JOHN BERGER / JBERGER@STARADVERTISER.COM "BACKSTAGE" AT KENNEDY THEATRE | 1. "Vengeful Sword" cast members James Schirmer (Mitsugi), left, Nicholas Murray Husted (Kitaroku) and Tyler Nichols (Kisuke) explained the finer points of kabuki makeup to theater supporters Ron Heller and his wife, Rachel Funk Heller, April 16 at Kennedy Theatre during "Backstage at the Kabuki," a fundraiser for the UH-Manoa Department of Theatre & Dance. Guests enjoyed a pre-show reception and escorted backstage tours to meet cast members before attending the performance. Schirmer and Nichols play heroes; Husted is one of the villains.
JOHN BERGER / JBERGER@STARADVERTISER.COM 5. Master "beat box" vocalist Jason Tom, center, showed some love to Biena Kaneshiro and Guy Higuchi as they purchased Jason Tom T-shirts and a Busekrus CD after his show-stopping set. Tom showed once again that he is a local phenomenon and a unique talent in Hawaii. The contrast between Disaster Kit, Tom's beat boxing and Busekrus' music made the evening a fine demonstration of the diversity of talent in play in Honolulu these days.
JOHN BERGER / JBERGER@STARADVERTISER.COM BUSEKRUS CELEBRATES CD RELEASE | 3. Busekrus leader and guitarist Marcus Busekrus welcomed Lisa Peru to the CD release party for the group's new five-song CD, "This Is Real," April 15 at Hawaiian Brian's Billiards. An imaginative highlight of the trio's set came when bassist Demitri Marmash switched to mandolin, drummer Mike Jones picked up an "egg shaker" and several friends sat in on guitar, violin and cello for an acoustic version of "Oh So Sweetly."
JOHN BERGER / JBERGER@STARADVERTISER.COM 4. Disaster Kit -- Kendal Ledesma, left, Alan Evans, Gabriel Reyes-Gomez, Tijay Syn-Rodrigues and Chris Mathakul -- distinguished itself as one of the better opening acts. The quintet's diverse modern rock repertoire includes numbers featuring clarinet and French horn, two instruments rarely found on the local "underground" scene.
JOHN BERGER / JBERGER@STARADVERTISER.COM 2. Luke Cheng (Rinpei), fourth from left, came out in full costume to join featured entertainer Kenny Endo, "Vengeful Sword" percussionist Kirstin Pauka, choreographer Onoe Kikunobu and project director Julie A. Iezzi in talking with the guests. "Vengeful Sword" closes with a final performance at 2 p.m. today.