JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Lori Komer has been collecting nutcrackers for more than two decades. Her collection includes the Cowardly Lion from "The Wizard of Oz," Robin Hood, a pirate with a peg leg and Merlin the magician.
Quest for the nutcrackers
A collector has amassed a variety of colorful characters
Lori Komer has gone nuts over nutcrackers. She's been collecting them for more than two decades and has about 20 pieces. "Every season, I'd buy one that caught my eye," she said.
Staged by Pamela Taylor-Tongg and featuring New York City Ballet's Joaquin De Luz and Megan Fairchild with appearances by local dancers.
» On stage: 8 p.m. Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22 and 2 p.m. Dec. 23
» Place: Blaisdell Concert Hall
» Tickets: $25 to $75, with $150 opening-night package. Call (877) 750-4400 or visit ticketmaster.com.
» Call: 521-8600
Hawaii State Ballet
» On stage: 7 p.m. Dec. 21 and 22, and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 23
» Place: Mamiya Theatre
» Tickets: $18 to $27, $16 to $24 children
» Call: 550-8457 or visit hawaiistateballet.com/tickets
And these aren't your typical marching soldiers. Among her collection are Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, Merlin the magician, an American Indian nutcracker in a full headdress and a hand-carved Cowardly Lion from "The Wizard of Oz."
"I have a pirate with a peg leg and a parrot on his shoulder," Komer said. "It has to be unique and unusual. I always have an eye out, and my family is on the lookout, as well."
Komer is especially fond of her Herr Drosselmeyer nutcracker from Germany. The character from the "Nutcracker" ballet "is the father of all nutcrackers," she said.
Komer grew up an aspiring ballerina and always loved the "Nutcracker" ballet. "When I had kids, it gave me a chance to create Christmas memories for them -- and the 'Nutcracker' is the quintessential Christmas treat," she said.
When Komer's kids were 4 and 5 years old, she took them to their first performance and bought her first nutcracker. "He needed a friend, so I bought a new one about once a year. Nothing has caught my eye in the past couple years. After 25 years of collecting, I've really slowed down."
The nutcrackers are neatly displayed in a china cabinet festively decorated with bows and lights. "Whenever you have a collection, you should put all of the pieces together," said Komer. "About 15 years ago a decorator friend told me to arrange them all together so people look at all of the pieces."
Komer also learned to store items properly, which makes for an easier setup. "Everything has its own place. I also put a photo on top of the box." The simplified process allows friends to help set up the display.
Her favorite nutcrackers are those carved by hand; she imagines someone sitting with a hammer and chisel to create them. "My oldest nutcrackers were a pair given to me by my stepdad -- a man and a woman with German faces. The faces are hand-carved and painted. The hand-whittled ones are definitely my favorite."