Archive for November, 2009

Review: A White Christmas, with Nabors and Friends

November 28th, 2009
By



Welcome back, Jim Nabors and Friends. You were missed.
The TV and film star’s “Merry Christmas With Friends and Nabors,” which returned last night to the Hawai’i Theatre, officially opened Honolulu’s holiday season after a two-year hiatus. The show repeats tonight and tomorrow afternoon.
It was a cheerful homecoming and a remembrance of happy times Nabors and crew shared in a celebratory 10 year run ...before he “retired.”
“It’s nice to be back,” said Nabors, with eyes as wide as a child’s on Christmas morn, heart as big as Santa’s toy bag, enthusiasm and energy as high as elves working on Christmas Eve.
Indeed. It was a reunion, of family and of tradition.
Karen Keawehawai’i was there, more faux floral finery in her hair than ever, funny and serious, too, depending on the tune.
Emma Veary was back, too — with voice a pitch or two lower, but notes full and robust.
Jimmy Borges was dapper as usual, adding a pinch of jazz to his holiday finery, defining the element of cool.
Phillip Huber & the Huber Marionettes, the lone out-of-town act with history with Nabors on the Mainland, were remarkably agile and inventive; he manipulated, with uncanny ease and wonderment, his svelte ice skater, his delightfully ditzy pigtailed chanteuse and that slightly rotund and rousing hot mama jazzster.
Guy Merola, who worked his way up from ensemble to front-and-center soloist in recent years, was the newbie who quickly found his pace and place in the family circle.
And Matt Catingub —black hair and ponytail now history, replaced by chic, short hair, peppered with gray — conducted the Hawaii Theatre Orchestra with his usual flair. And vocalized, too, of course.
Nabors stuck to tradition, knowing folks want to hear what they’ve treasured for years. Familiarity works in his camp.
So there were solos (his “White Christmas” and “Panis Angelicus,” Keawehawai’i’s “Mary Did You Know”), duets (his “Silent Night” in English, accompanied by Emma Veary’s Hawaiian counterpoint, plus his and Borges’ “Little Drummer Boy” and “Peace on Earth”), and even community singing (a finale with the soloists on stage, inviting spectators to chime in on “Joy to the World,” “O Holy Night” and “Mele Kalikimaka”).
With Nabors fronting “O Holy Night,” there was subdued singing in the house, respectful of his booming voice — followed by a standing ovation when he was pau. Amen!
Company endeavors prevailed, too, including production numbers with the joyous John Rampage-directed Diamond Head Shooting Stars, a cast regular for years (though with bright new charms every season), with a stunning curtain-opener, “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” a number that once featured Nabors high-kicking with the kids. Hey, he’ll be 80 next summer, and he leaves the strenuous elements to the young and spirited.
Newcomers to the 'ohana provided harmonies and hula —La Pietra Select Choir (directed by Shari Lynn, by the way), reinvented carols of the season, and Snowbird Bento’s Ka Pa Hula O Kai Lei Lehua (and didn’t the littlest one steal the show?) provided Island culture and animation.
The Hawaii Theatre Ensemble Singers, also new, featured beloved stage and concert troupers, names or faces or voices you’d recognize — Cathy Foy-Mahi (director), Lea Wods Almanza, George Benavente, Katie Doyle, Tricia Marciel, Matt Pennaz, Elitei Tatufu and Jimi Wheeler. Classy and theatrical.
On an emotional note, the revival shows are being dedicated to the late Elissa Josephson, the veteran publicist who helped pump this production in its initial 10-year run at the Hawai'i Theatre. From the stage and in a playbill announcement, the show pays homage to her dedication and loving memory.
Burton White, who doubled as show director and executive director, had the task of moving his cast on and off stage (and in the aisles, in some instances) and creating the aura of yesteryear — simple but brigt sets by Wally White, clean lights by Stephen Clear, crisp sound by Mike Brown — to wrap the package with yuletide goodwill and joy.
You might say that this is the White Christmas spectacle Burton White feared, but ultimately conquered. White even had the somewhat expected snowflake drizzles from the ceiling in the final moments of the show.
Yep, there’s no biz like snow biz. And may the rest of the season be bright and merry.

"MERRY CHRISTMAS
WITH FRIENDS & NABORS”

7:30 p.m. today (Nov. 28),
2 p.m. tomorrow (Nov. 29)
Hawai’i Theatre
$25-$75
528-0506, www.hawaiitheatre.com.

