Archive for January, 2011

'Five-0' debuts stepdad for Danny's daughter Grace

January 30th, 2011
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CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” ohana is about to get bigger.
With increasing regularity, yet another backstory figure will debut Feb. 7 when Mark Deklin debuts as Stan, the new husband of Danny Williams’ ex-wife Rachel (Claire Van Der Boom). This means Danno’s beloved daughter Grace (Teilor Grubbs) has a stepfather.
Deklin, to be introduced in the episode entitled “E Malama (To Protect),” thus will emerge as yet another challenge for Danno (Scott Caan) and becomes an element for family-related issues in the Hawaii-filmed drama.
The studio describes Stan as “a handsome, wealthy, international businessman who recorded a corrupt Housing Commissioner demanding a bribe and threatened to indict the man,” placing Grace and Rachel in jeopardy.
You know Danno ain’t gonna be too pleased — with the marriage, with the mystique — but will step in to kokua, no matter what.
Deklin was Trammel Thatcher on Fox’s “Lone Star” last year and also was a hunky sort in “Desperate Housewives” and developed a following as Elliott Mayer in CBS’s “The Ex List.”
In context of the episode, Stan is both “humbled by Danny’s anger and grateful for his help,” according to CBS — so yes, there is some tension.
As mentioned in an earlier blog, “Five-0” has been ramping up its backstory files by introducing a flock of new characters linked to the principals since its fall debut.
Larisa Oleynik was tapped to portray Jessie Kaye, an ex-CIA analyst with a Harvard pedigree, in what will evolve into a recurring role in support of Steve McGarret (Alex O’Loughlin), who now has a kid sister Mary Ann (Taryn Manning).
Of course, McGarrett’s nemesis Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos) is back, with periodic appearances planned, to add angst to the action; Wo Fat also happens to be the one responsible for the murder of the new character Kaye’s fiancée, who was also a CIA field agent.
Danno’s aforementioned ex-wife was earlier introduced. Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) has an ex-fiancee Malia (Reiko Aylesworth), also debuting recently for recurring story points.
Only Kono Kalakaua’s (Grace Park) personal life has not be explored with a backstory character. Yet.
Be there. Aloha.

Punahou Carnival includes Hawaiian Plate music, too

January 28th, 2011
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A Punahou Carnival tradition — Hawaiian music at the Hawaiian Plate Booth stage — continues this year as Manoa DNA, the popular Island father-and-son group, performs for the fifth consecutive year from 7 to 8 p.m. Feb. 4 on the school’s Manoa campus.
The Manoa DNA show will be in the Punahou cafeteria, where the official Hawaiian Plate Booth stage is located in Dole Hall, mauka of Rice Field. The kaukau includes lau lau, poi, lomi lomi salmon and haupia.
“The Hawaiian Plate Booth was one of our very first big gigs,” said Alex Kawakami (the A), who performs with brother Nick (the N) and dad Lloyd Kawakami (the D). “It was one of the first times we were able to bring a full band and perform in front of our family and friends.”
As Manoa residents themselves, the family act believes in giving back to the community. “We are very happy to be supporting such a worthy cause,” said dad Lloyd. “A lot of people don’t know that the carnival is actually a fundraiser for the school ... to support student scholarships.”
Manoa DNA was first recruited to provide music for the Hawaiian Plate foodies in 2006, when the band was still relatively new and unknown. Its popularity and prowess have grown beyond the shores of Hawaii, to the Mainland as well as in Japan.
The Punahou Carnival, open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Feb. 4 and 5, is the city’s largest event of its kind, offering rides, games, an art sale, and a white elephant tent. The Hawaiian Plate special, along with the freshly-made malasadas, are legendary.

The Hawaiian Plate stage also hosts a variety of performers — including Henry Kapono, Danny Carvalho, Johnny Helm, and a trio of Hawaiian favorites comprised of George Kuo, Aaron Mahi and Martin Pahinui — during the run of the carnival.

