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TAG revives ‘Ira & George and Shari & Jim,’ plus Kip

January 1st, 2016


 By popular demand, Shari Lynn’s tribute to composers Ira and George Gershwin, launched last year by The Actors’ Group, is being revived in a limited-run fundraiser starting tonight (Jan. 1).

The show, entitled “Ira & George and Shari & Jim,” was written and staged by veteran theater and nightclub performer Shari Lynn, who also is a teacher at Hawaii School for Girls. Jim Howard, pianist, returns on the keyboards, but this engagement also will feature veteran tenor of opera and theater, Kip Wilborn, perhaps best known for his portrayal of Jean Valjean in the Ron Bright-directed “Les Miserables” production at Paliku Theatre at Windward Community Theatre.

“We’re excited to have Kip as a guest performer,” said Shari.

Veteran actor-director-choreographer Brad Powell provided additional staging.

Performances will be at the TAG venue, The Brad Powell Theatre, located at 615 Iwilei Road, on the ground floor of The Shops at Dole Cannery, opposite the Regal Cinemas complex.

Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 4 p.m.  Sundays, now through Jan. 17.

Suggested donation is $40.

Information: 741-4699 or

Reservations: 722-6941 or

Validated parking is available at the cinema structure.



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Status quo for 'Five-0' in the Friday night playout

November 14th, 2015



Kristoffer Polaha and Natalie Dawson as con artists in "Hawaii  Five-0."


ABC’s “Shark Tank,” with its 1.6 rating in the key 18 to 49 demographics, was No. 1 Friday (Nov. 13) where it counts; CBS’ “Blue Bloods,” with 10.30 million viewers, topped the head count of viewers.

This duality has prevailed in the Nielsen ratings for Friday, so it’s pretty much status quo.

What Hawaii watches, of course, is the performance of CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0,” in the same hour (8 p.m. here, 9 p.m. Mainland) as “Shark Tank.”  The local show logged a 1.1 rating in the demos, 8.36 million viewers — behind in the demos but ahead of “Shark’s” 6.19 million watchers.

This playout seems to be the Friday routine and norm. With this regularity, it’s rough to expect higher numbers in the demos or for more viewers.  And thus, ABC leads in demos (1.3 rating) and CBS cops viewership laurels (8.16 million) for the night. It is what it is.

With episode eight of season six entitled “Piko Pau‘Iole (The Artful Dodger),”

three story threads prevailed:

  • Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) still in pursuit of Yakuza types, wanting settlement on due sums. The exciting opening had him escaping from the thuds, rolling down a forest hill, and eventually killing his pursuers. His fate still is unresolved, though the monetary issue is, um, resolved — for now.
  • The introduction of San Francisco police officer Abby Dunn (Julie Benz), to kokua Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) in investigating the murder of Chinese drug dealers appears to the start of yet another romantic tryst for Chin, who is all smiles all the time when Dunn’s around — and they barely know each other yet.
  • The con artist pair, led by Hank Weber (Kristoffer Polaha) and his accomplice,  Katie Dawson (Natalie Dawson), who rip off tourists after arriving at the airport, picking pockets to collect iPhones, cameras, bags, sunglasses and more. Curiously, he gets to work with the “Five-0” team in trying to sort out the accusations with the acquisitions — toward an unexpected finish.

Polaha starred as Jason Matthews, manager of the Grand Waimea Hotel,  in the short-lived Hawaii-filmed TV series, “North Shore” (2004-05), with the Turtle Bay resort serving as the fictional hotel. So this is a homecoming for him.

The triad of stories means the cast are separated; Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), Danno Williams (Scott Caan), Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park) and Lou Grover (Chi McBride) pretty much investigate the customary crimes; Chin is busy accompanying Dunn with twinkling eyes; Kono again gets caught in the dark clouds of  hubby  Adam’s checkered past and one begins to wonder if it’s worth her time to stick to wedded bliss, when there’s little bliss.

