What the Heck?
PHOTO BY TWAIN NEWHART, COURTESY OF MATT CATINGUB ORCHESTRA OF HAWAII
Veteran bass player Steve Jones and Matt Catingub play a few selections to help launch the "Return to Romance" CD and music festival.
Catingub’s music fest is made in Hawaii
Matt the Cat:
I suppose we are going to have to get used to that odd acronym: MCOoH. It belongs to the Matt Catingub Orchestra of Hawaii, which held an stunning news conference last Wednesday.
Sitting at the table with Catingub were Amy Hanaialii Gilliom, Robert Cazimero, Jimmy Borges, Raiatea Helm, and the three ladies of Na Leo. All sang on Catingub's new CD, "Return to Romance," to be released next week.
You expect Hawaiian music from these singers. For Catingub, they sing jazz standards. To choose just one example, wait until you hear what Amy Gilliom can do with a ballad like "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?"
Also present were Carolyn Berry, one of the partners behind the project, and Allen Sviridoff, Catingub's long-time friend, manager and business partner from Los Angeles. Sviridoff announced an ambitious "Return to Romance" music festival, slated for March.
As the dimensions of the annual festival unfolded -- 11 days, three Hawaii Theatre shows, a big Blaisdell Arena show with Mainland guest stars, a tie-in with a major national talk show, a glittering benefit evening, on and on -- the assembled press grew incredulous. Had something this big really been put together in Hawaii?
Finally, someone suggested that the logos for the orchestra and the festival must have been done somewhere else.
No, said Sviridoff, they were done by Honolulu's Design Logix. "Everyone involved is from Hawaii, except me," he said, "and I'm hoping, after this, you'll want to adopt me."
Lost About Lost: After the season premiere of "Lost" at Sunset on the Beach last Saturday, ABC/Disney threw cast and crew a party at the new Pearl nightclub.
Unfortunately, I am nearly TV illiterate. At the bar, I found myself standing next to a young guy -- scruffy beard, camouflage clothes, baseball cap, obviously having enjoyed a Pearl martini or two. "Hmm," I thought, "wonder how this dude slipped in?"
He was a convivial soul, we got to talking. I introduced myself, but the conversation just rolled past the introduction. Finally, I said, "And your name is?" He looked at me strangely. "Josh," he said.
Ten minutes later, someone pointed out to me it was Josh Holloway, whom nearly everyone on the planet would recognize, since he plays Sawyer on the show.
Soon, the party got so packed you couldn't move with meeting someone. I ran into Holloway's wife, Yessica Kumala. She introduced Josh to me again.
"Sorry I didn't recognize you before," I said. "Oh, it's better that way," he said. "Much better."
Eddie Writes! Who saved Sinatra from drowning on a Kauai beach? How did Burgess Meredith fake a Waikiki barroom brawl? Why did Jack Lord fire Zulu from Hawaii Five-O? Eddie Sherman apparently knows -- and he's got a tell-all book from his days as a columnist, called "Frank, Sammy, Marlon & Me," due out next month. Says Sherman, "I'm going to shock a few people who didn't believe I could write an 10-word item, much less a book."
New Yorker: Wednesday, Hawaii's hottest young chef tapes an appearance on the Food Network's "Iron Chef." His name is Tony Liu. There's a reason you've never heard of him: He cooks in New York City.
A Kaiser grad, Liu went to KCC, worked at 3660 and Roy's before heading east. After Culinary Institute of America, he learned his trade at a diverse set of stellar New York eateries -- Daniel (French), Tabla (modern Indian), Babbo (Italian).
He now presides over the kitchen at a Greenwich Village restaurant called August, where his pan-European menu has the New York food press drooling.
Liu credits KCC prof Frank Leake for encouraging him to move on to a wider culinary world. "Lots of local chefs could do this," says the modest Liu. "It's just sometimes in Hawaii, we get a closed-minded. You just gotta go and do it."
Already As High As It Can Get: The mood was jubilant at Thursday night's Shidler College of Business Hall of Honor Awards. That's because the new name also came with a $25 million gift from real estate and financial wizard Jay Shidler. When Shidler, who earned his business degree at UH, stepped up to give the keynote address, the entire Coral Ballroom full of business heavyweights, academicians and politicos stood and gave him a standing ovation.
Shidler seemed touched. "If this moment were a stock," he said, "I'd short it." If you don't get the joke, perhaps you skipped business school.
Tau Party: Last weekend's most exclusive shindig was thrown by Peter Rockford Espiritu's Tau Dance Theatre. About 50 of the troupe's biggest supporters were invited to the grounds of Iolani Palace.
Pupus included Veuve Cliquot champagne and kilos of Tsar Nicoulai caviar. Guests arrived in costume. Arts promoter Tim Bostock dressed as a pirate. Donna Bebber came as a '20s flapper, her fingers festooned with rings from her Vera Wang boutique.
Dr. Kalani Brady came in a red-and-blue zoot suit he rented from Diamond Head Theatre. Paul Brown showed up in a sequined sport coat that he was forced to admit he found in his own closet.
Outside under the moonlight, the company previewed its new opera/dance/drama, "Naupaka," a work that manages to be both avant garde and traditionally Hawaiian.
Then the event moved inside to palace's barracks building, which had been transformed into an Arabian Nights wonderland by interior designer John Staub. While guests feasted on Kona lobster gazpacho and ti-leaf-wrapped kampachi, the troupe unleashed everything fire-wielding belly dancers to an homage to strip clubs.
"It was a little edgy," says Espiritu, who sat next to his 73-year mother. "As dancers, we know how to be respectful in cultural things, but after that's over, we know how to party."