What the Heck?
COURTESY OF RICH HILL
Columnist John Heckathorn applied paint to Iona Dance Theatre's Nicole Young last weekend in front of rRed Elephant.
Hugging a painted dancer hard to pass up
The card advertising Iona Dance Theatre's new production of "Paint By Numbers" said: 10 hot dancers, 10 gallons of paint.
I could hardly wait -- so I was grateful last weekend when the troupe sent individual dancers out to do their thing on the sidewalks of Chinatown.
In front of rRed Elephant, a large square of shiny white paper was taped to the sidewalk. Dancer Nicole Young, in a white two-piece swimsuit, arrived with paintbrushes thrust through her hairdo -- and three full buckets of bright, crayon-colored paints, red, green and blue.
She proceeded slowly, gracefully, to paint herself. Then she invited others. People hung back until medical recruiter Rich Hill took the brush. "How could you possibly pass up an opportunity like this?" he asked. Photographer Kim Taylor Reese applied paint enthusiastically to a proffered thigh.
In one of those cultural collisions that only happen on the streets of Chinatown, the 2008 Narcissus Court came by, to pose for pictures in their cheongsams and tiaras. Nicole got a reluctant Second Princess Leilani Soon to do some calligraphy on the dancer's calf.
The most reluctant painter was 5-year-old Keoe Hoe, who clung to her mother for 20 minutes before approaching Nicole. She got to paint the dancer and in return got a dab of paint on her nose.
By now, Nicole was pouring buckets of color on herself, dabbing paint on spectators. Finally, thoroughly spattered with wet paint, she made a move as if she wanted to hug someone in the crowd. Everyone pulled back.
What the heck, I thought, taking off my sport coat. What's one T-shirt more or less, as long as I'm making a contribution to the arts? Actually, the T-shirt looked pretty good with paint all over it, Nicole's hand prints on the back.
There were numbers affixed to the dancer's body -- the "paint by numbers" thing, I guess. On her back: 528-0506. That's the number for tickets, full performances today and next weekend at the Cupola Theatre.
Clipped Wings Still Fly on the Streets
Last weekend's First Friday was exceptional. The Matt Catingub Orchestra played Iolani Palace. In addition to half a dozen music acts, the art museum had a SpongeBob bouncer for the little ones.
Everywhere you looked there were wonderful little moments, like the maternity fashion show at Heidi Anderson's Keiki Photography studio, featuring a glowing Ina Chang, who may well have had her baby boy by now.
Down by Murphy's, the streets were packed for the block party benefit for former Aloha Airlines employees at Murphy's. The mayor was getting a hero's welcome, since the city had hired 40 former airline employees. "I wish we could have hired you all," he kept saying.
Former employee Judy Baron wandered the crowd in an inflatable airplane hat. "I'm the sticker girl," she said, cheerfully pasting a "Heavy" sticker on the mayor. Baron used to work in Aloha's lost baggage claim department. If she could calm travelers with lost luggage, she said, she could cheer up her fellow employees.
They didn't seem to need cheering. "We're glad to see each other. Lots of hugging and kissing," said my friend Stu Glauberman, who up until a week ago had handled airline's communications, and is now looking for work.
Don Murphy had tried to delay the fundraiser a week, to give them more time to plan, said Glauberman, but community impetus carried the day. "Murph just rose to the occasion. He got it done on short notice," said Glauberman.
Willie K was on stage for free. Anheuser-Busch donated the beer; wholesalers, the food, so every penny of the $70,000 raised that evening went directly to help former employees. In addition, the Lokahi Foundation found a matching donor, doubling the take. "I'm not sure the community would have done this for any other private company," said Glauberman.
Yes, But Can You Get Them Through Airport Security?
Last weekend the Bishop Museum hosted a native Hawaiian arts market. It's modeled on the Santa Fe Indian Market, which yearly attracts 1,200 Native American artists, 100,000 visitors, and pumps $19 million into the Santa Fe economy.
We're not there yet. When I arrived in the afternoon, the crowd was sparse. Most of the local people were parents of the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus, which was performing on the tarp-covered stage.
Former Waianae policeman, Manny Mattos, now retired to the Big Island, showed off a table of replica native Hawaiian weapons. The wood nearly glowed with Mattos' careful craftsmanship -- and many were studded with gleaming white tiger shark teeth. They were beautiful. "People can't leave them alone," grinned Mattos.
Diane Pope, from Australia, who stumbled upon the art market while visiting the museum, admired a dagger of a dark, smooth kauwila. "I can't sell you that particular one, it's a very rare wood," said Mattos. Pope seemed unhappy.
"I did buy a nice shrimp hook," she said, pulling a large pohaku lu he'e from her bag. "With that, you'd have better luck catching an octopus," suggested a bystander.
Mattos seemed as interested in educating people about the loss of endemic trees in Hawaiian forests as he was in selling his weapons. However, Patricia and Emmett Francoeur, from Montreal, prevailed upon to him to sell them several clubs and daggers, made out of less rare woods.
"We got gifts for our twins, for the people taking care of our house -- and for ourselves," said Emmett Francoeur. The two had taken the No. 2 bus from Waikiki -- "only $2," said Patricia Francoeur. But they were tapping the bank machine for more than $400 to pay Mattos.
"Great event," said Francoeur. "I'm surprised there aren't more people here."