Archive for March, 2011

From Japan's disaster zone, a warm note of hope

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March 21st, 2011



Television, e-mail, Internet, iPhone and a variety of social media have radically brought Japan’s disaster trifecta — earthquake, tsunami and nuclear fall-out — centerstage and ‘round the clock.
The volley of immediacy and impact, hope and horror, frustration and helplessness is unprecedented.
The drama and the horror unfold like a bad dream, with intermittent glimmers of joy, like the miraculous recovery of an obasan more than a week after the disaster. Momentarily, the mounting death toll is blurred.
Then comes an uplifting reflection of the saga, via a shared e-mail from Anne of Sendai, who has been teaching English in Japan for the past decade. Her wisdom and her reflection capture the fiber of temperament and courage of the Japanese nation. She poignantly projects the nation’s resolve to recover, rebuild and restore, despite the ongoing wounds. Appreciative of every little bit of aloha, she forfeits her right to be outraged, disillusioned and pessimistic; she sees beauty and comfort in nature, despite the disarrayed and damaged villages and farms; where fear would logically thrive, she sees hope.
I received a copy of Anne’s e-mail third-hand from Carla Kawakami, a Honolulu friend, who in turn got it via a colleague. In sharing, we all feel that the absence of an expression of pain by Anne is a remarkable testament to her savvy to cope, comprehend and enlighten others not only in ravaged Japan but in sectors of the world desperately trying to kokua.
Arigato, Anne, for your wisdom. May others learn from you.

Anne’s e-mail:

Hello My Love Family and Friends,

First I want to thank you so very much for your concern for me. I am very touched. I also wish to apologize for a generic message to you all. But it seems the best way at the moment to get my message to you.

Things here in Sendai have been rather surreal. But I am very blessed to have wonderful friends who are helping me a lot. Since my shack is even more worthy of that name, I am now staying at a friend's home. We share supplies like water, food and a kerosene heater. We sleep lined up in one room, eat by candlelight, share stories. It is warm, friendly, and beautiful.

During the day we help each other clean up the mess in our homes. People sit in their cars, looking at news on their navigation screens, or line up to get drinking water when a source is open. If someone has water running in their home, they put out sign so people can come to fill up their jugs and buckets.

Utterly amazingly where I am there has been no looting, no pushing in lines. People leave their front door open, as it is safer when an earthquake strikes. People keep saying, "Oh, this is how it used to be in the old days when everyone helped one another."

Quakes keep coming. Last night they struck about every 15 minutes. Sirens are constant and helicopters pass overhead often. We got water for a few hours in our homes last night, and now it is for half a day. Electricity came on this afternoon. Gas has not yet come on. But all of this is by area. Some people have these things, others do not.
No one has washed for several days. We feel grubby, but there are so much more important concerns than that for us now. I love this peeling away of non-essentials. Living fully on the level of instinct, of intuition, of caring, of what is needed for survival, not just of me, but of the entire group.

There are strange parallel universes happening. Houses a mess in some places, yet then a house with futons or laundry out drying in the sun. People lining up for water and food, and yet a few people out walking their dogs. All happening at the same time.

Other unexpected touches of beauty are first, the silence at night. No cars. No one out on the streets. And the heavens at night are scattered with stars. I usually can see about two, but now the whole sky is filled. The mountains are Sendai are solid and with the crisp air we can see them silhouetted against the sky magnificently.

And the Japanese themselves are so wonderful. I come back to my shack to check on it each day, now to send this e-mail since the electricity is on, and I find food and water left in my entranceway. I have no idea from whom, but it is there. Old men in green hats go from door to door checking to see if everyone is OK. People talk to complete strangers asking if they
need help. I see no signs of fear. Resignation, yes, but fear or panic, no.

They tell us we can expect aftershocks, and even other major quakes, for another month or more. And we are getting constant tremors, rolls, shaking, rumbling. I am blessed in that I live in a part of Sendai that is a bit elevated, a bit more solid than other parts. So, so far this area is better off than others. Last night my friend's husband came in from the
country, bringing food and water. Blessed again.

Somehow at this time I realize from direct experience that there is indeed an enormous Cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring all over the world right at this moment. And somehow as I experience the events happening now in Japan, I can feel my heart opening very wide. My brother asked me if I felt so small because of all that is happening. I don't. Rather, I feel as part of something happening that much larger than myself. This wave of
birthing (worldwide) is hard, and yet magnificent.

