Archive for May, 2009

Lots of good things coming — in 3-D

May 29th, 2009

Things are looking way up for 3-D flicks, so anticipate a torrent of in-your-face features.
Today’s opening of Disney Pixar’s “Up,” available in both 3-D and 2-D versions, figuratively and literally characterizes the landscape: Extra-dimension movies are going to be popping up, up and up ... in the months and years ahead. Some 3-D pics will also get IMAX enhancement.
On the horizon this year: “Toy Story 3-D,” “Avatar,” “Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland,” “A Christmas Carol.”
Coming up in 2010 and beyond: “Shrek Forever After” (previously, “ShrekGoes Fourth”), “The Adventures of Tintin,” “Cars 2,” “Beauty and the Beast 3-D.” Though timetables are uncertain, George Lucas hopes to relaunch his “Star Wars” in 3-D; other franchises are contemplating a 3-D reboot, like a "Pirates of the Caribbean 4" and even a contemplatd "TRON 3-D."
But experiencing and watching 3-D comes with an added price.
You have to shell out extra for the use of the glasses, updated to plastic and durable like sunglasses, unlike the red-and-blue cello lenses framed in cardboard frames of yesteryear.
The extra charge has become an issue with exhibitors (the theaters) and the producers (the movie companies), with one expecting the other to shoulder the burden.
And guess who's still paying. You and me.
That tack-on charge reflects a fee of about $3.50 for 3-D, which is added to the usual charge to see “Up” with the extra dimension. This means $13.50 for 3-D vs. $10 (for 2-D) for adult admission, $10.50 ($7 2-D) for kids, $10.25 ($6.75 2-D) for seniors, though rates vary at different screenings.
If 3-D is to become a film staple, standardization of the format — including the glasses required to view the pop-out film effects — would benefit consumers.
Here's what I think. Fans could invest in glasses, the way we buy your own golf clubs to tee off , use our own ball at bowling, or swing our own racket to play tennis, and charge rentals only for those who don’t have the specs. I think the toothbrush principle works here: you buy, you bring, you brush.
Right now, the glasses are reused — presumably cleaned and/or wiped for recycling — and that would necessitate the extra charge for maintenance and upkeep.
So, if you could buy and bring your own pair of glasses (I’d pay up to $10 to own my specs), you’d potentially make up this cost if you see three or four 3-D films this year.
Color-frames could easily identify the viewer-owned purchases (say, red), with rentals a different color (say, blue). Still different hues could be utilized to further ID children rentals (green) and senior rentals (gray).
Movies should learn from theme parks: Don’t charge extra for 3-D glasses. When you see the “Shrek” attraction at Universal Studios or the “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” at Disney theme parks, there's no add-on tariff. That's the way it should be.
Clearly, folks like 3-D films, if Disney’s recent “Monsters vs. Aliens” is a barometer. It has logged $191 million-plus since its initial release, good for a No. 7 ranking last week of Top 10 film grosses.
And DreamWorks Animation’s Jeffrey Katzenberg expects between 12 to 18 3-D feature films by 2010, according to Variety, the show biz bible. Like it or hate it, 3-D is here to stay. Nationally, at least 5,000 systems will be able to accommodate the extra dimension motif this year.
But please. Movie theaters should avoid the airlines-style and rampant add-on charges. They get us on the cost of popcorn, hotdogs and soda already, right?
While some future 3-D films will be new, like “Cars 2,” “Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie” and “Rapunzel,” filmmakers also will be looking back to beloved classics to upgrade and re-introduce hot titles — such as “Beauty and the Beast ” and even “Star Wars.” Think about it: You might have seen the original, but a whole new generation of viewers evolves every five to 10 years.
The “Superman” relaunch two years ago had limited 3-D elements, as did Robert Zemeckis’ “The Polar Express” in 2004, and familiar titles with built-audience appeal could legitimately be retrofitted with 3-D.
So what old titles merit the 3-D reboot? I’d list the “Spiderman” franchise, the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, perhaps even the blockbuster “Titanic” ... and part of the “Batman” series.
So what oldies would you want to see in 3-D? And how do you feel about buying your own goggles to ogle the visual effects to avoid extra-payment overload?

