Archive for June, 2009

Summer haps: Go out and do something

June 25th, 2009

Hoku winner: Two outdoor concerts
Taking advantage of his Na Hoku Hanohano Award wins, Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole will give two public concerts, one tonight, another on July 16, at not so conventional stages.
Kanaka’ole headlines at 6 tonight at Moonlight Mele on the Lawn at Bishop Museum, where gates open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets: $15 advance, $10 for museum members and military with ID. Information: 847-3511,
He also will appear at 7 p.m. July 16 (doors open at 5:30 p.m.), at Ke Kani O Ke Kai, the summer music series at Waikiki Aquarium. Tickts: $25 adults, $10 youths 7 through 12, free for keiki under 6. Tickets: 550-8457,

Moonlight movies: A pool idea
You can watch a movie from the swimming pool, when Embassy Suites-Wakiki Beach Walk screens Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun,” at 8 p.m. July 3, at the hotel’s Grand Lanai.
It’s a Fourth of July weekend specialk open to locals and visitors alike.
Inflatable rafts of red, white and blue, will be available for from-the-pool viewing, or score a chaise lounge poolside and sip beverages and indulge in hot dogs for sale.
Admission is free. Information:
for additional information and details.

Hula hubbub: 35 and counting
Hula’s Bar & Lei Stand marks its 35th anniversary with “Out & Proud for 35 Years and ... Still Dancing,” from 7 p.m. July 9, on the second floor of the Waikiki Grand Hotel, 134 Kapahulu Ave.
Flash (Hot 93.9, BampProject, F&M) and Maleko (, Hot 93.9, Maleko’s Room) will be guest hosts.
The dance card will include Tahitian, breakdacning, bellydancing, tango, burlesque and modern, with additional entertainment by the IONA Contemporary Dance, Cherry Blossom Cabaret, Brian Evans, and Daniel Daniels Production.
Even the Hula’s staff will take the spotlight.
Information: 923-0669.

Wildest Show: Humpday fun at sundown
The annual Wildest Show in Town, a Wednesday-only summertime event at the Honolulu Zoo lawn, is in full swing.
Gates open at 4:35 p.m.; admission is $3 at the gate.
The remaining roster of performers:
• July 1 — Roy Sakuma & Super Keiki.
• July 8 — The Hot Club of Hulaville.
• July 15 — Manoa DNA.
• July 22 — Rolando Sanchez & Salsa Hawaii.
• July 29 — Jake Shimabukuro.
• Aug. 5 — Natalie Ai Kamauu.
• Aug. 12 — Jimmy Borges & His All Star Jazz Band.
Weekly ‘ukulele give-aways will be held at each event.

Summer treat: Spooky tales on radio taping
Aloha Shorts, the Hawaii Public Radio show, will feature a “Spooky Stories” theme at 7 p.m. July 5 at the Atherton Performing Arts Theatre. It’s free to the public.
The Halloween theme prevails, since the show we broadcast in October.
Audience members are encouraged to come in home-made costume, since a contest is set with judging by stylist Amos Kotomori and Sandra Finney of Kennedy Theatre.
Hamajang, the Aloha Shorts house band, does a pre-show warm-up session at 6:45 p.m.
Works by local authors Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Darrell H.Y. Lum, Nora Okja Keller and others will be read by folks like Devon Nekoba, David Furumoto and Blossom Lam Hoffman.
Reservations are recommended to assure seating. Call 955-8821.

