ABOUT THE EVENT & THE MAN

"Dad would never have believed how much people love and respect his art... then again, he knew how good he was... he just didn't know that other people knew..."  M.Collins (2015)

The Sailor Jerry Festival intends to be an Annual Event celebrating the life, interests, and incredible talents of Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins... or Norman Keith Collins, NKC, Old Ironsides, etc.

Collins operated a tattoo shop located in Chinatown, on Oahu's south shore. He was the first western tattoo artist to utilize the smooth style and vibrant colors seen in Asian art. Collins also expanded the array of colors available in tattoo art by developing his own pigments. He created needle formations that embedded pigment with much less trauma to the skin and was one of the first artists to utilize single-use needles and to use an autoclave for sterilization. Sailor Jerry's last studio was at 1033 Smith Street, then the only place on the island where tattoo studios were located. His tattoos changed the way the art was applied, and improved safety standards in the industry while also inspiring all to come after him. His work has been displayed in countless art books, and also at museums including the Honolulu Museum of Art. An award winning documentary was made about his story titled "Hori Smoku". Collins passed away in 1973 and until now, the Chinatown neighborhood has done little to celebrate his life and impact on the art world. We hope to bring more attention to this man and his influence. Many are surprised to learn more about him once they start to research his legacy and we'd like to help more people do so. Not necessarily a saint (he lived in a different time after all) his influence and innovations are undeniable.

This festival aims to respectfully honor his life, career, and global influence... right where the legendary man spent so much of his time... Oahu's Chinatown District.

Conceived in 2013, it formally launched on June 12th, 2015 and will take place again each year in mid-June. It features live music, local artists, and many of the things associated with tattoo culture... past and present. It was even responsible for re-connecting some members of his family tree.



Remember now, these are some of his former stomping grounds.
Respect that. Respect him. Let's celebrate what he did here.

 


 Endorsed by the Collins family and quality tattooers worldwide.

Mahalo for your interest and support.

Please visit the other tabs/pages for even more information.

 

 

For a free, well-made 90minute documentary on Sailor Jerry, search Hori Smoku on YouTube!

Costs:
One wristband provides access
to all the venues (space available)


Ages:
Some activities are open to

ALL AGES (and family friendly) while other activities must be

restricted to 18+ or 21+ ages.

(visit the venues tab for details)

Note: Capacities are limited. We cannot guarantee admission
to every venue for all activites so please try to plan ahead.

A small handful of early Testimonials from the event:

"Wanna give a huge shout out to Jason Miller (and crew)!  He always does such a great job with anything he does, but he continuously knocks it out  of the park for the
Sailor Jerry Festival! Thanks for honoring my Grandpa’s legacy this way bro!
  🤘"   ---  C.H. / Facebook,  6/16/2019   [ Sailor Jerry's grandson ]

2016:


" Awesome night...what an undertaking it must have been...great job!  On Dad's behalf... many mahalos for the salute! "    {M.Collins, daughter}

" Great vision and execution... congrats on another epic festival! "

" We had a great time listening to the different bands and watching the shows!!! "​

" Thank you for putting on such a fun weekend, I haven't had that much fun in a minute. "



2015:

" So many activities and great bands. "

" The most fun I've had in months.... Period. "

" I'm having soooo much fun!!!!!  Music, dancing, good eats n great company, super friendly crowd. "

" 38 yrs old and asked to dance by some kid, surprised by the courteous behavior of these youngsters! "

" It was a lot of fun... The most fun I've had in Chinatown for a long time. "

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ABOUT  THE  ORGANIZERS / HOSTS
 

The brainchild of Jason Miller from 808shows.com / Hawaiian Express Records / The Home Grown Music Hour / etc. who has long been a fan of the art form (getting his 1st tattoo in 1987), and who's ex-wife is a tattoo artist in Waikiki. Jason's grandfather, Jim Farish (R.I.P.) was also an inspiration... since some of Jim's fondest memories came from his six months stationed on Oahu... during his return from a stint in China with the United States Marine Corps. The man was also a race car driver, had a successful rodeo career, got kicked out of the famed Mustang Ranch in Nevada, shot at his own foot to kill a rattle snake, and was both a joker and a notorious flirt... all with a heart of gold. There is little doubt that he was down in Chinatown getting his four shots of booze (and more) on many occasions. Jason later brought in his long time friend "Josh86" who was a founding co-owner of 3 venues in the Chinatown area (Downbeat Diner, Downbeat Lounge, and Proof Public House) as well as the front man for several talented local bands such as Black Square, The 86 List, and Josh86 & The Pressure.  Harisumi (aka Mr. Silk Tattooer) is our 3rd official co-host in the event, and is the super skilled tattoo artist and current owner of Sailor Jerry's old shop, still located on Smith Street in Honolulu/Chinatown.  Currently named Old Ironside Tattoo. Harisumi has been tattooing since 1989. Not surprisingly, he also owns Harisumi Tattoo Studio in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The festival was first tentatively titled "The Old Ironsides Music Festival"... which was in reference to Sailor Jerry's moniker on his radio show in Hawaii, as well as Jerry's appreciation for music as a sax player.  Since the event will always be about more than just music; however, the name was changed.

