Archive for August, 2009

Jim Nabors reviving yule show at the Hawai'i Theatre

August 29th, 2009

After a two-year hiatus, Jim Nabors will again bring Christmas cheer to the Hawai’i Theatre this year. But it will arrive early, on the heels of Thanksgiving.
“I’m excited,” said the show biz legend, who ended a 10-year tradition in 2006 — as star of “A Merry Christmas With Friends and Nabors” — after the death of Tom Hansen, his longtime director-choreographer who helmed the show with the skills of an army general. John Rampage took over the helm to cap the finale.
Since then, however, Nabors fans have been lobbying and encouraging the Island resident to jump-start his sell-out show again. So the holiday revue will be revived at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 27 and 28 and2 p.m. Nov. 29 with a formula echoing the spectacle of the past: lots of mele for the Kalikimaka, and some hula, too.
However, Nabors said his role will be minimized somewhat.
“I can’t tap dance anymore,” he said of his earlier hoofer attempt to high-kick and dance with teens and younger kids, though he’s reasonably fit and hopping about since undergoing knee surgery.
“But since my liver transplant, I’m (vulnerable) so I’m cautious about things like swine flu,” he said. So he maintains a low profile.
But getting back into the groove won’t be all that difficult, he surmised. “After all, I know all the songs,” he chirped.
His repertoire includes such trademarks as “O Holy Night” and “Silent Night (Po La’i E),” the latter in both English and Hawaiian — the Hawaiian performed by veteran Emma Veary.
In the decade-long run, Nabors welcomed pals like Veary, Jimmy Borges, and Karen Keawehawai’i, who will all be back.
The cast has not yet been formally announced, nor have ticket details been revealed.


The Hawai’i Theatre also is hopeful to land a year-end return of another popular production, the syncopated “Stomp!,” the off-Broadway classic that has previously played the downtown venue.
The buzz is that the show is returning again; it’s one of periodic charms that the late publicist Elissa Josephsohn promoted in the Hawai’i and one she had been monitoring at the time of her death earlier this month.
“I hear it’s coming here,” said Burton White, artistic director of the Hawai’i Theatre. “But there’s no contract (yet).”
Other shows on the Hawai'i Theatre radar:
• A Keola Beamer concert Sept. 19.
• “Men Dancing,” a production with Peter Rockford Espiritu and his Tau Dance Theatre, Oct. 16.
• “Phantom of the Opera,” the classic silent film with accompaniment on the Morton organ, Oct. 31.

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Will Hanaiali'i's duets CD help save the music industry?

