Last weekend my neighbor next door brought me part of the Sunday paper, the entertainment section. Printed on actual PINK newspaper stock, it is commonly referred to as the "pink section"

Little is more entertaining (for me) than my thoughts, artwork, and circle of friends. A newspaper "entertainment" section, should I come to possess one, is what the three parakeets read on the bottom of their cage. I pick out the coolest pages to face up for them.This was article on the hula hooping revival brought me face to face with my paisley (as opposed to checkered) past.

I am not really sure when I first found the hula hoop- or that the Hula Hoop found me. It could have been when I was teaching art at an afterschool program. It doesn't really matter HOW or WHERE or WHY, just that it happened. I might have just bought one on a whim.

The hoop is fun, I learned and invented tricks. I could talk on the phone while gyrating, as long as the phone was cordless! Blowing bubbles is great when you are hula hooping! Gentle rocking propels the hoop; it is centering, meditative. Movement inspired by the hoop is naturally fluid, graceful.

Wear a string of bells and it sounds like a symphony. Carefully extract the staples and remove the BBs from a store bought shoop shoop and you get a stealthy silent late night model. Decorate it with safety reflective tape from a hardware store and the hoop appears to be lit up from within under stage lights. And then there's the sacred GLOW in the DARK and BLACK LIGHT treatments...

Guys love to watch hula-hooping. It is mesmerizing. (don't you just LOVE that word!) They are "Hip-notized". Plus this extra added bonus- unlike belly dancing, there is no whiney flute and finger cymbal music to endure. A rock beat works great.

As exercise goes, it gets the tummy in tip top shape. One may choose to hoop with others or solo as is fit. Driving to a gym or joining a team and wearing a uniform is not required. Hula hoops are great fun on long car trips. 15 minutes of hooping at the rest area gets the kinks out and clears your mind!

Not unlike planting a zucchini squash in a vegetable garden, a single hula hoop's massive space requirement will limit the population of hoops used per room or patio. They can knock over as many drinks as an enthusiastic golden retriever's tail. SOMETIMES finding a place to store them where they do not skitter out from behind the door is a challenge. These are minor issues- compared to the huge benefit the hula hoop brought my life.

My pets have mixed emotions. One cat lets me hold her and hoop. She hangs on the right shoulder keeping her fuzzy tail out of the orbit's path. Another cat flees the scene, and one doesn't notice the hoop at all. The dog is utterly perplexed. There is no lap to snuggle into- so what's the use!? He looks all weasely and pathetic until the hoop is at rest.

One of the strangest hoop things happened at a night club. A drunk guy harassed me by reaching up to hit my hoop so It would fall. He did it over and over again. Reasoning and obsenities were useless against this killjoy. No bouncer in sight. I took matters into my own hands.

With rage only a thwarted hooper could muster toward such a malicious idiot, I grabbed the hoop firmly with left hand (I was on the left side of the stage) from my waist, up over my head, and PUMMELED THE INFIDEL WITH IT REPEATEDLY!!!

That got the bouncer's attention. The club kicked that jerk and his stupid drunk friend out. YAY!

Driving home from the club in the wee hours, gig nite adrenaline giving way to physical exhaustion, two fingers on my left hand began to throb. And swell. And change colors. This went on for 6 weeks before I surrendered and went to the doctor.

The fingers were alien fingers, not mine. An x-ray told the story- I had fractured my phalanges. My first ever broken bones! A hula-hoop injury! I couldn't believe it. I didn't stop hooping on stage- but I never bopped someone on the head again...

I taught hula hooping one summer at a performing arts summer camp, as well as improvisational dance performance. I can teach anyone to hulahoop! The kids loved the hoops. Funny thing is the majority were most attracted to "endurance hooping", not the tricks. My stopwatch got quite the workout as brisk competition developed. New camp records were made and broken daily... We made up some guidelines about timing and hooping "umpires" to squelch dishonest distance claims. An official camp trophy was awarded at the grand finale show for the champion. This was not in the curriculum I prepared pre-camp, but It was such a popular activity I just went with the flow. That's improv baby!

Now this article on pink newsprint documents the "new" thing - hooping. I never thought it was old. My experience predates the history given for the origins of the resurgence. I very well might have inspired some of this frenzy.

In 1991, 1992 I performed at the Grateful Dead New Years Show with my dance company GO GO TO GO. I hooped for 10,000+ crowd in Oregon at a Springfield Creamery show that our rock band, The WHITE TRASH DEBUTANTS, played. I did it at the Fillmore auditorium, the Whiskey a go go in LA., on nunerous bars and tabletops, Every bay area nightclub with room enough on the stage; Utah, Nevada, in a MTV music video titled "Surfin on Jupiter" for the Marin County band Psychefunkapus (with Dick Dale the famous surf guitar legend! COOL) lots and lots of hooping in my living room; my hooping resume goes on and on.

If my 20 year zeal for the hoop diseminated, percolated, trickled down, infiltrated, influenced, inflamed, inspired, and/or fueled even a small militant faction within this hoard of neophytes, directly or indirectly, recognized or not, I have achieved the spiritual hula hoop nirvana heavenly grand prize to end all prizes. The hoop brings laughter, joy, peace, healthy abs, and a plethora of equally valuable things.

My husband utilizes a hula hoop as a handle to rotate a tall TV antenna from his den window. He wanted one of MY precious hoops at first! NO WAY! Never Never use one as a weapon no matter what!

The mission statement for my dance company, GO GO TO GO , says it best,

"Aim to spread Joy and Happiness on the face of the Planet, in spite of the harrowing odds against us, and to Carry The Torch into the 21st Century"

I still carry that torch.torchstar avatarHOOP ON