3-D scorecard: What's poppin' soon and later

May 29th, 2009

So you like 3-D? There’s a surge of 3-D features this year — and beyond.
What to look for:

“Transformer: Revenge of the Fallen,” another Michael Bay-Steven Spielberg spectacle with Shia LeBeouf, Megan Fox and Josh Duhamel, in IMAX-3-D. June 24.
“Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” aka “Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” scopes the animated Sub Zero Heroes as they encounter dinosaurs. Last of three installments. July 1.
“G-Force 3-D,” a film by Jerry Bruckheimer. Train secret agent guinea pigs try to halt an evil billionaire who wants to destroy the world with household appliances. July 24.
“Piranha 3-D,” a horror film by Alexandre Aja, rebooting the 1978 film. July 24.
“Final Destination 4: Death Trip 3-D,” the fourth in the franchise of thrillers this with a premonition of race car crashes and collapsing spectator stands. Aug. 21.
“Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” an animated family comedy based on a children’s book, where food falls from the skies instead of rain. September.
“Toy Story 3-D,” a re-release of the popular film with Woody the cowboy and Buzz Lightyear, in digital 3-D. Oct. 2.
“Astro Boy 3-D,” about a robot with unique powers, based on a Japanese manga character set in a futuristic Metro City. Oct. 30.
“Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas,” a re-release that's a Halloween-Christmas tradition. October.
“A Christmas Carol,” Robert Zemeckis’ retelling of the Charles Dickens holiday favorite, about the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey), who learns there’s more to life than wealth. Featuring a performance capture motif Zemeckis used in “The Polar Express.” Nov. 6.
“Planet 51,” a Spanish animated film by Jorge Blanco, about a human astronaut who winds up on Planet 51, inhabited by little green people. Nov. 20.
“How to Train Your Dragon,” based on the children's novel by Cressida Cowell, about the adventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, the teenage son of a Viking chieftain in a rite of passage encounter with a dragon. Nov. 20.
“Avatar,” a futuristic film by James Cameron (“Titanic”), dealing with a band of humans battling a distant planet’s indigenous population. Michelle Rodriguez, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Giovanni Ribisi star. Dec. 18.

3-D TITLES 2010

• “The Croods,” a comedy set in the stone age directed by Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch). No timetable.
“Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland,” performance capture technology with live-action footage based on the Lewis Carroll classic. Film will be combine performance-capture technology with live-action footage, with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen and Mia Wasikowska as Alice. In IMAX and 3-D. March 5, 2010.
“How To Train Your Dragon,” a film by by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois in 3-D-IMAX, about the son of a Viking chief who must capture a dragon to be intiated into his tribe. Wih Gerald Butler and America Ferrera. March 26. 2010.
“Shrek Forever After,” formerly called “Shrek Goes Fourth,” continuing the adventures of the giant green ogre. 3-D and IMAX rollout, with the voices of Mike Myers (Shrek), Eddie Murphy (Donkey),Cameron Diaz (Princess Fiona), Antonio Banderas (Puss in Boots), Paul McCartney (Rumpelstiltskin),Julie Andrews (Queen Lillian) and Justin Timberlake (Artie). May 21, 2010.
“Rapunzul,” a Disney remake of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale about a fair-haired beauty with long-flowing locks, a hero with a heart of gold, and anevil witch. With the voice of Kristin Chenoweth, Kevin Linehan. Late 2010.
“The Dark Country,” a film noir feature directed by and starring Thomas Jane, about a newlywed couple on a honeymoon in hell when they encounter a dead body. With Ron Perlman. 2010.
“Alpha and Omega,” with Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Christina Ricci. Oct.1, 2010.
“Oobermind,” formerly “Master Mind,” an animated feature that satirizes superhero flicks, voiced by Robert Downey Jr. and Tina Fey. Nov. 5, 2010.
“The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn," the first of 3-D features by Steven Spielberg, based on Georges Herge Remi’s comic strip hero Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy. With Jamie Bell, Daniel Craig. 2011.
“Puss in Boots,” a Shrek spinoff starring the sword-wielding cat voiced by Antonio Banderas. 2011.
“Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom,” a sequel to “Kung Fu Panda,” voiced by Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman. June 3, 2011.
“Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie,” a remake of a 1984 short film and a parody of the 1931 Frankenstein film. No timetable.
“Battle Angel,” James Cameron’s adaptation of the graphic novel about a female cyborg rescued from the junk heap by a scientist who becomes her surrogate father. No timetable.
“Untitled Tintin Sequel,” directed by Peter Jackson or Steven Spielberg. The continued adventures of popular Belgian comic-strip hero Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy. No timetable.
“Untitled Tintin 3,” third installment by Spielberg, possibly in collaboration with Peter Jackson, about the comic strip hero. No timetable.
“TRON 3-D,” a Disney franchise, will get a 3-D reboot. 2011.
• “Cars 2,” a sequel to the Disney Pixar, brings back Lightning McQueen for a 3-D road show. 2011.
• “Pirates of the Caribbean 4,” a Disney franchise which can sail only with Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow aboard ship. 2011 or later.
• “National Treasure 3,” with Disney courting Nicolas Cage to return. Fall/winter 2011.
• “Star Wars,” an eventual rollout by George Lucas of his legacy films. No timetable.

