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Exit stage left
May 1, 2012 - Rick Chatenever
A body of work. That’s what you get — if you’re lucky — as you keep wondering when you’re finally going to settle into a career.
I’m lucky. I’ve managed to compile a body of work far exceeding expectations, at the same time my career just sort of took care of itself.
For the last 20 years, the body of work and the career have had the same name: Making the Scene.
This is the last column I will write as the editor of Maui Scene. The column will still be here next week, but it will be written by a retired guy, off meeting our new granddaughter in Montana for a few weeks. Then I’ll be back.
I hope Maui Scene will continue to be an essential, fun, entertaining part of your lives. I’m stoked about remaining part of it. Casual observers may not even notice the change. A lot of people assume the column has been all I do around here, to which I hum a few bars of “Nice Work If You Can Get It.”
In fact, my inky fingerprints have been all over the Scene, from brainstorming its inception and launching it shortly after Editor David Hoff hired me at The Maui News in 1991. I had been the entertainment editor of the Santa Cruz Sentinel in California before Dave lured me, my wife, Karen, and our daughter, Lisa, over here with a ticket to paradise.
I signed on as entertainment and features writer, which gave me a few months to learn the neighborhood. Being the new guy at the paper and on the island, but having to hit the ground running as the “expert” on Maui arts, I quickly learned the first lesson taught to children at the feet of Hawaiian masters:
Shut up. And listen.
Expected to be instantly knowledgeable about the infinite mysteries of such exquisite arts as hula or chant was nothing if not humbling.
But I couldn’t shut up. I wasn’t allowed to. Part of my job, once we launched Scene in January 1992, was filling this space each week —not with what I knew, but with what I was learning.
I was fortunate that my arrival coincided with the groundbreaking of Maui’s new arts and cultural center, which still had “Community” as part of its name then. Scene’s fortunes and those of the MACC, as it’s now affectionately known, have been intertwined. It’s been a win-win …win, for Scene, for the MACC and for our readers.
Twenty years at the greatest job in the world yields a bulletin board full of press passes and more “firsts” than I can keep track of. The birth and evolution of the Maui Film Festival was a favorite.
Led by Jon Woodhouse, a talented string of stage columnists and Dining Editor Carla Tracy, we’ve tracked humble beginnings leading to inspiring careers for countless hometown folks, while also getting up close and personal with visiting headliners each week.
There have been two decades of interviews, festivals, concerts and more incredible memories than one career, or even one lifetime, deserves.
Newspaper journalists are a rare —and now endangered —breed. Journalists are, by nature, adrenaline freaks. As reporters, we’re the crazy ones running toward the danger rather than to safety.
After we become editors, it’s still the adrenaline that makes us believe we’re magicians with time. Deadline? Don’t show me no stinkin’ deadline. We eat deadlines for breakfast!
I’ve been incredibly fortunate sitting at this desk to have good friends for colleagues, interview subjects and as “sources” in the community. For them, my professional respect is inseparable from deep affection. Beginning with the wonderful women who have sat at the desk next to mine, the list would fill this entire issue. You know who you are.
I’ve been fortunate, too, that this job and its deadlines forced me to be as creative as I was capable of being, while providing me a weekly chance to make a small contribution to life on Maui. I probably wouldn’t have figured out how to do that on my own, and I will be forever grateful.
Longtime readers know I’m a movie freak — less as a fan than as a seeker, watching our modern mythology unspooling in that dance of light across a screen.
But Maui has taught me the enriching power of culture with a small “c” — where the ways we sing, dance, paint, make music … and write … are how we bring our hopes, dreams, and higher selves to life.
Living under Maui’s multi-ethic rainbow has also taught me that delving deeply — respectfully, soulfully, spiritually — into any one culture, is to discover the truths of all cultures. We are the same.
I’ll shut up now. And keep listening.
A hui hou.
• Contact Rick Chatenever at email@example.com..
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