2015 Big Island Taiko Festival

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Performing Arts Center presents the Big Island Taiko Festival 2015 featuring Taishoji Taiko, Hui Okinawa Kobudo Taiko, Puna Hongwanji Taiko Club, Kona Daifukuji Taiko, and Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko. Performances are Saturday, May 23, at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, May 24, at 2 pm.

Taiko
“This exhilarating weekend of vibrant drumming and physical choreography brings together the best of Big Island Taiko,” said PAC Manager and Festival Producer Lee Dombroski. “Taishoji Taiko, under the direction of Chad Nakagawa, was founded under the direction of Yoshihumi Ono at Taishoji Soto Mission in Hilo. Their energetic, dramatic style will have the audience feeling the rhythm right to their core!”

Hui Okinawa Kobudo Taiko, under the guidance of Advisor Milton Yafuso and Troy Sakihara, practices and performs a drumming style based on Okinawan martial arts. “Our three-fold mission builds leadership and promotes and preserves the interest in and appreciation for the history and traditions of Okinawan culture and the arts,” explained Yafuso.

The Puna Hongwanji Taiko Club, under the direction of Rev. Earl Ikeda and Paul Sakamoto, was founded in 2003 by Rev. Ikeda as a community-focused group with drummers of all ages and experience, striving to perpetuate taiko as a cultural and recreational activity.

Kona Daifukuji Taiko was founded in 1988 by Rev. Tamiya and his wife and is comprised of youth from elementary through high school following the directions of their instructors, Akemi Iwamoto and Amy Nakade.
Orchid Taikos
This year, the Festival adds Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko from Kohala. Imported from Okinawa and nurtured by Akemi Martin Sensei, the group now boasts over 100 active members across the Hawaiian Islands.

Tickets are General Admission and priced at $10 General, $5 Seniors, UH students (with valid ID) and Children 17 and under. Box Office hours are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 932-7490 or ordering online at artscenter.uhh.hawaii.edu.

Big Island Chocolate Festival Announces Winners

Culinary entries from across the state were tapped winners at last night’s Big Island Chocolate Festival. Chefs, chocolatiers and students were critiqued on taste, texture, appearance and creativity by a team of celebrity judges during the three-day festival.

Professional winners of the BICF gala were from left: Hilton Waikoloa Village Chef Dayne Tanabe, Gini Choobua of Likao Kula Farm, Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate, Fairmont Orchid Pastry Chef Daniel Sampson and Executive Fairmont Orchid Chef Hubert Des Marais.

Professional winners of the BICF gala were from left: Hilton Waikoloa Village Chef Dayne Tanabe, Gini Choobua of Likao Kula Farm, Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate, Fairmont Orchid Pastry Chef Daniel Sampson and Executive Fairmont Orchid Chef Hubert Des Marais.

Event host The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i was cited in three categories for best plated dessert, bean to bar and the People’s Choice award. The Hilton Waikoloa Village earned best savory while Madre Chocolate took top bonbons.

Likao Kula Farm of Holualoa bested 11 entries to win the inaugural cacao processing category.

“The processing of the cacao bean—its fermenting and drying—is an important step in the flavor and quality of chocolate and we’re happy our local growers competed in this new competition category,” said Farsheed Bonkadar, president of the Kona Cacao Association.

UH-Maui College won the morning community college culinary competition led by Chef Instructor Teresa Shurilla (with plaque). Students from left are Devin Galloway, Noelle Bender, Yi Song, Taylor McGraw and Clarissa Logsdon.

UH-Maui College won the morning community college culinary competition led by Chef Instructor Teresa Shurilla (with plaque). Students from left are Devin Galloway, Noelle Bender, Yi Song, Taylor McGraw and Clarissa Logsdon.

Culinary students from University of Hawai‘i-Maui College won the morning student competition besting second place Hawai‘i Community College-Hilo and third place Hawai‘i Community College-West Hawai‘i. Students prepared elaborate plated desserts using chocolate.

Commenting on the competitions, Bonkadar added, “The caliber of entries continues to improve and it’s rewarding to see how both student and professional culinarians use chocolate in both sweet and savory recipes.”

Heading the team of judges for the two competitions were celebrity chefs Stanton Ho, Guittard’s Donald Wressell, Valrhona Chocolate’s Derek Poirier and Sam Choy of Keauhou’s Kai Lanai restaurant. Other team judges included Elizabeth McDonald of Maui’s B3 A Beach Bunny Bakery; Ricky DeBoer of The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui; Steven Arakaki of Kukio Golf & Beach Club; Chris Speere of UH-Maui College and Daniel Sampson of The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i. Teresa Shurilla of UH-Maui College oversaw the judging.

The real winners of the fourth annual festival are two beneficiaries: the Equip the Kitchens campaign for the future Hawai’i Community College-Palamanui and Kona Pacific Public Charter School.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association, the Big Island Chocolate Festival not only heralds Hawai’i’s growing cacao industry, but also the culinarians who masterfully create foods featuring chocolate.

In addition to last night’s gala, the three-day festival offered a full lineup of chocolate decadence from planting to plating: a Kona cacao farm tour, plus growing and processing seminars and how-to culinary demonstrations.

Visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com for updates on next year’s event.

The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

 

Big Island Author Receives Top Honor at Hawaii Book Publishers Association Awards

Waimea resident and nationally best-selling author Darien Gee received the Award of Excellence in Special Interest Books at the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association’s 2015 Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards for Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir: Advice and Exercises to Help You Tell Your Story, released by Honolulu-based Watermark Publishing.

Darien Gee

Darien Gee

The Award of Excellence is the highest honor in the category. The awards, which recognize the best local books published during the previous calendar year, were announced at ceremonies held on Thursday, April 23, 2015 at the East-West Center.

“What an amazing gift it would be for the Hawaiian Islands and the rest of the world if more people started to write down what might otherwise be lost,” the competition’s judges observed in their comments. “Writing your memoir or telling your family history is something special to think about [but] it’s a daunting task to actually sit down and know where to begin. Darien Gee has solved this problem. [This] book takes you through the process step by step…it takes the stress out of where and how to start and offers you the tools and encouragement to help keep the stories alive, documented for the generations to come. The format of Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir is inspiring in itself, creative and original in its design.”

