Archive for April, 2013

'Five-0' takes the low road, once again. Does anyone care?

April 30th, 2013

How low can you go?
For CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0,” a season low — a 1.7 adults rating in the valued 18 to 49 demographics, down 6 per cent from a 1.8 rating on April 5. The overnight Nielsens were not polite for the island-based show, and one wonders if anyone truly cares.
The cause for the downspin: a ludicrous “mockumentary,” about a show embedded with Steve McGarrett & Company, to sit in on crime-fighting then sharing the footage with a beachfront studio audience.
The faux show featured Aisha Tyler from “The Talk,” doing the walk and talk as Savannah Walker, a TV host given an open ticket to shadow the “Five-0” as it pursues the usual crime in paradise — only in this instance, the target of the chase, and an ultimate helicopter shoot-down, is Wo Fat.
As plots go, this one was as silly and unrealistic as anything so far in three seasons. Can you imagine allowing the pursuit of lawfulness to become the subject of a reality show?
Me neither.
So in the 9 p.m. hour (10 p.m. Mainland), “Five-0” finished behind “Castle” on ABC and “Revolution” on NBC, which wound up with a 2.05 rating in adults 18 to 49. In viewership, every show took a dip, but “Castle” pulled in 10.63 million viewers, “Five-0” 7.69 million viewers and “Revolution” 5.81 million viewers.
So at the end of the hour, McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) has shot down his nemesis Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos) who is badly hurt and burned and, seemingly, in a bad, bad way with police guarding his hospital bed and corridors. Maybe McG should have fulfilled Wo Fat’s plea to put an end to his misery — and simply call it a day’s, or season’s, work. Oh, but a fourth year beckons ... tied in to that TNT syndication deal.
How low can a show go? “Five-0” has a fourth term to find out.

Brightman's 'Hawaii '78' duet with Bruddah Iz is 'very cool'

April 17th, 2013

So how did Sarah Brightman, who originated the role of Christine in both the London and Broadway productions of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera,” discover and proceed to record “Hawaii ’78,” a popular track by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole?
“Sarah found the song and listened to it all the time,” said Jon de Mello, producer of many Bruddah Iz albums, who conversed with her handlers and musical producers about securing rights to do it as a Brightman-Iz duet. Simply put, she wanted to do a duet, with Iz, and she knew he was gone.
“I jumped, thinking she was thinking of ‘Over the Rainbow,’ but no it was ‘Hawaii ’78,” said de Mello.
She wanted to do it on her next album, “Dreamchaser,” being released to coincide with her global and American tour.
“Obviously, I was honored and thrilled; she knew the song a year ago, and she wanted to sing it with Israel.”
The British producers sought tracks where the instrumentations were separated, said de Mello.
“But it was problematic; I told them I didn’t have the instruments separate; the ukulele and guitar got married along the way, and they needed separate tracks.”
Figuring he could tweak and isolate the instruments, de Mello attempted to clean up the vintage tracks.
“But before I got back to them, they called — they had a cool engineer, and they did it (separate the tracks).”
The duet, available as a bonus track on the Brightman classical album only available at Target stores (it was released in Hawaii on April 16). It is a peculiar but natural melding of two souls; Iz is the carefree bruddah with spontaneity and charm, with a depth of emotion not readily revealing; Brightman, the lyrical and individual spirit, has a golden voice with unexpected range and a common dream-like posture reflective of her think-outside-the-box style.
“She wanted to sing with Israel,” said de Mello, “and I never got to question why.”
His interpretation: She connected with the melody and Mickey Ioane lyrics, and “she’s a very bright lady. It’s an educated guess, but all I can think of is that she related to her (British) monarchy, as we were to ours. ‘How would they feel about the changes of our land.’ ...”
Brightman is rolling out the release of the CD in progression with her touring show. In the U.S., the disc should be out to coincide with her concerts in June and July. The classical genre may be off-putting to those who still buy records, but since she adores the Iz hook-up, she may someday place the song in her concert list — a feat that would create some visual challenges, since there is no crisp video of him singing “Hawaii ’78.”
De Mello is generous with compliments of the success of the duet. “She pulled it off,” he said. “Technically, they reduced Israel’s voice, phasing him out so she could take a verse, then she’s behind him.”
He thinks the duet could trigger growing interest elsewhere in “Hawaii ‘78” and its hypnotic chorus, despite the “Ue mau ke ea o ka ‘aina, i ka pono o Hawaii” Hawaiian lyrics — which Brightman handles with aplomb.
His review in two words: “Very cool.”
Brightman, former wife of composer Lloyd Webber, is a noted classical crossover artist know across the globe. She often is described as the world’s best-selling soprano, with a couple of notable duets, including a 1996 encounter with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli on “Time To Say Goodbye,” which topped European charts and remains the fastest-selling single ever in Germany.
Her creation of the Christine character in “Phantom” galvanized her popularity and to date, Brightman has amassed more than 180 gold and platinum sales laurels in 38 countries. In 2010, she was the fifth most influential and best-selling classical artist on Billboard’s charts.

