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Thursday, April 24, 2014         

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The Hawaii Youth Symphony, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has received a well-deserved Na Hoku Hanohano award nomination for its "He Makana O Na Mele" concert album.

ProjectFocus Hawai‘i usually conducts annual photo internships for at-risk kids. This year it tried a new concept by working with residents ages 45 to 100 from The Care Center of Honolulu at 1900 Bachelot Street.

Hermes is known worldwide for its high quality and luxurious clothing and leather goods, and it can also throw a super party. It did that March 28 by taking over the Royal Hawaiian Hotel's Monarch Room and the room's grounds fronting beautiful Waikiki Beach to present its Silk Ball.

English-born celebrity reporter Robin Leach, who made a name for himself in the U.S. as host for the late Al Masini's show, "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," was in town from Las Vegas last week and stayed at The Royal Hawaiian.

Nine siblings, ages 77 to 93, are still alive, have remained close over the years and love to have fun together. They thoroughly enjoy life, get together regularly and even had a sleepover several years ago.

Marathon runner Lyle Nelson, an 89-year-old retired Star-Bulletin reporter, had won the 85-to-89 age division in the Great Aloha Run for the past four years but this year his streak came to a halt.

Wood Craft" items about The Kahala Hotel and Resort's 50th anniversary have reached Switzerland where Hans Weis­haupt, GM of the hotel from 1973 to '80, and his wife, Arenda, are living.

The Honolulu City Council honored Aly­shia Shi­mizu on Feb. 19 for her "perseverance in the face of adversity and for her courageous stance against bullying." Shi­mizu is a 19-year-old survivor of a flesh-eating disease and "patient ambassador" at Shriners Hospitals for Children.

There wasn't much publicity leading up to Sunday's British Academy Film Awards shown by BBCA and that's unfortunate as it was a good, fast-moving show that many moviegoers may have missed. Except for a few categories, the BAFTAs are open to all nationalities.

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY: There are pluses to turning 90, as Kieko "Sally" Matsukawa Kendig found out Saturday night. Her niece, Sooz Miri­ki­tani and her husband, Richard Mirikitani threw a surprise bash in her honor that saluted her longevity and her volunteer work with the USO during World War II.

SUPER BOWL STAR: The game wasn't super but Bruno Mars' performance certainly was Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Ran into fashion designer and artist Takeo Kobayashi at Neiman's Espresso Bar on Saturday. He said he and fellow designer Eric Chandler are moving to Seattle in April. Takeo was with retired Aiea High teacher Barbara Muramoto and Radford teacher Gerry Fairbank.

"HAWAII FIVE-0" regular Daniel Dae Kim handled himself exceptionally well in a lively, humorous interview by "CBS This Morning" co-hosts Charlie Rose, Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King Jan. 17.

BIG HEARTS: Candes Meijide Gentry opened her home Jan. 8 to more than 60 people to celebrate the launch of the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women 10th anniversary.

The Kahala Hotel & Resort is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Gov. Neil Abercrombie will proclaim Jan. 22, the day The Kahala opened in 1964, as "The Kahala Hotel & Resort Golden Jubilee Day."

The annual Christmas Eve party thrown by John Michael White and fiancee Qi Marie really got rolling when John stood tall and led his penthouse crowd singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" in his powerful voice.

Happy New Year! We're winding up 2013 by following last week's "Wood Craft" with items from the second half of the year.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL. It's time to look back at Wood Craft happenings during the year. Malia and Sasha Obama brightened Romano's Macaroni Grill Jan. 4 by dining at Randy Schoch's Ala Moana Center eatery.

‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" is definitely Jennifer Lawrence's picture and she made it clear in a recent David Letterman show appearance that she enjoyed filming in Hawaii, a primary location for the film.

Hawaii's Amanda Schull will be dancing with the stars of the New York City Ballet in Ballet Hawaii's production of "Nutcracker" at Blaisdell Concert Hall, Dec. 20-22. The New Yorkers include Megan Fairchild, Joaquin De Luz, Andrew Veyette, Amar Rama­sar and Sterling Hyltin.

Wo, ho ho! C.S. Wo & Sons' huge furniture emporium kicked off the Christmas season Saturday night with its annual "Home for the Holidays" party that featured dazzling displays.

The book "Judge Sam King: A Memoir" will be available in bookstores this weekend and can be purchased online now at www.bookshawaii.net.

Honolulu Theatre for Youth presents "Nothing is the Same," about the Dec. 7, 1941, bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan, opening Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at Tenney Theatre.

U.S. SERVICEMEN and servicewomen were saluted by Koa'e Kea, the organization of retired Hawaiian Airlines hostesses, stewardesses and flight attendants, Saturday at the Ala Moana Hotel. The gals came through with flying colors. Many wore red, white or blue outfits.