Oh, and Jerry (Jorge Garcia) is the mix; yearning to earn  a swearing-in badge to officially be a “Five-0” officer, like the newly-minted officer Dunn, and again ascension from basement office to main floor glory.

Max (Masi Oka) is represented in a phone call; obviously, he’s double-dipping doing NBC’s “Heroes Reborn.”

Gabriel Waincraft (Christopher Sean) continues to be a menacing villain; he’s all venom and veneer — a combination that yields both intrigue and terror, elements “Five-0” periodically needs, and substance that Wo Fat (Marc Dacascos) failed to mine.


Rest in peace, Julie Honda; I’ll always remember you

November 4th, 2015

julie honda2


Julie Honda, right, with Martha Melton, left, her hanai sister and best friend.

Photo courtesy the Honda family.


Julie Honda always had her say and way in life; in death, she’s pretty much got the same pull.

Honda, wife of longtime Hawaii hotelier Fred Honda, died Nov. 3 in Loveland, Colo. She was 85.

“Julie was truly a ‘game fighter,’ never faltering and keeping active in spite of her many medical handicaps,” said Fred Honda. “A decade ago, her doctor said had five years —well, she had 10.”

It was not an easy decade; she had two open heart surgeries, had a pacemaker installed, and battled a failing kidney. But Julie and Fred marked their 50th wedding anniversary earlier this year.

In the early morning of Oct. 28, she was at home shortly after midnight, navigating a snack of milk and cookies, when she fell, resulting in  light hemorrhage in her brain and fractures in her neck, according to her husband.

She had surgery, recovered well enough  to laugh and talk with a neck brace, but suffered two heart failures and was placed on life support. Family members were notified and gathered at Greely McKee Hospital, where her wishes were fulfilled: She was pulled off life support. It was her call, loud and clear.

If you knew Julie, you knew she was forthright and frank, insightful and insistent, manipulative and methodical, sometimes rubbing folks the wrong way. But she was a mover and shaker, a hustler and an achiever, with a wide community reach and with aloha to spare.

She always became a beacon of the community she entered, like organizing the Kona Coffee Festival and arranging parades and crafts. She is the lone  Honorary Lifetime Member of the popular visitor and resident event.

Whenever Fred Honda pulled managing duties at hotels statewide — Keauhou Beach Hotel, Princeville, Halekulani Juilie would take on occasional social directorships, sometimes as paid staff, often as a community volunteer.

Her aggressive, open style made her a pal of several first ladies, wives of sitting governors, as well as queens such as Miss America, Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Philippines to participate in a variety of community events.

She rubbed shoulders with fashionistas and designers, entertainers and chefs, CEOs and politicos.

Over the decades, Julie made her mark: at Lahainaluna High School, she was the only woman in the Future Farmers of America; with La Chaine des Rotisseurs, the gastronomic society, she was the a regional offer and the first woman to receive the President’s Medal; she was the first woman president of the Kona Chamber of Commerce.

She worked in retail at Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom in San Francisco, with airlines such as United, Delta and Air India, with resorts like Maui’s Royal Lahaina, Sheraton Maui and Kaanapali Beach Hotel. She also was a small business owner, operating Julie’s Boutique and Koa Puka.

Because of mounting health issues, she wound up in Loveland, Colorado, to be near daughter  Patti Honda-Davis, who tended to caregiving tasks.

Survivors include husband Fred Honda, daughter Patti Honda-Davis, son Kyle Kalani Honda,  daughter Lee Ann Doering (from Fred Honda’s earlier marriage), brother Gilbert Barcoma, Glen Barcoma, sisters Chris Souza, Pricilla Duque, Sandra Kanemitsu and April Moniz, and grandsons Travis Kanekoa Davis and Garet Kealii Davis.

Services will be held in Loveland, but Julie Honda was precise about Honolulu and Maui memorials. In notes prepared September, 2014, Julie mandates that that her remains be cremated and  kept until husband Fred joins her for burial on Maui, above her mother’s grave. Yes, she already selected her urn design.

