Archive for December, 2009

Holidaze: DJ at Hula's, 'Stomp!' deals, Na Leo's 25th

December 18th, 2009

Clubs: DJ Joe Bermudez at Hula’s
Celebrated DJ Joe Bermudez, whose remixes tap the likes of Boy George, Pink, Britney Spears, Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake and more, will make an appearance at 10 p.m. Dec. 25 and 26 at Hula’s Bar & Lei Stand at the Queen Kapi‘olani Hotel. Hula’s and the Queen Kapi ‘olani are presenting the holiday shows.
A $3 cover prevails, with local ID; active military, hotel and cruise cards are also valid.
Bermudez, 28, is noted for his weekly show on the XM satellite radio network; he also is music director for the syndicated Open House Party radio show.
He has been named one of the Top 20 DJs by DJ Timnes an also earned theInternational Dance Music Award (IDMA).
“It’s all about the music for me,” says Bermudez in a release. “I love being able to see the world by spinning at clubs all over the globe. But all I need is a crowd that loves what I’m doing. To keep them moving all night long, that’s the greatest perk of all.”

Stage: ‘Stomp! brings downtown deals
With the off-Broadway “Stomp!” opening a Dec. 22 to Jan. 3 run at te Hawai‘i Theatre, a host of Chinatown hotspot proprietors are offering incentives to lure show-goers into their shops and restaurants.
For instance, JJ Niebhur of of JJ Dolans is offering a free slice of pizza, Don Murphy of Murphy’s will give diners a free slice of macadamia nut pie, Dave Stewart of Bar 35 and Bambu will maintain happy hour prices all night, and Glenn Chu of Indigo Eurasian Cuisine and the crew at Soul de Cuba Café will provide discounts ... if you show your tickets or stubs to “Stomp!”

Holidays: Na Leo mark 25th year with holiday shows
Na Leo, the multi-Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning trio, is capping its silver 25th anniversary with a Holiday Music Spectacular, at 7 :30 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 20), Tuesday (Dec. 22) and Wednesday (Dec. 23) at the Luau Grounds of the Hale Koa hotel.
The group, featuring Nalani Choy, Lehua Kalima Heine and Andrea Morales, will render holiday melodies along with its pop ad Hawaiian hits. Among the guests slated: Anuhea, Ernie Cruz Jr. and Aureana Tse Miss Hawaii USA 2009.
Though at a military hotel, the public is invited.
Tickets begin at $35.99 and VIP packages are also available. Call 262-6300 or go to

Hawaiiana: Maui’s Guerrero on the go on O‘ahu
Uluwehi Guerrero, Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning singer-composer-kumu hula from Maui, will promote his “Na Mele Hula Aloha” CD in a number of appearances here this week.
He appears on the Perry & Prie morning show, originating from Jimmy Buffett’s at the Waikiki Beachcomber hotel and broadcast on KSSK Radio, at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow (Dec. 19).
Guerrero also performers at 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Kahala Mall stage, followed by a Barnes & Nobles signing event, and at 6 p.m. tomorrow at the Pearlridge Center Borders store, where signings will be held.

Clubs: Dave Young Band at OnStage
The Dave Young Band brings its feel-good songbag, including tunes from its “Out of the Blue” CD, in a performance from 9 p.m. to midnight today (Dec. 18) at OnStage in Kapahulu.
The group also does covers of The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Tom Petty, The Eagles, The Police, Merle Haggard and the Travelling Wilburys.
There is no cover charge.

Remembrances of Christmases past ...

December 11th, 2009

Honolulu City Lights has become the premiere holiday celebration in Honolulu now — and rightfully so. The spectacle this year is marking its 25th anniversary.
That’s a lot of lights, a forest of trees, a bounty of visual and aural pleasures — from the Board of Water Supply’s array of lighted displays on its front lawn to the twinkling oasis that is Downtown’s Tamarind Park.
Twenty-five years from now, folks will be recalling their annual trek to see the parade, the lighted trees, the displays inside City Hall, the thoroughfares that were decked out in holiday finery. And Black Fridays, the mass crowds, the packed parking lots. Yes, the stress, too.
How you observe Christmas now defines what memories you’ll savor in the future.
I have some recollections of Christmases past, from gentler, simpler times, when Honolulu was without malls, when budgets were smaller, when big box merchants weren’t yet prevalent.

