Archive for June, 2010

Jake Shimabukuro 'goes for broke' in July

June 29th, 2010

Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro is offering a free download of his haunting and beautiful tribute to the 442nd Infantry Division’s 100th Battalion at his website,, beginning July 1.
He composed the tune, reaching back to his small-kid-time memory of the 442nd’s Club 100 hall near his grade school, Ala Wai Elementary, to honor the most highly-decorated U.S. unit in military history.
The tune will be part of Shimabukuro’s unnamed new CD, due in August.
“I was inspired to write it for the vets because of a funny story; I lived on Lauiki Steet near Ala Wai School, where I attended, and my buddies and I used to ride bikes around the block and we used to sneak into Club 100 to drink ice water and then sneak out,” said Shimabukuro. “Only years later, I learned of its significance; the 442nd story is so awesome.”
The song features a military-cadence snare drum counterpoint to Shimabukuro’s restrained, but poetic and poignant uke-strumming sure to resonate with vets and families.
“Go For Broke” is the trademark motto and battle cry by the Island soldiers to give it all they had to risk everything, including their lives, to honor their country amid the challenges of the wartime battlefront. The slogan was popular during post-war Hawaii, particularly to boost morale and fighting power.
Shimabukuro, spending time at home this summer, has a series of local appearances in July, promoting the anthem as well as celebrating Independence Day in this Islands.
His schedule:
• July 1, 5:40 a.m. and 6:10 a.m. —Appearance and performance on Hawaii News Now.
• July 2, 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. —Appearance on KHON2.
• July 2, 10 a.m. — Hickam AAFES Bxtra Main Store. Military ID required.
• July 2, Noon to 1 p.m. —“Go for Broke” CD release event at NEX Pearl Harbor. Military ID required.
• July 4 , 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. —Independence Day Celebration Event at Maunalua Bay, Hawaii Kai.
• July 10, 8:30 a.m. — Perry & Price morning show, at Jimmy Buffett's at the Ohana Beachcomber Hotel, live in KSSK-AM and FM.
• July 15, 7:30 p.m. — Solo Sessions with Jake Shimabukuro, Peace Love Ukulele event, at Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
• July 16, 5:30 p.m. — Ukulele Festival Hawaii Gala 2010, Ala Moana Hotel Hibiscus Ballroom.
• July 18, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Ukulele Festival at Kapiolani Park Bandstand.
• July 18, 4 p.m. — Pacific Rim Children's Chorus Festival Concert, at Blaisdell Center.
• July 23, 7 p.m., Chai's Island Bistro, Aloha Tower Marketplace.

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All about Charlie Chan

June 26th, 2010

To mark the anniversary of the birth of mystery writer Earl Derr Biggers, “The Charlie Chan Mystery Weekend” will be held in August. A downtown tour and a film screening are events planned.
Steven Fredrick will host; he’s a film historian with a keen interest in vintage flicks and characters that figured in Hawaii’s history.
Fredrick will lead a Charlie Chan Mystery Tour, a themed tour to Chinatown sites, on Aug. 22. The tour points out actual sites linked to Honolulu police detective Chang Apana, believed to be the one of the figures that inspired Biggers to create the Charlie Chan character in the 1920s. Chan is the subject of six novels and at least 40 films between the 1930s and 1950s.
The three-hour interactive walk, starting at 1 p.m. Aug. 22 at the foot of the Fort Street Mall, will cite Chan-related crime environs ranging from Apana’s/Chan’s one-time police station headquarters, coffee shops, gambling houses, movie theaters and the resident of Number One Son.
Those signing up for the tour are advised to bring sunscreen protection and wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes. The walk covers two miles, and will include a 30-minute lunch break.
Cost is $30 per person and reservations are required. For those with military ID, cost is $20.
A related screening of Hawaii-themed films,including those featuring Charlie Chan, will be shown at 7 p.m. Aug. 23 at a Hawaii Kai site. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $8 for adults, $5 for military with ID. Reservations are required.
For both events, call 395-0674 or email

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OMG, 'Hawaii Five-O' in my ol' stomping grounds!