Gee is a nationally best-selling author with six novels to her credit; Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir is her first non-fiction release. A former columnist for the North Hawaii News (“Writer’s Corner”), she continues to write fiction (also under the pen name Mia King) and teaches writing and publishing workshops.

“I was lucky to connect with so many Hawai‘i writers on this project, many of whom gave me their best advice on the writing process and how to handle challenges and roadblocks,” Gee says. Six of the 21 other writers whose advice Gee sprinkles liberally throughout the book are also current and former Big Island residents: Dr. Billy Bergin, Frances H. Kakugawa, Leslie Lang, Mark Panek, Phil Slott and the late Patricia Jennings. In addition, Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir features work from Gee’s Big Island students and workshop participants Christian Gomez, Levi Higa, Ryan Hooley, Kai Ibana, George Manu, Elsbeth McKeen, Arielle Faith Michael, Kamuela Spencer-Herring and Taran Takahashi. Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir is introduced with a pule from Rev. Danny Akaka, Jr., and dedicated to community treasure Stephanie Bengene Lindsey, aka Aunty Tūtū.

Watermark Publishing swept the Special Interest Books category with Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir taking the top prize and Honorable Mention in the category going to The Hawaiian Survival Handbook by award-winning Hawaiian musician (and lifelong outdoorsman) Brother Noland, illustrated by Andrew J. Catanzariti and designed by Jen Tadaki Catanzariti. The Hawaiian Survival Handbook received further recognition with an Honorable Mention for Design.

Each year, the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association presents the Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards to honor the best of Hawai‘i book publishing from the previous year. “Ka Palapala Po‘okela” literally translated from Hawaiian means “excellent manuscript.”

Hawaii State Lawmakers Star in “Capitol Idol III” – Talent Show Raises Money for the Hawai‘i Foodbank

Brave members of the Legislative and Executive branches of our state government will showcase their hidden talents when they take the stage for a good cause.

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Capitol Idol III kicks off on Monday, April 20 from 5-7 p.m. in the Capitol Auditorium. The public is invited to the show where members of the Senate and the Ige Administration vie for the audience’s support in the hopes of winning the perpetual individual and team trophies, not to mention major bragging rights. This year’s show will be emceed by radio show host, actor and former State Representative Devon Nekoba.

The event is FREE, but state employees will be voting for their favorite acts by purchasing $1 for a scrip worth one vote. Per the State Ethics Commission, only state employees can purchase scrip. The winner of Capitol Idol III will be the act with the most votes (scrip). There is no limit to the number of scrip a state employee can purchase.

In 2012, Capitol Idol raised $1400 for the Hawai‘i Foodbank and in 2014, $1700 was collected. “This is the time of the year when my fellow colleagues voluntarily offer themselves up for public scrutiny and possible embarrassment all to support an incredibly important agency in our community, the Hawai‘i Foodbank,” said Senator Mike Gabbard, the show’s organizer. “We want to encourage everyone to join us in supporting this worthy cause and have a good time smiling and laughing with us as well.”

Past performances have been a lineup of Legislators singing original songs, juggling, dancing hula and more.  Previous winners have been Representative Marcus Oshiro dressed in drag, dancing and belting out “I Will Survive” and Blake “Disco” Oshiro of the Governor’s office. With his Executive branch dancers, Oshiro stole the show last year.

So who will be the next champion in Capitol Idol III?  Join us to find out!

‘Chocolate Soirée’ Dinner a Prelude to Big Island Chocolate Festival

As a prelude to Big Island Chocolate Festival, local event planning and catering company The Feeding Leaf presents the premier “Chocolate Soirée” dinner on Thursday, May 7, 5-8 p.m. at Kokoleka Lani Farms.

Chef Scott Hiraishi, Tracey and Les Apoliona of the Feeding Leaf

Chef Scott Hiraishi, Tracey and Les Apoliona of the Feeding Leaf

The seven-course feast features Original Hawaiian Chocolate, savory and sweet, in dishes created by notable chefs like Stanton Ho (Amoretti), Clayton Arakawa (Mauna Lani Resort), Angela Smith (Sweet Eatz), and Scott Hiraishi (The Feeding Leaf), assisted by culinary students from University of Hawai‘i Center—West Hawai‘i Campus.

Also providing chocolate for the Soirée, Kokoleka Lani Farms is a working cacao farm in Keauhou, run by Greg Colden and Marty Corrigan, owner-operators of Kona Natural Soap Company. By special arrangement, the exclusive Chocolate Soirée event begins in their retail shop, with passed hors d’oeuvres prepared by the culinary students. Dinner will be served family-style in their adjacent home.

Chocolate cocktail concoctions will be provided by mixologist and general manager Keith Malini of Ray’s on the Bay, the oceanfront restaurant at Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay. Ray’s on the Bay has also selected fine wines to serve with the elegant farm-to-fork feast, and the restaurant will feature one of the signature chocolate entrees on their dinner menu in the days leading up to the event.

“The Chocolate Soirée is a fun way for us to do some education. It gives the students a chance to work with top chefs in a unique environment, and to work with the more unusual Hawai‘i Island ingredients they don’t see or use every day,” said The Feeding Leaf General Manager Les Apoliona.

“It gives our guests a chance to learn about new and different aspects of local chocolate while they enjoy a beautiful, exclusive dinner at the source,” he said. “We’re so grateful to Greg and Marty for opening their home and their cacao farm for us. And, with two more days of chocolate indulgence Friday and Saturday, we think this will be and outstanding pre-event for Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

Tickets for Chocolate Soirée are limited to 100 at $125 per person, including cocktails and wines, available at Kona Wine Market and Westside Wines, online at wew.eventbrite.com/e/chocolate-soiree-tickets-16328176014, or by calling 808-325-3803. Big Island Chocolate Festival takes place May 8-9 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, with Chocolate Gala, Seminars, Chocolate Competition and more. Part of the proceeds benefit American Culinary Federation/Kona Kohala Chefs Association scholarships.

The Feeding Leaf catering and event company specializes in Hawai‘i-raised food for quality private parties, wine events, weddings, birthdays and other happy occasions. For more information, contact Les Apoliona, (808) 325-3803, thefeedingleaf@gmail.com, visit www.thefeedingleaf.com, or Facebook.com/thefeedingleaf.

