“She bent her head down, took out her hairpin, shook out that long rope of hair, and flung it back. Her hands shot out from her hips and that raspy voice fired out, “Whassup!” The crowd erupted, the roof lifted, they were hers. She absolutely knocked the room out! They called for more…both nights! It’s been that way every time since!...It’s a thrill riding her roller coaster narratives, careening between humor and horror, between mythic and contemporary Hawaii, always delivered with that outrageous mother-tongued Tita attitude.” (Jeff Gere, master storyteller & producer of the 27-year-old Talk Story Festival, Honolulu)
“Adding a physical presence – a hula dancer’s grace, a beach girl’s strength, a comedienne’s body language – she brought her alter-ego, “Tita,” to life…the sell-out crowd responded with glee and admiration for the bravura performance. Like a family-friendly Margaret Cho, Collins turned her own experiences, growing up as a “Japanee Makawao girl” as well as Pele-kine lore and mythology of Hawaii, into a unique act. While sidesplittingly funny at times, it was also soulful, tender and attuned to the details, from the most trivial to the most spiritual, of island life.” (Rick Chatenever, Maui Scene, The Maui News)
“Collins struck the common chord of humanity that unites these isles.” (Jule Wind, The Maui News)
Her alter ego “Tita”* is a regular fixture at O‘ahu’s annual Talk Story Festival, sharing Hawaiian legends and spreading the word of “pidgin (Hawaiian Creole English) pride”. “Tita” also shares her unique observations in her own column in Maui No Ka ‘Oi bimonthly magazine and was the spokesperson for the County of Maui’s anti-litter campaign “Listen to Tita…No Littah!”. Tita Out, Kathy’s first CD release, was recorded live at the first of several sold-out one-woman shows at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center and won the 2005 Hawai‘i Music Award for Comedy Album of the Year. “Tita” has also brought her message to local schools, community events, and Polynesian-themed events in California and Arizona.
Beyond “Tita”, Kathy was a keynote presenter at the 2009 National Storytelling Conference in Waikiki. In 2008, she wrote and produced Kathy Collins’ Death Comedy Jam following the death of her husband – an irreverent look at death and mourning through comedy and music. The premiere played to a standing room only crowd at the MACC and has led to numerous requests for her comedic monologues on widowhood.
In 2002 Kathy and her late husband Barry Shannon co-founded Mana'o Radio/KEAO-LP (91.5 FM), a non-commercial, non-profit radio station that has earned a devoted following with its wildly eclectic mix of music and spoken word. Kathy began her broadcasting career at age 17: "I chose radio…because my passion is acting. When I graduated from high school in the mid-1970s, stage or screen roles for 5-foot tall Asian women were few and far between. On the radio, I could play any role I wanted." She has performed and toured with Hawai’i’s The Barefoot Natives (Willie K & Eric Gilliom), had featured roles in playwright Lane Nishikawa’s historical dramas When We Were One and We Were Brothers, and hosted Grammy Award-winner George Kahumoku Jr.’s ‘Aha Mele and Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar weekly concerts. Her talents include dancing (tap, jazz, hula, classical Okinawan), iaijutsu (Japanese swordsmanship), writing, and a black belt in Okinawan shito-ryu karate.
Hear Tita "No Can" from Maui No Ka 'Oi column
Hear "Dis Bon Connected to da Mem'ry Bone" from Maui No Ka 'Oi column
Kathy Yogi Collins can offer performances, lecture-demonstrations, and workshops. She has extensive outreach experience in the schools and in working with the elderly.
° Storytelling Festivals ° Comedic Monologues
° Hawaiian, Japanese, and Okinawan Folk Tales, Obake Tales (Ghost Stories)
* “Tita” – Hawaiian Pidgin English for a feisty local woman, a sistah with a sassy attitude
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