August 28th, 2009

Amy Hanaiali’i’s latest CD, “Friends & Family of Hawai’i,” arrives in a challenging economic climate. Record sales are way down; artists get minimal or no radio airplay; downloading is rampant.
This is the new normal.
But there are folks who still believe in the hold-in-the-hands-and-feel-the-product tradition. They still buy CDs.
However, a “hit” album now may log paltry sales of 1,800 to 2,000 units, when 20,000 was the norm.
Thus, dealers and artists alike are watching the performance of Hanaiali’i very closely. Is this Mountain Apple Company release going to make a difference? Will it play from Hilo to Hanalei?
Hanaiali’i renders 16 duets with male singers — all local, iconic Willie Nelson being the lone oddity — to showcase the diverse nature of her catalogue and vocal style. Indeed, with so much variety, both artistry and commerce are setting sail to see if this one can up the ante at the cash registers while still do what Hanaiali’i does: stretch the boundaries of Hawaiian music by exploring shades and textures that expand the mind, if not the geography, in outside-the-box risks.
I believe “Friends & Family of Hawai’i” has the potential to become one of those albums where everyone knows every track on the disc by the end of the first month or two of release. The last time this happened locally was in 1994, when Keali’i Reichel’s landmark “Kawaipunahele” became a sensation, with local stations airing different tracks, when folks had a different favorite Reichel cuts — making the Maui kumu hula a star to reckon with. Reichel is among the participants here, for insurance.
Hanaiali’i, of course, is an established pro whose complexity makes her difficult to pigeon-hole.
Matt Catingub’s arrangements and orchestrations provide surround-sound vistas; the sweeping whirlpool occasionally is overpowering, when a simple guitar might have done the job. But grandeur is the m.o.; and with most songs more than 3 minutes long (and some nearly 5 minutes), running time may thwart radio play (stations like ‘em short and crisp).
Herewith, a track-by-track glimpse:
E Ku’u Lei,” with Palani Vaughan — A Robert Cazimero composition becomes a poignant and delicate tapestry with subdued and radiant warmth that harkens back to the days of the ali’i. Vaughan’s deliberate restraint is exquisite.
“Comin’Home,” with Henry Kapono — A subdued ballad of homecoming joy, a delicate balance of relief and anticipation. For a short spell, imagine Hanaiali’i as Cecilio — in the spirit of goodtimes forever.
“Maka ‘Alohilohi,” with the Martin Pahinui Trio — This is one of those jams evocative of lu’au, with the Pahinui gang (including George Kuo and Aaron Mahi) echoing Hanaiali’i with casual, hang-loose fun complete with ki ho’alu.
“Have I Told You Lately?,” with Willie Nelson — The Maui connection is the reason to lasso country gent Nelson to update the vintage Van Morrison hit earlier popularized by Rod Stewart. His wobbly and nasal vocal timbre makes this a wild card entry for a global audience.
“Pua Hone,” with Sean Na’auao— The beloved Rev. Dennis Kamakahi classic is reinterpreted for a new generation, with forsaking his uptempo reggaefied posture for the playful refrains with hula implications.
“Everybody Plays the Fool,” with Rebel Souljahz — The Jawaiian juice is poured by the rousing Souljahz, reinterpreting with Hanaiali’i the Main Ingredient’s oldie. Not quite the kind of ditty you’d expect her to soldier on with, except perhaps to lure young ears.
“Pa Aheahe,” with Keali’i Reichel — A tune in Hawaiian, reflecting adoration for a tutuwahine, a sentiment shared by both the guest singer and Hanaiali’i; Reichel’s luminous pipes are a perfect match for hers and the framework of symphonic dressage by Catingub yields a picture of tranquil reflection. The money track— with the texture that definied Reichel’s “Kawaipunahele” outing.
“What Is Life?,” with John Cruz — George Harrison’s original is old enough to be “new” to youthful ears and Cruz’s intensity and simplicity just might garner a griphold among the deejays. This is contemplative balladry that provokes thinking, feeling, believing. And both wail — with a lot of life.
“Shower the People,” with Eric Gilliom — OK, brother and sis together; shouldn’t that generate hurrahs? The James Taylor trademark is given a rhythm ’n’ blues booster shot and the kinship resonates.
“Kou Leo Nahenahe,” with Nathan Aweau — The most powerful track, with Aweau displaying his composing and solo and harmony vocal prowess. It starts on a mellow note and builds to a stirring nahenahe and satisfying finish.
“Ua, Ua Ho’e’ele,” with Dennis Kamakahi — Frisky is the best way to describe this delight, a Kamakahi contribution; makes you want to tap your toes, burst into hula, prance and join in song. Slack key rules, too. And two stellar elocutionists give-and-take, in see-sawing interplay.
“Na’u No ‘Oe Mai/I Will Dance for You,” with Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole — This one is the underdog; chant-like in substance, Hawaiian ballad in performance; her sultry pitches sway with his upper-register waves, like surf dancing on the shoreline. It’s in Hawaiian, it’s in English; it’s a wonderment.
“Ka Malu Akua,” with David Kawika Kahiapo — A stirring entry, co-written by Hanaiali’i, beautifully crafted with Kahiapo, with uncommon spiritually dealing with deities and spirits. Chicken skin.
“I Believe in You,” with Robert Cazimero — He wrote it and they make it sound like they’ve been doing it for years; sweet, gentle, radiant, melodic, pledging mutual faith and commitment, two huge voices with a skosh of restraint to enable each other to paint a sound picture of poignancy... surprisingly in English, and evocative of a movie-musical love theme.
“Ho’onanea,” with Darren Benitez — In an obvious tribute to Lena Machado, this Hawaiian classic enables the falsetto-savvy Benitez and the songbird to stroll down memory lane, with a deliberate and jazz-tinged arrangement with a yesteryear twang featuring Bobby Ingano’s singing atmospheric steel guitar.
“Send One Your Love,” with Fiji — He is still somewhat under appreciated in these parts, and Hanaiali’i becomes soul sistah to his soul bro posture, and both pump as they revive this Stevie Wonder trademark with passionate, personal imprints.
Long story short: will duets do it for Hanaiali’i?

