Maui Connections

Maui stretches out like a colorful comforter in crisp early-morning sunshine when you’re looking down on it from the Upcountry Farmers Market near Longs in Pukalani.

That’s where we’ve been for the last couple of Saturdays, sampling good things to eat, some raw, others prepared deliciously. The fresh, local, Maui-grown stuff in the booths ranges from teas to trees, along with some good advice about how to make them, and your garden, thrive.

Besides the produce, a smiling sense of well-being is the best product of the weekly market, especially since it’s not actually for sale but is given away for free.

Sharing their common sense and/or expertise in subjects from irrigation systems to cactus to the meaning of life last week were market manager Neil Coshever; Katy Bayly; Marybeth Seavy, aka, the succulent lady; Billy Irvine of Aloha Honua nursery; Larry (he’s everywhere!) Feinberg; and April Lawrence, whose Maui Wild Cultures kraut is coming to store shelves soon.

During our hour there, we didn’t notice a cellphone in sight. Apparently everyone had better things to do with their time.

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Speaking of better things to do, when this column began, the assignment was to stop writing so much about movies – something I’d been doing for a long time – and to start writing more about actual people. Real folks, not reel ones. But as trips to the movies dwindle, I’ve realized that one of my favorite all-time movies wasn’t a movie at all.

It’s the Consolidated Theatres’ trailer, the one with the hula dancers and torches, that starts each show at the Kaahumanu 6. It debuted statewide in 1991. At the Kaahumanu Theatres’ grand opening, Nina Maxwell’s dancers performed hula outside the front doors to Jon de Mello’s recorded music. Consolidated President Phil Shimmin and his staff had flown over from Honolulu for the gala ceremony. He was especially proud of the trailer, even as he confided that it had cost $50,000 to produce.

A hefty price tag for a minute and a half of footage intended to tell people to be quiet during the show. But it has proved well worth it. It’s still showing, a quarter-century later, seen by a million people a year.

The trailer is the subject of some wonderful reporting by Denby Fawcett in June’s Honolulu Magazine. Funny, how the replacement for the “Be Quiet!” cartoon has become such a unique, lasting and culturally rich statement about this place and its people.

Funny, too, that nowadays “Be Quiet!” translates as “Don’t Text!”

My guess is that I’ve seen the trailer a thousand times. I used to think it would be a great epitaph, playing in an endless tape loop on my tombstone. But those who don’t want to wait that long can watch it to their heart’s content on YouTube.

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All this new tech keeps reminding us of how useful old tech used to be. In the case of radio on Maui, it still is.

In an age when lots of us watch worlds created in our own image on tiny screens in the palms of our hands, radio still has the power to create community, invisible though it might be. It also provides the soundtrack for all those glorious Maui visuals framed by your windshield.

My favorite stations are in a tiny clump at the far left end of the FM dial. Mana’o Hana Hou Radio keeps getting better, with lots of new energy as it rises like a phoenix at 91.7 My lifetime membership in Hawaii Public Radio, 90.7 and 89.7, is cherished as an always reasonable and compassionate link to a world that otherwise keeps getting more complex and confusing by the day. Also appreciated is the paniolo connection that gives KAKU Radio’s “Maui country” its unique accent at 88.5.

But my favorite radio voices of late come from the kids at the Paia Youth & Cultural Center’s radiOpio. The young DJs and staffers including Kaya Papaya, Cassaroo, Kate, Nathan, Nohea and Ruby are not only creative, resourceful and a whole lot of fun, but there’s also this wholesome “let’s put on a show in the clubhouse” spirit lighting up the dial whenever they’re on. Besides being endlessly entertaining, the station provides a heaping helping of innocence and new hope for an older, supposedly wiser generation.

Kudos, too, to station manager Laura Civitello, not only for making it all fly, but also for sharing her beautiful, far-reaching musical tastes with the kids, and the rest of us in radioland, especially in the playlists after dark.

Check it out at 88.9 FM or listen online at

* Rick Chatenever, former entertainment and features editor of The Maui News, is a freelance journalist, instructor at UH-Maui College and Emmy-nominated scriptwriter. Contact him at or 344-9535.

Maui Connections

Sunny blue skies interrupted wild Wali weather Sunday afternoon, allowing folks to get down to some serious chili eating.

