Arsene "Blackie" Gadarian (1921 to 2013) was a well-known Maui legend as a machinist, former bar owner, jazz buff and irascible writer of pithy letters to local Maui publications.
Son of Armenian immigrants, Gadarian was raised in the slums of New York, served in the US Navy 1942 to 1945 in World War II as a mechanic on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, and worked as an aircraft mechanic at LA airport for Western Airlines and in private aviation from 1945 to 1960.
In 1960, Blackie and Sara Gadarian were married and moved to Newport Beach, California, where they raised their two children, and Blackie worked as a boat mechanic.
In 1964, Blackie and Sara Gadarian started Blackie´s Boat Yard, a drydock and boat repair in Newport Beach. Blackie became known for battling City Hall and being a colorful character in many ways. Everything at Blackie´s Boat Yard was painted orange, which Blackie contended was the only neutral color he knew. The machinery, tugboat, crane, truck and Blackie´s shirts were bright orange.
In 1976, the Gadarians started Blackie´s Boat Yard in Lahaina, a dry land boat storage yard, and in 1979, they moved to Maui and established Blackie´s Machine Shop at the boat yard, specializing in metal fabrication and custom railings.
In 1981, the Gadarians built Blackie´s Bar on the boat yard property. Blackie´s Bar Lahaina was known for its hot jazz, cold beer, unique decor and antics of host Maui Blackie. Blackie said: "Aloha is a two-way street: you treat my staff well, you will get good service; if you are nasty, you will be thrown out."
In 1995, the Gadarians sold the boat yard, machine shop and bar property, and moved Blackie´s Machine Shop to downtown Lahaina, where Blackie continued to work as a machinist until he died in 2013.
The orange color continued on Maui on Blackie´s building, machinery, boats, golf cart and truck, and always on Blackie´s shirts.
Maui Blackie Gadarian wore his trademark orange shirt all over the United States and Europe, from the bars in Lahaina to the jazz clubs of Paris, verandas of yacht clubs and posh restaurants and hotels.
Blackie´s Bar was known as the longest running straight-ahead jazz club in the Pacific. In recent years, Blackie and Sara Gadarian produced jazz events at Lahaina locations featuring musicians who had performed at Blackie´s Bar in the old days.