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Assorted show biz and lifestyle tidbits

August 26th, 2009

It’s a summer’s-end bonanza of Island music this week. Plus a lot more.
If you’ve got the time, here’s a quick compass of who’s doing what and where:

Island music: C&K, Raiatea Helm, Willie K, Keali’i Reichel

Cecilio & Kapono’s “Back in the Day — The Legend Series” sets anchor at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (Aug. 27 through 29) at the Hawai’i Theatre.
Tickets: $35, $45; $125 VIP. Call 528-0506.

Raiatea Helm performs in “Moonlight Mele” at 7 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 27) on the Bishop Museum lawn. Tickets: 847-3511.

Willie K takes the waterfront stage at 5:30 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 29) at the marina of Hawai’i Kai Towne Center. Admission is free; seating is limited, so arrive early.

Keali’i Reichel’s “Kukahi” concert gets a hana hou screening at 7 p.m. Friday (Aug. 28) on KGMB9. Surely, it’s “one of the good things about Hawai’i.”

Dining: Gayot bestows Three Toques on Mavro

Chef George Mavrothalassitis, known simply as Chef Mavro, is the lone Hawai’i chef to earn Three Toques and an 18/20 rating from Gayot, the visitor dining-hotel-travel guide.
The laurels were bestowed to his restaurant, Chef Mavro's, in an updated Island survey of restaurant menus. Mavro and his chef de cuisine Kevin Chong continue to outpace the competition; the rankings are based on in-depth analysis from professional restaurant reviewers and discriminating and savvy critics and food, travel and lifestyle experts.
The menu at Chef Mavro restaurant is reinvented each season as the culinary team works hand-in-hand with local farmers to bring new products to the table, and to develop innovative techniques that enhance the natural flavors of fresh regional products.
But every day is a challenge, Mavro said in a statement, referring to his start-from-scratch ritual. “We start each morning with nothing. No ingredients from yesterday, no ratings from yesterday. We’re happy when guests and critics give us positive review but tomorrow we start from nothing again.”
Mavro is founding member of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine and is a James Beard Award winner and among the lauded chefs in the nation. His restaurant has earned numerous AAA Five Diamond awards.
Chef Mavro is located 1969 S. King St. For reservations, call 944-4714 or go to

Tourism: Princeville resort offers kama’aina deal

Kama’aina visitors can explore the luxurious St. Regis Princeville Resort in a pre-opening special of $195 a night.
The special rate includes a 25 per cent discount at Makana Terrace restaurant and Nalu Kai Grill & Bar, a 25 per cent discount for spa treatments at the Halele’a Spa, and a 50 per cent discount on resort parking.
Further, Hawai’i residents may reserve a round of golf on the Prince Golf Course for $50 per person; green fees include a golf cart, range balls and practice range facilities.
The $195 rate is for a stay between Sept. 26 and Oct. 3; the kama’aina rate will be $299 from Oct. 4 through Dec. 24.
The 252-room hotel, part of the Starwood’s Luxury Collection, officially opens Oct. 1.
Proof of residency is required at check-in; advance reservations are required. Some blackout dates may apply, and the rate is for double occupancy. Reservations: 800-325-3589 or

