Archive for April, 2010

Keola Beamer finds magic in collaboration with Raiatea Helm

April 30th, 2010

Keola Beamer, a veteran in Hawaiian music, had a "gotcha" moment when Raiatea Helm sang his great-grandmother's music for their first-ever CD together, "Keola Beamer and Raiatea," in stores Tuesday.
"She has a voice that I can journey with, a voice that takes me places," said Beamer, 59, a prolific composer best known for "Honolulu City Lights" and a master of kí ho'alu.
Through his guitar and voice, plus her artistry, he discovered a mission and magic of collaboration.
"I felt if I could understand her gift, I could introduce her to material that would help define her own artistry," Beamer said.
Beamer, thrilled with the duo project, answered a few questions. Consider this the first of a two-part column. Next week, Helm shares her views.
From Beamer:
You're the veteran here; what's the ingredient that makes this collaboration work?
Our mutual respect and love for one another. I love working with Raiatea's voice. To my ears, there is a quality of light in her voice, a sort of luminescence. I spent a lot of time studying her voice, her range and flexibility. I think there are two people in the world who really, really understand her voice. Me and her dad (Zachary Helm).
You wrote a couple of tunes and picked some of the Helen Desha Beamer catalog classics. Was the intent to introduce Raiatea to some of your family's mainstays?
Hearing Raiatea sing my great-grandmother's music was an "aha" moment for me. Here, I was looking at this young woman, yet when I heard her sing "Kimo Henderson Hula" with only her and her 'ukulele, I could feel an older soul present. This really intrigued me. How could this young woman express this kind of depth of nuance? Raiatea wanted to sing "Ke Ali'i Hulu Mamo" (another by great-grandmother Beamer), so I called my Uncle Mahi, our 'ohana's expert in sweetheart Gramma's music, and asked him if he would work with her on phrasing. She went over to his house and sat with him at his piano. I knew Raiatea had the chops for what might be considered technically difficult Beamer material and that her interpretation ultimately would make my great-grandmother very happy. This was important to me.
What was particularly special working with Raiatea?
I like that Raiatea has the courage to explore her own heart through the music we create.
Do you think there's something beneficial for a cooperative venture like this?
It's no secret that I lost my mom Winona Kapuailohia Desha Beamer about two years ago; losing my mom was the most difficult moment in my life. My mom meant a lot to me and I really, really loved her I was having real difficulty recovering from that loss. I felt as if a part of me had been ripped away. Somehow, being around Raiatea and her mischievous sense of humor made it all OK. I stopped being so sad. I went back to the studio with a new sense of determination.
Share a discovery, after hanging with Raiatea, and how might this influence what you might do in the future.
In her own sweet way, my beautiful hanai niece helped me find the love for my craft again. For that, I will always be grateful.
What's next for you?
I'm looking forward to touring in support of the record, as I still like to make music in exotic parts of the world. In the 16 months we've been in the studio working on this CD we've somehow still managed to perform concerts in China, Japan, New York, Philadelphia and the West Coast. You learn a lot about the people you travel with, but by mutual agreement and penalty of death, we keep that stuff secret!

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Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Alegria’ due this fall at Blaisell

April 29th, 2010

Cirque du Soleil’s “Alegria,” which has entertained 10 million spectators since its 1994 premiere in Montreal, will make its Honolulu debut Oct. 13 at the Blaisdell Arena, where it will be in residency through Oct. 31.
“Alegria” is a Spanish word meaning happiness, joy and jubilation. The production features a cast of 55 dancers, musicians and acrobats, representing 15 nations, including the Syncho Trapeze and Aerial High Bars where daredevils soar through the air 40 feet above the stage. Power Track represents youthful energy with synchronized choreography and tumbling performed on a trampoline system hidden beneath the stage floor. Another spectacle, Russian Bars, features aerialists somersaulting in mid-air, landing on bars perched on the sturdy shoulders of the catchers.
A total of 21 performances, including numerous matinees, will be staged during the run daily except Mondays, Oct. 15 through 31. Premium tickets: $95 to $99 for adults, $76 to $80 for children 12 and under, $85.50 for military, seniors and students. Other tickets: $40 to $79 for adults, $32 to $64 for youths 12 and under, and $36 to $67.50 for military, seniors and students. Discounts are available in some categories, through April 25, if you join the Cirque Club, at
“Alegria” is the second Cirque to play Honolulu; two years ago, the Canadian company brought its touring “Saltimbanco” to the same venue, prompting a follow-up visit.
“After the great success of ‘Saltimbanco’ in 2008, which was experienced by more than 35,000 people, we are thrilled to return to Honolulu with this new show, said Finn
Taylor, general manager of Cirque du Soleil Venue Shows, in a statement.
“ ‘Alegria’ is a complete departure from ‘Saltimbanco’ with different acts, costumes, music ... a whole new experience.”


