What the Heck?
PHOTO COURTESY COMMUNICATIONS-PACIFIC
Andy Baker, whose Keoki Brewery is producing the new draft Primo for Pabst, with the Primo Girls, Nicole Meheula and Naomi Kukac, at the "First Taste Celebration" last week.
Primo’s premiere passes palate’s perusal
Last Monday, I drove to a Portlock beachfront mansion for an "exclusive first tasting" of the new Primo Beer. The whole trip, I tried to recall what the old Primo tasted like. Not much, really. You drank it because it was all you could afford.
Even though the brand is owned by Pabst, the hundred or so folks at the party seemed delighted to have the "local beer" back. Said Puanani Crabbe, "Primo's the beer that, when I was a little girl, my dad used to slip me sips of, under the luau table."
Primo in bottles will be produced on the mainland. But Primo on draft -- the kind we sipped at the party and will be available Dec. 10 at select outlets -- is produced by Kauai's Keoki Brewery, from a recipe provided by Pabst's award-winning brewmaster, Bob Newman. It's much better, though still pretty tame.
"Did you start with the recipe for the old Primo?" I asked Newman.
"We didn't even bother to look for it," he said.
Kapu Still Has Beer in Ear
"No can heah, get beah in my eah," said Sam Kapu over the phone. I knew I'd found my man.
Primo may have been gone for decades, but everyone still remembers the commercials -- the little pidgin-speaking cartoon guy named Primo with his dog, Howzit.
I asked around who did the spots. That indefatigable comedic machine, Billy Sage, wrote them. But the voice of the Primo character was KINE DJ Sam Kapu. Kapu signed off each commercial with "Primo. Chance 'um."
It was news to Kapu that Primo had been reborn. "Someone brought it back?" he asked. "For real?"
Opera Poised for KickOff
"Hoo Yaa!" wrote Kelly Payne, a phrase you seldom see in an e-mail about the Hawaii Opera Theatre. "Statistics show as many Americans attend opera as NFL games."
That's almost true -- 20 million Americans saw opera last year, compared with 22 million who went to an NFL game. Of course, that doesn't count the millions addicted to football on television.
Still, should you wish to cheer on HOT this season, Ms. Payne would like you to know its 2008 lineup includes "Don Carlos," "The Barber of Seville" (the opera they turned into a Bugs Bunny cartoon) and, just in time for Valentine's Day, "Romeo and Juliet," a story so romantic everyone dies.
Henry Diltz has hundreds of magazine and album covers to his credit.
Rock Legend Was Waikiki Folksinger
Henry Diltz is the legendary rock 'n' roll photographer, with hundreds of magazine and album covers to his credit, everyone from the Doors to the Monkees, the Beatles to Led Zeppelin. You've seen his work without knowing it.
However, until Ron Jacobs interviewed the official photographer of Woodstock and Monterey Pop on whodaguyhawaii.com, I had no idea that Diltz had a Hawaii connection.
"I was at UH from 1958 to 1960," says Diltz. "Never graduated. I spent all my time at the Greensleeves Coffee House in Waikiki." There, he hooked up with two Punahou guys and one from Kamehameha to form the Modern Folk Quartet. The MFQ never took off, but Diltz's photos did.
The two-hour interview plays all weekend on whodaguyhawaii.com.
If you'd like to see photos, Rhino Records has a Diltz tribute site. Or you could buy the photog's new book, "California Dreaming," which comes in a tie-dyed box inside a denim bag. It's $500 a copy, available only from the London publisher or one of Diltz's New York or L.A. galleries. Or you could wait until Diltz finds a gallery location in Lahaina.
"The three places in the world that sell the most art are New York, Paris and Lahaina," Diltz told me. "I checked it, it's true."
Give the Gift of Retail
Nordstrom will open at Ala Moana on March 7. If you cannot contain your impatience, you can buy a $150 ticket to a March 5 "sneak preview" gala.
Expect food, drink, models, fashion, entertainment -- "and, of course, you'll be able to shop," notes Pam Perret of the Seattle-based chain.
Tickets are already on sale. Why so early? "We're giving all the ticket money to three Hawaii nonprofits," says Perret, "and our nonprofit partners thought people would want to give tickets as Christmas gifts."
If you're shopping for someone whose idea of a perfect present is the chance to do yet more shopping, the gala tickets are available at the Hawaii Theatre.
Chinatown's 'Roiling Undercurrent'
Grammy Award winner Charles Michael Brotman brings his Big Island guitar trio, Kohala, to record a pair of live concerts at rRed Elephant this weekend, the last today at 4 p.m.
Brotman had a Chinatown recording studio in the '80s, when town was dead after 6:30 p.m. So much has changed, he says, not only galleries and restaurants, but, as he puts it, "this roiling undercurrent of music, all those young musicians playing music, every genre and subgenre, music you'll never hear in a Waikiki hotel." And, yes, he really does say things like "roiling undercurrent."
New Exhibit is an Architect Magnet
Stopped by the new Vladimir Ossipoff exhibit at the Academy of Arts. Every time I turned around I met an architect. A Los Angeles architect named Miller Fong had delayed his departure for a day in order to tour the exhibit. "Couldn't leave without seeing it," he said.
Seattle architect Joey Ing pored over the architectural models, with his Roosevelt High classmate, Seattle designer Ron Ho. "We had to come to this," Ing said. "Seldom is an architect honored at this level."
The tribute to Hawaii's most influential modernist was put together by Moanalua High graduate Dean Sakamoto. Sakamoto now teaches architecture at Yale.
The show's worth seeing even if you're not an architect. Most of Ossipoff's signature buildings are still up -- the Pacific Club, the IBM Building, Bachman Hall. In the '60s, as Waikiki went nuts, Ossipoff declared "a war on ugliness."
"Unfortunately," said Sakamoto, "he lost."