What the Heck?
California mayor turns out to be Maui rancher
San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom got engaged in Hawaii last weekend - to actress Jennifer Siebel.
Newsom's a colorful figure, best known for issuing 4,000 marriage licenses to gay couples, and for having an affair with his campaign chairman's wife.
The Big Question, according to California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, was: When? Newsom declined to name a date.
Being from here, our question was: Where? Where in Hawaii does the mayor of San Francisco go to propose?
An AP story out of San Francisco said Kailua-Kona. But when we called the mayor's press office, the answer was: Maui, unspecified location.
A little digging turned up an interesting fact. In 2001, Newsom, his father and the super-rich Getty family, plus a few other partners, bought the 4,000-acre Hana Ranch for $24 million - an investment that became even more valuable when Oprah Winfrey purchased a hundred or so acres of the property.
PHOTO BY BRION TOPOLSKI / COURTESY FROOT JEWELRY
Polish-born actress Dominika Wolski poses on a Maui beach, promoting an eco-friendly jewelry line.
Eco-friendly is a Maui Beach
Polish-born actress Dominika Wolski has roles in a movie, "Vanquisher," and a Canadian TV series, "jPOD." She's had minor roles in dozens of films and TV shows. And she's just signed on as the face of the "first eco-friendly red-carpet jewelry line," from celeb designer Elizabeth Moore, who also did Cindy Crawford's jewelry collection.
The jewelry was so eco-friendly that it required Wolski to fly to Maui, to photograph the Spring 2008 Collection, at Paia, Kanaha and Baby Beach.
All of which seemed a fine excuse to run Ms. Wolski's picture with this column. You are supposed to be focusing on the eco-friendly jewelry.
EDDIE JOSE / COURTESY HONOLULU ACADEMY OF ARTS
Three Bhutanese monks, all of whom share the last name Tshering and two of whom share the first name Sonam, learn to conserve a sacred thangka painting at the Honolulu Academy of Arts in preparation for an exhibit of Bhutanese art opening next month.
Every morning, there's incense and prayer swirling up from the gallery where the Academy of Arts is mounting its next exhibit. Called "The Dragon's Gift," it's sacred art from Bhutan, an isolated, landlocked, heavily Buddhist country in the Himalayas.
So sacred are the exhibit's 117 thangka paintings, sculptures and ritual objects that three Bhutanese monks accompanied them. The three - all have the same last name, Tshering, and two have the same first name, Sonam - chant morning and evening. "It's like living in a Buddhist temple," one staffer said.
Asked why they were chanting, Academy spokesperson Lesa Griffith said it was to keep the art safe. "It seems to be working," she added. "It's all still here."
The monks' duties are not confined to prayer. They spend the day learning conservation techniques so they can take care of the art in their own country.
Madam, I'm Adam
Honolulu Jazz Quartet drummer Adam Baron has a solo album out, "Pangaea." It's not jazz. He calls it "New Age music on steroids."
Months ago, he released it with a national Internet campaign, but oddly enough, he's sold more copies in Hawaii than nationally - even though the quite listenable CD has received scant local publicity.
"I think I had the marketing backwards," he says. "It's kind of an identity crisis." It's even more of an identity crisis because on the album he calls himself not Adam, but Von Baron.
"Von Baron sounds like someone who'd shoot down Snoopy," I said. "Kind of militaristic."
No, no, said Adam, his album was all about peace. "That's why it's selling well to people who know me and know I'm sincere."
Get Your Tango On
Kai and George Garcia begin their Tango Boot Camp at the Honolulu Club this Tuesday. "It does not involve any actual boots," says Kai. "Part of the fun for the ladies is wearing fancy shoes."
It's called boot camp because it's hours of lessons a day for at least two weeks - three for real tango devotees. "If at the end, you aren't tired and your feet don't hurt, says Kai, "you're not doing right."
Why would anyone put themselves through that? "Oh, don't you know?" Kai says. "Every single tango is a three-minute romance."
No experience or partner necessary.
Getting Georgia Off My Mind
Oceanic knocked out service to my house during the Sugar Bowl. Angry at the time, I later realized it was an act of mercy.
By the next morning, Georgia fans had videos all over YouTube. A 10- or 12-year-old Georgian named Jonathan videotaped a five-minute rant on the game: "Hawaii's so sad. Lord, have mercy. We're so much better than those Hawa-ee-yuns."
The most poignant video of all: a two-minute montage of Colt Brennan getting sacked, to the sweet strains of Ray Charles' "Georgia on My Mind."
Behind the Green Door
"They all followed me from Chinatown," said chef Betty Pang, who opened the new location of her Green Door Café in Kahala without a word to anyone a few days after Christmas - and found herself unexpectedly crowded.
"We'll have a grand opening sometime, maybe February," says Pang. "We're too busy for that now."