Our Picks for the Weekend
SalsaFest raises money for Hispanic causes
While most of this year's Summer SalsaFest highlights will take place at Ala Moana Beach's McCoy Pavilion Saturday, there's also a related dance competition Friday to qualify for the 4th Annual World Salsa Championships in Orlando, Fla., in December.
The qualifier runs from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Planet Hollywood in Waikiki ($10 at the door for those 18-and-over).
Saturday's festival, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., includes dance lessons in the pavilion's dining room, plus performances by Frankie Morales from New York City, Puerto Rican reggaeton artists Nico Canada and Syx Syce & Rafil, tango dancers Carlos Stasi and Susana Guevara from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Hawaii's own Son Caribe performing on the main stage and in the courtyard.
Tickets are $25 advance ($20 for seniors and military), $30 Saturday, and free for children.
Night owls can attend an after-party at Hard Rock Café on Kapiolani Boulevard from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. (18 and over, $10 admission with a festival wrist band or $15 at the door).
The festival is a fundraising event for the Hispanic Center of Hawaii. Call 941-5216 or 783-4804, and for a full festival schedule, visit HawaiiSummerSalsaFest.com.
Learn how to live green at Waikiki seminar
Learn how to become more environmentally aware at a panel discussion, "How the Hummingbird Stopped Global Warming: Practical Steps to Recycle, Reduce, Reuse and Repair."
Experts converge at the Sukyo Mahikari Honolulu Center in Waikiki's Eaton Square, where panelists - including Life of the Land's Henry Curtis, Peter Rosegg from Hawaiian Electric and Stuart Scott of Climate Corps - share their expertise on opportunities to modify our lifestyles in ways less destructive to our environment.
The discussion takes place 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call 945-9220 to RSVP, or visit sukyo_mahikari.org.
Chaminade chorus performs masterworks
The Fifth Annual Hawaii Vocal Masterworks Festival on Sunday will feature the music of Ralph Vaughn Williams.
The works of the English choral and string music master will be performed by Chaminade University's chorus-in-residence, the Hawaii Vocal Arts Ensemble, along with members of the festival chorus, with string accompaniment. Selections include "Toward the Unknown Region," "Five Variants on 'Dives and Lazarus,'" "Five Mystical Songs" with baritone soloist Leslie "Buz" Tennent, "Linden Lea," "Ca' the Yowes" and more.
It all starts at 4 p.m. at the university's Mystical Rose Oratory, located on campus at 3140 Waialae Ave.
Tickets are $20, $15 military and seniors, and $5 students. Call 550-8457 or visit honoluluboxoffice.com.
Learn more about the event and its performers by calling 372-0274, or visit hawaiivocalarts.org.
Guest pianist prepares to captivate audience
The music of avant-garde legend John Cage comes to life next Thursday with a performance of "Sonatas and Interludes."
It's a collection of 20 pieces played on a "prepared" piano, on which the sound is altered by placing items on the strings, hammers and dampers. In this case, the items include screws, bolts, rubber, plastic and an eraser.
Cage wrote the composition from 1946 to '48, following his introduction to Indian philosophy and the teachings of art historian Ananda K. Coomaraswamy.
Guest pianist John Tendler from Vermont will perform the unorthodox and captivating collection.
The concert starts at 8 p.m. at the ARTS at Marks Garage on Nuuanu Avenue downtown. Tickets are $8 advance and $10 at the door. Call 550-8457 or visit honoluluboxoffice.com
Off the Wall
Pearl Kai Shopping Center, 98-199 Kamehameha Highway / 486-9255
Grant Murata, executive chef of Off the Wall, is finding himself pulled in two directions at the restaurant, by purists seeking authentic local Okinawan fare and those who want to see less oil in the cooking and bittermelon with some of the bitterness removed, as well as more contemporary "off the wall" fare.
At times like these, one has to trust in one's vision and the belief that it's strong enough to entice people to follow.
The restaurant is a work in progress, one with a lot of Okinawan inspiration and some arty ambition that may or may not work with an untested market. Workers can scoop up plate lunches and burgers by day, and izakaya-style helpings at night. Families fill the room in the early evening, with sake and shochu drinkers showing up later.
Key to the Okinawan portion of the menu are Off the Wall's "champuru," or stir-fry mixes of tofu, vegetables and pork ($8 day/$9 evening), or traditional combination of "goya" (bittermelon), pork and tofu ($8/$9).
Murata's Okinawan shoyu pork soba pasta ($9, evening only) is an example of the new, having eased up on the oil and incorporating a beurre blanc sauce for a European vibe.
Won tons ($6, evening only) are filled not with beef or pork but with surimi and goat cheese. A quartet of shrimp ($8) wrapped in apple-smoked bacon is served on artfully arranged skewers. The arrangement doesn't last long, with the enticing aroma of bacon being its downfall, as it's devoured in seconds.
A duet of Okinawan shoyu pork ($11 evening/$10 day for Okinawan style only) provides a nod to the local and the Okinawan sensibility with its combination of soy-sauce marinated, slow-cooked pork, as well as sweet awamori-soaked pork belly rafute, that simply melts on the tongue.
Open 11 a.m. to 2:30 and 5 to 10 p.m. daily. Lunch about $10 per person; dinner for two about $25 to $35 without drinks.
Send questions, stories or other story ideas or comments to: Features, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include your phone number.