Archive for September, 2010

Billboard taps Jack Johnson for his eco-friendly philanthropy

September 29th, 2010

You go, Jack!
Jack Johnson, Haleiwa resident who is an environmental activist and a singer-composer of international acclaim, will receive the Humanitarian Award at the Seventh Annual Billboard Touring Conference & Awards Nov. 3 and 4 in New York City. The honor recognizes the eco-friendly and philanthropic work of Johnson and his wife Kim.
Rush, the socko rock trio, will be bestowed the Legend of Live Award, acknowledging the act’s contributions to live music, touring and connecting with fans through the concert experience.
Johnson combines a career of pop music with a mission of philanthropy; though his Kokua Hawaii Foundation and the annual Kokua Festival in Hawaii, Johnson is immersed in a range of environmentally-conscious and philanthropic projects embracing school and community needs.
His 2008 tour set a precedent in the music industry, with its eco-friendly, green-conscious elements. In conjunction with that tour, Johnson launched the All At Once campaign and donated 100 per cent of his tour profits to local non-profit partners through his Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation.
Johnson’s 2010 “To the Sea” tour, in support of his latest album, also will donate all proceeds to charity and maintain sustainable eco-efficient elements.
“Jack Johnson’s efforts toward promoting environmental awareness and sustainability clearly reflect a deep personal commitment,” said Ray Waddell, Billboard’s executive director of content and programming for touring and live entertainment. “When it comes to his career, Johnson never places profits over doing the right thing. Billboard is thrilled to recognize Jack Johnson’s ongoing dedication to making this world a better place.”
The Kokua Festival, created and produced by the Johnsons, is in its sixth year. The festival raises funds for the Kokua Hawaii Foundation programs and serves as an international environmental education event that employs some of the most sophisticated and advanced green practices in the live music industry. The Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation has made over $750,000 in donations to date, and as part of the 2010 world tour, will offer direct and matching donations to All At Once partner non-profits.
Rush – Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee and Neil Peart – will be honored for its legacy career —more than 40 million albums sold over the past 35-plus years, millions of concert tickets sold since 1974. The band’s 2010 “Time Machine” tour played 45 shows in the U.S., Canada, and South America to sold out houses.

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‘Five-0’ writers need to catch Hawaii lifestyle wave

