What the Heck?
Hearts and showers
Alexander & Baldwin CEO Alan Doane and wife Christina had a baby and eight days later, turned around and hosted last weekend's Heart Ball.
New baby's name is Alexander. Doane says he's taking a lot of flack, questions whether their next child will be Baldwin. "I've promised Christina we wouldn't do that," he says. "I'm thinking our second child should be named 'And.'"
Money Machine: More than 1,300 folks showed up at the Heart Ball last Saturday night. The social event of the season, as it's often called, is a money machine.
The single evening raised $1 million, thanks in part to Mark Wong. His company, Commercial Data Systems, spent $250,000 and months of staff time computerizing the entire affair.
At check-in, 20 volunteers with laptops swiped guests' credit cards and, checking them against a Web-based database, issued them a card with table and bidder numbers.
The kicker was that each of the 270 silent auction items was equipped with a terminal. All you had to do was swipe your Heart Ball card and you were the next highest bidder. Painless shopping, especially since there was a martini bar in the middle of the items.
Wong had the Heart Ball auction tallied seven seconds after closing. "The process went flawlessly," he said. "My only regret was I got too busy to buy anything."
The item that attracted the most bids was a doghouse. Donated by the Carpenters Union, the nearly 5-foot square doggie domicile had a shake roof, Pergo floors, a bay window and a koa threshold. It went for a bargain $1,800.
Suffering Artists: Through April 2, songstress Shari Lynn stars in the Broadway cabaret at Shanghai Bistro. Lynn can put some oomph in a tune. Don Conover, who accompanies her on piano, found himself playing so hard, his fingers bled.
"Never had a pianist bleed for me before," says Lynn. The next performance she brought him a big box of Band-Aids.
No Wine Before Its Time: On his first trip to Hawaii, Darrell Corti, who owns a famous gourmet grocery in Sacramento, Calif., toured Iolani Palace and discovered that the king's wine cellar was an empty room.
A history buff and wine expert, Corti researched the wines King Kalakaua might have served and decided to help stock the cellar with authentic monarchy-period bottles, empty ones, of course.
When a Los Angeles friend bought an old wine warehouse, Corti stumbled upon a forgotten cache of wine and liqueur bottles from the 1890s, which he shipped to complement the palace's collection.
A few bottles were still sealed. One was an extremely rare 1893 Chateau d'Yquem. About half the contents of the bottle had evaporated over 100-plus years, but Corti opened it and tasted the remainder. "It tasted amazingly good," he said.
Making the Grade: The Oscars for the restaurant business are the national James Beard Awards. Among the 20 chefs on the preliminary ballot for Pacific Northwest/Hawaii region were five from the islands: Hiroshi Fukui, Edwin Goto, Wayne Hirabayashi, Peter Merriman and Russell Siu. The rest are from Seattle and Portland. The list gets cut to five official nominees March 16.
Heavy Showers: That was one amazing baby shower last Sunday at the Royal Hawaiian for singer Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom and fiance John Austin. Fiji, Robert Cazimero, Auntie Genoa Keawe, Kealoha Kalama, John and Ernie Cruz, Sean Na'auao and Amy's brother Eric Gilliom all ended up performing.
If the Royal hadn't needed the room for an evening banquet, the party might have gone on until Monday. It may have, as some of singers headed over to the Aku Bone Lounge on Kona Street for karaoke.
Power Lines: The Hawaii Institute For Public Affairs is not the best known nonprofit in town. But more than 900 people showed up last Thursday for its annual awards dinner. There were business CEOs, union leaders, heads of arts, cultural and community groups, plus so many politicians that emcee Barbara Tanabe asked the audience to clap just once for each as they were introduced.
Many of these folks find themselves adversaries from time to time. But HIPA provides a civilized setting where they can exchange views.
For instance, Robbie Alm of HECO presented an award to Sam and Mary Cooke of Malama o Manoa. Alm noted that the Cookes had opposed HECO's plan to string high-tension power lines in the back of Manoa Valley. And they'd won.
"They were fighting long odds, taking on the biggest corporation in the state," he said. "But we learned when you take on the Cookes, the odds go the other way."
"Gee, Robbie," said Mary Cooke, accepting the award. "I was going to be good and not bring that up tonight."
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