The Silver Men of Waikiki

Nightfall in Waikiki means evening hula shows, torch lighting ceremonies and…human robots? Dressed in silver suits and silver-painted faces, these street performers actually do very little performing for how entertaining they really are. The Silver Men remain completely still and silent at their various sidewalk posts, ignoring the confused looks from people passing by or the random jabs to their sides by those unsure if they’re statues.

The human robots, also known as the Silver Men, are a favorite Waikiki act.

They do this for hours – usually from about 6 to 10 p.m. – with very few props and very, very little movement. A mechanical noise made with their mouths signals a quick change in position, which startles the crowd of people curiously gathered around. There are even a few Silver Dogs that sit obediently next to their owners. They both wear sunglasses to add to the mysterious facade and welcome people to drop spare change in donation cups.

Over the past decade, the Silver Men have become a regular act unique to Hawaii. But they’re not the only street performers creating a buzz on the main Waikiki drag, which extends from the Duke’s statue to the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. More than 40 different types of performances happen at night fall – from the guy juggling basketballs to the girl making balloon animals. The sidewalks of Waikiki come to life, hosting all sorts of nocturnal acts for pedestrian passerby’s.

Somehow the silly Silver Men have successfully kept their identities secret over the years, with hidden faces and zero small talk. The performers do, however, have a Facebook profile called World Famous Silver Men. Not much information there, but lots of pictures from street performances and the occasional status update like, “Another great day for the Silver Men :)”

I remember one followed me down Waikiki when I was a kid. That was traumatizing! I got over that fear fast though, and as I grew older, I started seeing more and more Silver Men in Waikiki and just recently on Maui. There are silver ones, gold ones, young ones and furry ones – all with the same simple yet mysterious act. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on how all Hawaii street performers may be getting the hook soon and kicked off their sidewalk stage.

Photo Credit: Ariel Navares

Posted by: Bruce Fisher