Premieres at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15
Blaisdell Arena
Premium tickets: $95 to $99 for adults, $76 to $80 for children 12 and under, $85.50 for military, seniors and students
Other tickets: $40 to $79 for adults, $32 to $64 for youths 12 and under, and $36 to $67.50 for military, seniors and students
800-745-3000,; discounts for Cirque Club members, through April 25, in some categories – join at

The full schedule:
Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 16, 3:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 17, 1 and 5 p.m.
Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 21, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 22, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 23, 3:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 24, 1 and 5 p.m.
Oct. 26, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 30, 3:30and 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 31, 1 and 5 p.m.

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Mom’s the word: two options — DeLima and afternoon tea

April 29th, 2010

Mother’s Day is May 9, so time’s running out if you haven’t finalized plans.
Two options:

Comedy: Frank DeLima’s laff-fest at the Pagoda

Frank DeLima will present a pair of laugh-filled shows to honor moms, at noon (brunch buffet from 10:30 a.m.) for daytime audiences, and at 7:30 p.m. (buffet at 6 p.m.) for the night crowd, at the C’est Si Bon club at the Pagoda Hotel & Restaurant.
The events are billed as “Da DeLiMA DAY!”
DeLima, of course, is the Portuguese prince of comedy, known for his gags and his get-ups as Imelda Marcos, sumotori, and Tita Turner.
The brunch package is $42 for adults, $18.95 for children 3 to 10. The dinner show is $48 for adults $19.95 for children. Prices include tax, tip, meal and performance, and advance reservations are required.
Both menus will include Island-style steamed fish, Shichimi garlic chicken, salads and desserts. For brunch, guests can feast on carved-to-order roast sirloin of beef, eggs Florentine, Belgian waffles, fried rice and assorted breakfast meats. The dinner buffet will include selections of roast prime rib and Alaskan snow crab legs.
Validated parking is $3, available in the Ross parking structure, located off of Kanunu Street, behind the Rycroft Street facilities.
Reservations: 948-8379,

Fashions and tea: Moana caters to moms, daughters

What is emerging as a Mother’s Day tradition is the “Sugar and Spice Mother Daughter Tea,” set from noon to 3:30 pm. May 8 at The Veranda of the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa. The last seating will be at 3 p.m.
The event features an informal fashion show of Cinnamon Girl attire, along with elegant tea and snacks from the Westin kitchen.
Nicole Fox, Miss Hawai’i 2008 will make a guest appearance in Cinnamon Girl fashions.
The classic tea service will be accompanied by dainty finger sandwiches and pastries, for $32.50 per person. A soup of the day serving will follow the finger sandwich service.
Finger sandwiches feature roast beef, spinach & tomato on Focaccia, tomato, cucumber and olive tapenade on French baguette with Boursin cheese, and smoked salmon and egg, with vegetarian options available. The sweet treats are served on a three-tiered European chinaware tray with warm buttery scones accompanied by Devonshire cream and lemon curd, a mango mousse pastry, a fresh fruit tart, salty chocolate macadamia nut cookies, and a green tea infused cream puff. Kaffir lime and lemongrass green tea sorbet adds to a refreshing finale.
An additional First Lady Tea offering includes the classic tea service followed by a plate of seasonal berries, plus a sparking dry rose wine, for $48 per person.
For young daughters, the classic child’s tea service ois $20 per child and includes chocolate milk, a juice or a smoothie choice, dainty sandwiches (ham and cheese, egg salad, tuna, peanut butter and jelly), and sweet treats such as a cupcake, jello and macaroons.
Reservations: 921-4600,
Complimentary valet parking is available at the Moana Surfrider, with validated self-parking at the Sheraton Princess Ka‘iulani garage.

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Show bits: A potpourri of things to do

April 28th, 2010

See a Broadway favorite, “Guys and Dolls,” in a new production.
Get your kids enrolled in a summertime educational activity that develops creativity.
Check out students in a May Day pageant with a Hoku-winning guest entertainer.
Or hear a pianist at a May Day show at a local yacht club or at a fun-raiser with a former Broadway performer at Church of the Crossroads.
Details follow:

Stage: DHT revives ‘Guys and Dolls’ May 14

Diamond Head Theatre will revive the Broadway classic, “Guys and Dolls,” May 14, retelling the fabled stories of characters created Damon Runyan.
The musical comedy, set in New York City, features a bushel of vivid figures: Sarah Brown, the upright doll of the title, played by Lydia Pusateri; Sky Masterson, the high-roller gambler, portrayedby Mick Gallagher; Adelaide, the nightclub trouper engaged for 14 years, enactedby Aubrey Lee Glover; and Nathan Detroit, the betrothed but not ready to wed guy always ready for a floating crap game, played by Larry Bialock.
The show features a rich score by Frank Loesser, including hit songs like “A Bushel and a Peck,” “Guys and Dolls” and “Luck Be a Lady Tonight.” The book is by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows.
Rob Duval is director, Emmett G. Yoshioka is musical director and Christine Yasunaga is choreographer.
Performances will be May 14 through 30, with curtain at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 4 p.m. Sundays, with matinees at 3 p.m. May 22 and 29.
Tickets: $12 to $42, with discounts available for children under 18, full-time students, seniors 62 and older and active-duty military.
Reservations: 733-0274 or

