Cover Story / Late last year, a two-year-old organization on Molokai called ‘Aha Kiole o Molokai put a simple yes-or-no question to the island households: Do you support a “cruise tour industry” setting up on Molokai? Surveys were placed in island mailboxes and made available at the island’s one-stop social-services center, Kulana Oiwi.
Hawaii is the world’s leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed corn, which is now our state’s number one crop, according to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), but few citizens fully understand what this means. The issues surrounding corn seed encompass everything from the labeling of foods containing GE ingredients (currently not required in the US) to land and water rights and local and organic food production.
“It’s a lucky man who arrives at his three-score and ten in good health, with good friends, and still loving his work, still mystified and enchanted by life,” says Garrison Keillor, host of the venerable, beloved Minnesota Public Radio show, A Prairie Home Companion. A sort of Midwestern variety show, it originated in Saint Paul in 1974, at a time when tickets cost a dollar and first audiences boasted a whopping 12 people.
It’s been a rollercoaster few weeks for Honolulu’s proposed 20-mile, Kapolei-to-Ala Moana elevated railway. First, a skittish City Council asked the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART) to delay signing of a $1.4 billion contract with rail car company Ansaldo Honolulu JV due to concerns about its solvency.
Joan Conrow The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) has been fighting for decades to get some $200 million in back-due revenues in return for the state’s use of so-called “ceded” public lands that were siezed from the Hawaiian kindgom upon the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani in 1893. And the state has been trying for decades to perk up the Kakaako area through redevelopment.
The Descendants is a stunning movie, full of surprises, its visual sweep and rhythm tied to Hawaiian music, its pacing as changeable as the weather and tragicomic adventures of our days. She knew it would be true to Hawaii, author Kaui Hart Hemmings told the Weekly, when they were filming on Kauai and it rained.
In the old-timey section of Kalihi, tucked between auto repair shops and boarded-up storefronts, Maza Attari, a Marshall Islander, lived with four family members in a one-bedroom apartment barely bigger than a ping-pong table. When visited by this reporter last summer, Attari had been unable to find steady work since being flown to Honolulu 12 years ago for back surgery that had left him with a severe limp and weakened muscles.
A book is a book is a book When APEC, the economy or the holidays bring your life to a grinding halt, hey, be happy for the chance to curl up with a book, be it in digital or–brace yourselves–paper form. Even the big new bio of the late father of Apple has come out in print, leading Stephen Colbert to repeatedly swipe at the cover photo of Steve Jobs to no avail.
Halloween / Since it’s not an election year, we decided to present you with the thirteen scariest people on the island. (Usually election-year Halloweens are scary enough without any help from us.) Granted, some of these people aren’t scary-looking, but the activities they engage in are kinda spooky.
With their big, glistening eyes and round heads, whiskered smiles and hand-like flippers, Hawaiian monk seals–on the federal endangered species list since 1976–make for a winsome poster child. Since the early 1990s, when sightings of the rare creatures became a regular appearance throughout the inhabited Hawaiian Islands, tourists have flocked to take their pictures.
A good potpourri blends perfumes and petals, spices and…musk. Smell informs taste, and this theatre season’s offerings range from the redolent with sentiment like Phantom (this season’s big bouquet); a cool neo-classic like House of Blue Leaves; something primal and complex like Oedipus the King; or funky like a monkey on late nights at the Kennedy Theatre.
On a breezy May evening, in the courtyard of the state library, local publishers, writers and book designers gathered to celebrate the 2013 Ka Palapala Pookela Awards, sponsored by the Hawaii Book Publishers Association. The place was packed, and I was struck by such a healthy showing for an industry whose demise has been predicted since before the advent of Amazon.
I was intrigued recently to channel surf upon a deft interview of Susanna Moore on PBS Hawaii. Moore is the nationally acclaimed author of nine books, perhaps best known for her luminous My Old Sweetheart and other Hawaii novels, as well as the rough-sex 2004 noir In the Cut.
Kabuki Boy, a novel, reads almost like an autobiography filled with vivid details that transport us to 19th-century Japan during the “Tokugawa Era.” Fast-paced and humorous, it aptly dramatizes an ancient dramatic art. The hierarchy between the social classes of samurai, geisha, peasants and monks comes alive from the page, seen through the eyes of Myo, a young boy aspiring to become a kabuki actor.
Calling this big fat novel Hawaii was bound to raise eyebrows. Hey, come run to the schoolyard to watch Mark Panek throw down!
Beautifully designed, with outstanding photography of India and Tibet by Linda Connor, the newest edition of Manoa is especially ambitious in its choice of subject/theme. It attempts to present diverse interpretations of the meanings and implications of the term “freedom,” doing so in the forms of fiction, essays, poetry, memoir and drama.
This new book of poetry is easy to read, yet I had all kinds of strange dreams after reading it. The poems are short but poignant–a lot of thought and crafting went into every well-placed word.
