When I first met Stephen Agustin it was at Chinatown’s Here Today, a now defunct vintage clothing store, which doubled as a tiny space for local musicians ranging from the avant-garde to the I Never Leave My Bedroom variety. I don’t know what songs he played specifically, but it was simply his voice and guitar layered in not-so-simple reverb that ran on for a good 17 minutes (which in shoegaze-y terms is more like six-and-a-half real life minutes).
Entering Hawaii Art Now at the Honolulu Museum of Art, visitors are arrested by Dorothy Faison’s aptly titled “The Captain’s Lawnbed Courtesy of the Lawnboat Historical Society.” The piece, with apples arranged atop billowy quilting, resting on four layers of synthetic lawn, is a platform for the space between living and longing, and also between dream and memory. Or a vessel, if you prefer, for navigating those spaces.
Birdwatcher or not, you won’t want to miss the gorgeously detailed, lively portraits of our native avifauna in hand-colored lithographs by Johannes Keulemans, a 19th century illustrator, on view at Maunakea Gallery through March 31. The show is entitled “Extinction,” and part of the proceeds from sales of the several dozen unique prints, from a very limited edition, are being donated to the non-profit Hawaii Wildlife Center (HWC).
In the past 10 years, Halau Ku Mana has grown from a near-impossible idea to a state-recognized charter school with 78 students. “It’s been a journey filled with ups and down, but what keeps us focused is the hope and aspiration of improving our education system for our charters,” said Mahinapoepoe Duarte, principal of the school.
The sleeping beauty formerly known as the Honolulu Symphony has awakened from fitful slumber, thanks to the heroic new board of directors, the intrepid musicians who kept the faith, and the brilliant JoAnn Falletta, who arranged the conductors, soloists, and repertoire for its exciting new season as the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. Falletta conducted the Symphony’s last concert two years ago, before it fell under the silent spell.
In scenes as gorgeous as a Koolau sunrise and as juicy as a ripe guava, Robert Bates and Brian Kimmel’s documentary explores the problem of feeding people well, healthfully and sustainably in the new 30-minute documentary, Ingredients Hawaii. The Oahu-centric project reports on developments in culturally and ecologically-sensitive farming and gardening in interviews with farmers, chefs, home gardening advocates, agricultural students, a company that designs rooftop gardens and another that collects unused produce to disseminate to those in need.
Franco Salmoiraghi and his camera have been soulmates since the 1950s. He moved to Hawaii in 1968 to teach at Pacific New Media and is most famous for documenting political, social and cultural change here, such as the ruins of historical sites or buildings, the closing of the sugar mills and the landscape of the one-time bomb target island of Kahoolawe.
If music is the most abstract and formally structured of the arts, it can also be the most emotional. Teachers talk about the great composers as if they knew them, while students never cease to be amazed that such long-dead beings ever had lives–until they learn to listen, for few things speak so much to our humanity as live music does.
Of the dozens of locally made artisanal foods introduced to Hawaii in the past 20 years–breads, smoked seafood, chocolates, microbrewery beers–none have been cow’s milk cheese. But if Naked Cow Dairy, the Islands’ only cow’s milk producer (15 head on a ranch out in Waianae), succeeds in an online-based fundraising effort via [indiegogo.com], that will change.
Outside / Whether you’re looking to cut carbon emissions or whittle your waistline, commute casually or tackle Tantalus, you’re likely to find a bike that suits your wants and needs at one of these shops. The Bike Shop Specializing in road bikes and mountain bikes, The Bike Shop also sells triathlon bikes, urban/commuter bikes, cruisers, BMX bikes, folding bikes, fixies and kids’ bikes.
Entertainment / When celebrities stand at 6 feet 5 inches tall, weigh 275 pounds and are a 16-time WWF/E wrestling champion, people want to know they’re not invincible. Last month, when actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson flew into Hawaii to promote his latest film Journey 2: The Mysterious Island–a PG rated family-friendly adventure story shot on-location around Oahu, currently playing in theaters–common questions from the press included: “Anything that just grosses you out, like spiders?” “Were there injuries on set?” “Did you trip on anything creepy out there in the jungle?” “No, not necessarily,” Johnson says, “you know, I grew up here in Hawaii, so…” While Journey may take place on a mysterious island, for Johnson, Oahu itself isn’t so mystifying.
Stage / To live is to be concerned with things: money and clothes, guns and blades–soulful instruments like food, music and love. August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, now playing at The Actors’ Group (TAG), is an exploration of such themes, told through the lives of seven African American men and women and set in the Hill District of Pittsburgh in 1948.
The film What About Bob? posits, “There are two types of people in the world: those who like Neil Diamond and those who don’t.” Maybe, but the likes win by a landslide: Diamond has sold over 115 million albums, placing him third in Adult Contemporary after Sir Elton and Barbara Streisand. In 2011, he outshone himself: He was named a Billboard Icon, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and honored at Kennedy Center.
Be Mine It’s that sweet, overly sentimental time of year; birds are singing and everyone’s drunk off of chocolate truffles and Sweethearts candy. But Valentine’s Day can often place one in a precarious position, if not readily prepared.
Literary / As the title implies, Memory Cards, from Susan Schultz’s newest collection of poetry, is a book of cards representing a place where an event, a phrase, a thought triggers a memory which then triggers another memory until the poem ends, with or without resolution. At the heart of it is a layered look at memory’s many tones.
Galleries / For youngsters growing up in Honolulu before the Hawaiian Renaissance revived an eye and an ear for our own traditions, Paul Gauguin’s “Two Nudes on a Tahitian Beach” in the Honolulu Academy of Arts made art relevant to our daily lives. If the models in this large oil painting had been wearing bikinis, they could, with the sandbar and shorebreak behind them, have been contemporary girls in Waianae or along the North Shore.
The seductive singer-dancer-actor Ben Vereen won back-to-back Tony Awards for his unforgettable roles as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar in 1972 and as the lead in Pippin in 1973, and was recently on Broadway in I’m Not Rappaport and Wicked. On TV, he played Chicken George in the series Roots and Wayne Brady’s father in How I Met Your Mother.