Cazimeros pace Na Hoku nominations with 6

May 26th, 2009

Like every other entertainment competition, Hawai'i’s Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards — see it live June 9 on K5 The Home Team, originating from the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel’s Ballroom — is all about numbers.
Who’s got the most nominations? Who’ll win the most trophies? How many categories this year? How long will the show run?
Here’s the picture, by the numbers:
24 — Number of categories in play this year.
6 — Most nominations logged by The Brothers Cazimero, fueled by their “Destiny” CD.
5 — Second most-nominated act is Pali, for its “...With Aloha” disc, tied with Howard Ai, whose “Kaleihulumamo” CD is right up there with the contenders.
4 — A three-way tie for four nods, with Teresa Bright, for her “Tropic Rhapsody;” Holunape, for its “Ahea? Ano!” CD; and Amy Hānaiali'i, for her “ ‘Aumakua” Grammy nominee.
3 — Number of nominations for Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole, for his “Kaumakaiwa” album.
1 — There’s a lone new category this year, Slack Key Album, enabling ki ho'alu strummers a place to compete; in years past, pigeon-holing a instrumentalist who sings, or a singer who strums, was challenging (where depended on how much vocals vs. instrumentals). The new division puts slack key efforts in the right place and spot-on limelight, not competing with, say, 'ukulele players. Ki ho'alu's time has come. And it has nothing to do with the controversy of the Hawaiian Grammy Award winners of the past -- mostly ki ho'alu compilations.
1 — Number of “Amerian Idol” finalist disqualified from the ballot. And no, it’s not Jasmine Trias, it’s Camille Velasco, whose "Guava Jelly," which was listed on the final ballot, has been deemed ineligible because it was a single, not a DVD music video.
10 — Number of competitors on the final ballot for Favorite Entertainer, each nominated in at least one key category; this is the only category with voting input from the general public (all other categories are voted on by members of the Hawai’i Academy of Recording Arts).
2 — Potential posthumous laurels, to a single act, Israel Kamakawio’ole :& the Mākaha Sons of Ni'ihau for “Unforgettable,” which is vying in two categories, though the awards would go to the producer and engineer.
It’s anyone’s guess as to who’ll corral the most wins, and upsets are always part of the outcome.
As for duration, the Hoku Awards are known to ramble on and on and on.


Anthology Album:
• “50 Greatest songs of Hawai’i,” various artists (Mountain Apple), Honolulu Magazine, producer
• “Aloha Festivals Falsetto Contest Winners, Best of,” various artists (Hula), Don McDiarmid Jr., Don “Flip” McDiarmid III, producers
• “Kamalei: Keali’i Reichel Collection – Two,” Keali‘i Reichel (Punahele), Keali‘i Reichel, Fred Krauss, Jim Linkner, producers
• “Keys of Love,” Kapena (KDE Records) KDE Records Inc., producers
• “Unforgettable,” Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and the Mākaha Sons of Ni’ihau (Poki), Tim Mathre, Kata Maduli, Lea Uehara, producers

Christmas Album of the Year
• “Aloha Kalikimaka: A Hawaiian Christmas,” Maui Jam (Maui Jam)
• “Christmas Aloha,” various artists (Moutain Apple)
• “E Ola Ke Ali’i: The Na Kama Christmas Collection, Vol. 1,” Na Kama (Makani).
• “Kimo’s Hawaiian Slack Key Christmas,” Jim “Kimo” West (Westernmost)
• “Kohala Christmas,” Kohala (Palm).
• “Winds and Colors of Christmas,” ‘Ilima Rivera (Mahina Mele).