The schedule:
Feb. 4:
Noon – 1 p.m. Punahou Jazz Band
1 – 2 p.m. The Imu Gang
2 -3 p.m. — Johnny Helm and Friends
3 -4 p.m. — Mango Season
4 - 5 p.m. — Honolulu Jazz Quartet
5 - 6 p.m. — Kapala
6 - 7 p.m. — George Kuo, Aaron Mahi, Martin Pahinui
7 - 8 p.m. — Manoa DNA
8 - 9 p.m. — I Ku Mau Mau
9 - 10 p.m. — Sunway
Feb. 5:
Noon to1 p.m. — Punahou Jazz Band
1 to 2 p.m. — Punahou Alumni Glee Club
2 – 3 p.m. —Hapa Folk
3 – 4 p.m. —Danny Carvalho
4 – 5 p.m. — The Big Deal
5 – 6 p.m. — Yim Family
6 – 7 p.m. — Puna Rock
7 – 8 p.m. — Lyle Hosoda & Friends
8 – 9 p.m. — Henry Kapono
9 – 10 p.m. —The Strangers

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Police blotter could trigger ‘Five-0’ plots

January 27th, 2011
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Sunday’s après-football “Hawaii Five-0” was an entertaining spectacle; you knew, from the start, that a tsunami was not going to actually level Honolulu, and that McGarrett & Team would come to the rescue and figure out the pieces without the big splash.
Indeed, the episode was a bogus, inspired by real-life threats for all of us who live in the Pacific basin, when a quake triggers an alert, and in very isolated cases, an actual disaster. The CBS rendering was technologically an achievement in storytelling, but not without some outlandish implications. It surely must have been inspired by the frequent alerts we face from actual warnings in the past.
But if “Five-0” seeks to develop elements from life, the writers need only look at incidents from the police blotter earlier this week.
Like:
• That guy with a rifle, in a home invasion incident at Kualoa, where the road was shut down for a couple of hours, prevent traffic on the Windward side, before cops were able to take him into custody. Indeed, a backstory could have been fictionalized — what was it the dude needed and why?
• That theft of recycled stuff, from a Hawaii Kai site, that led to a lockdown of several Kailua schools as a result. Was there more valuable loot — diamonds, cash, military secrets — in the recyclables?
• The recall of local food products and sauces, potentially causing botulism. Mysterious germs in the marinades? A plot to use food as a means to spread a virus?
“Five-0” can create a multitude of fictional storylines, maintaining a reasonable template of credibility in its retelling, when it employs a real-life incident to develop for television.
Certainly, it did just that when it took tsunami alert to spin out a make-believe tale with the resonance of the real thing.
But we knew better, didn’t we?
We could filter out certain elements: That somebody could actually falsify the trusty tsunami warning system; that the decision to clear beaches with disaster-level fervor and with snarled freeway traffic could happen, or not; that those anticipating The Wave would rush to the market to buy fresh, unprepared food trays at the market (the point here is to buy edibles that don’t require power to heat or cook, since electricity would be among the first casualties of the tsunami, unless you want to have a hibachi party); that boats berthed at the Ala Wai Yacht the Harbor would still be anchored in port when the general m.o. is to get the crafts out to the open sea or tucked in a harbor not in direct aim of the waves.
It was clever to link the doctored warning to the $10 million (from a stash of $28 million) McGarrett earlier “stole” from the state to pay off ransom to free Chin Ho Kelly from instant death when a bomb was anchored to his body. Remember?
This episode demonstrated the increasing bond of the McGarrett, Danno, Chin Ho and Kono, especially in the time of duress and need. Each one comes to bat for the other, no matter the consequences.
There were some niggling tidbits: It was totally proper to focus on the Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach, but the criss-crossing car runs from there to the Kahala home of the missing tsunami guy who held the key to the faux warning, was a bit much, what with the clock ticking. And in one scene, when McGarrett and Danno were in a car and said they were heading to Ewa, but weren’t they on Kalanianaole heading in the opposite direction, to Hawaii Kai? OK, OK, we protesteth too much.
There were touches, featuring Dennis Chun, real life son of the late Kam Fong Chun, as a policeman in the segment. And to discover that Danno has parenting issues — no sitter for his daughter Grace — in an emergency situation, so he hauls her along dutifully, depending on Kamekona, the Waiola Shave Ice man, to babysit.
Fun, too, to see Al Harrington (as Mamo) again, who turns in the best line of the night regarding the tsunami that wasn’t: “Somebody’s blowing smoke up somebody’s okole.”

