Archive for August, 2013

'Kumu Hina' documentary will explore Pacific mahu culture

August 27th, 2013

“Kumu Hina,” a film about a transgender Native Hawaiian teacher and cultural leader, has been green-lit by national public television funders Pacific Islanders in Communications and ITVS (Independent Television Service).

Thus, the Pacific  mahu culture, or transgenders common in Hawaii and  the Pacific Islands, will receive vast exposure for the first time.


The film’s key character, Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, pictured,  is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools who transitioned from male to female more than 20 years ago. Now, she is a respected and beloved kumu and cultural scholar at Halau Lokahi, a Hawaiian values-based Public Charter School in Honolulu, where she employs her cultural grounding to empower students to be who they are and know that in Hawaii there is a welcoming “place in the middle” for everyone.

The film, two years in the making, is by the Emmy-winning  Oahu-based producing team of Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson, who decided to focus on the widespread and commonly known community of the mahu to magnify the acceptance of this culture in a world today filled with prejudice and discrimination if you’re different.

“ ‘Kumu Hina’s’ message of aloha — unconditional acceptance and respect for all — is timely and sorely needed,” said Hamer.

“Told through Hina’s very moving personal and Hawaiian perspective,” said Wilson.

At a time when there is rampant discrimination against gender noncomforming people, the filmmaker hope the documentary will ultimately reverse hate to acceptance.

“The film has great potential to inspire and help audiences see themselves, their families, schools and communities, in powerful new ways – and to ensure that no one, particularly younger people, faces harassment, discrimination or violence simply because they don't conform to modern society's gender norms,” said Wilson.

In the movie, Hina inspires a tomboyish young girl to fight for her place as leader of the school’s all-male hula troupe as she herself takes a chance at happiness when she marries an unpredictable young Tongan man who is having difficulty adjusting to life in modern Honolulu.

“We are so grateful to be able to support this project in hopes that it will bring understanding, acceptance, and enlightenment to all who view it,” said Leanne Ferrer, executive director of Pacific Islanders in Communication, based in Honolulu.

“Kumu Hina” will premiere in film festivals in early 2014 and be telecast on national public television in 2015.

The project’s team included co-producer Connie M. Florez, musical score composer Makana, and writer-narraor Leonelle Akana.

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Sid Bernstein dies; he loved the Beatles, malassadas

August 21st, 2013

sid-2Paul McCartney, with Sid Bernstein

Sorry to learn that entrepreneur Sid Bernstein has died in his sleep today (Wed Aug. 21) of natural causes in Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. He turned 95 last week, according to his Isle pal, Tom Moffatt,  and he went peacefully with wife Geraldine (Geri) at his side.

“I wanted to send him fresh malassadas for his birthday,” said Moffatt, since it was one of Bernstein’s favorite treats whenever he visited Hawaii. “But it’s hard to get it there fresh.”

Bernstein was best known nationally as the man who brought The Beatles to Shea Stadium in 1965 and 1966, concerts that  galvanized the Beatlemania frenzy, at a time when stadiums were mainly for baseball and football.  He loved John, Paul, George and Ringo from afar, first reading about their uncanny rapport with audiences in the British press, then seeking out Beatles manager Brian Epstein to try to book the act in America — a gig Epstein thought impossible. But a hysteric, screaming audience of 55,000 filled the first Shea visit, raising the bar on concert extravaganzas.


A fierce and dedicated promoter, Bernstein earlier also presented the Fab Four at Carnegie Hall, the first rock act to play that fabled venue, and the timing was perfect: The Brits had been booked the same week on the “Ed Sullivan Show.”

Bernstein was that kind of show biz wizard, thinking outside of the box, taking risks, always confident that he could make the impossible possible.

But Bernstein’s reach also extended to Hawaii, and I saw some of his mentoring magic and his prowess at making things happen.  He was a devoted fan of the Islands, a regular vacation spot. He was managing The Young Rascals (later, The Rascals), so arranged concerts here  during their heyday — their “My Hawaii” hit was a Rascals songs resulting from one of several gigs, and the group had Beatlemania-type appeal with requisite screeching fans.

Bernstein always stayed at the then-Kahala Hilton, his home away from home, “where he fashioned a Bernstein burger with cheese and fried onions,” said Moffatt. Bernstein also had pals  and aides fetch him malassadas from Leonard’s Bakery and seek out rare egg cream sodas here.

Bernstein’s imprint touched numerous superstars over the decades, including Judy Garland, Jim Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Ray Charles, Dion, Bobby Darin, Chubby Checker, and Duke Ellington.
I remember, too, when Bernstein presented local talent Warren Marley at the Hawaiian Village — and bought a full-page ad in the daily paper as part of the send-off. It was an extraordinary promotion for a singer-pianist working in a Waikiki lounge, but that was the Bernstein style.