Compilation Album of the Year
• “Hawaiian Slack Key Kings Master Series, Vol. II,” various artists (Rhythm and Roots), Chris Lau, Milton Lau, producers
• “Hawaiian Style 5,” various artists (Neos), Pati St. John, producer
• “Live at ‘Iolani School Fair — Vol. 1,” various artists (No Hum Yet), Fred B. Li, producer
• “Love, Love, Love,” various artists (One Hawaii), Alika “Boy” Kalauli, Sherry Kalauli, Shawn Pimental, producers
• “Pink CD,” various artists (Island Soul), Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation, producer

Music Video DVD of the Year
• “Kamehameha Schools 2008 Song Contest,” Kamehameha Schools (Mountain Apple Co.)
• “Like Ocean, Like Lace,” Cheryl Bartlett (Akimbo)

Contemporary Album of the Year
• “Acoustic Beauty,” Tahiti Rey (Rey of Light)
• “Another Rainbow,” Jeff Rasmussen (Fat Katz)
• “‘Aumakua,” Amy Hānaiali’i (Ua)
• “Everyday,” Ten Feet (Ohana)
• “Full Circle,” Titus Kinimaka (no label)
• “Time,” Dave Tucciarone (Dave Tucciarone)

Hawaiian Album of the Year
• “Ahea? ‘Ano!,” Holunape (Roy Sakuma)
• “Destiny,” The Brothers Cazimero (Mountain Apple)
• “Kaumakaiwa,” Kaumakaiwa Kanaka‘ole (Mountain Apple)
• “Pili O Ke Ao,” Kupaoa (Kupaoa)
• “Yesterday and Today,” Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawai'i (Sons of Hawaii)

Hip Hop/R&B Album of the Year
• “Alive and Well,” King Kek
ai (Ekahi)
• “Connie,” Connie Cruz (One Hawaii)
• “Hawai‘i and Beyond,” Ryan Hiraoka (Rubbah Slippah).
• “Planet Earth,” Nigel Kauanui (no label)
• “Reborn,” A Touch of Gold (Golden Boy)

Instrumental Album of the Year
• “Contemporary Ukulele Instrumentals,” Kalei Gamiao (Kalei G)
• “From the Heart,” Noly Paa (Pali Winds)
• “Haleakalā,” Jeff Peterson and Riley Lee (Peterson)
• “Kohala Live,” Kohala (Palm)
• “Spotlight,” Ohta-san (Roy Sakuma)

Island Music Album of the Year

• “‘Aina,” Peter Apo (Mamo)
• “Dear Mama,” Darren Benitez (Fat Katz)
• “Force of Nature,” Led Kaapana and Mike Kaawa (Jus Press)
• “The White Bathtub,” Kenneth Makuakane (Makuakane)
• “...With Aloha,” Pali (PK)

Jazz Album of the Year

• “Aloha Monday,” Aaron Kaleo Agsalda (Esperanza)
• “Hawaiian Jazz,” Stephen Jones and Bryan Kessler (Wire and Wood)
• “Live at the Dragon Upstairs,” Ginai and Pierre (RVR)
• “Tropic Rhapsody,” Teresa Bright (Teresa Bright)
• “The Very Thought of You,” Shea Argel (Argel)

Reggae Album of the Year
• “The Bond That Binds,” Kawao (Jus-Us Kawao)
• “Free Again,” Kontiki (Kontiki)
• “It’s About Time,” Dani Girl (Island Soul)
• “Nothing to Hide,” Rebel Souljahs ( 000000)
• “We’re Coming,” Pohaku (Pohaku)

Religious Album of the Year

• “All for One,” Del Beazley (Mountain Apple)
• “Heaven in Your Heart,” Debra Lynn (Rainbow Rose Press)
• “My Generation,” SRM Worship (no label)
• “Psalms for Healing,” Wesley Taira (no label)
• “Send Love Everywhere but Now,” Anita Hall (Duck House)
• “Tiffa,” Tiffa Garza (One Hawaii)

Rock Album of the Year

• “Admit One,” Pimpbot (Pass Out)
• “Imua,” Imua Garza (One Hawaii)
• “Light You Up,” Kristofer David Gray (no label)
• “Many Classics, Kalapana Plays Their Best,” Kalapana (OTB)
• “A Sense of Urgency,” Upstanding Youth (no label)

