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'Wonderful Wahine' enjoys success on tour

By Gary C.W. Chun

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 02:49 a.m. HST, Sep 03, 2010


Paula Fuga headlines tonight's First Friday concert at the Hawaii State Art Museum. The theme is "Wonderful Wahine," and Fuga certainly fits the bill, in light of her recent achievements.

Sharing the night with popular singer-songwriter Candy Diaz and diva-licious Starr Kalahiki (who'll sing with the Satomi Yarimizo Quartet), Fuga is back home after completing a stint on Jack Johnson's mainland summer tour.

On tour, Fuga said she had the opportunity to sell her new EP, "Misery's End." It will also be available at tonight's gig, and it's being sold on iTunes.

"I'm looking forward to playing a couple of these new songs," Fuga said, including one that she and her business partner Spencer Toyoma think might be her breakout song, "Parachute," co-written with Michael Loveless from the local band FreeSound.

The recording was co-produced by Fuga, Johnson, Johnson's studio engineer Robert Carranza and Mike Love. Love joins Fuga on stage tonight, playing guitar, along with percussionist Samuel Gonsalves.

Of the five songs on Fuga's new EP, one is a newly recorded version of "Country Road," a song Fuga and Johnson do on stage; it was originally recorded for a Mana Maoli Hawaiian immersion school benefit album. It also includes a cover of Bob Marley's "High Tide or Low Tide" featuring Bob's son Ziggy, and a new song co-written by Fuga and Johnson titled "Give Voice."

PAULA FUGA, STARR KALAHIKI AND CANDY DIAZ

Where: Hawaii State Art Museum, 250 Hotel St.
When: 6 to 9 p.m. today
Cost: Free
Info: 586-0900

Fuga said she enjoyed a great run of shows with Johnson, her musical benefactor, singing before crowds of 15,000-plus. "He's so generous and personally supportive of me," she said. "He's such a great friend and role model." She was impressed with the man's commitment and personal responsibility toward nonprofit charities and environmental concerns.

WHILE she's back in the islands, Fuga will not be kicking back.

"I'll be doing some shows that we've lined up for Maui and the Big Island," she said. After that, she'll be one of the keynote speakers at the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect International Congress, in Honolulu Sept. 26 through Sept. 29.

"I used to work with kids one-on-one a few years ago, dealing with youth in foster care, so I'm looking forward to that," she noted. "I want to encourage the youth of Hawaii to be all they can be, not afraid to try new things, with no limits or boundaries. Because of that way of thinking, it's where I am today. Anything is possible, so long as you have the heart."

FIRST FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS

Galleries, studios, clubs and restaurants are open throughout the downtown Honolulu Arts District, with events from 5 to 9 p.m. For participating galleries and venues, go to www.artsdistricthonolulu .com.

Mamo Art Gallery, 1142 Bethel St.: September is "Be an Artist Month," and in recognition, five novice painters will get the chance to create a work of art and have it made available for sale tonight at the gallery. Artist Patrick Ching is holding a realistic painting workshop for the painters this morning. Ching has been teaching this class across the country and it has quickly become known for producing incredible finished paintings after only one class, in many cases from people with little or no previous training.

For the entire month, visiting teachers will be holding classes at the gallery on arts-related subjects like oil painting, watercolors, figure drawing, cartooning, sculpture, street magic, Hawaiian language and more. Call 271-5350 about the classes.

Hawai'i Theatre, 1130 Bethel St.: The first "Hawaii Theatre Slam!" takes place in the theater's Weyand Room, beginning at 7 p.m. Hosted by three-time Grand Slam Champion and nationally known poet Bridget Gray, it's a competition open to all poets to perform their original material for cash, prizes, and opportunities to perform at future shows at the theater. Other music and performance artists will be showcased in addition to the poets.

thirtyninehotel, 39 N. Hotel St., second floor: Opening reception of the fourth installment of thirtyninehotel's 39 Chambers Artist Residency Program (39 CARP). "Los Angeles, California to Manila, Philippines: You Are My Blindspot (Part 1)" features the photography of Gina Osterloh. It questions how people define themselves in relationship to their physical and psychological surroundings, the effects of groups, and larger physical/psychosocial forces such as landscape and nationhood.

Mercury Bar, corner of Bethel Street and Chaplain Lane: This month's Shop Bop & Grind vendors include Cowrie Flower with hand-blended, scented hair and body oils ; Long Lost Treasures, with handcrafted jewelry and cards; and Catherine's Closet, with vintage clothes and accessories.






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