Wood Craft

By Ben Wood

Saturday, June 16, 2001

Mai tai story stirs up
Carla Beachcomber

SCOTT VOGEL'S story about his mom and mai tais in last Sunday's Star-Bulletin was good for laughs. After reading it, I put on my Mamo Howell aloha shirt picturing exotic drinks invented by the late Don the Beachcomber. Mamo was a featured hula dancer at Don's Waikiki supper club years ago. Scott wrote that the mai tai was said to have been invented in 1944 by Victor Bergeron, also known as Trader Vic, unless it was invented by Don in 1933, unless it was invented by band leader Harry Owens in 1954. After going shopping Sunday, I came home and, lo and behold, there was a message on my voice mail from none other than Carla Beachcomber Lutz, Don's ex-wife. How's that for a coincidence? Carla lives in Los Angeles and travels the world with husband Jess Lutz. Mamo talked to Carla before she came out with the shirts showing Don's drinks and recipes. So there I was, in Mamo's shirt picturing Don's exotic drinks, returning Carla's call. I told her about the story and she was disturbed. She was adamant that Don came up with the first mai tai. She said Vic worked for Don in Chicago and that's where he got the recipe. Carla said she and Jess will be here for a visit this summer ...

FLYING ON: Cathy Foy took off for New York yesterday to meet with Raoul Aranas, leading man in David Henry Wong's "Flower Drum Song" revival. Wong flew Cathy to New York to see if she and Aranas click. Cathy will play Madam Leong if all goes well. Lea Salonga stars in the show scheduled to open in L.A. in October and run through December. Hopefully, Broad- way will follow ...

Nashville at La Pietra

LAURIE CALLIES, president of the La Pietra alums, has returned from Tennessee, where her husband, UH law professor David Callies, was on a sabbatical teaching at Vanderbilt. While in Nashville, Laurie came across a hot women's trio called the Bluebirds. She booked the singer-musicians to perform next Saturday night during La Pietra's first all-school reunion on the school's grounds. Laurie, who knows a thing or two about music, says the Bluebirds "will rock the socks off Diamond Head." The reunion is running Friday through next Sunday. The Bluebirds' show is paired with a Paniolo BBQ. Call 924-7515 for more info ...

The Society of Seven, Jimmy Borges, Cathy Foy and other acts will perform in the memorial tribute for Broadway standout Francis Ruivivar, brother of SOS leader Tony Ruivivar, in the Outrigger Main Showroom June 24. Call 923-7469 for more information ...

Holden gets the job

PRIZE-WINNING wood carver Bob Holden is happy over landing the contract to carve the trophies for the International Lion Dance competition which will be held here Oct. 4-7. Bob said this is the first time the competition -- with 22 teams from Asia, Europe and the United States -- will be held outside of China. Bob's wife, Rita, will assist him in carving the trophies which will range in height from 2 to 4 feet ...

GOOF: Joanna Fu Penoyer's first name was incorrectly listed as Jennifer here last Saturday. Jennifer Fu is Joanna's sister. My apologies ...

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.
E-mail him at

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