We partner and highly recommend the Chinatown tattoo shops:

Old Ironside Tattoo (Smith Street between King and Hotel)

Black Cat Tattoo (Corner of Hotel and Nu'uanu)

Lilium Tattoo (Merchant Street south of King)

 

Pre-Covid, the event grew each and every year.  Thank you Hawaii.

The support so far has been tremendous.

 

 

PLEASE NOTE:  A portion of any proceeds from this event will always be set aside for Norman's remaining family.
His widow and some children / grandchildren still live here in Hawaii.  In fact, his son came to the inaugural event and a big group reunited in 2017.

Some had lost touch with each other but our first festival led to his daughters, grandchildren, widow, great-grandchildren, niece, and others

reconnecting and later flying over and meeting up at our event. Pretty proud of those facts. Here's a photo of the group that night:

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pic by JM.jpg

Sailor Jerry:   Tattoo Artist / Member of the US Navy / Radio Show Host / Musician / Boat Captain / Father...

WHO'S ON THE TEAM?

Leadership Roles:
Jason Miller (email) -- Founder & Co-Host                                                                                                           ♂

Josh86 -- Collaborator & Co-Host                                                                                                                          ♂

Harisumi of Old Irosnide Tattoo -- Collaborator & Co-Host                                                                             ♂

Jason C of NMG -- Partner/Consultant                                                                                                                  ♂
Art Show Coordinator & Program Manager -- Meleina H.   (Formerly Tia C.)                                              ♀

Pinup Contest Coordinator & Stage Manager -- Miss Savvy or TBD                                                              ♀

Burlesque Coordinator & Stage Manager -- La Femme Rikita or TBD   (Formerly "Tracy Lashes")        ♀

Neighborhood Tours Coordinator -- Carter                                                                                                          ♀

Twisted Cuts Fashion Show Coordinator -- Nickie                                                                                               ♀
2015 Page to the Stage Fashion Show -- Bertie, Our friend                                                                              ♀

Comedy Coordinator & Stage Manager -- Patrick T. and/or Aaron P.                                                             ♂

Catering -- Olay's Thai-Laos Cuisine                                                                                                                      ♀

Official Festival Merchandise Booth -- Juli G.                                                                                                       ♀

[Online Merch Sales -- 808shows.storenvy.com]

Tattoo Specials -- Each individual Tattoo Shop (Old Ironside, Black Cat, Lilium)

 

Relevant Issues:

Racism?

To be clear, the festival does not condone racism and supports tolerance. Make no mistake, it is an anti-racist organization. that said, most people are aware that Sailor Jerry both admired the Japanese tattoo masters but was also born in 1911 and an adult male during World War II. He was extremely patriotic, and had strong opinions, and some of his designs are inappropriate and/or offensive to many. We acknowledge that, but celebrate his achievements, lasting influence on art and the tattoo industry, as well as his local ties and all the good things that he stood for and created. For a little more on the topic, we highly recommend the documentary entitled HORI SMOKU which is/was available for free on YouTube.  Click here for a link that should work.

Safety?

We are against racism, sexism, domestic violence, child or animal abuse, police brutality, homophobia, transphobia, hate, harassment, bullying, or the like. This is meant to be a welcome and safe event for all. Please speak up if you witness issues that need to be addressed. Not perfect, see below, but trying to get as close as we can, and listing this here is for the benefit of everyone. Take care
of each other and a good rule of thumb is to treat others the way that you wish to be treated. Please be responsible for yourself and respectful of those around you. This includes how you get home from the event. Do not drink and drive... get home safely!

COVID19 and the Free Livestream Edition 6/13/20 -- We have plans and policies for keeping the studio clean, spreading out, and so forth... expressly for the safety of all.  Click Here to review the formal document.  [Edit: the event went smoothly with no incidents.]

Culturally Insensitive?