Slack Key Album of the Year
• “Hanalei Tradition,” Doug and Sandy McMaster (Aloha Plenty)
• “Hawaii Island...Is My Home,” John Keawe (Homestead)
• “Kaowahi,” Ben P. Kaili Jr. (no label)
• “Paradise on the Ocean,” Doug Fitch (Doug Fitch)
• “Somewhere,” Danny Carvalho (Lava Rock)

Female Vocalist of the Year
• Diana Aki, “Kalihi” (Songbird)
• Teresa Bright, “Tropic Rhapsody (Teresa Bright)
• Amy Hānaiali‘i, “ ‘Aumakua” (Ua)
• Natalie Ai Kamauu, “‘I” (Keko)
• Ku‘upio Kumukahi, “Let’s Hula With Ku‘upio” (Ward)

Male Vocalist of the Year
• Howard K. Ai, “Kaleihulumamo” (Ginger Doggie)
• Del Beazley, “All for One” (Mountain Apple)
• Darren Benitez, “Dear Mama” (Fat Katz)
• Bill Kaiwa, “Na Halia” (Kaiwa)
• Kaumakaiwa Kanaka‘ole, “Kaumakaiwa” (Mountain Apple)
• Aaron J. Salā, “Napo‘ona Mahina: the Illusion of Reality” (Hula)

Group of the Year
• Brothers Cazimero, “Destiny” (Mountain Apple)
• Holunape, “Ahea? ‘Ano!,” (Roy Sakuma)
• Led Kaapana and Mike Kaawa, “Forces of Nature” (Jus Press)
• Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawai'i, “Yesterday and Today” (Island Sounds)
• Pali, “...With Aloha” (PK)

Most Promising Artist of the Year
• Anita Hall, “Send Love Everywhere but Now” (Duck House)
• Hapa Folk, “Good Fun” (no label)
• Kupaoa, “Pili O Kea Ao” (Kupaoa)
• Mānoa Voices, “A University Hawaiian Combo” (Hula)
• Dave Tucciarone, “Time” (Dave Tucciarone)

Album of the Year
• “Ahea? ‘Ano?,” Holunape (Roy Sakuma), Holunape, producer
• “‘Aumakua,” Amy Hānaiali‘i (Ua), Matt Catingub, producer
• “Destiny,” Brothers Cazimero (Mountain Apple), Jon de Mello, producer
• “Kaumakaiwa,” Kaumakaiwa Kanaka‘ole (Mountain Apple), Shawn Pimental, Kaukaiwa Kanakaole, producers
• “...With Aloha,” Pali (PK), D.J. Pratt, Pali Ka‘aihue, producers

Song of the Year

• “Dear Mama,” by Darren Benitez, from “Dear Mama,” Darren Benitzez (Fat Katz)
• “Island Days,” by Pali T.W. Ka‘aihue, from “...With Aloha,” Pali (PK)
• “Ka ‘Imi Loa,” by Snowbird Bento and Roland Cazimero, from “Destiny,” Brothers Cazimero (Mountain Apple Co.)
• “Maka Ua,” by Myrna and Eddie Kamae, from “Yesterday and Today,” Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawai'i (Hawai'i Sons)
• “Waiaka,” by Olana and Howard Ai from “Kaleihulumamo,” Howard K. Ai (Ginger Doggie)

Entertainer of the Year
• Howard K. Ai, “Kaleihulumamo” (Ginger Doggie)
• Darren Benitez, “Dear Mama” (Fat Katz)
• Teresa Bright, “Tropial Rhapsody” (Teresa Bright)
• Brothers Cazimero, “Destiny” (Mountain Apple)
• Amy Hānaiali‘i, “‘Aumakua” (Ua)
• Holunape, “Ahea? ‘Ano!” (Roy Sakuma)
• Led Kaapana and Mike Kaawa, “Force of Nature” (Jus Press)
• Natalie Ai Kamauu, “‘I” (Keko)
• Ku‘uipo Kumukahi, “Let’s Hula With Ku‘uipo” (Ward)
• Pali, “...With Aloha” (PK)

• Linda Ching and Toni Drake, “From the Heart,” Noly Paa (Pali Winds)
• Debbie Chock and Lori Nuha, “Napo‘ona Mahina: the Illusion of Reality,” Aaron J. Sala (Hula)
• Alfredo Garma, “Kaleihulumamo,” Howard K. Ai (Ginger Doggie)
• Stacey Leong Design, “‘Aina,” Peter Apo (Mamo)

