Island Wise

Swag City

Remember when Diddy changed his name to “Swag?” And then the New Yorker attempted to define the term in an article called “Where’s Earl,” about the rap group Odd Future? We’ve come to accept that the word swag is a noun, an adjective, a verb, an all-purpose expression, and now, it’s also a line of uniquely modern scarves designed by Christel Gama.


On film

App to the Fourth Wall

On film

On film / We’re entering the autumnal season of all things HIFF, and this year’s 32nd annual Hawaii International Film Festival is riding in on a lot of hype, with 219 films total, including 97 narrative features, 34 docs and 88 shorts from 43 countries. But for those foaming at the mouth for a fall flick and unable to wait until Oct.


On heart strings

Life in B-flat Major

On heart strings

On heart strings / When I couldn’t get hold of Leo Daquioag, CEO and founder of Music For Life Foundation, I nearly shelved this story. He was on his way to Osaka to meet with Jake Shimabukuro who was in concert there, but I wanted to ask him specific questions about how his foundation, and the gift of a single instrument could change a person’s life.


On splitting ends

Extensions by The Strand

On splitting ends

On splitting ends / Kakaako has reached its glamification summit. Street murals are popping up like bright shiny pennies.


Kai ea Steals the Show

This was no pheromone party. I mean, there were clothes, and there were singles, but the only ones sniffing their way to love at last week’s RAW Fashion Show were the people outside looking for Paparazzi.


On the tongue

Ginger Soul

On the tongue

On the tongue / Hawaiian production of ginger root was once at 15 million pounds per year, says Bill Tocantins, the man behind Elixir G, a very powerful concentrate that is made with an enormous amount of fresh ginger root from the Big Island. According to him, fresh ginger production is now less than 2 million pounds per year.


On being exposed

Meet RAW

On being exposed

On being exposed / Lately, you’ve probably seen RAW emails popping up or notifications slamming your Facebook page. And there’s a good chance you haven’t yet taken a close enough look to see what all the buzz is about.


On the body

Textured Lives

On the body

On the body / Scholar and author Barbara Kawakami brings the most significant collection of Issei (first generation Japanese) immigration and plantation clothing in the world to Bishop Museum, and the opening day for the exhibition is this Saturday. Sept.


Glow Hard

“There are two reasons why we chose to use Armenian ingredients [in our products],” says creative and brand director for AMS Naturals, Ani Martirosian. “First, these ingredients contain a potency and resilience that we weren’t able to find in like ingredients grown elsewhere…and secondly, Anahit, [face and body balm], merges my Armenian heritage with my Hawaii upbringing.” Martirosian was 10 years old when her parents moved to Hawaii, and she explains that the roots, flowers, and herbs they use to make Anahit grow wild in the Armenian highlands.


Luck be a Mushroom

While perusing booths of pottery at the most recent Arts Fest at Kapiolani Park, I stumbled upon mushrooms. I could make a cheap joke here, but instead I’ll say that these mushrooms are just as happy and refreshing, yet much more colorful than others.


On the body

So Bazaar, So Bazaar

On the body

On the body / Just in case you’re the next lucky contestant on some million-dollar game-show, know this: The word jewel, which was Anglicized from the Old French “joule,” and beyond that to the Latin word “jocale,” actually means “plaything.” I thought about this as I entered Kaimuki’s Bead It! shop on Koko Head Avenue several weeks ago. The store is a kaleidoscope of shapes, colors and textures–organic and synthetic–beautifully displayed like stones wrapped in pieces of hand-painted washi paper.


On history

I Remember You Well, At Lexington Hotel

On history

On history / The Hawaiian Room at The Lexington Hotel was a popular New York City attraction that opened in 1937. You can probably guess what it looked like: island scenes of another era, windy colors as rich and vibrant as the Hawaiian music and hula that breathed on stage.


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