Besides his wife, Bernstein is survived by six children.

Jonas Brothers will concertize at 'Five-0' season four preview

August 19th, 2013

The Jonas Brothers will give a free concert at the “Hawaii Five-0” season four launch event Sept. 26 at “Sunset on the Beach” in Waikiki. The event precedes the Sept. 27 premiere of the CBS procedural.

The concert by Nick, Joe and Kevin Jonas will follow the first public screening of the Hawaii-based “Hawaii Five-0” premiere for season four — a tradition established by producer Peter Lenkov, to enable Island fans to get the first look at each episode of each season so far.

Nick Jonas has been signed to guest star in an episode this year; hence the cross promotion with brother act and “Hawaii Five-0.”

While the Jonases will be making their Island concert debut, they are not strangers to fans. The brothers gained fame as stars of their own series on the Disney Channel and have also been Billboard magazine charttoppers via their albums. They have won numerous fan-related award laurels.jonas-brothers1

Nick Jonas, in particular, has branched out in acting and previously appeared in the London production of “Les Miserables.”

Melanie Griffith will be Danno's 'Hawaii Five-0' mom

August 18th, 2013

A “Working Girl” will become a “Hawaii Five-0” mom this season.

Translation: Melanie Griffith, best known for her "Working Girl" film,  is set to portray the mom of Scott Caan’s character, Danny Williams, on the filmed-in-Hawaii CBS procedural in the weeks ahead.


Griffith, the movie actress who is the real-life spouse of Antonio Banderas, has been signed on to play Danno’s mom. If you remember, Danno’s real-life dad, James Caan, earlier was introduced as his small-screen dad.

Griffith is hoping that the gig will be a recurring one.

Why not?

As the pool of TV moms and dads on “Five-0” widens, the roles also have become recurring, with story arcs. Not the best of trends, for a show troubled with far too many characters and too few spiffy plots and ratings that have, well, deteriorated with time.

To refresh your memory,  Steve McGarrett’s (Alex O’Loughlin)  mom and dad, Doris and John McGarrett,were earlier introduced, respectively played by Christine Lahti and William Sadler. She was thought to have died, but “came back,” and while he was killed off, he also has recurred in flashbacks. Such is the fate of  “Five-0” historical parents, expressly created for the current reboot.

Does this suggest that in  future months, or seasons,  moms and dads of Daniel Dae Kim (Chin Ho Kelly) and Grace Park (Kono Kalakaua) might be invented and launched?  The progression to broaden back stories of the lead characters could lead to this unorthodox path of familial roots.

Good or bad? What are your thoughts?

And watch for guest appearances this year  by the likes of  Nick Jonas, of The Jonas Brothers, this year.

NickHe’s among the latest signees that already include Carol Burnett, Tim Daly, Henry Ian  Cusic, Rebecca De Mornay, Chi McBride, Rumer Willis, Jorge Garcia, Terry O’Quinn and Taryn Manning.

Yep, some of the guests have appeared before and are ready for hana hou encores.

Oldies but goodies: a trek down memory lane

August 1st, 2013

Hawaii Record Fair 093

Trash or treasure? It depends on what kind of loot you can find at a record sale.

Indications nationally are that CD sales are up again, which bodes well for Hungry Ear Records’ Hawaii Record Fair 2013, set from 10 am. to 3 p.m. Aug. 11 at the McKinley High School cafeteria.

Thia is not merely a sale, but also a time for music buffs to sell, trade and chit-chat about vintage collectibles, from reel-to-reel tapes to 8-tracks, from historic  KPOI and KKUA memorabilia to signed pics .

Of course, CDs are only a portion of the media to be available. Vinyl — yep, those oldies in the 33 1/3 rpm and 45 rpm realm — will be plentiful, along with cassettes and those rare music memorabilia. Kids, if you don’t know vinyl or cassettes, ask your parents or grandparents. And inquire, too, about gone but not forgotten formats like 4-track and reel-to-reel.

I’ve had a career relationship with records — mostly oldies, since I started collecting, buying and reviewing recorded product over the past five decades at the Honolulu Advertiser — but alas, I’ve had to downside my bounty because of space. As you know, a collection becomes bulky and a burden when there’s no more shelf space and the overflow are in boxes in the bedroom.

So guess where much of my collection went to: Hungry Ear.

So, if you’re poring through some vintage music treasures and discover some with my name on it, apologies; you may encounter stuff with my name on it. Then again, you might possibly discover a record with a bona fide autograph by a name with some element of fame from the past.

Such is the nature of oldies but goodies. Memories are made of these. After all, old music define the soundtrack of  all our lives.

Good luck and good searching. You’re bound to find something you’ve wanted at bargain prices. And record sales are like garage sales: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Admission to the fair is $5, or $10 for early admission at 9 a.m., an hour before the doors open to the public.  Information: 262-2175 or

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