The second annual Hawaii State Championship Chili Cookoff was a great excuse to head for Ulapalakua Ranch, especially after being housebound by all the downed trees, road closures and flood threats since the middle of the night.

Actually, any excuse works to head for the historic buildings, gorgeous gardens and spectacular vistas from King David Kalakaua’s onetime summer getaway. It’s enchanted. Just being there feels like you’ve stepped back in time for a card game with the Merrie Monarch yourself.

In Sunday’s cookoff benefiting the Maui 4-H Livestock Association, the magic was in the ingredients creatively used by the contenders transforming comfort food to gourmet fare.

The rules were simple, but ingenious. There were official judges, but the nonprofessionals – including us and friends Diana Crow, Paul Meyer, John White and Aubrey Hord, and Karen and Eric Lincoln – paid $5 for a little plastic bag. In it were five tickets, five small cups, one tiny spoon, a napkin and a cork.

At each table you presented your ticket and got one cup filled. After five tastes you gave your cork to your favorite. The table with the most corks won.

Upcountry’s Tanya and Jake Akaka were excited to win the People’s Choice award; the entire event got our cork for a great recipe for a fun-filled afternoon.


I had been in a historic state of mind ever since discovering The Story of Hawaii Museum at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, a few doors down from Macy’s. Open since November, it’s free and charming. Vintage maps, historic artifacts and old news accounts tell the story.

Erin Gonzalez is the director; partners Bryant Neal and Buck Michelson operate the museum as a 503(c)(3) nonprofit, relying on donations and sales, including art by Theresa Crowley, Marie Cologna, Greg Guzman, Brendon Blair and Luke Carvalho.

“A lot of people are helping make this work,” said Gonzalez. Yellowing newspaper front pages tell of Pearl Harbor, statehood and the overthrow of Queen Lili’uokalni.

Tourists drop in when the cruise ships are in port, but Gonzales reports that visitors are mostly local. “Kids love it. We have made a lot of friends.”

It’s open to school groups and college classes and offers a talk-story session every other Thursday. The next one will be from 4 to 6 p.m. July 31; Jeff Reisse will talk about the Kahului Railroad. For more information, call 633-1448.

Meanwhile, at the Sears end of the mall, the Maui Friends of the Library bookstore marked its second anniversary July 14. It’s a little bastion for the disappearing pleasure of reading words on paper pages in these post-Borders, Kindle-powered times.

My previous experience of the store was at the back-door loading dock, dropping boxes of books after garage sales. I came in through the front door this time, where Kyle Ellison’s “Moon Maui” guidebook is prominently displayed. (It’s the good one – as opposed to the unfortunate one whose name shall not be revealed here.) I sat on a comfortable couch getting lost in the pages of Herb Kane’s “Voyagers.”

The store deals primarily in donated used books, but its Hawaiiana is new, points out store manager and volunteer coordinator Cyndi Rogers.


Ebb & Flow Arts also celebrated an anniversary – its 15th – in a July 11 concert at Makawao Union Church, reports Cynthia Conrad. Attending with her husband, Jerry Labb, she was one of the notable island artists, including Martha Woodbury, Tony Walholm, Piero Resta and George Allan in the pews.

Ebb & Flow Director Robert Pollock began the evening noting that Janet Allan shared her birthday with his innovative musical group – hence cake for everyone!

New York pianist Adam Tendler performed four Hawaiian premieres. “He played with fiery enthusiasm and deep, tender feeling, bringing the audience to its feet at the end,” reports Cynthia.

Another free Ebb & Flow Arts concert is scheduled for Aug. 10 at Seabury Hall.


And Carolee Higashino, president and owner of White Orchid Weddings in Wailuku, recently assisted in the final episode of “R&B Divas,” which aired June 26 on TV One. It was produced entirely on Oahu and filmed at The Modern hotel in Waikiki. Carolee designed, stylized and created the ceremony, the first to be televised for an African-American same-sex couple.

“With the recent legalization of same-sex marriages in the State of Hawaii, the story is based very much on showing Hawaii as a gay-friendly destination wedding locale,” she says.

Or maybe just a kind, friendly place for everyone.

* Rick Chatenever, former entertainment and features editor of The Maui News, is a freelance journalist, instructor at UH-Maui College and Emmy-nominated scriptwriter. Contact him at or 344-9535.