When the young narrator, Landon DeSilva, of Tyler Miranda’s novel Ewa Which Way, watches an episode of “Leave It To Beaver,” he sees a family whose idea of discipline is a father and son discussion without “head cracks” or “cuss words.” In the episode, Eddie Haskell and Wally Cleaver talk about the Beaver’s highjinks, and Landon’s friend says, “just like your brudda . .
In a poetry class I teach at Windward Community College, a student recently did a presentation on coming-out poems and presented her own. One of her peers asked a thoughtful question: “If you are a gay, are you automatically part of the gay community?” It’s a question I’ve had about being Asian American–and a poet.
In Wing Tek Lum’s poem “The Red Circle,” a sergeant teaches his soldiers how to use a bayonet during Japan’s infamous occupation of Nanjing, China in 1937: “With a nub of red chalk / our sergeant marks off / a crude circle in the center / of the chest.” The men are instructed to stab everywhere, except the heart. A quick death would be too kind–too merciful.
“We are selves in a world because we have words,” writes the late poet Tony Quagliano in the preface of his book, Language Matters. In this masterful collection, every line absorbs the reader into the writer’s world, revealing his intimate thoughts on politics, writing, Hawaii and life.
A sort of team anthology, Sunset Inn: Tales from the North Shore is a collection of fiction, poetry and a play published by the Aloha Romance Writers, who admittedly chose–over margaritas and Mexican food–the conceit of a colonial-style seaside inn, described in Patrice Wilson’s poem “This Haven” as “white as salt” and “bleached coral in the sea,” as a central setting for their book. Like the landscape and the building, the collection holds stories of love found, lost and always remembered, some of which are based in Hawaii history and some from a contemporary eye, but all adhering to the familiar elements of the romance genre and the romantic.
In Huna Magic: The Hawaiian Odyssey, Dawn Star puts on a modern spin on Hawaiian mythology and folklore. Set in ancient Hawaii, the book starts off with the classic forbidden love story between a young woman, Kuulei ke Anuenue and a handsome man, Kai, who happens to be the chiefess’s love slave.
The reader weary of cutesy novels with multiple story lines that are obviously going to be inextricably tied together, somehow, might not want to venture too far into Darien Gee’s The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society. But if it’s comfort food for the brain you’re after, you’d be missing out.
Set in Hawaii, Saving Paradise, Mike Bond’s sixth detective novel, tells a passable if unevenly written story featuring one Pono Hawkins, a Special Forces vet (Afghanistan), celebrated international surfer and correspondent for ocean magazines. He also insinuates himself into the woes of others, in this case a beautiful young thing whose lifeless body bumps into Hawkins as he goes surfing at dawn.
Confucius said, “If your plan is for one year, plant rice; if your plan is for 10 years, plant trees; if your plan is for 100 years, educate children.” The philosopher’s sagacious message seems to align with the alternative approach to education seen in Hawaii’s charter school system. Noelani Goodyear-Kaopua’s The Seeds We Planted is an ethnography articulating the establishment, growth, and success of Halau Ku Mana, one of the few Hawaiian culture-based charter schools in Honolulu.
Leilani Holmes’s richly chronicled journey toward a reconnection with her Kanaka Maoli culture opens with the epigraph: “For those who came before us. In hopes that we act on behalf of your bones.” Ancestry of Experience is a thoroughly researched and deeply genealogical journey.
There’s something foreboding about the cover of Pink Globalization. It’s a dark, monochromatic picture of an enormous grey Hello Kitty gazing ominously into the night in front of a corporate-looking building. The picture is certainly intriguing and symbolic–Hello Kitty is taking over the world.
A deeply researched and careful weaving of previously unheard voices can be found in Mai Lepera, adding another layer about leprosy patients exiled to settlements at Makanalua peninsula in the 19th century. Keri A.
If resiliency spoke of a group of people, the Japanese population of the then-Territory of Hawaii during World War II claims the description. With one specific attack on December 7, 1941, an island-wide prejudice against all immigrant Japanese was born, painting a picture of angry nationals who plotted Hawaii’s demise.
An ambitious, immensely rewarding product of nearly five decades’ research and teaching (beginning when the author was l3 years old), Patrick Vinton Kirch’s A Shark Going Inland is my Chief bids fair to be a definitive, almost exhaustive look at “the island civilization of ancient Hawaii.” Divided into three major parts, Shark starts with Cook’s arrival when Hawaii was four major kingdoms in the midst of creating stratified societies.Kirch deals with religion, evolving social structures and belief systems to make ancient Hawaii come alive. Especially noteworthy are beautiful descriptions of the making of canoes, particularly the vaka moana, capable of transporting families.
Music stores abound with compilations of “50 Favorite Songs” for everything from jazz to the Beatles to Bach. Now it’s time for the mid-20th century music of Hawaii.
