For comedian Gabriel Iglesias, the perfect Thanksgiving is not being gathered around a turkey-laden table with his family. It's being as far away from his family as he can get - like, say, Hawaii!
"I have a very dysfunctional family," Iglesias explains by phone from a tour stop in Buffalo, N.Y. "I wish it was different, but no, it's not. They're not happy people. It's all about arguing and finger-pointing so for me the perfect Thanksgiving is exactly where I'm going to be - in Hawaii with my kid and my girlfriend."
Iglesias brings his stand-up comedy to Maui for the first time this weekend, with a show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theater. His new DVD, " 'I'm Not Fat I'm Fluffy' Live from El Paso," premiered earlier this month on Comedy Central, following up the success of his previous release, "Hot and Fluffy." Aside from being a Comedy Central favorite, Iglesias has appeared on "Last Comic Standing," ABC's "My Wife & Kids," "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Good Morning America," "The Late Late Show," Fox TV's "The Family Guy," "Showtime at the Apollo" and BET's "Comic View."
Gabriel Iglesias does stand-up Saturday in Castle Theater.
The popular Mexican-American comic (no, he's not related to that other Iglesias family) has an incredible talent for voice impersonations and sound effects. Name a sound, and Iglesias can recreate it-not just the "vroom" of a car accelerating, but the actual sound of the doors slamming!
"I've been doing voices and stuff since I was about 10 years old," Iglesias says. "It's mostly just playing around; I get in front of a mirror and just stare at myself all creepy and try to talk. Whenever I get a chance to try something out, I just go for it."
Onstage, Iglesias covers a constantly changing range of topics, from personal stories about being a father to his adopted 11-year-old son; to racial humor like "that fast-talking Mexican radio announcer guy"; to everyday things like airports, GPS systems and chocolate cake.
"My show is pretty much about everything and everybody," he says. "Obviously, it comes from my perspective, and I do happen to be Mexican. But I try not to get too stereotypical it's definitely a show that everybody can enjoy."
With his "PG"-rated language, Iglesias is a breath of fresh air in the stand-up world. Although occasionally he might say something "a little colorful," he says his show is "98 percent clean" (although he still recommends it only for age 14 and up).
Does the prolific comedian ever find himself at a loss for words?
"All the time!" he says. "Sometimes I'll take questions from the audience until I find something in my head that makes sense. It's a live show-I don't rehearse, there's no script, I just walk out there and go. If I prepare too much, then it's no longer fun!"
So what is Gabriel Iglesias thankful for this Thanksgiving? "I'm thankful for my health is the main thing," he says. "I'm a big guy, and big guys can have health problems, but I'm very fortunate."
And of course he's thankful to be coming to Hawaii-though you may not see him snorkeling at Keawakapu.
"I'm definitely not a beach guy," he says. "Me and water, I don't know, they just don't go together I'm a lu'au guy, I'm a sightseeing guy. I'm all about some kalua pig and some Spam sandwiches."
* Gabriel Iglesias does a comedy concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. The show also features special guests Martin Moreno and Noe Gonzales. Tickets are $33. Applicable fees are added to tickets for all MACC shows, available at the MACC box office, by calling 242-7469 or online at www.mauiarts.org.
"Annie" opens Friday night at the Historic Iao Theater, just in time for the holiday season. Presented by Maui OnStage and Maui Academy of Performing Arts, the feel-good Broadway musical is full of familiar songs and appealing characters, starring Tyler Charbonneau as Annie and Robert E. Wills as Oliver Warbucks. Brian Swasey directs this uplifting 1930s story of a perky young orphan who dreams of finding her parents and a better life.
* "Annie" runs at 7:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 13. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for students and seniors 65 and older, $15 bargain matinee price on Sundays. There will be two additional Saturday matinees at 3 p.m. on Dec. 5 and 12, offering $5 student tickets with a donation of two canned food items for the Maui Food Bank; $15 for other seats. Tickets are available at If the Shoe Fits in Wailuku, at Lava Java in Kihei, online at www.mauionstage.com, or by phone at 242-6969.
December brings the annual Seabury Hall Performing Arts Christmas Party/Performing Arts Concert - a festive occasion that always includes a multitude of local talent. All four levels of the Seabury Hall dance program will be showcased, along with guests from the drama and music programs, under the direction of David Ward. The Seabury Hall Dance Ensemble will premiere "Ka'oionapua," a new hula choreographed by kumu hula Napua Greig-Makua as Seabury's entry in the 10th National High School Dance Festival coming up this March. Complimentary desserts and beverages are offered before the show and during intermission to the Christmas tunes of the Maui Brass Ensemble. Early reservations are recommended as the show is typically a sellout.
* Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. (party beginning at 7 p.m.) Friday and Saturday, Dec. 4 and 5. Tickets are $17 (including dessert and beverage); available starting Wednesday, Dec. 2, by calling 573-1257.
To help send the Seabury Hall Dance Ensemble to the National High School Dance Festival, there will be a special matinee fundraiser at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6. The show will feature top level dancers, student and faculty singers and performers Alan Hodara, Skyla Lowry and Joe Schmidt, and special guest performers Eric Gilliom and "Elementos" featuring Indio and Makana. Tickets are $15; available by phone at 573-1257.
"The Nutcracker" is back! The beautiful ballet set to Tchaikov-sky's magical music will entrance audiences next weekend at the MACC's Castle Theater. Ballet Hawaii presents a cast of Hawaii's finest dancers, including dancers from Maui and guest stars from well-known ballet companies. With lavish costumes and adorable little ones, the classic ballet never fails to delight.
* Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6. Tickets are $50, $40 and $30; kids 12 and younger receive $10 off in the top two price categories through Monday.