Maui Connections

Last Thursday was proclaimed Mick Fleetwood Day by Mayor Alan Arakawa, but the honoree chose instead to make it “our day” for the large crowd in Castle Theater for the second – shall we say annual? – Fleetwood @ the MACC concert.

A rollicking good time was had by all, propelled by Fleetwood’s high-energy drumming – steady as a locomotive, fast as a bullet train. His longtime collaborator Rick Vito looked like a jukebox hero as he channeled vintage blues and boogie riffs on his guitar and vocals, keeping the drummer smiling all night long.

The mayor’s proclamation acknowledged all the groups and causes Fleetwood has helped since making Maui “truly my home.” As though to illustrate the point, during the “Don’t Stop” finale, the curtain slowly rose behind Fleetwood’s drum-kit throne to reveal the Zenshin Daiko drummers in their purple kimonos, their hands flying, up past their bedtimes to catch the song’s beat, and spirit.

Still dashing at 67, the white-bearded musician may be one of the great drummers in rock history, but still comes across as a genteel, very tall, amusing English country squire. Two hours of drumming is a workout, but his prowess, stamina and smile showed the health benefits that come from following your bliss. He called it “the luck of the draw, being part of the creative process.”

After the show’s first act, which had Mick and Rick sitting on a couch, talking story and fielding inane questions from the audience, he brought out the rest of the band – featuring local boys Bob Johnstone on keyboards and Lenny Castellanos on bass – shifting into high gear in a set that kept getting more energized over the next two hours. Oh well, the world kept turnin’ for that Black Magic Woman and anyone else susceptible to the Fleetwood Boogie.

Lois Roberts, Jake Cites and Greg Boyd were rocking in the row right in front of me; Mick’s 97-year-old mum was a few rows back. Familiar faces dotted the crowd, including Ed Carson, Stella Rivers and Mardi Swatek. After special guests Willie K and Eric Gilliom joined the band, the night began to feel a little like a “Get a Job” reunion. Brian Kohne, writer/director of the locally made screwball comedy, was in the house, along with cast and crew members like Chelsea Hill, Phil Swatek, Tony Novak-Clifford, Sharon DrayerMunz and Aubrey Hord.

The show was loud and happy – one of those concerts you couldn’t stop thinking about tomorrow.

The following day Eric joined his sister, Amy Hanaiali’i Gilliom, to honor their brother, Timi Gilliom, captain of Lahaina’s 62-foot sailing canoe Mo’okiha o Pi’ilani.

After almost two decades of starts and stops, carpenter and ocean-voyaging veteran Timi was the guy responsible for getting the nonprofit Hui o Wa’a Kaulua canoe finally finished and into the water that memorable afternoon.

On the sweltering asphalt of Mala Wharf, the launch ceremony was steeped in Hawaiian protocol, tradition and tears of joy around the large crowd. The day felt like it could have been recorded on tapa cloth or in woodblock prints; instead, it was masterfully captured by The Maui News’ photographer Matt Thayer and staff writer Chris Sugidono, in images infused with the day’s glow.

Sam Ka’ai, one of the many speakers in the ceremony, said the canoe’s destination was “the edge of a new vision.” Another speaker observed, “If you have Hawaiian blood, it came on a canoe.”

The traditional piko ceremony, symbolizing a new birth by cutting a maile lei, was fitting for the launch, which finally brought a dream to life to proudly carry traditional Hawaiian wisdom onto the rising tide of the future.

After these two chicken-skin examples of what humans can accomplish and create, I rounded out my island-hopping Saturday morning with a bunch of cats. Ours, Phoebe, and her new acquaintances Max and Morpheus were among more than 100 at the Maui Humane Society getting shots for feline panleukopenia, a fatal virus that has been reported on the island.

Barking dogs on the other side of the shelter walls didn’t allay most of the felines’ displeasure at being there. The grass was like a parking lot of cat carriers, with little claws reaching out to scratch anything in range as mournful meows wafted into the air.

Linda Dorset was among the helpful volunteers; vet tech Kehau Magana administered the shot. The scene felt both comical and the right thing to do – especially if anyone is leaving half-eaten mouse carcasses around your household these days.

The next clinic is Saturday. The shots are on a donation basis. Contact the Maui Humane Society to learn more.

