St. Patrick's Day street party sets revelry standard


POSTED: Sunday, March 22, 2009

The annual St. Patrick's street party was packed tighter than the bubbles in a draft Guinness. You could hardly move through the crowd of revelers, wearing all manner of green beads and glitter.

Harold Valladares had his hair dyed green by his friend Kathleen Marie Dolan, who insisted with a name like hers she didn't have to dress up to be Irish. She did wear a tiara that said “;21,”; though she confessed to being a ripe old 28.

Gerry Sullivan was wearing green hot pants and one button from every St. Pat's celebration in the last 20 years. Her husband, Robert, had a tuxedo jacket with green sequined lapels, which he acquired used in 1959. “;I don't know who owned it before me,”; he said, “;but I've had more fun in it than he ever did.”;

The first time he wore it, in Philadelphia, he got arrested. A lady had given him her hotel room number, he'd forgotten it and decided to knock on all the doors till he found her.

Nomoko Asuncion wore her pink and white party dress, but the 7-year-old Waikiki Elementary first-grader was a hit anyway, climbing onstage with the Celtic rock band Doolin' Rakes and stamping out a spirited jig. Said Rakes' lead singer, James McCarthy, “;I have no idea who she is, but she's adorable.”;

Said her father, Marvin, “;I bring her to all these things. She just loves to dance.”;


Chilling Out on Vacation

While you and I did nothing more exciting than slog through our daily commutes, Big Island photographer, writer and volcano expert Donna O'Meara spent 40 days on a Russian icebreaker in the roughest bit of water on earth, the South Polar Sea.

It was O'Meara's lifelong dream to see the southernmost active volcano on earth, Mount Erebus, 12,280 feet of glacier-covered mountain with a molten lava lake in its center.

“;As you can guess, no cruise ships go there,”; she says. Instead she shipped out of Invercargill, New Zealand, on a ship “;so tiny and rusty I thought they were kidding.”;

The ship made it eventually to Antarctica, giving her a chance to gaze upon the steaming volcano and, as she puts it, a zillion penguins. In addition, she “;fell in love with the 30 kinds of ice.”;

The seas were so rough that even though the berths had seat belts, people still got tossed out of the top bunks. Back in Volcano on the Big Island, she's still nursing bruises.

Sound like fun? O'Meara wants to go back, since she didn't get a chance to actually climb Erebus. “;This time I'm going to get a grant and fly in.”;


Pretend We're Chicago

The cast and crew of “;You May Not Kiss the Bride”; threw themselves a kickoff party at Nobu in the Waikiki Parc, then spent last week filming on the North Shore and Kailua, locations that are standing in for Tahiti.

This week you may be able to spot them downtown—though they are likely to be filming inside because in this film, Oahu has to pretend to be Chicago as well as French Polynesia. Still, says producer Rann Watumull, “;'Lost' has proved Oahu can stand in for anywhere in the world.”;

The film's writer-director, Rob Hedden, penned such works as “;Friday the 13th—Part VII”; and “;Alien Fury.”; Watumull says that the producers—the Act 221-fueled Hawaii Film Partners—worked with Hedden on concepts for a romantic comedy. A pet photographer (Dave Annable) is forced to marry the daughter (Katharine McPhee) of a foreign mobster, and, of course, hi-jinks, hilarity and action sequences follow.

“;Now we see it, it's even funnier than when we wrote it,”; insists Watumull, and good luck to all.


Crying Over Spilt Milk

Hi'ilei Dye was back in Lanikai last week, visiting father Bob, during a break from grad studies at New York's Pratt Institute.

Hi'i got famous—well, got a feature article in The New York Times and Art Daily—for “;Over Spilt Milk,”; an exhibit recalling a rebellion against monopoly milk distributors in Depression-era New York. Her “;fluid narrative,”; as Art Daily called it, is both online and on display in real life until May 3 at the New York Food Museum.

New York has a Food Museum? “;New York is even more obsessed with food than Hawaii,”; says Dye, “;though the interest is more politicized there. We may not be far behind when prices rise here and the ships don't come as frequently.”;



BJ Sabate recently suffered an arson fire that gutted his Butigroove clothing store on Piikoi. He's going to rebuild—and is thinking of putting in a broadcast studio for Ron Jacobs: “;Wouldn't it be cool to have him right there in the window interviewing the Makaha Sons or Dennis Kamakahi?”;

BJ and RJ hooked up when Butigroove began selling Jacobs' “;Obamaland”; T-shirts. But it's the music on RJ's that really hooked BJ. “;I love Gabby, Iz, Don Ho, all that old-school Hawaiian music,”; he says. “;RJ lived through it all. I want to keep him playing it.”;

His only worry about the volatile radio veteran? “;I don't want him storming through the store scaring the customers,”; he says. “;RJ, he doesn't speak English. He speaks yelling.”;


Lessons in Multiculturalism

Mike Markrich's son Max came home from Punahou the other day with this linguistic lesson.

He'd been at an assembly where candidates for student government gave speeches. A rather boring affair until one young lady, running for vice president, concluded her campaign speech with, “;Don't be a boto, vote for Morimoto.”;

The student body convulsed with laughter—including Max, whose mother is Filipina, so he knows full well what “;boto”; means in Ilocano.

“;How did you slip that line past the deans?”; the young student government hopeful was asked. “;I told them it meant 'dope,'”; she said.


John Heckathorn is editor of Hawaii Magazine and director of integratedmedia for the aio Group.