No entertainment slowdown in 2009


POSTED: Thursday, December 31, 2009

Although 2009 was a very rough year for many Hawaii residents, there was—with the exception of the Honolulu Symphony—no slowing down on the entertainment and cultural scene. Here's a look back at the people, places and events that made 2009 a year to remember.


1. Ben Vereen's “;overtime”; show with the Honolulu Symphony raised the bar for “;Pops”; concerts. Days later, the symphony canceled the rest of the season and filed for bankruptcy protection.

2. Tia Carrere and Daniel Ho became the first recording artists to win the Grammy for Best Hawaiian Music Album. Pali T.W. Ka'aihue and his namesake group were the big winners at the 32nd Annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.


3. Concerts by Gloria Estefan, Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine, Sumi Jo, Sheryl Crow, Dave Koz, the Pussycat Dolls, America, Lea Salonga and Xiayin Wang provided world-class entertainment in venues ranging from the Blaisdell Arena to Orvis Auditorium. Natural High followed the example set by Glass Candle and played a set at Robin Kimura's “;'70s Nightclub Reunion VI”; at the Ala Moana Hotel in August.

Michael Paulo and Ed Nishioka capped a series of Smooth Jazz Nights concerts with a Christmas show featuring Rene Paulo Sr. and the entire Paulo family at the Royal Hawaiian Showroom in December. And Jim Nabors came out of retirement for a hana hou production of “;A Merry Christmas with Friends & Nabors”; at the Hawaii Theatre.


4. Nothing made fashion more of an event in Honolulu than Indashio's presentation of his “;Jet Set”; designs at Level 4 in December, with local designers Valerie Joseph and ZhanVi contributing to the colorful pageant.

5. Photographer Douglas Kirkland's exhibit at Chanel Waikiki in May and the long-awaited debut of Victoria's Secret in October, with Marissa Miller were other highlights.

Showrooms and clubs

6. “;Heartbeat Hawaii,”; the replacement for “;Waikiki Nei,”; opened at the Royal Hawaiian Showroom in July but was attacked by culture mavens before it opened and then shut down before it could build a following.

Oceans808's first anniversary in November proved wrong the haters who'd said it wouldn't last. Greg Azus and Jed Roa celebrated Pipeline Cafe's 10th anniversary in December. Local nightclub legend George Kail opened Paparazzi in October.


7. Hawaii Opera Theatre presented beautifully produced productions of “;Manon Lescaut,”; “;Abduction from the Seraglio”; and “;Carmen,”; and then threw the year's ultimate big-scale fundraiser, “;Opera Ball,”; in November.

“;The Drowsy Chaperone”; (DHT), “;Gutenberg! The Musical”; (MVT), “;November”; (TAG) and “;Pericles”; (HSF) exemplified excellence in local theater.

Meanwhile, road shows like “;Mamma Mia!”; lived to up fans' expectations in May, and “;Stomp!”; was as fresh and entertaining as always in December.


8. Manoa Valley Theatre marked its 40th anniversary in May, the Halekulani Hotel threw a big party to commemorate the 25th anniversary of its reopening (also in May), and the 86 List celebrated its 10th anniversary, with no changes in its roster, in October.

9. The Society of Seven marked the 40th anniversary of its original debut at the Outrigger Main Showroom with a show by members of both SOS and SOS-Las Vegas in May.

10. And Visionary Related Entertainment celebrated “;50 years of K-POI!”; honoring the radio call sign created by Tom Moffatt and Ron Jacobs in 1959.