Do you remember ...

• The animated window displays at the old downtown Liberty House? As kids, my sister and I used to wait for the chance to press nose and cheek on the window panes, to get as close as possible to the animated holiday enchantment.
• The places you’d shop for clothes? Liberty House, McInerny’s, Hub’s, Hartfield’s — labels and emporiums no longer in business.
• The big Christmas show, staged on a tier above door level, at the original Sears building on Beretania Street? Sears was also a key shopping spot, not just for clothing, but toys, electronics, tools. And it had the first escalators, which were cool to experience when nowhere else had ’em.
• The Honolulu Rapid Transit (HRT) and the painted Christmas bus? I remember bypassing the usual buses to wait for the yuletide edition to ride from Liliha, where I grew up, to go shopping downtown.
• The five-and-dime stores that are no more? Like Kress, Woolworth's, National Dollar? You could find $1 gifts for your friends; $5, if you were loaded.
• The downtown overhead lights and garlands, along King Street and Fort Street (which was still a street, not a pedestrian mall)? This was the mecca for shopping in pre-mall days Ala Moana Center, Pearlridge Center, Windward Mall and Ward Centres were not yet built. But Kaimuki was an early destination for shopping, too — boasting a National Dollar Store and a McInerny’s, if I recall correctly.
• Kaimuki’s overhead street decorations? The “suburb” used to get the “old” decorations from downtown. I especially remember those huge lighted red bells that dominated the fake green garlands ... that were hand-me-down staples from downtown.
• The annual red poinsettia displays at the Board of Water Supply reservoir on Pali Highway? Used to be a wonderful natural patch of holiday finery to soak in, to and from the Windward side, the red poinsettia contrasting with the vivid greenery of Nu’uanu.
• The rush to pick up and collect candy, which Santa and his elves tossed, from the community holiday parades? Nowadays, it’s unsafe to throw sweets; if they’re available and shared, they’re handed out by walkers in the parade, since it’s deemed dangerous to throw candy that kids used to race and rush for.
• The candy of choice for gifts? Blum’s (those delightful Almondettes) from McInerny’s and Frango Mints (in those round tubs, not boxes like now) from Liberty House? Yums. Also, back in the ’50s and ’60s, a tin of Almond Roca was a welcome gift, too. (No Godiva’s or See’s here back then).
If you have a favorite Christmas remembrance, share it with me.

