Hawaii










By Dave Donnelly

Tuesday, January 21, 1997


Signourney Weaver, Rod McPhee

Hale ‘Aina
finds a happy home

THE beautiful people and the beautiful food were out in force at the annual Hale ‘Aina awards to benefit the Honolulu Symphony Monday night at the Coral Ballroom. There were lots of new faces and plenty of old ones, longtime supporters of the orchestra which was led that evening by Doc Severinsen. He wore a jacket that would make Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat envious. He asked the noisy crowd to hold it down, at least don’t be “louder than my outfit.” Alan Wong’s restaurant was named tops in the state for the second straight year by readers of Honolulu magazine, and a couple dozen winning eateries in various categories kept the grazers busy and content ...

ONE guest there (courtesy of Chuck and Susan Heitzman) was an artist in his own right, pianist Leonard Pennario, who’s enjoying a week’s vacation in the islands. He retired from performing professionally in 1995, but said he performed at a tribute for late actor Lew Ayers recently and occasionally will sit down at parties to play ... Ann Simpson, with husband Jack, looked radiant, having just spent some time with her grandchild along with son Jim, a director, and his wife Sigourney Weaver, who just departed the isles to get to work on “Aliens IV: The Resurrected.”

THE group Forever Plaid did their takeoffs of vocal groups of the ‘50s at the festivities, and their name more than described Vic Hawthorne’s tuxedo jacket, bringing to mind Haywood Hale Broun out on the town ... As Mayor Jeremy Harris and First Lady of Honolulu Ramona passed by, I greeted her with a kiss on the cheek, and Hizzoner couldn’t resist quipping, “Now here’s a man with good taste.” Ditto ... Retired Punahou president Rod McPhee a cheesehead? I wouldn’t go that far, but he’s rooting madly for the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl. How un-Patriot-ic ...

Couples, same-sex and otherwise

SEEN chatting at the Hale ‘Aina party were C. Brewer honcho Doc Buyers and high-powered adman Tom Sellers. The latter reminded me of the recommendation I’d made years ago that the two ought to team up and call their firm Buyers and Sellers ... Winning Maui chef David Paul Johnson was arm in arm with beautiful Maria Coyne, who works for Conde Naste ... I ran into Sons of Hawaii member Dennis Kamakahi with Aaron Mahi of the Royal Hawaiian Band and thought they’d work just fine in one of Herb Caen’s rhyming Christmas salutations ... And finally, Susan Flowers and husband Dr. Bob Flowers were leaving the party carrying -- what else? -- flowers. “They’re alive,” cried Susan, and they did seem to have some life in them. One, with a long, tail-like object hanging down from it, resembled Audrey II from the upcoming Diamond Head Theatre musical “Little Shop of Horrors.” And no, that show has no relationship to the office of Dr. Bob, a plastic surgeon ...

WHILE buying a new tuxedo shirt at Tuxedo Junction for the occasion, I ran into Russell Druce of Matteo’s who was gearing up to accept the 13th Hale ‘Aina in a row for best Italian restaurant. No other eatery has ever won it ... Tony Spadaro of Spadaro’s Sausage Co. was asked if he is Italian. He gallantly prevented it from being the “Duh?” question of the night, by answering “Siciliano.” ...

Final notes

DINERS at the Monday party sampled numerous wines and champagnes, courtesy of various suppliers around town, and Richard Field of the R. Field Wine Company announced that the lucky folks who contributed to the Symphony that night were the very first in Hawaii to sample the latest vintage of Dom Perignon, just arrived ... Several people noted the upset price of $48,000 for the Lexus on display at the awards and appeared upset themselves that it was too high a starting point, especially since taxes were extra. It went unbid on ... It was a fun, formal evening and unlike past years when it was held in the parking lot of Diamond Head Theatre, it seems to have found a happier home at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. And the Honolulu Symphony has to be thrilled ...



Dave Donnelly has been writing on happenings in Hawaii for the Star-Bulletin since 1968. His columns run Monday through Friday. Contact Dave by e-mail at donnelly@kestrok.com.





Hawaii by Dave Donnelly is a daily feature of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
© 1996 All rights reserved.


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