What the Heck?
Gridiron Show tickets selling like hot cakes
Dress for Success:
Last year the satiric, song-and-dance Gridiron Show didn't go on, thanks to nasty infighting among the media folks who stage it. This year, however, the journalists are reserving their savagery for the politicos and personalities they parody. Will former TV anchor turned real estate exec Dan Cooke reprise his performance as Linda Lingle? "Only if they buy me a new dress. The old one's tacky," says Cooke. Tickets for the Oct. 21-22 show are nearly sold out.
Costco Calling: No Hawaii child can go to college without the whole family tagging along. Chef Glenn Chu of Indigo and wife Barbara flew off yesterday to move daughter Lacey into a dorm room at London's Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Glenn's a typical Hawaii parent, even when he's off to England: "She needs stuff. I wonder where the nearest Costco is." Answer: 10 miles from campus.
Watching Paint Dry: The hand-lettered sign on a freshly done Chinatown doorway read, "Wait Paint."
Slam Bam: ReVerses is a poetry slam -- full of youthful verbal excess. But in the front row were two prominent couples around town: Pete and Sylvia Thompson, he a Smith Barney broker, she a Realtor, plus attorney Chuck Crumpton and cookbook author Rebecca Woodland. At the BYOB event, the four drank pinot noir from crystal glasses. In Hawaii, even slam poetry is an 'ohana affair. Emcee Travis T, 26, is the Thompsons' son. For the Arts at Marks Garage crowd, Sylvia cooks up trays of vegan gourmet food. Travis's final poem blew away the audience, even though he warned, "This is offensive." Said father Pete after, "Well, he's got na'au--guts."
What's New, Pussycat? The retired head of the campaign spending commission, Bob Watada, is studying Japanese, looking for a teaching job in Japan.
Knowing how good Watada is at exposing official skullduggery, are Japanese politicos wise to let him in the country? "Oh, I'm a pussycat," he says. Tell that to Jeremy Harris.
E ola ka 'olelo Hawai'i
It was your standard nonprofit fund-raiser at the Coral Ballroom -- cocktails, silent auction, banquet dinner at pricey tables for 10. Usually as the after-dinner speeches start, guests start drifting to the bar or restroom. Some, the bold ones, slip out to the elevators to miss the crush out of the parking garage.
But at this fund-raiser, everybody stayed, paid attention, even though some of the speeches were in Hawaiian and one was in Cherokee.
The event raised $300,000 for Aha Punana Leo, the grass-roots organization that used to survive on chicken and bake sales. In two decades, Punana Leo has quietly helped establish Hawaiian language immersion programs from preschool to Ph.D. They are, in short, creating a new generation of Hawaiians who can actually speak their own language.
The event drew a rare combination of Hawaiian royalty (Abigail Kawananakoa, the evening's biggest donor) and power players (Tony Guerrero of First Hawaiian Bank, Donna Tanoue of Bankoh, Colbert Matsumoto of Island Insurance, Allen Doane of A&B, Mike Ruley of Hawaiian Telcom). Union leaders ranged from the plumbers' Herb Ka'opua to the teachers' Joan Husted.
Also out in force was the education establishment, including past and present school superintendents Charlie Toguchi (who now handles government relations for cruise lines) and Pat Hamamoto.
The draw into the community, especially the Hawaiian community, ran deep. Attorney Beadie Dawson (a major player in the KS drama of a few years ago) arrived with daughter and state film commissioner Donne.
Actress-turned-filmmaker Elizabeth Lindsey, radiant as ever, flew in from the Big Island to host a table.
Historian Bob Dye was there with his two 20-something children who, he complained, still live with him. ("How else could I afford to live in Lanikai?" asked Irish-Chinese-Hawaiian daughter Hi'ilei.) The Dyes were applauded for establishing Punana Leo scholarships in memory of their late wife and mother, Tessa Magoon Dye.
One way you sell tables at these things is to honor someone powerful.
This time it was Neil Abercrombie, who helped repeal the shameful 100-year-old law against teaching in Hawaiian at public school.
Abercrombie thrust aside the blue folder with his prepared speech and delivered a barnburner contrasting Hawaii's tolerance with the "racism, degradation and disrespect" on the mainland.
The award Abercrombie won wasn't a thing. It was a chant in his honor, composed by Punana Leo co-founder and composer ("E Ku'u Morning Dew") Larry Kimura.
Twenty years ago, Kimura warned me that Hawaiian was going to die as a language. "I'm glad I was wrong," he said.
John Heckathorn's radio show, Heckathorn's Hot Plate, simulcasts weekday evenings from 6 to 7 p.m. on SportsRadio1420 and sister station 1080 AM. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org