Our Picks for the Weekend
Sunset on the Beach celebrates NOAA
Sunset on the Beach this weekend marks the 200th anniversary of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (did you know Hawaii has the third largest concentration of NOAA employees outside Washington, D.C.?).
Saturday's program on the Waikiki stage features music by Kauakahi and Makana and the Disney film "The Little Mermaid." On Sunday, keeping with the aquatic theme, "Shark Tale" will be screened, preceded by music from Pali and Tony C., both playing tunes from their new CDs.
Also on tap: games and crafts that promote NOAA's aims of ocean awareness, family disaster preparedness and environmental stewardship. (This weekend's Great Hawaiian Folk Life Festival also acknowledges NOAA. See Page 6.)
Food booths open at 4 p.m., entertainment starts at 5 and the movie begins shortly after sunset, about 7:30 p.m.
BYUH choir to premiere works for Asia tour
The Brigham Young University-Hawaii Concert Choir is getting ready for an tour of China and Mongolia next month, but a Honolulu audience will be the first to hear what they plan to sing.
A special preview performance of "Building Harmony" will be offered free from 4 to 5 p.m. Friday in the courtyard of Honolulu Hale.
The choir's program showcases a unique blend of dance with traditional Hawaiian, Chinese and American folk music.
The China tour will include performances at the "Meet in Beijing" Arts Festival, April 20 to June 1, the Great Wall of China, and more.
Bass-baritone Ramey reaches low for tunes
Having a "Date With the Devil" sounds a little ominous, doesn't it? It'll go singingly, however, thanks to a couple of Sams.
Performing from Offenbach's "Tales of Hoffman," Berlioz's "Damnation of Faust" and Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress" -- cheeky rather than bad-to-the-bone -- opera's lower-register superstar Samuel Ramey opens up his bass range to bring these tunes to life. The devil is in the details, but sometime's he's in Sam Ramey. His latest CD is even called "Date with the Devil," a title he beat Mötley Crüe to.
And maestro Sam Wong is back to conduct the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. The foundation-shaking begins at 8 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Sunday at the Blaisdell Concert Hall.
Admission ranges $15 to $68; student seats are only $10. Information: 792-2000 or 524-0815, ext. 245, or online at www.HonoluluSymphony.com.
Son of internee, WWII hero depicted in film
It's hard enough to make a documentary about the dizzying present, let alone the dim past, but "Citizen Tanouye" manages both.
Eight students of the class of 2005 at a Torrance, Calif., high school learned that a local Japanese-American man was awarded a Medal of Honor and that a memorial to his valor was being erected in Italy. They began researching the life of Tech Sgt. Ted Tanouye and discovered that while he was under fire in Europe, his family was locked up in relocation camps in the United States.
"Citizen Tanouye" won both the 2005 "Chris Award" (high school and college category) and the 2006 "Accolade" Award of Excellence for student documentaries.
Courtesy the city's arts offices and the 442nd RCT Foundation, the film will screen for free at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday in the artfully renovated Mission Memorial Auditorium, right next to City Hall. Call 626-7813.
Specialties of the house
When people ask for a recommendation for a Japanese restaurant, one must do some sleuthing before answering, for each restaurant has its own claim to fame. Here are a couple of newcomers that excel in tofu and soba, respectively.
2840 Kapiolani Blvd. (formerly Bea's) / 737-0230
The menu starts with comfort foods such as a teppan-cooked omelet ($4.75) and zaru tofu ($5.75) made fresh on site. One woman I know flocks to this place because the tofu reminds her of what her mother made back home in Japan, such that she insisted on doubling an order because, "I can eat the whole one by myself."
I also ordered the tofu in a broth of soy milk and dashi ($6.75). The tofu, served slightly chilled to maintain its sweetness, has little in common with grocery-store brands, so that those who insist they hate tofu may change their minds. This dish is as rich, silky and decadent as a dense flan, though with a rougher texture. It is so good that I was skeptical; there must be something bad in it! But no, the soupy version is just the result of mixing mashed soy beans, water and nigari, served with a dash of salt, spices and green onions. Open 5 to 11:45 p.m. daily. Dinner for two about $30 without drinks.
255 Beach Walk, Unit 2 / 926-0255
It is a real treat to visit Matsugen, a soba izakaya in Waikiki, where diners can absorb the entire soba-making process and sample the result. The process starts with a grinding machine with a stone mill that turns buckwheat into flour. At various times of the day, soba maker Shingo Chibano can be seen turning the flour into dough, and folding and hand-cutting it into even strips.
Those with the greatest interest in soba will start with an order of mori soba ($7.80) served cold on a bamboo tray with a dipping sauce of dashi, mirin and shoyu, alongside a dab of wasabi and sliced scallions. This allows you to savor the soba's freshness and al dente texture, which you don't get with packaged noodles.
Open 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 to 10 p.m. daily. Dinner is about $35 to $45 for two without drinks.
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