What the Heck?
Vote for her feet, Tia Carrere tells every 'cuz' in Hawaii
Worked for Jasmine:
Emme Tomimbang and hubbie Jim Burns had dinner in Los Angeles with Dean Pitchford ("Fame," "Footloose"). Ran into Emme's distant cousin Tia Carrere, who appears on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" this week. Also on the program are George Hamilton and Jerry Rice. "Dancing with the Stars" is sort of "American Idol" on the dance floor, with call-in votes. "Tell everyone in Hawaii to vote for me," Carrere told Tomimbang.
Manila Bound: Tomimbang is off to Manila at New Year's, the first of many trips in 2006. She's at work on a two-hour documentary on the history of Filipino migration to Hawaii, to be aired this summer. "Maybe I'll call it Mabuhay Moments," she says.
Running Around: Hawaii's Own Dr. Ruth: 70-year-old triathlete and author ("Senior Fitness") Ruth Heidrich just returned from running around the world. Literally. Heidrich took a tour on a chartered 757 that allowed her to run in Kyoto, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Min City, Angkor Wat, New Delhi, Cairo, Prague and Reykjavik. Her biggest challenge? Staying on her strict vegetarian diet. After fighting off steak kabobs in Dubai, she skipped a dinner in Nairobi altogether. At a restaurant called The Carnivore.
Not Just Iz Anymore: Deplaning at Paris Orly airport were three weary Hawaii travelers: attorney Mark Bernstein and wife Leah, president of Mountain Apple Co., plus Mountain Apple CEO Jon de Mello.
In baggage claim, they found themselves surrounded by Polynesian dancers in shell lei. "It was a little disorienting after 30 hours in the air," says Leah. She eventually recognized Les Grands Ballets de Tahiti, who played May Day a few year ago with the Cazimeros.
The Mountain Applers had Paris confabs with music execs from England, Austria, the Netherlands, even Norway, where Israel Kamakawiwoole's music is now being used in ads for the national lottery.
In Europe, 2006 is likely to be a good year for Hawaiian music, says Bernstein. "It's not just Iz anymore." There's considerable buzz over there about the "New Traditionalists," a term coined (by Honolulu Magazine's Mike Keany) to describe acts like Kaumakaiwa Kanakaole and Raiatea Helm.
What Kine Bento? Closer to home, there's a New Traditionalist concert slated for Jan. 20 at the Hawaii Theatre. Appearing with Kanakaole and Helm will be a kumu hula with one of the best Hawaii names ever -- Snowbird Bento.
Oomph: Talked to Raiatea Helm before she took off for a concert in Tokyo. I asked if she, being nominated and all, was excited to be going to the Grammies next month. "I'm just looking forward to the partying," she said. "Is there a great party?" I asked. "No," said the 22-year-old, aghast at my naiveté, "There's a whole week of great parties."
Bestseller Bound? Island novelist Lois-Ann Yamanaka's new book, a historical novel called "Behold the Many," is based on a real Kalihi Valley ghost story. Hawaii audiences are likely to understand, says Yamanaka, "but my agent told me not to talk about ghosts to national media, sounds flaky." The book is anything but. Due out in February, advance reviews are calling it "magical" and "beautifully tragic."
Exotica: The Forbidden World of Don Tiki played New Year's Eve at the Pacific Beach Hotel, complete with 10 musicians and beauties Willow Chang and Shari Shaolin. The gig's an audition for a regular showroom spot there. Says Lloyd "Fluid Floyd" Kandell, leader of the retro revue: "We're aiming to be Waikiki's hot new show. We're sexy, flirty, but you could still bring your kids."
Great Expectations: Ran into Dave Rolf, executive director of the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association. Since the auto industry goes "hand in driver's glove" with the economy, he expects a great year in 2006. "Hawaii's on the verge of a golden epoch," says the ebullient Rolf. "Let's seize the moment and do great things with curriculum in the public schools."
Seize the Moment: Bill Kaneko, executive director of the Hawaii Institute for Public Affairs, agrees there's every reason for optimism in 2006. Still, he points out, "Wouldn't it be great if we dealt with our problems during times of prosperity, instead of waiting until things aren't so rosy?" His choice: Do something about affordable housing.
Welcome Home: Every reason for optimism on the Windward Side. Announced some time this week will be the return of 5,600 Marines to Kaneohe. "It's great they're back," one Kailua merchant told me. "And the great thing for us is they all come back with money in their pockets."
Overly Optimistic: Talked to an unnamed but highly placed source at Honolulu Hale. What would you guys like to see in 2006? I asked. "A lot of letters to the editor from people who're glad their property taxes went up," he said. "Think that's a possibility?"
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