magazine) who always makes a space for classic horror. Jessie Lilley who was publisher of Richard Valley’s seminal genre mag Scarlet Street and then publisher of Worldly Remains mag before assuming the editor's chair at Mondo Cult mag. Jessie is now moving on to editorship of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. And let’s not forget Pamela Keesey who wrote Women Who Run With the Werewolves and Vamps. Those are some accomplished contributors. Just the tip of my particular iceberg.

JM: Would you say the oft perceived “boys club” in the horror community has been more receptive to women fans as time has gone by?

DP: I’m probably gonna get myself in trouble…

JM: Do it!

DP: Well…(way too long pause)

JM: That’s a no! (Debbie laughs raucously) So, tell me why?

Penny Dreadful

DP: I think it’s true, Joe. I don’t think many male fans think of female fans as much more than attractive loiterers. If you’re pretty, like horror host Penny Dreadful for instance, you’re in! If you’re not, well…

JM: Hi, Penny! A talented horror host, filmmaker and writer. Love her!

DP: She is terrific! Generally speaking, there seems to be a lot of ignoring of women fans. There’ve been female writers forever. For example, Pamela Caron and Deborah Felan wrote for many genre magazines. I found their writing to be equal to the best of the boys. I don’t know why their work hasn’t been given as much attention as it deserves?

JM: In your opinion, what entities in our community have the best track record for honoring the talents of female fans?

DP: Book publishers are becoming more and more receptive. Producers are opening up to women filmmakers too. Midnight Marquee Press told me that I was the first woman who had ever written for their book series when I wrote “Hollywood’s Top Dogs – The Dog Hero in Film.” That was in 2008.

Debbie Painter's Doggie book!

JM: A lot of husband and wife teams putting out quality product. Gary and Sue Svelha put out the Midnight Marquee imprint, right?

DP: That’s right.

JM: Tim and Donna Lucas publish the highly respected Video Watchdog mag. Jim and Marian Clatterbaugh produce Monsters From The Vault mag.

DP: I heartily endorse all their efforts.

JM: They are the best of our community. So, wrap it up for us, Monster-sis!

DP: I don’t want to sound like I’m sucking on sour grapes. I just hope that the day is coming when male fans will look upon us female classic horror fans as equal contributers and not just as someone who resembles the Mom who threw out their Famous Monsters of Filmland mags when they were ten years old!

JM: Ha! Testify!

Debbie smacks Ack!

[Deborah Painter has written articles for such magazines as Filmfax and Horse and Horseman. She is currently an environmental services director for REMSA Incorporated. Debbie's McFarlane-published biography: "Forry: The Life of Forrest J Ackerman" is due out on October 31st or November 1st, 2010 - with a "Forryword" by ME! Please support this wonderful woman of horror!]

Saturday, May 8, 2010

More than half way home...

It just happens. You wake up one morning and you have to confront how you're gonna deal with the news. You probably have less years ahead of you than you have behind you. All of the things you thought you wanted have morphed into things you actually need and the few dreams you've maintained may not have come true yet - and probably won't on your timetable.

But thanks to the presence of the friends you've earned over time, you won't have to suffer. Those friends will come together, celebrate your life and remind you of what good you've made. Sure, they'll lavish banana and chocolate cake on you and give you nice presents. But mostly, they'll reveal your soul's footprint on their lives and happiness.

As I approach this new version of this life of mine, I don't have any desire to collapse or feel disappointed. Happily, I have surrounded myself with such high-quality people and more than my fair share of love. Those who call me "friend" really get me. And I get them. I have a terrific relationship with my entire Mo'e family and extended family.

I hope time marks you in the same generous way I have enjoyed. With a well-founded optimism, energy to spare, good health and an army of gentle soldiers who make me proud to call them my people. Onward!

Old age comes to Mr. Moe

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Two Tors. Johnson & Johnson.

Aritist Gray Morrow's concept and ultimate
Monster World #5 cover.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Utopia = a mythical smile. Bye, sweet Bic...

The one and only Bic

In a taxi from the Bangkok International airport. The petrochemical perfume of the darkness was smeared by the slash of factory lights. Elevated freeways studded with too many traffic cops in surgical masks, dark glasses and helmets. An army of peanut butter bowling pins. Down an off-ramp, joined by a swarm of motorbikes with leaf-blower engines crowding around the minty, air-freshened cab like pilot fish jockeying for a stray morsel. Finally, the highway roar turned to a low buzz as my cab angled down a quiet side street.

John Goss was waiting for me on the curb in front of his Utopia gift shop, pub and guest house. John, best friend since high school in Hawaii. Utopia. A giant pair of Calvin Klein underwear in the window. Six feet wide by four feet tall. Too big even for me! Utopia was an oasis cobbled out of ambitious hospitality. From the outside, it seemed a goofy-seductive beacon on a dingy street. The shop gave a whimsical pulse to the atmosphere around it. Through the window I saw the man-treats: racks of novelty greeting cards made of abs, prismatic lube-bottles displayed like jewelry, obscure and mysterious objects scattered throughout - and lots of artwork featuring tan and glisten. Orchid and ass. Temple and bulge.

