Maui Connections

It didn’t take stores here on the Mainland long to replace Halloween masks with Christmas lights on their shelves. Thanksgiving feels like the Rodney Dangerfield of holidays, unable to get much respect, or even notice, in the commercial shuffle.

Aside from turkey and football, Thanksgiving predates our more modern rituals of consumerism. The Pilgrims didn’t realize they were laying the groundwork for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, complete with Santa Claus at the end to officially signal the beginning of Christmas shopping season.

We can only hope Thanksgiving won’t get rebranded any time soon as Black Friday Eve.

Happily, Maui folks know how to maintain the real spirit of Thanksgiving — or just being grateful — in lots of creative ways.

Mike Crall emails to say Ram Dass will host his 12th annual Thanksgiving Sunday Satsang program from 4 to 6 p.m. Nov. 26 at the historic Makawao Union Church, 1445 Baldwin Ave.

Since 2010, this uniquely cross-cultural observance and feast has been a food drive for the Maui Food Bank. The community has responded with generous organic boxed and canned-food donations as a way of giving thanks.

Dressing in shorts and Hawaiian shirts these days, the Haiku author and spiritual teacher became a cultural icon in the ’60s and ’70s when his best-selling “Be Here Now” set off seismic shifts in the way Western minds embraced Eastern thought for the first time.

Ram Dass has devoted his life to service in the half-century that followed. Even after a stroke that slowed his words and put him to a wheelchair, at age 86 his wisdom and wit — and a smile like sunshine — still inspire a following around the world that continues to grow.

Musical artist Krishna Das will return for his fifth consecutive year as a special guest. With his band, he will perform kirtan, traditional/chanting music of India, to open the program. The second part will feature a dialogue between Ram Dass and Krishna Das moderated by Raghu Markus, executive director of the Love Serve Remember Foundation and founder of the Be Here Now Network.

Lei’ohu Ryder and Maydeen Iao, who add a Hawaiian dimension to this celebration of Eastern and American cultural traditions, will be special guests in the audience.

Monsoon India Restaurant will provide the Indian dinner buffet in the Community Hall immediately following the program, included in the price of admission; $30 cash in advance at Maui Kombucha in Haiku Marketplace, MacNet in Kahului, Monsoon India Restaurant in Kihei, Island Spirit Yoga in Lahaina or online at Admission will be $40 cash at the door.

Krishna Das and his band will also present an “enCHANTing” Evening of Kirtan for its seventh consecutive year at 7 p.m. Nov. 27 at the same location. Tickets are available at the same prices and locations as above.


Everyone knows Matthew Thayer as the award-winning photographer and the face of The Maui News across the island, but Matt is also an accomplished novelist. He emails to say he recently appeared on KAOI AM’s Traveling Angel Radio Show with host Cindy Paulos and Kathy Takushi to “share stories from my 37-year (and counting) career with The Maui News and also to plug the release of my new novel, ‘30,000 B.C. Chronicles: Rome.’ This is the fifth book in the series depicting the adventures, loves and hardships of time travel explorers shipwrecked in Paleolithic Europe.”

Matt reports sales for “Rome” are going well, with readers in five different countries already making purchases. All five e-books are available on Amazon Kindle.


Cynthia Conrad and Jerry Labb — my eyes on the island while I’m away — recently attended the first Local Wild Food Challenge at scenic Lumeria Maui in Makawao. LWFC was founded in New Zealand by Bill Manson, and enthusiastically adopted by Lumeria director Douglas Drummond, they report.

Guest panelists Mick Fleetwood, Diane Haynes Woodburn and Shannon Wianecki judged local chefs, home cooks, hunters, gatherers and fishermen to see who had the most delicious culinary entry using at least one wild ingredient. Venison, boar, onaga, shrimp, octopus, eggs, berries, wild greens and exotic fruit were some of the ingredients presented to the hardworking judges.

Winners were chosen on the basis of the best story (how the food was gathered and prepared), taste, ingredients and presentation. Categories for prizes included the most spiritual awareness, the wildest ingredients, the best from the land and the best from the water. Jake Evans took first prize; other winners included Lorraine Zane, Barrett Wright and Matthew Mack.

Yum Yum Beast (Justin Morris and Matt Del Olmo) and Randall Rospond provided the music.

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