Rapper Sean Combs lands ‘Five-0’ booking

January 26th, 2011
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Rapper-actor Sean Combs (aka P. Diddy) will do a guest appearance this season on “Hawaii Five-0,” and his music also will be integrated in the Island-filmed CBS procedural drama.
This prompts a question or two: Is “Five-0,” the bona fide hit new show (well, a reboot/revival) of the current TV season, aiming for a more heterogeneous audience, expanding and extending its appeal for a wider viewership? Is the show aiming to icons in other genres — in Combs’ case, rap and hip-hop music, as well as dramatic acting — to ramp up its muscles and creds with more notables in special cameos?
Combs is an established, successful and respected veteran of pop music and has been a dramaticrisk-taker, acting in an acclaimed 2004 Broadway revival of “A Raisin in the Sun” peopled with legit New York troupers like Audra McDonald and Phylicia Rashad. He also has guest-starred as a lawyer in two episodes of “CSI: Miami,” confirming his acting chops.
Among his other acting credits: “Get Him to the Greek” and “Monster’s Ball.”
In “Five-0,” he will play a NYPD detective Reggie Williams, in a one-man crusade for justice; he combs the streets and alleys of Honolulu for the alleged crime-doers against his family, leading to turf friction with the “Five-0” combo of Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), Danny Williams (Scott Caan), Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) and Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park).
According to the network, Combs will receive training and instruction with a Navy SEAL (oops, McGarrett territory), to enhance and develop his character’s creds, and some of his big hit songs will be integrated into the “Five-0” soundscape. Sounds like a smart match.
Thus, “Five-0” appears to be stretching and tweaking its formula, still averaging about 13 million viewers per episode, and scored big numbers (19.3 million) when the show was a lead-in following this past Sunday’s AFC championship football game (an hour-long newscast was inserted between football and “Five-0” locally).
Be there. Aloha.

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It’s ‘Time’ to applaud uke virtuoso Shimabukuro