Entering the shop, John had my suitcase, which left me free to flail about as if I’d stumbled into a musical theater meadow that demanded that I flail. It is a natural instinct for a person to wave their arms around in nature. Flailing in nature feels perfectly normal. But I’m in a shop in Thailand. Still, it feels normal. You just have to tuck your arms in when you get going, so you don't give the magazine kiosk a whack on the way around.

Then I saw “him.” When John saw me see him he ushered me out of the store and into the adjacent coffee shop. My neck tested its limits as I strained to see “him” forever. John looked at me through a facade of tolerance. “Joe, don’t fall for Bic…everyone falls in love with Bic. He…blah…blah-be-dy…blah-blah…” I couldn’t hear anymore. I only spoke Thai and the only Thai I spoke was the word “Bic.” From behind his counter in the retail shop, Bic yanked my soul out the top of my head with his teeth. He returned it all smudgy and with his tattoo all over it. That very first smile - custom made for me. And by someone who must know me so well. If right then I had collapsed from an aneurism, the life that flashed before my eyes would be: I enter the shop, flail, then Bic. Enter the shop, flail, then Bic. Enter the shop, flail, then...

John cautioned me again, this time enunciating and with gestures, “Everyone falls in love with Bic. Everyone…beware…beware…beware...

Old gigantic me couldn’t hear it at first. But I let it settle in. I trusted John with my life and John knew how fumbly I could be with my heart. So, I set about ignoring Bic and exploring the city called Bangkok. Cocktail bars where phantoms massage your shoulders, whispering a pipe dream in exchange for a handful of American paper. Cabaret shows where beautiful men float on a sea of feathers and stilettos like swans breaching the moss brûlée on a cool pond. Shops of endless blue rope. Temples made of broken dishes and gold leafed deities. Sidewalk carts roasting custardy sweets on dimpled grills. The smell of fish guts, candy, incense, blood, flowers, motor oil.

But at the end of the day, I came back to Utopia and to Bic. Whether he was behind his cashier’s counter or D.J.ing in the pub upstairs, Bic was the last person I saw before climbing the last flight of stairs to my room. He was the last image I weighed as I closed my eyes to dream. Then he returned in my dreams. What happened next is happy, but not as important as all that lead up to it and came after it. A memory of Bic's love and a cab ride that brought me to it. The "at first sight" moment we say we believe in but have never tapped or tasted. I am so grateful that Bic was mine for a time. Grateful that he chose me to love. His image is tangled up in a trunk full of memories that might be trivial by themselves, but taken together ward off any specter of loneliness. Blue rope, feathers and holding my breath in the sunlight of the famous smile of my Bic.

Mookie and Bic

[The want. We spend most of our lives chasing a solution to the doubt that occupies the space of that want. On the rare, if any, occasion we "get", it doesn't last forever. But it's the mere shadow of that success that lets us hang on in the knowledge that love can happen if we never relent in looking for it. Bic is that proof for me; That someone too good for me could become a partner in fulfillment. Today, on the eve of my birthday, my friend Mookie wrote to tell me that Bic had died of Malaria. He died on his own birthday; April 22nd, 2010. I will miss him forever. Starting...now.]

Friday, April 30, 2010

May Day is "Lei Day" in Hawaii!

A rainbow of leis waiting for your neck

If you make it to O'ahu, Hawaii on May 1st, you'll experience one of the most beloved island traditions. May Day is "Lei Day" in Hawaii. The very first Lei Day was held on May 1st, 1928, and practically every person in Honolulu observed the day by wearing all styles of handmade and store bought lei. In 1929, Lei Day was made an official holiday which continues to this day.

A May Day lei-making contest is held in Waikiki

Festivities are still held downtown and in Waikiki with hula, music, lei making demonstrations, exhibits and lei contests. At Kapiolani Park you can see the lei contest entries hung up in an outdoor viewing gallery which people from all over the world flock to see. Old-school leis and innovative ones made from seeds and other unconventional materials are featured there.

Kamehameha Statue draped in Hawaiian lei

At Iolani Palace (the only monarchical palace in the USA) the statue of King Kamehameha is draped in traditional green Maile' leaf wreathes and over-long, colorful flower garlands. The balmy climate seems to carry the perfume of Tuberose, Pikake and Plumeria into every corner of the Island. It reminds me of a thousand special occasions from weddings to birthdays to funerals I observed growing up in Hawaii.

My dad - the late, great Josefa Mo'e

May 1st is also my Father's birthday. He would have been 75 this year. My dad's name was Josefa Moe and he was a true Hawaii local and beach boy. Quite a celebrity around town. Dad was a graphic artist. He was also a knife dancer. The kind you see spinning sharp and often flaming blades at a luau. Dad was at the top of his field though the 50's, 60's and 70's performing worldwide and at the International Market Place and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Learning to swim with my dad in Waikiki

When I think of Lei Day and all the festivities that come with it, I always remember dad's birthday and that beach at Waikiki where dad taught all of his kids to swim. That's also where his 11 children scattered his ashes just a day or two before Don Ho joined him. Aloha, dad.


© Lyrics & Music: Leonard Hawk

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii
Garlands of flowers everywhere
All of the colors in the rainbow
Maidens with blossoms in their hair

Flowers that mean we should be happy
Throwing aside a load of care
Oh, May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii
May Day is happy days out there