Summer: HTY plans vacation-time ‘Fables’ for kids

The Honolulu Theatre for Youth will stage its 2010 Summer Drama Adventure, themed “Fables From Afar and Anear,” from June 7 through 25 at its Tenney Theatre headquarters at Saint Andrews Cathedral.
The program is open to youths 7 through 12, offering three weeks of creative adventure in movement, games, dramatic exploration and storytelling. Classes will be from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. weekdays.
The process will enable youngsters to collaborate with peers in small groups to strengthen their team-building skills, develop problem solving, and promote creative thinking.
With help from adult professionals Lily Brennick and Michelle Hurtubise, the youths will create an original play based on fantastic fables from around the world to perform on the Tenney Theatre stage in the final week of the program.
Tuition is $490 and scholarships are available.
To register, call Courtney at 839-9885, ext. 704, or download an application form and scholarship form at

May Day: Zuttermeister joins Sacred Hearts program

Hoku Zuttermeister, Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning entertainer, will guest on Sacred Heart Academy’s May Day celebration tomorrow (April 29) at the school’s Kaimuki campus gym, at 3253 Wai’alae Ave. His appearance will be at 1 p.m.
Zuttermeister will be joined by Kula Abiva and Pokii Vaughan and Ryan Souza in a program directed by SHA kumu hula Pohai Sousa, who trained under Maiki Aiu Lake.
The program, open to parents, family as well as the general public, is expressly for the student population but outsiders are welcome, though space may be limited.
Programs will be at specific times and audiences: 8 a.m., for junior kindergarten through grade 2; 10:30 a.m. for grades 3 to 6 and 1 p.m. for grades 7 through 12.
Using mele and hula, stories with Island roots will be staged, dealing with Laieikawai, one of the twins born at Laie, Oahu, Kahalaopun, the goddess of Manoa Valley, and the benevolent goddess Kaiona, who in her bird form guides lost travelers out of Oahu’s forests. Kananaka, the mermaid of Lahaina, Maui, will also be featured.
The Big Island will be represented with Poli’ahu, the goddess of snow, with Pele, the goddess of Kilauea, also depicted.
The May Day queen will dance to the mele Akahikuleana i ka piko, written by Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett to honor the mother of chief Umi-a-Liloa.
Information: Betty White, at 734-5058, extension 226.

Shows: May Day at Yacht Club, fun-raiser at church

Pianist Don Conover will feature a May Day special at his regular first-Saturday-of-the-month gig, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. this Saturday, at the Hawaii Yacht Club’s piano bar.
Attendance is invitational (you have to be on a guest list) so to gain access and a spot on the list, email the keyboarder at this address:
Further, Conover and his partner, Ernest Harada, will present “A Gift of Love,” a music scholarship fun-raiser, at 7 p.m. Monday, May 3, at the Church of the Crossroads, 1212 University Ave. Admission is free, but calabash donations will be accepted to fund the scholarship.
Harada (no relation) is a former Broadway performer with numerous stage and film-TV roles, including an original role in the Stephen Sondheim classic, “Pacific Overtures.” His repertoire includes Broadway music, jazz, pop, gospel and more; he has appeared in a roster of roles in such shows as “Charlie’s Angeles,” “Magnum P.I.,” “Ironside,” “Mannix” and “Roseanne.” With his New York ties, he will tackle excerpts from “A Little Night Music,” “Chicago,” “Sunset Boulevard” and more.

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Manoa DNA's roots tap music, fashion; storefront next