Ka’u Coffee Festival – April 24 to May 3

Showcasing all that makes the rural District of Ka’u so special, the Ka‘u Coffee Festival perks with activities for all ages April 24-May 3. Now in its seventh year, the festival not only showcases Ka‘u’s multi, award-winning coffees at numerous events, but also features stargazing, a rainforest hike and much more.

Kau Mountain Water System. Photo by Jesse Tunison

Kau Mountain Water System. Photo by Jesse Tunison

“We’ve got something for everyone to enjoy over 10 days,” says Chris Manfredi, festival organizer. “While all of last year’s great events return to the festival, we’re always trying to exceed the expectations of our guests. When you have a vibrant community producing some of the finest coffee grown anywhere, my job is actually pretty easy. We’ve added a second mauka hike to keep up with popular demand.”

One popular reprise is the tasty recipe contest using Ka’u coffee as an ingredient. The Ka’u Coffee Recipe Contest offers friendly competition in pupu, entrée and dessert categories Saturday, April 25 at the Ka’u Coffee Mill. During the 2 p.m. judging, enjoy free entertainment, coffee and recipe sampling.  Contest entry is free and the deadline is April 19. Visit www.kaucoffeefestival.com.

The Pahala Community Center is the new venue for the annual Miss K‘au Coffee Pageant where doors open at 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 26. Contestants aged 17-24 are judged in talent and gown categories and win prizes and local fame, according to pageant chair Gloria Camba.  Participants also vie for Most Photogenic, Miss Congeniality and Miss Popularity.  Admission is $10 with additional donations appreciated; door prizes will be awarded.

The highlight of the 10-day activity lineup is the free Ka’u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a on Saturday, May 2 that sprawls both inside and out of the Pahala Community Center. New this year, admission into the tasty Ka‘u Coffee Experience is free and coffee enthusiasts can sample professional barista-guided tastings of Ka‘u coffees prepared a variety of ways—like a pour-over. French press or cold brew—9:30 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Outside, ho‘olaue‘a attendees can talk story with friendly coffee farmers at gaily decorated booths with free sampling. Also on tap are “broke da mouth” food booths serving hot plate lunches, fresh baked goods and ethnic, local-style treats by local community organizations. Enjoy lunch in the outdoor pavilion or grassy lawn while treated to non-stop, local entertainment. Keiki can enjoy outdoor games.

Find out how coffee is grown, picked and processed during informative Ka’u Coffee Farm & Mill Tours. Sign up at the ho‘olaule‘a for the informative $20 tours, complete with shuttle transport, departing 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m.

Enter the Buy Local It Matters promotion by visiting festival sponsors and redeeming purchase receipts and business cards at the ho‘olaule‘a for chances to win exciting prizes.

The festival is supported by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research & Development, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture. Most events are free while others require a nominal fee. A full schedule of events and Ka‘u activity recommendations follows. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com to learn more.

On Friday, April 24, 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Pa‘ina & Open House at historic Pahala Plantation House featuring music, hula, food and house tours. Corner of Maile and Pikake in Pahala. Hosted by Pahala Plantation Cottages, Ka‘u Chamber of Commerce and The Ka‘u Calendar newspaper. Free, donations accepted for Miss Ka‘u Coffee Scholarship Fund.  www.kaucoffeefest.com, www.pahalaplantationcottages.com. 808-928-9811.

On Saturday, April 25, 2 p.m. The free Ka‘u Coffee Recipe Contest hosts a cooking competition at Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Entries made with Ka’u coffee are accepted in pupu, entree and dessert categories. Free coffee tasting. Find contest entry info at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call Lisa at 808-928-0550.

On Sunday, April 26, the annual Miss Ka‘u Coffee Pageant showcases the crowning of Miss Ka‘u Coffee and Miss Ka‘u Peaberry. Doors open 6 p.m. at the Pahala Community Center. Visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

During the week visit Ka‘u coffee farms. Enjoy the scenic and historic beauty of Ka‘u, Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach, Honu‘apo fishponds, the cliffs of Ka Lae – the southernmost place in the U.S., and the nearby Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Stay in one of the many accommodations in Ka‘u. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com for participating coffee farms and accommodations.

On Wednesday, April 29 and Thursday, April 30 explore flume systems of the sugarcane era and development of hydroelectric power on a Ka‘u Mountain Water System Hike in the Wood Valley rainforest 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Limited to 30, $40 includes lunch.  Visit www.kaucoffeemill.com or phone 808-928-0550.

On Friday, May 1 enjoy Coffee & Cattle Day 10 a.m. at Aikane Plantation Coffee farm.  Find out how descendants of Ka‘u’s first coffee farmer integrate coffee with other agriculture.  $25 fee includes an all-you can eat buffet. Visit www.aikaneplantation.com or phone 808-927-2252.

On Friday, May 1 observe the heavens from the summit of Makanau at Ka‘u Star Gazing, 5:30-10 p.m. $35 with refreshments and shuttle transportation. Sign up at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call 808-928-0550.

On Saturday, May 2 tantalize your taste buds at the friendly Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a, with a full day of local music, hula, food booths, local crafts, keiki activities, educational displays, coffee tastings and farm/mill tours headquartered inside and out of the Pahala Community Center. Festival entry is free; Ka‘u Coffee Experience offers guided coffee tastings 9:30 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Farm tours with shuttle transport are 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m., $20. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

On Sunday, May 3 learn about the coffee industry at the Ka‘u Coffee College at Pahala Community Center. The Coffee College hosts educational seminars and a reverse trade mission. Free, donations appreciated. Call 808-929-9550 or www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival: Founded in coffee traditions hailing to the 1800s—plus the hard work of former sugar plantation workers—Ka‘u coffee burst onto the specialty coffee scene by winning numerous coffee quality awards. These accolades highlight the unique combination of people and place that makes Ka‘u coffee a favorite across the globe. The festival’s mission is to raise awareness of Ka‘u as a world-class, coffee-growing origin.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information and festival updates, visit kaucoffeefest.com, follow Ka‘u Coffee Festival on Facebook and @kaucoffeefest on Twitter, or call 808-929-9550.

 

10th Annual Laupahoehoe Music Festival

The 10th Annual Laupahoehoe Music Festival is 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday, April 25, 2015 at Laupahoehoe Point Beach Park.