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'Tis the season: 25 things to do this yuletide...

November 27th, 2009
By



The holiday countdown’s under way; haul out your planner and start celebrating.
Here are 25 yuletide things to consider:

1 — “A Merry Christmas With Friends and Nabors,” 7:30 p.m. today and tomorrow, 2 p.m. Sunday, Hawaii Theatre. Jim Nabors assembles a cast of 100, including Jimmy Borges, Phillip Huber & the Huber Marionettes, Karen Keawehawai’i, Emma Veary and Guy Merola. $25-$75. 528-0506, www.hawaiitheatre.com.
2 — Waikiki Holiday Parade, 7 p.m. today, Fort DeRussy to Kapi’olani Park, via Kalakaua (kahako over second a) Avenue. Free.
3 — Three great Christmas fairs: Islandwide Christmas Crafts & Food Expo, 5 to 10 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. tomorrow, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Blaisdell Center; Mission Houses Holiday Craft Fair, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday, Mission Houses Museum; Christmas in Honolulu, 5 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 1, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s Manoa Grand Ballroom.
4 — Mele Tree of Lights, a 10-minute holiday show, 6 p.m. daily now through Dec. 24, Center Court, Ala Moana Center. Five trees glow with holiday music. Free.
5 — “Winter Wonderettes,” a musical, 8 p.m. today, 2 and 8 p.m. tomorrow, 2 p.m. Sunday, Manoa Valley Theatre. Extended Dec. 3-6. $35 general, $30 seniors and military, $20 those 25 and under. 988-6131, manoavalleytheatre.com.
6 — Santa’s German Gingerbread Village, created by chef Ralf Bauer, now on view at the Sheraton Princess Kai’ulani hotel lobby. Bauer hosts a free make-your-own-house session at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17 and 22.
7 — Kaimuki Christmas parade, 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 3, starts at Saint Louis/Chaminade campus, travels on Wai’alae Avenue to Koko Head Avenue. First of many community parades; full list, http://www.honolulu.gov/dts/usage/07/dec07.htm
8— “White Christmas,” a musical based on the Irving Berlin film, Dec. 4 to 23, Diamond Head Theatre. 8 p.m. Dec. 4 and 5, 4 p.m. Dec. 6; 8 p.m. Dec. 10, 11, 12; 4 p.m. Dec. 13 and 20; 3 p.m. Dec. 12 and 19. Extended dates 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21, 22, 23. $12-$42. 733-0274, www.diamondheadtheatre.com.
9 — “FRANKincense & Mirth,” Frank DeLima’s Christmas concert, Dec. 4, C’est Si Bon, Pagoda hotel. Buffet dinner, 6 p.m.; show, 7:30 p.m. $50 adults, $25 keiki 3 to 10. 948-8370.
10 — “Honolulu City Lights,” opening Dec. 5, City Hall and downtown corridor. Mayor Mufi Hannemann and wife Gail Mukaihata Hannemann flick on the switch, Amy Hanaiali’i (kahako over first a, okina btn two i’s) sings; preceded by holiday parade on King Street, from River to Alapai Streets; Jubilation Celebration from 7:30 p.m. at Skygate. Through Jan. 3. Free.
11 — “Maluhia,” Keali’i Reichel’s Christmas concert, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5, Blaisdell Concert Hall. With Halau Ke’alaokamaile and 2009 Miss Aloha Hula Henohea Kane, plus Ho’okena. $30-$68. www.ticketmaster.com.
12 — Kamehameha Schools Christmas concert, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5, Hawaii Theatre. Free, but tickets required. 528-0506.
13 — “A Cazimero Christmas,” the Brothers Cazimero’s Christmas concert, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11 and 12 and 2 p.m. Dec. 13, Hawaii Theatre. With Leina’ala Kalama Heine, Mary Gutzi, the Royal Dance Company, Halau Na Kamalei O Lilihelhua. $30-$75. 528-0506, www.hawaiitheatre.com.
14 — Breakfast With Santa, a Prevent Child Abuse Hawaii event for kids, Dec. 12, Japanese Cultural Center’s Manoa Ballroom. Breakfast option, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.; lunch, noon to 2 p.m.; $20 includes meal, Santa photo, costumed characters like Winnie-the-Pooh and Mickey Mouse. 951-0200, www.preventchildabusehawai.org.
15 — “Nutcracker,” by Hawaii State Ballet, Dec. 11-13, Dec. 18-20, at 7 p.m. Fridays, 2:30 and 7 p.m. Saturdays and 1 and 4 p.m. Sundays, Mamiya Theatre, Saint Louis School. $18-$30. 550-8457, www.hawaiistateballet.com/tickets.
16 — “Nutcracker,” by Hawaii Ballet Theatre, 7 p.m. Dec. 12, 4 p.m. Dec. 13, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 19 and 4 p.m. Dec. 20, Leeward Community College Theatre. http://lcctheatre.hawaii.edu/all_events.html.
17 — Gingerbread Family Festival, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. or 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Dec. 13, Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. Share a table, make at Blaisdell; or buy a package to make at home, the latter available for pickup from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Easter Seals, 710 Green St. 958-4000, www.eastersealshawaii.org.
18 –“Nutcracker,” by Ballet Hawaii, at 8 p.m. Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19 and 2 p.m. Dec. 20, Blaisdell Concert Hall. With Megan Fairchild and Andrew Veyette as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier, John Selya as Drosselmeyer. Opening night VIP package: $150, includes pre-show dinner (drinks extra), VIP seating, après-show reception (call 521-8600); $35-$75; at the Blaisdell box office or www.ticketmaster.com, 800-745-3000.
19 — Jay Larrin’s Christmas concert, from 11:30 a.m. Dec. 19, Captain’s Room, Hawaii Prince Hotel. Buffet at 11:30 a.m., concert at 1 p.m. $47.50. 371-2910.
20 —Honolulu Boy Choir’s “Merriest Hawaiian Christmas” concert, Dec. 19, Central Union Church. With Royal Hawaiian Band, 6:30 p.m.; Kenny Endo’s Taiko Youth Group of the Pacific, 7 p.m.; and Boy Choir, 7:15 p.m. Free. Also the Boy Choir performs at 4 p.m. Dec. 20 in a Na Mele No Na Pua Kama’aina concert at the Grand Lanai, Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk.
21 — “Mele Kalikimaka With Hapa,” 7:15 p.m. Dec. 23, at The Veranda, Kahala Resort. Seating from 5:30 p.m. $50 includes Christmas dessert buffet. 739-8760, or e-mail restaurants@kahalaresort.com.
22 — Candy Cane Train, a choo-choo ride for kids 12 and under, from one end of the mall to the other, Ala Moana Center. Daily through Dec. 2. $7.
23 — Sand sculpture depicting local-boy Santa with two hula maidens, part of a holiday tradition, on view near the guest elevators, Sheraton Waikiki hotel.
24 — “Stomp!,” the international percussion sensation, Dec. 22 through Jan. 3, Hawai’i Theatre. Showtimes vary, but there is an 8 p.m. show Christmas Day. $32-$52 most shows. 528-0506, www.hawaiitheatre.com.
25 — Keiki author afternoon tea, noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 29, The Veranda, Westin Moana Surfrider hotel. Tammy Yee reads from her “Baby Honu’s Incredible Journey,” with special tea service. $40 adults, $50 keiki (includes a book). 921-4600, e-mail trdrc.hawaii.starwoodhotels.com. Divine way to end the year.

