Archive for January, 2010

‘Lost’ can be found at Wolfgang’s after beach screening

January 29th, 2010

ABC previews “Lost,” the drama filmed on O’ahu, at tomorrow night’s (Saturday Jan. 30) Sunset on the Beach event in Waikiki. The opening show of the final season will premiere at about 6:30 p.m. at the makeshift beachfront cinema — with the series formally debuting Feb. 2. on TV.
But the place to be, or not, is Wolfgang’s Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener, the popular steakery at the Royal Hawaiian Center, where a post-screening party is expected to attract 400 invitees, including cast members.
But that’s closed to the public — though the eager and persistent may still get glimpses of the cast and crew.
Wolfgang will prepare “heavy pupu,” including its in-house, dry-aged signature steaks, with seafood, salad, sides and dessert for the celebration. But don’t plan to score a reservation at the restaurant; following Saturday lunch service, it will close at 2 p.m. to prep for the party.
To help launch the show, Wolfgang’s bartender Jed Schaffe is creating the “Lost-ini” drink, a brew that blends Island tastes — two kinds of vodka, mango puree, and mango shavings — with some bite from jalapeno.
“We are honored to have been selected to host this exciting, world-class event,” said Bill Nickerson, general manager of Wolfgang. “I’m a huge fan of the show, just like millions of people around the world, so to have this party here at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse is a dream come true, and we are ready to impress and put on one heck of a celebration!”
The party is slated from 8 to 10 p.m., with the “Lost” contingent arriving via limousin between 7:45 and 8:30 p.m., for arrivals at Building C at the Royal Hawaiian Center on Kalakaua Avenue, for a red-carpet entrance leading to an escalator to Level 3.
This would be the best spot, for the public and media, for a peek at who’s who, and who’s wearing what.
Wolfgang’s interior boasts a main dining room and two private dining rooms/lounges, but access to the restaurant will be limited, since the walkways will be utilized, along with sections of the outdoor lawn at ground level.
There will be a dance floor in the main dining room, with DJ music. Some guests may prefer to toast and kibitz on the lawn, ‘neath the stars.
Wolfgang has enlisted the kokua of about 100 military volunteers from all service branches to assist in maintaining order.
A host of organizations and business are joining ABC to stage the premiere post-party, including Wolfgang’s Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener, Southern Wine & Spirits of Hawaii, IKAIKA Communications, Royal Hawaiian Center, Events International, Royal Hawaiian Hotel, and Kyo-Ya.

Hawaiian Music Grammy: Guesssing game ends Sunday

January 29th, 2010

Who will win? Who should win?
The annual guessing game is in high gear, as the Grammy Awards — including one for Hawaiian Music — are revealed Sunday from the Staples Center in Los Angeles and a delayed KGMB9 telecast.
But don’t expect to see the Hawaiian winner on camera; the local-music category is one of those earlier-announced, under-the-radar, off-camera dealies, with the announcement generally limited to a category crawl on your TV screen.
Even Grammy voters might find it baffling that the Hawaiian Grammy, formerly under the “folk” banner, now competes in the re-named “American roots” category. In the same company: Americana, bluegrass, traditional blues, contemporary blues, traditional folk, contemporary folk, Native American music and zydeco or Cajun music.
These voting members, who play anything from bluegrass to blues, from Cajun to Native American, help decide the Hawaiian Grammy victor, so it’s easy to understand why slack key has dominated over time: it’s listenable, with an identifying flavor and feeling of its own, and it’s easily accessible and communicable to musicians in non-conventional genres. Even with vocals, some in the Hawaiian language.
And it’s not going to disappear too soon.

For what it's worth, here's my take on the Hawaiian Grammy:

Who will win:
“Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Volume 2,”
by various artists (Daniel Ho Creations). Voters will pick up the slack again. On this fifth live-from-Maui compilation, performers include Dennis Kamakahi, Daniel Ho, Kawika Kahiapo, Sonny Lim, Owana Salazar, George Kahumoku Jr., and Jeff Peterson. And that cover image is enticing. If “Slack Key” is the master of the Hawaiian Grammy universe, the trophies will go to the producers — Ho, Kahumoku, Paul Konwiser and Wayne Wong — not the musicians.

