What the Heck?
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Local singer Mihana Souza will be taking over the rRed Elephant next weekend in celebration of her birthday, bringing together a band that includes Grammy winner Jeff Peterson and saxophonist David Choy. CLICK FOR LARGE
Singer Mihana throws herself 3-day party
Let's Have a Party!
Singer Mihana Souza has three birthdays. Her mother, the legendary Irmgard Farden Aluli, always told her she was born June 21. And so she thought until a few years ago, when she found a copy of her birth certificate.
The certificate contained two shocks. One, her name wasn't Mihana, it was Irmgard. And, two, she wasn't born until a few minutes before midnight June 22.
Her twin brother, Inoa, was born 12 minutes later, in the early a.m. of June 23. Says she: "We're twins. We ought to have the same birthday, yeah?"
How does someone with three birthdays celebrate? "My mom always said to get everyone together, put on a show," she says. She put together a band that includes Grammy winner Jeff Peterson and saxophonist David Choy.
All next weekend, she takes over the rRed Elephant. She originally planned Friday and Saturday night concerts, but those sold out so quickly, she was forced to add a Sunday matinee. The Saturday night concert will be recorded for a new CD, a DVD and a webcast on iamhawaii.com.
The family will show up. Her sister Aima McManus and cousin Luana McKenney will reunite as Puamana, with Iwalani Kahalewai. Her daughter Mahina Souza will reunite with Kahala Mossman as their former group, Kahala Moon. The man Mihana calls Uncle Bill, 99-year-old ukulele player Bill Tapia, flies in from California for the occasion.
It wouldn't be a birthday party without ice cream and cake. For each concert, Mihana herself is baking a "double chocolate" cake for 200 people.
The Art of Sumo:
"Musashimaru mizu" is one of the sumo-themed drawings by artist Lynn Matsuoka. CLICK FOR LARGE
Artist Lynn Matsuoka, a part-time Hawaii resident, spent last weekend's sumo tournament hanging out in the dressing room with the sumotori.
In Japan, Matsuoka is famous as the Degas of sumo. She's done drawings of sumotori in their dressing rooms during every tournament in the last 20 years.
So what's it like spending some 1,800 evenings in the company of massive naked men? "They're not naked," says Matsuoka. In the dressing room, she insists, they wear towels or fundoshi underwear, these days often in bright colors like bubble gum pink.
"I don't think of them as sexy men, or as a roomful of fat guys," says the artist. "I think of them as objects of art." Caught by her charcoals and pastels, that's certainly what they become. You can see Matsuoka's sumo art all this month at the Robyn Buntin Gallery.
It's not been much publicized, but next year the Contemporary Museum in Makiki Heights breaks ground on a major expansion. Finalizing the designs for a new gallery is Southern California architect Frederick Fisher, who just won the Rome Prize for Architecture.
Fisher's lauded for designing straightforward museums that don't detract from the art they contain, though occasionally he gets zapped for designing "boring boxes." Preliminary drawings for the new gallery look like, well, glass boxes. Expect the Contemporary Museum to suddenly look more contemporary.
Up From Down Under: Hawaii's newly energized Australian American Chamber of Commerce wanted to make a splash. On Saturday, they are flying in Australian wines, cheeses and star chefs for a culinary extravaganza at Aloha Tower.
"We figured if Hawaii and Australia had one thing in common," said the Chamber's Barry Whitfield, "it was a love of food and wine. We're going to really do it up right."
The Melbourne masters will be joined by local chefs Goran Streng, Donato Loperfido and Phillipe Padovani, the last of whom grew up in Australia. It's a benefit for the Hawaii HomeOwnership Center; call 523-9500.
Saving Room: I happened to be meeting chef Alan Wong last Sunday afternoon when out of his restaurant poured about four dozen senior citizens. It seems Wong has for the last five years quietly been providing occasional lunches for members of the Moiliili Senior Center. "We do it to be good neighbors," says Wong. "But we also use it as staff training."
"Our seniors always say, 'We don't mind being guinea pigs,' " says the center's director, Jill Kitamura. "Every time we see the food, we go, 'Oh, my goodness.' "
Hardly any of the seniors, some of them shut-ins, had ever eaten at the restaurant. Kitamura has vans pick up the ones who have difficulty getting around. As a thank-you, the center brings its performing troupes of seniors -- ukulele players, dancers, martial artists -- to entertain the staff.
Kitamura's secret to dining at Wong's: "Always save room for dessert."
Uncooking: For decades, there's been no more gourmet couple in Honolulu than Pete and Sylvia Thompson. They hit all the best restaurants from here to Paris, belonged to all the elite wine societies -- and Sylvia was such a good cook she'd invite Alan Wong to dinner.
Then in 2004, Pete had heart surgery. Sylvia converted them to a vegan diet and worried that she'd never cook a decent meal again.
Flash forward to last Thursday night at Dole Cannery. A hundred well-dressed folks showed up to for the opening of Sylvia's Licious Dishes, drinking organic chardonnay and loading plates with Sylvia's food, like mushrooms with broccoli pesto.
Licious Dishes is not a restaurant. You order Monday and pick up five packaged meals on Friday. All the food is not only vegan, it's also raw, never heated above 115 degrees. Sylvia went to school in California, she says, "to learn to uncook."
Raw vegan food? "Those mushrooms are awesome," said jazz trumpeter DeShannon Higa to wife Rocky Brown.
"You have to try the zucchini bisque," said Michel's Philip Shaw.