June 24th, 2010

Things happen for a reason.
“Hawaii Five-O,” the CBS-TV series reboot poised to become one of the fall season’s hits, will build its home stage in quarters that used to be part of the Honolulu Advertiser’s circulation/press headquarters.
The facilities, behind the historic News Building at the corner of Kapiolani Boulevard and South Street, will be a hub of production, with the likes of Alex O’Loughlin (Steve McGarrett), Daniel Dae Kim (Chin Ho Kelly), Scott Caan (Dan “Danno” Williams) and Grace Park (Kono Kalakaua) doing soundstage work.
Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-taaa, ta-ta-ta-ta-taa. (That’s the Mort Stevens theme song).
This wouldn’t have been possible, if The Advertiser were still ensconced in the iconic building, even if the rear press room and circulation space were relieved from active duty with the upgraded state-of-the-art press in Kapolei. The merged Advertiser and Star-Bulletin, now called the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, publishes its daily and Sunday editions there, along with Oahu Publications’ MidWeek, with the newsroom in Restaurant Row.
I used to visit these abandoned quarters in the days when the old press would be humming, and even when it was in repose. The TGIF section also was printed here, and I’d zip over from the newsroom to the press room to retrieve early-run copies to examine before they were inserted in the Friday Advertiser.
The proximity of the site to a condo a stone’s throw away next door, at Queen and South Streets, would seem to suggest that there might be a whole wave of ogling going on from high-rise spectators, once “Five-O” is settled and in residency there. The stars will be entering and exiting shooting central, after all.
CBS also is seeking to secure other sites for its production needs, according to a spokesman.
The fall pilot was filmed earlier, and the show is pegged for the 9 p.m. slot Mondays here when the new season begins.
Be there. Aloha.
Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-taaa, ta-ta-ta-ta-taaa. (That’s the theme song again).

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NBC's Richard Engel probes the Battle of Wanat on 'Dateline'

