What the Heck?
Barefoot Natives debut at sea
Eric Gilliom, even after his first-rate album "Like Chow Fun
," is little known on Oahu. But the singer-musician-actor-former dancer is hot on Maui, playing a dinner show in Wailea, usually backed by guitarist Barry Flanagan.
When Flanagan left to do a Hapa tour, Gilliom called Willie K. to fill in. The two went on without rehearsal. "Willie's been playing since he was 6. He doesn't rehearse," says Gilliom.
Even without rehearsal, the two burned up the stage. Afterwards, Willie turned to Gilliom: "Eh, like do one album?"
The duo named themselves the Barefoot Natives and released their first CD last week.
The duo will debut the CD at sea. On June 4 and 5, they play on a "Cruise to Nowhere" aboard the new NCL ship "Pride of Hawaii," with proceeds to benefit Aha Punana Leo and other nonprofits.
Music buffs will remember that Willie K. was once the romantic and musical partner of Amy Hanaialii Gilliom, Eric's sister. "There's a lesson," says Eric. "Stay friends with everyone."
Landlubber: Personal chef Francesco Valentini will come to your house and prepare a Tuscan dinner. Last week he cooked a five-course meal at Matthew Fox's Kailua home for the "Lost" star and his guests, members of the band Green Day.
But keep him on dry land. He was asked to cook dinner on a 50-foot sailing yacht for a visiting Japanese couple. He had no problems cooking on moored yachts, but this was a cruise. In no time, Valentini says, he was white as sheet and sick as a dog. He had to get the yacht's captain to finish the rack of lamb for him.
The couple tipped him $100. "I couldn't go out and thank them. I was lying down on the floor of the galley." For your next dinner afloat, find another chef.
Hubba Hubba: The infamous Club Hubba Hubba has been vacant and shuttered since 1997. This week, some of the facings on the building crumbled onto the sidewalk.
The building is falling apart, more the shame since it sits on Hotel Street between Nuuanu and Smith, a block of Chinatown that has come alive with Bar 35, Thirty Nine Hotel and Next Door.
According to Elizabeth "Tita" Stack, one of the Marks-McCandless heirs who own the property, the Hubba Hubba site will be rehabbed, but when is not certain.
What about the historic neon sign -- "LIVE NUDE SHOWS" -- the envy of collectors all over town? "Oh, that's spoken for," said Stack. "One of the family will take it."
Kim Moves On: Artists Pegge Hopper and Roy Venter, promoter Tim Bostock, actor Andrew Meader, guitarist Makana and scores of others showed up last Thursday at Indigo to say goodbye to Kim Coffee-Isaak.
Who's that? Up until this week, Coffee-Isaak was executive director of The ARTS at Marks Garage. She was the catalyst who grew First Friday into a major event. If you like what Chinatown's become, thank Kim.
Joey Wolpert of rRed Elephant made the only speech. It was three sentences long: "To say we love Kim would be an understatement. To say we're going to miss her doesn't even come close to the reality. To say knowing her is an inspiration, that's just the truth."
Coffee-Isaak now becomes executive director of the Agricultural Leadership Foundation. Never heard of it? Give Kim a few months.
Pete Does Wine: Last Tuesday, Salomon Smith Barney broker Pete Thompson put together a fundraiser for Hawaii Community Services Council.
It was at Jazz Minds Arts and Café, so, of course, there was jazz, led by DeShannon Higa. But the main attraction was wine. "There are a lot of serious wine guys here," said one of them, AIG President Robin Campaniano.
So serious, in fact, that much of the action centered around a "tasting within a tasting." Collectors like Steve Hinck, Peter Boolukos, and Thompson himself donated bottles so rare that even if you were willing to spend $500 or more, you probably couldn't find one to buy.
Guests vied to pay up to $60 for half a glass of such rarities as Henschke Hill of Grace and Bouchard Montrachet. Even at those prices, the bottles sold out almost immediately.
Broker Art Montoya sipped a glass of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, for which he paid nearly $20 a swallow. "It's for the cause," he said, cheerfully. He didn't look unhappy.
The Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii threw a party to celebrate singer Noland Conjugacion, who also creates youth programs for the Clubs.
Jamming with Noland on stage were dozens of Hawaii musicians, including his brother Tony Conjugacion, Gaylord Holomalia, Robert and Roland Cazimero.
Brother Noland announced that he was grateful his mother, Emma Ako, who no longer gets out much, had come to the concert. "Or," he said, "maybe it was because she heard my brother was going to be here."
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