Our Picks for the Weekend
Ho'opi'i to perform at Academy of Arts
Legendary Hawaiian falsetto singer Richard Ho'opi'i does a rare Honolulu concert Saturday night at the Honolulu Academy of Arts' Doris Duke Theatre. With his late brother Sol, Richard made his reputation as one half of the amazing Ho'op'i Brothers singing duo, and he has dazzled audiences the world over for more than four decades with his amazing voice and deep commitment to his Maui roots.
Backing Ho'opi'i will be an all-star band of Aaron Mahi on bass and vocals, Jeff Peterson on slack key guitar, and Bobby Ingano on steel guitar.
Tickets for the 7:30 concert are $18, $15 for seniors and academy members. For more info, call 532-8700.
Italian is on the menu for 'Cuisine & Screen'
Don Brown's "Cuisine & Screen" program continues at the Honolulu Design Center on Sunday night with a perfect double bill. Along with an Italian dinner menu from Stage restaurant, the movie "Big Night" should help stimulate everyone's appetites.
The 1996 film was the directorial debuts of actors Stanley Tucci (now seen on NBC's "ER") and Campbell Scott. It's about two recent emigre brothers who open an Italian restaurant in a New Jersey seaside resort town. Despite its authentic fare, the new venue is in competition with the more familiar and livelier Italian eatery across the street.
As a last resort to save their restaurant, the brothers prepare the feast of their lives when they find out entertainer Louis Prima will be in town the following week.
Besides the movie at the Cupola Theater and chef Jon Matsubara's special menu, there'll also be entertainment by accordionist Christie Adams.
While RSVPs supposedly ended Wednesday, try your luck in getting one of the remaining $55 per person reservations by calling 237-5462.
Lyon open house marks Endangered Species Day
Lyon Arboretum, the University of Hawaii's botanical garden, celebrates Endangered Species Day on Friday with an open house of its gardens and labs. Winning entries from the "Our Kuleana" poster contest for students K through 12 will also be displayed starting Friday and through the end of the month.
The activities will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with garden tours running from 10 to 3. There will also be tours of the arboretum's micropropagation and seed storage labs. The arboretum is located at 3860 Manoa Road. Admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted.
And in case you didn't know, there are more endangered species per square mile in Hawaii than any other place on the planet, so efforts to protect our biodiversity are extremely important.
Celebrate the release of 'Kikaida 01' DVD set
Apparently, it's "Kikaider" everywhere except Hawaii, where it's "Kikaida" (like director is directa, conductor is conducta and the mayor is da maya). The original manga-inspired Japanese superhero was a contraction of the Japanese word for "machine" -- kikai -- and the English word "rider."
As several manga Web sites point out, Kikaider was "especially popular during the 1970s, which means you have to be of a certain age to even figure this story out.
But if you are on the snowy side of 30, you'll be thrilled to find out that all 46 episodes of "Kikaida 01" have been rescued by JN Productions and are being released as a DVD set.
The Kikaida Brothers, Ban Daisuke and Ikeda Shunsuke, will be on hand from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Shirokiya Ala Moana to celebrate the DVD release. Fellows in Kikaida costumes, games, prizes and "Kikaida-oke" also pump up the excitement.
If you're on Maui, they'll be at the Maui Community College 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Keep track of the androidal wonderfullness at www.generationkikaida.com.
Honolulu Design Center, 1250 Kapiolani Blvd., 2nd floor / 237-5429
Do you approach dining as a source of sustenance or an adventure? Your answer will determine whether you should visit the Honolulu Design Center's Stage restaurant. If you lean toward buffets and the down-and-dirty, eat-and-run experience, you won't get it. If, on the other hand, you view dining as an experience, your table is waiting.
Here, dining experiences are dubbed performances, and the room is playfully designed to give diners the feeling of stepping onto a stark black-and-white stage filled with larger-than-life lamps, frames and other obstacles that give the room an Alice-in-Wonderland effect.
To designers, the room will simply reek of design. Magazines are placed ever so carefully, upside down on a bookshelf. The food is the same way. Chef Jon Matsubara pulls out every trick in the book -- foams, fizzes, air and jellied essences -- to amuse and delight. The restaurant seems to want to tap into the Zeitgeist of a new and jaded generation, one whose formative rallying cry once was, "Here we are now, entertain us."
At lunch time, a Snake River Valley Wagyu burger with Roquefort butter and sambal ketchup is $18. Hamburger steak and foie gras is $25. In the evening, you can order a la carte or choose from two prix fixe menus at $65 and $75. Entrees include potato-scaled mahimahi ($39) and a "Dynamic Duo of Beef."
Least likely to be entertained are the culinary aesthetes who will view the menu as trying too hard. Subtle, it's not. On the other hand, it reflects the sort of unabashed "build it and they will come" that seems to have gone into the center's design, and I would not have expected anything less.
Don't miss dessert, another main attraction due to the presence of Honolulu's dessert king, Mark Okumura. A Hawaiian vanilla-poached Fuji apple-and-almond "pop tart" ($12), shaped like the all-American boxed breakfast tart, is amusing. His Fantasy of Chocolate ($22) sampler features nine bite-size gems ranging from a Valrhona chocolate shot to chocolate azuki kanten. Pure heaven.
Stage will surely test boundaries about what a dining experience should be, and I hope that it will goad other restaurateurs to up their game.
Open 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch, and 5 to 9:30 p.m. for dinner. Sunday brunch is from 10 a.m. to last seating at 1:30 p.m. Lunch starts at about $40 for two. The cost for dinner is about $150 to $180 for two without drinks.
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