What the Heck?
COURTESY OF KATHLEEN FITZGERALD
Friends Maurina Borgotti and Laurie Callies greeted Mary Winpenny (wearing a hat) at a Murphy's fundraiser last Sunday to help defray Winpenny's medical expenses. CLICK FOR LARGE
Murphy's becomes Winpenny's for a day
Mary Winpenny, a longtime fixture of the downtown advertising and publishing scene, has been having a tough bout with cancer. Last Sunday, she thought she was having lunch with a few girlfriends at Murphy's.
When she got there, Murphy's had been renamed. Hanging over the door was a banner that said Winpenny's Pub. Inside, it was standing room only.
Some 300 folks had paid $50 as a fundraiser to help defray Winpenny's medical bills. It seemed everyone who ever worked with or for Winpenny showed up, including many who attended her "business meetings" in Irish pubs around town: Honolulu Publishing's Dave and Kathleen Pellegrin, Patty O'Hara and Brett Uprichard. PacificBasin Communications' John Alves, with wife Cheryl. Honolulu Magazine's A. Kam Napier, historian Bob Dye, psychologist Erika Ehrhorn, West Oahu prof and MidWeek columnist Dan Boylan, This Week's Dawn Brenneman, Network Media's Liz Cotton. On and on.
"You never think to count your friends," Winpenny said. "I didn't know I had so many."
Raiatea Helm was taking a break between sets at Chai's Bistro when her guitarist Jack Ofoia insisted she go talk to someone in the audience. He turned out to be Bill Liles, manager of the New York's historic Algonquin Hotel. Playing the Algonquin has brought any number of musicians to prominence, including Harry Connick Jr. and Diana Krall.
Liles immediately booked Helm for two weeks in June, hotel suite and first-class airfare included. "I don't have to audition?" she asked. "You just did," Liles said.
Hidden Pleasures: Behind a locked door at Bishop Museum sits a small storeroom, peeling paint, boxes stacked everywhere. "The room doesn't look like much," admits museum archivist DeSoto Brown. "But what's in here is stunning."
The room holds thousands of paintings and drawings, the museum's art collection, which has not been displayed in public since 1940. "Even most people at the museum haven't seen this," says Brown.
The collection contains originals from John Webber, Captain Cook's artist -- not just the later engravings, which are rare enough, but pencil sketches Webber did sitting on the beach in the 1770s.
There's the only drawing from life of Kamehameha the Great, an original oil by Princess Kaiulani, dozens of historic paintings, boxes of rare botanical prints, even a Primo Beer "Masters of Hawaiian Music" poster from the 1970s.
To see the collection, the public will have to wait until January 2008, when the museum's new picture gallery opens. "But while they're waiting, we'll be busy," says Brown. Busy cleaning, restoring and reframing -- which can cost thousands a painting.
If you'd like to help, tomorrow night Morton's The Steakhouse is holding a fundraiser for the museum's picture gallery and art restoration efforts.
Wild Times: Just back from a photo safari in Tanzania are Buck Laird of Laird Christianson Advertising and wife Donivee. Which struck Buck as more dangerous: the wild elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs of Africa or the untamed Honolulu ad scene? "I preferred the animals over there," he said. "I think they're more predictable."
Too Many Cooks:
Had dinner last Monday with chefs Peter Merriman, George Mavrothalassitis, Yves Garnier and Hiroshi Fukui. None of them cooked. Even Alan Wong, at whose restaurant we were, didn't cook, though he did expedite things in the kitchen.
At the stove was Jonathan Benno, the hot young chef from Per Se in New York, where, unless you have connections, you wait two months for a table.
Benno whipped up six complex little appetizers and 11 even more complex courses, each accompanied by a wine or sake or Belgian white ale. Dinner began with caviar and ended with Valrhona chocolate. In between: truffles, foie gras, lobster, free-range chicken and Kobe beef.
Only 50 people could attend, at $1,000 a head. Organized by American Express' Tom Mullen and food writer Joan Namkoong, the dinner was a benefit for Hale 'Aina Ohana, which promotes culinary education at the state's community colleges.
Joining me in a postprandial cigar, 20 feet from the Alan Wong's entrance, was Maui contractor -- and bon vivant -- Mitch Kyser. Asked him if he'd flown over specially for the occasion. "I made sure to have a business meeting on Oahu, so I'd just happen to be here," he said. "Who'd miss this?"
Even Keel: Last Monday, the Falls of Clyde, the 129-year-old sailing ship tied up next to the Hawaii Maritime Center, was listing badly, fortunately to its port side, away from the building. "Everybody was calling us," says Donald Bell, in charge of the ship's maintenance. "The Harbor Patrol, other ships, even people from tall buildings downtown."
A crew working on cleaning and sealing its tanks had inadvertently burst a pipe. The resulting flood unbalanced the ship. The bow was higher than the stern, the port side listing "something scary," says Bell.
Bell worked a couple of 16-hour days. By Thursday evening, his pumping and patching had the ship back on an even keel.
"It's like I'm glued to that ship. Taking care of it is the only thing I've ever really liked to do," says Bell. But budget constraints mean he's its only full-time caretaker. A museum ship like the Falls of Clyde is a rare civic possession, and ours could probably use some community TLC.
Misery Loves Company: If the stresses of island life are getting to you, make yourself feel better by web surfing over to RatherBeInHawaii.com. On that site, mainlanders can post photos of themselves in all their winter misery. The most miserable-looking entrant gets a free trip to Hawaii, from sponsors Hawaiian Air and Starwood Hotels.