September 26th, 2010

“Hawaii Five-0” settles into its Monday slot on CBS (KGMB9), with the second episode making its debut at 9 p.m. Sept. 27 on CBS (KGMB9).
Buzz has been mostly positive — finally, a show that’s filmed in Hawaii, and showcases the Islands as we live and know it (even with an overdose of crash-boom-pow chases and crashes).
The negative is that the show does not yet reflect Island ways and folks. With probably six or seven episodes already in the can, it’s time to flash the yellow caution sign about the scripts — and the need to fill the gap in conveying the Island-ness of Honolulu.
The awkwardness of a Kukui High School mention (changed from Kahuku, in the earlier preview version, equally clumsy in the context of the pilot) and the tentative deployment of pidgin, called "bird" by the writers, are early indicators of cluelessness or recklessness, or a combination of both.
The writing staff is based on the West Coast, not here. Therein lies a part of the problem. Maybe a writer or two should come live here for a skosh, to breathe the air, eat at Zippy’s, surf at Canoes or watch the curls at Pipeline, slurp Matsumoto shave ice, peruse Doug Simonson’s “Pidgin to Da Max” book, read the script of Lisa Matsumoto’s “Once Upon One Time” or Lee Cataluna’s “Da Mayah,” learn a little bit about Hawaiian culture, embrace hula at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel or Kaiulani Hotel, sit in on an Augie T stand-up, experience a vintage Rap Reiplinger CD or DVD, listen to an Amy Hanaiali’i, Raitea Helm or Brothers Cazimero CD, drive through the tunnels of H3 and H2, see the splendors of the Pali and Hanauma Bay, wear an aloha shirt and slippahs, sniff and savor the wonders of malasadas at Leonard’s or Champion’s, get caught in the H1/H2 gridlock in morning commute, read the Star-Advertiser, watch Hawaii News Now.
In other words, get immersed. Taste it, feel it, breathe it, hear it, drive it, swallow it, adore it ... to understand it all.
Frommer’s, Fodor’s, Zagat and Gayot can provide backup for orientation, but there’s keen advantage to actually experiencing some of it ... especially if you’re gonna write about it for cast to utter and the viewers to digest.
Go figure, the four key actors really don’t know Hawaii, though Daniel Dae Kim as Chin Ho has lived here during his tenure with ABC’s “Lost” — but honestly, he is not genuinely local. If he and Alex O’Loughlin as Steve McGarrett, Scott Caan as Danny “Danno” Williams and Grace Park as Kono Kalakaua are to be the faces of “Five-0” and Hawaii, getting to know the city and the state, and the pulse of what we do and why, are valuable assets in the big picture. Presumably, if “Five-O” earns its stripes as a multi-season show, everyone — writers in particular — need to soak up all there is to know about Honolulu and Hawaii.
The original “Hawaii Five-0,” starring Jack Lord as McGarrett, was clearly a vehicle for its centerpiece actor; the reboot is delightfully an ensemble piece and potentially could emerge as equals to the “CSI” and “NCIS” hits on CBS.
The original had remarkable in-jokes and visual/aural asides that showed the writers knew their turf, hoping the audience would pick up on the subtle tactics.
For instance, the original villain, Wo Fat (played by Khigh Dheigh) was named after the fabled Chinatown eatery, whose sign still hangs at King and Hotel Streets. That name was introduced in the 1968 pilot — and McGarrett’s chief nemesis also was a key in the closing show in 1980
The Kono Kalakaua character, originated by Zulu, was mildly of an homage to prevalent Hawaiian names that began with K’s around town (which newcomers can’t pronounce, what with the barrage of k’s) with a nod to perhaps the main avenue in Waikiki, named after King David Kalakaua.
Chin Ho Kelly, the role originally played by Kam Fong Chun, is inspired by the late financier Chinn Ho, whose entrepreneurial skills — founder of Capital Investment Company, owner of the Ilikai Hotel (coincidentally the site of that iconic opening scene in the original “Five-0”) and onetime owner of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin — occasionally led folks to call him the “Chinese Rockefeller.”
In one original episode, the town paper was prophetically called the Star-Advertiser, referring to and merging the then stand-alone papers, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser.
Heck, even I was mentioned in one original season episode and pictured in another. In the fourth episode, one of the characters was named Senator Harada, a reference to a certain entertainment editor at that time; in another episode, my photo was used as one of four or five in a crime lineup. (No, I did nothing bad — just provide a photo).
One more thing: Wish the show will tune in and utilize Island music as part of its supportive songs to enhance scenes. I know, I know, hip-hop and rap speak to young audiences; but it’s not only valid, but valuable, to expose and embrace the heartbeat and soul of Island musicians and singers. Think Bruddah Iz, Keali’i Reichel, Brother Noland, Willie K, even Cecilio and Kapono.
The original series had brief segments of Danny Kaleikini performing at the Kahala Hilton’s Hala Terrace; maybe the renewbie can write a scene around the “Magic of Polynesia” spectacle at the Ohana Waikiki Beachcomber or the “Creation” revue at the Princess Kaiulani’s Ainahau showroom. Helps the visitor industry, connects with the viewership.
This sense of community, of people and places that represent the multi-elements of Hawaii, would add realism and substance and atmosphere that locals will recognize and visitors will remember from their travels here.
The second episode, I presume, will reveal how the “Hawaii Five-0” cop unit gets its name. Like the Morton Stevens theme song retained in the reboot, it’s all about branding.
Write on!