Let the holidaze begin: Calendar dates to log

November 26th, 2009
By



Happy Thanksgiving! A few tidbits on show-related matters on the horizon:

Stage: Manoa Valley sets ‘Hair’ auditions

Manoa Valley Theatre will hold auditions for “Hair,” the American tribal love rock musical exploring the Age of Aquarius, at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 and 15 at the theater, 2833 E. Manoa Road. As mentioned in this blog earlier, the MVT will produce the hit musical without nudity.
Rob Duval will direct, Kenji Higashihama will conduct the orchestra and Katherine L. Jones will choreograph.
The production will run March 4 through April 18.
“Hair,” the landmark musical by Galt McDermott, Gerome Ragni and James Rado recreating the turbulent and controversial spirit of the hippie-era 1960s, is currently in a hit revival run on Broadway. It boasts a cache of hit tunes, including “Hair,” “Age of Aquarius,” “Let the Sunshine In,” “Easy to be Hard” and “Where Do I Go?”
A multi-ethnic cast of 23 is sought to portray members of the “tribe,” a group of young Americans searching for peace and love during the Vietnam war era.
Those trying out should be ready to sing 16 to 32 bars of a high-energy rock or R&B tune that displays strong vocal range; an accompanist will be provided. A capella or karaoke singing will not be allowed. Auditioners may be asked to learn a simple dance combination or read from the script.
The male principals are Berger and Claude.
Rehearsals begin Jan. 5, with 35 performances scheduled between March 4 and April 18.
Scripts are available for perusal on premises at the Manoa Valley Theatre business office, between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays. Information: 988-6131.

