Archive for August, 2010

Melveen Leed's Sept. 11 show kicks off Deaf Awareness month

August 19th, 2010

Melveen Leed makes her Hawaii Theatre concert debut with a fundraiser Sept. 11, to kick off Deaf Awareness Month.
The show, “The Many Moods of Melveen Leed,” is being presented by philanthropist Dr. Lawrence Tseu, to benefit the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind. Showtime is from 7:30 to 10 p.m.
Leed, also known as Da Tita, will draw from her diverse repertoire, tapping such musical genres as Hawaiian, jazz, country, Motown soul, Broadway tunes and international vibes.
She also will feature a multitude of guest artists to explore her chameleon sounds, including Babasango, a New Yorker and African conguero (conga player); Ciena Pelekai, the pint-sized Islander who has appeared on “America’s Got Talent” and Maury Pouvich’s “National Talent Search;” Pierre Grill, multi-instrumentalist sharing his “Cirque De Pierre” sounds; and 24/7 DanceForce, the award-winning dance ensemble led by Marcelo Pacleb whose students routinely have wound up on “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Marian Morrison, Hawaii choreographer who is the mother of a hearing-impaired son, will direct the show. Morrison, formerly known as Marian Jay, is a veteran dancer-educator and has served as Disney Entertainment Creative Show Development and Casting Consultant.
Tickets are $25 for general seating, $35 for premium seating, and $55 for VIP seating.
Reservations: 528-0506.
A pre-concert dinner package also is available for $150, includes a meal at Duc’s Bistro at 1188 Maunakea St., a Melveen Leed CD and VIP seating. Sponsorship packages also are available. Call Anna Meng at 523-7738, or e-mail

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Scott Caan tends to pre-existing knee problems, returns Aug. 23

August 18th, 2010

Scott Caan, who plays Danny “Danno” Williams in CBS’ reboot of “Hawaii Five-0,” has had to tend to a pre-existing bum knee by flying to Los Angeles for medical attention.
He’ll be back in the Islands and on the set Aug. 23, said a CBS spokesperson.
“Working with (Steve) McGarrett (played by Alex O’Loughlin), you’re bound to get bumps and bruises along the way,” said executive producer Peter M. Lenkov, about the potential risks in the whiz-bang pace of the popular Hawaii-based show about a crime-fighting federalized police wing.
Since Caan, 33, does most of his own stunts on the TV show and is “an active guy,” he elected to tend to the knee issues, said the CBS source. “He surfs, he’s into jiu jitsu.”
Caan is not missing production; work is underway on the fifth episode, but the knee problem will be subtly noted in subsequent filming, according to CBS.
Meanwhile, the network will air the pilot Sept. 13 in a “Sunset on the Beach” red carpet gala beginning at 5 p.m. on the beach at Waikiki, with the public screening set for 7:30 p.m. Actors O’Loughlin, Caan, Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park, Taryn Manning and Jean Smart will be on hand, along with producers Lenkov, Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci.
Another private red carpet party will follow for invited guests at Nobu’s at the Waikiki Parc Hotel, hosted by chef Nobu Matsuhisa.
The network premiere will be a week later, Sept. 20, with “Five-0” airing at 9 p.m. Mondays Hawaii time.
Book ‘em, Danno!

MVT gets early start to cast ‘August’ drama

August 17th, 2010

Because of the breadth of the play and the depth of the characterizations — and not to mention a marathon three hours and 20 minutes running time — Manoa Valley Theatre is holding earlier-than-usual auditions for its May, 2011 Hawaii premiere of Tracy Letts’ award-winning “August: Osage County.”
Tryouts will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 27, 28 and 29 at MVT, with Glenn Cannon guest-directing. The rehearsal period will be 10 weeks, beginning March 7, before the premiere May 19.
This gives actors an early start on what looms as a risky but bona fide box office smash — a production that fiercely and bravely peels of the layers of a troubled American family with so many proverbial skeletons in the closet. Start with drug addition, add adultery; you get the picture.
“August” was the 2008 Tony Award winner for Broadway’s best play; it also was accorded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and earned Best Play laurels in the 2008 the Drama Desk Award and the 2008 Drama Critics’ Circle Award.
The play is about the dyslexic Oklahoma extended clan with numerous secrets and challenges, tapping everything from alcoholism to hard drugs, and the language is bold and frank so those with sensitive ears should be cautioned.
Yet the familial idiosyncracies, while astonishing and unsettling, provide insights into human foibles and behavior. In the end, it’s a revealing portrait of one family — and perhaps others you recognize.
The cast requires six men and six women, and a 14-year-old girl. The leads include Violet Weston, a 60ish matriarch addicted to narcotics and depression, who has a knack for expletives, and Barbara Fordham, a mid-40s woman who is the eldest daughter of the Weston family faced with a rocky marriage — and a not-so-mild-mannered mom and an alcoholic dad Beverly Weston.
I saw the original New York production and the frankness of the script and the frailty of characters reminded me of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” which pioneered flaws of relationships with vocal and visual fireworks that were both enlightening and entertaining. “August” has that kind of spirit and gusto.
No roles are pre-cast, so auditions are open to all. Scripts may be perused on the MVT premises, 2388 Manoa Valley Road, between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.
If you’re an actor, this is one drama — a tragic-comedy, in the end — that you could sink your teeth into with hard work. It’ll be the talk of the town, trust me.
Information: 988-6131.

