CHINATOWN NEWSPAPER x FITTED: HONOLULU HARLOT

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Posted in Updates on December 3rd, 2010 by FITTED

Available today at 11 AM. If you cop one, make sure to wear it out tonight at First Fridays! While you’re down there, make sure to pick up the latest issue of Chinatown Newspaper, now on stands!

The story:

At the peak of the Prohibition Era, Hawaii’s beloved Chinatown was a haven for the sex trade, literally brewing with all sorts of seedy activities associated with a red-light district; a far cry from today’s Chinatown, with a substantial number of brothels scattered across the vice-district. The most famous of Chinatown’s courtesans was a former Chicagoan known as Madame Jean O’Hara, the daughter of stern Catholic parents whose notoriety climaxed (no pun intended) at the height of World War II. O’Hara was known for overstepping the boundaries set up to “protect” the prostitutes known as the 10 Commandments by working outside of the closely-regulated Chinatown. The audacious Madame O’Hara was accredited with conceiving what was known as the “bull pen system,” a rotating three-room system which allowed the prostitutes to work the rooms in succession. This allowed an expeditious process, permitting prostitutes to see more clients in a day, in turn giving them bigger payoffs. After martial law was declared following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Madame O’Hara began penning a memoir titled “My Life as a Honolulu Prostitute” (later re-published as “Honolulu Harlot”) which eventually led to a shut down of Chinatown’s brothels and implemented more rigorously-enforced laws.

Above and beneath the surface, the era of Honolulu’s Red-Light District and modern Honolulu are equidistant in it’s essence. The Honolulu Harlot-period represented a microcosm of what Hawai’i has to offer today: questionably-ethical government policies, corrupt cops and crack rocks, drug trade and prostitution. FITTED recognizes that Hawai’i harbors such sketchy phenomenon, and although we don’t promote it in the sense that it’s morally correct, we acknowledge that it’s simply a part of our culture and community. This is visually represented in many of our graphics and more than anything, illustrates nostalgia.

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