What the Heck?
PHOTO COURTESY OF VIVIAN BEAUMONT THEATRE
Hawaii's Loretta Ables Sayre won rave reviews as Bloody Mary in the Lincoln Center revival of "South Pacific," which opened Thursday in New York.
Loretta Ables Sayre gets ‘big New York roar’
The New York Times review of the revival of "South Pacific" at Lincoln Center was rapturous. Not only is the show a hit, but the Times also credits Loretta Ables Sayre with "a terrific New York debut." Variety called her a "marvelous Hawaiian actress." The New York Daily News called her "a breakout star."
"She is, she is," said Hawaii actress and Sayre's friend, Stefanie Smart, who traveled to New York for opening night. Smart had to yell into her cell phone to be heard over the loud and raucous cast party at the Tavern on the Green. "It was so great to see one of our own come into her own. Loretta's energy, her presence on stage, she's just a force of nature, brilliant."
Smart ran out of superlatives and handed the phone to Randl Ask. You may remember Ask from his years on stage here, most notably in "La Cage aux Folles" at Diamond Head Theatre. A year or so ago, Ask moved back to New York. He was having lunch with the musical director for "South Pacific," when he suggested that Sayre get an audition for the part of Bloody Mary. Good call.
"When Loretta stepped out for her curtain call tonight," he said, "she got a big New York roar. This town loves her."
Dressing Room Goes to the Dogs
Among the flowers in Sayre's opening night dressing room were some from her dogs, Maka and Pequeno -- and from the pet nannies of Hawaii Pet Nanny service, who've been taking care of them while Sayre is in New York.
What kind of flowers do dogs send, I asked Tammy Kubo of Hawaii Pet Nanny. "Oh, they know Mommy loves tropical bouquets," she said.
Destined to Miss Opening Night
Robert Cazimero missed the Merrie Monarch Festival this year. He and Burton White of the Hawaii Theatre flew out Thursday night to catch the opening weekend of "South Pacific."
"We wanted to go to opening night," said Cazimero. "But I had to work" -- on a new Brothers Cazimero album, "Destiny," which is generating enthusiasm from everyone involved with the project. "Of course, we'll have to see if the people like it," shrugged Cazimero.
Read It, But Don't Drop It on Your Foot
Advance copies have been circulating around town of "Honolulu Stories," a new anthology by Mutual Publishing's Bennett Hymer and historian Gavan Daws ("Shoal of Time," "Land and Power in Hawaii").
It's a remarkable work -- 1,176 pages, two centuries of imaginative writing, 350 works by 250 writers, in nine languages, with translations.
Represented are classics like Melville, Twain, Stevenson; writers well-known nationally (Hunter Thompson, Joan Didion) and in Hawaii (Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Darrell H.Y. Lum); others hardly known at all. It starts with a Hawaiian chant and ends with the lyrics to "Honolulu City Lights."
"I probably ended up working on it for less than minimum wage," said Daws. "But putting together this book was its own reward. We packed amazing stuff between the covers. Everywhere you browse in the book, you find something tasty."
What's a Buddhist Hummer Look Like?
On H-1, I spotted a maroon Hummer, its entire side painted with a depiction of a Bhutanese temple and, on the back, an advertisement for "The Dragon's Gift," the exhibition of Bhutanese art currently at the Academy of Arts.
Seemed so unlike either the staid Academy or the Buddhist monk-artists of Bhutan.
It turns out the Hummer belongs to Eddie Jose, the Academy's chief art conservator. For years, Jose has been working to preserve Bhutan's artistic legacy. This summer, he'll ship the Hummer to the remote Himalayan country to traverse rugged terrain in search of more art to preserve.
Jose's also training a group of Bhutanese monks who've come to Honolulu to study in his workshop. It was these monks who pimped his ride.
In addition, they've painted eight surfboards -- which they intend to sell to help fund their art conservation efforts. If you're interested in a Buddhist surfboard, call Jose at the Academy.
Surf's Up for Buck
Veteran ad man Buck Laird retired last Monday. The founder of Laird Christianson didn't even get walked to the elevator, so busy was the agency, newly enlarged since its acquisition of Starr Seigle.
The next night at the Bankers Club, 100 people showed up to give him a send off. Word is that his partner of 16 years, Dennis Christianson, actually cried at the event. "Dennis spoke last," said Laird. "We were all getting a little choked up by that point."
Did Laird get a gold watch? No, to match his "retirement car," a yellow and black Mini convertible, he got a custom-designed, 8-foot surfboard -- not painted by monks, but by the agency's creative department.
Every year the Hawaii Publishers Association gives its Pa'i awards for newspaper and magazine publishing. Lots of awards, 102 in 35 categories. Handing them out are two emcees, me and Cathy Cruz.
Now that's she's married and Cathy Cruz-George, I no longer have to explain that she's not KITV's Catherine Cruz, but the writer for Pacific Business News. Her new father-in-law is Pacific Business News' managing editor Jim George. "Your husband doesn't work there, too?" I asked. "Oh, no," she said. "I couldn't deal with both of them at work."
The awards were last Tuesday, the morning after the last Aloha Airlines flight. A hush fell over the room when "Spirit of Aloha," the in-flight magazine for Aloha Airlines, took a couple of awards. In a reminder that shockwaves from the Aloha shutdown are going to ripple through community, that literate, well-designed magazine is no more.
"It's horrible, but it's survivable," said Dave Pellegrin of Honolulu Publishing Co., which had published the magazine for 30 years. Pellegrin saw some wry humor in it all. Honolulu Publishing also has the in-cabin magazine for the Hawaii Superferry. Which, fortunately, starts sailing again tomorrow.