• Milan Bertosa, D.J. Pratt and Gaylord Holomalia, “Many Classics: Kalapana Plays Their Best,” Kalapana (OTB)
• Kit Ebersbach, “Tropic Rhapsody,” Teresa Bright (Teresa Bright)
• Fred Li and Eric Kop, “Bob Tribal,” Bop Tribal (Pass Out)
• Shawn Livingston Mosley, “Altar Natve,” Millicent Cummings (Jai Ma)
• Shawn Livingston Mosley, “White Bathtub,” Kenneth Makuakane (Makuakane)

Liner Notes

• Olana Ai, “Kaleihulumamo,” Howard K. Ai (Ginger Doggie)
• Robert Cazimero and Roland Cazimero, “Destiny,” Brothers Cazimero (Mountain Apple)
• Gerald Kahula Hirata, “Aloha ‘Anianiau,” Leilani River Bond (Leilani)
• Kahauanu Lake, “E Hula Mai Kakou,” Na Leo (One Hawaii)
• Puakea Nogelmeier, Fred Krauss and Keali‘i Reichel, “Kamalei: Keali‘i Reichel Collection — Two,” Keali‘i Reichel (Punahele)

Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards
6 to 11 p.m. June 9
Hawaii Ballroom, Sheraton Waikiki Hotel
$115 for HARA members, $125 for non-members; $200 VIP seats available

Commercial break: checking on fast food options

May 22nd, 2009

Food for thought: What you see is what you get, right?
Not always, and certainly not with the fast food options now hyped on TV commercials.
What you see on the tube is delectable and hunky chicken pieces, bulging submarine meatball sandwiches, plump mini-burgers, and recession-friendly wee sliders, and eveb frothy upscale espressos.
But when you buy some of these newbie munchies, you get slimmer versions — and I’m not talking fat count or cholesterol content — than the TV image.
So an obvious question is: Does downsizing mean you’re eating less, so taking on fewer calories? Or does buying smaller mean you’re saving bucks? This is not a trick question, just a reality check.
Often, TV makes you look heavier. So is this true with food stuff —look bigger on TV tan in person?
Some observations:


Item: $5 foot-longs.
The spot: Memorable for the five-fingers, palms-apart gesturing by hula dancers, rock group, a cop, a flight attendant and more, with an easy-to-remember refrain ... to accompany the monster meatballs that look like tennis balls bathing in sauce, with the ham and cheese spilling out of the bun.
In person: Meatballs are golf ball-sized, the sliced meats not as abundant, diminishing the $5 value a skosh.


Item: Toasty Torpedo.
The spot: The oven speaks here and advises Scott, the sandwich griller, to say “only $4” with a sexy overture to hawk the foot long “slim sleek ciabatta.” Hmmm-hmmm-hmmm-hmmm not-so-good buzz, according to online chatter because of gay implications.
In person: The Torpedo is unsurprisingly skinny and resembles a longish hotdog disguised as a baby sub.

Item: Grilled chicken.
The spot: The colonel’s grilling now, not just frying, and breasts look plump and juicy and finger-licking good, complete with black grill marks.
In person: The breast is skinnier than the TV version, like it has been on “The Biggest Loser” for six weeks, but grill lines on the still-on crispy skin is a plus. You also get a drumstick — not shown in the TV spot — in the two-piece meal (about $5), served with cole slaw, mashed potatoes with gravy and a biscuit in a tidy mini-box.

Item: BK Burger Shots (also, BK Breakfast Shots).
The spot: A dude with the flame-broiled bite-sizers get adoring reaction from a bevy of girls, who want to squeeze ‘em (the burgers, not him).
In person: You can have it your way; the lunch-dinner minis (aka sliders) come two to a pack (under $1.50) or six to a bundle (about $4); the morning minis offer ham, bacon or sausage patties with egg and cheese and come in pairs (under $1.50) or as four-pack (under $3). The minis resemble BK juniors, served with mustard, ketchup and pickles; the morning shots are like baby McMuffins, but on a roll instead of an English muffin.