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Lei of the land — it's here, there, everywhere now

June 24th, 2009

The lei, a symbol of aloha we often take for granted here, has been showing up all over the map lately.
And May Day is way past. Ditto, Memorial Day and graduation season, when florists and make-your-own-leimakers have been plenty busy.
But on TLC, Jon and Kate Gosselin, of “Jon and Kate Plus Ei8ht,” may be bickering, but they have donned local-style garlands and have been photographed with lei around their necks in entertainment mags. Their kids, too. Jon is seen decked in maile on the cover of the family’s Season 4 DVD.
And lei have been readily hanging ’round the necks of some notables in recent films.
Like Sean Penn, who won an Oscar earlier this year, playing gay San Francisco icon Harvey Milk, in the award-winning “Milk.” There were scenes that Milk had lei; and he has no Island ties.
Of course, Jason Segel also was lei-decked when he had clothes on, in the Hawai’i-filmed “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” which has transited from movie theaters to TV to DVD.
Even Miley Cyrus, whose movie biggie this past April was “Hannah Montana: The Movie,” had a scene where she was garlanded.
Which sorta indicates that the lei no longer is exclusively Hawai’i’s treasure.
And arf, arf! A VIP canine was lei-draped at his coming out party. Remember when First Dog Bo, the Portuguese Water Dog, was introduced to the world? Too bad his lei was one of those tacky plastic multi-colored fakes.
Still, it was a lei.
Don’t know if the First Family got wind of the Celebrate Hawai’I event last weekend at the National Museum of American Indian, where The Brothers Cazimero gave a performance. Of course, lei made the journey to the Smithsonian Institution site — a ritual practiced by every Hawaiian act or halau entertaining out of town.
Locally, you always see Gov. Linda Lingle and Mayor Mufi Hannemann with some kind of floral nicety draped on their shoulders, most often bestowed at press conferences or conferences.
During Kamehameha Day festivities last week, the iconic statue of King Kamehameha was draped with oodles of overlong lei. This tradition is one of the most-photographed by visitors — the statue with the king in a sea of color and strands.
And when City Council member Duke Bainum died last week, his desk and chair were bedecked with lei, expressing aloha and condolences the Hawaiian way.
Well, turns out every day is lei day in Hawai’i.

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Of Obama, omiyage and 'ohana ...

June 23rd, 2009

Omiyage and presidential protocol don’t mix, the Tihati ‘ohana has discovered.
Tihati folks corralled jars of homemade family guava jam and jelly, a staple for breakfasts, as part of their omiyage offerings for the first family, when Tihati company performers take the stage in a lu'au spectacle this week at the South Lawn of the White House.
No can do, Cha Thompson was advised by a source in-the-know about presidential protocol — a member of Sen. Daniel K. Akaka’s staff.
“You can’t go, and not bring anything,” said a baffled Thompson, who packed a couple dozen of the treasured toppings for biscuit and toast — from her grandma’s recipe.
“It’s Island-style to bring a gift, whether it’s macadamia nuts or chocolate,” said Thompson. “It’s what we always do.”
She’ll pack her jars anyway, hoping some will reach President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, Sasha and Malia.
Thompson earlier this week gathered a crew of lei-stringers, including her grandchildren, “to share in the experience of going to the White House. It’s important for keiki to learn how to string leis; it’s part of our culture.”
There will be lei galore, for the show and for the retinue of Washington VIPs, plus haku lei and other fresh flowers and fauna needed for the production..
Family members, led by son Afatia Thompson, spent last weekend in Kalihi Valley, picking ferns and other greenery and blooms that are being assembled for a variety of lei. “Gotta be fresh,” said Cha Thompson.
The Tihati cast members making the trip:
Soloists — Afatia Thompson, Misty Tufono, Kale Chang.
Musicians — Iele Eseroma, Kalamku Koanui, Lloyd Chandler, Faamau Liu.
Dancers — Nicole Thompson, Shandell Yancey, Keao Crabbe, Pilialoha Gaison, Shannon Daliva, Lehua Beltrame, Anapogi Tevaga, TC Thompson, Micah Tiedemann, Howard Jeremiah.
As for locals bringing omiyage to the Mainland: If you could, what would you bring for the Obama 'ohana?