Who should win:
“Friends & Family of Hawai’i,”
by Amy Hanaiali’i (Ua Records). Hanaiali’i is competing in this category for the fourth time. An all-star roster of male troupers joins her — Henry Kapono, Robert Cazimero, Keali’i Reichel, Dennis Kamakahi, Kawika Kahiapo, Eric Gilliom, Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole, Nathan Aweau, Rebel Souljahz, Fiji, even Willie Nelson — and provide elements of Hawaiian, blues, and folk. And Hanaiali’i took a huge risk, sharing her mike and exposing a myriad of tunes and styles, so deserves a win

Who could win:
“He Nani,”
by Tia Carrere and Daniel Ho (Daniel Ho Creations). Could this duo repeat? Why not? Ho has already copped a clutch of Grammy awards, the only performer-producer-label owner from the Islands to do so. He could repeat, if the voters aren’t Ho-hum about his dominance.

What about Ho’okena, you ask?
“Nani Mau Loa: Everlasting Beauty” (Ho’omau Inc) is the second nominated album by the Hawaiian music foursome. While Ho’okena’s vocal and instrumental work here is stellar, “Beauty” could best be described as the spoiler — a win would be an upset.

A win, of course, gives the CD and its performers or producers bragging rights. Initial result: a bounce in sales in a wounded economy. Over-all impact: respect and honor, for sharing music and talent — and perhaps a surge in demand for live concerts.
The Hawaiian Grammy has had a bumpy history ever since Charles Michael Brotman’s “Slack Key Guitar, Vol. 2” — a compilation of slack soloists — won the initial competition in 2005. It set up a future of slack key compilations to win and win and win again — until last year, when singer Carrere and musician Ho (a slack key performer) beat the odds and momentarily put the skids on ki ho’alu.
To me, the voters are still stuck on slack and not yet widely embracing solo singers or Island groups.

Alan Yamamoto, a Cox Radio sales and event planner and a sometimes producer of CDs himself, has been a music industry resource and participant for decades. He’s been an administrator with the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts (the organization that stages the annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards) and was one of the sparkplugs to land the Hawaiian Grammy nod from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, also known as The Recording Academy.

So he shed light on some questions:
Q: Why are there only four (instead of five) nominees this year?
A: A tie I the voting for what would have been the fifth position; if it was a two-way tie, there would be six in the category, so it must have been a tie between three or more.
Q: Is there a stigma, of slack-key-always-wins, in the music community?
A: Well, last year it was the Tia Carrere and Daniel Ho album that won. So now I think the stigma is Daniel Ho and his Los Angeles studio connections.
Q: The Carrere-Ho win last year met with some disenchantment locally; do you suspect a repeat win?
A: Quite possibly.While the nominees are not supposed to “campaign,” I’ve heard that some Mainland voters are getting phone calls, emails and letters. But then, Kathy Griffin was seen soliciting votes on her TV show.
Reach Wayne Harada at 266-0926 or Read his Show Biz column Sundays in Island Life and online at

7 p.m. Sunday

• “He Nani,” by Tia Carrere and Daniel Ho (Daniel Ho Creations).
• “Friends & Family of Hawai’i,” by Amy Hanaiali’i (Ua Records).
• “Nani Mau Loa: Everlasting Beauty,” by Ho’okena (Ho’omau Inc).
• “Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Volume 2,” by various artists (Daniel Ho Creations).

Chef Mavro is lone Isle restaurant on Gayot’s Top 40 list

January 28th, 2010

Chef Mavro, the signature restaurant owned and operated by George Mavrothalassitis, is the lone Hawai’i restaurant on the 2010 Gayot’s Top 40 Restaurants list.
The laurel was announced yesterday.
Chef Mavro reconfirmed its 18/20 rating, the only three toques awarded to an Island restaurant. It joins other winners such as The French Laundry and Gary Danko in California; Jean Georges, Le Bernadin and Per Se in New York; and Alinea in Chicago.
“What I appreciate in Gayot is that they send expert restaurant critics to determine their ratings,” said Mavo in a statement. "These critics dine at the best restaurants all over the world and use those experiences as a foundation for their decisions."
Gayot is a travel industry resource for dining, travel, hotel and lifestyle choices, with recommendations based on in-depth analysis from savvy experts, not by public vote.
For a list of the Top 40, go to:

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Show bits: Emeril, ‘ukulele magic, music biz’s big night

January 27th, 2010

Food for thought, with New Orleans flavors; ‘ukulele vibes, from a 102-year-old whiz; the Grammy Awards, the music biz’s biggest night. They’re all on the show biz radar.
Check ‘em out:

Food: Emeril returning for another Kahala food-and-wine event

Chef Emeril Lagasse will return to the Kahala Food & Wine Classic, April 9 and 10, at the Kahala Hotel & Resort.
Award-winning Scharder Cellars of Napa Valley will offer wine selections, with Davidoff offering cigars.
Lagasse, of course, is the fabled New Orleans chef-proprietor of such eaters as Emeril’s, NOLA and Emeril’s Delmonico, and star of the new “Emeril Lagasse Show’ debuting March 28 on ION.
This will be the first of three Kahala Food & Wine Classic events in 2010, with gala dinners, cooking classes, wine-tastings and cigar seminars on the agenda.
Information: 739-8888.

Music: Tapia, 102, to perform at ‘Ukulele Picnic Feb. 13

Bill Tapia, the incredible 102-year-old musical icon, will be among the strummers at the 2nd Annual ‘Ukulele Picnic in Hawai’i from 11 a.m. to sunset Feb. 13 at the Waterfront Park.
He will be joined by a retinue of top strummers and entertainers, including Herb “Ohta-san” Ohta, Herb Ohta Jr., Holunape, Manoa DNA, Iwao, the Roy Sakuma ‘Ukulele School, Joy and others. A contingent of Japan uke players also will participate, including Kiyoshi Kobayashi and the ‘Ukulele Orchestra, and Sekiguichi Band featuring Kimiko Wakiyama.
Admission is free.

Awards: Billboard’s Grammy picks for Sunday

Billboard magazine, the bible of the music biz, has made some predictions on who will win the Grammy this Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and televised by CBS.
You may vote in an informal poll at
Among Billboard’s picks:
• Record of the Year – Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.”
• Album of the Year — Taylor Swift’s “Faceless.”
• Song of the Year — Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.”
There are no predictions for the Hawaiian Grammy, but I take a stab on who will win, who should win and who could win, in my Show and Tell Hawai’i blog this Friday in TGIF and also at

Six Hawai'i acts bound for South by Southwest fest

January 25th, 2010

Six contemporary Island music acts will head for the 24th South by Southwest Music & Media Festival and Conferences in Austin, TX March 17 through 21. It’s the second year with a Hawai’i presence at SxSW.
The six acts are Anuhea, Pimpbot, Mishka, Kona, Sabrina and YAHOWHA 13. A seventh, unnamed, had been invited to join the competition with 1,800 other bands from 59 counties, playing to an audience of more than 15,000 music industry professionals in more than 90 venues.
The event, one of the largest of its kind, is more than a music festival, since SxSW attracts music businesses, film-makers and interactive multimedia developers.
“SxSW is a critical event for Hawai’i’s emerging and established contemporary artist,” said Georja Skinner, chief officer of the Creative Industries Division of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. She has been involved in the Austin event the past two years and has an optimistic viewpoint “to expanding our relationship with this legendary event because it showcases what we already know — that Hawai’i’s artists are world-class talents that are truly coming into their own.”
Last year, five acts participated — Anuhea, Pimpbot, John Cruz, David Tamaoka and One Right Turn.
Anuhea landed a Japan tour with Flo-Rida last year, said her manager Warren Wyatt, of World Sound, who are riding “the first big wave of the new decade,” he said.
Phil Tripp, Sydney-based SxSW Pacific rep, is a frequent Island visitor. “There is a whole new generation of Hawai’i artists that appeal to the younger audiences of rock, pop, singer-songwriter fans and other genres, and they have made a strong showing and major impact in the past year that they played,” said Tripp.
The festival also has a food link with Hawai’i ties — a Roy’s, no less. “Roy’s Austin strives every day to bring a little piece of Hawai’i to Texas, so we jumped at the opportunity to showcase the musial talents of some amazing Hawaiian artists, “ said Melissa Nasits, managing partner of Austin’s Roy’s Restaurant.
“The experience last year was inspiring for everyone involved, it truly was a celebration of music, food, and culture.”

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