Non-profit organization Malama Hawaii Nei along with Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School have organized the festival this year to help raise scholarship money for Laupahoehoe area students and to fund community projects.

lmf

Organized in 2005 under the foresight of Laupahoehoe resident musician Braddah Smitty, the nonprofit Malama Hawaii Nei has awarded nearly $27,000 in scholarships to date. Under the current plan, every student who applies receives a scholarship.

This year’s Hawaiian-style event features some of the island’s best music and hula entertainers performing at Laupahoehoe Point Beach Park, noted for its sacred and natural beauty and was a regular stopover by Kamehameha in his canoe voyaging conquest of the islands.

Tickets are $12 in advance at Hilo Guitars, Basically Books and Hilo Music Exchange in Hilo, and Sakado Store in Laupahoehoe, Taro Patch and Grandma’s Kitchen in Honokaa, and in Kona at Music Exchange, or $15 at the gate. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.LaupahoehoeMusicFestival.org Age 10 and under free.

It’s a day of music, music, music, ono grinds and crafts. Drinks available on site. No coolers please.  This is an alcohol- and drug-free event.

For more information, call (808) 962-2200 or email gerry.delgado@lcpcs.org

USS Chung-Hoon to Visit Hilo for Merrie Monarch Festival

The Pearl Harbor-based Aegis-class guided missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93) will visit Hilo April 10-12 to participate in the 52nd  annual Merrie Monarch Festival.

Me at the helm of the USS Chung Hoon during 2010 RIMPAC Exercises

Me at the helm of the USS Chung Hoon during 2010 RIMPAC Exercises

U.S. Pacific Fleet Band will march and perform in the Merrie Monarch Parade. Capt. Mark Manfredi, Chief of Staff, Navy Region Hawaii, will also attend the festivities.

Photo from when I went to sea on the USS Chung-Hoon

Photo from when I went to sea on the USS Chung-Hoon

USS Chung-Hoon will greet the Merrie Monarch Royal Court during a pierside welcome ceremony at Hilo Harbor Pier 1 on Friday, April 10 at 11 a.m.  USS Chung-Hoon Sailors, along with Capt. Manfredi, will attend the hula competitions and participate with Pacific Fleet Band in the Merrie Monarch Royal Parade on Saturday, April 11 at 10:30 a.m. along downtown Hilo.

Photo from when I went to sea on the USS Chung-Hoon

Photo from when I went to sea on the USS Chung-Hoon

Chung-Hoon is a guided-missile destroyer that is a multi-mission, anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare surface combatant.
Cmdr. Ryan Collins is the commanding officer and leads a crew of more than 270.

The Commanding Officer gave me this coin after we had lunch on the USS Chung Hoon

The Commanding Officer gave me this coin after we had lunch on the USS Chung Hoon

USS Chung-Hoon is named for Rear Admiral Gordon Pai`ea Chung-Hoon, the first native Hawaiian admiral in the U.S. Navy.  Admiral Chung-Hoon was assigned to the USS Arizona on the morning of December 7, 1941; and nearly 70 years ago on April 14, 1945, the admiral received the Navy Cross during World War II after a kamikaze attack that killed several members of his crew and severely damaged his ship, USS Sigsbee. USS Chung-Hoon is one of eleven surface ships homeported in Pearl Harbor.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to Host BioBlitz 2015

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s diverse ecological zones provide refuge for many distinct plant and animal communities, including endangered endemic species such as the nēnē (Hawaiian goose), and the Mauna Loa silversword, which flowers only once in its life.

An endemic nēnē (Hawaiian goose) feeds on indigenous naupaka kahakai (beach naupaka) in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

An endemic nēnē (Hawaiian goose) feeds on indigenous naupaka kahakai (beach naupaka) in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

The fascinating geology and biology are vital components of the cultural heritage of indigenous Hawaiian people. To better understand, appreciate and protect this natural and cultural treasure, the National Park Service and National Geographic are hosting a two-day BioBlitz species count and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival on Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16, 2015.

Crater Rim Trail winds through the native rainforest surrounding Kīlauea caldera in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Jessica Ferracane

Crater Rim Trail winds through the native rainforest surrounding Kīlauea caldera in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Jessica Ferracane

Themed I ka nānā no a ‘ike (“By observing, one learns”), the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz is part scientific endeavor, part outdoor classroom excursion and part celebration of biodiversity and culture. It will bring together more than 150 leading scientists and traditional Hawaiian cultural practitioners, more than 750 students and thousands from the general public. Together, they will be dispatched across the park’s 333,086 acres to explore and document the biodiversity that thrives in recent lava flows and native rain forests of Kīlauea volcano.

“We are honored to host BioBlitz 2015,” said Cindy Orlando, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s superintendent. “BioBlitz provides an unparalleled opportunity to work alongside leading scientists and cultural practitioners to discover, count and add to the park’s species list; to explore the interconnectedness of plants, animals, Hawaiian people and our daily lives; and to protect this amazing biodiversity and rich culture in our park.”

In connection with the BioBlitz opportunity, the park is moving its 35th annual Cultural Festival from July to May this year and expanding it to include biodiversity. At the two-day festival, visitors of all ages will discover how native Hawaiians lived closely to the land as its stewards, embodying “I ka nānā no a ‘ike” principles that continue today.

Hālau hula Ulumano o Palikū, shown here performing in the 2013 Cultural Festival, return to perform in the 2015 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival.  NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

Hālau hula Ulumano o Palikū, shown here performing in the 2013 Cultural Festival, return to perform in the 2015 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

The Biodiversity & Cultural Festival will offer hands-on science and cultural exhibits, food, art and entertainment, plus the opportunity to meet individuals and organizations at the forefront of conservation, science and traditional Hawaiian culture — and to learn how to join their efforts. The festival is free and open to the public.

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz is the ninth in a series of 10 BioBlitzes co-hosted by National Geographic and the National Park Service at different national parks across the country, leading up the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016.

Keiki (children) examine insects with an entomologist in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo

Keiki (children) examine insects with an entomologist in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo

“Each year, the BioBlitz evolves,” said John Francis, National Geographic’s vice president of Research, Conservation and Exploration. “Last year we moved away from paper data sheets and used smartphones and the iNaturalist app to photograph, identify and map species finds, adding more detailed information to both Park Service and international species databases. This year, we are going to build on that and blend technology with Hawaiian culture. This exciting, holistic approach will enhance our appreciation for the amazing resources in this breathtaking park and establish a more complete model for scientific exploration in Hawai‘i and around the globe.”

