Archive for November, 2011

Neil Diamond: finally, a gem of a troubadour

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November 5th, 2011



Hard to believe that Neil Diamond hasn’t performed in Hawaii for 35 years; he heads here for a show at 8 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Blaisdell Arena and surely brings one of the richest and satisfying catalogues of music anyone can have.
Remember, he writes much of his own music; and he’s been at his game for 50 or so seasons.
At 70, he’s a legacy performer, one who doesn’t need a chart buster or a new album to fuel his tours. His legendary songbook contains some of the most memorable pop tunes for the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, and because he’s never stopped performing these signature tunes, they remain fresh and relevant and vibrant.
So when my longtime show biz friends Marek Lieberberg and Ron Gibson mentioned that they’d be collaborating to stage Diamond in a rare and long overdue concert, I was thrilled. The last time was in November, 1976, and a lot’s happened in his creative life.
Clearly, Diamond is a gem who’s never lost his sparkle. As the saying goes, a Diamond is forever. As a film seductress once sang, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend;” Marilyn Monore may not have named him, but certainly, the tune could have had Neil Diamond in mind.
Like wine, he seems to get better with age. And with age, he’s worth a lot more now — because he’s still a top drawer ... one of the rare originals who remain active and enduring, right there alongside Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger. Though he rocks, he’s better known as a balladeer of a belter, so there’s an expansive veneer of romance and amour associated with his music and his magic.
It’s been a while since a highly prolific entertainer, who’s managed to shift and adjust to the times, comes our way with a show that mirrors every facet of his marvelous talent. The thing is, his music is the foundation: classic, but updated with a measure augmented by the experience of life.
Diamond has created so many iconic tunes, so you’ll have to hope and pray he programs one of your faves: “Sweet Caroline,” “Solitary Man,” “America,” “You Don’t Send Me Flowers,” “Red, Red Wine,” “Cherry, Cherry,”
“I Am ... I Said,” “Touching You, Touching Me,” “Love on the Rocks,” “Play Me,” “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show,” “Hello, Again,” “Heartlight.” And the list goes on.
He arrives on our shores shortly after he is saluted as one of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors awardees Dec. 4 for his life time achievement in show biz, a show that will be televised on PBS Dec. 27.
Tickets: $159, $99, $59, on sale at the Blaisdell box office, Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com and charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000.
If you've bought your tickets, what's your anticipation and thoughts of Diamond's homecoming here?

Dog Chapman launching Da Kine Dog House shop

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November 2nd, 2011



Dog Chapman, who stars with wife Beth Chapman on A&E’s “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” will open a new logo merchandise shop this Saturday at the Koko Marina Shopping Center, near Zippy’s restaurant, in Hawaii Kai.
The shop, called Da Kine Dog House and officially at 7192 Kalanianaole Hwy., will be open from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily. As part of the grand opening, an autograph session is slated from 3 to 6 p.m. for meet-and-greet and photo ops with the Dog and Beth and other family members from the top-rated cable reality series.

They will sign merchandise and Christmas gifts for “Dog the Bounty Hunter” fans.

The shop features clothing and accessories, photographs, books, mouse pads, DVDs, bags, keychains and more.

In the past, merchandise was sold in a locaton adjacent to Da Kine Bail Bonds, the Chapman’s bail bonds business. The Chapmans reside in Hawaii Kai and adore the community and the close proximity to their home made sense for the new retail shop.

Information: 396-1120. Online: www.thebountystore.com.

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It's tricks for 'Five-0' as 'Castle' gets treats

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November 1st, 2011



“Hawaii Five-0’s” Halloween show, “Ka Iwi Kapu,” was more trick than treat Monday night (Oct. 31).
In the preliminary overnight Nielsen ratings, it was somewhat of a horror, too: ABC’s “Castle,” "Five-0's" competitive procedural in the 9 p.m. timeslot (10 p.m. on the Mainland), has become Monday’s best-watched scripted series, reducing “Five-0” to the second tier.
“Castle” logged 12.49 million viewers (2.9/7 in the 18 to 49 demos) compared to “Five-0’s” 10.28 million viewers (2.9/8 in the demo). “Castle” now reigns as the top-scripted series at 9 p.m. NBC's new news-format "Rock Center With Brian Williams," in its Halloween night inaugural broadcast, had a modest audience of 4.23 million (1.0/3) in demos — a disappointing debut for the Peacock network.
“Five-0” began with the eeriness of “The Blair Witch Project,” with hand-camera work in greenish black-and-white footage, of a young couple engaged in a documentary film on sacred land. That element jarred with the usual tempo of the show, suggesting that holiday tie-ins are a risky proposition.
The show turned out to be a primer for Hawaiian words, with a smattering of utterances — often repetitively — of common vocabulary for residents, but not so Mainland viewer-friendly. Heiau (place of worship, sacred burial ground), ka iwi (sacred bones), kapu (taboo), kahu (priest), and so on.
The homage to a contemporary horror classic (“Blair Witch”) did little to boost the honor of the Hawaii-filmed show, and simply added an artificial veil to the attempt to homogenize respect for local tradition and culture.
It was discomforting, for starters, to place Danno (Scott Caan) in a disrespectful position, to bypass the honor of the burial ground and cross over the stone wall to begin his investigation of the fate of the young filmmakers. Duh, even in real life, the CBS show knows to honor this hometown tradition, always beginning its filming season with a ceremonial blessing — so why this kind of needless behavior? Danno's action brought artificial curses — two large stones crash into his car, first into the front windshield, and later into his rear glass — sort of validating his misbehavior.
None of the “Five-0” teammates dared to test the curse, which was smart. And with the Halloween theme, Danno takes daughter trick-or-treating at the Pagoda Terrace. OK, it might have been meant to be a housing or condo facility, but heck, we know it’s a hotel. And not one you’d go to solicit Halloween treats. Would you make your kid knock on hotel doors for Halloween loot (which she didn’t get, anyway)? Not so savvy.
But it was nice to see locals like Marlene Sai (as an apparition) and Butch Helemano (as a priest) among the peripheral players. They should have tipped off the show that messing with Hawaiian beliefs is a no-no.
The show managed to create a quick montage of Halloween tricksters, decked in costumes, knocking on doors, but the real spook seems to be the Lori Weston character (played by Lauren German), who is caught in silly costume development issues amid a meandering script. She just doesn’t jell with Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim), Danno or Kono (Grace Park). Her role is larger than Kono’s, but mercifully, the disgraced rookie is back to investigation with her “Five-0” peers ... but still has little to do.
The subplot, with emerging romance between Danno and Dr. Gabrielle Asano (Autumn Reeser), also is a distraction worth avoiding. Did I hear him call her Gabby? In Hawaii, there’s only one Gabby — like in Pahinui.
Surely, DVR numbers will bump up the "Five-0" numbers a skosh, but it looks like the glide is turning to a slide.
So what’s your reaction to the episode? Bravos or boos?

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