Maui Connections

When they hear we’re from Maui, people here in Tucson, Ariz., where we’re spending the fall, want to know all about it.

Not “the tourist parts.” That guidebook with the blue cover at Costco has sold lots of copies by promising to reveal the real deal to tourists who don’t want to look like tourists. Not only is that little self-deception less cool than they think they think it is, but it’s also like biting the hand that makes the local economy go ker-ching.

One woman here asking me about me about Maui specifically wanted to know about the “spiritual” parts. Right question, I told her. Because if you want to begin to know the real deal, it’s all spiritual.

A perfect example is the Malama Wao Akua exhibit at Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center, which opened Friday.

Sponsored by the East Maui Watershed Partnership and Aloha Recycling in collaboration with the Hui, the annual exhibit’s name translates as “Realm of the Gods.” It features juried work by artists of all ages depicting the native species of flora and fauna of the islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe.

Its reception has become one of my favorite events every fall, thanks in no small part to the hula of Halau Wehiwehi O Leilehua, directed by kumu Gordean Bailey, that not only transforms the Hui architecture and reflecting pool into an exquisite stage set, but utilizes the pastel twilight sky for its lighting design.

I was sorry to be off-island and miss it this year, but friends described it, and the Third Friday celebration in Makawao later that evening as “magical.”

Eighty-nine adults and students contributed to the exhibition, with Tim Garcia coordinating and serving the locally donated food, Moana Andersen and her group Napahi singing and playing Hawaiian classics and Halau Wehiwehi O Leileihua once again casting their graceful spell.

Enjoying the event were Ira Ono, visiting from the Big Island; actor Branscombe Richmond; Colleen O’Shea Brady; Gary Greenberg; Patty Chaney and numerous county and state officials.

Makawao town was abuzz with no less than five bands, fire dancers, Taiko drummers, food trucks and classic cars from end to end, reported my sources: Deborah Hoopingarner has done a great job of reviving the party in Makawao and making it a vibrant, fun, family event.

You can enjoy the art juried by Tamara Sherill and Michael Takemoto at the Hui through Nov. 7.

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More Upcountry culture is in the offing Saturday when the St. John’s Kula Festival returns from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. My friend and neighbor Marilynn Hirashima provides the details:

“Of course there will be the usual fresh Kula produce, plants, flowers, ono food, kids zone, crafters, silent auction, gift shop, live entertainment all day long and quilt show. . . . The lineup of entertainers includes recent Hoku award winners, Kanekoa, Joel Katz, the Chop Suey Jazz Orchestra, Hula Wehena O Ke Ao under the direction of kumu Maka’ala Palmore, Jamie Lawrence, Brian & Meryl and Soul Kitchen. All this for just $1 admission — or canned food for the food bank. The beneficiaries who will share in the proceeds this year are Ka Hale A Ke Ola and Family Life Center, both homeless resources.”

For more information, visit or call 878-1485.

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News last week of the passing of iconic screen actor Harry Dean Stanton at 91 was especially sad for award-winning Maui filmmaker, TV and concert producer Kenneth K. Martinez Burgmaier. Ken was a producer on the 2014 short film “The Pimp and the Rose” in which Stanton co-starred with Lorraine Nicholson.

The film’s poster won a Gold Pele award in Honolulu from the American Advertising Federation when it was released. Ken reports he was actually in the studio doing some color correction on the film when he learned of Stanton’s death.

“The Pimp and the Rose” was directed by Joey Curtis, who also directed “2307: Winter’s Dream,” the sci-fi adventure also co-produced by Ken, that goes into national theatrical release Oct. 6. It has bookings in 10 theaters in its initial release in New Jersey, California, Illinois, Maryland, Arizona, Michigan, Florida, Minnesota and Ohio.

It will also be available on video-on-demand and electronic-sell-through from cable providers and on iTunes beginning Oct. 6.

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And in a final bit of Maui movie news, Gary Greenberg will show the short “Florotica,” about the intimate life of plants, Oct. 14 at a TEDxSedona presentation here in Arizona. I had the pleasure of scripting the film, working with Gary and Tom Vendetti with Keola Beamer providing the music and Stacy Keach adding the narration.

* Rick Chatenever, award-winning former entertainment and features editor of The Maui News, is a freelance journalist, instructor at UH-Maui College and documentary scriptwriter/producer. Contact him at