June 23rd, 2010

For Richard Engel, NBC News’ award-winning chief foreign correspondent, reporting from the war fronts of Iraq and Afghanistan means staying focused, with emotions in check, and working the phones.
“It’s frightening to think that I’ve become part of the war landscape,” said Engel, speaking from Kabul, Afghanistan, who recounts the story of an Island son killed in the Afghanistan war’s deadliest battles on July 13, 2008 and the soldier’s father’s quest to find who was responsible for the debacle. It's on “Dateline: A Father’s Mission,” airing at 7 p.m. Sunday (June 27) on NBC (KHNL8).
1st Lt. Jonathan P. Brostrom, 24, of 'Aiea, was one of nine soldiers killed on a bloody Sunday in Afghanistan, in the Battle of Wanat. His father, retired Army colonel David Brostrom, launched an inquiry, bouyed with support from other grieving parents, to discover what went terribly wrong and who was to blame for placing soldiers of the Second Platoon, Chosen Company of the 173rd airborne infantry, in a vulnerable situation open to Taliban attack. (Engel had to tweak his Sunday special when the Army this week rebuked earlier findings that three officers were responsible for the Wanat deaths).
“Of course, I’m fearful,” said Engel about his regular battlefront regimen. “I worry that things can go badly, but I can’t focus on that too much. I take precautions, and there are four different levels of stress that you go through when you’re in a war zone a long time, sometimes all four in one day.
“The first is you think you’re superman, that nothing can happen. That doesn’t last long; you realize you’re not invincible. The second is that this is a dangerous situation, I could get hurt out here, but that lasts a little while. The third is deeper, darker territory — the mental acceptance that math will catch up with you. And the fourth is, I’m going to die out here.”
Knock on wood; so far, he's not been injured. But his survival weapon of mass communication is the phone. A satellite phone.
“You just gotta work the phone,” he said. “It’s easy to talk about stuff if you have the information. But cellphones don’t work — a major problem. I carry a satellite phone, which works everywhere. I build a community of sources, but it takes hours to send footage out. Sometimes I carry car batteries (for power), one of the logistics of communications. I often check with old sources, since some stories are ongoing, and build new ones.”
All in a day’s job, he said, as rockets flare and bombs fall.
Engel has been the go-to guy on NBC on events in the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan; his filings are widely seen on “Today,” “NBC Nightly News,” MSNBC and You know he's on the battlefront when he dons protection gear.
His latest documentary, recapping the deadly impact of the Battle of Wanat, includes war front chats with soldiers and in-home reflection of parents and loved ones of the fallen soldiers, and profound suggestions that validate retired Army officer Brostrom's belief that nine souls, including his son, died needlessly with undeniable valour and sacrifice under unmitigated circumstances that included sheer lack of resources to fight the enemy.
The soldiers died of wounds suffered when their outpost, an easy target located in the midst of a bowl of mountains, was attacked by small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades from Taliban forces in Wanat, Afghanistan. There were 27 others wounded.
The soldiers, from Second Platoon, Chosen Company, of the 173rd airborne infantry, are seen in revealing battlefield footage, trying to build defense posts without proper resources, even complaining of a shortage of drinking water in intense Afghan heat. And they feared the worst and dreaded their fate.
“It is upsetting, talking to soldiers, and it’s an act when it looks like I feel I'm in control,” said Engel. “I’ve gotten emotional myself; I break down with the soldiers or their families. But I’m not feeling the same thing as a family losing a son; you see the mother look at a photo of a child who died in combat; you have to be focused.”
His Hawaii visit, to interview the Brostrom parents, was not without uneasy moments. “But the father was very methodical, very focused, almost like (in) a military motion,” said Engel. “He wants to find out who was responsible (for the Wanat encounter) and he’s checked all of the footnotes in the pages of inquiry, and is dedicating (his life) to finding answers. So it’s a story still in development.”
Engel was a freelance journalist at a time when network reporters were few during the early stags of the Iraq war. “I reported for ABC from Iraq, and NBC made an offer, so I took it. I’ve since reported from Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan, though technically based in New York, which is just a paper address since I’m home only a couple of months at a time,” he said.
Engel’s dispatches are straightforward, conversational and chock full with morsels of details, a result of his seasoned tenure playing the phones and monitoring soldier movement. And despite the daily cloud of danger, he wouldn’t trade his job anytime soon.
“I like the fact that it’s different every day so I don’t feel like I’m stuck in this job. I could do something else, I guess, but I love this job. It’s a great job,” he said. “It does make other stories seem less important.”
While he's managed to dodge bullets and bombs, but his marriage took a hit, largely because of his time spent on the war front. But, he said, his working trip to Hawaii recently was a rare perk that enabled him to add on a weekend of r&r. "That was a first," he said.

Reach Wayne Harada at or

7 p.m. Sunday (June 27)

An ukulele gala, to keep the Ukulele Festival a freebie

June 23rd, 2010

For four decades, the annual Ukulele Festival at Kapiolani Park Bandstand has been free, a summertime favorite where youngsters and oldsters strum together to have fun together.
The audience, too.
To keep the event — set from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. July 18 —admission free, presenter Roy Sakuma and his Ukulele Festival Hawaii board, will present its first-ever fundraising gala, at 5:30 p.m. July 16 at the Hibiscus Room of the Ala Moana Hotel.
“This is the first time our 40-year history that we are holding a fundraising event to support the ukulele festival,” says Sakuma, festival president and proprietor with wife Kathy of the Roy Sakuma Ukulele Studios, where thousands of youngsters have learned to strum “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and move on to such tunes as “I’m Yours.”
This is a red flag — that the non-profit organization, like other arts organization in the community, needs kokua to stay afloat to maintain the free admission policy.
The fundraiser will showcase ukulele virtuosos such as Jake Shimabukuro and Herb “Ohta-san” Ohta, accompanied by Nando Suan, plus singer Natalie Ai Kamauu. Hawaii’s Aloha of Ambassador Danny Kaleikini, veteran entertainer who has hosted the ukulele festival for many years, will also perform.
The event features a buffet dinner as well as the music, and a silent auction that offers ukuleles, uke lessons, jewelry, dining and retail gift certificates and art work for browsing and bidding.
Admission: $65 per person; sponsor tables of 10 seats are available at $1,200, $3,000 and $5,000 levels.
Reservations and information: 486-0546,, or email
Proceeds will help offset the cost to put on the Ukulele Festival, the largest ukulele festival of its kind in the world.

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