Sadly, it's been a year of many cancellations

December 11th, 2009

This has been the year of cancellations.
Think about.
Just last week, the Hawaii Theatre announced it had to pull the plug on “A Cazimero Christmas,” the holiday spectacle featuring The Brothers Cazimero, which were scheduled this weekend — but with good reason: Roland Cazimero had pneumonia, was advised by his doctors to rest in bed. He couldn’t make a week of rehearsals; but seriously, there was no way brother Robert would carry on the banner without him.
This, after The Caz also canceled its Wednesday night gig at Chai’s Island Bistro.
That was the right decision, based on the well-being of one-half of The Caz team. We can hope for perhaps a rescheduled date; in the meantime, let’s haul out our CDs and get jolly with their music, while wishing Roland a speedy recovery.
No one should fault or question a cancellation due to illness.
Last month, John Rowles decided to postpone his scheduled Nov. 8 concert at the Hawai’i Theatre. The “Cheryl Moana Marie” star from Down Under (New Zealand) had been hoping to rekindle his love affair with his Island fans — after 30 long years away. The slump in the economy didn’t severely affect ticket sales; what forced the cancellation of the show were work visa problems regarding musicians in the Kiwi’s act. At last report, efforts to reschedule the show will resume in 2010.
Then there was that Norah Jones concert cancellation last Sept. 4, an addendum to the Hawaii Writers Conference at the Hawaii Convention Center, though the catalyst was quite clear.
Too high ticket tariffs, period; like a $500 high. Prices were dropped, but by then, it was too late. While fans adore her music, she is no Elton John when it comes to appeal and box office power.
One cancelation the economy will surely feel is that of Donne Dawson, former manager of the Hawaii Film Office whose state job was canceled the way a TV show is axed. She became a football in somewhat of a political game - the players including Ted Liu, the head of the Gov. Linda Lingle administration's Department of Business,Economic Development and Tourism, who incredulously decided that film and TV permitting can be done by a state employee without seasoned credentials and links to The Hollywood Element.
This was a cancellation that will certainly impact future filmic projects that may, or may not, come here to shoot. The stats will someday tell the tale.
The sorriest of all cancellations surely must be the wipeout of the Honolulu Symphony schedule this year. Sorriest, because of the impact and implications; while there are efforts for the orchestra to reorganize and avoid bankruptcy, to surface once again sometime and somewhere down the line. That's a tall order, given the bum economy, the drought of donations, the factions within the "giving" camp - the check writers who want to see some fruits of their support.
The bottom line, in the decision to shut down operations and cancel the slate of shows, was a $1 million debt, which sounded like the Mother Hubbard syndrome: the cupboard was bare and thus, no monies to support and present the earlier-announced November and December shows.
The symphony simply did not have the money make payroll for the rest of the year; a red flag if there ever was one.
The core of the 60-plus symphony musicians earn a minimum of $35,000 a year; sounds like a little, until you understand the nature of the work and pay skeds. Musicians work only 34 weeks annually (last year, the total was 29), and receive full medical coverage for the rest of the non-service weeks, even if they are employed out of town (many take gigs during the “down” time, or teach on the side to make a decent living).
Musicians abide by rigid “service” schedules, a service being 2 ½ hours, with a two-service limit a day (with a 2-hour minimum break in-between) and eight a week (20 hours). Work is to be avoided Sunday mornings, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, and Mondays — opera being the allowed exception.
There are many fly specks in a binding agreement peppered with all kinds of can-do, no-can-do’s. Rights are rights, but if everyone is expected these days to give in to the needs of the overall well-being of the state, these little-known factors are not weighed in the growth and health of the union-card-carrying orchestra members. So while teachers are being asked to give back furlough days, the musicians are wholly furloughed — with no immediate help on the way to rescue or resolve the canceled season.
Of course, no one welcomes cancellations — and the rudest and worst of all happened to employees of Aloha Airlines employees and the Hawaii Superferry camps. Their very existence was canceled for good —wiped out by forces no one could predict or control, affecting particularly the visitor industry. And like dominoes, a lot more cancellations evolved – fewer air flights, fewer room bookings, fewer car rentals, fewer restaurant reservations, fewer jobs for a good segment of the community.
Cancellations cause ill-willed “tions” in life — like aggravation, frustration, ruination, stagnation, desperation, anticipation.
But the seers don’t expect restoration — of the way things were — for perhaps two years.