Regarding Year One Fashion Show content:
In an effort to reiterate and consolidate... on behalf of myself, as the founder, and by extension the Sailor Jerry Festival itself... I apologize for the use of an image taken at the first event six years ago.
For those that don't know, a diverse group of local women physically wore outfits (created by a female POC with a vision to bring art from the page to the stage) that did in fact bring images created by Sailor Jerry from paper to a fashion show. It was a re-creation of some of the famous ‘Sailor Jerry girls’ and on our website we acknowledge that the history and that some of the art of Sailor Jerry is a bit racist, but the event is not based on old school beliefs. The event celebrates art, history, and local ties to that art and history. Still, while it took a bit of time and learning to really hear and grasp, I’m seeing that it shouldn’t have happened and the photo is a reminder of that. The photo keeps popping up due to poor diligence in effectively removing it, but it is/was a first year thing. The event has evolved since then, as have I, and now I understand it’s cultural appropriation. Moving forward I will focus on better choices. It was never meant to be offensive to anyone and the fashion show has not even continued to be held. The intention was simply to bring art to life, if you will... specifically art inspired by the old school tattoos of our local history, but I dropped the ball. I was unaware at the time that it was cultural appropriation relived. I’m here to admit that it was however culturally insensitive, and I do not deny that. In hindsight I see that. Through being questioned I see that. I do see that. Not to make excuses because concern has been brought to our attention before. That is where I have the most regret. I have listened but didn’t actually hear. At the same time, nobody took it lightly. It was discussed in private but I was advised that it didn’t rise to the same level based on the context, intent, frequency, etc. That made some sense then but it kept me up last night, and after reflecting further I agree now that it was a mistake. I am sorry. Truly. I hope for forgiveness and whatever level of future support others feel comfortable with. It wasn’t my first mistake in life and likely won’t be my last, but I do try not to waste a single learning opportunity. Recent failed attempts to calmly and politely explain the other point of view helped lead to this discovery so I thank those that spoke up. More than once on occasion. I encourage everyone to always speak up. Especially to me. I am an open book and I will be respectful. At least I feel that I always am. It is still something I take full responsibility for, and apologize for. I also offer a pledge that it is not going to be used again by me or us, so if this topic is brought up again just know that a lesson has been learned and corrective actions have been taken. You have my word. Alright, thanks for reading this. I hope you can look past the mistakes and that you will offer to hold me accountable going forward... on this or any other topic. I’m sure it’s not easy work to work towards educating, perhaps exhausting even, but I will listen and I’ll hear better as well. Lastly, this should in no way reflect poorly on anyone else associated with the event.

I own this. It’s my fault and I have learned something.   -- Aloha, jason miller / founder & co-host

By request of someone that brought this to our attention, here are images of the various women, and the outfits that were prepared for them for a fashion show in 2015, by a female person of color. It will not be included in any marketing efforts and should no longer be showing on any of our social media accounts.

                                                                                         [ Again, added only by request, as context to criticism]

These statements were added in an effort to make clear where we stand, acknowledge that mistakes have been made, and demonstrate that the event intends to never repeat them... to do better moving forward... and to ask that each of you think about it as well. Growth is a long-term effort. This festival thinks of itself as a family from top to bottom, and wishes to be part of the solution when it comes to these topics and 'we' don't hide from our own imperfections. We won't get everything right 100% of the time and we won't be able to please everyone in every situation but we do at least aim to do so! You are welcome to reach out for any reason but especially if you were ever hurt or let down by a post or a comment or an image etc. Let's talk about it. We welcome you. Thank you.  There's a contact link below.  

Exposure?  Paid Performers?  Diverse and Inclusive?
In order to speak to truth verses rumor... We work to ensure that every performer is compensated for their time. We do not ask anyone to work for free. We set a budget and make an offer... and if accepted, we book the talent. It's that simple. We pay every musician/band, comic, festival staff member, and burlesque dancer for their time. The rates are agreed upon in advance every single time, and we have people in charge of recruitment for some aspects like the comedy, fashion show, pinup contest, art show, and burlesque performances.
This is payment in the form of cash money and guest list spots for each member as well as a guest such as boyfriend, wife, parent, etc.
That's up to a $40 value minimum for the guest list spots alone, and then the agreed upon amount of cash is additional. In some cases such as the pinup contest, art show, and fashion show segments... the budget is fairly small so we cannot offer guaranteed cash, but we have team leaders that organize participants who are interested in receiving free admission in trade for a bit of their time. This is voluntary and optional. For the art show; however, any artists willing to sell their piece at the rate they choose, has the potential (and many do) earn money from the sale of their art (when applicable) and the funds are split between the curator, venue, and artist... not the festival. The festival itself receives $zero, and every artist is added to the guest list under their name +1 friend. That's up to a $40 value minimum. These things are transparent. If anyone ever feels differently, then we encourage them to please reach out to us so we can clear that up.

 

 

Budgets:

In every facet of the event we have allocated a certain level of funds that we can afford. Our team leaders are given budgets to work with and they essentially have free reign over how to spend the funds, and whom to invite to participate. If the total budget is Z...   then naturally 10 times X can = Z, or 5 times Y can = Z or 1 times Z would = Z. As long as it equals Z, all is well, because the budget still adds up to Z and we let each of our coordinator specialists sort it out. We then also add all of the performer names to the guest list +1 friend as well.


 

Merchandise Artwork:

All artwork used for merchandise has been and always will be purchased for use by artists such as Unomas, Tokyo Hiro, Jared Gaines, and others...  with more to come. Proof is available as needed.

Should anyone ever have any questions at any time, let us know. We will get back to you as quickly as we can. The contact link is below. 

 

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