Julie demonstrates how she's the captain of her ship and  her final voyage: She requests that Randy Hongo perform “My Way,” not “Amazing Grace,” or perhaps “The Impossible Dream;” on dress before creation, she requests
“my white lace holoku with pink underlinings; on photo to display, “the one with peacock;” on family attire, “I want my siblings to be wearing red flower in their hair.”

A celebration of her life will be held in Honolulu in early December, specifics to be announced.



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'Five-0' lights up the fires, but the ratings remain static

October 3rd, 2015



Randy Couture as Jason Duclair 

Despite a pretty good script — involving a jailed arsonist, a pyromaniac with a penchant for poetic notes linked to the childhood “Ladybug, Ladybug” rhyme,

a bomb-sniffing robot and two explosive scenes — CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” is flatlining in its Friday night ratings and viewership.

The second episode, themed “Lehu a Lehu (Ashes to Ashes),”  drew a 1.0 rating in the 18 to 49 demographics and  9.038 million viewers in its 8 p.m. (9 p.m. Mainland) timeslot Friday (Oct. 2). That equaled the first episode of season six last week — status quo, no big gains.

This  has prompted the zap2it website, which monitors TV ratings each week, to proclaim: “The first week of the 2015-16 season is in the books, and though several CBS shows are yet to premiere, one thing is clear: ‘Hawaii Five-0’ limped out of the gate.

“The season 6 premiere recorded series-low ratings, putting it at the back of the CBS pack in premiere week. With syndication deals already in place and the 100-episode mark in the rear view, it’s mostly a question of how much longer CBS wants it around.”

Not my observation, but the site's  first impression of the so-so “H50” showing; it  has not  yet commented on the déjà vu nature of the impact, or lack thereof,  of the second episode. But unless the figures start demonstrating an upward trend and a viable pulse rate, the obvious question  arises: could this be the final “H50” season?

Friday’s best demo numbers (1.7 rating) were posted for ABC’s “Shark Tank” (same hour as “Five-0,” 6,729 viewers);  ABC’s freshman show, “Dr. Ken,” snagged a 1.4 demo rating and 6,674  million viewers), a solid debut for a new show in the hour before “Five-0;”and the best viewership was logged by CBS’ “Blue Bloods” (11.089 million, 1.3 demo rating), matching last week’s performance.

“Lehu a Lehu” was frisky and fun, with a couple of menacing villains — each getting its due by the final credits.

Randy Couture, as the evil Jason Duclair, is suspected of the arsonist explosions, despite his being in the slammer. Even baddies have demons — Duclair’s is Rob Walsh as Andrew Trout, who wants fame and recognition beyond Duclair’s, but Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and team discover his poetry in his home and facial recognition technology helps put a face to his rampant crime while Duclair’s in prison.

Meanwhile, the Yakuza are still monitoring Kono (Grace Park) and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale), whose marriage and honeymoon are marked by torture and, in his case, PT. A sweet moment: she sits on his lap while he’s in a wheelchair, so he can “carry” her into their downsized home since the marriage.

And McG sounds like he’s about to pop the question, or at least show a ring for Catherine’s (Michelle Borth) third finger, left hand, in the next episode. It’s set up, and sealed with a kiss, in this one.

She, like Jerry (Jorge Garcia, continues to do cop work without a badge — she’s willing, but he’s building a case of say-a-good-word-for-me pledges from Kono to McG, so he can earn a paycheck.

Now it's four Diana Ross shows — seats on sale Saturday

March 27th, 2015



rossClaiming history-making box office, the presenter of Diana Ross' first Hawaii concerts has announced that seats are sold out for the June 13 Blaisdell Arena debut, so Rick Bartalini has  added a second show before the premiere -- June 12.

Tickets go on sale Saturday (March 28) at the box office.

Similarly, two Maui shows — at Maui Arts and Cultural Center's Castle Theatre — are sold out.

The first is June 14, the add-on date is June 15. Check with the MACC box office for possible availability.


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