The top photo was taken in late December 1973, or perhaps somewhere in the first days of 1974.
Meda and I are standing in the living room of our apartment on the 4th floor of what was then known as the Circle Jade, a rental apartment building on 9th Avenue in Kaimuki which was converted to condominiums in 1978. We were facing the camera, which was mounted on a tripod, triggered by a self-timer. I was apparently somewhere between annual haircuts. Meda, on the other hand, looked fabulous.
The checks we’re holding tell the story. They’re dated December 26, 1973. Both for the identical amount of $135.15. They were drawn on the client trust fund account of attorney Steven E. Kroll.
The checks representing our shares of the proceeds of a larger settlement of a lawsuit against Kahala Mall and Hayes Guards Service stemming from an incident a year earlier.
But the story actually started two years earlier, in December 1971, when Kahala Mall ran the advertisement you see below, promoting stag nite event “for men only,” an evening of shopping complete with beer and Santa’s “bunnies” in bikinis.
As you can imagine, this provoked a response from the fledging women’s liberation movement. Perhaps a dozen women, and an equal number of men, showed up for a hastily planned demonstration. At first, the group was denied entry to the mall, but later were allowed inside with signs and leaflets.
Click on the “Stag Nite” ad to see some photos from that evening, or click here to read the mimeographed leaflet handed out that night.
Over the next year, several conversations with Kahala Mall management were held, and the women involved were assured that the 1972 stag nite promotion would not deny women entry. I think everyone was relieved.
But when the day rolled around, a check at the mall found that guards at the entrances were again enforcing a “men only” rule. Several of us went to the mall to try to contact the management in hopes that they would correct the “mistake” and follow through o their earlier commitments to avoid discriminating against women.
Meda and I were among a group trying to enter the mall at the doors between what are now Whole Foods and Starbucks. Hayes Guards Service had been contracted to provide security for the event, and their guard was telling women they were not allowed to enter, and were demanding to see women’s identification and were recording names and addresses.
At one point, I showed my i.d. and was allowed into the mall, but Meda, who was holding my hand, was blocked at the door by the guard. Another friend moved up next to her and said he wouldn’t move, effectively blocking the entrance, unless she was allowed in. With men in line behind them pushing to get through to the free beer, it turned into quite a scene, which was repeated at several locations and different participants over the next hour or so.
One incident was witnessed by attorney Richard Turbin, then a deputy public defender. Turbin tried to tell the guards that they were violating civil rights by discriminating against women, but their response was to physically eject him as well.
The result was a lawsuit against Hayes and Kahala Mall (click here to see a couple of news stories).
In any case, the case was eventually settled in December 1973. We each got a small share of the settlement, reduced by attorneys fees and our share of the costs. It wasn’t a lot of money, but we all felt it was well worth the effort, and it did put an end to those Stag Nite promotions.