Wood Craft

By Ben Wood

Saturday, September 19, 1998

Neiman opening
is a slam dunk

Mug shot THE Neiman Marcus black-tie grand opening gala Thursday night was a slam dunk sellout, raising $200,000 for the Honolulu Symphony, Hawaii Theatre Center, Academy of Arts and Contemporary Museum. Gov. Ben and Vicky Cayetano were among the 1,600 guests that streamed through the handsome, bright store. It's really a knockout. Neiman Chairman Burt Tansky and store G.M. Al Tomonari, a local boy, were among the Neiman brass greeting guests. Kika Matsumoto lined up some of the town's best entertainers for the gala: Jimmy Borges, Gabe Baltazar, the Paradise Sisters, Puamana, Kanoe Miller, George Kuo, Martin Pahinui, Rolando Sanchez, Ginny Tiu and Noly Paa. Jimmy, Gabe, Clyde Pound, Noel Okimoto and Steve Jones kept things hot in the lingerie department with jazz and pops. "It's Borges and bras," cracked Jimmy. The swinging, singing Paradise Sisters -- Anita Hall, Sonya Mendez, Maila Gibson and Terri Spruill -- had dancers jumping in the Mariposa restaurant, managed by Dave Nagaishi. The sisters had solid backing by the Twist and Shout band. The party was catered by Kahala Caterers ...

HAPPY Michelle St. John was taken to the opening for her birthday by girlfriends. "It's so nice to have 1,600 of my closest friends at my party," gushed Michelle. The October Neiman Marcus catalog has a Hawaiian flavor. Clothing is modeled on the Big Isle and the cover shot is a Paul Rodrigue painting called "Hawaiian Blues," a delightful blue dog wearing a lei of butterflies. That's doggone nice ...

Levy succeeds Johnson

BOB LEVY will succeed Lynne Johnson as Honolulu Symphony board chair at Lynne's request. Leonid Grin conducts the Symphony's "Mozart -- Eine Kleine Nachtmusik," tonight and tomorrow at the Concert Hall. Maureen McGovern sings George Gershwin in a pops concert Sept. 25-26. Violinist Yura Lee, just 13, sparkled last weekend with Mozart's Concerto No. 5 in the Symphony season opener. A reception, sponsored by Lexus and catered by Matters of Taste, followed at the Academy of Arts ...

RAY GUERZO won Bert Sagum's annual two-day Royal Blood golf tourney, shooting 78 at the Hawaii Prince and 88 at Olomana last weekend. Both are Society of Seven members. Bert holds the tourney each year for about 25 of his buddies. He said they played at the Prince this year because of the new two-man fairway carts ...

WAITER Derek Mar, besides tending to Sunday brunch guests at Sam Choy's Diamond Head, can be easily talked into singing with musician-singers Nelly Toyama, Candyce Narimatsu and Dayton Watanabe. They move from table to table singing mainly Hawaiian and hapa-haole songs but also do pop favorites, particularly when Mar, who looks like he could be Sam Choy Jr., steps up. Guitarist Dayton also plays slack key numbers ... The Halekulani's Orchid restaurant has switched to a seafood restaurant with buffet appetizer tables. The orchid is chef Jean-Pierre Maharibatcha's baby ...

Big band dance session

THE Let's Dance session at the Royal Hawaiian Sunday Oct. 4 will be a repeat of "Swing," a tribute to Frank Sinatra and the great bands of Dorsey, Ellington, Miller, etc., by the Willie Barton band, 6 to 9 p.m.... Former beauty queen Leslie-Ann Lum and her lawyer colleagues from McCorriston Miho Miller and Mukai, including William McCorriston, will take part in the Alzheimer's Association Walk next Saturday. Call 591-2771 for entry info...


Ben Wood, who sold the Star-Bulletin in the streets
of downtown Honolulu during World War II, writes of
people, places and things every Saturday.
His columns appear online every Monday.

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