A longtime partner of the National Park Service, the National Geographic Society helped draft legislation to establish the Service in 1916. It has given many grants to create and sustain national parks across the United States and has extensively covered the parks in its media for nearly a century.

The BioBlitz program is the latest successful collaboration between the two partners. The first BioBlitz took place in 2007 at Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. Others have been held at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California in 2008; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 2009; Biscayne National Park in Florida in 2010; Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona, in 2011; Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado, in 2012; Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve outside New Orleans in 2013; and last year in Golden Gate National Parks in Northern California. Smaller-scale events take place throughout the year at various national parks across the country. For more information, visit nature.nps.gov/biology/biodiversity/.

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz has been made possible through the generous support of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas D. Rutherfoord Jr., the Harold M. and Adeline S. Morrison Family Foundation, Edmund C. Olson Trust II, Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Additionally, generous corporate support for the event has been provided by Kona Brewing Company, KapohoKine Adventures, First Hawaiian Bank, Roberts Hawai‘i, Alaska Airlines and Big Island Candies. In-kind donations from local business and organizations have been received from Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company LLC, KTA Super Stores, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawai‘i Forest & Trail and Aloha Crater Lodge.

How to Get Involved:

Public registration is now open. To be part of a scientist-led inventory team, participants must register online at nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz. Participation on inventory teams is limited and spots will be filled on a first-come basis. Children ages 8 and older, accompanied by adults, may participate in the free inventory opportunities.

Everybody can enjoy hands-on fun at the Biodiversity & Cultural Festival. BioBlitz base camp and the Biodiversity & Cultural Festival will be located at the Kahua Hula overlooking Halema‘uma‘u Crater near the Kīlauea Visitors Center in the park. No registration is required for the festival.  Entrance fees are waived for both days. To learn more about BioBlitz and the festival, visit nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz or call (800) 638-6400, ext. 6186. For more information about the parks, visit nps.gov/havo.

Big Island Chocolate Festival Expands

Craving chocolate? Who doesn’t? The fourth annual Big Island Chocolate Festival delivers with an array of fun, elegant and taste-tempting activities, seminars and culinary adventures May 7-9.
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Most of the chocolatey goodness will be offered at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, but three new events take place at Kona farms.

Thursday, May 7: The festival lineup starts 9 a.m.-noon with a hands-on, chocolate-making class Thursday, May 7 by Una Greenaway at her Kuaiwi Farm in Captain Cook. Next up is a 5-9 p.m. farm-to-plate, chocolate-themed dinner at Kokoleka Lani cacao farm in Holualoa.

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Dubbed a “Chocolate Soiree,” the scrumptious, seven-course meal will be prepared by celebrity pastry chef Stanton Ho, Clayton Arakawa of the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows and Scott Hiraishi of The Feeding Leaf.

Friday, May 8: Find public culinary demonstrations and agriculture-themed seminars at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i starting at noon with “Cacao Fermentation and Chocolate Micro-Terroir” by Nat Bletter of Madre Chocolate. “Hawai‘i Cacao Farming-Tree-to-Bar” is presented 1 p.m. by Tom Menezes of Hawaiian Crown Hilo and Una Greenaway of Kuaiwi Farms.

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Learn “How to Make Your Own Decadent (but Simple) Chocolate Dessert Creation” during demonstrations by Ecole Valrhona Western USA Pastry Chef Derek Poirier at 2 p.m. and Chef Stanton Ho at 3:30 p.m. Geared for home cooks, each culinary seminar offers sampling.

Saturday, May 9: The festival moves 9 a.m. to Kokoleka Lani Farm to see how cacao is grown and used in the production of Kona Natural Soap Company products. Also during this time, statewide college food service students compete in a culinary competition using chocolate at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.

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The contest is open to the public for viewing 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; come cheer on these future chefs! Winners of the annual contest will be announced that evening during the gala.

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Chocolate fun culminates 5:30-9 p.m. in the Fairmont’s Grand Ballroom for the festival gala. Attendees can enjoy both savory and sweet chocolate cuisine by top island chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners while voting for their favorite culinary station.

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Diners can also visit the “all you can enjoy” mole and salad bars.

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Also on tap will be fine wines and handcrafted ales, Bacardi cocktails, chocolate sculpting by Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, chocolate body painting, a photo booth and a silent auction. Culinary tasting will be accompanied by harp and violin duo String Beings, followed by a disc jockey offering dance music from 8-9 p.m.

Big Island Chocolate Festival 082Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the “Equip the Kitchens” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and a capital campaign to build a community kitchen at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

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Find pricing details and ticket locations at www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com. Gala admission is $75 with VIP tickets for $100. Purchase Friday seminars online as four classes for $75 or at the door individually at $30 each. The Kokoleka Lani Farm tour is $25. To book the $50 Kuaiwi Farm chocolate-making class, phone 808-328-8888. Purchase $125 Chocolate Soiree tickets, at http://bit.ly/ChocolateFarmToPlate.

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Special room rates of $299 including breakfast for two are being offering by the Fairmont Orchid. For accommodations, book with the hotel at 808-885-2000 and mention “Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

New TripAdvisor Accolades for Waikoloa Beach Resort

TripAdvisor.com, the world’s largest travel site, has ranked Waikoloa Beach Resort as 7th on its list of “Top U.S. Destinations for Vacation Rental Stays.” Based on TripAdvisor reviews, the luxury Kohala Coast resort bested Las Vegas, Nevada and two other Hawaii destinations.  Hilton 1

Along with the Top 10 list, TripAdvisor also published results of its recent survey of 1,800 travelers. According to that study, 59 percent of participants plan to stay at a vacation rental this year. Vacationers value cost-savings, space and quality amenities, and place a high priority on having a kitchen.

Hilton 2“Vacation rentals are becoming increasingly popular as more travelers discover the outstanding amenities, comfort, and value a rental can offer,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications for TripAdvisor. “With summer the most popular time for vacation rental stays, savvy travelers should book early for the best options.”  Hilton Waikoloa Village Skyview

With a wide range of vacation rental units within its 1,350 acre boundaries, as well as 30+ dining options, two shopping centers, two golf courses, two resort hotels and a full schedule of entertainment and activities, Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned recognition as one of Hawaii’s top destinations. Last December, the property was ranked 8th on TripAdvisor’s list of “Destinations on the Rise” in the United States.