THE INTERNATIONAL Women's Forum has honored PBS Hawaii Chief Executive Leslie Wilcox with a 2013 Women Who Make A Difference Award. Wilcox was among eight international winners recognized Oct. 18 at the IWF's annual global leadership conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Former Hawaiian Airlines hostesses and stewardesses, still lovely as senior citizens, will remember the World War II days and the USO at their dinner dance Nov. 2 at the Ala Moana Hotel's Garden Lanai.

Hula queen Kanoe Miller, looking lovely and glamorous, captured the hearts of an overflow crowd as she returned to the stage at Halekulani's House Without a Key on Oct. 4. Kanoe had been sidelined for five months after it was discovered she had a third lung and had surgery to remove it.

Back on July 17, 2009, a dream came true for 13-year-old Kamehameha student Ana Malia Kia when she had a front-row seat for the Jonas Brothers' concert at TD Garden in Boston, formerly known as Boston Garden.

The theme of Saturday's annual Aloha Festivals floral parade is "Moana Nui Akea," or "The Great Vast Ocean."

Premier hula dancer Kanoe Miller, 59, underwent major surgery April 24 to remove a third lung she did not know she had. She will return to the Halekulani's House Without a Key on Oct. 4, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The drama "Short Term 12," written and directed by Maui native son Destin Daniel Cretton and playing at the Kahala 8 theaters, is outstanding.

Smiling faces abound and good vibes are contagious at Kick Start Karate fundraisers. Last Sunday's event at Hawaii Kai Towne Center was no exception.

This is the 50th year the Royal Hawaiian Band has been performing at noon Fridays in the Coronation Pavilion on the ‘Iolani Place grounds for the public to enjoy, says retired attorney Peter Donahoe, 82.

CHAMINADE University partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant the wish of a lifetime for a young man with a life-threatening health condition.

ACTRESS Cate Blanchett is sensational in "Blue Jasmine," a movie that ranks with filmmaking genius Woody Allen's greatest pictures. Blanchett could win the best actress Oscar as well as other top awards for her incredible performance in the tragic comedy written and directed superbly by Allen.

Bow wow! The most beloved employee at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children is none other than Tucker the therapy dog. The kids look forward to seeing the 7-year-old golden retriever, who was trained by Assistance Dogs of Hawaii for more than a year and donated to Kapiolani when he was 1½ years old.

Ruth Lin, James Gandolfini's mother-in-law, who rushed to her daughter, Deborah Gandolfini's side in L.A. immediately after the award-winning actor, 51, died of a heart attack in Italy June 19, has returned home.

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was clear and concise in sharing her views on "CBS This Morning" Monday in a fine interview conducted by co-hosts Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell.

I WAS tremendously honored to learn Wednesday that I was selected to receive a 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts.

The story of Mazie Hirono, an immigrant from Japan who grew up to be a Demo­cratic U.S. senator from Hawaii, was added July 2 to MAKERS.com.

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel and Matson Navigation have teamed up to pre­sent "Waikiki Beachboys," a photo exhibit showcasing the legendary watermen who fronted the beach of the famed resort from the late 1920s to the late 1940s.

LESS THAN two weeks ago, longtime friend Ruth Lin called to invite me to the wedding of her son Andrew Lin to Marilyn Mariano. She said her son-in-law James Gandolfini and daughter Deborah would be attending.

Honolulu youngster Nia Sade Bakari, 9, said, "I wanted to be like my mom," so she got her mother, former Internet radio show host Amy Bakari, to help her start her own show.

TOWN & COUNTRY magazine's June/July cover displays a side view of an attractive woman (famed model Lauren Hutton, the subject of the mag's cover story, in a photo from 1968) from the waist up wearing a beach hat, and that is all.

THIS YEAR'S Miss Hawaii will be named Saturday night at the Hawai‘i Convention Center, and her first official appearance will take place Sunday when she heads to Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women and Children to continue a tradition started by 2008 Miss Hawaii Nicole Fox.

John Conover has two passions: producing high-quality wine — including a bottle enjoyed by a VIP in the White House — and surfing. Unusual? Not really, says Conover, adding that surfing and farming are both dependent on Mother Nature.

Retired Army Col. Bill Olds, 73, who grew up in Kailua and now lives in Las Vegas when he is not working in Afghanistan, was home for a short visit last week.

This is a tribute to you," Gov. Neil Abercrombie said to Jimmy Borges Monday night at The Pacific Club as a crowd of 140 stood and cheered. Jimmy was honored by the Hawaii chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters, which assists promising young artists.

Tia Watson was admitted to the Mensa worldwide high-IQ society when she was just 4 years old, will witness Wednesday's rocket launch at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

BACK IN 2010, chef Edwin Goto's little "farm to fork" restaurant, Village Burger in Waimea, Hawaii island, was named one of USA Today's "51 Great Burger Joints" — one for each state and the District of Columbia.

