The Iao Theater in Wailuku, just 35 kilometres from the Queen Theatre in Lahaina, holds no surprises with its spelling of theater. The challenge—for a non-Hawaiian—is learning to pronounce a word consisting solely of vowels! (Although not so hard once you learn how.) The Spanish Mission-style Iao Theater opened in 1928 and was originally both a movie theater and vaudeville house. It closed in the early 1980s and was almost demolished, but the community and county made efforts to save it, and in 1995 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra have performed here, as well as Maui musicians Keali‘i Reichel and Amy Hanaiali‘i Gilliom. Typographically speaking, I find that my preconceptions are challenged. I would usually keep well clear of this style of type, but on this sign, in this context, it’s exactly right.

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