HIFF: Film fest set for Oct. 15 through 25

The Hawaii International Film Festival, slated for Oct. 15 through 25, has redesigned and launched a new website that is easier to navigate. Further, there will be more film trailers to buoy the visual experience.
The slate of films for the festival will be revealed sometime in Septeber, with tickets going on sale for HIFF Ohana members on Oct. 1, followed by public sales on Oct. 5.
Check it out:

Opera: Cast sought for ‘Cinderella’ tour

Hawaii Opera Theatre needs male and females singers and actors for its forthcoming Opera Express Tour of “Cinderella,” set to play O’ahu Oct. 19 through 30.
Performers will be paid.
Information: Kristin Stone, 596-7372 ext. 205, or

Bargains: First Friday fashions Sept. 4

Here’s a new wrinkle in downtown’s First Friday calendar: A bargain basement fundraiser for the Hawaii Opera Theatre.
The ground level of Mark’s Garage will host a $10 bargain basement sale of designer dresses, casual wear and accessories, from 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 4.
Clothing for both men and women will be available and some items will still bear the original pricetags.

Kahala Mall: Anuhea, Maunalua in concert

Kahala Mall hosts Anuhea from noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Center Court stage.
Maunalua will follow, from 2 to 3 p.m. the same day.
Admission is free.

Movies, movies, and more movies...

August 25th, 2009

Got leisure time? Got film stuff — and more — to explore:

‘Sunset on the Beach’ to honor its sponsor, Tesoro

“Sunset on the Beach,” the frequent beachside event with movies, food and family-friendly fun, will honor Tesoro Hawaii, its sponsoring organization of the past three years, in two special nights Saturday (Aug. 29) and Sunday (Aug. 30) in Waikiki.
Two film blockbusters are set to unreel: “Night at the Museum 2: Battle at the Smithsonian” on Aug. 29 and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” on Aug. 30.
“We really want to honor Tesoro...for being our presenting sponsor for three years,” said Mayor Mufi Hannemann, in a statement. In wavering economic times, Tesoro has stepped up to the plate and has supported the periodic beach events, in a public-private sector partnership that has “been a hallmark of our administration,” said the mayor.
Food booths open at 4 p.m. both days, with live entertainment from 5:30 p.m. and films screening at 7:30 p.m.
Roots Rising provides music on Sunday; a Saturday act has not yet been confirmed.
The city presents the Sunset series with the kokua of the Hawai’i Tourism Authority and the Waikiki Improvement Assn., with Tesoro as the presenting sponsor. Cox Radio Hawaii also is a participant.
Admission is free.

Statehood classics from Steven Fredrick

“Statehood Hawaii Movies,” a compilation of classic travel films on the Islands, will be screened at 7 p.m. today (Aug. 25) in a VIP screening room. To attend, advance reservations are required; meet at the Hawai’i Kai public library where you will learn of the viewing destination.
Steven Fredrick, a local film historian known for his collection of rare films related to Hawai’i, will host.
Call him at 395-0674 or email to reserve space, since seating is limited.
Admission: $7.50.