Item: Mini sirloin sliders.
The spot: A cowboy-flavored commercial features a C&W tune, with a midget cowpoke, mini cows and a campfire setting — with a hefty slider trio as tall as it is wide – about 2 ½ inches apiece stacked against a Coke drink to suggest heftiness.
In person: The burgers aren’t as robust but taste better than the competish, because of the sirloin, and costs under $4.

Item: McCafe espresso, hot or cold.
The spot: Upscale espresso under the golden arches includes mocha, latte and cappuccino, hot or cold, from breakfast through the evening. Topped with whipped cream, striped with chocolate, in three sizes (12, 16, 22 oz.) and flavors (caramel, hazelnut, vanilla).
In person: Servings are ample and thick, cost less than the formidable Starbucks brand. But it takes time — 10 to 12 minutes — to make the specialty drinks and the retrofitted McCafe station takes up one register space, resulting in back-up food service at peak service hours.

On the Web:

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MVT cuts Wednesday shows, adds Saturday matinees this fall

May 21st, 2009

Manoa Valley Theatre is tweaking playdates — eliminating Wednesday opening night performances but adding a Saturday matinee — for its upcoming 2009-2010 season beginning this fall.
Further, the 41st season has been streamlined to five shows, with a sixth production staged as a “special” attraction, requiring additional admission. Thus, season tickets will cover five admissions only.
The theater says the changes are due to popular demand, perhaps following the lead of Diamond Head Theatre, whose regular production schedule includes Thursday night performances and matinees on select Saturdays and Sundays.
Other changes: Season ticket buyers for Friday series of shows now have an option of requesting reserved seating section privileges, a new feature.
We listed the fall slate earlier in an earlier blog before there were changes in the season count. To repeat:
* “Forbidden Broadway: Special Victims Unit,” Sept. 3 through 20. A musical revue by Gerard Alessandrini, off-Broadway’s kingin of send-ups and spoofs of mainstream shows. Directed by Elitei Tatafu. This edition includes parodies of “Jersey Boys,” “Mamma Mia!,” “South Pacific,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked.” Show creator Allesandrini will again lend personal assistance, assuring a spot-on spoof.
* “Winter Wonderettes,” Nov. 12 through 29, a holiday musical by Roger Bean. Directed by Brett Harwood. The 1960s provide the backdrop to a holiday party for the soon-to-close Harper’s Hardware, and the score is rich with winterly wonderments like “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” and yes, even “Mele Kalikimaka.”
* “The Dixie Swim Club,” Jan. 14 through 31, a comedy-drama by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten. Directed by Betty Burdick. Five Southern women whose friendship dates back to their college swim team ear, go on an annual August weekend to recharge those roots; the play spans a 33-year period.
* “Hair,” March 4 through 21, an American tribal love-rock musical by James Rado, Gerome Ragni and Galt McDermot, currently in revival on Broadway. Directed by Rob Duval. It’s a 1968 flashback to the Age of Aquarius, with a dawn of such Top 40 hits as “Good Morning Starshine,” “Hair,” and “Let the Sunshine In,” amid anti-war and love-and-peace themes.
* “Sleuth,” May 20 through June 6, a thriller by Anthoy Shaffer. Director TBA. A mystery writer ensconced in an English manor lures his wife’s lover to his home and convinces him o stage a robbery of her gems for their mutual benefit, triggering a chain of events that test the audience’s ability to define where reality and fantasy begin and end in a game with murderous consequences.
The sixth production will be “Once Upon One Time,” July 8 through 25; this is the award-winning local-style musical comedy parody, by Lisa Matsumoto, Paul Palmore and Roslyn Catracchia, now heralded as a special engagement. Directed by Bree Bumatai; combines pidgin with parody, as family fairy tales unwind with familiar characters and situations, cloaked with loco local lunacy: Noelani and da Six Menehunes, Red Rose Haku, Kekoa and Maile, and Da Keed Who Wen Cry Mongoose. It’s the first revival of a popular series by the late playwright Matsumoto. Mythic and manic fun-kine stuff.
Season tickets are $140 for five plays; a $140 flex pass, which allows five admissions useable in any combination of plays in the 2009-10 season, is also available. Season subscribers can order early for “Once Upon One Noddah Time” at $30 per ticket. And food service prior to curtain will be available in selected runs.
Curtain time will be 7:30 p.m. for Thursday openings, 8 p.m. Fridays, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays.
Information: 988-6131.

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