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Boston terror and a Bigfoot tale create havoc for 'Five-0'

April 16th, 2013

Real-life terror in Boston and a tale about Bigfoot in a popular procedural created havoc for a Hawaii-filmed show about an ex-SEAL’s loyalty to retrieve a buddy’s body from North Korea for a proper burial in U.S. soil.
Translation: NBC’s “Revolution” was pre-empted Monday (April 15), in favor of a news special on the terroristic bombing at the Boston Marathon, while ABC’s “Castle” worked in the Bigfoot legend to win the time slot as the evening’s top new drama. That meant CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” crossed the finish line last, with a tale about Steve McGarrett’s (Alex O'Loughlin) promise to return to North Korea to get the remains of his SEAL comrade Freddie Hart (Alan Ritchson), thus delving into the past again with SEAL mentor Joe White (Terry O’Quinn) in flashback training exercise, and ex-pilot Frank Bama (Jimmy Buffett) flying McG and Catherine Rollins (Michelle Borth) to Kim Jong-un territory. Again! On a chopper! From Hawaii!!
With many markets, including Boston, pre-empting shows for coverage on the bloodshed and trauma in Boston, the final numbers will likely be adjusted. But preliminary Nielsen figures indicate that “Castle” attracted 10.41 million viewers and a 2.1 rating in the key 18 to 49 viewer demo, down 5 per cent from the 2.2 logged April 1; “Terror in Boston” drew 8.856 million and a 3.1 demo, up 41 percent from the 2.2 rating scored by “Revolution” last Monday, and “Five-0” trailed with 7.65 million viewers and a 1.8 rating — tying the series’ low, and down 14 per cent from a 2.1 on March 25 when the last new episode aired.
The “Five-0” episode, themed “Olelo Pa’a (Promise),” was promoted as a prequel to the pilot, so was a mix of current-time with flashback, with footage set in North Korea, jockeying with the underlying premise of keeping promises and SEAL bonding.
While there were some terrific scenes (like the beachfront SEAL exercise amid waves and sand), the show continues to depend on yesteryear memories to flesh out character and mine plots. Worse, storylines continue to tap and revive bygone figures like O’Quinn as White and Buffett as the kooky pilot, which is like serving leftovers for your dinner guests.
So while fansites rave about our local show, which already has a “go” for its fourth season to fulfill the syndication deal with TNT beginning next year, “Five-0” continues to lose its glory and sheen.
Overall, NBC led the evening thanks to the season high of “The Voice,” which drew 14.29 million viewers and a 5.1 rating for adults in the 18 to 49 demo, compared to ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” which attracted 13.41 million and a 2.2 adult rating.

Sky's the limit for Cirque-type show at Queen Kapiolani Deck

April 12th, 2013


Cornell "Tuffy" Nicholas is producer of "Aloha Live," new at The Deck Waikiki at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel.

The last time Cirque Hawaii was staged in Waikiki, it was at the now-defunct IMAX theater complex — with an insufficient stage or dressing room space and in-your-face angled stadium seating that brought the aerial acrobatics to eye level.
Not ideal.
So producer Cornell “Tuffy” Nicholas, who has a background in circus, has been seeking another venue to bring his Cirque du Soleil-style aerial dynamics back to Waikiki. With a tropical Polynesian flavor, of course.
And he’s found one; when “Aloha Live,” Nicholas’ latest show, debuts Friday (April 12) in Waikiki, it will be at the outdoor pool-level deck of the Queen Kapiolani Hotel on Kapahulu Avenue, across the street from the Honolulu Zoo.
It’s a modest but remodeled space, with no ceiling, no walls, no angled theater seats. For the aerial show in Hawaii, it’s somewhat ideal — the sky’s the limit, so to speak.
“I haven’t been this excited about doing a show — we’ve got the greatest view of Diamond Head,” Nicholas said of the environment overlooking the Waikiki vista. “If I had all the money in the world to find a space, it wouldn’t be as beautiful as this one.”
Waikiki’s newest showcase is called The Deck Waikiki at the Queen Kapiolani, which now is equipped with poles and rigging reaching nearly 30 feet in the air, to accommodate several Cirque-type aerial acrobats and illusionists, who will perform to tracks but augmented by Polynesian drumming.
Initially, the presentation — Cirque meets Polynesia in Waikiki is how the show’s being marketed — will be staged three nights a week, expanding with demand. The schedule could evolve into two performances a night, beginning during daylight and ending after the sun sets, the darkness ideal for the fire dance. Modern LED lighting also has been installed in the space.
A cast of 12 has been rehearsing aerial feats with fabric and hoops, and seat designations are being plotted to accommodate about 150 spectators, some in VIP space, others in general seating.
While the pool is a stone’s throw from the stage, water is not a factor in this production. “We would have had to put rigging above the pool,” he said.
Nicholas, whose life has been the traditional tented circus, was a performer himself with his father, mother and two other siblings. “I was raised in the circus,” he said.
His was born on the Sarasota stop of he famed Ringling Brothers Traveling Circus. In it, his father was Count Nicholas, the lead ringmaster, and his mother Alice was a bear trainer. At 3, Nicholas made his first center ring appearance with his father as an honorary ringmaster, and eventually performed and acquired a number of skills in the three-ring tradition.
Later in life, while training for a new act, he was injured — and that led him to become a behind-the-scenes producer.
“While touring with the Moscow Circus at Blaisdell Center one year, some local promoters asked us to do a permanent show in Hawaii,” he said. That led to a lease on the IMAX Theatre, where Cirque Hawaii was born.
When that lease expired, he relocated to the Hyatt on Maui — but always had a Plan B to make a Waikiki comeback.
“I wound up loving Hawaii and Hawaii is my fulltime home now, since August,” he said.
Without an active show, he found life a bit boring — so sought out potential venues, negotiating a deal with the Queen Kapiolani.
“Outdoors. With a view. It doesn’t get more exciting,” he said.
“The good thing is, the rigging stays up — we don’t have to remove it after each show,” said Nicholas.
The production is directed by Mathieu Laplante, formerly with the Cirque du Soleil “O” spectacle at the Bellagio for 10 years in Las Vegas; he also toured with Cirque’s “Saltimbanco” company. Laplante directed the Cirque Hawaii show here in 2005 but continues to work with several Cirque-type tours around the world, including Japan and Singapore.
Tahiti Mana is the choreographer of the Polynesian segments.