* Rick Chatenever, former entertainment and features editor of The Maui News, is a freelance journalist, instructor at UH-Maui College and Emmy-nominated scriptwriter. Contact him at or 344-9535.

Maui Connections

Flags have been waving and freedom’s been ringing lately. That’s what happens when your nation’s birthday coincides with the rest of the planet’s World Cup soccer party.

I was part of last Tuesday’s crowd for the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s free telecast of the game between the U.S. and Belgium. After weeks of trying to follow the bouncing ball on our tiny kitchen TV, it was a trip to see the action on the Castle Theater screen, more usually the venue for Oscar-winning movies.

The supersize screen added a new dimension to watching the sport so rapturously popular everywhere else on the planet. Even though our team lost, it was a happy morning. It felt global as the U.S. embraces what the rest of the world calls “football,” as opposed to the techno-gladiatorial version here at home. But it also felt local, sitting in a family-friendly audience packed with young kids and their parents, sharing the heart-stopping drama on the screen.

Spotted in the crowd was Pacific Radio Group director Chuck Bergson. Schaefer International Gallery Director Neida Bangerter was also coaxed into taking a break from the gallery’s provocative new exhibit featuring Rose Adare’s “Restraint & Revolution,” Gabrielle Anderman’s “Fear, Letting Go . . .” and May Izumi’s “Cloud Formations and Other Phenomena” to watch a few minutes of the game.

And speaking of the MACC, happy birthday to Jason Carbajal, who, along with his very patient staff, has a special talent for turning the thankless headache of running the box office into an art form in itself.

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The freedom celebration came on horseback and in all sorts of automotive chariots Saturday when the 49th annual Paniolo Parade closed the streets of Makawao to celebrate our nation’s birthday Upcountry style.

It was impossible to forget this was an election year, judging by all the politicians on parade. Some literally climbed into the saddle; others preferred walking or riding, beauty-pageant style on the backs of convertibles that went real slow to allow for lots of waving. Some candidates had marching drum bands; others had squads of acrobats doing flips in the street; trinkets were dispensed.

Friends and families, like David Ward and Dean Wong with their son, Tino, lined the curbs, getting into cowboy mode before the rodeo took over for the rest of the weekend. You’d never know about recalls or Detroit’s recent economic problems, judging from all the gleaming Chevy and Ford muscle cars and trucks parading by. There were jeeps from World War II, John Deere tractors from the early days of Haleakala National Park and the Shriners in their little putt-putts. Music ranged from the marching Isle of Maui bagpipers through the King Kekaulike Band to the Haiku Hillbillys playing on the back of the Seabury Hall flatbed trailer.

Among the milestones marked by marchers – including 55 years of Hawaii statehood or Kula School’s 50th anniversary – was the Casanova truck at the end of the parade, loaded with smiling employees around the sign celebrating “25 years of Happy.”

The Makawao 4th of July parade is a rare reminder of what happy used to feel like – and what a lot of us wish it still did.

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We said goodbye to Grammy-winning flutist Paul Horn last week. Paul died at home in Vancouver at 84. A veteran jazzman who played with greats including Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis, he was also with the Beatles when they went to India to study transcendental meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1960s. Not only did he become a TM teacher, but music he recorded “Inside the Taj Mahal” and his subsequent “Inside” albums are credited with laying the foundation for New Age music.

Paul and his wife, Ann Mortifee, were frequent visitors to Maui. I had the privilege of collaborating with them on two documentary film projects. The newest one, “The Quietest Place on Earth,” set for release in November, is about Haleakala Crater. Along with his always wise observations, Paul’s music provides the soundtrack; it will echo from now on in the mountain’s stillness.

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The last, and best, words on the subject of freedom come from Kris Kristofferson.

If the longtime Hana resident had done nothing else in his heroic half-century career of songwriting, singing and movie acting than just write, “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose,” that would still be more than enough.

It’s one of the greatest song lines ever written . . . about anything.

Recently asked where that line came from, Kris answered with a chuckle, “It was one that came direct from the Man Himself. I was glad to take it.”

* Rick Chatenever, former entertainment and features editor of The Maui News, is a freelance journalist, instructor at UH-Maui College and Emmy-nominated scriptwriter. Contact him at or 344-9535.