If you look closely you can see a hot tub in the cave pool

If you look closely you can see a hot tub in the cave pool

“To be named on two significant TripAdvisor lists in such a short time is very exciting for us,” said Scott Head, Vice President of Resort Operations. “We have worked hard to create a Waikoloa Beach Resort experience that works well for visitors, island residents, resort homeowners and vacation rental guests as well.  This kind of recognition shows that offering a variety of excellent choices in dining, shopping, golf, activities and accommodations are a formula that works, that people enjoy and are happy to visit again.”

Hawaii – A Time Lapse Film of Mark Twain’s Favorite Island

Hawaii – A timelapse film of Mark Twain's favorite islands from Matt Johnson @ WhoIsMatt.com on Vimeo.

“Hawaii: No alien land in all the world has any deep strong charm for me but that one, no other land could so longingly and so beseechingly haunt me, sleeping and waking, through half a lifetime, as that one has done.

For me the balmy airs are always blowing, its summer seas flashing in the sun; the pulsing of its surfbeat is in my ear; I can see its garlanded crags, its leaping cascades, its plumy palms drowsing by the shore, its remote summits floating like islands above the cloud wrack; I can feel the spirit of its wildland solitudes, I can hear the splash of its brooks; in my nostrils still lives the breath of flowers that perished twenty years ago.

It is the loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean.”

Mark Twain

Filmed and Edited by Matt Johnson: whoismatt.com
Music by Sleeping At Last: sleepingatlast.com/
Narration by Stan Robinowitz: voices.com/people/stanrobinowitz

Read more and download in HD at: whoismatt.com/hawaiitimelapse

23rd Annual Hawaiian Family afFAIR at UH Hilo

The 23rd annual Hawaiian Family AfFAIR at University of Hawaii Hilo happens this weekend.
2015 Family Affair

Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid Announces Official 2015 Film Selections

Now in its tenth year, the Big Island Film Festival at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i (BIFF) has announced its 50 Official Selections, to be screened May 21-25, 2015. BIFF, the “talk story” film festival is a celebration of films and filmmaking in a luxury resort setting.

Photo by Kirk Aeder

Photo by Kirk Aeder

A busy five-day schedule includes free family films at The Shops at Mauna Lani, plus a new food event, “Taste of the Movies,” on Friday, May 22, to honor BIFF’s tenth anniversary with ten top chefs presenting movie-themed cuisine. At The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, film buffs enjoy daytime movies and nightly double features with no-host bar and pupus, plus celebrity social events, workshops and more. Closing night Best of the Fest features The Rough Riders in concert: Henry Kapono, John Cruz and Brother Noland—all three BIFF alumni.

Jackson Rathbone at the 2014 BIFF.

Jackson Rathbone at the 2014 BIFF.

The lineup of new, independent narrative films includes 13 made in the state, six from Hawai‘i Island itself. Returning to BIFF with a new sci fi thriller, Cousins Brothers Productions of Honoka‘a will present “Hangar 52 ‘We Are Not Alone.’”
Hangar52

Kona filmmakers represent, with the new feature “Project Z” by Richard Gonzalez and the short family film “Lost Dog” by Rockwood; both longtime BIFF alumni and supporters.

“2015 is shaping up to be a great year for short films, as well as our usual fine crop of feature films. The quality is outstanding,” said BIFF Executive Director Leo Sears. “A short film only has 30 minutes or less to tell its story. It is an art of filmmaking that requires special skills. It’s not easy to do.”

Big Island Film Festival Class of 2014

Big Island Film Festival Class of 2014

Other Hawaii-made shorts include “Līhau’s Journey,” starring Leiomalama Solomon and directed by Ari Bernstein of Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy, set in the spectacular Waimea countryside, Willy Navarro’s new work “Projection” and, from Oahu, Erin Lau presents “Day Pass,” filmed on Hawai‘i Island. From Maui, Brian Kohne and the Believers of Nonsense present the world premier of their animated short, “Nothing Goin’ On But the Rent.” And, based on a story by Waikoloa author Catherine Tarleton, “The Fishing Club” by Shooters Productions is a short film starring Robert Kekaula and Keali‘i Reichel.

Keali'i Reichel and Robert Kekaula star in "The Fishing Club" based on a book by big island author Catherine Tarleton

Keali’i Reichel and Robert Kekaula star in “The Fishing Club” based on a story by Big Island Author Catherine Tarleton

Hawai‘i is well-represented in the family feature film category as well. One in particular, “Under the Blood Red Sun,” based on Graham Salisbury’s award-winning novel. Set on Oahu during WWII, two young boys grow up quickly after the raid on Pearl Harbor, and help each other deal with its impact on their families, Japanese and American. Directed by Tim Savage and starring Kyler Sakamoto, the film has already garnered numerous awards and accolades.

Under the Blood Red Sun

The Official Selections for BIFF 2015 are:

  • 34th Street Christmas
  • A Standing Still
  • Arthur
  • Bereave
  • BIRTHDAY
  • Butterflies
  • Captive
  • Day Pass
  • Demon Within…
  • Dig Two Graves
  • Dishonestly Yours
  • Flowers
  • Hamlet’s Ghost
  • Hands Off My Child
  • Hangar 52 “We Are Not Alone”
  • HoneyGlue
  • Hotwire
  • If The Trees Could Talk
  • I KNOW YOU
  • Jilel – The Calling of the Shell
  • Līhauʻs Journey
  • Listening
  • Lost Dog
  • Mother Earth
  • N. King
  • Nobody
  • Nothing Going On But The Rent
  • Our Father
  • Out of the Basement
  • Patterson’s Wager
  • Prick
  • Project Z
  • Projection
  • Seahorses
  • Sin Frontera (Without Boundary)
  • Substance
  • SURE THING
  • Take a Stand
  • The Cat’s Cradle
  • The Devil Goes Down
  • The Fishing Club
  • The Hit
  • The Lei Makers
  • The Less Fortunate
  • The Morning After
  • The Rabbit
  • The Story of M
  • The Sun Devil and the Princess
  • Under the Blood-Red Sun
  • Wildlike

A limited number of ballots will be given to audience members during each screening. Votes are tallied at the end of the festival, to determine the Audience-choice Feature and Short to be screened at Best of the Fest on Monday, May 25. An exciting closing night event, Best of the Fest will kick off with a concert by the Rough Riders: Henry Kapono, John Cruz and Brother Noland. The evening includes a silent auction for Fisher House at Tripler Army Medical Center, and a portion of each ticket sold goes to Hawai‘i Island Food Basket.