History: Track WWII on film and a tour

Historian Steve Fredrick will host a two-part program of vintage films and a tour to Remember Pearl Harbor.
Fredrick will screen “Hawaii During World War II: The Movies and the Music of the 1940s,” on Dec. 4. The film includes original newsreel footage of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a rarely-seen cartoon featuring Porky Pig and musical shorts featuring Lani McInire and His Aloha Islanders.
On Dec. 6, Fredrick will lead a four-hour walk through historic sites frequented by U.S. servicemen during their wartime stay on O’ahu, with treks through Honolulu and Chinatown streets where GIs visited theaters, dance halls, diners, pool halls and taverns. A lunch break is part of the tour.
The film program, at 7 p.m. Dec. 5, is $10; call for location.
The tour, at 1 p.m. Dec. 6, is $20, beginning at Fort Street Mall.
Reservations are required. E-mail filmguy54@hotmail.com or go to www.stevestoursandfilms.vpweb.com.

Concert: Toys for Tots holiday event Dec. 9

A holiday concert for Toys for Tots Hawaii, Na Mele O Na Keiki (Music for the Children), will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at Blaisdell Concert Hall.
It will feaure the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific Band, with Danny Kaleikini and Carole Kai as emcees. Other performers include Anita Hall, Steve Hott, the Honolulu Boy Choir, Jake Shimabukuro, Amy Hanaiali’I and Honorary Marine Cpl. Jim Nabors of “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” fame.
Tickets are free, limited to four per person, and available at the Blaisdell box office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
Marines will be on hand at the concert to accept donations to Toys for Tots; this year’s goal is 45,000 toys.
Toys and funds collected remain here to make keiki Christmases a bit happier.

Nightclubs: SOS LV on vacation starting Sunday

The Society of Seven Las Vegas (SOS LV), Waikiki’s contemporary entertainment group, will be on vacation Nov. 29 through Dec. 10.
The SOS show in the Main Showroom of the Outrigger Waikiki hotel will resume at 8:30 p.m. Dec. 11.

Nightclubs: Pipeline bustling in the weeks ahead

Pipeline Café continues to be a hub for nightlife activities.
Booked in the weeks ahead:

 Pipeline’s 10th Anniversary Party, 9 p.m. Dec. 4; $10 pre-sale, $25 VIP; for 21 and older.
 English Beat, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5; $34 general, $65 VIP.
 Strung Out, 10 p.m. Dec. 11. $20 advance, $25 at the door, $50 VIP; 18 and older.
 Comedian Doug Stanhope , 7 p.m. Dec. 13; doors open at 6 p.m. $20 general, $45 VIP.
 Comedian Ahmed Ahmed, 8 p.m. Dec. 23; doors open at 7 p.m. $20 general, $40 VIP; 18 and older.
 Comedian Michael Winslow, 7 p.m. Dec. 30; doors open at 6 p.m. $20 general, $45 VIP priority seating. Doors open at 6 p.m.
 Utada, 8 p.m. Jan. 15; doors open at 7 p.m. $30. Sold out.
Tickets: GrooveTickets.com, Pipeline Café box office.

Show Biz extra: Write stuff from Jones, Flanagan

November 21st, 2009
By



Write on, Stephen Jones and Barry Flanagan!
In today’s Show Biz column in Island Life, I capsulized comments from musicians Stephen Jones (about his China trek with Raiatea Helm, Jeff Peterson, etc). and Hapa’s Barry Flanagan (about the duo’s Japan escapades).
But due to space considerations, couldn't provide specifics of their impressions of their travels.

Herewith, a few more details...