Thank you again for your care and Love of me,
With Love in return, to you all,

Anne

Bruno Mars tapped For ‘American Idol’

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March 20th, 2011



Hawaii’s Bruno Mars will bring his “Grenade” power to Fox’s “American Idol” this spring — precise airdate not yet revealed.
Mars will be part of a short list of popsters who will appear and perform on “Idol” as the tension and countdown continues to name the 2011 winner. What he will perform has not yet been confirmed.
Lady Gaga apparently will be on the season’s finale, as “Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe lines up his ammo for a big finish.
Judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, no stranger to the pop charts, also will be performing in the weeks ahead.
Clearly, this is a big deal for Mars, who a year ago might have been drooling to be one of the wannabe talent contestants to get that pass to Hollywood and a shot on “Idol.” As it turned out, he made his mark with his producing and composing savvy, bypass judgment from the panel, to score a string of hits including “Just the Way You Are” on his own.
Meanwhile Mars, who won his first Grammy Award earlier this year, continues a tour that includes domestic and foreign gigs, like a pair of the Philippines concerts (April 7 at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu, April 8 at Araneta Coliseum in Manila) and May 21 at 2011 Preakness InfieldFEST, sharing the mainstage with Train in Baltimore.

Na Hoku Lifetime Achievement honorees named

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March 16th, 2011



Five Hawaiian music advocates — representing ukulele, steel guitar, contemporary sounds, radio and Island culture — will receive the 2011 Na Hoku Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Awards.
The luncheon ceremony will be held May 28 at the Maui Ballroom of the Hawaii Convention Center.
The honorees are:
• Kalapana, the Island music group which help pioneer a new wave of contemporary sounds with such hits as "Nightbird," "Juliet" and "When the Morning Comes."
• Jacqueline “Honolulu Skylark” Rosetti, veteran radio broadcaster, booster of Hawaiian music and one of the founders of the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts.
• Napua Stevens Poire, Hawaiiana expert and advocate of culture.
• Bill Tapia, 103-year-old entertainer with a colorful career, who also plays ukulele.
• Fred and Ernest Tavares, longtime steel guitar enthusiasts and wizards.
The Lifetime Achievement Awards complement the annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, the prime evening of celebration when HARA honors recording artists and technicians in more than 30 categories of achievement, which will be held May 29 at the Kalakaua Room of the convention center. K5 the Home Team will televise the festivities statewide.
Tickets: 593-9424, www.nahokuhanohano.org.

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Season’s greetings: DHT, MVT ready for 2011-’12

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March 13th, 2011



Diamond Head Theatre and Manoa Valley Theatre, the city’s theatrical organizations which embrace and represent the essence of Broadway and off-Broadway, respectively, have set their season slate for 2011-’12, beginning this fall.
DHT will kick off its 97th season with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Sunset Boulevard” melodramatic musical spectacle, which requires a tour-de-force performance of a silent film diva named Norma Desmond. The audience-friendly “Xanadu,” the musical hit which is send-up of the rollerskating debacle of a film starring Olivia Newton-John, is the other Hawaii premiere.
“We are very pleased to present what we feel is an excellent season,” said John Rampage, DHT’s artistic director, who added that the slate offers a sliver of something for everyone. “There is a show for every age and every taste...from those who enjoy depictions of historical events, to families with children who love the timeless fairy tales, to patrons who are classic movie buffs…we truly have something for everyone.”

Across town, MVT also has scored three Hawaii premieres of three award-winning shows for its 43rd season — with “The 39 Steps,” a farcical spy thriller kicking off the season. Other premieres: “God of Carnage,” an outrageous drama with comedic overtones about familial conflicts, and “Spring Awakening,” an alt-rock rock musical dealing with teens discovering the tumult of sexuality.
“We’re committed to acquiring and producing outstanding theater entertainment,” said Dwight Martin, MVT’s producing director. “We look to contemporary plays as well as past favorites to fulfill this goal. He said the season’s diversity appeals to both spectators and actors. “We want to stimulate, energize and vivify Island audiences as well as Island talent. We’re confident that our season will do that in spades.”

The announcements come as both groups are mounting box office hits that have the kind of rare sizzle that rewards talent and artistry with viewer applause. DHT is prepping the beloved “The King and I,” for a March 25 debut; a week-long extension has been added to the run, through April 17; a further extension is not possible, since its lead guest actor playing the king, Paulo Montalban, has to return to New York on April 19.
Meanwhile, MVT is experiencing record-breaking sales for its “Avenue Q” production, whose original three-week run was sold out before its March 3 debut, so a two-week extension was added through April 3. A second extension — two more weeks — also is swiftly selling out, for performances April 7 through 17. Better hurry and join the queue for seats; "Q" is selling out rapidly.

The complete DHT schedule:

“Sunset Boulevard,” Sept. 30 through Oct. 16 — Lloyd Webber’s musical, of faded glory and unfulfilled ambition, focusing on eccentric silent movie star Norma Desmond, and a struggling screenwriter Joe Gillis, whose volatile relationship was the basis of the vintage Billy Wilder film, with book by Don Black and Christopher Hampton. The show boasts such musical hits as “With One Look” and “As If We Never Said Goodbye.”
• “Cinderella,” Dec. 2 through 18 — The musical by Richard Rodgers, with book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, based on the TV program starring Julie Andrews, with roots in the
fabled fairy tale atbo the servant princess whose wish to attend a glittery ball is granted by a fairy godmother — with a pumpking carriage, a glass slipper and a midnight curfew figuring in the fantasy.
“The Butler Did It,” Feb. 3 through 19 — A whodunit by Walter Marks and Peter Marks, in the tradition of “Deathtrap,” about a writer-director creating a new murder mystery, in which all his characters are named Butler and a denouement that blurs reality and make-believe.
“Titanic the Musical,” March 30 through April 15 — A revival of the Maury Yeston musical, with story and book by Peter Stone, inspired by the demise of the presumed unsinkable passenger ship, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking. No Celine Dion “My Heart Will Go On” vocal here.
“Xanadu,” June 1 through 17 — Adapted on the 1980 Olivia Newton-John film, this journey of the magical and beautiful Greek muse Kira, who descends from Mt. Olympus to Venice Beach, Calif., to inspire Sonny, a struggling artist. The tongue-in-cheek show adds rollerskating to the fun. With book by Douglas Carter Beane, and music by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar; the score includes “Have You Never Been Mellow,” “Evil Woman” and “Xanadu.”
“Singin’ in the Rain,” July 20 through Aug. 5 —An Old Hollywood favorite, based on the 1952 MGM film starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds wash in rain-soaked choreography, explores the saga of silent film star Don Lockwood, who is paired with actress Lina Lamont, whom he can barely tolerate, in a scheme intended to jumpstart their careers as talkies arrive. The show is known for the title tune,
“Good Morning,” “Make ’em Laugh” — and yes, rain.

Performance times: 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 3 p.m. Saturday matinees on second and third weekend during run; 4 p.m. Sundays.
Season subscriptions: Six shows, $210 (Diamond Head Circle), $150 (Section A), $105 (Section B), and $54 (Section C); on sale June 20
Single tickets: on sale September 6.
Reservations: 733-0274, www.diamondheadtheatre.com.

The complete MVT schedule:

“The 39 Steps,” Sept. 8 through 25 — Patrick Barlow’s adaptation of the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock film, assembles four actors who portray 150 characters including villains, heroes, men, women, children and even inanimate objects.

“Little Shop of Horrors,” Oct. 27 through Nov. 13 — A musical sci-fi thriller, by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, spoofs 1950s innocence and fantasy, involving a blood-craving exotic plant with a questionable temperament and foul mouth, plus a hero who works in a florist and his girlfriend who dreams of a house with a white picket fence.

“God of Carnage,” Jan. 12 to 29 — A Tony Award-winning drama-comedy, by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, about two pairs of parents who meet to resolve a conflict between the son of one couple’s son who hurt the other family’s son in a park. What should be a sane resolution develops into a raucous, loud and physical combat of childish wills and words ... and also outrageously hilarious, demonstrating the foibles and unpredictability of parenting.

“Spring Awakening,” March 8 through 25 — A rock adaptation of the controversial 1891 German play by Frank Wedekind, set in the late 19th-century Germany, exploring youth sexuality and topics including masturbation, abortion, homosexuality, rape, child abuse and suicide. Winner of eMight 2007 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, direction, book, score and featured actor.

“Dividing the Estate,” May 10 through 27 — Horton Foote’s drama-comedy, set in fictional Harrison, Tex., in 1987, about the Gordon clan of malcontents led by octogenarian Stella, facing an unknown future due to plunging real estate values and unexpected tax bills.

“Honk!,” June 28 through July 15 —A revival of the musical fable, inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Ugly Duckling,” targeting a children and family audience, retells the story of Ugly, who is taunted by prejudice from critters in his barnyard. Separated from his mates and pursued by Cat, he learns the lesson of love and acceptance in all its forms, despite his looks.

Season ticket details to be announced.
Information: 988-6131, www.manoavalleytheatre.com.

Jake, Manoa DNA perform today to help tsunami effort

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March 13th, 2011



Jake Shimabukuro and Manoa DNA — two Island-based acts with a Japan presence — will participate in a charity concert to support Japan's tsunami rescue efforts at 8 p.m. today (March 13) at Waikiki Beach Walk.
Shimabukuro, whose ukulele wizardry has enchanted a global audience, including the Japanese market, will also walk in the Waikiki parade this afternoon that is the nightcap of the two-day Honolulu Festival, which includes participation from thousands of Japanese natives. It is Shimabukuro's first time as a participant in the annual Japan-Hawaii festival that fosters goodwill and partnerships between Japan and Hawaii.
Manoa DNA is the father-and-two-sons (Lloyd, Nick and Alex Kawakami) musical ensemble which specializes in Hawaiian, contemporary and Japanese tunes.
The parade will begin at 5 p.m., traveling from Lewers Street to Kapahulu Avenue. Waikiki Beach Walk is located on Lewers.
An earlier post-parade fireworks display, off Waikiki, has been canceled in respect of the victims of the destructed tidal wave.
The public is invited; there is no admission fee.
Details: http://www.honolulufestival.com/
Further, the Honolulu Concert Band gave a benefit yesterday at Kaimuki High School auditorium, to raise funds for the tsunami relief. The group pitched in to stage the show despite the fact that the Omiya Concert Band, which was scheduled to be part of the event, had to cancel a trip here due to the earthquake and tsunami last week.

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