By Dave Donnelly

Wednesday, July 7, 1999

Hawaii’s sons play D.C.

THE Fourth of July probably has more of an impact in Washington, D.C. than anywhere else in the country, so it was appropriate that Hawaii was represented there Sunday. Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawaii shared their traditional Hawaiian music with an audience estimated at 200,000 at the National Council for the folks arts festival sponsored by the National Council for the Traditional Arts. Traveling to the national's capital with Kamae were such musicians as Bruddah Smitty, Pekelo Cosma and Charley Mahi, and they joined a parade of folk artists from across the nation performing on the Mall. Portions of the event will be rebroadcast on National Public Radio ...

Mug shot SPEAKING of traditional music, a group called the Swingin' Tradewinds Jass Band insists on using the traditional Dixieland music spelling of "jass." Group leader Jack Morse explains the graffiti artists of New Orleans used to have a blast erasing the "J" on announcements and posters, so gradually -- in a move partially designed to protect their posters -- practitioners began changing the spelling to "Jazz." Morse and his jass artists are now performing Monday nights through August at Hank's Cafe on Nuuanu ...

TIME magazine had a "two-fer" in its July 5 edition, using two of my least favorite sporting metaphors in non-sport contexts. The lead story on minority students is entitled, "When the Field is Leveled." And in a piece on the Junior Miss contest the magazine wonders if any contestant "can reach the bar set by 1963's winner, Diane Sawyer." I don't picture Sawyer as a high-jumper, so it shouldn't be an insurmountable feat ...

Moore the merrier

I'M not suggesting Ed Moore, who heads up the English-Speaking Union's high school Shakespeare competition each year, is the biggest fan of the Bard in Hawaii. But he did fly off to England to engage in a marathon of playgoing at the Royal Shakespeare Company Theater at Stratford-Upon-Avon. In 12-days there, Moore saw 18 Shakespeare plays! Bard on the run ...

BACK in the islands, a quantum leap backward. I took in a production of "Da Mayah" at Kumu Kahua Theater. Those who find anything spoken in pidgin funny, chortled away, much as they did at Ed Sakamoto's "In the Alley" nearly 40 years ago at UH. But I was left with an uneasy feeling: The plot's goofy, the humor forced. The biggest laughs in Lee Cataluna's script come when actors refer to modern day people and places, as if just hearing Puanani Crabbe or Sun Sun Lau talked about is inherently funny. In fact, I found the funniest thing about the work, which exaggeratedly makes clear that the city -- in this case Hilo -- is run by boobs and criminals, is that it was supported by the Mayor's Office of Culture and the Arts. It's a hit -- go figure ...

Adler, author and critic

FORMER Star-Bulletin book critic Chuck Frankel wrote a letter to the editor recently deploring the fact that an obituary of late Professor Jacob Adler omitted the fact he'd written a major book about Claus Sprekels, the entrepreneur who intertwined himself with the Hawaiian monarchy in the last century. Frankel's point was well taken, but there's an addendum. Adler had a stroke a few years after he wrote the book, and completely lost his memory of writing it. When he read it -- as a brand new reader, so to speak -- he pronounced it pretty good! ...

Dave Donnelly has been writing on happenings
in Hawaii for the Star-Bulletin since 1968.
His columns run Monday through Friday.

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