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Hawaii

By Dave Donnelly

Tuesday, November 30, 1999


Neighbors in
Forbidden City

IT was something of a surprise to learn that the mother of Channel 8 reporter and weekend anchor Diane Ako was once a dancer at Forbidden City. Don't jump to conclusions here -- this wasn't the strip club owned locally by Jack Cione, but the popular Chinatown nightclub in San Francisco once run by Ciao Mein manager Mai Tai Sing, which also featured Jimmy Borges as a singer. Vera Ako worked there at the same time as Borges and they knew each other well, although he knew her by her stage name of Vi Wong. She's visiting here from her New Jersey home now, found Borges' phone number and gave him a call. They talked about old times and when he asked what she was doing here, the former dancer replied, "Visiting my daughter." It was only then that Jimmy realized that the woman he watches delivering the news on KHNL was the daughter of his old Forbidden City friend. Others there at the time include Pat Morita, Dorothy Toy Fong and Paul Wing of Wing and Fong fame. Borges and his old dance partner hope to hook up before she returns home next week ...

Sunday bunch

THERE was quite a varied lot of performers gathered at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Sunday for the annual taping of Emme Tomimbang's "Island Moments" Christmas show, a benefit for the Hawaii Youth Symphony. First, let it be said that the symphony never sounded better. But I was surprised to note that among the other performers on the program, Nina Keali'iwahamana, Forte, Pure Heart and the unlikely quartet of Jimmy Borges, Dick Jensen, Nephi Hannemann and Iva Kinimaka, calling themselves "Waikiki's Best," the later group was the most enjoyable. It brought back memories of 30 years ago when "name" entertainers were in showrooms everywhere. They're rendition of "Our Blessed Savior Has Come" was a real rouser. Emme was her usual kolohe off-camera self, introducing her husband, Judge James Burns, as "Jim Tomimbang." After 15 years of marriage, he just shrugs it off. Watch for the air dates ...

BY the way, the three members of Pure Heart denied they were breaking up, but said they were "taking a break" to do other things. And the difference would be ... ??? ... City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle and City Councilwoman Rene Mansho make an engaging couple, at least on stage. The two play the grandfather and grandmother, respectively, in Ballet Hawaii's "Nutcracker" Dec. 17-19 at the Blaisdell Concert Hall ...

FUNNYMAN Frank DeLima will entertain at a Christmas Brunch Sunday at the Wisteria. There's limited seating so you'd best call early to get in. The cover of DeLima's new CD, "Frank DeLima Live at the Captain's Table," shows the comic wearing a hat made out of a folded front page of the Star-Bulletin. One of the songs on the album is his rewritten "Lucille," about the paper containing the line, "What, Star-Bulletin, you goin' leave me now?" ...

Hokey Pokey

THE hokey Hoku Awards are bad enough, but the Hawaii Music Awards made them look good by staging a five-hour killer at the Blaisdell Arena which was less than 1/10th filled and where a parade of awards were handed out to just about everyone who made an album during the year. Showman Al Masini had to wait more than four hours to get the Governor's Award for his contributions to Hawaii. But even too much of a good thing is bad, and nobody I've talked to thought this was good ...



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: ddonnelly@starbulletin.com



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