The Caz's hula and Hawaiiana: More than a museum piece

June 12th, 2009

The Brothers Cazimero are going to great lengths — and distance — to bring their celebrated Island songs and dances to East Coast audiences in Washington D.C. this weekend. At a Smithsonian Institution museum, no less.
At “Celebrate Hawai’i,” the third annual Hawaiian cultural festival of the National Museum of the American Indian, Robert and Roland Cazimero will make an imprint on the cultural map, sharing their trademark Hawaiian songs and dances — the traditional and the contemporary — in a free outdoor concert tomorrow that’s expected to draw diehard fans from D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Additionally, Robert Cazimero also will showcase his award-winning hula artistry and savvy tonight, in both live and filmed performances. Fans quickly snapped up all the free tickets for the screening.
At a time when Hawai’i is experiencing its worst dips in visitor counts, The Caz should be applauded for doing a lion’s share of promoting one of the traditional reasons folks come here: to sample the riches and traditions of Island culture. It’s a formula that has worked for decades but may have been lost in recent decades when trend shapers neglected to market cultural tourism.
Timing couldn’t have been better; The Caz’s stellar “Destiny” CD was a nominee in this week’s Na Hoku Hanohano Awards —and it's still one of the duo’s best-selling albums.
So the American Indian Museum, which clearly recognizes the merits and magic of Robert and Roland Cazimero’s stature as lifelong advocates and modern-era advocates of their roots in Hawaiian music, should also get a lei of aloha for magnifying their magic. There are parallel goals and challenges, after all, for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians.
The weekend event in the Capitol will assemble hula halau, which will provide hula lessons; oldtime Hawaiian games, from no’a (top spinning) to konane (a variation of checkers) will be demonstrated. Further, there will be demos of poi-pounding and vendors will provide a taste of Hawaiian kaukau, with food displays depicting the journey such staples as bananas, yams and coconut from the Polynesian islands to Hawai’i.
Some of the Islands' top scholars and practioners in Hawaiian art — floral guru Marie MacDonald, lei-maker Bill Char among them — are assembled in D.C. to celebrate what they do in their daily lives.
Sounds like something our Waikiki architects could learn — or should draft — for prospective Island visitors. Sooner, rather than later. If anyone should advocate such excursions to the past, shouldn’t it be us, who would reap the benefits?
There’s something natural and exotic, when artisans show how kapa (tapa) is made. How natives stamped images on bark clothing. How crafters make ordinary flowers into stunning lei creations, for the neck and for the head.
Storytellers will share a basic manner of how ancient Hawaiians perpetuated their legends and their history — orally — long before they were written and recorded for future generations to enjoy and learn from. Area hula disciples will perform and teach the dance.
One of the enduring and enlightening elements will be film — specifically, Lisette Marie Flanary’s award-winning documentary, “Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula,” which screens at 7 p.m. today..
The 57-minute film (free, but already sold out) chronicles kumu hula Robert Cazimero and his halau’s journey from Honolulu to Hilo and the fabled Merrie Monarch Festival, the hula classic, which they won in 2005. The film-maker and the kumu will appear and discuss the film, and halau dancers will give a live performance following the screening.
Back in Honolulu next week, The Brothers Cazimero also will open the Waikiki Aquarium’s summertime series, “Ke Kani O Ke Kai” next Thursday — a chance for their Island fans to see the duo in an informal outdoor space.
Not exactly the Smithsonian, but kind of rah-rah spectacle that the visitor industry needs to embrace to celebrate Hawai'i ... in our own front yard.


