My Sisters Sweet Sixteen
My sister was turning 16 and wanted a small party. My mother decided to look for a place to hold it.
She and my aunt went around the area we lived in and found a small nightclub on Queen’s Boulevard called the “Tiki Hut”. The management promised them food, entertainment and best of all they could have the place at a reasonable cost for a Sunday Afternoon.
My mother came home and proudly told us what she and my aunt had done.
I was a little familiar with the place and asked my mother what the entertainment was.
“What’s the difference,” she said, “It’s a singer and a dancer, probably a hula dancer and Hawaiian singer. They know it’s for a Sweet 16”.
I asked for the name of the singer.
She replied “Kerry April, I think”.
Now, I had a choice here. Tell her who I thought Kerry April was or let it go. I decided to tell her.
“Uh, Ma, I know this Kerry April from seeing him in the Catskills. He used to do Midnight shows in the lounges. I don’t think this is the place for Regina’s party. He is a Gay singer whose theme song is “Hot Nuts”, I said.
“What are you talking about?” she replied. “You don’t know what you are talking about. It must be another Kerry April”.
Try as I might, I couldn’t persuade her to change the venues. What would be, would be.
The invitations went out. The day arrived.
I went with my soon to be wife, a couple of friends of mine, my future in laws, my father, my mother, my aunt, her soon to be husband, a family friend of my parents, my sister, her boy and girl friends. We filled up the small nightclub.
As we went in I saw a picture of Kerry April. It was the Kerry April from the mountains. My friends, who had worked with me in the Catskills, also saw the picture. We looked at each other and knew what was to come.
Things started off well enough, Pu Pu Platters and soft drinks with umbrellas were served. Everyone was enjoying themselves.
The floor show began.
First came Kerry April. He kind of looked like The Joker from Batman, the comic book version, not the TV and movie versions, without the heavy makeup. His hair was teased up in a massive pompadour and he wore form fitting dark clothing.
He started his set with his signature song, “Hot Nuts”. The song starts off:” Hot nuts, hot nut, you get them from the peanut man….” Kerry is very flamboyant, and his intonations and phrasing made it very clear what he was talking about.
My mother remained clueless, but my father was beginning to get the drift of what was about to happen. The kids were also clueless so there was still hope.
Kerry continued his set.
By the time Kerry was finished, my friends and I were looking around trying to gauge the reaction of the adults. They were starting to get nervous, except for my mother and aunt who seemed to enjoy the show.
The next act began.
A rather voluptuous young woman came out in a bikini and started gyrating on the stage to music. Everyone perked up.
My sister’s boy friends started paying particular attention to the stage.
The music intensified, the lights went out and all that could be seen were glowing hands (they were using black light) painted over strategic areas of the girl’s anatomy moving in and out, up and down, all around, in time to the music.
Hoots could be heard from my sister’s friends table. The adults while initially shocked, seemed to be enjoying it (particularly the men). My friends and I were laughing.
The music stopped, the lights came on. The young woman took a bow to wild applause from my sister’s table and polite applause from the adults.
My father was glaring at my mother who seemed unperturbed by the show. I was waiting for his signature line, but he held back, no doubt thinking of potential lawsuits from the parents of my sister’s friends. Some of the adult woman seemed a little unsure, but the men seemed to have enjoyed themselves.
We all left soon after the show ended, my sister was not embarrassed and her friends seemed to have had a good time.
Word quickly spread among the high school community and Monday morning my sister was very popular.
My mother never acknowledged that she had made a mistake, and always spoke about the party in positive terms. My father would only shake his head at her when she bragged about it.
The party has become somewhat of a legend with my friends and I am sure with my sister’s friends who attended.
I wish that I had thought of it.