BIFF Leo on StageThe Big Island “Talk Story” Film Festival is a celebration of independent narrative films and filmmaking, taking place May 21-25. Major sponsors include The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i and The Shops at Mauna Lani and Hawai‘i Tourism Authority/Hawai‘i County CPEP. For complete schedule information and tickets, visit www.BigIslandFilmFestival.com.

 

16th Annual Waimea Healthy Keiki Fest Coming Up

The 16th Annual Waimea Healthy Keiki Fest will be held on Saturday, April 18th, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Parker Ranch Center.

Keiki Fest 2015

Designed for children ages 3 to 12, our keiki along with their parents will spend the day exploring a variety of free, hands-on activities addressing environment, fitness, health, mind, nutrition and safety.

Families will have the opportunity to explore more than 30 hands-on learning booths offering activities designed to develop healthy brains, healthy bodies and healthy beings. Activities include:

  • Free bicycle helmets from North Hawaii Community Hospital’s (NHCH) Trauma Team
  • “Glow Monster” hand hygiene education with NHCH
  • Bike safety course by Lex Brodie’s, PATH, South Kohala Traffic Safety and NHCH’s Trauma Team
  • DIY paper volcanoes with Center of the Study of Active Volcanoes
  • Veggie stamp art with Kohala Village Hub
  • Car seat fitting by the Department of Health – Public Health Nursing
  • Collage making art activity with the Waimea Arts Council
  • Many more hands-on activities

Each child will receive a “passport” to track their participation at each learning booth.  A completed “passport” offers keiki the opportunity to choose from a host of activities, such as a turn on the rock climbing wall or bounce house, or receive an airbrush tattoo.   This event’s mission is to bring the schools and communities of North Hawaii together to celebrate the health and safety of our greatest asset, our keiki.  All activities are free.

This year’s Keiki Fest is brought to you by North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH) and Tutu’s House. This event supports the hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment topic of “Exercise, Weight and Nutrition”.   The umbrella topic of “Exercise, Weight and Nutrition” allows NHCH to touch the numerous health disparities found within the community. The Parker Ranch Center is located at 67-1185 Mamalahoa Highway in Kamuela.   For more information and to learn how you can support this hands-on kids’ event, please contact Laurie Edmondson, Community Outreach Coordinator at North Hawaii Community Hospital, at 881-4425 or at Laurie.Edmondson@NHCH.com.

National PBS Documentary Features Local Efforts to Perpetuate Hawaiian Language

What does it take to save a language? Poet Bob Holman travels across the globe to uncover answers – including a stop in Hawaii to feature ongoing efforts to perpetuate our native language. Language Matters with Bob Holman makes its Hawaii broadcast premiere Thursday, March 19 at 8:00 p.m. on PBS Hawaii. language matters

Filmed around the world, the two-hour documentary features Hawaii in the third of three acts. Among those featured: Puakea Nogelmeier (pictured in attached photo with Holman), Pele Harman (pictured in attached photo with students from Ke Kula O Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u), Kauanoe Kamana, Larry Kimura, Kepa Maly, W.S. Merwin, Lolena Nicholas, Keali‘i Reichel and Kau‘i Sai-Dudoit.

Holman makes two other global stops:

  • In Australia, Holman visits Charlie Mangulda, an Aboriginal songman (poet), who is the only person left on the planet who speaks Amurdak. With linguist Nick Evans, Holman also flies to Goulburn Island off the coast of Northern Australia, where he meets a community of 400 people speaking ten languages, many endangered, all vulnerable.
  • In Wales, Holman explores the humor, rage and lyricism of the Welsh people, who brought their language back from the edge of extinction. Currently, three million people live in Wales and speak the native language.

Language Matters with Bob Holman is a co-production of David Grubin Productions Inc. and Pacific Islanders in Communications. For more information, visit the film’s website: www.languagemattersfilm.com

Jack Johnson and Polynesian Voyaging Society Launch Song Celebrating 40 Years of Hōkūleʻa

The Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) today launched a special online crowdfunding campaign in partnership with musician Jack Johnson.

Nainoa Thompson and Jack Johnson

Nainoa Thompson and Jack Johnson

The campaign, which is now live at RallySong.com, offers users a chance to download the song “Na Ho‘okele Opoipio (The Young Navigators),” which was written by Chucky Boy Chock and recorded with Johnson and Paula Fuga in honor of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

“The Polynesian discovery of islands throughout the Pacific Ocean was one of humanity’s most amazing achievements,” said Jack Johnson, songwriter and musician. “With the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, we have a new generation of navigators exploring the earth and bringing people together to find a sustainable future. We are proud to support them with this song, “Na Hoʻokele Opiopio,” which means, “The Young Navigators.”

Cultivating and nurturing the next generation of navigators is a key focus for the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, which seeks to educate people and communities around the world about the values of traditional wayfinding (non-instrument navigation) and the importance of caring for our Island Earth.

Chucky, Jack and Paula

Chucky Boy, Jack and Paula

“We are grateful to Jack Johnson, Chucky Boy, and Paula for honoring our next generation of navigators,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Jack and Paula and Chucky Boy“Across the globe, there are young people with the courage to set a new course and protect our natural environment. They are our leaders and navigators, whether they are on canoes or not, and we hope this campaign will provide a way for more people to join our voyage.”

All proceeds from the RallySong campaign will benefit PVS and the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage. In addition to purchasing and downloading the song, fans can also purchase collector’s items and enter a raffle for a chance to win grand prizes such as an ukulele autographed by Jack Johnson and a Papa He‘e Nalu (small wood surfboard), crafted with mahagony wood from the deckboards of the Hōkūleʻa. The campaign runs through April 25, 2015 and seeks to meet a fundraising goal of $75,000.

“This fundraiser comes at a critical juncture for PVS and the Worldwide Voyage, as we prepare to leave the Pacific for the first time,” said Clyde Namuʻo, PVS Chief Executive Officer. “In 2015 we will be travelling from New Zealand to Australia and South Africa, and every contribution from our community will make it possible for us to complete this historic leg of our journey around the world.”