Compiled by Christopher LaVoie, Annexation! presents the imperialist agendas of the U.S.
Hawaiki Rising by Sam Low tells the epic saga of voyaging on the Hokulea, which, as every Island schoolchild should know, is a traditionally constructed Hawaiian sailing vessel that is steered by observing natural elements, without instruments or maps. Low, a part-Hawaiian anthropologist who participated in three voyages, follows the Hokulea through conception, construction, and navigation.
The feeling of being an outsider in one’s beloved homeland is the theme underpinning Pamela Frierson’s fluid and honest nature writing. In her books, The Last Atoll: Exploring Hawaii’s Endangered Ecosystems and The Burning Island: Myth and History in Volcano Country, Hawaii, Frierson explores Hawaii’s unique ecosystems, while also searching for personal relevance where she grew up very aware of being merely a “second-generation colonist.” The shadows of a world unknown drive the writer, teacher and homesteader to attach to the landscape, pursuing a deeper understanding of Hawaii’s natural order, and, through those experiences, a sense of belonging.
Donald Hodel’s Loulu: The Hawaiian Palm is winner of this year’s Ka Palapala Award for Excellence in Natural Science. Loulu the Hawaiian Palm Donald R.
Charlotte A. Tomaino, neuropsychologist and former nun, started with the intriguing concept of explaining how grace and spirituality can “awaken” the brain to a fuller potential through expanded consciousness.
Sharon Hicks’ How Do You Grab a Naked Lady recounts the relationship between Hicks, her mentally ill mother and idealist father. We meet Hicks at age 16 as she witnesses her mother parading around a mall in the buff, yelling and cursing–one of many manic episodes we’ll see during the book.
One paradox of TheLast Train to Zona Verde, Paul Theroux’s 46th book and his latest about Africa, is that it’s also one of the best meditations on Hawaii you’ll ever read. But first, why Africa?
Confirming rumors, Barnes & Noble’s (B&N) Kahala Mall bookstore will close when its lease expires in January 2014. There are no current reports concerning B&N’s Ala Moana location, but it’s probably a matter of when, not if, management installs a T-shirt store.
Last weekend, Susanna Moore was in town to read from her new novel, The Life of Objects. A striking beauty–high cheekbones, fine features, long white hair with an inky streak that matches her brilliant black eyes–she wore a sleeveless blouse, full cotton skirt and rubber slippers.
We were out at Tongg’s surf break when the world’s best-traveled writer paddled past in a kayak. I said, “Paul Theroux?” Mindy nodded.
KAKAAKO MEETINGS The HCDA will host a series of meetings to discuss the Kakaako redevelopment plan and how rail will fit in with those plans. The meetings are open to the public.
On May 13, Common Cause Hawaii assembled a panel, titled “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” to deconstruct lessons from the recently ended 2013 Legislative Session. Commentators included Rep.
Mayor Caldwell is winding down his public town-hall meetings campaign. The meetings are designed to update the public on the progress of the Mayor’s major first-year initiatives: repaving the roads, getting TheBus routes restored, making the city’s parks beautiful, fixing Honolulu’s sewer infrastructure, building rail better and, most recently, solving homelessness.
During a 2011 speech to the Australian Parliament, President Obama declared: “The United States will play a larger and long term role in shaping [the Pacific] region and its future.” On May 10, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Pacific Forum hosted a panel discussion that sought to determine what a U.S. “pivot” toward the region would look like and what the reaction to increased U.S.
I picked up your May 15 issue with great anticipation because on the cover was a photo of a person experiencing homelessness who I have had numerous interactions with (“Derelict Downtown,” May 15). He is someone I have always found to be articulate and friendly–an ideal person to talk to if one wishes to learn about experiencing homelessness.
The puppetmasters controlling the creation of the Hawaiian Nation have manipulated Hawaiians who have signed up for any Hawaiian registry to become captive members of Kanaiolowalu, the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission. Those bills were heard this session and were passed by the Senate in the Tourism and Hawaiian Affairs Committee chaired by Brickwood Galuteria and the Judiciary and Labor Committe chaired by Clayton Hee, although the forced enrollment is unconstitutional.
The Land Use Commission, the Honolulu Planning Commission, the Zoning Variance Commissions and all the other BS commissions are hijacked by big business (“Hoopili Miss,” May 15). Judge Rhonda Nishimura’s head is buried in the sand if she doesn’t recognize the votes were bought.
I try to not miss a Redford film, and, of course, I can relate to events of the ’60s (“Last Round-Up,” May 8). It is disappointing that The Company You Keep is being shown only at Kahala Theatre.
Aloha, I am Elyse. Please let me know if you have any questions, I would love to answer them (“Just Our Cup of Tea,” May 15).
In last week’s “Derelict Downtown” (May 15), we mistakenly listed Kirk Caldwell’s campaign phone number. To contact the Mayor, please call 768-4141.