Maui Connections

Back when the MACC was still called “The Center,” some of its greatest joys were the surprises. Not the legendary superstars, but the performances you knew little or nothing about that were so fresh and original that you felt your world had gotten bigger in the course of the evening.

The Maui Arts & Cultural Center may be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still do it. Case in point: Saturday’s Wearable Art Show featuring works of island designers Keali’i Reichel, Maile Andrade, Manuheali’i, Marques Marzan, Wahine Toa, Keone Nunes and others.

Somewhere between hula and a fashion runway show, the stylish evening co-hosted by producer Vicky Holt Takamine and director Robert Uluwehi Cazimero actually felt more like stepping into a dream. The sultry environment engulfed audience and performers alike.

The MACC presentation was part of the statewide Annual Maoli Arts Month (MAM’o), produced by Takamine’s PA’I Foundation. All those Hawaiian acronyms add to the challenge of trying to label or categorize what went on exactly, other than to say it was an amazing balancing act between ancient culture and cutting-edge contemporary. Part eye candy, part high art, part mesmerizing, part fun, all pulsing to a driving beat.

With gorgeous models in attire ranging from nearly naked (with tattoos) to elegant gowns, it managed to be sexy but stay wholesome at the same time. This had everything to do with the show’s Hawaiian roots and spirit. Things got underway with an oli composed by John Keola Lake in 1991, performed by Na Hanona Kulike ‘O Pi’ilani under kumu hula Kapono’ai Molitau and Sissy Lake Farm. The stage full of traditionally clad chanters spun balls in woven slings to accompany their complex vocalizing.

The models came in all sizes and ages down to very young. Bulimia was nowhere in sight; instead, there were island-style casual poses and shakas. Materials ranged from knotted fibers to colorful organic prints. Some of the designers, such as Marzan, Reichel and Tangaro, worked with knotted cordage that sometimes masked faces, created beings part human, part sea creature, like Bill Nighy’s tentacle beard in “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Whale songs and Reichel’s powerful music set the tempo. Under hair braided into wild crowns, and elaborate wiry tangles in some of the costumes, distinctions blurred between animal and plant. Everything was alive with possibilities, especially the designers’ exuberant imaginations.

Tattoo artist Nunes did Hawaii’s answer to “Magic Mike,” delighting women in the audience and Cazimero at the podium. He and Takamine added humor to the proceedings as the models on stage paraded through a spectrum of moods and looks, from mesmerizing other-worldly gazes to fun-loving families heading for the beach.

Models pounded kapa as a queen arrived on her attendants’ shoulders in kumu hula Hokulani Holt’s Pa’u o Hi’iaka, opening the second act. The show featured many local contributions, some growing out of UH-Maui College’s fashion-design classes. “Maui’s in the house!” agreed Takamine and Cazimero at the podium.

To John Lennon’s music, Andrade’s styles were a throwback to the peace-and-love hopes of the ’60s before Manaola Yap went from ancient mana to evening-gown elegance in an exciting presentation that ended the show on a high note and sent the audience scurrying upstairs for the trunk show.

The evening blurred the line between audience and artist. That happens when everyone’s part of the ohana. Familiar faces stretched from Kili Namauu and Karen Fischer in the audience to Lehia Apana and Neida Bangerter among the models. Getting the prize for traveling the farthest to get there was Janet King from Kap City, Cambodia, visiting her sister, MACC Marketing Director Barbara Trecker.

Presented as part of the MACC’s Local Voices series, this didn’t feel like an isolated event so much as MAM’o’s auspicious debut on Maui. Mark your calendar for next year.

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Kula friend and neighbor Harlan Hughes beat me down the hill to the MACC earlier last week to offer a “testimonial” on behalf of Hawaii Public Radio. I didn’t wear my well-worn Mana’o Radio baseball cap to the taping, although listener coordinator Gwen Palagi said it would have been fine if I had.

Listener-supported radio is more cooperative than competitive in nature. And there sure are a lot of good alternatives for mindful listening at the left end of the FM dial these days.

Meanwhile on the Mainland, Maui “Supermensch” Shep Gordon has been busy since the island premiere of Mike Myers’ comic documentary about him last month at the Maui Film Festival. You may have seen or heard Shep being interviewed lately by folks like David Letterman, Charlie Rose or NPR’s Terry Gross.