What the Heck?
Stilts boost art of spoof at Gridiron
Despite the danger of being lampooned at last weekend's Gridiron, the politicians couldn't stay away. Council members Ann Kobayashi, Charles Djou and Donovan Dela Cruz bought seats, as did former campaign spending commission head Bob Watada and state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa.
Gov. Linda Lingle and Mayor Mufi Hannemann both came opening night, and met the cast backstage. Hannemann wondered how 5-foot-6-inch KITV weather anchor Ben Gutierrez could take the stage as a towering mayoral presence.
"We went to great lengths," explained Gutierrez, showing Hannemann the high-tech stilts he'd borrowed from the Monkey Waterfall Dance Theatre. The mayor scrutinized the two-foot high contraptions, asked if they were tough to wear. "The first thing they teach you is how to fall," said Gutierrez.
Dubious Honors: "Nobody celebrates Boss's Day," insists Alton Miyashiro, managing principal of the downtown CPA firm Nishihama & Kishida. "Nobody wants to take the boss to lunch." Instead, Miyashiro polled his office to find which of the 50 employees was the bossiest. The winner, one of the auditors, gets a lunch this week at L'Uraku and the right to remain nameless.
Chinatown Revival: Last week a snazzy new coffee shop named Red Elephant opened on Bethel Street. Wait till you see Red Elephant Live! awaiting finishing touches next door -- an acoustically insulated 2,400-square-foot performance space that doubles as a recording studio. It's big enough to seat 120 for a concert or record a whole orchestra, and it represents a considerable investment by audio and music pros Paul Kreiling and Joey Wolpert.
"We haven't really told anyone about this," says Wolpert. "But we're already getting requests to book the room." Wait until mid-December.
Slip Showing: It seemed like every professional woman in Honolulu, plus a few dozen men, showed up last Thursday night at the Richards Street YWCA for an evening of martinis, munchies, makeovers, hair styling and a fashion show. Both singer Melveen Leed, the event chairwoman, and the emcee, KSSK's Sweetie Pacarro, managed to slip, plunking down heavily on the makeshift stage, Pacarro twice. Apparently, no harm done. After one of her slips, Pacarro got up, patted her rear with both hands and said, "I knew all this would come in handy someday."
Small Whirl: Next Friday, a "Turkish Bazaar" takes place at Roy Venters Gallery. A portion of the proceeds will help send a dozen whirling dervishes and musicians to Turkey from Hawaii. How could a Chinatown gallery end up with a benefit for whirling dervishes? The head of the Sufi sect in America, a gentleman named Jelaluddin Loras, married Maile Rietow, a woman from an old Honolulu family. Rietow's best friend in Hawaii, Cynthia Austin, suffered a broken heart. To make her feel better, Rietow took her friend on a trip to Turkey, where Austin met soon-to-be husband Hakan. Hakan and Austin now live on Maui and import Turkish rugs and other treasures you'll find at Roy Venters this weekend. My head's whirling.
Scoring the Music: The preliminary ballot for this year's Hawaiian music Grammy has 26 contenders. Among these semifinalists: Raiatea Helm, Hapa and Kaumakaiwa Kanaka'ole. No Jake Shimabukuro. Under the rules, Jake's not Hawaiian enough. Mainland Grammy voters love slack key, eight of the entrants are ki ho'alu CDs, the biggest name being Kapono Beamer. Nobody's supposed to politic for the award, but they do. Got an e-mail from one artist asking for support, and I can't even vote. The five final nominees will be announced Dec. 14.
Tenor of the Times: On a cruise ship in the Mediterranean, nationally known tenor John Smitherman met Sarah Richards of Hawaii Theatre. Richards extracted a promise that if he ever got to Honolulu, he'd do something for her theater.
Smitherman was due in Honolulu last Monday aboard a Holland-American liner. Richards invited her biggest donors. Guests included Ray and Claire Engle, Jack and Maydelle Cione, Fred and Mary Weyand, Bob and Evanita Midkiff, Nick and Koren Dreher.
Smitherman's ship ran into a streak of bad luck -- a medical emergency and a fire. Instead of docking in Honolulu at 10 a.m., the ship arrived off Lahaina late afternoon. Flying from Kahului, the tenor made the date with 15 minutes to spare.
"Great voice," says Jim Nabors, who was there. "He was a hit, and, believe me, that's a tough crowd."
Smitherman, who did the gig gratis, had to catch a red eye flight to rehearse the next morning with the Tampa Symphony. "I don't know how, but he was still smiling when he left," says Richards.
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 email@example.com