At The Deck Waikiki at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel

Pre-show seating from 5 p.m., dinner buffet from 6 p.m., show at 6:45 p.m. three times a week (call for specifics)
Pre-show entertainment includes tableside magic, balloon artist, music and dancing
Show features aerial artistry (hoops, aerial fabric) and Polynesian and Hawaiian songs and dances; Vili the Warrior will lead the haka dance
Deluxe package: $89 adults, $69 children 3 to 11, includes steak dinner buffet, two drink tickets, premier seating, souvenir photo
Standard package: $69 adults, $49 children, includes one drink ticket, general seating
Couple package: $199 adults 21 and older, includes steak dinner buffet, bottle of champagne, souvenir photo
Kamaaina discount (15 per cent) available
Reservations: 931-3328


Next stop: A big-top circus

Next venture for Cornell “Tuffy” Nicholas: A big-top circus, under the huge tent, beginning in September.
“Circus is my life,” he said.
Nicholas is launching “Aloha Live,” a Cirque Pacific endeavor marrying Cirque du Soleil-inspired aerial dynamics with a measure of Hawaiian and Polynesian entertainment, this Friday (April 12) at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel in Waikiki.
But his true love is that old-fashioned sawdust-on-the-ground circus beneath the traditional big top.
“Part of me remains performer and ringmaster,” he said. “So I’m planning to tour a new show, under the big top, starting in September.”
It will be called the Modern American Circus Under the Big Top, a variation of past circuses he’s toured elsewhere previously.
He is acquiring a modern tent and plans to tour at destinations on Oahu, Maui, Kona and Molokai, beginning in September. Because contracts have not yet been signed, he can’t divulge play dates yet.
Nowadays, touring circuses play under the hardtop — arena enclosures, not tents.
The Modern American Circus will feature classic circus acts — clowns, acrobats, aerial trapeze artists — but no animals.
“It’s the tradition I grew up in,” he said. “And you gotta have circus food, too. Hot dogs. Cotton candy.”
— Wayne Harada

The Lylas, Bruno's sisters' group, land a WE reality series

April 11th, 2013

The Lylas, the four-member group comprised of sisters of superstar Bruno Mars, have been green-lighted for a reality series on WE TV.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, The Lylas will star in a series called “The Lylas,” focusing on sisters Tiara, Tahiti and Presley as the relocate from their Hawaii home to join sister Jamie in Los Angeles as they prepare to record their first album together, in hopes of making it music like their brother Bruno Mars.
The unscripted show will air Friday nights beginning in the fall. It is one of three new reality programs on the WE network, joining a matchmaking program called “Pregnant & Dating” and a docusoap show called “The Ruckers: Southern Royals.”
WE is owned by AMC Network, a cable outlet that already airs such shows as “Marriage Bootcamp,” “David Tuera Unveiled,” “Braxton Family Values,” “L.A. Hair,” “Tamar & Vince,” “Mary Mary,” “My Fair Wedding: Unveiled” and “Joan & Melissa.”
“The Lylas” series will consist of eight hour-long episodes.
No word if brother Bruno will be seen, but why not? Would help the new show generate a following with a famous sibling.

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