Bumatai rejoins SOS LV, through New Year's, at Outrigger

December 11th, 2009

Andy Bumatai returns to the Outrigger Waikiki’s Main Showroom tonight, (Dec. 11) joining the Society of Seven Las Vegas for a run through New Year’s Eve.
It’s a blessing. For you, for me, for him, for the SOS LV.
Bumatai has been a pioneering standup in this community, inspired by others before him, influencing a younger generation of funny fellas (and perhaps a wahine or two).
Recently, he’s been under the radar, relocating his family to California, working out tax issues, attempting to jump-start his TV show. Bum luck in bad times.
So he did a two-week Thanksgiving season guest-stint with the SOS LV, who were charitable and agreeable to cut back their own show to accommodate him as an opening act, and the partnership charmed the small but responsive crowds. Variety is the spice of life, as you know, and Bumatai helped spice up the nights in his brief turn on stage.
And with the holiday season in full swing, the hana hou makes a lot of sense. Lots of locals will be partying; lots of folks remember and adore Bumatai’s topical and timely shenanigans and may have not seen/heard him in a spell; he’s still the model of the clean ha-ha-hero who taps merriment in the mundane.
One of his priceless moments in the current show is how he distinguishes the shaka sign; you are how you shaka.
He does a spot-on Don Ho imitation — always has been wonderfully sound-alike, having been groomed and mentored by Uncle Don — and if you shut your eyes, he sounds like the original Mr. Suck ’em Up.
And a tidbit that amuses both visitors and residents alike is his analytical take on those premium upscale shops on Kalakaua Avenue, ewa side of Lewers Street — where searching for futons at Louis Vuitton and channel-surfing at Chanel are, indeed, typical of his simple brilliance.
Of course, he’ll still mention his Filipino heritage, mistaken for Hispanic in California and elsewhere, and the proof is in his bronzed veneer.
Oh, the hair now is peppered with white and gray, an indication of maturity and wisdom— someone who’s lived life and knows how to laugh about it.
Bumatai, of course, is remembered for his “All in the ‘Ohana” TV special, his Booga Booga stint, a number of film and TV ventures and his indie talkie, “The Andy Bumatai Show.” But he remains valid and viable.
And the SOS LV fellas — still chirping and bouncing all over the stage — retain that high energy and songbook that is massive, ranging from big band sounds, Gloria Estefan’s Latino hits, and Broadway favorites, enabling lead voices Jonathan Kaina, John Salvatera and Richard Natto to shine. And, of course, the SOS staples — impressions — including Freddy Von Paraz’s exceptional jig as Mick Jagger and Glenn Miyashiro’s absurb in-drag Cher. Of course, Mike De Guzman and William Daquioag hold their own, too — with everyone agile and motivated on the Village People.
On two nights, there will be a Hunky Elves promotion, when attendees will be photographed with the elves — identities unrevealed — who will lead folks to their seats, and have a few ho-ho-ho moments. With big elves, not Santa. (Don’t ask; go check it out on Dec. 16 and 17).
“So come and join us for some merriment and fun," says Frannie Kirk, the Outrigger’s vice president of entertainment.


8:30 p.m. today, tomorrow; repeats Dec. 16-19, Dec. 23-26, Dec. 30-31
Main Showroom, Outrigger Waikiki hotel
Show only: regular, $45.02 adult, $26.17 children/junior (4 to 20); kama’aina, $29.50 adult, $21 junior (13-20), $16.75 children (4-12)
Dinner package (meal at Hula Grill): regular, $78.53; kama’aina, $62.80 (no children/junior rates)
Special: Hunky Elves holiday event, Dec.16, 17
Parking: validation for four hours at Ohana East hotel

No Caz make-up; ticket refunds or gifting possible

December 10th, 2009

Not surprisingly, plans to reschedule “A Cazimero Christmas,” which was to open a three-day run tomorrow (Dec. 11) at the Hawai’i Theatre, have been scrapped because Roland Cazimero has been advised to remain hospitalized another week or so as he continues his recovery from pneumonia.
Burton White, co-producer with Robert Cazimero of the Christmas spectacle, had said earlier that should Roland's condition improve and his strength restored, there might have been a slight possibility for a make-up date prior to the Dec. 22 opening of “Stomp!” at the downtown facility.
But Roland’s doctor has prescribed more bed rest for the entertainer, so the option of a rescheduled date was scrapped.
“There are no longer any plans to reschedule,” said White, in an e-mail.
Patrons who purchased tickets have two options now, said White. One is to collect a refund at the box office; the other is to make a year-end, tax-deductible donation of the ticket costs to the Hawai’i Theatre, “to help offset production expenses that were already committed to,” said White.
But note that the theater will be completely closed tomorrow (Dec. 11) for one day, “to switchover power to the new transformer that will operate the new air-conditioning system that is being installed next week,” said White.
The box office will reopen at 9 a.m. Saturday (Dec. 12) for normal business.

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