What the Heck?
Dolphins get top billing on Big Island
"After the bridge, there are only two chords. Let's all play the same two chords," said a sweaty Michael Paulo to the band he assembled for last weekend's Dolphin Days at the Hilton Waikoloa.
The eight musicians were rehearsing in the hot sun, getting ready to back up a whole range of acts -- from Paulo himself to trumpeter Rick Braun, singers Jeffrey Osborne and Brenda Russell." Man, we've got three hours to learn 20 songs," said Paulo. "It's lucky these guys can really play."
The next night, they were near perfect. They played to a crowd of 1,500 on a lawn surrounded by food and wine booths, where 30 chefs, including Oahu imports like Russell Siu, Bill Bruhl and Fred DeAngelo, cooked up a storm. Said chef Daniel LaGarde, who flew over from the Hilton Hawaiian Village to participate, "Our hotel's full and we've got Taste of Honolulu on Oahu this weekend. I can't believe I got away to do this."
Dolphin Days is mainly about food, wine and music. The hotel's dolphins had a limited but touching role when they swam with the patients from Hawaii Shriners Hospital for Children, one of the beneficiaries of the event. The other beneficiary, perhaps picked by the dolphins themselves, was the Pacific Marine Life Foundation.
Seawind Returns: Among the headline acts at Dolphin Days was Honolulu-based singer Pauline Wilson. After the concert, Wilson drove up to Waimea, to Charles Brotman's Palm Records studio. There, she's laying down vocal tracks for the first Seawind album in 26 years.
"Yes," she said, "Seawind's back together, all the original members, and I think we're going to surprise some people."
In town for a vacation is former KGMB sportscaster Larry Beil, with wife, Sharla, and daughters Kiana and Nikki. I asked Beil why he left a plum job at ESPN. "Because it's in Bristol, Conn.," said Beil, "which is the middle of nowhere." Well, actually about two hours north of New York and south of Boston. "The biggest thing in town besides ESPN was the Otis Elevator test tower."
He's now at KGO in San Francisco. "The Bay Area's not bad," he said. "But whenever the plane lands at Honolulu International, I suddenly feel that all's right with my world."
We All Scream: In June 2005, Jarrett Portz and his wife, Kristy, of Lake Havasu, Ariz., spent two weeks honeymooning on Maui. Their favorite honeymoon activity? "Ice cream," says Kristy. The two visited an ice cream parlor named Hula Scoops so often that the staff presented them with free T-shirts.
For their first anniversary, Jarrett called Hula Scoops from Arizona. The shop put him in contact with Roselani Ice Cream's Diane Lee, who FedExed six half gallons of ice cream to surprise his bride.
"I'm not the most romantic guy," says Jarrett. "But that ice cream scored me major points. I can probably get away with forgetting the anniversary next year."
At the press conference announcing the return of Hawaii Winter Baseball, the governor was represented by her finance director, Georgina Kawamura.
Seemed an odd choice for a sports-related event, until Kawamura explained she'd been a huge fan of the Maui Sting Rays of the 1993-97 league -- so much so that she allowed players to live with her and her family.
Among them was Mark Kotsay, now centerfielder for the Oakland Athletics, batting .284 lifetime. "I was in the Bay Area in May and caught a game," said Kawamura. "It's like watching your own son."
Now Showing: Hip Chinatown venue thirtyninehotel seemed an unusual place to preview an ad campaign. But Milici Valenti Ng Pack's new campaign for Starwood Hotels Hawaii was anything but usual -- a series of short narrative films that had nothing much to do with the hotels except they were set there.
The most heartfelt speech of the evening was given by Milici account supervisor Bill Weeshoff, who said that no sooner had he sold the client on the idea than he realized he'd put his whole future on the line. "These guys," he said, indicating the whole room full of creative types, directors and actors, "saved my ass."
The films, done by four different directors, are a mixed bag. There's some real cinematic wizardry from veteran Dennis Mahaffey, set at the Sheraton Waikiki. And up-and-coming director Brett Wagner's character-driven, unpredictable film set at the Royal Hawaiian is well worth the 11 minutes it takes to watch. Films are on the Starwood Hawaii web site, but they're easier to find on YouTube or Google Video.
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