Notes from Jones:
“I just wanted to touch base with you and share some funny anecdotes from our trip to China. We played at the Shangri-La hotels in Beijing, Fuzhou and Shanghai. All of the concerts were an overwhelming success.
“All of the hotels sold more seats than anticipated (full houses) and are looking forward to having us back again soon. In Beijing we did all of the tourist things like seeing Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, The Great Wall etc. and it was really a lot of fun.
“Upon our arrival at the Fuzhou hotel we were informed that we had an interview with some local TV media. We showered and quickly went to the appointed location to find 300 screaming teenagers in the audience watching three talk show hosts explain who we are. It turns out they were filming a 1 1/2 hour TV show for broadcast sometime soon.
“On stage are huge pictures of all of us on the backdrop. When they introduced us on stage, five kids would stand up waving 4'x4' pictures of us. They brought out a ceremonial tea ceremony, made tea and served us followed by a course of Chinese food. They also had a five-member version of the Chinese 12 Girl group playing a couple of songs, all while stepping a l a Robert Palmer’s girl dancers on ‘Addicted To Love.’ Afterwards we were mobbed liked stars for our autographs and pictures (which we all graciously provided). Needless to say we were quite overwhelmed.
“The next day we went into the showroom and they had 30' posters of us hanging from the ceiling along the walls. You have to see it to believe it. We are looking forward to continuing our Shangri-La hotel presentations in China again soon and are currently looking at several Southeast Asia Shangri-La locations for 2010.”
With this kind of response from the Chinese, there’s a fertile new market for local musicians to explore in the years ahead, particularly with Hainan Airlines’ launch of direct flights to Hawai’i.

Notes from Flanagan:

“Hapa just returned from a triumphant nine-city big-theater tour of Japan, the Rosetta Stone being two sellout concerts at Tokyo’s most prestigious Performing Art Centre, the 2,300 seat Bunkamura Orchard Hall.

“Highlight: Flanagan’s rendition of the Dave Clark Five classic ‘Because’ (slated for Hapa’s next CD release), which had the Japan crowd singing along, while Aweau’s funky new instrumental ‘Nana Gen Bassu’ (‘Seve String Bass’) got the audience going, to open the second set.

“Special guest: Hula performance by Japan Halau Ka Liko Pua O Kalanaiakea, led by Suwako Yamasaki sensei, wife of radio personality Billy V), along with Hawaii’s own Aureana Tseu (Miss Hawaii USA 2009), Chantelle Sua and the legendary Jackie Booth.

“These Tokyo shows were the apex of 16 years of concert performances in Japan (by Hapa) and the result of a year’s worth of Skype meetings between our Japan promotional company and my wife Leslie. We feel such gratitude for the incredible resulting experience.

“Aweau quote: ‘Japan is a country that goes all out in their support and love for all creative art forms, and has embraced our new Polynesian songs these last few years. For myself, it’s such a thrill to perform there, especially in such magnificent theaters.’

“Hapa’s encore last for 30 minutes. Flanagan’s new original farewell song in Japanese entitled ‘River of Heaven’ was the crowd-pleaser,with a few hankies pulled out during the refrain, ‘Kimi wo wasurenai, sorezore ga susunda michi ga’ (‘I will remember you, until we meet again...).

“The after-concert party was held backstage for 150 invited guests, who sipped on Umeshu and noshed on Kyoto mochi. Hosted by concert promoter Asahi Shinbun, one of Japan’s largest newspapers, and Hawaii tour sponsors Cheeseburger in Paradise.

“Next up: Hapa and Miss Aloha Hula Malia Petersen return to their Hawaii home, The Kahala Resort, for a special Christmas show Dec. 23, featuring a scenic holiday lighting experience by Robert Harmon.”

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'News Now' not 'one of the good things about Hawaii'