It’s no illusion: Russell Siu’s menu at ‘Magic of Polynesia’

September 23rd, 2010

“Magic of Polynesia,” the magic show at the Ohana Waikiki Beachcomber Hotel, is upgrading its dinner offerings with a fresh menu devised by award-winning Russell Siu of 3660 on the Rise.
Roberts Hawaii, parent company of “Magic of Polynesia,” also has renovated the Waikiki showroom, whose décor resembles the inside of a volcano, and tweaked the production featuring magician John Hirokawa with six new large-scale illusions mixed with comedy and costumed dances.
By partnering with Siu, “Magic of Polynesia” strives to upgrade the dining experience. The restructured show updates the entertainment centerpiece.
The new menu offers two options, a standard meal and a deluxe dinner served to visitors.
The standard menu includes burgundy braised short ribs of beef with mushroom bacon jus scented with truffle oil and pan-seared mahimahi in lomi tomato butter sauce; dessert is passion mango cheesecake.
The deluxe deal includes fire roasted tenderloin of beef with wild mushroom jus and a seafood lau lau comprised of spinach, scallops, fish and lobster wrapped and steamed in ti leaf with lomi tomato butter sauce; dessert is passionberry mousse.
For details, go to; for reservations call the box office at 971-4321 or (877) 971-4321.

'Lost's' Emerson, O'Quinn land leads in new Abrams pilot

September 23rd, 2010

Former “Lost” co-stars Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn have landed a pilot at NBC, a yet untitled drama, from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production company. Abrams, of course, is one of the creators of “Lost,” the ABC hit filmed on Oahu for seven seasons (2004-2010), and continues to be leading hyphenate in TV production — a producer, director, composer, screenwriter.
Abrams’ post-“Lost” creation, “UnderCovers,” just made its debut on NBC this week, with Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as retired CIA agents summoned back to active duty.
Emerson is an Emmy winner for his role as Ben Linus; O’Quinn portrayed Jon Locke. Online sources indicate the duo will team up as former ops agents, but details are sketchy. “Odd Jobs” was a work-in-progress title, but apparently has been ditched.
Abrams will be a producer of the new venture, along with executive producers Bryan Burk, Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec.
Bad Robot, which Abrams founded, also has scored another pilot, “Alcatraz,” with Fox, with Burk co-producer; “Lost” writer Elizabeth Samoff also is aboard. And Abrams has yet another project in development at CBS.
His earlier credits include “Felicity” (1998-2002), “Alias” (2001-2006), “Fringe” (2008-present) on TV and he directed such films as “Mission: Impossible III” (2006) and “Star Trek” (2009) and produced “Cloverfield” (2008).


Like ‘Five-O,’ ‘The Event’ had awesome Isle filming

September 22nd, 2010

CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” wasn’t the only primetime series Monday night to showcase the splendors of the Islands. NBC’s “The Event,” which aired in the hour preceding “Five-0,” also featured key scenes that were shot in the Islands.
Of course, the reboot of the old Jack Lord cops-in-paradise was shot entirely on Oahu — and CBS went hog wild to promote the launch and the Island ties. The payoff was the 14.2 million viewership for “Five-0,” in its time slot, at 9 p.m. here (10 p.m. on the Mainland).
“The Event,” a conspiracy thriller featuring the likes of Jason Ritter, Blair Underwood and Laura Innes, logged 11.2 million viewers in its 8 p.m. slot (9 p.m. on the Mainland). The souped-up psychological roller-coaster plot combined espionage with terrorism as well as wavering timelines that fluctuated from the present to the past, leaving with viewers to ponder and wonder if this was “Lost” redux.
Both shows had high-octane chases and crashes, with most of “Five-O’s” set on the ground, “The Event’s” all over the place.
And plenty of Hawaii backdrops.
Y’all saw “Five-O,” but not likely “The Event.” The latter was all over the map, filmed on both coasts, up in a plane, but a midpoint trek to the Islands caught my attention. The central character, Sean Walker (Ritter) and his girlfriend (Sarah Roemer), figure in some stunning footage overlooking Waimanalo, an awesome drowning rescue at the wave-splashed Blow Hole, and a tranquil beach party scene at Kualoa Regional Park on the Windward side. Even if there was some editing to place a cruise ship docked in the waters off shore.
This kind of tropical niceties should add up to more interest in Hawaii as a visitor destination — the kind we need in a still-not-so-good economy and the byproduct that made the original “Five-0” the high-water mark in tourism marketing.

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