What the Heck?
Lingle plans holiday movie marathon
Ran into the governor at a holiday party, held at the home of NCL Hawaii's Robert Kritzman. Asked if Christmas was as hectic for her as for the rest of us. "Fortunately, I'm Jewish," she reminded me. "There's nothing specific I have to do Christmas Eve or Day or the day after."
She plans to gather friends and see as many movies as possible. If there's a tall woman in the row in front of you, don't complain. Her idea of a Christmas gift is to roll back taxes $300 million.
Speaking of Movies: Chuck Boller, executive director of the Hawaii International Film Festival, is spending Christmas getting over a bad head cold, picked up in Beijing. "No, it's not bird flu," he says. "I went to the doctor."
His best present? The Chinese appointed him to their film advisory board and gave his festival a major award for being a friend of Chinese film. "They treated me like a celebrity," he said. "It was almost embarrassing."
Pen in Hand: Tom Moffatt will likely spend Christmas recovering from writer's cramp. He's signing copies of his autobiography, "Showman of the Pacific," which hit stores in the nick of time for Christmas. In the downtown Bestsellers last Wednesday, a long line of fans waited for Moffatt, wearing a Rolling Stones baseball cap, to inscribe, "Rock On! Uncle Tom" on their copies. It was only the first of five last-minute signing sessions.
Moffatt usually works through both Christmas and his Dec. 30 birthday. "For years, I spent my birthday with people like Howie Mandell or 'N Sync or Julio Iglesias," he says. With no New Year's show this year, he's going to cozy up with wife Sweetie.
Looking Ahead: Alexander & Baldwin CEO Alan Doane insists he's spending his last restful Christmas. "Next year, it's going to be totally different." That's because he and wife Christina are expecting a baby boy about the end of February -- perhaps just in time for Heart Ball, which the Doanes are chairing. Says Doane, "The timing could get interesting."
Looking Back: A big contrast between this Christmas and last for Ed and Tina Wary, owners of the Dixie Grill and Auntie Pasto's. Last year, daughter Madeline, now 5, had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and was awaiting treatment at Stanford Medical. Stanford called in specialists from Johns Hopkins and decided Maddy was just fine, didn't have CF. Says Ed, "This year, you can't believe how much we're going to celebrate."
Dog Tired: Christmas is tough on retailers. Six months ago, Alan Carrell and Glenn Stewart opened a design studio, INTO, in an improbable Hotel Street location. "Unbelievably, we're slammed, even with people from other islands," reports Carrell. "Who would have thought it on Hotel Street?"
After dealing with the Christmas rush, Carrell's too tired even to walk his dog. He's been getting his neighbor's 10-year-old daughter, Misha, to do it for him. "I owe Misha a great present," he says.
Work Party: It's busy for shopkeepers, but at least the shops close on Christmas. Not so many restaurants. Alan Wong reports things at his eatery "have been totally crazy." He always tells young aspiring chefs: "Don't even think about asking for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's off. You don't go to the party. You provide the party."
Busman's Holiday: One chef taking the day off is Chai Chaowasaree. He's closing Chai's Island Bistro for Christmas -- and going out to dinner. He's taking his TV co-host, Beth-Ann Nishijima, and eight other friends to the Halekulani's La Mer. Nobody in the Halekulani kitchens gets the day off. "We're used to it," says Executive Chef Darryl Fujita. "We'll make sure Chai has a great time."
Counting Blessings: After years of gigging around town, bass player and vocalist Bruce Hamada just released his first CD, "Two For the Road." He's working Christmas Eve, playing at Neptune's Garden. Wife Akemi works Christmas Day at Louis Vuitton. Her work provides health insurance for them and 2-year-old Amy, notes Hamada. "For a gigging musician, that's the best possible Christmas gift."
Right Track: Maj. David Hudson, divisional commander of the Salvation Army, also works Christmas Eve, at a live nativity scene and candlelight services. This year, the Salvation Army was shooting for $500,000 in Christmas donations. "It's going to be tight," he says. "I'm hoping to make it at the last moment."
The donations went back out the door as toys, bags of food, gifts to residents of nursing homes, grocery store gift certificates. The recipients are grateful, he says. "When you see tears of joy on a regular basis, that kind of tells you you're on the right track."
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