April 23rd, 2010

With music and fashion in its DNA, the Island music group Manoa DNA will launch a new venture in mid-June to galvanize its lineage and build a solid foundation with the retail, visitor and entertainment communities.
Iolani on Kona Street, a plantation-style retail outlet doubling as a mini-museum boasting current fashions, framed vintage designs, and historical video is under construction at a hideaway second-floor Kaka’ako site adjoining the aloha wear factory where a whole lotta stitching’s going on.
Iolani is the core of the Kawakami clan, which lives in Manoa and provides an artistic arm that precedes music. Second-generation family patriarch Lloyd Kawakami has been president of the Iolani sportswear label for more than two decades, succeeding his pioneering late father Keiji Kawakami, a member of the famed “Go for Broke” 442nd Regimental Combat Team, who launched the label in 1953 with his retired wife Edith. She still works at the factory office.
But with Lloyd Kawakami’s three-years-young career as a singer-musician alongside his sons, the family fabric is becoming increasingly visible.
Kawakami is the D (for Dad) in Manoa DNA; the N is Nick and the A is Alex, his sons and partners in song. Nick, the older son, has taken on the IO-Sports men’s line at Iolani. Alex is the composer in the trio, creating music for the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Japan campaigns that have given Manoa DNA global exposure, “but is here (at the headquarters) to help at the drop of the hat,” said dad.
While the group’s fans here and in Japan are very aware of their music, the threads that link to the Kawakami family’s flourishing Iolani Sportswear brand have been somewhat understated, even if the aloha wear has been a staple online and in racks at Sears, Liberty House, and now, Macy’s for decades.
“People are always asking us about what we wear,” said dad Kawakami, about the Iolani styles he and his sons don in public and on stage. “Iolani on Kona Street will have some of our wear and the store will be a more efficient use of our space, help enhance our image and provide more value to our product. When my father died (last year), the family faced a challenge. His legacy needs to continue.”
Iolani’s modest Kaka’ako factory, at 1234 Kona St. — between Pi’ikoi and Pensacola Streets, a stone’s throw from Ala Moana Center — is being updated with the new 2,000 square feet of retail space, where clothes and music and family values will mingle. “Yes, Manoa DNA will play at the grand opening and periodically appear there to support the product,” said Lloyd Kawakami.
By looking to its glorious five-decades past, the Kawakami family, hopes to ensure a future that will boost its marketability locally and globally, particular with East-bound visitors.
The new space will reduce factory production space to 14,000 square feet but will finally give the company a face — and a place — where visitors can observe, through a pair of glass windows, how work crews create the men’s and women’s aloha garb that has been favored by discriminating fashionistas for more than five decades.
Formed only three years ago, Manoa DNA’s three-part harmonies on Hawaiian and folk-pop classics, have connected with Waikiki and Japan audiences.
The act piggybacks two regular Waikiki gigs, Fridays at LuLu’s on Kapahulu Avenue and Saturdays at Kani Ka Pila Grille at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach, with frequent jaunts to Japan, where the men are immensely popular — you might say Delighting Nippon Audiences — thanks to a regular radio show (79.5 Radio-i in Nagoya), video (on NHK Television) and a surge of live performances.
“We'll be leaving for Japan on April 27 for a three-week tour which will include Golden Week performances for Hawai'i Tourism Japan in Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Yokohama,” said Lloyd Kawakami.
In Japan, they’re all over the map. An animated music video, “Aloha You: Kizuna,” recorded for NHK’s favored “Minna No Uta” program, is being broadcast daily in April and May. “Kizuna,” from Manoa DNA’s “Pure Aloha” CD, was released last week expressly for the Japan audience. A new CD, “Evolution,” is anticipated for June release.
With the demands of the musical career, Lloyd Kawakami has relied on his wife Carla, to oversee the development and completion of the Iolani Experience, just as mom Edith Kawakami had shouldered many responsibilities for her entrepreneurial late husband. Lloyd met his wife-to-be when he was gigging years ago at Horatio’s.
“Iolani has been the best kept secret in town,” said Carla Kawakami, who is ready to share the family wares and story with an actual storefront. “The space will nostalgic, funky, eclectic; you’ll get some history, see old (sewing machines), and we’re all about recycling — using old windows, for instance, where workers can be observed, plus walls from Mick Jagger’s house in Kailua, which will be the paneling in the dressing room.”
In the past, Iolani specialized in kabe shirts, utilizing precious silk fabric imported from Japan. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, the label launched a signature men’s line, embracing a silk-screened design down one side of an otherwise solid-colored shirt, designed by Jackson Morisawa and now overseen by son Nick Kawakami.
Lloyd Kawakami said that Iolani in the company name refers to Iolani Palace, not the school, since the Palace was viewable from the plant’s second site, on Beretania Street, nor Iolani Luahine, the fabled poet of the hula from yesteryear.
He recalls the era when Iolani had 100 employees; the company now has 20. He remembers being corralled in a playpen as an infant, with dirt floors that muddied in the factory when it rained.
He also remembers his father (“a Renaissance man, before his time”) giving him the choice to stick with the family business, or seek out his own livelihood. “I chose to help and support, after college in Oregon and working with Hawaiian Airlines and Liberty House for awhile,” said Kawakami. “Our sons, who have the music career, also choose to help. I guess that’s part of thread of our family history.”


6-9 p.m. Fridays, at LuLu’s Bar & Grille, Kapahulu Avenue
6-9 p.m. Saturdays, Kani Ka Pila Grille, Outrigger Reef on the Beach
Performance times at Iolani on Kona Street to be announced

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