Maui Connections

An outpouring of emotions followed my reflections in last week’s column on the life, art and untimely death of talented Maui filmmaker Robert Stone.

Nancy Newnan recalled working with Bob to produce TV spots for Sir Wilfred’s, The Pet Shop, Latitudes — Furnishings for Life, among others. “He was just a joy to be around — so mellow, even-keeled and brilliant — and very patient with this newbie when I asked many questions. Such a gentle soul.”

Karen Fischer added, “He was so talented on so many fronts yet so unassuming that it wasn’t always recognized what a unique creative voice he was in our world. Sadly, he will be missed both as a filmmaker and as a person.”

Fellow filmmakers and other members of Maui’s creative community including Barbara Trecker, Stella and Barry Rivers, Jeff King and Barry Wurst each added another story of Bob’s generosity on their collaborations with him.

And Cindy Paulos invited his frequent collaborator, Dr. Tom Vendetti, onto her KAOI interview show to reminisce about Bob, and talk about Tom’s recent trip to Dharasala, India, longtime home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Tom screened his latest film, “The Tibetan Illusion Destroyer,” at the Free Spirit Film Festival. It was the first 3-D film screened in the area, notes Tom. The film received four awards: Audience Award, Best Music (for Music Director Keola Beamer), Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction.

Next stop for Tom and his film: the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival, Dec. 7 to 11.

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Maui also lost one of its most generous, selfless philanthropists and art lovers last week — Auriol Naquin Flavell. The Canadian-born Flavell came to Maui for the first time in 1953, and became a U.S. citizen because of her love for Maui. She especially loved the arts for youths and children, reminisces Paul Janes-Brown.

“A volunteer when Linda Takita founded Maui Youth Theater, when it morphed into Maui Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA), Auriol became a major giver,” Paul continues. It was one of many recipients of her generosity.

“There was a glow and elegance about her that made her presence apparent despite her diminutive physical stature. Her seat in the mezzanine for so many MACC shows, her place at the annual New Year’s Day and Fourth of July Celebration at Jim and Linda Howlett’s, her smiling face and kindness at the annual MAPA Garden Party — there is no one who will take her place. She was a true only-on-Maui original.”

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Speaking of happy gatherings, Cynthia Conrad, Jerry Labb and friends went to a Hukilau at Humble Market Kitchin by Roy Yamaguchi to celebrate Roy’s 30th anniversary and raise funds for The Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Hosted by Shep Gordon and Roy, eight of Maui’s top chefs presented delectable items from food stations throughout the gorgeous, open-air restaurant at the Wailea Beach Resort-Marriott, Maui.

A luminous sunset, tropical drinks, a photo room with props and live Hawaiian music set a festive tone for some 300 guests enjoying the event. Among them were Tony Takitani, Hermine Harman and Andy Grabow, Katie McMillan, Andrea Dean, Susie and Peter Baldwin, Honeybun and Jimmy Haynes, and Angela and Art Vento.

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Intermittent showers didn’t dampen the spirits of the crowd at Makawao’s Third Friday Town Party, Cynthia and Jerry report. Event Coordinator DeBorah Hoopingarner happily announced the Maui Visitors Bureau and other county agencies have provided funds to promote Hawaiian culture at all the island’s town parties. She credited vendor coordinator Hailey Reeve and team member Andrew Gibbs for the success of Makawao’s shindig.

Opening the show, Benny Uytake mentioned that he teaches ukulele to more than 200 students. Emcee Kathy Collins, a Makawao girl herself, introduced Uncle Willie K, just back from a successful West Coast tour, who treated wet but happy fans to blues, rock, soul and “Katchi Katchi Music Makawao!”

Enjoying the music, Rosalind Modica reported Benny and 30 other musicians will perform at the “Jimi Hendrix 76th Birthday Bash” on Nov. 24 at Mulligan’s on the Blue, benefiting the Jimi Hendrix Foundation.

And Makawao History Museum celebrated its fifth anniversary by serving chocolate cake to all who entered to behold wonderful, nostalgic artifacts from Kitada’s Restaurant and Saimin Stand, among other treasures.

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There was more Upcountry fun at Saturday’s annual Kula School Harvest Festival, which treated students, teachers, parents and guests to crafts booths, produce and plant stands, games of skill, pony and hay rides, a petting zoo, a silent auction, aromatic food trucks and the smooth professional sound of the King Kekaulike Jazz Band, wowing the crowd under the big tent.

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