For years we’ve been hearing ominous rumblings about climate change and its many implications for the planet, especially Hawaii and other islands in the Western Pacific. The scenarios fueled by a rapidly expanding body of science are sobering: rising temperatures and prolonged droughts, dying coral reefs and dwindling fish stocks.
As the entries piled up, it became clear that this year’s Literary Contest would be a horse race in all three categories: Poetry, Fiction and Non-Fiction. Overall, the quality of the writing was higher, and the voices and visions were from throughout the Islands, from Chinatown to Waipahu to Molokai.
Poetry Winners / Poetry Winners Second Place Frigate Bird Haleiwa’s name declares it the hale of the ‘iwa, the house of the frigate bird. Most days you can spy one of those big-winged, fork-tailed rascals soaring over head in flight no plane or kite could match, cruising fast lanes of upper air, soaring effortlessly for hours, then, with a slight shrug of shoulder and tilt of tail, accelerating a long, down-wind dive, wings brandishing their swords for a rapid descent aimed at the head of a smaller bird, startling it into spitting up its meal, which the ‘iwa snatches mid-air.
First coined in the 1970s, the sentiment “Keep the Country Country” still runs deep. But that mantra hasn’t insulated the North Shore of Oahu from the pressures of urbanization, which are squeezing the region on numerous fronts from Haleiwa to Laie, all connected by the sole two-lane highway but lacking a comprehensive plan.
On January 28, 2009, the day before the most recent Eddie Aikau Invitational surf meet was called, a crowd on the beach at Waimea Bay watched the crowd in the water: wannabes as well as the invitees tuning up for the contest. The surf was easily 20-plus feet Hawaiian, and one unfortunate soul, caught in the rip, was being swept inexorably towards Jump Rock and exploding white water.
Artists in Honolulu are banding together to form mutually beneficial communities among themselves–as well as with the communities in which they live and work. Veteran Rich Richardson of Arts at Marks Garage and the Artists Lofts in Chinatown, who’s been at it for a decade, and youthful innovators Jasper Wong and Jeff Gress of the Lana Lane Studios in Kaka’ako, have ambitions as big as the city they’re trying to redeem from dereliction.
Taking control of Hawaii’s food supply is not an issue pitting hippies and liberals against economic progress. Rather, it is about understanding how the agrichemical farm industry seeks to control our food system by keeping us in the dark as to what, exactly, is in our food and being released into our environment.
The growth of Honolulu’s arts scene has been fueled by community demand and a shared goal of accessibility, and by the artists at the heart of a passionate multi-media environment energized by Hawaii’s ideals and artistic openness. This fall, we’re looking forward to indie rock’s Electric Palms Music Festival (next week) as well as Future Islands, Pink Mist, and Kill The Noise later in the year.