Congratulations to accomplished Hawaiian hala lei-maker Roy Benham, who turned 90 on April 19. A surprise birthday party was held for him at Native Books/Na Mea Hawai‘i in Ward Warehouse, where he is known as "Uncle Roy."

An open house and sunset reception was held Saturday for neighborhood residents of Shangri La, the late Doris Duke’s fabulous Diamond Head property.

Waikiki Beach and The Royal Hawaiian hotel received major plugs in the two-hour "Mad Men" season 6 opener Sunday night on AMC.

Two Hawaii newsmakers, Bette Midler and Manti Te'o, are featured in Vanity Fair magazine this month.

Being a devoted Tina Fey fan, I went to see her new movie "Admission" last weekend. It was OK. Fey is funny and her acting as Portia, a Princeton admissions officer, is worthy.

I was pleasantly surprised when I went to Murphy's for a tasty Irish burger shortly before St. Patrick's Day and was seated across the aisle from my longtime pals Al Harrington, Jimmy Borges and Cal Lui. They invited me to have lunch and join their conversation.

After learning the movie "Emperor" was about Gen. Douglas MacArthur's important role in Japan following the Japa­nese surrender in World War II, I put it on my must-see list, as it brought back many memories about the great warrior and Medal of Honor recipient.

The late, great Alfred Apaka's 94th-birthday celebration will be held March 17, 3 to 7 p.m., at Hilton Hawaiian Village. The singer's son Jeff has, as usual, lined up a long list of singers, musicians and hula dancers.

Sunday night’s Oscar show, heavy on music from hit movies, was a winner. I would have enjoyed it more had it not run so long. KITV started screening red-carpet arrivals at 6 and began the awards show at 7:30 p.m. It ran until shortly past 11.

Spoiler alert! Being one of millions who are devoted fans of "Downton Abbey," I was upset (to use a polite word) when a friend told me that Dan Stevens, who plays Matthew Crawley on the British show carried by PBS, is not renewing his contract and would likely be killed off.

Hawaii's Bruno Mars captained an all-star team in a tribute to Mr. Reggae Bob Marley in one of the brightest segments of the Grammy Awards Sunday night.

HAWAII Five-0" regular Daniel Dae Kim has teamed with Honolulu Theatre for Youth to present and produce the off-Broadway show "Hold These Truths," a story of Japanese internment activist Gordon Hirabayashi, Feb. 21-March 2 at Tenney Theatre.

Town & Country magazine lists its top 50 bachelors, a survey of what it calls the most eligible men in the world, in its February issue.

Photographer Michi Moore has helped out many Hawaii entertainers with photos, and now they are stepping up to help the uterine cancer survivor with her medical bills.

A RECEPTION with Gov. Neil Abercrombie and promoter Tom Moffatt was held at Washington Place Sunday to recognize the people from Elvis Presley's Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tenn., and those involved in the 40th anniversary celebration of the "Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii" concert screening.

Romano's Macaroni Grill GM Kunani Blake and his staff took good care of two VIPs, Malia and Sasha Obama, who came for dinner with eight other people last Friday night.

THE BIG STARS of "Wood Craft 2012" include five local boys and a sensational wahine volleyball player from California with Hawaiian roots. The five are: President Barack Obama, U.S. Sens. Dan Inouye and Daniel Akaka, Manti Te'o and Bruno Mars.

Town & Country's January 2013 issue lists four getaways in its Beach Guide section that it recommends as prime locations to shake off the winter cold. Hawaii island is the only U.S. beach destination in the section.

NO HAWAII political leader has done more for the islands than Sen. Dan Inouye. The Democratic senator and Medal of Honor recipient for his World War II heroics with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team died Monday at 88.

AS I WAS walking toward the Neiman Marcus exit on Dec. 7, a man called my name. He was Jie Sing "Sonny" Chun, one of the kids I grew up with in Makiki when I attended Lincoln Elementary.

Barkeeps Don and Marion Murphy, a well-liked couple, celebrated the 25th anniversary of their Murphy's Bar & Grill Nov. 16. The popular downtown spot on the corner of Merchant and Nuuanu has held some of the state's biggest block parties.

Hotel Lexington's Hawaiian Room, a popular New York City nightspot that opened 75 years ago in 1937, showcased hula and song by Hawaiian entertainers for 30 years.

Tiffany & Co. at Ala Moana held a reception Nov. 15 to showcase its renovation, an upgrade that has the sparkle of a prized gem. Guests were greeted by John Geppert, director of Tiffany's Oahu market.