January 23rd, 2011
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Jake Shimabukuro continues to evolve as the Hawaii music magnet of the moment.
He’s getting the kind of national buzz worthy of a mainstream wonder. Shimabukuro is pictured and hailed in the current Time magazine (Jan. 31) and credited, along with the late Israel “Bruddah Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole, as a champion for the growing appeal and lingering adoration of the ukulele.
Further, ex-Islander Nate Chinen (son of onetime performing duo Teddy and Nanci Tanaka), is a music critic with The New York Times, and said in a review of Shimabukuro performing at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg last week:“Mr. Shimabukuro, who hails from Hawaii — where his chosen instrument is neither a conversation piece nor a punch line — comes by his fame with buoyant musicianship and brisk proficiency. The innovation in his style stems from an embrace of restrictions: the ukulele has only four strings and a limited range. He compensates with an adaptable combination of rhythmic strumming, classical-style finger-picking and fretboard tapping.”
Mighty praise indeed. Shimabukuro in both Time and The Times. The publicity means more ammo for the ukulele’s popularity.
And folks are not just buying his new “Peace Love Ukulele” CD, which is No. 1 on the Billboard World Music Chart (see review, below).
Increasingly, you see and hear the uke in unexpected places.
Consider: James Franco strummed the uke to woo Julia Roberts in last year’s “Eat Pray Love.” In the new Oscar-buzz film “Blue Valentine,” Ryan Gosling also strums to attract Michelle Williams.
Train’s “Hey Soul Sister” — one of last year’s hits, and background staple for TV Samsung’s commercial — has that happy, sunny disposition because of ukulele accompaniment.
You’ve seen and heard it in a number of TV shows the past few years, from “Glee” to “American Idol,” from “House” to “Modern Family,” from “ER” to “Hawaii Five-0.” (A thought: shouldn’t Kono be a sometimes strummer — something that would complement her surfing passion — while not in pursuit of no-gooders?)
Years ago, local uke wizard Herb Ohta, aka Ohta-san, scored a national hit — elevating the modest four-string instrument into a solo entity — with his “Song for Anna.”
A generation later, this Ohta signature might have been an early inspiration for Shimabukuro to focus on the simple charm and voice of the instrument first introduced in the Islands by Portuguese immigrants in the 19th century.
It was Shimabukuro’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” going viral on YouTube, and seen and heard by more than seven million, that provided the fuel and shaped the fame for the 34-year-old Shimabukuro. No wonder Farmers insurance tapped him to be the face, the sound and the voice of their current TV campaign.
Of course, the Bruddah Iz “Over the Rainbow,” with the ooo-ooos and uke-playing, has been a steady source for more than a decade to put Hawaii and the ukulele in the spotlight, in films, on the charts, and in commercials.
Certainly, the ukulele’s not new. Depending on your age, your first contact locally might have been Roy Sakuma, who has studios that have taught legions of strummers young and old alike.
Or maybe it was Tiny Tim, tip-toeing to the charts, with his kitschy “Tip-Toe Through the Tulips.”
Or Arthur Godfrey, who strummed it on TV. Or Poncie Ponce, who played uke on the old “Hawaiian Eye.”
Eddie Kamae has cradled an ukulele for decades; Peter Moon played a mean uke when he wasn’t guitar-strumming. Ditto, the late Moe Keale.
Its size and portability make the uke a natural companion for those with musical inclinations.
George Harrison, the late Beatles member, played it and was a fan of the instrument; he even sneak-peeked at young uke players at one of Sakuma’s annual Ukulele Festivals at Kapiolani Park Bandstand.
Elvis Presley played the uke in films. Eddie Vedder and Peter Townshend have featured the uke in concerts.
Even non-musicians like actor Adam Sandler are uke fans. And, according to Time, film critic Roger Ebert said in a tweet that his revolution was to “learn to play the ukulele.”
Shimabukuro now has been the face and sound of this movement. And he’s liberally quoted, and has a decal sticker that sums up his mission: “If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place.”

ISLAND SOUNDS -- CD Review:
“Peace Love Ukulele” (Hitchhike Records)
Jake Shimabukuro
Instrumental
Rating: 4 stars

Jake Shimabukuro’s chart-topper is a very personal, state-of-his-art sampler, reflecting who he is and where he is in life. Nine of the 12 songs are his originals.
The opening track, “143 (Kelly’s Song),” typifies his status: The title refers to his pager code number for his fiancée, who is a Queen’s Medical Center OBGYN (Dr. Kelly Yamamoto) — a sweet love song with both Asian and pop riffs, as his fingers (and heart) do the talking. Nice pulse here, with both intimacy and invention in technique and temperament.

“Boy Meets Girl” also sounds autobiographical, with endearing gentleness; music to cuddle by.
Then there’s “Ukulele Bros,” a composition by his real-life uke-brother Bruce, which is an expressive anthem for playful filial harmony.
For contrast, “Pianoforte” adopts a classical posture with subtle strumming that might take you back to Bach, one of the original longhairs.
I love the implications of “Five Dollars Unleaded,” which has a drip-dripping element and pop template, of pumping gasoline with pricey payouts. There’s a segment of the tune where you can imagine the numbers dancing wildly, higher and higher, to the $5 level — which someday might be a reality for all.
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” appearing twice here (as an acoustic studio piece, as well as a live-in-concert version), respects and redirects the Freddie Mercury creation from a classics-rock powerhouse by Queen to a melodic recreation demonstrating Shimabukuro is king of his domain of ukemanship.
“Go for Broke,” with a military cadence, is his touching tribute to the celebrated and much decorated World War II 100 Battalion 442nd Infantry Regimental combat team; it’s a flashback to his past, when, as a kid, he frequented the veterans’ group meeting hall near his elementary school.
Peace. Love. Ukulele. You’ll find lots of each here.