What the Heck?
COURTESY INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF ARBORICULTURE
World champion tree climber Bernd Strasser of Germany, pictured here at last year's competition, will be defending his title next weekend in Honolulu. CLICK FOR LARGE
Tree specialists take climbing seriously
Up a Tree:
Of all the athletic events in the world, perhaps the International Tree Climbing Championship has escaped your attention.
It will be held here, next weekend, when 2,000 members of the International Society of Arboriculture arrive for their annual convention.
Aboriculturists take care of trees -- which requires climbing them. To compete in Hawaii, 56 climbers, 19 of them women, have qualified in regionals, including six-time world champion Bernd Strasser of Germany.
There are rules: "You can't hurt the tree and you have to climb safely," says ISA's Sonia Garth. "You have to land on a prescribed target with both feet."
A preliminary round will be held Saturday in trees at University of Hawaii at Manoa. The Sunday championships are at the Sheraton Royal Hawaiian Hotel.
When contacted, a Sheraton spokesperson said, "What!? We don't let anyone climb our trees." But it's true. The finalists will be climbing the banyan and the adjacent monkeypod in the hotel's Coconut Grove.
Free Parking: Usually when you valet park in Waikiki, you're out at least a few dollars plus tip. Not Jon de Mello, who handed off his new silver Ferrari F430 to the valet at the Royal Hawaiian.
The valet left it out front. When de Mello returned after dinner, the valet said that Japanese tourists had all wanted to pose with it for pictures. He'd made $200. "Split it with you," he said -- and handed de Mello $100.
The Wings of Art: Downtown, the new restaurant at the Hawaii State Art Museum, has doubled attendance at the museum. So I called to ask: How come the museum hasn't changed its main art exhibit since 2002?
"Because we've been busy," said Jonathan Johnson, manager of the state's Art in Public Places program. The three people in his department have put art into Molokai's civic center and a Maui medical center, and just recently installed 60 works of art in the Ewa Concourse of Honolulu International Airport.
"We're about public art," says Johnson, pointing out that 20 million people a year pass through the airport. "That's more than will ever go to a museum. And, face it, these days people in an airport concourse have a lot of time on their hands."
Return to Sender: Speaking of public art, is anyone else appalled that the city is letting a cable TV network install a statue of Elvis outside the Blaisdell? Elvis was a great artist and all, but the statue is being "donated" by TV Land to promote the fact it's recycling old Elvis movies all month.
Expect some fuss Thursday about the unveiling. But this is such a cheesy promo event that the larger-than-life bronze really ought to be made of Velveeta.
Can you manage a few koholo to the strains of "Waikiki" and the "Aloha Week Hula"? If so, Iwalani Tseu wants you.
In 1996, Tseu organized the event that went down in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's longest hula line: 3,500 dancers. In 2000, an attempt to break the record didn't result in a single 'ami. "Maybe because they didn't have me," laughs Tseu.
This year, however, she's back, trying to get 5,000 dancers to turn out on Waikiki Beach Sept. 22. She's got 1,000 so far, with two months to go. "No talk, just show up," she says. "No say, 'I'm coming' and then no come."
If you are going to show up, call the Aloha Festivals office (808) 589-1771 and register. It won't help if you dance, but they can't prove to the Guinness people that you were there.
Million a Month Club: Dropped by a cocktail party at 4577 Kahala Ave., the stunning $12.5 million, five-bedroom beachfront house put up by developer Don Eovino. Mainly real estate folks and mortgage bankers welcomed the guest of honor, Dr. Richard Ragatz, an expert on fractional ownership.
What's fractional ownership? It's time share on steroids. Take a luxury property and split it into 1/8ths or 1/6ths, so the buyer ends up owning it for six weeks or two months a year.
This home at 4577 Kahala Ave. can be yours for a million a month. The $12.5 million, five-bedroom beachfront house was put up by developer Don Eovino. CLICK FOR LARGE
It's a new concept for Hawaii. It's usually applied to resort properties. For instance, the luxury condos going up where Maui's Kapalua Bay Hotel used to stand are fractional ownership units.
But it's seldom applied to single-family homes, anywhere in the country. Till Hawaii beachfront prices went through the roof.
You can still move into 4577 Kahala Ave. for $12.5 million, but you'd better hurry, because Eovino is also offering two-month shares of the home for $2.1 million.
"We've had a lot of people who couldn't see spending that much for a home they'd use one or two months a year," says Eovino. "It's probably easier to find six people with $2.1 million than one person with $12.5 million."
"Fractional ownership is going to take off in Hawaii," predicted Ragatz. "You are going to set some record prices here."
Casting Call: Rehearsals began this weekend for "Prophecy And Honor," Joe Moore's play on the court-martial of Gen. Billy Mitchell. Moore's cast for the play's revival includes veteran Hollywood actor Don Stroud, Academy Award-nominee George Segal and Academy Award-winner Richard Dreyfuss. The latter made it to rehearsals only at the intervention of Keoni Wagner at Hawaiian Airlines, having bobbled plane reservations.
How did Moore get these guys, and for nothing, since the play's a benefit? Stroud, now a Hawaii Kai resident, knew from "Hawaii Five-O" days. But Segal and Dreyfuss, no. "The tough part was getting through their agents," says Moore. "Once they read the script, they were in."