Former Hawaiian Airlines DC-3 hostesses threw another fabulous party at the Ala Moana Hotel Saturday night. The women of Koa‘e Kea("high-flying bird") are talented: Many of them danced hula as they did in the '40s and '50s on neighbor isle flights.

It was a dark and spooky night when Catherine Cruz took some 40 friends, including Denby Fawcett and her husband, Bob Jones, on a pre-Halloween tour of Oahu Cemetery Oct. 27, led by cemetery historian Nanette Napoleon.

Who does "Hawaii Five-0" call when it needs a lawyer? Michael Green, that's who. But the high-profile attorney is not called for legal services; Mike is called to play a lawyer on the show. He will make his second appearance in the series in late November.

The EuroCinema team and Moana Surfrider management and staff deserve an award for putting on such a great awards party under the stars on the hotel's Diamond Head lawn Oct. 19.

With the Hawaii International Film Festival presented by the Halekulani going strong this week, it's a good time to talk about movies.

THE 2012 Medal of Honor Convention wrapped up last weekend with two major patriotic events. A block party was held outside Murphy's Friday night and the convention ended Saturday with a Patriot Award Dinner aboard the Battleship Missouri.

A REUNION of Kahala Hilton employees who served there from 1964 to 1995 when it was a Hilton International hotel drew 130 people to what is now called the Kahala Hotel & Resort on Sept. 22.

IT WAS joyous at Annie Leihulu Ikuwa Kaaa's 100th birthday party Sept. 16 at Masa's Cafeteria. She is also called Ane, Tutu and Mrs. Clean. Some 250 people showed up to wish Annie well.

HAWAII MODEL Genevieve Rokero of the Kathy Muller agency was busy in New York during Fashion Week, Sept. 5-13. Besides working the catwalk, she was on the cover of The Wall Street Journal on Sept. 9.

I was unaware that Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, 69, was scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention. The former four-star general and Army chief of staff from Kauai took the stage on the second day of the gathering and spoke strongly about what he said was the president's "sincere and steadfast devotion to veterans."

A crowd of 230 turned out to support Lee Donohue and the 10th annual Taste of Kick Start Sunday in the sprawling outdoor area of Hawaii Kai Towne Center behind Maile's Thai Bistro.

SAM and MARY Cooke had quite a celebration to mark the 101st anniversary of their historic home, Kuali‘i, on Aug. 7. Sam's cousin Lynne Johnson had another cousin, Sasha Cooke, and Sasha's husband, Kelly Markgraf, from Chicago to sing opera arias and songs from Broadway musicals.

Don't let the absence of Matt Damon keep you away from "The Bourne Legacy," because Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, like Bourne, is another superhuman spy and does just fine.

In chatting with Brownie Williams Monday, I learned Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor is a part-Hawaiian athlete who was born in L.A. and is related to Brownie's late husband, Alex Williams, formerly of Williams Photography, as well as late First Hawaiian Bank prez Johnny Bellinger.

Former Police Chief Lee Donohue, a karate expert, will be inducted into the national martial arts Masters Hall of Fame, based in Costa Mesa, Calif., at an awards dinner Saturday night.

The premiere of Hawaii Film Partners' "You May Not Kiss the Bride," a romantic adventure comedy filmed in Hawaii, will take place Aug. 31 at Consolidated Theatres.

A selection of seven Hawaiian travel and tourism posters of the 1930s, '40s and '50s will be offered for sale Wednesday.

Bumped into Philana Bouvier at Neiman's Espresso Bar on Saturday and learned she has two big days coming up soon.

DESIGNING 007: 50 Years of Bond Style," an exhibition of some 400 items from the James Bond films, went on display July 6 in London.

BAREFOOTED Billie Gabriel presented President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama with maile lei after laying a wreath at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., during a Memorial Day ceremony.

WHEN Melveen Leed was 19, she started drawing crowds to the Hilton Hawaiian Village Garden Bar singing with a combo.

HAWAII'S Michelle Wie is featured in the June 11 Women in Sports issue in ESPN The Magazine. A large photo shows off her hair, which writer Molly Knight describes as "neon-pink-streaked."

UH MED SCHOOL professor Dr. Alson Inaba, 51, helped kick off National CPR Awareness Week in New York City in an event that had Hollywood flair.

LAST WEEK was one of the most emotional weeks in Jimmy Borges' life.

Not every Army doctor has three bands playing at his promotion-to-colonel party, but Tripler's Eric Crawley did, thanks to his wife, "Skinny" Lynnie Crawley.

Jack Black deserves an Academy Award best actor nomination for his remarkable work in "Bernie," the true story of the murder of a really mean, wealthy, East Texas widow.

JIMMY THOMAS, one of my Roosevelt class of '49 football teammates, sent me a letter after reading in my May 4 column that PBS Hawaii was to film a pledge program at ‘Iolani Palace.



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