What the Heck?
COURTESY OF MAGGIE FUJINO
Missy DeSica, wearing a hat because of chemotherapy, shows off her new book, "Gecko and Mosquito," at her Borders book launch. CLICK FOR LARGE
Book launch turns marrow donor drive
No Matter Who Needs It:
Melissa "Missy" DeSica has always wanted to write and illustrate children's books. She's illustrated other people's books. But finally the first book featuring both her words and her pictures, "Gecko and Mosquito," rolled off the press.
A happy occasion -- except the same week, the 25-year-old author was diagnosed with leukemia. She's begun chemotherapy, but her best hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant. Her book launch at Borders saw 18 people sign up for the Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry. A second drive at her Kailua Community Church netted two dozen more.
Today from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., Faith Baptist Church in Kailua will hold yet another drive. "Having cancer still sucks," says DeSica, "but I'm happy if good can come of it."
A note: The Registry puts all prospective donors in a national database. "We don't test for just one patient. There are 3,000 people a year actively searching for a donor," says the Registry's Roy Yonashiro.
Eleven years ago, the plight of young Alana Dung brought thousands to the registry, but two of those prospective donors were matched just recently with patients somewhere else -- and refused to donate.
"I tell people they are signing up nationwide and until they are 61," says Yonashiro. "If they object, I point out that if Missy found a donor match somewhere else, they'd be upset if the donor refused because he didn't know her."
To match a specific patient, you can get a test from a private doctor, roughly $600, seldom covered by insurance. The Registry is free: 547-6154.
Smart Plans: Tony Smart, of the Parker Ranch family, died in Honolulu on June 28. A traveler, bon vivant and jazz lover, Smart left written instructions for his funeral reception last weekend.
He wanted a jazz quintet headed up by pianist Rich Crandall, with whom he'd been friends for 20 years. "You could always tell when he was at a jazz event," says Crandall. "He was a head taller than everyone else."
For Smart's memorial, Crandall recruited a quintet of the town's best jazz players and ran through a repertoire of composers Smart had requested: Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis.
The quintet kept things upbeat, "in the same spirit Tony always had," says Crandall. "Which was, essentially, 'Let's have a party.' "
At the end, the quintet played "That's All." Says Crandall, "It got really quiet after that."
Sikh and You Shall Find: Last week, the Baltimore Sun reported that a gent named Antion Meredith was teaching Hawaiian chant at a Maryland multicultural festival, while his wife Elandra taught Hawaiian healing.
"Really?" I thought. I tracked the two down in Maryland. Remarkable story: Antion was born Vic Briggs in England. He scuffled around the '60s British rock scene, meeting Ringo before he joined the Beatles. Antion played with Dusty Springfield, and then became lead guitarist and musical director for Eric Burdon & the Animals. Life in the rock 'n' roll fast lane -- which included stops at Monterey Pop and the Blaisdell in 1968 -- was, he says, "too crazy."
He quit, converted to Sikhism and taught yoga in London, where he met Elandra, a Danish-born model and actress who, under the name Kirsten Lindholm, had appeared in such films as "The Vampire Lovers" and "Lust for a Vampire."
The two married, and in 1993 "felt called" to Kauai. There, Elandra came up with Lomi Chi Holographic Healing. Antion studied Hawaiian chant with Blaine Kamalani Kia and Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett.
"In Maryland, I'm teaching just beginner's stuff, nothing too deep," he says. But he does have some creds, having chanted in the King Kamehameha Hula Competition in '99. The audience was a bit surprised when he stepped on stage, says Antion, since, in addition to being British, he sports a long Sikh beard and turban.
The two will return to Hawaii after their tour of the East Coast, but to Maui, where Antion feels the music scene is "more out and around."
COURTESY OF CLYDE TAMURA
John Corbin samples kampachi from chef D.K. Kodama at the Hawaii Aquaculture Association's convention. CLICK FOR LARGE
About 120 fish farmers, aquatic veterinarians, shrimp hatchery managers, state and federal officials, and university researchers descended on Kapiolani Community College last week for a Hawaii Aquaculture Association conference.
There were stirring talks, from experts brought in from Indonesia and Europe, on matters like the "Present State of European Aquaculture and Zootechnical Improvements in the Larval Culture of European Marine Fish."
There was also a surprise award to John Corbin, who recently retired after heading the state's aquaculture efforts since 1977. When he began, Hawaii had fewer than 20 aquaculture farms, producing less than $1 million a year in revenue. It was some satisfaction to him, he said, that we now had 100 farms making $28.4 million a year. "We're the national leading offshore producer, and we are the world leader in pathogen-free shrimp rootstock."
Hawaii's gaining a reputation as a place where aquaculture is done carefully and sustainably, says Corbin. "After all, we all started as environmentalists."
The wet farmers, as they call themselves, brought along the fruits of their labor. At conference's end, some of the best chefs in town dropped by to cook up their products. Corbin tucked into D.K. Kodama's kampachi sashimi with ponzu gelee and shiso microgreens.
Was he bothered to find himself eating fish he'd worked so hard to grow? "Not at all," he said. "That's what it's for."