In Washington D.C.:

Screening of “Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula”
7 p.m. today
National Museum of American Indian
Featuring Robert Cazimero and his “Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula,” in their award-winning film; with a discussion bu Cazimero and director Lisette Marie Flanary and performance by the Gentlemen of Na Kamalei
Sold out
For “Celebrate Hawai’i” schedule:

Brothers Cazimero performance
5 p.m. tomorrow
Welcome Plaza
Featuring the Aloha Boys, plus 12 dancers from Na Kamalei

In Honolulu:

“Ke Kani O Ke Kai” series
7 p.m. Thursday; doors open 5:30 p.m.
Waikiki Aquarium lawn
$25 adults, $10 children aged 7 to 12, free for children 6 and under; $18/$7 for Friends of Waikiki Aquarium members
Sold out

Show bits: Casting call, uke fest, film delay

June 9th, 2009

A new Waikiki show is seeking Island dancers; a popular summer ‘ukulele festival has a title sponsor; a dance documentary, featuring a Broadway trouper from Hawai’i, has delayed its local screening debut.

‘Heartbeat Hawaii’ dancers sought

Fourteen Island dancers are sought to join a 60-member Beijing ensemble for a new spectacle, “Heartbeat Hawaii,” slated to open in mid-July as the successor to the “Waikiki nei” show at the Royal Hawaiian Center’s fourth floor showroom.
A casting call is set for this Saturday and again June 18 at the Royal Hawaiian Theatre, aka Level 4. Dancers of all genres, including hula, are needed.
Bring your own music; a CD/DVD player will be provided, with hula and other dance forms expected. No acting or singing will be necessary. Information: Melissa at 931-6200.
“Heartbeat Hawaii” will showcase acrobatic and martial arts skills by the Beijing principals, with elements of Island artistry by the locally-hired cast.

Target will sponsor July 19 ‘ukulele fest

Target will be the new title sponsor for the 39th annual ‘Ukulele Festival, set for July 19 at Kapi’olani Park Bandstand, according to founder-organizer Roy Sakuma.

The Target Annual ‘Ukulele Festival, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., will showcase strummers from Hawaii, California, Japan, Canada, and Sweden, and assemble players as young as 5 and veterans such as 101-year-old legend Bill Tapia.
The guest roster will also include Taimane Gardner, Holunape, Palolo, Ken Makuakane,
Natalie Ai Kamauu, Ohta-san, Palolo, Sunset Strummers (California), Langley Ukulele Ensemble (Canada), Yuji Igarashi and Kolohe Imamura, George Matsushita, Lealea Ukulele Garden (Japan), and ‘Ukulele 4 Ladies (Sweden). Entertainer Danny Kaleikini will emcee.
Further, 800 children, teen and adult students of the Roy Sakuma ‘Ukulele Studios, will take the stage, playing “Boogie Woogie,” “Wipe-Out” and “Pineapple Mango,” tunes they’ve learned in class. The finale, Sakuma’s composition “I Am What I Am,” will be a strumming and singing highlight.
“We are so grateful to Target for signing on as our title sponsor this year,” said Sakuma. “New to Hawaii, Target has embraced our island culture and the spirit of aloha. It’s going to be an exciting event.”
Until recently, the festival was facing major cutbacks amid the weakend economy, due to the dropout of a title sponsor.
Admission is free. Because of limited parking, free shuttle service will be operating from Kapi’olani Community College’s Diamond Head campus to the bandstandsite, between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The day’s events also include uke displays, food booths, uke give-aways and more.
Presented by Ukulele Festival Hawaii, the 39th Annual Ukulele Festival is
Other sponsors are the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Hawaii Tourism Authority, the City and County of Honolulu, Bank of Hawaii, Tesoro, Foodland, Hakuyosha, Fisher Hawaii, and local ‘ukulele manufacturers.
Information: 732-3739 or visit

‘Every Little Step’ premiere detained

“Every Little Step,” an acclaimed documentary on the remounting of the Tony- and Pulitzer-awarding winning Broadway musical, has been detained until July 31. It was earlier announced for a Friday opening at the Kahala theaters.
The film recounts the origins of Michael Bennett’s landmark behind-the-scenes audition process of the stage classic and the recent revival on Broadway. Island singer-dancer Jason Tam, who was cast as Paul San Marco in the remake, is one of the featured actors in the backstage tale.

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