Hōkūleʻa, a traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, is celebrating 40 years this year since her first launch from the sacred shores of Hakipu‘u-Kualoa in Kāne‘ohe Bay, O’ahu, on March 8, 1975. The iconic canoe helped contribute to a significant generation of renewal for Hawaiian culture and language, and revitalized voyaging and navigation traditions throughout the Pacific Ocean.

The Hawaiian name for this journey, Mālama Honua, means “to care for our Island Earth” and is taking Hōkūleʻa and her sister canoe Hikianalia across Earth’s oceans to grow a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, will cover 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports, 26 nations, including 12 of UNESCO’s Marine World Heritage sites, through June 2017. The canoes are currently in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

New Cultural Center Planned for Honoka’a

The Hawaiian Cultural Center of Hamakua will be a multi-cultural, multi-generational community center situated in the heart of Honoka’a where residents and visitors alike can deepen their connection to Hawaiian culture.

Click to support

Click to support

The center’s adopted emblem of the he’e, or octopus, represents the center’s community outreach efforts. One arm of the he’e will reach out as classes in hula, the arts, Hawaiian language, history, agriculture, philosophy, and more. Another would extend into the community with special events, guest speakers, community service projects, and cultural exchange programs.

Beyond our community, it will be a place where visitors can learn about the history and culture of Hawai’i in an authentic setting. With a mini-museum curated in partnership with UH Hilo’s Heritage Center, visitors will have a chance to browse historic memorabilia and talk story with volunteer docents knowledgeable about the area and Hawaiian history.

Each arm of the he’e is supported through the active participation of committed community members.  All donations are welcome and can be made through the Kickstarter crowd-funding effort at: http://kck.st/1vdR73g

For more information, or to see our full press kit, visit our website at http://www.hccoh.org/

Stanford Chamber Chorale Performs on the Big Island

Friday, March 27, 2015, 7:00 PM, the Stanford Chamber Chorale, directed by Stephen M. Sano, will perform in concert at Kahilu Theatre.

Stanford Choral

The Stanford Chamber Chorale

The Stanford Chamber Chorale is the Stanford Department of Music’s most select choir comprising 24 voices drawn from both graduate and undergraduate students at Stanford University. Hailing from across the United States and around the world, these singers represent a variety of academic disciplines and degree programs.

As members of the Chamber Chorale, these Stanford students meet a demanding schedule of performing, touring, and recording while maintaining their rigorous academic programs. The 24-member Chorale is on tour to Hawaii in late March, and will make their Big Island premiere at Kahilu.

Directed by, Stanford University Music Department Chair, Stephen M. Sano, the Chorale’s performance will consist of chorale works ranging from Gregorian Chant to newly-composed works, to Hawaiian part-song, to folk songs and spirituals.

Dr. Sano

Dr. Sano

The press has described Dr. Sano as “a gifted conductor,” and his work as “Wonderful music making!…evident in an intense engagement with his charges: the musicians responded to this attention with wide-eyed musical acuity.”

Still other reviews have lauded “It is difficult to believe that any choral group anywhere is capable of performing better than the Stanford chorus under the direction of Stephen M. Sano.” The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has recognized the Stanford Chamber Chorale, under Dr. Sano’s leadership, with inclusion in five categories in the preliminary balloting for the 2013 Grammy Award, including the category “Best Choral Performance.”

Dr. Sano is also active in his ancillary fields of interest, Hawaiian choral music, the music of Queen Liliʻuokalani, kī hōʻalu (Hawaiian slack key guitar) and North American Taiko (Japanese American drumming). As a slack key artist, his recordings have been nominated as finalists for the prestigious Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award and the Hawaiian Music Award. His most recent release, Songs from the Taro Patch, was on the preliminary ballot for the 2008 Grammy Award in Hawaiian Music.

Tickets are $20/$15/$10/$5 and available online at www.kahilutheatre.org, by calling (808) 885-6868, or at the Kahilu Theatre Box Office, at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, Kamuela, HI 96743, Monday-Friday, from 9am to 1pm.

Atomic Dreams at the Red Tiki Lounge

This weekend, award winning author S.P. Grogan and artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker held two book signing events for their new book “Atomic Dreams at the Red Tiki Lounge“, for folks in the Kailua-Kona area of the Big Island.

Parker and Grogan sign books while Aiden James performs in the background.

Parker and Grogan sign books while Aidan James performs in the background.

The first book signing took place Friday at the Kona Oceanfront Gallery on Ali’i drive where folks gathered to listen to 13-year-old Aidan James jam on his ukulele while checking out the art gallery and getting their books signed.

#AtomicDreams Book Signing 081On Saturday, folks gathered at the Royal Kona Resort where Don’s Mai Tai Bar was converted into the “Red Tiki Lounge” and folks got to listen to both Aidan James and John Cruz!

John Cruz and Aiden James

John Cruz and Aidan James

Atomic Dreams at the Red Tiki Lounge” is a fast-paced historical fantasy, featuring a transoceanic chase, a race against the countdown, battles against war gods and Godzilla-like sea creatures for control over earth and the heavens.

Award winning author S.P. Grogan (www.spgrogan.com – “Vegas Die” and “Captain Cooked”) introduces the readers to a post World War II watering hole, the Red Tiki Lounge and Bar: a Pacific Oasis of Dreams and Visions, located in Honolulu, Hawaii, American Territory.

Hawaii, 1946.  The goddess Pele needs a hero.  But why did she choose an alcoholic, war wounded ex U.S. Naval commander Hunter Hopewell, to battle fire-breathing dragons and evil gods and save the world?  Maybe, because he’s changing… but changing into what?  Meanwhile, attractive, young Tammi Chen, once a Japanese student and spy, now successful in the black market, but not what she seems, is seeking revenge and has decided to steal an atomic bomb… before it explodes.

Body Glove celebrities were on hand as well as famous Hawaii chef Sam Choy to enjoy the show and the book signing event.

Body Glove owner Billy Meistrell, Daughter Jenna and Celebrity Chef Sam Choy

Body Glove owner Billy Meistrell, Daughter Jenna and Celebrity Chef Sam Choy

You can check out Parker’s website (http://www.tikishark.com) and you can purchase the book by visiting Grogan’s website (www.spgrogan.com).