What the Heck?
PHOTO COURTESY ROGER JELLINEK
Musicians Benny Chong, Brickwood Galuteria and Jimmy Borges remembered Don Ho with both reverence and laughter last weekend at the Hawaii Book and Music Festival. Ho's posthumous "autobiography" was released earlier this year.
Hitting high notes at the Book and Music Festival
At last weekend's Hawaii Book and Music Festival:
» There was an entire pavilion devoted to the 30th anniversary of local literary quarterly Bamboo Ridge. "All this fuss is making me feel old," said co-founder Darrell Lum. "I think we'll have the 31st anniversary at the Palolo Chinese Home."
» One of the true originals on the local lit scene, Wendy Miyaki, packed the tent for her presentation. Miyaki's "Beads, Boys and the Buddha" portrays the single woman's scene in Honolulu.
At age 35, when someone asks her, "Why aren't you married?" she replies: "Just lucky, I guess."
» Matt Catingub was on the music stage fronting a quartet that included drummer Darryl Pellegrini. Sitting directly in front of the drum kit was Pellegrini's 5-year-old daughter, Myla. With a pink marking pen, Myla patiently wrote out her ABC's onto a large pad of ruled paper.
"Maybe we better play something fitting," said Catingub, and the band launched into "If You Ask Me, I Could Write a Book."
» Don Ho got his own panel at the Book and Music Festival. On the panel were his longtime music director Dennis Graue and musicians Benny Chong, Brickwood Galuteria and Jimmy Borges.
Ho's posthumous "autobiography" came out this year, replete with stories from Ho and his many friends and associates.
PHOTO COURTESY LORETTA ABLES SAYRE
Bette Midler visited Loretta Ables Sayre recently in Sayre's New York dressing room.
The panel got in a jovial mood and began telling stories that weren't in the book. Borges pointed out that Ho had two dressing rooms -- one for his public and one for "his privates." Borges stumbled into the private dressing room one evening to find Ho and a young lady involved in a situation where, as Borges put it, they clearly did not expect company.
"Don't worry, this is my friend Jimmy," said Ho. "And what's your name again, darling?"
Loretta Ables Sayre e-mailed the picture here with Bette Midler in Sayre's New York dressing room. After a performance of "South Pacific," Sayre heard a knock on her dressing room door -- it was Midler. The two Radford titas talked into the night. "We were the last to leave the theater," says Sayre.
What did they talk about? Local food they missed and Robert Cazimero, of whom both are fond. "No wonder my ears were burning," says Cazimero, whose latest Brothers Cazimero CD, "Destiny," was released by Mountain Apple last week.
I See Dead People
One fact seemed to elude the local media announcements about "Bodies ... The Exhibition," the real human cadavers that have been "plastinated" and will be on display at Ala Moana Center starting June 14.
The day before the Honolulu exhibit was announced, 21 members of Congress sponsored a bill to ban the import of such bodies -- fearing the corpses belong to executed Chinese prisoners, bought for about $200-$300 each. Tickets to see them here, already on sale, are $27.08, less for kids.
Meet You in the Parking Lot
Last weekend, it was both graduation at Kapiolani Community College and opening night for "The Producers" at Diamond Head Theatre. The theater couldn't use the college lot as overflow parking, so it brought in a valet crew.
The young crew didn't seem to realize that at the end of a play everyone gets up and leaves at the same time. There they were -- a bunch of kids trying to make a few extra bucks parking cars in the evening -- suddenly surrounded by every Type A personality in Honolulu, all wanting their cars first and standing there frustrated and muttering.
Said one prominent wife, "If they don't find our car soon, my husband's head is going to explode. He doesn't have much practice being patient."
The Sound of Vog? Silence
Parking aside, "The Producers" was a delight. The audience burst repeatedly into spontaneous applause, sometimes right in the middle of numbers.
You'd expect to see director John Rampage more or less giddy with joy after the show. Instead, I found him on the far corner of the parking lot, pensive and smoking a cigarette.
"Can't tell you how hard it was," he said. "There are 68 set pieces. One wheel comes off and you have a traffic jam."
The show's tough: Dancers have to sing, singers have to act, actors have to dance. Half the cast almost lost their voices. Dennis Proulx, who plays the lead, came down with a respiratory infection that required steroids to get him on stage opening night. "Damn vog," said Proulx. "This morning I had no voice."
Sakaguchi Bites Big Apple, Again
For the last decade, Andrew Sakaguchi has been one of the leading lights of local theater, not to mention teaching at Punahou, MidPac and Queen Emma Ballet School. He did great work appearing in "Cabaret" and "Forever Plaid," and directing "Chicago" and "Sweet Charity."
Say goodbye. He's off Thursday for New York, partly to teach at the National Dance Institute, but also to resume the professional theater career he abandoned a decade ago when he decided to come home.
"I'm 38," he says. "I'm thinking it's now or never."'
Good luck, but it's a shame he won't be starring, as originally cast, as Dr. Frank N. Furter in MVT's "Rocky Horror Picture Show," opening June 25. Tony Young steps in to sing "Sweet Transvestite."
If Can Cannes, If No Can No Cannes
Ran into Chuck Boller of the Hawaii International Film Festival. Boller was scheduled to be in Cannes, the filmfest famous for its stars, its half-naked starlets and its general international cinematic buzz.
Some glitch happened to his ticket. The airline wanted $6,000 to fly him there, and he stayed home.
"I just talked to my program director, Anderson Le, who is there," said Boller. "He sat next to Angelina Jolie last night. And I'm here, talking to you."