By Dave Donnelly

Monday, January 11, 1999

Hare puts Lee
over the hump

Mug shot BACK from signing thousands of stamp cachets at the First Day of Issue ceremony for the Year of the Hare stamp in L.A.'s Chinatown is designer Clarence Lee. He was selected by the U.S. Postal Service to create stamps representing each of the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac, one per year. The most recent stamp, representing the Year of the Hare, is the seventh in the series so he's already completed over half of them. So how did he end up with this monumental project? He credits Jean Chen, a Hawaii chapter member of the Organization of Chinese Americans in Atlanta, Ga. She'd come across a book on the history of the railroad with an old picture showing the workers, all of whom were Caucasian. This, of course, was nonsense, so she took it upon her shoulders to right this slight to the contributions of Chinese rail workers in the U.S. Finally, in 1991 the Postal Service agreed to the 12-series collection and began the search for a Chinese-American designer. Enter Lee, who's now known internationally in stamp circles ...

REMIND me to hit up Chef David Paul Johnson for a cigar, which he sells in his Diamond Head Grill. He and wife Michelle are the parents of a baby boy born last week on Maui. Little David Raymond is named for his father and late winemaker Ray Signorello who David Paul says was like "an uncle to me." A fitting salute ...

Beyond the call

THOSE phone company folks aren't the only ones to go "beyond the call." Mayor Jeremy Harris is forever reminding staffers that customer service is one of his top priorities, and the other night he set about to prove it. He and wife Ramona found a driver's license in a parking lot, but when they tried to notify the owner by phone, learned that she had an unlisted number. The mayor and his wife then took matters in their own hands, and at 9:30 p.m. that night, delivered the license to the 16th floor apartment of Keiko Ogawa, much to her shock and surprise ...

AFTER lunching with Tom Horton at the former columnist's Stinson Beach Grill, isle restaurateur Ed Greene was driving out of town and when he slowed for a curve saw a familiar looking fellow on a nearby rooftop. Turned out to be Bill Bender, a Honolulu carpenter who was in Stinson Beach doing some work on the beach house owned by his niece and her husband. Wouldn't you know it, says Greene, that the building used to be a bar ...

Show stoppers

TWO theater groups staged openings of new productions last week. Manoa Valley Theater gave us Steve Martin's sometimes funny, sometimes maddeningly Martin-esque "Picasso at the Lapin Agile." You can hear the comic's inflection in the lines every character speaks. There was one fantastic performance in the show, and that was Lew Lappert, an actor unfamiliar to me, who was as good as it gets. The ending was a hoot ... Kumu Kahua presented the world premiere of "Island Skin Songs" written by Sean T.C. O'Malley and directed by his wife Lurana Donnels O'Malley. Every one of the three talented women and two men in the cast appears in some state of undress, not the least of whom was Cheryl Bartlett, a former Miss Hawaii and an excellent actress, who bathed, most appropriately, in her birthday suit. But forget the nudity and tough language and get the message -- the juxtaposition of male-female relationships from the present day back nearly 200 years shows more similarities than changes ...

Dave Donnelly has been writing on happenings
in Hawaii for the Star-Bulletin since 1968.
His columns run Monday through Friday.

Contact Dave by e-mail: donnelly@kestrok.com.

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