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A Lovely reminder: help remember Elvis’s death

August 15th, 2010

Lovely Kwock (yes, that’s her real name) has sent me an annual reminder: Aug. 16 marks the 33rd anniversary of the death of the King of Rock, Elvis Presley.
“I am still crazy about Elvis,” said Kwock. “(But) hardly anybody remembers him (anymore).”
Her concern is that bronze likeness of Elvis, standing a stone’s throw from the Blaisdell Arena, where the King starred in that historic “Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii” concert in 1973, televised globally on Jan. 14, 1973, reaching 40 countries, prompted a No. 1 soundtrack which earned a five-time platinum award for sales exceeding 5 million.
She wants the statue laden with leis. Year-round.
The statue, erected three years ago on July 26, 2007, depicts Elvis in the costume he wore in the TV concert, cradling a guitar. TV Land, the cable company, provided funds to build the statue, commemorating the 30th anniversary of his satellite concert from the Islands.
Kwock, a fan from way back, regularly visits the statue to place leis around Elvis’ neck, and never forgets the anniversary of his death. The King would be 75 now, were he still alive.
“I keep him covered with leis,” said Kwock. “I am happy that he is here with me in the Islands.”
Elvis, of course, had a love affair with Hawaii, filming his most popular movie here, “Blue Hawaii,” released in 1961, with his iconic version of "Blue Hawaii," "Can't Help Falling in Love With You," "Moonlight Swim" and "Rock-a-Hula."
He also filmed “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” in the Islands, in 1966, and has done charitable work — including raising funds to help launch the building of the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
Kwock will, of course, place leis on Elvis, to mark the 33rd anniversary of the passing of her hero. And hopes others will remember him with leis, too.

Remembering Don Ho, on his 80th birthday

August 12th, 2010

Were he still alive today, entertainer Don Ho would be 80 years old (on Aug. 13). Though he wasn’t particularly a party animal, Ho would have celebrated his birthday quietly and intimately, with family or friends.
Over the years, I celebrated a couple of birthdays with him, since we had a common bond, sharing Aug. 13 birthdates, and these would be low-key evenings, with a simple dinner, with no to-do about each other’s birthdays, perhaps just a shared toast. Don’t know if this was a typical trait of a Leo.
The last time was about four or five years ago, at a tiny, secluded Italian restaurant, when Ho rambled on about eating healthy, favoring stir-fried Chinese, minus Aji-no-moto.
Ho, who died of a heart attack on April 14, 2007 at age 76, will be remembered this evening (Aug. 13) at his namesake restaurant, Don Ho’s Island Grill, harborside at Aloha Tower Marketplace. Restaurant owners Nicki and Fred Livingston and Ho’s widow, Haumea Hebenstreit Ho, will present an homage featuring “Al Waterson and You,” an admission-free event from 6 to 9 p.m., assembling entertainers who previously performed with “Mr. Tiny Bubbles” throughout his Waikiki career.
Emcee-singer Waterson regularly hosts the “Al Waterson and You” shows Sundays at the Grill, and his showcase winners often wound up on a Don Ho stage over the years. It was just one of the ways that Ho nurtured unknown, budding local talent.
For the birthday celebration, Chef Robert Denis has created a menu of Don Ho-themed entrees with such names as “One Paddle, Two Paddle Fish & Chips,” “I’ll Remember You Ribs,” “Honey’s Hanalei Grill” skewers with veggies andchicken, and “Tiny Bubbles” ice cream dessert.
Cost is $20, plus tax and tip. Reservations: 528-0807.

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