When I put "American Sniper," starring Bradley Cooper and directed by Clint Eastwood, on my must-see list, I had no idea the Iraq War movie would become controversial because of the sniper's many killings.
When I learned that "The Gambler," starring Mark Wahlberg, and "Big Eyes," the story of Walter Keane taking credit for paintings those sad-looking waifs with the big eyes when they were actually painted by his wife Margaret, were opening on Christmas Day, I rushed to see both pictures.
When Haumea Ho danced hula to John Rowles singing Kui Lee's "I'll Remember You" Oct. 24 at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, it was one of the rare times she had been on stage since her husband Don Ho's death on April 14, 2007, at age 76.
A treasure chest of hula was on view Nov. 15 at Koa‘e Kea's dazzling dinner extravaganza in the Ala Moana Hotel's Garden Lanai. Koa‘e Kea is an organization made up of retired Hawaiian Airlines hostesses.
One of the most memorable celebrations of 2014 was held Feb. 8 for Kieko "Sally" Matsukawa Kendig for her 90th birthday. Niece Sooz Mirikitani and husband Richard Mirikitani threw the extravaganza that saluted Sally's volunteer work with the USO during World War II.
I'll turn 83 on Oct. 26, and the time has come for me to reduce my weekly Wood Craft output. I'm not throwing in the towel, but I will be slowing down and doing just one column a month that will run on the last Sunday of each month, starting Oct. 26, my special day.
The women of Koa‘e Kea will look back and honor past entertainers who performed at New York Lexington Hotel's Hawaiian Room at their annual extravaganza Nov. 15. Many of those stars of the 1930s, '40s, '50s and '60s are no longer with us.
Congratulations to the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team, coach Norm Chow, his assistants Kevin Clune and Chris Naeole and the rest of his staff for their outstanding game against the Washington Huskies last Saturday.
Former Kahala Hilton public relations chief Kay Ahearn, 80, died Aug. 5. Kay was much more than a PR woman dealing with media at the hotel, now The Kahala Hotel and Resort; she was more like a manager helping to see that guests.
A well-deserved surprise musical tribute luncheon for Harold Chang, 86, one of Hawaii's top drummers, was held Aug. 3 at the Musicians Association of Hawaii Local 677 facility. About 175 people packed the place to honor Harold, who hasn't lost a beat.
Hawaii-born actor James Shigeta, 85, who died July 28 in Los Angeles, appeared in nearly 90 movies and TV shows from 1959 to 2009. Condolences to his family. Before being an accomplished Asian actor, Shigeta was best known as a singer.
The late Phillip Seymour Hoffman certainly deserves a best-actor nomination for his final picture, "A Most Wanted Man," an intelligence thriller set in Hamburg and Berlin, based on John le Carre's book of the same name.
Hula dancer Manu Bentley, who danced at Don the Beachcomber, Hotel Lexington in New York and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel's Monarch Room, received a call from actor Robert Wagner on Saturday wishing her a happy 84th birthday.
Carole Kai Onouye is presenting a half-hour special, "How Do YOU Remember Vietnam?" at 8 p.m. Tuesday. It was written by Bob Jones, who covered the war for The Honolulu Advertiser and was wounded by friendly fire.
ONE OF THE BEST all-around athletes ever to don the blue and white colors of Kamehameha is retired Army Col. Marvin Ferreira, class of 1949. Marvin was selected an all-star in football, basketball and baseball for the Warriors in his senior year.
Howard Kruse Jr., John Kruse and Kalei Kruse Kimhan were born Aug. 15, 1954, at St. Francis Hospital. They were the first set of triplets born at St. Francis and the fourth known set on Oahu. They attracted much attention on outings because triplets were so rare in Hawaii at the time.
HALEKULANI hula dancer Kanoe Miller, one of Hawaii's most accomplished hula authorities and dancers, is putting together HulaStudio magazine. She says it will be a digital magazine delivered as an app on your tablet.
My May 9 column about winning a Hoku Lifetime Achievement Award and about Waikiki in the 1960s and '70s, naming entertainers I covered in those good old days, generated more response than anything I have ever written.
Retiring 'Iolani economics teacher Richard "Dick" Rankin was surprised to learn at a school assembly Tuesday that the 2013-14 yearbook was dedicated to him. "I feel so honored that the entire yearbook was dedicated to me, and was stunned this morning when they read my name at the dedication ceremony," Rankin said.
Filmmaker Woody Allen gets in front of the camera for "Fading Gigolo" and leaves the writing and directing to co-star John Turturro. It's a crazy, but funny, story. Allen plays Murray, who is shook up, as he is about to lose his bookstore.
A 12-FOOT monkeypod carving of a Polynesian warrior and spear was installed at the University of Hawaii ROTC complex May 9 in honor of 14 UH former cadets and two former instructors who lost their lives in wars.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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 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.
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.
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.
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.