November 20th, 2009
By



There are a lot of anchors, but only one ship, in the hybrid TV partnership billed as “Hawaii News Now,” now broadcasting in various modes on three stations.
Call it what you will — a merger to galvanize market share, a business partnership to share resources, a life-saving movement to survive in a dour economy. It’s a little bit of everything — and a reflection of how desperate and deficient the business of gathering and reporting news has become.
Two separate voices have melded into one, where former rivals are now colleagues delivering news that is either simulcast or repurposed for airing on KGMB9, the CBS affiliate; KHNL8, the NBC station; and KFVE, the sister station of KHNL which did a programming swap with KGMB.
The change, which took effect last Oct. 26, is the result of a shared services agreement, channeled by Alabama-based Raycom Media (which owns KHNL and KFVE), which has usurped the news staffs of KGMB and KHNL and consolidated the newsrooms in the name of economics.
In the first salvo reacting to the changing news landscape, KITV4 Island Television, the ABC affiliate, has taken a lifeboat approach with its late night news, tacking on 30 minutes for a full hour of news programming from 10 to 11 p.m., beginning this past Monday. (Nov16). When coupled with the network’s half-hour “ABC News Nightline,” KITV now has the opportunity to magnify stories that warrant an extra minute or two providing more in-depth local coverage on breaking stories before bedtime.
Meanwhile, the “Hawaii News Now” ship still is sailing through uncharted seas, utilizing common facilities on Waiakamilo Road previously occupied by KHNL-KFVE, with KGMB vacating its Kapi‘olani Boulevard headquarters for good, in favor of a spacious port, with high-def technology.
The newscasts, at different times, are an ambitious burst of flash, energy and good intentions, but much of it is rehashing. Same anchors appear, deliver old or updated scripts. One anchor might be signing off one show — but is seen “live,” albeit on replay, on a buddy channel.
Welcome to Team Now.
There's rampant cross-promotion, with the KGMB-CBS “eye,” the KHNL-NBC “peacock” and the KFVE “warrior” logos on unprecedented "Hawaii News Now” promos. The lines of competition have blurred, the spirit of rivalry subdued.
KGMB’s “Sunrise,” the newest kid on the a.m. block, has become the preferred morning cup of coffee for most viewers and there’s plenty of unexpected bonding. But the Channel 9 team is also seen on Channel 8, which cuts to NBC’s “Today” show from 7 a.m., eliminating one stand-alone morning newscast (previously led by Howard Dashefsky and Diane Ako) when there were four. The “Hawaii News Now” morning team does the half-hour news and weather breaks during “Today,” tasks previously handled by a dismantled KHNL corps.
There’s more border crossings; used to be a network-affiliate thing, but on “Hawaii News Now,” you get coverage of CBS’ “Three Rivers” one day, links with NBC’s “Heroes” another day. The boundaries are vanishing, the ethics wilting.
Remember Hawaii’s Severe Weather Station? It’s gone. Live, Local, Late-Breaking? It’s Live, Local, Connected now.
“Now,” as in Traffic Now. Weather Now. Get Connected Now.
Wow, KGMB is poised to reclaim the No. 1 spot on the Nielsen radar, moving in on perennial ratings leader KHON2, the Fox station. But it’s a jangle out there, when you see Tannya Joaquin and Keahi Tucker on Channel 9, Stephanie Lum and Keahi Tucker on Channel 8, and Grace Lee, Steve Uyehara, Howard Dicus, Dan Cooke and Taizo Braden on Channels 9 and 8, with different commercials airing during the breaks.
Add anchors like Mari-Ela David (from Channel 8) and Stacey Loe (from Channel 9) to the mix, and you need a scorecard.
Long-standing features that have become part of the DNA of KGMB and KHNL remain, like “Cheap Eats” and “Wanted Wednesday.” But only Lyle Galdeira and Russell Yamanoha, the chow hounds, seem to be the only souls having a genuine great time, eating around the “Hawaii News Now” agenda.
Pink-slipped Ramsay Wharton of Channel 9 was her station’s Manolo Morales (of Fox2), the go-everywhere, do-everything rover, is sorely missed. Lisa Kubota, who inherited some of Wharton’s duties, has less joy in features, doing better with hard news. The fit needs work.
Howard Dicus is the best thing about “Hawaii News Now, ” with his no-nonsense business acumen, sharing his impeccable imprint in common-folk jargon, not only on “Sunrise” but also on the early news. If only he’s spared from some of the morning giddiness.
Only four KHNLers — anchors Lum and David and reporters Minna Sugimoto and Duane Shimogawa — survived the rebranding cuts, from a field of 15 on-air folks. None of KGMB’s prime anchors were chopped, though Stacey Loe has decided to exit, by choice, by year’s end.
One likely reading of this decision: Raycom wanted to eliminate the more veteran talents KHNLers like Dashefsky, Ako, Paul Drewes and Sharie Shima, to flush the image of low rankings at Channel 8, and retain only a hand-picked minority to suit the Channel 9 upward mobility.
“One of the good things about Hawaii ... is wonderful KGMB” has been a hallmark jingle, heralding an era long gone, a claim now that even Bob Sevey, the late and great KGMB anchor, might question today.
A potential legal challenge of the partnership, by media watchdogs, also is flagging the goodness of "Hawaii News Now."