Interactive ‘Charlie Chan Mystery Tour’

To mark the 125th birthday of mystery writer Earl Derr Biggers, who created the immortal Honolulu detective Charlie Chan in his “The House Without a Key Novel,” film historian and tour director Steven Fredrick will host The Charline Chan Mystery Tour” Sunday (Aug. 30) in Chinatown.
Meet at 1 p.m. at the Fort Street Mall.
The tour examines Chang Apana’s old Chinatown neighborhood in search of a missing Charlie Chan. Apana was a real-life Hawaiian-Chinese member of the Honolulu Police Department, and the inspiration for the fictional Chan character, who was the subject of five additional novels.
Over three hours, the two-mile interactive walk inclubes visits to sites frequented by the detective, such as the old police station, coffee shops gambling houses and movie theaters. The residence of “Number One Son” also is on the agenda.
Earl Derr Biggers was born Aug. 26, 1885, in Warren, Ohio.
The tour includes a half-hour lunch break. Wear walking shoes and bring sun protection.
Cost is $30 ($20 for military with ID), and reservations are required 24 hours prior to the tour date. Walk-ins will not be accommodated.
Call Fredrick at 395-0674, e-mail him at filmguy54@hotmailcom
or visit

All local stations to air Kapi’olani Med Center documentary

In a historic show of community support, all five of Hawai’i’s local TV stations will broadcast a one-hour special marking Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women and Children’s 100th anniversary.
The show, “100 Years, Over 1 Million Lives: A Century of Care at Hawaii’s Children’s Hospital,” will be televised from 7 to 8 p.m. tomorrow (Aug. 26) on KGMB9, KITV4, KHNL8 and KFVE, with a rebroadcast from 9 to 10 p.m. on KHON2.
The documentary, co-produced by Lisa Altieri and Kim Gennaula, puts faces and to life-saving stories from families who have benefitted from Kapi’olani’s care. Among the personal tales shared: How navigator Nainoa Thompson’s and TV anchor Kathy Muneno’s son was saved with care, how a 3 year-old boy from Moloka’i had open heart surgery to add a ventricle to his heart, how a Kapi’olani physician’s own son got emergency room treatment.
“Nearly every family in Hawai’i has been touched in some way by Kapi’olani Medical Center,” said Martha Smith, chief operating officer of the hospital. “This television special isn’t just our hospital’s story; it’s every family in Hawai’i’s story.”
Not since film-maker Edgy Lee’s “Ice: Hawai’i’s Crystal Meth Epidemic” documentary in 2003 has the TV community united to deliver a story of widespread interest.
The special also examines how Tucker the Therapy Dog brings smiles to little faces to speed healing, how the Beads of Courage Program assists kids in marking milestones in their cancer recovery, and how the non-profit hospital is meeting the growing needs of children beyond Hawai’i’s shores.
During the broadcasts, viewers will be able to call 951-KIDS or long on to to pledge a gift to support Kapi’olani Medical Center in the next 100 years.

Manawale’a fundraiser in Waimanalo

Manawale`a Riding Center, a therapeutic horseback riding center for children and adults with disabilities, will hold a fundraising even from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 29) in Waimanalo. Melveen Leed, Touch of Gold, One Heart, Pacific Island Band, Bobby King, Randy Cazimero and Ken Irvine will perform.
Tickets: $6.

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Theater marquee tribute for Lisa Josephsohn

August 23rd, 2009

In a Broadway-inspired tribute to a lifelong patron of the performing arts, publicist Elissa Josephsohn will be remembered with her name in lights on the Hawaii Theatre marquee tomorrow (Monday) and Tuesday night.
Lisa, as her friends called her, died Thursday of cancer at her Sierra Drive home after a 2 ½ year battle with a rare form of ovarian cancer.
Burton White, Hawaii Theatre manager, said the marquee will post Josephsohn’s name, plus year of birth and death, in a gesture that would have thrilled her in life.
About 100 friends attended a private funeral service this afternoon at Temple Emanu-El to remember and say goodbye to the publicist who championed theater, music, ballet and other art forms. Her good friend, Broadway actor Richard Vida, delivered a warm and affectionate eulogy that revealed some little known facts from Lisa’s earlier life — as park ranger, Brownie scout — before she became a p.r. icon of stage, restaurants, ballet and music promotion.
Vida and White will produce a celebration of Josephsohn’s life from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Hawaii Theatre. Details will be announced.

To see the Hawaii Theatre marquee, go to:

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