What the Heck?
PHOTO BY JOHN HECKATHORN
Jimmy Borges, Mayor Mufi Hannemann and Danny Kaleikini made up an impromptu trio at last weekend's Big Brothers Big Sisters annual fundraiser.
Honolulu’s 3 tenors seize stage
A quiz. Name three men in Honolulu who, confronted with a microphone and an audience, can't resist singing. One, of course, is our musical mayor. The other two: Jimmy Borges and Danny Kaleikini, who have the excuse of being professional vocalists.
All three were in the Tapa Ballroom last weekend, guests at the annual Big Brothers Big Sisters fundraiser.
The official entertainment was Jake Shimabukuro -- whose set, coming as it did after the speeches, was largely ignored by the audience, who wanted to drink, eat and chat.
After dinner and a live auction, up onto the stage popped Honolulu's answer to the three tenors. Mayor Mufi Hannemann made a number of mock refusals to sing lead. But mildly prevailed upon, he dropped into a doo-wop ballad. Kaleikini and Borges climbed on chairs so they'd be tall enough to share the stage.
So rousing was the audience's response that one attendee, Carolyn Berry, offered to donate $5,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters if the trio would duplicate their performance at a party in her home. Done.
Really though, if she'd just invited all three, it might be hard to keep them from singing.
Ben's Theory of Aging
At the Big Brothers Big Sisters event, I ran into former Gov. Ben Cayetano. Asked what he was up to these days. Nothing, he insisted. "I'm retired, I'm turning 70 this year."
Said he didn't look it. "That's because I'm out of office," he insisted. "The minute I left, I started looking younger again." Then he chuckled. "Linda's been looking kinda old lately. She'll look better too, once her term's over."
Rubies, Emeralds and Schoolbooks
To buy gems for his business, Honolulu resident Gary Bowersox travels to rural Afghanistan -- places with no roads or phones. Last year he encountered four schools so poor they even lacked paper and pencils.
This year, through the East Honolulu Rotary, he's trying to raise $10,000 to remedy the situation, money he insists will go a long way. "We can buy schoolbooks for $1 each in Kabul," he said. "I'm delivering them personally."
So far, he's raised $8,200. You can help him reach his goal by the end of the month: 792-3332. He promises donors both a written report and an invite to a VIP reception at his Waikiki Gem Hunters studio.
Honey, Look Who I Brought Home
Irrepressible Neri Heenan was at the opening of Diamond Theatre's production of Rogers and Hammerstein's "Flower Drum Song."
The Rogers and Hammerstein Organization -- still a going concern -- sent a senior VP, Bert Fink, to read a short message of congrats.
Rogers and Hammerstein also wrote "South Pacific," in which Loretta Ables Sayre is appearing at Lincoln Center. So Fink also read a message from Sayre, part of which was in pidgin. The pidgin he butchered.
The next day Heenan, while driving, spotted "a haole guy in shorts and a baseball cap," who turned out to be Fink. The next thing he knew, she was driving him out to the Kahala to see the dolphins, then taking him home to meet her husband, Campbell Estate trustee Dave Heenan, who's known for his books on business, like his latest, "Flight Capital: The Alarming Exodus of America's Best And Brightest."
"Does your husband know you make a habit of picking up strange men?" asked Fink.
"We've been married 41 years," said Heenan. "He's used to me by now."
Over drinks and dinner at the Pineapple Room, Heenan gave Fink a signed copy of her husband's latest tome. "Show it around New York," she said. "Maybe there's stage potential there."
You can just see it: "Flight Capital -- The Musical."
Hawaiian Blossom Blooms
Raiatea Helm took off Thursday for a four-city West Coast tour: Seattle, Portland, Eugene and San Francisco.
"The venues are all selling well," said the Hawaiian Blossom, as she's being billed. "I'm always interested in meeting the audiences -- though sometimes it's sad, sort of. You see all these Hawaiian people, and I sometimes want to say, 'What are all you guys all doing up here? You should come home.'"
Bev Gannon Cooks in Kids' Book
Maui chef Bev Gannon was in town Thursday, celebrating both the 20th anniversary of her Hali'imaile restaurant, and her recent award as Small Business Person of the Year. Celebrating how? She cooked lunch for two dozen friends at the SubZero/Wolf Showroom.
After two restaurants and a successful cookbook, what's next? Turns out Gannon is due to be immortalized in a children's book, written by Maui's Yvonne Biegel. "That's the kind of project you come up with when you have three kids under age 7," said Biegel.
Illustrations are by Honolulu's Andrew Catanzariti, who confided that Gannon had not liked his preliminary sketches of her. "Make her thinner," suggested Biegel.
Pecha Kucha Comes to Honolulu
It's a funny name -- Pecha Kucha, pronounced fast, a Japanese term meaning "chitchat."
It's also a global phenomenon -- a gathering of designers, architects, artists that happens regularly in 119 cities. Honolulu held its first Pecha Kucha Thursday night.
"We wondered whether more than a dozen people would show," said architectural designer Mark Hakoda, who helped organize the event. Hakoda was surprised at the turnout. ARTS at Marks was standing room only.
Here's the deal at Pecha Kucha. A presenter gets to show 20 slides, for 20 seconds each, meaning each moment of fame lasts all of 6 minutes, 40 seconds.
The range was extraordinary, from photographs to jewelry design to architectural think pieces, including a project in which UH architecture student Sydney Schwartz bent, tore, stapled and soaked copies of "Gray's Anatomy" (the book, not the TV show), all to prove some point about the nature of flatness. You had to be there.